Archive for January, 2008

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NMAT Part 4

January 30, 2008

Congratulations to all who received their NMAT scores already. I really envy you, guys. I haven’t received mine yet, and if the reputation for the post office around here still holds then I’d have to wait at least a week before I get mine. It feels so sucky to be forced to wait for something this grand.
Yet, wait I must. I cannot do anything about it. I don’t know anyone working in the CEM. I don’t know if one of them could be “persuaded” to reveal my score. I don’t know if I even have enough “persuasive powers”.* And even if such a thing were possible, I cannot in all honesty pursue such a path. I want everything from my application of the NMAT to my receiving of the score to be honest and be free from guile.
So I am left with no choice but to leave everything to God, and in the meantime do everything required of me. I know my score would arrive at the right time. I just hope that I’d have the patience to wait for it…

*Take this with a grain of salt, please. I am not inclined to bribe anyone when I’m given the choice of waiting for the results. :P. Btw, I also hold the CEM in the highest regard. I don’t think anyone of them would stoop so low as to resort to bribery.

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All Things are Lights (A Review)

January 24, 2008

Lights

Set against the backdrop of two crusades, Roland struggles with two loves. Diane, who must refuse him for to sin after receiving the ultimate sacrament of the Cathar meant eternal damnation; and Nicolette, wife of Amalric his sworn enemy and chief instigator for the Crusade against the Cathar faith…

So that was what the love story part in the novel was about, and I must say that I didn’t pick the book because of it. I read it for the background setting, and I almost dropped it when the first few pages revealed that Love was the primary theme.
Yet author Robert Shea weaved this book magnificently. It was totally gripping, and the backdrop naturally enfolded the plot. Truth be told, I had only one cheesy moment even though page after page of it was screaming romance. The intricacies of religious clashes held my full attention. It had been so long since such writing affected me.
Four religions clash in the book. Catholicism, which teaches love in the bonds of marriage and clerical celibacy but whose followers and priests disobey. Catharism, which teaches spiritual love but considers the body and the material world as evil. Islam; which tolerates harems and polygamy while at the same time advocating restraint, for the forbidden would be allowable pleasures in Paradise. L’amour courtois, the Religion of Love, which ignores all rules for Love’s sake.
Continuing with the tradition of romance novels, Love triumphs in this book. Yet it is hard won and bought with innumerable deaths for the sake of religion. Cathars are burnt by Catholic inquisitors. Captured crusaders are given the choice to convert or die by Muslim captors. Innocents die as pawns, fit only for sacrifice.
It is a harsh book, but it is one worth reading.

PS After reading the book, I would never look at a priest blessing with the sign of the cross the same way again. People saw it is the sign of oppression and treachery, and by it millions were killed. In a way, I sympathize with the Cathars not because my Protestant predecessors suffered under the same damned Inquisition, but because I believe that freedom of religion and conscience must be honored by every state.

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Where’s the Cheese?

January 12, 2008

cheese
Image take from: http://cheese-burger.net

It’s now about two weeks from the end of the holiday season but there’s still no cheese around here.
I don’t know about the current status of other areas, but immediately after the holiday season there was no cheese from Davao to Iligan. Davao city did not have it. Cagayan de Oro did not have it. Iligan did not have it. Perhaps, even the towns did not have it. All this, however, is from the perspective of neighbors who had a vacation in Davao and returned after New Year’s Day.
What’s worse is that our cheese supply has just ran out. Now how am I supposed to cheesen up dips, bread, and other dishes!

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Oh No! Not HIM!

January 8, 2008

Terry Pratchett
Image Take from: CNN.com

Terry Pratchett, acclaimed fantasy author, is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
Now I’ve only read one of his books but it was a great experience. The the setting of when I read it was great as well as the actual content of the book. Details of the setting may appear in another for a blog post, but the text was nothing short of fantastic. It was humor, satire, and adventure rolled into one. Pratchett’s books are literally out of this world in that it is set in the Discworld and that they offer a different type of reading experience. It is Discordian, and it is FUN.
Yet it would only be a matter of time before that humor and wit would be silenced forever. Alzheimer’s is a degenerative disease characterized by memory loss and loss of cognitive function. There is still no cure for it. Nevertheless, Pratchett proves he still hasn’t lost his humor and wit along with the following words, “I know it’s a very human thing to say ‘Is there anything I can do’, but in this case I would only entertain offers from very high-end experts in brain chemistry.”
From his words, we do not know if he is still hopes for a recovery or he is only tempering the sad event with a joke. But as his works have shown us, the difference between those two doesn’t matter. It’s the laughter that matters.

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The Last Unicorn (A Review)

January 8, 2008

Now this movie is so classic for me that I had remembered only scenes and no dialog from the last time I watched it. To have even watched it is quite a feat considering that I live in the Philippines, where most people wouldn’t have even heard of this movie! I owe this to my mother who, way back in time, indiscriminately rented cartoons for our viewing pleasure.
After watching it again, the best phrase I could come up with to describe it would be “I now understand”. I now understand why she even bothered looking for the other unicorns. I now understand why the other unicorns disappeared. And more importantly, I now understand the story.
The story was straightforward. Twists and turns were notably lacking. Mysteries were unceremoniously laid bare and explained. Everything in the plot proceeded in a no-nonsense manner to the final conclusion.
Overall, watching the movie was a nice trip down memory lane. The experience, however, was not enough to warrant it a second go. In fact, it was another demystifying experience. Why do classic cartoons seem so much better remembered than watched again?