Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Sungka, DVD at Iba pa

Many lunar cycles ago while attending mass at Greenhills. I chanced upon this piece at one of the furniture stall, the ones that sell modern antiques. It had a lot of interesting stuff made from wood. When I saw this piece I immediately bought it.I though my nephews would love this. I recall playing this game with my older cousin but I never really got the hang of it. sunka flr Sungka also known as Congklak and Dakon in South East Asia, in particular Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. It is a mancala game. The name "Congklak" comes from the Indonesian name for cowrie shells, which are often used as pieces. sunka blue They say that playing the game develops the mind in terms of math and social skills. I do not know if that is true, but I enjoy playing it with my nephews. sunka maroon Go to Post sunka fossil Other Posts today: The Bad, the Good and the Feathery Book from the Past sunka fossil 2

Bravado, braggadocio, brats, blase and bobo

Last night as I got home I started channel surfing and came upon a news program, the main news items were the walkout at Justice Committee hearing the impeachment case against PGMA and the revelation of four of the Hyatt Ten. The pro-impeachment lawmakers and/or Anti GMA Congressmen walked out of the committee determining the if the impeachment complaints against GMA is sufficient in form and substance. Majority of the members of this committee and the whole of Congress is believed to be anti-impeachment and/or Pro-GMA. A lot of meanings and non-meanings in words. The different words used to describe a friend or foe have deeper sub-texts. For example, a Malacananang official reacted to a statement from former colleagues now called the Hyatt Ten and referred to them as the Hyatt Four. This was of course a valid observation given that the Hyatt Ten were not complete but the meaning, from ten to four, meant something else. After viewing and digesting the news a bit further, a few words and a story came to mind. The words: Bravura - a showy display: showy style or behavior Bravado - boldness or courage: a real or pretended display of courage or boldness Brat pack - affluent young people Braggadocio - overblown, empty boasting: empty boasting and swaggering self-aggrandizement Brat(plural brats) - who is regarded as tiresomely demanding and selfish in a childish way Blasé - not impressed Bobo - Filipino word for stupid Romantic - idealistic, characterized by or arising from idealistic or impractical attitudes and expectations. Pragmatism - As defined in Wikepedia as " characterized by the insistence on consequences, utility and practicality as vital components of truth..." And finally ... Hamartia, a Greek word used in literature referrring to a series of action, which is neitheir good nor bad, but leads to the downfall of the protagonist. Hamartia the word is taken from Aristotle's work Poetics and its literal meaning is "missing the mark" altough the modern meaning is a tragic flaw. An alternative translation of Hamartia is a tragic mistake. Interesting though is that tragic mistake or flaw is usually mentioned as hubris or pride. Good Reads on the Blogosphere about this: A more thorough discussion of yesterday's event was done by Sassy Lawyer in her two posts, Rising Actionand Rising Action 2. Other good reads include MLQ's The Gamble, JJ Disini's Walkout to Defeat, and By Joves Bluff. And finally a story I remembered: The Gift of Insults There once lived a great warrior. Despite his age, he was quite old, he still was able to defeat any challenger. His reputation extended far and wide, and many became his students. Then one day an infamous young warrior arrived at the village. The warrior was determined to be the first man to defeat the old warrior. He was confident for along with his strength, he had an uncanny ability to spot and exploit any weakness in an opponent. He would wait for his opponent to make the first move, thus revealing a weakness, and then would strike with merciless force and lightning speed. No one had ever lasted with him in a match beyond the first move. Much against the advice of his concerned students, the old warrior gladly accepted the young warrior's challenge. As the two squared off for battle, the young warrior began to hurl insults at the old warrior, for hours he verbally assaulted him with every curse and insult known to mankind. He even threw dirt and spitted on the face of the old warrior. But the old warrior merely stood there motionless and calm. Finally, the young warrior got tired. Knowing he was defeated, he left feeling shamed. Somewhat disappointed that he did not fight the insolent youth, the students gathered around the old master and questioned him. "How could you endure such an indignity? How did you drive him away?" "If someone comes to give you a gift and you do not receive it," the master replied, "to whom does the gift belong?"

