Wednesday, 31 December 2008

The last, long post of 2008

Yeah, you read it right, this is my last, long post for 2008. I know this should have been posted maybe later this afternoon (or as close to 12 midnight as possible), but I have to leave in an hour since I've got a 24-hour duty 'coz of the holidays. XD

Anyway, I'll try to squeeze in everything I could in this post. After all, 2008 had been a colorful, and very fruitful, one. So, let's begin. =)

The promise which is 2008
2008 had been a year of promises - I began the year with lots of promises, which I either kept or broken. Don't get me wrong, I don't flaunt broken promises, 'coz I also believe that promises should be kept no matter what. But one thing or another led to another thing or so, and before I knew it, time frames could no longer be followed.

It is during this year that two major, and unforeseen, events changed so much in me and caused several plans to either be dropped or shifted. The greater of the two is, of course, the sudden transfer from teh ACeS to my current team. This not only affected my professional career (think of starting from scratch after a year of hard work and learning), but my personal life as well.

Career change
I'd be a hypocrite if I say that the transfer is an unwelcome event, 'coz it wasn't. Career matters set aside, the change in work environment very much helped me set a few things in motion (as well as obtain new experiences). For one, I managed to re-align my finances and let our house get some of the renovations it had been in need of for the past 15years or so. And although I haven't stayed true to paying up all my credit cards, at least I am managing my money more efficiently since I'm staying at home.

Moreover, I got to learn lots of technical stuff in my new team. At least now I'm confident that I DO DESERVE to get that upgrade come next assessment. Either that, or start planning on seeking greener pastures. (This part of the plan is still hanging, pending the results of the next annual PA)

I guess I'd cut that bit about work at that point. I do want to chronicle a few more events, but I think they're pretty confidential stuff. Let's just move on to the next major event this year, which is...

Bye pRO, Hello RainRO
Yeah, I consider that something big for this year. Of course, I had been thinking of leaving pRO for good (for several reasons, such as LU!G focusing less and less on CUSTOMER SERVICE and more on CUSTOMER EXPLOITATION).

I never thought I could get pRO out of my system, because it was one of the mental mechanisms I employed to balance out the dull existence of living teh ACeS life. But several turning points shook me to reality that pRO had long passed the point of no return (from the place called oblivion). And then I chanced upon RainRO, and I soon learned to unlearn my loyalty to pRO (in which I had been a faithful follower for the past 5years).

Long story short, I replanted my roots to a server that doesn't promise anything more than a fun playing environment. And after sweating it out for a few months, I managed to let go of all my attachments to pRO (my account is still active, though).

Of course, my renewed addiction to Ragnarok Online via RainRO is hogging most of my online time. I hadn't been updating this blog, since I'd rather level my characters than come up with proses and updates.

Still, I find this life a bit better than ACeS (which I admit I no longer miss).

In 2009
I'd end this year-ender with a few words about my plans for next year. Yeah, career stuff will dominate every aspect of my goals (I do hope for an upgrade *crosses fingers* ). And did I or did I not say that I believe promises should be kept no matter what? =P

My plans for the coming year will include those things I failed to accomplish in 2008. I'd add up a few more objectives, perhaps when the need arises, but all in all, I expect to face another fruitful year.

Happy New Year! ^^,

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Just a quick...

Merry Christmas!!! Hoping for great times this holiday season *cheers* ^^,

Friday, 5 December 2008

Officially unofficial

Well, after roughing it out for a few months now, I might as well make it official. I've left pRO for this:



Please give it a try, if you may. I'm not actually endorsing it, but I do find the server much more pleasant than pRO.

A/N: I'll probably upload this post later after checking my previous entries.

Monday, 1 December 2008

Smile! =)

If you're anywhere within the Philippines right now, I suggest you take a look at the moon. You'll probably see something like this...



Zooming to as much as my phone could:



Smile!

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Bye Bye, Vampire

It had been easier than I expected, and I'm really grateful for it.

Our company did some reorganization a few weeks ago, and I was assigned a different group. Same team, though, but a different set of duties and responsibilities.

Among the members of the group, I have the least experience in handling the equipment we are now solely in-charge of. Yeah, yeah, rookie much as always (but hey, since I always start from scratch, I always have a shot at getting an "improved" rating on my performance appraisals, right?) =P

But there is something very much welcome amidst all the changes - no more graveyard shift! ^^,

Bye bye, vampire. I thought all those months of never-ending night duties had made me nocturnal already, but thankfully I was wrong. Adjusting to the normal people schedule (as my friend Mai calls it) had been easier than I expected. Now I can look forward to getting sufficient amount of sleep and getting back on-track with body workouts.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Eagle Eye Candy

Whether it's three or four weeks of going to the mall just to check if the movie's showing, it doesn't really matter. All the wait and wasted effort proved to be worth it, though, as Eagle Eye is generally as good as Hollywood films get.

Owkay, good things first. Cinematography and editing, direction and sound effects - they're all good, nothing to say against them. Basically, there's no dull moment in whole 2hours of playing time, although I'd admit that the story's predictability is way too much that one can really expect what to happen next. I think this fact is rather advantageous, as the viewers are left to concentrate more and more on each scene - and each scene is really well-caught on film.

Well, apart from Wanted, this is another movie that had me yearning to watch another re-run after finishing the first (but didn't due to time constraints). But like Wanted, this movie's biggest flaw lies on the story itself.

(NOTE: I wrote this review after reading other interviews of the movie) It seems many critics think that preposterous is but too soft a word to describe the plot - and I do have to agree with them. It doesn't take a telecommunications engineer (such as myself) to figure out that the main idea behind the Eagle Eye program is not just unlikely, most possibly such a notion will be nipped off the bud the moment someone suggest to turn all mobile devices into BigBrother-able sound receivers. Technically, it's not gonna happen soon (with soon here meaning the next 100 years or so) because everyone and their mothers will most probably object to the idea.

No, cellphone companies will not market handheld devices that can relegate their controls to a foreign entity. And yes, technophobic, it's still safe to buy that phone you're eyeing for so long.

Absurd plot elements or not, Eagle Eye is generally great. There are lapses, yes, but the whole movie experience makes up for it. And for a movie that tries hard to make the viewers as dumb and technophobic as possible (whether or not it succeeds is a non-issue), I'm still satisfied with the ticket price and the hassles of dropping by the movie house week after week just to check. Although I'm not keeping my fingers crossed for a sequel, I'd still give the movie an 9.0/10.

Driving logs

Out of necessity, I usually drive to go to work. (But please don't ask what brand, model, etc., I'd rather keep that a secret) =P

So for the past six months, I've been plying the 20-km highway connecting my town to the nearby city where I work at least 10 times per week. And of course, that is regardless of the weather condition (for example, I've been through an awfully strong rain in the middle of the night), and time of day. I've got to work, and I've got to get there on time.

I can say that each trip is an experience worth blogging, although I can't say for sure if what I'll write is... pleasant. XD This is why I'm adding another label (Driving Logs) to my posts, please expect these blog updates to be road-related.

Monday, 27 October 2008

Through my eyes

About two or three months ago, I decided to try my luck on one of the many contests I saw on TV (c'mon, I'm sure we all did, one time or another, right?). The rule was so simple, yet ultimately complicated at the same time. XD

Oh yeah, the contest I'm talking about is Nat Geo Asia's Genius of Photography. Basically, the contestant is made to choose, among a set of photos, the one picture that the original photographer liked best. A very simple rule, right?

Well, the hard part is guessing the person's rationale. Choosing the right photo is one thing, finding out why he liked it is an altogether different and totally mind-boggling task. C'mon, how will you know what a stranger is thinking, when you don't know him in the first place?

Seeing there's no chance of actually guessing the right one, I chose to just put my own thoughts into it. I was thinking, well, we might be thinking the same thing anyway. But of course, we weren't, else I'd be blogging about my winnings, right? XD

Anyway, for me the best among those photos is the one entitled, "Multicolored Reflections." Here's my reason:

"Color greatly attracts the eyes, and Multicolored Reflections does command attention. Aside from showcasing how light play can truly spice up photographs, this picture also tells how things may be seen in "a different light" - that is, that a thing's beauty is multi-faceted and that looking at something in various angles and lighting conditions may reveal something more than the eyes can see. Furthermore, Multicolored Reflections leaves a strong imprint upon the beholders - a forceful declaration of how photographers ensure that a thing's beauty, captured at the precise moment, may be given its own place in eternity."


Thinking about my words, I come to realize something I had been missing all along - the reason why I love traveling and taking pictures. I may have been too distracted to the point that I was just going with the flow of activities, and not really doing what I really wanted to do in the first place - taking photographs that will let others see, in my own perspective, the true beauty of those places where I had been.

Nothing much in this post

I've been procrastinating again, and the list of things I should have done is getting longer. There are the topics I should have blogged about several weeks ago, as well as the revisions I should have effected on this blog's template and on my friendster profile page. Then there are also the endless computations and projections, project studies and implementations, and the whatnots in between - arrgh!

