VinJoiel

A suburbian soul living in the concrete jungle...

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Updates from Home…

The other day, Chel and the kids and the not so old kids went out for some fun, ate out and shopping galore.

Yesterday, they couldn't find all my bilins, hay buhay….

Today, Wena found Pugad Baboy Series 10 & Muro Ami, still hunting for the other bilins on the list. No luck on Rex Navarrete audio and dvd. Sina Chel naman went to see Vince pedia then ate out again, tuwang tuwa daw si Vince and gustong gusto kumain ng soup. He's 3kg overweight heh….

Dinner tonight will be at Red & Blu's place, dinner on Friday will be at Wena & Imat's place and barbecue lunch on Saturday at Tita Lorie & Tito Dayo's place….sayans I miss all these happenings…..

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Today's Quote - Tues., 30 Aug

"He who receives a good turn should never forget it; he who does one should never remember it." - Charron

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Missing home and the family....

I should have come with Chel and go back for a short break. Hearing about her arrival and the excitement of the kids makes me wish I was there too...Sumama naman daw si Vince sa kanya agad. Today they were all together for lunch sa bahay, ang ulam ay pritong tulingan at bulanglang...tsalap nun...

Sayang dapat kahapon nung ihatid namin si Chel ay dinala ko na lang yung passport ko at naka pag chance passenger sana hehe...

Hopefully, I will receive updates on a daily basis from home about all their happenings...

Friday, August 26, 2005

Mga bilin sa uuwi….

Uuwi na nga po si Chel bukas at ang dami dami kong pinapabili, eto ang partial list:
- Pugad Baboy series 2, 4, 6, 8, 9, 16 - (meron na ko nung iba, kakatawa kasi 'tong collection na ito...)
- Cesar Montano movies – Muro Ami, Bagong Buwan, Rizal, Panaghoy sa Suba (puera Machete ha...)
- Eric Quizon movies – Happy together (with Teta kwe-rekkkkk) and Pusong Mamon (an old movie that I really really like, Eric Quizon at his bakla best)
- Roderick Paulate movie – Petrang Kabayo (heh…tingnan natin ang galing ni sister mag hanap)

At eto naman ang mga pagkain na dapat lang dalhin nya pabalik dito:
- Longanisa
- Sinaing na Tulingan (sa Batangas lang meron nyan...)
- Atsarang murang kalabasa
- Tinumis
- Tuyong kamyas

Ano pa ba???

Thursday, August 25, 2005

On Leave na naman...

Opo, on leave na naman ako kasi schedule ng check-up ni labs and at the same time labas naman si cousin from hospital. Eto after a hectic day, nagluluto naman ako ng ipapadala ko sa mga favorite pamangkins.

And pupunta dito ang mga Tita ko to take care of my cousin, so dito daw muna stay sa bahay at mas komportable kasi para sa kanilang lahat lalo na para dun sa naoperahan. Sana nga ay tuloy tuloy na ang pag galing nya at wala ng maging complications.

K, at nag ding dong na niluluto ko....

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Vitamin Deficiency

Since I am always feeling tired, the only conclusion that I can think of is I am lacking in some vitamins so off I go yesterday to browse the shelves of local drug store here. I am particularly looking into the type of vitamin supplements that will apply to whatever I am in lack of. I always feel tired, I feel stressed and my vertigo is now a continuous thing. Finally after quite a while, with almost reading every supplements there is, I found a Vitamin B Complex with this description “For fatigue, stress, irritability and lack of energy“. So grab it I did and start taking it last night. Hopefully it will help me….Another type of supplement I’ve found contains Ginko Biloba which is good for vertigo daw. I did not buy it yet because I don’t want to take too much tablets. We’ll see first how it goes with this Vitamin B Complex. Anyway a year ago I was taking Vitamin C & Vitamin E as supplements but with all the negative feedback I am reading on too much in-take makes me stop taking them. Maybe I should start again…..

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Kaka-pagor……

Super na kaka pagod ang current work load ko. Feeling ko parang semento na katigas ang balikat ko sa muscle pain…huhuhu…
Buti pa si sister at uuwi this Saturday sa Pinas. Sana maka uwi din ako sa November para makapag pahinga naman at maiba ang environment. Environment ng walang pera hehehe, pag umuuwi ka kasi dun makikita mo ang paligid, yung mga tao na nahihirapan sa pinansyal na aspeto ng buhay kaya after na ma-recharge ka, sumaya ka at nakita mo ang pamilya mo ay kanda-kumagmag kang bumalik dito at parang feeling mo napaka suerte mo at ng pamilya mo dahil me matino kang source of income..….

