Sunday, December 30, 2007

Weekend Recap In Brief

Saturday...:.

- Met up with Abby in Megamall...

- Hung out with TSC in Starbucks Q. Ave.

.:Sunday...:.

- Had a Magic: The Gathering tournament with 60 people involved.

- Came in second.

- Matchups: 1. Sui Black (JM Pecaoco) 2. Flash 3. 5-Color Fish 4. FCG 5. Another Fish deck, I think...

- Note to self: Do not perform for someone in a bad mood. Not a good idea at all.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Abbreviated Thoughts...

.:It's Going To Be Weird...:.

My Beloved and I are currently involved in a setup that's beyond complicated, but somehow, we're finding a way to transition to where we want to, albeit with some measure of difficulty, admittedly.

That being said, I guess it's unavoidable. I really am glad we've still found ways to still be amicable, albeit this isn't a "breakup" in the strictest sense. It's a gradual weaning off, and it's necessary if we intend for her to be all right once she leaves for the United States next year...

I still haven't processed this, to be honest. I don't quite know how to deal with it...

Sometimes, There's Such A Thing As Too Much Advice...

.:Seriously...:.

If you really didn't want my company over the holidays and that's your reason for choosing to stay wherever you are, you didn't have to tell my so-called friends about it.

Thanks for giving me even more reason to resenting you and the obvious lack of support you've given me over the years.

Just wonderful. Really. Just wonderful.

I've had it.

I really don't think I need a deluge of "advice" either, when you asked me for a favor. The least you could do is just lay off of me when you noticed I was starting to get miffed by all of this crud already.

Friday, December 28, 2007

One Year!

.:Happy Anniversary To The Person I'm Most Grateful To This Year!:.

1. My Beloved: It's been exactly a year since we got together, and I can't thank you enough for loving me and being my source of strength during the rougher patches of my life. I love you, and though things are changing between us because of the necessity of making adjustments for the time you leave for America next year, I still know that you have a very special place in my heart. We've been together for a year, and I couldn't ask for more from you, for being my Beloved, and for making me happier than I've ever found myself ever.

I can only hope that as our lives continue and as changes continue to happen, we still find ways to matter in each other's lives. I don't know what to call ourselves at this point, but I want you to know, my Beloved, that you are the awesomest best friend and most wonderful girlfriend any guy can hope to ask for.

Thank you for a wonderful year. Your love has made me do things I never thought I could.

In And Out...

.:TX Reunion:.

Had dinner at Metrowalk last night with a couple of members of Team TX. It's a bit sad considering how many of us are hardly playing M:TG nowadays, but it's okay, I guess. The team is still a fairly cool bunch of friends who love hanging out and talking shop, for all intents and purposes. Not a bad thing at all, to say the least.

Afterwards, we went around to check for DVD's, and I found quite a nice armful of 'em to work with. It was fun and enjoyable in my opinion, at least.

.:In And Out:.

It's a bit of a surprise that I actually heard from Pomelo after practically a year of being incommunicado. A few thoughts just popped into my head when I realized that as far as it goes between me and her, that's all she really wrote.

I can't say I blame her, really. I was rash and too short-tempered back then, and at times, I'm still guilty of that. If I've really run out of second chances to be friends with her, I know I've been at peace with myself for long enough to let go. I just needed to find the best time to do it.

Before this year ends, I wanted to deal with the baggage that's been weighing on me for the longest time. While I doubt that can happen with the Divine anytime soon, I can safely say I've exhausted all the means I know of to fix matters with Pomelo, and I simply can do no more. Especially not when the other person is more concerned about not being enemies than about being friends. That's understandable. I respect that.

And with that being said, I can conclusively eradicate her from my life. Not because I resent her or despise her, but because I'm at peace with myself with how that chapter of my life played out. I know she's already moved on as well, even sooner than I did back then, albeit with a different viewpoint over what the aftermath ought have been.

So to end this on a high note, thank you for the memories, but that's all they will be from now on. I say thank you without a hint of anger or irony, but also without any hope that things would change in the future. That's out of my hands now. It *has* been out of my hands for the longest time already, and I'm just making that clear for everyone to know.

Godspeed to you, Pomelo, and my best wishes. That would be all I have left to say to you.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Blame Game...

.:The Blame Game:.

The fact of the matter is, this feud between ABS-CBN and GMA is getting to a ridiculous point if only for how this seems like little more than a wag-the-dog scenario for channel 2, because if there’s one network that knows how to cheat, well, it would appear it’s this one:



Good Lord, this video establishes that Wowowee obviously has the option to cheat if they felt like it. Maybe before ABS-CBN decides to throw allegations about “cheating”, they could address this first, because this wasn’t the first time the Willyonaryo segment was put into question, and this time, the evidence is even more damning.

