Saturday, January 21, 2006

40 random things...

1. Something I haven’t done but would love to do:
Torture then kill She-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named
2. Never in my life:
have I run away from home.
3. When I was five:
I almost I got kidnapped.
4. High School was: a blast!
5. I will never forget: my first heartbreak.
6. I once met: a strange old man who told me I will have e-l-e-v-e-n
children in the future! Geezuz! What the F*%#K! Eleven?!
7. There's this girl I know who:
takes me to the moon and back with the most amazing fireworks show I have ever seen..
8. Once, at a bar:
I danced like I’ve never danced before.
9. By noon, I'm usually:
at work.
10. Last night:
I slept after reading a few pages of a Winterson book.
11. If I only had:
enough money and time right now, I’d like to have a trip around the world with my adventurous partner.
12. Next time I go to church:
it’s because I am with Janina or her Mom.
13. I am addicted to:
shoes, make-up, clothes, bags and books.
14. What worries me most:
is being a failure in life.
15. When I turn my head left, I see: my jewelry tree.
16. When I turn my head right, I see:
my clothes, bag and shoe closets.
17. You know I'm lying when:
I can’t get my story straight. Poooft!
18. Three things I can’t live without:
Body Shop’s Lip and Cheek Stain, stilettos, good book.
19. If I was a character in a novel, I'd be:
the witch/vampire/temptress villain.
20. By this time next year:
I’d be working still!
21. A better name for me would be:
Empress Gwen/ Goddess Gwen/ Queen Gwen
22. I have a hard time understanding:
23. If I ever go back to school, I'll:
quit being a delinquent brat and come to class!
24. You know I like you if:
you’re still alive after we see each other.
25. My ex once:
told me we’d spend the rest of our lives together.
26. Body parts you are proud of:
breasts, lips, hands.
27. Take my advice, never:
lend a good book to anyone unless you’re absolutely sure it would be returned in good condition.
28. My ideal breakfast is:
anything that was prepared by my loving partner.
29. A song I love, but do not own is: Crash Into Me by Dave Matthews Band
30. If you visit my hometown, I suggest:
you start your day early to avoid traffic.
31. Smell, character flaw, microchips & movie star:
Fresh eucalyptus leaves, selfish, cellular phone, Angelina Jolie
32. Why won't people:
respect other people's right to be different?
33. If you spend the night at my house:
you’ll surely have dinner prepared by moi.
34. I'd stop my wedding: to wait for my father’s arrival.
35. The world could do without: homophobic ingrates.
36. I'd rather lick the belly of a cockroach than:
befriending my partner’s former girlfriends.
37. My favorite blonde is:
Ellen Degeneres
38. Toe nails are more useful than:
39. If I do anything well, it's:
being a good conversationalist.
40. And by the way: I’m a goddess.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Movie Marathon

Me and my partner have always tried to watch as much films as possible given the readily available movies offered here. So this day, we were able to watch a few new movies and some films we watched for I don't know how many times already! So here are just some of the flicks we watched (Please do not expect me to give you a synopsis for all of it since I am just too lazy right now to even move my delicious ass.) How's this, I'll just rate the movie with stars!

Five (5) stars would mean you have got to watch it! weeeee!!!!

Memoirs of a Geisha

So what else is new, the book is still better than the movie.

Corpse Bride

Though I still prefer if Victor ended up with Emily instead. I mean, she's way better than the frigid Victoria.

Deuce Bigalow


This isn't even worth half a star! Eeeek! But okay, I'll be generous for all those who loved the movie, Deuce Bigalow gets a spot!

Harry Potter 4

Okay I might be a tad biased on this one, but of course I would still recommend the books.

Just Like Heaven

It was another make-you-feel-good-movie. It wasn't so bad.

Beautiful Boxer
It would have been better if they put more depth to the story. Nevertheless, it was an okay film.

I do.

