Saturday, December 31, 2005


If you're into the whole paper craft (Origami) thing. You might want to give this a look. You also might want to try your hand in doing a little origami painting.

Friday, December 30, 2005

How about putting things in perspective?

Every year we gaze enviously at the lists of the richest people in world. Wondering what it would be like to have that sort of cash. But where would you sit on one of those lists? Here’s your chance to find out.

Travel the World and the Seven Seas

I am SO itching to travel outside the country; it's been more than eight years since I last stepped off an international flight. The list of foreign countries I've been (including stopovers) in chronological order: Hong Kong, South Korea (Seoul International), USA, and Japan (Tokyo Narita International).

2006, is the year of the fire dog, which means more travel for me. Just kidding, I don't really know if there's any truth to that. Anyway, potential places I'd like to visit next year (and likelihood rate):

Hong Kong - there's a great chance that this could happen since the family talk of going there sounds pretty realistic. And that's not just me bringing it up everytime at the dinner table. I'm a-going to Disneyland! 99% chance.

Singapore - I've been reading up on Singapore and what do you know, there's NOTHING to see there. I mean, of course there's always something; but with how expensive it is there, one would expect a little more. So it's really just mostly for shopping. 40% chance.

Thailand - They said that it's pronounced "Tai-land". Now, "Tai in a Box" doesn't sound so appealing. Anyway, the government jerks there with their SouthEast Asian Games accusations just warded away a potential tourist. How's that for national pride? 30% chance.

USA - Oh man, why oh why didn't I renew that visa in 2000? Who'da thunk 9/11 would happen? Well there's no point in crying over spilled milk (may five minutes na ba?). Anyway, I may try again this year for a visa after some doing some travelling. I really want to go back there and visit some friends and family. 5% chance depends on whether the consul likes my face or not. If he/she doesn't, there's always...

Canada - ... Hi. I'm in Canada. I see...mountains...plains...French separatists...the U.S. border. So close. 10% chance.

Europe - Ah, one of those dream trips. I've always wanted to go to Europe, especially to Salzburg, Austria. Don't ask me how many times I've seen The Sound of Music. 1% chance.

Australia - Europe and US junior, where you have summer Decembers and winter Augusts. And where the toilet flushes clockwise (I hope I got this correct). I don't really have plans to go there, but if the opportunity presents itself, why the hell not? 10% chance.

Japan - IF my memory serves me correctly, it's really expensive to go there. And besides there's bloody neo-colonialist and wartime-imperialists there. But Scarlett Johansson might be there, and maybe I can ask what Bill Murray told her. 5% chance.

[Cue R. Kelly's I believe I can Fly]

I used to think that I could not go on...

[Kinanta pa raw talaga]

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Four, and that's the magic number

[Everybody else is free to answer these]

Four jobs you’ve had in your life:
software programmer...that's about it.

Four movies you could watch over and over: Mulholland Drive (if only to figure out what the heck is going on), Lola Rennt (Run Lola Run), Top Secret!, The Big Lebowski

Four places you’ve lived: Manila, a few weeks in Virginia

Four TV shows you love to watch: The Simpsons, Lost, The Chappelle Show, The Daily Show

Four places you’ve been on vacation: Hong Kong, US, Boracay, Bohol

Four websites you visit daily: ESPN,,, most everybody else's blog

Four of your favorite foods: T-bone Steak, Pizza, Chicken Teriyaki, Gerry's Sisig

Four places you’d rather be: working at home (hotdammit!), roadtrip in the US, backpacking in Europe, touring around Asia

Monday, December 26, 2005

Lessons learned

Every once in a while, I do some computer spring cleaning. That means I back up the files, reformat the hard drive, reinstall the applications, and restore the personal files. I wish it was as easy as that. Lesson #1 for me, make sure the installers work. CDs can get scratched or just plain degrade and then there will be that one important operating system (OS) (i.e. Windows) installer file that cannot be read by your CD drive, and it basically kills your entire day of installing. Then you're left with good old MS-DOS. So that you don't have to go through the pain, I am sharing some lessons learned from experience.

(Oh, it's best to have a reliable copy of the OS installer somewhere, so spend for that CD-R/W)

First of all, it helps to create a boot disk so that you won't get stuck with a hi-tech system that cannot boot. I recommend the Windows 98 SE bootdisk, which also allows you to boot with CD-ROM support.

Here are some spring cleaning tips:

Some things to backup:
  1. Personal/Work files
  2. Device Drivers
  3. Internet connection settings (phone number, username, password)
  4. E-mail (if stored locally)
  5. MP3s
  6. Pictures
  7. Downloaded applications
  8. Serial Numbers
  9. Instant messenger contacts or messages
  10. Browser bookmarks
  11. List of some things to backup
The essential installers:
  1. Operating System (Windows, Linux (yeah, right))
  2. Office Applications (MS Office)
  3. Internet browser (Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox)
  4. Antivirus software (McAfee, Norton)
  5. Multimedia applications (Media Player, WinAmp, Quicktime)
  6. File compression software (Winzip,WinRAR)
  7. Device Drivers
  8. Games, games, games (of course they're essential!)
And of course, the basic steps to a clean install:
  1. Boot from your favorite bootdisk
  2. Run FDISK and destroy all hard drive partitions,
  3. Then create a new one (or create many, it's all up to you)
  4. Maybe a restart is needed after this
  5. Format the newly partitioned space
  6. Copy the OS installer files to the hard drive or boot using the bootable OS installer CD
  7. Install the OS
  8. Install the applications
  9. Restore files
That should do it. Happy spring cleaning!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

South for the winter

Originally uploaded by ton2fig.
One of the good things about living in the tropics is seeing various of migratory birds everywhere during December to January. I have no idea what bird this is, much less the scientific name. It's some sort of hawk or eagle. Anyway, they caught this one (Not to sell it, I hope, but to protect it) in Greenhills. Watch out for migratory Bird Flu.

Yet even more Christmas parties...

Originally uploaded by ton2fig.
We got great lechon for our office party. It's Leonardo's Lechon in San Juan (shameless plug). We also got lechon paksiw, pancit palabok, lumpiang sariwa, buko pandan, and various desserts. My gift to the office is a bottle of Absolut Vodka. There is about 1/4 of the bottle left. I'm thinking of buying another for New Year's party next week. But I'm leaning towards buying Shakers this time or maybe Bailey's. More pictures in flickr.

Grease me up!

Originally uploaded by ton2fig.
Our group presentation for our office IS Christmas party, which has a theme of hollywood movies, is an entire routine based on the movie Grease. The presentations were supposed to be for a contest before the organizers decided that it WON'T be a "competition", but they'll still give a cash prize (of P1500.00) to the winner (who WON'T be a "winner"). Huh?!

Anyway, along with Austin Powers, Footloose and Rent, our Grease number emerged as the winner. We spent the prize money for a group Jollibee breakfast. More pictures in flickr.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Yes, you've finally made a monkey out of me

You may remember him from such December hits as The Lord of the Rings. Peter Jackson (who I think may have gone under gastric bypass surgery, I can't be sure), has did it again with his new (yet old) creation, King Kong. The movie is admittedly long, clocking at a little over three hours, but you're hardly wasting any precious movie viewing time. King Kong may be the most lovable fictional monkey since Homer Simpson, and Naomi Watts is always a delight to watch. Ditto with Jack Black and Adrien Brody. Of course there's WETA providing the special effects fresh off from the success of The Lord of the Rings trilogy. It's almost always a marvel to behold and you'd believe that they were as real as you can imagine them to be. Amazing, amazing, go watch before the Metro Manila Filmfest starts.


I also got a chance to watch the not-so-new talk of the town, Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros before the theatres shelved it (which will probably happen next week, judging from the amount of people who watched in the theatre we were in). Negatives first, I just wish they shot that movie with a better camera and a really good boom mic. Of course, we can't really blame the creator's of the indie film, because success in that genre can rarely be predicted. If it IS going to Sundance, maybe they can make it more presentable. Orrr, maybe the crudeness of it adds to the greatness of the achievement it has attained. What do you think?

Anyway, the movie alternates between childlike innocence, and harsh brutal reality. Quite a funny movie. The homosexual factor is really more of a circumstance rather than the main focus of the film. I think the film is about sometimes having choices and other times having none at all. Hah! How's that last one for an anti-spoiler? You could say that about any film. (Sigh). I guess the point is, don't take my word for it, go watch the film. Huwag antaying lumamig ang pancit.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Christmas is for the kids?

