<body><script type="text/javascript"> function setAttributeOnload(object, attribute, val) { if(window.addEventListener) { window.addEventListener('load', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }, false); } else { window.attachEvent('onload', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }); } } </script> <div id="navbar-iframe-container"></div> <script type="text/javascript" src="https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript"> gapi.load("gapi.iframes:gapi.iframes.style.bubble", function() { if (gapi.iframes && gapi.iframes.getContext) { gapi.iframes.getContext().openChild({ url: 'https://www.blogger.com/navbar.g?targetBlogID\x3d31587466\x26blogName\x3dSarcasm+Aside\x26publishMode\x3dPUBLISH_MODE_BLOGSPOT\x26navbarType\x3dBLACK\x26layoutType\x3dCLASSIC\x26searchRoot\x3dhttps://sarcasm-aside.blogspot.com/search\x26blogLocale\x3den_US\x26v\x3d2\x26homepageUrl\x3dhttp://sarcasm-aside.blogspot.com/\x26vt\x3d1043698757871831273', where: document.getElementById("navbar-iframe-container"), id: "navbar-iframe" }); } }); </script>

Sarcasm Aside

random thoughts of a self-diagnosed neurotic with the attention span of a five-year old... a blog by Alternati

Taxi Driver

Thursday, August 31, 2006

I have yet to gain the driving mojo. I've had driving lessons from an agency and from my brother (sa South Drive), I know that I know how to drive... It just seems like my hands, feet and eyes don't agree. I get all nervous and fidgety in front of the steering wheel. I hyperventilate everytime someone tries to overtake.

It's a good thing Baguio is crawling with taxis (sedans and FX's) But the weird thing is... You can never hail a cab when you really really (REALLY) need them. Like when its raining hard and you don't have an umbrella or when you're an hour late for work. I guess it's just one of those ironies in life.

I've spent a lot of time in the back seat of a taxi. I can't afford them but my inherent tardiness and laziness force me to sacrifice some luxuries for this one... a personal white poloed chauffeur, and I'd like to think I'm helping the PUV industry. I've had my fair share of the west and worst cab drivers...

The Exact-Change Giver
Many taxi drivers here in Baguio give exact change to the centavo. One even ran out to chase a friend of mine from Manila when he forgot to get his change. He was so used to the "thank-you-no-change" policy. Baguio taxi drivers also, when you happen to hail them and find that they need to make a U-turn will only start the meter after they've made the turn. Refreshing...

The Acquaintance
I once rode in a taxi driven by a batchmate from highschool. We weren't really close, but I knew his face. Such instances make you juxtopose your life with someone else's.

The Storyteller
On a good day, I can tolerate a talkative taxi driver who talks about politics or policemen. I give the respectful nod or even engage in the conversation. On other days (more frequent), I'd rather he shut up. But some don't really need an audience when they speak. They continue with their soliloquy even if you don't respond. The passenger probably justifies their sanity and the need to talk from long hours on the road alone.

The Pepe Le Pew
You just know when you open a door that a cab ride is gonna be hell. Open all windows and stay behind the passenger seat.

The Interior Decorator
Every once in a while you get a taxi that's gone to the Taxi Accessory Store too often. They have too many rosaries and scapulars on their rear-view mirrors, a dog (or horse) with a bobbing head and the seven dwarves attached to their windshields.

The Disc Jock
Loud music, usually of the perya and novelty music variety. Also cabs with black lights (very shaggedelic) I even rode in a cab that had one of those digital displays you usually see in Jollibee that welcomes you with moving text (Welcome to Jollibee...) The cab's sign thingy was attached to the right of the rear-view mirror and said something like "I'm ____ I'll be your driver for today... Come Back Again) You want fries with that?

The Gas Station Advantage Card Holder
"Ok lang po kung daan tayo sandali sa (insert rich petrol company here)? Paubos na po gas ko eh" Of course the meter doesn't stop.

The Sidewinder
Hold on to your seats and seatbelts. This driver doesn't have brake pads... well, he does... but he doesn't want to use them. Helmet (and rosary) necessary for sharp curves.

The Texter
"Manong, pwede tumingin po kayo sa dinadaanan nyo? I'm sure makapaghihintay yung ka-text nyo..."

The Peeping Tom
Creepy eyes on the rear-view mirror. Don't look at them in the eyes, they are like dogs, they smell fear.

The Tourist
I've had the worst experience with a taxi driver that didn't know any (yes, NONE!) roads in Baguio. I assumed he was from La Union or something and decided to move his place of employment here. I had to give directions from Session Road to our home. My usual directions to a taxi driver when home is my destination do not go above 5 sentences/phrases. I felt like a tour guide with this one.

The Inquisitor
Me: "Manong... Scout Barrio"
Taxi Driver: "Upper or Lower"
Me: "Upper"
Me: "Manong, sa kaliwa po."
Taxi Driver: "Diba One way yan?"
(I live here for pete's sake!! wouldn't I know if that was a one-way street?)
Me: "Hindi po"
Taxi Driver: "Pag diniretso ko to, san ako lalabas?"
(try mo, report to me when you know already)
Me: "Dun din po sa island"

The "Must be Blind or Illiterate" Smoker
I have yet to take a picture of this elusive driver. He's like Bigfoot or the Loch Ness. I am a smoker so I don't mind a smoking driver as long as I'm allowed the same privileges. But this type of driver smokes without asking permission and does so with a giant red lettered "No Smoking" sign in front of him.

