This just in: New York Times Suggests a Fill-in-The-Blank-Constitution..wonder if that would work in the Philippines?!?

Got wind of this article at New York Times:

AS the Senate awaits the nomination of a new Supreme Court justice, a frank discussion is needed on the proper role of judges in our constitutional system. For 30 years, conservative commentators have persuaded the public that conservative judges apply the law, whereas liberal judges make up the law. According to Chief Justice John Roberts, his job is just to “call balls and strikes.” According to Justice Antonin Scalia, conservative jurists merely carry out the “original meaning” of the framers. These are appealing but wholly disingenuous descriptions of what judges — liberal or conservative — actually do.

To see why this is so, we need only look to the text of the Constitution. It defines our most fundamental rights and protections in open-ended terms: “freedom of speech,” for example, and “equal protection of the laws,” “due process of law,” “unreasonable searches and seizures,” “free exercise” of religion and “cruel and unusual punishment.” These terms are not self-defining; they did not have clear meanings even to the people who drafted them. The framers fully understood that they were leaving it to future generations to use their intelligence, judgment and experience to give concrete meaning to the expressed aspirations.

For more, click here.

Buffy Studies 101: All the things I know about break-ups I learned from Buffy

So, in the previous post I said that I thought there was a romantic prospect on the horizon. Well, that was a bust! It came and went in the space of a week and thus I must needs go to the “Gospel of Buffy” to find some measure of comfort and truth in Buffy. I think maybe Buffy can help me get over this heartbreak.

1. Did your groom just leave you at the altar? No problem. Go back to being a demon!

2. Is your girlfriend the emotionally unavailable Chosen One? No problem. Go pay vampires to suck your blood then rejoin the Initiative.

3. Did your girlfriend dump you because you are using way too much magic? No problem. Use more magic.

4. Did your friends bring you back from the dead not knowing you were in Heaven because you are The Chosen One? Sleep with the vampire you hate the most and have earth shattering sex.

5. Did your girlfriend stab you through the chest and send you through a demon portal because your evil alter ego was about to bring the apocalypse? Come back, leave town and establish your own private investigation agency.

6. Did your girlfriend die from a gunshot wound because The Chosen Ones nemesesis (grin) accidentally shot her whilst trying to kill The Slayer? Go bad, suck the magic out of everything, skin your enemies alive and destroy the world.

7. Did you just propose to your girlfriend thinking it’s the end of the world but suddenly change your mind because you’re not ready? Wish for a musical demon to make everyone burst out into song. Then after, right before you get married, abandon your bride at the altar, disappear and appear again demanding that the ex-bride you just abandoned at the altar take you back again. And watch as she tries to eviscerate you.

Hmmm….I don’t have a lot of choices from the above, do I? What I want to do now though is become a vengeance demon. But since that can’t happen, I think I shall go for just randomly bursting out into song and joining an organization that will make me travel to other places. Wish me luck!

All I Ever Really Learned About Love & Relationships, I learned from Buffy the Vampire Slayer (and other shows besides)

So there’s a potentially interesting dating prospect on the horizon and since being the hardcore geek that I am, I am always lost and stumped as to how to go about this, I have turned to television shows to help me deal with people who may potentially be the next partner.

I have realized that in Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s six season run, it has quite capably tackled the very thorny, tricky issue of navigating the murky waters of relationships, something that now proves handy in light of the circumstances. Sure, nobody past 3 years old watches television to improve his/her mind, much less turn to TV to help you with relationships, but I find that all you’ll probably ever learn about relationships you’ll learn from TV. Or more specifically, Buffy.

1. If the object of your affection looks pale, only comes out at night, and has mysteriously long, sharp canines, think twice about dating him/her.

2. If the object of your affection doesn’t look pale, isn’t a night owl, and doesn’t have fangs, but cannot explain the impeccable posture, the alertness in his eye, or the many shades of fatigues in his closet,  then he’s probably working for a secret government organization out to shut you down.

3. If the object of your affection isn’t any of the above, but likes to float pencils, make spells that make friends into demon magnets, go blind, or marry the next git that comes along, then think twice. She may be gearing up to be addicted to the dark arts…and get you killed in the process.

4. Is the object of your affection your mortal enemy? Is she your complete opposite? Does she stake your kind? Do you bite her kind? Brace yourself. You’ll probably fall in love with her. And get yourself dusted in the process.

5. If the object of your affection used to be a demon, you’ll probably fall in love with her. Everybody loves obnoxious thousand year old demons!

6. If the object of your affection is a geek and a dork, is a drifter, bounces from one job to the next, is prone to making stupid, pointless jokes in the face of danger, is given to commitment issues, living in his parents’ basement and spanking, then you better not date him. When he proposes marriage, turn him down, like, right now.