It’s unbelievable how the network wars would have people sinking to new levels all the time. The ratings have been consistently high in GMA’s favor for nearly two years already. For ABS-CBN to insist on cheating at this point not only earns them two enemies in the form of GMA and AGB Nielsen, but the risk of having them investigated for their own discrepancies as well.

And that being said, there’s no more a glaring discrepancy than this “cheating practice” video for Wowowee, showcasing the cheating option the show actually has if they didn’t want someone in particular to win. This is just deplorable, considering the sheer volume of controversies already surrounding the show as is, from accidental wardrobe malfunctions, to stampedes, to this and the previous cheating scandals, it does look like Wowowee thrives on controversy ala Rockstar games.

That being said, let’s hope this mess comes to a head soon. I can do without having to watch the GMA’s very pandering position statement with regard to the ratings scandal every twenty minutes.

Thanking More People...

.:The Top Five People I’m Most Grateful To This Year!:.

Well, since I missed out on it the past few days, it’s a triple dose for today, so let’s get to it!

4. The Blogging Community: From Jayvee to Aileen to Shari, you can be sure that the Philippine blogging community is never wanting for interesting stories and interesting occurrences (And even controversies at times.).

Through all the tales and conversations we’ve had, one thing was certain about the Philippine Blogging Community: in there, I found a good deal of friends, who never fail to make my day a heckuva lot interesting.

Kudos to you, guys!

3. The Story Circle, Mr. Bing Lim, and Jay Mata: This was a year where I really switched gears and became a full-fledged mentalist. Honing my craft to a high standard, I learned a lot and developed my skills quite a great deal to a point where I can safely say I’ve come a long way. TSC, Bing, and Jay were very much instrumental in my achieving that.

I’m very grateful to them simply because they’ve really helped me improve myself quite a bit. You see, whether as a magician or a mentalist, it is all about entertaining people. Being a “faker” is far from the point. After all, wrestling is scripted, but it’s *still* entertaining, all the same. Magic, more so mentalism, is geared towards similar goals, albeit using different methods.

That being said, this was a good year for unlocking potential.

2. Elbert and the JGL: Out of all my friends, these were the people who really made the biggest difference in my life this year. I don’t think I even need to explain why I think they’ve been awesome all year long. The past blog entries I’ve written involving them would be more than enough evidence, I guess.

Guys, words can’t express how grateful I am to you…

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Monday, December 24, 2007

The Top Five People I'm Most Grateful For This Year...

.:The Top Five People I'm Most Grateful To This Year:.

Well, it's that time again when I acknowledge the people who helped me make it through the year.

Let's do this without much ado, neh?

5. The Reedley Family: It's amazing how after three years in WAVE, I find myself in a place where I would've wanted to stay if only I could afford it (Heh.).

Thanks to all the people I've known in Reedley, for making my experience as a high school teacher nothing short of a life-changer. From my boss, Ms. Estrada, to my boss's bosses, to my co-teachers, and especially to my students from Yale, Carnegie, and Columbia, you guys really made a difference in my life this year and I can't tell you enough how grateful I really am that I met you guys.

I may turn emo and rant about being depressed about people and things in Reedley, but at the end of it all, I'm going to miss this place when I leave it at the end of the schoolyear. Thanks for making me feel part of the Reedley family. It's not a perfect place, but it's as close as it can get in this planet.

From A Scrooge To Everyone Else...

... Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Time...

.:If Only There Were More Time…:.

A few days ago, I felt incredibly… disconnected with people in Reedley mainly because I seemed to have missed out on a meeting with my own department while I was sitting in the same room with them. It made me rather… unnerved to find out I was just out of the loop.

But then, things changed quickly, and I don’t know if that’s for better or for worse. With each passing day, I’m realizing that in due time, I would feel like Reedley was genuinely family to me.

From the ecumenical service to the series of Christmas parties I found myself in this past week, I really felt happy about being in Reedley. Never mind the mild hitches I have had to deal with in the school, that would merely be one part of a huge equation there, and quite frankly, one or two “bad” points are massively outweighed by wonderful students (I got a rubik’s cube keychain from one of ‘em!) to great bosses and equally awesome co-workers.

No workplace is ever perfect, but Reedley is a great place to be in. This place challenges people to be even better than their best, and to respect and esteem differences among people. I know I’m not coming back to Reedley next year so I can finish my Masters in Ateneo, and that is why it actually feels rather sad at this point, because unsurprisingly, I’m growing attached to Reedley.

When I left WAVE earlier this year, there was no regret in me when I did that, because for the most part, I was very unhappy where I was in WAVE. With Reedley, things are turned around, because if it weren’t for a lot of hitches, I’d love to stay on, but I have to leave.

I can’t say enough how radically disconcerting it is, but it’s comforting and upsetting all at the same time. Paradox of paradoxes, I really am going to miss Reedley when I go at the end of this schoolyear.