It's Baguio Day tomorrow! I (heart) my city.

Photo Credits:
Top Picture: Taxi Sign
Middle Picture: Baguio FX
Bottom Picture: Sto. Nino on Dashboard

Labels: , ,

Fishy Fingerprints and a Broken Cat

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

New House Blog Guest

I got me a new tenant. Her name is Dawn. Her blog is named "Reflections in the Mirror". She lives in Northeastern US, is married and a mom of 2 adorable kids. Her main interests include critters (Abby the Tabby in the pic below) and crafting. Check out her blog at the sidebar.

Abby the Tabby

Me + Pets = Disaster

I was browsing Dawn's blog and I never knew you could have butterflies for pets. I always thought butterflies were free spirited creatures, but perhaps they can be domesticated like bees.

I have the worst luck with pets. We've had several family dogs baptized with typical filipino dog names like Blackey, Whitey, Browney... just a matter of looking at the dogs general fur color and adding an "ey" at the end to make him/her seem cuddlier than he/she actually is. I've never really bonded with our family pets after having been bitten (actually only a superficial tooth scratch but trauma can make anyone exaggerate) by a dog and mauled (ditto with the dog) by a cat. They seem to think I'm not animal friendly or something.

Mimo (December 25, 2004 - January 4, 2005)

Two Christmases ago, my office had a Greedy Kris Kringle (I forgot the actual term) It goes like this, you pick numbers and no. 1 picks an unlabeled gift (each one brought a uni-gift... a gift that's ok for a boy or a girl) After no. 1 opens the gift (and oohhs... ahhhs... subside) no. 2 has the option of either taking no. 1's opened gift or pick another gift... No. 3's options are no. 2's gift, no. 1's gift (I know... poor no. 1) or another unpicked gift. And so on.

That Christmas, I picked a gift, which incidentally my PI boss brought. She cautioned me to keep the gift horizontal at all times and that it was breakable. It appeared spherical and suprisingly cold. I opened it and got Mimo!

MIMO (Made In Manor... added the O to allude to the then popular clownfish) I got him exactly as the picture shows... water, castle, sand and plastic vegetation.

I remember the first fish I took a liking to was a small gold fish. This was in early gradeschool. Being the genius that I was and a proud sort-of pet owner, I brought... let's call him Poopy, I never had the notion to name him before. Ok, so I brought Poopy to school in a clear plastic bag... an unholed one. I did the whole show and tell thing and sometime after recess, My seat was wet (no, I didn't pee). I kept Poopy in the outside pocket of my bag. The plastic bag had a small leak so I ran to the lavatory as fast as my gradeschool legs could carry me.

When the water level barely covered Poopy, I started to panic especially when he started flipping and flopping. I struggled at opening bag to let Poopy out onto the first receptacle I saw, a water closet. By the time I did open the bag and heard Poopy made a plop, he started doing a backstroke. I knew then that when you saw a fish' belly like that, It only meant one thing... So with watery eyes, I flushed poor Poopy. I didn't know then that this was quite an honorable funeral for a fish.

Mimo too met an early demise (I told you I had pet jinx) However, this time it was not because of my stupidity but someone else's. It was sometime after new year. I kept Mimo alive for more than a week. I kept the windows in my room open, I loved the chilly holiday air in Baguio. Sometime during that day while I was busy playing with my niece and nephew and eating holiday leftovers, a burglar entered my room thru my windows and stole my digital camera. This sort of thing didn't usually happen, but since then I've started to believe that crime rates do rise during holidays.

We called the cops. Ten minutes later, they were there asking questions and having me reenact what I think might have happened. etc etc... I am an obsessive CSI viewer so I gave my theories with gusto you'd think I was Gil Grissom himself. The main thing I pointed out was that Mimo's bowl was moved. It was located on a table near the window and I was 100% sure it was moved. The other cop, the rookie I presumed, went out to get their fingerprinting paraphernalia. This got me sort of excited, CSI in my room... yey! (I was in lost camera denial)

The rookie cop came back with a kit and a 4" wide roll of scotch tape. I had no idea what the tape was for. He started putting dust on the bowl, I was watching him. Then he brushed the powder lightly (at first) and when the powder kept falling off, he brushed heavier with circular motions (erasing whatever fingerprints were left behind!!) He managed to make some powder stick so he took the 4" tape, looked for the end, pulled some and bit on the tape to cut it. He proceeded to use the tape to lift the prints... (I was sooo disgusted and disappointed by this time)

He said he got it, told us he'll inform us of the developments and left. He didn't even take my own fingerprints! The idiot. Most of the fingerprints there would have been mine. He could've eliminated my fingerprints... oh yes I forgot, he erased most of them already with his stupidity. That was a bad way to start the year. I lost a camera and Mimo died from fingerprint dust and from the constant jerking around done by the rookidiot cop.


