Sunday, March 28, 2010

Last Thursday, I stopped over a mall on my way home to grab a Watermelon shake from the nearest Frutas stand I could find to because I was in the verge of convulsing from the blistering heat of the tanghaling tapat sun.  I was surprised to see the presidential-candidates-cartoon-driven posters of Frutas supporting a juicy election or whatever it is they're trying to uphold. I was amused by the drawings but thought it was a limited edition cups and my shake wouldn't be in one but I was pleasantly surprised to see Chinese-looking Green Gibo containing my Watermelon refreshment.

I thought the caricatures were pretty cute especially Erap who looks like an old baby. Gibo's way too Oriental, Noynoy's decent with his perpetual "L" sign which a lot of people (especially not from the country) may associated with the universal sign of "Loser" and Villar is nauseatingly Orange. Hate Orange.

The lack of the other candidates cups were obvious from the start, especially Gordon being kicked out of the list of the front runners of the race.

But look, 711 has their version too. And yes, the Transformer people are probably jumping for joy, although Villanueva's 5 Million worshippers are still probably shaking their heads.

I know there are more than 5 candidates for presidency, but let's face it, these are the people who has more than 20 percent chance of winning the election. As for who I am going to vote for, am still stuck contemplating between Aquino and Gordon. Gibo must first break free from the administration to get my vote. Estrada should wake himself from his drunken stupor and slurred speech first before running for office and Villar should live, together with his kin, sa Dagat ng Basura and never bother us again.

As for the other candidates... who are they again?

Friday, March 26, 2010

When I first heard of a game involving planting various kinds of greenery to ward off brain-eating monsters, I thought it was a time-wasting endeavor only for children with half-formed cognitive abilities a wide definition of the word "fun".

I now fully admit that I had made a mistake.

Within three days of playing the game via a downloaded copy of the program from the Internet, I finished all the levels in the Adventure section and was still hungry for more.

For some reason, the strategic demands of the game stimulated more neurons that I ever thought it could. There is something about the different kinds of plants with their corresponding powers that kept the game interesting and repeatable for many rounds in the future. The different species of the feared, yet oftentimes comical, Creatures of Doom made it more challenging to players of all ages.

Lastly, like a cherry on top of an ice cream sundae, the hilarious music video of a Sunflower singing a catchy original song about, what else, plants and zombies made me laugh out loud like it was the Harapan Vice-Presidential Debate all over again. I was so amused by the video that I felt like all those wasted time in front of the computer playing the game was all worth it.

And good news, you don't have to battle forces of the undead to watch said video. In fact, I have it right here.

Ain't that grand?
Keep those Sunflowers blooming. :)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Few romance novels can do what this literary masterpiece managed to do, and that is to evoke raw emotions from the hearts of its readers without the perfume laced narrations of love that nowadays run rampant in books, film and programs.

Others of its kind often resort to glamored up descriptions of the truth. I think it is safe to say that this is the most honest novel I've read in a long time. The protagonists are far from perfect and their perspectives in life mirror the facts with staggering honesty. Less attractive mental images from the written descriptions of old age and an almost idiotic pursuit of an unattainable goal are not something thousands of romance novels have in common.

It is true that Love in the Time of Cholera is not a light read. I sometimes have to force myself to pass through a certain part of the story to get to the more interesting sections. Not to mention the mildly confusing time orientation of the novel. One should really concentrate on perusing the chapters because reading Marquez's sentences with half a mind won't do.

Although with these shortcomings, which may very well be the fault of the reader, this book surely deserves all the recognition it has received. I could only hope that more authors follow suite and defer from over decorating facts. After all, novels are supposed to mirror real life and a mirror should show what is and not an exaggerated version of the truth.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Finest, yes it is.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Written by Cassandra Claire (presently known as Cassandra Clare, author of The Mortal Instruments) and posted in the Internet via and later, The Draco Trilogy is hailed (at least by this blogger) as the fanfiction of all Harry Potter fanfictions.

It was so popular back then that some readers prefer reading this fan novel rather than the canon one written by Queen J.K. Rowling. So much so that others even wrote stories based on the trilogy which is based on the world wide 7 part phenomenon. And yes, that is weirdly confusing, I admit.

The Draco Trilogy is composed of three novel length stories which are as follows

Draco Dormiens - An accident in Potions class led to Harry and Draco exchanging bodies, thus, opening a whole alternate universe where the two are alternately allies and enemies battling inner and outer forces of evil.
Draco Sinister - Both likely and unlikely hero rage war against Wizarding History's greatest antagonist.
Draco Veritas - The conclusion to the epic series. Very long read, I must add.

The stories were taken down the internet upon the author's request, following a fanfiction-community-wide  plagiarism scandal and CC's leap to professional published fiction, but not before PDF files (complete with fanart from different artists) were made available for legitimate download. Nowadays, it's hard to find copies of said PDF's but not impossible if you know where to look.

And I'm proud to say you have stumbled upon a goldmine.

