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harry

luna lovegood should have had red hair. her lilt came off less as flighty mysticism and more as an homage of sorts to the band geek from american pie.

i really think neville is the one who will beat voldemort in the end. he has all the markings of a king-under-the-hill kind of character; the prince in waiting, like strider the ranger eventually to reveal himself as aragorn the king. Neville is of pure blood, and he has suffered much personal loss - more even than harry potter since he saw his parents being tortured in the worst way. In Order, he displays his capacity for kingly decisiveness when he finally comes face to face with Bellatrix Lestrange; and yet, with his aptitude for herbology, Neville can be a great healer - yet another characteristic of the returning-king archetype.

cho chang is turning out to be a real dog. too bad heart evangelista can't act to save her life.

hermione granger is getting not-so-cute either. must be all those beers she's been chugging between movies. ron weasely is getting more irrelevant by the minute, it seems, paling in comparison to the antics of his twin brothers, the apparent magical skill of ginny, and the weasel-ly nature of percy.

and harry ... well, i never really bought into his character. no matter how interesting his back story is, and no matter how much focus is thrown onto his coming-of-age story, his still just a plot device. a character who must take voldemort's shit until neville longbottom is ready to come into his own.
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bee-otch

i loved the transformers movie. in general. the humor was cheesy, and alot of it would probably be impenetrable to people who weren't into the cartoon (there were only about fifteen people in the theater who laughed when bumblebee was first shown - as a camaro - parked next to a v-dub) , but it worked (spectacularly, as in the case of the bee-otch airfreshener). and of course the tongue-in-cheek music drew huge guffaws. i particularly liked prime's axe. wicked!

but there were things to nitpick on:

  • prime without the face plate in place looked like a grasshopper. why did he need lips? michael bay, in an interview, said that he put the lips in because he could. fair enough, but i'd've preferred it if prime kept the faceplate on.
  • the 'killing-megatron-by shoving(?) the-all-spark-up-into-his-chest-cavity" seemed pretty convenient. and confusing to me. when prime first mentioned the possibility of taking the all spark into his chest, and iron-hide reacted that it would be "suicide," i had assumed that uniting the all-spark with the matrix of leadership would be fatal (why, I don't know). of course, prime didn't call it that. he called the light in his chest as "his spark." anyway, at the end of the movie, when the all spark finally offed megatron, i had a momentary disconnect - why would megatron die when he didn't have the matrix of leadership? it was only later that i thought that the only logical solution would be that every robot had a 'spark' that would not survive contact with the allspark. someone told me that the allspark shot megatron, but that has even less logic behind it.
  • why does the all spark create only nasty new transformers?
  • why did starscream catch on fire when he presumably escaped earth orbit at the end of the movie? when an object leaves the atmosphere, it encounters progressively less friction, therefore it doesn't flame up; the exact opposite happens when an object enters the atmosphere where the falling object runs up against more and more friction until it finally ignites.
  • by necessary implication, therefore, how could megatron have been flash frozen when he must have been burning at several thousand degrees when he impacted the water at the arctic circle (assuming he impacted on water)? was he unconscious when he fell?
  • if frenzy was there, where was rumble? and where was soundwave?

aside from the nitpicking, of course, i loved the movie - did I say that already? Obviously, there will be a part two  and possibly a part three. i mean, with starscream still at large, and that scorpion robot getting away in the desert (it just burrowed underground, didn't it?), you just know that there's more to come. i only hope whatever sequels come live up to the promise of the first.
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veni, vidi

i came and i saw. there were about fifty people, and i knew three. it was a large batch - more than six hundred graduates. but it wasn't as awkward as i had originally envisioned. mostly people were nice; the ones i fought with back then were my back-slappers now. haha. and everyone had something good to say about everyone else. that's about par for the course, i think.

interestingly enough, one of the people i knew turned out to be married to a photographer for one of those glossy acronymic playboy rip-offs. now if i can only  finagle an invitation to one of them photo shoots .... top priority would be a photo shoot with the angel locsin, nancy castiglione, and  pre-anorexia nicole hernandez.

jackie rice would be sweet too.
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when you see them again

the other day, i got a call from someone whose name rang a really REALLY distant bell in the foggiest corner of my mind. someone who knew me from high school was calling to tell me that in two days time, there would be a reunion.

shee-it. i'm old enough to be called to a reunion.

the invite included a yahoo-groups URL, so in morbid fascination, i went and saw.

saw the current picture of the girl i had the hots for in high-school and, let me just say that where she used to set my loins on fire, mine loins are now in the throes of a deep nuclear winter.

