pinoy in the middle of Middle Earth

if you still need further proof that the Hobbit is a big deal in NZ, then look no further than what the national airline did to the plane that transported the cast to NZ. It will be used for regular flights afterwards.

THERE SIMPLY is no way to put into words the collective experience Wellington is going through as “the middle of Middle Earth” today, Day One of another chapter in the Tolkien-Jackson saga unfolding right before our very eyes.

From the hush-hush preparations for The Hobbit two years ago, to the negotiations between New Line Cinema and the New Zealand government to bring the Hobbit production here, to the secretive casting for the major characters, to the post-production drama surrounding the movie, the various Hobbit-themed activities held in Wellington (Hobbit artisan fair, pre-screening events, to the red carpet gala for the actors associated with the movie), to finally the world premiere attended by almost every personality associated with the film, it’s hard for anyone in town not to get caught up in the mega-event.

Just to put into perspective how big this is for a small town like Wellington (that happens to be New Zealand’s capital), imagine, wherever you are, one-fourth of your city’s population attended an event like the premiere of a movie that contributed to the country’s economy in so many ways, used its creative and artistic expertise, revived its flagging retail trade, and detonated its tourism industry in every way possible.  If you can do that, multiply what you’ve imagined about tenfold, and maybe you can approximate what this movie means not just to Wellington and New Zealand but the rest of J.R. Tolkien’s readers, present and future, all over the world.

Actors like Martin Freeman, Andy Serkis, Aidan Turner and a few of the other dwarves that dominate the story, will be there to reward Wellington for hosting the production the past year.

I don’t consider myself a rabid Lord of the Rings / Hobbit fan but I have read the novels and watched the movies, and I know that the Hobbit, which in Hollywood terms is a prequel of the blockbusters but is actually a stand-alone movie that took place 60 years before the trilogy, is expected to earn for Sir Peter Jackson and New Line Cinema as much as the previous movies did.

We are used to hyperbole and superlatives, but the gross earnings of LOTR was US$2.91 billion.

It’s probably the saddest of sad tales, but Martin Freeman & Co. are less than 20km away from where I am now, in a Wellington suburb.  And if not for my work and the certain gridlock on the highway between, I would probably have joined the multitudes waiting for the Hobbit cast.  Sigh.  At least I can watch on local TV though.

In the end, if you can transform your favorite childhood fairy tale into a 21st century mega-blockbuster and in the process allow your country to share humongously in the reflected glory of your movie-making genius, then you do deserve advance praise for all your future movies, the way Sir Peter Jackson does.  That, I think, is the most important backstory behind The Hobbit and its expected supersuccess in the coming days, weeks, months and years.

farewell faithful servant !

an almost exact replica (except that ours was a dull gray) of our faithful servant, now gone 😦

A FUNNY thing happened on the way to the end of twilight shift Tuesday night, somewhere between dinner break and  9 pm teatime (merienda to us back home).  It seems that Mahal on her own, using tenacity and a bit of luck, bought herself at an excellent price, a new car.

And when the words excellent and price are used together in a single phrase by a Pinoy of the full or half blood, you know what I mean, low or value-for-money or simply cheap.

But that’s just scratching the surface of this little tale.  Awkwardly, I admit that Mahal, though arriving in NZ no less than three-and-a-half years after I did, has overtaken me in almost every major step of migrant life.

She has mastered right-hand driving in record time (one year after arrival), albeit with a little help from her boss; held two regular part-time jobs without too much fuss and has learned to use TradeMe with such facility that I can hardly believe she’s just started to use it.

TradeMe is similar to the internet auction site eBay, except that it’s hugely popular among New Zealanders, who use it for every major purchase that isn’t brand new, with about 60% of the entire NZ population using the site and around 70,000 on TradeMe during peak hours, astounding statistics for a country of relatively small size (4.2 million).

She found the car that she wanted at the price that suited her (now our) budget, bid for it smartly and ferociously (allegedly till the last minute) of bidding, even experiencing a memorable sidelight of her first successful bid in the form of a “sore loser” bidder who complained that the bidding deadline was (illegally) extended beyond such deadline.  Obviously the complainer was already contemplating ownership at the price he/she bid before the final bid.  The new car was in our eyes everything she wanted : newer, hopefully less problematic , and admittedly more pleasing to the eye which was plain to see from the moment we collected it from the car yard.