Owkay, my body clock got messed up because of several events during the past few weeks. I'm still pushing myself to get back on track, but still failing at it 'coz of several side activities that are draining my diligence. XD

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Two Out of Three

Two days into my 3-day mandatory leave, and I still don't feel like I'm taking a break. XD Maybe it's 'coz of the unusual amount of the_usual_chores that I do almost on a daily basis, but I could swear that that wasn't two whole days! Pfffft...

Or, perhaps, I'm feeling this way because I'm really excited to go to LU Live!? I dunno really. I'm going on the second day, though, since I don't have that much of a budget for it.

Anyway, I just thought about not having some R&R despite the fact I'm on mandatory leave. I do remember that back in ACeS, the 3-day mandatory leave was something we look forward to. But then again, in that team we can extend the mandatory leave to as long as 10 days of utter bliss. HAR! HAR! HAR! (I only stretched mine to 8 days, actually, although I was the schemer behind my teammate's 10-day vacation last year) =P

Well, as my mom puts it, I feel this way because I had been passing time the same way as I do on a regular work day (particularly when doing the graveyard shift). Yes, it's probably due to the length of my stay in ACeS that I still haven't gotten the hang of how I do my work around here (ie., merely spending 8 hours on the office and staying at home for the remaining hours of the day).

Still, over-analyzing and ascertaining the root cause of this situation doesn't change the fact that tomorrow's the last of my 3-day mandatory leave for this year. And I'll still be busy on the next two days after that to actually have time for some R&R. ~_~

Thursday, 16 October 2008

In Four Days

I certainly know not what events can transpire in the next four days. I cannot say that the world economies will recover - no, stock markets are not my thing. I also cannot predict whether the weather will truly be fine or not - I'm not a meteorologist. But one thing I do know will hold true is this: I'll be 25 years old in four days' time.

Yes, the fourth day from now is my 25th birthday. And it never rains on my birthday. =P

Now, I do not know why it never rains on my birthday - I just noticed it, and I do hope it stays that way. I only like rains for my plants to flourish well, but my natal day happens but once a year, so the downpours can take that day off. ^^,

The month of October is one of the peaks of the stormy season; many of the strongest typhoons devastated the country on this month. But no matter how great the weather disturbances could be, they always stayed away from my birthday. Quite great, isn't it? ^_^

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

A Better Approach

Poverty is a global problem with enormous implications in our pasts, presents, and futures. It is an ever-growing predicament that continues to engulf more and more individuals, especially in the world we are in right now.

Let's face it - poverty is everywhere, and it is developing as a threat to what must be a bright future for us. It brings complications far worse than many give it credit for - as issues like terrorism and dissent are largely due to an increasing number of people caught within it's grasp.In order to move forward, it is crucial that everyone takes part...

While it is true that more and more of the poorest of the poor are being entrenched into living lives of violence, I still believe that there are ways to turn all of these around. And I also believe that, in order to move forward, it is crucial that everyone takes part in countering this otherwise adverse trend.

Yes, governments all over the globe are trying their best to eliminate poverty, particularly in their areas of sovereignty. However, I highly doubt that all of their deeds are really for the best - after all, they only work for what they adjudge as best serving their own nation's interests.

It is precisely because people and governments are not collectively addressing poverty that I am getting more skeptical as to whether their actions will be all for the best. Because in doing so, they tend to sacrifice those they could just to attain their desired ends.

I'll just use a certain market example to show my point. Let's just say that most people would like to buy their necessities in as cheap a price as possible. Many will pay less for their food if they just could. Surely, their government will likely try to "protect their welfare" and keep the food prices down. The downside? How about those farmers that produce the goods, must their "own welfare" be sacrificed so that consumers will get the cheapest-priced merchandise?

There are other better examples, I think, but I'll just use that one since it makes the illustration a little less complicated. Of course I can google up some bits of information, and come up with cross references to how the current first world governments had, at one time or another, exploited the poorest of our nations today. But that is beyond my point.

Thing is, the better approach to solving this burgeoning dilemma is collective action aimed at uplifting EACH and EVERY INDIVIDUAL in the world. Merely creating jobs for the unemployed WILL NOT END POVERTY, especially if we're talking of salaries in the bare minimum levels. Getting all kids to have primary education is also not as effective, since schooling doesn't necessarily mean the future generation will have a future.

The journey towards the eradication of poverty is one in which the voyagers must travel together with complementary cadences.If we are to put an end to poverty, we can only do so by joining hands and taking the proper steps TOGETHER. Everyone, from the members of the highest social strata down to those living below the poverty line, must do their part in an approach that is better than separate, and totally unrelated, courses of actions.

Now if the members of the upper class will cease exploiting those in the lower classes, and if the lower members will stop trying to bring down those in the higher levels, there will be a clearer path for everyone to follow. That path is a road that must be traversed with all the people walking side by side towards the common goal of development.

Truly, the journey towards the eradication of poverty is one in which the voyagers must travel together with complementary cadences.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Spaghetti month

It began as an excuse, and then turned into a challenge. And before I know it, a month has already passed.

At first, I was just too lazy to come up with any update. A few days onward, I thought I'd challenge myself with how long I can keep my thoughts to myself. Couple those with some facts like crappy work schedules, tons of house duties, and a renewed addiction to gardening, gaming and interior decorating and that would likely explain the inactivity around here. XD

Moreover, I had also entertained the thought of quitting. For the past month when I wasn't writing down anything, I felt wonderful without the pressure of having to come up with something worthwhile for my (I hope not so) few readers to read. But no, a pressure-less existence just isn't my thing. I really must continue writing, because I need to.

So enough with procrastinating - updates are already long overdue. I also should post something relevant to this year's Blog Action Day's theme (poverty) - the day is just around the corner, because it's already October.

Oh yeah, it's already October!

Nah, I haven't forgotten about that since there are lots of reminders to keep me posted. And those reminders come in the form of noodles mixed with red tomato/ketchup sauce. Neighbors are flooding us with that that I hereby dub this month as "Spaghetti Month" ^^,

(And yeah, I'd get even in a few days - I'll also be send my neighbors some spaghetti on my birthday).

Saturday, 30 August 2008

Return of teh Vampire

Due to a sudden twist of unfortunate events, I find myself going back to being the nocturnal animal I used to be back in ACeS. I think I need not emphasize the fact that that lifestyle really had detrimental effects on my health. This is why I was thankful that when I was transferred here in my new office, I had to do the graveyard duty only *once* a week.

Sadly, until we have enough manpower, I have to do 3 night shifts per week. *sigh*

Apart from the hassles associated with such shifting schedule, another significant reason had got me wanting to go and tender my resignation right away (LOLz). I'd have just shrugged all of it off if not for that peculiar timing with which all of these had to take - I already had plans that had been set several weeks/months before. I'd just reset the plans if I could, however the plans involve going to events that occur only *once* a year. *another sigh*

Things such as this are among the reasons why I no longer see a future in this company. Nagtatrabaho ako para mabuhay, di ako nabubuhay para magtrabaho (I work in order to live, not the other way around). Really now, don't the higher ups realize that small things such as this are pushing the employees to seek greener pastures? These days, I don't think they do.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Abrupt Changes

In the light of several events that happened over the past few days, I've decided to effect several changes to my plans (both short- and long-term ones). The core objectives are likely the same, but I'm gonna do some major overhaul over the plan of actions.

This is basically why I didn't bother blogging for a whole week - I figured that I needed to think back and pinpoint what exactly I must be doing for the future (and yeah, I'm largely referring to money matters here). Among many other things, this blog's direction is also greatly affected, since I'm abandoning a few plans I thought of setting into action (well, like putting google ads, for instance).

My immediate course of actions include wrapping a few loose threads here and there, and preparing for the bigger goals I've set. I just hope I can bring my ideas to reality, and finish those I must. Two years more 'til I can go to the next levels - can't wait (ie., my resignation letter is pretty much full of reasons/justifications right now). XD

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Commemorating Language Month

EVERY August, this country I'm in commemorates the father of our national language (Manuel L. Quezon) by having what is called, "Buwan ng Wika" (Language Month). Yeah, I'm in the Philippines and the national language is Filipino (an amalgamation of several leading dialects, actually, but prominently Tagalog-based). Of course we speak English, considered our second language, because of several reasons (the top ones would be since the economy's also depending on foreign trade and since it provides jobs to call boys and girls. puns intended. Hehe) =P

During the "Buwan ng Wika", everyone is enjoined to speak the national language as a sign of respect for that which is considered the nation's soul. However, as oil can't be mixed with water, there are several aspects of our day to day existence that just can't go with that flow of patriotism (this blog included, because I think there are those of other nationalities who happen upon it one time or another).

