Saturday, December 29, 2012

Disney's Dare to Dream

Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy.

Princess and the Frog



Saw the Disney On Ice Dare to Dream show at the Citizen Business Bank Arena in Ontario California two nights ago.  It was a fun show but mostly for children who have seen most of Disney's animated movies.  The show featured 3 stories namely Princess and the frog, Cinderella and Tangled.  If you have not seen the 3 movies, it might not be as entertaining.  The skating was mediocre and the costumes were colorful and similar to the animated movie.  There were some "flying" stunts that I must admit were pretty awesome.  And in the end they brought out all the Disney Princes and Princesses.  They have too and the children loved them.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Biography of Sauron

Originally a Maia of Aulë's people, Sauron was early corrupted by Melkor and became his most trusted lieutenant.

His treason was not discovered for some time, however, nor was it discovered by any will other than his own. For in cunning, few if any, within the mortal realm were his match. Prior to his overt defection, he served as a spy of Melkor, through the destruction of Almaren until his open defection from the Blessed Realm of Valinor.

Once wholly in the service of Melkor, he was known as Gorthaur the Cruel, a necromancer of terrible power. Able to perceive the mind of Melkor like no other, he was true to his master and sought not to advance himself while in his service. Such was the relationship, that Gorthaur had a share in all the malice and works of evil wrought by Melkor in those days, and he was named as chief lieutenant of Melkor, and made master of the newly delved fortress of Angband.

After the first war of the Valar against Melkor, when Melkor was chained and doomed to wait in the fastness of the Halls of Mandos for 3 ages, Sauron was not found by the Valar. He eluded their capture and remained hidden in Middle Earth, breeding the hideous race of the Orcs into a vast army during this time.

Sauron was directly involved in the Tale of Beren and Luthien, imprisoning Beren and ultimately losing control of Angband to Luthien after being defeated in solo combat by Huan, the mightiest hound to ever live.

So weakened was he from the combat he lost the ability to change his form and faded from sight for a period of time. It was just as well for him, as at this time the War Of Wrath was undertaken by the Valar and their hosts against Morgoth.

The destruction wrought by these battles was so great that the land was broken and Middle Earth was reshaped, seas spilled, mountains tumbled and new lands were created. With the final and complete downfall of Morgoth, Sauron was stunned, and sought the pardon of Eonwe, a Maiar like himself... Called to accept the Judgment of Manwe, Sauron was prideful, and ashamed, and went forth and hid in Middle Earth, forsaking the last chance he had to return to the places and ways of the holy realm.

This event marked the turning from the First Age to the Second.

The War of Wrath had visited so much destruction upon Middle Earth, the Valar feared to mar it any further, for the sake of the Children of Eru Ilúvatar. As such they decreed a 'hands off' approach to dealing with further problems concerning middle earth, and Sauron used this to great advantage. Declaring that the Valar had 'forsaken' Middle Earth, he feigned pity on its inhabitants, and assumed the masquerade of a benevolent benefactor.

In fair guise and semblance, and using the name "Annatar", he visited the kingdoms on the world. Ever offering friendship and council, those who heeded his words had much profit of his vast and immeasurable knowledge. Instructions he gave, on how Rings of Power might be fashioned, and through these rings the power and authority of the wearer might be greatly enhanced. Life could be extended, seemingly indefinitely, to the mortal men of the world, a matter near to their hearts.

By the greatest of the Elven Smiths, the Three Great Rings, were fashioned. Narya, Nenya and Vilya.

Being devised by the great, they were made independently of Sauron's direct aid. As such, they were unsullied by the curses laid upon the rings he had a hand in making. But being devised by his knowledge and teachings, they were still subordinate to the One Ring he later made. Without the curses, their owners were able to perceive Sauron's mind and malice, and were free to take their rings off. This may well have proved the Achilles Heel of his designs.

