Friday, January 25, 2008

The amazing Mr. Bond

"Quantum of Solace" is the title of the new James Bond film showing later this year. I can't wait. I wasn't really a big Bond fan. The films were not really well-written and (not that) well-made. The guys who played Bond were more like well-chiseled mannequins than real actors (except Connery). Not to mention the campiness and absurdity of it all (James Bond in space, anyone?), although that may have been the point as the franchise is the ultimate in male fantasy. However, it all changed with 2006's "Casino Royale." Totally loved that movie. Everybody thought the blond Daniel Craig was the wrong choice to play Bond, but they were proven wrong. I knew Craig is a pretty intense actor
, having seen him beforehand in Layer Cake and Sylvia. He brought gravitas and much-needed realism (to a point) in his new role, and the film was a back-to-Ian Fleming-basics affair, revealing Bond for what he actually is: a heartbroken, killing machine, not the martini-shaking kiss-kiss-bang-bang of old (well, maybe not).

To whet your appetite for the next Bond film, here are the famous opening sequences of the last 22 James Bond films. Enjoy.

Dr. No (1962)

From Russia with Love (1963)

Goldfinger (1964)

Thunderball (1965)

You Only Live Twice (1967)

On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)

Diamonds Are Forever (1971)

Live and Let Die (1973)

The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)

The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)

Moonraker (1979)

For Your Eyes Only (1981)

Octopussy (1983)

Never Say Never Again (1983)

A View to a Kill (1985)

The Living Daylights (1987)

Licence to Kill (1989)

GoldenEye (1995)

Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)

The World Is Not Enough (1999)

Die Another Day (2002)

Casino Royale (2006)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

UP slambook

1. Student number?

2. College?
Asian Institute of Tourism (UP Diliman)
There'll be another one hopefully this year.

3. Course?
BS Tourism

4. Did you shift or get kicked out?
Shifted because I couldn't imagine myself teaching. I was an English major. Current job: teacher!

5. Where'd you take the UPCAT?

Crap, I don't remember. It's that building near AS.

6. Favorite GE subject?
Humanities II. Music, movies, sculpture, wow. Discovered the brilliance of The Beatles through this class.

7. Favorite PE?
Social dance, he he he. I wanted to get into the marksmanship class, so I delayed taking it until my senior year when we were supposed to be given priority. However, it wasn't offered that semester when I was supposed to take it, so I had to settle for...Philippine games!

8. Where'd you do guy/girl watching?
Wherever I was holed up. I was a nerd, so, um, main lib steps?

9. Favorite professor(s)
My Humanities II instructor (forgot her name), and Prof. Rodriguez in AIT.

10. Most hated GE courses?
The Science and Math courses, and also Philo and Soc Sci.

11. Did you take Wednesday or Saturday courses?
Wednesday yes. I didn't have to, but I wanted the allowance. Saturday we had to do ROTC (hello Jing Gaddi of Tungaw and Ang Bandang Shirley! You used to bring us our overpriced Spanish bread and Coke when we were in Charlie and Alpha Infantry).

12. Did you go on field trips?
Yes, we went to my town in Taal, Batangas for P.I. 100, among other places. Laguna, Rizal, usual places.

13. Did you ever become College Scholar or University Scholar?
I didn't care much about my grades, and I regret that. Didn't get any failing grades though. I think I was College Scholar once. I wish I could turn back time and do everything all over again. Maybe that's one of the reasons why I want to go back to school, to sort of correct that.

14. What were your organisations/fraternities/sororities?
None! Unbelievable. I was very active in high school, but did a complete turnaround in UP. I almost joined Kontra-Gapi, but my blockmates abandoned me, and I was too shy to apply alone. I joined an organization for English majors, but it folded up immediately after I joined. Malas!

15. Where did you hang out?
UP Main Library and AIT Library. High school and college, my buddies were library people.

16. Dorm, boarding house, or staying at home?
Lived with my aunt in San Juan. Had to be home by 7pm for dinner, that's why I never did anything in UP in the evening and was hesitant to join any org. I was robbed!

17. If there was no UPCAT and you were free to choose your course, what would it be (given your mental state during high school)?
I had no idea what I wanted to do when I was 16. I was already working when I realized what I really wanted to do with my.

18. Who was the first student you met in UP?
Two girls in Social Dance class (it was my first class ever in UP). Forgot their names though. Among my blockmates in CAL, I would say Alman Dave Quiboquibo, who's now a lawyer.

19. First play that you saw in UP?
The Portrait of An Artist as Filipino at the Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero Theater.

20. What were the 5 most coño orgs.
Never cared about the orgs. I would say AIESEC, ECOSOC, JPIA, and others.

21. What were the coolest organisations/fraternities/sororities?
I really wanted to join Kontra-Gapi and Amnesty International. The Kontra guys were the ethnic guys, and the AI guys were rockers and goths and mountaineers. Babaw 'no? I also wanted to join UP Repertory, but I felt intimidated by the members. Also wanted to be in Ugnayan ng Pahinungod.

22. Was there a fraternity/sorority that recruited you?

None. Somebody from a cultish Christian church tried to talk me into joining them, but I was aware of their group so I just focused my attention on the passing cars as he talked. Two years later, he again approached me. He probably forgot that he already failed once.

23. Where'd you have lunch usually?

Green House (where everything tasted the same because they used the same gravy on everything), Beach House, that burger place in Vinzon's. Never set foot in CASAA until sophomore year.

24. Were you happy in UP?

Very. It was a totally new experience for somebody from the province. Very heady.

25. Were you ever part of a rally?
No. I wish I was.

26. How many times did you vote during the student council elections?
Everytime, except once when I had to be in Batangas.

