Monday, May 30, 2005

Confessions, Part I

When I'm alone in the elevator, I make kung-fu stances against the mirrors on the walls.

Unless of course I have an umbrella, in which case I do lightsaber stances.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Movies: Transformers the Movie

I should've thought of this as soon as I got DSL: I went ahead and downloaded Transformers the Movie.

Transformers was of course, the epitome of my youth. Unlike most other guy kids, I preferred the Transformers to G.I. Joe. I guess I preferred high-tech fantasy over soliders back then, with the war of the heroic Autobots and the Evil Decepticons appealing more to my young mind than soldiers trying to fight terrorists. I watched the show, I read the comics (the first comic series I really collected), I had a lunch box, and I even bought and ate the unhealthy cheap knock-off Transformers-branded chips they sold near the St. Joseph parish.

Transformers: the Movie was the pinnacle of my childhood experience with the Transformers cartoon, since the seasons following the movie were never broadcast on Philippine TV. I watched it yesterday, hoping I would still find the old charm which enthralled me as a child.

I was not disappointed. Well, not much anyway. As an adult I've grown more critical of things in general, quick to spot and point out minute flaws. Some notes:

The year is 2005 in Transformers the Movie, some 19 years after the movie's actual release. At least they didn't predict flying cars like Back to the Future, but how come we don't yet have cars that look like Hot Rod? The "futuristic" look of the six new Autobots introduced in the movie (Ultra Magnus, Hot Rod, Kup, Blurr, Springer and Arcee) give you an indication of how the people of 80s perceived future transportation.

Apparently, Transformers can use lightsabers, er...Laser Swords! Megatron pulls one out during his fatal battle with Optimus Prime, and later in the movie one of the Autobots does too. (I think it was Hot Rod, I forget.)

Amazingly, while the Autobots and Decepticons never actually hit each other with their weapons in the TV series, their appearance in a movie suddenly made Starscream's use of the Megatron-gun a lot more efficient, accurate and lethal. Ironhide, Prowl, Brawn and Ratchet go down with a single shot each in the first few minutes of the movie. More Autobots died in the first twenty minutes than in the entire run of the series prior to the movie.

This wouldn't be much of a problem if the Autobots actually had the same numbers they had in the series. It's a well-known fact that the Autobots greatly outnumbered the Decepticons almost all the time, since there are far more types of cars than there are jets and guns and other stuff. But in the movie, there are apprently less than twenty Autobots still in active service. What happened to the rest? We're limited to Optimus Prime, the more popular first-batch Autobots, the Dinobots and the new guys. The Decepticons get a slightly better deal. They get both the first and second batch of jets, the Constructicons, Insecticons, and even the triple-changers Blitzwing and Astrotrain. Also, I think Blaster's cassette-bots make their first cartoon appearance here. Conspiciously absent are the second set of 'combiner' teams...the Protectobots, Aerialbots, Combaticons and Stunticons. Some of the fights might have gone better had the Autobots thought to bring around Omega Supreme or Skyfire.

The Dinobots are apparently stupider than I remember. I guess my memories preferred the comic-book Dinobots, where Grimlock actually managed to become Autobot leader. Here Blurr has trouble convincing them to board a ship.

It's too bad the Autobots didn't think of bringing Optimus Prime to the planet of junk, where apprently an Autobot can still live after being blown into some twenty-thousand pieces.

The Ultra Magnus character was created solely to have someone fail to be a leader.

Strangely enough, when the Autobots crash through Unicron's eye, we don't see any sort of optic sensors on the other side.

The rest of the movie went pretty much as I remembered it. With a lot of forgettable 80s-style music running in the background. Amazingly, at the end, Rodimus Prime declares an end to the Cybertronian wars, and a new era of peace. I don't recall any peace being negotiated with the Decepticons, who looked like they outnumbered the Autobots fifteen-million to one during Unicron's attack.

I'm quite relieved, as watching the movie failed to change my nostalgic childhood memories of the Transformers, although I still vastly prefer the comic book series. Not at all bad for a series made to sell toys.