I guess I don't have luck with fishies. I've always wanted to own a Siamese Cat, those blue eyes are amazing...

Siamese Cat

However, I broke my cup (with a cat on it) just yesterday (even cut my right thumb picking up the pieces) I had a pic of it in a previous post and now it looks like this.

Its pretty obvious the gods are telling me not to get a cat... Question though... If you break a real cat, like I did with the mug... Can you fix him with masking tape?

Labels: , , ,

Pinatubo, Pulag and Apo

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Mount Pinatubo

A friend of mine told me there was a lake on the crater of Mount Pinatubo. I gave her my fair share of "owss..." and "stir...". Being born skeptical has its down sides.

All I remember of Pinatubo is the ashfall and the lahar. I was in grade school when it erupted and the gray snow on the grounds of Saint Louis Center was as unusual as a tourist NOT wearing one of those black bonnets with "BAGUIO" knitted at the front. I remember also going to Bulacan for Semana Santa and we passed by Tarlac. It was raining then and the tires of the family car were halfway in a gray pool. The first lahar I ever saw. I had to take some home with me in a mineral water bottle.

(Ending my Flashback)... That was all I ever associated with Pinatubo until I saw this picture.

This is Pinatubo's crater now. My friend was right, there is a crystal clear (often times) lake approximately 2.5 km in diameter. I don't know yet how to get to the crater, but I think you have to hike and camp based on the other pictures in this album from Oggie Poggie.

Before the lake became a tourist attraction, It was a hazard in 2001. Basically, it was a huge catch basin and in a decade accumulated 210 million cubic meters. An Oxfam geology research team found out that the crater walls couldn't carry that much weight especially at a weak point named, Maranot's notch.

The numbers potentially affected totals 7,600 families of some 39,000 people. The level of the water was within 5 meters from the rim before the government decided to act. Ayta (I think its spelled Aeta) tribesmen built the canal over 22 days using only hand tools – picks, shovels and wheelbarrows – because there are no roads to bring earthmoving vehicles to the summit and the unstable ground ruled out the use of explosives.

The SPAN article here. Once again, the government waits til the last minute to act. At least they did this time and prevented another catastrophe... The government usually are like cop cars on TV, they always arrive when someone did the saving already.

But I sure wanna go there and check it out. I wonder if you could swim in the lake... (I don't know how to swim so this is wishful thinking)

Mount Pulag

Another mountain I wanna visit, and hopefully this year. We are planning a trip to Sagada and Banaue by the end of the year and I'm hoping we could squeeze in Pulag in the itinerary. I have seen too many photos of my friends standing on a grassy mountain side, with windbreakers, bonnets, mufflers and that "I'm on the top of the world (Luzon)" look in their eyes.

Mount Pulag is the highest mountain in Luzon, 2,922 m above sea level (Imagine 6.5 stacked Petronas Towers , or 120 stacked SLU Otto Hahn buildings). It is the second highest peak in the Philippines. It has wet weather all year round and is said to be extremely cold. It was declared a National Park in 1987.

If for anything else... I wanna see a sunrise on Mount Pulag...

And a sunset...

Photos from Kiko.


The tallest peak in the Philippines. I have no aspirations to scale this mountain yet, probably after Pulag and after intensive training (arrgghh.. just the thought of exercise and gyms makes me wanna reach for a cigarette) Ok... ulterior motive, the real reason I mentioned Apo is to rave about the new tribute C.D. for Apo (Hiking Society, not the Mountain... err... not exactly)

I downloaded tracks on "Applewire" (doing the quotation marks action with my hands), I wanted to try it out first. Earlier this year, I wanted to buy Ultraelectromagneticjam, The tribute CD to the Eraserheads they did. It had some good tracks but most were so-so, glad I didn't waste my hard earned pesos on it. On that C.D. I liked the Spoliarium by Imago, Alcohol by Radioactive Sago Project and Maling Akala by Brownman Revival. Let's face it, no one can recreate the teenage angst Eraserheads had during the 90's. Its a tribute album, tribute being the operative word, so instead of trying to redo the song, its better to interpret it in the style of the band singing it, and the three artists I previously mentioned did just that.

I can't name any Apo song, however when I hear them, I know the lyrics... what's up with that?

This Apo tribute named "kami nAPO muna" is a good compilation. It starts with Parokya ni Edgar's Pumapatak Na Naman Ang Ulan. Chito Miranda has such a great amount of charisma (he is like a filipino Billie Joe Armstrong during the Dookie age) He can sing out orders in a tapsilogan to a waiter to the tune of Toxicity (System of a Down) and get away with it. I'm getting sidetracked...

Other tracks I really like are Ewan Ko by Imago (this band never disappoints me and Aya de Leon's voice is to die for), Awit ng Barkada by Itchyworms, Nakapagtataka by Spongecola,, Doo Bidoo by Kamikazee and Panalangin by Moonstar 88. Most of the tracks are really good, these are just my pick of the litter.

I'm gonna buy a copy of this next pay day, I allow myself one per pay day.

