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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Did You Know...

that Armstrong, Aldrin, and Colins (yes, the Apollo 11 crew members) had to declare to the U.S. Customs the rock and dust they’ve gathered from the Moon upon their return?

Here’s proof that what you just read (and the image above) is not a joke…

Giant leap for mankind wasn't enough to clear Customs
By Charles Arthur, Technology Editor Monday, 19 February 2001

It was a small step for a man, a giant leap for mankind, but for United States Customs it was just another day at the office. Which is why when the triumphant crew of Apollo 11, led by Neil Armstrong, returned to Earth, one of the first questions they faced was: are you going through the red channel or the green channel?

Documents which have just come to light via the internet show that even if you've just traveled to the Moon and back - especially if you've just traveled to the Moon and back - the US Customs wants to know what you've got. Anyone who has visited the US will be familiar with the huge list of items which travellers are required to declare, such as plants, drugs and other preparations.

Historians at NASA, the US space administration, have confirmed that the document, signed by the three crew members, Neil Armstrong, Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin and Michael Collins, is authentic. It lists their departure point as "Moon" and arrival as "Honolulu" on 24 July 1969.

But what, Customs wanted to know, was in those bags? "Moon rock and Moon dust samples," the crew responded. How many people had disembarked or joined the round trip from Cape Kennedy? Thankfully, the answer to both was "nil" - no lost souls and no extra aliens. And was anyone ill, or were there "any other conditions on board which may lead to the spread of disease" - which in this case would presumably be mysterious space viruses? "To be determined", the crew responded to the latter question, though the test of time suggests that nothing untoward happened.

It is unclear whether this practice became the pro forma for returning lunar astronauts from Apollo 12, 14, 15, 16 and 17. "We have a lot of records here, but that would be something really for Customs," said Colin Fries, a NASA archivist. "It's hard to prove a negative."

Friday, November 28, 2008

True or False

Have you heard about Aladdin supposedly saying “Good teenagers, take off your clothes.” in Disney's animated movie of the same name?

Or about a photographic image of a topless woman being shown in Disney’s “The Rescuers”?

Or about Coca-Cola containing cocaine?

Or about Sylvester Stallone starting in a porn film?

Or about babies who are born in-flight being entitled to free air travel for the rest of his/her life?

Or about Michael Jackson’s prosthetic nose falling off during a TV special?

Or about the clever consumer who got himself more than a million miles’ worth of free air travel from a pudding promotion?

Or about NASA spending millions trying to come up with a pen which will work in outer space (and the Russians coming up with an easy solution… the pencil)?

Some true, some not so… I’ll live it up to you to find out.

I accidentally stumbled upon this website today while browsing someone’s blog… and I’m hooked! If you’re a trivia buff, you’ll definitely enjoy it. :)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The New Noel

No-El, No-El, her supporters did say
HR five fifty seeks for extended stay.
In the guise of a dance, intentions they keep,
Ortega first denied but later did speak.
No-El? No-El? No-El? No-El?
Mandanas did seem to tell so well.

Bowing down, he prayed, unlike any friar,
a grace heard by men beyond them far.
Surprised at what she heard, with both eyes alight
"Oh my God" from her mouth was seen taking flight.
No-El? No-El? No-El? No-El?
Dureza did seem to tell so well.

Not to be, without support, Enrile did say,
the Congress and people a big role will play.
Palace wants no change to the Charter this time…
prayer’s only a wish, bother’s not worth a dime.
No-El? No-El? No-El? No-El?
“Nay” said Enrile, and that he did tell.

Fourth complaint is in the bin, and Casiño did find
her allies played being all deaf, mute, and blind.
Committee had voted forty two against eight
Saying substance in case is inadequate.
No-El? No-El? No-El? No-El?
Who knows what all these may possibly spell.

Ermita later spoke to the media and said
that the Congress’s ruling should be respected.
What’s in store, what’s to be, in two thousand ten?
Speculations abound, concerns have risen.
No-El? No-El? No-El? No-El?
Who knows what all these may possibly spell.

So let us all with one accord
Pray for the best from our loving Lord
That hath made Heaven and earth of nought
And with his blood mankind has bought.
No-El? No-El? No-El? No-El?
Pray to the King of Israel!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I'm Not an Animal Person

Have you ever laughed hysterically at something which others around you don’t find at all amusing?

I have… a great example would be when an officemate told me years ago about someone putting his/her dog inside a microwave oven to dry it up after giving it a bath. Well, the story ends with the dog exploding inside the microwave oven.

I thought it was so darn funny until I found out that it was most likely a made up story, a myth which has been going around in the States (and perhaps in some other countries), and one that has been “busted” in a Mythbusters episode (which eventually took the novelty of the story away from me).

Almost everybody I told the story to reacted angrily at the person who supposedly did it, commenting violently at the dim-witted creep. I, on the other hand, as I’ve already mentioned, just thought it was really funny.

I’m not an animal person, though I’ve never maltreated any creature with four legs or less… okay, let me put a qualifier there… I have never maltreated any creature for fun. Why I do it is either to prepare the poor creature for the dinner table or to keep our house as pest-free as possible.

However, I think I have mentioned in an entry before that, although I'm not an animal person, I am quite fascinated with wild animals, especially the large species... big cats, pachyderms, reptiles... basically those that can cause carnage or serious damage.

