Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

David Cook in Concert 5.16.2009

Want a virtual concert right now? Here are my videos in a nice playlist, it's of the entire show:

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Hong Kong for some Mraz

(Drawing by Jinny Wu, a fan we met at the concert.)

I managed to take some video. Visuals ain't much, but the audio is excellent. Enjoy!

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Who watches the Watchmen?

Come... dry your eyes. For you are life, rarer than a quark and unpredictable beyond the dreams of Heisenberg; the clay in which the forces that shape all things leave their fingerprints most clearly. -- Dr. Manhattan, Watchmen by Alan Moore.

So yeah, I've noticed. Watchmen the movie is not everyone's cup of tea. Some girls I overheard in the restroom noted: "It suuuuucked." Well, too bad for them. Coz I liked it! Is that entirely because I had read the graphic novel beforehand? Watchmen is considered a classic of its time, penned by the much adored Alan Moore. A few years ago when I started to read it I had already had a taste of Alan Moore's writing with From Hell -- hella of a place to start because egad, was that dense! A difficult read made only less so on account of my interest in the subject matter (Jack the Ripper). Thanks to that I was not put off by the first few chapters of Watchmen. Some who dismiss the novel as just another comic book hero story perhaps never get to that mindset where one can see beyond the artifice and the fantasy underneath which more philosophical issues are being asked. In an alternate universe where the United States is still in a cold war with Russia, where vigilantes, outlawed and now retired, live out painfully ordinary, sometimes miserable little lives, the one hero recognized by all is virtually a god, a naked blue figure called Dr. Manhattan, a seeming sword of Damocles hanging over the heads of the entire human race. What does this god think of mere mortals? What does it mean to love a god, to be loved by him? What about the heroes of the past, how do they look upon their lives, their history? Do they long for it still? Or have they moved past it? Where do heroes go to die? Why do they become heroes in the first place, is it nobility or power? Is it a matter of choice? Or are they driven to assume alternate personas because they are just as flawed and damaged as the rest of us? Whether any of these is true or not, if any one of them could save us, save humanity, is any solution a justifiable act?

The movie, as good as it was, was naturally confined to the limitations of its format. In the graphic novel, the characters are so excellently explored that you get a sense of each one's pains. One of the things I loved about it was Dr. Manhattan's musings on the human condition, his recounting of his own transition from humanity to virtual godhood. For all his unimaginable power, Dr. Manhattan still did not know everything, and still marvelled as he reached an insight concerning his former lover Laurie (The Silk Spectre). (My favorite quote at the start of this entry is from that very moment.) I could go on and on but it's been some time since I read the novel, and there are just too many themes, too many details that I have already forgotten. (So yeah, I'll read it again someday.)

So yeah, I loved the movie. But that's just me. I love science fiction and fantasy because I sometimes find the more realistic drama genre too oppressive. Science fiction and fantasy, in contrast, present to us a hyper reality if you will, something that Ursula K. Le Guin calls "a psychological reality in the novelist's way", an "invention of elaborately circumstantial lies" underneath which are universal truths. Le Guin also notes that those who do not like science fiction describe the genre as "escapist". And it is, but only if you do not go beyond the surface. Otherwise, you're liable to say, "It suuuuucks!".

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Curious indeed II

I had been waiting for this movie since July. Finally I saw it. A wee bit Forrest Gump-ish perhaps, but let me tell `ya, *whispers* I never really liked Forrest Gump all that much.

I'll make this short and sweet (because I had these notes months ago and I'm finalizing it only now). I've always said that the key to enjoying this type of movie, as with other fantasy stories, is to suspend disbelief. Once you are able to do that, accept the improbability of the premise as a temporary truth, then you're all set. Otherwise, there's a high probability that you'll feel cheated.

Random note: that whole kismet sequence with the taxi and the lady going shopping felt like a sore thumb when it shouldn't have been. It felt like it was extracted from a creative writing exercise and stuck in there. But you know what, I still liked it (because heck, I like `em words. Words + intriguing concept = win).

What intrigued me the most is that while watching, my brain was telling me this couldn't happen, yet my heart was also feeling the pathos, the sadness. Like the scene with the pimply teenager with Alzheimer's just about short-circuited my brain. It was an absurd mix of emotion and rationality -- it is exactly why I love this genre. The ordinary human condition transposed into an extraordinary, unnatural situation. Yes, it's absurd to think that a person can age backwards, but what does the film delve into? Abandonment, love at its first glimmerings, sadness, old age, death, all too natural, human concerns.

And then again, who's to say, I may just have been blinded by the sheer beauty of Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, or extremely enthralled by the technology. (Yes, I have researched it. Way cool! Read this. *dork*)

Friday, January 02, 2009

The Canon Powershot G10

I've had the camera for a couple of months now, and so far I've been happy with it, given the expectations I had of it from the start. The key to my satisfaction? I knew full well that it could not aspire to be at the level of SLR performance. What I needed was an upgrade of my beloved Canon G2, something compact (that much easier to sneak inside all sorts of venues, heh!), light, and easy to use, yet can produce images at par, if not better than what I've been used to with my G2.

The G10 is a beautiful piece of gadget, retro looking but also sleek. The small size took some getting used to at first, but I got the hang of it. Now I'm very happy with it especially since it's easy to hold while taking videos, say at a concert. Whee! The audio is superb on the videos, too. Check out some samples in this playlist I posted at youtube: Michael Johns at Trinoma (Nov. 18, 2008). Below are some test shots I did. Not too bad, if I dare say so myself:

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

For more info on the shots above, check my flickr gallery. (Click on each image to get the info for each shot.)