Unbelievable. It's getting harder and harder to "feel Christmas" every year. It's only about a week away and yet, the feeling these days is just like any other ordinary day. Sure there are decorations everywhere and Christmas songs being played over the radio stations, and inside malls. You buy gifts to give, and make wishlists of gifts you want to get (hoping to get them is part of the fun, I guess). Christmas is certainly commercialized but I don't think that's what took the fun out of it. Real life is catching up on the occasion. Christmas season or not, we still have to worry about the adult stuff.

Nonetheless, we should make it easier for others to forget about it, even for a while.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

A Stroke of Rock

We had our annual company Christmas party last night, the general theme being "Rock" as in the music and the lifestyle. So we have a choice of dressing as rock stars, rock fans or just be sticks in the mud all night. I went and tried (emphasis on tried) to go Billie Joe, as in Green Day: all-black, red tie, and having someone put eyeliner on me. I'd have gone Chris Cornell or Dave Grohl if only I could grow at least a goatee. Anyway, this picture is about all you can get (the rest are viewable only to flickr friends). Thanks for the shot, Shelley! By the way, old buddy Lester says you can't do that two-finger thing in Australia. It's equivalent to the ubiquitous one-finger salute.

I know people from the office are reading this, and I just want to let them know that I was quite disappointed by the effort that people put in making their look. A lot took the easy way out. I mean, not even a hint of Steven Tyler and the Spandex, much less KISS. A general feeling of hesitation? Ah, but our company is going into a transitional phase, I believe more and more people will embrace the culture (of partying harder!).

Nonetheless, it was still a great party, that was held in Phi Bar and Restaurant in Metrowalk. I'd have said good things about the food if only they didn't let us wait 20 mins for the next refill. But I'm kidding, the consensus was, there wasn't really anything good to say about the food except that it provides the body with some amount of nutrients and amino acids or whatever.


Like every year, the company raffles off various prizes from gift certificates, small appliances cash prizes, and international trips. Last year's grand prize was a trip to Thailand. This year, it was a trip to Boracay, and the grand prize, P20,000.00. To make the long story short, I went home twenty thousand smackeroons richer (at least on paper, I have to claim the prize from the head office). So what will I do with the money? I'll think about it when I have it in the bank. Our family's thinking of going to Hong Kong. Let's just say that the idea became more real after last night.

Between now and the trip, bills, bills, bills, first. Still...I'm rich, bitch! At least for a while.


It's not the first time I've experienced some luck in these random drawings, games or promos. The first I remember winning was this little keyboard synthesizer that I still don't know how I won. Maybe I was the Nth customer of that store (I better check with my parents). I also won a karaoke system by playing BINGO. I've also gotten 4 out of 6 numbers in the local lotto (I won something like P800.00). And now, this. I don't know, right place at the right time, the chaos and the order of zeroes and ones. It's best not to dwell on it. The pattern is that there is no pattern.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Back to school

Originally uploaded by ton2fig.
Not exactly. But I participated in our company's Quality Service to Clients course, a day and a half session in Meralco Management and Leadership Development Center (MMLDC), in Antipolo. It's always a welcome break from work. Go check the flickr pics. I took 300 pictures, and some of them are blurry because I prefer not using the flash to preserve the natural colors. Of course, valuable flickr spaces are pictures of interests only (which means, mostly with me on the picture).

Hey my camera has this cool feature that can isolate a shade of color called Color Accent. You point the camera to a particular shade and then the other colors become unsaturated (black and white). Check out this photo.

Advice for camera owners like me: You will enjoy taking pictures by buying/bringing a tripod. It's mostly because you can be in the pictures.


Unfortunately, I lost my BPI golf umbrella there. Some idiot got it from the "honor-system" umbrella rack. He will soon suffer the consequences. I'm still choosing between voodoo or plain old witchcraft.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

New Toy

As you may have figured out by now (or not), I got myself a new camera for my birthday. It's the Canon PowerShot S80. It started when the family teased my mom about her jurassic film-based camera. I jokingly suggested that she buy my camera, an IXUS 330, all in, then i'll just buy a new one for myself. Turns out, my dad took the offer seriously and brought me a Canon leaflet a few days later containing the specs and prices of the latest Canon cameras. He told me the terms of the payment and I told him I'd research it first.

Canon for me is a trusted name in digital cameras. It produces good quality pictures and has great add-on accessories. Plus, the camera designs always looks spiffy.

At first, I was looking to choose the IXUS 750 (SD550), which costs P32,950 Suggested Retail Price. It's quite similar to my old one, power and portability. It easily fits my pocket which makes it easier to carry around. I read the review and it says out that it's a great compact camera. On the other side of the leaflet are the Powershot S2 IS, the A-series, and the camera I eventually chose, the Powershot S80. I figured out that as long as I am spending for a camera, I might as well go the distance. The Powershot S80 is indeed bulkier, and very hard to fit into the pockets, but then again the features won me over. It has more features, it has wide-angled lenses, the controls are a lot more customizable, the response time is excellent, and it has settings for various situations (like fireworks, underwater, snow(?), foliage, kids and pets for action shots). Best of all, I can use my 512MB Multimedia Card (MMC) that I got from Singapore (for my Nokia 6230) as memory for the camera. So adding P3000.00 more, I get an excellent camera that I hope will last me 5 years.

Check out if I have something new in my flickr page.

Sunday, December 04, 2005


Originally uploaded by ton2fig.
Here's my inaanak (goddaughter), Kathryn, who absolutely hates me. The people around think it's because my glasses scare her. Anyway, her mom, my cousin Karla was around to distract her while I took this picture and after a few tries, I got a decent one right here.

She's as cute as a bug's ear.

Greenhills night show

Originally uploaded by ton2fig.
If you happen to drop by Greenhills for some cheap gifts and bargain buys, you can check out their annual Christmas presentation on the side facing Ortigas Avenue.

It's a modest presentation that happens every 30 minutes, and really nothing to call home about. If you're feeling nostalgic about the COD christmas shows a few years before, this essentially replaces it.

Family Dinner

Originally uploaded by ton2fig.
While this photo doesn't have the best of foregrounds (an empty mineral water bottle, 3 pcs of tempura tails, clutter everywhere), it been a long time since the four of us in the family have gotten a decent family picture.

This was taken in Kimpura in Greenhills. My sister and her husband Mike is in the middle, and for those who haven't seen me in a while, that's me on the top right, and that's my hair.


My driver's license was due to expire on December 1, 2005 so I had planned to have it renewed a few days before.

I took a leave from the office to go to Farmer's Market (which neither is a market nor does ithave anything to do with farmers) because I remember the Land Transportation Office (LTO) branch inside. It was where I last renewed my license and it took only two hours.

As much as I love driving my car (since I am still paying for it every month), I decided to try out taking the LRT2, which runs along the Ramon Magsaysay/Aurora Boulevard stretch (from Recto to Santolan in Pasig). The commute route was that I park in SM City Sta. Mesa (formerly SM Centerpoint) walk to the V. Mapa station, take the LRT2 to Cubao Station and walk to Farmer's Market.

It was a great commuting experience for me because I used to remember taking the jeep (to and from school, sometimes) along Aurora, and it took hours to get anywhere. The LRT2 took about 10 mins, a little bit more if you just missed it and had to wait for the next one. There weren't a lot of people at the time, but I didn't get to sit until around one station before Cubao, which is the Boston/Betty Go Belmonte Station.

The stations between V. Mapa and Cubao are generally uninteresting, except for the Gilmore Station, which is smack in the middle of the computer hub. It's fairly hard to park there which gives you more reason to commute.

The Cubao station leads you directly to Gateway Mall. From V. Mapa station, that costs P13.00 one-way, it is the cheapest and most comfortable way to get to Araneta Center.

Replacementdocs: The original web archive of game manuals

Well as long as you're intent on buying pirated games, why not get the game manuals too?

Let's just say that you "lost" your game manual, and you don't really remember the controls and you don't like experimenting. Get your replacement manuals right here, on this really helpful site!

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Thai PM questions fairness of SEA Games

I just had to blog and bitch about this short article saying that the Prime Minister of Thailand is "wondering" why we're winning in the South-East Asian Games here all over the country. Yeah, yeah, technically, he didn't say it was us or current second place in medals Vietnam, and technically he didn't say that the games were rigged or that we were cheating. But we're not idiots; we can still read between the lines.

First of all, it's not fair to those athletes who worked very hard for the medals. Second of all, this isn't a beauty contest. For most of the games, you earn points, and those points aren't subject to the whim of judges. I don't exactly know if he's implying a particular sport/competition. He must be watching our elections (rimshot).

I guess, I'm just being defensive. After all the competitions aren't all judged by Pinoys. Check out this item about questionable judging by a Korean judge.