Anyway, I found this really funny story on The West Virginia Blogger’s Blog:

How To Properly Clean Your Toilet
  1. Put both lids of the toilet up and add 1/8 cup of pet shampoo to the water in the bowl.
  2. Pick up the cat and soothe him while you carry him towards the bathroom.
  3. In one smooth movement, put the cat in the toilet and close both lids. You may need to stand on the lid.
  4. The cat will self agitate and make ample suds. Never mind the noises that come from the toilet, the cat is actually enjoying this.
  5. Flush the toilet three or four times. This provides a “power-wash” and rinse”.
  6. Have someone open the front door of your home. Be sure that there are no people between the bathroom and the front door.
  7. Stand behind the toilet as far as you can, and quickly lift both lids.
  8. The cat will rocket out of the toilet, streak through the bathroom, and run outside where it will dry itself off.
  9. Both the commode and the cat will be sparkling clean.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Something About the Statue in the Angels and Demons Movie Trailer...

The Angels and Demons trailer seems to be rousing the curiosity of many of those who’s seen it.

So, what’s the fuss all about?

Well, it’s the statue… Yes, the statue of the angel that turns into a statue of a demon after a flash of lightning... the same statue shown on the Angels and Demons poster.

My blog’s been getting quite a number of visitors (specifically, on my Angels and Demons trailer post) coming from Google who had been searching for “statue in angels and demons trailer” (or other similar terms).

So what about it?

Well, something’s amiss.

There are 13 statues standing on top of (the REAL) St. Peter’s Basilica’s façade, and none of them are angels… nope, not a single one. Also, in the trailer, the arrangement of the statues near the perimeter of the dome’s drum has been modified somewhat.


Well, if you don’t know it yet, the identities (or, should I say, representations) of the statues (on the REAL St. Peter’s Basilica) are very well established… and they are very well known, biblically speaking that is.

They are Thaddeus, Matthew, Philip, Thomas, James the Elder, John the Baptist, Andrew, John the Evangelist, James the Younger, Bartholomew, Simon, Matthias (yup, the twelve apostles)… and Christ the Redeemer… whose statue stands at the center, directly above the apex of the pediment…

THAT happens to be where the statue-in-question is standing in the trailer.

Case closed.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

My First Sony Experience Is With My Sony Television Set

Well, it’s not really mine, but my parents’… but, then again, my brother and I were probably the ones who have spent the most time in front of it.

“Kulit Bulilit”, “Sesame Street”, “Batibot”… “Uncle Bob’s Lucky Seven Club”, “Mga Kwento ni Lola Basyang”, “Okay Ka, Fairy Ko”… “John en Marsha”, “The Sic O’Clock News”, “Goin’ Bananas”… “Looney Toons”, “The Magical World of Disney”, “Heckle and Jeckle”… “The Smurfs”, “He-Man”, “M.A.S.K.”… “G.I. Joe”, “Transformers”, “Ghost Busters”… “Voltron”, “Voltes V”, “Bioman”… “Astroboy”, “Inhumanoids”, “Visionaries”… “Japan Video Topics”, “Tele-Aralan”, “Wok With Yan”…

I could probably fill up several pages just listing down all the programs I remember watching on our old Sony TV set which served our family for close to 20 years.

I searched all over the web trying to find out what model it was, but alas, I couldn’t find any mention of it anywhere. The closest thing (in appearance) I’ve been able to find is the Sony KV1300E (shown below - Photo by Rainer Steinführ) .

It was quite small… perhaps a 13 incher with a wooden casing and it had quite a number of knobs and dials on it.

Like the KV1300E… I believe it had two big dials (one for VHF channels and the other for UHF channels) and at least four small knobs (the power button/volume control knob, the brightness adjustment knob, the hue adjustment knob, and the color adjustment knob).

As far as I can remember, our TV set looked very similar to the KV1300E EXCEPTING THAT our set had a physical/mechanical lock (yup, with a keyhole) situated between the speaker and the UHF channel dial (or somewhere near that area)… something I’ve never seen on any other TV set I’ve come across.

I remember trying (just once) to gently press on the lock (which, in its “unlocked” position, was protruding out of the set) and it felt like it had a spring inside. My brother and I thought (and concluded) that if we were to press on it hard enough it would lock up, rendering the TV unusable. And since we never saw a key for it in anywhere in our house, we never dared trying it out. For that, I never found out how it really functioned.

Anyway, it had undergone numerous repairs during the last five-or-so years it was with us… once for having its channel dial falling off. This reminds me of those occasions when my mother would yell at us every time she would hear rapid clicking sounds coming from the living room. Since we were instructed not to turn the channel dial counter-clockwise (for some reason), my brother and I developed this habit of turning the dial as rapidly as possible to get through all the channels as fast as we could. :P

If parents are our first teachers, and teachers are our second parents, that TV set was my private tutor, such that it taught me many things which I wouldn’t have learned from any of my teachers or my parents.

Like my first Spanish words ( “mi”, “yo”, “ola”, “agua”, “casa”, “cerrado”) and my first Spanish sentences (“Mi casa es su casa”, and “Yo quiero un vaso grande de agua fria”) which I learned from Sesame Street.

With it, I also learned how to count from one to ten in Japanese (“ichi”, “ni”, “san”, “shi”, “go”, “roku”, “shichi”, “hachi”, “kyu”, “jyu”), though I’ve already forgotten the title of the program I learned that from (which, by the way, also taught me that “helicopter” is called “herikoputa” in Japanese).

It made me aware of the latest technological developments in Japan at the time (through “Japan Video Topics”) like the use of cooking oil as car fuel (yep, it’s not new… I first heard of it in the late 80s, I believe… if not, within the first quarter of the 90s).