And then came one moment when my idle mind came up with another crazy idea: why not, under the guise of national pride, dedicate a whole day when everyone in the country should use Filipino exclusively? It's plainly absurd, yes, but I have listed down a few things here that could offer some 'compromise.' ^^,

  1. Telecoms

  2. Really, among the industries that will certainly be greatly affected would be the very same I'm in. This is where my absurd ideas of Tagalizing began, actually, since everyone in the country knows the spiels, whether through voice announcements or through text messages, are in English.

    Just picture this, a subscriber dials a number that is out of coverage area. He/she will hear this message instead, "Ang numerong pinindot ay di maabot. Iba na lang ang pindutin." (I won't try to translate this in English, haha! For those who don't understand the message, please come back some other day for the usual stuff.)

    And yes, I have a sample message for a text spiel. Remember those call buckets readily available for say, twenty pesos for 5 one-minute calls (or something)? After the sixth attempt, the subscriber's call will not be connected, and he/she will get this text message instead, "Ang iyong kaligayahan ay pinutol na dahil hanggang doon lang ang iyong binayad." =D


  3. Banking and Finance

  4. Here's another industry heavily dependent on the English language. Business terms are almost always in English, but I think we can have these appear on bank records on that "special" day: "Dagdag", "Bawas", "Pagpaparami", etc. in lieu of "Credits", "Debits", and "Interest" XD

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Note: I'll just update this post some other time. I'm quite sleepy now. :)

Return to status quo

I'm quite calmer now that I've vented out on my last post. Therefore, things around here will be going back to the way they were before (since I still don't intend to stray from the usual mood of this blog). I have some topics I lined up for discussion, and I would have blogged about them if not for those recent happenings in the country that prompted me talk about current events.

Also, I'm joining the Blog Action Day again, as I did last year. Topic this time around is poverty, and I think I can express what I have in mind as regards the matter over the next few weeks.

Monday, 18 August 2008

On Philippine Current Events

IT seems I am yet again breaking my word with this post. I had, time and again, said that I'll try to keep this blog free from political posts because that is how I really wanted this to be. But I just can't let the things happening in Mindanao to just pass by. It just had to stop.

PLEASE OBLITERATE THE MILF.

There. That's my stand. I had given up believing that the Moro Islamic Liberation Front is really fighting for a peaceful Moro land in the country's second largest island. I'm not totally against autonomous regions in this country (but I seriously doubt they're for the best), but what this group is asking for (BJE) is something that goes against my books in so many ways.

Really, why the need for autonomy, if not just asking for POWER? Why ask for division, when there is not even cooperation within their ranks?

The recent bouts of violence that transpired in Lanao today clearly shows that the peace treaty with the MILF will not be different from that with the MNLF. In other words, the MoA-AD will not provide a lasting solution to the peace problems in Mindanao. Scrap it all. Destroy the MILF, and seek other ways to achieve a peaceful Mindanao.

MILF problems aside, there is another matter I decided to include in this post. Since I'm straying away from the usual mood of this blog, I might as well pull out all the stops.

First of all, I am no fan of reality shows, much more those talent searches. But my parents had been watching Pinoy Idol on GMA7, and since the show was airing during dinner time on the past Saturdays, I had no choice but to watch it as well. As a matter of fact, I didn't care who'd win the effing show several weeks ago, but the announcement of winners last night just got my blood boiling.

I don't claim to be good in music. Heck, I even disagree with my younger brother as regards his definition of the term (I don't count much of the emo songs these days as 'music'). But I'm sure many will agree when I say that the winner, Gretchen Espina, is not deserving of the title, "Pinoy Idol." I don't give a damn about Ogie Alcasid's excuses (that the winner was determined via text votes), the whole damn show was a farce in the end! This winner doesn't even have the star potential, I highly doubt she'll make it big.

Two thumbs down to the frikkin' TV network for fooling the viewers! I really respected GMA network, thinking it values honor much more than rival ABS-CBN. But no, they're both worthless.

So now, I'm sticking to anime. At least Code Geass managed to salvage whatever respect I had left for it, with R2 episode 19.

Friday, 15 August 2008

Planting in Ipo Reservoir

SINCE I have been harping much about environmental awareness lately, I thought it’s about time that I really do some concrete actions and get my hands dirty by actually doing… something. =P

So, I took advantage of an opportunity that came swinging my way – a tree planting activity organized by our company. Get that. Organized. By. The. Company. And yeah, we were kinda paid to do so. ^^,

Alright, alright, I don’t wanna sound like a hypocrite here. I’d still do it even if I weren’t given a one-day community service leave. Anyway, I could do with the exercise (and the trek) as I’ve been increasing my body mass index (BMI) ever since I was relocated in my new office, and, more importantly, I love plants (need I elaborate, or should I just point you guys to one of those posts preceding this one?) =P

Oh yeah, this is where we planted the narra seedlings:

Ipo Dam - Supplying, ehem, clean water in Metro Manila
Ladies and gentlemen, Ipo Dam – one of the three reservoirs that provide a steady supply of water to the capital city (er, if my memory serves me right, it’s the smallest of the three – with the La Mesa topping the list, and Angat the second). So yeah, you people in the capital might soon be drinking the water that washed my feet after the tree planting. Hehe. ^^,

The activity was fun, although very short. As a matter of fact, our travel time far greatly exceeded the duration of the tree planting (we only planted for about an hour vs. the more than 5hour-journey). And while I was replanting the seedlings, I was also noting the environment (feeling adventurer/explorer, hehe).

There were lots of giant forest millipedes, and of course, mosquitoes! XD Too bad I left my camera phone behind – I was afraid it may fall on the water, as we had to ride a boat to get to the planting site – I’d have taken lots of pictures of the things I found there (yeah, there were wild *orchids*, but they’re not in bloom, or else I’d have snitched them and brought them home *joke*).

Despite the fact that I was only able to plant at most 50 seedlings (I was hoping to get a most-planted-seedlings-award, haha!), the activity was satisfying enough. I did manage to accomplish much, if not all, the goals I’ve set – ie., getting away from work, sweating out excess poundage, and going places. I really look forward to doing this again (next year, since we only have on community service leave per year). =P

Paningit lang...

Please don't mind the title if you don't understand it (it's a phrase in the vernacular, btw). I just wanna say that trying to update on a daily basis is, er... something I'm not gonna do anymore. I just realized that I can't do it, for several reasons. XD

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Shii's Song

WEEKS ago, my friend James introduced me to Shii via a post in that_message_board that I used to frequent. And ever since I first saw the video on Youtube.com, I have loved the song mainly for the nice melody and the solemn message. The video, Shii's song, is a flash rendition of Shii the cat singing her version of Wind's Nocturne.



I loved the song enough for me to consider replacing the current playing song on the background ("Where Love Doesn't Reach") with it. But I decided against it in the end. =P

Still, I have the song playing continuously whenever I'm at the office and there's nobody else around, especially when I want to sleep. Hehe. It's very much relaxing, both for mind and spirit, and it helps me snooze off quickly (while on duty, that is.) ^^,

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Note: Post updated to suit the standard BLUE PHOENIX style.

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

First Anniversary =P

I really have quite forgotten how long it had been. Turns out, Sandra here had been with me for a year already. And as if to commemorate our anniversary, she produced these nice flowers. =P

There they go...

THERE they go... again. And this time, the family’s gotten bigger. Plus, they’re out to prove that two thousand years of existence ain’t enough for some people (namely, Zi Yuan and Lin) to come up with a simple solution to a simple problem. YRLY.

Alright, I’m supposed to be doing the usual movie review after watching a film, but I just can’t seem to maintain neutrality (as I always did) on THAT particular movie (hint: it’s about a mummy, a tomb, a dragon and an emperor). But I ain’t saying it’s very bad – not at all, sir/madam - it’s just bloody retarded in the end.

Well, for those who at this point still haven’t figured the insinuations, I’m talking about "The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor" – the movie I watched a couple of days ago (four days and running, to be exact). The reason for the late review is my usual laziness coupled with the usual weather disturbances and recurring power interruptions.

First off, the good: this movie had everything; the bad: maybe a tad too much.

True, the story is quite solid enough, following a few years after the last Mummy storyline. The original couple, now retired, is happily living a monotonous English life somewhere in London while their son had taken over the task of tomb raiding (albeit secretly in the beginning). As expected, the mummy (in this story, a Chinese emperor) is resurrected through a bizarre twist of events and wreaks havoc. And as if in conformity with the two preceding films, the resurrected villain needs something to achieve completion (and conquer the world) and manages to clear those necessities one by one – only to be defeated in the end. Defeated, mind you, by being stabbed on the heart by a cursed dagger - the very dagger that could have killed him long before had Zi Yuan just thought of resurrecting him one sunny day and driving the blade the instant it was possible. But no, it wouldn't make for a good movie, would it? The mother and daughter tandem just had to wait for the O'Connells to finally put things to and end.

