Friday, November 30, 2007

Beowulf: How to take liberties with a classic and not get away with it

I had been looking forward to seeing Beowulf in 3D and finally I did it. So now, 450 pesos later (that’s 300 for the movie ticket and 150 for lunch – let me tell you, don’t attempt to watch a 3D film while eating lunch; I gobbled up my burger and fries 10mins before it started as I didn’t want to get distracted), here’s my verdict.

As usual, I didn’t read any reviews or join any discussions about the movie beforehand, but I did get wind that the story was a bit thin. No kidding, it should have been epic, it’s a classic piece of literature after all, a great hero story. It would have been so easy to make an animated feature of epic proportions, right? Well, apparently not. Don’t get me wrong, it WAS entertaining (I’m no purist) and it WAS a sight to behold (not perfect though), but what about the story?

Beowulf stands proud as one of the best known Old English hero epic poems in history. It’s a classic, and classics are called that because they are great stories. So with a base material like that, how can one go wrong? It is when one takes the risk of changing it. As it turns out, Roger Avary and Neil Gaiman took liberties with the plot, and oh mama, what huge liberties they were! (I am not sure though how much of Gaiman’s contribution was retained; I read that a rewrite was done somewhere along the way.) Now I don’t have a problem with writers making changes in movie adaptations (especially when I’m not intimately familiar with the original source material to begin with *cough*), as it’s always interesting to me to see if it will work or not. For this particular movie, I found that replacing the archetypal hero story – you know, great noble hero fighting many great battles against unimaginably formidable forces of evil and whatnot -- with a 21st century proclivity for anti-hero themes could have been so much more powerful than how it actually turned out. (I happen to be a fan of anti-hero stories.) It had potential which wasn’t quite reached.

If you like your heroes as perfect, infallible, noble warriors then you won’t like Beowulf at all. In the first half of the film, he is portrayed as this boastful, self-centered Calvin Klein-ish metrosexual (I don’t know, did anyone else get that vibe?) with a taste for hyperbole in the retelling of his heroic deeds. (But hey, it must have been a bitch being a hero in those times, being pressured into acting the part of a character you know would later be spun into songs and tales orally handed down from generation to generation for ages. If you were to be in a song or tale, wouldn’t you want to look good? I would have exaggerated too, heh. And on another less relevant note: that Ray Winstone sure sounded good, such great voice and delivery that I forgave him the annoying “I... am Beowuuulf!”) So uh, where was I? ...Ah right, Beowulf as the flawed hero. They could have made so much more of Beowulf’s burden, the king’s shame (both Hrothgar’s and Beowulf’s), the price of their ambition, and the demon (Grendel’s mother). Beyond the semi-naked Lara Croft in demon pigtails (hee hee) and heels (hwaar har), the only demonstration of evil shown was the visitation of her awesome power (which we didn’t even get to see, maybe it will be in the DVD’s deleted scenes? *sarcastic*) on Beowulf’s thanes in Heorot upon Grendel’s death. And uhm, oh yeah, I suppose seducing Beowulf, and more so, Anthony Hopkins, is evil. Seriously though, the notion that the greater demon is greed, pride, and ambition, that in itself could have been played much better. There were moments that could have been epic (e.g. the battle between the demon and Beowulf, Beowulf’s realization of his mistake as Hrothgar practically handed him the kingship, Beowulf’s death) but weren’t. In my opinion, the technology got in the way of telling and experiencing the story. If I hadn’t been so wrapped in the details perhaps I could have taken it more seriously. Instead I was thinking: Hmm, nice stones, very gravelly. Why are their garments so flat, hanging there like they were paper clothes on a 3-dimensional head? Oh look, Unferth has newly rebounded hair. John Malkovich, man, you act so much better in person. Never ever do this again. Ooh Anthony Hopkins, that was him – eww, I don’t want to see him naked thank goodness everything is CGI’ed. Why is Beowulf’s head old and weathered while his body is still Calvin Klein model-ish? Nice detail on Angelina’s face, soft down of tiny hairs. Eh, are my 3D glasses broken? Oh right, it’s a night scene, 3D doesn’t do those well.