Monday, August 29, 2005

Wisdom and a funny holiday

The Surgery Last Friday, I trooped to my Dentist's clinic (surgery) to have my wisdom tooth extracted. Dr Toledo, my dentist, was a petite lady with pleasing manners. She explained to me the details of the operations, how complicated it was and how long it would take. And she also said she would be assisting another dentist who will be doing the procedure. I was a bit worried but this soon disappeared since I reasoned out that the other dentist was probably her seasoned mentor, with deep lore in care and extraction of teeth. Within a few minutes I was seated at the chair and being readied for the operation. My dentist was checking the teeth near the wisdom teeth and discovered something. "The tooth next to the wisdom tooth has abscess", my dentist said Oh-Uh, I said to myself, more expenses. According to her I could have it undergo root canal treatment or have it removed. I ask her which was cheaper? A few minutes later she was removing my tooth. Of course there were other factors that prompted me to have the tooth removed. One was it might ease the extraction of the wisdom tooth. A space in front of the wisdom tooth would give more room for the dentist to extract said wisdom tooth. Of course it was also cheaper. It did help in the extraction of that wisdom tooth. They did not have to make a big incision or cut bone in order to extract the tooth. All of this was done of course in the background of Regine Velasquez music and the chatting of the two dentists, who it turns out were batchmates. At one point the CD jumped and skipped, breaking the mood in the clinic. In between the extraction and the chatting, my gums were injected with local anesthesia. Interesting things about dentists when they operate they love to chat about small things. Problems with the local dental association and the life of their fellow-dentists.The only time they were silent was when something critical was done. This was how I monitored the progress of my operation. Chatting, everything was fine. Silence (except for the mood music) things were critical. At least it did not turn into a scene from the Marathon Man. With the dentist talking in a German accent asking,"Is it safe?". No thankfully nothing like that. For those who have watched this thrilller you will understand what I mean and we are probably of the same age. The operation ended an hour after noon. I did not feel much pain, thanks the liberal injections of local anaesthesia. I wonder does any dentist still use laughing gas. One fourth of my face though felt nothing for hours. I proceeded home stopping by the drugstore to buy medicine and ice cream, my dentist advised me not to eat anything hot. This is the upside of having one's tooth taken out( a plus side quite similar to having one's tonsils taken out also). The rest of the week was devoted to leisurely rest with welcomed interuptions from time to time by my nephews. One friend wanted to visit, but advised him not to. This particular friend has this odd way of appearing at the house and inspite of good intentions ends up aggravating the person he is visiting with his smirk and a bedside manner of a member of the Spanish Inquisition. Fortunately, he did not appear. The beauty of life's little blessings. While resting did a couple of things. I organised some of my stuff. Watched a couple of DVDs and a few programs. Re-read a book on photography. And watched the film Valiant with my nephews. Wisdom tooth or the third molar is called such because it appears between the age of eighteen and twenty, the age when one is supposed to be more wise than as a child, when the first set of teeth appear. And an office mate told me that when one is laid seiged to by one's wisdom teeth one gets a gem of wisdom for each wisdom tooth attack. Epiphanies, epiphany: noun, a sudden realization, during the weekend: Never rely on government announcements During the weekend Malacanang announced, re-announced and made a mess of things with the holiday. Is it? Is it not? Public holiday? Public Holiday except for those working in private companies. I hope Malacanang learns from this tale from Aesop. The Man and His Two Wives Pundits and Columnists like most of us are prone to philosophical myopia. One newspaper columnist, who I respected and still respect, wrote about his optimism with the young political leaders and how different they can be from the old political leaders. I think this is one case where his romantic notions of politics and hate for the present leaders have severly impaired his otherwise astute reasoning skills. Not that the old political leaders are as ideal as the young leaders but rather the young political leaders are as corrupt given time. The Fox and the Lion Money the fleeting asset The most immediate ephipheny I gained was the fleeting nature of money, wisdom tooth extraction costs money. And they still have to extract two more wisdom teeth from me. As Dr Zachary Smith said so often"Oh the agony!".
It nice to back even if it today is a public holiday for everyone except those working for private companies.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Wisdom tooth and a few posts

Hi there will be gone for a few days. My wisdom tooth needs to be extracted. I have stocked up on books, videos, games and medicine so I gues I should be fine. Anyway, I have learned to tune out of politics for some time so no source of stress. From time to time I will probably check in just for some laughs. I have Faith... The Santo Nino Photo at Ed's photoblog My Everyday Manila reminded me of my nephew's penchant for Santo Ninos,Angels and Saints a few years before. His Grandmother, my mother, was only happy to oblige. She was probably thinking he would become a priest someday. He has now taken an interest into books, cartoons and animals. snino Go to post I hope my nephews will not be so naughty. One can hope. Hansie thirdee I can keep them distracted with video games.... or with books... See you in a few days. Take care now :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

A Sidewalk & a Cichlid

More posts for today Sidewalk A sidewalk beside the old COD now Puregold Supermarket. The shot was taken around 6:30 in the morning Go to Post My Mexican Tail Spot We placed this fish in the big pond a few years ago. Two weeks ago we were able to capture it and placed it inside one of the house aquariums. My friend Gary Battung gave it to me a few years ago and somehow (miscommunication between me and my assistant who placed in the big pond - by the time I found out it was too small in size and the pond was too big, catching it would have been bothersome) it ended up in the big pond along with the convict cichlids ( Archocentrus nigrofasciatus or Cichlosoma nigrofasciatum). Go to Post