The rings in which Sauron directly aided in the construction of were perilous, and contained hidden traps, wrought into them by Sauron to ensnare their owners. As they were worn, they slowly broke the will of, and addicted their users. Inspiring in them the greed, malice and hatred for living things felt by the rings creator, and enslaving them to his will.

When the keepers of The Three perceived Sauron's intentions, they defied him by removing their rings. Sauron perceived his peril, and knew that with his fair semblance in ruins, he should never again have the opportunity to conquer via subversion. Thus it was that he openly declared war upon Middle Earth.

After the War of Wrath, the Valar had prepared an island home for the Edain, the faithful men who had stayed true to the Elves during the wars against Morgoth. For centuries, the Edain, who were blessed among men by their associations with the Valar during the war, had lived on this Island of Numenor. They had become Mighty, living for nearly a thousand years, the greatest of mariners, and truly more adept in craft and skill than any other men, eclipsing even the lesser orders of the Elves, those who had never been to Valinor.

Yet they were still mortal...

As Sauron's new war raged upon MIddle Earth, all were hard pressed, for long in secret places in his fortress in Mordor, had his armies been conceived. Now they burst upon the beleaguered inhabitants, who were short of leaders, or whose leaders were already secretly under the power of Sauron, by virtue of their possession of the cursed rings.

Sauron's victory was nigh at hand, when suddenly, out of the West, appeared the ships of the Numenorians.

Even the least among these men were as great kings of men, and they had the light of Aman in their faces, for they had beheld the Valar, and the Blessed Realm, even from afar, though they were forbidden to enter it as mortals.

Sauron's servants fell like cord wood before their wroth, and quailed in their presence, and would throw down their arms, taking to flight. Yet the Sea Kings, at first, troubled him little... They stayed near the coast, teaching and benefiting the lesser men, and taking little heed of his works outside their coastal sphere of influence...

Thus it came to pass that Sauron dominated most of Middle Earth, and proclaimed himself "King of Middle Earth".

This fact was of particular interest to the actual King of Men, a title granted by Manwe, to the King of the Numenorians, Ar-Pharazôn.

He resolved through pride to humble this upstart 'king', and sent an army against Sauron. Faced with the military might of Numenor, Sauron stood amazed.

Under protection of the Valar, men now fielded an army mightier than even those of Morgoth. Seeing the utter futility of force of arms against this massive force, Sauron disbanded his armies, sent them into hiding, concealed his ring, (which is to say concealed it from the sight of men, he did not cease to possess it), and subjected himself as prisoner to Ar-Pharazôn.

Yet as ever, Sauron's true devices were always other than they seemed...

Within 1000 years of his arrival in Numenor as the prisoner of Ar-Pharazôn, Sauron had worked his way from prisoner, to adviser, to counselor, eventually all the way up to priest / spiritual adviser of the entire realm, corrupting it, and corrupting the men of Numenor. Some few who resisted his corruptions found themselves at odds with the king, and were slain, or cruelly put to death in ritual sacrifices to Melkor...

Shortly thereafter, by Sauron's design, Ar-Pharazôn was moved to war against the Valar... Once again, the level of Sauron's success through cunning was so complete that it proved his undoing.

For in their dismay at the rising of the Numenorians against them, the Valar, for that time, forsook the stewardship of Earth, turning it over to Eru Ilúvatar, who, in his wrath, opened up the earth to swallow the Isle of Numenor. All of the Island, and all the grand fleet of Numenor, save the tip of the holy mountain, were swallowed up. The few faithful men of Numenor who had refused to participate in the war, and had prepared ships to depart the island were blown wildly across the ocean, to the shores of middle Earth.

Among these were Elendil, Anárion and Isildur... They established the Kingdoms in Middle Earth, Arnor in the north and Gondor in the south.

At the overthrow of Numenor, Sauron was washed into the Abyss, along with all of the corruption he had spawned among the Numenorians. His body was destroyed, and he forsook it. Eventually, his spirit returned to his fastness in Mordor, where he again wielded his ring, and returned to his former power. Now deeming himself strong against the few Men of Numenor remaining, he made war once again.