This was last year's status for Same-Sex marriages or unions. It is not that bad actually considering that a few years back, very few countries accept the rights of homosexuals.
Status as of June 2005
According to a consultation paper published by the British government:
Denmark introduced the first civil partnership law for same-sex committed couples in 1989.
Two European countries, The Netherlands (since 2001) and Belgium (since 2002), allow same-sex marriage (SSM). That is, committed, same-sex couples can simply marry just as opposite-sex couples can, and thereby gain the same responsibilities, protections, rights, etc for themselves and their children.
A total of eight countries in the European Union...has provisions for legally recognizing those in committed same sex partnerships in:
Denmark: Registered partnerships since 1989.
Finland: Registered partnerships since 2001.
France: Civil Solidarity Pacts since 1999.
Germany: Partnership registration, since 2001.
Portugal: Partnership rights since 2001.
Spain: Partnership recognition in some states.
Sweden: Registered partnerships since 1994
Switzerland: Registered partnerships since 2005. On 2002-SEP-22, Zurich adults voted 63% to 37% to give same-sex couples the right to marry. This only applies only to the canton of Zurich in Switzerland.

"The rights and responsibilities attached to the different arrangements vary."

"...some states in the US and Australia and provinces in Canada have introduced a form of civil partnership registration."

United States:
California: gradually phased in certain restricted benefits for same-sex couples in 2001. They made domestic partnerships available to same-sex couples in 2005-JAN-01. These are similar to Vermont's civil unions.
Connecticut: legislature approved a civil union bill on 2005-APR-20. It was signed into law by the governor within hours. It will take effect on 2005-OCT-01.
Vermont: The state Supreme Court determined that the existing marriage laws in the state violated the state constitution. The legislature approved a system of civil unions for same-sex couples which became effective on 2000-JUL-1. The rights and privileges granted under this law are similar to those given by the state to all married couples. The over 1,000 Federal rights and obligations are denied couples who enter civil unions. The rights given to couples in civil unions are not transportable to other states in the U.S. Thus, if a civil unionized couple in Vermont steps over the state line, they are regarded simply as roommates.
Canada: The provinces of British Columbia, Quebec, and Nova Scotia had civil-union-type arrangements in place. However, they have been largely superceded by the availability of marriage.
Other countries:
Argentina: Partnership registration since 2003 in Buenos Aires city and Rio Negro province.
Australia: The country has implemented cohabitation rights since 1994 in the Capitol Territory, 1999 in New South Wales, and 2001 in Victoria.
Hungary: Registered partnerships since 1996.
Iceland: Registered partnerships since 1996.
Liechtenstein: Registered partnerships since 2002.
New Zealand:
Norway: Registered partnerships since 1993.

Subsequent legislation:

2003-JUN: Ontario, Canada: The Ontario Court of Appeal unanimously ruled that same-sex couples can obtain marriage licenses and register their marriages in the province. They obtain full provincial and federal rights.

2003-JUL: British Columbia, Canada: The British Columbia Court of Appeal had ordered implementation of same-sex marriages in the province starting in 2004-JUL-12. On 2003-JUL-08, they issued a supplementary ruling ordering the government to start issuing licenses immediately.

2004-MAR: Québec, Canada: On 2004-MAR-20, the provincial Court of Appeal upheld the Quebec Superior Court's decision to permit SSM. They became available immediately.

2004-MAY: Massachusetts: The Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the state constitution requires same-sex marriage, and that the state had to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Committed same-sex couples have been able to marry in the state since 2004-MAY-17. However their marriages are not recognized by the Federal government, so they do not receive any of the over 1,000 federal rights and obligations of opposite-sex marriage.

2004-JUL: Yukon, Canada: The Yukon Supreme Court ruled on 2004-JUL-14 that SSM was legal.

2004-SEP: Manitoba, Canada: On 2004-SEP-14, The Court of Queen's Bench noted that 12 or more other Canadian judges had already decided that excluding same-sex couples from marriage is a violation of Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms -- the country's constitution. The court declared the marriage act in Manitoba to be unconstitutional and ordered the definition of marriage to be immediately "reformulated to mean a voluntary union for life of two persons at the exclusion of all others."

2004-SEP: Nova Scotia, Canada: The province's Supreme Court ruled on 2004-SEP-24 that "civil marriage between two persons of the same sex is therefore lawful and valid."

2004-NOV: Saskatchewan, Canada: The Family Law Division of the Court of Queen's Bench
ruled that: "The common-law definition of marriage for civil purposes is declared to be 'the lawful union of two persons to the exclusion of all others'."
2004-DEC: Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada: The Supreme Court of Newfoundland ordered the province to recognize same-sex marriages. The lawsuit was heard on DEC-19 and 20; the ruling was handed down on DEC-21.