I could go on and on here, but the long and short of it is, yeah it’s quite entertaining and engaging. I even turned my head away in reflex when a piece of wood hurtled my way (sitting at eye level is recommended). But don’t watch it for the story. Maybe Neil can do that better in graphic novel form. Also, here’s what I’m wondering: could Peter Jackson and WETA have done it so much better? Ahem.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Remembering Batanes

Seeing the Inquirer 2BU's feature on Batanes (and Jill's fantastic pics) reminded me of my two trips there several years ago. Back then there were no direct flights from Manila to Basco. One had to go to Laoag and fly from there. They didn't sell two-way tickets, for the weather was so unpredictable. On one of our trips back we flew out to Tuguegarao on a cargo plane. The pilot went about town inquiring about passengers who wanted to head out. The flight was scheduled like it was a jeepney trip, arranged almost at the passengers' convenience. (That is to say, the schedule was alas-puno.) There were no seats on the cargo plane - we had to find what little space there was behind the cockpit (I could have easily tickled the pilot's ear had I felt like it), or else sit on Monobloc chairs. I remember I stood and walked about for a good portion of the trip.

I dug up my travel journal and found this entry. I should go back there sometime soon...

Mooning Over Monsoon Country
Batanes Resort, Basco, Batanes.
9:55 p.m.

In about two hours, all lights will go out in the entire island. I shan’t be hearing anything other than the crashing waves outside. Tomorrow I shall rise a half-hour before daybreak, to witness morning light shining upon vast grasslands bound by this angry shore. I sleep and I rise amidst an unspeakably beautiful seascape.

This is monsoon country… is it small wonder that my thoughts now turn to water?

This afternoon I noticed glints of silver along the waters, near the horizon. It was like a cascade of stars tumbling along the water’s folds. Along the shore the continuous flow and ebb of the tides created a calming rhythm. As the waves beat against the sand, a narrow strip of aqua blue appeared and disappeared, distinct against the cobalt blue covering the most part of the sea.

Two days ago, as we approached Chavayan Village in the pouring rain, we saw curtains of rain from the Pacific approaching the coastline, towards the village. It was as if sheets of icicles were being dropped from overhead. Near the coast the water changed to aqua blue as the waves crashed on the shore. The rest of the Pacific was a deep, deep sparkly blue.

I had dreaded the 30-minute boat ride to Sabtang the day before we went, being the aquaphobic coward that I am (well, who wouldn’t be if you didn’t know how to swim?). But when we finally were crossing the South China Sea, I became somewhat mesmerized by the deep blue color that stretched out before and around us. We rode the waves to get to Sabtang. At times the tide would swell, and if one looked to the right, one could see the water level rising higher than the boat’s hull. It was a curious sensation, feeling as if any minute one could easily be engulfed in those deep blue folds of the sea. It would be frightening for a split-second, and then utterly beautiful, the thought of being enfolded in that vast blanket of blue. Mighty curious, how I react to bodies of water. I fear being in it yet there’s something about it that draws me again and again. I love photographing the waters. I love staring at seascapes.

On the way back to Batan I sat atop the motor box the whole time, elevated so as to have a full view of the bow and the approaching island, and to feel the wind against my face. I rode the waves for a half hour and revelled in it.

[The individual pics in the collage above can be viewed better here.]

Monday, November 26, 2007

Neil Gaiman launches Pinoy Expeditions into the unreal

Right. I went to the Expeditions book launch and 2nd Philippine Graphic/Fiction Awards held at Bonifacio High Street. Got a set of paperback Expeditions, one of which (the Comics volume) was pre-signed by Neil who wrote the Foreword, got my friend Y's cousins, first prize comics winners Waya and Lala Gallardo's autographs, stood around for ages (warranting foot reflexology afterwards), lost a favorite earring (waah), got no raffle prizes (I never win on raffles ack), found some amusement in Erik Mana's prestidigitations (a term foisted on the crowd by hosts Gabe Mercado and Karen Kunawicz, also a reference to the book American Gods) and the Bahaghari Ensemble's (not their complete name; sorry, it was too long and you know me, memory like a sieve!) strange ethnic music cum arnis/kali demo presentation (I felt like I was watching a video game hey!), saw some of the country's better known writers and artists in the comics/scifi/fantasy genre, and lastly, got to listen to Neil Gaiman.

For transcripts from that night, head on over to Charles Tan's blog. Images can be found at my flickr gallery. Check out how Neil assisted in Mana's magic trick, and in a fan's marriage proposal (for the latter I don't have a pic because it happened the day before, but the link is there, you'll have to look for it *wink*). Click on the pic below to get there:

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Neil Gaiman believes in Pinoy talent

It's heartening to know that such a writer as Neil Gaiman has faith in the Pinoy potential. He believes in the Pinoys' talent and creativity, but is frustrated at how disconnected we are from the rest of the world, as reported in Walang Pahinga's LJ. Some choice quotes that I borrowed from said LJ, from Neil's talk, Imagination and the Creativity in the Contemporary World, during the 20th Advertising Congress last Nov. 22:

"The important questions are what if? I wonder if...? If only...? What would happen if...? Everyone asks these and wonder. The best ideas come when we daydream. They come when we're bored. The only difference between other people and writers is that writers know when they're imagining and they know they're gonna pursue and write it."