(This presents one of several ambiguities or dichotomies in Tolkien's tales, wherein the body of Sauron was destroyed, and his spirit fled, yet somehow the ring fled with the spirit, as Tolkien was emphatic that Sauron in a housed body was inseparable from the One Ring)

In that time, The Last Alliance of Elves and Men was made. Under the organized efforts of Gil-Galad, the elven king of Lindon, and Elendil, the high-king of Arnor and Gondor, the lesser societies of elves and men were unified under one banner. A great victory was won on the plains of Dagorlad, and Mordor was successfully invaded. The Siege of Barad-Dur lasted 7 Years.

At the end, Sauron was so pressed that he was forced to come forth to combat himself. He stood, mighty, dark and terrible before the assembled armies, a demon now, rather than an angel, and with the power and might of the Maiar, did combat with elves and men. Such was his power that none might overthrow him. Gil-Galad and Elendil, both kings, were slain by his prowess in combat. Gil-Galad from the heat of his hands, and Elendil crushed by his mace... Yet as Sauron stretched forth his hand to take up and destroy Isildur, once again the magnitude of the folly of his own designs revealed itself...

For by virtue of investing so much of his power into the One Ring, when Isildur, in desperation, grabbed the broken hilt of Elendil's sword and hewed at the outstretched hand, as the ring fell free, Saurons power was dispersed... Knowing his peril, he again forsook his body and his spirit fled to unknown regions.

Yet he remained. For when Isildur refused the councils of Cirdan and Elrond to destroy the ring in the fires of Mt. Doom, he set about a course of events that would lead to his own downfall and all the subsequent evils.

After the Fall of Sauron, the kingdom of Arnor was hard pressed, their king and much of their army had been destroyed in the Last Alliance... Internal strife sapped much of what should have been a unified effort... After the death of Elendil, Isildur claimed lordship over the realm. However, on his return to Arnor the ring betrayed him. He was felled by orc arrows and the One Ring vanished from sight, for a time. Eventually, his descendants in Arnor would face a new and terrible enemy, The Witch-King of Angmar.

Eventually, the kingship fell to Eärendur, who divided it among his three sons, seeking to alleviate internal strife. In the end, this only made matters worse, and eventually the entire northern kingdom fell before aid could arrive from Gondor. The former lords of the realm became the Dunedain Rangers, and made guerrilla war upon the northern marches.

The Witch King of Angmar, a great lord of Numenor, corrupted to Sauron's will by one of the rings of power, and later known as the Lord of the Nazgul, and Black Captain, chief of the Ringwraiths, ordered the war against Arnor in the north. After the arrival of the armies of Gondor and his defeat by them, the Witch-King fled into the northern regions, and Eärnur, wanting to pursue him, was famously told by Glorfindel, "Do not pursue him! He will not return to these lands. Far off yet is his doom, and not by the hand of man will he fall.".. And thus the prophecy of his eventual demise was wrought.

In the absence of Sauron's forces, Middle Earth was blessed with 1000 years of relative peace and tranquility... However, the remnant spirits of Morgoth still roamed the world, Dragon, Balrog, and orcs, and lacking leadership, they turned to their own governance. Then, after the 1000 years had passed, the forest of Greenwood the Great fell dark... The Wise took council and determined the cause to be the Necromancer of Dol Guldor.......

This was in fact, Sauron, taking shape again.

The Valar, once again perceiving the imminent fall of the children to the subjugation of darkness, took council. Being still under their oath never again to directly make war upon Middle Earth, they sent forth the Istari, the "Wizards"... Other members of the order of the Maiar, forbidden from revealing themselves in true power or majesty... To bring the children to victory only through their wise councils.