It was also through that television set that I first witnessed how things were made/done/processed, like samurai swords, cars, bottled milk, cheese, artificial insemination in cows, and cartoons/animation (an industry which I got myself involved in a few years ago).

And, to top it all off, that television set allowed me to feel first hand the sensations of being electrocuted when my fingers accidentally touched the metal terminals of the plug as I was plugging the set to the electric outlet. :P

And they say television is detrimental to a child’s development. :P

Unfortunately, my parents decided to get rid of it when we moved in to our new home some 14 years ago.

That television set definitely had a great significance in my life, just like how Sony’s World’s First Motionflow 240Hz LCD TV (the Sony Bravia Z450) most probably will. Considering what they say it’s capable of doing, it will definitely change my TV viewing experience… especially if I’m going to watch Formula 1 races on it. Imagine… speed without the blur.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Name This Plane And Go To Italy

That is, if you win.

You’ve got only until November 23, 2008 to join.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The 42nd International Bazaar

Let’s say you’ve got a major event, an event about twice the size of, let’s say, ABS-CBN’s Grand Kapamilya Negosyo Fair… an event which will be participated by delegates from various Embassies… and one which, at some point, will be graced by Ambassadors/Ambassadresses of and dignitaries from various countries (all under one roof, all at the same time).

How’d you handle that?

At the 42nd International Bazaar (held yesterday at the PICC Forums 1, 2, and 3, at the CCP Complex), EVERYONE was allowed in, provided that he/she has an entry ticket (sold for 100 pesos each) and that he/she subjects himself/herself to a fairly fast and simple security check.

There were no bouncers with bulging chests and biceps anywhere in the bazaar grounds (like the ones seen at the Grand Kapamilya Negosyo Fair). There were no sudden changes in admission rules even with so many people in attendance. There were no over-reactive security personnel (and procedures) even if there were some high-priced items on display in some booths like pieces of jewelry and exquisite furniture pieces.

And unlike the people coming out of the Negosyo Fair, people coming out of the Bazaar seemed to have a cheerful glow on their faces.

It was one of the finest, most well-organized, pleasant, and fun events I’ve been to, I must say.

Some of the countries/embassies that took part in the bazaar were Thailand, Korea, Italy, France, Holland, Switzerland, New Zealand, Iran, the United Kingdom, Malaysia, Singapore, Turkey, India, and Spain… there were wines, cheeses, chocolate/sweets, leather products, perfume, furniture, clothing items, jewelry, ornaments, and many MANY other things. There were also several local exhibitors selling local products.

I’ve heard that there’s going to be a sort of repeat of this bazaar some time in December at the World Trade Center.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

ABS-CBN's Grand Kapamilya Kalokohan Fair

Oh... I mean Grand Kapamilya Negosyo Fair

Thinking that we'll be able to get some nice leads to an extra source of income, my wife and I (along with our son and her eldest sister--yes, she came back this morning) went to the "Grand Kapamilya Negosyo Fair" at the World Trade Center this afternoon.

As we were walking through the parking lot heading towards the main entrance, we saw a bunch of people (various groups) with a somewhat gloomy look on their faces... I jokingly told my wife "parang ang lulungkot ng mga mukha ng mga lumalabas galing diyan ah" ("The people coming from there seem to have sad looks on their faces")

Upon reaching the front of the building, I was quite surprised to see the size of the crowd inside... it was huge... a vast sea of people gathered in front of the registration booths waiting and wanting to get in.

Then things started to turn ugly...

As I reached the end of a considerably long line leading to the entrance, I overheard a lady ask a security guard "Bakit daw hindi pinapapasok ang mga bata?" ("Why are they not allowing children to get in?") But since the line was moving quite fast, I never got to hear what the guard's answer was.

As my son and I reached the main entrance... a lady guard told me coldly and in a manner that sounded very much like a reminder "Hanggang dito lang yung bata ha" ("the child will only be allowed in this area") as she made hand gestures to point to me the area she was referring to.

By that time, I was actually already fuming mad. But since my wife has countless times asked me to keep my temper in check, I just stood there silently, holding my son close to me as I waited for my wife and her sister to get through the entrance.

I eventually decided that I would stay with my son at the lobby and let my wife and her sister see what's inside.

As the two ladies where falling in line for the registration, I heard some commotion coming from the entrance of the fair. There I saw this fairly young lady, a mother, having a heated discussion with security officials.

Still not knowing the reason why they wouldn't allow children to go inside, I went closer to where the altercation was happening and listened in.

And this is what I found out...

The planners/organizers of the fair suddenly (just today, after they saw the huge crowd) decided that they will not allow children under the age of seven to get in as precautionary measures such that in case of something bad happening, THEY will not have a hard time vacating the area.

I thought to myself, "Quite acceptable, considering what happened in ULTRA some time ago..."

So there we were, my son and I, along with several other kids and guardians, wandering aimlessly around the lobby like flies on a huge repugnant piece of poop.

And as time went by, I grew more and more pissed...

What really infuriated me was that there were no chairs at all for the poor souls that were denied access to the oh-so-GRAND fair! There's not even a clearly designated area for the likes of us! So, if you've got a child with you who's younger than seven years old, you're doomed!

Making a decision like that on the day of the event is just absurd! Stupid even.

You know why the lady I mentioned earlier was blowing her top off? She called the Fair's hotline yesterday to ask if infants are allowed in the Fair, to which she was told "yes". She also asked how much an infant's ticket cost, and she was told that infants can go in for free.