I lost my original copies a while back after repeated re-installment of my computer's OS, but 'lo and behold, a kind heart decided to upload their copy for everyone's sake and I was able to download another copy via these links:

Draco Dormiens:

Draco Sinister:

Draco Veritas:
(Stanza Ipod Touch Screencaps of Draco Sinister)
I have no opinion regarding the controversy surrounding this fan made novel. All I know is that reading it is keeping the Harry Potter spirit alive in my mind, especially now that the epic series has published its last sentence. All we have to look forward to now is the 7th movie split in two, and with the screaming and fainting-over-lead-actor-hotness vampire wannabes trying to steal the spotlight, I do miss those times when quality literature took over pop culture and not sex crazed half-human mutants and a masochistic protagonist.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

 I have always been fascinated with alternate versions of well known fairy tales Especially those that does not contain the Disney Seal of Magic and All Things Glittery but delves deeper into a darker but more realistic aspects of the story. I also adore works that does not encircle its universe around beautiful and dainty protagonists but manages to transcend secondary characters into a whole new realm of being. Ironically, this fantastic book by Gregory Maguire did both of those things in a novel I find myself fortunate to have had the experience of reading.

Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister is a "modern" take on the age of story of Cinderella minus the singing rodents and pumpkin metamorphosis. It delves more on the point of view of the ugly stepsister (Iris), her sister and mother and follows their story from being banished from England and their struggle to fit in and find a home in Holland. Original characters and concepts of art and paintings are added into the mix to give it a more contemporary, and I daresay, original feel. This is not just a retake of Cinderella's famous story but it is a literary piece that could stand on its own.

I was already supposed to write this review when I stumbled upon a poster of women in medieval clothes bearing the same title as this one. And 'lo and behold, it turns out that there was a made-for-TV adaptation of the book that aired back in 2002. I got to watch the said version, in YouTube of all places, and thought, though it was obviously a low budget production because of the almost laughable set worthy of a high school play, it was a decent adaptation of a great novel.

Although, none of the "ugly" stepsisters are ugly enough to pay homage to Gregory Maguire's brilliant description of the two unfortunate but oddly endearing central characters. It seems that the TV business is not capable of airing true hideousness even if the role demands of it. The actress who plays Iris is especially pretty and at most times overshadow Clara herself who is supposed to shine with physical perfection.
Other than differences in casting preferences, I have no problem with scenes edited from the book as it is an expected side effect of translating hundreds of pages into a 90 minute show. I actually admired the way they deviated from the plot and added a "fairy god mother" which, I believe, is the Queen of the Hairy Chinned Gypsies who had no useful role in the original novel than to appear out of nowhere and seem mysterious.

Overall, the book was great, the made-for-TV feature was decent. In the end, both reading and watching the same story were time well spent.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

And yes, the fish is already half eaten before I remembered
to take a picture of it.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Avatar had set the bar quite high for 3D films, and it's no wonder that Alice in Wonderland, being the first movie to be released after James Cameron's runaway hit, has big shoes to fill. Unfortunately, Tim Burton did not quite made it that high up the success ladder. At least as far as this blogger is concerned.

The animation and the 3D graphics was fine, I must say. Wonderland was pleasantly dark and creepy and its inhabitants amusingly bizarre. The film's visual prowess did not measure up to Avatar's other worldly scenes but it was nonetheless pleasing to the eyes. I actually enjoyed the 3D aspect of the movie much better than Avatar probably because we got to sit closer to the screen this time.

I think the problem lies with the cast, most specifically its lead character. Alice may have believed that everything is just a dream but that is not an excuse to act all zombified and detached the whole movie. Her portrayal of the character did not feel like the heroine that it was supposed to be. I thought her performance of such a vital role dragged the movie down.

However, as expected, Johnny Depp was amazing in his role as the Mad Hatter as he is with his previous roles playing weird characters like Captain Jack Sparrow and that Chocolate Factory Guys. But the best performer award, I think, should go to the Red Queen for being the best big headed dictator I had the pleasure of seeing in recent times. She was intimidating and comical at the same time and it was always refreshing to see her on screen as compared to the lead Alice who I got bored watching.

Overall, the movie is bound to be entertaining to the general population. Although, I don't think it's the kind of masterpiece one would remember after leaving the cool interior of the cinema. It was good while it lasted. Just don't expected it to touch hearts, elicit tear duct response and change the world entire.

Rating: ♥♥♥/5

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Chuck is an action-comedy television program from the United States created by Josh Schwartz and Chris Fedak. The series is about an "average computer-whiz-next-door" who receives an encoded e-mail from an old college friend now working in the CIA; the message embeds the only remaining copy of the world's greatest spy secrets into Chuck's brain.
In other words, Chuck is now my nightly addiction for the past few weeks, occupying free nights after work as I now don't watch any shows on TV but rather prefer to watch them at my own pace and advertisement free online.

I started the routine with watching the first few episodes of Mercy, a Grey's Anatomy-ish show about the clinical and personal lives of three nurses with various interesting backgrounds. As much as I wanted the show to succeed because it's one of the few shows portraying the other side of hospital dramas as it centers on nurses and does not treat doctors as know-it-all gods, it failed to capture my attention much longer. And that's saying something since I am a registered nurse and could somehow relate to the show.

On the other hand, even though I can much relate to a computer geek turned CIA agent as a hamburger can, Chuck has that magnetic storyline that just makes you come back for more. Especially if there are three seasons still to catch up with.

I am now on the first episodes of Season 3 after just 2 weeks of watching the show. All I know is I'll be quite saddened when the day comes that I don't have new episodes to watch anymore and has to wait for a week for the next saga to air. Unthinkable!
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