The Istari were:

Curunir, (Saruman the White) Olorin, (Gandalf the Grey) Radagast, (the Brown) The Blue Wizards (According to Unfinished Tales their names are Alatar and Pallando)

By the efforts of the wizards, and their council, The Necromancer of Dol Guldor (Sauron) was driven out of southern Mirkwood, and he fled to his old fastness of Mordor. Sauron is also deprived, during this time, of 2 extremely powerful weapons he would otherwise have had at his disposal... The dragon Smaug the Golden, dispatched by the Dwarves, Bilbo, and more directly, Bard of Dale; as well as, eventually, the Balrog of Morgoth in Moria, known as Durin's Bane, dispatched by Gandalf himself.

One may only speculate as to the chaos which would have followed the appearance of these two entities on the Battlefield of Gondor later in the tale...

Nonetheless, Sauron, gaining strength, recalled such servants as were available to him, orcs, trolls, evil men, and most especially, the Ringwraiths, his most terrible servants, and renewed the search for his ring.

After corrupting the head of the White Council, (Saruman), through the use of a Palantir, Sauron does not take any more significant direct action in the tale; being bereft of body until the uttermost end. When, by the council of Gandalf, now The White; Samwise Gamgee and Frodo Baggins ultimately succeed, (even against themselves), in destroying the One Ring through the treachery of Smeagol Gollum .

Such was the power of the One Ring, with so much of his own hate and malice bound up within it, that at its destruction, Sauron's spirit dispersed, never to be able to metastasize again.

(copied from imdb)

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas with family in LA

For many past Christmas and New Year that I have spent here in the States, I have spent it alone or with some friends.  My mom has only spent one Holiday with me for the past 20 years that I lived here.  So you can see, it can get nostalgic and lonely.  This year, I decided to spend it with my family in Los Angeles.  I even decided to fly to Burbank Airport to make it easier for airport pick up.  Of course it cost more and travel time was doubled but I thought I should at least try it once.    The travel entailed a flight to San Francisco and then a connecting flight to Burbank Airport.  The Chicago-San Francisco flight was fairly uneventful.  I sat next to a kid who seemed to need to go to the bathroom 5x thus waking me up from my slumber.  Then behind me was a young family with an infant.  The baby did not cry so much.  It would have been worst if he did.   And his two older brothers were pretty behaved.  They just kept themselves busy with their video games. 
Upon landing at SFO, chaos started.  First it was not clear how to go to my gate.  I have to take a shuttle to a domestic terminal.  It was very chaotic in that terminal.  Lots of people running back and forth.  The gate assignment of my connecting flight was changed but the electronic board did not reflect that.  I have to move to another gate only to find out that my flight was delayed for one hour.  So I tried to find a sucket to plug my computer only to discover that most were blocked off.  Finally found a working sucket and I was at least able to work on my computer and do some online activity.  That made the time pass better.  We finally boarded our small plane and the 45 minute flight to Burbank was pretty uneventful.  
Upon landing, we went to Target to buy gifts for my little Godchildren.  It was crowded and the toy selection was not great.  After Target we had dinner with the rest of the family.  That was fun enough.  I was starved but at least the food was good.   It was also fun to play with my little Godchildren.  
I was exhausted at the end of the day but it was worth it.  The vexation of the airport experience and flight delay were erased by spending Christmas with family.
Happy Christmas!

Friday, December 21, 2012

True end of the World.

It is already December 22 and the world did not end as predicted by the Mayan calendar.  I deep down did not believe it but I did joke about it.  Many in history has predicted the end of the world.  Many are mostly religious charlatans but one other prediction that resonated with many was the Y2K one.  It was said that when the calendar hit the year 2000,  world wide chaos was to happen.  Partly because the global computerize system would not know what to do after the date 12-31-99.  Other Christian zealot also said Christ was coming back and that will mark the Biblical prediction of the end of the world.  Like this  Mayan calendar doomsday prediction, the Y2K one was also a hogwash!  As far as I am concern, the only true science base prediction that I believe is the death of the Sun as a Red Giant.  The scientific community believes that in roughly 7.6 billion years from now, the Sun will ran out of Hydrogen to fuse as Helium and it will slowly grow into a Red Giant.  By then the Sun will be so big that it will engulf the Earth.   The Earth will be toasted away.  That I believe.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Pics of Janet

Janet after the surgery of her butt.

