Monday, January 08, 2007

Five things about me

My first meme, in reply to Vonjobi's tag/email: "Take a rest from theater and have some fun with a meme!"

1. I am obsessive-compulsive (I think). I like my DVDs lined up perfectly, wherever they are. (At around 6,000 titles now, it's hard to keep them in one place, so they're all over my cramped unit, but arranged oh-so-neatly.) I can't leave the house without checking the locks at least three times. I accumulate seemingly useless stuff--empty boxes, wrappers, paper bags--on the premise that later on I'd find good use for them. Also, writing takes so much out of me because, unlike other writers/editors I know, I can't leave a story unfinished and leave it for tomorrow, even if my brain's gone comatose. I wouldn't be able to sleep anyway, as I would spend the night agonizing over how to finish the piece. So I plod on until the very last period. Then I toss and turn in bed trying out alternative words and phrases in my head, until I lose consciousness from sheer exhaustion.

2. The first "grown-up" book I read was Agatha Christie's "Murder on the Orient Express"--grown-up only in the sense that it was the first book my mother allowed me to read from her restricted bookshelf, which had Harold Robbins, Sidney Sheldon, Robert Ludlum, Frederick Forsyth, Anya Seton, Victoria Holt, Jeffrey Archer, all the potboilers. I was 10 or 11 years old, and by then I had gone through every single Hardy Boys title, and had waded through my lolo's Readers' Digest collection that went as far back as 1947. "Murder on the Orient Express" had a sprawling cast of characters and a convoluted storyline. Mother said if I could tell her who the murderer was at the end of the story, I was free to browse through her books. I got it right; every major character in that story plunged the knife into the poor victim. Outlandish plot, but it had me feeling very clever for days.

3. Speaking of books, a confession: I've not been able to finish a Harry Potter title, and I've never read "The Da Vinci Code." I slogged through the first chapters of "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" wondering what all the fuss was about, and finally gave up. "The Da Vinci Code" was of no interest because its central premise, that Christ was married to Mary Magdalene and they sired a royal bloodline, was something I had already read in my high school years in "Holy Blood, Holy Grail," and I was in a Catholic seminary at that time. Umberto Eco also made mention of it in "Foucault's Pendulum," and even Nick Joaquin riffed on it in a Holy Week column for the Inquirer many years ago. So when I saw Tom Hanks say to Audrey Tautou in the movie, with all the earnestness he could muster, "You are the last living descendant of Jesus Christ," I couldn't stop laughing. Yes, I can be insufferably smug.

4. Not many people know this, but I was an HR guy before I got into media. I spent nine years in Human Resources, three of them as a callow HR manager, before I resolved that my true passion lay elsewhere. It took me that long because I was extremely insecure about my writing abilities. My college major was AB Philosophy, not Journalism. And while I did heavy work in corporate communications, writing for the major papers seemed daunting, out of my league. The first inkling that perhaps I could pass muster was when I wrote a review of--would you believe--Carlo Caparas' "The Maggie dela Riva Story." I was so disgusted with the movie that I dashed off a flat-out, foaming-in-the-mouth pan and faxed it, without thinking, to the lifestyle/entertainment section of The Manila Chronicle, then under editor Thelma San Juan (if I remember correctly). Two days later it got published. Teodoro Benigno was my idol then, so, imitating his style, I called Mr. Caparas "the Grand Panjandrum of Pap" (hahaha!). Seeing my byline in a mainstream broadsheet for the first time was a thrill. I haven't lost the feeling.