C.D. available in local stores and on Amazon:
Ultraelectromagneticjam: The Music of Eraserheads
kami nAPO muna: Tribute to Apo Hiking Society

Labels: , ,

Oh my gawd! They killed Denny!

Monday, August 28, 2006

.. you bastards! (I can't do a Kyle and Stan impression to save my life)

This is an extremely long and indulgent post... feel free to just scan the pictures.

I feel so emotionally drained. TV shows are scheduled just once a week for a reason, and I know now why. I have been watching season 2 of Grey's Anatomy for the past week (when I can) and last night, I was on the home stretch. I watched the last 8 episodes or so one after the other (don't try this at home) I usually do this when I'm reading a book I really like... I don't stop until there's nothing left to read (including blurbs)... a compulsion.

My initial curiousity for the show was instigated by three cast members: Ellen Pompeo, she played "damaged" so well in Moonlight Mile, Patrick Dempsey, who hasn't seen With Honors?, and the amazing Sandra Oh, Sideways. Season 1 was sooo frickin great, I wanted needed seconds. And thanks to viewers with TiVo and a certain P2P software (not AppleWire) I was able to download acquire the second season, which still isn't available on cable here in the third world. Studio 23 is still airing the first season here, but abroad they're already dishing out emmies for the second one. (Which unfortunately didn't win any... luto!)

Ferry Boats: A Primer

Grey's Anatomy is set in Seattle Grace Hospital. It is about the lives (synonimous to their work) of five surgical interns, their bosses, their patients and their complicated and intertwined lives. They have to handle their relationships with lovers, friends and family while trying to save lives, sometimes the lives of their lovers, friends and family, and always under an extreme amount of pressure.

It's like a less eccentric Ally Mcbeal with a dash of Sex and the City with scrubs and a stethoscope.

The Seattle Grace Hospital Medical Staff

These aren't all of them, just the ones that matter. hehehe

Pigeon-holing 101... From Left:
  1. Dr. Richard Webber - the boss
  2. Dr. Miranda Bailey - aka "the Nazi"
  3. Dr. Alex Karev - intern, the bad boy
  4. Dr. Izzie Stevens - intern, the model
  5. Dr. George O'Malley - intern, the secret admirer
  6. Dr. Christina Yang - intern, the A student
  7. Dr. Preston Burke - the perfectionist
  8. Dr. Meredith Grey - intern, the damaged girl
  9. Dr. Derek Shepherd - aka Dr. McDreamy
  10. Dr. Addison Shepherd (not in pic) - the adulterous wife

The Elevator

I never liked hospitals... the smell. However, I'd give anything to be a fly on the wall of the hospital's elevator or the stairwell, most of the juicy events in the development of the show's plot happen in these places.

(Yes, I am aware it is all fictional)

Seriously?... Seriously?!!

This show is not for the queasy. They have the most unusual cases but according to Shonda Rhimes, are based on actual medical cases. Take this one from a trainwreck.

They've had a fork stuck on Natalie Cole's (yes, the singer) neck, a mom who delivered quintuplets, a woman who had spontaneous orgasms, a man who was covered in ice to "kill" him temporarily in order to operate on him, a sort-of pregnant man and a woman with a record-breaking tumor. I now have some (and by some I mean, non-credible) knowledge on some diseases and medical procedures and equipment.

Fire in the Hole

This 2-part episode was nominated for writing. Guest star Christina Ricci, a paramedic, has her hand inside a man's chest cavity to stop the bleeding...

Little did she know that the hole in the man's chest was made by a bazooka (seems ridiculous, but never underestimate human stupidity) The unexploded shell is lodged in his chest, a sensitive bomb that could detonate with sudden movement.

Denny Duquette

The season finale... Denny. He has a failing heart. He is one of the most charming and charismatic character I've ever seen on TV... and that goes without saying that he is on his hospital bed. You can't help but love the guy... and you can't help but bawl your eyes out when he dies alone silently without even saying goodbye to Izzie, his doctor and fiance.

And Meredith's dilemma: McDreamy or McStable

I think it's pretty obvious I'm a Grey's Anatomy Junkie... Seriously.


Running (Barely) on 28 kbps

Sunday, August 27, 2006

What is slower, more frustrating and mind-numblingly boring than watching paint dry?

My internet connection. The wi-fi service we have here at home sucks... big time! (I'm not saying what it is... but it isn't SNART) After the choppy connection a few days ago, today, it is totally down. Customer service is, of course, not gonna knock on our door anytime soon.

So... desperate to send some CAD drawings to Ma'am A for a split-level house I was drafting for her, I've resorted to a more archaic method... dial-up. I had to switch back to the old Yahoo! format just to access my mail. The Beta was just too much for my 28 kbps connection.

While waiting for my e-mail attachments (which took forever), I played minesweeper, which as I've come to realize is THE most infuriating game ever created! I have developed an aversion for yellow smileys. I played a gazillion games (Files Attaching: 50%) My minesweeper success rate: 0%. The smiley with X'es for eyes when you hit a mine is just plain sadistic!!!

