Tuesday, January 18, 2011

moved ages ago

since mid-2010 blogging for my image processing classes and personal shiz was continued to my wordpress blog: From the Panopticon.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Pen, pigments, ribbons and hoops

When I used to live with my lola in the early 90s, I remember how we drank Milo every morning. We bought them in green single-serving sachets with pictures of athletes. Each sachet featured an athlete in action and included fast facts about the sport. Every morning, I chose the ones that featured gymnasts in hopes that I would become one in the future. Somehow, I believed that the chocolate drink can help you become a top athlete. You just had to choose the ones packaged with the sport you love.

Come high school freshman year, our first PE class was gymnastics. We did log rolls, pyramids, and whatnot. Truthfully, dance and gymnastics jargon confused me. They were all bizarre French and english words to me and instructions were hard to follow when you couldn't speak the language.

From the best performers from the three freshmen sections, five or so girls were chosen from my class. We trained after classes, starting from stretching to basic jumps and such. We were all noobs but we had an ate in a junior who did the same trainings. It was also fun that I had her as a roomate. Before people did their homeworks, she would sometimes teach us how to stretch properly. We did this in the hallway and the other dormers didn't mind.

Everything was going well. Our coach however was also teaching full units of PE and CAT. She didn't have enough time to train everybody. We were in a science high school famous for many of its achievements in research and science quiz bees but never had the time to train its many student athletes.

The next year, I was chosen with another freshman to train in rythmic gymnastics. I was given a ribbon and she was given a hoop. We were asked to come on Saturdays to do some training. But again, this was a science high school and everything came in a fast pace. Our teacher didn't have the time and we were left with routines, a ribbon and a hoop. We tried our best to understand the routine until we lost our direction and the stuff were stored in shelves and forgotten.

And just like that that dream died. One of my aunts told me that if she knew earlier that I was chosen to play varsity gymnastics, she would have told my parents to get me a coach. But I was too old by then and swamped with all the demands of a science high school.

It's interesting though that in college I would meet an actual gymnast in the persona of a charming, upbeat artist. She was easy to get along with and knew everyone with her friendliness. She was fierce person, principled and dedicated to serving her fellow students. She can sometimes be too spontaneous, crushing over a new friend she knew.

Early this year, she passed away in an ambush.

Many dreams have gone to dust like how gymnastics was for me. There was journalism.

I competed in editorial writing in fifth grade and smoothly qualified to the national press conference. I think it was the lack of budget that prompted my school to tell me to forgo the competition. The worst part was when they tried to reassure me that it was okay. And that I won only by accident so it wouldn't mean so much. Heck. Winning first place in the division meet and second place in the regionals without training or aid from my school was not a mere accident.

My class were all excited for me to go Gen San. I thought it was okay to skip the contest until I saw their sad faces when I told them that I was not going.

In highschool, I attempted to continue writing through the school paper. But the fire was gone and I was contented on a reading books in my spare time. I was relegated to the science articles and was never able to publish a single article. And telling the advier that I was quitting actually felt good.

There was painting too. When I was 6, I was sure that I wanted to study in the University of the Philippines and major in painting like my tito. I was sure of this dream until journalism presented itself. When I was preparing myself for the regionals, the brushes were abandoned, the tubes forgotten.

And as the promise of journalism was lost so was the dream to become a painter.

My childhood was a long period of dreaming for the most part. I guess that's how it is for most of us. We were always asked, what do you want to be when you grow up? We answered autograph notebooks that asked for your ambition or dream. Our teachers asked us to draw about the profession we wanted. The guidance counselor gave an exam on how compatible your skills are to the path you wanted to take. My answers were always, astronaut, NASA mission cotrol specialist, marine biologist, drummer, microbiologist, fashion and interior designer... culminating to the dream of becoming a scientist and then becoming a librarian.

Right now, i don't know... I'm not sure anymore.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Flight of the Neurons

Hayaang mag-kamikaze ang brain cells ngayong gabi
Kasabay ng indak ng dragon

Isa isa silang ubusin

Gisahin sa sariling pawis

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Streets of Diliman

My classmate from physics once asked me why we don't write poetry with the images of fire trees and the beautiful narra flowers during summer, when people from all over Japan and much of the north write so much on the cherry blossoms and the orange and bronze colors of fall.