Anyway, Eric Buhain of the Games and Amusements Board, and ambassador to the SEA games has this response.

For more on the SEA Games, heres the official website:

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Pat Morita, 'Karate Kid's' Mr. Miyagi, dies

Here's to my childhood source of profound wisdom in the form of Mr. Miyagi. Pat Morita died last Friday (Thursday in the US) at the age of 73.

The last laugh

When was the last time you laughed so hard your jaw and throat hurted?

Me and my cousin, in all our shallowness burst out laughing at the sight of Manny Pacquiao being pummeled (to death it seemed) by Erik Morales while playing Fight Night Round 2 on Playstation2. In our attempt for vengeance, we decided to pit Pacquiao against Morales (whom the former lost to last March in one of the most highly regarded matches of the year (in the real world, of course)). Our approach was very strategic, almost like hacking the game, trying to defeat the computer AI more than pretending to be the boxer. In the early rounds, we delivered a combination consisting of midsection jabs before a hook or an uppercut. Very formulaic but nonetheless effective and easy to execute. Eventually, the opponent was almost literally at the ropes. Erik staggered many times across rounds but always got away with dodging and hugging. In the end, the Erik AI decided it had enough and connected on multiple haymaker hooks that shook the sweat out of our Pacquiao's virtual face. Here's where the laugh trip starts. You know in the game Mortal Kombat where the combos are number of hits you "juggle" the opponent? Well, our Pacquiao got juggled and got hit something like seven times WHILE going down for the count. And that happened about three times! We swear he got killed in there somewhere. I think he hit his head on the mat and broke his neck or something. One thing's for sure, he probably didn't look too good after that beating.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Basketball Jerseys

I like collecting basketball jerseys not just for hanging in the closet or some sort of shrine, but also for playing basketball. Before, I used to wear old white or sleeveless warm up shirts for playing but then I decided to move to wearing basketball jerseys. They're more comfortable, and if you buy the nice ones, the sweat evaporates much quicker than cotton shirts.

In the NBA Store there are more or less 3 kinds of jerseys: authentic, swingman, and replica. The authentic sells for about $150.00 and is the kind (they say) that the pro ball players wear. The swingman goes for around $75-85 and is the kind I like, with the little air holes; it's excellent for playing basketball. The replica is around $50-70 and is NOT so nice for playing basketball because the fabric doesn't really let air in or out. It's meant to be worn during the NBA games by fans who just sit down at the stands inside the airconditioned arena.

Anyway, I wanted a Dwyane Wade swingman jersey. The player's a good guy, and a budding superstar, and has got real talent AND more importantly, wears my lucky number (3). I only have the black replica, which I said is not so nice to wear while playing.

What's holding me back however is the fact that a lot of people already have these Wade jerseys (different color though). I can count three people I've seen, including one bald and hairy guy who wore it while he went to the grocery in Unimart. So that was basically it for me and the Wade jersey.

Right now, I'm setting my sights on a Chris Paul (my new idol) college jersey (Wake Forest #3). Here's what the Wake Forest black and gold looks like. It's very classy. And even better because there is no fear that Chris Paul might change college teams since he went pro and was drafted by the New Orleans/Oklahoma Hornets. That's also one of the problems with jerseys, when a player gets traded or signs with other teams, your jersey becomes dated already. Buying throwbacks are preferable (Magic Johnson #32, Michael Jordan #23, Oscar Robertson #1 and other retired players). Anyone going to Wake Forest? Anyone? Anyone?

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Microsoft Age of Empires 3

Just before I got a copy of Civ 4, I thought I'd try out Age of Empires 3 for a while. I liked the previous installment, Age of Empires 2: The Age of Kings, which covers the Dark Ages to the late Medieval period. So that means you get to control trebuchets, siege rams, the Mongol Horde (cavalry archers), the Byzantine cavalry, among others. It had an expansion pack named The Conquerors brings in the Mayans, Aztecs, and also the Spanish Conquistadors (horsemen with BB guns apparently). Too bad, smallpox isn't incorporated in the game. A very fine game, and I especially enjoyed the Regicide games wherein, as the name suggests, you kill the king (literally, a single unit with robe and a crown that can move around the map) of a team, and that team is defeated.

(I'll skip talking about Age of Mythology and Rise of Nations in detail)

This game covers the European colonization of the New World. I'm sure a lot of websites have already covered most of the technical and gameplay matters of the game, so let's just stick to the opinion.

First of all, the graphics are stunning IF your system can handle the stiff requirements. The water is reflective, pieces break off when hit by cannons and other mortar fire, and all in all, amazing detail up close.

I must confess, I didn't enjoy playing this game, and that if I wanted to play a historical real time strategy (RTS) game, I'd play Rise of Nations (which covers almost all the periods of history until the present time). If I wanted to play a non-historical RTS game, I'd play Age of Mythology. So why not this? It probably has something to do with the game topic because I come from a country on the receiving end of the age of "discovery". So when I move my troops to build trading posts on the colonies and build "native units" and have them fight for me, I feel for the native units. That's my main gripe from the game.

Off to the dusty shelf you go.

Reports of my addiction to Civ IV have been greatly exagerrated

blog drafts
Originally uploaded by ton2fig.
A lot of things happened in the past few weeks, both good and bad. I promise to cover it all (or at least most of it), maybe...this coming weekend. But meanwhile, I still gather blog topics using the extremely handy "Blog This" button from the Google Toolbar, as well as the Blogger function "Save As Draft". I don't really bother with changing the date (of when I originally encountered the article/website/topic) so you might see posts being inserted before this.

Anyway, wish me luck.

Monday, November 07, 2005

It begins...

Manang Tindera: Sir, installer, PC Games...
Me: (uninterested) Anong bago niyong games?
Manang Tindera: Call of Duty...Age of Empires...Civilization
Me: ... Meron na?!

So there, after weeks of waiting, checking out the Datablitz website, reading online message boards, and stopping by Greenhills, I've finally gotten hold of Civilization 4 -- the software equivalent of crack.

There are a few games which I had bought original: The Sims, The Sims 2, Sim City 4 and Civilization 3, among others. The rest, I admit, I get pirated copies of, if only to bypass the annoying and pathetic copy-protection techniques such as running the game without CDs (the infamous No-CD cracks). Other reasons have to do with my game purchasing philosophy.Take for example the NBA Live series. Every year, there is an NBA Live game out sometime before the beginning of the NBA regular season (around September or October). Now how stupid does buying the same kind of game for thousands of pesos every year. Yeah, sure, it's "different", even "better" every year but then the thing is, who plays NBA Live 2003 these days. Yep, nobody! So throw away the CD after a year? Let it gather dust? Give to the poor? They should come up with a subscription-type scheme that favors licensed owners of the previous year's version. If there is such a thing, I haven't heard it here.

This doesn't really explain why I buy those aforementioned games in original format when I can always buy them pirated (no matter how many raids the police conduct). The reason is simple: they are quality games and I like the developers to make more of them. I mentioned before that these games (or franchises/series) were timeless. I could pop in Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri (which I had my dad take home from the U.S. around 5 years ago), install it, and still enjoy playing it until morning. How's that for value-for-money?


Anyway, here's the uninteresting part of the post: me raving or ranting about the game.

Check out this Saturday-Sunday timeline:

11:15 PM - Arrive home. Try to install Civ 4. The game did not install properly.
11:30 PM - 1:00 AM - Search Internet for troubleshooting tips
1:30 AM - Game finally runs (Use Run in Windows 2000 compatibility mode)
1:30 AM - 5:00 AM - Play game. Game crashes occasionally. Put up with it.
5:00 AM - Thirty minutes na lang...
5:30 AM - Sun rises (though there's no crowing rooster anymore in our
5:35 AM - Try to sleep. Zzz...
9:30 AM - Sun is shining on my face. Wake up, have breakfast.
9:45 AM - Play more Civ 4 until it's time to get ready for church.
11:30 AM - 3:00 PM - Church, Lunch, walk around Greenbelt. Buy Visine. Go home.
3:00 PM - Play more Civ 4.

If that game didn't crash on my computer as frequent as it did, I'd have played a lot more than that.

(I'm not an addict!)

The franchise itself has acknowledged this type of addiction with Civilization Anonymous, a fictional support group for Civ Addicts.

But the crashes are really annoying since it runs quite a bit slow on my system (AMD XP2200, 512 MB RAM, 128MB Video, unbelievable), and so now I'm thinking of getting another 512MB of RAM. I realize that this could also be just a result of bad programming, with which a game patch to come can solve the performance issues. Until then I am seriously thinking of that RAM upgrade.

(I'm not an addict!)

That's about three-thousand bucks, hmmm...

(I'm not an addict!)