Here are pictures of cameras. Leica leica This Leica was the camera I used during high school. My father lent it to me and it is an excellent camera. Taking shots back then was much more cheaper. Just had the film developed and ordered for contact prints. Used this camera extensively during daytime because it did not have a flash. Several years ago my father asked for the camera because someone was interested in purchasing it. I thought that was it...until a year ago when my mother was doing her monthly clean the house exercises. In one of the cabinets she found the camera. The deal did not push through after all. At present using the cameras for portrait shots, well at least trying to. Minolta minolta This camera I won from a bet. It almost fully automatic, compared to the super manual Leica. Quite handy when taking candid shots and events. It was my regular camera before I bought my digital camera. What was the bet? Well...lets just say he or she was just too overconfident of secrets. And secrets do come out. So never be too overconfident of your secret you might lose a camera or something more significant. The Lost Half-Frame Olympus Camera My first camera was a Half-frame Olympus Camera. The camera could take two shots from one frame of film. So if you had 36 shots, using a half-frame camera you could take seventy-two shots. Quite handy for candid shots. And it was easy to carry, the camera was palm-sized. You can put it in your pocket. Unfortunately, my brother lost the camera in school. I do miss that camera. Digital Camera At present my all-around camera is a Canon Ixus. Compact, durable and palm size you can carry it anywhere. Since it is a digital camera you can readily see the results of your shot. No need to go the film developers. Quite practical. Although, I still will not give up taking cameras from film. Waiting for the film to develop and seeing the final product is in it self a magic of its own.

Monday, August 22, 2005

A Book and a school of fishes

Some other posts for today : Chronicles of Narnia I passed by Powerbooks last Saturday to check the sale. The concentration of people milling around the store was more than the usual. And nearly every book was on sale at 15, 20, 30, 40 and 75 percent off. Go to Post Meeting and buying fish Yesterday, Along with my nephews we went to the meeting of Aquarium Science Association of the Philippines or ASAP. It was hosted by Mr Angel Ampil, one of ASAP's past presidents. Present President Ben Vallejo called the meeting to discuss the possible involvement and setting-up of a public aquarium in the Philippines. Go to Post

Stille Nacht und Schadenfreude

A couple of days ago. Our barkada's egroup was closed down for five days. The owner and moderator of an e-group or any other forum has every right to impose what he or she thinks is correct. People may question, challenge, or mock the decision, but ultimately it is the right of the moderator-owner. It is his legal right. And ultimately you have to respect his decision. On hind sight it would have probably better if at the start the egroup was established with everyone as moderators. Then again what is hind-sight? The good thing is at present everything was resolved. And the maxim, "whatever does not kill you will make you stronger", at least in this case. I would like to relate and write about what I have observed. What happens when this happens? Silence What happens to the community that uses this group for communication and dialogue? Varied responses, I would guess. It is interesting though to see the reactions to the different members of the community. Some were offended because their discourses were cut in mid-stream. Some were offended in the manner the way the silence was imposed. And some were offended as a matter of principle. For the same reason a number of people were irritated. Majority, especially those not that active were surprised. A number would feel a loss; they have been coming to the e-group to catch the latest discussion, gossip, debate, or news. Some were amused with the situation. Fortunately (or unfortunately), such events often have as its bastard sons and daughters - comical and absurd side stories-within-stories. Humor in a sense can be good in such a situation. It helps sooth the trauma, ease tension, or it can help deliver the message or criticism in a round-about way. Then there was another friend who was quite ecstatic about the turn of events. The Germans have the perfect word for it and they called it Schadenfreude. Definition of Schadenfreude from wikepedia- Schadenfreude is a German expression, Schaden: damage or harm and Freude: joy, meaning pleasure taken from someone else's misfortune or shameful joy. In German society and culture the term is always used in the negative sense. In fact there are two types of Schadenfreude. There is what is called the secret secret schadenfreude ( a feeling one keeps to oneself) and an open schadenfreude, which is outright public derision. In the English language Schadenfreude is commonly identified as "sick pleasure". A clear example schadenfreude can be seen in the joy Homer Simpson feels whenever something bad or unfortunate happens to his neighboor Ned Flanders. In one episode of the Simpsons, "When Flanders Failed", Schadenfreude is also referenced in the Simpsons episode "When Flanders Failed". Lisa accuses her father of feeling schadenfreude when he gloats about Ned's problem , he was on the verge of bankruptcy. Homer replies to Lisa accusations, " Oh, come on, Lisa. I'm just glad to see him fall flat on his butt!". I think gloat over the misfortunes of others would be the appropriate term to descibe schadenfreude. Except it lacks one element. Schadenfreude needs an element of a past slight applied to the the person enjoying Schadenfreude. Maybe in the past or recent the Schadenfreuder received a rebuked, or was condemned or criticized and for some unknown reason was not in a position to counter, perhaps because the criticism was just and only now the fate has dealt this card can afford to gloat. All of us experience this and savour moments when this happens. What I found a bit amusing and at the same time disturbing was the schadenfreude possession of my friend. This particular schadenfreude was so savoury that it seemed that his capacity for enjoying was akin to a bovine digesting its meal. Well... My friend of course is still in a state of ecstacy over this. I think all of us use and experience Schadenfreude. The least we could do is to admit to ourself that it is that and not convince ourselves that it is not. At least be intellectually honest to oneself.
Schadenfreude ist die schönste Freude (denn sie kommt von Herzen). Schadenfreude is the most beautiful kind of joy (since it comes directly from the heart). - A proverb Neid zu fühlen ist menschlich, Schadenfreude zu genießen teuflisch. To feel envy is human, to enjoy Schadenfreude is devilish. - Arthur Schopenhauer