Sunday, August 21, 2005

The half-week that was...

Thursday - was a bit scary because of my first cousin. He was hospitalized here. The doctors couldn't confirmed if it was his appendix or what. So after office we went there to check on him, I've asked for a senior specialist and they decided to operate, but still he's not sure if it's appendix..nakupo kako bakit di nila alam...then we wait and wait for the OR availability and sus two hours kaming naghintay..around 9pm pinasok na sya sa OR, we waited until 11.30 and still he hasn't come out so we decided to go home first and just left my other cousin to stay and wait..ay sus!! it turns out di nga pala appendix, nagfuse yung intestines nya and the doctor have to cut the damaged intestines..about 5 inches was taken, i think. The doctor called it diverticulitis. He said the intestine was so inflamed and has abcess already...buti na lang naoperahan. Kaso mahirap pala talaga dito magkasakit kasi di namin alam ang sop nila dito...

Friday - work, work, work and after office hours went to see cousin in the hospital, I've talked with his doctor and asked about the amount of time it will take for full recovery. He said after about 1mo he can do light duties but full physical recovery will be 4mos. It will be difficult because all of us are working here and there will be no one to take care of him once he was release in about 5days time. They are renting on the west part and I was suggesting that he can stay with us first until he recovered fully. We're still discussing on it and maybe my aunt will come here. Iba kasi pag nanay ang nag alaga, di ba?

Saturday - went back to office to work until 4pm then went back to hospital again. He was asked to sit down on a reclining chair and he said it was difficult and painful. We left there around 8pm and at least he was able to take a bit of soup even though he still vomits sometime. The nurse was saying the feeling of nausea and vomiting was caused by his morphine drip.

Sunday - we went out and labs bought a new set of hp, O2 to be exact..gusto daw nya yun. Anyway I just finished up my home work and it's raining so we cannot go to the hospital. I hope he's okay now and tomorrow we'll drop by again after office hours.

hay...yan lang po muna...

Thursday, August 18, 2005

One for the go, one for the stay and one for the come back……

We're discussing on what will be the ideal number of days it will take to fly to manila and be with the family for a minimum impact on current work load…we'll, my friend was saying two days will be enough, I told her she should make it three…one for flying there, one for staying at home to see the whole family and one for flying back here….

And since we now have this Budget Airlines here this is really so feasible pero bitin….for me I must have at least one week to enjoy being home again.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Ano ba ang bago??….

Wala naman ganun pa rin ang buhay pero kahapon naka usap ko yung bespren ko na dun na base sa Oz…thankful ako at naka usap ko sya, medyo nagliwanag ang mga hindi maliwanag…(labo no??!!)

Sa home base ganun pa rin kuento, di kasi ako gano nakakatawag kasi nga sandamakmak ang work load ko. Buti na lang nauso ang text messaging kaya kahit papano me update from pinas. Yung sis ko uuwi this Aug27, at dahil ulit sa dami ng trabaho ko ay hindi ako makakasama kaya eto naglilista na lang ako ng papabili ko sa pinas…balak kong uwi ay last week of Oct na lang until second week of Nov…medyo feel na ang pasko by then di ba?....but still, we'll see how it goes…
Tapos na po…..

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

PRAYER FOR THE DAY - Tue, 16 Aug

Last night and this morning I asked the LORD for guidance and this is what HE gave me today...

"Lord, your love brings freedom and pardon. Fill me with your Holy Spirit and set my heart ablaze with your love that nothing may make me lose my temper, ruffle my peace, take away my joy, nor make me bitter towards anyone."

Monday, August 15, 2005

Today's Quote - Mon., 15 Aug

"The best preparation for good work tomorrow is to do a good work today." - Elbert Hubard

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Hagya nang nakaupo....

Sunday and as usual chima-a-a ang role ng lola...ngayon lang ako naka upo at naka sulat dito. Pero tuwa naman ako at nakatulog ako ng husto kaninang umaga, 10am lang naman ako bumangon...

