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Fantastic Nine

2013 September 14
by pam artiaga

News broke out two days ago that J.K. Rowling, our queen and goddess, will be writing a screenplay based on her spin-off book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The story will be set about 70 years before Harry’s time and will follow the adventures of Newt Scamander as he studied the fantastic beasts in his famous book.

I’ll skip all my excited exclamations — but oh my god, J.K. Rowling is going to write a screenplay! — and get to the point of this post: the top 9 beasts I would like to see in the movie.

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Movie Review: Odd Thomas

2013 August 31
by pam artiaga

odd_book odd_stormy

The dead don’t talk, I don’t know why.

That is a statement I will never forget. Odd Thomas is a book that will forever be one of my favorites. One needs only to look at my featured shelf on Goodreads to realize how much I love this book. So imagine my excitement — and apprehension — when I found out more than a year ago that they are going to adapt it into a movie.

Now, after more than a year of waiting, I finally got to see it. Stacey, who has read the book, watched it with me, and so did Odina and Fred, who haven’t read it.

I can only imagine that the movie must have been very underwhelming to those who haven’t read the book. Strangely, I am not mad about it. I can see — at least I think — that the movie makers tried to capture the essence of the book. And at least they did not sell the movie as something equal to the book. There isn’t much fanfare around it, no big “money moves”. I can rest easy in knowing that probably very few people have seen it and judged the story based on the movie alone.

I see two main points where the movie failed in trying to properly capture the depth of the book. These are points Stacey and I discussed on the way home after watching the movie.

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Book Finds

2013 August 23
by pam artiaga

It’s no secret that I love to read. However, I’m a lazy arse who hates going around the city looking for second-hand book shops. I prefer just buying new ones from FullyBooked or, more often than not, just downloading the e-books. But last week, my friends and I went to La Belle Aurore and found some pretty good titles. The day after that, I went to National Bookstore’s warehouse sale and bought a few good books for less than P50 each. I also got a couple of good books from Book Sale earlier this month. Clearly, it’s a month of (very) low-priced books. 🙂

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Serpents and Dragons

2013 August 17
by pam artiaga

Last night, I dreamt something involving dungeons and reptiles.

I can’t remember how it started, but halfway through,  I found myself arguing with my sister about the color of the Basilisk. Was it green or black? I was convinced it was green and she was convinced it was black. I got so annoyed with her, especially since I had encountered the Basilisk, though of course I had only seen it through the corners of my eyes.

To prove to her that the Basilisk I saw was green, I came up with the brilliant idea of using a pensieve. We obtained one, but it was only the size of a small soup bowl, not the large basin I had expected. No matter, I made do with the small pensieve and used it to review my memories of the Basilisk encounter.

I then found myself in a small two-chambered dungeon. It was very dark, but I had a small light (I think it was a cellphone light). There were writings on the wall, but not “The Chamber of Secrets has been opened…” I can’t remember what it said, but it was red and written in big block letters. Like someone used a giant stencil to write it. I looked around with my quickly fading light and found giant black skeletons. And I can’t remember anything more.

I blame Tyrion Lannister and his description of the black dragon skeletons in the castle at King’s Landing.

(I will never read horror stories before going to sleep because my dreams might become much scarier. Then again, I don’t read horror stories at all.)

DNA and Programming

2013 August 1
by pam artiaga

Whenever I think about how changing a particular gene in some DNA to alter a specific trait will almost always cause untold changes in other traits that also depend on that gene, I’m reminded of a spaghetti-code program with all variables in global scope.

It must be quite a mess to deal with.

My Leap of Unfaith

2013 July 22
by pam artiaga

I’ve decided to start reading Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion, one of the atheism books that my brother has been trying to convince me to read for a couple of years or so. It’s the first atheist book I’ll read, not simply skeptical (I’ve read a few of those), but truly blatantly atheist. At least, that’s what I gather from the books’ summary:

“In The God Delusion [Dawkins] attacks arguments for the existence of God; accuses religions of fomenting divisiveness, war, and bigotry; and castigates believers in intelligent design.”

I am an atheist myself, so it may come as a surprise that I haven’t read a book that argues the existence of ‘God’. I guess, if someone were to ask me why, I can only say that “I’ve only just gotten around to it” — the reading, not the atheism.

I’ve been an atheist for a while now. Well, not that long of a while. I came around about a few months after my graduation. At least I think I did. The timeline is a bit blurry to me. What I do know is that it has been a lifelong questioning on my part. That sounds dramatic, but it’s not. I’ve heard of atheists who used to be huge believers, then something happened to shatter their faith and they’ve had to struggle with that and books like The God Delusion helped them see things for what they really are. That’s not what happened with me.

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Casual Contemplation on The Cuckoo’s Calling

2013 July 16
tags: ,
by pam artiaga

The Cuckoo's Calling (Cormoran Strike, #1)The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

I know I’ve already made a review on The Cuckoo’s Calling, but there were passages in the novel that I particularly liked and I couldn’t fit them in my review. I can’t not talk about them.

Character descriptions that stood out to me

Strike’s thought on Robin the first day they met:

“… he, Strike, appeared to have been sent a temp with more initiative, and better punctuation, than any he had ever met.”

That was funny and fitting of both Strike’s and Robin’s characters. “A lot of initiative” is a perfect description of Robin as Strike’s secretary. And I loved the extra bit about punctuation.


A conversation between John Bristow and Strike:

“‘All I want, Strike,’ said Bristow hoarsely, the color high in his thin face, ‘is justice.’

He might have struck a divine tuning fork; the word rang through the shabby office, calling forth an inaudible but plangent note in Strike’s breast. Bristow had located the pilot light Strike shielded when everything else had been blown to ashes.”

That last sentence was what defined Cormoran Strike for me. It perfectly summed up his whole character and history.

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Book Review: The Cuckoo’s Calling

2013 July 16
tags: ,
by pam artiaga

The Cuckoo's Calling (Cormoran Strike, #1)The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The weird thing about this book is that I think — I am convinced — that I would have appreciated it better had I not known beforehand that it was written by J.K. Rowling.

This level of writing, characterization, and plot development would have been way more exciting in an author that I haven’t read before. With J.K. Rowling, this brilliance is to be expected and thus not quite as exciting as with an unheard-of author.

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Movie Review: Tales from Earthsea

2013 July 6
by pam artiaga

I’ve finally gotten around to watching Studio Ghibli’s Tales from Earthsea!

I was a bit apprehensive about doing so because I was afraid it might be a terrible adaptation of the original book series. My verdict?

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On Gay Marriage and Stupid Arguments

2013 March 27
by pam artiaga

As the US Supreme Court deliberates over the question of whether same-sex couples have a legal right to marry, the seemingly never-ending arguments and counterarguments about the necessity of making it legal have once again resurfaced. One of the arguments against it is that marriage is only “symbolic”, that gay couples are already living together, so why marry? Now, the anti gay marriage crowd have spewed out a lot of stupid arguments over the years, but this is one of those arguments that annoy me the most.

First of all it’s not merely symbolic. There are legal benefits given to married couples. But let’s put that aside. Let’s put aside tax breaks, medical benefits, life insurance benefits, etc.

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