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Important Note

Playing Civ 4. Be back in a few weeks :P

Monday, October 31, 2005

Eagle Point Resort, Batangas

Originally uploaded by ton2fig.
I have lots of stories from this amazing weekend vacation. But for now, just check out the flickr pics and see for yourself. More posts in the next few days.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Aqua Sock

We'll be going to Anilao, Batangas for the long All-Saints weekend. I've been warned that the beach is quite rough so I went out to buy aquasocks. I checked out Speedo in Podium. They sell these aquasocks for around P1295.00 (Toby's has the same kind and price).

They look like this:
I guess it does the job pretty well though I didn't try it on. I noticed that the little rocks or sand could get into the holes so I looked around some more. My officemate Randy tells me that I can probably get one from sports stores like Nike or Adidas, so we head to Nike Park.

Sure enough, there were nice ones there and that's where I finally bought a pair, which look like these:

Let me assure you that they aren't Nike brand Kung-fu shoes. I tried them on, they fit nicely. There's almost no way sand can get through except where I put my feet in (and that part's pretty tight). It has cushioning so soft that I can wear it on the beach or underwater and my feet will thank me for it. On the other hand, my wallet isn't thanking me for it. It's all right anyway, I don't buy stuff that much. [As I wrote that last sentence, I looked around in my room and saw 5 Nike boxes stacked up near the door (that'll be the Shox, Zoom Air Vapor, Free, AirForce One, and this one)].

This is the first thing I bought using my Ateneo Alumni credit card. Nike Park also gave me a frequent shopper card thing (D'oh!). It says, after I buy 4 more pairs of shoes, I get the 6th pair up to half the price (D'oh! D'oh!). Anyway, this thing's transferable (Woohoo! I think). I'll tackle my shopping habits in another post. Meanwhile, I'm all set for the weekend.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Podcast: ABC's Lost - The Transmission

I tried podcasting today though I didn't really subscribe to the feed, I just downloaded some episodes. For those who're to lazy to click the Wikipedia link (sigh),
Podcasting is a method of publishing audio and video programs via the Internet that lets users subscribe to a feed of new files (usually MP3s). It became popular in late 2004, largely due to automatic downloading of audio onto portable players or personal computers.
As I mentioned before, I've been following the second season of Lost (cause we just can't wait!) even before it's shown on local or cable TV here. There's a popular podcast related to the show called The Transmission, hosted by Ryan and Jen. They're two Hawaiian locals (since the show is being shot in Hawaii) who keep saying that they're amateur broadcasters, and it shows. Basically, they recap the show, put in their observations, respond to listener feedback, and discuss what's in store in future Lost episodes. So this podcasting works just like a radio show, with one important advantage: you can listen to it anytime, anywhere, as long as you can play the mp3 file. I can see how this works perfectly with the iPod, and with a device like the iTrip, you can play it in the car while driving. We consumers always like to have choices. The podcast selection is pretty wide, ranging from Kids Disney podcasts to Sports to Travel.

Sigh, if I do get hooked, I may need a high-speed Internet connection to download the podcasts. Dial-up just won't do for two-digit megabyte files. An iPod would be nice too (here I go again).

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Corpse Bride / Wallace and Gromit

I have seen two delightful movies in the past two weeks: Corpse Bride and Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit.

Corpse Bride

Did you know this movie was a musical? Going into the theater, I didn't. The trailers for it pretty much established the story but the singing and the dancing was quite a surprise. The musical number was quite catchy sometimes although it does disrupt the flow of the story (then again, what musical number doesn't?...Wait, don't answer that). The movie was quite entertaining, and the animation superb. The story was a bit predictable though the humor works most of the time. I don't think this is still in cinemas at the time of this writing, but do try to catch it if you want to watch something light-hearted.

Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

I didn't really know what to expect of this movie. I don't really know claymation outside of Gumby and Chicken Run. That is, I don't really know claymation.

I don't want to spoil the movie for anyone but I have to say that you should watch it. It's very funny and witty. There's comedy for both kids and adults, and everyone in between. The characters are adorable, especially Gromit who has more facial expressions than your average dog (then again, he's obviously no ordinary dog, even if he still walks on all fours). They both run a pest-control service called Anti-Pesto (Mmm...pesto) for an agriculture-centric community, initially infested by rabbits (also adorable). Go! Watch!

As an added bonus, there's a movie short based on the Madagascar penguins. I didn't see the Madagascar movie, and all I could say is that I don't like these penguins.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Troubleshooting with a screwdriver

Imagine, if you will, a perfect hassle-free world. My Logitech Wingman Rumblepad, the one that I use to play NBA Live 06, is not functioning well. Its 'R' button doesn't seem to be responding. I'd call technical support and they'll probably tell me to bring it over to one of their satellite stores or service centers. They will ask me to return in a few days to pick up the repaired unit, for a small fee of course. Then, I will be merrily playing my PC games ever after.

Back to reality.

First, I find out that Logitech has no service centers in the country. I couldn't return the unit to Villman since the warranty expired months ago. I'd rather not wait for an indefinite amount of time for them to have it shipped somewhere else to have it repaired. Lastly, I'd rather not be told to just buy another unit or an even cheaper one and thus render this controller 'R'-less for eternity (since this was so expensive to buy in the first place).

Fortunately, the butingting [can anybody translate this?] genes of my father, and his father, and his father's father (and his father's...) , kicks in just in time before I think of giving up. There are screws at the back of the controller; therefore, the solution lies in the screwdriver.

My experiences with using a screwdriver started with my cousin teaching me how to switch G.I. Joe heads and limbs by removing the one screw at the back that holds it all together. Doing this to Transformer toys were too advanced for me at the time. Good thing I skipped that part and I had moved on to replacing PC parts when I got a little older.

So this controller was relatively simple to dismantle, except for the middle screw that was covered in a rubber "screw-cork" behind a "QC [quality control] passed" sticker. That was the point of no return. If I remove that sticker, they may never accept the product to be repaired or replaced.

I did it anyway, and I removed the cork to with another screwdriver. The problem was that the little foam that pressed the "real button" on the controller wasn't aligned because the adhesive that was supposed to hold it in place caused it to slip due to overuse (I guess).

Now, all is well, and all that took was a screwdriver and a little determination. But the real lesson was: before you even start to complain, do the damn thing yourself first. It's really very satisfying to know that you've beaten the red tape just because you tried to do it yourself.

[Disclaimer: lesson does not apply to all things. Do not try to fix anything that bites, sparks or causes infertility.]

Video iPod

Now here's an iPod I would consider of thinking of trying to buy (see how hard it is to convince myself?). After giving us a lot of head-fakes, Steve Jobs finally announces the release of the Video iPod. The link I provided here is the arsTechnica review, a pretty comprehensive one, and it ends with them dissecting the unit.

Of all the iPod generations, including mini, shuffle and nano, I actually found myself wanting to buy one of these; yet there is still one important missing element: access to iTunes. Also, the fact that acquiring music and videos cost money. There is still ripping CDs and P2P but I find that I will probably get the most out of owning an iPod if I have a high-speed Internet access. That way, I can download podcasts (which hasn't grown on me yet) or occasionally purchase songs.

Despite the nudge it gave me to the direction of almost buying one, I still find that I don't need it. Again, maybe when I have money to burn. Make that, "if" I will have money to burn.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Sosyal networking

I'm not much of a fan of social networking services such as Friendster, MySpaces, or Orkut. I even had to read up on Wikipedia to know these sites, except for Friendster of course, which probably reached its peak last year 2004. I don't know how popular it is now or if it's become passe already.

I remember way, way back in 1997, it was the time when I first got online using my Netscape 3.0. I kept getting email from a, which is of course based on the theory that I will quote (from Wikipedia again):
Six degrees of separation is the theory that anyone on the planet can be connected to any other person on the planet through a chain of acquaintances that has no more than five intermediaries. The theory was first proposed in 1929 by the Hungarian writer Frigyes Karinthy in a short story called Chains.
(And from this of course, Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon)

In my opinion it was one of the first incarnations of organized spamming that probably spawned Internet viral marketing. It was a fun and novel thing to participate in at first but then I was reminded of chain letters. My sister got one for real, as in a snail-mail from a "friend". I read it and saw right through the scam the first time. The giveaway was the "success stories" in the very same mail that recounted the incidences of good luck to those who had sent the letter and bad luck to those who didn't. "Mr. X sent this email and tripled his wealth in a matter of ...". An obvious waste of time of course, apart from simply being annoying.

