News On Paper

Whats with the economy?

What's with the economy?

Just like almost everyone this year, I too had my own resolutions related to cost cutting. I came up with most of these even months before the year 2008 ended while some are still in the works as I listen and read thru New Year suggestions that are up to this day is just all around every media – from print, TV, radio and even in homilies during the Sunday masses.

Among the many unwritten resolutions I have is to stop buying newspapers especially during the weekends. I’m thinking that if I do this then I’ll be sparing Php 40 a week and if multiplied by 52 times a year, that will give me around Php 2000 savings by the end of the year. Not bad huh? This amount will make 20 relatives happy by the next Christmas time. Now before you start thinking how a terrible gift giver I am, I’m breaking that resolution anyway.

It really seems like I can’t get away with buying these dailies even with the option to read the news online. There’s still something about holding and reading a newspaper while in front of the breakfast table or sofa alongside with a perfect breakfast. In this aspect, it appears that total paperless isn’t going to come true, whether I like it or not.

What I like about having the “real” newspaper is that I can go thru any page or section anytime I want to without being under the mercy of my computer’s speed or worse, of my DSL provider. I also don’t have to deal with the jerky mouse and monitor glare. There are just some things in this world that new technology can’t beat. Besides, has anyone ever heard of someone getting carpal tunnel syndrome for reading a “real” newspaper? Now isn’t that one good reason to spend 20 pesos?

The only problem though with buying a newspaper is that lately, its contents or articles (at least for Philippine Star) have degraded for my taste. It’s either that there’s really no good news to fill the majority of the pages or there’s really no other news to be printed – either way, we’re damned. Thankfully, I find today’s issue redeeming for the reason that I enjoyed reading most of the articles – at least for sections other than the headlines.

Expressions peeve

Scott R. Garceau in his regular section, The X-Pat Files, had my heart thumping with anticipation as I read thru his article – Expressions that gotta go this 2009. In here, he listed several words or expressions that he finds irritating and when he mentioned, “…it doesn’t take more than a few hours of trawling the blogs to spot ’em…”, it had me thinking if I’d find the same words in my blog. OMG! Just kidding.

One that got my attention was “This 2009 (or Last 2008).” I can’t remember where exactly I’ve read about this but the use of “This” or “Last” followed by a date might be indeed wrong. The appropriate word to use then would be “On” like, “On 2009” or “On Dec 31, 2008”. Unfortunately, more people even professional writers still used “This” or “Last” that got me confused. Now, it’s another person (and an American) saying it’s wrong. So, for me it’s goodbye This and Last.

Other words he mentioned that I totally agree to be scrapped and buried for good are shortcuts such as OMG and WTF. Showbiz words such as starrer, comebacking, guesting and while I’m at it, I suggest to stop calling our local and old singers Diva – if there are words that trigger my migraine, this is one of them.

Very Guilty

Another remarkable article today is from Nelson T. Dy’s “Guilty As Charged.”  This one discussed how criticisms in the workplace should be taken especially if coming from your boss. How can I not relate to it when just a month ago I had several discussions with my manager? Good thing that what Mr. Dy mentioned in his column are what I’ve done so far.

The following are his suggestions on how to make the best of these criticisms:

Abandon your pride. Instead of becoming defensive, one must be humble enough and think why was he criticized in the first place.

Adopt a learning attitude. Most people’s tendency especially when new to a working group or a company is try to exude so much confidence as if they knew everything. Often times, this is good as they say that first impressions last. However, on the contrary, I learned that sometimes this is just not the case. Sometimes, it is good to tell upfront the help that you need (from your peers, manager or support group) instead of nodding and making people believe that you know everything. Believe me, it’s based from my own experience.

Assume the best motives from your critic. Working in a company where every employee is trained to give constructive confrontation, I’ve come to accept feedbacks whatever they may be – well, most of the time. It’s one trait that I’m proud of. But it could have been actually better if these feedbacks were done on time and that’s another story.

Not only that Mr. Dy had me relate his advices to my work, but he had me think twice about my driving. And how was that possible? It’s because his example in assuming the best motives from critics is about driving. He said, “…imagine if you are driving your car in the expressway. Another driver suddenly cuts into your lane. You slam on the brakes and blare your horn. You fume and curse the other driver for being such a reckless idiot. But suppose you discover that he is rushing a loved one to the emergency room of the nearest hospital. I bet your attitude will change.” This one caught me off guard. I’m now reflecting if how I can make some resolutions on the way I drive.