"I don't believe in writer's block. Writers are very special. Ever heard of politician ever getting politics block? I don't think so. Especially not here. But writers have writer's block. I don't believe in it since they end up writing over 20,000 words explaining why they can't write what they should write. For me I believe writers get stuck. People get stuck. And when that happens to me, I get away from my computer, walk around, rest, have tea."

Neil also reportedly described Philippine folklore as "the coolest folklores in the world" and encouraged Pinoy writers to unleash them across the globe (or else he will). Check out this Inquirer article.

Charles Tan's blog has mp3s of the Ad Congress talk and Q&A, plus Neil's reading of an excerpt from his upcoming novel The Graveyard Book and Q&A from A Gathering of Dreamlings and Nightmares held in Subic Bay this morning.

I just found out that Azrael will attempt to air the Bonifacio High Street event live tomorrow in the internet via video streaming. Kewl! Go through here to watch it.

Friday, November 23, 2007

A taste for the surreal

My friend Ninfa introduced me just recently to the wonderful work of Maggie Taylor. Taylor creates images using a scanner, photographs, assorted objects and Adobe Photoshop. Here are samples of her work.

Twilight Swim ©Maggie Taylor / The Scientist ©Maggie Taylor

Woman Who Loves Fish ©Maggie Taylor / Distracted Cats ©Maggie Taylor

Check out her online gallery here. There are images that are whimsical, funny, strange, even disturbing. In June 2008, Modernbook Editions will publish an illustrated Alice's Adventures in Wonderland featuring Taylor's creations. For those interested in how the images are made: the downloadable Adobe Magazine (June 2007 issue) from has a feature which shows Maggie Taylor's creative process (very aptly entitled "Building A Dream"). Perhaps when I have time I'll try my hand at this. *excited*

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Is Amazon Kindle™ prompting a trend that will eventually make us set our books on fire?

It's an exciting time in the U.S. right now where book and gadget lovers alike are concerned (drats, when will we have access to this I wonder). Amazon very recently announced a new device that took 3 years in the making: the Amazon Kindle™, a wireless electronic book that has been described as nothing short of revolutionary. It was sold out in 5.5 hours.

I'm normally skeptical of e-books. I don't cherish the thought of reading novels on a computer monitor as I get tremendous eyestrain. And back pain. I'd rather curl up in bed with a book in hand. Don't you just love fondling the paper, smelling in between the pages (for new acquisitions, not old ones eh), tucking the book under your pillow or lining up your books beside you on the bed when it's time to go to sleep?

But after reading through Amazon's Kindle Product Page and watching the videos there, plus checking out some third party reviews, I'm stoked. Good thing we can't get it here because it's $399. Gah. Check out the display. It's called digital paper. And darn does it look crisp, as near an illusion of the printed page as any, dayum. There's no backlighting, ergo it will not cause as much eyestrain as does a computer screen. And judging by the demo video, using the device is highly intuitive. Successful technologies are marked by their capacity to disappear or become invisible. Those devices which you become so accustomed to that you no longer even think of or are conscious of when you handle them ("Oh hey, right, I'm reading a book with an electronic device, I forgot all about that."), those are the ones that have clicked. I think Kindle (admittedly imperfect as it is right now) just might be on the right track to replacing the printed page. ("Horrors!" I heard `ya!)

In any case, let's not let me babble on, best to point out just the crucial points. The best being: portability. You don't have to lug your books around, whether you're going to the coffee shop nearby, your school or office, or on a long vacation or a long road trip. No need to decide before you leave which book you want to have with you - take several! It's also a very attractive selling point for those who have serious storage problems (like moi). Load the Kindle with as many as 200 books at a time. When you're done and have no more space, delete it, and have it stored by Amazon online, ready to be downloaded again (at no cost) when or if you feel like reading it again. You can also use an SD card if you want to have all your books at your fingertips.