I wish for more time, but I guess time is something we will never have enough of.

Sad Goodbyes... Optimistic Hopes

.:We’ll Miss You…:.

To three of my students, D, C, and L, we’ll be missing you guys. Hopefully, when you’re back in Korea and making it big there, you won’t forget us here.

To D, you were awfully quiet in class, but everything you did, you did in earnest. You knew what your weaknesses were, and you kept pressing on to better yourself as the months went by. I can’t tell you enough how great it is knowing that you have what it takes to make it.

To C, while I often picked on you jocularly in class, you took it in stride as a challenge to show that you’re a great person nobody should ever look past. For every single time I had something negative to say about you, I found a thousand good things to say about you. Your sheer determination of stepping beyond what people box you in is an admirable trait very few people possess.

To L, you are the bright ray of sunshine in the class. From the first day where you gave myself and your class an “awwwww…” moment, I knew you were someone to look out for. One of the most affectionate people I will ever meet, your personality can open doors nobody thought could ever be opened, and I can’t tell you enough how optimistic I am that you will be blazing a trail wherever you go when your time comes.

I know I didn’t spend as much time with you as the other people in school did, but I hope that somehow, I’ve helped arm you for the years to come with the values that the people around you espoused and aspired for you to possess. You guys were invaluable assets to Reedley, but in moving back to Korea, you will inevitably prove that you are invaluable assets to the rest of the world as well.

Aja!

Everyone's A Critic...

.:Everyone’s A Critic:.

Well, a new commenter on my blog decided to talk smack on my time, on my personal space, and while I have to admit it’s amusing that someone who clearly doesn’t like me much would take the time out to actually hound me about it, it does make you wonder why these idiots feel so courageous only when they’re behind a code name and a computer screen.

Seriously, if your only claim to fame is to call me “vain”, when it’s my own personal space where I very well have the right to be so, and if it “entertains” you so much, then maybe if you really disliked me, then you could just, oh, I don’t know… stop reading my blog?

Because really now, I’m far from a democratic person here. So read and rant all you want, but I’m not going to bother giving you the time of day. My space, my rules. As long as you keep on reading my blog, I couldn’t give a damn what else you think about me.

Of course, you could always just GTFO my blog. That’d be nice, too.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Been To Two Parties Today...

... posting about it next time.

Of course. Let me finish this week first in one piece, mmkay?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

What Happened To All The Nice Guys?

It's not my original, it's from some writer on craigslist, and I think that there's a lot of truth to this... although I'm not too keen on the notion that Mr. "Nice" Guy should get credit for things he's supposed to do, as MGK kindly pointed out in his post.

.:What Happened To All The Nice Guys?:.

I see this question posted with some regularity in the personals section, so I thought I'd take a minute to explain things to the ladies out there that haven't figured it out.

What happened to all the nice guys?

The answer is simple: you did.

See, if you think back, really hard, you might vaguely remember a Platonic guy pal who always seemed to want to spend time with you. He'd tag along with you when you went shopping, stop by your place for a movie when you were lonely but didn't feel like going out, or even sit there and hold you while you sobbed and told him about how horribly the (other) guy that you were effing treated you.

At the time, you probably joked with your girlfriends about how he was a little puppy dog, always following you around, trying to do things to get you to pay attention to him. They probably teased you because they thought he had a crush on you. Given that his behavior was, admittedly, a little pathetic, you vehemently denied having any romantic feelings for him, and buttressed your position by claiming that you were "just friends." Besides, he totally wasn't your type. I mean, he was a little too short, or too bald, or too fat, or too poor, or didn't know how to dress himself, or basically be or do any of the things that your tall, good-looking, fit, rich, stylish boyfriend at the time pulled off with such ease.

Eventually, your Platonic buddy drifted away, as your relationship with the boyfriend got more serious and spending time with this other guy was, admittedly, a little weird, if you werent dating him. More time passed, and the boyfriend eventually cheated on you, or became boring, or you realized that the things that attracted you to him weren't the kinds of things that make for a good, long-term relationship. So, now, you're single again, and after having tried the bar scene for several months having only encountered players and douchebags, you wonder, "What happened to all the nice guys?"

Well, once again, you did.

You ignored the nice guy. You used him for emotional intimacy without reciprocating, in kind, with physical intimacy
(Waitaminute. Why SHOULD you reciprocate in kind? Obviously, Mr. "Nice" Guy just wanted to get some. Yeesh. - Marcelle). You laughed at his consideration and resented his devotion. You valued the aloof boyfriend more than the attentive "just-a-" friend. Eventually, he took the hint and moved on with his life. He probably came to realize, one day, that women aren't really attracted to guys who hold doors open; or make dinners just because; or buy you a Christmas gift that you mentioned, in passing, that you really wanted five months ago; or listen when you're upset; or hold you when you cry. He came to realize that, if he wanted a woman like you, he'd have to act more like the boyfriend that you had. He probably cleaned up his look, started making some money, and generally acted like more of an asshole than he ever wanted to be.

