Wearing dice on my head since 2008 Programmer, engineer, scientist, critic, gamer, dreamer, and kid-at-heart. Randomly amazed.

Pop Culture

Some things I’ve been watching lately, aside from the usual TV shows I follow: For some reason, I watched two biopics this month. The first one is Hidden Figures, about three black women who were instrumental during the early days of NASA leading up to the Friendship 7 mission piloted by John Glenn. The movie is fairly interesting if you are even remotely interested in either the challenges faced in black history or math and science or the early days of the space program competition between the USA and Russia.

Artists to Follow on Social Media

| Categories: Pop Culture | Tags:

During the past few years, I’ve started following more artists (mostly comic-book related) on social media. Seeing the occasional art post wander across my feeds is often a welcome respite from the terrible news in the world today. I thought I’d share some of my favorites! Jim Lee is a comic book icon and for me his very detailed and elaborate pencils epitomize 90s comic art and his style still heavily influences many newer artists today.

Favorite JRPG Tracks

| Categories: Gaming Pop Culture | Tags: Music

I used to play a lot of JRPGs, especially back during they heyday of the Playstation Era. These days, I only get to play a few, but I still enjoy a lot of the music tracks from this game, often the battle music since I prefer more upbeat tracks. Here are some of my favorite JRPG tracks from recent years: Rivers in the Desert (Persona 5) – easily the best song in the OST for me, and the rest of this OST is amazing so that’s saying a lot.

Shogun was the first novel I ever read outside of required school readings and it remains one of favorites to this day after many rereadings. It had it all – the age of exploration, religious conflict, language barriers, duty, honor, love, betrayal, war, sacrifice, samurai, ninjas, guns, cannons, etc and it still influences my thinking to this day. One of my favorite quotes from this book: Toranaga: “Tsukku-san says that the Netherlands were vassals of the Spanish king until just a few years ago.

Some things I’ve been watching lately, aside from the usual TV shows I follow: Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan (on Amazon Prime) – surprisingly good, even if I’m not too familiar with the Jack Ryan stuff. I only know John Krasinski from The Office, Spoilers for Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan: Click to toggle spoilers The story starts with Ryan tracking down Suleiman’s network via financials, but they never follow-up on who was financing his group I’m not sure what was the point of the whole drone pilot side story (including the weird trip to the casino and the night with the couple), although it was admittedly kind of entertaining Daredevil season 3 (on Netflix) – I enjoyed the season a lot.

Comic books and superheroes have always tended to skew towards liberal philosophies, given how writers and artists tend to support ideals like individualism and free expression. So it’s not surprising that the derivative shows tend to lean the same way. Not only do many of the shows promote diversity, but many are becoming overtly political as well. Some recent examples. (Spoilers for current seasons of Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow and Daredevil follow)

Michael Scott

| Categories: Just Another Day Pop Culture | Tags: TV Series

I’ve been re-watching The Office (US) lately (it’s a good show to leave running in the background while you’re doing other stuff), and I just find the character of Michael Scott fascinating. He’s funny and well-written and basically just a big bag of human flaws that somehow bumbles his way into managing an office. He’s self-centered, attention-hungry, easily distracted, and refuses to acknowledge any bad news, yet despite all of that he loves his workmates like a family.

I’ve had a copy of this book for quite a while now, but for some reason only got around to starting on it three days ago. It’s not a particularly long book, but I pretty much devoured it in twenty four hours.Mandatory screenshot of old-school Doom The book traces the paths of the lives of John Romero and John Carmack – two legends of the software development world that changed PC gaming forever.

This started as one of those silly Facebook memes where you post one thing every day and didn’t have to explain and you tagged other people and they continued with the meme. I was very bad at following the meme instructions, but I did find the exercise interesting. I found it difficult to identify 10 specific movies, and since I didn’t explain during the FB posts, I thought I’d make a blog post about them instead.

I realise it’s a bit weird for me to be reviewing a marketing book, given my self-proclaimed aversion to marketing and sales. A while back I wrote a review for Tim Ferris’ book Tribe of Mentors on this blog, and for some reason someone decided to contact me citing this review and asked if I would review this other book and they would give me a complimentary copy. This was something new to me, so I thought I’d try it out!

