Thursday, June 26, 2008

Up In Smoke

I once met someone who, when he did things, did them with utmost conviction. If he did something, he’d go all the way. He decided to buff up and go all Schwarzy on us one time and he went to the gym daily for 8 months. Daily. Every-frickin’-day. During that period he refused all fat, sugar and excess carbohydrates. That meant plain, unflavored oatmeal once a day for 240 days. Story: he recently went vegan and, true to form, plunged into the lifestyle heart and soul. In his commitment to stay true to the movement, he purchased some vegan shoes online. When he got them, he promptly schooled us lesser, planet-destroying mortals; proudly claiming that his shoes were made from hemp and recycled tyres. It had become rather tiring by the end of the second hour, but amusement finally came when one of his stoner friends tried to smoke his shoes. There behind him sat Cheech sans Chong, hemp shoe in one hand and cigarette lighter in the other. Funny that.

Yes, You.

Things I’m sure that bastard in the cubicle next to yours needs:
  1. Deodorant
  2. Mouthwash
  3. Frontal Lobotomy
  4. Acne Treatment
  5. Less money
  6. The realization that he/she isn’t hot
  7. A belief in the possibility that he/she can make mistakes
  8. Recognition that not everything one finds in the Internet is undisputed fact
  9. A pet pig, or anything else that, like him/her, has the tendency to crap where they eat
  10. A new job somewhere far, far away

May I Take Your Order?

Like wanting to write when you can’t even read. Like wanting to speak when you don’t even know how to listen. Like wanting to hop, skip, and jump when you have yet to walk. Some things just necessarily follow a certain order. No amount of understanding and tolerance will free you of this burden. Like the artist who claims an affinity for abstract work, when he has yet to paint a face, a form, a figure. Certain things need other certain things at some other certain time. Like the neighbor who makes sure everyone sees the plasma tv mount delivered to his doorstep, when no plasma TV delivery occurred.

The Boxer

Do you remember being a kid and finding nothing more fascinating than a pile of boxes? I can. Boxes could be made into anything. Cardboard is pretty good material for a fort, a submarine, a tank, a pool, and just about anything else, really. A roll of tape made things even all the more interesting. I remember an Uncle who worked abroad came to visit once and with him came six or seven shipping boxes full of chocolates and other goodies. The other stuff was neat but I clearly recall wanting the boxes more. I had quite a number of matchbox cars then and I could not wait to get them into a small world of their own. Boxes. Childhood. Bliss.

Love Me

I will buy me a bottle of Hydroxycut so I can lose weight in a quick and painless manner, thereby gaining an amount of self-esteem proportional to the how much weight I lose. Losing all this weight will also allow me to wear more fashionable clothing, thereby gaining access to the highly exclusive club of the self-expressing stylish folk. I am hell bent on joining this elite and very discriminating group, as everyone else is part of it. I will drink all the fat-burning tablets I can. Society hates the fat. Beauty cannot reveal itself beneath numerous layers of blubber. I want to be thin because I do not want to be ugly anymore.


The company computer lease program I’m on will end in a couple of months, so I’ve been considering putting my machine up for sale. It’s a Compaq V3000 series (black and oh-so stylish unlike its stooge of an owner) laptop, around a year-and-a-half old. It’s got 80GB of storage, 1GB RAM, and is powered by a core duo processor running at 1.73 GHz. I can’t throw in the OS, though, as I’ll still need it. Stay tuned if you’re interested.

Straight Flush

I’ll be 33 in 6 months. That’s how old Jesus was when he died on the cross and saved a species. Me, I can’t even save myself. I’ve no hard evidence but I’m fairly certain there’s something wrong with me. I don’t feel sick or anything, but I’ve noticed a serious decline in my energy level, my ability to stay focused, and what was once a rather remarkable ability to keep at something till I got it absolutely down pat. Maybe it’s all in my head. Maybe with all the junk I so religiously put into my system, things are at critical mass. Maybe I need a serious, industrial-grade colon cleanser.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Game On

I got a Playstation 2 six years after the product was released. It was that expensive locally; and, well yes, when it became available here, I did not have that kind of money just lying about. So there, more than half a decade after the product was released, I bought a PS2... second hand.

Being late and all presented its difficulties. It's a bit challenging finding good PS2 games nowadays. Most of what I see when I go game hunting is either a renamed copy of an exact same game, or some game based on a movie. Finding driving/driving simulation type games is particularly tricky. I once went through five shops without finding one.