Fact is, now, he's probably getting laid, and in a way, your ultimate rejection of him is to thank for that. And I'm sorry that it took the complete absence of "nice guys" in your life for you to realize that you missed them and wanted them. Most women will only have a handful of nice guys stumble into their lives, if that.

So, if you're looking for a nice guy, here's what you do:

1.) Build a time machine.
2.) Go back a few years and pull your head out of your @$$.
3.) Take a look at what's right in front of you and grab ahold of it.

I suppose the other possibility is that you STILL don't really want a nice guy, but you feel the social pressure to at least appear to have matured beyond your infantile taste in men. In which case, you might be in luck, because the nice guy you claim to want has, in reality, shed his nice guy mantle and is out there looking to unleash his cynicism and resentment onto someone just like you.

If you were five years younger.

So, please: either stop misrepresenting what you want, or own up to the fact that you've effed yourself over. You're getting older, after all. It's time to excise the bs and deal with reality. You didn't want a nice guy then, and he certainly doesn't effing want you, now.

Sincerely,

A Recovering Nice Guy

Amazing!

.:Mr. Bulaong's Back In Town For A Bit...:.

Jon Bulaong's back in town until Sunday, and it was great hearing from him again. He delivered a lecture about the relevance of Immanuel Kant in today's post-modern world, and his ideas were incredibly thought-provoking.

While I didn't get to spend much time speaking to him, it was definitely amazing, to say the least, that after two years or so of studying in Germany, he still hasn't changed at all, and that's a good thing.

Jon's one of the people I always looked up to, so I'm extremely happy for him, knowing he's doing very well in Germany.

Bah, Humbug...

.:Welcome To Santamas...:.

By now, people know my massive amount of disdain for Christmas.

Well, seeing how I'm staying home for the holidays because my passport won't be ready in time despite going through hell and back at DFA, I guess there's more of this disdain to go around...

Bah, humbug.

Monday, December 17, 2007

A Throwback

.:Finally Putting This One Up...:.

One of my older videos. First time I was recorded on camera doing a performance...

Enjoy!

The Past Shows...

Yes, this will be a mentalism-driven post.

.:Sapulso, Finally:.

If you still haven't seen the clip, you can check it out here.

Well, they finally aired the episode of Sapulso where I was featured as a mentalist along with street magician/former child star Lester Llansang and The Story Circle member Crizz. While we weren't shot together, it was fun watching the episode, definitely.

I met the crew of Sapulso a few weeks ago to shoot my segment, as I went through Starbucks Katipunan, UP Sunken Garden, and TIP Aurora to demonstrate a wide range of mentalism effects including Positive-Negative, Liquid Metal, PK Touch, and the ORBS (Osterlind Rubiks Blindfold Solve). It was a fairly lengthy shoot for a two to five-minute segment, but it was well worth it, as the results were pleasant and I got a pretty good reaction from the people. Mentalism is akin to Puroresu compared to Magic's "sports entertainment". In Japan, the audience isn't as rowdy, but you know they appreciate the show.

It was a really good run. I could've fixed some glitches here and there, but for the most part, I had no regrets. It's not everyday I get good feedback from my mentor, so I'm taking that for sure.

.:Kurismas Pangkalawakan:.

Last Saturday was party-time for Cosplay.ph, and I must say, it was a great party at Joy's place, and I've run into a lot of awesome members of the Philippine cosplay community, including "Hard Gay" Khel (I need the h in there to distinguish him from me. Heh.), Nissie, Jewel, Adz, Robert, and of course, Markpoa.

That being said, I walked into a trap, as I found myself part of group 5 (Starship Santas FTW!), getting myself involved in everything from doing macho dancing to dressing up one of our co-members for "Pretty Crossplayer", which was a riot and a half, as we saw things we unfortunately can't unsee.

After great food, great stories, a round of "Jeopardy" where nobody seemed to remember that you answer in the form of a question, I was called upon to do my routine. I didn't keep things long, and just went for some predictions, coins, numbers, and then following up with metal bending, and concluding the presentation with some mass hypnosis and a book test.

In any case, I made some new friends that day, and it was an awesome time, as I went off to meet up with TSC immediately after the party... although being browbeat by Jewel to get a Nintendo DS was an unusual way to cap my day off... heh.

When Skeptics Attack!

This interestingly clueless tidbit just in...

"Mornings at ANC is just a show and like any other show they aim for high ratings, there is a possibility that the production crew are accomplices to the act, while the fact that the show 'maybe' shot live which removes the possibility of camera tricks and special effects for the fork bending it is still possible that the forks used are trick forks. There is also a possibility that the positioning of the glass of water was pre-determined"

Obviously, the person placing these suggestions is being facetious, because...

