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Sarcasm Aside

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

I (Heart) Lexpionage

Thursday, September 28, 2006

by: once and future (flickr)

Fashionistas anticipate the latest line of Cavalli (PETA does a cameo) with drawn credit cards. Techies are itching to swap their so-called obsolete gear with the latest laptop, cellular phone or iPod models. Movie buffs pull every necessary string, blackmail even, to get premier tickets. Dorks, like me, anticipate the newest words that enter our lexicon.

My infatuation with new words is fueled by my longstanding petition to add heshe, hisher and himmer into our vocabulary. I have always found putting the "/" or the or" tedious. When a customer arrives, He/she will be standing here and you will take his or her luggage. Put the luggage in this shelf so that when he or she asks for it, you could return it to him/her easily. Now, the terms I'm proposing are compounded into one word, I always get confused if the slashed ones are read he or she... or he slash she. It would be a lot easier on a writer or speaker if heshe can add these words in hisher word list.

My little lexpionage produced these results:

n. An extremely annoying individual moving slowly and aimlessly infront of you, especially when you are in a hurry. [from: meander + neanderthal]
i.e. "Get out of my way!!! You frickin meanderthal!"
Not only will you get your point across and vent your rage, but you might also possibly confuse the meanderthal and cause his nose to bleed trying to understand what you just said.

n. A song stuck in one's head, more specifically an frustratingly awful one. [from: German Ohrwurm, credited to James Kellaris]
i.e. "Mmmbop is the worst earworm. Why can't earworms be good, tasteful songs?"
Sheesh... now that I've mentioned that stupid song, I'm hearing the high-pitched rubbish in my head. Arrgghh!!

n. A single continuous brow resulting from the growing together of eyebrows.
i.e. "You're starting to grow a unibrow, a little tweezing is in order"
The most famous woman sporting a unibrow is mexican artist Frida Kahlo. Other notable unibrowed charcters are Bert from Sesame Street, Groundskeeper Willy of The Simpsons and Count Olaf of the Lemony Snickets books. I personally do not believe in unibrows. On a guy it's distracting, but on a girl it's just downright horrendous.

n. The artful shaving and trimming of a male's body hair.
i.e. "Chris Cornell has one of the best looking manscaped beards"
A male tool for the unibrow.

n. The tendency to assume that the anxiety felt by affluent mothers who have to choose between staying at home and pursuing a career is felt by every mother regardless of socio-economic status. [coined by Sandra Tsing Loh]
i.e. "Afflufemza sure is a mouthful"
This isn't a particularly beautiful word but its ugliness seems fit for the phenomena it describes.

n. The deliberate avoidance of news media, particularly to relieve stress.
i.e. "I'm newsfasting, everytime I watch TV Patrol all I get is crap and a splitting headache"
Since the millenium started, I have been on a newsfast. They don't show the events that really matter, they sensationalize and regurgitate the "newsworthy" ones, and everything is just all too depressing. The highlight of the primetime local news is a large snake they found somewhere.

v. To make a phone call, usually embarassing, while inebriated.
i.e. "Before I get really drunk, please make sure I never, under any circumstance, drunk-dial my ex"
We've all been there, alcohol sure can make us say things propriety doesn't let us. Another version of this is drunk-text (SMS instead of a phone call) and pseudo-drunk-text (pretending to be drunk in an SMS so you can discuss taboo topics and have drunkenness as an excuse)

n. A bride-to-be who, while planning her wedding, becomes exceptionally selfish, greedy and obnoxious.
i.e. "Honey, the dresses of the bridesmaids don't take the attention away from you... Don't become a bridezilla or you'll scare the groom"

n. A stupid person or one with a closed mind.
i.e. "Jeepney drivers in traffic can be such zipperheads"
Closed mind... zippers... blah... Let's just tattoo "YKL" on their foreheads.

n. A man who is extremely goodlooking but disappointingly unintelligent or superficial.
i.e. "I think being a himbo is a prerequisite when you wanna be an Abercrombie & Fitch model"
Him + Bimbo. Do the math.

Sometimes we can go too far with neologisms producing obscure and cheesy words like wordrobe, mouse potato, freemium or chillax. But then again, George Orwell's neologism then, Big Brother (which I personally find a tad unimaginative), has been integrated into the English language and is now a Reality show on its 7th season. Chillax may have a future... ullkk... Just saying it in my head makes me gag.

I love neologisms because they simplify something that would usually take a phrase to convey. New words keep the language from going bland. They engage your usually spoon fed brain and they immortalize certain events or works of cinema and literature. But most of all when the time is juuuuust right, adjectives like bootylicious, fugly, and half-assed are just simply, utterly, undescribably... perfect.

Word Spy
Owlnet Neologisms
Ask Oxford
Urban Dictionary

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arfaZ acisseJ

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

It was 1:37. I tried my darndest to apply eye drops without necessarily losing my eyesight. My hands were trembling. I always get panicky when I am late, which is almost every single time I go out. I almost always never wear a watch, I've always felt half handcuffed, literally and metaphorically to time.

I arrived at University of the Philippines-Baguio by 1:57. Farah was waiting on a bench in front of the guard house. I was 7 minutes late, a good record by my tardiness standards. We were off to the auditorium to attend Jessica Zafra's talk on the personal essay. Two days ago, I was thinking of buddies to go to the talk with, and it dawned on me that I have only 4 friends who were bookworms, like I was. Fortunately Farah replied to my 1 am text message a day after. And so there we were looking for the auditorium. I have only been to UP Baguio twice, and both were exams... both I (thank God) passed. The UPCAT and the Real Estate Board Exams.