Another good one from Jim

One of the author’s that I regularly read for his usually well composed and thought provoking articles (and blogs) is Jim Paredes. And today he made another one. His article, “In love with books” actually wouldn’t have made more sense to me had he not mention about his children’s fondness with books and how they got into it from the very beginning.

He wrote about his children being eager readers since they were just kids. Jim said, “Very early on, even before they were one year old, I made sure that I read books to them at bedtime, or when they were in the proper mood to be quiet and still to just look at the pages and listen to words or even verses of poetry.” Likewise, he quoted literary artist, Emilie Buchwald, “Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.”

Wow, both are well said. I’m so glad after reading all this and I now feel that what I’m trying to do every night for our baby boy is after all the path that he will sooner or later thank me for.

Becoming a fan

In my blog, I rarely (or haven’t?) discussed about having some crush or being a fan of a local celebrity. But on the Starweek mag’s cover today is Karylle whom I have to admit has become one of the stars that captured my attention. It must have something to do with my regular viewing of TV patrol which of course includes showbiz news that I got to see her featured often. I was never a fan at first as I find her appeal something from the retro era (no pun intended). But it looks like that it may be the smile and face that will be regularly seen this year. So when the article mentioned that this singer/actress may indeed be one hot chick to look out for in 2009, I think I have to agree.




Mood: 1/10 Honks! (it’s cold outside but the presence of my wife and kid makes it warm inside)

Blogger’s Cramp

Like any other bloggers, the most feared blogger or better known as writer’s cramp has hit me. It seems like that I’m beating all odds just to make time to do it and it’s also as if I’ve got all the reasons (or alibis) of not being able to come up with a regular post.

There’s of course the baby who has gotten most of mine and my wife’s attention not to mention energies. There’s the “mysterious” hectic schedule at work that always makes me wonder why despite the economic slowdown, decrease in demand, people separation and the upcoming shutdown still manages to take a large portion of my time. Lastly, there are also several parties that have to be attended and the booze that goes along with it dilutes every blogging ideas and replaces it with a bad hangover.

And since most of these reasons I mentioned generate overwhelming ideas to write about, everything eventually ended up into one reason why I’m stuck with a mind full of bright light bulb moments and yet unfortunately and desperately, none made it to the blog world. It’s like having an intersection of late employees eagerly wanting to drive through it and in the process collided with each other causing a more chaotic and hopeless traffic jam.

But tonight, our baby who has become more energetic (and more entertaining) by each passing day has somehow run out of steam. It must be the cold December breeze outside or it may be because of the hot bath I gave. No matter what made him hit the sack early, this for me is plain opportunity. But then again, I don’t know if I should feel lucky or not for having some time to blog because I actually feel right now that my blogging brain has quit running. I’m so desperate to purge those ideas that have been raring to get out of my nutshell.

This situation I’m currently at made me remember two people. One is Jim Paredes, whom in his article in the Sunday (Dec. 7, 2008) edition of the Philippine Star wrote, “Why I Write”. This article likewise appears in his blog. Another one is Saedel Pensoy, whom I incidentally happen to know when I read his comment in one of Jim Paredes’ blog.

In his article Jim said, “But sometimes, “constipation” traps the thoughts, feelings and words in the deep bowels of the mind. The more one tries to write, the harder it seems to produce output. And that can be worrisome when one has a weekly deadline…” Then he added, “And yet, one must write, not because of a deadline or the pay, and not because, like the analogy of the toilet ritual, it can be toxic to keep it all inside. I write because I am one of those cursed people who have been awakened to writing and have been enlisted to do so…

These words are just my exact sentiments; it’s just that Jim eventually had it in writing. Mine became a bad case of writer’s constipation – for the lack of a better word.

Unfortunately, Jim’s recovery didn’t infect Saedel. Just like me (that’s my opinion), I find Saedel a writer and blogger in progress. After I learned about his site, I kept on coming back to read his present and previous blogs. And from it I saw how he has improved a lot in almost every aspect of writing – i.e. grammar and composition. At some point he even decided to monetize his blogs and everything went spontaneous from then on. Not until he wrote, “10 Drafts and a Focus“. When I read it I knew he’s having the most hated writer’s cramp. And like helplessly watching a friend die, I soon witness that it became the last entry in his website. Currently, it has become an attraction for spam commenters. I can’t help but hope that he has moved to another blog provider and continued what he do best – blog.

Time really flies so fast when I’m in front of the PC. I checked and I’ve been here thinking and typing for a couple of hours already. HBO’s rerun of Mr. Bean’s Holiday has ended and another movie is almost halfway through. My second shot of my night cap has evaporated (did it really?). Good thing though that our baby boy is still sleeping – of course, like a real baby. Tomorrow is the start of our two-week vacation and if time permits, I’d sure be glad to blog some more. Maybe.