There was also this other, older, lady who was making a scene at the Information counter. At one point, she asked the people at the counter why nothing was mentioned in the ads about it. A guy told her (in an a$-holey manner) "hindi ho kasi namin inaasahan na ganito karami ang pupunta eh" ("we didn't expect having this many people").

Then she lashed at the guy "Bulok ang pagpapaplano niyo! Mga tanga kayo!" ("Your planning stinks! You guys are stupid!")

I agreed (and still agree) with her.

After about 45 minutes or so, my wife and her sister emerged from the fair and was welcomed by my terminator look. She asked me if I wanted to go in... as disappointed and frustrated as I was, I decided not to.

I then asked her if she was able to get any flyers or brochures to which she replied "Eh puro naman gluta gluta sa loob saka crystal clear at kung anu-anong pagkain... at, kalahati lang naman ng loob ang may laman..."

And so... we left.

Friday, November 14, 2008

December 21, 2012

I’ve never heard of the upcoming movie 2012 until after I read Angel’s comment on my previous entry.

But instead of trying to find out what the movie is about, I went looking for information about the year itself thinking that, for something (such as those four numbers) to be used as a movie title, there must be something big about it.

And, sure enough, there is.

If you don’t know it yet, take note of this date… December 21, 2012.

Some say it’s the day of the end of the world (again), while others say it’s a “moment of awakening”.


Although I’m not really a believer of prophesies and predictions (as well as astrology, ghosts, and dream interpretations), I nevertheless find these things fascinating and entertaining.

So, what is it about the date?

Well, THEY (scholars) say that the Mayan's "Long Count" calendar ends on that day, marking the end of a 5,126-year era (well, some are saying it’s October 28, while others say it’s December 23. But a majority believes it’s December 21). And many (not the scholars) are interpreting this as an indication for the occurrence of a huge event.

However, the Mayans never really mentioned (or even hinted at) anything about an apocalypse… to them, it’s just a cycle. When a cycle reaches its end (being the 5,126th year), they just reset the year to zero and start counting again.

According to an article I found on the topic:

"'For the ancient Maya, it was a huge celebration to make it to the end of a whole cycle,' says Sandra Noble, executive director of the Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies in Crystal River, Fla."

Another thing that THEY’re saying will occur on that date is the alignment of the Earth and Sun (and I think the Moon is also in with the act) with the center of the Milky Way galaxy. A phenomenon which is estimated to happen only once in 26,000 years! Now, if you’re a believer of Astrology, this is without a doubt a huge thing.

Along with that, NASA has claimed that the Sun will experience another “polar shift” during that year (that being the North Pole becomes the South and vice versa). The last time the Sun had its poles shifting occurred in February 2001.

Also, Michael Drosnin, in his book The Bible Code (which I’ve personally read and have already long forgotten until now), mentions of a meteor hitting the Earth in 2012.

But then, so far, there are no detected meteors which are in a collision course with the Earth. The closest one would be “99942 Apophis” which, in 2004, was observed to have the probability (of 1 in 233) of colliding with the Earth in 2029. Later on, the date of probable impact was moved to April 13, 2036 considering that the meteor passes through a “gravitational keyhole”, the occurrence of which was calculated with a 1 in 45,000 probability.

Personally, I don’t see any real cause for alarm from any of these… however fascinated I still am. For me, it’s really more of “what if” rather than “OMG!”

Angels and Demons Trailer

I got to see the Angels & Demons trailer a couple of nights ago on Apple Trailers… and… let’s just say I’m getting more excited about the movie.

The intro of the trailer was pretty stunning… it starts with a fly-by aerial view of the St. Peter’s Square coming from the back of St. Peter’s Basilica then pans and zooms in to a statue of an angel which, after a flash of lightning turns into a statue of a demon. The scene is made to look like it was filmed at a time when a papal conclave was in progress as a cloud of black smoke is seen rising from the chimney of, what I suppose is, the Sistine Chapel during the fly-by shot.

(Note: Obviously, the introductory scene is computer generated and a very nice one at that... but, have you noticed anything wrong about it?)

By the way, there’s also a narration on this scene which, I’m assuming, is spoken by a member of the Illuminati. I would have been more specific as to the speaker’s probable identity if the story is still fresh in my mind… unfortunately, it’s been a while since I read the book and I have already forgotten all of the characters and much of the details of the story.

Anyway, the introductory scene is then followed by a series of clips from the movie (each shown for only split seconds) showing Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) with shorter hair, a smoking branding iron, and a helicopter landing on St. Peter’s Square among many other bits and pieces.

The series of clips was then followed by a shining and spinning Illuminati ambigram which I enjoyed very much seeing again.

I really hope that the movie will do justice to the superior novel (in comparison to Da Vinci Code) it’s based on.

I also hope that this movie will not be given the X rating like Da Vinci Code was. It’s fiction for Pete’s sake!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Getting a Whiff of the Green Stuff Again... Aaaaahhh... Heaven...

I can still remember the time when my mother would take us to the barber shop at least once a month to get our hair cut. My brother, who was still very little back then, would be made to sit on a little rectangular wooden stool placed on the barber’s chair so that his head would be higher than the backrest.

I remember seeing white face towels being boiled in a big stainless drum at the back of the barbershop. I also remember seeing the barbers sharpening their foldable razors (labaha) with leathery belts that hung on the sides of the barber’s chair.

