On A Pale Moonlight

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Door to Nowhere by Ben Folds Photography

 

Remember the feeling of being, well helpless I guess. Trying to find answers to questions you cannot answer. Sometimes its not even questions, you find yourself uncertain. Uncertain on how the events can unfold.

The future can be a paradox, a mystery, a riddle and a locked door while old Fate is standing right in the corner dangling the keys to that door. Sometimes the outcome can suck, sometimes its not, it depends on how you play it. Sometimes you have to break in order get the outcome that you want. Nothing to do but follow through, journey begins whatever the outcome is. But then again most of us would find a way to turn things around.

Its also normal, I guess to cower in fear, in fear of everything falling apart. Maybe Fate can be the darkness, the thunder, that comes from hell and pull you under. I may end up going home, drunk, broken, perhaps you happen to fall of a gutter, smack my head so hard it bled, or just plain stinky while listening to Behind Blue Eyes. I am afraid, I am afraid to dance with the devil in a pale moon light. I guess there’s nothing wrong if I cower, I’d be spared in perhaps the biggest torment in my life. I also think asking Fate to open the door might set me free. I guess, I have to……

You can visit Ben Folds Photography here. link

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Reading Empty Pages

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Picture belongs to Pezibear of Pixabay.com

 

Things, well no not things, maybe it is things. So things have not been well, months long (amateur) writer’s block and a lot of other things have happened. I guess things have not been working to me, or whatever. I don’t know shit happens, but this is a different kind of shit, a much smellier pile, putrid, disgusting and absolutely hideous.

Somehow I can’t even see the sun in the sky, the birds in the trees, hear the music that plays on the radio, and a lot of other things. For me those were just images, sounds, animation or I can just write it up to imagination. My mind is blank, in shock maybe as I try to recall things that got me stranded here, at this very moment, a place where the sun doesn’t shine, a place where there are no birds and even music. Darkness once again managed to creep behind me, tapped my shoulder and punched me in the face. It sucks, and of course admittedly partly I am to blame for this, just one innocent fuck up that brought the whole stack crumbling.

I’m just man, only human, I make mistakes but given a chance I bounce back. I’m just a common man, not a superhero. To quote a song from Poets of the Fall all I wanted to do right now is, “sail into the storm, with the waves rushing over to take us (or in this case me), battle against the tide, she was the beacon of my salvation and my starlight.”

I pray that one day, I can now hear even the cries of dolphins, gaze into the light and be hypnotized in her gaze. One day. Its all up to me. I guess.

The Undertaker’s Last Bow?

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Could this be The Undertaker’s final salute?

 

There aren’t enough words to describe how surreal it is to watch the Undertaker perform in the ring. I remember watching the Undertaker when the Smackdown! brand led by Dave Batista and Booker T held a 2 day show here in the Philippines. I was there to watch two men, the late Chris Benoit (who battled with Chavo Guerrero that night) and of course the Undertaker, who at that time engaged in a bitter feud with Mr. Kennedy. Watching his entrance from the cheap seats was spine chilling. Undertaker won of course and that night he saved Batista from a beat down by Booker T, Fit Finlay and William Regal.

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The Undertaker through the years.

Fast forward to about 11 years later, he was still performing by this time he had been with the WWE for 26 years. In the world of theatrics and entertainment such as pro wrestling, lasting for 26 years in one company is amazing. Who would have thought that a gimmick that started out as an indestructible zombie or western mortician turned out to be one of the most captivating characters in wrestling history?

The Undertaker, real name Mark William Calaway made his professional wrestling debut in 1984 as Mean Mark Callous, he wrestled in World Class Championship Wrestling, New Japan Pro Wrestling and World Championship Wrestling before ending up with the World Wrestling Federation (now known as the WWE). He made his WWE debut on the 1991 Survivor Series PPV, teaming up with the villainous Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase’s Million Dollar Team against Dusty Rhode’s The Dream Team. Little did we know that this silly gimmick would be a staple in Professional Wrestling.