My guess is people tend to pay more attention to what's current and forget, for lack of a better term, the "retro" market. Stores are now packed with PS3 games and XBox games and Wii games and what not, with only a minute percentage of games for consoles from years past. Any chance anyone know of something like this here?


My first encounter with a missing dog was when I was about six. We all woke up one morning and found a small brown dog huddled beneath my father's car. The poor thing was spooked, tired, and hungry. We took him in and started calling our neighbors to ask if they knew of anyone who lost a dog recently. Three days later someone came knocking on our door, looking for his lost dog. We handed over the pooch and all was well.

I lost my own dog several years later and, unfortunately, the ending was not so happy. I never found Bandit. I was sad for a good bit of time so I understand the trauma of people who have missing pets. It's not exactly a pleasant experience but there's hope: These guys should be able to help out.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Tag ni Bel

Mga naitawag nang pangalan o kung ano pa man sa iyo at kung sinu-sino ang tumawag sa iyo ng mga ito.

- Sophia

Butchel - Tatay ko
Sher - Nanay ko at Misis ko when talking to someone else, referring to me
Apung - my Lola Anding
Kuya - my brothers JP and RV, my cousins
Kuy - my cousins
Kuya Sher - my cousins
'Tchel - Tita Bebot
She (short e) - Blaise, Ritchie, Berto, Daniel, mga tiga SPS7, karamihan ng kilala ko
Sherwin - lahat ng taong kilala ko
Ian - my 4th grade Math teacher
Negro/Negern/Nog-Nog - mga tiga SPS7
Sherwinian - some CAT officer in high school who did not know of the space between words
Manong - Rey
Aweng - mag tiga Palawan
Mr. Sherwin Ian Reyes - teller sa UCPB
S 'Travaganza (HipHop/'Hood name) - my posse

Tagging Joy, Gene, Candy, Tabel


One of the building's security guards asked me this morning if I wanted to try my luck and place a bet on who'd take the NBA Championship. I'm actually following the series as a neutral (who's slightly partial to Boston, if only because I think Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce play the game beautifully and that they've earned their dues and deserve if but one championship) but was actually tempted to put a hefty amount on the Celtics ending the series tomorrow.

It's been the buzz the past couple of weeks; everyone is suddenly an analyst, and each analyst's opinion is beyond reproach.

Flashback to the Pacquiao-Barrera fight. I got to talk to three ex-boxers and asked them how they thought the fight would go, expecting in-depth analyses and extremely insightful points of view given that they were also prize fighters once upon a time. It was a unanimous decision: "Mahirap eh. Hindi mo masabi. Kahit ano pang galing (ng isang boksingero), 'pag tinamaan... Hindi mo masabi. Mahirap."

The three of them were former Philippine champions in their respective weight classes, each with more than a decade's experience in the ring and they could not provide a definitive answer. They all believed Pacquio could walk through it easily, but still, they would not say he'd actually win it.

Now back to our armchair ballers. I'm just amazed at how sure they are of who'd take the crown and how they'd take it. I personally know someone who's not even picked up a ball, much less play the game well but lo and behold-- several years of cable television and he's Red effing Auerbach.

The Celtics will be champions tomorrow.


Mahirap eh.

Copy Furnish

My mother always told me that having good credit standing was of utmost import if one expected to live a reasonably comfortable middle-class life. She constantly reminded me that we of the working class would never have enough cash around to buy the things we would sometimes want, or more importantly, need. That's where loans, etc. came in. And, of course, you had to be worthy of lenders' time and money.

It doesn't end there, once capable of lending, you'd need to be wise enough to not fall into debt as more than enough people often do. A friend once got a bit carried away and maxed out 4, count 'em--4, credit cards with no idea how she'd be able to pay back what she owed. She's now in dire need of credit repair. Another friend who works in the US told me recently that debt problems are so rampant over there that there are now companies that specialize in credit repair services. The companies provide assistance and guidance to people who need to repair credit standings and generally be free from debt.