Dami ko ginawa today, linis room, palit beddings and towels, linis bathroom, cook lunch, do filings, pick up clothes for recycling and at the same time separate those not being used but still new and will sent back home. Naka luto na rin ako ng para sa hapunan at sisimba daw kami ni kumander by six pm. Nakapagbake pa ko ng bread pudding, ayos din parang custard cake....almusal din yun sa opis bukas....

So sign off muna ko at still have a bit to do before going to church....

Saturday, August 13, 2005

A new opportunity

I was thinking so hard if I will take the chance for a new job opportunity. The salary will be good but on the other hand I will be taken out of my comfort zone. Am I ready for that move?

What bothers me most is not the job scope coz I'll be able to do it. It's my being mental about certain things plus my physical tolerances are what concern me most. I am always having a problem with my short fuse when I am tired and stressed-out that I am afraid this new opportunity will have me on thin strings at all times, imagine then the impact on my temper and physical strength.
What to do....what to do....

Friday, August 12, 2005

Happy Birthday Iel….



Today is Liel's 11th birthday. Ang bilis talaga ng panahon, dati rati si Iel ay tabatsingtsing na bata pa na sa kakapalan ng buhok ay itsurang sumo wrestler lalo na kapag nakapusod. He grew up at my sis in-laws place and he was really into watching so much tv. Wala kasing kalaro nung bata pa sya so parang loner and doesn’t want any other kids to play with….sus kung pag-gabutan ba si tisay hehehe…. And take note dati wag mong babatiin yan kasi sobrang suplado sa personal. Kala nga namin super pilyo sya pag lumaki pero ngayon super bait na sya. What really stands on my mind was the one time I visited him at their place and he wants to come with me to the city, I was meeting one of my friends then…so I have no choice, I think he was around 3yrs old that time. He came with me and I was driving and I was so afraid he'll be hurt and still he ended up with a bump on his forehead caused by my heavy feet on the accelerator, so when we go back to our barrio he was in front of me at the wheel, me being afraid to let him sit on his own at the back…..sows di naman uso yung child seat sa probins no!!...

Iel also loves to eat and he likes to eat veggies, so sino bang bata ang kumakain ng gulay ng hindi pinipilit…si Iel lang….and he will associate all those things around him with food re: the red open and close parenthesis are hotdogs, the green house on the corner street as cake, the logo of some bank as labanos…hehehe…
and if you see him with his Tatay sa palengke he'll be carrying "tuyo"….don't know why but he likes the smell….siguro mga 4yrs old pa lang sya nun.

Time really flies, now he has a mind of his own and he now prefers his own choices. Ala na role si sistah….soon he'll want total independence. Just called him yesterday and all he wants for his birthday is for them to go out probably in Alabang, taya daw sya or gusto daw nya kumain sa Josephine sa Tagaytay..... Pag pumunta daw sila Alabang maybe he'll see something that he wants to buy. Binata na talaga si bunso…

So Leo Gabriel, happy birthday to you and we all love you…..Enjoy your day!!

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Request ni Iel...

Eto latest from sis...Sabi daw ni Iel magluto bukas ng macaroni soup pero wag na wag daw sasabihin sa kanyang Tito Red na ibili sya ng cake at wag na wag daw mag iimbita hahaha...totally the opposite of Jolo talaga...

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

New Service Provider

We didn't have internet connections for the past two days, we terminated the Singtel service and signed-up for Star-hub connections. The techie just came and did the set-up for the new internet connections, with wireless and broadband router. This is better because i'ts faster and we can use 3 to 4 pc at the same time. AND I can use wireless connections so now I can use my Apple ibook and can now browse while in bed, wuhooo....
Such a nerd heh...

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

National Day…

Today is the 40th national Day here in Singapore. This is a big celebration for them and of course today is a holiday kaya andito lang kami sa bahay. I am not feeling that well, my vertigo is acting up again, maybe too much tv, reading and cross stitching yesterday. Labs went to Pulau Ubin with some friends. Mag biking daw sila dun, I was suppose to go but then I backed-out last night.

So later this day we will watch the National Day parade on tv. This is always the main event of their National Day. They have reasons to be proud of. The NDP is a big celebration and well coordinated, there is so much participations from each school and the audience turn-up is always huge, such a great way to celebrate. I have written something about this already last year on my other diary. I hope I can post it here, it’s something like a comparison about our own country’s celebration and the way they celebrate it here….