Finally sending the e-mail, I dared to blog. My blog took (yes I timed it...) 10 minutes and 17 seconds to fully load on firefox. I had a bloghopper advise me once to truncate my long posts and reduce the images I upload so that my blog would load faster on dial-up connections... now I know what he meant (but knowing how stubborn I am, it won't happen)

You have to give me credit for "fighting spirit"... despite the ghastly connection, I was able to blogroll a bit, leave comments and now post an entry. SNART needs to fix the problem post haste!

My only consolation tonight is that I have a Bamboo concert live on my radio. Thanks to 97.1 WLS. I discovered this Manila station when I was looking for 96.7 K-lite. Thanks to this station I can listen to live rock concerts in Manila, which sadly, are rare here on my pine covered plateau. Bamboo are (is?) singing songs from "Light, Peace, Love" ("Truth" baby, and "Much has been Said") and some from "As the Music..." ("Masaya" great track) and some old school tracks from Rivermaya of the 90's (214, Kispamata, Elesi... the good stuff)

I saw Bamboo on concert early this year and the new funky Bamboo (the vocalist) is a demi-god! And... (All hail!) Ira Cruz (bow before him!) can make that guitar sing better than anyone in the industry to date.

Taken March 4, 2006

My dial-up connection isn't half as bad when you have Bamboo in the background... If only I could win a game (just one game!) on blasted (pun intended) Minesweeper.

Labels: , , , ,

Of Mouseholes and Mozzarella Cheese

Friday, August 25, 2006

Who drew the first mouse hole?

It's one of the simplest doodles but can be recognized universally (or at least that part of the world that have seen Tom and Jerry). Just an inverted "U". I'm thinking of who drew this and how much money he could have raked in if he patented it. Of course, actual mouse holes don't look like this. Mice teeth weren't designed to create such perfectly shaped doorways, and last time I checked, Mice haven't studied symmetry and Byzantine arches.

There are a lot more such images. Take the dog bone. When you see a drawing like this you immediately associate a dog bone. Bad example, cause it may not be anatomically proportional but it still resembles a chicken drumstick.

The heart! An even more recognizable icon. The person who drew the first heart would be ten times (I estimated...) richer than the mouse hole pioneer. Anyone can draw a heart, just two mirrored squiggly 3/4 S's. The real human heart however, doesn't look much it. You know what this means... time for another google search. Google is so convenient:

Google: Where did the heart shape come from?
It came up with several pages but this, from Yahoo! Answers, caught my eye.
The "heart" shape could be considered to depict features of the human female body, such as the female's pubic mound or vulva. A Sumerian cuneiform symbol for "woman" closely resembles the heart shape, and is believed to directly depict the pubic mound. Others maintain that the heart resembles the shape of the female breasts or the female buttocks, especially when bent over in readiness for copulation from the rear.

Another possible origin can be seen on the coins of the ancient city of Cyrene, some of which depict the seeds or fruit of the now-extinct silphium plant. The seeds are distinctly heart-shaped. Since this plant was widely used as an ancient herbal contraceptive or abortifacient, this shape may have come to be associated with sexuality and love.
Two things. First, whoever said love and lust are two different things needs to contradict this argument... and second, I think a guy probably drew the first heart.

Pizza, the New Anti-depressant

I'm glad to report that Baguio has experienced two rainless days in a row. Woo hoo! A conversation on our way home from work (me and officemates):

John: Ang saya no? Di na umuulan.
Me: Huwag mo batiin!
Tine: Oo nga! baka mamiss ka...
John: Sige... (isip) Sana umulan bukas! (his attempt at reverse psychology)
Tine: Huwag mo ipagdasal!
John: Ano ngarud sasabihin ko?
Me and Tine: Wala.

Bert: Nagugutom ako.
Tine: Libre ka!
Me: Oo nga! Ala ako last time.
Bert: P 500 lang budget.
Me: Kanya kanya na kami drinks.
Tine: O bat tahimik ka John?
John: Madami ako atraso dyan eh.
Bert: Cge.

Tine: Ang cute ng guy na yun na nakaupo sa likod mo.
Me: (Lingon) Talikogenic.
John: Pinakawalan na nya si Sheryn.
Tine and I look at Bert... tahimik.
Me: Eh si... si...
John: Rhea.
Bert: Nag-iipon sana ako para sa kasal pero sya na bahala kung gusto nya mahal na kasal.
Me: Mga magkano ba magpakasal ngayon?
Tine: Mga 100,000.00
John: Talaga?
Tine: Pakasalan mo na! Mura lang magpa-annul... 80,000.00
Me: haha... mas mahal magpakasal. Go na Bert. 180,000.00 pesos!
Bert... tahimik

There were writings on the wall and this was placed right beside our table.

UPDATE: I Jinxed it. Right after I published this post... It frickin rained!

Labels: , ,

The Art of Begging

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Lao Tzu says:
Give a man a fish you feed him for a day. Teach a man how to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.
Giving money to beggars is a pretty touchy topic (I think). I personally stopped giving alms.

When I was younger, and the visual aids of charity from my Catholic grade school were still vivid in my head, I would spare the change in my pocket when I came across the blind beggar at Session Road. The one with the harmonica and the make-shift drum from an empty container. It was never really something 100% genuine when I was at that age. I always wanted my Religion teacher to see me in the act and praise me in class or something. I was a wretched child.