5. The two words I hate in the English language are "albeit" and "enthuse." What's wrong with "although" that people would opt for the more pretentious "albeit," and the even more risible "enthuse"? My dislike for the latter word stems largely from the dubious way it is used. Example: "'I can't live without my [brand name] card, it's so flexible and convenient!,' she enthused." What the--"enthuse" over a credit card? I'm not making this quote up, I remember it from a press release I edited. The culprit: the writer's misguided thinking that he shouldn't repeat the verb "says"--as in "he says"--after every quotation. So he tries to come up with increasingly laughable variations: "he says" morphs to "he notes," graduates to "he avers," then polevaults to "he enthuses." At which point I begin hurling imprecations at the monitor. Please, nothing wrong with repeating "he says," because readers normally glide over these explanatory phrases when reading. In fact, you can excise them out altogether once you've established who's speaking. "Enthuse" is as phony as you can get, and over-enthusing can lead to a coronary!

And now it's your turn, Chris, Corsarius, Abaniko, AnneMac and Pam!

16 comments:

Swipe said...

It's amazing how you switched from HR to journalism. Your career change inspires me to continue to search for my own opportunity.

I've never used the word enthused but now that you've mentioned it, I've started thinking about how I can use it but somehow, I don't think it's a real word so I don't think I'll be able to use it.

I used to hate the word albeit as well but I've sorta gotten used to it because it has a certain ring to it. Although, I don't know anyone who uses it in conversation and I don't think I will ever use it in conversation for the simple reason that is does sound pretentious as you said.

Abaniko said...

Your tagging me enthuses me so. I shall reply to it albeit not immediately.

beektur said...

6,0000 DVDs? Do you know that if you watch one DVD a day, it will take you more than 16 years to finish all those DVDs? Yikes!

vonjobi said...

"I like my DVDs lined up perfectly, wherever they are.h"

you should've been a librarian =)

Bomick44 said...

Hi there Gibbs! Enjoyed reading this one! Another Obsessive-Compulsive??? Same here... A psychologist acquaintance of mine here had told me that back in 1999 and that was just to confirm my self-diagnosis years before. One of the annoying disadvantage of that is... it takes a lot of your time to finally decide that one thing is done and finished. In writing?... too many revisions, of course. Hehehehe! One advantage though is... it's easy to find stuff especially in times of urgency in a clutterless space. My CD and DVD collections (far lesser than yours) can be a delight for anyone looking for a title as they are all neatly-stacked and
grouped/arranged by genre. I presume your sign is a Virgo as well like mine (that for being a perfectionist)... that's double-trouble, hey? Hehehehe!

Read most of the Hardy Boys from the library (seminary) and the Ludlums, Forsyths, Robbins etc. as well. Added to those are these, my favorites that time, err... I reckon they still are (hehehehe!)... novels written by Anonymous and Anais Nin unselfishly provided by some sanos, circa 80's! I think, spending time in a cloistered environment (e.g. seminary), one can become a voracious reader or it is just being me... an obs-comp. Hehehehe! Nowadays, I read anything that I can grab of but the ones that catch my fancy most are those that contains Bushcraft (survival books) and other camping stuff although being an obs-comp perfectionist... I'll try to finish reading even the back of an airline ticket en route...if bored. Hehehehe!

wendell said...

how revealing! you MUST put out two books: one collection of what you consider your best or memorable reviews. and a collection of nonfiction based on your misadventures from bicol to manila and elsewhere. bestseller yan gibbs.

then let's all collaborate on the unauthorized biography of lito zulueta.

take care.

w.

Bill Mitsuru Shimizu said...

you're not just an OB but a type A padi, triple A p gyud:) too bad d pwede GYNE.:) i used to be like you but now, i've regressed kaya type B na ako & a happy-go-lucky-one albeit (he-he)minsan nagbabalik sa dati. but i
never agonize on nor revise my writings as much that's why minsan ok, minsan langkanus, hilaw, kulang sa rekado:) i'm a very fast writer t pigbubukod kan kamot ko su dalgan kn isip ko, wra editing. kya dkul typos,ect, etc. & ano man i-edit palan n most n pgsusurat ko e tula! haha

