Thursday, December 28, 2006

Mindy Christmas and a Longish Post to Everyone

So the missus and I spent Christmas with my folks. She prepared samosas and pasta. Yummy! And somehow it has become tradition for several years now for my mom to cook beef casserole during Christmas, especially if I'm coming over. Shame that she only cooks it during Christmas dinners. But I guess that's what makes it special.

It was a very nice evening. Good food, good company. It would have been better to have my brothers and their families there but one's in the province and the other was with his wife's family. But we did meet a new friend: Mindy! She is a Yorkshire terrier puppy (I think), otherwise known as 'the cutest thing'. One of our guests brought her over. I would love to have one of these but they cost a few months pay so I'll settle for borrowing other people's dogs.

So, I took pictures of the food and the dog but forgot the people. Shows you where my attention was at :P If the missus is reading, I have a picture of you too!

By the way, if you didn't already know, the Internet is broken. I definitely noticed my connection at home slowed down. There were even a few sites I couldn't access.

I have finished reading Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt by Anne Rice. Now comes the hard part, waiting for the sequels. I was surprised to find that the story was told in the first person perspective. That poses a lot more challenge to the author. Can you imagine? To speculate what might have been Jesus' thoughts? Anyway, I enjoyed it. The pace is slow, but the writing is good. It's like listening to your parents tell a story about their life. You're invested in it. Of course, hardcore Christians might want to stay away as they may find it blasphemous. Good thing they don't have the Inquisition no more :P

So now I'm moving to Hannibal Rising by Thomas Harris. This is the story of Hannibal's childhood, his origin. I bought this during the month of the missus' birthday. Because she was a Powerbooks member, she gets 40% off on the month of her birthday, so I got me a present. Yup, I realize it was her birthday. Believe me, she took advantage of that 40% off. This will be the first book I read by Thomas Harris. I haven't read any of the Hannibal books but I have seen the movies. Thomas Harris fans might cringe at that. They've already started filming Hannibal Rising. This time Anthony Hopkins is out of the picture though.

***Geek Alert on the remaining paragraphs***

Microsoft is giving away Ferrari 1000s Laptops to bloggers as a marketing strategy in anticipation of the MS Vista launch next year. Hey! Where's mine? I'm a blogger! Some bloggers who received the gift are now questioning the ethics of it all. Well, all I can say is that it's a smart move. Judging from the list of bloggers who received the gift, they must have based it on the volume and return traffic these bloggers get. So basically these bloggers have a lot of loyal readers. As to the ethics questions, well, people who received the unit also got a note saying they are not required to blog about it. They can keep it either way, give it back if they choose, or even give it away on their site. So if you're conflicted, give it away - to me. This is called a "Win - Win" situation. You solve your moral dilemma, I get a new kick ass laptop. Of course, MS would never send me one :P I only get two or three hits a day on average, not to mention the rampant piracy over here. If you haven't been to Manila, we all greet each other with "Ahoy there matey!" and wear an eye patch. Shiver me timbers!

Posted here is an excerpt of the going out of beta Blogger announcement. I've never played Warcraft but I love the Battlestar Galactica metaphor. Yes yes, it's geeky. If only my high school english teacher came up with this kind of examples during the figures of speech lessons, I would have done a lot better.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Monday, December 18, 2006

How Long Have We Had That?

Phrase of the Day: Monetary Morale Boosters

Hmmm. Tricky. I know the individual words but when you put them together like that, they kind of blur. My brain is apparently rejecting this concept. It cannot be true. It's so alien and unfamiliar. It's like seeing a unicorn. Somebody must have heard these words from a meeting of the NASA Chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous and just mashed them together. Those NASA guys do that you know. Remember that carbon dioxide filter in Apollo 13? Anyway, I digress.

You know what it feels like when you walk into a middle of a conversation and you just catch a word that makes you go 'huh?'. Then you try to ask them what they were talking about and they say 'nothing'. Well, that's kind of what it felt like when I first heard the phrase.

Phrase Definitions:
1. something that I do not get.
2. a currency fueled rocket for the depressed.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

So You Think You Can Write

A couple of days ago I received an email from I submitted the Sandcastle poem I wrote to their site and basically forgot about it. The email says that after being reviewed by their committee my poem was now a 'semi-finalist' in their poetry writing contest. Also, by getting to this stage, my poem will included in a book, "Immortal Verses", to be published next year along with other poems written by other 'semi-finalist'. I got excited at that thought, and that I actually wrote something worthy of publication. Wow. But then, I got to the part where they offer me to buy the book, of course, at a special "contributor's discount". After reading that, the day dream bubble went *puff*. Red flags rose, and alarm bells rang. So I went on Google and searched the key words '' and 'scam'. Sure enough I got relevant hits. Among them was this article. So basically, everyone who submits a poem to their site gets the email I got. Ouch. That's a big 'you wrote nothing special'. The site makes money off people who buy the books wanting to see their stuff printed. They're offering the book for $49.95 a pop. And when you buy the book, they offer you to buy the audio book version, plaques, mugs, and whatnot. They even invite you to attend a convention with other finalist. You pay for your own plane ticket, hotel, and probably the privilege to attend the convention as well. So there. For a couple of minutes I was flying high only to fall hard back on the ground :) Last week our office had a social club activity where people dress-up to show what their alternate careers might be. Maybe I should have gone as Shakespeare or a drunken bum, same difference I suppose :)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Blog Interrupted

