Audience Participation

The Araneta Coliseum came alive last Sunday, when the FEU Tamaraws defeated the DLSU Green Archers in the UAAP Season 74 men’s seniors basketball tournament’s opening game. The Tamaraws defeated the Green Archers with a final score of 74-65.

While the players were battling it out in the court, another battle was taking place high above them as the students from both universities try to out-cheer the other side.

Since my understanding of what was going on in the basketball game that I paid to see is close to nil, it is this battle of fans trying to out-cheer the other team that I paid attention to. The fact that the drums of both teams are closer to my seat than the players are may have something to do with that.

As I have observed, the FEU fans had an overwhelming advantage in numbers that day, with people in yellow filling up most of the Araneta Coliseum’s seats in the upper boxes. The green-shirted DLSU fans mostly occupied the lower boxes, which is closer to the basketball game. The way the audience is seated would let an observer sitting at the right position see the rough pattern of Pac-Man in the process of eating a green coin.

As a result of their greater numbers, the fans of the Tamaraws cheered more loudly than those of the Green Archers. The yellow-dominated crowd would practically go wild whenever an FEU player scores, a DLSU player misses a shot, a foul is called on DLSU, and generally whenever something happens that would give the Tamaraws some sort of advantage. Of note here is the instance when the fans cheered when DLSU player Yutien Andrada came down with a knee injury in the game’s second quarters.

The fans’ cheers were accompanied by the teams’ drums, as it had been in any basketball game that people told me they saw. The Araneta Coliseum’s dome structure allowed sound waves to bounce all throughout the building and the drummers took advantage of that, constantly pounding at their drums in order to urge their team to victory. Or to simply out-drum the other team.

The patterns of the teams’ drum beats and the audience’s cheering can be used to tell the story of the game. The drummers will play a lively beat when the ball is in the hands of their team , a tense beat if the ball is in the other team’s hands, and would do a very good imitation of a rapidly beating heart during a free throw. DLSU’s drum beats have more variety than those of FEU. That’s how it seemed at least, since the Lasallian drummers are more active than their counterparts in FEU.

I originally planned on watching the UAAP on TV and fall asleep in the middle of the game as I always have, but upon watching the real thing I realized that I only see half a game whenever I watch one from TV. I miss the other half- the reactions of the audience, which certainly kept me awake during the game.

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UAAP Season 74 Begins, Tamaraws Defeat Green Archers

And so did the Tamaraw best the Green Archer.

The FEU Tamaraws defeated the DLSU Green Archers with a score of 74-65 in the opening game of UAAP Season 74 men’s seniors basketball tournament, which was held last July 10 in the Araneta Coliseum.

RR Rivera, last season’s MVP, led the Tamaraws to victory and scored 21 points. He had a slow start, making only 4 points in the first half. He bounced back the second half with 17 points.

Terrence Romeo, the reigning Rookie of the Year, had 8 assists and 8 rebound in the game, helping the Tamaraws score their first win for the season.

In the side of  DLSU, LA Revilla scored 18 points in his first game in two seasons. He did not play in the last two seasons because of diabetes.

Both the Green Archers and the Tamaraws will be playing again this Saturday in the Araneta Coliseum, with the Tamaraws going against the AdU Soaring Falcons and the Green Archers against the Ateneo Blue Eagles.

Probing the Depths of Madness (to Albert Einstein from H. P. Lovecraft, a letter)

Most Esteemed Albert Einstein:

Good day to you, great man of science. You may not be aware of me or of my works, for I my activities are limited to the sphere of fiction and yours to the sciences. Still, I believe that I like you wish to show the masses the truth through our work, so we may not be so different from each other after all.

I am in the business of writing weird tales, stories involving eldritch creatures, nightmare landscapes, and other such concepts that make up the literary genres we call ‘fantasy’ and ‘horror.’ I am aware that I am often read by many of those who read me purely for entertainment or as some sort of intellectual release, but I assure you that what I am attempting to convey to the people is much, much more than mere shallow entertainment. Through my works, I attempt to convey to the people simple truths- that Man is not the center of the universe, and that there are things that he must not be allowed to know, lest the reality that he discovers be too much for his sanity- already made fragile by what the sciences are revealing to him- and he go mad from the revelation. The sciences are treading dangerous waters, Mr. Einstein, and I fear that one day, it may find something too utterly horrifying for human comprehension.