Just as unforgettable were the sound of noisy mechanical razors, the “plopping” and “crackling” sounds of hands landing on some old fellow’s body, and the rapid snipping sounds of scissors.

And crowding on top of the long ledges built onto two opposing walls of the shop, just below the similarly long mirrors, were the bars of soap covered with bits of hair, the brushes and cups of soapy water (used for lathering up and applying the soap on the customers’ napes in preparation for shaving), the tubs of pomade, the plastic bottles of fragrant talcum powder, the huge brushes (used for brushing off hair from the customers’ necks), combs and scissors of various sizes… and several large glass bottles of green fragrant liquid…

Yep, hair tonic.

Never really knew what they were for, but I remember asking our favorite barber (suki kumbaga) Mang Pepe (who passed away many years ago) to put some on me each time he would finish cutting my hair.

I so love the smell of the stuff that I felt ecstatic when I saw it being sold at a store in Quiapo a couple of months ago. (I went back there last week and bought the smallest bottle they had, for 18 pesos, just to get to smell it again!)

It’s just a little disappointing that hair tonics nowadays (at least those that I saw at the Quiapo store, including the one I bought) are sold in plastic bottles, unlike those that I used to see in the barbershop years ago which, as I’ve already mentioned, were contained in glass bottles.

Anyway, I tried finding out what it was for and found this:
“Americans are concerned with the appearance and cleanliness of their hair. In the medicine cabinet there is a bottle of hair tonic. What is hair tonic? Its main ingredient is petroleum (much like naphtha). This product is not as popular today, having been replaced by gels, mousses, and hair sprays. Hair spray keeps the hair in place like hair tonic may, but doesn't provide the greasy look that hair tonic has.

“Our hair is dead, yet advertisers try to sell us tonics and lotions for our hair, to make it look better or "healthier." Americans spend a lot of time caring for these dead cells, not because of their protective or warming abilities, but because of fashion. Hairstyles are a major part of American fashion and are always changing. This was certainly the case in the thirties as well. In those days, men who coated their hair in thin petroleum and combed it down had the stylish and acceptable hair fashion, even though it never moved and it looked greasy for the rest of the day.

“To those who pay attention to consumer products and health claims, the word "tonic" has acquired negative medical connotations because it has absolutely no scientific meaning, yet creators of health products have used it to describe products that are supposed to restore the body's health. However, in the 1930s, few people were educated about the medical claims manufacturers made.”
Hmmm… greasy huh? Naturally, I poured some of it on my hand to find out if the hair tonic I bought is the same as the hair tonic described in the article. It’s not greasy at all, and I don’t remember it ever being greasy…

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Madagascar Escape 2 Africa

I’m still depressed… and I think my preoccupation in fooling myself into thinking that I was having the time of my life inside the IMAX Theater while watching the movie has muddled my opinion about the movie. So allow me to include some second-hand opinions.

My son enjoyed it quite a lot and my wife thinks the first movie was better (period)

Not that it matters now (or ever), but I never liked the character designs that much (with the exception of “Moto-Moto” in this one).

The old lady who beat Alex (the Lion) to a pulp at the train station in the first movie appears again in this one. I thought she was funny in the first movie, but she’s very annoying in this one. For me, she’s become a joke that’s been stretched well beyond the limits of its effectiveness that she lost all her charm. But that, I think, is the worst I have to say about the movie.

The story is generally okay… though somewhat weak in some parts. And some of the jokes were quite funny.

Alec Baldwin was very effective such that I developed a disliking for his character, “Makunga”, from the moment he first appeared on screen.

And, as I’ve already mentioned, “Moto-Moto” is very likeable, from his “design” to his personality.

I give it 3 out of 5 stars.
Short description: So-so…

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My Son's First Movie Theater Experience... at the IMAX Theater

I first heard of IMAX, I think, in the mid-90s and, after seeing it being featured on some TV programs a couple of times and saw some videos that were made for/by IMAX (though not necessarily in an IMAX theater), I became a fan.

I never thought it’d come to the Philippines... but it did... thanks to San Miguel Brewery, Coca-Cola, and the SM Mall of Asia (where it is located).

I have been wanting to get the IMAX experience since it opened... but it wasn’t only until last Saturday the we were able to go there. Unfortunately, still, we weren’t able to get the TRUE IMAX experience.

My son is addicted to Madagascar (which he calls Madascar) and I thought it would be great to take him to see Madagascar 2 for his first big screen experience. And to make the experience really special for him (well, that's just my excuse), we decided to watch it at the IMAX theater.

Then, an unexpected but pleasant thing happened. My wife’s eldest sister arrived from the province last Friday and offered to pay for the tickets (which cost 300 pesos each) when we went there the following day. Woohoo!

At the ticket booth, we were informed that the movie is in “2D”. And, being someone who expected to see a gargantuan screen and an exceptional sound system, it didn’t matter to me. I just wondered, if the screen was as big as I thought it was (which, as I saw on TV, were parabolic and go beyond a person’s peripheral vision), wouldn’t I get dizzy watching the movie? Moreover, wouldn’t there be any visible distortion in the images?

While I was thinking that, my companions (i.e., my wife and her sister) were wondering why we were not given any goggles. *GULP*

Going into the theater and climbing up the stairs to our seats, I was saying quietly to myself “Is this it?” for I saw a relatively flat screen and a pretty small theater.