So anyway, when Friendster entered the scene a few years ago, I dismissed it as a fad. A well-executed one, though, and building over the ruins of sixdegrees. Almost everyone I know has a Friendster account (or two) and it seems to be going along fine although the new developments are a lacking in uniqueness: photo albums, blogs, and the like. Anyway, if I need to take a peek into the network, I can still use my old buddy Mark's account that Noel made.

As a postscript to this, I have tried using Yahoo 360 and sent invites to anyone who cares; but clearly, it's a piece of sh*t. I don't really need an integrated service to unify blogging, RSS feed management, photo sharing, and whatever else I do online.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

flickr and Blog Clutter

Nice little application/website, this flickr. What particularly got me hooked are the upload tool and the tie-up with Blogger (among others), and the fact that it's tied up with Yahoo. I might as well upload a lot of my pictures because the limit for the free account is 20MB per month. I also got that nifty flickr badge (somewhere on this page) which shows random pictures from my collection.


With the flickr badge, the shoutbox, the technorati searchbox, the googleads, the archive links and the blog links, this blog's looking a bit cluttered.

So I resolve to redesign this blog (personalize it as well) by, say...a realistic target of... June of next year. I'll give it a nice look so that the elements will flow seamlessly on the page. Of course, all of this is hard without inspiration. I'm not that creative anyway and it's hard to code as well.

Time to do inspiration surfing... My favorites?

Any other suggestions?

Monday, October 17, 2005

A grandfather computer

My grandfather asked if I could help him buy a computer since "Bachelor of Science, Major in Computer Science" automatically means I can.

He's doing it for the right reasons, by the way. He's buying a computer because he can't find any more typewriters around, and he's going to have someone type for him. That means computer and printer. I was also told that they may need to connect to the Internet. At least this computer will give me something to do when we go to Bulacan instead of loafing around pretending to read books or staring at the ceiling.

Choosing one will be easier than the time I wanted to buy my own computer. I just get the cheapest package, give that don't-mess-with-me look and watch out for the salestalk.

Greenhills is still the place to go for your computer shopping needs. Since they're still renovating the Mecca of computer shopping, Virramall, the next best places to look is either Shoppesville Plus or the Annapolis Carpark. We went for the latter since it's easier to load things to the car afterwards.

The cheapest package these days is an AMD Sempron 2200 with 256 MB DDRAM with shared video memory, a 40 GB IDE hard drive, a 52x CD-ROM drive, floppy drive of course, speakers, keyboard, mouse and auto voltage regulator. The new term I heard them describe monitors is "refurbished", which essentially means recycled, and thus, cheap, probably riskier. This comes in at around a bit less than P15,000. Printer is an additional P2350.00, we're getting a computer table too.

The guy at the shop tells me they've run out of Sempron 2200s and tells me I could get a Sempron 2500 and he'll cut a few hundred from it. He tells me it's 64-bit ready and that when Windows XP 64-bit edition, I'll be ready. To let him know I'm no chump, I tell him "bakit ko gusto nun? [why would I want that?]". He starts to go into this "be at the forefront of technology" bit, but I cut him off by saying that it's really just for my grandfather. He's all business afterwards, running down the available parts, sometimes discounting them without me asking. They assemble the thing in front of us, taking the parts out of the box and into their corresponding place inside the PC case, wires and cables and all. The printer's pretty decent, an Epson C45, at a hundred bucks less. Gives me the modem for free.

My mom mentions the internet connection, and this guy jumps to suggest Smart Wi-Fi at P1000.00. I immediately shook my head. My grandfather won't need it, heck, even I don't really need it. I mean it's nice to have, except it's more of a luxury for me who spends around 2 online hours a day at home. They'll just take their chances with prepaid dial-up connection. I also tell the guy to format the hard drive and make it bootable, since they're against piracy and all that. You can guess how I solved the operating system problem.

My grandfather was prepared to spend around P25,000.00 for it, we got ours for P19,250.00 w/ printer and table. A pretty good deal.

Since they'll be bringing the computer to Bulacan, and I won't be there until the All Saints break, we label all the wires at home (in Manila) so that they can figure out where to put what when they get there. I'm a little scared that they'll start calling hours later so that they can get tech support from me. (shudder). My dad reassures us, "marunong ngang magpatakbo yan ng tren, eto pa kaya [he (my grandfather) knows how to make trains run, he can make this work]". My grandfather was a railroad engineer. I'm a different kind of engineer. The kind that saves relatives a few thousand when buying a computer.

Friday, October 14, 2005

PBA Cry-babies

ABS-CBN Interactive has this article about local professional basketball players whining about the league's move to grant amnesty to Filipino-American players. Usually, the league doesn't allow them to play, although a few may have "slipped" past "vigilant" eyes.

My take on this is: let the Fil-Ams play.

If I was a pro basketball player, I'd say "bring it on". Let the league worry about the legality.

Part of the reason of the waning support for the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) is the fact that it's not exciting to watch, or more accurately, it's not worth the money to pay to watch (more on this later). Players lack both intensity and talent. Part of the reason they allowed some obviously non-indigenous talent is that they play better, play faster, play bigger and they bring the crowd in. When you're up against these people, they'll force you to work harder, be better prepared, train longer.

These people are just looking for an excuse to be the best among the mediocre. How do we expect to challenge Asia's best with these kinds of athletes? Raise the bar, open the floodgates. Bring in the fans.


One good thing the PBA has done this season is to sell upperbox and bleacher tickets for a measly 5 pesos. Sure enough, it does bring the crowd. Good idea. It was embarrassing to see previous seasons with empty bleacher/upper box seats that the cameras have to come in close at everything so that the unoccupied places won't be shown on TV. This is the people's game, a game for the masses. Now, the masses can afford it.

Mmm...Chicken Nuggets

Through an intricate network of associates, I got hold of frozen chicken nuggets from a famous fastfood establishment for P250.00 a kilo. It tastes exactly like when you buy them from the restaurant. There are about 50+ pieces in a kilo. Very good value for money. I don't even have to go out of the house in case I feel like eating some.

Too bad you have to come up with your own sauce.


Hey I got myself a myshoutbox. It's on the right, where it says "leave a message". So please do leave a message. Friends, wellwishers, acquaintances, distant relatives...

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Ateneo Alumni Visa Credit Card

A few weeks ago, someone from the Ateneo Alumni Association office called to ask if I'm interested in getting a credit card. I already have a Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) Edge Mastercard, and my Equitable Visa Electron but I was planning to get a Visa credit card. Hong Kong Savings (HSBC) did call me and I tried to sign up for the Mabuhay Miles Visa but that was months ago and I don't know what became of that. So for weeks I was thinking of getting a Citibank Visa. Good timing for the alumni office.

I let the representative talk her guts out over the phone how a percentage of the annual fee goes to Ateneo scholars, how it's pre-approved and that they don't need any documents or requirements from me. So I did sign up for one. Two birds in one stone: something good for the alma mater, and financial flexibility for me.

My card arrived a few days ago containing my plain-looking Ateneo Alumni Unionbank Credit Card. The design is more simplistic than simple. I don't really like the look. I didn't even give an authorization letter to the one that received it at home but they gave it anyway (although, I still have to have it activated). Maybe they figured out that I'm still the same guy that lived in that house and went to Ateneo for 16 long years. No loyalty award for me, though. I guess the school doesn't go for that thing. Weirdly enough, the spam that comes with the credit card is all about life insurance, unlike the BPI, which is full of perks, 0% interest on installment and various other discounts. The card also comes with a list of establishments that I can get discounts from. Unimpressive lineup, though, and the Visa Gourmet Perks promo ended last March.

One good advantage of my Alumni card is that I can pay for it over my Equitable ATM.

Why do I need so many credit cards? I don't exactly need them, but having them around and occasionally using them will be good for my credit history. It's good for me to get used to managing my finances. Also, for emergencies.

From time to time, I read up on credit card stuff like this MSN Money article on "How many credit cards is too many?"

The website's full of useful articles like that but I don't know if it applies to our country and culture. We're not exactly a consumer economy like the US.

Geek on Stun: Marios. 64.

Bored guys putting costumes on Super Mario. Hm, I don't seem to have a favorite. Maybe the Kamatari Damacy Mario, the fifth one from the bottom of the leftmost column.

UM frosh changed game, America

An interesting read on the The University of Michigan Fab Five of Chris Webber, Juwan Howard, Jalen Rose, Jimmy King, Ray Jackson. Three of which were certified NBA all-stars.
Before the Queer Eye guys but after Freddie Wildstyle'd and Yo'd, for a larger part of America, the five brothas that graced the floor in Crisler Arena that year -- that day -- were something they had never seen before. Everything about them was new. Different. Fresh to death.
Read up if you're into basketball culture.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Savage Earth Week: Mt. Pinatubo

Last Monday, National Geographic Channel, in their Savage Earth Week series, featured the Eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991.