1. Trick forks? Who needs trick forks? This is just highly amusing.

2. Pre-determined glasses? I'm sure it was also a pre-determined cube done with a blindfold, right?

Skepticism with no amount of knowledge whatsoever? Just sheer hilarity. The best skeptics are born because they know better, not because they don't know a single thing.

Well, that being said, it's a bit sad that the challenge for the Psychic Entertainment Network under test conditions will simply be, well, put off for until next year.

.:DFA Sucks!:.

I'm sitting here, waiting for my chance to get my records at 2 in the freaking afternoon. Wonderful. What a waste of a morning here.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

An Open Letter To Mr. Mon Tulfo...

Dear Mr. Tulfo,

While I am in no position to challenge another man's sincerity, I believe that the issue isn't *what* happens with the land, but *WHO* owns the land.

The Sumilao farmers have been denied the land that was rightfully theirs due to willful negligence during Ruben Torres' time of the rights of the farmers that were trampled upon.

The land sold to SMF is *disputed* land, and thus, should not have been sold in the first place. Like any stolen property, selling it and using it for good does not absolve you from the fact that you purchased stolen property.

At the end of the day, the Sumilao farmers are still without land, when they should have this land to begin with. If they wish to sell their land to SMF, so be it! But it should be *their* call and not the clearly illegitimate owner Quisumbing.

And that's the bigger picture: they deserve that land, and it should be their call what to do with it.

Good, sincere intentions, though they may be, we know all too well what the road to hell is paved with, sadly.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Backblogging Lineup...

1. The offhand "racist" joke in Sapulso last Monday.

2. The fact that we throw a hissy fit that the American soldier got off easy in the Subic rape case, but we're happy, so happy, that a convicted murderer's death sentence got commuted simply because she's Filipina. Hooray, double standards.

3. The spin machine that went in high gear when we acquired the dubious honor of rising ten spots among the elite countries in the world deemed as "the most corrupt".

4. The Sumilao farmer's plight.

5. Stuff that happened in today's class, especially when it comes to the fact that I'm catching on as a mentalist and all...

Darn it, I never have enough time to write...

I'm Emo Again...

.:Let Me Expound Next Time:.

Other than Red Kryptonite, here are a few things at work that have made me feel... well, not happy...

1. Three of my students are going back to Korea by the end of this month.

2. The memory card fiasco.

3. Parols.

4. DFA Hades...

Posting Next Time...

...way too busy...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

My TV Appearance!

.:It's On YouTube, guys! Enjoy!:.




It's my TV appearance last Monday. Hope you guys like it. :)

Monday, December 10, 2007

Once More, With Feeling...

.:It's Tonight!:.

Don't miss out on Monday's telecast of my mentalism, at QTV-11, Sapulso, 10PM.

Hope you guys would enjoy it!

Settling The Golden Compass Brouhaha...

From Sally Sensational of Comic Book Resources:



Many of you may not have been flooded like I have with forwarded emails reiterating - in increasing stridence - that The Golden Compass is BAD and will TURN YOUR CHILDREN BAD!

But I have. And I got sick of it.

What follows is my rebuttal. Now, I don't ask any of you to agree with me. I wrote this from the perspective of a Christian parent trying to answer a kid's questions and from the perspective of an open-minded school librarian trying to quell some of the stupid "let's ban it" talk about a book and movie.

If you have a problem with what I've recommended for CHRISTIAN parents here, well, I'm sorry. I'm not a very good Christian myself, but I am a believer and I do believe that just about anything can be used to teach our kids good lessons. Some of what follows is just what I see as good character building stuff. Other stuff is more overtly Christian. Take what you like, leave what you don't and for pity's sake, let's not turn this into a flame war.

Please forward the following BACK to the sources of the forwards regarding The Golden Compass:

Hi folks!

I have recently been the recipient of several forwarded emails and links about The Golden Compass – both the film and the trilogy of novels. Being a school librarian, I thought it would be a good idea for me to find out for myself what the controversy was about, so I went back to the source and read the first installment of the trilogy, which is the novel on which the film was based.

Now, I do not dispute the author’s viewpoints or the things he has said about his personal lack of belief. What I do dispute is that this book and film are so devastatingly dangerous that they must be avoided at all costs by Christian families.

To that end, I have prepared a brief guide – broken down by age group – to The Golden Compass for Christian families. I started by asking myself what various age groups of kids are most likely to notice and pay close attention to and then asked myself how those things could be used to teach positive and faith-supporting, not destroying, lessons to Christian kids.

The first age group I considered is the youngest set that would be likely to understand the plot of the movie well enough to want to see it based on the previews – I place these kids in the 6-8 age group (full disclosure: my own daughter is 7).