7. If the object of your affection’s girlfriend just died, is a recovering addict, is prone to making friends disappear accidentally, and making herself look like the guy who killed her dead girlfriend…duck. Then come on to her shamelessly, til she gives in and sucks the power out of you to open a portal to another dimension.

8. If the object of your affection is a self-sufficient, self-reliant person prone to keeping things to herself, has a lot of responsibilities (say, like saving the world from an apocalypse), is prone to not having time for you because she has duties like taking care of a younger sister who’s also a mystical key that can open the portal to an apocalypse, a dying mother, a friend who just left his bride at the altar, another friend who’s a magic junkie, in short, not really there there for you then maybe it’s time to re-think your relationship prospects. Confront the object your affection, but if nothing happens, then it’s time to go to rejoin the secret government organization instrumental in your meeting and go down to Guatemala.

9. If the object of your affection is a spoiled, rich, trust-fund, boarding school hottie who is into you right from the get-go but doesn’t get your addiction to magic, and pursues you like hell on steroids, don’t panic. This will probably be the best thing that ever happened to you. Try it. The most unexpected is usually the most surprising, and the most fulfilling…unless until Season 8 comes into the picture.

10. It is possible to be friends with all your ex-es, no matter how terrible the relationship may have been. Some of them turn out to be your best friends, too, and save the world because of you.

11. All you need is love. Love is the one thing that triumphs over you staking your evil boyfriend in the gut right after he summons an apocalypse, condemning him into a demonic dimension, and it is the one thing that triumphs when he comes back and should be hating you but instead loves you even more, loves you so much in fact that he leaves so you don’t have to make the choice of choosing him over the world again. Love is the one thing that makes you die for your loved ones. Love is the one the thing that makes you quit your addictions and obsessions. Love is the one thing that helps you triumph over fear, grief, pain, death. Just when you think you can’t take it anymore, just when you think you have nothing more to give, just when you think you can’t take anymore of what life can give you, you find the strength in love. In the end, what matters most is that love is still, ever more, stronger than death. 🙂

Have a great week!

11 Things I learned from watching “Battlestar Galactica”

Just finished watching Season 5 of “Battlestar Galactica“, arguably one of the best sci-fi television shows ever produced ever. My eyes are bloodshot, I am tired, but it’s all worth it, considering it’s a great show.

Since I have finished watching it, I have come to realize some important things about the human race and everything else, and I would like to write it down for posterity.

1. When robots evolve, all they’ll ever want to do is reproduce…with each other and with humans.

2. When robots evolve, the first thing/s they want to look like are a) Xena, b) a hot-looking Victoria’s Secret model, c) hot Asian chick. Oh, and the guys look okay, too.

3. Time travel is always an acceptable solution for any kind of impending extinction of humankind (please see the new “Star Trek” movie to illustrate this point as well).

4. When robots evolve, and are able to look human, they will only choose 10 faces and multiply that by millions, and have each one called by a generic name like “Six” or “Eight”  to confuse viewers.

5. It is possible to have cancer and live through 50,000 crises and only die at the very end of the show.

6. Admiral Helena Cain (Michelle Forbes) is awesome. Scary, but awesome.

7. You can be a woman and still be a) the complex president, b) a complex admiral, c) a complex lead fighter pilot, d) a complex villain  with intelligent lines.

8. Even if you are the most vile, dorky, deranged (but smart!)  villain in the fleet, for as long as you are  Gaius Baltar (James Callis), you will almost always get laid by a Number 6 (Tricia Helfer), anywhere in the universe (or multi-verses or alternate dimensions or time).

9. Even old people (William Adama and President Laura Roslin, Col. Sol Tigh and Ellen)  in the future have sex lives.

10. You can die and come back again for as long as you are Starbuck (Katee Sackhoff).

11. All this has happened before and will happen again.

12. Robots are humans too.

13. Battlestar Galactica rocks. 🙂

Now, for a trip down memory lane, the BSG cast on the David Letterman show.

Book review: On reading John Burdett’s “Bangkok Tattoo”

Heard about John Burdett from a Pinoy writer who, apart from having developed such toxic, anger-inducing snobbery that she doesn’t seem to have any plans of overcoming, does have a penchant for recommending good reads.

I came across a John Burdett novel called “Bangkok Tattoo” at the SM Booksale in Baguio,pretty much the only place you can find a John Burdett novel in Baguio. I had tried to look for one at National Bookstore and they didn’t have it. Then again, they’ve run out of the “Watchmen” comic books, so why did I expect more from them? I am looking for the Buffy Season 8 comic books but of course why the hell would I find them in Baguio? Good luck finding them at CID and Jet Bookstore, too!