Got lots of collections too, from almost everything that i could put my hands on--dvds, cds,shoes, coats/jackets, watches, basketball jerseys, ties, old concert/show tickets, sports memorabilia, miniature wine/whiskey bottles nsa 3k na as of last count, wines, paintings (nakadurumog su sa bicol kan bagyo, grrr!) and books! su barkada ko digdi enthused, gwa dw ako library sa apt. hehe ay, gwa pa palan dagdag, b-b-yi! :)

i never read harry potter either maski i have the complete collection, i tried to but can't finish it...give me a book on history na lang or d old reliable pot boilers maray p. i sometimes read 3-4 books at a time.:)

yo, i've read holy blood, holy grail years ago pti the DVC, also angels & demons atbp. natapos ko p lng su The Jesus Papers as part of the book discussion group n pig entrahan ko here to pass the time but don't read it ta i'm sure araram mo n mn sna ito & wra new stuff n pgtaram si baigent. ika pa:) haha

pero as long as youre happy & contented sa buhay padagosa sana ang gabos.

well, i've said too much na. baka high pa ako sa diet caffeine-free
coke.:)

regards and happy new year!

gibbs cadiz said...

hi SWIPE, you nailed it--no one actually uses the word in conversation. :)

ABANIKO, so where's your meme now if you're that enthused? :)

ey BEEKTUR, sent the cds na, dalawa pa lang. i'll ask mr. pablo tariman to find me the rest of the collection. btw, thanks for the beautiful backpack! :)

hi there BOMICK, thanks for sharing your story here. haha, pareho pala tayo oc. tama ka, good for finding things! :) pag bisita ka dito sa manila, let us know, we'll welcome our bloke sano in appropriate style! and yes, i'm a virgo too. galing mo manghula a. :)

hi WENDELL, haha, it'd be a very thin book of reviews, because i've not been writing much about movies lately. dami na nagsusulat dito about films, and many with more heart, commitment and insight. patumpik-tumpik na lang muna ako ngayon. about my promdi adventures, hehe, yun, i can fill up a doorstop. :)

MITS, i know, collector ka man like me! me tape pa ako sayo ha, yung sunset boulevard london cast with patti lupone! palitan mo na ng CD, hehe. asan na ang mga DVDs natin? and you haven't sent me any new pics, the last ones were of the beautiful fall foliage there. tagal na nun, send more. better yet, upload ka video niyo sa youtube and invite me. how's your genius first-born? mana sa ninong dapat? hahaha! ano, padagos lang kita, padi! :)

snglguy said...

This happened in 1990. After reading HBHG, I wanted to have a friendly discussion over lunch about the topic with one of the manager (a born-again Christian) of the company I was working in. Well, we never had that discussion, but I did end up being labled as blasphemous... huhuhu

gibbs cadiz said...

ey SNGLGUY, strangely, i was never chastised by our priest-formators for reading HBHG. but one of them took pains to snatch umberto eco's 'the name of the rose' from my hands when he saw me reading the book! talk about real blasphemy, haha! :)

Zane said...

just hopping blogs. that bit about spending 9 years in HR before finally becoming a published writer is refreshing. gives me hope :)

gibbs cadiz said...

thanks ZANE! yep, never give up hope! :)

annamanila said...

actually wondered why i couldn't get past page 50 of a gift-copy of Da Vinci Code, even as daughters finished it in 1-2 sittings, ditto a thousand of my friends, and even as rave reviews mocked me.

The plog intrigues me .. and i rather like the idea of the Superstart falling in L like the rest of us.

So why couldn't i take DVC siting or lying down.

Sabi ko na lang .. siguro sobra prosaic ni Dan Brown .. and i am at the point of my life that i prefer action that takes place within that outside.

Don't like tolkien and rawlings too tho i forced mself to finish that very first harry potter just not to be OP in the family na naglalyn up pa sa National para di maubusan ng kopya.

Sige gibbs cadiz, salamat, nabawasan ang pagkapraning ko.

lateralus said...

I wont survive without the word 'albeit'!

mskzalameda said...

hi I am a journalism student and hoping to be good.. just like you :)

Anonymous said...

Hi, very interesting post, greetings from Greece!

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