Ultrasonic Imploding Excitation

Watching Monsters vs. Aliens (reviewed in my previous post) allowed me to take a little trip down music memory lane. The moment I got home, I ransacked through my old CD cabinet to search for an album that I haven't played in a long time. It took me a while to locate it, but when I did, I was rockin' to it like there's no tomorrow.

The album in question is Time Capsule: Songs For A Future Generation by The B-52's (pictured above). It's a compilation of their hits from the late 70's to the 80's, as well as a few new tracks. My blog title is a lyric from one of my favorite songs in the compilation entitled Debbie.

I was exposed to B-52's music around late 80's/early 90's with tracks like Love Shack, Roam, Rock Lobster, Private Idaho and especially Planet Claire -- the source for this wave back trip. Given that I was still in school and couldn't afford to buy even a cassette album, I was merely content on catching them on the radio. Their sound is an eclectic mix of new wave, punk and alternative rock. Their song lyrics are so crazy and cool especially the close-encounters-of-the-third-kind-themed ones. This is largely due to the founder's belief (Ricky Wilson, R.I.P.) that he was abducted by aliens at one point of his life. While I cannot confirm nor deny the story's truth, it makes for an entertaining explanation for the absurd yet funky blend of words. Case in point...

Planet Claire has pink air
All the trees are red
No ever dies there
No one has a head

Despite that, you tend to ignore it, enjoy the beat and have a laugh -- which I earnestly did. I'm now on my 3rd play and I don't think I'll probably hit stop anytime soon. =P
or Blue if, like me, you positively fell in love with B.O.B.

B.O.B. and the rest of his merry band became my dates last March 26 (Thursday) as I was one of those lucky ducks who were invited to a press screening of Monsters vs. Aliens at the San Miguel Coca-Cola IMAX Theater in SM Mall of Asia. As I was handed my 3-D glasses, I knew that the picture and sound quality would be outstanding. After 94 minutes, I wasn't only impressed and satisfied with the picture and sound quality but the whole movie as well. I left the IMAX Theater sporting a big grin and carrying a barrel of laughs.

Monsters vs. Aliens is a typical spoof movie despite having a somewhat ominous title. If you're a fan of sci-fi/thriller movies released from the 50's to the 70's, then this is a good movie to reminisce about them -- in a lighthearted manner, that is. The references are quite obvious in the movie's cast and characters. An example would be Susan Murphy/Ginormica, the movie's main protagonist, is really a parody for "Attack Of The 50 Ft. Woman." The same goes with the plot. The themes were relatively familiar and presented in a very simple manner. Despite this, it never ceased to be entertaining and it felt fresh. Kudos goes to the 7-man writing team behind this animation gem for producing a script that is pure genius. I especially liked how they inserted some geek humor with expressions like "By Hawking's chair!" -- something that me and my friend found thoroughly funny that we couldn't stifle our laughter the moment we heard it.

Big love goes to the casting director for selecting a great ensemble of actors as the voices behind these characters. It felt like an cohesive, fluid performance; not one voice really stood out. It's almost as if the actors blended well with their animated counterparts, although some voices became recognizable at certain points in the movie, specifically that of Reese Witherspoon, Rainn Wilson and Seth Rogen. Big surprise for me was seeing the names of Kiefer Sutherland, Hugh Laurie and Renee Zellweger in the opening and end credits.

Last, but not the least, cheers to DreamWorks for producing this computer animated movie in real 3-D! It must've been an enormous task but the end product is definitely worth it. I'm earnestly looking forward to your succeeding animation releases.

Monsters vs. Aliens is definitely a treat for the family and best experienced in full 3-D glory. Truly worth every bit of Quantonium that Gallaxhar's tentacles can get on.

The verdict: 4.5 out of 5 Green Jell-Os!

Monsters vs. Aliens is now showing in Philippine cinemas. Special thanks to New Worlds Alliance and to Solar-UIP for the Press Screening invitation! =)

Oh Gravity, Thou Art A Heartless Bitch

(From L-R: Jim Parsons as Sheldon Cooper, Johnny Galecki as Leonard Hofstadter, Kaley Cuoco as Penny, Simon Helberg as Howard Wolowitz and Kunal Nayyar as Rajesh Koothrappali)

There are no words to describe how genius this show is. Literally. Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady, the team behind Dharma & Greg, are at again.

For potential neophytes, The Big Bang Theory is a show detailing the lives of four highly smart but socially-awkward men (Leonard, Sheldon, Howard & Raj), their beautiful but not-so-smart next-door neighbor (Penny) and the complications of their dynamics. Over the last few weeks, I've seen the main characters go through ridiculous eBay purchases, online gaming addictions, alcoholic experiments, cosplay debates, food ordering quirks, satellite-aided house-tracking escapades, laundry wars, and yes, even romantic woes among many other things. While the jargon-ridden language used can get you stumped at times with its break-neck speed delivery, most notably by Jim Parsons who plays my favorite geek of the four, it was very easy to get by it to enjoy the comedy. I was warned initially that it was a show for geeks. How come I got it? Am I really that geeky? Well, if that's the case, bring it on. LOL. The show's tagline after all is "Smart Is The New Sexy."