So, the sardonic, cynical, morally ambiguous and ambivalent hero of the “Bangkok Tattoo” novel is the corrupt, co-owner of a prostitution club, Sonchai Jittlecheepeep (?) who, incidentally, also seems to have a heart of gold.

The plot: a series of seemingly random murders involving flayed victims slowly reveal that they are not so random at all. All of the skinned victims have been stripped of their awesome tattoos, and these tattoos seem to all connect to a beautiful, enigmatic Thai prostitute, who, in turn is connected to the genius Japanese tattoo artist whose signature tattoos were on the bodies that were murdered. Sonchai must solve the mystery and fend off a possibly polarizing situation since one of the murdered is a CIA operative, whose death is being suspiciously and deliberately linked to the Al Quaeda and the Moslem contingent of Thailand, of which Thailand has a lot of.

What makes the novel interesting: Where do I start? The fact that it centers on tattoos is one. The fact that the main character is a Thai is another. The fact that for a British writer, Burdett seems to have understood the Asian psyche well, but does not condescend is another. The fact that he has created a novel that is objective, but never moralizing, pedantic, preachy, annoying, offensive, but still manages to be thought-provoking is another. The fact that the main character, Sonchai, may ostensibly be cynical but deep inside yearns to be good is another. The fact that in this novel, Burdett has captured the consistent inconsistences and the peculiar merging of Eastern and Western consciousness seamlessly through the marriage of Buddhism and eastern mysticism and western materialism, along with poverty and prostitution and spirituality and sex and culture is another. The fact that while this may be a murder crime thriller (and a good one at that), it still manages to be entertaining, page-turning and riveting is another.

This is one awesome book you would like to have.

Made me want to get another tattoo actually.

Jobhunting, Pinoy style (yet again)

Apologies for the late blogging.
Life has been busy with jobhunting and maintaining my sanity in this part of the world.
First off, I cannot decide whether the jobhunting can be construed as entertainment or a job in itself. I had been trying to apply as an English proficiency trainer for a local government agency, TESDA.
Here is what happened:

They made us go there 4 times…

The first time:

To tell us that our requirements should be in sealed brown envelopes…

The second time, to tell us that they are returning our brown envelopes and that we should then unseal our envelopes and make sure that we put the correct amount of requirements and compensation inside.

The third time, to submit our applications,

And the last time, Monday,

for the bidding…

Apparently, when you apply sa TESDA as an English language proficiency trainer, there is a bidding involved to make sure hindi lutong makaw..

There were 3 applicants, me, a friend and a third guy

There were 2 on the panel, 3 if you count the secretary, who was a very opinionated member, I might add….

They opened my friend’s envelope first.

I felt like there should be drums rolling or something.

We waited with bated breath..

Only to find out that my friend apparently lacked some requirements, including her certificate of employment, a training certificate, and diploma

Then they opened mine….

Mine was complete, except for the aformentioned training certificate, which, I might add, the TESDA secretary was really emphasizing we should have…when the panelist (there were 2 of them, as I said, one was from TESDA, 1 from COA – commission on audit)

When COA panelist saw my diploma and transcript from london, they asked me how come i had one of those, and where was this exactly?

I said, UK.

To which the COA panelist said, “University of Kalinga”? with a sneer and such derision in his voice I wanted to shove my transcript up his ass…

Then they opened the third brown envelope with much aplomb…

The third envelope revealed much more than ours did…

It fulfilled all their requirements..

Including that damned, bloody training certificate they kept asking us about…

Apparently, for lack of the appropriate skill to explain it to us, the panelists and the extremely vocal secretary showed us the training certificate we are supposed to have included in our SEALED brown envelopes:

a TESDA training certificate…

certifying that we had undergone 100 hours of training on:

(take note)

how to train, how to make training modules, how to make training evaluations, etc.

despite the fact that there were other references in our SEALED envelopes which would indicate that we are indeed qualified re: resumes, certificates, diplomas, certificate of employment…

They said, you have to give it ASAP.

Us: When is ASAP?

Them: As in now.

Because the training starts november 23, on monday.

Us: But how…?!? 100 hours of training…? In time for Monday…?

Them: Ok, tomorrow then, you can pass it..

Us: How do we find out the results?

Them: you can go online.

or you can check out our billboard

(right, go all the way to TESDA just to find out the results)

or…did you give your phone number and address?

but you have to fax the training certificate so we can process your application…or there will be a failure of bidding…

I rest my case…

 

Quoted here last: Jessica Zafra and Conrado de Quiros on success

From Jessica Zafra’s blog post “This just in” :

“I think it’s a good policy to aim too high. It is more practical to be overly ambitious than to set a goal that is well within range of your abilities. How is this possible?