From that point on, the Undertaker (or Taker) won several WWE Titles, Tag Titles and feuded with the likes of Hulk Hogan, The Ultimate Warrior, Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts, Yokozuna, Kamala, King Kong Bundy, Giant Gonzales, Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Mankind, CM Punk, Kurt Angle, Diamond Dallas Page, his storyline brother Kane, John Cena and Brock Lesnar to name a few. He also participated in a lot of gimmick matches such as the Biker Chain Match, the Hell in a Cell, Steel Cage Match, Hell in the Cell, Ladder Match, Casket Match and the Buried Alive Match.

Through the years, Taker kept the gimmick interesting by adding character depth and some weird ass powers such as conjuring fire, lightning, rising from the dead, teleportation and the power to manipulate or posses someone. Beyond all those silly powers, and different gimmick types or appearances of the Undertaker showed up, we can always count that his matches were very good or amazing. His ability to create drama in the ring, provided fans of this ‘scripted’ spectacle a breathtaking experience. Undertaker was simply amazing in the ring.

Then there was WrestleMania (or Mania), WWE’s premier event. Undertaker provided a lot of memories during Mania. His matches are often the highlight of the night. For most of us wrestling fans, we always look forward to Mania, even if the match card isn’t Mania worthy. The reason we tune in to Mania every year is because of ‘The Streak’. ‘The Streak’ is defined as the Undertaker’s 21 straight victories at WrestleMania if you’re interested then here are his WrestleMania victims.

1. ‘Superfly’ Jimmy Snuka (Mania 7)
2. Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts (Mania 8)
3. Giant Gonzales (Mania 9)
4. King Kong Bundy (Mania 11)
5. Kevin Nash (Mania 12)
6. Psycho Sid (Mania 13, for the WWE Title)*
7. Kane (Mania 14 and Mania 20)
8. Big Boss Man (Mania 15, Hell in a Cell)
9. Triple H (Mania 17, Mania 27 and a Hell in a Cell match at Mania 28)
10. Ric Flair (Mania 18)
11. Big Show and A-Train (Mania 19, Handicap Match)
12. Randy Orton (Mania 21)
13. Mark Henry (Mania 22)
14. Dave Batista (Mania 23 for the World Heavyweight Title)
15. Edge (Mania 24 for the World Heavyweight Title)
16. Shawn Michaels (Mania 25 and Mania 26)
17. CM Punk (Mania 29)

* – The streak was first mentioned

The streak lasted for 21 straight victories which surprisingly ended at Mania 30 against Brock Lesnar. I remember that match, I was in shock, I always thought that Taker would retire undefeated at Mania and that will be his legacy. It was taken away by WWE matchmakers, suddenly Mania was never the same without the Streak.

On April 3rd (April 2nd in the States), Undertaker lost for only the 2nd time in Mania, his once immaculate record of 21-0 now stood at 23-2. After getting speared for the nth time, he jobbed to up and comer Roman Reigns. After the match he left his MMA gloves, his cowboy hat and trenchcoat in the middle of the ring. He broke character and kissed his wife at ringside (he still plays a zombie with dark powers), and perhaps waved his final goodbye to the fans.

At this moment, it was hard for me to write about a man who I grew up watching, whose career was part of my childhood much like those 6 NBA Championship won by the Bulls. Undertaker is like my guest every night when he wrestles or cuts a promo or something. He was WWE’s Icon, their poster boy and their heart and soul.  I always remember those matches, the feud, the silly angle, the time you (almost) married Stephanie McMahon because you’re playing a Satan Worshipper, the Higher Power storyline, your run as the Biker Undertaker, the streak and your whole career. Thank you Undertaker, if this was the last match then I’m glad it ended at WrestleMania.

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The Man They Call Kobe

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Kobe Bryant. Rides into the sunset. Photo by Adam Zaman of Hoops Talk.

 

 

The mere mention of Kobe Bryant to a casual basketball fan would get so many reactions and associations. I, for one, once regarded Kobe as one cocky son of a b*tch, a ballhog, selfish, a once-upon-a-time rapist, The Black Mamba, and a champion. But above all that, Kobe can be described as a great competitor and the closest thing to Michael Jordan this generation ever had.

Kobe’s climb to success and immortality began in high school when he led Lower Merion to championships. By that time his HS coach saw how hardworking he is, the classic “first one in and last one out.” Most of the time, he’s the first one in the gym and the last one to leave after practice was over.