Come to think of it, portability and convenience are its two most important selling points. Perhaps I would get one even without the extras. Which are nice to have though, mind you: a built-in dictionary, the ability to bookmark, highlight passages or clip pages, to store personal photos and documents (yo hey, you can load your own novella in-progress if you like reading it to yourself every now and then), access to newspaper subscriptions, blogs, and hah, you can even load mp3s and have background music for your reading! And I almost forgot: with wireless technology (3G technology I gather), buying a book takes less than a minute. You just go to Amazon in your Kindle, choose a book, and ting! presto! you have your new book.

All this sounds fascinating, doesn't it? Don't take my word for it though, check out The New York Times: An E-Book Reader That Just May Catch On. Also Guardian Unlimited: The Kindle Doesn't Light My Fire for a contrary viewpoint, and BoingBoing Gadgets: Amazon Kindle eBook Review which spells out some problems but calls the device "promising". And google for more reviews.

Sudden thought: what about booksignings? Will it eventually become a forgotten tradition? Eh.

Disclaimer: Yeah right, easy for me to give a thumbs up. Because I can't get a Kindle of my own I'm just rambling on without risking any moolah on it. This is just my initial impression. Chalk it all up to excitement for the idea of the thing (I admit I'm quite susceptible to that.) If and when the Kindle catches on, and if it gets to these shores, hopefully with a more realistic pricing structure, maybe I'll get back to this.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

So Neil Gaiman has arrived

Neil is already in Manila according to his blog.
Seems there won't be a booksigning on Sunday at the Bonifacio High Street event. Perhaps they don't want to tire him out like they did in 2005, poor Neil, autographing thousands of books. Good thing I got a couple of mine signed. The only signing scheduled will be in Subic, where Neil will also be speaking at the 20th Philippine Advertising Congress. A couple of lovely posters by Ian Sta. Maria (check out Ian's multiply album to see larger versions. Neil asked for his autograph!):

Ruey de Vera already wrote a review of Expeditions, a set of two books (Comics & Prose) to be launched on Sunday. Something to look forward to evidently.

"Whether the words and images bow to your particular taste or not, whether they are miracle drug or mere placebo to you, whether it is the Escape key or the Enter key, there is no denying how both volumes of “Expeditions” are a testament to the remarkable promise and power of Filipino creativity in fiction and comics, the hurricane of words and images birthed from the fierce flapping of an unleashed butterfly’s wings."

A few frames from Pushing Daisies

I took screencaps, a few frames from Pushing Daisies (I stylized these a bit) Episode 6: Bitches. These illustrate a couple of reasons why I love the show.

Though he could animate the dead, Young Ned could only reanimate the inanimate with his imagination. On this lonely night he tried to recreate his past life, but he'd lost his ability to dream and found even his imagination failed him.

Still he wore hope on his head.

What Young Ned didn't know was at that very moment the girl he called Chuck was wearing hope on hers. They were together even if they were far apart.

The New Yorker doesn't seem to be optimistic about the show's prospects for longevity, stating that "“Pushing Daisies” probably shouldn’t last longer than a season; fairy tales aren’t supposed to go on forever. It will then take its place proudly beside other worthy efforts that lived fast, died young, and left behind a beautiful DVD." Part of me wishes it doesn't end so soon, but at the same time I'm worried about whether they'll be able to keep up the same quality. *cough Heroes cough*

Monday, November 19, 2007

Shelfari with me, why don't cha?

I admit I haven't been reading much lately (apart from Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix which I read nightly to put me to sleep), and my eyesight hasn't been getting any better (I haven't been using my eyeglasses). But I will get right down to it. Here's a glimpse of the contents of my Shelfari Reading List of the moment. (Click on the image to see my Shelfari shelf.)

Shelfari is a social networking site of sorts, but it is books that binds people together here. The interface is much like Flickr's (which I love). You can build your shelf, add friends, recommend books for them, browse their shelves, join groups, participate in discussions, and so on. Membership is free. Shelfari got a much coveted partnership with Amazon, which pays them a small amount for books bought at Amazon through a referral made by Shelfari. (Note that you do NOT have to buy to keep your account.) There are still some kinks and bugs they have to fix -- well ok, it's not only "some" kinks if you ask me, but that's only because I complain a lot and want so many things all at once - Flickr has `em, why can't Shelfari too? Like I was supposed to post a widget above, but there's something up and it wouldn't display properly so I just posted an image of the widget. Had it been working you'd have been able to click on each of those books on the shelf and gone to that particular Shelfari book page. Sounds nifty, huh? But alas something got lost in translation. Maybe the javascript, maybe it's blogger, who knows? But they've got a shiny new spanking techie team working on the site right now. That's what they're saying anyhow.

