Sunday, March 28, 2010

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Glorious bites

Pa, Jake, and I are finally in The Netherlands with Ma. We're staying in today and munching on watermelon.

My poor sleeping habits seem to have vanished over the changing latitudes. I've been sleeping a lot, my body trying to get over the jet lag. I read somewhere that afternoon naps can help, but I've been a slave to my eyelids. I fell asleep at eight this morning.

We went for a walk yesterday, and ended up at the open market. It's spring here and the flowers are blooming. People are happy to see color after a season of white landscapes. I took photos of dogs and chocolate and cheese.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

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The Fed, Captain America, etc.

Just a few things before I polish off the last of my chores.

On Yahoo! Movietalk, Chris Evans to play "Captain America." I am pleased at the inherent hotness, but dubious about his maturity. Don't get me wrong; I say this with affection. Evans does young insolence well, but I wonder if he can handle the more straight-arrow Steve Rogers.

In the Miami Herald, a wonderful piece on Roger as a father, a champion, and other yummy bites. Thank you, GoToTennis Blog for the brilliant link. Read, as The Fed gushes about his twins. He is a sweet, sweet man.
"But then, we realized having two at the same time would mean they could be best friends forever, and we got excited about it. Now that Myla and Charlene are in our lives, I wouldn't want it any other way..."

"...Having children has had a major impact on me, all good," he said. "Mirka went through the pregnancy so well, and that inspired me. I felt bad that I was just sitting on the sidelines, not able to help much. Once the babies came, I wanted to be part of it. Mirka still does more diaper-changing and waking up, but in the daytime, I hold the babies a lot and spend a lot of time with them."

I haven't been sleeping very well. I float about in the in-between for a while until some distraction snaps me back to consciousness.

Today, a jeepney driver accidentally gave me an old 25-centavo coin. The one with the butterfly on it. Why did we stop using the two-peso coin with ten sides? That was awesome change.

I'm parched. Off to hydrate. Later.

Monday, March 22, 2010

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If life was a story, the world should be a bookstore.

You can use books to make a stack all the way to the moon.

I could lose myself in all your words.

I would go to the ends of the Earth, to read you.

More photos of The World's Most Interesting Bookstores here.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

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I like paws

Zen in your tea cup

More tea this morning. I'm enjoying a cup before I head out for a bunch of errands. Thinking of making tea and actually making it are just as relaxing as drinking it. I zone out and let my hands take me through the motions. I simmer some water and milk in a saucepan, then pour in my tea leaves. I watch the liquid turn creamy brown and I am at peace. There is quiet satisfaction in the gentle bubbling of hot tea.

Today, the sky is so blue, it's ridiculous.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

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From the green couch

Rako regarding me with sleepy disinterest. This is how I would nap if I was a dog.

I'm having tea now and contemplating an unfinished paper. It needs to be written so that my academic life can get back on track. Advisers have turned a watchful eye on me. This is from Under the Tuscan Sun, which has regained its place in the sunny regions of my heart:

Patti: Actually, if you knew Frances better, you'd know that these brownies are a sign of avoidance.
Frances: Thanks.
Male friend: How's the novel going?
Frances: Not so well. But the procrastination, of course, is coming along fabulously. And soon it will breed abject self-loathing...and then, I'll just become a writing machine.
Patti: It's her process.

Shepherd's pie is my brownies. I'm just rounding the curb to abject self-loathing, so I expect that soon, I will be a writing machine.

Been watching old episodes of My Boys. A fourth season is reported to come out this year. Woohoo!

Last week, Jake came down with a fever. On one of the nights he was sick, I couldn't sleep. It was 2AM and the silence was getting oppressive. I was beginning to feel restless. Then, next to me, Jake rasps: "Braaaaiiins..." I look over and he's asleep. After a few seconds, in the same gravelly voice: "Moorssse cooode..." In the dark, my first thought was: My brother is turning into a zombie-spy! (He has since recovered from the potential zombie transformation, which was actually just a garden-variety throat infection.) Antibiotics remind me of Good Omens. In the book, the Apocalypse horseman Pestilence went out of business because of the discovery of penicillin.

A few Sundays ago, Lem and I went out and the moon was orange.

When I think of finally seeing Ma, I feel like I'm about to become myself again.

It's warm in Baguio, and most tourists have gone with the end of Panagbenga. The city is ours again.


Thursday, March 4, 2010

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In the half-light

The English expression “to fall asleep” is apt because the transition between waking and sleeping is a gradual drop from one state of being into another, a giving up of full self-consciousness for unconsciousness or for the altered consciousness of dreams. Except in cases of exhaustion or with the aid of drugs, the movement from one world to another is not instantaneous; it takes a little time. Full waking self-consciousness begins to loosen and unravel.

During this interval, I have often had the illusion that I am walking. I feel my foot slip off a curb and fall, but before I hit the pavement, I feel a jerk and am fully awake again. I also watch brilliant mutating spectacles on my closed eyelids, so-called hypnogogic hallucinations, that usher me into sleep. Sometimes I hear voices speak a single word or a short emphatic sentence.