When we were already seated, my wife asked me the dreaded question “hindi pala 3D ito?” (“So, this isn’t in 3D?”) And, like anyone who’s in denial, I told her “Sabi sa ticket booth diba 2D lang daw? Pero, sa laki niyan, siguro magmumukhang 3D na rin yan.” (“Isn’t it that the lady at the ticketing booth told us that this is in 2D? But then again, with a screen that size, I think that’s enough to make it look 3D.”) I suppose she didn’t hear the ticket lady say that the movie was in 2D.

Well, I have finally come into terms with my denials… and I’m starting to feel somewhat disappointed about it also. The screen wasn’t that big at all (nowhere near what I expected to see). And the theater, as I’ve said, was also pretty small. It’s just that the seats were arranged in a very steep slope and in quite a short distance from the screen that made it appear to be quite large.

But, then again, I was probably expecting too much as a quick search on Wikipedia told me that that particular theater has one of the largest IMAX screens and the parabolic screens are (I believe) an entirely different story.

Anyway, immediately after my wife asked me that dreaded question, the countdown started. And, it was breathtaking! The picture quality was really awesome! And, even if the screen didn’t cover my peripheral vision (falling short by a few feet), the flying and twisting and turning numbers seemed to fly out of the screen.

Well, I think it looked that way as I was forcing myself to see it that way that time. And, still pretty much in denial, I said to my wife, “O, diba?!” (“What did I just tell you?”)

Then the movie started.

The picture quality was really something (there’s no denial in that). And being a sucker for the technical side of things, I was having quite the time of my life as I marveled at how clear and vibrant the picture was. And deeper into the movie, I started to forget about my disappointments.

Until the movie ended that is. My son enjoyed the movie a lot, by the way, as he had his eyes fixed on the screen for the entire duration of the movie and didn’t even once venture into doing other things.

As we were exiting the theater, my wife whispered to me that her sister was very much disappointed by it. She further said that her sister went with us only because she was expecting to see moving pictures come alive (literally). And so… my world fell apart… crushed… trampled upon. I lost all the goodness I felt about our IMAX experience.

I felt very guilty thinking that my wife’s sister was probably thinking that she’s just been had… gipped… duped… swindled… ripped off… by me.

Still in denial… and in an attempt to make things alright for everyone, I explained to my wife that, usually, full-length features such as the one we saw only have a few selected scenes rendered in 3D anyway, and that full 3D features are just 20 to 30 minutes long… to which my wife just said “ang daya naman…” (“what a rip-off”).

But deep inside, I thought “she came here for the goggles if that hasn’t sunk in to you yet! It’s time you make like an ostrich and hide your head in the ground!”

Now, I’m too depressed to write about the movie… sigh…

Saturday, November 8, 2008

How’s This For an Unforgettable Memory?

Just read a news article on Yahoo News about a teenage boy from Milwaukee who was accidentally dumped in a garbage truck and compacted and miraculously managed to survive the ordeal with “non-life-threatening injuries”. The boy was discovered only after the truck had dumped its load at a recycling processing center.

How’s that for an unforgettable memory!

Reviewing my own past experiences, I can think of three “life threatening” events which I will probably never forget in my entire life.

One of them I’ve already written about before here (getting held up in a jeepney).

The other one happened at a beach when I was still very young… I think I was still in early grade school that time, in Davao City. At the time, my cousins and I frequented this beach called “Times Beach” which was just about a 10-minute bike ride away from my grandparents’ house (the beach, which has already become unsightly the last time I saw it several years ago, is situated behind the SM Mall).

I’m not a swimmer, though I’ve always enjoy diving and being able to touch the sand that lay beneath the water. I was doing just that when, suddenly, I was pulled into deeper waters by a strong current that I was underwater ‘til I have exhaled all the air I had in my lungs. Luckily for me, my cousin Carlo saw me and managed to pull me back to the surface. I thought I’m the only on who remembers this… but about a few years ago, to my surprise, he mentioned about it while we were having our customary drinking session.

Another incident occurred when I was still working at/for a construction company some eight years ago…

Since the stairs of the two-storey house we were building was still not usable, we had to go up and down floors via a makeshift (wooden) scaffolding.

On that fateful day, as I was preparing to go down the scaffolding (yes, from the second storey), I planted my right foot on a diagonal brace and the flip-flop I was wearing at the time slipped from under my foot (well, it was my foot that slipped off of the flip-flop) which sent me plummeting to the ground that was littered/covered with concrete rubble (remnants of the old structure). I’m thinking I must be lucky to have the concrete rubble to fall on, because if I would have landed on solid concrete pavement, I believe, I would have suffered more than the wounds I got which ran down the whole length of both of my forearms and a dislocated thumb. What do you think?

Friday, November 7, 2008

This Mystery is History

I actually thought he would be found still alive somewhere, perhaps with some sort of amnesia or something. But then, I also thought I’d never see this mystery ever getting solved considering that so many people joined in the search, including Google, which turned up nothing for so long.

Not that it matters to me, personally… but somehow, for some unknown reason, I was very much captivated by the news regarding the disappearance of Steve Fossett (since the news first broke out). At the time, I thought “could this be another Glenn Miller?”

But the mystery has been solved, and his bones have been found (which were positively identified through DNA testing as those of Fossett’s).

Just to give everyone an idea who Steve Fossett is, here’s a snippet of a CNN news article:
“Fossett made his money in the financial services industry, but is renowned for his daredevil exploits, which include nonstop, round-the-world trips aboard a balloon, a fixed-wing plane and a boat.