What 6-8 year olds are most likely to notice and pay attention to in this film:

1. Talking polar bears!

2. Talking pet animals called Daemons (pronounced DAY-mun and not to be confused with demons)

3. Hot Air balloons

4. Lyra goes off on her big adventure to help save her friend.

1. So, how can we use these things to help our children learn good lessons and grow in their faith? Let’s start with the talking polar bear. Lyra quickly learns that, despite his fearsome reputation and frightening appearance, Iorek is a trusted ally and trustable friend. We can use this to teach our children about looking beyond appearances and apparent reputations to seeing the good inside people. Refer them to the stories of Matthew, the tax collector, Zacheus, Rahab, Paul, etc. to underline that Christians look beyond the surface to the heart of a person.

2. Alright, what about the daemons? Well, our youngest kids aren’t likely to understand their symbolism. But they do understand having a beloved pet. They also understand that people have lots of different things they like to do and be and lots of different sides to their personalities. Talk to them about how the daemons can change forms when the kids are young and how the people who have had their daemons removed are less than what they were. Use this as a way to talk about how God wants us to use and explore all of the gifts and talents that He has given us and how no one can take away God’s gifts. Teach them the song “This little light of mine” if they don’t already know it.

3. Hot Air Balloons? Well, hot air balloons are neat. They don’t really aid much in spiritual development, but they’re great for getting your kids talking about science.

4. Last but not least, there’s a treasure trove in Lyra’s motivations to go off and find her friend. The obvious one, of course, is that we take care of our friends. The next good lesson here is that people who hurt children need to be stopped and kids can help. No, your kid can’t go off like Lyra did and save the lives of kids. But your kid CAN tell an adult if he or she knows of another child who’s being harmed. Your kid CAN donate part of his or her spending money to help needy kids in other places.

Let’s move on to the next group of kids. This is actually the movie’s target audience – the “tweens” – kids aged 9-12 or so.

What tweens are most likely – in addition to the things above – to notice and pay attention to in The Golden Compass:

1. Lyra’s relationship with her “parents”, Lord Asriel and Mrs. Coulter

2. The alethiometer and what it can do

3. How removing the daemon affects children

4. The similarities and differences between Lyra’s world and ours.

1. Lyra’s relationship with her parents? Kids this age understand that not all parents are good parents. Lyra’s parents aren’t even really parents to her. But she has other people in her life that are good and loving. This is a prime opportunity to teach kids about loving others. We never know when we might be the only person in someone’s life to show them loving care and concern.

2. The alethiometer and what it does: This one seems a bit tough on the exterior, but kids of tween age are old enough to understand metaphors and symbols. Call their attention to how Lyra has to be still and quiet and pay close attention to what she sees on the alethiometer in order to understand its meaning. Talk to them about how we should approach our quiet time with the Bible in the same way. Reinforce that the only “thing” in our world that can help us with every problem is God and His word and that, like Lyra turns to her “thing”, we can turn to the Bible in all situations.

3. How removing the daemon affects children: Children of the tween age are fast approaching the time in their lives – if they are not there already – when they will be realising that God doesn’t move people like dolls, but rather gives them free will to choose their path. Explain to the children that the daemon and its changeability represents that free will and that taking away an individual’s free will leaves them empty. Stress to them that God gave us our free will and that He wants us to come to Him out of that free will, not as empty robots, but as full participants in His kingdom.

4. The similarities and differences between Lyra’s world and ours: This is a good opportunity to reinforce the differences between fact and fiction. Remind kids that the differences in Lyra’s world underline the fact that the movie and book are a story.
And now for the last, and eldest, group of kids – the teens – ages 13 and up.

Teens are going to notice all of the things we’ve already talked about. Depending on their backgrounds in literature and science, other things they may notice are:

1. The similarity of the Magisterium to an organized church.

2. The attempts by the Magisterium to prevent discoveries that might “harm” their organization.

1. Yes, the Magisterium does indeed resemble an organized church. However, The Golden Compass does not insist on throwing aside all organized religion. What it does insist upon is resisting an authoritarian regime. Teenagers are ready for a little church history. Discuss with them how the Church has changed and how Christians are now encouraged to read and study the scriptures themselves. Talk to your kids about American history and how the pilgrims fled the same type of authoritarian church regimes. Remind your teenagers that only God is infallible, not man, and certainly not man’s organizations.

2. The attempts by the Magisterium to prevent discoveries that might “harm” their organization: Here’s another opportunity to bring a little history up. Many, many, many of the world’s great scientists and thinkers were and are also people of Faith. Some of them faced an organized church that was very resistant to their ideas. Have your teens research scientists like Newton and Copernicus, men of faith whose goal was to understand the glory of God’s creation, not to undermine His people. Talk about the intersection of faith and science. After all, even Einstein believed in miracles!

