Thursday, July 21, 2011

It's Been Long Ago ...

Image from AllGraphics123.com




... Since I first felt that warm, fuzzy feeling --- a feeling I got to experience again last night.


Call it kilig (from blushing to the nervous exchange of hi's and hello's to offering your clammy, cold right for a firm handshake to feeling like you are about to faint in excitement) or whatever, right now, I'm basking in the glow. And I like to sustain it for as long as it is possible.

I don't expect this to last --- but this kilig moment is something I need at this point.

It's also nice to see I'm still capable to make somebody smile and laugh for being me, without pretension at that. I'm still lucky I'm able to still find the joy in me, and the capacity to share that joy with others.

It's something to thank for and smile about at this very moment.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

DESCOVRIR'S PICK: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part 2

Photo from http://harrypotter.warnerbros.com/harrypotterandthedeathlyhallows/mainsite/index.html#/home


So they say the magic ends. But for the legions of fans who read all seven books and watched all eight movies of one of the most well-loved and the most successful media franchise of the century, J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series will always be remembered.

As a disclaimer, this post will not dwell on how the last installment, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part 2 movie, is way too different from the seventh book --- like how the previous films departed from the previous books. It is given --- cinematic license will always be there. Let us see the movie as is, just for this instance.

Effects wise, this is the most visually spellbinding among all Harry Potter films --- the flawlessly rendered CGI albino dragon was so real you could almost feel how it struggled upward and flew away from the severely damaged Gringotts bank. The film might get an Oscar nod for best visual effects. And the musical score was so hauntingly palpable. The Gothic feel --- a dominant of black and grey throughout the movie --- also deserves kudos for production design.

Casting all protective spells, particularly Professor McGonagall's (Dame Maggie Smith) fearless yet delightful commanding of the heavily armed, clay soldiers to come to life ( to paraphrase, "I've been wanting to use that spell my entire life") and the Hogwarts faculty and ally enchanting the school from He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named's army was another visual, chaotic delight. Neville Longbottom (Matthew Lewis) surely delivered especially in time of need.

Some say Harry Potter lacks the character as a man, that he is only able to do things because of the people guarding him. It could be well said also to Daniel Radcliffe --- who until to the last film that made him one of the richest stars in the world --- was still lacking the depth as an actor. He could have done better if he showed more maturity to his attack to the role --- an adolescent who had to grow up fast as a man, who had been through a lot, particularly fighting the most villainous of them all. Afterall, Radcliffe will always be remembered as the Boy Who Lived.

Alan Rickman as Severus Snape (Photo from http://harrypotter.warnerbros.com/harrypotterandthedeathlyhallows/mainsite/index.html#/home)
The most heart-wrenching (and consumed a lot of tissue papers due to a mass production of stifled to loud cries and a chorus of sniffs) and the golden moment of the movie (and faithfully the same as the book) was of Severus Snape, brilliantly portrayed by Alan Rickman. The scene when Nagini was attacking him and Harry, Hermione (Emma Watson), and Ron (Rupert Grint) were just helplessly watching the horrible scene from the outside, indeed sent chills. It also sent shivers when the camera got a shot of Snape who shaped like a coffin, an omen of his death. The tears I shed when Sirius Black (Gary Oldman) died in the fifth book and film was nothing compared with the tears I shed when Rickman was dying as Snape.

A look at how Snape protecting Harry all along induced more tears from the audience. The scene when Snape came to the Potters' rescue only to find out that his beloved, Lily Potter, was already dead, and he could only hug her and wailed for her death, was the brightest of Rickman's portrayal as Snape. It showed, not only the other side of Snape, but the other side of Rickman as an actor not only great as a villain, but an actor of substance.

Yours Severus Snape was of undying devotion and eternal love, you will never be forgotten. And to you Alan Rickman, may the acting honors you deserve be bestowed upon you for your faithful portrayal of Snape.

Indeed, the Harry Potter films made success out of Radcliffe, Watson, and Grint, but their lack in acting depth was complemented by the cast of the finest English actors ever assembled for a mega film franchise. Of course, Ralph Fiennes as Voldemort was still terrifying that I heard a kid or two from the audience cried once when he came out in a wand duel with Harry. Julie Walters as Molly Weasley had her moment when she said to Bellatrix Lestrange (Helena Bonham Carter) "Not my daughter, you bitch" and killed the witch at that. Though I am wishing Carter had been given more exposure in this last part of the film franchise --- she is just seductively terrifying. David Thewlis as Remus Lupin still did not disappoint but he had to die too soon. The return of Michael Gambon as Albus Dumbledore was also anticipated in the film, though he indeed lacks the charm of the late Richard Harris as Dumbledore. Them and among the other English actors who graced the Harry Potter film series, they made the story of Harry Potter real for us all.

And rather than casting real "adult" actors as the adult and parents Harry, Hermione, and Ron, the young actors were also made the grown up versions of their characters and that did not disappoint, especially Ginny Weasley (Bonnie Wright) who gave a peek of an elegant, grown-up version of her, which is not too far behind.