This book was on sale on Amazon Kindle a while back, I figured I’d give it a whirl. Some years ago I had read one of the author’s previous books, The Four Hour Workweek, and I wasn’t too impressed. It was interesting at least, but a lot of the advice seemed either difficult to apply to my personal situation or involved doing stuff I wasn’t really interested in (i.e. sales and marketing and whatnot).

When Game of Thrones entered its sixth season in 2016, it was true spoiler territory for those of us who had read the GRRM books before HBO’s TV adaptation turned the property into a worldwide phenomenon. Due to the author’s glacial writing pace, at this point the TV series went past the point that the novels had reached. Thus nobody – book readers or tv viewers – knew what events would unfold in the story.

Pisay (the movie)

| Categories: Pop Culture | Tags: Movies

Last weekend I watched Aureus Solito’s movie Pisay at the UP film center with a couple of friends (both of whom were my Pisay batchmates of course). For the uninitiated Pisay is the nickname for our beloved _Philippine Science High School. _It’s a system of government-run schools with a special focus on science and math subjects. There’s a highly-competitive entrance exam and we’ve always been told that students who make it in are considered the “cream of the crop.

First, the spoiler-free summary (spoilers after this part): overall a very entertaining movie to sit down and watch popcorn and to enjoy the jokes and the space battles and the different colored lights and the tiny adorable tree creature GOTG’s humor was one of its strong points and for the 2nd movie, they push the comedy up a notch, perhaps a little too much in some places. Lots of funny gags and one-liners I felt like some of the character/background development stuff was pushed a bit too hard as well the movie’s plot also felt a bit thin and straightforward.

I’m not a fan of scary movies. I don’t appreciate the idea of paying money to get surprised by jump scares or whatever. Back when I was a kid I remember my dad watching a Betamax copy of The Gate back home and me and my younger brother were watching with him and the movie seriously creeped me out. There was this one scene where a demonic eye manifested on the lead kid’s palm and that scene stuck with me for a while.

"Everyone knows the third movie is always the worst" -- Jean still too much focus on Jennifer Lawrence/Mystique some great soundtrack choices Quicksilver scene maybe just a tiny bit too long. Tradition of defying the rules of physics continues (I hope someone does the math on how fast he was probably moving) nice 80s wardrobe lol not particularly faithful to the source material plot is all over the place, a lot of WTF moments here and there.

Well, I haven’t written anything in a while, so I figured I’d write some words on the new Spider-Man movie. Spoilers abound! Action-packed! The web-swinging is fun and looks and feels just like Spidey from the comic books. Spider-man moves and fights and banters pretty faithfully to the comic book version of our favorite wall-crawler, so that’s a definite plus. Peter’s Spider-sense is portrayed as a slow-motion bullet-time kind of deal which allows him to react quickly and save all the people while dodging everything.

Writing regularly is something I’ve always wanted to be able to do but like most things I have trouble with, it’s the lack of discipline that gets me. Take this blog for instance. I randomly think of things to write about while I’m idling or commuting or waiting in line or any of the dozen or so other opportunities during the day when my mind wanders, but because of laziness and/or lack of discipline, these ideas never get very far.

The last two entries (here and here) took too long to write, and there’s a helluva lot of other titles to go through. And many of them don’t deserve much comments, so I’ll just go through the rest quickly or I might never finish. Action Comics – the younger Superman stories are interesting, but occasionally Morrison goes off on one of his weird tangent stories. Superman’s early years are largely re-written, and that’s understandable, he’s never had particularly interesting events in his history anyway

This is part 2 of my DC New 52 Review. Part is here. Hopefully I finish this series before the reviews become too out of date. Batman I decided to read every book of the New 52 to widen my horizons regarding my comic book reading, and one of the greatest advantages has been exposure to Scott Snyder’s work. I have a tendency not to remember writers and artists of comics I read, except for the very famous ones, so I wasn’t aware that I had read his work before during the Black Mirror arc in Detective Comics pre-New 52.

