We Will Rock London

We are not done talking about dreams yet. There is probably no other place where Marcus would like to be and it’s not where most would go to. At the same age, kids in general would say Disneyland, some Universal Studio, some Legoland. But none of these are Marcus’ choice. Where then? London. Yes, London. If he had a bucket list this would be among his things to do, we bet it could be his topmost even. His obsession with this place amuses us.

Firstly, he wants to meet one of his YouTube idols, DanTDM. Given his own free will, he plans to see him and his pugs. Just like that. For Marcus, things were as simple as just dropping by to say hello, like how he now does with this cousins wherein he visits them almost every day since we transferred. He spends so much time on YouTube channel of DanTDM that he feels his favorite YouTuber is no celebrity but rather someone ordinary who he has access to in short notice. Oh by the way, our son’s such a big fan that he wants to color his hair blue just like Dan did. I told him he can when he turns ten. (Two years to go and I hope he forgets.)

Then what’s a visit to London if you haven’t seen the Queen? So this one too is part of Marcus’ agenda. He once asked  if he would be allowed to enter the palace to see the Queen. We told him it isn’t easy to get past the guards but he was insistent and it seems like he already has a plan. “I will sing We Will Rock You, that’s by the Queen,” he stressed. Well, he’s got a different Queen in mind, Freddy Mercury would be proud.

Besides singing his way in to the palace, he has other tests for the famous Buckingham Palace guards. Having seen it once on Mr. Bean’s cartoon show, he would like to prove if they do stay still while on duty despite being surrounded by annoying tourists. This reminds me of one of his classmates who once said she remembers Marcus whenever she watches Mr. Bean. Yup, he could be as animated and funny at times. When not being stubborn, he’s a natural comedian.

There was also a day when while undergoing his session with a local reflexology therapist or manghihilot, he saw on Pinoy Abroad, a local TV network afternoon series, the familiar London underground sign that he sees a lot in Modern Warfare 3. He said he wants to see the actual place to check if it does look like the one in his Call of Duty game. Yup, I know, the game’s rated M so sue me.

So how do we get him to London? We can’t for now but Marcus is keeping his fingers crossed that I win the lotto. Far-fetched but sounds like the only plan.

For now we are close to visiting that flag in the background. (Taken in MOA by the Bay on the day wifey and I renewed our passports.)

***

Our son seems to be bent on getting his travel funds. Last night he asked his mommy if he can help finish her freelance job. Hmm.

***

Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Today we are committed to fight the summer heat. Home-made halu-halo coming.)

Oggy is Now at Home

Not ordinary, the stars have aligned, we finally got Marcus his cat. Yes, what appears to be SSDD–Same Saturday Different Date–ended with us taking home a stray kitten from an unlikely source.

Stopping at a gas station to fill up, I gave in to wifey’s long standing request to avail of the NBA car sun shield promo. She wants one to show support to her favorite team. So I requested to look at the samples and while waiting for the gas attendant to get the items, a kitten under a Rubbermaid mop bucket appeared from my side mirror. It was the size I’ve been looking for Marcus for more than a month already. Eure-Cat!

“Is it okay to take the cat?” Hiding my excitement I asked the gas attendant as he returns with the promo item samples.”Ano ‘yun sir (What do you mean)?” he asked back, confused. “There’s one that just went under our car, we want to take it home,” I replied. Bending over to look under the car the man confirmed, “Ah, opo sir, para maalagaan nang maayos (yes you can, so that it can be taken care of properly).”

And so after paying for the gas and a Miami Heat sun shield, we drove away from the Phoenix gas station with a black-and-orange patched kitten stowed right under the dashboard. Gas filled, wifey happy, Marcus ecstatic. By the way, he named the cat Oggy from his ever favorite cartoon show Oggy and the Cockcroaches.

Oggy. (Cockroaches not in picture.)

***

Before it happened we came from the church and dropped by SM Dasmarinas. Everything was almost routine but what happened in each place seem to add up.

At the church, being seated right in the front row, I was approached by the ushers and asked if I can bring the wine to the priest to be used during the offertory portion of the mass. I didn’t decline. Of course, as I expected, Marcus tagged along and was also given the ceremonial blessing by the priest.

Then at SM, he led us to the Pet Express store to tour me around at the recently opened shop. He was there once with wifey and it appears that he already memorized the items on the racks. On our way out was a PAWS ‘Catvocacy’ poster. It promotes saving cats.

And these probably were signs that somewhere on our way home could be an answer to Marcus’ prayers that sooner or later he would own a pet cat.

***

Mood: 2/10 Honks! (So far the cat hasn’t pooped inside the house.)

What is Intel Culture?

My tweet got favorited and it deserves a spot on this blog:

Jobs at Intel favorited your Tweet
23 Nov:

[CrisIs73] Where only the paranoid survive? “@JobsatIntel: “What do you think Intel’s organizational culture is like? #intelculture
***
Not an ordinary Sunday: Someone dropping by later to buy my 3-year old treadmill, Pacman vs. Rios fight, and wifey’s about to be discharged from the hospital. Something in me wishes that she gets out after the boxing match–the room’s got cable TV.

