Thursday, May 31, 2007

H.L. Mencken's Prescient View

Reading up on H.L. Mencken, an American social satirist from the 1920s, and came upon this oddly prescient view that could be applied to blogging and Web 2.0:

[D]emocracy gives [the beatification of mediocrity] a certain appearance of objective and demonstrable truth. The mob man, functioning as citizen, gets a feeling that he is really important to the world - that he is genuinely running things.

Out of his maudlin herding after rogues and mountebanks there comes to him a sense of vast and mysterious power—which is what makes archbishops, police sergeants, the grand goblins of the Ku Klux and other such magnificoes happy. And out of it there comes, too, a conviction that he is somehow wise, that his views are taken seriously by his betters - which is what makes United States Senators, fortune tellers and Young Intellectuals happy. Finally, there comes out of it a glowing consciousness of a high duty triumphantly done which is what makes hangmen and husbands happy.

Mencken, being an elitist of sorts, took a sarcastically bemused outlook towards democracy -- not so much as a political structure but as a thoroughly egalitarian system. One should not make too harsh a judgment of the man, though; he was actually more colorful than that.

Still, such a view as represented above is in line with my thoughts on blogging nowadays: are we really making a difference? Or has blogging become a mere palliative to keep us happy in the thought that we are -- when we aren't, really?

Monday, May 28, 2007

Magic Realism and a Dream of Death

Magic realism: an artistic genre in which magical elements appear in an otherwise realistic setting. In popular literature, it's most well-known and most pronounced in the novels of Gabriel Garcia-Marquez.

It's also one of the common comment of foreign literary critics about Philippine stories. One question which popped up in the workshop just past: why do Filipino authors emulate the magic realist style of Garcia-Marquez?

And the answer: they don't; it just so happens that the Philippine life is a rich source of magic realism in everyday life. Stay a week in Quiapo and you'll see it in the operative mode.

As if to reinforce this statement, I came upon the following account in the Philippine Daily Inquirer. Just before the weekend, Makati deputy chief of police, Jovem Bocalbos, was murdered while moonlighting as a passenger van driver in Quezon City. (And that in itself is a mild form of magic realism, if you think about it.)

From the article:

Bocalbos’ widow, 35-year-old Maria Cristina, told the Inquirer that on the day her husband was killed, their 12-year old daughter had a bad dream.

“Napanaginipan niya na may nangyaring masama sa Daddy niya (She dreamt that something bad happened to her Daddy),” Maria Cristina told the Inquirer.

On Wednesday morning, her daughter Jill Christie dreamt of her father pleading for help.

“Nasa loob daw ng sasakyan ang Daddy niya tapos nakita lang niya na humihingi ng tulong doon sa side mirror (Her Daddy was inside a vehicle. She saw him in the side mirror pleading for help),” she said.

In the dream, the Bocalbos family were inside the Nissan Urvan Escapade vehicle waiting for Maria Cristina to return from a fastfood restaurant. Suddenly, someone opened the front passenger seat and attacked the police officer. Jill Christie looked in the vehicle’s side mirror and saw her father pleading for help.

The 12-year-old girl woke up with a start and told her mother about the dream.

Maria Cristina wanted to send a text message or call her husband to tell him about the dream and to warn him against going out that night to ferry passengers.

“Kaya lang hindi ko na nagawa. Inisip ko na wala lang siguro iyong panaginip ng anak ko. Tapos ito na nga ang nangyari (But I never got around to doing it. I thought nothing of my daughter’s dream, then this happened),” she said.

Dreams, premonitions, ominous signs, unheeded warnings, and belated recriminations. It's something that you expect to spring out of a Latin American novel. But it happens in real life in the Philippines.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Wake-Up Call

"A wake-up call," Dumaguete City Mayor Agustin Perdices calls his narrow victory over rival Arturo Umbac. Indeed it is, but the more important matter is: a wake-up call to what?

Perdices may have won this third and final term as head of the city but this victory comes with a strong rebuke from the electorate. His lead of 5,215 votes over Umbac is possibly the slimmest margin in his career. To punctuate the message, his running mate William Ablong lost the vice-mayoralty position.

If this were school, Perdices would have earned the equivalent of a "D." He has passed the course, but just barely. He has to do better, and this means he has to start doing things differently.

Perdices does not have the reputation of a man of bold vision or audacious action. Perdices likes to play it safe, a stance that has served him well over his several past terms in change-resistant Dumaguete.