Ill be right here when youre done...

"I'll be right here when you're done..."



Mood: 5/10 Honks!

Of Writers and Photographers

“…I remember coming home a few days after EDSA 1 and playing it on the piano without interruption, and completing this five minute song in an unbelievable two minutes. How was that possible, if the song takes five minutes to sing…”Jim Paredes

Athletes call it the “Playing the Zone”. It is a level where most play their best games. And this tends to continue as soon as they get into it and ends until they tire themselves out.

Similarly this applies to everything we do, day in day out. There are times when we spontaneously do something without even having to think about it. These are the times when everything seems to flow consistently in favor of a goal in mind. Even doing a simple household chore has its own zone.

And this zone is just as evident to writers and photographers, pro and non-pro.

The reason why I’m writing this blog because recently I felt as if I miss finding good and properly composed photos in my network. Just a few months back there was a barrage of wonderful pictures coming from my on-line buddies but lately it seems none have posted such or as I suspect none captured any good ones. And shall I say composed something worth posting and flaunting? Hopefully, their Canon SLRs aren’t sitting in one corner, collecting molds and dusts. Hey guys keep shooting.

Well, this is also true with bloggers and reviewers. I missed the days when I’d read write ups so nice that I’d wonder if the man behind those articles (blogs) are pro in incognito or just plain individuals like me who haven’t got the bucks to purchase such expensive cameras and so therefore decided (maybe against their will) to write blogs instead. Besides this is what sets the two hobbies or pastimes apart. Photography enthusiasts (I hate it when most claim to be “Photographers”, just as bloggers claim to be as writers. Sometimes I’m guilty too), need at least a $1000 SLRs while all bloggers need is just an idea. Not a tough selection for me, of course.

A couple of weeks ago I reviewed some of my previous (more than a year ago) blogs and some made me smile and pat myself at the back; some made me turn red in embarrassment. My only consolation is my blog traffic is not that high (or could the poor compositions be one of the reasons why). Besides I don’t have a proofreader. There goes the ultimate alibi. Ti abi.

But I still remember the times when I wrote those wonderful blogs (again, just my opinion) were the times when I think I was immersed in the zone. I also observed that these are times when a favorite or good music either plays in the background or just inside my head. I think the rhythm does something with the composition especially if it goes with the emotions behind the idea that is currently set. My keyboard becomes the piano. Only difference is it produces a blog rather than music.

Even the people I admire and envy for having been gifted enough to possess such wonderful talents in both literature and photography, such as Jim Paredes and James Deakin doesn’t come free from blunders – that is, doing something out of the zone. I’ve read and seen some of their works and I can’t help but think, “Hey, this isn’t them”, or, “Did they really do this?” But then, these are busy guys and most likely the pressure of the deadlines just affects the outcome.

And with the Christmas season getting nearer each day, work activities piling up, vacations to consider, parties to attend to are all joining our already chaotic schedule, I still hope that people will still find time to focus on their tasks and duties – that is, to their online world. Let the wonderful blogs come and let those good photographic eyes capture the beauty of everyday life.

Circus Now Showing on TV

“A nation that forgets its past is doomed to repeat it.” – Sir Winston Churchill

“Ang hindi marunong tumingin sa pinanggalingan hindi makararating sa paroroonan.” – Chinese Proverb (?)

I was coming from our last graveyard shift for this week and upon waking up from a 4-hour deep slumber – thanks to the rain & cold weather outside – I switched on the TV channel and I was surprised by what I saw on TV.

“I must still be dreaming”, “Did the cable channel provider changed programming?”, “Am I tuned to the History channel?”, “Did my remote control conked out?”

While I was trying to recollect myself of the reality of what is being shown on TV, the “Live” caption on the side of the screen then made me realize that what I’m watching is indeed happening.

Standing in front of the camera was Sen. Trillanes surrounded by some personnel, a priest who became famous for running, a lady thanking the media for their perseverance to stay despite the tear gas bombardment – she doesn’t have to say that, these guys will stay like leeches even if a bomb is about to explode. That could have been a welcome entry for World’s Amazing Video.

This scene greeted me from my wonderful siesta like a post-sleep nightmare. Here we go again. Fill in the blanks: Edsa (type series no. here). What a shame.

Other than being pissed by what is actually happening hundreds of kilometers from where I am, I was reminded of a then irate Jim Paredes’ post (Equal Right to Lawlessness) in his blog site and what I in return commented to it:

“Jim,So what’s next? Edsa 4?Just like Neo who suspects that a déjà vu occurs when someone is tweaking the Matrix, I too thinks that someone out there (Uh oh, I’m becoming a conspiracy theorist) is calmly running his fingers through the rum glass, massaging his bearded chin just as this event is in progress and most likely doing a revision of his “master plan”.