A good lesson someone taught me about credit was: use it as seldom as possible and when you do, pay straight.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Seven, Eight, Wine

Anyone out there a wine connoisseur? I like my alcohol but I am still very much a complete idiot when it comes to vino. I grew up hearing “red is for meat and white is for fish” then some chef on the food network says these rules or guidelines no longer hold water. I suppose that sums up my education on wine, essentially zilch. I like drinking it because it tastes good (I always help my mother clean up her wine rack after she gets dozens of bottles during the holidays--she does not drink) but I’d like to find out what “dry” tastes like or what actually coats one’s palate when the lady says something does hers. Drop me a line if you can help. Danke.

Is a Kingdom Ruled by Boars a Boredom?

The most frustrating way to combat boredom is to browse around the internet for stuff you can’t afford anyway. At least that’s what I do. I’d check how much a Playstation 3 would set me back, or there was some way possible to get my hands on some gear for my camera.

The deepest holes I dig are when I come across a wiki-type product catalog. Say I’m checking out the PS3; there’s the review staring me in the face and it’s littered with links to PS3 gear: PS3 controllers, PS3 games, etc. Then when you get to the linked page, even more stuff is there. It’s utterly frustrating and I usually get off my chair a shade of green darker but it’s OK. At least I constantly beat boredom.

Where Art Thou?

I’m not sure I have the amount of self discipline required, but I am nonetheless willing to consider having a stay-at-home job if the opportunity comes around. Freelancing is of course an option, but you’d need tons of exposure though to get word of your services out. Numerous social networking sites can help you, but it’s better if you can get on a network/directory type of site. That’s where Lookup Page comes in.

Lookup Page is an online directory that allows its users to upload their professional online profiles and essentially have access to a worldwide network of potential clients. A free account is available, and this includes a free profile page (basically a free website) where you can post information about the services or products you offer. This free account is a good deal for people like me who have yet to decide whether to go aggressive with online marketing; you get exposure without losing anything.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Kink, Right, 249 in 5th

Dream on, bud.


A friend is currently looking for a digital camera. The thing is, he knows absolutely nothing about digicams and to be honest, I really can’t be arsed to constantly provide tips and opinions via SMS so I went online to find some sort of facility that would help him find the best digital camera for his needs. I found these guys.

I like the way they narrow your options down to what should best suit your needs. They do this by asking you questions about the photos you like taking, camera size preference, features you want in a cam, brand preference, well, you get the idea. In the end, you get opinions on specific products and I mean specific. You can choose from the best compact digital cameras, the best travel digital cameras, the best wide angle digital cameras, etc. Off to let Mr. Camera Shopper about this now.

Bees Knees

On a recent trip up north, the wife and I decided to stop by a café for afternoon snacks. As we sat there, sipping coffee and munching on cake, a gentleman from the table next to ours asked if we could spare him a few minutes so he could tell us all about Direct TV. I remembered seeing posters strewn all across town advertising DirecTV or DirectTV or whatever it was really called so I was really curious at that point so we agreed. Besides, to a guy, anything related to the letters T and V were always worth one’s time. He also seemed a decent enough person and was extremely polite in asking.

Direct TV, I learned, was simply a TV directly linked to the satellites that broadcast the feed distributed by cable TV companies. So by going direct or going SAT TV (Satellite TV), you “eliminate the middle man” and get access to TONS more channels. Sure, you may ask, “what do you need 500 channels for?” I tell you: you never know when you‘ll run out of stuff to watch, so it’s better to have channels in reserve.

The cost is a bit of a concern though, particularly the initial setup/installation fee. But in terms of value for money, the monthly fees are reasonable: you simply get more for what you pay for. Overall, this entire direct TV deal is quality stuff, but only if you think TV is better than sliced bread and you’ve got extra cash floating around.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Rear View

If the earth is a living organism then can mankind be seen as its malignant tumor? Is there really a dramatic increase in people stricken by cancer or is the upswing in information dissemination and awareness? Is something out there trying to get rid of us? Is this retaliation? Did we do this to ourselves? Is the world a reflection of us or are we more a reflection of the world and its sorry state? Does Mama Earth need its colon cleansed? Will we find ourselves in some plastic bag dumped somewhere? Will the term “biohazard” then present some bitter irony?