But Perdices' latest turn at the helm comes at a time when Dumaguete is undergoing major changes: a sharp rise in population brought about by migration and new investments, traffic congestion, environmental pressures, and unsolved violent crimes. Suddenly, the old safe stratagems no longer work.

All things considered, this truly is his final term as mayor of Dumaguete; there's no reelection to think of. Neither is there a Perdices dynasty waiting in the wings. Whether he does a good job or a bad one, he no longer needs to worry about the political aftermath beyond 2010.

It's an enviable position to be in, as it gives him a great deal of latitude, perhaps the most he's had in his career. Perdices could just as easily coast throughout the remainder of his last three years in office, treading those tired, old paths of city management; or he could, in this sunset, give it one last go and try something bold and new, something truly visionary for the city.

In the final analysis, Perdices' responsibility is no longer to his allies, nor to his party, nor even to the people of Dumaguete. His responsibility now is to posterity: what lasting legacy would he like to give? what does he want to be remembered for?

Perhaps, in that answer, the lame duck might turn out to be a swan with a final song to sing.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Sylar button idea

Fan group Heroes Philippines was soliciting for ideas for, er, unofficial merchandise to be circulated within the group. Here's my idea for a Sylar-themed button. Also works as a t-shirt design, I think.

The first season of Heroes is drawing to a close and Sylar, strangely enough, is getting to be my favorite character. Perhaps I'm simply getting tired of the foot-dragging and whining on the part of the other heroes. Sylar, in contrast, is a character with strong motivations.

The only way for Hiro to get back to his old position is to, well, kill Sylar.

"This is usually the part where people start screaming."

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Pacquiao and Schadenfreude

Pacquiao ‘sad,’ ‘depressed’ over poll results, lost cash says the Philippine Daily Inquirer. Alright, everyone, all together now:


From the article:

MANILA, Philippines -- Manny Pacquiao was described as “sad” and “depressed” as he continued to trail frontrunner Rep. Darlene Antonino-Custodio in the Congressional race for South Cotabato’s first district.

Sources from the boxer’s campaign staff said that Manny’s misery was not only due to the election results. He also lost huge sums of money when his trusted backers allegedly funneled cash from the champion boxer’s campaign chest to their respective pockets, the sources said.

Pacquiao received 18,535 votes as against Custodio’s 34,112.

Casaroro Water

Dilemma: when you come upon something wondrous and new, do you jealously guard the secret in the hopes of personal gain? Or do you spread the word to one and all that they too might enjoy its benefits? The answer, I suppose, depends on the nature of the discovery.

After some thought, I've decided to take the latter course. It's nothing earthshaking, after all, simply a heretofore unarticulated observation. And that is: there's something special about the waters of Casaroro Falls.

Now, Casaroro Falls itself is no secret. It's a well-known destination for trekkers and tourists, though its popularity is hampered somewhat by its relative inaccessibility. Even if one rides all the way up to its gateway, one still has to descend a 330-step staircase. Oh, and one has to ascend, too, eventually.

I went on my third trip to Casaroro Falls last Sunday and I can attest that the trek has not gotten any easier. I played host to some Fellows from the Writers Workshop. We parked the car at Forest Camp, then proceeded to walk up to the "Y" junction between the Falls and the Japanese Shrine, then onwards to the grass hut which formed the entrance to the ravine. All in all, a four-kilometer uphill trek under the blazing sun.

By the time we got to the heart of the falls, the waters of the pool were simply too tempting to resist for my companions. They eagerly dived in. Old goat that I am, I resisted the urge, content to dip my bare feet into the shallow streamlets and simply listen to the roar of the water.

"My skin feels so soft," commented one of my friends roughly after we had gone back to the city. I shrugged it off as simple perceptual bias. Except, when I took off my shoes and socks some hours later, there was none of that usual sticky feeling. My feet, the only part of my body to dip into the waters, felt smooth and soft.

The following day, I asked my friends if they felt any body aches. I know I did, despite all my regular exercise. "Not at all!" was the common response, "in fact, we feel so refreshed." Another perceptual bias? Maybe, except for the fact that two of the girls I was with had never gone trekking that far before.

Perhaps it was just as well that I didn't swim in the pool, if only to serve as a control element in the impromptu experiment. Bears further investigation? Surely!

Now, I'm not easily given to mystical credulity so the first thing I did was to search for possible scientific explanations. Unfortunately, no one as yet seems to have written about Casaroro except as tourist destination. I'm simply left to make some conjectures.