Thursday, August 18, 2005

The Laughing Buddha

I have a notebook where I scribble things down. In this notebook, I write down observations, quotations, odd notations and enumerations. Perhaps with the hope that somehow when I need to plan or write something I can go back and search my notes. Today I came across my notes on the Laughing Buddha. In the Philippines there was a time when you could see a Buddha in almost every house. At least my family had one and my friends houses had one. I was always curious about this Buddha.He was different from the Buddha sitting serenely in the lotus position. He was Buddha with a pot belly and a smile. Sometimes he would have several children clinging or sitting all over him. I was always though how could Buddha have gone from the Keanu Reeves figure in Little Buddha to this Cheerful Buddha that looked liked Samo Hung. A friend once told me that Buddha got fat after reaching China. The food. This was of course rubbish. Years later I saw a comic book from Asiapac entitled "Legend of the Laughing Buddha". The comic book was illustrated by Jeffrey Seow and translated by HK Wang. Laughing Buddha was different from Guatama Buddha.He was born Jishi Ajita into a well-off probably noble family. Predisposed to be generous Ajita soon became a disciple of Buddha and took name Maitreya. He was destined to be reincarnated several times. Buddha's advise to him was:
"Buddhism is not just about meditation neither is it for the sake of oneself. Buddhism has to be applied to the real world or it will amount to nothing. "
According to some, Maitreya was reincarnated as the Fat Monk who always carried a magical sack cloth. He could fly with clock and put anything inside it without filling it up. Due to magical powers of his sack he was able to ask a large amount of food for the poor. The sack cloth was called Pu Tai and incidentally he was also called Monk Pu-Tai, Bu-Dai or Hotei.
Hotei was an optimist and his mantras, if you can call them that, were: Perpetual Smile and An All Embracing Belly Laugh! Laugh! Laugh! Laugh away Sadness Laugh away Worries Laugh away Hatred All things in the world are embraced by the big belly Take things in your stride All of you are fated to live together How can you not be filled with joy? There are too many intolerable things happening in the world, but often we are the ones who cause them Why not have a big belly to embrace them all
There are several stories about Hotei. One of my favourite was why he was often depicted with many children sitting on him. Due to the sunny disposition of the monk he was often followed by children. And somehow people got it into their head that if they touched his belly they would be blessed with children. Sometimes though he was to cheery that he nearly lost all the money in his monastery. Buddha was troubled by this so he sent over a strict and fierce looking deity-guard Wei Tuo. What duo they made in the stories. The Laughing Buddha Hotei, benevolent and good-hearted. How we need more people like that and of course a couple of Wei Tuo.
Perpetual Smile and An All Embracing Belly

A book, bonsai trees & San Ignacio

Some other posts for today: A Book for your Perusal During your visit to the book shop,where there is a sale, or when you troop over to this year's Book Fair. You might come across this book. For your consideration. The Old San Ignacio Church

Fritz Lang Film Festival

Today's post. I just learned this today from one of the e-groups. The Goethe-Institut is sponsoring a Fritz Lang silent film festival. Go to post

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

The perils of work: worm-rbot.cbq attack!

Ah the perils of Internet-enabled work. Around one hundred percent og my work relies on the Internet. More specifically on servers situated elsewhere. A few hours ago I was informed that technical problems were creating havoc on the servers we worked on. I must explain that although I am based in Manila I work in a virtual office, meaning I operate a server(or at least a dummy computer connected to the server)severl thousand miles away. Saves costs for the company and provides me with a monthly income. Now when the computer at the other end of the world shuts down my work shuts down. Something happened today that made a whole bunch of servers and computers shut down. Could it be the new computer worm, worm-rbot.cbq., that is creating havoc with computers at the US Congress, CNN, New York Times, and other media outfit? The worm affects Windows 2000 systems but is said to affect also Microsoft XP. Symptoms include the repeated shutdown and rebooting of a computer. So please be careful. For more details you can check the CNN story. What does this mean for me? No work today. Unfortunately or fortunately, I will be attending a seminar today. As the old man in a zen story told, to me a by priest several years ago, always said when he received news. "Good luck, bad luck who knows." :)

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Book fairs, a church & fish sites

More posts for today: Book fair & perpetual sales Its the time of year when book lover's wallets go on a slim-fast diet. Some have been saving up for this moment. With the exception of the docking of the Doulos Goodwill ship, which docked at Manila several years ago and were selling a ton of books. The book fair is probably one of the few events that you will see a congregation of readers. Go to Post Greenbelt Church Dug up this photo from my files. I call it Mass at Greenbelt Church: The Other UFO Church. It is not evident here but when you see the church in its entirety it looks like the headquarters of the Legion of Doom, sans swamp and alligators of course. Go to Post Web groups & resources Aquarists and aquarium aficionados need reference sources in order to succesully keep beautiful aquariums. People have been to this road before and their knowledge is invaluable to the success of keeping an aquarium. This knowledge of course can be obtained from books, magazines and people in the know, through friendships and aquarium societies. The Internet though has opened up new forums and sites for aquarists to meet and gather information. Go to Post