The DC New 52 Review (Part 1)

| Categories: Pop Culture | Tags: Comics

If you’re reading this, that means I’ve done it: I’ve read the first eight issues of every DC New 52 book. I’ve always been a Marvel fan more than DC, my previous DC reading having been restricted to JLA and the Batman books, so I figured exposure to the New 52 would widen my appreciation of the DC stable of heroes. Here are my reviews: Justice League While the art is Jim Lee-fantastic, the first story arc left much to be desired.

So Metro Manila is at the peril of heavy rains, flooding and traffic again (as often happens this time of the year) and I thought I’d do some actual blogging for a change. I didn’t want to brave the rush hour traffic last night so I finally got around to watching X-Men First Class (luckily it was still showing at Mega). I had actually seen Green Lantern first despite X1C showing two weeks before the DC movie.

Watchmen

| Categories: Pop Culture | Tags: Movies Review

I had actually read the much-acclaimed graphic novel only last year. And while I found the story decent enough, I wasn’t sure whether to like it or hate it. Undoubtedly it was an important point in the history of “superhero” comics, but I was never entirely sure about it’s point. So of course I saw the movie, and it had remained roughly 85-90% loyal to the source material, which made it a bit boring for me since I generally knew what was going to happen most of the time (except for you know, that thing about the bad guy’s master plan… ).

I had time to kill before going to see my brother’s art exhibit at megamall, so I went and watched Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li. It was so bad. I could’ve been able to forgive the fact that they roughly 80% of the story shied away from Street Fighter canon, had the movie’s storyline actually been good. As it is, you can expect short, unsatisfying fight scenes, ridiculous background stories, disjointed plot/scenes (reminds me of Smallville and/or Heroes writing =/), terrible wigs and the ridiculous sight of Michael Clark Duncan getting beaned by a pineapple.

Eagle Eye

| Categories: Pop Culture | Tags: Movies Review

On a whim, my brother and I went to Trinoma to see Eagle Eye, barely catching the last full show (including the trailers of course, we love watching trailers). Our mom had said we’d like the movie and she still owed us one since it was her fault we watched Big Stan. So we’re giving her a chance to redeem herself. The spoilerless review: Since Eagle Eye trailers seem to be everywhere, you probably have some idea of at least the start of the story.

Groundhog Day

| Categories: Pop Culture | Tags: Movies

I caught Groundhog Day for the Nth time today on HBO (N roughly around 50). My father claims it’s his favorite movie of all time; high praise considering he watches every movie that comes out EVER. I’m not actually going to talk about the movie; it’s awesome, if you haven’t seen it, you should. You’re missing half your life. If you had one day of eternity, what would you do?

Movies -- June 2008

| Categories: Pop Culture | Tags: Movies

This has been a good month for movies. I saw the following in cinemas: Kung Fu Panda – complete AWESOMENESS. I drank the Kool-Aid all the way on this one. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull – classic Indy goodness. Incredible Hulk – Edward Norton is cast brilliantly here, a choice on the same level as Robert Downey Jr as Iron Man. And they addressed the issue of Hulk’s stretchy pants!

So I saw _Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull _last Friday. Two days later I also watched for the first time _Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark.

_

Instead of doing a lame movie review, here’s a double header feature!

(Warning: Spoilers for both movies follow)

Pinoy Comic Strips: Beerkada

| Categories: Pop Culture | Tags: Comics

I’m not sure how popular or well-known Beerkada is among the non-UP crowd, but right now I consider the slice-of-University-life comic (that has now graduated into slice-of-adult-life stories) probably the second best local comic strip. First place being of course the seminal Pugad Baboy, which has been running what, almost twenty years now? I digress. If you’ve read Beerkada, it’s far from perfect. It’s often corny, and sometimes he has too many of his own in-jokes.

Ender's Game Series

| Categories: Pop Culture | Tags: Books

My reading lately has comprised of Orson Scott Card’s excellent Ender’s Game series. I got a copy of six of the books from an officemate a couple of months back, and I’ve just finished the seventh book today. I don’t usually go through books that quickly, so it’s a sign that I’ve really enjoyed this series. (If I don’t enjoy a series, I typically lose interest before even finishing the book – I have a copy of Sword of Shannara around here to prove that.