Last week was a good week. The missus had her birthday last week and she wanted to go bowling. So bowling it was. Some people would go skydiving on their birthday or something like that, but that is so passé :) Bowling is the new skydiving, for the sake of this post at least.

It was fun, specially since I won. The missus would claim it was a draw, but I had a bigger accumulated score, so I won.

The missus: uhm.....don't believe a word he prints!

See, in some cultures it would be considered rude to interrupt someone typing. Don't ask me which culture, I just know there are some out there.

The missus: Not in this house!

Maybe it wasn't such a good idea to get an internet connection at home or at least to be blogging at home. Before she would only read my entries after I post them, not while I type them. Besides, I've been online so much this weekend I think my brain has turned to goo. I think I can hear sloshing in my head.

As I was saying, before being rudely interrupted, I won. Birthday or no birthday, fact is fact.

The missus: Sympathy votes for the missus! He's being mean...again!

I think people are generally more discerning than that. Plus, I'm not mean, I'm nice.

The missus: ooooo so defensive

I think someone should get their own blog :p I think I'll end it here before people are witness to a full on domestic event. Kidding! I love the missus (translate: I hate sleeping on the couch)! And just to remind the missus:

Monday, December 04, 2006

Sing The Low Budget Monday Blues

Monday. Monday. Monday. What a dreadful day. When you're out with friends and you go "it's Monday tomorrow", you all just let out a collective sigh. Everyone understands what you mean and how you feel.

I'm so glad that "Narda" won Best Song of the Year in the NU Rock Awards. Congrats! Some people might think it's 'corny' to be singing about a fictional character. But when you listen to the song, you can tell it's inspired. The song evokes the feeling of longing in both music and the vocals. I love it. Great, great, great news. It brightens up the Monday blues a bit.

When I heard that Kamikaze won for Narda, it reminded me of one Sunday night about two weeks ago that I spent with the missus. Since Christmas was coming and because it was one of my all time favorite songs, I asked the missus to listen to 'Pasko Na Sinta Ko' by Gary Valenciano. Cheesy, yes, but that's me :) She listened to it with me and because she couldn't understand all the words (she didn't grow up in the Philippines so her Filipino is mostly colloquial) to the song, I translated the words or explained the meaning to her. Since she enjoyed that, I played her a few more Filipino songs I had. I kept a play list of the songs we listened to that night (including 'Narda'):

Gary Valenciano - Pasko Na Sinta Ko
Sharon Cuneta - Sana'y Wala ng Wakas
Kamikaze - Narda
Eraserheads - Kailan
Eraserheads - Minsan
Rizal Underground - Bilanggo (acoustic)
Cooky Chua - Pers Lab
True Faith - Muntik ng Maabot ang Langit
Color It Red - Pagli
Orange and lemons - Yakap Sa Dilim
Apo Hiking Society - Batang-bata Ka Pa
Apo Hiking Society - Awit Ng Barkada

I love classic Filipino love songs especially those that have that old Kundiman feel to it. Of course, I like the new ones too (like Narda!). But the classic Filipino songs remind me how beautiful the Filipino language is, but at the same time it shames me that I don't use it as often as I should. Since I graduated college, I don't remember writing a paragraph of straight and proper Filipino. Everything I've written since has been in either English or Taglish (side comment: isn't it cool that
Taglish has a definition in Wikipedia? And it comprehensive too. ), which is even more horrendous.

Anyway, that Sunday night was beautiful. It reminded me of the things we used to do during our first few years together. I would write her love letters and take her for a stroll in CCP and watch the sunset. Yes, we went for strolls in CCP's breakwater. Yes, baduy, but I didn't have much money to take her to movies and fancy restaurants. Yes, I'm getting defensive. Most of the time we took public transportation when we went out. And during times that we did manage to borrow a car, she would drive because she had a driver's license and I didn't. Yep! I was a regular prince charming. Sometimes we even go Dutch treat on dates. And when she got a job teaching while I was still in college, she paid for everything. Of course I would protest, but that was just for show. That was a cool year too! She was teaching and I was a student. I was a student dating a college teacher, I have to say I got some satisfaction out of that :P Fine, I'm shallow.