The Bulwagan ni Juan Luna was already 3/4's occupied when we found it. We spotted a table stacked with Jessica Zafra's books while we were registering as "guests". The audience was mainly UP college students. Although our youthful good looks could pass for a college student, I took comfort in the fact that I saw a handful of older people scattered across the auditorium.

Two emcees announced the "program" was about to start and the smell of brewed coffee wafted from behind. Three students kept changing seats infront of us and a couple of girls were chattering about an Aristotle book they were studying. I was startled when a distinct, crispy "fuck" bellowed from the microphone. The "program" started without me even knowing and the expletive came from a small girl with a ponytail. She was apparently introducing Miss Jessica, and all I could still think about is "Philosophy is the science of universal essence of that which is actual" which the alto-voiced philosophy student was uttering behind me.

The girl with the ponytail left the dais and before I knew it, two groups of students occupied the stage. It happened so suddenly, I thought they were a flash mob who would throw orange golf balls at us. The students took on some Madonna Voguesque poses and one after the other recited lines barely audible. After hearing some familiar Zafra lines, it was clear that this was some sort of tribute to Jessica using snippets from her Twisted books.

Jessica came to the stage and sarcastically (I think) thanked the performers for a Fame like welcome, which she admitted was a first for her. I was for a moment starstruck seeing the writer of some of the books I really loved in college, and still love right now. She quickly made the awe go away with her humor, such is her charm. Some of her columns are dark, some are far out, some are cynical, but all of them are always real. She did such a laid back talk about her writing process, her experiences and even read a section of her journal. What I like about her writing/talking is how she can write about anything and make it Twisted. She does so by pumping in her pensive observations of irony, her hilarious wit, occasional references to great works of literature & cinema, and an update of her "plan for worldwide domination".

The open forum weeded out those who actually read a Jessica Zafra book/ column/ blog entry from those who came there I am guessing because of a paper they were writing. A girl to my left frantically took notes while the rest of us were laughing at Jessica's "I'm not skeptical" comment. (Honey, skeptical is with a "k") Furthermore, some topics are common knowledge to a Jessica Zafra fan... like her views on marriage, why her articles are always in English, her 4 month career as manager of the Eraserheads, and the origin of her cats' names. I didn't ask the best questions either, I kept trying to think of witty (aka be-my-friend-I'm-smart-too) questions but I exhausted my brain trying so I settled for the following two questions:
  1. What was the first book you read AND loved?
  2. What is your favorite David Sedaris essay?
To the first question, Jessica answered "The Old Testament" which she read when she was 8 years old. She added that it is the most violent and bloody book ever written, whose literary cadences have been imitated in many great books.
The second question is a manifestation that I'm still not over Sedaris. Jessica answered that she loved the last essay he did for The NewYorker which is complimentary to Me Talk Pretty...

There were a lot more interesting questions raised during the open forum usually related to her books, her writing process, her failed magazine Flip, her Eraserhead days, Marat Safin (one thing we have in common!), Roger Federer, her cats, etc. etc.

When the last question was asked and answered, the students started gathering around her like vultures to a limping springbuck. Camera phones, digital cameras... flash flash flash. I wanted to dive into the crowd and rescue Miss Zafra from unwanted human contact (after I have my pic taken with her...) I wanted to grab the megaphone a guy was using to announce a Tuition Fee Increase rally in order to announce: "Scram ignorant paparazzi!"

Outside, Jessica Zafra signed books. I bought mine a month ago and I was a little disappointed that books sold there were given a 15 pesos discount. However, I felt better looking at my obviously read books and comparing it with the crisp one the guy behind me was holding with a price tag still in place. A teacher tried to cut the line and Jessica admonished her saying there is a queue but gave in when the teacher pathetically pleaded she had a class. Jessica is nicer in person than in paper. I examined her ring, bracelets, watch and bag when she signed my books.

I was so thrilled her signatures where written backwards. I took an interest in this way back in high school after coming across a biography of Leonardo Da Vinci. (I instantly solved that clue in the Da Vinci Code) The boredom I experienced in Social Studies class is the main reason why the backs of my Cattleya notebooks had a million reversed cursive scripts of my name.

Jessica's latest book is 500 People You Meet in Hell, an antithesis of the Mitch Albom novel. I didn't like this book as much as I like love love love the Twisted books. However, seeing what Jessica Zafra wrote, I'm keeping this book in my shelf of favorites.

Jessica Zafra Resources:
  • New blog = Jessica Rules The Universe
  • Old blog = Twisted (In this blog, Check out the 229 Comments in the second to the latest entry "Emotional Weather Report #4", Jessica went missing for a long while, and a lot of bloggers started making conspiracy theories as to where she went.
  • Podcast (Just one though) I noticed in her talk all her TV references were actors/shows from GMA 7 and I learned in this podcast why... hehe
  • Emotional Weather Report. Jessica's column in the friday editions of The Star.
  • Her books are available in Powerbooks and National Bookstore

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Doc, OCD.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Disclaimer: I have zilch education on psychological disorders.