In other words, the movie was quite predictable. Furthermore, it tried to squeeze in lots of scenes and story material in such a relatively short span of time (2hours) such that some shots are noticeably hurried and under-exposed.

On a subjective viewpoint, I’d say I didn’t enjoy it as much as the producers would have wanted, plainly because I personally didn’t like what they did with the third movie. This is coming from one who truly liked the first two movies.

If I were to put it bluntly, this movie just isn’t the sequel I was hoping for. But it could be just me, of course.

Yes, the movie ain’t so bad. In general, it’s worth the ticket, I daresay. I’d still give it a 7/10 despite the shortcomings I listed above, mainly because watching it was a nice enough experience (really better to watch it on the big screen instead of on the_usual_channels). And yeah, it is a good date movie, if I may add. I really wasn’t expecting it to be so, but I guess that it’s good as it is anyway.

Sunday, 10 August 2008

With the Blowing Winds

HEAVEN knows what all things will lead to, and for my case I rest the outcome of my decisions to the winds. There are things that are just beyond the scope of human abilities – and it’s better to watch the consequences and react from there.

But not always of course.

Still, the inevitable fact remains that human wisdom will never be sufficient to fully understand a complex reality such as the future. No amount of planning, no amount of precaution, nothing within a mere mortal’s powers can prepare everyone for what is to come.

And although it’s wise to save up for the rainy day, it’s always better to savor every moment spent under the sun. Live life to the fullest, so as not to regret every step taken, and not long to bring back every second that has already passed.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Finding Our Purpose

I suppose I should make a follow-up to the post immediately preceding this (or something of the matter). Ahhmm... But I don't think I have enough to say about the environment at this point to make another full blog update. Oh well, I think I'd just blog about that-which-came-upon-me- through-the-usual-channels. =P

What I'm talking about? The animated movie from Pixar, Wall-E, which is a nice film over-all, that's what. And yeah, it's not yet released in this part of the Globe planet. Hehe.

Alright, let's all glance over the_usual_channels I spoke of, and just focus on the film. It basically succeeds in it's objectives as a kiddie movie (er... was there ever one?). Nice graphical renditions, good storyline, a nice plot (pretty straightforward without any plot twists) - in other words, kids should enjoy it. (I'm a kid at heart anyway, so at least count me in). ^^,

The reason why I thought a review of WALL-E is a good follow-up to the preceding post is that this movie also talks about the ill-effects of bastardizing the environment. Set in a gloom futuristic earth, the movie very much implants a clear picture of how the planet may end up if the pollution problem is left unchecked. In other words, the planet will die and human beings may be forced to settle in outer space.

WALL-E succeeds in reaching out to the viewers plainly because of a very simple approach (ie., a children's film approach). It also manages to relay it's message effectively, if I may add. And the movie also proves that there's no need for in-depth, fancy dialogs to build up a nice story about love between two (seemingly) sentient robots. (Well yeah, I didn't expect that the two can very well carry out a conversation despite their ability to only say "woll-eee" and "ee-vee")

But if there is something the movie wanted to convey to the audience, I think it would be: we should all act to save the planet because no one else will do that for us. We should at the very least find our purpose, our part in the collective effort to save the planet. And after knowing what we are to accomplish, we should put them into action and not wait until things are already too late.

A Fundamental Step

NOWADAYS, the world is getting a beating from the forces of nature, which seem to be becoming more and more violent as the years go by. Yeah, global warming is a large factor behind these weather disturbances (and whatnots), and I do believe we should all really seriously think about our future.

Come to think about it, nature really isn't going against us. The cataclysmic weather phenomena we are experiencing for the past few years is directly, or at times indirectly, caused by humans, who seem to be not acting their part (and behaving like animals, in a sense).

I do believe that one of the first steps we need to undertake is to acknowledge the fact that these hardships we are going through is caused mainly by our own actions and inactions. These catastrophes - typhoons, hurricanes - are naturally-occurring mechanisms that balances and maintains the equilibrium, although their disastrous effects are worsened by recent human activities.

Again, I'd quote the Filipino saying, "Ang di lumingon sa pinanggalingan, di makararating sa paroroonan." We should always bear in mind the past errors we've committed, try our best to rectify these mistakes and avoid repeating them yet again.

Monday, 4 August 2008

Just a quickie

Seeing that it's already August, I decided that I should first put up a short advisory before going on with blabbing about mundane stuff. I'll try to make it as brief and concise as possible, because that's what advisories should be about, right?

Well, last month I was able to churn out a total of 27 posts. Hopefully I can go beyond that this time around, since my actual target is a blog post a day. Owkay, I didn't quite do just that in July - I rather made two posts a day in the latter part of the month. =P

Hopefully I can stick to that plan for the succeeding months (although I already have a backlog of three posts). And I also hope to carry out other plans with the remainder of 2008 (such as losing all the excess poundage I've gained ever since I stopped frequenting the gym).

AAAANNDDDDD... I'm also yet to pay my credit card debts. XD

Thursday, 31 July 2008

Rain Woes

JUST how crazy can the weather here in the tropics get? I've been living in this place all my life and yet I still can't predict just how the day will turn out. Waking up to a sunny morning just to get drenched in the afternoon rains is not a happy experience. RLY. XD

Owkay, I'm ranting again. And I'm ranting about the weather!

Bleh! Don't mind me please. I'm just frustrated about getting wet in the rain even with my rain gear on.

Still, I'm thankful for the rains. My plants seem to enjoy the humidity, and several of them are bearing flowers now.

Hmm... So I haven't posted any new pics lately. I'll just update this post later and upload a few pics. Here's to hoping my cellphone camera doesn't fail me tomorrow. Cheers! *Drinks up rainwater. XD*

UPDATE: So I hate the rains, but Sandra seems to be enjoying them. Look! She has two flower spikes already. =P


Hopefully, she'll be in full bloom by the latter part of the month.

Life-Changing Moments

HOW often do people come across life-changing moments? Funny that just last night, I was dead sure that that the answer is "very rarely, if not at all." In fact, had I managed to blog about it last night, the main idea of the post would have revolved around how scant those chances are, when people can stand up to prove themselves.

But the weather was a bit uncooperative, and I had to sleep early because of the thunderstorm. And when I woke up this morning and thought about it thoroughly, I realized that my previous answer had been wrong, so wrong.

I was mistaken last night, because I forgot a very important point - that when we say life-changing, we don't usually mean momentous incidents. And this morning, I remembered just that, and it suddenly struck me that my point of view had been wrong.

Every single moment of our existence, and each one of our decisions - no matter how small or insignificant they may seem - they all have a great effect in our future. We just can't shrug off a little deed in the morning as bearing no consequence to how our day will turn out.

Taking that into consideration, the answer to my first question changes to "an infinite amount of time."

=P

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Dark and Light, Dull and Bright

EVERYONE has a tendency to be evil, but everyone is also predisposed to be good. That pretty much sums up the main point of "Batman: Dark Knight." Yeah, yeah, it's already old news but I managed to watch the movie on the big screen just a few hours ago.

Owkay, to that summation I'd wholeheartedly agree. I for one am a believer in the inherent goodness in everyone and everything, and I also acknowledge that even the thinnest paper has two sides. But if I am to give my own rating to Dark Knight, I'd give it only a 7.5/10.

Sure, the movie ticket is more than worth it. Actually, the movie is lengthy (and dragging at some points) by my standards. I've lost count of how many times I glanced at my watch to check the time, and after the movie I just couldn't stand right away (as if my legs have decided to sleep there and then).

Dark Knight is fine over-all, the acting is good as well as the direction and cinematography. Effects are quite well and not overdone (I really loved how the hospital was blasted to smithereens, hehe). I suppose there weren't over- and under-exposure of some scenes (because frankly, I've lost track at one point or another). But I'm not satisfied with the story, and I think that a different script would have fared better.

AANNDDD... I'd have to disagree with that cellphone SONAR thing. I don't suppose mobile phone manufacturers would design SONAR-capable handsets even if they were directed to (and I won't believe they'd ever be ordered to do just that). I won't say it's a stupid idea, but I'm not saying it's a bright one in the first place.

On to the next movie, I suppose. Good night! (^^,)

Two Years Since

REGARDLESS of what we all have been through, no matter how far apart we may be right now - one fact remains and it remains true to this day: "Once a Sikatorse, always a Sikatorse."

Yes, it's more than two years since we started our journey. I know many of you guys are planning to leave next year (I'd very much like to join you but I just can't). But wherever your feet may take you, wherever you may decide to let your roots be replanted - we'll always be the best and most democratic, the biggest and most coherent of all the batches that made up the CDS.

Cheers to two fruitful years! Hope to still see you around this time around next year! =P (Or rather, don't forget to send the regular group emails, should you no longer be part of the company then.)

Monday, 28 July 2008

Counting down

SEVERAL years back (well, two to be exact), I had not seriously considered working in a different land. As a matter of fact, I used to tell anyone who'd ask, "I'd go abroad, but only as a tourist." Back then, I wished to stay in this country while pursuing my dreams (although I still didn't know what they are).

