Posted by: nastypen | February 11, 2007

History Boys and Women on the Edge with a Homecoming Cartoonist

Last Saturday, I got afflicted. I wasn’t feeling well and slept into the early afternoon. I woke up at about past lunch and went to Greenbelt to watch History Boys. I love the movie. Itis a brilliant adaptation of a play. I texted my virtual girlfriend that I like the movie because it features two of my favorite things: History and boys. There are scant movies about people who like history and literature and trust the Brits to make them and you lose your breath trying to catch up with the lines.

I like the lady history professor. The first time I saw her, I almost jumped from my seat, pointed to the screen and scream “It’s that fabulous giant headmistress for a French magic school in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire! She’s like Elsa Klensch, only hotter!” I’m into pop trash, once in a while.

But the lines! oh the lines!!!! I just adore British humor…it’s fast and cutting. And the wit! Kudos to these people who have had centuries of the English language rolling in their tongues.

There was this one scene that almost brought tears to my eyes. It was a student and professor interaction about literature. They were talking of a poem about a fallen drummer boy in a battle.

The professor succintly points out the very reason why I love books and reading:

The best moments in reading are when you come across something – a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things – which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.

So true. So true. I felt all giddy after watching the film. It was something close to my heart: aspiration for education. No rat races. No stupid romance. No Lindsay Lohan. Just wit, dreams and direction.

I went to National Bookstore and bought a sable brush and headed straight to the bargain bin. As I was sifting through the discrded books, the meployees were enjoying sanctioned karaoke in the store. Sanctioned, because they were selling that damn karaoke microphone. Anyway, in between an old guy singing Dancing Queen and a saleslady moaning Material Girl, I chanced upon a copy of Maitena‘s Women on the Edge comic strips. The original prize was close to 600 Pesos. I got it for 100. Ah…I feel accomplished. Maitena is an Argentine female cartoonist and she deals with the disparity between the sexes, body image, relationships, the insanity inflicted upon women such as this:

Viva Maitena

Forgive my Spanish. The title of the strip is “Four inutile certainties.” I can translate the second upper left panel which goes “Dieting makes you thin but food makes you happy.” The lady glows as she proclaims that a “lechuguita” (lechugas??? as in lettuce?) is 30 calories. Her boyfriend then remarks “Half a litre of olive oil is like 2,500 calories.” Hey, on the last panel I understand the dialogue! Woman in black “Do I look ok?” the lady in sky blue retorts “I don’t have my glasses with me.”

Ok, I know something got lost in translation. But the english translation I bought made me heave with laughter at night. Maitena is my hero.  Here’s a sample inEnglish.  Relsih the hilarity:

Love the last panel!!!!

I just know my sister will relate to this!  I love it that she captured the intricacies of being a woman.  Hello, D-uh, she is a female cartoonist.  However, I enjoy Maitena more than Cathy Guisewite‘s emotionally draining Cathy strips.

As I was milling about the mall, I get a phone call from Philippine Star‘s Chief Artist Rene Aranda.  He says that Tonton Young of Manila Bulletin‘s Little Pupung comic strip just flew in back from the States where he is now located.  Last October when I flew to the East Coast for three weeks, I dropped by Tonton’s house.  It was such a lovely house.  It was a quaint whitewashed house surrounded by buildings.  I like the stark difference.  The architecture was of an old Dutch colonial house, much like the Amytiville horror house only far FAR less creepier.  I was offered to stay there but I’d be too embarrassed to harrass their family with my snores.  So, it was great to see the Youngs again.  We went to Tonton’s brother’s house in New Manila.  There was a reunion and I was stared at.  When I was introduced as “a fellow cartoonist,” the guests seem to have a sense of recognition that I don’t look normal.  they had that “Kaya pala.  Artist eh” smug look (No wonder.  He’s an artist)”

I was being egged by Philippine Star’s cartoonist with “So, you’re jobless now.  Or will you use the word ‘freelance?'”  I said I am going to relax and slow down.  Apparently, this fell on deaf ears as they made me strike out several game plans about which I cannot divulge, classified information to those privvy to the ultraselected members of the  cartooning (mostly straight males) cult.

But I enjoyed the political gossips.  Sorry, can’t share.  I don’t want to be discovered flaoting dead in the Pasig River.  hahahahah.

So, I just downed several glasses of wine and veered away from the beer because I had some exercise to do the next day.  It is not good to work out with a hang over.

To think, all this was just Saturday.  Sunday was something else.  Hint: My face on a badminton floor.  Tomorrow.

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