Digging a little deeper:

If all of the above doesn’t give you enough to talk about on the ride home from the movie theater, here’s a few more ideas for older audience members:

1. The Golden Compass was turned into a movie in part based on the success of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. How do the two movies compare? Pullman has suggested that his books are an agnostic/atheist reaction to C.S. Lewis’s overtly Christian series. Do you think Pullman will ever be as widely read as Lewis? Why or why not?

2. What do YOU think the “dust” is? Why do you think it mainly concentrates on children, rather than adults?

3. How do the intentions of the Gobblers to remove the innocence of the children compare to the intentions of the serpent in the Book of Genesis? Do you think Pullman intends for his audience to believe that childlike innocence is truly bad?

I hope that this helps you to look at The Golden Compass in a bit of a different light. Books and movies are only dangerous if we allow them to be and this one is no different.

I am not recommending that you go and pay for tickets to see this movie. What I am recommending – and I always do – is that you understand what it’s about and base your decision on all of the available information rather than someone else’s panic.

Thanks for your kind attention!

Taken From Scans Daily...

He has needs, I tell you! Needs!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

TV Plug!

.:Still Exhausted!:.

That field trip really got me out of sorts, but I'm managing.

Nonetheless, don't miss out on Monday's telecast of my mentalism, at QTV-11, Sapulso, 10PM.

Hope you guys would enjoy it!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Resistance...

.:Resistance:.

Any system, when overridden with numerous flaws, will almost always meet resistance. This is true for technology, this is most certainly true for politics and governance. The ability of a government to stem these insurgencies is almost always commensurate to what kind of resistance the government is meeting. Over the course of history, there have been three forms of resistance in general, and for the most part, each of them have been a product of their times.

When one talks about a people's army, it's inevitable to conjure thoughts of the CPP-NPA if you happen to be Filipino, if only for the "PA" part of "NPA". That being said, a people's army is easily characterized by its organization, similar to a conventional army, albeit obviously often lower in numbers, and government fiat. The people's army was historically formed as a reaction to a civil dispute, such as against a tyrannical king (p.68) or sovereign, and as such, had its own hierarchy mimicking that of a conventional army. At this point, a people's army is almost cut off at the knees the moment its leaders are subdued, as was the case of the steady decline of the New People's Army since the self-imposed exile of Jose Maria Sison.

The people's army is characteristic of a reaction to a ruling paradigm, be it a civil despot, or a colonizer, and is effective insofar as its support base is concerned. Unlike guerilla warfare or network struggles, however, the success of a people's army is almost exclusively a number's game, whereas guerilla warfare has the element of surprise in its favor, and network struggles focus on coordination about as much as its numbers. The worry for the people's army is once "victory" is achieved. In being a centralized power, they are looked upon as the de facto substitute for the status quo, and this is where whatever flaws of the people's army come to the fore, oftentimes proving themselves no better than the status quo they replaced (p.72).

Guerilla warfare is similar to a people's army in that it is generally confined to one particular country, but unlike a people's army, despite a possibly large organization in total, guerilla warfare's advantage is in its numerous factions, thus all but negating the potential of an organization's collapse if its "leaders" were subdued. This is because guerilla warfare as a form of resistance is characterized by its being splintered and relatively disorganized. Almost operating as individuals, guerillas, though they may all be part of a particular organization, are certainly operating towards a goal with no attempt to fully supersede the status quo, knowing they are incapable of doing this. This is why their resistance is more disruptive or even destructive, than reconstructive, as is the case with a people's army.

A network struggle is, in contrast, one that takes place on the biopolitical terrain: it directly produces new subjectivities and new forms of life (p. 83). In place of the emphasis on numbers or the element of surprise, networks rely on "creativity, communication, and self-organized cooperation" (p. 83). This results in an overarching system of resistance that is more organized than a people's army, yet more persistent than guerilla warfare. In being an evolution of the two earlier forms of resistance we see a form of resistance greater than the sum of its parts: in its ability to coordinate and communicate, the network manages to strengthen and perpetuate itself.

Time can only tell if this form of resistance, that which seems to be the resistance in the era of the multitude, will succeed where its predecessors have failed.

The Clash Of The Times

.:A Clash Of The Times:.

All references to book pages are for "Multitude" by Hardt and Negri...

To say that the military, given the new face of war, is polarized in support or in opposition to the so-called Revolution in Military Affairs, would be an understatement. As technology continues to improve, and as the ties between technology and the machinations of war grow stronger, we clearly see a slow and gradual shift of dependence from the soldier to the weapon (Paraphrased, p.42). This glaring change is particularly reflected by the ability of the United States to wage wars with minimal casualties on their side when they choose to.