I can't say I vividly remember that time. I remember the ashfall, and the news about lahar, and evacuations. I even collected some ashfall from our car and it's probably in a small packet somewhere in the house (if it hasn't been thrown away yet).

Watching the feature, I realized how terrible that disaster really was, and how its effects were felt all over the world for years (temperatures dropped a few degrees for over two years because of the ash spewed in the atmosphere). Also how it created that lahar wasteland that is most of Pampanga.

It had that story of an Aeta village that sought refuge in the caves. Only one family survived, after they covered themselves with bat droppings (guano!) to escape the fiery heat. There were also stories of news correspondents escaping the avalanche of rock and mud, as they caught it all on film.

Anyway, the world didn't end then. But I don't think we've fully recovered 14 years after.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Watch the 40 Year Old Virgin!

What a riot of a film! Go, watch! Now!

We caught The 40-Year-Old Virgin in Greenbelt 3 and I was just laughing myself off my seat most of the time. Sure there were some slapstick scenes, and references I didn't get. But the comedy really got my funny bone. Steve Carell was perfect for that role, and the supporting cast led by Catherine Keener (who was excellent in Being John Malkovich, one of my all-time favorites). He better follow it up with another good one or else he's a fluke.

What else can I say? Well this movie draws comparison to American Pie and Wedding Crashers. And while I didn't see Wedding Crashers, I think that this movie is a lot better than American Pie. The protagonist is a much more lovable loser, you kinda cheer him on throughout the movie. I found the script a lot wittier, and smarter, maybe even insightful.

I don't mind watching this one for a second time. Although, I fear it may not be the same kind of experience as the first (rimshot).

Sunday, October 09, 2005

With the 1st pick in the Yahoo Fantasy Basketball Draft, the 12th Men select...Lebron James from Cleveland

So the guys at the office decided to play fantasy basketball (courtesy of Yahoo!). Wikipedia says,
A Fantasy sport is a game where fantasy owners build a team that competes against other fantasy owners based on the statistics generated by individual players or teams of a professional sport.
As you can guess by the title, I got the first pick, which I used to get the stat cruncher and phenomenal athlete, Lebron James. Other notables in my roster include Ray Allen, Elton Brand, Stephen Jackson, Carmelo Anthony and then of course, other two-bit role players. Everything's a gamble here. Hope I win overall in March, when the season ends. Oh yeah, money's involved :P

MBL Vector Cup Epilogue

So whatever happened to the MBL Vector Cup saga?

Anyway, the our record was 1-4, and we were outright eliminated. Sitting on the sidelines, I realized how important teamwork was, also moving without the ball and making plays for teammates. It was somebody else's job of course. I never had wished to be a coach, or even a star player, just a reliable role player. Of course I'd think a little more differently had I been about 5 inches taller.

So how did I do? I played 3 games out of five (the 3 middle games), shot 5-of-14, including 4-of-7 from beyond the arc (merits a brief one week stint on top of the 3pt % leaders). Decent Steve Kerr slash Fred Hoiberg numbers. I really need to develop an inside game, and a midrange shot. These two I just mentioned are very difficult to do since I usually play guard. Also need some upper body strength.

Company sportsfest is coming up in a month or two, I guess I better go back to weight training. But playing NBA Live 06 more satisfying (just kidding).

The hardest part is getting the ball rolling.


What did we get out of the MBL experience?

Spankin' new basketball jerseys and shorts.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

All at Once

One of those "Only in the Philippines" posts.

The other week, I remember going into Watson's in Podium and looking around buying office snacks and supplies. The store speakers were playing the Whitney Houston song All At Once. (I seriously had to look the lyrics up.)

And, only in the Philippines will the Watson's staff burst out into song at the chorus.


Civilization IV

Anyway, after NBA Live 06, before the end of the month, I'll probably be moving on to another game that I am already eager to buy (original, even). That game is Sid Meier's Civilization IV.

The entire series is based on a simple enough idea: guide a tribe, and grow an empire across thousands of years of rewritten history. It's turn-based, which means that it plays like a chess game, you don't win because of speed but rather planning and placement. If had to stay in my room for weeks with only food and access to a bathroom, I could play this and The Sims 2 all day and all night.

This game is so great, that I could still play the original 1990 version and not be bored by it. How many games are timeless like that?

NBA Live 06

I got myself a copy of the new NBA Live 06 game for PC. I like it a lot better than the previous ones. The main improvement that I think transcends all the rest is the Freestyle Superstar. Compared to the last one, NBA Live 2005, this adds swagger, and attitude. Why I just made Lebron James slam a one-hander in front of Kevin Garnett, and I mean SLAM! (and the accompanying hang on the rim for a few secs). Wouldn't you like Michael Redd to fire a bank shot? Or keep your arm up after shooting (a la The Shot, by Michael Jordan against Utah) Or a behind the back pass from Steve Nash. I could go on and on. Also it's easier to shoot mid-range jumpshots. I haven't thrown an alley-oop to myself, though. It's hard to do that even in practice. Blocking shots inside is a lot more difficult, so is stealing (other people find it easier)

Anyway, I prefer to play NBA Live in Dynasty mode,which for you who aren't familiar with it, is playing a franchise over many seasons. It includes trading players, signing contracts, and drafting rookies among others. My team of choice is also THE team to watch this 2005-06 NBA season, Cleveland Cavaliers with Lebron James, Larry Hughes, Donyell Marshall and Damon Jones.

I'm gonna go find some complete PC controls for the Superstar Triggers. This game rules!

Friday, September 30, 2005

Indiana Pacers: New Look For New Generation?

Ugh, the Indiana Pacer's new uniforms are horrible! I mean, what's wrong with the last one? The pinstripes looked classy, it had that nice, non-simplistic design. I was thinking about buying one of those. But then, what gives?

At least, maybe they'll sell the old design at a cheaper price.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

iPod Nano

On top of my list of things to buy when I have money to burn is an iPod Nano. I've never really needed a portable music player. I have those in different forms almost everywhere I go. At home, I have my alarm clock radio and desktop computer mp3s. In the car, I could play CD-Rs and audio CDs, or tune in to my favorite radio stations. In the office, I have my PC TV/FM tuner and desktop mp3s. Elsewhere, I have my trusty Nokia 6230 with 512MB Reduced-Size MultiMedia Card (RS-MMC) that would play even without headphones (via loudspeaker). I haven't tried jogging with music (then again, I haven't tried jogging in a long while). I don't travel a lot. I don't trade music a lot.

But can anybody convince me to buy an iPod (color) or an iPod Nano?


Also, these guys at arsTechnica dissected the iPod Nano for scientific research purposes (also, for kicks).

I'm tired of being a wanna-be league bowler. I wanna be a league bowler!

The title's a joke, of course (and lifted from The Simpsons episode, Team Homer). But I did bowl my best game yesterday at e-Lanes on Ortigas Ave. Here's the line:

6/709/X 9/S8/9/X 7/XXX  

That was a crazy game! I was a freak! See that 10th frame?

'LOST' Season 2, Episode 1 [may contain inadvertent spoilers]

Whoa, whoa, whoa and whoa!

I have seen, and believed!

In the U.S., they've already showed the season premiere of the Emmy-winning show LOST. And soon, the peer-to-peer (P2P) networks were flooded with copies of the show (from TiVo, I presume). Joey (and her brother Miguel) and I had the privilege of having an "advanced screening" yesterday because the suspense was just killing us everyday until they show it on TV (C'mon, AXN!)

Not that watching it removed all the frustration, though. True to the nature of the show, it created more questions than answers.

The show picks up where the season-ender left off. And I'll end by saying that we find out what was in the f-cking hatch, but it doesn't tell us why it's there. Until, next episode...


EntertainmentWeekly has this feature about Stephen King's challenge to the show. In short, he says for the LOST executives to tell the story and end it when it should, instead of racking up the money and alienating its fans. Click the link before the article expires!

Pinoy Big Brother

Speaking of cable shows, the country has caught the Big Brother fever. Good thing I seem to be immune.

Honestly, I don't get it. Reality shows weren't all that bad. In the beginning, there was Survivor, a show fascinating enough to watch before it got too redundant. Then there's that (oh-so) Amazing Race, highlighting different countries and cultures in every episode. It makes you feel like travelling yourself (what a great tourism ad!). American Idol, of course, brought us Jasmine Trias (a few moments of silence, please). The Apprentice, which I also can't seem to appreciate because I'm not one of those management and marketing types. Of course, some trash followed such as Temptation Island, The Swan, Simple Life, etc. That pretty much ruined it for reality television.