Transformers

| Categories: Pop Culture | Tags: Movies

As a big Transformers fan back in the day, I have to say: the movie is okay. Action-packed and a fun popcorn flick. The story’s nothing to win an oscar over, but everything looks SO COOL! Some questionable things though: Spoilers! Why does the all-spark only create violent, gun-toting robots? Where the hell did the Autobots come from? I don’t recall seeing the Decepticon symbol anywhere, was it there? How come Soundwave can survive getting his head chopped off, but Jazz can’t take being split in half?

Spider-man 3

| Categories: Pop Culture | Tags: Movies

Pretty good movie, as expected. The story is what you’d expect from a comic-book movie, but the mid-air fight scenes are really great. The whole Sandman thing is basically fluff, the movie could have been done without him. He was like a cheap pop to make the whole “dark side” thing easier to start off, but then they had trouble resolving his story. It’s not like he’s a major Spidey villain anyway.

TMNT

| Categories: Pop Culture | Tags: Movies

if you’ve ever lived in the Philippines during the summer months, you’re well aware of the sweltering heat. Not being in the mood to feel like french toast during this Sunday noontime, my brothers and I decided to troop to the nearby mall and catch a movie – in this case the return of those childhood stalwarts the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to the big screen. Now, as my youngest brother asked, what were we doing there?

300

| Categories: Pop Culture | Tags: Movies Review

Mostly due to my antisocial nature and my laziness, I haven’t actually seen a movie in a theater since… forever. I broke that fast mostly because of the hype surround 300, the movie based on Frank Miller’s comic book retelling of the Battle at Thermopylae. Everyone who’s seen the movie has the same thing to say: it’s really good. So I went to see it with a brother of mine.

Anime -- One Piece

| Categories: Pop Culture | Tags: TV Series

If you’re not familiar with the series, One Piece is an anime about pirates, the same way Naruto is about ninjas. Like Naruto, they don’t live in a world very different from our own. The One Piece universe is a lot more insane than Naruto’s though. I’ve only watched less than a hundred episodes, but so far the Straw Hat Pirates have encountered giant sea cows, talking reindeer, a guy who can eat anything, a man-shark… too many to mention.

The Rock Says

| Categories: Pop Culture | Tags: Books

I was going through the bookstores at yesterday’s sale day at SM North, hoping to find some bargains. I found a copy of The Rock‘s book, _The Rock Says _going for the bargain basement price of 50 pesos (roughly 1 US dollar). What a steal! In case you’ve been living under, well, a rock, you’re probably aware that The Rock was one of the most popular, most electrifying men in professional wrestling, lovingly termed “sports entertainment.

Dark Tower VII

| Categories: Pop Culture | Tags: Books

What a long, arduous journey it has been for Roland of Gilead, last gunslinger, in his inexorable quest for the Dark Tower. And now that I’ve read the final volume of Stephen King’s magnum opus, I find out that it is an even crueler fate that awaits him at the end of the seven books. I dare not spoil it, though Wikipedia has a nice summary, say thankya. Save to say that Stephen King seems to be correct – the ending of the Dark Tower series does seem to be the “correct” one, despite some disappointments in writing.

Dark Tower VI -- Song of Susannah

| Categories: Pop Culture | Tags: Books

I was holding off on buying the sixth installment of the Dark Tower until I could find a printing which matched the previous five books, but as I was browsing through the new Fully Booked at SM North I felt a compulsive urge to buy *something*, and lo and behold, Stephen King was on the shelf right beside me! As usual, the tale of Roland and his party on their quest for the Dark Tower is quite the page-turner, especially since this particular piece of fiction intersects with the real world in an intruiging way… the author himself, Stephen King, appears in this book as the would-be creator of Roland’s world!