In one day, I came across three cases of obsessive compulsive behavior that triggered the following trail of thoughts. Early this morning I browsed the winners of the 2006 Emmies, my resentment of Grey's Anatomy not winning have abated, and I found out that Tony Shalhoub won best actor in a comedy for his role as Monk, a detective with OCD. I was doing my blogroll and Rho talked about her compulsion to keep her counter drip free in her blog. And sometime this afternoon, I found out that David Sedaris has a compulsion to touch the heads of strangers, especially so when he is anxious and could not smoke, in Chicken in the Henhouse (Dress Your Family...).

I took this as a sign, and despite my insufficient knowledge about OCD, I gave in to my compulsion to blog about compulsions.

Without gahooyoogling, I made a mental list of all the things I stocked in the recesses of my brain relating to OCD. The first thing that came to my mind is As Good As It Gets. Jack Nicholson is a writer of romantic novels who suffers from OCD, Helen Hunt is a waitress in the restaurant Jack frequents and she had an innate way of dealing with his eccentricities. They fall in love yaddah yaddah... (It was impossible to beat Titanic... but that year, As Good As it Gets and LA Confidential were more deserving Best Picture Winners, for me at least)

I also remember Monica (Courteney Cox) Geller-Bing's hypochondria in Friends. How she finds a freakish amount of joy in organizing things and cleaning the sink. There are also patients in medical series like Scrubs and Grey's Anatomy who had OCD.

Obsessive Compulsive Behavior is an anxiety disorder (Wikipedia). In general, people who suffer from OCD have impulses/thoughts (obsession) which drive him to perform some repetitive behavior or mental acts (compulsion) because not doing so would result in extreme anxiety. Tony Shalhoub in Monk has a fear of germs and his compulsion is to always sterilize his hands. He also has a compulsion to set everything he sees at right angles.


Jack in As Good As it Gets, needed to unlock and lock a door a certain number of times (usually in a multiple of 3) before he can walk through it. He needed to wash his hands with three bars of freshly opened soaps. He also didn't step on lines in the pavement when he walked.

This got me thinking and eventually diagnosing myself. I have a lot of compulsions but I never really thought I had OCD because they are usually hypochondriacs... and I am a slob. I usually clean my room on Sundays and as the week progresses, my room gets more cluttered. Mondays means a couple of jackets I tried but didn't look good with what I wore hung on my chair. Tuesdays meant I had two empty glasses on my bedside which held my mandatory glass of water before I sleep. Saturdays meant I slept only on a half of my bed because the other half if filled with tried on clothes, books, CD cases and whatnots.

I found it unsettling when I discovered that not all people with OCD are hypochondriacs. So I thought of all my compulsions:

  1. I can't stand a crooked framed photograph on the wall.
  2. I need to finish the whole bag of junk food when I open one.
  3. I need a glass of really cold water on my bedside before I recline.
  4. When I don't have anything particular TV show to watch I need to do a complete channel surfing lap before I can settle with a show.
  5. I always feel like I left my blow dryer on.
  6. I always feel like I left my cellular phone.
  7. I always feel like I left my wallet.
  8. I need to empty my recycle bin everytime I delete something. (Need is the operative word here)
  9. I need to google everything I don't know.
  10. I arrange all items on my desktop by type and as much as possible in a symmetrical pattern.
  11. I always copy and paste my entries onto a text document before I post it.
  12. When in traffic, I do one of two things. I either make equations in my head using the 3 digits of the vehicle infront of us. I need to use the digits the same number of times in two equations that add up. i.e. Plate No. = AYD 963; 9-6+3 = (9/3)+(9/3)x(6/6)
  13. Or, I do anagrams in my head of words I see, something Text Twist programmed in my head. i.e. Save our TREES = TERSE, STEER, RESET or Physical EDUCATION = AUCTIONED, CAUTIONED.
  14. I go to the same 7-11 store almost every office day.
  15. When I play MP3s at the office there needs to be some sort of connection between the songs. Sometimes it is by genre or artist so I don't burn that many brain cells, sometimes it's raining so the songs I play have "rain" or "ulan" in the titles.
  16. My digital pictures since 2004 are so organized it scares me.

I think I am obsessive. I know I'm compulsive. The trouble is I don't know if I'm obsessive-compulsive... or just too mentally agitated... or merely a straight jacket away from the loony bin.

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The Hynik Maneuver

Monday, September 25, 2006

Beyond Genghis
I never realized how little I know about Mongolia until tonight. The only relevant thing I could enumerate about the land bound country between China and Russia is Genghis Khan, and this knowledge is solely based on a poor memory of history and Age of Empires. It has a fascinatingly desolate landscape.
The second leg of The Amazing Race started in Beijing and ended in Ulan Bator.

