saying goodbye to my MacBook

damn… i just handed my 5-month-old MacBook Pro (13.3) to its new owners, and it feels like i’ve just sold one of my kidneys.

mac & coffeeit was just one of those things that had to happen. i’ve tried to postpone making this decision for as long as i could, but the time has come for me to cross this BRIDGE — in order to acquire a hardcore laptop that fits with the nature of my work, i needed to let my MacBook Pro go. the economics of my situation demanded it.

bottom line, i had to sell my MacBook because the bulk of my work hinges on Windows-based applications and my other laptop (a weather-beaten Dell that has fought too many wars) is basically giving out its death rattle. i needed a new laptop fast, and my all-important client decreed that i had to use Windows, or else…

my life's main course

and so, after a last fond tap on its silver polycarbonated casing, i accepted the money from the buyers and took a long walk.

later, there will be time enough for me to buy a new replacement (ASUS Zenbook). for now, let me mourn the departure of an old friend.

coming up: Pink Panther 2

after almost 3 years, steve martin‘s second outing as the criminally befuddled Insp. Closeau is about to knock us off our collective derriere once again heheh. Pink Panther 2 is set to make its bow in local theaters in about a week or two. and despite the thrashing that Pink Panther has largely received from critics, i still can’t wait to watch this film.

joining steve martin are jean reno, john cleese (as the long-suffering and eternally envious chief insp. dreyfus), andy garcia, alfred molina, aishwarya rai, emily mortimer, and lily tomlin. this feature isn’t likely going to be as potent as the early Pink Panther movies, but what the hey. i’m a big steve martin fan, and with a cast like this what’s not to like?

a year-end note

early this year, to tame my spiralling expenses i made a mental note to cut back on my book purchases. for the first 10 months, rather to my surprises, i actually managed to make good on this promise — well, except for one occasion when i gave in to buy Collected Stories by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

ladies grace adieu

my unusual restraint started to crumble last november. the first time it happened was when i caught sight of Susanna Clarke‘s The Ladies of Grace Adieu. of course, being a certified Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell fan, there was no way i could have walked away from that. (and i consider that money well spent, because ms. clarke doesn’t disappoint.)

then a few minutes later, i inexplicably reached for this Jane Austen fanlit title (These Three Remain) and handed it to the cashier before i could change my mind. i really have no excuse for it, except that i was feeling nostalgic i guess. like every Jane Austen fan, i’ve always wondered what happened to elizabeth bennett and mr darcy before, during and after the events that transpired in Pride & Prejudice. i suppose, if nothing else, buying that book ought to warn me not to raise my expectations too high, and to steer away from fanlit pulp.

last legion hiccup drahon's tale

then, a couple of weeks ago, i succumbed to temptation again and bought a copy of Valerio Manfredi‘s The Last Legion. at the moment i’m plowing deep into various resources to learn more about the Roman legions, so i enjoyed the book for its entertainment value. i also managed to dip into Cressida Cowell‘s delightful Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III series. this time i snapped up How to Twist a Dragon’s Tale. as always, i find myself vastly amused and entertained by its sly humor. it’s geared for male juveniles, but if you go beyond the obvious it’s still a whole lot better than most books intended for grown-up readers.

the one book that has eluded my grasp so far is Naomi Novik‘s Victory of Eagles (book V of her Temeraire series). i am sooo tempted to buy the hardbound copy, but i think i’ll hold off for a while. at least until 2009.

bring on the Tropic Thunder

i’m counting the days till i can watch Tropic Thunder and the biggest reason for this breathless anticipation is robert downey‘s droll protrayal of Kirk Lazarus, an Aussie actor who goes through a skin color-changing procedure so he can play a black dude in “Tropic Thunder” — a movie-within-a-movie storyline that could easily pall on the viewer if it weren’t so funny.

Tropic Thunder tells the story of a cast of self-absorbed actors who have signed up to star in a war movie for various reasons (mostly to prop up their career), and their hapless, irate director who finally decides to continue filming in Southeast Asia to inject a sense of realism into the story. the only problem was, the cast stumbled into the lair of bad guys who mistook them for the real thing.

aside from robert downey, Tropic Thunder also stars ben stiller (who happens to direct this movie), funny guy jack black and brendan jackson. rounding off this improbable mix of cool stars and incongruously funny plot is an array of incredible cameos from nick nolte (as the vietnam vet/author), matthew mcconaughey (as the talent agent) and tom cruise (as the balding and expletive-spewing Hollywood exec).

wanted: a swell movie

due to a spatter of good films i’d seen lately, i really didn’t think Wanted would measure up to the rest, so i basically ignored it.

good thing my friend was insistent about watching it. actually she had already seen it, but i guess she just wanted to persuade me that it was good enough for second viewing. also, i wasn’t in the mood for Hancock, so i gave in.

ok, more than halfway through the film i got convinced. and during the last 20 minutes i was half-cursing myself for not seeing this earlier. i initially thought it was more hype than anything, but after considering the movie from many angles i am now sure that it’s one of the better films i’d seen so far (2008).

wanted this

angelina jolie (Fox) was — as expected — great. it’s almost downright easy to see her as this beautiful and lethal assassin who can kick your ass with a mere flick of her finger. james mcavoy (Wesley Gibson), although not the first actor you would automatically think of for an action flick like Wanted, does an amazing job as a reluctant recruit into a secret band of assassins. and morgan freeman (Sloan) has a heavy screen presence that would serve him in any role he chooses to portray.

if Timur Bekmambetov (director) had chosen to play Wanted (based on a comic book series by Mark Millar) as a straightforward story, it would have lost most of its charm and heft. The twist near the end made things worthwhile and more interesting.

[i’m seeing The Dark Knight for the second time tonight, so my review on this amazing movie will have to wait till then.]

another update on pluto

the hoopla on Pluto’s status (is it? or isn’t it?) continues.

the latest update [http://www.blog.newsweek.com/blogs/labnotes/archive/2008/06/12/pluto-finally-gets-some-respect-sort-of.aspx] on the formerly-the-farthest-planet-from-the-sun has given Pluto something of a boost — or something to that effect — after being downgraded by the International Astronomical Union to a mere ‘planetoid’.

sol system with planets

according to the IAU, Pluto and other similar-sized celestial objects, particularly those found in the Kuiper Belt, will henceforth be known as “plutoids”.

sol system

hmm… i don’t think this move is likely to settle uproar anytime soon. poor Pluto. what next?

sign pluto

this takes me back to my grade school days when we used to recite the names of all 9 planets. the first 3 planets that i found easy to memorize — aside from Earth — were Mercury (first), Jupiter (largest), and Pluto (last).

countdown to Kung Fu Panda

 

Kung Fu Panda is generating some favorable early buzz courtesy of some early good reviews and its splashy appearance in the Cannes Film Festival in France. the star-studded hype is spearheaded by the golden couple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, who incidentally provides the voice for one of the main characters in this animated flick.

jack black_panda

jack's panda

naturally, Jack Black, who plays the title role, gets the chance to show off his patented goofy antics while in cannes. he is joined by the heavily pregnant ms. jolie and dustin hoffman.

the cast includes dustin hoffman (ku fu masterangelina jolie (tigress), lucy liu (viper), and jackie chan (mantis).

 

Kung Fu Panda is expected to hit the theaters on june 6, 2008.

Kung fu panda fighters

kung fu panda cast