Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sex and the single scientist

While reading New Scientist, I saw this.

The visual is so funny that I had to tell my brother, arguably the bigger nerd between the two of us. He said this TV show theme song started playing in his head.

No guarantees that you'll find guys as funny as those on the show on New Scientist Connect, a.k.a., but I suspect they're there, if you look hard enough. (You might need a scanning electron microscope though.)

The service is run by The Dating Lab, which provides similar services to other media brands.

The fall of heroes

The past week has provided me with my fill of the Bard. First, I saw Ralph Fiennes' film directorial debut, Coriolanus, an adaptation of one of Shakespeare's lesser known plays. I was unfamiliar with the text, so I came with few expectations, though I had heard it had good reviews.

The film, set in modern-day Rome, uses the media (mainly TV) as an important driver of narrative. The rise and fall of Martius Coriolanus, played by Fiennes, is charted through his encounters in battle (exemplified by an action-packed sequence early in the film) and his public and political appearances.

Certain lines uttered by the bald Fiennes occasionally reminded me of his Lord Voldemort role in the Harry Potter series, but I think his acting and directing put him at par with Kenneth Branagh--no small feat in my book.

Brian Cox (not the physicist--I would have loved that but he wouldn't have been as good) as Menenius, Paul Jesson as Brutus, James Nesbitt as Sicinius and Vanessa Redgrave as Volumnia are noteworthy. The different accents (including Gerard Butler's Scottish) add diversity to the characters.

Despite the liberties in adaptation, John Logan's screenplay is faithful to the text (swords are mentioned, not guns). Doubtless some people in the audience did not expect to hear verse (the local poster had no mention of Shakespeare), but that they stayed on shows that a classic done well will touch mainstream viewers, though it might not fill the cinema. I hope Fiennes takes on other plays for the silver screen.

King Lear is perhaps the first of Shakespeare's work that I ever came across. The comic book version I had in grade school was still quite heavy for children, but I retained enough interest to see the 2007 RSC production in London. PETA's new production of Haring Lear, the first Filipino adaptation of the play as translated by Bienvenido Lumbera and directed by Nonon Padilla, has layers of hurdles to overcome.

It was my first time to see an all-male cast as it was done in Elizabethan times, which I found quite interesting.

Call it the bald kabuki, with a Punch and Judy puppet thrown in. The largely monochromatic staging by Gino Gonzales appears to be an homage to the late Salvador Bernal, who I believe was supposed to design the production. The color blocking in the makeup indicates the genders, but often masks expression. Fortunately, some of the actors have wonderfully rich voices. For its fluorescent tubes, Jojo Villareal's lighting gave me a flashback of Shoko Matsumoto's design for Atlantis Productions' Next to Normal last year. There are some lovely atmospheric moments that you wish you could take a photo of.

Some surprising directorial and design choices, however, tend to distract and call for further suspensions of disbelief. The use of English for certain lines, understandable with the apparently post-colonial reading, becomes grating after hearing mainly Filipino. Collapsing the parts of Cordelia and the fool may sound like a good idea in the beginning, but it becomes confusing in the end, when Cordelia reappears.

Teroy Guzman as the monarch is not stark raving mad but a character you would want to sympathize with. Although this might not be Guzman's best performance, props to him for what he has to go through for 30 shows. Getting drenched for prolonged periods in an airconditioned theater poses a grave health risk and I am concerned about what his body has to go through. It makes you want to scream "Why?!? Is this The Tempest?" I hope the cast has stocked up on vitamins. I saw a Saturday afternoon matinee, the second show for the day and the third for the entire run. I forgave the incredibly low energy of the first few scenes and was relieved that it picked up eventually.

George de Jesus as Oswaldo steals the scenes with his one-liners and facial expressions, and literally stops the show. The story of Edgardo (Myke Salomon) and Edmundo (Jay Gonzaga) overshadows that of the three sisters, possibly a function of the actors playing females not wanting to go cross the line between feminine and flamboyant gay. I appreciate the restraint. I don't remember them getting that much attention before, but the brothers have presence (and that is in addition to the biceps).

PETA has had a very strong season starting with William, then Care Divas (which I wish I hadn't missed--it is generally said to have done very well) before Haring Lear. I hope they continue to do work that consistently makes you want to rush to the theater all throughout the season. And I hope that regardless of what I have written, you will go see Lear and discuss it with me.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Vimeo travels

We Were Wanderers On A Prehistoric Earth 

Start slow, with a look at the virgin rainforest in Malaysia.


 Get the lightning tour of the city with this timelapse of Moscow.

 Time is Nothing // Around The World Time Lapse 

 Then finish off with "17 Countries. 343 Days. 6237 Photographs. One incredible journey."

Spotted and pinned: More fun in the Philippines!

Now everyone is having more fun and it's cool. Three of my It's more fun in the Philippines photos were included in Anton Diaz's collection on Pinterest.

Out of the current 200 or so images by different contributors, one of mine was included in's Top 30.

Maraming salamat to Anton and to!

Now it's even easier to make your own meme. Check out morefunmaker and create your own meme instantly.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

It's more fun in the Philippines

Social media has been abuzz since the Department of Tourism launched the new Philippine tourism campaign by BBDO Guerrero. Unlike last year's brouhaha, the concept (It's more fun in the Philippines) was widely accepted, despite a minor controversy yesterday afternoon. (Naman, crab mentality pa rin hanggang ngayon?)

There's something so true about the line that resonates with the public, even those who are well-traveled. It made me want to do something.

Seeing Roland Benzon's set on Facebook inspired me to create my own. After a quick scan of my favorite images I had shot here, I came up with these with a little help from Jayvee Fernandez's tutorial.

Taken at Nuvali in Sta. Rosa, Laguna

Dirty ice cream in Manila

A street festival in Makati City

Parish church in Teresa, Rizal

Intramuros calesa, Manila

Dragon sighting, Palawan Underground River

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Hello, 2012!

Before and after midnight, Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City, Philippines.

IMG_3535 IMG_3539 IMG_3541 IMG_3544 IMG_3557 IMG_3575

Monday, January 2, 2012

Blog updates 01/02/2012

Start the year with some early spring cleaning. I've recycled an old header, which I think is appropriate for this time of year. Aside from tweaking this blog, I updated the Pinoy Erasmus Mundus blog, which I run as a volunteer.

The header photo was taken three years ago, so I don't look like my old self anymore. I can be accused of misrepresentation, as majority of the people in the photo are actually Indonesian. But the point is that we are all EM alumni, giving the program a human face.

Do spread the word about the EM scholarships. Studying abroad is a life-changing experience and I wish everyone could gets the chance to do it.