Sunday, December 24, 2006
Coldest Blood Runs Through His Veins

Nowadays, the best way to revive an established, well-loved character is to go back to his roots and trace the origins of his past. It worked for Batman Begins, and it works for Casino Royale. I love character-driven stories, and in this latest installment (which is actually a prequel of sorts) we get a peek into the events and experiences of Bond's earlier days just when he was promoted to 007 status. What he goes through in this movie molds him into the Bond that we know.

To be honest, I'm not much of a Bond fan really. I mean, I've seen all of the Pierce Brosnan movies because I could, and not because I had to watch them. To be fair, they were well-made and stylishly produced like any good 007 flick should be, but too much of a good thing can still get old and bland after a while. This is the first Bond I've had some emotional attachment to mainly because of the range of feelings Daniel Craig was able to provide for the character. He's ruthlessly efficient when slugging it out with the bad guys, yet has a touch of dry British humor in certain scenes - for instance, it was funny when he was visibly annoyed after Versper picked out a dinner jacket for him. And a touch of drama too: he actually confesses his love (and says the "L" word!) for the leading lady in this one, as opposed to his cool and calculated seduction of the many women he has yet to meet in future trysts.

Casino Royale was well-done because it was bold enough to forego the usual wisecracking Bond persona and instead present a rookie 007 who's just about to learn just how vicious his line of work really is. This a great interpretation of the famous MI6 agent who hasn't learned all the tricks in the book just yet, and is still a bit rough around the edges. He still gets the job done, but not without making some mistakes along the way that will cost him dearly.There was one shot I liked in particular which was a close up of Bond's freshly scarred face (right after thwarting a terrorist plot to blow up an airliner).

This Bond has a brutality to him, which is established in the pre-credits bathroom scene where he beats an enemy's face to a bloody pulp. It's pretty obvious to anyone who has seen the movie, but it's still noteworthy to mention there are no gadgets used in this one (unless you count the skin-embedded tracking device/health monitor and defibrilator). That leaves Bond only with his wits, ammuntion and raw strength to contend with his foes in this adventure. This was bound to upset a few people I suppose. For instance, there was some moron whining on YouTube that didn't really get why they chose to discard the gizmos. On another note, I'm glad the villain (Le Chiffre) wasn't the cliche megalomaniacal mastermind planning world domination - he's just in it for the money.

As refreshing as it is however, there are still some key elements that were wisely kept intact so as not to alienate the fans and retain a sense of familiarity. It wouldn't be a Bond film without the exotic locations, the cars, and of course the women, so I was thankful they kept those items in their checklist.

This is getting too long so I'll cap this off with a round up of the other things I liked about the movie. First off, there's a cool twist on the traditional gunbarrel sequence by building it in to the opening credits that follow right after. This time we actually see who the ill-fated gunman is. As for the actual opening sequence itself, the stylized animation showing Bond in action departs from the usual scantily clad (or naked) women accompanying the opening credits. It's a great way of showing what ol' James is best at, and Chris Cornell's "You Know My Name" complements the whole sequence (and the film's overall theme in general). It blows my mind that this is the same guy that sang "Black Hole Sun" and "Rusty Cage". Cornell's voice was the last one I expected to hear in a Bond theme but his vocal range fit the song suprisingly well. Who would have known? There were a copule more scenes I liked, namely the verbal sparring between James and Vesper upon their first meeting, and the Parkour-inspired foot chase scene with the bombmaker.

Oh, and my favorite line:

Bartender: "Would you like your Martini shaken or stirred?"

Bond: "Does it look like I give a damn?"
Monday, December 18, 2006
I want to try something new today. Instead of losing it when things don't go my way, I could actually try and take things in stride like a sensible adult. It is the new year after all and I've just added another year to my age so I could at least give it a shot.

Yesterday was a good day. We watched Dan perform at his school musical and it was a well-made production. They danced to "Be Our Guest" from Disney's "Beauty and the Beast". He played Chip, the talking teacup complete with costume and all. Hopefully it'll be possible to upload it to YouTube when we get the video of the event. Aftwerwards, we had dinner at Max's over at Eastwood. His ninang gave him an early birthday cash gift, so we dropped by the toy store and got Roley from "Bob the Builder". We also went on the merry-go-round twice. Children have such simple joys. The look in his eyes while we went round and round was priceless.

It was very moving to see Dan unabashedly do his rehearsed number with so much honesty and joy. It wasn't too long ago when he could barely crawl, let alone talk. He's come such a long way. And now this - it really dampens the eyes. How do I describe the feeling? Ah, my heart's going to burst.

The next time I find myself in the middle of a really bad day, I'll look back and tell myself that as bad as it can get, it can get as good as it was yesterday .
Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Another Year in This Mortal Coil, etc.

I suppose I should be writing something meaningful since I turned twenty-seven yesterday but I'm seriously drawing a blank and I'm typing this faster than my brain can keep up and will probably regret hitting "submit". But anyway, it was boring mostly because I was sick (and still am today) and had to work. The only redeeming aspect of it was that I got a couple new shirts and had some pizza at Insight. It's no fun coughing up hard, sticky, green phlegm on the day you're supposed to celebrate your birth though.

Not too long ago, Fr. Ben told me to take care of my gut before I hit thirty. Thirty? It seems so far away but it's actually closer than I'd like to think. It was only a shade a of decade ago when I dreaded reaching the big two-oh. And now this? How positively surreal - and terrifying.
What am I supposed to have accomplished by then? What would I have to show for come my high school reunion (not that I'd go, but still)? At least I'm not a bum, right? RIGHT? I'm sure the assholes I went to school with are miserable and destitute. Yeah, that's it. Given that I don't check my Friendster any time soon, I can keep telling myself that.

