Tuesday, March 29, 2005

All these re-makes!

I don't know about you guys, but have noticed that there are heaps of "new" songs out that are actually just re-makes? If not full re-makes then intrumental rip-offs with different lyrics? What's going on? Have people lost their creativity? Or is it because artists nowadays are just concerned with making money and nothing else? Whatever happened to an artist's pride in their own work? It's all just about MONEY, MONEY, MONEY... the starving artist has ceased to exist! Because unfortunately in this day and age, if you want to earn money you would have to compromise your vision.

"Re-making" is the trend in this modern world. It exists not just in music, but also in fashion. I remember vividly a fellow pug parent speaking to me in confidence about how much he hates the ra-ra skirt. There was this chick in the playgroup who was wearing the horrendous skirt so he just had to say it to myself. He said, "I remember those skirts coming out about 15 years ago and was very happy when I went out of fashion. Why the hell do they have to resurrect it?" Well, my friend, that is because aside from the acceptance of people walking about starkers, everything has been done! Re-making!

There are heaps of rock groups from Britain and surprisingly, America, that I like. They may not be as original as they come (read: influences stemming from the New Wave/Punk era) but they are doing something more creative than some shit that I hear!

That said, I am only human. There are a lot of re-makes that I like. The reason being that the artists who re-made them made an effort to make it sound like their own. Here's my top ten list of re-makes (in no particular order):

1. The Man Who Sold The World - Original by David Bowie, re-make by Nirvana
2. China Girl - Original by Iggy Pop, re-make by David Bowie
3. Comfortably Numb - Original by Pink Floyd, re-make by Scissor Sisters
4. How Soon is Now? - Original by The Smiths, re-make by Tatu (I know Smiths purists will slag me off for this... but I even surprised myself when I found that I don't really mind it!)
5. Blue Monday - Original by New Order, re-make by Orgy
6. My Way - Original by Frank Sinatra, re-make by Sid Vicious
7. Always On My Mind - Original by Elvis Presley, re-make by Pet Shop Boys
8. I Fought The Law - Original by The Crickets, re-make by The Clash
9. Dear Prudence - Original by The Beatles, re-make by Siouxsie and the Banshees
10. Personal Jesus - Original by Depeche Mode, re-make by Marilyn Manson

Here are some songs that are just instrumental re-makes which I like:

1. Call on Me - by Eric Prydz, Music from Steve Winwood's "Valerie"
2. Falling Stars - by Sunset Strippers, Music from Cabin Crew's "Star To Fall"
3. Stan - by Eminem, Music and some lyrics from Dido's "Thank You"
4. Don't Wanna Lose This Feeling - by Dannii Minogue, Music from Madonna's "Into The Groove"
5. Crush - by Darren Hayes, Music from Madonna's "Holiday"

The Illuminati Diamond

I have been on the hunt for a lovely design for my second tattoo. I'm planning to place it along my left shoulder blade. I have been looking at Daniel Martin Diaz's artwork but a lot of my friends find a little too "gothic" even more me :p. After reading Angels and Demons, I've seen this and absolutely fell in love with it:

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

The Illuminati diamond consists the four elements: earth, air, fire, and water. It is also an anagram, i.e. it reads the same way upside down. Pretty neat, huh?

Of course, it'll be in black... still weighing all my options and being really, really picky. After all, I'll be stuck with whatever I choose for the rest of my life, 'ey?

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Angels and Demons by Dan Brown

I know I should have read this before The Da Vinci Code. It is, after all, the second book to what I would call The Robert Langdon Series.

Angels and Demons is the first of the Robert Langdon mysteries by Dan Brown. I have just finished reading this last night (read: actually it was more like 3 in the morning!) and was again spellbound by the intricate web of mystery created by Brown. The story happened in Rome, more specifically in the Vatican City (for some reason, they call it "the smallest country in the world). It was an excellent mix of religion (more input from the Vatican!), renaissance art (heaps of reference to Michaelangelo and Bernini), weapons of mass destruction (!) and of course, the ever helpful police (hmmm... can I hear a hint of sarcasm there???)