Growing up and knowing much much much better, I've gone from giving alms selectively to not giving at all. It's not because of the green government-issued signs that say you shouldn't... but because of numerous awful experiences.

Many of us have been harassed by assertive beggars who aren't content until you empty out the contents of your pockets (and even bags sometimes). Some even have the audacity to curse at you if you give them change and not bills. My friends and I have come across some disrespectful 9 year olds (6 or 7 of them). If you don't give them money, they would poke you (they prefer the rear area). You just wanna slap them silly, but automatically feel guilty when such a thought enters you're mind. First, they're kids and second, put yourself in their shoes... Darn empathy.

Instead of giving money, a friend of mine tried giving food to this particular beggar. My friend's instincts told her that he spent the money on booze and such. Upon giving the cellophane bag of pandesal, the old man threw it to the gutter mumbling "Aanhin ko yan? ang gusto ko pera!" (What will I do with that? I want money) My friend's charitable acts stopped then and there.

I think giving alms only encourages begging. Why try to work when you could depend on other people. You can't help but be humbled by the sampaguita girls outside churches and the plastic bag boys at the market. My cousin would buy sampaguita garlands at Baclaran even if he doesn't particularly need them. His room smells like an altar... it reeks of sampaguita, and I've always associated that smell with charity.

Kids shouldn't be working. They should be enjoying youth. Social welfare in this country just sucks. You just don't know where to start fixing the problem. It's a vicious cycle that feeds on corruption and the tolerance for corruption. I always get these sudden urges to change the world! But, I feel so futile. Then the laziness takes over, and then you totally forget.

I wanna be the next Bono or Angelina Jolie. Philanthropist Extraordinaire. However, I have enough problems of my own. Not NIMBY, just the truth.

Lao Tzu (also) says:
Stop thinking and end your problems

Sarcasm Aside Lite

Didn't mean to be a downer this post. Just had to write about it. Ok, something more interesting and less depressing. On SV2G's trip to Europe, we came across some interesting "beggars". They weren't begging... technically. They more of street performers.

The Blue Lady (or Blau Frau I call her)

She was our first encounter of street performers of this kind. She stands all statuesque atop that small pedestal. Everytime someone drops a Euro (or 10 pesos in our case... hehe), she would bow gracefully like a music box ballerina and then return to her trance-like pose. The Blue Lady can be found at the Stuttgart Schloss Platz. She rotates her location but when we saw her she was at the entry to the U-Bahn. (Underground train... not white hair. :P)

The Venetians
During the latter part of the trip, SV2G separated into two at Milan. Our resources were dwindling by then. 9 opted to stay in Milan and later go to Venice. The other 4 (myself included) wanted to leave Milan to visit Rome, Pisa and Florence. Anyways, we reunited again in Milan, P's mom's house was our Italian headquarters.

The 9 saw these two in Venice. The left sporting a venetian mask and the right one eerily clad in an all-white number.

The Pharaoh

The four of us who decided to take the train to Rome saw this one. I thought he was a statue for sale at first especially after I saw numerous painters displaying their art at the Piazza Navona. Well until he bowed to a Japanese tourist.

Labels: , , ,

Ten Ants, a Dog, a Cat, a Mouse and a Babel Fish

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

My first Tenant!

I have recently been looking into the feature of Blog Explosion. I see the "Rent My Blog" thing when I bloghop and I never fully understood what it meant. Until now. hehe.

I introduce Rhoda, my first tenant. Her blog is named Rho Rho's Flow. Rhoda writes about her life and experiences in California. I like her sense of humor and she takes great pictures! You feel California in all the pictures she attaches with her posts. Flow on over to Rho's blog by clicking on the thumbnail on the right sidebar (My Tenant)

Canines Can...

I was doing my daily blogroll. I was so amused by Snglguy's post about these adorable mendicant dogs. I'm gonna check them out next time I go down to Manila.

The post reminded me of an article I read a few weeks ago in the Daily Mail. Ratty the Jack Russell, five years old, had an unusual habit.
Twice a week he would trot out alone through the farm gates, jump on a number ten bus and head for his local, the Black Bull. The five-year-old dog would stay all day at the pub in York, where he had his own water dish and was fed his favourite sausages. He would even get a lift home at closing time from a friendly barmaid.
First begging dogs at SM Manila, now a bus-riding dog that goes to a pub, what's next? Dogs running for mayor? (although... non-literally, that has happened here in the PI)

Read about Ratty here... Dog that Takes Itself to the Pub (on a No. 10 Bus)

The Game of Cat and Mouse

These items have been on my office desktop ever since I started but I never made that connection.

A Babel Fish!

I have never known anything about "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" until about two weeks ago when my brother-in-law told me about www.abandonia.com. This web site has an archive of free downloadable games that have been abandoned (abandonia... get it? haha) DOS games. Abandoned in a sense that they aren't supported or being developed anymore.