TAR Taught Me:
  1. Ulan Bator is pronounced, according to Phil, Ulan Bat(aa)r. My highschool history class mnemonics allowed me to match a lot of countries with their corresponding capital cities... correct pronunciation of exotic names was never an issue then. Spelling was what got you the measly point. There sure are a lot of new countries now, watching an international beauty pageant has transformed from "Miss Venuezuela is so statuesque" to "Where is Moldova?"
  2. The Mongolian nomadic shelter is called a Gir. It is, as seen in pic, a cylindric tent supported by wooden bracing. It didn't seem easy to build and rebuild. I'm in love with the Mongolian language already. So simple and you produce sounds I have only done when I tried to read the Dwarf scripts in The Lord of the Rings.
  3. Another Mongolian word is Hynik. This is the name of an indigenous bovine animal similar to a cow. Althought my knowledge of cattle is very limited, I would know how to pick a good hynik to help me fetch water for the Detour. Simply put: Horns = Bad... Cow that looks like that cartoon on a chocolate drink = Good.
  4. There are camels in Mongolia.
  5. The easiest way to fix a Russian military jeep whose battery died = Ask someone.
  6. There are people who have never met a homosexual. David and Mary, married from Kentucky admitted to never having been around gays. Mary quickly adding "... I like them!" with a sincere smile and bewildered eyes.
  7. There are cameramen! I have always been amazed that in shows like this and Survivor, you rarely (possibly never) see any of the cameramen. At first you take them for granted and merely enjoy the omnipresence that television gives. But when you get obsessed (like me) such ideas creep into your brain. If I recall properly, I have only seen one cameraman on The Amazing Race. This happened about two seasons ago when a team accidentally upended a jeep causing some injury to themselves and their cameraman. I didn't actually see the cameraman on TV, but I spotted him here...
  8. Lastly, If you don't want to get eliminated... don't drive away from where you need to be going. A map (or directions from locals) is a racer's best friend. Kellie & Jamie did just that and got booted. I guess they ran out of cheers... (they're cheerleaders... get it? hahaha... I'm so lame)
All photos from CBS

Baguio's Dose of Irony
Miss Jessica Zafra (Goddess of Irony) will be giving a talk on Personal Essays on Wednesday (September 27, 2006) 2 pm, at University of the Philippines Baguio. I'm sure that will be interesting so if you're in the city, that would be the best place to spend the afternoon. Boo Hoo for me because I got work... but I'm thinking I'll develop a pseudo-headache after lunch on Wednesday. har har har... Bring your Twisted books because she'll sign them if you're nice.
Information from her relocated blog.

You Want Flies with That?
Got me a new tenant.

Hop on over to the Enchanted Lily Pad and give Ribbiticus a Ribbit.
Pond Perspective

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Un Deux Trois

Sunday, September 24, 2006

It was dear Vianca's first birthday celebration last night. She is the adorable daughter of my officemate. She is extremely ticklish and would give a four-toothed smile whenever you touched her armpits or her knees.
I've been googling for over thirty minutes now searching for any idea when memory starts. One said 3, one said before birth... I have no idea what happened on my first birthday except for what I can piece out from old polaroid family pictures.

Anna's Macaroni Soup, yum yum appetizer.

Oh joy! I found two of David Sedaris books! After getting hooked on Me Talk Pretty One Day, I was a crazy National Bookstore patron asking a couple of salesladies for an inventory or Sedaris' books. They need to apply the Dewey decimal system or fix their classification system or something. First the biographical essays were placed in the Fiction section, and second I had to supervise as one of the ladies looked for the books in a shelf clearly devoted to John Grisham and another shelf/shrine for Paulo Coelho. I knew I had to step up and find the books myself... which I did... eventually.

I got the joy, joy, joy...

I went pirated DVD shopping the other night with Joanne before we headed for Caffeeklatsch. I was looking for A Scanner Darkly, which I am pretty sure won't be aired in any Philippine cinema. They had one but I was disappointed when it was a sine copy not a DVD copy yet.
While we were scanning the movies like vinyl records, a Korean girl popped her head between Joanne and I asking the vendor for "Koreotology?"... I gave Joanne a quizzical look. She mouthed "Korea novela!"... I shook my head and mouthed "Choreography!"... The vendor without even an ounce of doubt told the Korean girl "We don't have Coyote Ugly." When the Korean left... Aahhhh... Marunong pala kayo mag-korean ate...

I bought three CDs that night and decided to do a semi-movie marathon when I got home from Vianca's birthday.

The Producers
Blah... I wasted 75 bucks on this. After really liking Rent, I thought I'd give another Broadway musical a go. They must have done something different with the musical for it to be a hit.
Max Bialystock (Nathan Lane) is a producer of a flop musical and Leo Bloom (Matthew Broderick) is an accountant. The whole premise of the story is that producing a flop can make more money than a hit if an accountant would tweak the books. The Producers was written by Mel Brooks, he is the voice of Bugs Bunny and several other Looney Tunes. (Erratum: Thanks snglguy... It was Mel Blanc who provided the voice of Bugs Bunny... hahaha... my bad!)
Most of the characters were overly satirical although I think they were written and made to be performed that way. The songs were too cabaret for my taste and made me remember that aspect of musicals that I don't particularly like. I can't get Timon (The Lion King) when Nathan Lane performed and Matthew Broderick's character is all too similar with Peter Macnicol's role as Renfield in Dracula: Dead and Loving It (coincidentally another Mel Brooks movie) Uma Thurman as Ulla and Will Ferrel as Franz Liebkind were good (not great) supporting roles. The best performances of the movie were done by the even more sardonic minor characters like an assistant who prolongs "yesssss" awkwardly. If you're gonna go sardonic... do it to the nth.
I like the cinematography though reminiscent of Fred Astaire or Audrey Hepburn movies. I especially like the dance Ulla and Bloom did in the freshly painted white office. I didn't know Matthew Broderick can sing and dance. And I loved Uma's gracefulness in the green dress, especially when she slid across the table. I guess the training she did for the Kill Bill movies came in helpful. Movie not recommended for non-musical fans.

