Roy Tang

Programmer, engineer, scientist, critic, gamer, dreamer, and kid-at-heart.

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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… ).

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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?

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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. And it was good.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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

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_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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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[ 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.

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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.

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Cassandra Cain was raised as an assassin. Growing up, her father never taught her to read or write, only to fight. She grew up knowing only one language – body language. Her mind processes human motions as fluently as ordinary people speak their native tongue. She can see moves before they happen or read a person’s intentions simply by following their movement patterns. She was an experiment to create the ultimate human fighting machine.

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I have to work today :( And probably tomorrow and the day after as well, although both are local holidays. On what may very well become one of the company’s biggest projects I might add, if we get the contract. On an unrelated note, these filler Naruto episodes are just silly. It doesn’t make sense that Raiga, one of the Seven Shinobi Swordsmen, can be defeated by Naruto and Lee (no matter how drunk Lee is); Raiga is supposedly on par with his former comrade Kisame, who was easily able to take on two of Konoha’s jounins.

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I’ve never really read much Neil Gaiman before — I’m not a particular fan of the Sandman series, for which he is most known. But I know some people who are big fans, so I respect his work at least. Neverwhere is only the second Gaiman book I’ve read (well, third maybe, I think I read that thing he co-wrote about the apocalypse), and I’m pretty much satisfied so far.

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One of the things I’ve been wanting to do during this hiatus was to watch more movies — we’ve got a ton of DVDs downstairs I haven’t seen yet. Since I had just finished the fifth book of Stephen King’s western fantasy, I started this task with Sergio Leone’s western opus, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. I haven’t watched many westerns before. This is probably the first one I completed.

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_ “There will be water if ka wills it.” – Roland of Gilead _ I had a Powerbooks gift certificate the other week, and the Powerbooks at Megamall happened to have a sale, so I took a look around. And lo, I was lucky enough to find a copy of the fifth book of Stephen King’s epic western fantasy, The Dark Tower. It was a huge book, larger than my copies of the first four, but with the same cover style and by the same publisher, so it was the copy I wanted.

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My hiatus involves quite a bit of TV of course, especially since I get some idle time while waiting for installations/formatting/downloads to finish. Today, for the first time in maybe twenty years, I saw an exciting action-packed episode of the A-Team! For those not in the know, the A-Team was a bunch of rogue ex-commandos who usually acted as mercs, fighting for good, beating bad guys and saving the day. In the parlance of Roland of Gilead, gunslingers.

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One word: Suxxor. Well, not really. It’s okay I guess. When I first heard they were making a Fantastic Four movie, my first reaction was, “Uh… that can’t be good.” The plot is barely servicable… the thing that really made me think “suxxor” was how Victor von Doom’s role was handled. I mean, in the comics, Doom was a monarch, ruler of Latveria. He wasn’t a madman bent on revenge. He was a madman bent on world domination!

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Awesome. Definitely better than the all the other Batman movies. This movie is no kids’ movie either. The movie is less about Batman’s crimefighting adventures and more about Bruce Wayne’s journey from being a angry, confused rich orphan to the billionaire playboy/costumed vigilante popularized by the earlier films. The movie captures the essence of Batman’s character perfectly. It’s all about fear — Bruce overcoming his fear of bats and eventually turning that fear into a symbol to strike terror into the hearts of criminals.

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I should’ve thought of this as soon as I got DSL: I went ahead and downloaded Transformers the Movie. Transformers was of course, the epitome of my youth. Unlike most other guy kids, I preferred the Transformers to G.I. Joe. I guess I preferred high-tech fantasy over soliders back then, with the war of the heroic Autobots and the Evil Decepticons appealing more to my young mind than soldiers trying to fight terrorists.

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We saw Revenge of the Sith at the Gateway mall in Cubao. It’s less than a year old, and it’s target audience is a higher class than the usual malls. It’s like it’s trying to be something like the Podium, which makes it a bit out of place in Cubao. The mall is good anyway, as you’d expect. Not my type of place to hang out, but has the comforts you’d expect of such a mall… clean, not much of a crowd, and people greeting you when you get off the taxi.

