A week of thanks: 9th-15th of the 12th, 2013

This week, I am thankful for the following:

  • La langue française. It continues to drive me insane, even after two years. It’s an exhilarating kind of insanity, though, so it’s mostly okay. I love languages and I’m thankful for each and every one of them.
  • My friends. I’m always thankful for my friends.
  • For my friend who made me watch Spirited Away. In French. What a magical, weird movie.
  • Peter Jackson! You can hate him all you want, but I love this man to death. There were several cringe-worthy scenes in The Desolation of Smaug, but the movie was still awesome. This Middle-Earthling is grateful.
  • Sannion. I will be eternally grateful for this man’s genius and how he’s bridged me closer to Dionysos.
  • Dionysos. May his name be praised for ever and ever.
  • The landwights and house lares for their guardianship over my city and family. I’ll miss them when I leave the country, but I trust that they will bless me on my journey.
  • For life. For love. For the glorious Innernets (even if it’s acting kind of stupid right now).
  • For Christmas! It traditionally starts tomorrow at the break of dawn. (Other Filipinos will start theirs on 1 September, but I’m not one of them.)
Liverpool covered in snow. Photo by I don't know who.

Liverpool covered in snow. Photo by I don’t know who.

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Today in thanks: 6th of the 12th, 2013

I’m carrying over this series from Under Two Trees because I thought it would be of greater use here. I’m adding today’s gratitude, too.

I’m starting a new series today on being thankful. Perhaps it’s the holiday season or Melia at 4 of Wands, or perhaps just my life in general that I’ve come to this wonderful realisation that there’s always something to be thankful for. I’m sure there will be days when it won’t feel like tulips and daisies, but then, it would become a genuine challenge to actually find a reason to be thankful. Of course, I don’t mean to bullshit myself into thinking I’ve got to be happy for the shitty things that happen, too, but it would be interesting to find out. (Read the rest here.)

Today, I’m thankful for my wonderful friends. I don’t have a lot, but I’ve got some of the best. I’m extremely conservative when it comes to who I get to call my ‘friends’. I hope my numerous acquaintances, colleagues, and co-workers understand why I choose to be “elitist” when it comes to inviting friends over for the holidays or watching a movie together.

Which reminds me, I’m watching a movie today with my bestest bro-friend of 7 years. We’re still undecided whether it’s going to be Ilo-ilo or Frozen. And speaking of frozen things, I’m also quite thankful for the tropical snow-less winters here in the Philippines. It’s just the right amount of cold you need!

Finally, thank the Gods for a good belly rub (I don’t usually feel a need to scratch my tummy, but this kangaroo seems to like it).

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Thor is an opportunity. People will seek out Pagans due to this film, silly as that may sound.

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Rather than concern ourselves with whether or not the film is disrespectful, whether it’s appropriate for Heimdallr to be played by a black actor or wonder why on earth they made Sif a brunette, we should focus on the practical fallout from this film. We know what happened with The Craft, we know Heathenry is growing leaps and bounds and we need to expect this film to be significant.

I think we should look at this film as if we are a spiritually and culturally hungry person. As if we are a 16 year old young woman considering a military career and in need of a warrior ethic. As if we are a homemaker taking her kids to an action-flick who is suddenly overwhelmed by Frigga. As if we are a man with a newborn who stumbled across Asatru looking up info on the film and is looking for a spiritual tradition for his family. Because those are the people who will be coming to us with questions. We shouldn’t dismiss them for referencing Thor like so many seekers were dismissed for coming to Wicca by way of The Craft. Maybe Thor will lead folks to their path, and maybe there will be folks who need to be gently dissuaded, but they all deserve positive, straightforward and enlightening answers.

Thor is an opportunity. People will seek out Pagans due to this film, silly as that may sound. When they come we should greet them with answers and hospitality, especially if we weren’t received that way. Thor can mark a change not only for seekers, but for how our communities interact with them.

Read the rest of the quoted article here.

Hoping For Hypatia’s Justice

Right now, I am having a total geekgasm with the upcoming film Agora, directed by Alejandro Amenabar and starring Rachel Weisz as Hypatia of Alexandria. It has just premiered at Cannes and is due for general release in December. I have been waiting for this since for ever! Her extraordinary life and brutal death had always struck me with awe and sadness.

Some people “blame” religion for her death. I disagree that it was religion per se. Her religion served her well, obviously. It was ignorance and fanaticism – the religion of the Christian mob of that time – that served her a brutal death, and for all of us – the destruction of an entire library of precious knowledge and the plunging of Alexandria and the Hellenistic world into a dark age, thus “El mundo cambió para siempre” (The world was changed forever). I mourn for that time in history. Sad day for reason, philosophy, scientific learning, and even religion.