2005-APR: New Zealand: A civil union bill came into effect on 2005-APR.

2005-JUN-23: New Brunswick, Canada: Court of Queen's Bench Justice Judy Clendenning determined that the civil definition of marriage in the province should be broadened to include same-sex couples. She gave the province ten days in which to make the necessary administrative adjustments.

2005-JUN-29, Spain: The Congress of Deputies voted 187 to 147, with four abstentions, to legalize SSM. The bill is expected to take effect by mid 2005-JUL-15.

Currently active and pending cases:

California: Assembly bill AB 19 "The Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act" would allow same-sex marriage in California. It has passed the Assembly Judiciary and Appropriation Committees, and is scheduled to be debated during the week of 2005-MAY-29.

Canada: Northwest Territories, Canada: A lawsuit has been initiated to legalize SSM.
Bill C-38 which would allow same-sex couples to marry across Canada, was passed by the House of Commons on 2005-JUN-28. It has been passed on to the Senate.

South Africa: On 2004-NOV-29, the Supreme Court of Appeal ruled that SSM was legal. However, the court suspended its own ruling in order to give the South African government time to modify its marriage legislation.

UK: A new civil partnership law comes into effect on 2005-DEC-05. This gives same-sex couples all of the rights of opposite-sex married couples.

USA: Connecticut: A bill permitting civil unions was signed into law on 2005-APR-20 and will come into effect on 2005-OCT-01.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Memoirs of a Geisha

After a short wait, we were finally able to watch Memoirs of a Geisha. I have to admit that the movie was not quite how I expected it to be. Sure the kimonos were fabulous and their dances performed were more than just simple. In fact, my little niece is still awed by it that she wants to be a geisha herself and practices her dancing with such fervor. Warning: Beware of flying fans when visiting our house. Not to mention that my other niece seems eager to learn how to stop a boy dead in his tracks merely by walking past. But I divagate so back to the movie.

The movie is based on Arthur Golden's best-seller, a faux-memoir about the geisha life in Japan before and after World War II, the movie follows the strikingly blue-eyed Sayuri (Though in the book, Sayuri's eyes were actaully grey) who, at age 9, is sold by her impoverished family to work as a servant at a geisha house. Adopted by a greedy old crone called Mother, taken care of by Auntie, befriended by Pumpkin, and terrorized by a grand-diva geisha named Hatsumomo.

In Golden's richly detailed novel, you learned about the intricate training geishas undergo to become, literally, living works of art. But that's what is lacking in this movie. It only briefly delves into the arcane rituals of "geishahood." For those unfortunate ones who were not able to read the book, the movie would indeed be lacking in most aspects when one wants to understand what it is like to become a geisha.

Let's not forget about the love story. The heroine's knight in shining armor happens to be called Chairman. They met a long time ago when a little Chiyo was sobbing on a footbridge. Prince Charming stopped and offered her some sweets. From then on, Chiyo/Sayuri "loved" the Chairman. But please let's not go there!

It is disappointing because instead of meaning and depth, the movie gave us kimonos, cherry petals and snowflakes as eye candies and nothing more. They failed to convey what was so special about the fragile world of the geisha. It was more fun reading (as always) about how Mameha and Sayuri always outwitting Hatsumomo and Pumpkin throughout the story.

The part I liked the most in the movie was Sayuri's dance in preparation for her mizuage bidding. Yes, a meiko's virginity is highly important and can be auctioned off and be given to the highest bidder. Below is a picture of Sayuri's "moving" dance which caught and impressed everyone (even Hatsumomo).

As the story progressed, in comes the problem -World War II which affected everyone in Japan. Nobody was safe and special contacts were needed in order to survive. Nobu (a wealthy man in love with Sayuri) was the one who saved her from peril and found a place where she can stay until the war was over.

After the war, as people were starting to pick up the pieces again, the geishas resumed their positions once more - beside their men. Sayuri eventually ended up with her beloved Chairman after Nobu decided that he would no longer pursue his love for Sayuri. Again, please let's not dwell on the love story part.All in all, I have always liked the book Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden. It is in fact one of my many favorites. This movie however did not give justice to it. In the movie, you always have something to look at — whether its Sayuri's exquisitely painted face or the perfect twirl of a gorgeously flowered umbrella. But the storytelling is soap-opera banal.

Sunday, January 01, 2006