Found it and here goes:
Aug 10, ‘04
So before I lose my momentum on the last National Day Parade I have to jot down my observations and comparisons to our beloved pinas….Every year since I came over here I’m always watching this national day parade during their independence year and it never fails to overwhelm me even if I just watch in on TV. These Singaporeans really supports their country regarding this event. You can actually see and feel how they love their country. Every year I think months before the actual date (August 9) celebrations will start, practices for the events will starts and the ticket short-listing for issuance will start. Preparations of give-away goodies will be seen and reported on tv. On the day itself you will see the people on the stadium all wearing red shirts, a huge crowd united on the day itself…there were kids, old people, mix culture of Malay, Chinese and Indians and some Caucasians as well. Then the celebration started with different school performing in unison, a well practiced and well executed performance. Young kids performing with colorful costumes and most performances have related ideas on the national day and how they achieved their independence. If you watched it on tv you will all see the majestic side of it since most of the view will be taken from over view camera. Last Monday’s celebration is more grandiose than the last. Around 7pm they present arms and all the entire national defense team performing their specialty like parachuting, special force capabilities, the rescue team, etc, etc. They will parade the armory that they have, all those hi-tech capabilities that they have achieved. They have fighter planes, etc, etc…they have the gun salute then all the MPs in white will enter from some part of the stadium entrance and go their respective seats, only the president and the prime minister did have the special entrance on each own. After the MPs were seated they have another performance and then the Prime Minister makes his entrance by white limousine, just wave to the crowd and went to his seat, then the President makes his entrance, same white limousine with all the escorts and went to the area to be saluted and inspect arms. After that they will all rise and sing the national anthem which surprisingly is in Malay dialect. After the arms presentation, the colorful performances will continue and the finale will be a beautiful fireworks display. Most of the performances just registered to me as big and colorful and nice since I am doing something else during most of the performances. All in all it was a great big party as all the national day parade was seen on previous years. And yap, the government provided transport to haul the massive people before and after the show.

Comparison on what Pinas will be like if National Day Parade will be done in Phils:
What can I say?. Definitely it will be the exact opposite of above descriptions. The preparations will definitely have all the media hypes, the budget for give-a-ways will be cut in half so the other half will be in someone’s pocket. The ticket issuance will be on the “who know who” basis. The day itself will have some guys selling tickets outside the stadium. The traffic will be massive. There will be no organized committee to man the crowd. The people will probably not wear whatever will be the united color…I’m sure most will scoff….During the parade itself, aside from school performances which I am definitely sure will be better than Singapore (at least in one aspect), all the politicians will have grand entrances with all their entourages including spouses and probably speeches will be a mile long for each important politician. And then what will we parade for our defense and armory?? All those outdated rifles, tanks and such. Tora-tora will fly over the stadium carrying our flag….all the second hand armory that our government likes to buy so much so that half of the budget will again go to someone’s pocket.

What really stands out on my observations was the low-key persona of the Prime Minister and the Presidents spouses here in Singapore. You will never see them on any of the government functions, and the wife of the President is not called First Lady but simple Mrs. will do. What was it like in pinas? All the spouses, mistress, escorts will be in their full regalia during government functions…..

As much as I love the Phils I cannot help but compare and be sad because Phils will never be like Singapore in the next years to come. I’m pretty sure changes will not happen in my generation and generations to come. The problem is too rooted in the psych of most Filipinos that change will be a long painful process. I’ve read so much about this and the most amazing thing is that all those who went out of the country and work in other countries or migrate to other countries now understands the situation and what to do about it. Everyone has opinions. The most glaring observation was everyone adapted to their host country as honest, hard working, helpful and a totally different individual than when they were working back in Pinas….Why can we do all this in other countries but not in our own country…the conclusion as so many write-ups is that we don’t have any pride being a Filipino and that we don’t love our country. But then what is the root of that? Is it in the system of governance that we have, all those corrupt government officials? Is it because of feeling of helplessness in our own country where only the rich can have a comfortable life? Is it because most Filipinos specially the poor have lost their hope? I guess so…..Normally when I go back for short vacation I try to do what I normally do here and make changes even if I am the only one doing it, it’s good to think that I’m doing something to improve the system back there…What do I do?? I never throw away any garbage except in the trash cans, if I don’t see any trash cans I put in my bag to dispose later. I try to never cross the streets unless it’s in the pedestrian lane and usually try to follow the traffic light. I try to be helpful to other people specially the olds. Small things I know but it matters to me and in my own small way I’m making an improvement in the system.