A little more information on Hypatia:

Hypatia (high-pay-shah in English, hu-pat-tea-ya in Greek) of Alexandria was a Greek scholar from Alexandria in Egypt, considered the first notable woman in mathematics, who also taught philosophy and astronomy.

Her contributions to science are reputed to include the charting of celestial bodies and the invention of the hydrometer, used to determine the relative density and gravity of liquids. Her pupil Synesius, bishop of Cyrene, wrote a letter defending her as the inventor of the astrolabe, although earlier astrolabes predate Hypatia’s model by at least a century – and her father had gained fame for his treatise on the subject.

One day in March 415, during the season of Lent, her chariot was waylaid on her route home by a Christian mob who blamed her for religious turmoil. Some suggest that her murder marked the end of the Hellenistic Age, although others observe pagan philosophy continued to flourish until the age of Justinian in the sixth century.

The Christian monks stripped her naked and dragged her through the streets to the newly Christianised Caesareum church, where she was brutally killed. Some reports suggest she was flayed with ostrakois (literally, “oyster shells”, though also used to refer to sharp roof tiles or broken pottery) and set ablaze while still alive, though other accounts suggest those actions happened after her death.


You can watch the teaser trailer here in its official site or in YouTube.

Nothing Beats The Original

Peter Sellers in The Pink Panther, 1963: (please read in a French accent)

Mailman passes by Inspector Jacques Clouseau and dog.

Mailman: Does your dog bite?

Clouseau: No.

Mailman tries to pat dog. Dog tries to bite mailman.

Mailman: Monsieur, you said your dog does not bite! Your dog tried to bite me!

Clouseau: That is not my dog.

Classic yet still potent, eh?

On a somewhat related note, I have just finished watching all existing Bring It On “sequels” (except for the coming one, of course). And I must say that, in my opinion, they all pale in comparison to the original. In my 23 years, I have seen very few sequels that were better than the originals: The Lion King II, The Little Mermaid II, Pocahontas II? Come on.

I have to give it to Austin Powers, though. The sequels were better.

No More Slasher Films Disguised As Action Films!

I was extremely disappointed with Punisher: War Zone. Nobody told me it would be a slasher film. I expected a lot of killing, yes, but not gore. This movie leaves nothing to one’s imagination. In terms of how people are brutally murdered, there is too much reality and too little art. Do we really need to see a murderous psychopath chewing on the flesh of a morbidly obese man to realise how evil and violent we humans have become? As the Yiddish Americans say: “Alright, already!”

And it was supposed to be PG-13. Seeing a senile old lady’s head cut in half (or so I was told, I looked away) was no different than watching a little girl’s leg getting chewed by two dogs in Watchmen (which was extremely disturbing, by the way). At least, Watchmen was rated R; this movie was inappropriately rated suitable for teens.

If I have not convinced you enough, below are my favourite review comments from Rotten Tomatoes:

– Unlike more high-powered Marvel heroes like Spider-Man and X-Men, The Punisher has never enjoyed much box office success and this excruciatingly terrible film certainly won’t change that.

– The IQ is as low as the body count is high and the uncharismatic Ray Stevenson might as well have been wearing a mask for all the emotion he shows.

– You couldn’t call it shoddy, exactly, and the actors take it painfully seriously; it’s just dispiriting to see all this endeavour in the service of something so humourless and disgusting.

– The punishment doesn’t end there, with anyone who hands over good money to watch this dreck also likely to feel the pain.

– Another violently unsuccessful attempt to bring this comic book character to screen.

– ‘Oh God, now I’ve got brains spattered all over me,’ exclaims The Punisher’s slippery inside man, Detective Soap. You may feel the same at the end of this messy, sadistic reboot of the Marvel comic-book series.

– Once in a while someone will come up to me and ask why movies are so violent. Generally, they’re talking about a war movie or a horror movie such as ‘Saw.’ In the future, I will throw out ‘The Punisher: War Zone’ as a comparison.

– The film boasts some of the more revolting special effects ever conceived. There isn’t really any acting to speak of, although Jigsaw and Loony Bin Jim get to chew people and scenery; the dialogue is pretty much what you’d expect.

– At one point, the Punisher is asked who punishes him. The better question for those who made this inane bloodfest is: Why punish us?

– The film actually wants us to ponder its moral and ethical implications — which is like a stripper telling you she wants to go to law school. Yeah, sure, whatever you say, movie. I’m not paying you to talk.

– Bodily fluids and the sounds they generate are a big part of this gory and wholly unsatisfying slasher film.

Need I say more?