This movie looks into an older woman-younger man relationship, which is normally subjected to a double standard of morality. I thought it would be similar to The Graduate, but Uma doesn't look a day over 30. Rafi (Uma Thurman) is a 37 year old divorcee who meets David (Bryan Greenberg) a 23 year old artist, both in the Prime of their sexuality. Meryl Streep, who is as usual spectacular, is Lisa, Rafi's psychiatrist and early in the movie revealed as David's mom.
I watched the movie generally from Meryl's point of view, a spectator of Rafi and David's relationship. Meryl quickly deciphered from her sessions with Uma that she is dating her son, and its refreshing the movie didn't stretch this "twist" when it was already evident.
The best performances of the movie were done by the two female roles in Meryl's office. It's hilarious how Meryl struggles with her role to her patient and her role as a mom. How she conceals her emotions when Uma divulge's intimate details about her sex life with David. (Rafi: You let me talk about his penis?, Lisa: Trust me, that was harder for me than it was for you) Bryan Greenberg was physically a perfect fit for the role but he lacked a certain something I can't quite put my finger on.
As opposed to The Producers, the supporting roles were bland and only delivered lines for the main characters to develop their characters on. Except maybe for Jon Abrahams who is David's obnoxious friend that threw pies at his ex-dates and Bubi whose head panslapping is David's image of a conscience.
The movie was good until it reached the final 10 minutes or so when everything got ambiguous, the whole gift thing at the end seemed like Ben Younger didn't know how to end the movie and it didn't fit with the "one year later" segment at the end, which I think was written before the later half of the movie.

Sex, Lies and Videotape
It was 3 am when I finished Prime, so I put off watching this movie thinking I couldn't appreciate it as much as I would've wanted to with a half-asleep brain. This was what I really wanted to watch and this fact made me regret watching The Producers even more... not only did I waste money, I also wasted time and braincells. I hope I get to watch it before the weekend ends.

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Saturday, September 23, 2006

Kaffeeklatsch is literally "coffee chat" (in German). This is the type of casual convention, small talk and especially gossip enjoyed by housewives who meet in the afternoon for a cup of coffee. Wikipedia.

We weren't housewives, nor did we meet in the afternoon, nor did we have a cup of coffee, but Joanne and I did our fair share of Kaffeeklatsch-ing last night at Caffeeklatsch. The C to K first letter change is probably a copyright thing, according to Wikimapia, there are established Kaffeeklatsch coffee shops in Alabama and Chile.

I met my friend Joanne last night for dinner at Pizza Volante. (Volante is Italian for flying... nope, they didn't throw pizza at us when we ordered them) I haven't seen or talked with her in a year, so over Mussels in Red Sauce, Vegetarian Pizza and a couple of fruit shakes, we caught up with each other's misadventures. We went to Caffeeklatsch after.

Joanne and I share a special weird kind of friendship defined mainly by laughter and flatulence. We make fun of each other, at unknowing strangers and of anything as mundane as a weird looking lamp.

Klatsch Brewers (I think, this is what I decoded from the vocalists words) played that night. They were a good acoustic ensemble reminiscent of MYMP, although with a male singer. I wouldn't be a band groupie, especially when they didn't know the songs I requested, but I wouldn't mind coming back to hear them play. I liked their renditions of Stitches and Burns (Fra Lippo Lippi), Mahirap Magmahal ng Syota ng Iba (Apo) and You to Me are Everything (The Real Thing)

Caffeeklatsch is a unique establishment in terms of its interior. Studying for five years makes architecture graduates harsh critics of the buildings we visit. We'd give reviews of restaurants we frequent and shops we go to. The professional credo states that "I shall confine my criticisms and praises within constructive and inspirational limits", but I'm sure you'll criticize it too when you need to limbo when you enter a door or when climbing a staircase requires you to bend your knees at 90 degree angles.

The mezzanine low ceiling, approximately 5'-10" because my head nearly reaches the ceiling, the humongous beams, the trip-prone spiral staircases and the low-watt light fixtures are worthy of criticism, but in the case of Caffeeklatsch, it works. These elements add to the cluttered, cozy hominess of the coffee shop. It is like a hobbit bar. I love stylish clutter: mismatched chairs, an assortment of decorations and conversation pieces strewn here and there. There is always something to see and something to talk about.

Some things didn't escape the subdued critic in me though, the shaking mezzanine floor when someone walks and the weird shaped comfort rooms with low doors. But the good clearly outweighs the bad... Be sure you include a night spent Caffeeklatsch-ing when you visit my city.

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Me Likey 001

Friday, September 22, 2006

Here are some things I absolutely like(y), thought I'd share them...

Me Likey: The Human Clock
Thanks to my online source for everything interesting in the net, fosfor.se, I came across this clock. Now if only someone adept with programming (or whatever skill is necessary) would make a screensaver out of it.

Me Likey: Gahooyoogle
The fabulous En introduced me to gahooyoogle. I know use it as my homepage. It may cut your browser window in half but web searching becomes twice as efficient! If you haven't figured out yet what gahooyoogle means, then that means you don't deserve it... hehe

Me Likey: Floobles
Flooble... what a fuzzy name for my blog-clutter minimizing device. My floobles are the green buttons located on my right side bar with labels like "Blogroll", etc. It is such a nifty device that allows you to sweep your clutter under the rug. Although my blog is still a tad cluttered (a manifestation of my mind) I think the clutter is just right...