But in the light of all the work-related events that transpired during my now two-year stay in this company, I had come to that painful decision to swallow my pride and 'go with the flow.' Yes, I'm counting down 'til I can officially tender my resignation ('coz I'm not legally capable to file it until about two years from now). And I'm not the only one - many of my co-workers who started at the same time as me had already expressed their decisions to go as well.

Borrowing the words of one of my batchmates in Sikatorse:

"If you don't go after what you want, you'll never have it. If you don't ask, the answer is always no. If you don't step forward, you'll always stay in the same place. Take risks, for life goes on."

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Gauging the Changes

KEEPING track of changes, particularly those minuscule accretions or reductions, is not always easy especially for who have a tendency to ignore the accumulating discrepancies until the differences are much too obvious. More so if the changes we are talking about are changes in an individual's attitudes and views in life. Yes, I'm talking about myself here, but I guess many can relate to me anyway. XD

So I haven't been noticing until just a moment ago, those subtle changes in me that I failed to notice 'coz of the things that are keeping me busy these days (like sleeping at home or on the job; LOLz). Lately I have been slowly attaining a few of my goals (which I set at the start of the year) and I didn't realize that I had. Blame it on the distractions, perhaps, but I think I know the real reason why I just shrug them off until the change is so great to ignore. I ignored the changes because they are just the initial, necessary steps I had to implement to attain my true objectives.

I don't know exactly when, but I have been slowly fulfilling #1 and #5 of my 2008 plan of action and the results are quite conspicuous already. I now know I'm a more mature individual/professional as compared to a few months ago, and I'm now looking at things at an even better light.

Yeah, I've been complaining much about some company stuff that occurred not-so-long ago, as well as my moments of indecision. But these days, I have succeeded in closing the books of old wrongs and directing my attention instead to the future ahead. I have, so to speak, matured well enough to keep myself at peace with the things that used to make me bicker and sulk in a corner. If before I used to say, "poor me, having to suffer through these...", now I can proudly say, "oh, so this is why I had to undergo those 'tortures'..." =P

Yes I have changed, and it isn't really the kind of change I always wanted (except of course for the still continuous lost of excess poundage, which is among the wanted ones). In truth, I never thought I'd see things the way I do now. But yeah, I have come to a decision that I used to despise because of my nationalistic idealism - to pack my baggages and allow my roots to get planted elsewhere.

Yes, I've finally given up on this country and I'm preparing to relocate. Although I feel it is pretty hypocritical of me to say so, I have accepted the fact that at times eating your own words is far easier than it seems. Giving up pride for more vital necessities is a mark of maturity, I surmise, and being able to do just that show how much I've changed without me knowing it.

Friday, 25 July 2008

A Possibility(?)

IF I had just managed to keep track every time, I might have enough data by now to contest whether it may really be attributed to just coincidence. Oh, what I am talking about? Nothing really =P

Lately I just keep noticing that about 90 percent (or more) of the time, I'd be receiving text messages on my phone whenever I touch it. YRLY. SRSLY. I dunno if this phenomenon is just pure coincidence or what, but the almost-mathematical accuracy is just getting on my nerves.

Just picture this, every time I'm at home I have this habit of putting my cellphone on top of the PC table (for easy access). My work (which extends even to the periods when I'm off-duty) ensures that I receive more than enough calls/texts than the average cellphone user, so whenever I'm at home I try to distance from it as much as possible. And just about every time I feel the need to take a peek at my phone, a message will suddenly pop up - whether be it work-related, or any other message from my friends.

And that is what makes me curious. Why do I always feel the urge to touch my phone just a couple of seconds before a message arrives? Had I ever welcomed the absurd possibility, I'd be claiming now that the nature of my job had made me sensitive to radio waves that I have a working RF antenna somewhere within my body. =P

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Passed Generation

EVERY time I frequent the places where I used to hang out with my college buddies, I realized more and more that my generation had passed. Or something like that. Yeah, yeah, I should have known that long ago but certain courses of events have preventing me from thinking about it. I'm a full-grown adult human physically, but please allow me to remain my childish self from time to time - in this blog at least. =P

After every trip to the mall, I am left to ponder why it still feels as though it was just yesterday that I was a college student. Several years after obtaining my degree and yet it doesn't seem too far away.

The answer isn't too hard to find, actually. I had joined the workforce for more than three years already but those weren't serious (at least that what I think).

In other words, three years had passed and most of the people my age have gone on with their lives. Many have attained that level of professionalism and career success I'm still dreaming of. There are several more who have started their own families (and are now blessed with kids). Yet through it all, there remains the same Jherskie who essentially stayed the same.

Perhaps it's because of the nature of my work around here, which lets me stay in touch with the ever-changing world. Or maybe it's my online activities that do the trick. The thing is, I failed in grasping the reality that I should have gone on with my own generation.

But still, there's no use denying that the body grows old. People, places and things change, even if those standing as spectators fail to notice the sublime differences. Fads and trends come and go; popular concepts die out and become unpopular.

And me? I'm remaining as one of the spectators watching how change is repainting the colors of the world around us. I can't go on with the flow of the new generation that superseded mine (may the all-powerful deities bless these young ones, wake them up from the ugly hair styles they're sporting, strip them of the ridiculous clothes they're wearing, and lead them to live more useful lives). But how long I'll just stand and watch, I'll let time decide while I sit down waiting.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Ramblings

I had always been wondering - am I really destined to know everything I wanted to, yet not be able to utilize them to the utmost I desire?

The immediately preceding post before this one (Knowledge) is a conclusion I came up with after reading this wikipedia entry about geeks. Knowledge for knowledge's sake is a path of life for many - and I think I'm among those who have chosen this path.

I have an insatiable thirst for knowledge. As a matter of fact, my love for traveling is but an offshoot of my desire to know the world better by viewing it through my own eyes. I was not one to travel for traveling's sake, but rather I journeyed because i wanted to acquire the knowledge firsthand via my five (or perhaps six) senses.

Never before had I acknowledged my affiliation to geekdom, but it was never an issue anyway. All the people around me saw me as the general info quiz bee champion, nothing more and nothing less.

All of that is just a fraction of what I really want. Deep inside, I do not simply wish to just know. In reality, I wanted to know and apply the knowledge I have acquired. I want to know how the food in different parts of the world taste like, and how the local people cook them, and I wanted to cook them myself if I really enjoyed the taste.

But lately I have seen that things are not going the way I would have wanted. The past few years have borne witness to how much wisdom I have acquired, yet there wasn't much instances when the information proved handy for my part. True, I know how the greatest writers in history have been able to persuade their followers, but I never had the skill to simulate that and capture the effect even in a small scale.

I know lots of things, yet not many people know that I do; the reason behind so simple - I never let anyone know what I know. Don't call me selfish or something, I'd share my knowledge if I could. But of course, a large amount of information isn't so useful to begin with - there's just too much clutter and what is truly essential may be hidden well among the mess I call my memories.

One thing's for sure though, the knowledge of which among the information in my memories are useful is one of the things I've yet to know. Perhaps when I've grown wise enough to discern which is trash and which is a gem, I'd have stopped rambling about mundane stuff such as this.

Knowledge

Knowledge for knowledge's sake is how the geeks put it, right?
=P

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Too Much Assumptions

A double-edged sword, it may seem to me, which yields it's power to the one who efficiently wields it - figuratively, I'd say that about a peculiar characteristic of one of my skills.

Nah, I'm just bluffing. C'mon, please don't take it seriously. =P

It's... not actually a skill. It's just a stubborn quality of mine that is useful at times, yet had placed me in trouble for several times now.

I'm talking about my seemingly-inherent tendency to make assumptions. I can't really remember when I started relying on them, but I suppose it started back in my school days, particularly during one of my numerous math lessons (which go something like, "now class, assuming that this variable is kept constant despite all the other factors changing as a result of...").

The thing is, I seemed to have developed a reliance on those assumptions that I sometimes don't take every factor in whatever decision I make. There are times, as well, when I just half-assumed the facts instead of obtaining them. Oftentimes, such incidences have led to not-so-good outcomes, and I had to start a few things all over again.

And yet, I still can't stop myself from making assumptions whenever quick facts are presented before me. I find it easier to deduce the information I wanted instead of plainly asking for them. Maybe because it's also because of the nature of my profession (engineering) to make assumptions in dealing with unknowns in the various formulas we use, but yeah, I'm not yet so good at it.

Not so long ago, I tried to just stop assuming altogether, but all my efforts were futile. So, these days I'm just restraining myself from relying on my assumptions. The way I see things at the moment, I'm going on the proper path. I just hope that this path I'm taking really is the best.

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Question and Answer

When asking not for fact or opinion, your personal answer is the best for whatever question you may bring up.