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The circle is now complete. The whole tale has been told. Revenge of the Sith completes Lucas’ space opera. And the Force is strong in this one. Highly enjoyable movie, if you take the time to push away your inner critic and look past the spotty acting, the so-so dialogue, and all the little flaws and inconsistencies you spot throughout the movie. Get past all of that, and it’s a decent enough ride, and a fitting conclusion to the Star Wars epic.

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Haven’t read Robert Jordan in a while. Someone gave me Crossroads of Twilight as a gift, so I read it and hope that his pacing has improved. It has not. He writes well enough, dialogue is nice, descriptions are more than adequate, but I expect some things to happen in his books! He has so many plots running at once, he should at least resolve two or three per book. Perrin, Mat and Elayne get a lot of chapters, but they barely get anything done.

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A while back I blogged about Bob Ong’s first book. A short while after, I also picked up his next two books, Bakit Baliktad Magbasa ng Libro Ang Mga Pilipino? (Why Do Filipinos Read Backwards?) and Ang Paboritong Libro ni Hudas (Judas’ Favorite Book). “Bakit Baligtad” focuses on the Philippines, its people, its quirks and its problems. “Paboritong Libro” is a lot harder to classify, as it jumps across several topics, with the unifying theme being the chapters named after anagrams of the seven deadly sins.

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Currently listening to “Boulevard of Broken Songs”, a neat mashup mainly of Green Day’s “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” and Oasis’ “Wonderwall”. This and some other mashups here. (haven’t listened to the others though… ) Another interesting mashup that came out quite a while back was “This Is How You Remind Me Someday” , where Nickelback is caught basically reusing the same chords for two songs. Great stuff. Other songs/bands I’ve been listening to lately:

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Picked it up as an impulse buy from National Bookstore a couple of weeks ago. Anyone who grew up in the 80s will appreciate Bob Ong’s trip back to his elementary/high school/college days. His tales of school will ring true to anyone from around the same era; younger folk may not appreciate it so much. (My younger brother seems to have no idea what _Spin-a-win _is/was, although he is aware of SOS, Flames, etc.

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I went to the dentist yesterday (irrelevant), and at National Bookstore Shangri-la, I found a copy of The Waste Lands, a day after I blogged about looking for it! They also had a copy of the fourth book Wizard and Glass, but I only had enough cash for one. On a website note, if you’ll notice, I added entries from my del.icio.us account to the blog. It’s done using the excellent Feed2JS tool.

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Really. I’ll read most anything. Books, comics, magazines, newspapers, leaflets, articles, essays. Well, anything well-written at least. When I first got access to the Internet, I was overjoyed. “Wow! Lots of stuff to read!” And I read a lot online. I started mostly with anime fanfiction, but pretty soon I enjoyed reading discussions on mailing-lists, message boards, news sites, etc. The internet is a treasure trove for one who always strives for information.

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Interesting story about a guy who had to shell out 350 dollars to quote Radiohead lyrics in his book. Even though he was able to quote from many other bands, books, and even a separate Radiohead album for free. Even he had personally met the band before, and had freely let them quote his own works in their concerts. Gives a good idea of how fucked-up the worldwide copyright system is.

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The other day, while waiting to get a blood test at Clinica Manila, Megamall, I managed to finish about 2/3rds of Paolo Coellho’s best-seller The Alchemist. I finished the last 1/3rd during a 15-minute bathroom break back home. It was a short book. Lots of people have raved about how good it is. What do I think? It’s okay, but nothing overly special. Maybe I didn’t get too much of it because it didn’t have much new material for me.

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Roy Tang is a:

roytang.net is a personal site; I post about a random assortment of topics that interest me including software development, Magic the Gathering, pop culture, gaming, and tech life. This site is perpetually under renovation.