Snakes & Pussycats

Sassy lawyer's post about her cat and a snake reminded me of my own dealings with the felines and serpents. Here's to guerilla writing, I wonder if it could be called low intensity writing? About Snakes My first experience with a snake was this small white baby snake we found at the garden of my schoolmate at Wack Wack. It was a miniscule with snake. And we literally played with it letting it crawl over the matchbox cars and along the makeshift theatre of war, basically the ungrassed area of the garden. As afternoon neared its end we got tired of the snake and let it go. Looking back now two things struck me: one, we were sadistic; and two, we were foolish to play with a snake. The second close encounter with a snake was in a dormitory in Miag-ao, Iloilo. Our college had just transferred from Diliman to Iloilo and we were the first residents of the dormitory paid with World Bank money. The new UP Campus was located a few kilometers outside of Miag-ao, Iloilo. And the dormitories were situated beside a creek, near a bamboo grove, supposedly used by aswangs to meet. The Aswang and other supernatural tales surrounding UP in the Visayas is interesting, but that is another story. One of the neccesities if you are going to live in a dorm is a electric fan, especially during the dry months. It was a Saturday and I was just waking up from my siesta when I noticed one of my shoestrings on top of the grill of the fan. All fine except my shoes do not have shoestring. I thought great one my room-mates decided to dry his shoestring on my fan. All fine...except none of my room-mates had green shoe strings and it had a diamond-shaped head. A snake! I would like to say I guided the snake out and I was gentle and let it go back to the grassy knoll where it came from. But I did not. The truth is i scooped it up with a stick and smashed its head against the wall. On hindsight, the snake was small and probably harmless. Adrenaline plus fear got the better of me. The third encounter with a snake was a trip to the zoo. We went to Malabon Zoo and aside from the Tiger that they paraded around the children. They had two pythons for photo ops, of course we took the plunge and had our pictures taken with the pythons. After the photo op with the pythons I realised two things. First, they were not slimy. Second, they were quite strong. So treat this animals with respect. My fourth encounter with a snake was when I had a petshop, I was selling two types of snakes a green one (Sorry, for the life of me I cannot remember its proper name) and the dog-face snake. Both were piscivores, meaning they only ate fish. At least that is what the seller told me. I was able to sell the Dog-face snake. The green one became my pet. All went well, it did bite me once or twice, until it escaped. I thought it would be gone forever, until a few days later. My relatives often go the house to drink, eat and discuss politics (plus family matters). Usually copious amount of beer and hungarian sausages would be consumed. So there they were, my relatives, enjoying their bachanalia when I heard a shreik. My Aunt felt something cross her legs and proceeded to the leg of the table. So there was the snake! About Cats I like cats. So far we have had four to five house cats. The family calls them house cats because their territory is the house. They are pampered felines often reaching garfield proportions. And they are good rat catchers. The only problem is they stash the rats somewhere in the house and only discover them when the smell of vermin death grows strong. Gringo and Twoee were the house cats I remember. A friend gave us Gringo a male cat and sister pampered him so much that he became a big cat, not fat rotund cat like Garfield but big cat. He sired a lot cats but none of them became house cats. The problem with Gringo was he was fond of pounding on food. At one point he pounded too many food and he was deported to the next neighborhood courtesy of a sack. Several years later, the same friend gave us our present house cat, Twoee. A siamese-mestizo cat. He is my nephew's cat. My nephew's nickname is Thirdee and he thought it was fitting to name the cat Twoee. The cat is pampered eating only cat food. He has his own tray and cat litterbox. He is not as big as Gringo but he is more affectionate. Twoee likes to be near humans, always looking for attention. Cats outside the house of course are a bit different. They do congregate about the property. Living and making love on the roof. Catching rats and often leaving their mangled bodies before the door of the house. Snakes & Cats Snakes and Cats share one common thing they are good predators of vermin. The Egyptians used the cat to guard their graineries and it is said that the present cat descended from the warehouse cats of Egypt. Ambeth Ocampo in an article mentioned Filipinos used pythons to control the rat population of the house. They would put them in their kisame, the space between the roof and the ceiling, to hunt out rats. Another thing about cats and snakes. They should be handled with extra care. Snakes venomous and non-venomous bite. Even if their fangs are cut they grow back. And they have special requirements that should be satisfied. Cats seems to be enfant terrible of pets. Despite all the pampering and doting the cat has all the instincts and ferocity its cousins the Tigers and the Lions. I can tolerate snakes but I still like cats, even they have that lean and hungry look when they are near my aquariums.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Churches, Castles, photos & a convict cichlid

Posts for today Read any churches lately? If you were born and raised a Catholic you often take things for granted. Every Sunday you go to mass. Baptismal, communion, confirmation, marriage, and last rites are things that eventually happen. The building where this happens is there it seems for perpetuity, well at least that is what it seems. And if you live in the Philippines churches seem to be everywhere.
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  • Steam Boy & Howl's Moving Castle I was able to watch these two movies a couple of weeks ago. My sister bought these DVDs from her suki at Metrowalk. Maybe this is the legacy of Voltes V. It has left me an aficionado for manga and anime. Maybe Marcos too since he banned the show. As in all things though ultimately everything depended one me, it was my decision. I willed to be an aficionado. Yes aficionado and not otaku, since I have not yet reached that level culture hermitage. You will not see battle aura emanate from when I cannot watch Cooking Master Boy or Voltes V, not that much anyway.
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  • Trips around Manila Paco park
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  • The Convict Cichlid

    The Convict Cichlid or Tiger Cichlid will probably one of my favourite fishes in the world. I encountered this Central American cichlid when it was still known as known as Cichlasoma Nigrofasciatum, now it is called Archocentrus nigrofasciatus.