The new war is viewed from two sides by the military: the technologists, and the traditionalists (p.42). The former believes in making war as small-scale and as close to zero casualties as possible (p. 41), while the latter believes that forging the importance of the soldier in favor of the weapon has its disastrous effects, ranging from the counterpoint of suicide bombers to the theoretical but logical conclusion of an entirely virtual war, giving no motivation for a war to end if its horrors and inherent disadvantages become null (p.45-46).

The military sees war becoming "bodyless" (p.44), and this in turn results in a very skewed outlook of war, because aside from the United States, not too many countries have this luxurious option of not needing to expend soldiers in order to achieve victory in a war. Furthermore, it is ludicrous that a majority of the actual troops in current wars who are in the middle of the battlefield are actually allied forces, essentially, people from other countries functionally fighting a war for America. The other brunt of these troops are contracted from private military companies, making for an army composed of outsourced soldiers and mercenaries. This completely breaks the rules of war in half, not because some noble code of honor is being trampled upon (Not necessarily something everyone subscribes to.), but because logistically, you are padding an army with unstable support.

The military's outlook in this new war is mixed with optimism and pessimism, insofar as technology undeniably improves the efficiency of the military to wage war, but as this efficiency approaches perfection, what becomes an inherent deterrent to waging war on practically defenseless countries? The answer is sadly also approaching "none".

As such, while the technologists and the traditionalists may disagree on the merits of this new war, neither side can possibly deny that we are indeed coming closer to a new faceless war in the age of technology. For as long as war is stripped of its horrors, like Counterstrike or Battlefield 1942, these wars become alarmingly "fun" in the eyes of those who have the edge.

Moo... I'm Hunger...

I should really eat, but I'm just too mired in work to get around to it...

Gah!

At least my day started off right since I hitched a ride to Reedley with my Beloved...

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

I'm A Bit Miffed Over This, But Hey, What Can I Do?

.:I'll Be On TV Next Monday, December 10!:.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, the Sapulso episode yours truly will be featured in is happening next Monday, at 10 PM, still on QTV 11.

I don't know if I should be miffed that the show was postponed, or that next to nobody watched last night that they didn't even know it was postponed... =(

Yes, it's still the magic/mentalism feature, and I'm representing the mentalism side of the spectrum.

.:Nice Seeing You Again...:.

Hi Crissie! Bye Crissie! =P

Monday, December 03, 2007

Still Shilling For Tonight!

Yes, I'm shilling again. I'll be on TV, Channel 11, QTV, tonight, at 10PM. Don't miss it!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

My TV Appearance Tomorrow...

.:Watch Out For Me Tomorrow On TV!!!:.

Don't miss out on Kapulso, Monday night on QTV Channel 11, at 10PM! I'll be featured as a street mentalist, performing as well as having an interview of sorts.

It'll be loads of fun, rest assured!

.:Thoughts On Things I Have To Accomplish...:.

1. A performance guide...
2. A frank essay on my thoughts on the state of Philippine magic, or at least, the magic groups I'm in the proximity of. It will step on a few toes, but it will all be honest and recommendatory, more than anything else.

Encounters!

.:Wheeee!!!:.

Been a while since I've seen Clair, Krisette, and Kathy, so it was great just going to the Chua residence after a while and hanging out with them and even having a bit of poi, as Clair started to learn how to work them out, albeit without fire.

I haven't missed a beat when I got around to playing with the poi again, although I was a bit disappointed that we didn't get to light it, and I haven't improved at all in the two or so years that I've been doing poi...

Oh, well.

.:My Beloved!:.

Lately, my "dates" with my Beloved have simply been opportunities for us to hang out at home and watch movies, which works real well for me...

For the most part, I know I've been missing out on blogging as well as a load of blogging events lately, but I'll have you know that would change soon enough... trust me.

I love you, my Beloved! And I miss you a heckuva lot already!

.:Thoughts On The Coup?:.

I'll pass. I can only smirk and say, "I could've sworn I've seen this all before..."

Clearly, statistics don't mean jack, especially once you start calling on the masses to go to MANILA PEN with you.

Snide!

.:That's Snide...:.

So I got my hands on Ellusionist's coin-in-bottle tutorials, "Factory Sealed", and "Bullet". It's pretty sad how the fall from grace for the E has resulted in them taking a potshot at former E-member Wayne Houchin (Now of Theory 11.)has led to them taking what I view to be a veiled swipe at Houchin at one of the videos.

At the start of "Bullet", I believe, Justin Miller stomps on a can and says that "bottles are the new cans", which is in allusion to "Sinful" by Houchin, a coin-through-can effect.

Not very amusing at all, E. Not. Very. Amusing. At. All.

.:Brushing Up:.

Treated myself to a whole day of watching instructional videos to brush up on my knowledge base, and it's done me a world of good, to say the least. Needless to say, I'm glad...