Lost in the moment was the realization that we were very very soon (in fact, moments after taking possession of the new car) going to say goodbye via trade-in to our 1991 Nissan Pulsar who had served us without complaint for the past two years.

The model year would be memorable in itself for me, just a year earlier than daughter Ganda’s birth year and the year Pinatubo turned Luzon upside down, unforgettable  in that it brought Mahal and myself to all those garage sales, deserted beaches, trips where we got lost several times before we found our destination, the hundreds of short drives to the grocery, mall and meetings with friends, relatives and acquaintances…

The windy, hailstormy and rainy Mondays that scuttled any hopes of using the bike to work, taken care of with a grunt and vrrooom by our stoic and always smiling Pulsar the Gray, the times we moved furniture and stuff by jamming all sorts of things into four corners of the ever-accommodating beast of burden, and the unintended (but welcome) benefit of keeping the cold out while we escaped from an unexpectedly overcast walkabout day.

For sure, we would enjoy new, fantastic adventures with our new companion but for now our happy memories will be dominated by the car that we shared two years of our lives with, Pulsar the Gray.  May your new masters appreciate you as much as we did, lovely beast!

Thanks for reading!

learn the natives’ language & you can do no wrong

IF MY eyes and ears could do a double-take, they would.  But you can only be totally surprised once, and everything else that follows is just confirmation.

Pasensya na sa punto ng Tagalog ko, Pilipina kasi ang asawa ko.  Matagal kami sa Pilipinas, pero hindi ko maalis ang punto ng Kiwi, said the Kiwi volunteer who delivered the aparador (closet) that we bought over the weekend from the Salvation Army store.

[ Sorry for the belated translation of the above : excuse my faux Tagalog accent, (I can speak Tagalog because) my wife is Filipina.  We stayed a while in your country, but I couldn’t do anything about the Kiwi accent, pretty good if you ask me. 🙂 ]

He didn’t stop there.  Not waiting for my reply, he said nung nabasa ko yung family name mo sa delivery list, alam ko nang Pinoy ka, pero di ako sigurado.  Pero ngayon sigurado na ako he grinned, and I just had to call my flatmate’s wife.

[ spontaneous translation again : when I came across your surname on the delivery list, I knew you were a Pinoy, but I wasn’t sure.  Now I am. How can you not be flattered by that? ]

Malou, kausapin mo sya, talo pa nya tayo sa Tagalog, and of course Mr Kiwi Volunteer proudly continued with his conversational Tagalog, which reminded us of back home as much as fishballs, kikiam and the slivers of meat we like to call tuhog-tuhog.

His facility in our mother tongue was brought about as much by an intention to settle long-term back home as his love for his wife, and everything about her, including culture, cuisine, and of course, language.

It certainly warms the heart to know that even as we Pinoys love to learn other languages, other races take the time to learn our own.

Then there are people who’ve taken a liking to singing Tagalog songs, like the one above.  It seems cute and entertaining, until you realize the time and effort spent by the artist to just learn the words, and then actually interpret the song in a way that is familiar and heart-warming.

The last example I have of connecting with people through their language is from our adopted country’s very own Hayley Westenra, a popular singer.  She took the time to learn just one song (there could be more) in her Taiwanese hosts’ Mandarin, and naturally brought the house down :

If you want to build instant rapport with the natives whenever you visit overseas, just try speaking, or even better, singing in their language.  You may stutter at first, but you’ll soon realize that, as long as you try, it doesn’t really matter to them.  I can almost hear them say : You had me at hello.

who will watch the watchers?

IF YOU think getting up for Monday shift with a hangover, saying sorry to someone who doesn’t deserve it, or changing funky diapers is hard, try coming up with an original idea.  If ever, I haven’t had one since I thought of writing love letters for a living (ala Love in The Time of Cholera in the 1980s, look where it got me), it’s hard as sticking a needle through your soft spots or cutting your nails to the quick, and even less fun.

In place of an original idea, cleverer creatures try putting parts of two original ideas (swiped off other brains, of course) and linking them together, try turning original ideas inside out (e.g., if A = B, B = C, and A = C, then most of the time if A =B and B = C, then A = C; sorry but the strikethrough is the closest thing I could get to an “unequal” sign) or even use original ideas specific to one field of study and try it in a totally different field, then bask in the admiration of ooohs and aaahs.  That’s how hard it is to come up with original ideas.