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NBA Rookies Class of 1996: (L-R standing) Marcus Camby, Stephon Marbury, Kobe Bryant, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Jermaine O’neal, Steve Nash, John Wallace, and Antoine Walker (L-R sitting) Ray Allen, Kerry Kittles and Samaki Walker

By the end of his senior year in HS which included a date with then R & B singer Brandy, Kobe decided to join the NBA, obviously following his dad’s footsteps (Joe “Jelly Bean” Bryant who once played for the Philadephia 76ers). Kobe would be joined by future all-stars and very good role players in that said draft. In my opinion, the ’96 Draft bridged the gap between the ’90’s kids and the old-time viewers, and made the NBA the global phenomenon that it is today.

Picked as the 13th pick of the draft by the Charlotte Hornets, Kobe never had a chance to take his (raw) talent to the Hornets because he was immediately traded to the Los Angeles Lakers for veteran center Vlade Divac. According to stories, Jerry West wanted Kobe so much after seeing Kobe destroy draft prospect Dontae Jones one-on-one during the Rookie Combine (tryouts). Kobe would then join the retooled Lakers who, at that time, just drafted Derek Fisher, and had players such as Nick Van Exel, Eddie Jones, Elden Campbell, and free-agent signee Shaquille O’neal. The future seemed set.

By this time, some of my friends and classmates were going gaga over the Lakers. Plus, the fact that Kobe was voted as an All-Star a year later made me raise my eyebrows, at that time, I thought he was overrated. After all, he was lackluster in the 1997 Playoffs against the Jazz, throwing bricks and air balls in Game 5.

Kobe Bryant, Game 5 1997 NBA Playoffs

Seeing those air balls and missed shots made me smile, I mean, I was a Kobe hater. I laughed my ass off with every air ball he threw. (But to be fair, watching it right now, his shooting form seems awkward and his release is a piece of shit.) Those air balls perhaps were the turning point of Kobe’s career, a lightning rod, similar to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls getting KO’d by the Detroit Pistons in 1988, 1989 and 1990. The Lakers were once again humiliated by the Jazz this time in the Western Conference Finals, though.

During the lockout shortened season of 1998-1999, the Lakers traded Elden Campbell and Kobe’s mentor Eddie Jones for Glen Rice, BJ Armstrong, and JR Reid. The message was clear: the Lakers management was set to make Kobe Bryant as their franchise shooting guard. While the regulars produced wins, they found themselves eliminated by eventual NBA Champions The San Antonio Spurs.

By the 1999-2000 season, they were primed and ready to make a run for the title. Shaq and Kobe led the Lakers all the way to the Finals. Kobe was also instrumental in beating the Portland Trailblazers in Game 7, and this further fueled my absolute hatred and contempt for the guy. His showing in Game 4 of the NBA Finals against the Indiana Pacers despite a busted ankle, especially in overtime when he literally dragged the Lakers, was Jordan-like. Kids compared him to Jordan, even worse, I hated that “fact”. The Lakers would go on to win the NBA Finals in 2000, 2001 and 2002, validating Shaq and Kobe as NBA superstars.

During the Laker Dynasty years, an on-and-off-again relationship between Kobe and Shaq started. I mean, they argued like a married couple, they argued who should be the Alpha male for the Lakers. This feud also marked the end of the Laker dominance for the first half of the last decade and was punctuated by their upset loss to the Pistons back in 2004, at which time the whole team feuded, with Kobe allegedly hitting on Karl Malone’s wife. Shaq packed his bags and signed with Miami, and the once reloaded Lakers were now left with bread crumbs of a roster, with only Lamar Odom and Derek Fisher as recognizable names (wait, there’s Kwame Brown hahahaha) in the lineup. I laughed at Kobe’s failure, karma for “raping” a girl back in 2003 (which actually he didn’t do, according to the girl now), karma for all the hearts he broke during the dynasty years.

The span of 2004-2007, I’ve seen a lot of improvement from Kobe, yes, I still see him as a ball hog, but as a scorer, he was getting better, impossible shot after impossible shot. His game-winner against the Phoenix Suns in 2006 was one for the ages.