The show has been on air since 2007. While I discovered it late, with great thanks to two friends (you know who you are), it is worth it. Currently, the show is on its second season and has a total of thirty-four episodes in. Every single installment is a blast. Definitely worth recommending to geeks, and perhaps non-geeks too, who will benefit from getting a 20-minute dose of nature's best medical relief -- laughter!

Little China Girl

In my daily grind, I have one major dilemma: language barrier. I cannot understand a single Pinyin and I can only speak two words in Mandarin: Ni Hao and Xie Xie. Aside from that, nada.

I like learning new languages but I often struggle with the daily usage. I've had six units of Spanish in college (where otra ves often resonates in my head) and recently beginner's French. While the advantages are obvious (I can already read some words and understand their meaning), I think I'll be better if I talk to someone. Or perhaps, do more intense studies if and when I have the time.

What brought this frustration about? Unplanned/Urgent requests do that to me. My work requires me to support three countries in the Asia-Pacific region. The challenge, although apparent, was never really a big deal -- I'm used to time zone differences -- except when I'm asked to search for local options. As China is one of my client countries, I often deal with Pinyin-written webpages and Mandarin-speaking operators. While I do appreciate that quality, it makes my work harder. Then, all of a sudden, you're reminded about your professional development activities. Now, should I think about learning Mandarin than doing another course that I want so badly to take and would benefit me and my team in the long-term? Facing an urgency vs. importance dilemma is not an easy thing. How does one justify and prioritize one need over another especially when the resources are scarce?

Maybe it's good that these thoughts fell on a weekend. I have at least 48 hours before I face the music again. Time to think things through.

You're Locked In Here With Me!

I arrived at Cinema 5 of Gateway Cineplex last March 5, 2009 knowing very little about Watchmen except for the hype about the comic series being one of Time Magazine's 100 best English-language novels of the century. I was prepared to be amazed, to have my socks blown off. After 2.5 hours, I find myself leaving the cinema shaking my head and half-entertained.

On an adaptation standpoint, the movie is faithful. In fact, too faithful to a fault. One can never go wrong making an adaptation from a comic series since the story is pretty much laid out. However, if you haven't read it, you might find the flow a bit disjointed. It ultimately resolved itself in the end but it could leave you feeling a bit stretched. For some reason, it had the same storytelling vibe as Lost for me.

The cinematography and visual effects lived up to my expectations but it offered nothing new to the senses. I found myself suppressing a giggle when a few 80's music, such as Nena's 99 Luftballons and Tears For Fears' Everybody Wants To Rule The World, were used as part of the sound mix even though they were appropriate for the movie's theme. The movie didn't fall short of its action, gore, violence and sexual parts -- where the latter often involved Malin Akerman -- although there was one violent scene in Rorschach's back story that was obviously censored or tempered to a certain extent. Among the actors, Matthew Goode (Adrian Veidt / Ozymandias) and Jackie Earle Haley (Walter Kovacs / Rorschach) stood out for me. Perhaps my favorite moment in the entire film was when Rorschach's uttered these words with such compelling fierceness and anger: "I'm not locked in here with you! You're locked in here with ME!"

That line, while I enjoyed it in context, somewhat seemed to me as a metaphor for Alan Moore versus every conceivable movie or TV show that would now appear to have borrowed some themes from it. This leaves me wondering why they waited this long to adapt this critically-acclaimed series when the technology and the creativity needed for it has been present in movies shown over the last five years.

As I ponder on that question, the movie did one good thing -- I bought the comics and I'm currently in the middle of reading it. While I earlier thought of giving the movie another go, reading Chapter 1 made me decide otherwise yet understood the adoration for it even after a few pages. I'm quite certain that fans of this series will be satisfied that Zac Synder and company delivered a pretty faithful adaptation. However, for me, it was one that was released a little too late.

My Rating: 3.5 out 5 smileys

Watchmen is now showing in Philippine cinemas. Thanks to New Worlds Alliance and to Solar-UIP for the Press Screening invitation! =)
At last, finally. The end (almost) to nearly a month-long journey of deciphering which HTML codes to customize. My new blog theme is up. How do I look? XD

I find that I'm happy with the finished product despite having to download a packaged theme as my jump off point (credits can be found at the end of the page). Customizing it -- changing the banner, removing the navigation tabs, adding more gadgets, expanding the main page -- was the hard part. Among all the things I customized, the banner is what I'm most proud of since it features some of my favorite photos that I've taken using my trusty 5-year old digital camera, Sue. I didn't create it in Photoshop; ol' PowerPoint was there to lend me a hand. Good thing that my layout skills are still intact. Several years on working on presentations became helpful when I took this task. The current layout will serve me for quite a long time -- unless I decide to change it again. However, I need to take my HTML studying down a notch. It's time I laid it to rest for a while. It's not my bread and butter anyway but hopefully, the rest won't be too long. I just need to work on the other facets of my life.

Anyway, here's hoping you'll get used to the new face of my blog. While I admit that it still requires a bit of tinkering, it is intact nonetheless. I'm happy that I've accomplished something. A little goes a long, long way.

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