Friday, April 29, 2005

One Missed Call

A Japanese horror film. Saw it last night with a friend and still tingly whenever I think about certain scary parts. Haven't felt this deliciously unsettled since the Blair Witch Project.. Blair Witch uneasiness lasted for several hours and I had to walk through a clump of trees (maybe 5 or 6 at the most) from friend's apartment to mine. But it wore off once I got home.

Saw the 5:35 pm show and nearly 24 hours later I'm still shivering. Added bonus - during a tense scene, I felt an odd presence within me. I turned my head to look at my friend. An old woman with shaggy hair was leaning over my friend, trying to talk to her. My friend's attention was riveted to the movie and was oblivious to the woman's attempt for attention. The woman turned to me, her face in shadows behind the shaggy and uneven grey hair, her jaw moving up and down. I stared at her, still thinking about the movie. The woman then violently tapped her finger onto her wrist several times, her jaw moving. I immediately shrugged my shoulders, repeatedly shaking my head NO - anything to get that woman away from me. The woman moved her face away from mine and returned to her seat several rows behind me. I returned my attention back to the movie with greater degree of wariness and my nerves were even more wound up.

Shortly afterwards, I tapped my friend's shoulder saying I *had* to tell her something after the movie. She laughed it off and said, 'yeah you're gonna tell me you got a message in your pager' (see the movie for further reference). Once the movie finished, I explained my experience with the shaggy haired woman and my friend was incredulous that she didn't even notice her. We then happily dissected the movie on the way to a friend s party. I yapped about the movie to few people and demanded that they see it. I was still tripping from the movie experience.

This morning, I was drying my hair and heard banging from the front door. Several scenes about doors being banged in the movie came to mind. I walked to the door with the most intense trepidation I've ever had in a long time and secured my bathrobe further around my body. The banging were becoming louder and more insistent. I checked the peephole and opened the door. Whew. One of my roommates. She was bemused at how relieved I appeared to see her.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Series/Sagas Anonymous

Hi. My name is Kate

(hi, kate!)

I have a problem. I cannot get enough of book and TV series/sagas. All the times I could have devoted reviewing political theories and ideologies, learning a new foreign language such as Spanish or Chinese, do drawing projects (two at this time are way past their deadlines) I choose to read Dune chronologies or Harry Potter. But no, authors and creators like JK Rowling, Alan Ball, Jane Austen and Gregory Magurie had to write well rounded characters.

TV: Battlestar Galactica
Six Feet Under

Series -
Harry Potter
Thursday Next (the author Jasper Fforde will have a new one out based on Humpty Dumpty who was featured in book #3, I am so screwed)
Dune (with three separate series Chronologies, the Family sagas, AND Legends. EffingEff!)
No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency
and few more I can't think of at the moment.

Saga -
the Dark Matter by Phillip Pullman

Gregory Maguire ( I read Wicked before it became popular. Confessions of the Evil Stepsister, me like. Disappointed with Lost and Snow White)
Jane Austen ( finally stopped reading her works and can wait few more years to pick up Mansfield Park)
John Irving (shook him off, too)...

and quite few more to mention. Time does not permit.

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince *hyperventilating*

Still reading Dune chronologies. I stopped at Children of Dune and is now reading House Atredies the first of the family House saga. Fuck. Fuckity-fuck.

I'll have some coffee and mingle.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Marxism is Bad for the Church!

Catholic Church's reason for not choosing a Pope from Latin America. So they're selective about helping the poor. *harrumph*

Pasted this from NY Times: Enjoy! - kb

In Selection of New Pope, Third World Loses OutBy LARRY ROHTER Published: April 20, 2005, New York Times