Heroes Again

| Categories: Pop Culture | Tags: TV Series

This series is simple awesome. The writing is excellent, and the fact they’re using a lot of precognition implies how well the entire series should tie together. Hiro continues to be the shining star here. Future Hiro’s appearance promises us several things, namely: Hiro will eventually stop being so dorky. And he’ll get a sword! Hiro will eventually learn to speak English well Peter will eventually get a scar

Heroes

| Categories: Pop Culture | Tags: TV Series

_Heroes _is a new TV series by NBC, covering the stories of several people who mysteriously gain superhuman powers. I just saw the pilot… it looks promising. There’s this lady who strips online for a living, and apparently she has a murderous reflection. A guy who thinks he can fly. A painter who can create paintings of future events – but only if he’s high. A schoolgirl with an incredible healing factor.

Smallville, Season Six

| Categories: Pop Culture | Tags: TV Series

Yeah, Season Six started last week. The ending of season five was pretty bleak – Zod had taken over Lex Luthor’s body, Clark had been banished to the phantom zone, the whole world’s power grids had been shut down and Martha Kent and Lois Lane are on a plane that’s about to crash. I was expecting some sort of multi-episode saga at the start of season six, maybe detailing more of Kyrpton’s history (throught the phantom zone) and an epic battle of Zod-Lex vs Clark.

X-Men III: The Last Stand

| Categories: Pop Culture | Tags: Movies

There’s only one thing I have to say about the third X-men movie: Totally unexpected. Comic book series fans will enjoy it more, as it fundamentally screws with what such a fan would expect from an X-men movie. Good stuff.

DaVinci Code

| Categories: Pop Culture | Tags: Movies

I’m not sure what some Church leaders are thinking. Calling for an outright ban on _The DaVinci Code _movie just makes it more popular. At the very least, it’s insulting to the intelligence of their flock – are they saying Catholics don’t have the ability to distinguish fact from fiction by themselves? But then again, this is a nation of Catholics who tend to elect action stars to high office because of all the goody-goody roles they portray in the movies, so maybe the priests have some sort of point.

Takeshi's Castle

| Categories: Pop Culture | Tags: TV Series

A very nice person handed me a CD with four episodes of Takeshi’s Castle on it, and I had to keep myself from watching them while at work, as I was getting my officemates distracted. If you’ve never seen samples of wacky Japanese TV before, Takeshi’s Castle is a good start. This wacky Japanese show throws a bunch of a hundred or so contestants into a series of ridiculous games, each one hoping to make it to the end to defeat Count Takeshi and win one million yen!

Recent Reading 2006-03-12

| Categories: Pop Culture | Tags: Books

Books I’ve finished reading in the past few months: _ Rapid Development _ by Steve McConnell – I was browsing through my company’s small library of development books and found this little gem among the usual language-specific tomes. A bit old, but I know from Code Complete that Steve McConnell really hits in the mark with regard to software best practices. This book is aimed mainly at technical leads — coincidentally, that was my role at the time.

Smallville

| Categories: Pop Culture | Tags: TV Series

I figure there are three reasons why people continue to watch Smallville: We want to see Clark become Superman (and Lex become… Lex) We want to see all the cool comic-book references and cameos We actually like all the drama and though we know otherwise, we harbor some sort of hope that maybe Clark and Lana will still get together anyhow As a comic geek, I guess I’m more inclined toward the first two.

God's Debris by Scott Adams

| Categories: Pop Culture | Tags: Books Review

[ This ]1was Scott Adams’ first non-Dilbert book. If you’re used to reading Adams go on about Induhviduals and stupid managers, or if you’ve never read Adams trying / pretending to sound philosophical in one of his books, then this isn’t what you’d expect. Adams describes it as a “thought experiment” of sorts, one where he tries to provide some sort of explanation for basically life, the universe and everything. Although it’s a work of fiction, it sounds like Adams is trying to see how people will react to his form of philosophy — it seems to be one of his favorite things to do something just to provoke reactions.

I’m no music critic; often I can’t even carry my own tune. But I do know what I like, and I know I like the Eraserheads’ music. If you don’t know who the ‘heads are, they’re basically the Beatles of the Philippines, galvanizing the local music industry and serving as an example and inspiration to numerous other bands that followed after them. It’s only fitting then that many of the current crop of Filipino performers pay tribute to them in the form of Ultraelectromagnetic Jam.