Kobe’s game tying and game winning shot vs Phoenix Game 4

By 2007, I started admiring Kobe, watching him every time the Lakers were on TV was something, it was like watching Michael Jordan if he was a ball hog (oops). Kobe was like a 50-point game waiting to happen–after all, he had an 81-point performance years back against the Raptors. By 2008, Kobe, Phil Jackson, and the Lakers found the right formula. After a timely trade that gave them Pau Gasol, the Lakers were once again serious contenders. Kobe and Gasol conspired to lead the Lakers all the way to the NBA Finals, only to go down in 6 games against the Celtics. Kobe also won his only MVP award at the end of the season. By 2009, he once again led his Lakers to the Finals, this time against the Orlando Magic. After watching Shaq get his championship with Miami in 2006, Kobe finally got one. I remember that I was in Bohol at the time he won his championship. To this day, I haven’t seen Game 5, but I was happy for him.

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The Black Mamba getting his 4th NBA Title and his first NBA Finals MVP.

Bryant’s successful 2009 campaign led to another memorable 2010. With Pau Gasol, the Lakers ran through the West and met the Boston Celtics for the 2nd time in 3 years in the NBA Finals and boy, what a series it was. In a gritty Game 7, the Lakers erased a 13-point deficit to beat Boston. Kobe won another one. I don’t know if I should be happy since I wanted the Celtics to win one again, but then again, even with bad shooting, Kobe found ways to contribute, scoring 23, getting 15 boards and 13 dimes.

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Kobe celebrating his 5th championship

I actually remember 2 days before Game 7, someone was asking for an off swap, my Friday off in exchange for her Sunday off. Game 7 happened on a Friday morning in the Philippines. She was asking if she can have my Friday, I told her no, I wanted to watch Game 7. She then replied I can watch the replay, I told her NOOOOOOOOO and left.

 

 

For the Laker franchise, 2010 was their last appearance in the NBA Finals with Kobe. Burnout for playing in 3 consecutive Finals set in or maybe perhaps they met the much hungrier Dallas Mavericks (who won in 2011) in the 2nd round. In 2011, the Laker Nation bid goodbye to the Kobe-Phil Jackson partnership.

In the waning years of his career, we still saw Kobe being competitive, we still saw Kobe making impossible shots after impossible shots. By this time, I was a Kobe fan (not a Laker fan, a Kobe fan). But his injuries late in his career robbed us of the chance of seeing him in full strength and Dwight Howard’s laziness robbed the Lakers organization and its fans of a trip to the NBA Finals, and yes, I have to add Mike D’Antoni’s dimwit coaching also robbed the Lakers of a chance of winning every game.

Come November of 2015, Kobe announced his retirement. He said he would retire by season’s end. The basketball world was in a somber moment, as one of the best players, if not the greatest, of this generation bids goodbye. Kobe even wrote a poem entitled Dear Basketball. Read it here.

Well, there go my memories of Kobe. In ending this piece, I want to tell all my readers, all 10 of you, that Kobe is perhaps the next best thing to Michael Jordan. No, that doesn’t make Kobe better than Jordan. Jordan will always be Jordan, he will never be touched, ever or at least for now. But aside from the moves Kobe copied from His Airness, those fadeaways, dunks, even free throws, Kobe’s qualities that make him the closest thing to MJ in this generation are his competitiveness, his attitude, his abominable will and never- give-up attitude. Hey, he could have left the Lakers and gone to another team after his team sucked balls from 2004-2007 but he didn’t. I guess that’s what separates him from a guy I’d rather not mention. Kobe is truly like MJ, Bird, Magic, Bill Russell, and other legends of the game. One of a kind. Thank you, Kobe.

Kobe’s last game highlights

A Tribute to the Big Difference

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Carlos Loyzaga dives for the lose ball against the Americans, this endearing image was supposedly taken during the 1954 FIBA World Championship. Credit to Spin.Ph

 

 

Carlos “The Big Difference” Loyzaga will always be the country’s Mr. Basketball. His contributions both to the NCAA and MICAA, coaching both the amateur and professional ranks will always be a footnote compared to his contributions while wearing the three stars and sun during his prime back in the 50’s and 60’s. His heroics on the court while leading the “Philippine Islanders” (the monicker of our National Team back in the day) solidified the country as a basketball powerhouse not only in Asia but also in the entire planet, as evident in the country’s 3rd place finish at the 1954 FIBA World Championship (to date the highest finish by an Asian country in the quadrennial event). He also had numerous championships in both the Asian qualifiers and Far East Games and helped the San Beda Red Lions win 3 titles in the 1950’s and perpetually own the Zamora Trophy.