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Neither Snow Nor Rain

Never knew mailboxes were big business and I thought the same about lawn ornaments (or curbside décor, as I just found out) until I ran into some people that offered what looked to be each and every single type and style of mail-receiving implement available. Single units, multi units, wall mounted, locking, column, post, slots. I won’t look at a mailbox just a mailbox from now on.
Funny thing is, after you do pay attention, you kind of understand how a post receptacle accentuates a home. It is some sort of welcoming piece, after all; your front lawn ambassador, so to speak. I’m actually thinking about our mailbox (a rusty tin can) as I write this. Guess we could do better. Oh one last thing, these guys I’m talking about have an affiliate program going on. People living in lawn-rich neighborhoods may want to have a look-see.


While browsing ‘round the ‘Net for some books for my little princess the other day, one of the pages listed in my search engine’s results page grabbed my attention. The company offered a rather interesting spin on what was otherwise not a new idea: personalized items. You see this company offered personalized kids’ gift items but went one step further in providing customized products for kids: they also personalized DVDs (a headshot pasted on an animated figure, if the image on the home page is anything to go by, still it looks like it might get a laugh out of children), children's books (yup, I guess they just change the name of the main character to whatever the customer’s name is), and even songs. A number of the items they offer are also mainstream products (Disney stuff and other well-known cartoon characters). I admit their services are neat, but that’s about as high as they’ll rank with me: neat. Personally (no pun intended), I’d rather make up my own stories for my little one. Why? No one knows (ideally) what your kid wants more than you do and it should take all of 10 minutes at most. It’s easier than you think. You should also keep in mind that even if the story should teach a good lesson, it doesn’t have to make sense (no pressure going for a Pulitzer.) So there, customization for kids is an OK thing but maybe you should go DIY first.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Hit The Lights

I’ve always liked lamps. There’s just something about how they make a room or any space they occupy something a bit extraordinary. Lighting is awesome, what can I say?
Table lamps, floor lamps, desk lamps, they’re all great.

As I was going about the good old ‘net last night, I came upon a lamp specialty store, and I mean “specialty”. They had this neat feature that let you select a lamp to your specifications. Size, color, finish, etc. it was like choosing a car. I had no idea the lamp-loving demographic was that demanding and that particular. They didn’t stop at lamps, though. They had stuff for baths, ceiling fans, kitchen fixtures… it was the absolute works. I’m all pumped up about it because there’s nothing close to it over here, well online, that is. Just a fan of armchair hardware hunting, is all.

Wer na U? L8 Me.

Sumisingit pirmi sa pila. Hindi makapaghintay sa takdang oras at lugar ng tawiran. Kapag nasita ng isang traffic enforcer o pulis, automatic 'yan: "Medyo nagmamadali lang po, eh." Kapag naipit sa trapik, hindi titigil hangga't hindi nakakauna sa ibang sasakyan; may yabang pang halo 'pag naka-alpas na. Bumili na motor para hindi maipit sa trapik; lintik kung paandarin ito, akala mo ay ahas sa kaliwa't kanang pagpasok sa pinakamaliliit na puwang.

Pirming nagmamadali. Lagi.

9:30 ba kamo? Alas-diyes ang intindi dyan.

Pirming nagmamadali. Lagi. Lagi din namang huli.

As A Bone

These are, how should I say this, rather “flat” times for me. I’m not sure why, but my family aside, nothing, in the past several months, has even remotely looked like the proverbial light at the end of the obligatory tunnel. People have suggested that it may be a work thing and that a job search may be in order, but I’m pretty certain it isn’t that. I’ve done too little work to say I’m anything close to being tired. But I am. I’m always tired.

Cover to Cover

A good friend, Daniel, was sitting in traffic when he suddenly heard the distinct sound of metal grinding metal. When he looked around to see what was going on, he saw someone getting up slowly from the left-hand side of his car. He got out and saw that a 3-foot gash now adorned a stretch from the rear fender to the middle of the rear door and the motorbike that put it there. He says it was a good thing he had just upgraded his car insurance. Oddly enough, he’d been telling people about his fantastic new insurance company not a week before the incident. Said they offered plans and that the sales reps were very knowledgeable, even offering free quotes and auto insurance comparisons sans the subtle glare that usually indicated some type of threat: you’d better be in a buying mood, pal. Well, I guess he can now find out how good they are with claims.


I’ve constantly been finding excuses to skip exercising for two months now. It started with schedule conflicts; but hey, there really was a lot going on the first month. The second month was more like planning when I’d get back to giving the old bones a good shakedown regularly. The result, as can be expected, is a complete reversal of the weight loss I was so darn proud of. Thankfully, however, the laziness has (I think) worn off and I’ve started doing light morning runs again. We shall see.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Sugatan Ang Ugat

Traysikel Drayber: “O, isa na lang, aalis na.”