Overall, David Yates did not disappoint and end the final Harry Potter film with a magical bang. This is my next favorite film after  Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (directed by Alfonso Cuaron). They are the best for me because among the books and the films, these have been the most real, most dark of them all --- magic aside, it exposed the trio of protagonists to the reality that there is evil out there and they --- we --- all have to grow up in character and depth to conquer such evil, including our own.

As for the cinema experience, I had to content myself watching it in 3D. I have been wanting to see it in IMAX for a seemingly borderless, visual experience. I might see again the film, this time in IMAX, to make sure the film is wide and would entice me all over again, this time, from all angles.

And until the credits rolled and the screen went black, I did not left the cinema, among a number of moviegoers, making sure the film really ended. But the magic that is Harry Potter will forever remain.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Where Did my “Half” Go?

What I meant was my first half of 2011.

It has been 6 months and 6 days since I last posted.

A couple of things have happened according to my plans.

Many things did not happen during the first half, but I am sure they will be realized before the year ends.

There were many things that I did not expect to happen, and I am still grappling with their impact on me.

To recap, I posted my 50 Must Do’s for 2011, and so far, these were I have accomplished:

Career 
1.      Write more! I am still a contributing writer for a monthly health magazine, though I miss writing for their sister magazine for parents. I also got back writing for an industry magazine (though for some reason, they still have to release that first quarter 2011 issue). I also was contacted again to write for a personal finance magazine where I used to work as a managing editor. My gig courtesy of my former senior PR associate is still continuing, and I will be marking my first year with them. Looking forward to more journalistic pieces to publish! 

2.      Snoop within. Yes, I am looking for an opportunity to continue working for my company, this time, overseas. I have discussed this with my manager and I have to lay out my plan to achieve this by 2012 as initially discussed.

Emotional, mental, and well-being:
1. I am trying my very best to be inspired – ALWAYS.

2. I am trying my very best to be more caring to my family.

3. I have to learn to be more forgiving – to forgive that person and to forgive myself.

4. I am learning to be more patient to that person, to myself, to my current situation I am into.

5. Be more respectful.

6. I am truly thankful.

7. I am always asking for more strength, and the Lord has not forsaken me.

8. I am praying my hardest and …

9. … and working my smartest.

10. I am looking forward to take a much deserved break on November.

Finance:     
1.      I bought a variable term, life insurance last June. 

2.      I enrolled in my company's stock purchase program and it will start this August. 

3.      I am planning my purchases - no splurging; I became less generous to myself (often is bad though and is open to abuse); less feel good buying; less comfort food tripping. 

4.      I limited my "happy spending" to twice a month, within PHP2,000 to PHP4,000. 

5.      I have invested in a mutual fund, not for me, but as a gift. Many opposed to my decision, but my point is, I promised this as a gift. Even though the recipient disappointed me, hurt me many times over, I am not the one to break my promise. I will do my very best to fulfill a promise - that is my belief.

Health and diet:  
1.      I  try my best to look (more) after myself regarding my colloidal, non-toxic goiter (opt for surgery?) and irregular period due to adenomyosis - which my OB-GYNE-SONO referred me to an oncologist since my left, ovarian cyst is quite persistent .... 

2.      Exercise:
a.       I try to exercise daily using the figure twister and arms and tummy trimmers
b.      I brisk walked/jogged once or twice a week last summer – I have to continue. 

3.      I eat in moderation (heavy brekkie; set lunch; light dinner; one morning snack; one afternoon snack; evening snack, optional, but not recommended) 

4.      I already have lessened my gourmet coffee once a week (at times, none!) or when only meeting my friends (especially when I have not seen them for the longest time and we would bond over coffee and long talks).

Travel: 
1.      Travel locally twice to thrice this year – looks like it will be for first quarter 2012, with a ticket already to Palawan. 

2.      I traveled to Melbourne, Australia last March and spent two weeks there – visiting the National Gallery of Victoria; The Ian Potter Centre; the University of Melbourne; seaside destination Sorrento, and I went around the city and the neighborhood and rode the tram by myself. I spent mostly for my own, proving I am self-reliant and will not be of burden to anyone. 

3.      I am planning to travel again – I set my heart to go back to Melbourne for my birthday to catch the King Tut exhibit. Considering my finances, instead of the original two weeks, I might just stay there for a week. Or I might not, as many concerned about me do not want me to get hurt any further when I return to Melbourne ….

Relationship: 
1.      I continue to be a faithful and an understanding fiancée – but the situation is not what I am expecting to, considering a promise was made on my last night there in Melbourne ….

2.      I am managing my expectations about my man and toward the relationship – but the situation is different now and I am keeping my distance, I am holding on to my faith to him and this relationship ….

"Me": 

1.      I have started to give back - more - to the community and to those who are really in need. I joined a company CSR effort; a friend’s birthday treat to a home for the aged; and I am looking forward for more opportunities to pay it forward.

2.      I have only finished 2 books this yearThe Informant, Tuesdays with Morrie, and The Wisdom and Prayers of the Pope (Benedict XVI). Finishing now the 33 Concise Strategies to the Art of War. I bought several books already, and magazines and journals, my reading list just keeps longer! I must finish lots of good books, really!

Such were the things I have done and have happened during my first half of 2011. And as I first wrote, much as I like to stick to my vision, I did experience major stumbling blocks and I am still dealing with such ….

How’s your 2011 so far?