i also saw that, most likely, the people attending this shindig will be those who were in the 'smart-people' classes. seeing as i was one of the slackers, i'm kinda apprehensive that if i go tonight (yep, it's in about two hours and i'm still here equivocating), i'll be a fish outta water.

it comes back, you know? the insecurities of high school. no matter how the jocks and the demi-goddesses (with their nine-inch nails and little fascist panties) have gone to paunch or have become public school teachers peddling tocino; no matter how far you've gone in shedding off the awkwardness and gawky geekness of high-school you - when you see them again, they're still the olympians and you, you're still the dork.

it's a good thing i've got an ego the size of texas. hahaha.

heee-haw, little dawgies!
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Eros and Psyche

So the old story of eros and psyche came up in conversation today. i imagine not a whole lot of people know that story anymore. damned shame.

anyway, the story goes that there was this beautiful girl named psyche who was so popular with the guys that they were starting to ignore aphrodite, the goddess of love. the mighty aphrodite stung to jealousy told her son, eros - also known as cupid - to make psyche fall in love with the ugliest man possible. stupid cupid, on seeing psyche, was so smitten by her beauty that he fumbled and ended up wounding himself and falling head over heels with the girl his mother had told him to mess up.

now, for some reason (i suspect eros had something to do with it) no one wanted to marry psyche. this bothered her folks so bad they went to an oracle. the fortune teller told the parents that their daughter was too beautiful for mortls and that she'd been marked for marriage to a god. so he advised them to take her to a mountain where she would await her groom. but up on the mountain, psyche was kidnapped by zephyr, the wind, who deposited her in a mansion staffed by invisible servants. there she was instructed to await her husband-to-be. he came alright, but he never showed her his face.

they boink and live happily for awhile. psyche - apparently getting some quality tool - didn't mind the anonymity of her lover. anonymous sex is exciting anyway. and besides, he treated her well, even letting her go back home to visit with her family. on one such furlough, psyche's jealous sisters planted the idea in her head that she was actually married to a monstrous snake (so that's why it seemed so long...) that was waiting for her to have children so that it could eat them. spooked, psyche naturally agreed to take a lamp and a knife to bed so she could off the monster once it fell asleep (presumably after a nice tussle).

the plan goes according to, well, plan. but as she lights the lamp, she sees eros (surprise!) and fumbles, dripping oil on the sleeping god's chest. hurt by her actions - her distrust and all that oprah shit - eros flies off. psyche lunges after him and catches an ankle. eros tows her off but eventually, she falls off.

she's found by pan (the goat-god) who tells her to win back eros through service. psyche eventually finds her way to aphrodite's temple and the goddess - doubly angry now - gives her a few impossible tasks to perform. there's the one with the huge basket filled with all sorts of grains that she's got to segregate into separate piles. the girl is inconsolable. an ant takes pity on her, whistles up an army of fellow critters and the job is done before the day ends.

needless to say, aphrodite is pissed. next she tells psyche to gather wool from a flock of killer sheep(!). this time, it's a river god that takes pity on psyche and tells her that the sheep pass under a tree with low lying branches everyday. instead of accosting the sheep for golden wool, all she has to do is wait around until the sheep pass under the tree and she can collect the clumps of wool stuck on the branches. neat trick. but one that aphrodite doesn't appreciate. now the goddess is well and truly pissed.

she tells psyche that's she's stressed out from caring for her injured son, eros, that the wrinkles are showing. psyche has to go to the underworld to visit the queen there and ask for a little of her beauty to be placed in a special box. psyche, eager to please but none too smart climbs to the top of a tower and is about to throw herself off (dying=one express ticket to the underworld. apparently, the poor chick didn't think round-trip ticket) when the tower itself took pity on her and told her of an alternate route.

she takes it, finagles a little beauty-in-a-box from the queen of the dead and goes back up to the land of the living. but that's when her own vanity betrays her. now she wants a little of the beauty for herself. she opens the box and poof! out comes an evil sleep that wipes her out. eros seeing his love falter at the very last swoops in and wipes the evil sleep from her face and wakes her up. (awwwwww).

he then pleads before the olympian gods to let him marry her even though she's a mortal. zeus takes pity on the couple (which really makes me think that stella, from a streetcar named desire, was patterned after psyche - at least insofar as she's always relied on the kindness of strangers) and decrees that the wedding should take place. he gives psyche a drink of ambrosia making her immortal and ensuring her place on olympus.

in the end, her monster-in-law aphrodite makes nice with psyche and this time, they all really live happily ever after.

there. just thought i'd share that with you all. ain't i nice?
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Sexual Harassment?