Back to Basics

Let me sum up this week: back to basics. I had my old Facebook account deactivated and, after three weeks without cable TV, installed a UHF TV antenna at home. Baron, you should be a saint.

Will write more about it next time. Now off to a badminton tournament. It’s been years since I last joined one.

School Year is Around the Corner for Our Ben 10

Summer is coming to a close for Marcus. Spending almost two months of vacation wherein he has continuously shown proficiency in his computer skills—kudos to the iPad from the Lawsons—and improving in terms of physical activities—courtesy of the time he spent with his cousins, we will be enrolling him today for Kindergarten level education.

Although he answered half-heartedly to our question if he is ready to go to school again, I feel that this year he will be more eager to discover new things. Last school year, the lessons from school along with what he learns at home have helped him to start (and shutdown) the PC; type the boot up password; log in on his own account; search key words (using cheat sheets just so he can spell the words); and recognize the common computer terms such as: download, loading, next, back, close window and maximize window. Remarkably, my credit card remains safe from Apple store charges as he can distinguish free and paid apps.

Not to be forgotten as well is his interest in new cartoon shows on cable TV. From last summer’s Phineas and Ferb, he has moved on to programs such as Ninjago, and the Ben 10 series. He is so into these cartoons that he can memorize a majority of the characters which is something that never fails to surprise me and my wife and it make us wish that the school has enumeration quizzes for the names of the heroes and villains of these TV shows.  We know he’ll ace it even if he pronounces both Lord and Lloyd Garmadon just the same.

This school year, however, he will be into a different time slot. Waking up early is therefore the first challenge I anticipate and I now also wonder if there is an iPad app that can help us with this.

***

Yesterday, my favorite healing priest Fr. Fernando Suarez mentioned during his TV mass about pre-school education in Japan. According to him, the Japanese curriculum does not include regular exams for the pupils during first three years of their schooling with the rationale that it promotes unhealthy competition if imbibed at an early age.  But whether this information (about Japanese education) is factual or not, I think that every parent should take note of it.  I agree with Fr. Suarez when he said that more and more parents nowadays have been coaxing their children to win in contests that at some point it sends a wrong signal and value to the young minds—one that divides rather than unites especially without the appropriate guidance. So this school, I told my wife that we give Marcus some slack and besides it is what we did during the later part of his nursery education and guess what, he ended up the as the most improved pupil of his class.

***

Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Stuffed toy and green ball just came out of the bedroom. He’s awake.)

Little Mind Game

Should We Stop Shooting Our Children?

Vanity is my favorite sin. – Devil’s Advocate

Have you ever heard of KGOY or Kids Grow Older Younger? And do you know one of its causes? According to what the NYTimes.com article Why We Should Take Fewer Pictures of Our Children implies, the digital camera is to blame and I can’t help but agree. Shooting photos of kids has escalated from what was once just a fad to a regular sight. We see this almost every day, everywhere, any time: kids striking a pose in front of the camera whether in front of their parents or done on their own. It would have been fine if these are innocent poses but there are already those we see masquerading, unknowingly I hope, sensual or offensive gestures obviously influenced by what they see on TV or in print materials such as the glossy magazines.

Thanks (but not thanks) to the availability and affordability of gadgets, this addiction of kids to the camera in any form, whether through a mobile phone, a point-and-shoot, or an entry-level DSLR, became very irresistible. Plus the lure of social media, such as facebook and Twitter, or photo-sharing applications such Instagram and Flickr have made taking and posting pictures online a must-do activity for both parents and kids.

So is this frequent photoshoot of your kids destructive in the long run? Well, in my opinion, it depends – though for sure it’s annoying to some of your facebook friends if you keep on flooding their timeline especially with not so attractive pictures. For some, it’s one way of relieving the longing of their love ones who are away from them – like lolos and lolas. And for others, it could be another medium of boosting their child’s confidence. But whatever the reasons are, I acknowledge that it is about time we realize that we need to do everything in moderation including exposure of our kids to the camera. Let us make them live the moments without any worries if they appear good in the pictures of not. Let them be just kids, not little wannabee models.

***

Our own kid is actually among these little models. I still remember the night when we passed by Roxas Boulevard in Manila and we noticed Marcus, who was just barely 2-year old then, staying still and smiling at every headlight, and even lamp posts, outside our taxi cab. We soon realized that it must be because he thinks these bright lights are camera flashes that he has gotten used to seeing as we have been pointing a camera at him since he was still a small baby. His fascination with these flashes continued until about a few months after that but nowadays it has stopped. He has, however, transitioned to doing the check-chin pose and some other weird facial expressions. Ti abi.

***

Mood: 5/10 Honks! (Going to a car dealer to have our car’s headlight checked.)