Let us consider, for instance, your Theory of Relativity. Its interpretations of the nature of space and gravity and its dabbling into non-Euclidean geometries makes a mockery of the cosmos, potentially paving the way for the undoing of mankind. Your theory has removed the constancy- something Man has learned to take comfort in- of time and space, and turned in into a writhing mass of chaos, ready to pounce upon our unsuspecting world and its insignificant inhabitants. For now it has only predicted the existence of all-devouring warp in space-time light-years away from the earth. In the future it shall reveal that those warps can destroy the earth without moving from their position, and much further still in the future in might tell us that those warps have a sort of malevolent intelligence in them, and that in their ravenous hunger they will not even consider the organisms living in the planets they consume.

I believe that as of the present the sciences have only unraveled very little of the mystery of the universe, and that they are not meant to venture too far. The potential vistas of reality waiting to be discovered are too numerous and too terrifying to think about, and if we look to deeply into them- into that which we must not know- we risk either collective insanity or a new dark age.

I shall give you my warning again, Mr. Einstein- tread carefully in your investigations. The universe is far more terrifying than we can all imagine.

Yours, Howard Phillips Lovecraft

On natural selection, adaptation and the survival of blogging

The laws of nature are rather harsh. In order to survive, one must be stronger, smarter, or more resourceful than his ‘rivals.’  Only the fittest have the right to survive. No mercy, no remorse.

This principle of natural selection can be said to apply to the media technologies as well. For instance, the ‘older’ forms of journalism like print or radio journalism, which were once the dominant sources of news, have been supplanted by the television, which in turn is slowly having its position as dominant media technology taken over by the internet.

Even media technologies that make use of the internet are engaged in this contest. The mainstream news sites, once the only sources of news in the internet, were challenged by the blogs, which are not even accepted as ‘proper’ journalism by many even up to now. And now the blogs are being challenged  as the primary source of information in the internet by social networking sites, most notably Facebook. Rockville Central’s move to Facebook may be the first nail in the coffin of blogging.

But things are never that simple. Not in nature, not in media. News reports in social networking sites cannot kill off blogs, just as the television did not kill off the print media. Social networking sites may be able to provide the quick and easy news that the public likes so much, but their limited space does not allow their users to engage in in-depth analysis of issues or to report creatively, which blogs allow.

Still, if blogging is to remain important, it must adapt to the situation, just like any successful organism. It can, for instance, provide the analysis that social networks lack.

The fate of blogging remains uncertain. Whether it will adapt and how remains to be seen.

On sickness, Falcon, and why I haven’t blogged until now

The French infantrymen raised their war cry as they leapt from their trenches and charged towards the enemy lines. Upon seeing their advance, the German machine gunners opened fire, delivering a withering hail of gunfire as heavy artillery…

Oh wait, that was just the thunder, the wind and the rain .

The weather was pretty nasty two weeks ago, especially since tropical storm Falcon decided to stay put near the Philippines’ eastern seaboard for several days. Hundreds of thousands of people were affected by the storm in some way, there were twisters and floods in particularly unfortunate areas, the country lost millions of Pesos’ worth of agricultural products, and a lot of people got wet. We did not realize the full extent of the damage the storm caused until it left our area of responsibility for good. Still, the damage could have been worse if Falcon made landfall. I thank God that it left before it made landfall.

And where was I when Falcon was throwing a tantrum in our territorial waters? I was at my parents’ home in Laguna, sick with the flu. I have been feeling rather ill since the first week of classes, but I can say that I was most sick during the time Falcon was closest to our islands.

Thus, while homes were getting flooded and people were getting drenched outside, I lay in bed, my brain imagining that I was in the killing fields of Somme in 1916, watching as Allied and German soldiers clash with each other. While the thunder did sound like artillery, the rain didn’t sound like machine gun fire and the wind didn’t sound like battle cries, so even to this day I still wonder why I even imagined that. Was I really that sick back then? Maybe I was imagining my immune system’s battle against the viral invader. But why trench warfare? I don’t think I can answer that.

If that article I read from the Philippine Daily Inquirer is right, then about three hundred thousand people were affected by the storm, their homes and sources of livelihood either damaged or totally destroyed. I’m not exactly the most empathic person who ever lived, so I couldn’t say that I know what those 300,000 people are currently going through. I actually have no idea about that since I haven’t experienced that before. I also know that I should be grateful that I didn’t really experience what they did, I should also wonder why. I should probably add something about how helpless we are in the face of nature’s whims here.

Oh look, it’s time for my medicine.