Monday, August 08, 2005

I was on leave…

Yap, on leave ako ngayon and I feel good. Gumising ako ng 9.30am, nag ligpit ligpit tapos nag breakfast lang then nag start na mag-bake ng chocolate chip cookies. The recipe was taken from forwarded emails about someone who felt she was cheated by Famous Amos Cookies, well I didn’t know if the story is true but the taste of the cookies is the same as the original Amos cookies. So every now and then basta me extra time ako I always bake them….

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Biking at East Coast Park



Pumunta kami sa East Coast Park, medyo me kalayuan sa bahay namin pero sulit naman. Nag ikot ikot dun para naman maka relax ng konti. Ganda ng place and since di na ko gano sanay mag bike ang narenta namin ni labs eh yung dalawahan. Enjoy naman kami going around in our bikes, medyo masakit nga lang sa legs and butt. Di na kasi sanay, the last time I rode a bike was during my trip with Claire & Tom at Villa Escudero, sows 1998 pa yata yun…

After one hour of going around masakit na mga pwet and legs so we had an early dinner na lang at Mcdo because of the kids. Maaga din kaming naka uwi. Enjoy naman ang lahat and hopefully maulit muli.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

I just have to rant......

rant...rant...rant...blah..blah...blah...rant..rant..rant
grrrrrrrrr........

tapos na po

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Still on Harry Potter...

I've so much work load these days and I can not update this on my daily happenings, anyway I've found this article about Harry Potter Book Six and I couldn't resist posting it...


Harry Potter’: A cauldron full of hot, strong love
By Marie Jamora

The Philippine STAR 07/31/2005
This Week’s Winner
Marie Jamora is a freelance director and a third-year MFA film student at Columbia University, New York. She has directed music videos for bands like Sandwich, Imago, itchyworms!, Kjwan, Sponge Cola, and the Eraserheads. Her short film, Quezon City, starring Jeffrey Quizon and Julia Clarete, was in competition at last year’s Cinemanila International Film Festival. At night, she also gigs around, playing drums for her bands Blast Ople and Boldstar.

The Muggle Liaison Office has its hands full right now. Non-magical folk everywhere are gobbling up Harry Potter books like Wonka candy bars, yet no one seems to be getting satisfied. No, this does not mean that the new book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, is not gratifying. Au contraire. The series’ staggering story and Marvolous narrative makes the reader want more, even revert back to the previous books to fulfill that Potter craving.

Call it H-fever, but it astonishes how a book can out-hype even a Spielberg-Cruise summer blockbuster pairing: Internet pre-order book sales numbered in millions all over the world; on July 16, kids under 10 lined up in bookstores everywhere past their bedtimes to get their sixth book at 12:01 a.m. There was even a site on the BBC that had their book reviewer blogging his reactions to the book hourly as he was reading it from midnight onwards. H-frenzy is more like it.

So here is a question some Muggles love to ask: What is so special about Harry Potter? It is no secret that J.K. Rowling is not the most original author in the world. With the recent Lord of the Rings films (and, we shall discover, with the upcoming Narnia films), children’s books have had their fair share of heroes and villains very similar to Harry and You-Know-Who. Even I admit, when the books came out in 1997, and Harry Potter mania first swept the globe, I was very, very skeptical. Harry Potter is such an ordinary name, after all, and I thought the lighting-bolt scar was similar to the 666 mark on the head of The Omen’s Damien Thorn.

Nevertheless, growing up with books by Roald Dahl, Enid Blyton, Diana Wynne Jones, Susan Cooper, and C. S. Lewis, I was no stranger to fantastical tales and I was quite the kiddie Anglophile. I admit to watching the press conference of the initial casting for Harry, Ron, and Hermione with a simple interest – like one watching the casting for the next Robert Zemeckis picture – for the reason that I was no huge fan of Chris Columbus.

But very soon, something kicked me in the head and made me see the light. One day, I was in a movie theater and a certain teaser trailer was projected for the first time. The John Williams melody filled the air and suddenly, a peephole like a mailbox slot opened, an angry man yelled out, "There’s no such thing as magic!" and slammed the slot shut. There was an excited murmur in the audience like no other murmur I had ever heard before. There was excitement and anticipation in the air – this from a Filipino audience, who is usually too cool to show emotions during movie trailers, busy texting last-minute messages to their friends or occupied by their movie munchies. But with the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone trailer, it was different. It was not the media hype of the Harry books that got me to read. It was the reaction of the Pinoys during the trailer that made me go, "Hmmm, I think I shall check this out to see what all the hubbub is about." And, Merlin’s beard, I’m glad I did.