So why "Big Brother"? Here's the obligatory DUH! link.

Again, I don't get the show and why people should watch it. Already this show stinks of voyeurism, and the "contestants" even oblige the cameras. I read that it's skipped an episode due to "sensitive" content. Now who couldn't have seen that coming?

Anyway, ABS-CBN is banking on the usiseros and chismosos all over the country (and the world) to support the show either though it's 24/7 pay-channel on SkyCable, it's daily recaps on ABS-CBN or Studio 23, and also its live streaming broadcast on the website.

A nitpick for me: I don't think "Big Brother" is "Elder Brother", and therefore "Kuya".

Then again, who cares?

Hallmark Channel: Tuesdays with Morrie, Hawking

We got our cable upgraded to SkyCable a few weeks ago. Basically, it's HomeCable with Cinemax, Hallmark Channel, Disney Channel, Discovery Channel, and Animal Planet. Most of us here are TV deadheads anyway, so I guess it's worth it.


I chanced upon Tuesdays with Morrie on Hallmark last Tuesday (coincidence, we think not!). It starred Hank Azaria as Mitch, and the late Jack Lemmon as Morrie. I didn't get to finish it though, and I'm trying to find the next scheduled airtime.

During Holy Week/Easter Season we go to Bulacan and prepare for the way-too-early procession (that starts at around 5AM) for Easter Sunday. Last time we went there, I tried reading the Tuesdays with Morrie book but I didn't finish it either. I fell asleep.

That TV-movie is probably my only chance of finding out what happens (with an attention span as short as mine.)


Off the top of my head, here is an unordered list of books that I started but have yet to finish, as of today:
  1. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)
  2. Good Omens (Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman)
  3. The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (Douglas Adams)
  4. The Dilbert Principle (Scott Adams)
  5. Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri: Dragon Sun (Michael Ely)
  6. Killing Hope (William Blum)
Doesn't look like that's gonna change in the near future.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

The Last Season: A Team In Search of Its Soul

I'm not much of a book reader (except for comic books and graphic novels) but I found a book that I'd like to read in Powerbooks Live!. It's The Last Season by Phil Jackson, detailing the rollercoaster ride that was the Los Angeles Lakers' 2003-2004 season. I didn't buy it though, a hardcover priced at P1205.00 (while the one is discounted at almost half-price at $9.98). That season was one for the shrinks. Even before it got off, it had that "too good to be true" feel to it. I don't think I'll be buying this soon.

My birthday's coming up soon, wink, wink. But I don't want to get lots of copies, so talk it over amongst yourselves :P

Anyway, Phil's back with The Lake Show for another circus season. Who wouldn't watch that drama unfold?

Surviving PAL country

Our country and the situation we're in right now can be compared to a lot of things. Randy David describes his first-hand experience with Philippine Airlines and how it resembles our society. Very insightful, as always.

Cinderella Man

We watched Cinderella Man yesterday in Power Plant Mall in Makati, P151.00 a pop.

Before I get to the movie itself, I want to tell you about this little incident while I was buying movie snacks. A Tale of Two Assholes, which could possibly be an insight on how we Pinoys treat each other. A-hole #1: Snack Dude, A-hole #2: Customer.

So I was buying Nacho Sticks before going in the 2:10 PM showing and there was some commotion about a guy getting nachos instead of potato skins (or chips). The guy was furious about getting the wrong snack. And this is the last part of their conversation (of course, not accurate):

Customer: Potato yung in-order namin, hindi Nachos.

(snack dude, prepares the potato things, customer continues bitching)

Snack Dude (taking it all in, tries to score with a response): Potato po ba yung sinabi niyo kanina?

Customer: Babalik ba ako rito kung tama yung binigay niyo?!

Snack Dude: Nagtatanong lang po.

Customer: Ang sagot dapat "sorry", hindi pa yung kung anu-ano!

(customer storms off with the potato snacks)
Ok, point number one: The customer is always right, even when he's wrong. Point number two: that "rule" was made, I think, precisely to avoid confrontation. In a perfect world, the snack dude should have just apologized for "his mistake" and correct it. The customer for his part, shouldn't have made a scene like that. Now what if one of them was a foreigner, how do you think this would have gone?


Anyway, how good is the timing for this movie? Just last week, the superb Manny Pacquiao victory over who-the-hell-cares-right-now, putting boxing and national pride on top of the headlines for a while. So this movie gets free advertising somehow (if only it had "boxing" in the title).

Without spoiling the movie, I'd have to say, that you shouldn't focus on the boxing part because there's a lot to see in this movie, set in The Great Depression of the 20s and 30s. The human spirit, second chances, desperation, living an honest life. Watch this movie. How can you go wrong with Russell Crowe (who lost weight for the part), Renee Zellweger (who unfortunately had some scenes where she could have blurted out, "you had me at hello"), and the underappreciated Paul Giamatti (THE character-actor)? You could compare this though, with Seabiscuit, also set in the depression era. The difference being, this has real Oscar-caliber acting.

Go watch this movie.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Culture Education

Ambeth Ocampo writes about the degradation of our culture and mentions brain-drain in this article. Of course I totally agree with him in most of everything he says here.

I took his History 165 (old curriculum) in college, and it remains one of the best courses I have attended. It wasn't necessarily the easiest course to pass, but I subscribe to the teacher's idea that grades don't really matter. So if you want to get an 'A', choose another teacher. Ambeth is hardly a textbook teacher. In fact, the only textbook he really required is the "unsanitized" Noli Me Tangere.

The most important part of the course, in my opinion, is how he "made" us go to field trips. We "had to" go to the Museum in Bangko Sentral, the National Museum and the Metropolitan Museum. In Intramuros, we "had to" go to Fort Santiago, Museo de San Agustin, La Casa Manila and that tsinoy museum which I can't remember the name of right now. Needless to say, it was more history than what can be taught in the classroom. Of course it had some importance in the long-term and mid-term exams but, those related questions couldn't have been any easier, practically had giveaway answers.

In the end, it seemed that all we needed was an excuse to go to these places. Sir Ambeth gladly gave us that.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

[I] have been sighted on AXN Asia

Hey, I got this blog on AXN-Asia's website, in connection with the 'Lost' notebook reference. Now I'm trying to remember how I stumbled upon that website. I was either googling for it or somebody posted the address from one of the 'Lost' forums.

Lost replays are on Mondays now, I think. Can't wait for the next season. I wonder when they'll show it here on cable.

I gotta write this down before I forget...

I remember dreaming last night (or early this morning) about London or being in London. It was probably the second part of my night's dream (the first one involved a beach, I recall). I have no idea what London looks like but it had a Manhattan-like skyline. Of course, the row houses are there, typical of a London setting. I rode a bus from the airport and going inside an apartment and wanting to go up the highest floor to get a view of the entire city. For some reason, I was there to look for Eric Idle. So I press one of the top floors on the, ahem, lift, 102nd floor, I think. Then I was talking to this old lady about how expensive things there are, and how relatively cheap they are at home. I walk into this street bazaar and see the pricey merchandise. By this time, it had started raining. I remember going on top of the roof of a tall building that has a tent on it, because of the rain. Neil Gaiman was there and for some reason I thought, Aimee Mann, and Neil was signing autographs for her. Anyway, I was looking down at the building across and my company's opening an office in a simple celebration. By then I had bored myself into waking up, and that's about it.


Ok, so how I did I come up with that? Usually, my dreams (like almost anybody else) come from stray memories and small details. V for Vendetta, the most recent book I read was set in London. College blockmate Nestor went to London and blogged about it. The office sends people to England, but not particularly London. I have deep-down desires of being sent overseas or just traveling and touring. Eric Idle probably because I was thinking about watching Monty Python's Life of Brian

V for Vendetta

Every once in a while, I treat myself by reliving the old habit of buying ... comics! Or, ahem, graphic novels. Last week, I bought myself a copy of V for Vendetta from Sketchbooks in Greenbelt 3. I read this before, borrowing a copy from Ramon, way back in high school, I think. Very dark. Here's what the Amazon summary says:
A frightening and powerful story of the loss of freedom and identity in a totalitarian world, V for Vendetta takes place in an alternate future in which Germany wins WWII and Britain becomes a fascist state. A vigilante named "V" stalks the streets of London trying to free England of its ideological chains.
Next year, they'll be releasing a movie version starring Natalie Portman and Hugo Weaving. Alan Moore, the writer of the novel has disowned the movie version so we can't be too sure of the narrative quality since the guys in suits are in charge, or at least the Wachowski Brothers (of The Matrix fame) are.

V's mask, seen on the cover, has Guy Fawkes face. You can pretend you know that name by reading this Wikipedia article.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Congrats to Shelley and Darius!