“He was the first person to circle the globe solo in a balloon, accomplishing the feat in 2002, and the first to fly a plane around the world solo without refueling, which he did in 2005. He also set world records in round-the-world sailing and cross-country skiing.”
And this is from Wikipedia (but then again, Wikipedia articles are known to contain factual errors so I don’t know how accurate this is):
“James Stephen Fossett (April 22, 1944 – c. September 3, 2007) was an American businessman, aviator, sailor, and adventurer and the first person to fly solo nonstop around the world in a balloon. He made his fortune in the financial services industry, and was best known for many world records, including five nonstop circumnavigations of the Earth: as a long-distance solo balloonist, as a sailor, and as a solo flight fixed-wing aircraft pilot.

“A fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and the Explorers Club, Fossett set 116 records in five different sports, 60 of which still stand, as of June 2007.”
And here’s the complete Yahoo News article on the findings of the DNA tests done on the discovered remains:

DNA links bones near plane crash site to Fossett
Mon - Nov 3, 9:26 pm ET

MADERA, Calif. – Authorities said Monday they have positively identified some of Steve Fossett's remains: two large bones found a half-mile from where the adventurer's plane crashed in California's Sierra Nevada.

Madera County Sheriff John Anderson said DNA tests conducted by the state Department of Justice positively identified the bones as the remains of the millionaire aviator who disappeared last year.

Anderson has declined to say what bones were found, saying he didn't want to cause the family further anguish.

Fossett's widow, Peggy Fossett, released a statement thanking authorities for their work.

"I am hopeful that the DNA identification puts a definitive end to all of the speculation surrounding Steve's death. This has been an incredibly difficult time for me, and I am thankful to everyone who helped bring closure to this tragedy," she said.

The bones were discovered last week, along with Fossett's tennis shoes and Illinois driver's license, which had animal bite marks on them.

Fossett disappeared in September 2007 after taking off from a Nevada ranch owned by hotel magnate Barron Hilton for what was supposed to be a short pleasure flight. Law enforcement, fellow aviators and others launched a costly search that covered 20,000 square miles but turned up empty.

The wreckage of Fossett's plane was discovered last month after a hiker walking off trail in the Sierra Nevada near Mammoth Lakes stumbled across Fossett's pilot's license and a wad of weathered $100 bills. Authorities said Fossett likely died on impact.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the crash.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Jack's Loft

In celebration of my wife’s birthday last Tuesday, November 4, we decided to have our dinner at Jack’s Loft in SM North EDSA’s “The Block”. We got there at around 8:30 pm, just in time for a “last order”.

I went for their Philly Cheese Steak and she had their Steak & Mushroom Gravy (these are sandwiches, by the way). For our drink, we ordered one Fishbowl Ice Tea (I didn’t know why it was called that when we ordered for it, but my wife did but did not tell me). Our son (who was still full from eating a Red Ribbon empanada) just had a few bites from both of our plates.

Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich
and the humongous "Fishbowl" Iced Tea

Boy, was I surprised when I saw how big that glass of iced tea was! It was the first time I saw any drink served in a glass as big as that! Sadly, our camera acted up again, much worse than it ever did that it didn’t allow me to take nice pictures of anything. Anyway, I told my friend, Arnel, about it yesterday and he mentioned he’d seen those things being served at some resto in Greenhills (though he can’t remember which resto it was or whether it was really in Greenhills), but the ones he’d seen were served in real fishbowls.

Anyway, I can only make a very rough estimation on the volume of iced tea the gargantuan glass contained which I’m putting at around a liter (or probably less than that since about a third of the glass was filled with tube ice). As for the taste, well, all I can say is it was not “typical” and it was pretty nice.

As for the food, I loved the Philly Cheese Steak! Yuuuummy! The Steak & Mushroom Gravy was nice also but, in my opinion, it wasn’t as good as the other one… it lacked the “play of flavor” that I found very much enjoyable and satisfying in the Philly.

Philly Cheese Steak Sandwish: P188.00
Steak & Mushroom Gravy: P168.00
Fishbowl Ice Tea: P112.00

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Obama Wins! Black President in da haus!!!

The United States of America just got her first black President! And I'm here, alive, existing, to witness this historic moment.

Michael Moore, in his book "Stupid White Men", pondered on the possibility of a black man getting elected as President of the United States... and now here he is...

image from
Obama becomes first black president in landslide
By DAVID ESPO, AP Special Correspondent David Espo, Ap Special Correspondent – 3 mins ago

WASHINGTON – Barack Obama was elected the nation's first black president Tuesday night in a historic triumph that overcame racial barriers as old as America itself.

The son of a black father from Kenya and a white mother from Kansas, the Democratic senator from Illinois sealed his victory by defeating Republican Sen. John McCain in a string of wins in hard-fought battleground states — Ohio, Florida, Virginia and Iowa.

A huge crowd in Grant Park in Chicago erupted in jubilation at the news of Obama's victory. Some wept.

McCain called his former rival to concede defeat — and the end of his own 10-year quest for the White House. "The American people have spoken, and spoken clearly," McCain told disappointed supporters in Arizona.

Obama and his running mate, Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware, will take their oaths of office as president and vice president on Jan. 20, 2009.

As the 44th president, Obama will move into the Oval Office as leader of a country that is almost certainly in recession, and fighting two long wars, one in Iraq, the other in Afghanistan.

The popular vote was close, but not the count in the Electoral College, where it mattered most.

There, Obama's audacious decision to contest McCain in states that hadn't gone Democratic in years paid rich dividends.

Obama has said his first order of presidential business will be to tackle the economy. He has also pledged to withdraw most U.S. combat troops from Iraq within 16 months.