    This is a small feisty cichlid with a blue-gray body with eight to nine bands. A dark blotch is usually present on the gills. It has a red patch near its belly. There is a white variant of this fish and it is devoid of the dark bands, but has the red patch.

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    Thursday, August 11, 2005

    The road to my office...

    Dela Rosa Street Dela Rosa Street 1
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  • Video Games

    vdgm1 I can still remember seeing the first video game I encountered, it was pong. It was right after class and we had spent the afternoon at our friends house at Wack Wack. My friend had the latest video player, a betamax, and he had this machine not as bulky as the betamax but not small. On the screen was two vertical bars and a bouncing ball from end to end. It was ping pong, hence the name pong I guess. Video games I guess follow the same trend as all technology today, the road to miniaturization. Several years from my first encounter with pong now I am confronted with a device, which my sister bought a few months ago, drastically smaller than the machine that allowed us to play pong. And now you can play around four or five arcade games. Can you imagine that? Amazing!

    An Altar in every room

    altar Something that can be found in every house of a Roman Catholic in the Philippines. In some homes each room actually has an altar. And even in some houses in the toilet you will at least a picture of Virgin Mary. Why would people place them there I have no idea. Oh well, to each his own. We Catholics have often been criticized of idolatry by having altars and images. I was taught that these images were similar to pictures, something to remind us of our love ones. Though it stills baffles me why would you place a picture of your loved one in the loo!

    Betta Club of the Philippines dines with Betta Expert

    Betta Club Philip Ngo with the members of Betta Club of the Philippines.
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  • Personality Disorder Test Results

    Subject: Filipino male, 38 years old, residing in the Philippines and working as mide-level oompah loompah for a MNC.

    -- Personality Disorder Test --
    -- Personality Disorder Information --

    Wednesday, August 10, 2005

    The Rizal Light & Sound Show

    Rizal PArk Taken when we visited Rizal Park's light and sound show. Unfortunately, it is not well maintained...correction not maintained at all. In the photos are my companions in most of my ramblings, my nephews.
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  • Tuesday, August 09, 2005

    Gannibal & Book sites

    Who is Gannibal? I think I just found another interesting book. And today I also found a couple of interesting book sites.
  • Who is Gannibal?
  • More book sites
  • Ionized water for fish growth?

    The other day while I was surfing television channels I came upon the TV channel RPN 9 and it was airing one those Japanese documentaries circa 2000 or so. This particular documentary attracted my attention because it was featuring one those incredible public aquariums in Japan. In one of those aquariums they had not only had full grown sharks but whale sharks and Mola Molas. The whole building was a big aquarium.
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  • Monday, August 08, 2005

    Baybayin or Alibata anyone?

    My friend Lisa Salvana, wife of my friend Gobbie, visited the Philippines just recently. While she was here I noticed she sported a necklace with Alibata or Baybayin script. It seems to be the crazed now. I first encountered baybayin when I saw one of the Katpipunan flags. The flag bore the script for K, I guess for Katipunan. And briefly after that I remember taking it up in Philippine history. Did not really take to studying it at that time. More interested in the tale of Governor General Bustamante. During the Martial Law years the baybayin was used as the symbol of Imee Marcos' Kabataan Baranggay or KB the character for K and B were used. So I forgot about Baybayin. Till last year, when I found a use for a selfish use for them aside from making them tattoos. They would make nice script for diaries or whenever you needed to make confidential notes. By providence I found these websites a year ago. It contains information about Baybayin or Alibata the old Filipino script. Alibata is fun and easy to learn. Have fun! Hector Santos' The Laguna Cooper Plate Inscription 900 Ad Paul Morrow's How do I write my name in Baybayin Ating baybayin : Our Filipino Scipt with translate

    An afternoon with the Oompa Loompas

    Last Sunday, we ,my nephews and I, spent the afternoon with the Oompa Loompas. OF course we were seated comfortably on the cinema chairs while the Oompa Loompas were there safely on the silver screen. No crossing over for them. The cinema was filled with kids that day. Tickets were priced a little bit cheaper by thirty pesos. This meant no reserved seats, free seating. So we joined the long queue to the entrance of Gateway Cinema 5. This post appears in this blog

    Saturday, August 06, 2005

    Philippines a wired society?

    Right now I am inside a cybercafe near our place. Surfing, checking, and blogging in this place. The Internet cafe has a DSL connection, which is a great deal faster than my dial up at home. The Internet cafe is nearly full and it is just one of 7 cafes near my place. Most of people who come here surf, answer and send emails, play internet games, blog and a host of other things.
    The kids beside me are playing some sort of online battle game. One of them is extremely noisy. How I wished somebody in the game would defeat anytime now.
    I really do not know if the Internet is really for the elite or middleclass. For less than a cost of movie ticket you can probably surf the net for six hours. And for games even longer. Could this be a levelling effect in terms of access to the net?
    Noisy kid has left. Somebody probably kicked his buttocks to kingdom come or he has run up the alloted time. Anyway peace has returned to the cafe. A lot of people still here. It reminds of my old work at a data factory. The layout the chairs are similar. The lack of space is all the same. Perhaps, the only difference is in this place people pay to use the computer instead of the other way around.
    Yes, Internet cafes are levelling the access to computers. And it is a good thing.