Thursday, May 26, 2005


We saw Revenge of the Sith at the Gateway mall in Cubao. It's less than a year old, and it's target audience is a higher class than the usual malls. It's like it's trying to be something like the Podium, which makes it a bit out of place in Cubao. The mall is good anyway, as you'd expect. Not my type of place to hang out, but has the comforts you'd expect of such a mall...clean, not much of a crowd, and people greeting you when you get off the taxi. It seems a bit tight, though. The hallways are a bit narrow, and the layout is a bit confusing. Or maybe I'm just used to Megamall.

The last time I was there, the only thing to see was the Taco Bell. It was therefore my first time at the cinemas there. It's okay. We got reserved seats, so no crowds for us, and Alvin kept laughing at all the lined-up people who didn't have the foresight to buy reserved tickets.

Alvin and Brian really liked the armrests that you could lift up to remove the barrier between seats -- I guess it's okay if you had a girlfriend. So, yeah, I didn't care. :p

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Movies: Revenge of the Sith

The circle is now complete. The whole tale has been told. Revenge of the Sith completes Lucas' space opera. And the Force is strong in this one.

Highly enjoyable movie, if you take the time to push away your inner critic and look past the spotty acting, the so-so dialogue, and all the little flaws and inconsistencies you spot throughout the movie. Get past all of that, and it's a decent enough ride, and a fitting conclusion to the Star Wars epic.

Seriously, people need to stop picking it apart and just enjoy the movie. Spoilers follow.

R2-D2=funny. Apparently that droid can do anything. Imagine having a universal socket that can hack any computer system? Plus apparently he's smart and handy enough to fight off a couple of war droids. Not bad for an Astromech.

Mace Windu vs. Palpatine=good fight. Better than Yoda vs. Palpatine. Mace Windu is obviously better than Yoda at this, probably because he's Morpheus' cousin or something, or so my brother claimed. Speaking of which, my brother, sitting beside me, was cringing all throughout their fight. "Oh...he's gonna die...he's gonna die..."

Seriously, what was up with those 3 Jedi Mace Windu brought with him? They had like 1 hit point each. What was he thinking?

Anakin: Palpatine is a powerful Sith Lord. You'll need my help.
Mace Windu: No way, fool. He's just an old man. These 3 noobs will be enough.
(Palpatine kills the 3 noobs almost instantly)
Mace Windu: Crap.

Anakin's turning to the Dark Side was believable enough, given a bit of suspension of disbelief. We should've known it was Padme that would lead to his fall. Too bad Anakin was so gullible...despite Obi-wan praising him for his wisdom. Women...why do they lead us to the dark side?

General Grievous was boring, kept running away. I hear he was better in the Clone Wars animated series. I'll watch it sometime.

If you think about it...all those references to the later trilogy seemed conveniently crammed into the last part of the movie. So don't think about it. Just enjoy the wholeness of the circle. :D

Overall, the six-episode story was very good. Lucas' sub-par execution make it an easy target for nitpickers, but the Star Wars mythos as a whole is rock-solid foundation, upon which writers far better than Lucas can improve on.

The story from beginning to end is very tight, from Anakin's discovery as the "one who will bring balance to the force", to his fall, to the rise of Luke, and eventually to Anakin's redemption and Luke becoming the last from both lines - Jedi and Sith. And balance is brought to the Force.

Monday, May 23, 2005


Yeah, so I guess I'm hypertensive. I get dizzy occasionally, and today I decided to pass by the Clinic to consult about it. My BP reading was a 150/110! The highest reading I've had, ever. I hope it's not too serious though. Will find out soon.

I don't really mind not being 100% healthy, and taking maintenance medicine could hurt a bit in the pocket (although I don't care much for money) What I don't like about not being healthy is the diet. How can I do without my wonderful salty spam?

Sunday, May 15, 2005

The girl and Ashton Kutcher

Just saw a segment on Oprah where Oprah helped a 15-year old girl realize her wildest dream - to meet Ashton Kutcher.