The following is an article written by my college friend Jonas Terrado. Like me, he shares my love for basketball. Here is his tribute to the man who, in my opinion, without a shadow of a doubt, is, was, and forever will be The Greatest Ballplayer in Philippine Basketball. One of the best in the world. Carlos Loyzaga.

Basketball great Loyzaga dies at 85

Read more at http://www.mb.com.ph/basketball-great-loyzaga-dies-at-85/#yJTFEgz6GuOIhxoy.99

Carlos Loyzaga, the man considered as the greatest Filipino to play basketball and whose moniker “The Great Difference” epitomized his role and impact as the player who can do it all, died yesterday. He was 85.

His son, former PBA player Chito Loyzaga, said the elder Loyzaga died of cardiac arrest after being hospitalized for almost two weeks at the Cardinal Santos Hospital due to pneumonia.

The family was expecting him to be discharged when he passed away unexpectedly.

The iconic basketball player who lifted the Philippines to unprecedented heights in international basketball, including a third place finish in the 1954 FIBA World Championship, had been in failing health for years.

“His basketball accomplishments were well-known, but most people don’t know that he was a lovely husband, a good father and a good friend. He lived a good life and played for flag and country with a passion,” Chito said, adding that the public viewing of Caloy’s wake will start this morning at the Arlington Memorial Chapel.

Besides being “The Great Difference,” he was also nicknamed “King Caloy,” a tribute to his lording it over Philippine basketball which ever uniform he wore.

“For a star player, I don’t remember that he figured in any controversy,” said Philippine Olympic Committee President Jose “Peping” Cojuangco Jr. yesterday after learning of Caloy’s death.

Former International Olympic Committee representative to the Philippines Frank Elizalde, whose company in the 1950s was where Loyzaga played, echoed Cojuangco’s sentiments about the 6-foot-3 legend.

“At that time he was really the big difference because he stood head and shoulders over most of his teammates,” said Elizalde, whose family owned YCO Paints in the MICAA.

“He was a very good person and he will never be forgotten,” said Elizalde.

After being discovered in a basketball lot in Sta. Mesa, Manila, Loyzaga went on to become the toast of the basketball-crazy Filipinos. He first made his mark while playing for San Beda where he led the Red Lions to two straight NCAA championships in 1951 and 1952, and a third one came in 1955.

Such was Loyzaga’s incredible skill as a player that while in college, he led the Philippines in the 1952 Olympics.

But it was in the 1952 NCAA title game that Loyzaga cemented his legend.

He was hailed as the hero of the Red Lions’ 50-39 win over the Green Archers at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum when he scored most of his 18 points in the final half to seal the crown.

“Carlos Loyzaga was terrific, and that was the big advantage San Beda had over La Salle in last night’s NCAA cage finals,” then Bulletin Sports Editor Jimmie Lacsamana said in his column. “The ‘golden boy’ of local courts was calm, calculating and devastating. He’s some basketball power. That’s it – Loyzaga’s cage power routed La Salle’s quintet of six-footers.”

After winning his final NCAA championship for the Red Lions in 1955, Loyzaga shifted his focus on the commercial league.

But before doing so, Loyzaga had one of his greatest performances when he carried the Philippines to third place in the World Championship held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Loyzaga averaged 16.4 points per game in the tournament, capping off his great campaign with a 20-point performance in a 66-60 victory over France and a 33-point explosion in a 67-63 triumph over Uruguay to seal third place honors.

“Loyzaga, the tallest man on the Philippine squad, repeatedly provided the spark which enabled the Islanders to tie or pass Uruguay,” the Associated Press said in its game story.

He also played in the 1956 Olympic Games, won four Asian Games gold medals (1951, ‘54, ‘58, ‘62) and two Asian Basketball Confederation Championships (1960 and ‘63) even as a playing coach steered YCO to multiple MICAA and national seniors championships, mostly at the expense of bitter rival Ysmael Steel.