Reading Book One was rather difficult. It took me four sittings to get through the first two chapters, do not ask me why. I am not the only person this has happened to, though. To a Harry Potter novice (who has also not seen the movies yet), the first book is the most difficult to start. But once you get through the first four chapters, it is smooth sailing to the next five books.

There I was, in bed at approximately 3:30 a.m. with The Half-Blood Prince in my hands. I started and DID NOT STOP reading until I was finished – eight hours later – with no sleep and no breaks.

After getting the results of his O.W.L.s and preparing for his N.E.W.T.s in his sixth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Harry is older, wiser, and much calmer. He does not yell half as much as he did in Book Five (where his adolescent rage-aholic-ness seemed to reach its peak) and yet his girl instincts seem to be as clueless as ever. Harry Potter, the Chosen One, the Boy Who Lived, is torpe? As for the faithful more-than-just-sidekicks Ron and Hermione, they seem to be at each other’s throats all the time as a result of their sexual tension, but it is a relief that Ms. Rowling never had the temptation to put Hermione in the middle of Harry and Ron. In fact, Harry even seems to have more sexual chemistry with Draco Malfoy than he ever had with Hermione. No, I am not alluding to any homosexual subtext; I am just saying that Ron and Hermione have been made for each other since Book One; you can re-read and check this fact out.

I will not reveal any spoilers about Book Six, but I will make some very opinionated opinions. Yes, people say that Ms. Rowling is very derivative and they sometimes take an underhanded stab at her being richer than the Queen. But I say, "Bloody good for her." If she can get kids these days (kids who are saturated by MTV and video games) to READ and be EXCITED about BOOKS, then she has truly given the world a great gift. And this is not just about kids – this is about kids of ALL AGES. Magic and fantasy have been reborn, and not just because of Peter Jackson’s cinematic interpretation of Tolkien’s opus, but because she made the idea of "magic" magical once more.

I remember watching the first showing of the first film at the Rockwell cinema and I saw a 30-plus-year-old woman waiting in line, clutching onto the hardbound Sorcerer’s Stone as if Rowling herself was coming to the showing for a book signing. It made me think of Moses, holding one of the tablets of the 10 Commandments. Sure, cradling the book like a two-month-old baby to its own movie showing is a crazy idea, but who cares? I would rather it be a book than a video game or a DVD.

The Half-Blood Prince is an amazing read because it has everything lovable in the other books, while adding to the darkness of Harry’s world. Ms. Rowling is writing for kids, knowing that the readers are getting older as Harry gets older. She never talks down to her audience; actually, it is as if she doesn’t care if the readers get nightmares. Here, she has her own version of zombies and vampires; she is relentless in making Harry an independent young man, preparing him for the greatest battle to be fought. As we all know, Harry is an orphan fighting the man who killed his parents – a modern teenage superhero with magical powers, but who is not just Peter Parker in New York City. He is Spider-Man in a city full of Spider-Men, where everyone has a magic wand.

In this book, the comfort zones of Hogwarts are challenged once again – the trips to Hogsmeade have lost their fun, Harry must learn how to Apparate, he needs to think of non-verbal spells, and Quidditch is different when he is the Captain and not just the Seeker. Thanks to the Half-Blood Prince, Harry is now the top student in Potions, previously his worst class, and since ex-Potions master Snape is teaching Defense Against the Dark Arts, Harry inevitably drops from outstanding to worst student.

What I love about Ms. Rowling is that she is contemporary and has wonderful tastes that leak into her books. True, she is not as original as the early writers of the first half of the last century, like J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis, but she has integrated the pop culture of recent decades to appeal to both kids and geeky grown-ups. We see the orphaned plight of Luke Skywalker, Clark Kent, and Peter Parker in Harry. We see the chemistry of Han Solo and Princess Leia in Ron and Hermione. We see the Gandalf-and-Frodo or Obi-Wan-and-Luke relationship in Dumbledore and Harry. We see Roald Dahl’s Matilda family in the Dursleys. We also see different fonts and typesets within the text, as in Michael Ende’s The Neverending Story. Harry is "the Chosen One," just as Buffy the Vampire Slayer is, awakened to his powers in his early teenage years and devoted to fighting evil, although occasionally yearning to live a normal life.