So much so that until the 18th century, Wikipedia lectured me that it was common practice to copy wholesale from the classics, and the closer you were to the original works, the better.  Even original thinking was discouraged, until reason prevailed, in the form of if you use someone else’s original work, at least acknowledge somewhere in the same work.

There’s still one bailout clause if you still can’t come up with an original idea, and that’s when you come up with your opinion.  And your opinion is given at least a semblance of credibility when (1) your opinion attempts to disagree with government, big business, or organized religion, (2) attempts to correct an outrageous error, unfairness or injustice, or (3) attempts to organize or mobilize genuine change, however nebulous a concept that may be.

[ Note that all the above, as well as the below, heh heh, is just my opinion, get it? 😉 ]

This is why Filipino opinion-makers, aided by mass media (print, radio, TV and recently the internet), are commonly held in high regard by the rest of society, and given a cachet that only the very rich, the very powerful, and the very beautiful traditionally possess.  Because of their quixotic mission of going against establishment, doctrine, naked power and authority, at the very least people are willing to, at face value, give them the time of day and listen to their rants and raves, and certainly get more than their five minutes of fame, as long as they do their job, which is give their opinion.

Those last three words assume that such idea, original or not, are theirs, meaning for the moment, it belongs to them from conception to communication, from the brain to the mouth, in the form of utterances, the printed word, audio, or gestures aided by video.

Let’s admit it : because of the hurly-burly nature of our work-a-day lives, we rely heavily on specialists to break apart and explain to us the nuts and bolts of the issues that matter to us, literally the life-and-death topics that affect us to our core.  By our belief (in the form of readership, listenership or viewership) and support (in the form of advertising and/or awards) we substitute these opinion-makers’ critical thinking for ours, and we repose in them a huge chunk of our trust, to challenge government, big business and other power blocs of society to be honest, on their toes, and to never shortchange us on our purchase of their expertise.

Conversely, when four different supposedly leading opinion makers (in the form of newspaper columnists) make the same, almost identical opinion, and use throughout their columns similar words, modifiers and phrases describing one person, event and issue, then their credibility as said opinion-makers is jeopardized and their usefulness to society erodes.

The situation, reported excellently in the rappler blog and reposted by an alert FB friend is revealing not just in the insidious reach of big business on mass media, but on how susceptible even the supposedly incorruptible of our columnists are to influence.

The four columns in question are almost unanimous in their description of inefficiency of a senior legislative official, resulting in a position that, coincidentally favors the giant, monolithic tobacco industry that the official’s legislative committee is trying to regulate via new tax law.  It may be true that the convergence of intentions happens to be happenstance, but when this convergence favors the very moneyed few, what conclusion/s can a reasonable person arrive at?

That the opinion pieces use very similar language and make reference to exact observations, even when the writers of these pieces weren’t present during the event reported on, makes the conclusion almost inescapable : that four writers had reasons other than professional in writing the way they did.  No matter what these writers received in return for writing their columns, the damage to their professional reputations will hound them to the day they retire.  Sorry to sound so brutally frank, but intellectual (and professional) dishonesty is the worst kind there is.

Thanks for reading !

who are the people in your neighborhood, in your neighborhood, in your neigh-bor-hood?

JUST THOUGHT you might want to know about our neighbors here in NZ, in a summarized sort of way.  The average neighbor here is a couple, married, Asian / Kiwi, with kids, and low-income to low middle-income level, and usually friendly.  But because it’s an average, it really doesn’t tell you anything much, unless we make a little sense out of the averages.

Before anything else, let me tell you that in a street known for quiet, well-manicured stately homes owned by high middle-income European New Zealanders (known more popularly as Kiwis), we live in an exception, an 11-unit block of houses owned by a retired couple living out-of-town.  Until very recently, the demographic majority was Asian couples living with multiple children, but a few transitions changed that, but as usual I’m getting ahead of myself.