Is must be nice to have a lifetime dream so easy to achieve. Oprah's job is nice too. She finds some poor little girl whose dream is to meet a B-list Hollywood celebrity. Wow, how hard was it for her to fulfill that?

Seriously, I'm sure it's great, it's sweet that Oprah's doing this for the kid, who has some sort of vision-related medical problem. Helping out handicapped kids one at a time is a noble cause, to be sure. But I don't know, it just smacks me as a bit superficial that you would choose the ones with relatively shallow dreams (and conveniently easy for you to accomplish.)

I have nothing against Ashton Kutcher by the way. He is occasionally funny. And he plays that idiot on That 70s Show really well.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

That's Just Swell

One of my officemates is now a proud father-to-be! I'd be extremly happy for him, if not for the fact that he has to take a week off to attend to his family matters, and now I have to take up his workload. And just one day after I had finally managed to catch up to my own schedule!

I expect to be in crunch mode for a week at least. Probably two. Maybe more.

Ain't that just swell. I am so not in the mood.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Sweet Glorious Rain

The metro has been suffering from sweltering heat the past few days. That's why this sudden heavy rainshower is severely welcome.

My mother says all the people in the metro must have been praying for rain -- the shower is rather fierce.

Sweet glorious rain.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

CSS-Based Design

A while back, inspired by the CSS Zen Garden, I modified my Blogger template to use entirely CSS-based design. That is, I can know update the layout instantly simply by replacing the stylesheet file used by template (like now!)

The new layout uses up a wider screen space, but I think it's neat. The lighter colors are easier on my tired, computer-strained eyes. Hopefully, this new CSS-based design allows me to do more experimentation and improve my ability to design web UIs.

Speaking of web UIs, I only recently saw the new look for Yahoo Groups. Similar to the change for the main Yahoo site, it focuses more on lighter colors now, and has significant usage of font coloring to show important points. I like it. Maybe they'll improve the Yahoo Mail layout next.

Wheel of Time 10 - Crossroads of Twilight

Haven't read Robert Jordan in a while. Someone gave me Crossroads of Twilight as a gift, so I read it and hope that his pacing has improved. It has not. He writes well enough, dialogue is nice, descriptions are more than adequate, but I expect some things to happen in his books! He has so many plots running at once, he should at least resolve two or three per book. Perrin, Mat and Elayne get a lot of chapters, but they barely get anything done. Rand al'Thor himself barely gets one chapter, and I'm thinking it was just put in 'cause people would be pissed if he didn't actually appear in the book. Egwene at least had the good sense to go out and try to do something. Not that she got anywhere sensible of course...

I swear, with so many things going on, it will take him forever to wrap up this series. And while that may be good for him, I wonder how many people will bother following the books for so long? Especially when they're more of the same...

Monday, May 02, 2005

PIMP MY RIG -- we test parts for you..

Pimp My Rig is a hardware review side associated with a friend of mine from high school. Yes, I was asked to help promote it. :D

I haven't worried about hardware issues in a while, since I usually ask my kid brother to handle most hardware purchases/setup at home. So, I don't really know much about the latest and greatest hardware but this site looks helpful enough to be given a try, especially if you're the sort who enjoys putting together his own PC. Check it out.

On an unrelated note, whenever I try to type the word "rig", I find myself unconsciously typing "right." Deep inside, I don't think I accept "rig" as a word. :p

Weekend Status Report

I only had three tasks laid out for me this weekend:

1. Watch season 4 of X-men Evolution. I realize that X-men Evo was not as popular as some of the other superhero series such as Justice League and Teen Titans, but I mostly like it anyway. It's more of a light-hearted version of the X-men universe , really. (Presidential hopeful Senator Kelly of canon is merely Mayoral hopeful Principal Kelly here!) It gets campy at times, but hey, Adam West's Batman was the epitome of campiness, and I enjoyed that too. This task was successfully accomplished.