Me Likey: Abandonia
My brother-in-law introduce me to the world of Abandonia when I couldn't think of anything better to do on a lazy weekend. It is a cache of many abandoned games. Most of the downloads are free because the owners of the games have stopped developing them. It has a lot of free DOS-based games which include classics like Doom, Dungeon Master, Where in the World is Carmen San Diego?, etc. etc. Younger gamers may be put off by the lack of graphics and the lousy digital sounds, but these games are extremely addictive. I was fixed on my computer when I played The Hitchhiker's Guide to Galaxy: from "opening the light" of my room and "drinking the pill" up until I "handed the device" to the Marvin so he can manually "open the hatch".

Me Likey: Gunbound
This is the office addiction. Gunbound is like Worms Armageddon only less cutesy and more vicious. This is the only online game I play.

In this game, you control an avatar which you can dress up with items from the "shop". The clothing and accessories enhance your avatar in different ways (offense, defense, popularity, etc.) You also have to choose from an array of mobiles with unique guns that are handled in a specific way and whose projectiles behave differently. The aim is to take the enemy avatars (controlled by other online gamers) out of the game by either hitting them until they smoke (kill) or by targetting the ground they're standing on until they fall (bunge). The avatars don't really get killed but instead fly off to the top of the screen on machines with propellers underneath.
Another fun (and exasperating) aspect of the game is the presence of environment changes that affect your ammunition. Tornados and lighting shafts appear out of nowhere. And the wind, the drasted wind, affects where your ammo goes as well. I had good grades in my Physics classes but they don't seem to translate into this game. Yes, I know I'm too old to even play this game, however I act like a crushed whiny kid when I get disintegrated by an 11 year old gamer.

Me Likey: Distraction
I haven't seen a game show this entertainingly cruel in a while. It is hosted by the incisively humorous stand-up comedian Jimmy Carr. He is like a pansier but more likeable version of Simon Cowell. He never runs out of witty remarks and brutal comebacks. You see a glint of pleasure in his eyes whenever the contestants suffer either from actual physical pain or from his eloquently delivered snide comments.

It starts of with four contestants and one is physically removed (the lowest scorer) after each segment. It follows your typical Q & A game show format, However, contestants here are distracted.
In the first segment, the contestants have buzzers, just like your typical shows, to signal they know the answer to a question. But in distraction, these buzzers electrocute you (yes... a charge of electricity). In some episodes, in order to "buzz-in" you need to put your hand in a mouse trap (yes... actual mouse traps, the big ones), or break a bottle on your head (stage glass) or my personal favorite (as seen in the picture to the left) you had to pee (yes... urinate) in order to buzz-in. hahaha... They don't show anything obscene on TV but you do here them doing #1.
In the second segment, you were either pile driven by a wrestler, harassed by a bully, etc. while you answer things like "Spell psychotic backwards" or "Name the three Simpsons kids".
In the third segment, punishment is given to the contestant who didn't get the answer (In some instances, both of them don't get it) When you answer incorrectly you either eat some disgusting "delicacy", get shot with a paint ball or even get pierced (yes!... actual piercings!)
When a winner finally emerges, Jimmy Carr announces he/she has won a brand new car... HOWEVER, he still had five questions left which come from two absurd categories like "Fishing OR Custard" from which the contestant chooses. Everytime the contestant got a question wrong a part of the car is permanently destroyed. Something along the likes of splashing a can of paint on the hood, severing the side mirrors with a baseball bat, slashing the car seats or smashing the windshield with a sledgehammer. When all is done the contestant forces a smile beside the mutilated car he/she just won and will take home... as is.
This show is oh so sadistic and oh so fun...

Distraction is a British game show that's been bought by Comedy Central. The episodes I have watched are pre-American purchase and I've seen them on Jack TV on Thursday Nights.

So ends my list.

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Children in Business Suits

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Last night, my United Architects of the Philippines Chapter, UAP Summer Capital, celebrated its fourth anniversary. By professional organization standards, UAPSC is still very young. The 20 charter members of UAPSC were originally members of UAP Baguio but due to some conflict, which I can't piece out perfectly well yet (but my assumption is some communication problems between older and younger members), the younger members decided to secede from the mother chapter.

UAP Summer Capital has been chosen, after bidding, as the host chapter of the 16th (or 17th?, haha...) National Convetion of Architects (NCA). This will happen during the last week of October. The usual once a month meetings became a once a week thing because of the demands needed from the organizing committee. UAP Baguio has offered to help us with the preparations for the convention. The great thing is I can see the steady bridging of the gap between the two chapters.

Choosing which organization to join when I finally got my license was a bit of a dilemma. My college professors and some friends were in one chapter, while two of my mentors and some friends were in another. In the end, it became a decision of where I can be comfortable and where I can be "under the radar" more. The demands of my job then were too much to even schedule a monthly UAP meeting.

However, during fellowships like last night when we have a heated argument on who's the youngest member, when we recycle a small cake (5" diameter) to greet 6 birthday celebrants, when Arch. Jovit proves by dancing that he's the "sexiest man", when even our event coordinator endearingly called "Tsang" was downing a SM Light, when I have smoking classmates with uber hilarious stories, and when everyone (regardless of age or accomplishment) is just downright silly, that I am overly ecstatic I joined the chapter.

The closest comparison I could think of in relation to last night was a merge between a children's party at Jollibee, a gathering around a campfire and a night at a comedy bar.