Still and all, I like what I see so far and I'm inviting you to come join me. Go to and let's get reading. (Or else I'll keep bugging you with invitation e-mails. Half-kidding. Shelfari got a lot of flak from their first invitation e-mail program because it kept sending itself to all the people in members' address books. But worry not, that has been fixed. As with most things in the world wide web, it's best to be careful: read before you click. That was the primary flaw of the invitation before - it required un-clicking a lot to keep the program from doing the annoying thing, and only one click to get it going.)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Waxing poetic in the metro

Last week on the LRT Line 2 I was pleasantly surprised to find poetry on the train. There were posters inside the train with pretty pictures and layouts of texts in Spanish and Filipino. I instantly thought that it must be a project of Instituto Cervantes, one of the most active cultural institutions here in Manila. So I stepped closer and found it was indeed their project. I had a backpack with a laptop strapped to me and only a very short ride, so I messed up the pic. Just tonight I attempted another shot, and again I had a backpack and a quick ride, so this is still blurry but it will have to do (clickie for larger image):

Berso sa metro # 1

The text reads

Oh Maynila, sa talulot
ng mahinhing liryo isinilang!
mabunying prinsesang nahihimlay
sa bula ng karagatan!

Oh Manila, en la corola
de un casto lirio nacida!
gentil princesa dormida
sobre la espuma del mar!

A Manila
Pacifico Victoriano

According to the Inquirer, Berso sa Metro is a campaign aimed at promoting reading among Filipino commuters and strengthening Filipino-Spanish ties. The works of Filipino (Jose Rizal, Jesús Balmori, Claro M. Recto, José Palma, Evangelina Guerrero, Pacifico Victoriano and Fernando Maria Guerrero), Spanish (Calderón de la Barca, Lope de Vega, García Lorca, Antonio Machado, Luis Cernuda, Luis Rosales, Miguel Hernández and Gil de Biedma) and Latin American poets (Pablo Neruda and César Vallejo) have been selected for us to enjoy. The campaign is planned to run for three months but may be extended depending on the public's response. A quick blogsearch tells me there are people taking notice of (and pleasure from) Berso sa Metro:

I Heart Manila
Let a hundred flowers bloom
Digital Buryong
...and then some
sealed with a kiss
Loving Multiply, Multiplying Love
The Coolness that was...

Another poem I spotted was Pablo Neruda's Tu Risa. I messed up the pic (wide shot while sitting, sorry, my aching back!)

but here's the text:

Ríete de la noche,
del día, de la luna,
ríete de las calles
torcidas de la isla,
ríete de este torpe
muchacho que te quiere,
pero cuando yo abro
los ojos y los cierro,
cuando mis pasos van,
cuando vuelven mis pasos,
niégame el pan, el aire,
la luz, la primavera
pero tu risa nunca
porque me moriría.

Pagtawanan mo ang gabi,
ang araw, ang buwan
Pagtawanan mo ang liku-likong
landas sa isla,
Pagtawanan mo ang torpeng
lalaking ito na nagmamahal sa iyo,
Ngunit kapag bubuksan ko
at isasara ang aking mga mata,
Kapag ako ay umalis,
kapag ako ay muling bumalik
Ipagkait mo na sa akin ang tinapay,
ang hangin, ang liwanag at ang tagsibol,
Huwag lamang ang iyong ngiti
Dahil ito’y aking ikasasawi

(They should have acknowledged the translator of all the poems they used. Or perhaps it was indicated in small print, I just didn't see it?)

Now if only they take this bright idea and start posting more of Philippine art and literature. Say, post comic strips in series. Or Philippine art - photographs of paintings, sculptures, and so on. Illustrations from children's books. They can even serialize these, make it a game or puzzle for children and adults alike. Wouldn't that be a treat?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Guess who's coming (again)?

Larger image and details at the Fully Booked website.

Neil actually broached the idea of holding Graphic/Fiction awards after his visit here in Manila in 2005, seeing how much talent our local artists have. Below are links to the winners of the 1st Philippine Graphic/Fiction Awards, Comics category. (Still looking for links to the winners of the prose fiction category.) Said winners are published in Expeditions which will be launched at the 2nd Philippine Graphic/Fiction Awards.

Grand winner
The Sad, Mad Incredible but True Adventures of Hika Girl

Runners up
Defiant: The Battle for Mactan

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


I re-uploaded these just recently:

I got my Neil Gaiman album from my old filphoto gallery and brought it over to my flickr gallery. Click on the image to view the album:

Neil Gaiman, Manila, July 2005.