2. Fix the home network LAN. Previously we had a problem where the other computer could not use the internet through the gateway machine. Looks like ZoneAlarm was the culprit, as apparently, the free version of ZoneAlarm does not support Internet Connection Sharing. I got the internet working by installing Sygate Personal Firewall instead, although this led to the new problem of the other computer not being able to access shared files/folders on the network. We're keeping it at this state until I can figure out a better solution. This task was successfully accomplished, with complications.

3. Solve this Rubik's UFO puzzles (it is already solved in the picture):

Of course, instead of actually devising a solution to the puzzle, I merely used my google-fu to find a website to help me solve it.

All three tasks completed! (Mostly)

I also managed to sneak in a good part of Crossroads of Twilight (Book 10 of Wheel of Time, more on that in a later post), and two movies: Shrek 2 and the Incredibles. Yes, I had not seen either movie before. And actually, I didn't see them in whole today either. I saw more than half of Incredibles, I think. And most of Shrek 2. Quick reviews, Shrek 2 was the better movie by far. Rib-tickling. I didn't bother seeing it before because it didn't really give me a feeling of being too good, but I was wrong.

Sunday, May 01, 2005


One thing about spending a free day at home. The temperature in my room gets really high during the afternoon, it's quite uncomfortable. Especially since I'm used to wasting away most of my daylight hours in an airconditioned office.

It's good to spend a couple of days away from the office though - God only knows I've been so damn uninspired with work lately. For the past two weeks or so, I haven't had much heart for my work. Most of the time, I code while wondering if I should file for half a day's sick leave and head home. Except that I don't know if boredom is a valid excuse.

(Madness, despair and self-doubt lay ahead, uncharacteristically. You have been warned.)

I don't know why. I guess I'm just tired. Tired of overly complicated modules. Tired of badly designed data models. Tired of losing two hours every day to commuting. Tired of the heat. Tired of all the people. And maybe, just maybe, tired of trying to figure out how to win her attention. Just her attention mind you. I would be satisfied with just her attention for a good while, and that says a lot.

Or maybe I'm just losing my sense of belonging. I like the people at work, I really do. I have friends there. Close friends, even. People whom I've opened up to, shared secrets with, confided in. I don't think I've had any new close friends since the original zu crew. And I like the job, or I wouldn't have stayed this long. And I am quite sure that I am quite good at what I do. So why do thoughts of resigning keep coming up?

I'm lying to myself of course. I know the reason why it's been so hard to keep a good mood lately. I found out some things I shouldn't have, through methods I should not have used. I did not learn anything I did not already suspect. I had nothing to gain by trying to find out, I knew that knowing these things for certain would shatter me, yet I had to know. So I went ahead anyway. And my heart is paying the price.

I've been a fool. I know this to be true, I've known it all along. I've always hated letting my emotions get the better of me; I should've held myself back this time same as any other. What made me think it would be any different? What made me think I could fight fate? What made me think I had what it takes?

And now I'm tired. I don't know what to do. I don't know whether I have the strength to go on. There's gap there that I don't know how to traverse. A barrier that only grows stronger as I fight it. Common sense and several people in the know tell me that it's alright to quit. I've fought the good fight, there is no shame in surrender. It happens all the time, people try and people fail.

This can't possibly be good for me. Already it's starting to affect my work somehow. And I'm pretty sure that it's holding me back in more ways than that. This isn't going anywhere, and it's making me so frickin' weak. It seems so obvious what needs to be done.

Then why is it so hard to let go?


The Thinker

You are analytical and logical - and on a quest to learn everything you can.
Smart and complex, you always love a new intellectual challenge.
Your biggest pet peeve is people who slow you down with trivial chit chat.
A quiet maverick, you tend to ignore rules and authority whenever you feel like it.

You would make an excellent mathematician, programmer, or professor.

Got this from Peng's blog. It's a simplified version of the Myers-Brigg personality test, which I've taken before, with the same results.

Well not really, my results sometimes vary from INTP to INFP. Each letter in the result stands for one aspect of your personality. In this case, Introverted iNtuitive Thinking/Feeling Perceiving. I'm pretty sure I'm somewhere dead even on the thinking/feeling scale. I often confuse myself, so I'm pretty sure the test would be confused as well.