He ended his playing career in 1964 to concentrate on coaching full-time. He guided University of Santo Tomas to the UAAP championship over Far Eastern University that same year.

His best coaching accomplishment came in 1967 when he steered the Philippines to its third Asian Championship with a hard-fought 83-80 win over host South Korea in the finals in Seoul.

“All our players are good and I could use all of them whenever I wanted,” he said in a United Press International article. “There’s little difference in quality among our players.”

His dirty dozen included team captain Alberto Reynoso, Orlando Bauzon, Narciso Bernardo, Danny Florencio, whose late basket gave the Filipinos a timely cushion, Jimmy Mariano, Tembong Melencio, Ed Ocampo, Adriano Papa Jr., Renato Reyes, Joaquin Rojas Jr., Edgardo Roque and Robert Jaworski.

The Philippine cagers received a warm welcome upon their arrival. One well-wisher flashed a sign saying “Loyzaga. Pogi Na, Goli Pa” as the coach was mobbed by the adoring crowd at the airport.

He was also an assistant coach to the late Tito Eduque when the Nationals repeated over the Koreans in the finals, 90-78, in the 1973 ABC finals held at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum, the country’s fourth ABC crown.

Loyzaga eventually had two spells as PBA coach with U-Tex and Tanduay, before watching his sons Chito and Joey play in the pro ranks. His daughters, Bing and Teresa, found their own niches in the showbiz industry. (With report from Nick Giongco)

The Force Awakens Review: The Force is storng in JJ Abrams

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It’s been 10 years since the last Star Wars movie (Revenge of the Sith), not counting the animated Clone Wars movie that came out in 2008, Sith is the last film in the Star Wars franchise. Knowing that Sith might be the last movie in the Star Wars franchise, fans, including myself, had to be content on reading books, comics, playing the video games and watching the Clone Wars TV series. But when Disney/Lucasfilms announced Episode 7, we couldn’t contain our excitement, speculations where thrown left and right and yes we were excited to know that the original cast would be part of it. The thought of Luke, Han, Chewie and Leia back with the Millennium Falcon, the X-Wings, TIE Fighters, Imperial Star Destroyers, and for a time the Sun Crusher (it was rumored that they’ll be doing or adapting Kevin J. Anderson’s Jedi Academy Trilogy) would make an appearance in the big screen is something to get excited about.

Years and months have passed and rumors have changed, trailers were shown and we still got excited with X-Wings flying over raging waters, lasers, the Falcon avoiding the TIE Fighters, Han telling Chewie that they’re home, a Sith Lord who I thought was Exar Kun unleashing a bad ass saber, a glimpse of Luke and Leia hugging Han. Boy we were ready, I was ready, I even declared that 2015 is the year of Star Wars, doesn’t matter if movies such as Avengers 2, Ant Man, Mission Impossible, Spectre, Heneral Luna, Mad Max Fury Road to mention a few were box office hits.

Anticipation mounted as months became weeks and weeks became days and days became hours eventually I find myself buying advance movie tickets and taking an unpaid off because I want to be one of the first few (and privileged) to watch this film. A day after I bought the tickets I find myself contemplating whether this might end up being another Episode I, another half cooked effort (yet still has a tickle of excitement) or would it have the magic of A New Hope or Return of the Jedi. Short reviews on Facebook by friends who watched it on Tuesday however suggested that it’s good, giving me a bit of a sigh of relief. Indeed the world is buzzing, as critics haven’t posted their reviews, JJ Abrams and company did an awesome job keeping it away from the public, except for the sick kid who is a big Star Wars fan who had the honor of watching it first.

It was raining a bit when I arrived at SM Fairview, the show starts at 8PM so we were allowed to come inside the theater at around 7:15 or 7:30 PM. The crowd is thin making the viewing a bit intimate. They show trailers from movies both foreign and crappy Filipino ones (yeah that rushed AlDub movie is gonna suck). I even waited for a possible Star Wars Rouge One trailer, but alas it seems that the project is also a secret, trailer after trailer makes my anticipation grow even stronger. Then darkness. The pitch black moment was replaced when the Lucasfilms logo showed up and the famous “A long time ago in a galaxy far far away” text showed up. Then the Star Wars logo and the text crawl begins. Episode VII The Force Unleashed it says, can’t contain my excitement.