I say not. It looks like we are a bunch of people with 64kb of memories – i.e., we forget so soon.

I’m tired of seeing on TV a cliche of events that would humble even the plot of the telenovelas:
1. People gets angry at the president.
2. TRAPOs gather people.
3. People + TRAPOs oust the president.
4. TRAPOs hug and attends [sic] mass with Bishops.
5. New President.6. (Repeat # 1 if necessary)

Only in the Philippines.”



This is because I am now concluding that behind this Trillanes character is a bigger group or individual so eager to topple the current regime so that they can “serve” the Filipino people. After all I believe that this senator (sadly, yes) is a coward and should have never been voted in the first place. But then again…we tend to forget.

If we rewind what this ex-soldier, coup-plotter or in short just a plain hooligan had done, we will see that he’s had this habit of cowering in hotels to make his point (or the lack of it) known to everyone. Now I think it is about time that all hotels run a memorandum to close its doors once they see this man coming in. So far I could not recall that he’s made a good impression for Philippine hotel economy. He’s just scaring investors away since the world got to know him.

Of course to prove that Trillanes is mainly out there to stir the Edsa spirit (pun intended), he brought along with him a minimum number of characters to summon the majority (also known as “the masses”) of the short-minded Filipinos and a bunch of media newscasters willing once again to insult if not to challenge the intellect of the “resilient” pinoys. Interestingly, Jim Paredes’ has a blog about it to – 23 tools to brainwash and influence people through mass media:

14. Repetition is key. Repeat important messages as often as possible.
15. Repetition is key.
16. Repetition is key.
17. Bypass rationality by any means possible. People don’t need logic to accept information. Belief is emotional. Always remember: WAR=PEACE.
18. Remember –- two half-truths make up a whole truth….”

Repetition is the key. We were taught before that a succession of drops of water will eventually make an impression on a stone. Unfortunately this is being used for the wrong objective. Ti abi.

So while I’m a few hours away from my birthday, I might as well grab the opportunity to entertain myself with the circus on TV. Who knows, the next time I click on the boob tube a new “clown” is already out there to serve our beloved nation. Mabuhay!

Jim’s Country

“Easy come, easy go” – Anonymous

The benefits of the world wide web always fascinates me. Gone are the days when one has to travel far, endure a long queue and rub sweaty faces and armpits just to get near a celebrity to brush elbows with them or if he gets lucky enough, exchange ideas with them. Trust me though it won’t even last a couple of minutes, then. Nowadays, what one has to do to get close to anyone whom he adores or likes is just a couple of type away in any search engine available. Or getting it from your on-line networks.

I got Jim’s site from my wife’s links. She’s his fan. From then on I return to it every now and then to check on his blogs as I discover more about him than reading from the Song Hits mags (do this mag still exist?) or any other newspapers. On his site, I slowly uncover his talents, ideas, spirituality,fantasies (surprisingly, a man of his stature still have fanstasies) and even, his temperament, that is if you read between the lines. Sometimes though it is just too obvious.

Last night right after posting my blog I tried to check his again and there it was, he’s angry at something now. Something that I was also angry at for several days already. As I read about it I find that his frustrations (and evil wishes) are just like any other Filipino. And the thing about it is that he could have cared less, let the issue pass off his mind in his Australian residence. But he did not.

I know Jim is one of those who participated in the Edsa 1 revolution. He even composed the song “Handog ng Pilipino sa Mundo” as a theme for the post-Edsa 1 Filipino. And If were in his shoes I’d be so frustrated as well with the succession of events that have been going on lately. The Filipinos have forgotten again. I don’t know if it’s just me, but with the current situation, I can imagine again people calling for reforms, calling for the president to step down, calling for a snap election…maybe sooner they (or we) would be calling the Gods to cast fire unto the Philippines. If we don’t get our acts together, we’ll get it sooner than we think. Now I’m frustrated.

Anyway, what I learned today is that even a man like Jim, who may have stuffed his walk-in closet with awards and accomplishments (or even cash) is still likely to give damn (pardon the word) about what is happening to our country. I wish (or is it proper to say hope) that sooner, not later, someone from the millions of Filipinos will step in to take leadership (but please let the current term finish. To hell with those who are now planning a new “EDSA”) with unquestionable integrity and bravery to face and eradicate the TRAPOs that have been multiplying every election.

Tomorrow is barangay election day. Keep your fingers crossed.