Just came from a nice wedding in De La Strada Church in Katipunan. The reception was in Bahay Kalinaw in U.P. Had a great time. Music was great. Ate lots of food. Drank lots of wine. I'm sure Shelley has the full coverage. Congratulations!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

2005 Cinemanila International Film Festival - Buhayin ang Pelikulang Pilipino (October 12-27,2005)

On their website is the lineup of movies for this year's Cinemanila (finally). I hope to catch some of them. I missed the Dekalogue showing last month. Sigh. I wish I had all the time to watch these movies.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005


This is really a great idea. It's essentially a hard-drive, flash media adapter that connects to consumer devices such as TV, or a HiFi radio. Although a few weeks back, I was able to successfully connect my video card to the TV in case I want to watch videos or a slideshow of pictures. The sound still comes from the PC speakers, though. link is here, which says that 'The cost of the Porta-Cinema (not including any storage media) was about US$150 [in Singapore].' Cool!

Friday, September 02, 2005 Page 2 : This is who I am ...'s Bill Simmons discusses the failure of the WNBA as a viable business, and why it just doesn't work. I can't help but agree. There is nothing in the WNBA I would want to watch. Not the players, not the game they play, not the talent they have. Does anybody even know that it's the playoffs already? I do know that, except that I don't care. Read up and form your own opinions.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Gillette Metro Basketball League 2005 Vector Cup

My basketball-loving company has joined the Gillette Metro Basektball League (MBL) which is an extension to the Ateneo Basketball League (ABL). We are in the corporate division (Ortigas Bracket); but it's not as if top management has sent us on a crusade to win the championship for the glory of the company. We're actually doing this for kicks (maybe a bit of an oversimplification), and we had to tell them because we're using the name (and also trying to solicit for new basketball uniforms). I hope the talent is enough to go far into the tournament. It'd be cool if we won it all.

Anyway, first game is tomorrow, versus 7-Eleven. Here's our eliminations schedule:

 DateTimeVenueJersey Opponent
Game 1Wednesday, August 317:00 PMClub 650Dark7-Eleven
Game 2Saturday, September 35:30 PMClub 650WhiteEmerson
Game 3Wednesday, September 79:00 PMClub 650DarkNU3 Foods
Game 4Saturday, September 175:30 to 8:30 PMAcropolis --
Game 5Saturday, September 245:30 to 8:30 PMAcropolis--
SemisThursday, September 298:30 PMMeralco--
SemisSaturday, October 15:30 PMAcropolis--
FinalsSaturday, October 85:30 PMAcropolis--

Games 4 and 5 are matches against the other bracket (Makati offices), which are also determined by the rankings.

Unfortunately for me, I am far from 100%. Yesterday, I got kneed in the thigh. hopefully, it'll have been completely healed by next week. A few months ago, I'm not sure, but I may have broken my right heel bone. I better have it X-rayed for sure.

My Personal Basketball History

I started playing basketball in grade 3, when the courts first became available to my grade level (grade 2 students only had that big soccer field that wasn't really a soccer field. It was more of grass and dirt field). We also had this board and ring nailed in front of the house over the garage. The floor was inclined so I don't know what that did to my skills. When there were no cars at home, I'd shoot from as far as possible with a small ball (maybe six inches in diameter). I guess that how I took a liking to shooting long-distance. Of course at the time, the official ball was too heavy for me to shoot in the official height and distance. Anyway, I was one of those kids who was there just to complete the team, a fifth option, if at all an option. Looking back, I was better at blocking shots considering my height. I had good timing especially when opponents use two hands to shoot (which usually means, they shoot from the chest or on top of their heads, and not jumping at all).

(to be continued...)

Jack TV

For weeks now Jack TV (every night on Solar USA channel) has brought us various comedy shows that deliver. From The Jiminy Glick Show, to South Park, to the Dave Chappelle Show, its lineup easily beats out the other "new kid", ETC.

Oh well, easy come, easy go.

This morning the ticker news on Solar USA says that starting September 1, Jack TV will be shown on a separate channel. Most probably, it will be offered to SkyCable subscribers only, while we Home Cable subscribers will only get the scrambled version. It was fun while it lasted.

I guess that's fine. Just don't touch Solar Sports, especially when basketball season comes along.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Steve Carell

The Onion's The A.V. Club has a lengthy interview with rising comedic star Steve Carell. You may remember him from such films as Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, and Bruce Almighty, as well as TV shows like The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. He's currently starring in the certified box-office hit The 40 Year Old Virgin, which isn't showing yet locally.

You know what, I have this strange feeling that they're going to change the title (won't somebody think of the children!), which would be a bummer. I don't know if there are "sensitive" scenes" in this movie but I hope it gets here in one piece, so to speak. Anyway, at the very least, I hope they don't do an awful job chopping it like they did to Sin City.

It's too early to tell but he may yet have a great movie career. The 40 year old Virgin is a good start judging from the warm reception from critics and moviegoers alike.


Happy Birthday to old high school buddy Ramon!

Sunday, August 21, 2005


Went to Rockestra last Friday night at the Tanghalang Francisco Balagtas (Folk Arts Theater). It's not really a well-ventilated venue, that got even worse on a humid night. The show started promptly at 8PM.

Rockestra is simply the Manila Symphony Orchestra (MSO) playing alongside famous rock bands of today: Cambio, Silent Sanctuary, Twisted Halo, Imago, Sugarfree, and Sandwich.

Here's one of my ultra-pathetic phone-pictures from the show:

Hey, I didn't go there to take pictures!

I went there to rock! But apparently, other people didn't such as these two in front of us, who couldn't have been any bored, didn't think the same thing. Like most people on the special section, they're either sponsors or parents of the orchestra members.

What was this guy on the left thinking? Whatever it was, it included faking head-bopping.

When they called it Rockestra, expect the "Rock" part to be at the fore-front. Otherwise, they could have called it Orchestrock.

It didn't really get a full as I thought it would get. I guess people aren't really spending too much for entertainment these days. Empty seats galore in the theater.

For some reason, the concert played more like a TV documentary with interlude video clips a la "the making of" after each band. Of course, this is obviously to buy the bands some time as they set up their instruments. Still, it could have helped if the show was continuous.

The show was great, if not for the bored-out parents/sponsors, and even if only some of the music got a little better with the orchestra. The consensus best collaboration was with Sugarfree whose music was sure to emphasize that they were actually playing with the Manila Symphony Orchestra. And then, as usual, Sandwich always gives a rockin' party.

The bands played three songs each with the MSO. It would be nice if they release an album of the concert, or at least have it aired on TV soon.

Looking forward to the next Rockestra.

'LOST' Notebook

Next Thursday, they will be showing the Season 1 Finale of LOST on AXN-ASIA.

As tribute to the show, the people who have too much free time created this slick looking website to track the facts, statistics and did-you-notice elements of all things in the first season. No theories here, just facts. Very nicely done site. You can even submit some facts to the site (as if the hardcore fans haven't beaten you to it).

Can't wait for next season when the show comes crashing down (pardon the pun) to hell because the writers can't write themselves out of the corner. That may also be why this show is listed in MSN's Shows That Lived Past Their Expiration Date, in an article a few weeks back.

I sincerely hope I'm wrong. This is so far a very interesting show.

Four SkyCable weekends for Home Cable subscribers

For 4 weekends starting today, Home cable subscribers can view the unscrambled signals of channels 36-40 which are: Cinemax, Hallmark, Disney, Discovery and Animal Planet.

Wow, I never thought I had a chance to watch Battlestar Galactica , which is on today (Sunday) at 9:00PM. This oughta be good! Listings are in this page.

Ah, Hallmark Channel, how I miss your Star Trek: Voyager re-runs every night. Well, that was months ago. Honestly, I'm still pretty sick of it (maybe except for a few choice episodes). Now I'm wondering why no channel (other than Solar USA, which I don't even know the schedule of) is running the oh-so-brilliant Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. I think that people should see it, especially the last three seasons which I actually have on DVD (yep, all-original). Anyway, this channel has lots of family-oriented movies and series to keep the old folks occupied for hours.

Can you see that Hidden Mickey? The single most annoying "feature" on that channel is back for more. The kids will love this channel, though (at least for a while). I'm waiting for the feature films but I don't know when they're scheduled. Hey, it's got Mr. Bean on right now!

It's been a while since I last watched Discovery channel that I think National Geographic is a good replacement to it. I used to watch late-night runs of Great Books, narrated by Donald Sutherland. I don't even remember the other shows anymore.

Honestly, I don't even care for Animal Planet.

Four out of five isn't bad.