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The fading before the text crawl

 

 

The Force Awakens

The text crawl itself, for obvious reasons I didn’t bother taking a picture of it paragraph by paragraph so you won’t be spoiled. .

 

*MINOR SPOILERS*

The movie itself brings us back to how the original trilogy works. Solid storytelling, characters that are relatable (the new characters are lovable), even returning characters such as Leia, Han, Chewie et. al. (yes there are some returns here, if you’re a true fan you can easily point out who they are). The humor from the original trilogy was there as well, and the old and lovable characters still have the charm that made us fall in love with this film series, even added layers on how the Force works, and reminds us that the Force isn’t about the midi-cholorians. The battles are a breath of fresh air (minor spoilers), space battles have been replaced with mid-air dog fights and the feel of A New Hope at the final dog fight is there.

The chase scene between the Falcon and the TIE fighter proves that even though the Falcon is becoming a bucket full of threads and screw it can still make the Kessel run in 14 or should I say 12 parsecs :D.

Then we go to the Sith Lord who has that bad ass saber named Kylo Ren. Kylo is such an interesting character, no offense to Finn and Rey but Kylo is perhaps the strongest character in this film, (*MINOR SPOILER*) his development in the upcoming Episodes is key with tutelage of the mysterious Supreme Leader Snoke. The emotion of the characters is felt, the frustration of certain characters after seeing one of the main protagonists dying in the hands of…. is well crafted. Other than one over-the-top moment, the acting in this film seems to be on point, which was lacking in the monotone-filled banter from the prequel trilogy.

All in all my salute to JJ Abrams, the cast and the crew for making Episode VII magical, can’t wait for Episode VIII, after that ending, damn, I want more.

Now with one minor negative thing, I find it odd that this force-sensitive character was able to beat a former Jedi apprentice and now Sith follower in a lightsaber duel, maybe the Sith in this story is a puss but I just find it odd, on Episode IV Luke used the Force to lead the proton torpedoes in the exhaust port of the Death Star but this one is a saber battle with an experienced wielder, but yeah *maybe* the Sith training is not yet complete but come on, he already had a damn saber built, at least he’s capable of maiming someone who doesn’t have formal training, but then again, the Force moves in mysterious ways.

My verdict, I told a friend that I will only review bad films, but I guess I have to break that in the meantime. Star Wars Episode 7 brings us back to the old formula, how it works, the very reason why it works and why it’s loved. Episode 7 brought the child back in me, the magic, the excitement and the drama was recreated as I watched episodes IV, V and VI on the telly. You shouldn’t miss this one. 5/5 stars.

She Saw Red Roses and Green Trees

I took a sip of ice cold water from the freezer, and I told someone, “yes it’s been 9 years, 9 years this December.” Hard to imagine, someone being gone for that long. I looked down, paused and stared at an entertainment system, full of pictures and memories, for a minute I thought of my mother. I looked back and bravely told the people that asked me about my mom, my fondest memories of her. How much I miss her taking care of me until after my collegiate years, her frustrations and dreams, her last moments, the day of her symbolical burial.

After our conversation I continued to recall everything, looked back at the fun times we shared and the arguments we had because of our difference in philosophies. I remember all of them as if it was just yesterday, I wish things would have been different. I wish she were still here, maybe she’d be proud of me or maybe not. I may have held myself back a couple of times, even hundreds, I guess but she always will be one of my inspirations to become a better person. Her good example especially her compassion, unconditional love among others brought me to where I am right now.

Mommy, I know you can read this, I know the hardships you encountered taking care of me despite all my shortcomings and the problems I gave you growing up. I never had a chance thanking you, so right now, just like what I said during my speech at your funeral 10 years ago I would like to say THANK YOU. Thank you for putting up with me despite all the crappy things I did in the past. Sorry for being a pain, sorry for making the wrong decisions and thank you for letting me make those decisions that helped me earn my keep. I love you. If I can give 10 years, heck 20 years of my life just to be with you again, I will, just to spend one more day with you.

To all my readers, please don’t forget to say thank you to your parents, tell them you love them, hug them as much as possible, we may have differences with our parents but despite all that they love us unconditionally. Please hug them, give them a kiss, cherish every single second you have with them.