    Adapted from....

    Whenever I see this in a movie I usually give up all hope that the movie will be faithful to the original story. Story writing unlike movie making is a solitary work, except in certain cases like the Brothers Grimm and in comic books when it becomes a collaborative effort, unlike a movie, which is a product of the ensemble, a group effort. There are times of course when a movie adaptation works. This is clearly seen in David Lean's movie "Bridge on the River Kwai". The movie was adapted from the novel of Pierre Boulle. Lean and his cohorts struggles and achieved to bring to film the external and internal conflicts that affect men in time of war under the shadow of a bridge being constructed on the river Kwai. At the end the piece de resistance of the movie was the blowing up of the bridge, a event that never happened in the novel. Still though Boulle was not distraught he even said he would have wanted to blow the bridge up anyway. The movie went on to critical aclaim and has become a classic in the triumph of collaborative efforts. Boulle thrived on later wrote the story of Planet of the Apes.
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  • Friday, August 05, 2005

    Rainy afternoon

    Rain. Rain. Rain. I just finished answering a quiz I discovered from my friend Alan's blog that will point to what type of patronus I can use if I were a wizard. For those wondering what a patronus is read JK Rowling's Harry Potter books. Anyway, its good to snuggle in comfortable corner and read a book. Guess what my patronus is? a snake. Can I also become a parseltongue? ResultSnake
    Your Patronus is the Snake! The snake is a symbol
    of healing, hunting and fertility. He is also
    the mascot of Slytherin House. That your Patronus is a snake says that you are a
    cunning person. You also tend to have a healing
    influence on others...and you're a bit of a
    horny little git, aren't you? ;) Keep your
    focus on the more permanent things of life and
    you will be a fantastic witch or wizard!

    What is Your Patronus? Version 1
    brought to you by Quizilla

    Tuesday, August 02, 2005

    My book Meme

    The Filipino Librarian passed this meme to me so here it is. I am still waiting for someone to use meme in a pun. Total books owned: I did a mental count of the books I own. Mostly books I got from my parent and relatives. Those I have bought. Some gifts from friends. At present, not counting the comic books and audio books, I have around a thousand books. My room looks like a big storeroom of books. I even have books stored in bags and boxes. Last book I bought: The Island of Dr. Moreau by HG Wells A slim book priced at a reasonable price of 90.00 pesos at Fullybooked Gateway. I have been eyeing this book for sometime. A Dover thrift classic, it is not hardbound and it is printed in newsprint. Tells the tale of a man who finds himself in the island with scientists and their experiments. Written by HG Well it is horror and a science fiction story about the abuse of scientific inquiry and the repercussions. The book, as usual, is more thought provoking and insightful than its different movie adaptations, although I still have to see the 1930s adaptation (Island of Lost Souls), which starred Charles Laughton as the infamous Dr Moreau. Last book I read: Last night, I was rereading Frank Herbert's God Emperorof Dune . Book five of Herbert's Dune saga. A meandering book. I have always find it useful to read this book piecemeal. Although it does have a story and a plot, the novel also delves into the mind frame of Leto II and his three thound reign over the galaxies. His musings and insights are informative, entertaining and insightful. The Dune saga is about politics and powerplay and the use and misuse of critical resources, for Dune it was the spice melange. The object that made long space travel possible and gave clairvoyance power to a few. Modifying the meme a little bit by adding two more lists five types of Books I Read and five favourite Filipiniana books . Five Types of Books I Read: Comic Books It is the marriage between the visual art form and the tale. Images and words are used in a sequential manner to tell a story. The most common forms are cartoon strips usually found inside newspapers, magazine formats are called comic books, and those compilled or are a wee bit too long are called Graphic Novels. History Books When I was confined to a hospital due to appendicitis one of the things I read was a book on world history. History is a recollection of the past and it give you an insight on how things came about. How did the first Emperor of China Shi Huang Di lived and died. Or how did the Venerable Bede lived. Or how was life in an abbey during the sark ages or in Manila when the Spanish Governor Generals rule from the Palacio del Gobernador. History is replete with people - the famous, the infamous and the ordinary. Reference Books/source books I like reference book not only because of the wealth of information but the amount of interesting information they contain, In other words trivia. Of course what is interesting to individual A might be different individual B. As they say to each his own. Literary Books Fiction and drama that have artistic value. In other words for entertainment purposes and along the way you learn something. I cannot say I favor one genre over another but when I find it at the beginning an interesting read or I read a credible review, print or verbal, I usually take a stab at it. The un-books These include books in audio and digital format. There are times when it seems , to me at least, that I use what I call un-books or non-print media or books. When it is more convenient or more practical to view the book through a monitor. And there are times when you want to just sit down close your eyes and listen to a story. As I said before, humurous books liked Richard Lederer's Anguished English is fun to listen and Stephen Fry's reading of Harry Potter is a gem. Five books that meant a lot to me: Animal Farm by George Orwell A fable about revolutions. A must read for everyone entering adulthood. Screwtape's Letter by CS Lewis Correspondence between devils on how win the soul of a single man. McElligot's Pool by Dr Seuss For some unknown reason for me the most unforgetable Dr Seuss book. I still remember reading and re-reading again and again and over and over. Devil's Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce Ambrose Bierce's cynical description of all things in life presented as a dictionary. Full of wit and sarcasm I find myself going back to this book from time to time. Batman: The Killing Joke written by Alan Moore, drawn by Brian Bolland and inked by John Higgins For me at least the seminal comic book story. It captures all that is good in the fusion of the word and the image. Five Favourite Filipiniana Books A Question of Heroes by Nick Joaquin I like Nick Joaquin's work. His essays on our national heroes though are for me engrossing. I remember reading this during high school, I even brought this to class my teacher in mythology seemed to be enflamed as Hera when she saw the book. She criticized the book as weakening our belief in our heroes. I continue to read the book to this day. The Best Philippine Short Stories of the Twentieth Century edited by Isagani R Cruz Best buy in terms of Filipino literature. This book though has some sentimental value for our family. What happened to our family during World War II was the basis of one of the stories. Journey to Majayjay by Paul P. de la Gironiere Not written by a Filipino but about the journey of the Frenchman Gironiere to Majayjay during Christmas. Translated from French, the account gives a revealing account of life during those times. FILIPINIANA BOOK GUILD SERIES 1 They contain scanned images of hard to find Filipiniana books. One Book in the series Percy Hill's "Romance and Adventure in Old Manila" is available but is priced at 6,000 pesos. The CD is being sold at 1,000 and contains more than 20 books. KangKong 1890 This book was required reading during high school. It tells the tale of a boy growing up to manhood during the Katipunan Revolution. Other books worth reading The Praying by Bienvenido Santos and Celso Al Carunungan's Satanas Sa Lupa. And now I am passing this meme on to five and more blogs/bloggers. The Master of Useless Knowledge Prospect Avenue gumbygimmix personal geographic Another Hundred Years Hence Blackshama's blog Anavlas Sassy Lawyer Disiniland By Jove Hi! This post also appears on Library7