Friday, 18 July 2008

My Decision

Not so long ago, I've come upon a decision, which I still hope and pray to this day that I'll be able to stand by. It was during those numerous moments when I was searching for a path to take, that I resolved to bear in mind always: respect individual free will. That decision stemmed from my belief that there is beauty in everything, and the world is good as it is with all the individual idiosyncrasies that compose it.

Whether people would understand that decision or not is not really of any concern to me. In the first place, it had been a very personal decision - a call I made myself.

Choosing to respect the rights of each and every individual to do things on their own volition is not really a serious matter with world-changing consequences. But the actions of a few individuals may of course affect the world we live in, be it for better or for worse (I'd really prefer the former).

Even now I can't say that my decision is all for the best, but I wanna believe that it is so. Maybe it's because I want to have faith in the goodness of the human spirit, or I simply just don't want to share responsibility for wrong doings committed by others - the bottom line is that I've made my choice and I'll strive to stand by it.

Rearranging Revelations

You may or you may not ignore the post before this, and you may do so with this one. I won't be talking enough sense anyway.

As I was driving on the way home late this afternoon, I suddenly had the urge to rearrange the letters that make up my surname. Don't ask me why I was thinking of that when I should be focused more on driving, 'coz I no longer remember why I did think just that.

Anyway, I just realized that when the letters of my surname (Ambion) are rearranged, they'd make up, "BIOMAN" ^_^

(Yeah, I did waste your time just like that.) =P

NOTE: I'm not making up conspiracy theories here (LOLz). A quick search of the word "Ambion" at google will give pages of pharmaceutical companies. The ever-so-trusty Wikipedia, on the other hand, had this stub about Ambion Hill (not to be confused with Silent Hill).

Thursday, 17 July 2008

'Coz I Must Post Something Like This Now

I actually had a few thoughts in mind that I ought to have blogged about, yet didn't manage to. Right now, I'm appreciating the wisdom in my friend, Mai's words when she said something like this a long time ago: Parents who learn the ways of the internet are a force to reckon with.

Alright, I was in the mood to write something a few hours back, but my mom had been using the PC to chat with my uncle in Saudi Arabia. XD

And then, after they finished their lengthy chat, my mom pestered me about that supposed earthquake tomorrow. XD So, I had to squeeze in time to find this page just to let her know the obvious - that it's just a hoax email perpetrated by those who don't have much to do. I'd accept that my adolescent cousins and their classmates would be gullible enough to take it seriously, but adults?

Whether there'd be an earthquake within the next 24hours is not really my concern until the ground starts shaking (at which case I'd just do what is obviously the best thing to do - wake up from sleep and run out of the house as quickly as possible).

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Justice and Laws

Aart Hilal, who like myself, is a fan of Paulo Coelho, had given me the link to our favorite writer's blog. Yes, I've known the Coelho actively updates his blog, but I never tried to look at it until Aart provided the link ('coz I'm lazy just like that).

So there I was, skimming through my favorite writer's posts, until my attention was hooked onto one critical question: "What distinguishes an unjust law from a law that we simply do not want to comply to?" I paused for a bit of time and pondered. And then, I posted a reply that goes like this:

"I still think it's just a matter of perspective.

As others had commented before me, the question of distinction between an unjust law and a law we simple do not want to comply to is a subjective one. The human heart will know if there is justice to the rules brought down upon the people.

But as always, the heart is easily blinded.

Some may easily say that a law is unjust, while some will just say it is not (and they'd all not comply with it in the end).

The easiest measuring stick with which people can discern whether or not a law is unjust is this: if a law serves to bring about social order, make every member of the society equal in ranking, privileges and responsibilities, foster a good environment for the development of EACH and every one of the individual members, and nurture and protect individual freewill - then surely that law is just."

Awakening

Recent turn of events had managed to awaken me, and made me face the tough reality: that far from becoming the person I had wanted to be, I'm becoming quite the opposite. Perhaps it was because the process was subtle and incremental, but one thing's for sure - that my weaknesses remain while the things I consider my strengths are slowly dissipating with each passing day.

I no longer know how much time had elapsed since I told myself that I'll always use my head in whatever decision I'd make. It doesn't matter now, 'coz I've already broken that vow out of a whim just to get a shot at being rebellious one time or another. Yes, I did say I'll follow the best and most secure way available. But I have long strayed from the path most people take, aiming to make a new one that I hoped will let people remember me for (or something of the matter; I'm really not so sure what I'm blabbering about right now). =P

Looking back at some of my most recent memories, I see that I had become self-centered (something I really used to despise). I've had my share of vanities and prejudices, and many a time I also cared not for the people around me, but for my own selfish concerns.

But the greatest error of all, is that I still don't feel sorry that I had done those things. I guess maturity's still a long way down the road for me. But this time, I'll savor every step towards the goal.

Monday, 14 July 2008

A Nation’s Soul

Language is a nation’s soul; it binds and fosters ties, bridges and overcomes indifference and miscommunication, and makes a nation, a nation. At the very least, that is what I believe.

Yeah, I do love to study languages for several reasons. Of course, apart from my native tongue (Pilipino), English is my second language and I’ve learned using it since primary school. But there are a lot more in this world, and I’d learn them all if I could.

Lately I’ve been delving much into manga, and I now know Nihongo a bit more than before. And it is actually because of my increasing interest in learning the Japanese language that I realized that I really am interested in languages. Hehe. (But back in my student years, I also despise language subjects) =P

Anyway, one thing about languages is that by carefully looking at several aspects, one may know more about the people that speak it. A person need not to learn all a language’s intricacies and idiosyncrasies to know that it genuinely reflects the nation, which uses it.To know about the people, it is important to know their language

Well, I’m no expert at this stuff, but I’ve deduced a little from the bits of knowledge I have of the languages I know. Yeah, Pilipino sure is family-oriented, Nihongo an honor-oriented one, and English is as straightforwardly-businesslike as it is, or something like that. (I’d rather not elaborate on this matter, as I'm still lacking data to back it up).

The bottom line is, to know about the people, it is important to know their language, and vice-versa.

Knowledge from the ‘Witch’

Whenever I find I’ve got enough money to spare for a book (which happens once in a blue moon, or something), I always prioritize Paulo Coelho’s works. Of course, I don’t always buy his books, especially back when I was still collecting the Harry Potter series. But whenever came an instance I had to choose between a lesser expensive (and way thicker) paperback and one of Coelho’s, I’d buy his work even if they cost more. Such is the quality of his writing, which I had grown to admire and respect so much.

Thus, when I had the chance to shop around for a book several weeks ago, I immediately scanned the prize-winning collections of the bookstore since I knew that all his works are placed there. I really didn’t bother considering the other authors available, because I’d have preferred to buy one of Coelho’s books anyway.

The choices were narrowed down, but I still wasn’t able to decide right away which among his books I’d get. So, I looked at the brief descriptive on the back of each book, and I knew at once which one will use up the book coupon I’ve been saving. Oh yeah, I was buying a book because the book coupon I got when I bought Harry Potter 7 last year was expiring. Hehe =P

“How do we find the courage to always be true to ourselves – even if we are unsure of who we are?”

The moment I read those lines, I knew I had to buy Coelho’s “The Witch of Portobello.” Perhaps it was because I had been subconsciously asking myself that question, or maybe I was very much intrigued by the premise, or probably because the book cover is blue – or all these may have affected my choice – but sure enough, I never let the book go.

The way of presenting Athena’s tale reveals just how great Coelho has gotten in the craft of storytelling. Through the narratives of the different people who knew her, the intricately beautiful life story of Sherine Khalil, who preferred to be called Athena, was relayed to the readers in a subtle manner that highlights just how much we may know a person, yet not know him/her at all.

The Witch’s style very much suited the objective of finding out that which we never knew was missing in the first place – who we really are. Coelho’s words made me realize that people may say that they fully know what they really want to achieve in their lives, yet not understand that they had just been deceiving themselves into believing they actually know.Only a person will know who he really is, but what he knows about himself will not always remain true

For my part, I began to understand that whether I know where my feet are taking me or not is immaterial in this daily joyride of my existence. Indeed, every step taken is already the destination for the previous one. What is important is to savor every moment, for happiness is such a fleeting experience that lingers only long enough to be recognized.

Anyway, I found two among the numerous quotables in the book’s pages that best sum up what the Witch had taught me:

“In order to forget the rules, you must know them and respect them.” – Nabil Alaihi

“Desires are never satisfied, because once they are, they cease to be desires.” – Deidre O’Neill

In essence, only a person will know who he really is, but what he knows about himself will not always remain true because man is not, and never will be, a stagnant piece of creation.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Stalemates

Chess is a part of my childhood that I had always never acknowledged. I know the rules, I know some moves, yet I never took to liking the mind sport.

I'll admit that I never got into chess since any chance of me developing a liking for the game had been continuously nipped off the bud by two factors: 1. my brother who taught me the rules never intended me to like the game (in other words, he seemed to have just wanted someone he could always beat); 2. I don't really like the underlying principles upon which the adversaries battle.

