Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Monday, January 30, 2006
Spirit of Man (13 MB): Parson Nathaniel starts to go cuckoo
Sunday, January 29, 2006
And then, tun-tun-tun! Tun-tun-tun! I must have jumped out of my skin. There was this strange, wonderful music, loud and symphonic, yet modern and otherworldly, something akin to what would now be described as electronica. Understand that back then I was used to fun `80s new wave, pop and slow rock ditties with saccharine lyrics, innocuous folk songs, and so on. To me, Wayne's sound was fresh and exciting, and the science fiction tale that it accompanied was completely captivating. I had always thought that Wayne's TWOTW was well ahead of its time. The music was apt for the script which was well-written and nicely paced. I loved it from then on. (Loved it so much that I found a way to use it in a school program during Social Studies week. I had some willing classmates perform Spirit of Man, a brave effort which turned out pathetically (pardon to the soul of H.G. Wells, he must have turned in his grave, LOL), no thanks to a crappy sound system and low tech cassette recording. *wistful sigh*) It was only a year or so ago when I realized that the journalist-narrator was actually Richard Burton. How can one not listen raptly to such a voice as his? I didn't even know until recently that the musical adaptation was a commercial success, topping the charts and winning awards. To date it has sold 13 million copies worldwide.
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Where: Natividad G. Fajardo Conference Room, De La Costa Hall, Ateneo de Manila University, Loyola Heights, Quezon City
What: Launching of the new series of Philippine Studies and the Special Literary Issue 2005
I am of a generation caught in such an age. Alright, the Magic Eye mania is passe -- I have taken my share of near cross-eyed stare sessions and all that, and I have drawn the line at interactive games, after realizing how I had spent so much time in completing two role-playing games (cherished experiences both, mind you) years ago, but as for video and graphic novels, I am completely in thrall. I don't see why these and literature can't go together. Imo, there IS a lot of good writing to be found in movies, tv and graphic novels if one knows where to look (no thanks to Pinoy soap operas though, bleh).
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
A hack dreams of Klimtian Viggo / Viggoesque Klimt
Monday, January 23, 2006
Saturday, January 07, 2006
However, there was this slight annoyance: the XT sometimes had a hard time focusing on scenes with harsh lighting, say landscape shots. I have had to switch to manual focusing at such times. Is it the camera body or is it the lens? (You’re not looking at a technically savvy shooter here, see.) Last month Jim told me about a certain Canon 17-85mm IS lens review, the same one I used with the XT (silly me I didn’t even get to test my Vivitar wide angle with it *slaps self for forgetting*). It seems the same flaws reported in the article can be seen in my pictures. *sigh*
First off, there seems to be a slight vignetting in the Caesar’s palace lion pic, most visible at the upper righthand corner. Aperture was f5.6. It is more noticeable at f4 and a focal length of 17mm, as reported in the review and as seen in this Caesar’s Palace pic. I’m not sure whether the distortion in the same pic (check out the line of the roof and the building to the left) is normal given the angle at which I was holding the camera? I also noticed a bit of flaring with some night shots such as in this one.
I counted on it being garish, loud, gaudy, ridiculously ostentatious and flabbergastingly fake. What I didn’t count on was that I’d have such fun photographing the sights. And I didn’t even get to see a fourth of The Strip, tsk tsk. But no matter, the 250-mile, 4.5 hour trip (that’s one way) was worth it. I spent only a short time taking pictures (around 3 hours all in all in one night), the first hour with my aunt, poor unsuspecting dear who didn’t know what she was getting into, and a couple of hours alone till midnight while my cousins were making pindot the machines at Harrah’s.
At sundown we crossed the walkway from Flamingo to Caesar’s Palace, which I didn’t explore much as I had already spotted The Paris Hotel and Bellagio and wanted to concentrate on these by the time it started to get dark. (Am not as great a fan of Roman architecture as I am of Gothic and Baroque in any case.) Early on as we approached The Strip (aka Las Vegas Boulevard), seeing it even from afar, I instantly had a liking for The Bellagio. Tacky it certainly was not. To my delight I found out that the fountain show would be starting in several minutes. So I clicked away happily as we waited (I think by this time it was starting to dawn on my aunt what exactly our stroll would entail ehehe).
What with its 1,200 nozzles and 4,500 lights, the show did not fail to impress. I was so busy fiddling with my cameras, fitting the G2 into the tripod and then the Rebel XT, trying out different shutter speeds, shifting the camera vertically, then back horizontally, making sure no one would accidentally shove my equipment into the water in front of me, checking my bag from time to time, there was so much to mind that I forgot what the music was. I do remember that it was lovely music (classical most probably), and the water moved gracefully in tune with it. Fifteen minutes later (which means I spent that much time photographing The Paris Hotel across the street), as we walked towards the hotel on the left side, the fountains again began to dance, this time to the strains of Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli singing Con Te Partiro (Time to Say Goodbye), which I happen to like a lot. *sigh* It was beautiful. I don’t like using the word but alright -- it was awesome. (Go here to view clips of the show.)