In one of my trips to Malaysia, I travelled to a small town called Ipoh. Ipoh boasted the freshest vegetables, the smoothest noodles, and the fairest-skinned women -- and the locals attributed it all to their water. Ipoh water is said to have a high mineral content owing to the limestone deposits through which their supply flows. It's not such a stretch to hypothesize similar principles at work at Casaroro.

My curiosity would be mighty gratified if some proper chemists could undertake some experiments regarding Casaroro's water composition and how it might affect the human body, if it hasn't been done already.

Back to the original tangent: now that I've mentioned it, I wonder if there's going to be an upsurge in the number of trekkers to Casaroro? After all, it's these types of revelations that can spoil a site by the sheer volume of visitors. I'm hoping the 330-step descent provides an adequate deterrent.

Of course, if some greedy wise guys decide to put up a spa with cable car and dollar entrance fees, that would just spell ruin.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Do the BBC!

BBC Online published some of my comments as part of a montage interview about the Philippine political situation. Fellow BUKAS advocate Fatima Lasay also has her comments in the same article.

My comments came out in edited form. I'm generally happy with the result, the only minor beef being omitted text in my comments about Mindanao. Anyway, here are the reporter's questions and my answers I submitted them. (I have highlighted the omitted text on Mindanao.)

Are you going to vote in the elections?
Unfortunately, no. I'm currently in another part of the country, away from the Davao precinct where I am registered. That said, there's little incentive to vote for the local positions as the incumbent mayor Rodrigo Duterte (and his vice-mayoral candidate, daughter Inday Sara Duterte) are virtually running uncontested.

What, in your opinion, are the main problems that need to be addressed in the Philippines?
Corruption, in my opinion, is the key issue as many problems are tied to it. It happens at many different levels: on the national level, we have scams like the Fertilizer Fund fiasco that continue to go uninvestigated; on the local level, the perception is that projects tend to be padded by 20% in order to line the pockets of politicians.

The end result is that services do not go where they ought, e.g., poverty alleviation, education, and health care. Accountability is practically non-existent And you have situations where local pols use any means necessary to cling to power, including violence and subversion of existing structures.

What needs to be done for the problems to be fixed?
Oh, if only we had the answers! Each Filipino seems to have his own recipe. The best I can do is give mine:

We need a government with the political will and the strong moral compass to pursue a program of ruthless accountability. But as it is, it's very hard to effect. Too many compromises have been made, too many debts have been incurred so that it's all a tangled mass of relationships.

We are looking for alternative solutions: federalism is an idea that's been around for a while and gets resurrected from time to time. The intention is to reduce dependence on a central government. Formal federalism by itself will be very hard to achieve, given the inertia of the leaders and the inescapable opposition that arises from any idea. But at least some semblance of it begins to emerge as a few local governments attempt self-reliance.

Ultimately, what may change these structures is the Overseas Foreign Worker, migrant Filipinos who work abroad and send money home. With this new affluence comes some degree of independence of thinking. The people at home no longer rely so much on their leaders to chart the direction of the community, but begin asserting their own opinions. What the long-term effect of this will be, only time will tell.

Do you have faith in politicians? Who has the answers?
Actually very little, but that answer does need to be qualified. There are a number of good people out there who are trying to change the system. One good example would be the Kapatiran ("Brotherhood") party, quite possibly the only party to offer a concretely articulated platform of government. It's quite unlikely that they'll win because they have neither the machinery nor the name-recall that is essential in winning Philippine elections, but I do appreciate the honesty that they're bringing to the table.

For the most part, though, politicians fall into the category which we call "trapo" (dishrag) -- an abbreviation of "traditional politician." They come from established political families, usually dominate a particular area.

Will these elections change anything?
In terms of a drastic improvement in the situation, no. The Philippines is still very much an evolving democracy, but changes tend to be gradual.

What will be interesting to see will be whether the Opposition does win a majority in the Senate and in the Lower House. Impeachment has been a constant spectre on the Arroyo government, in large part due to the election scandal of 2004 and other unanswered questions. In the past, these attempts have been quashed by sheer force of numbers. If there is a shift in the balance, the results could be very interesting indeed.

There is one change that I am hoping for. If the COMELEC can muster a clean and honest election, with quick results and speedy and definitive resolutions to protest, that would be a major achievement. As it is, the COMELEC has a tarnished reputation because of the 2004 scandal, and they haven't done themselves any favors by their lack of transparency in the run-up to May 14. But one can hope.