We’ve been here over 18 months, and for the first 75% of that time it was the same set of tenants throughout, two Chinese families, two Indian, two Filipinos and the rest Kiwis.  It would be natural for us to be friendlier to the Asians but this wasn’t always the case.  The single moms (who were both Kiwi) had sons who were quite visible on the expansive, child-friendly lawns, so we got to be familiar (but not that friendly) with the moms as well.  The single Kiwi guy next door to us owned a cat who always welcomed Ganda whenever she visited us, so it was unlikely that we didn’t get to know the owner as well (Ganda is a cat person).  The Indians always smile whenever we met near the parking area, and of course the other Pinoy family (with four kids) became our buddies almost immediately, exchanging cooked meals with us and inviting each other to impromptu salu-salo at least once a month, or maybe borrow from each other odds and ends like cooking ingredients, bike pumps, or tools.

But it’s not always ideal and picture-perfectness in our neighborhood.  Once Mahal received a hand-written note on her windshield that said : Please use common-sense.  Park properly.  We didn’t know if the note meant that Mahal had parked on the note-writer’s spot (all the parking spots are free-for-all) or that the parking angle was awry, and I considered asking the possible sources of the note how we could, indeed, park with greater common sense.  Mahal, confirming what I was thinking, opined that it would be nearly impossible not to be misinterpreted, since (1) no one probably would admit it, since it was an anonymous note, and (2) the direct approach would, at least in this case, not be appreciated.

Then there was the single mom who sometimes left her small child for hours and hours in the playing area, seemingly without bothering to check if her son was hungry or cold.  Long after other children were already inside and having dinners, this child was still playing by himself on the trampoline.  I knew this was a sensitive topic, actually intervening in a home’s parental care, and in fact I found out that other mothers in the compound had made observations similar to mine.  It didn’t help that the child looked frail and neglected (although it could just be my opinion, colored by the situation) and that mom wasn’t at all friendly to other neighbors, least of all to other mothers who discouraged their children from getting too close with the child.

Not sure if it was just me, but one of the least friendly neighbors was a blended Kiwi-Chinese couple three doors down.   The Chinese in me (I’m part-Chinese) naturally wanted to reach out, and I always make an effort to be personable to Kiwis, but neither of them even made an effort to connect, with either our flat, those of other Asians, or even with most of the Kiwi neighbors.  This, despite the fact that their daughter/stepdaughter was a regular playmate of the Kiwi and Pinoy kids, even the one in the previous paragraph.  It was almost like, since they considered themselves neither Asian nor New Zealander, they felt no affinity for both groups.  A bit unfair as an observation, but again, that’s just me.

But on the whole our small community has reaffirmed our faith in the common goodness of neighbors who don’t need to know each other well to be decent to each other.  The proverb good fences make good neighbors (though there are no actual fences around here) comes to mind; no neighbor (besides the Pinoy family of course) is what I would consider anything more than nodding acquaintances to us; that doesn’t stop me from helping them move furniture or big purchases between the car and the door (and hopefully vice-versa); and Mahal always takes the time to deliver a Pinoy dish to new neighbors just to make them feel welcome.

For sure, the kaldereta and afritada might hit their taste buds a bit strangely, particularly when Mahal is in a spicy mood, but it nevertheless signals that as Pinoy neighbors go, you’ll never get a raw deal.

Thanks for reading!

belated happy birthday Eunice Cobankiat – Pascual !

our birthday celebrant Eunice with fellow high school classmate Pilar Ang Si !

belated happy birthday (14th November) to a fabulous high school friend, Ms Eunice Cobankiat – Pascual !

I THINK I’ve said it more than once, but on your special day, it bears being said again.

With looks like yours, a beautiful family, a talent that people appreciate, universal high regard among the people who count, and friends that have stood the test of time, what more is there to ask?

Not much I’ll venture to guess.  So that, if our last meeting during our recent reunion can be basis,  just let me wish for you the following : that you remain as youthful looking as you  are, that your talents continue to bring you fulfillment, that your family remains close and tight, and lastly, with a bit of selfishness, that your friends stay as true as always.

Belated happy birthday beloved friend, so sorry for the late greeting, regards to everyone back home, and many happy returns!

belated happy birthday Joy Rosenbaum !

SJCS friends Hedy O.S., Christine C.S., Mev T and celebrant Joy in a previous event. Thanks for use of the pic Joy!

belated happy birthday (10th Nov) to Ms Joy Tan – Rosenbaum !

Among the high school friends I missed seeing on our 30th anniversary reunion last July, one of the persons I would’ve loved to see was Joy.

I would’ve loved asking her about her showbiz career in America, how her life turned out as well as it did, and how blessed all of us (well, most of us) have been.