It's very comforting to know that despite the mature outfits, the professional licenses, the jobs, the karaoke, the booze, the cigarettes and the looming convention... We are all still immature and capable of silly antics.

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Tuesday: Tagged Twice

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

This is my second third meme. Snglguy tagged me this morning and I like this meme although it's pretty difficult to select just 7 songs! I was so glad cheH tagged me with the same meme! This means, if my math is correct, that I'm entitled to 14 songs! haha

The Tag Goes:
List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they're not any good, but they must be songs you're really enjoying now. Post these instructions in your LiveJournal/blog along with your seven songs. Then tag seven other people to see what they're listening to.
I enjoy lots of different types of music so imagine my dilemma in picking just 7... I mean 14. So, I've decided to pick 9 foreign songs and 5 local ones that have a sufficient amount of air time on my Winamp player.

The Foreign List:
  1. Edge of the Ocean - Ivy (Long Distance, 2001) = "There's a place I dream about, Where the sun never goes out..."
  2. Good Morning Baby - Bic Runga (Beautiful Collision, 2003) = "Between an overload of information, And a striving for pure dedication..."
  3. Sparks - Coldplay (Parachutes, 2000) = "Did I drive you away? I know what you'll say, You say, Oh, Sing one we know..."
  4. Strange and Beautiful - Aqualung (Strange and Beautiful, 2005) = "I've been watching your world from afar, I've been trying to be where you are..."
  5. Maybe Tomorrow - Stereophonics (You Gotta Go There To Come Back, 2003) = "I've been down and I'm wondering why these little black clouds keep walking around with me..."
  6. Hoppipolla - Sigur Ros (Takk, 2005) = "Smiling, Spinning round and round, holding hands, the whole world a blur but you are standing..." (Actual lyrics in Icelandic)
  7. Swan Dive - Lennex (Part Math, Part Euphoria, 2006) = "Weightless, I've made my decision..."
  8. Original Fire - Audioslave (Revelations, 2006) = "The original fire has died and gone, but the riot inside moves on..."
  9. When You Were Young - The Killers (Single, 2006) = "You sit there in your heartache waiting on some beautiful boy to save you from your old ways..."
The OPM List:
  1. Blanko - Session Road (Bakit Hindi?, 2006) = "Blanko, walang laman ang isip ko, Blanko, bulag at para para bang tuliro, Blanko, walang halong biro..."
  2. Oo - Up Dharma Down (Fragmented, 2006) = "Di mo lang alam naiisip kita, baka sakali lang maisip mo ako. Di mo lang alam, hanggang sa gabi inaasam makita kang muli..."
  3. Ewan - Imago (kami nAPO muna, 2006) = "Hindi ko alam kung bakit ka ganyan, Mahirap kausapin at di pa namamansin"
  4. Manila High - Kala (Manila High, 2006) = "Paikot-ikot na parang circo, nakikipaglaro sa perang pangkain mo. Nababaliw na yata ako, buong araw kong sinayang sa kauupo..."
  5. Gusto Na Kitang Makita - Session Road (2000) = "Parang ang bagal ng takbo ng panahon pag wala ka. Alam kong walang dapat sisihin na ako'y nandito at nandyan ka..."

Karma (6x) Chameleon
Now, the fun part of doing memes... hahaha. I need to tag 7 people. I'm curious what the following bloggers listen to so I am gonna tag:

I took this photo last week. This is a photo of one of the office's bathroom doors. I wasn't really sure what to do with it... until now.

Quarter Notes

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Amazing Races

Monday, September 18, 2006

The 10th season of The Amazing Race has the most culturally diverse line-up of teams to date. Most of the teams come from a minority group in the States. There is a Korean team, an African-American team, an Indian Team, a Moslem Team, and Caucasian teams from different sub-cultures in the US. Survivor, another CBS show, divided the survivors into four teams defined by ethnicity.

The Teams
I'm gonna do a bit of pigeonholing here. It is a lot easier to say "the dating prosthetist and amputee" than "the team with a girl who works as a motivational speaker that has been an amputee since childhood and wears a prosthetic leg prescribed by her triathlete partner, a clinical prosthetist, who has been her friend for six years and the two are currently dating."

  1. Bilal and Sa'eed - Moslem Bestfriends
  2. David and Mary - Coalminer and Wife (I'm remembering Zoolander a bit...)
  3. Duke and Lauren - Dad and Lesbian Daughter (If memory serves me correct, Lauren is the first lesbian to run the race)
  4. Dustin and Candace - Miss California and Miss New York (World Peace!)
  5. Erwin and Godwin - Korean Brothers
  6. Kellie and Jamie - Cheerleaders (Give me an A!)
  7. Lyn and Karlyn - African-American Single Parents
  8. Peter and Sarah - Dating Prosthetist and Amputee
  9. Rob and Kimberly - The Token Explosive Couple
  10. Tom and Terry - The Token Gay Couple
  11. Tyler and James - The Token Attractive Male Model Team
  12. Vipul and Arti - Married Indian-Americans

Needle to Wall with a Twist
The first leg of the race started in Seattle (Phil is on a ferryboat... Grey's Anatomy montage in my head) and ended in Beijing. True to Amazing Race fashion, the teams get off some identical vehicles as they are introduced, this season the transportation of choice... seaplanes. Phil did his speech yaddah yaddah... and says Go! Every season someone trips or slides in the first run to the bags. I was anticipating it with concentration... this season it was Tyler (or James?). They reach the Fords and the intro music starts.