27. Name at least 5 leftist groups in UP.
SAMASA? Forgot the others.

28. Did you ever wish for laude status when you were a freshman?
See no. 13.

29. Who did you have the hots for?
None, but I had this really beautiful blockmate. We got close (I think). Now she's in Europe, married.

30. If you failed the UPCAT what was Plan B?
None. I'm very thankful I passed. Couldn't imagine how my life would have turned out.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Naked guy gets party started right

Supposedly there was a motorcade participated in by the different campuses. There was also some skydiving involved and tambulis blown. But of course I did not see any of that because for some strange reason, the UP Centennial kick-off was held on a Tuesday. What about us alumni who have, you know, jobs? Anyway, I caught more than half of the concert at Quezon Hall later in the evening. My first reaction was, wow, this place is packed! Never seen the amphitheater that full, even during my university graduation ceremony. Saw some familiar faces from way back. My reaction upon seeing them was, oh my god, you're in your 30s!, or oh my god, you look like a mom! There was no place to sit but where I stood I could see the performers (there were also two giant screens). The UP Pep Squad was a hit. I managed to sneak into the backstage to watch some of the symphony performances, and Ryan Cayabyab's number.

My only complaint that evening was for once, there was nothing to eat! Whenever I visit UP, I make it a point to pig out on street food, usually ubiquitous when there's an event. I had to settle for some fried siomai in front of MassCom and overpriced C2.

Right after the orchestra played UP Naming Mahal, the fireworks started. Pretty good actually. And since this is UP, the event was fittingly capped with -- a rally! At 10 pm! I have retyped here the message in the pamphlet the student rallyists of the LFS distributed, because frankly, it makes sense:

* * * * *

UP Sang(an)daan Patungo sa Sentenaryo ng Tunay na Paglilingkod sa Sambayanan

Today marks the opening of the centennial celebration of the University of the Philippines.

In the centennial celebration, we will be commemorating 100 years of the excellence of UP, as the UP administration's theme (UP, Ang Galing!) implies. UP has been one of the country's top universities and has been producing countless number of brilliant students along with numerous national artists.

But aside from the academic achievements of the university, we should not forget what it stands for in the history of our country and the struggle of the people. Aside from being the vanguard of academic excellence, UP has also been the vanguard of the student movement in the country, always in the frontline of the fight for the people's rights. The major victories that were achieved through the struggle of the students are the lifting of the ban in joining student organizations, publishing the university paper and stopping the entry of the military in the campus. UP was not only involved in students' issues but also in national issues. The students and administration joined protests for the resignation of former Pres. Estrada, for the lifting of the pseudo Martial Law declaration Proclamation 1017 and many more.

This centennial is a challenge for the students and the administration to continue not only the academic excellence of the university but also how we use this to change the rotting system that is plaguing our society.

There are many issues that we are facing today, the continuing commercialization of UP education, the dislocation of the residents of UP communities without relocation because of commercialization programs, the setting up of call centers and science and technology parks in the campus instead of academic establishments, the approval of the new UP Charter that gives way to the said problems, as well as national issues such as the increasing number of unemployed, impoverished and victims of human rights violations.

It is a challenge to continue not only the struggle of the students but also the struggle of the people for we know that we are "iskolars ng bayan" and, as the Oblation statue symbolizes, our foremost task and reason for being is to SERVE THE PEOPLE.

* * * * *

Hell yes, Amen to all that. Hoy! Taga-UP ka! Happy Centennial sa 'yo!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Time to bring out the bayong

If China can ban plastic bags, why can't other countries like the Philippines? The only thing needed really is political will.

There's hope I guess.

* * * * * *

China bans free plastic bags

(CNN) -- China is banning free plastic bags common at shops and supermarkets and ordering customers to be charged for any they use, the government said Wednesday.

The rules, which take effect June 1, come as the country tries to tackle a significant source of litter, a statement on the government's Web site said.

The bags also are banned from all public transportation, including buses, trains and planes and from airports and scenic locations, the government said.

Companies caught breaking the new rules face fines and possible forfeiture of goods, the government said.

Shops have been instructed to mark the price of the plastic bags clearly and not fold them into the cost of other items.

Environmental organizations, including Greenpeace, praised China's move, and Christopher Flavin, president of Worldwatch Institute, an independent research organization in Washington, said "China is ahead of the U.S. with this policy," AP reported.

The Chinese use up to 3 billion plastic shopping bags a day.

Often, the flimsy bags are used once and discarded, adding to waste in a country grappling with air and water pollution as a result of rapid economic transformation, officials said.

"Our country consumes a large amount of plastic bags. While convenient for consumers, the bags also lead to a severe waste of resources and environmental pollution because of their excessive use and low rate of recycling," the statement at the Web site said. "The ultra-thin bags are the main source of 'white' pollution as they can easily get broken and end up as litter."

The government statement added, "We should encourage people to return to carrying cloth bags, using baskets for their vegetables."

More durable plastic bags still will be allowed for sale by markets and shops, The Associated Press reported.

When the ban goes into effect, China will join countries such as Uganda and South Africa, the statement said.

Bangladesh banned plastic bags four years ago when officials realized they blocked drains and led to flooding. Since then, customers have taken to using bags made of jute or cloth for shopping.

Last year, San Francisco, California, became the first U.S. city to outlaw plastic checkout bags at supermarkets.

I have a bad feeling about this...

That Britney Spears is going to end up dead if nobody intervenes, like, now. A few hours after being hospitalized because of a (mental?) breakdown, she was back driving in LA. Yup, truly essential bit of information right there.

That George W. Bush is going to cook up something huge in the few remaining weeks of his presidency, to secure a legacy (?) and probably to send a message that it is essential that Americans keep the Republicans in the White House come election time.

The world awaits with bated breath!