I was browsing through Slate and I came across this feature in the 'Dear Abby' column. It made me thankful that we aren't as anal as these Americans when it comes to workplace etiquette (or are we?). I mean, the day you can't flatter a co-worker of the opposite sex without being suspected of sexual harassment is the day we all truly become wage-slaves; emphasis on the 'slaves.'

Bad enough that today's corporate world forces us to work in cubicles under the neutering influence of flourescent lighting, we can't flirt too?

And speaking of anal, remember the uproar when Britney spears was caught driving with the baby on her lap? I wouldn't be surprised if all those people who objected died of a heart attack within half an hour of arriving in Manila where children ride on motorcycles, sans helmets, zipping in and out of traffic on major thoroughfares. Kinda makes Brit driving around with her baby on her lap, in a big-ass SUV and in a PARKING LOT pale in comparison, eh?
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From the dead

An old friend just came back from the dead. The guy's been out in bacolod, knocking up his girlfriend and earning dimes working for an on-line gaming operator - if you ask me, that's fancy talk for 'ruiner-of-our-country's-youth-turning-them-into-mindless-zombies-who-know-all-about-counter-strike-but-don't-even-know-who-the-fuck-ninoy-aquino-was-except-that -he's-the-guy-on-the-500-peso-bill-and-he-was-kris-aquino's-father-or-something,' but then again that's just me. As it turns out, he realizes he's not making a living (ya'think?!) and, with a baby due this month, he needs to clean up his act.  So he decides to come to manila.

i'm not exactly buying into his notion that coming to manila will make it easier for him to start up his family. sure they work for peanuts in the boonies, but then again, they're not spending too much either. here in manila, with his qualifications - or lack thereof - he might still end up working for peanuts but spending a whole lot more. the one thing this guy has got going for him is his stick-to-itiveness. That's saying alot, considering that we live in the age of dilettantes, but still ...

anyway, i'm rooting for this guy. i truly hope his big city dreams don't turn into nightmares.

Oh, and this is funny. Thanks doinee.




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synthetic biology

waiting for my flight to manila (from cagayan de oro) to get underway, i picked up a copy of newsweek that had a pretty interesting blurb: "playing god." having a few messianic tendencies of my own, this naturally piqued my curiosity. it turns out the blurb was about scientists creating 'biodevices' - actual lifeforms, made to order. frankenstein, anyone?

well, not quite. vic frankenstein gave life - that indefinable spark - to a body made of pre-owned parts. today's scientists (although i dare say torquemada would've loved to call them heretical alchemists) are aiming to create new life, life that has never existed before nor claims biological descent from any existing life form. truly life from scratch. of course they aren't there yet, but they have had some success at tweaking existing life (like yeast, for example) and making it jump through hoops mama nature never intended.

this is different from the genetic modification most people are already familiar with in the sense that with genetically modified organisms, the tweaking is simply to give the organism a characteristic it does not posses but which is already existing in nature (a criminal oversimplification, i'm sure). what synthetic biologists - as these scientists like calling themselves - do, on the other hand, is give existing life abilities that have never existed before.

so, what seems to be emerging as a holy grail for these scientists is a kind of perennial plant that feeds off of sunlight and, through a process probably similar to photosynthesis (or more accurately perhaps photosynthesis on steroids), produces diesel. or octane. or monomers for plastic production - all without further purification. chew on that for awhile. weeds that produce directly usable gasoline.

of course, they aren't there yet, but they are definitely on their way. take out example, yeast: these gene-heads have taken a strain of yeast and are very close to successfully turning it into a biological factory that 'eats' simple sugars and produces a complex chemical that can be used as a vaccine for malaria. wow.

but no matter how 'wow' all these new breakthroughs are, they raise a very serious question. is it ethically acceptable to create new life in this way? science is on the cusp of commoditizing life, quite literally. and when that happens, will life as we know it - a gift from god - be irreversibly cheapened? and if life is so easily created, what happens to one of the oldest taboos we have: thou shalt not kill?
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beautiful women

why do beautiful women always want to work for NGOs? really. a friend of mine says its because people don't always take beautiful women seriously enough to discover their brains and competence. And since they encounter these glass ceilings in the real world, they turn to NGOs where, presumably, there are no glass ceilings. Sad, isn't it?

sounds very plausible, but i think there must be more to it than that. I just haven't figured it out yet.