Yeah, I got discouraged right off the beginning since my older brother just wanted to keep beating me at it (I supposed it was because he was, in turn, always beaten by his classmates back then). =P Don't tell me I'm just sour graping or something, but I do hope everyone realizes that beating someone up to encourage them to be better is VERY MUCH different from beating them just on a whim.

Nonetheless, factor 2 is the more important factor. I just don't like chess. Period. But why, you ask?

While chess is a great strategy game (which should surely suit me), it is but a continuous battle of sacrifices for the "greater good." I never had been one to believe that principle, and so I shunned away any prospects of honing my strategy skills for chess. Plain and simple, I don't like sacrificing even just pawns to get the objective - that is, to kill the enemy's king.

Another thing I don't like about it are stalemates (or standoff, whatever you may prefer calling draws). Real life just won't allow a tie in any of it's true contests. In the long run, stalemates in the real world are nothing but periods of inactivity wherein both sides are just re-formulating their strategies.

But then again, you may be wondering why I'm writing about something I don't really like. Well, aside from the fact that the other rules of chess have practical uses in real life, the show I'm quite hooked onto these days, Code Geass, is pretty much a complicated game of chess.

And yes, the latest episode I watched, episode 13, shows just how ugly a game of chess can get (in terms of sacrifices, that is). Yeah, yeah, I'm a Shirley Fenette fan deep inside, and I don't like her being killed off just like that. And being taken out of the story just because there was a stalemate in her feelings for Lelouch doesn't make things any better.

I don't like chess. I don't despise it, but I just don't like it.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Hancock

For a superhero movie, I expected more. That, in a nutshell, is what I can say about the movie I watched yesterday. I mean, the ticket price was the same as with Wanted, yet Hancock had me thinking in the end, "Did I or did I not just waste my time (and money)?"

Oh, by the way, if you're a fan of the movie, please stop reading this post and check out the other blogs I usually frequent (links are on the right portion of the page). I can't promise that this post will be a good read if you are a true blue Hancock fan.

A very short screening time with an equally pointless plot - if I had known that Hancock was about those, I wouldn't have bothered to watch it. I admit I was enticed with the movie trailers on TV, but I didn't expect that that was all there was to it.

Yeah, yeah, I'm a bit pissed with the movie since it didn't even meet my minimum criteria. And to think I sacrificed precious hours of sleep, went to work on the morning shift, and scrammed like hell from the office as soon as my shift ended just to ensure enough time for me to watch the movie twice if ever. But no, I couldn't even stand to waste time staying in the cinema as soon as the credits rolled.

Okay, Hancock's not a total waste, I admit. The visuals are good enough, to say the least. But I don't need a movie to know how important common sense is. As in, if a pissed person told you not to call him/her an asshole/crazy/f*ing deepshit, you know you shouldn't cross the line (especially if the one you're planning to call an asshole/crazy/f*ing deepshit can easily throw you to kingdom come afterwards).

And no, I still don't believe that divorce is an option. Just no.

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Note: I did say I'll put a review of Witch of Portobello, but I just had to put this one first. I'm just
f*ing mad. At myself, for even thinking the movie would deserve the ticket price.

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Been keeping myself busy...

With reading, reading, and reading. ^^,

Oh yeah, I've also been watching out for new episodes of Code Geass, as well as new releases of Naruto and Soul Eater. Lately I've delved into Claymore as well.

But I think I must do justice to those, and talk about them in separate updates. Anyway, if I can manage to, I'll be blogging about Paulo Coelho's "The Witch of Portobello" in my next update. I just finished the novel a few moments ago. =P

A Year Later...

I see that today is two days shy of a year since I wrote the post, Dreaming and the Dinner Dance. Yes, almost a full year since we sat down and dreamed of putting up our own business, and that dream still remains in the realm of fantasy. =P

Anyway, this week is the foundation week of my alma mater, Wesleyan University - Philippines. Part of the celebrations is the alumni homecoming event, dubbed "C'Ya at Wesleyan," and I attended with Lolo Jasper. The old Genre gang/OSA tambays were supposed to go, too, but weren't able for various reasons.

Overall, the event was fun even though I didn't win in the raffle *sob* T-T

Friday, 4 July 2008

A Confession at Night

I confess - I gave in. I'm an ordinary human being after all.

A mere human of flesh and bones, I am, yes. But I did not heed the 'call' before. I... I restrained myself, not out of a willingness to follow the rules, but on my own volition. I wanted to prove that I am above such humanity!

But yes, I gave in. Who can blame me for seeking what my body yearns for? Is it not because of 'this' that the existence of the human race is ensured?

Who can point an accusing finger at me, when the act was carried out in secret? There never was any evidence to be found, to begin with. No witnesses around, except for the creeping darkness in the middle of the night. No one, save for myself, to retell the tale of that moment when the wind blowing was oh so cold.

I. DID. IT.

There you go - a written confession. I'm not saying I'm proud to have done it, but there's just no point in denying it. My body yearned for it, and I merely obliged.

So I slept during my shift, any problem with that? Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to dream land once more.

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Note: I really should sleep lest I write something scandalous next. Hehe. =P

Acceptance

Many times in my life, I tried to do things my way - or so I believed back then. I persisted in what I thought was the best option, unmindful of long-term consequences. Following neither logic nor the promptings of my heart, I sought to defy the almighty powers that be.

Alas! I've been fooled - fooled by my own self into believing that I did what I really wanted. In truth, I never was one to make the decisions that had shaped my fate - the fates seem to have been shaping my decisions for me.

Yes, I'm finally surrendering, giving in to what I refused to believe. Acceptance - it had patiently waited for me to come in all humility. And now I take on my destiny.

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Note: This is what I come up with while listening to music that ought to have put me to sleep, but prompted me to write an update instead. Go figure what songs I'm currently listening to. =P

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Since I'm not in the mood...

I'll just post an advisory. =P

I've added a blogroll somewhere in the right part of this blog (the part containing links to other blogs). Thanks to Mikan/Eli who taught me how. (Now I don't have to manually check for updates. hehe)

Oh yeah, I do have a few matters I'd like to blog about. However, I just can't push myself to come up with the right words. Writers' block and whatnots - I'm sure you know what I mean.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Wanted: More Action

I was finally able to watch "Wanted" on the big screen just a few hours ago. That trip to the movie house had been canceled several times, and thankfully I was finally able to squeeze it into my schedule.

By the way, I don't usually watch movies on the big screen unless I'm quite sure it will be worth it. =P

The movie proves to be worth all the effort I put into going to the theater, as well as the ticket price. Nearly two hours of cinematographic awesomeness, a brilliant story, a very nice twist - this movie has it all.

The only thing I could say against the movie is that it's quite short - bitin! I was actually thinking of watching it a second time (because we can do that in the local theaters), but I eventually decided not to since I did not want to go home late.

And no, I won't be giving spoilers nor will I discuss anything further. WATCH IT. Don't ask any more questions. My rating for Wanted: 9.5/10

Sunday, 29 June 2008

My Mantra

"I will not get depressed... I will not get depressed..."

Yep, that's my mantra these days. As usual, the contributing factors are present (they always are), and I can't focus on anything much aside from those that I should not. This is why I'm telling myself not to fall into the pits of depression.

I know it's a lot easier to fall than to get out. XD

Worry

People worry because they think they can do something; that is, they want to be able to do something.

Friday, 27 June 2008

Human action

The problems of this world are not caused by human actions, but rather by humans not acting their part.

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Breaking the Code

After stating the basic points that make the anime, Code Geass, the great show that it is in my previous post, I'll get down to breaking down and analyzing things a bit further. Yeah, you may say I'm a bit conceited after you read through the next blocks of text, and I won't hold it against you. But try to enjoy the read, anyway. =P

I've previously outlined that the perfect blend of all the necessary plot elements is a major contributing factor to the anime's success. If one will look into the story a bit deeper, he'll see that there's nothing new actually. There's the bit of a chaotic royal line, which the main character/s is a part/member of. Internal conflicts are also subdued, and not made public, since the main character/s is/are living quite double-lives/hiding their true identity at the start of the first season. The main protagonist being a highschool students is not, and never will be, new as the romance bit that is almost always present.

And then the main characters will be piloting mecha (tsk... too cliche), and they'd be doing very much well as compared to professional pilots/soldiers. As such, death of extra characters (as well as main characters) are also there.

tl;dr version: It's not what makes up the show per se that makes it a hit. Therefore, I reiterate: it is the proper blending of the individual components that make it so.

But there is another important keyword behind the show's success: reinvention. Yes, they did a good job at it. They took all the elements that will endear the show to the viewers, mixed and matched them, and reinvented to make a show that has made a niche into an average anime-lover's heart.

