Thursday, February 28

Another reason why we should all drink tea: Starbucks to expand in 2002. Welcome to the Starbucks-ing of the galaxy.

Elizabeth Taylor is 70. And Michael Jackson will be alive for the next several thousand years.

I have to cut off this leisurely afternoon surfing because duty calls. He's standing right behind me. Feh. So long. I'll do an update soon when I get the pictures.
So the Journal Group of publications is now online. Very useful in my line of work. I'm looking forward to the next bloody headline. [ thanks lia! ]
From the official map of Dumaguete City, which I found Monday afternoon in The Village Bookstore:
"Dumaguete is a place of yore. Its avenues are still lined with century-old homes, canopied by trees and away from anything frenetic and hurried. It's a perfect place for those who value time and place in their stillness. Ninety percent of the population ride around in scooters and bikes. Foreigners, clad in loose shirts and shorts, provide a French-Carribean setting to the place. Dumaguete is a destination on its own in Negros Oriental. Silliman University, occupying 56 hectares of the total city area, adds to the brooding, intellectual attitude of the city. Given its laid back and contemplative character, Dumaguete is a perfect getaway for those who simply want to enjoy time in the most relaxing manner imaginable. For the tired and overheated metro dwellers, Dumaguete is simply irresistible."
I have a weird reliance on maps. I find this weird because the average Pinoy wouldn't be caught dead with a roadmap, never mind that you've been circling the same area a thousand times. This, even after I found out that maps are hardly reliable. Not all the little sidestreets are listed, and the distance stated in the maps are not necessarily the same. But I still find myself getting a map for every city that I go to, and check out the places of interest, the local market, and get myself lost in the bangketas and the tricycle lines, and finding that I cannot understand a single word of what people are saying.

Here, we are spoken to in English. I tried talking in Tagalog, but Bob and the interviewees and mostly everyone addresses us and answers back in English. So by the second day, I didn't bother anymore and took this as a matter of course. Maybe it is a matter of course. Maybe they would rather we speak in an entirely foreign tongue than have us ruin their beloved Cebuano and Bisaya.

I found very nice people here. They answered our queries about episodes in their lives they would rather forget, politesse. Then they invited us for coffee, for dinner, and we had an animated conversation about movies they watch, about Mr. Potter and the trilogy that still sat on their desks, unfinished. We were invited back for breakfast, and we were treated as family. They are the sort of people that makes uprooting your life every so often worthwhile. These are the things we look forward to, more than clean towels and hot baths.
We stayed at the Plaza Maria Luisa for a single night. It was a huge Spanish styled house with interiors done in antiques and mirrors. On every landing, there is a huge lifesize portrait of a woman, presumably the Maria Luisa who gave the place her name. The hallways were dark and footfalls echoed. And when you walked, long shadows were cast in front of you. Marlon the camera guy howled while our baggages were carried up. "Awoo!" It was a juvenile thing to do, but we couldn't really help it. We were staying in bahay ni Lola. What is creepier than that? I kept expecting an upside down Gloria Romero to appear right in front of us.
Dateline Dumaguete

I'm posting this from a Scooby's in downtown Dumaguete. My segment producer and I have gotten along very well, thanks to the ubiquitous Bob who arranged our itinerary and hunted down our interviewees. Sometimes, it feels like it's actually Bob who's doing all the work. But he insists, and I'd rather that we get things done rather than get screwed when we return to Manila. And he really means well.

There are no malls here in Dumaguete, no McDonald's, and I haven't seen a single 7-11 store. Most of the shops close down by 7pm. There are no cabs. Instead there are hundreds of scooters and motorbikes. Girls in uniforms, grandfathers, teenagers who fancy themselves to be surfer dudes, mothers with babies strapped on their backs. Unfortunately, I cannot even stay upright on a bicycle. I am doomed to a pedestrian existence while we're here. Walking down the streets of Dumaguete requires perfect eyesight and a sense of timing. Look on both sides when crossing the street. The hum of tens of bikes buzzing like bees about to attack can sometimes be disorienting.

Dumaguete is a beehive, alive with drones and queen bees. We're staying at the Honeycomb Inn. In the trees and bushes outside there hangs some oversized bees, smiling at you. I had tea sweetened with honey for breakfast. At all times, there is a group of old men playing chess inside the canteen. At all times, there are joggers on the boulevard. At all times, there are couples snuggled close by the breakwaters. It was a full moon last night. I stayed out and took pictures. At all times I am with my camera, taking pictures.