    Monday, August 01, 2005

    Confirmation at San Miguel

    I was one my way to the confirmation of my good friends Gobbie & Lisa Salvana's son Ricky or Rick. The ceremony , or is it celebration?, was to be held at the Church of St Michael the Archangel in the old district of San Miguel. San Miguel is the neighborhood where the Presidential Palace Malacanang can be found. Formerly a summerhouse for the Spanish Governor General it became the official residence after the Palacio del Gobernador in Intramuros was destroyed by an earthquake. The tale behind the old Palacio del Gobernador is an even more interesting story and it involves a tyrant and a old Spanish soldier, but that is another tale for another time. Ever since Malacanang or Malacanan has been the residence of the topmost political leader of the land. Spanish and American Governor Generals have lived here. Nearly all the Philippine Presidents have resided within the walls of this edifice beside the Pasig River. My own adventure with Malacanang during the height of Edsa I. Marcos had fled the palace and the people were out in the street celebrating. And then for some unknown reason we sped towards Malacanang. Arriving at Arlegui street we found a multitude of people crowding the road. All attempting to get into the palace. One did not have to move to get in if you were in the crowd you seemed to be automatically pushed forward, the whole of mass of people began to act like atom particles propelling forward at the application of an external pressure from somewhere else. The mass movement ended at Malacanang Palace. The whole place was in total bedlam. People shouting and jumping about. Another group destroying officials photos. Other throwing official papers. And there were others carrying off perfumes, chocolates and goats. Going back to the church and getting there. Moving along Legarda Legarda As I said it was inside the Malacanang Complex and as such subject to its security rules. I contemplated on taking the train but idea of security measures and distance of the nearest station from Malacanang developed an unwillingness in me to ride public. Instead I took the car. We passed through Legarda and thru Arlegui. Before that we passed to the outpost near San Jose de Dios. Unfortunately we were unable to enter, lack of security clearance, but the soldiers at the outpost kindly pointed us to the right direction, in the process also try to sell as a hammock. Inside the Malacanang Compound we passed by a lot of residential houses, the neighbors of the president. What were they feeling living close ot center of power? How did it change their lives? And how have they adapted? I am sure they try to live a normal life as best they can. Anyway after a few minutes we sighted the church. According to my mother this church was comparable in status to San Agustin, Manila Cathedral and San Antonio during her days. It was one of the preferred places to get married. Now according to the Sacristan Mayor of the church it was no problem to book the church for weddings. They even celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation twice a week. For June they only had two weddings at the church. Of course there were problems inherent to the location of the place. For one it was difficult to get in especially when the Presidential Security Group is on red alert. But it was the most secure church in the Philippines. San Miguel San Miguel Church The confirmation proceeded without hitch. It was not red alert that day. And I must say it truly is a pretty church.
  • More snapshots of Legarda
  • More snapshots of San Miguel Church