It is also about the infamous Illuminati, a secret brotherhood known for their vendetta against the Catholic Church. It is a well-known and documented fact that the Catholic Church was responsible for a lot of executions of men who delved into the sciences during the early days. The most famous one being Galileo (whom, by the way, was mentioned A LOT in this book). The Illuminati, according to lore, apparently was founded by Galileo as a means for people of science to meet in secret and discuss things that were banned by the Church. The book also discusses the use of renaissance sculptures and other works of art as a means to lead other Illuminati members to the Church of Illumination, the house of the Illuminati, which is filled with pagan symbols and tributes to the sciences.

Simply said, this is a book about the age-old war of Science vs. Religion. There are characters in this book that are working towards the ultimate reconciliation of both parties, that is, proving once in for all through science that God exists. A bit far-fetched, yes, but utterly convincing, thanks to Dan Brown's excellent prose. Of course, not surprisingly, there are also characters, noble but misguided fools who believe there can never be a reconciliation, that science is here to mock the wonder and miracles of God.

I have been completely entranced by this novel. Not only did it appeal to my own beliefs and religious philosphy, but it also gave a completely different look at the people behind the Church. I have known and believed all along that the Church is flawed because man presides it (not a gender thing mind you... I am just using the term "man" as a general thing). They are susceptible to greed and temptation. They may be holy and have the best intentions at heart but they sometimes fail to see the bigger picture.

The same goes for science. They may look at the bigger picture and tend to believe that the "end ALWAYS justifies the means." Unfortunately, this also comes across as heartless and cold. Scientists are, unfortunately, built this way. They may mean well, but they fail to see the human side of things.

Science vs. religion? Why? Why can't they just work together? Why can't each see the good in the other and work towards a better understanding of the other? I am not a fan of religion myself, but I do see something good in it. It is an organization that teaches people morals and values to become better people (I am talking about the proper way a religion should educate their followers. Of course, not all do this I'm afraid).

Please, please read this book. If there is one thing that this book tells you, it is that understanding is the key to a spiritual way of living.

Angels and Demons - 4 out of 5

Thursday, March 24, 2005

The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

I cannot believe I didn't get my hands on this book soon enough. I heard so many good and bad things about this book that I don't know what to believe. The only time my interest was pigued was when I watched Getaway (read: an Australian travelogue show) and they did a "Da Vinci Code tour" of Paris, London, and Scotland. So, needless to say, I rushed out and bought the book and finished reading it in 2 days (which is actually a long time for my standard... finished reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix in 8 hours straight--7pm-3am!)

The Da Vinci Code is Dan Brown's fourth novel. It is still topping the bestseller's lists all over the world inspite of it being out for a good year now, and a movie version is in production. The main protagonist, Robert Langdon, is whom I would call a "James Bond symbologist"... but not as boring. He's clautrophobic, not that gorgeous although quite good looking, a bachelor who is quite slow with the ladies (well, compared to James Bond, that is), incredibly smart, and educated. He got involved quite unexpectedly in a web of mystery involving art, religion, and the police.

I have enjoyed this book immensely. It was a very entertaining read providing an alternative explanation to a lot of questions regarding Christ, Leonardo Da Vinci's Mona Lisa and Last Supper, and the age-old question... Was Jesus married with children?

I do not see anything wrong with this book. I do not understand why people got so offended by this book. It is, afterall, fiction... not real!

I was born and raised Catholic (coming from a Spanish influenced background, you really don't have a choice!) but I am very open-minded about a lot of things. I do not believe there is such a thing as a one true religion/faith and that this book marred Jesus Christ's divinity and standing in the Catholic faith. In fact, I do not think the Catholic church ever got such a big publicity which is not as bad as all those disgusting pedophile priests did! I honestly think that the church has more important things to think about than being threatened by a book of fiction. They should be worried about the people who have lost their faith in the church because of untrustworthy representatives (read: pedophile priests).

Anyway, I am going off track here... read the Da Vinci Code!!! It's a good thing to learn new things and be aware of conspiracy theories and radical ideas... even if it is a bit far-fetched!

The Da Vinci Code - 5 out of 5 stars! Definitely! Will read it again!

Jennie has recently entered a contest wherein the winner is given a free "Da Vinci Code" tour... I could just picture myself in front of the Mona Lisa at the Louvre... >sigh<