The game is based on the homonymous sci-fi book by Douglas Adams. It is purely text! Like a "Choose-your-own-adventure-book" kinda game with limitless possibilities. It was super annoying at first but once I found out that my character in the game had a hangover and needed to drink a pill for him to function properly, I was hooked. This was a hit in 1984 and gamers then took weeks to finish this game. It took me just one night! ... and just one reliable walk-thru! haha. I was getting agitated with the game so I cheated. Oh well...

The Babel Fish in the game/book/movie is a small yellow fish you place in your ear and acts as a universal (literally!) translator. Altavista used it as the marketing logo for their webpage translator tool. (BTW... I didn't know Altavista is already a part of Yahoo!) To translate my blog, just click on the corresponding flag (right sidebar) and the Babel Fish does the work of translation. As to accuracy, I don't know how the translations rate... but it sure is one nifty tool.

Labels: ,

Mist + Matchbox + My Super Ex-Girlfriend + Millers

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Another rainy day in Baguio. That didn't stop me from enjoying the day, all I needed... my trusty umbrella and a gang of rambunctious friends.

4 pm. I met Tine and Ely to buy die-cast Volkswagens for our friend CA who was gonna celebrate her two-week delayed birthday celebration later on in the night. That's one of the things about growing up and having jobs, we rarely celebrate birthdays and even rarely do we celebrate them on time. The beetle matchboxes were requested gifts and CA was registered at her favorite novelty matchbox shop.

We had 5 hours to kill. I stayed up late because of Wikimapia, so I still felt a little groggy and disoriented. I needed a caffeine fix. So we checked out Paliz Zata, a new cafe our friend Joyce raved about. It was at the roof top of Porta Vaga, a mini-mall (I'm using mini here... Philippine malls keep getting bigger and bigger)

We decided to take the long route. Tine, Ely and I sharing one umbrella. Tine and I actually had umbrellas of our own, but we were just too lazy to bring them out of the warmth of our bags. We passed by The Baguio Cathedral and I had to take a picture.

The cathedral looked so ethereal with all the mist. The usual pastel pink walls were diluted by the fog. The church looked so majestically neo-European. We reached the cafe, the lower part of our jeans soaking wet. It was a nice cafe overlooking Baguio and had a revolving-restaurant-ish ambience. We chatted about personal stuff and pondered the structural integrity of the cafe which was 75% enclosed with glass. Wind pressure, glass thickness, beam-window connections... stuff I won't bore you with. I'm pressing the fast forward button...

7 pm. We met Joyce at the Filipino shopping hub known as SM. Malls... I have mixed feelings about them. We decided to spend the last two hours in a cinema rather than strain our calves window-shopping. A feel-good movie was in order, we needed to tune ourselves for the party. I wanted to watch Click but Ely already saw it, second choice was...

My Super Ex-Girlfriend

This movie raises the question:

If you had super powers, what would you want them to be? AND... would you use them on worthless scum like your exes?

Achtung! I blabber too much, I might say some things that would spoil the movie for youif you're planning to watch it.

Uma Thurman plays Jenny Johnson aka superhero G-Girl. Matt Saunders (Luke Wilson) hits on her in a subway. A thief snatches Jenny's bag... Matt plays knight in shining business suit. G-Girl who does most of the saving, get's saved (in a way) for once. Jenny gets infatuated. Matt fulfills a fantasy after Jenny discloses her identity. Jenny thinks she fell in love. Matt discovers he's in love with someone else. Matt breaks up with Jenny... awful idea. Jenny becomes psychotic, vengeful ex-G-Girlfriend.

What I Liked:
  1. Uma as G-Girl is like Beatrix Kiddo on Prozac. She had the best looking superhero costumes, chic but save-the-world-functional.
  2. Uma as Jenny... Her portrayal of neurotic Jenny Johnson was reminiscent of dear dear Noelle (The Truth About Cats and Dogs) The usual Uma roles are defined by wit, confidence and excellent articulation, and on these rare occasions where she plays depressed and desperate characters, she becomes all the more lovable.
  3. Luke Wilson plays an architect.
  4. Rooting for Matt and finding G-Girl a psycho one minute, and then completely changing your mind: Finding Matt pathetic and wanting G-Girl to shove that chainsaw up his ass.
  5. Matt's bestfriend played by Rainn Wilson (Six Feet Under)
  6. Anna Faris made the friends that should be lovers thing with Luke Wilson's character work quite well, she is so much better when she under-acts. During the last 15 minutes of the movie, she fell back to her pigeon hole... as Cindy from the Scary Movies.
  7. The best thing about this movie for me is the humanization of superheroes (which is what made the last Batman movie, the X-men movies and the Spiderman movies really good) Years of keeping a secret identity can make you paranoid, untrusting and neurotic. Superheroes can also have their hearts broken, they can be petty, they can be desperate and they can use their powers for personal reasons.