I remember reading a Garfield strip long ago. It was the morning of his birthday and he got out of bed contemplating that he's a year older while looking at his eyebags in the mirror. If he only knew he should be so lucky to be only worrying about that stuff. But "oh well" right? Life goes on.

But why go on with this downward spiral? There are plenty of things I have to be thankful for. I have almost given up on all that is spiritual but after some thought, there are plenty of times when my life could have gone to ruin but hasn't. There has to be some divine entity making sure that I don't screw up too badly I suppose. I should be celebrating another year I've been given as an opportunity to be a better person. Another year I've spent with family and friends who care about me. Another year to make a diamond out of myself through the pressure that's fallen upon my existence as the proverbial coal.

On another note, the guy that invented blogging must have been a fan of Doogie Howser. He must have thought, "man, everyone should be able to write down their oh-so-profound epiphanies at the end of the day for everyone to see".

Friday, December 01, 2006
Yawn, Pass the Ketchup...

You can churn out all the information you want, but you can't stop man's need to self-destruct. People know smoking is bad, but they still do it. Don't ask me why we're built like that but that's just the way it is. All the anti-fastfood media in the world won't stop McDonald's, Jollibee, Wendy's, White Castle, In N' Out, et al from getting rich. You can't stop the huge conglomerates from turning a profit. Sure, some people will swear off meat after watching stuff like this, but ultimately it's just a drop in the ocean. If films like these do make a huge impact then more power to them, but I'm not counting on it.

Just look at Wowowee. After all those dead people, you'd think basic human decency would prevent that douche from quitting. But no, the show must go on. ABS-CBN's got too much to lose if they cancel that abomination of a show. I wonder if the families of the victims can stomach watching Willie dance and make a dick of himself on TV, acting like nothing happened. I can't wait to see how they're going to celebrate the show's anniversary next year. If I had the technology and know-how, I'd make a video tribute by featuring footage of the stampede with the show's theme song playing in the background and upload it on YouTube.

...And Look Who Got His Voice Back

After Vol. 3, I thought Corey's voice would be shot for good. Guess not :)
Friday, November 10, 2006
It feels like my brain has atrophied from the monotony of a daily shift, which is probably why I chose to write on the side...just to keep the gray matter going. The only reasons why I continue to pursue my line of work are a) I have slowly developed an addiction to being online after all these years b) The money's not bad at all c) I'm too scared to try something else and d) it's hard to leave ones' comfort zone. For the last item however, I use the term "comfort zone" very loosely since the room I sleep in is right next to someone that I still despise in the corner of my shriveled black heart.

I am a fucking machine fueled by the past
Memory's a memory until it's a fact
I can bury the hatchet and let some shit go
But I got too many grudges to hold!
-"30/30-150", Stone Sour

So there. We're not so sure if the Japan plan is going to push through. There's still the matter of our living arrangements which is still being worked out. There are whole lot of other details that our prospective employer has yet to discuss with us. He's basically sending email updates to the local office here and the last update we got was about a month ago. Supposedly we're going to be trainees and all our basic expenses will be covered by the company. From what I understood, we're not going to be employees per se, rather trainees living on allowance.

There is an hourly overtime rate, but it's just about the same as my current job. They'll renew our contracts and be officially hired as employees once the year-long training has been completed. My major concerns are the following:

a. If we are to stay there, who will take care of Dan if he comes along?

b. If Dan is to stay behind, can we trust the nanny to take care of him for that long without our presence? And where will he live, here with the in-laws or at my family's house where I grew up in?

c. If Dan is to stay behind, can I bear to not to see him for a whole year? Will it be bad for him to be without his mom and dad for that long at his age? I feel like we would miss out on such a crucial year of his life.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
Knowing is half the battle!

Sunday, October 15, 2006
On Brain Farts of the Past

This is the old Incubus that I miss. I love these videos because it shows that they were great even if they didn't have the best sound system or equipment in the world back then. As raw as they were, they still kicked ass. This was before they struck a chord with the mainstream, before "Drive" or "Pardon me" (don't get me wrong, I love both songs).

Not that I don't dig their new stuff, but there was something about the older songs not too long ago. Call it snobbery but I liked it when the people listened to them because they played good music, and not because Brandon was hot. Maybe he shouldn't have chopped off his dreads, so the screaming hordes of lusty females would focus on the music...and not his looks. I miss the time when no one knew who the hell Incubus was. I miss their funky, tripped-out, psychedelic shit that didn't sound like anything else then...or now for that matter. Yes yes, people move on to different things and they would just be stale and stagnant if they didn't evolve. You can't expect people to stay the same forever, I know I know. But still.

Personally though, it was during these years when I still had a lot of growing up to do. Looking back now, it was a swell time really. I was a lot thinner and had a car to get around if I wanted to. Not that I went out that much, but even so. Does that make any sense at all???

God, has it been 9 years already?

Friday, October 06, 2006
Too good to be true IMHO

Two bands whose respective eras are about a decade apart unexpectedly come together - it was their music that got me through college with my sanity intact \m/
Soundtrack of my life so far

Here's a list of the music I've listened to in the recent years. There are probably lots more that I've missed but this is just off the top of my head:
powered by