And last questions, since you live in Mindanao - what are your experiences of the recent violence? How can the problem of Islamic insurgency be tackled?
Violence is actually localized to specific areas, and does not engulf the whole of Mindanao. But I suppose news reports have a way of compressing a large area into bite-sized conceptual chunks. Davao, where I live, is actually quite peaceful. In all honesty, I feel safer in Davao than I do in Manila.

I think the idea of the "Islamic insurgency" bears some re-thinking, too. To be sure, there are hard core groups driven by dreams of separate Islamic state, but I would think these are actually few in number, with little chance of achieving that goal.

Within the troubled areas, the difficulties do not stem so much from religion as from other factors such as poverty, disenfranchisement, even local politics. The fact that they are Muslim just happens to be incidental. It just also happens that many Filipinos are looking for that sense of identity and the religious divide provides an easy categorization.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Casaroro Falls

This is probably my best and most favorite shot of Casaroro Falls. I think it gives a sense of scale of the waterfalls. The mysterious figure in the foreground is Janina Rivera, one of the Fellows for this year's Writers Workshop. And to think this was taken with my Nokia 6233 cellphone!

Yesterday I took some of the Fellows up to Valencia, with our ultimate goal the waterfalls some five kilometers further uphill. We left the car at Forest Camp and hoofed it onwards.

I had taken this trail before last year, I knew it to be a little tough, I just didn't remember how tough! Still, no one really thought about giving up and turning back. We braved on, despite the rough roads and steep inclines.

It was worth it by the time we got to the falls. You could see the tired faces perk up and gasp in wonder. Everyone took a dip, except me. Later on, everyone was commenting how refreshed they were, due in no small part to the soft waters of Casaroro.

At the start of the trail, still close to Forest Camp.

Finally! the entrance to Casaroro Falls. This was after two hours of trekking (with a little cheating in between, by way of a short -- a very short -- tricycle ride.)

Heading down the steps...

...and taking a little time to admire the view

Down at the camp area, a quick stop on the suspension bridge....

My obligatory Buddha shot.

And, of course, what better reward after a gruelling trek than to frolic in the waters?

Workshop goes to Antulang

Every Wednesday, the Writers Workshop holds its sessions out of town. For the first week, they headed to Antulang, a beach resort somewhere between Zamboanguita and Siaton. In between pieces, the Fellows could take a dip in the crystal clear waters or just lounge around. I, of course, tagged along.

After the workshop, our gracious host Annabelle Lee took us on a tour of Tambobo Bay on their trimaran. And then, just enough time for one more quick dip or kayaking before the long journey home.

Boulevard Kids

Walking down the boulevard one morning, I saw these kids emerging from a dip in the waters by the boulevard. They say the bay waters here are too polluted to be safe, but apparently that won't stop the urchins from a little fun.

All smiles and not a care in the world -- ah, to be a kid in summer again!

I'm still on a very erratic blogging schedule. The fact is: I'm having too much fun outdoors to be sitting in front of a computer. The pictures I'll be posting over the coming days should give you an idea of what I've been up to.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Seductive Irrelevancies

As in years gone by, summer brings me back to Dumaguete.

It's strange to say such a thing when I've just barely left and when I could just as easily fly in at any time; but in the past few months, I've primed myself for a longer turn in Davao and have started thinking of it as home. In coming back, I feel in many ways a visitor again.

As a returning visitor, one has the benefit of seeing old places and people with fresh eyes. In many ways, Dumaguete is still much the same as it was (though now it sports some fresh veneer). The passage of time, though, reverses all that pent-up frustration at The Way Things Are Done into a renewed appreciation of her charms.

Part of that fresh perspective, I suppose, comes from the reason that's brought me back: National Writers Workshop.

"They always come back, even if only once more," they say of the past Fellows, of which I am now be counted among the number. How true, how true! The Workshop makes you part of the extended family of the Tiempos -- so how can any good son or daughter not find the way home?

So I've insinuated myself into the workshop again, an attempt in part to recapture the wonders of last summer. This time, I sit in the peanut gallery, watching the Fellows of this year with some degree of envy. Wasn't it just a year ago I was sitting 'round that table?

I'm just in time, too, to hear Mom Edith's opening remarks. It's a delight to hear her talk, to see her come alive in the role she plays best, a teacher. "Seductive irrelevancies," she explains, "essential imperfections that add character to a work of art."