I also re-posted my Angkor slideshow (from my dailymotion page) since there were some having problems accessing the original one I posted (from photobucket). So the slideshow ought to work better now - updated My Angkor Movie entry.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Morbidly yours

I'm a tad late in posting this but hey, `tis still the season for talk about the dead, death and dying. Yes, morbid thoughts, but not necessarily sad or depressing.


First off, let me tell you what new tv show has taken my fancy lately, and what you should also be watching: Pushing Daisies. It's a sort of forensic or procedural fairy tale (say what?), a dark comedy that has caught my attention much like Six Feet Under did when I first discovered it (that is, before it went a tad too dark to be funny. I did like how SFU finished though). Pushing Daisies is about Ned, a piemaker who has the power to bring the dead back to life by a mere touch. But if he lets the newly undead live for more than a minute, the nearest living thing of the same species will die. To prevent this, he must touch said newly undead again - to die forever. Now Ned has a partner, Private Investigator Emerson Cod. Cod finds people who have died under questionable circumstances, the solution of whose murders carry a reward. They go to the see the corpse, Ned touches it, they ask the undead who killed them and presto, case solved (not so straightforwardly, naturally). Sounds lucrative, no?

In the pilot episode (cleverly entitled Pie-lette hee hee), said corpse happens to be that of Chuck, Ned's childhood crush and first kiss. Ned ends up letting her live. Which makes Emerson very unhappy (because it spells 3 way split on the reward money from then on). So here we have it, Ned and his childhood sweetheart reunite, never to kiss again. Talk about platonic, well this takes the cake. Or pie as the case may be.

The show has been said to be reminiscent of Amelie and Tim Burton movies. Each episode is introduced by a narrator, in keeping with a storybook-like feel that is complemented by super-saturated colors and CGI. The dialogue is witty, littered with brilliant turns of phrase, and delivered in tongue-twisting speed. Any show that gets me continuously chuckling, giggling, snickering, snorting, laughing, and guffawing and hah-ing and ooh-ing and ahh-ing, is an instant favorite of mine. The characters (and that includes the narrator and Digby, Ned's golden retriever) are all lovable and wonderfully casted.

Very early on (that is to say, after the pilot), naysayers (including myself) have speculated that this show will not likely last beyond one season, for how long can you keep the whole resurrect-the-dead-and-solve-the-case schtick going? And how will you keep things interesting between Ned and Chuck? But after having seen 5 episodes already, I've forgotten to be skeptic. Who cares if they do the same thing all the time - some shows have stayed on using far less imaginative formats - the show is the most delightful there is on tv right now (right, like I actually watch TV. Hah!). What's not to love? As for Ned and Chuck, well. Surprisingly, the producers didn't bide their time at all because we see Ned and Chuck kissing in the 2nd ep. Hah!

So far, Pushing Daisies has gotten lots of good press, and critical acclaim to boot. It's been picked up for one full season. (Hopefully, the Writers Guild of America strike will be resolved soon, but if it isn't, the season might end with episode 9, according to You might want to check out the official website. Here's a preview of the show's pilot:


On a less flighty note. I wouldn't be surprised if none of you had ever heard of Loreena McKennitt, she's not that well-known in these parts. Certainly not as popular as Enya to whom she is often compared. In keeping with the theme of this post, I thought it apt to share this favorite track of mine from McKennitt's album The Book of Secrets.

In a lonely train journey across Siberia, Loreena thought of Dante's The Divine Comedy and wrote this song. It is a profound meditation on the human condition, on what lies beyond life. I have loved it since the first time I heard it. It moves me with each listen.

Dante's Prayer

When the dark wood fell before me
And all the paths were overgrown
When the priests of pride say there is no other way
I tilled the sorrows of stone

I did not believe because I could not see
Though you came to me in the night
When the dawn seemed forever lost
You showed me your love in the light of the stars

Cast your eyes on the ocean
Cast your soul to the sea
When the dark night seems endless
Please remember me

Then the mountain rose before me
By the deep well of desire
From the fountain of forgiveness
Beyond the ice and the fire

Cast your eyes on the ocean
Cast your soul to the sea
When the dark night seems endless
Please remember me

Though we share this humble path, alone
How fragile is the heart
Oh give these clay feet wings to fly
To touch the face of the stars

Breathe life into this feeble heart
Lift this mortal veil of fear
Take these crumbled hopes, etched with tears
We'll rise above these earthly cares

Cast your eyes on the ocean
Cast your soul to the sea
When the dark night seems endless
Please remember me...