Well, if you aim low and fail, you put your talent and competence in doubt. You want so little but you still don’t get it, so maybe you don’t have what it takes.

However, if you overreach and you don’t achieve your goal, it will be viewed as a case of wanting too much rather than a simple failure due to insufficient skill. Even if you really do lack the skills and are a complete twerp. People will see the ambition first…”

read more of her post here

And Conrado de Quiros backs it up in his column, “There’s the Rub” on inquirer.net:

Success…build confidence…As you can see from Pacquiao today—he is more confident than ever. But isn’t the opposite true as well? Doesn’t confidence also produce success?

You have to wonder on a broader plane if that is not the thing that has held us back from making the kind of giant steps Pacquiao has…

I have a friend who was thought of being aggressive and boastful by his classmates. Not surprisingly, he made it big in America.

Of course there’s a level at which frankness becomes bluntness, assertion becomes abrasiveness, outspokenness becomes loudness. You get a lot of that in US airports, a stunning contrast with Narita where the personnel are awesomely polite but just as awesomely efficient. But just as well there is a level where obedience becomes submissiveness, respect for authority becomes mindlessness, and patience is no longer a virtue. Certainly they can stand in the way of the dogged pursuit of greater goals, or giant dreams.

Read more of de Quiros’ column here.

Hmmm….Is this why I probably have difficulty finding a job? Because during interviews I exude a confidence that may border on arrogance? Because I refuse to be less ambitious? Because I believe in something more than just corporate things?

If so, this makes me feel better. I am on the right track.

You should too. 🙂

 

Are zombies the new vampires…?!?

From Newsweek Magazine:

“Have you heard? Zombies are the new vampires. First it was the hit literary mash-up, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Last month it was Jennifer’s Body, the Diablo Cody-written zombie movie starring Megan Fox. This weekend, movie-goers flocked to Zombieland, which became the first surprise hit of the fall season (it opened at No. 1 with $25 million, according to studio estimates). Starz premieres Zombiemania later in the month, reviving all the old zombie classics (Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead and more). Apparently there’s even a self-help book for zombies on the way, dispensing “advice and etiquette for the living dead.” Zombies zombies zombies.”

For full Newsweek article, click here.

Movies! in 3 lines or less!

This is escapism I know, but one needs something to cope with all the madness and chaos that is the Philippines. So here are the movies I’ve watched in three lines or less:

1. 17 AGAIN:

Mike O’Donnell (Matthew Perry) – or as we like to call him, Chandler: I want to be 17 again.

Mike O’Donnell (Zac Efron) – or as we like to call him, that guy Troy Bolton from High School Musical: I want to be a high school jock again!

Fans: Trying to suspend disbelief – how can somebody who looks like Zac Efron grow up to look like Chandler?!?

2. ANGELS and DEMONS

Camerlengo Patrick McKenna (Ewan McGregor): The pope is dead! Long live the Illuminati!

Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks):  The pope is dead! Long live symbology!

Fans: Screw this! We’re just watching it for Ewan McGregor!

3. NEW MOON

(Ok this hasn’t come out yet, but I’ve read the book, so)

Edward: I can’t be with you. I’ll go to Italy and kill myself.

Jacob: I’m a werewolf and while Edward is away, I’ll make my move on Bella.

Bella: I will remain completely self-absorbed. Like I did in the last movie.

4. LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT

Family: We will vacation in the woods, somewhere away from civilization where of course, a group of psycho criminals will find us and wreak havoc on our picture perfect family.

Criminals: We will take your daughter, rape, torture and kill her.

Family: You missed. Now we torture and kill you.

5. DARK KNIGHT

Bruce Wayne: I am a rich playboy with a lot of issues who has a penchant for bats and for wearing costumes.Oh, I have the hots for the district attorney’s girlfriend.

Joker: I am a crazy man with a lot of issues with a penchant for bats and waring costumes and lipstick.

District Attorney Harvey Dent: You killed my girlfriend! Now I have a lot of issues as well! Oh, and I’m going to kill you both!

6. THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PYJAMAS

German boy: I am a lonely young boy with no playmates whose father is the commander of the Auschwitz camp.

Jewish boy: I am a lonely young boy with no playmates and I am about to die in the camp.

German boy: Let’s be friends! And I’ll sneak into the camp and die in the gas chamber with you and end the movie.

7. FREEDOM WRITERS

Erin Gruwell (Hilary Swank): I am young, privileged, naive, white teacher with an insecure (but really hot!) husband, intent on making a difference in my poor high school students’ lives.