What I didn't:
  1. Luke Wilson playing a normal, tax-paying and clumsy character usually works for me. This time it didn't.
  2. The in-your-face humor of Wanda Sykes was underused.
  3. The transformation of flashback Jenny into G-Girl should've been okey but they decided to add an increase in her bra cup size as a part of her transformation. Women who have bigger boobs have "super" powers in a way... but having that idea plastered on a movie screen is just tacky.
  4. A more charismatic and memorable actor should've played Bedlam... someone along the likes of Jack Black or Matt Stone.
  5. The last 15 minutes of the movie were predictable and uninspired. Everyone ends up happy of course.
My new movie rating system: Haha Value (Entertainment Value), Hmmm Value (Intellectual Value) and Sniff Value (Emotional Value)

All in all, My Super Ex-Girlfriend is an excellent feel-good movie. Watch it if you like movies like Shallow Hal, There's Something About Mary and Mystery Men. It may not be a life changing movie, It only engages your brain a little, but it has definite Entertainment Value.

It served its purpose for us. I left the cinema in party mode. We arrived at Red Lion, 10 minutes late and found out we were the first ones there. Drasted Filipino time. We waited at the bar... and actually had a fun time watching the bar tenders mix drinks and falter every now and then.

One hour and 30 minutes late, our extremely tardy celebrant arrives. We already had a couple of Millers each on her tab. Ok lang... Birthday mo naman eh. Beer, Pulutan, Marlboro Lights, Die-cast Volkswagens and great drinking buddies. It was an awesome night/morning.

Happy Two-Week Belated Birthday CA!

Labels: , , , ,

Wikimapia: My Newest Addiction

Saturday, August 19, 2006

It's 2 a.m. here and I'm laughing my ass off all by myself (I already booked a room at the nearest asylum) I'll tell you why I'm laughing in a sec... I need an intro.

I started out my friday night contemplating whether to watch "The Story of Us" or "Annie Hall" (again). I was about to load the CDs when the thought of bloghopping seduced me. So I did. I checked out some of my have-to-read blogs. I checked my e-mail. It was still early so I clicked links here and there and came across Matt Jones' Blog. I came across one of his posts on Wikimapia. I am already a frequent looker-upper on Wikipedia so I decided to check this new thing out.

Wikimapia is like Google Earth + an Encyclopedia. The Nashman recently made a post on Google Earth and showed a lot of great images of Baguio. I tried Google Earth before when a friend told me about it and the Big Brother in me couldn't get enough of it. Wikimapia is a whole lot more interesting (not to mention easier on your browser). All users are free to add any information on any of these places.

Of course I checked out famous landmarks first.

Finding the Colosseum was my first task. It was easy enough to find.

I wish we had Wikimapia when I was still studying architecture. It would've helped alot. Shoulda woulda coulda... Anyways, my next destination was the Eiffel Tower. I found Arc d'Triomphe first and navigated from there. Tada!

The Eiffel Tower. I had my best Marlboro light on top of this steel structure (which grows a few inches when the temperature is very hot) You could even see one of those tourist ferry boats on the Seine. (remembering Before Sunset a bit) The third landmark I was looking for was like a needle in a haystack. I haven't been to England so I couldn't find Stonehenge. I was getting furious when I noticed Wikimapia had a search button (Look before you click)

And there it was... Stonehenge. I was really hooked by now. Then the thought of Wikimapping (I don't know if this is a term yet) my dear old Baguio occured to me. So I did... and I found these images amazing! I had a quick glance of my dear city and decided to look for my house. And I found it.

To my surprise our home has already been tagged... and apparently by one of my brother's admirers (who misspelled his name even). My next stop was the university I studied in.

Saint Louis University. Another architecture graduate already tagged it. (This is where I studied architecture) I was reminded of the Skating Rink I was whining over a couple of posts ago so I tried to find it. This was when my laughter started. Someone tagged a smaller portion of the rink as shown in the image below.

I have no idea who Jeric is but it translates as "Jeric, what did you do? Why did you trip?"... That's the Filipino sense of humor for yah. I tried looking for other idiotic (but super-hilarious) tags around my fair city. And found A LOT of them. There were the tags claiming certain hangouts as theirs, some said "_____ was here", some located the comfort rooms of different buildings, and some funnier ones are:

Location: Burnham Lake, where you can rent small boats. The tag reads: "Will someone help that man, he fell!" (These aren't as funny when translated)

Location: Session Road, THE most famous road in the city. The tag reads: "Susan's E-load (prepaid cellphone service) Use now, Pay later"... Shameless advertising on Wikimapia. tsk tsk tsk...

Location: Somewhere along Marcos Highway (methinks). The upper tag reads: "Shell station (not yet here)... ((then someone added))... you idiot! That's not the Shell Station!" BTW, Shell is a gas station... The lower tag reads: "Stupid! THIS is the Shell Station!" Hahaha... LMAO!

And so, that's how I spent my Friday Night. I am gonna be addicted to Wikimapia for a while.

Labels: , ,

Moving Day
golB eht dniheB ecaF
Read! Read! Read!
Dental Black?
Elementary, My Dear Watson
Baby Steps
Sweeping Virtual Cobwebs
We interrupt this show for a special update...

June 2006
July 2006
August 2006
September 2006
October 2006
November 2006
December 2006
January 2007
February 2007
March 2007
April 2007
May 2007
June 2007
July 2007
August 2007
December 2007

Blogroll [−]
Blogstuff [−]
RSS Feed [−]
Comments [−]