The show capitalizes on that which silently resides in each and every viewer's heart: desire for power. Be it political power, sexual power, supernatural powers - the show was able to incorporate everything so as to encompass whatever that which the viewer so desires. By using a not-so-ordinary high school student as a symbol, the show's creators are able to tap into the innermost desires of the viewers to effect changes into a society that they're not able to do in real life.

Everyone wants to make a difference; yet not everyone is given the chanceAt the core of it all, is the fact that all the viewers wanted to be either a Zero or a Suzaku (or whichever of the main characters). Everyone wants to make a difference; yet not everyone is given the chance. By capitalizing on the viewer's empathy, the producers ensured that they've made a place for Code Geass among the most famous shows on the planet.

But as to all gambles, there's a risk the show conceptualizer took: to not maintain a neutral enough position. Sure, they've made it PG-13 but I doubt any average teenager can actually realize the beauty behind it all.

On the contrary, I'm highly anxious about the Code's effects on the average viewer. Sure, I didn't need to watch the show twice to separate that which are the true, though subliminal, messages that should be absorbed. But that is the 24 year-old me talking.

I just shudder at the thought of another kid doing a Gaara. There's way too much violence in Code Geass than Naruto, and unlike the latter, the former can't have the violence dampened with a few cuts and splices on the storyboard.

But for those who are able to appreciate it for what its worth, I'm sure they'd agree that Code Geass is top-notch. Very nicely done, 9.5 out of 10.

Perfect Pizza

As I've hinted in a previous post, I did a marathon watching of Code Geass all the way from season one. And as with most of the anime I love, I got hooked on it all the way from the very first episode of the first season. I believe such a nice show deserves a bit of review on this blog, so here it goes.

I'd have to first acknowledge the show's creators/conceptualizers; they do know their proper target market and how to market it properly. For an animated series aimed at viewers from the age of 13 to 30, this show does have all the necessary elements that will surely entice the audience and get them addicted: sex and violence, power and authority, strengths and weakness, humor and wit, morals and the lack thereof, brains and no-brainers, mecha, scantily-clad women/girls, hints of incest, and the usual high-school harem - all mixed in the proper proportions, with nothing served too much so as not to spoil the over-all taste.

In other words, it's a perfectly-baked pizza.

All the ingredients from the crust, to the tomato sauce and toppings, and even the oil - the plot elements, I mean - they are flawlessly blended that subliminal messages are just too inconspicuous to be noticed at first glance. One can't help but get engrossed with the story and symphatize with the characters, who are very understandably human (another plus point for me).

But enough with the food talk, or I'll start to sound as the glutton I somewhat am. =P

Hmm... Better yet, I'll make it a two-part review. Please stay tuned for the continuation. ^^,

Friday, 20 June 2008

Yes, another one

Before going any further, let's pause for a bit. I'll just make another advisory. =P

Hey, hey, hey! I've broken my record of making only 12 updates per month! :D

This post will be the 14th update for June, and I plan to write more and more. I'm actually gonna make that sort of review for Code Geass, but I decided this advisory should go first. Hehe.

Tale of Two Jerries

I just realized that I've been in my new office for almost two months already, yet I haven't blogged about it. So why not? Lemme see...

When I first arrived in the office, the second co-worker I met was Sir Jerry. Yeah, right. Katukayo. Amp. Up until now, we're actually still having some difficulties when the two of us are in the office at the same time. =P

And there's the matter of the group messaging that almost made things a bit more complicated. But since Sir Jerry uses Jedamz as his nickname in our group text, and I use Jherskie, there really wasn't much of a problem at all.

No one asked me, though, to use my second first name. If I'm not forgetting things, I said in a very old post that I'm Michael at home. The reason why I don't use it at work is that there are many others with that name. But now that the tables had turned, figuratively, I still opted to become the group's second Jerri. I guess the real reason is that I prefer to separate my personal life from my professional life. (By name, at least, since even when I'm home I can't just forget about work as my professional responsibilities extend even to the hours when I'm off-duty.) XD

The Code of Geass

Just a few weeks ago, Choco gave me a link to a site wherein I could download some anime. Actually, I was looking up Code Geass then since Jason had been cosplaying as Lelouch and I have only the vaguest idea about the anime.

Thing is, the site only had the episodes of the second season, Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R2, but I never realized it until I had finished downloading all the first 9 episodes. Well no, I only realized after watching the first few seconds of the first episode. And since I really wanted to know the anime, and what makes it a hit, I decided to watch the whole of season one.

A few days ago, I started watching season 1 on imeem.com, but since loading time on the site takes forever, I was only on episode 20 after much slacking off at work. And since the files of the second season are already resting in my hard disk, tempting me to open them...

I did.

Even though I'm still missing a few crucial episodes from the first chapter, I still enjoyed watching the show. And by enjoying, I meant I also automatically applied that which I've discussed in a previous post. But in as much as I would want to discuss that right now, my torrent downloader just informed me that episode 10 of R2 had just finished downloading. I'll watch it now, and blog about the show later. =P

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

For Before Seven is Not Six

After I finished FFIX on my PSP several weeks ago, I decided to finish another game that had been staying in my Alicia's memory (teh PSP, for the new readers of this blog) for such a long time - Final Fantasy Crisis Core. Yeah, I know this game is several months old already but I don't follow the trends anyway. XD

While there was so much hype regarding the game before it was released, I daresay that I didn't enjoy it as much. Actually, I played it as a prerequisite of sort to it's sequel, Final Fantasy VII, which I plan to play next. I won't exactly say that it wasn't worth all the effort finishing the game, but I do have something against the main protagonist dying in the end for no important reason (except to serve as a basis for the story's continuation).

On to the next game, I suppose. =P

Formulas

You may say it's a gift, and you may also call it a curse.

Years of learning have so greatly imbibed several characteristics upon me, and I just can't throw them away even if I wanted to. Quite a double-edged sword, actually, but they do come in handy at times.

Oh well, as a kid, I was always fascinated with how things work. But, mind you, I never did dismantle toys and whatnots (since I didn't have any to tinker with), but I did my best to research their functions and processes.

Now that I'm a full-pledged engineer, my curiosity is still the same as ever, albeit on a different level. I'm no longer interested (much) on the mechanisms behind the objects I used to fancy since I have studied most of them back in college. XD

However, the engineer in me wouldn't let any opportunity pass without having the chance to apply the engineering principles I've studied. Call it an obsession if you want to, but I can't just let any decision go by without first balancing the different equations and extracting that which will provide the maximum output for the minimum amount of effort.

Worse, the mathematician in me would try to deduce everything into the most basic formulas, just for the sake of simplifying things (thanks algebra... lolwut!). And this peculiar habit of mine, as I've noticed, had become quite second nature that even the anime that I watch, and the books I read, are automatically reduced to the simplest equations, and the basic elements of the plot segregated and separately studied. I need not stress further that most of the time, I'm able to accurately predict how the events will unfold based on the empirical data presented during the build up.

However, knowing the formula is largely different from knowing how to use them. Perhaps this is why I'm still kinda frustrated as a writer. I know the proper elements that will make up a hit, yet I can't mix them up properly to even make up a decent story.

I guess this peculiar habit of mine will be staying with me for a bit more time. Being an engineer is a path I've chosen, so I've got to accept everything that goes with it.

Oh, just blabbering, by the way. =P

Sunday, 15 June 2008

The Connection

Now that I've gone on a reminiscing mode, one thing that immediately came up from the deep well that I call my memory just makes me grateful for my decision to have a broadband internet connection. Ah, I can still recall: sleeping early in the night, just to wake up past midnight because the dial-up internet connection was free (due to a very popular promo by a then-very popular ISP). Those were the days, and I'm sure there are several others like me acting as though vampires - staying awake through the night.

Ever since my mom got me my first PC (I lay claim on it, harhar!), I had developed a connection to cyberspace that had me entwined in the numerous webpages that I had visited all these years. There's the ever-useful email which I still check on a daily basis, as well as forum boards wherein I interact with others (although I'm really trying to distance myself from Ragnaboards these days as part of my quit-RO scheme), and most recently, streaming pages where I watch anime.

And then it dawned to me just a couple of days ago, I am (and I think I'll forever be) an anime-tard. XD (Google it up, I won't explain what the term is.)

Back in those days when I first stayed up in the early morning just to surf the net for free, I mostly spent my time downloading anime MP3s and other anime whatnots. Most of those stuff are still on my hard disks (I have an obsession for archiving everything, actually), although I rarely check them out these days.

Then came the game that changed everything - Ragnarok Online. I spent more and more time awake in the "free" hours because of that game (and thus, my addiction heightened). But now that I'm keeping myself away from Midgard, I've reverted to my former interest - anime.

Yeah, Shakugan no Shana's third season is still not within the horizon, and neither is Spice and Wolf's second. The final episode of Clannad will be out by next month (so they say), but I've already watched the movie version anyway.

One thing I had realized is that there are loads more out there. Hehe. Getting the connection is indeed a good decision for me. =P