Students: What the f*ck do you know about being poor?!?

Erin Gruwell: Let me tell you about Anne Frank.

8. CLOVERFIELD

Lily (Jessica Lucas): My boyfriend’s brother has been promoted to VP and is moving to Japan. I will throw a party, have my boyfriend video it, invite my boyfriend’s brother’s bestfriend who had a one-night stand with him and complicate things.

Lily’s boyfriend, Jason: I will ask my friend Hud to video it instead because I can’t be bothered with all this.

Hud the Cameraman: I am in love with one of the guests and will video her instead.

Lily’s boyfriend’s brother, Rob: A disaster just struck and I will drag you all over New York trying to rescue the love of my life.

Monster: I don’t care about your stupid storyline. I’ll eat you all and end the movie.

9. THE SPIRIT

The Spirit: I don’t know what I am, but I like saving people.

The Octopus: I hate The Spirit and I hate people. I’ll just make life a living hell for The Spirit and the people.

Moviegoer: I cannot believe this crappy movie ever got made.

10. ACROSS THE UNIVERSE:

Jude: I am a working class lad from Liverpool in search of my father who I believe works in Yale, save up to go to the US, find out my father is a janitor in Yale, befriend a Yalie drop out, meet his pretty (and really hot!) sister, Lucy, move to New York, get deported and try to win his sister back.

Lucy: I will just be the object of Jude’s affection. Oh, and get involved in anti-Vietnam protests.

Prudence: I am the token closeted Asian-American lesbian in love with the New York landlady with a promising storyline that suddenly quietly disappears.

Director: I’ll throw in some other characters and compress all the issues of the 60s into this one movie, plus add in the coolest Beatles music sung with psychedelic backdrop.

Moviegoer: Awesome! (at least for me it was. Who can resist a Beatles’ musical?!?)

11. MAMMA MIA

Sophie (Amanda Seyfried): I don’t know who my father is! I need to know who it is before my big wedding! I’ll steal my mom’s diary, find out my mom slept with three men, invite them all to the wedding and figure out who my father is.All the tune of Abba songs!

Donna (Meryl Streep): I don’t know who my daughter’s father is. I see all three of them before the big wedding and start singing Abba songs!

Three possible fathers: We don’t know which one of us is Sophie’s father. But who cares?!? We’ll just have a ball singing and dancing (rather excruciatingly) to Abba songs!

Moviegoer (mostly me): Awesome!

12. MADE OF HONOR

Tom Bailey (Patrick Dempsey): I am in love with my bestfriend and of course it will take me the whole movie to realize this.

Hannah (Michelle Monaghan): I am in love with my bestfriend and of course it will take me the whole movie to realize this.

Director: Let’s throw in every other cliche into this movie and hope for the best! Oh, and throw in Patrick Dempsey in a really short, short tartan skirt!

Moviegoer (thinking): Wow…crap…but the leads are hot, so I guess I can forgive him/her!

A Gen-Xer’s take on a Gen-Yer’s take on 90s and current TV: the lowdown

I was a teenager in the 90s when what we consider now to be the classics of 90s TV debuted and became the hottest shows on the planet.

This were: “Beverly Hills 90210”, “My So-called Life”, “Dawson’s Creek”, “Freaks and Geeks” and my all-time favorite, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” – before TV executives’ brains devolved and they started thinking reality shows were great programming. This was before the proliferation of only two major kinds of television shows hit the tubes: crime and medical dramas. This was before, when there was much intelligence in Hollywood and more risks and creativity.

I am not a big fan of Beverly Hills, My So-called Life, Dawson’s Creek and Freaks and Geeks, but these were the TV shows that pushed the envelope in terms of cutting-edge, daring programming for teenagers. But most of all, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, was a brilliant, feminist, funny and witty TV show where the girls weren’t shallow idiots always hellbent on backstabbing, getting laid or getting the latest fad right.

So, imagine my surprise when some idiotic 21 year old puts it in her head that she has the right or the license to criticize groundbreaking 90s TV shows.

The blog was by Andrea Cheng, entitled “ Gen X vs. Gen Y: A 21-Year-Old’s Take On ’90s TV”  which, among other things, dissed the hair, teen problems, freaks and geeks and 80most especially dissed witches and vampires.

I am so pissed off I feel like…like….ranting and raving like an impotent jerk because…because….what do I expect from an idiotic blog post from a 21 year old whose mind has been saturated by reality shows, crime and medical dramas and other mindless entertainment? Idiotic Gen-Y shows beget idiotic blog posts.

I rest my case.