Saturday, June 04, 2005

[Blog Entry] On Bayo and Piracy, Field Trip

Bayo and Piracy

I’m sure some of you have already heard one of the blunders Bayo has made. Some of its cute designs were stolen from a Japanese artist and was never given credit for it. Bayo wasn’t probably even aware until emails and blog entries were circulating around the Internet.

Of course what some people don’t know is that the aforementioned Japanese artist, upon finding out, wanted to settle it peacefully with Bayo. She didn’t want to sue and make a big fuss about it. Unfortunately, Bayo didn’t want to negotiate. They even refused to give something as simple as an apology.

While some concerned Filipinos Bayo products (I don’t buy it in the first place, so…) at the injustice that is happening, I think that Bayo will still come out strong. I mean how many of Bayo’s customers are aware of Bayo’s error, that the designs they’re wearing were stolen from a Japanese artist? Or better yet, will they care? As far as some people will see it, they’re buying clothes that are relatively cheaper than other high quality clothes and supporting a Filipino-run business.

In certain ways, that’s a reflection of Flipino mentality. Take for example the local music industry. Some artists are asking its fans not to support piracy. Others are asking its fans not to support piracy if the ones being ripped off are Filipino musicians. It’s okay if you buy pirated CDs of foreign acts, just not local ones. In certain ways, it hearkens more to the heart of the Filipino. I mean foreign acts, after all, are just that: foreign. And some Filipinos have this illusion that just because they’re foreign, that just because they’re not Filipino, that they have things better off. That they could afford the small loss of revenue that piracy is siphoning off them. If you buy a pirated CD of a local act, it’s like stealing from a fellow Filipino and clearly wrong. If you buy a pirated CD of a foreign act, it’s okay. It’s like the poor stealing from the rich.

To me, that’s a short-sighted and selfish way of looking at things. If nothing else, it’s bad karma. Just imagine foreigners stealing and ripping off Filipinos in their own countries. Of course then again, I’m not exactly the best role model. While as much as possible, I try to buy authentic products whatever they may be (for example, all my PC games are original) but that’s not to say I don’t buy pirated items at all (some of my programs, after all, were bought when Virra Mall was still open).

Field Trip

While my job can be time-consuming and stressful, it does have its perks once in awhile. Last Friday, the photographers and I had a long trip to Villa Escudero, a tourist spot way down in the South. It was something like a three-hour trip to the place, and probably another three hours going back to Metro Manila. But in certain ways, it was worth it.

Villa Escudero is a wide expanse of land and became a hub of tourists not only because of its resort but because of its museum as well. The Escudero family has been collecting pieces of history, and I did get to see some cultural artifacts rivaling that of some museums. There were endless statues of Jesus and altars, old trinkets like gold and jars, and remnants of Spanish and American artillery.

Our host, Mr. Conrado Escudero, also treated us out to lunch, and we did get to see his personal collection as well, which have ivory statues of Jesus, endless figurines of Buddhas and pigs, and guest rooms with Chinese and Muslim motifs.

In a way, it’s relaxing to go to rural areas, especially when you’re not the one driving. But in a way, I realized an innate fear I had, of being separated from the Metropolis. I guess I’m really an urban guy who doesn’t want to stray far from the city. While huge coconut trees and roaming Carabaos are a beautiful sight, I do miss the city.

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Wednesday, June 01, 2005

[Blog Entry] A Feast for Crows

A Feast for Crows

Thankfully, the fourth book in George R. R. Martin’s epic cycle is finally done. After being a year and a half overdue.

Martin apparently faced the same problem Robert Jordan had when writing his books: the story grew in the telling. A Feast for Crows has escalated into more than 1,500 pages that it would really be a printing nightmare to churn out such a book, especially as mass-market paperbacks. So Martin has decided to cut the book into two (making the series seven books to complete instead of just six), but instead of leaving readers with a cliffhanger, Martin opted to cut half the characters rather than half the story. Points of view which aren’t tackled in this book will be covered in the next novel, A Dance with Dragons, which thanks to this edit, is half done.

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Sunday, May 29, 2005

[Book Review] Dune: The Battle of Corrin by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson

A Fitting Finale?

The Dune prequels were always in a precarious position. For one thing, it’s left the hands of its original creator, the late Frank Herbert. For another, more often than not, prequels pale in comparison to the successful series that spawned them (the Star Wars prequels comes to mind). And in the case of Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson, this is their second prequel trilogy.

At this point, Herbert and Anderson’s writing style are fairly consistent. That is, if you didn’t like the Dune prequels they did, I really see no reason for you to grab this novel. If you were at least moderately interested in what they previously had to offer though, then The Battle of Corrin might be something that whets your appetite. It’s the conclusion, after all, that not only ties up the books that preceded it but also sets the tone for the existing Dune universe.

Admittedly, I do think Herbert and Anderson could have come up with a better title. With The Butlerian Jihad and The Machine Crusade as the titles of the other books in the trilogy, it seems anti-climatic to end it with something as mundane as The Battle of Corrin.

Storywise, it was pretty much solid. Several decades has passed since the events of The Machine Crusade, and we see the next generation of heroes along with the old. And of course, the characters from the previous books have changed, not necessarily for the better. But the pair of authors do give us a fitting ride as events come to pass that are both good and bad, both horrifying and pleasant.

And if you thought that the previous books already explained the secret origins of everything there is about Dune, this book covers a whole lot more, from the final incarnation of the Bene Gesserit to the Mentats. To some, it might feel contrived. To others, it might just be what they’re looking in for a sequel.

If there’s anything to be disappointed, it’s the ending. I mean more than the question of how does our protagonists defeat the machine villains is the question of how the Atreides and Harkonnen feud began. While Herbert and Anderson do a perfect job of creating sympathetic Atreides and Harkonnen characters, perhaps they do the latter too well. Suffice to say, the ending for me isn’t convincing enough to explain the strong enmity between the two houses. And as if to prove it, a few pages in the epilogue is written to explain just that. Which again, I find unconvincing.

Aside from that, The Battle of Corrin is quite good if you’re open to Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson’s take on the Dune universe. Unfamiliar readers might find it more beneficial for them to explore the other books in the series, although prior knowledge is not really needed as this book pretty much stands well on its own.

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[Blog Entry] Blast from the Past

Blast from the Past

I was looking through my entries four years back and it’s really painful reading them. Suffice to say, the entries that I thought was “entertaining” simply wasn’t. Or the fact that they were too disorganized, too random, and simply without a theme.

But hey, that’s how we grow and develop, right?

On a side note, I did manage to find images of my room back in 2003. And of course, my prized possession is my bookshelf (which is more disorganized right now).

My Prison


A Very Messy Bookshelf

I Wish It Was This Neat

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