Fellow Democrats rode his coattails to larger majorities in both houses of Congress. They defeated incumbent Republicans and won open seats by turn.

The 47-year-old Illinois senator was little known just four years ago. A widely praised speech at the Democratic National Convention, delivered when he was merely a candidate for the Senate, changed that.

Overnight he became a sought-after surrogate campaigner, and he had scarcely settled into his Senate seat when he began preparing for his run for the White House.

A survey of voters leaving polling places on Tuesday showed the economy was by far the top Election Day issue. Six in 10 voters said so, and none of the other top issues — energy, Iraq, terrorism and health care — was picked by more than one in 10.

"May God bless whoever wins tonight," President Bush told dinner guests at the White House, where his tenure runs out on Jan. 20.

The Democratic leaders of Congress celebrated in Washington.

"It is not a mandate for a party or ideology but a mandate for change," said Senate Majority leader Harry Reid of Nevada.

Said Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California: "Tonight the American people have called for a new direction. They have called for change in America."

Shortly after 11 p.m. in the East, The Associated Press count showed Obama with 338 electoral vote, well over the 270 needed for victory. McCain had 127 after winning states that comprised the normal Republican base.

The nationwide popular vote was remarkably close. Totals from 58 percent of the nation's precincts showed Obama with 51 percent and McCain with 47.9.

Interviews with voters suggested that almost six in 10 women were backing Obama nationwide, while men leaned his way by a narrow margin. Just over half of whites supported McCain, giving him a slim advantage in a group that Bush carried overwhelmingly in 2004.

The results of the AP survey were based on a preliminary partial sample of nearly 10,000 voters in Election Day polls and in telephone interviews over the past week for early voters.

Democrats also acclaimed Senate successes by former Gov. Mark Warner in Virginia, Rep. Tom Udall in New Mexico and Rep. Mark Udall in Colorado. All won seats left open by Republican retirements.

In New Hampshire, former Gov. Jeanne Shaheen defeated Republican Sen. John Sununu in a rematch of their 2002 race, and Sen. Elizabeth Dole fell to Democrat Kay Hagan in North Carolina.

Democrats also looked for gains in the House. They found their first in Florida, defeating Rep. Tom Feeney, and another in Connecticut, where 22-year veteran Chris Shays was swept away by the Democratic tide.

The resurgent Democrats also elected a governor in one of the nation's traditional bellwether states when Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon won his race.
I'm not all that familiar with Obama's campaigns or his plans/promises... so my excitement is only rooted in the shallow grounds of witnessing a historic event (that is, for now).

Though, I do have my hopes... all for the best of each and every American citizen as well as the citizens of the world.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

This Day in History

This Day In History

1842 – Abraham Lincoln married Mary Todd in Springfield, Ill.

1880 – James and John Ritty of Dayton, Ohio, patented the first cash register.

1922 – Howard Carter discovered the tomb of Tutankhamen in Egypt.

1924 – Nellie T. Ross of Wyoming was elected the nation's first woman governor, to serve out the term of her husband who died in office.

1956 – Russian troops attacked Budapest and crushed the Hungarian revolt under Premier Imre Nagy.

1979 – The American embassy in Tehran, Iran, was seized by militants and 90 Americans were taken hostage.

1995 – Israeli Prime Minister, and Nobel Laureate, Yitzhak Rabin, was assassinated by a right-wing Israeli.

2008 – Who will it be? Obama or McCain? My wife turns 31. :P

To my dear wife, thank you for everything…

Happy birthday!

I wish you all the very best… I love you. :)

Monday, November 3, 2008


Been a loooooong while since I last saw a local movie… as a matter of fact, it’s been so long ago that I’ve already forgotten what it was.

From the first time I saw the trailer, I knew I’ve just got to see it. I don’t know why, but I felt that I REALLY have got to see it. And I’m happy I did… even though the ending was pretty lame.

For the most part, it was very much enjoyable… the comedic scenes were quite effective (some were corny but, nevertheless, they were able to put a smile on my face at the very least)… the dramatic parts were also quite good.

I guess you can call it a “feel-good” flick… but then again, what happened in the end doesn’t really make for a happy ending (in the general sense). As I’ve already mentioned, the ending was pretty lame… I saw it as an “easy way out” for the story/writer which, if not done the way it was done, would otherwise make the movie a very depressing one (which, in my opinion, would have made the movie far better and more effective).

Oh, I almost forgot… the movie is “My Only U” starring Toni Gonzaga and Vhong Navarro.

Verdict… four stars out of five. One-word description, cute. :P

Saturday, November 1, 2008


Since I first saw John Langdon’s ambigrams in Dan Brown’s book Angels and Demons, I have been inspired to do some of my own designs. I had been able to make quite a few though, admittedly, they were nowhere near as good as Mr. Langdon’s works which doesn’t really bother me at all (he’s an expert, I’m just starting out… ‘nuff said). What bothers me is that whenever I would attempt making one for myself, I would always get frustrated as I can’t seem to make it work with my name.

Until now...

After writing that post on the upcoming Angels and Demons movie, I was inspired to work on one again.

After spending about more than an hour doodling on paper, and a couple of hours more in replicating my design on the computer, here are what I ended up with…

... symmetrical rotational ambigrams which will read the same when rotated 180 degrees.

I am not so sure if I’m gonna stop with these, though.

I can see my name clearly in both of these but, hey, they’re my own designs and it’s my name. It would be stupid of me to not be able to understand my own work, wouldn’t it?


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