Pasahero: “Ma, may dala ho kasi akong malaking bag. Mukhang ‘di kakasya kaya dito na lang ako sa susunod sasakay.”

Traysikel Drayber: “Tignan ko nga. Pwede 'yan! Dito natin sa bubong ilagay. Tara, para makaalis na tayo.”

Pasahero: “Sigurado ho ba kayong pwede? Baka malaglag eh.”

Traysikel Drayber: “Pwede 'yan.”

Pasahero (pasakay na): “Ma… paki-ingatan na lang…”

Traysikel Drayber (initsa ang bag sa bubungan ng sidecar): “Oo, akong bahala.”

Pasahero: “Hindi ho ba talaga mahuhulog 'yan?”

Traysikel Drayber: “Hindi 'yan!”

Naisip ko lang, kahit ba posibleng malaglag ang bagahe nung pobreng pasahero eh aaminin ba 'yun ng drayber? Ibig kong sabihin eh saang mundo mo makikita na ang sagot ng drayber ay:

“Oho, posibleng mahulong ang bag ninyo.”

O ang mas-angkop na katutuhanan na:

“Aba eh oho, talagang malaki ang posibilidad na malaglag ang bag ninyo at hindi naman talaga sadyang lalagyan ng kung anumang gamit ang bubong ng sidecar ko. Umaasa nga lang ako na hindi malaglag para walang aberya, pero sa totoo lang, kahit naman malaglag ‘yan eh ano ba ang pakialam ko? Kung gusto mo ng siguradong lugar para sa bagahe mo eh ‘di nag-taxi ka na lang sana. Kakamutan na lang kita ng ulo at dadaanin sa paghingi ng alanganing dispensa kung mahulog man ang bag mo-- isa lang akong dukhang api na naghahanap-buhay tapos gigipitin pa ako ng mga may-kayang tulad mo. Ngayon, tigilan mo na ang pangungulit at ng maka-lakad na tayo. Kailangan kong makadami sa biyahe.”

Ugat ‘yan ng lahat: “Kakamutan na lang kita ng ulo at dadaanin sa paghingi ng alanganing dispensa kung mahulog man ang bag mo.” Ang mga katagang “mahulog man ang bag mo” ay palitan mo lamang ng:
  1. “mabangga ko man ang sasakyan mo”
  2. “masagasaan man kita”
  3. “idamay ko man ang limang sasakyan sa isang aksidenteng dulot ng kapabayaan ko”
  4. “magkasakit ka man sa kinain mong tinda ko”
  5. "mapatay ko man ang iyong apat na taong-gulang na anak"
at nang 'sandaan pang ibang kasawian-palad.

Kawawa nga naman daw kasi.

The Loan Ranger

I was fortunate enough to have parents who were always able to put up enough for my education. This fact was driven all the more home when I got the chance to talk to a cousin the other day. His family migrated to the United States about in the ‘70s and he is now just working as an associate professor in one of the top universities there. He teaches students majoring in Comparative Literature.

Anyway, as with most migrants, they went through pretty rough times during their first years there and since the day he started high school, he'd made up his mind that he’d give his folks a break and find a way to get an "education on loan", so to speak. He was bent on getting a degree without having to break his parents' backs.

He applied for several student and college loans, held down multiple jobs while he was studying, and did everything short of stealing to get him through university. He’s still making payments on one of his student loans (took on another loan for to start the payments, matter of fact), but says that while it’s still isn’t easy street for him, there’s a quiet and proud satisfaction knowing he went most of the way on his own steam.


A rather wealthy acquaintance has been flapping her lips constantly about an upcoming tour of Europe and I’d be lying through my teeth if I said I didn’t suddenly turn bright green when she told me about her trip. In blind envy, I searched for travel agents that offered relatively easy access to major travel destinations in the continent. I came across an online hotel reservation facility that seemed to have a wide selection of contacts across Europe.

They look like they've got an expansive world-wide network with accomodations available at major European cities (well, the ones I dream about visiting anyway). They can hook you up with hotels in Rome, London, and even Prague.

I've taken note of these hotels and the attractions I need to see when I get there. Now it's just a matter of stumbling on several hundred thousand pesos.