I didn’t get to take as many pics inside the Bellagio (spent some minutes window shopping at the art gallery *grin*), didn’t even get to go to the Conservatory (I sometimes get an urge to kick myself for that but hey, it’s not as if I didn’t enjoy what else I saw – maybe next time) because we had to meet up with my cousins for dinner.
After dinner, I announced that I would take a walk alone, seeing as how my aunt was a tad tired from the ordeal earlier *guilty grin*. We spent some time waiting for the volcano at The Mirage, but it turned out to be so-so. Or maybe I was distracted, because I was raring to go and check out The Venetian (if I can’t see the real Venice I might as well practice shooting replicas, right?). As it turned out, I spent all of two hours there, and I didn’t even get to see everything (*sigh* so many photo opps, so little time).
I stood and took pics in front of the fake Doge’s Palace for some time, then went up to take in a view of the surrounding buildings from the balcony. I made a nuisance of myself as I took a picture of my reflection on a glass window (it was too much of a bother to pick a random stranger I could maybe trust to take my picture, who knows huh?) -- people hesitated about walking in front of the camera *giggle*, wondering what on earth I found so interesting about a dark glass panel (I did overhear one bloke explaining to his friend what I was doing, though).
I then met up with my companions at Harrah's and as we walked back to Flamingo where we had parked, I spotted a couple slumped by the sidewalk, sleeping. The woman was leaning toward her male companion. Both were rather unkempt. Next to them was a recently-emptied packet of Doritos and a large soda tumbler. If I were keen on people photography I would have snapped one, but I’m not and I don’t much like recording images of misery. Did they come to Vegas with some money, expectant and excited, did they hit the casinos, win some, lose a lot, did they then have nothing left to pay for a hotel room and a decent meal? Were they drunk, desperate, doomed to keep trying to get back some cash, maybe just enough to make a sizable bet, win an amount significant enough to bring back a bit of hope of better days? Hope comes at a high price in Las Vegas once you start to lose it. Isn’t that what it sells, whether it be in the form of slot machines, baccarat and poker tables, roulettes, pounds of flesh and mounds of silicon, dressed in fancy lights and displays, dazzling advertisements and enticements screaming at you as soon as you cross the stateline? Just then I remembered how I had not had a chance to do the slots.
We spent the morning of the next day shopping at the outlets (found a pair of waterproof hiking boots yayy) and lunching (buffet for $7) at a Chinese restaurant. Afterwards, whereas cousin C and her family headed back to California, cousin L, Auntie C and I braved through the afternoon Strip traffic to get to the Las Vegas Hilton. I then took a last bid at shooting from the windshield (I think maybe one fourth of all my images were done this way, LOL). So it was only then that I got to gawk at the horrid MGM lion (didn’t get to see much of the Luxor as traffic was faster at that end), Lady Liberty flanked by a roller coaster, the colorful Excalibur castle, and the delightful Gameworks façade. Now as to why we were headed towards the Hilton, well that’s another story for another post * cough* Star Trek* cough* ;-)
So that’s the story, lots more pics are at my filphoto Vegas online album. Check them out and keep clicking on `em as I uploaded large sized images, the better to inspect, examine, or critique. :-)
Friday, January 06, 2006
George Gudni is an Icelandic artist who does gorgeous landscape paintings and photographs. His latest book, Strange Familiar, was recently published by Perceval Press (which is owned by Viggo). Viggo's abstract photographs will be on exhibit from what I gather. His newest book is Linger. I like some of his abstract colored photographs such as this:
Pukerua Bay by Viggo Mortensen
Quite beautiful, isn't it? More info about the exhibit and sample pics at the Track 16 website.
Tuesday, January 03, 2006
Here's one from the batch I will soon be posting. There's that annoying slab at the lower right side of the lamp post, tsk tsk... I didn't notice it at the time because I had my aunt behind groaning from the ordeal I was putting her through, LOL. (The ordeal being her mistake to go with me on a shoot. ;-) Sorry Auntie, but hey, I got nice pictures of us, huh? *whispers* The poor dear said she didn't want to be photographed but she forgot that immediately after she saw a large Celine Dion poster outside Caesar's Palace, ehehehe.)
Le prime luci
Across the Bellagio, Las Vegas
Monday, January 02, 2006
(Click here for larger image.)
Soon to make its voyage to my reptile-loving friend :-)
Sunday, January 01, 2006
What's in My Journal
by William Stafford
Odd things, like a button drawer. Mean
things, fishhooks, barbs in your hand.
But marbles too. A genius for being agreeable.
Junkyard crucifixes, voluptuous
discards. Space for knickknacks, and for
Alaska. Evidence to hang me, or to beatify.
Clues that lead nowhere, that never connected
anyway. Deliberate obfuscation, the kind
that takes genius. Chasms in character.
Loud omissions. Mornings that yawn above
a new grave. Pages you know exist
but you can't find them. Someone's terribly
inevitable life story, maybe mind.