RIO DE JANEIRO, April 19 - Not this time, not yet. Though a majority of Roman Catholics now live in Latin America, Africa and Asia, those among the faithful who were openly hoping for a pope from the developing world were disappointed.
But that sense of popular disappointment stood in contrast to the notable enthusiasm for the selection of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger among the episcopal conferences in every country in this region, which speak in the name of Latin America's hundreds of bishops.
Dominated by theological conservatives whom Pope John Paul II appointed, the conferences can now expect increased Vatican support in their efforts to counter two important challenges: evangelical Protestantism and the remnants of liberation theology.
At the popular level, the initial response to the designation of Cardinal Ratzinger as the new pope was muted throughout Latin America, where 480 million of the world's 1.1 billion Catholics live.
Television networks that had been covering the conclave live from Rome in anticipation that someone from this region might be chosen as pope quickly returned to their normal programming after the announcement. Newspapers and radio stations recalled that the new pope's nicknames include Cardinal No and the Grand Inquisitor, references to his former role as enforcer of church doctrine. "They were never going to elect a pope from Latin America or Africa," Guilherme Marra, a salesman here, lamented Tuesday afternoon. "The church is frozen in time," Mr. Marra, 37, complained. "Imagine electing a radical pope who is against condoms!"
But among the church hierarchy, at least here in Brazil, which has the world's largest Roman Catholic population, the prospect of an even more doctrinaire and conservative successor to John Paul II has already emboldened traditionalists. Last week, for example, two cardinals criticized President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, saying that his beliefs were "not Catholic but chaotic" and that he was "not a model Christian."
Like the leaders of several other Latin American countries, Mr. da Silva has taken positions that differ from church teachings on abortion, homosexuality, contraception and stem cell research. Cardinal Ratzinger's support for an unyielding stance on those and other issues would seem likely to increase the prospect of conflicts between church and state.
It is not clear how Pope Benedict XVI intends to respond to the growth of Islam in Africa and Asia, where most of the increase in the number of Catholics during the papacy of John Paul II occurred. But the Catholic flock in those places tends to be more doctrinally conservative than in Latin America, and expressed fewer reservations about the choice of Cardinal Ratzinger.
"You need a man of values," said Alfred Jantjies, a South African truck driver. "It's no good to have a man in the church who lets in wrong ideas, like women priests or priests getting married. A man of God must know he has taken a tough life and stick to it without trying to be all modern. The new pope sounds like a man who understands what worked in the past and won't try and change it."
In the days before the conclave, some priests and bishops in Latin America made public their doubts about Cardinal Ratzinger's willingness to bring about the change that they thought the church needed. As John Paul II's right-hand man, he was often seen as the standard-bearer of what some critics in the region are calling "Wojtylism without Wojtyla," a reference to Karol Wojtyla, who became John Paul II.
"I don't think he has the charisma of John Paull II with the masses, because he has always been an intellectual," said the Rev. Jesús Vergara, the director general of Centro Tata Vasco, a Jesuit institution in Mexico City. "For example, the trips of John Paul II throughout Latin America. Well, Latin America is going to feel a lot of grief because I don't think Ratzinger has the personality to win over most of the people in Latin America as John Paul did."
As leader of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Ratzinger has been very much a known quantity to all cardinals and bishops and to many priests. In that capacity, he has played an important role in suppressing liberation theology, which draws on Marxism in its call for the church to follow a "preferential option for the poor" and transform unjust structures that perpetuate social inequality and poverty.
"It seems to me that we need not a theology of liberation, but a theology of martyrdom," he said in 1997.
In 1984, for instance, it was Cardinal Ratzinger who oversaw the Vatican decree that forced Leonardo Boff, a former Franciscan friar and a leading theoretician of liberation theology, to silence himself for "an opportune period." Dr. Boff, once a student of Cardinal Ratzinger, was deemed to lack "serenity" and "moderation" in his writings, which were said to be guided not by faith but by "principles of an ideological nature."
Dr. Boff, who resigned as a cleric in 1992 and now teaches theology and ethics at a state university here, has complained of what he called "the arrogance and doctrinal fundamentalism" of John Paul II. But he has been an even sharper critic of Cardinal Ratzinger, describing him in a recent essay as "the exterminator of the future of ecumenism" and "the petrified expression" of the dominance of the Roman Curia within the church.
With Cardinal Ratzinger at the helm of the church, conservatives can expect even greater support for movements like Opus Dei and Communion and Liberation, which are strong in places like Chile and Peru. In 2001, John Paul II appointed the first Opus Dei member to become a cardinal, Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne of Lima, and seven of that country's bishops belong to Opus Dei.
Bishop Raul Vera of Saltillo, who in the 1990's practiced the liberation theology in southern Mexico that was criticized by Pope John Paul II, said the cardinals had made a safe choice and turned a blind eye to the confusion in the Americas about what direction the church was taking.
"The cardinals were thinking about security," he said. "And they were also thinking about someone who would complete the papacy of John Paul II."
The new pope will also be under pressure from conservative clergy and lay people to act to brake the advance of evangelical Protestantism, which is on the march everywhere in Latin America. Here in Brazil the percentage of people declaring themselves as Catholics has fallen from more than 90 percent in 1970 to barely 70 percent, with a corresponding increase in the number of Protestants.
Not only has the new pope criticized Protestantism on a doctrinal basis, he has also accused the World Council of Churches of "harming the life of the gospel" by offering financial assistance to what he called "subversive movements" in Latin America. While that may animate conservatives in the church, it may also increase tensions.
"For some who would be looking for strong, centralized control, an orthodox church focused on orthodoxy in the faith, those people I think will be very happy," said Bishop Kevin Dowling, an official of the Southern African Bishops Conference. "For people who were looking for a church that would be open to debate and discussing and reflecting on some of the crucial issues of modern times, those people may have concerns."