But most of all I would have loved reminiscing about our high school days, and how, no matter how far and how long you’ve been gone — there’s no place like home.

Kudos on how wonderful you continue to be classmate, on how great you still look, and how the well the friendships weather the years!

Belated happy birthday and many happy returns!

YLB Noel

belated happy birthday Annette Sy !

Annette (left) and another beauty, Tess Sy – Chingkaw

Belated happy birthday (7th November) to a wonderful high school friend, Ms Annette Sy !

IN THE galaxy of pretty faces that was my high school batch, Annette’s was first among equals, and set many hearts aflutter, and I’m not denying, including mine.

She has maintained her awesome looks and nowhere was this more evident than during our 30th anniversary high school reunion earlier this year.

Matching the look is her winsome smile and can-do attitude, which has given her success in all her endeavors.  With a friend and ally like Annette, you cannot go wrong.

So sorry for the late greeting Annette, hope you had a wonderful birthday, God bless you always!

YLB Noel

when Bamboo, Rivermaya, Gloc9 & Loonie knock on Wellington’s doors, Pinoys scramble!

Rivermaya members Ryan P, Norby D, Mark E and Mike E were recovering from both their gig and a land trip from AKL to Welly but were kind enough to grant us an interview and cozy pics! Those are big grins from Bunso, me and Mahal 🙂

[ Note :  Maraming, maraming salamat po sa Western Union at Ginoong Gene Orejana for  helping make possible the experience below! ]

I’M CONFIDENT most of us have heard of the term comfort food, the food we grew up with and cherished, the food we crave for in our vulnerable and low moments, when we feel down and need a picker-upper, when we just need a poke from the well-loved and familiar, something that reminds us of our beloved youth, when we’re older; or of homeland, when we’re far away.

But what about comfort music?  Music that you happened to listen to and and enjoy during the happiest times of your life, music you remember during your high times and low times, music you want close by when you’re doing everything or doing nothing, in short music you love listening to while you’re living life as you know it (or maybe as you don’t), and need we add, music that makes you comfortable.

I blush a bit when admitting that quite a few songs that make up my imaginary comfort music playlist, I don’t even know the title to, owing to my congenital cluelessness and gender-based laziness (beyond a certain age, men more than women are predisposed to wallow in the mud).  But I do know of, at least, the fabled bands that are behind those catchy tunes, and the name that resonates the most in this blogging moment is Rivermaya, who together with former front man Bamboo, rappers Gloc9 and Loonie and local Kiwinoy talent, made our November Sunday just past a memorable one.

The common thread with the rappers was the edge to their lyrics, the slight nod to social realities and the exquisite devotion to rhyme and measure.  I saw/heard a bit more of Loonie than Gloc9, the latter probably more mainstream based on his YouTube hits.  But both were crazy-good, and correspondingly drove the Kiwinoy crowd crazy.

your loyal blogger, Loonie and Bunso after his set. 🙂

Loonie told me later that his rap lyrics in Sinungaling could apply to any aspect of Pinoy society, but the words he used reminded me eerily of politicians, media personalities and opportunists in business and government :

sinungaling ang simbahan / sinungaling ang gobyerno / sinungaling pag sinabing di to galing sa kwaderno / sinungaling ang radyo / sinungaling ang dyaryo / baradong inidoro / sinong galing sa banyo / mahirap malaman kung sino sa atin ang tapat / sapagkat para sa akin sinungaling ang lahat/

It was hard to capture the social commentary in Sinungaling mainly because Loonie was going 500 words a minute, everyone was delirious with delight, and frankly, his barrage of rapping lyrics were freakin’ entertaining.  It was only while talking with him a bit later that he revealed his earnestness in trying to reflect the social riddles of inequality, poverty, and untruths peddled by those who seek to control the masses through deceit.

But the performance that truly got our attention was Rivermaya, right after the rappers.  Their massive talent exceeded only by their humility, the band opened up their set with a couple of Eraserhead standards, which in our book is the best way possible to pay homage to their contemporaries in greatness.

After that, hit after hit after hit was played by Rivermaya, without whom the last decade of 20th century OPM wouldn’t have been the same.  Kisapmata, Himala, Umaaraw Umuulan, unforgettable in their melodies, storytelling and showmanship, the Rivermaya signature splattered all over the songs despite the constant reinvention through the years in personnel.