Seductive irrelevancies! and at that my ears perk up. Leave it to Mom Edith to couch it in such memorable terms. She's talking about the craft of writing, but it could just as well be the theme of art, often lost amidst the soul-sucking demands of pragmatism.

Seductive irrelevancies! Isn't that, in many ways, what the charms of Dumaguete are all about? The Boulevard, the Bell Tower, the cheerful, easygoing attitude... All those useless little things, all those nonessentials we take for granted, but without which Dumaguete wouldn't be Dumaguete.

And with those two words in summer, I am brought back to Dumaguete that I used to know.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Lilo-an Port Crew

Crossing from Cebu island to Negros, you embark from the small port of Lilo-an for the ferry. Ordinarily, the transfer is rushed because the boat is always just about to leave. This time around, though, only one ferry was operational so the intervals were longer.

The port crew looked so colorful in their uniforms I decided to take shots of them at rest and in action.

Video rental joints

This picture is in answer to Sean's comment, which in essence posited that piracy has driven out the video rental business.

First, we must look at the factual premise: that the rental business is dead. And apparently it's not.

The rental business is alive and well in the rural/provincial areas, where incomes are lower and therefore there's a greater incentive to share out the costs in the community.

On the other hand, you won't see video rentals in upscale areas like central Makati because, well, it's a place where people think nothing of plunking down P150 for a Starbucks frap. Rent from a video store? For shame! for shame! The debutantes would never be caught dead!

I can also think of another reason why video rentals make sense: just look at the piles and piles of bootleg DVDs that you've accumulated. Really, why spend P60 when for P10 or P20 you can rent the video and not have to think about storing it afterwards.

When video rental shops do go out of business (and eventually, they will), it will be mainly because of the advance of technology (of which, admittedly, piracy does play a role). And by then they'll join other anachronisms outmoded by technology, viz., the manual typewriter, the pager, and the buggy whip.

Back to Valencia

If I haven't written anything the past few days, it's because I'm back in Dumaguete. Friday, I was in transit from Davao to Cebu, and Saturday from Cebu to Dumaguete.

And Sunday? Well, Dumaguete welcomed me back with open arms and a scheduled eight-hour citywide power failure. I feel home.

To put all that behind me, today
I went up to Valencia via my old biking paths. I made it within my usual time with not much difficulty. The good news is that I haven't really gotten worse; the bad news is that I haven't gotten much better, either.

Still it was good to be back in the saddle again. I went through Daro, Camanjac, and Pulantubig. A lot of road-cementing going on, so some of the old trails have disappeared. All this ostensibly in time for elections.

I passed by the old riverbed in Valencia, and saw the usual sights. Nostalgia crept up on me. I hadn't been on this path since June of last year. Just to round out the experience, I passed by a carabao cart on the way up.

And as I was going up, who should I meet along the way but my old biking buddies Alex and Kevin. We stopped for coffee at our suking tindahan, now in a new location.

It's good to be back.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

New pictures of Jupiter

The New Horizons project, an exploratory mission to Pluto and the Kuiper belt, released photos of Jupiter and its moons last Tuesday.

The New Horizons came to within 1.4 million miles of Jupiter on February 28 in what can be described as a slingshot manuever (a term Star Trek fans should be familiar with) to propel it faster to its destination.

Some 70% of 34GB has come back so far, transmitted over 600 million miles by radio.

Images include the first close-up scans of the Little Red Spot, Jupiter’s second-largest storm. The storm, about half the size of Jupiter’s larger Great Red Spot and about 70 percent of Earth’s diameter.

The spacecraft also grabbed pictures of the tenuous Jovian ring system and close-ups of the four main moons of Jupiter.

New Horizons was launched in January 2006 and is scheduled to reach Pluto in 2015.

More pictures at the New Horizons web site.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Rethinking Piracy

Have you ever noticed how, for all the pa-pogi posturing of Edu Manzano and the Optical Media Board, it's still embarrassingly easy to grab a P60 compilation of the latest Hollywood hits? Just step over to your nearest sidewalk or downscale bazaar and talk to your nearest dibidi suki.

To call it intellectual piracy is fair enough. Producers, cast, and crew that rightfully ought to be rewarded for their work are robbed of the royalties due to them. Extend the argument further and you get a dire prognostication. Piracy makes it unpalatable for investors to put their money into the entertainment, hence the industry would collapse.