Michael Wines contributed reporting from Johannesburg for this article, and James C. McKinley Jr. from Mexico City.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

the mailman and the pope

I'm not Catholic. The selection of John Ratzinger as the Pope disturbed me. A white old man from Germany? The name has surfaced several times recently as a possible successor to John Paul. When I first heard the name, "Huh? He's gone from the mailman who lives with his mother to the Vatican?". Oh. The other John Ratzinger.

The second I saw "Conservative" I despaired. I didn't really want to read his biography and works. A blurb caught my attention: "John Ratzinger divided the German Catholics". Ooo. His stern views about birth control, priests not to wed, women not to be ordained, sent moderate German Catholics running to the Alps. Ratzinger was revered by the more conservative Catholics.

My initial impressions of John Ratzinger as Benedict XVI:

Birth control. Women in many poor African nations averages 7 births (old research) and the pre natal care sucks. Population explosion and endless diseases and pediatric ailments.

Politics. Bush and the Conservatives. Need I say more?

Priest scandals. How will Ratzinger handle the so called celibate priests? I saw somewhere that he absolutely opposes priests to marry. Women ordained? Blasphemy!

I am wary of how Ratzinger would advocate and implement his beliefs. A progressive Pope would've been welcome.
I woke up at 8:45 AM and immediately sprang out of bed and into the shower. I could still feel the residual effects from celebrating the previous evening. I checked my pager for emails and found one from Carm quarter to 3 am asking to page her once I reached home. I sent her a quick reply that I'm alive and well.

I had a doctor's appointment on the other side of island and a dentist not long afterwards. I couldn't find my eyeglasses so I put the contacts on - realized they were on wrong eyes. I quickly check the TV news for today's weather forecast. 80! I'd forgotten to pick up laundry and tore through my closet and dresser for weather/work appropriate clothes that are clean. After I'd dressed I realized I'm wearing a black bra under a white shirt - fk it. no time. I donned my denim jacket. I happened to look down and found my glasses squished between the rug and the threshold. I placed it in a more safe setting. Greeted good morning to Sleepy Sarah and flew out of the apartment. As the cab weaved through midtown traffic I fought down ickness and was amped hoping to make it to appointment on time. I was bit late to both appointments (not to mention an unpleasant dentist visit) and finally was able to have time to get coffee before I went to my agency's main office. I treated myself to Starbucks' overly expensive latte (Coffee Pot and Push Cafe make better lattes at lower prices) and felt much better. I eventually arrived at my office and wolfed down leftover lo mein. Yum!

Gabe has been hosting 8 folks from the UK for nearly a week now and one of them celebrated his birthday (actually half the group had birthdays and decided to fly to US to celebrate) and I was happy for some Brit drinking friendly buddies. The evening went well with both NYCers and Britons. Hell, Ahmed, Melly and I did better job with US/UK relations than Bush and Blair. I barely made it home. I hardly remember entering my apartment and immediately puked (not a shot person) once I sat on bed. I grabbed my trash bin to finish up and next thing I know I'm waking up at 8 45 am. I'm still lethargic but it was a very good kind of drinking and hangover. It's good for cleansing the soul of toxins.. The other good soul cleansing is minding dogs :).

Monday, April 04, 2005

Daylight Saving Time

It sucks. To me, DST in the fall, I get one more hour of sleep. On the downside, the workday ends an hour later. In the spring, lose one hour of sleep and on the upside, the day ends one hour early. Now I wish I still had the extra hour to finish up work.

Someone forwarded me a link or I read someone's blog that the government conspired by saving 60 cents each person in revenue (payments, insurance, taxes whatever) from DST with the exception of Arizona. If 'tis true about the 60 cents thing, it's not gonna make a dent in the federal deficit. I'm sick of Bush. I hope his cronies and other minions disappear in 2008. Begone!