Bamboo was kind enough to pose before his set with a very pretty fan 😉

Easily the star of the show was Bamboo, who ironically opened his set with Adik sa Yo, which he popularized while still a lead singer with Rivermaya, who played just moments before he started.

Unfortunately, we had to start acquainting ourselves with his colleagues Loonie, Gloc9 and Rivermaya, so we missed a good part of Bamboo’s performance.

Our night ended soon after that, and before long the Wellington Pinoy community would bid goodbye to the Prince of Rock, the once and future kings of alternative Pinoy rock, and the two best Pinoy rappers, but the music they provided would, for sure, forever remain in our souls.

Thank you Western Union NZ, Emerge Entertainment and everyone else who made the event, a three-leg tour (Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch) possible !

Mabuhay OPM !

once a James Bond fan, always a James Bond fan

[ Note : Lucky you in the Philippines, because of the much much bigger movie viewer market, I’m sure you’ve seen Skyfall ahead of NZ, is it as awesome as they say it is? ]

I SAW my first James Bond movie if memory serves at the Odeon sinehan corner of C.M. Recto and Rizal Ave, The Man With The Golden Gun, just to have gotten in with my folks was exhilarating enough, I actually remember seeing the bad guy with three nipples, yup, termed a “superfluous areola” in Wikipedia but certainly confirming my youthful reminiscing.  I beheld for the first time the dazzling, futuristic weaponry, world-destroying brink-of-catastrophe scenarios and sumptuously gorgeous spies-disguised-as-lovers, classy sounding theme song and other essentials that make up a Bond movie.  Taking it all in, not completely understanding, but mesmerized just the same.

Because of the mature theme, the bared skin and the gratuitous violence (albeit done elegantly), I was happy the ticketseller let me in, and I never regretted watching Her Majesty’s Secret Service Agent 007 since.  He did everything with cool and pizzazz, from turning on the ignition of his Aston Martin, exchanging pre-mission dialog with his handler, doing reconnaissance of his arch-villain, and finally penetrating the defenses, dismantling the super-sophisticated planet-destroying devices and being retrieved while in the arms of a beautiful, perfectly sculpted sidekick : fans recognized and savored the Bond recipe early, and its creators tinkered little with the winning formula.

I never forgot the suaveness of Roger Moore, who even as he blew the baddies off the screen, never had a strand of slicked-back hair out of place, and Sheena Easton‘s For Your Eyes Only stood out as the most memorable Bond song for me.

It seemed that to be effective in the Bond role, an actor needed to be both pretty boy and ruthless, something that Pierce Brosnan did effectively, and, given his success both in the box office and in the admiring eyes of Bond fans everywhere, something that Daniel Craig has continued effortlessly.

And no self-respecting Bond movie would be complete without the chase scenes, the fight sequences and the pulsating breath-stopping moments where the Good Guy tries to defuse a bomb, get a death-ray/laser ray cannon out of the way before it pulverizes a major population center (it’s always a major population center teeming with millions of innocent lives that the arch-villains train their crosshairs on, the movie would be boring otherwise), or neutralizes a weapon just before it does a dirty deed of destroying a whole hemisphere, all in the name of preserving the free world.

I confess that while I find all the Bond girls to be alluring, there’s nothing like the present, and Eva Green is definitely right up there for me.

And like hands fitting into a glove, would there be any singer more appropriate than Adele to do the theme song?  Whew, just the first few lines and you know Adele was born to sing a Bond theme song!

So much so that besides the Queen and the Royal Family, especially Kate Middleton, I would think that the James Bond franchise is the most popular thing the United Kingdom / England is known for, and rightfully what Brits are most proud of.  The exploits of Double Oh-Seven, who laid the groundwork for all spymasters who followed in his footsteps, fanciful as they may be, are as basic to popular culture and entertainment as the works of the Beatles, Cameron Mackintosh and J.K. Rowling, who incidentally are all products of Great Britain and the former British Empire.

To a Pinoy like me, with little if any connection to Queen Elizabeth and her loyal subjects, James Bond just represents an hour and a half of escapist entertainment, where vicariously I can battle with my wits and instincts the enemies of Freedom and Democracy, and look cool and sexy while doing so.  I can’t wait for Skyfall!

Thanks for reading!