Siri Hustvedt writes on sleep and insomnia in the New York Times. The piece is for a series called All-Nighters, an exploration of the "ways we approach sleeplessness — as a nuisance, a disease, a curse, an opportunity or even a gift."

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

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Mrs Roger Federer

Mirka took to her new sport quickly. She was a net charger like Martina, a serve and volleyer, and became Swiss junior champion at 15. She never won a WTA title, spending most of her career fighting through qualifying. But she was a comer on the minor-league ITF circuit for a while, winning three tournaments and at one point posting a 12-match winning streak. Her best result at a major was the third round of the 2001 U.S. Open, where she lost to Justine Henin. A long-running series of foot injuries ended her career not long after that.

By then, she and Federer were fully committed. (And she was still a good enough player to serve as Roger’s hitting partner.) It seems it was Federer who was the aggressor back at the beginning of the relationship. At the Sydney Olympics in 2000, Mirka lost in the first round to Elena Dementieva but didn’t escape the notice of her fellow Swiss team member.

"I couldn't work out why he wanted to talk to me so much," she said, according to a 2009 article in the Belfast Telegraph. "Then, near the end of the Games, he kissed me."

Douglas Perry writes about Mirka Vavrinec on The Oregonian.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

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Bad artists copy

Animax has re-scheduled its prime time line-up. Jake and I are severely disappointed. No Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood or Bleach tonight (We-ell, the second part is not so true. We ended up watching Bleach on DVD).

I was trying to get to the bottom of the re-scheduling, so I went to the Animax Asia website. The new schedule is still a mystery to me, but I stumbled on a Jasmine tweet with a link to an article on Bleachness about an American artist Nick Simmons allegedly plagiarizing Tite Kubo's Bleach. The folks at the LiveJournal group have compiled very convincing evidence. Panels from Simmons' comic Incarnate were compared to drawings from the Bleach manga. The similarities are indeed striking (More images on the original Bleachness post):

The tweet also included a link to an article on Comics Worth Reading about Nick Simmons not quite addressing the allegations. This is what he has to say:
“Like most artists I am inspired by work I admire. There are certain similarities between some of my work and the work of others. This was simply meant as an homage to artists I respect, and I definitely want to apologize to any Manga fans or fellow Manga artists who feel I went too far. My inspirations reflect the fact that certain fundamental imagery is common to all Manga. This is the nature of the medium.

“I am a big fan of Bleach, as well as other Manga titles. And I am certainly sorry if anyone was offended or upset by what they perceive to be the similarity between my work and the work of artists that I admire and who inspire me.”
It's incredible how he seems to think he hasn't done anything wrong. My Communications professor would flay him alive. He evades the issue of his copying, and calls it an "homage." The bloody cheek! In another article on Comic Attack, I read that fans have also accused Simmons of taking from other manga like Hellsing and One-Piece, and from an artist on deviantArt.

Radical, the publishers of Incarnate, have suspended publication and distribution of the comic while "making contact the publishers of the works in question in an effort to resolve this matter." Meanwhile, through Twitter, Tite Kubo remarks:
"Last night until this morning, I got a ton of "an American comic is copying Bleach!" messages from overseas fans! Looking at the site I don't speak English, but I saw something like "Gene Simmons' son Nick Simmons who draws manga-style comics."

Honestly, more than whether they re[se]mble each other or not, I wonder that Gene Simmons' son is a mangaka..."
Kubo's comments seem to exude a very Zen attitude to the whole thing. Hail, Sensei.

Legally, though, I would like to see Simmons face the allegations head-on. If found guilty, he should be made to answer for his transgressions. Plagiarism is no small crime. It is an act of disrespect to all artists who actually work hard so that their creations are original. It undermines creative integrity. Plagiarism is just being plain lazy. And it's painfully embarrassing when you're caught.

Installation art is the new pine tree (a correction)

Whoops! A correction. (Sorry everyone, I should have looked before I leaped.) This new installment is in commemoration of the Philippine Commission's first session, which was held in the city on 22 April to 11 June 1904. A large piece of art now occupies what was once the site of the notorious concrete pine tree. The eight structures represent the eight members of the second Philippine Commission whose first session was convened in Baguio City: Governor-General Luke E. Wright, Henry C. Ide, Dean C. Worcester, T. H. Pardo de Tavera, Benito Legarda, Jose R. de Luzuriaga, James F. Smith, and W. Cameron Forbes. It was also during this meeting that Baguio City was declared for use as the Summer Capital. You can actually read about the Philippine Commission on the marker at the entrance of Baden Powell Inn in Governor Pack Road :)

But there's more! This, from SunStar Baguio:
The monument is made of locally quarried stones of different forms representing the people of different races which contributed to the building of today’s Baguio.

The uneven shape and figures of the boulders together with the carved spheres represent Baguio’s construction and reconstruction – its growth from a pastureland to a city, its rise from the devastation of war and it’s rebirth after the killer quake, its continuous growth and development as a unique and sustainable city.

The spheres represent the visions and dreams, the continuous efforts of its citizens to keep Baguio a safe and beautiful place to be.
The complete article here.

It's better than a concrete pine tree, I'll give you that.
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