It all sounds logical but it's hardly true, is it? The situation bears it out. Hollywood still churns out movie after movie and local theaters continue to operate. The movie industry persists despite all that piracy. Just why is that?

For one thing, despite the easy availability of bootleg videos, people do still prefer to catch a movie on the big screen...if it's worthwhile. Moviemakers have learned to create "event" films. You can watch a blurry copy -- complete with bobbing heads and applauding audience -- on your itsy-bitsy 14-inch screen, or you can watch it on all its digital glory on the big screen. Enough people prefer the latter, it seems.

When it comes to theater releases, piracy, in fact, seems to have brought us two upsides: first, we now get the movies in local theaters on the day of their worldwide release; and second, there seems to a lot less drivel coming out of Hollywood nowadays.

Simultaneous worldwide release is a pre-emptive action on the part of the producers and distributors. Hold back on the release and they risk losing more box office sales. Release it at the same time and they can at least ride on the movie's hype and on the enthusiasm of the fans.

If nothing else, piracy has at least squeezed out much of the grade-C and -D charnel that Hollywood used to crank out. You know, the kind that stars Lorenzo Lamas and Michael Dudikoff (Who? Ex-aaactly....) Dibidi connoisseurs know what movies like these are worth -- watch over beer, then throw away. Producers now at least know to keep their money on bankable blockbuster bets.

Producers and distributors also do have new channels by which they recoup their costs, like cable TV and legitimate video outlets.

Part of what you pay for in your cable subscription goes to the likes of HBO and Cinemax, which in turn goes back to the movie distributor. Surprisingly, the omnipresent dibidi has done little to curb the channel subscriptions. Dibidi regulars most likely have subscriptions, too; and the funny thing is cable may actually be showing the same programs that the corner vendor is selling. And since the value of the program is in the viewing rather in the possession of the media, might it not be said that the movie has already been paid for? (Of course, cable theft is another matter....)

What about legitimate video outlets? Isn't piracy hurting them? If it is, how do we explain that so many of them still remain in operation, even thrive in the face of bootleg competition?

In recent years, legitimate outlets have had to drop prices to compete with bootleggers. Prices are in fact somewhat higher than compared with the corner dibidi market, but at least they're much more reasonable and much less inflated; and for that we have the dibidi to thank.

So why do legitimate video outlets continue to operate? Their selections are somewhat better organized so it's easier to search for a title, something a semi-mobile dibidi vendor can't be bothered with. With legitimate vendors, there's at least a higher guarantee of quality, something not always possible with the dibidi. There are other factors, too: packaging, location, and perhaps even the occasional conscience buyers. All these combined add up to value that customers may be willing to pay for.

Piracy exists because a desired product is artificially scarce or its price is kept artificially high. Ultimately, piracy is an untenable enterprise because of its illegitimate nature; it's really only a matter of time before the economics catch up with it. If legitimate channels like movie theaters, subscription media, and video stores continue to operate in the face of blatant piracy, then doesn't that point the way to which the economics need to be addressed?

In the meantime, though, we can all enjoy the comedy value that Edu Manzano and the OMB provide.

Heroes S01E20: String Theory

I can't say enough how pleased I am with how the Heroes series is shaping up. Two more episodes to go and things look to be headed for a big finish, with no obvious loose threads in sight. This is how entertainment is supposed to be.

"String Theory" follows Hiro and Ando as they travel five years into a much darker future. It's a future where they failed to stop the catastrophe in New York. They meet future versions of old friends and enemies and friends-turned-enemies.

Now I hope that's not saying too much. I ruined part of my own experience by reading some spoilers before I actually got to watch the show. Serves me right for being impatient. Nevertheless, even knowing how the surprise turns out, I was caught in the storytelling.

What differentiates Heroes from other shows I'm following is how neatly things are coming together. It's pretty hard to do that with an ensemble cast, much less with an unfolding storyline arc that's an entire season long. The "Heroes" crew really outdid themselves.

I have no doubt I'll be watching the entire series from the very beginning once this season ends, just to see how well the entire plot comes together.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

New month, new blog template

A new month and a new blog template. What was wrong with the old one? Nothing really, except that it was already feeling a bit old. It was quirky fun for its time, but I felt like reverting to something classic with a fresh twist here and there.

This new template actually brings me back to a design I originally wanted for my blog: typewriter image up on top (permission from image owner Gemba Pantarei pending), plus a dash of smudgy typewriter fonts in sIFR from, and voila!