Ms. Rowling is so hip that she can even integrate a magical rock band, the Weird Sisters, into the story (who will be played in the film by members of the Brit bands Pulp and Radiohead). Or she can incorporate European football fervor into a magical sport like Quidditch. Another modern element to her story is the Holocaustian implications of the Purebloods-vs.-Mudbloods mentality of the wizarding families. Even Voldemort’s "Greatness inspires envy, envy engenders spite, spite spawns lies" speech reminds me of Yoda’s "Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering" speech. But it is all good. This is what makes her a modern-day writer – the pop culture that peppers her stories.

Another thing that makes the Harry Potter franchise unique is its intertextuality – the books being written with the movies being produced consequently and simultaneously. Surely, the Harry Potter films influence the writing of the books, and the films are affected by the books that come out. It is something that has never happened before in this modern age – literature being written at the same time its films come out, one complementing the other. Furthermore, the books (hand in hand with the movies) are like jigsaw puzzles that you can re-read and re-watch to find clues that you did not notice the first time – clues that Rowling scattered, knowing its place in later stories, but which one may gloss over at first.

The multi-media Harry experience will go on for at least another five years. We eagerly await the final installment of the Harry vs. Voldemort saga, hoping against hope that Ms. Rowling will not just stop there. Not since Roald Dahl’s Augustus Gloop or Henry Sugar have there been such tongue-twisting, giggle-inducing names such as Grubbly-Plank, the Care of Magical Creatures substitute professor; Won-Won’s ex-girlfriend, Lavender Brown; least popular Hogwarts Headmaster Phineas Nigellus Black; and ex-Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge. If the series indeed ends at Book Seven, I will miss the eccentric writing that named a cat Mrs. Norris; that made an 11-year-old live in a cupboard under the stairs; that made the Weasley twins quit school in a glorious E.T. moment with their brooms; and that chose to make a Ford Anglia car fly in the air.

What is to come? Will Snuffles return? Did a brother from the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black write that letter in the end? The Half-Blood Prince: Good triple-crosser or evil double-crosser? Will any of the three friends end up as an Auror? Will Harry end up with the girl who does the best Bat-Bogey hexes, or will he do the Bruce Wayne thing and end up alone?

Right now, if the movies maintain the standard of excellence that the Prisoner of Azkaban achieved, then all the fans will probably jinx themselves with joy. The Harry Potter series awakens the child in each of us, who would love to own a magic wand and fly on a broomstick. Reading the books is like chugging down a bottle of Felix in one go. Just swig it, and savor, and listen, as Fawkes the Phoenix sings you his lullaby, as you relish the ending and dream of what is to come

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW…

...how to fall in love without losing herself...
...how to quit a job, break up with a lover, and confront a friend without ruining the friendship...
...when to try harder... And when to walk away...
...how to have a good time at a party she'd never choose to attend...
...how to ask for what she wants in a way that makes it most likely she'll get it...
...that she can't change the length of her calves, the width of her hips, or the nature of her parents...
...that her childhood may not have been perfect... but its over...
...what she would and wouldn't do for love or more...
...how to live alone... even if she doesn't like it...
...whom she can trust, whom she can't, and why she shouldn't take it personally...
...where to go... be it to her best friend's kitchen table... or a charming inn in the woods…when her soul needs soothing...
...what she can and can't accomplish in a day... a month... and a year...
Submitted by: Mei

Monday, August 01, 2005

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD HAVE...

...one old love she can imagine going back to... and one who reminds her how far she has come...
...enough money within her control to move out and rent a place of her own even if she never wants to and needs to...
...something perfect to wear if the employer or date of her dreams wants to see her in an hour...
...a youth she's content to leave behind...
...a past juicy enough that she's looking forward to retelling it in her old age...
...the realization that she is actually going to have an old age and some money set aside to fund it...
...a set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill, and a black lace bra...
...one friend who always makes her laugh ... and one who lets her cry...
...a good piece of furniture not previously owned by anyone else in her family...
...eight matching plates, wine glasses with stems, and a recipe for a meal that will make her guests feel honored...
...a resume that is not even slightest bit padded...
...a feeling of control over her destiny…
Submitted by: Mei