Janet and Enzo.

Janet met a cat.

Friday, December 14, 2012

My biography...

IF a biography of my life will ever be written, it would contain the following chapters.

1.  Early years in Iloilo.
2.  Growing up in Bacolod - Grades school.
3.  Growing up in Bacolod - High School.
4.  UPV years in Iloilo.
5.  UPM senior year in Manila.
6.  UPM PT years.
7.  Before coming to America
8.  Before Greenview.
9.  Peaceful years at Greenview.
10.  Years that preceed LA.
11.  LA years.

Of course nobody will write my life story.  And as of today, chapter 11 is yet to be written.  I hope it will be a fun and interesting chapter.

Monday, December 10, 2012

California PT license at last.

I believe I started the process of applying for a California PT license February of this year. I sent my application to FCCPT (foreign credentialing commission on Physical Therapy) to have my credentials evaluated as required by the PTBC (physical therapy board of california). The evaluation result came saying that I have deficiency in didactic work on Community Health. So that means I have to take a class to cover this deficiency. After paying FCCPT several hundred of dollars more, they pointed me to the schools where I can take classes for this. I enrolled for the summer term at the University of Montana to take "Health and Wellness" distant learning class that they have for their tDPT degree. Studied, did my assignments and took the exam. After getting an A grade for this, I submitted my transcript from UM to FCCPT. 2 months later, I got the evaluation result from FCCPT that complies with the requirement of PTBC. Got my finger print done, had my Illinois PT exam score transferred to California, got IL and WI to issue a certificate of good license standing and went to my old employers to certify work experience. Submitted all the required documents to PTBC and waited. Then I received the notice that I have to take the Jurisprudence Exam for California. Scheduled, studied and sat for the exam. Today I got the letter that I got my California License in Physical Therapy. The whole process took roughly 9 months and over $1000 of expenses on fees and tuition.  It was indeed a long process and a lot of money but I am glad that it is finally done.  Yey.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Dreadlocks: Not my cup of tea.

These guys are not bad looking.  In fact, they have handsome faces.  But since they have those dreadlocks, they become unattractive to me.  To each his own I suppose.  I just find this look so messy.  It hearkens to the days of the cave men.  And I always wonder how they even wash their hair...  And if they do not wash it daily, then their hair must stink.  Yuck!

Monday, December 03, 2012

Sister Act Musical, the review

Last week my friend Tom and I went to see Sister Act, The Musical.  The story was pretty much like the movie version.  With the same main characters.  It was funny and entertaining.  The actors and actress were all funny as well.  Specially Joey, Pablo and TJ.  And those guys got some moves too!  Everybody had a good strong theater voice.  The songs in the Musical version were all new and none of the songs in the movie were sang.  This was not such a bad thing cause the new songs were all very entertaining and melodic.  I specially like "Take me to heaven", "When I find my baby" and "Lady in the long black dress".  And what made the evening even better was the free upgrade to a much better seats than what we paid for.  Yey!  The Auditorium (venue) was a big theater and it was not filled up for a Tuesday show.

I give this show 3.5 stars out of 5.  Diverting and enjoyable.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

From base to summit, GAY and bright.

O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
Thy leaves are so unchanging;
O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
Thy leaves are so unchanging;
Not only green when summer's here,
But also when 'tis cold and drear.
O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
Thy leaves are so unchanging!

O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
Much pleasure thou can'st give me;
O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
Much pleasure thou can'st give me;
How often has the Christmas tree
Afforded me the greatest glee!
O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
Much pleasure thou can'st give me.

O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
Thy candles shine so brightly!
O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
Thy candles shine so brightly!
From base to summit, gay and bright,
There's only splendor for the sight.
O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
Thy candles shine so brightly!

O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
How richly God has decked thee!
O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
How richly God has decked thee!
Thou bidst us true and faithful be,
And trust in God unchangingly.
O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
How richly God has decked thee! !"