Between that and scaling The Great Wall of China, they ate fish eyes, some paved an area with bricks, some did Taiji Bailong... of course some got lost, some bickered, some made frantic "faster, faster!" remarks to their taxi drivers and some kept looking for people who spoke English. A typical racing day. Oh and yes, a twist... Bilal and Sa'eed got eliminated in a non-pit stop. This was a foreboding.

I was amazed at Sarah's (the amputee who looks like Naomi Watts) sheer determination in scaling The Great Wall. I am almost sure I heard the Rocky Theme play when she reached the top. The Indian couple, Vipul and Arti, aka "Team Karma" got eliminated. Too bad, I really liked them.

Early Picks
I didn't have an immediate favorite when the teams were introduced via VTR. I thought I'd like the Korean contingent, but aside from the squirt guns, they were a bit bland. Rob and Kimberly didn't fight as much as I would have wanted them to. Team Karma got booted early.

Of the teams, I like Duke and Lauren most. They were estranged when Lauren came out. Lauren looks a bit like Claire Forlani, an actress I really like. Us homosexuals need to stick together. I wanted to root for the gay couple but they wore a lot of orange and did a lot of chicken dancing. If I were to put my money on anyone though, I'd pick the male model team. Tyler (Michael Vartan's doppelganger) and James look like an Abercrombie & Fitch ad. Mesmerizing eyes and chiselled jaw lines aside, they look like a tough team. They are recovered drug addicts and anyone who can attain sobriety has got to have a great amount of inner strength. Ok, ok... looks was the major factor (shoot me).

TAR taught me:
  1. Real friendships can blossom from a beauty pageant (I've always thought beauty queens are backstabbing vixens with perfect teeth... thanks to movies and that Vertical Horizon video of "You're a God"
  2. Fish eyes are a delicacy in China.
  3. Moslem men aren't allowed to shake hands with women (This is an observation and I'm not totally sure about the rigidity and coverage of this rule)
  4. Handicapped passengers are pre-boarded on a plane.
  5. Squirt guns are not allowed in airports (I dunno if this is an international rule, but seeing the extremely strict and obtrusive rules and regulations airports have now, I'm guessing it is)
  6. There are female taxi drivers in China. (amazing!)
  7. Ok I already know this, but for the benefit of others... "Thank you" in Mandarin Chinese is "Xie Xie" and "How are you?" is "Ni Hao Ma?"
  8. Scaling The Great Wall of China, according to Karlyn, "can't be worse than child birth" (hahaha)

Seems like all my Monday posts are gonna be Amazing Race related for a few months. Bear with me... It is beyond an obsession.

Photo Credits:
All photos from CBS

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A Stitch... in Time

Sunday, September 17, 2006

This afternoon, I did something quite unnatural (for me). I mended... I mended a couple of bags with Jamie Cullum. Mending is a lost hobby of sorts.

It's been a while since I wielded a needle. The last thing I sewed was a watermill scene during the cross-stitch bandwagon of the late 90's. My attention span didn't allow me to finish it, but I did manage to complete some comprehensible reeds on the foreground. This reminds me of Lucia, a housekeeper we once had who took an interest in cross-stitching watching my sister make cherubs, square by square.

My sister gave Lucia a simple pattern to start with and gave her a quick cross-stitching 101 course. Lucia was happily pushing and pulling her needle and thread for an hour or so when she approached my sister with a predicament. (In tagalog) "How do you sew a circle?"... My sister gave a puzzled look and upon looking at the basketweave fabric she gave Lucia earlier, my sis gave a barely concealed chuckle. If you are familiar with cross-stitch patterns, each thread color is represented by a symbol on the tabled pattern. Apparently, Miss Lucia thought she had to stitch in the thread in the "style" of the symbols. She had a couple of X's in there... amidst yellow squares, red plus signs and I was marveled at how skillfully she stitched in an ampersand (&).

(End of flashback sequence)

Saliva on the tips of the thread is still a requirement for me to be able to put it through the eye. I never saw the necessity of a thimble so I had multiple needle pricks on my thumb. My stitching may be crooked, I may have broken a couple of needles and encountered a lot of knots, but I'm truly satisfied by the results.

I forgot to take "before" shots of the bags I mended, and I even contemplated ripping what I repaired just to do so but thought... Screw it, I'm not gonna spend another umpteen hours to mend this again.

This bag's handle was torn because of my tendency to overload my bag with unnecessary baggage.

This garterized thingy that holds my laptop in place was also torn, not because of anything I did but because of poor craftsmanship.

Mending is surprisingly very rewarding. If I can mend a couple of bags then designing haute couture couldn't be THAT difficult, right? Project Runway, here I come...

Photo Credit:
Needle Eye

PS... I'm so psyched! Amazing Race 10 is gonna start tomorrow! (yey!)
PPS... Mau made it to the Top 12 of Philippine Idol
PPPS... Chikka Minute: Kris is pregnant.
PPPPS... Did I mention Amazing Race 10 is starting tomorrow? oh yes...

I almost forgot to greet my two officemates who celebrated their birthdays last 15th and 16th respectively:
Happy Birthday Vic! (Pizza, pizza, pizza.. yum)
Happy Birthday Dona! (Ansarap nung sugpo na niluto mo!!!)

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