Well I don't recall any Filipino writer describing love or struggle with the beauty of the fire trees (maybe you can help me find one or write something about it). I have here photos taken from all over UP.

along CP Garcia (2009)

Fire trees along the University Avenue (2010)

Narra flowers scatter around the Physics Pavilion every March (2010)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Grokking Molo

Grok was first used in the novel Stranger in a Strange Land. The novel is about a human brought up by martians when both of his scientist-parents died on a mission to the red planet. The story begins with his coming to Earth and the chaos that erupts politically.

Grokking is understanding, contemplating, learning something, the superlative of all of those terms. When you have grokked something, you understand how it works, how it thinks (if it has consciousness), understands it's essence, as if being one with that material or abstraction. (Just read the wiki for grok, haven't visited it though).

Over the past years, I've been grokking this photo taken from Molo Plaza. This structure is common to all plazas around the Philippines and is usually ignored by pedestrians. When I visited Iloilo with family back in 2008, I was immediately captivated by this ordinary looking gazebo of some sort.

Stephen Hawking in Leaky Cauldron

The Brief History of Time might be the most (popular) popular science book ever. With 9 million copies sold worldwide, Stephen Hawking's discussion of cosmological phenomenons is widely read outside the scientific community. Who would think that someone from the non-muggle world would be interested in light cones, black holes and the curvature of space?

Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban (2004), is my favorite theatrical adaptation of the series. Directed by Alfonso Cuaron, he added subtle details to the movie that were never used before by Chris Columbus (director of The Sorcerer's Stone and The Chamber of Secrets). Alfonso Cuaron added crows to the scenes outside Hagrid's hut. As Harry, Hermione and Ron hid behind pumpkins, crows appeared to fly freely around them and resting on the pumpkins. Aside from crows, bats and the shrunken head, The Brief History of Time also made a cameo on HP.

Harry accidentally blows up Aunt Marge at the Dursleys and runs away. He then rides the Knight Bus to the only wizarding place he knows he could stay. As Harry entered the Leaky Cauldron, a guy with a charmed spoon is reading A Brief History of Time.

A Brief History of Time appears in the Leaky Cauldron

Reading the books, I've always had the impression that witches and wizards in Rowling's world
are ignorant and uninterested in the affairs of Muggles (save for Mr. Weasley). The appearance of TBHoT is a comic relief and gives a continuity from the muggle to the wizarding world.

On a side note, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2006), also makes a physics reference with Schrodinger's Cat, complete with the poison, Geiger counter and hammer in a box.

Schrodinger's Cat appears as Chiaki explains his travel through time

Friday, May 14, 2010

summer in diliman

Did you know that a neon SAN MIGUEL BEER sign was in a scene of Wong Kar Wai's Chungking Express? Well I forgot when it actually happened, but I clearly remember it was at the upper right corner of the screen when the first cop of the film walked out of a pub or something.

It has been my fourth summer in diliman, never been able to rest from school since that pisay freshmen-sophomore summer. Right after that every year has been about school or actually going to school.

2004: mandatory internship with a measly 2000 php allowance from school

2005: it's all about the malabar spinach candies! Lots of alugbati were trashed and turned to nutty and sweet things. Also my first youth camp with jet jet. We were actually doing research with those leafy things

2006: it's all about prepping for school. I stayed in Binangonan with Sam and tutored their house help.

2007: KPL, party-list elections and Math 54. The best combo! Organizing events and answering problem sets.

2008: OCS. Masaya.

2009: OCS. Chem 17. Night of the Living Dead, literally up all night writing papers and the whole morning working experiments. The beginning of the harshest year of my life.

2010: Nat'l elections and Kas 2 24/7. Map tests, films, field trip.

Here are some of summer's best films:

1. Let the Right One In
Vampire boy meets bully punching bag. Very graphic. Chilling.

2. The Wind will Carry Us

3. La Haine
The Hate, Kassovitz's first film. He won best director here in so many film fests.

4. A Jihad for Love
Very insightful both culturally and politically.

5. Chungking Express
Sappy quotes and visual overload. Happiest film of the summer.