Monday, February 25

Jill suggests that blogging be used to teach students about citing sources. Which is good, because plagiarism is ugly and students tend to take their sources for granted. I've seen research papers where entire paragraphs seemed eerily familiar until I realized that I've read them someplace else. It's more than just footnotes and MLA in-text citations. It's honoring intellectual property: Somebody thought of an idea before you, so give that person credit where credit is due. Links are a good way to start. Teach Comm II students blogiquette.
Darn, I've been sitting in front of the computer for more than half an hour now. Where the hell are they? I forgot that today is Edsa 1 day, and they could have taken the long route to my house and now they could be stuck in traffic somewhere. Ring me now, please.

Update: Okay, so now they're having lunch. Ha! Now I'm craving for Tapa King and lunch here isn't cooked yet. I'm beginning to get hungry.
This is weird. I got included for a mailing list for a musical group. I remember nothing about joining them except for the post about the Fair. Oh well, I can't think about this now.
Hello, Jane! I got your postcard. Got it just as I'm about to leave. It's a nice send off. Thanks a bunch!
In a couple of hours I'll be in Dumaguete to do research. I'm just killing time until the team arrives to pick me up and then off we go to the airport. We work in tandems, and the researcher/segment producer I'm assigned to has a track record of making life miserable for his writer. But hopefully, we'll get over that, work well together and come up with some very good stories.

While there, I hope to go around the place on my own. I've been told Dumaguete is good for walking around and riding motorbikes. I don't think I'll be riding off into the sunset on a bike, which I can't do because I can't keep steady on two wheels if it were to save my life. But walking I can do. We're staying at a place right on the boulevard facing the beach. Wish us lots of sun and lots of luck!

Sunday, February 24

Mechajol debuts in peyups with his review of Hesus Rebolusyonaryo. [ It also got posted in our group blog, but that's screwed at the moment. We'll let you know when that's fixed. ]
And now for this morning's weird news update:

Man falls, coffee mug shatters, death outside a Long Island apartment.

Good morning, everyone.

Friday, February 22

Obligatory John Russell quote: Sanity calms, madness is more interesting.

Portrait of the Cat as Schizophrenic.

I was bitten by a mad cat once. I felt his pangs dig in right on the meat of my palm. I sat on the floor of my headwriter's house to pet him, the new cat they just adopted. Then the fangs. I tried to get my hand back but he wouldn't let go. It took two guys to separate him from me. I slinked back to a corner of the room, shocked. He was shocked as well. I like to think of myself as a cat person, and cats do love me and allow me to stroke their fur or whatever. But that time was different. There was blood, there was anxiety. There were two gay guys nervous about rabies screaming at me. I was told the cat was disturbed. He was a white, three year old Persian, and his previous owner didn't take care of him that much. Once, a chandelier fell on him. If I were a cat and I found myself suddenly enclosed in broken glass, I too would be disturbed.

Sanity calms. But madness is more interesting. [ via gmt+9 ]
Something isn't working with the group blog project. And since it's run on ftp, I have no idea how to fix it. However, I am definitely not going to do a Tom Cruise and cry "Tech Support!!!" in the middle of the lobby. I watched Vanilla Sky again last weekend and I'm not changing my mind. It sucked. I mean, I love Cameron Crowe and all, but hello? The audience aren't morons. They were going for the We're a thought-provoking philosophical film, if you don't get it you're stupid" crud. I say that they only succeeded on confusing the viewers. I'm with Lisa on that point. Gawd, that's the most irritating cop out I've seen in movies in a really long while.

Thursday, February 21

Update on the cockroach issue: Jill notes that Henry Jenkins was forced to take out his roachy comment because he was under attack from many of the multitude of those who refuse to be dismissed as roaches. Vengeance is near. Hehehe. The vision of a man under attack of roaches is just the ultimate terror for me. Ugh. If I just feel the presence of a cockroach within a fifty-meter radius, my first instinct is to grab a tsinelas (preferably rubber) and prepare myself for an attack.
Brownpau took on the herculenean task of overhauling his photo files. Wanna peek at the blog meet pictures in Rockwell? Go.

The Catholic group Agrif (General Alliance Against Racism and for Respect of French and Christian Identity) seeks to ban the Oliviero Toscani-designed poster for the film "Amen"because it merges the Nazi swastika with the Catholic crucifix. It considers the design an affront to their faith because it mixed "the symbol of absolute hatred and the symbol of absolute love". But Constantin Costa-Gavras, the film's director claims that they can't have a monopoly on Christ. The court is still to decide the case.
Kylie dancing to Can't get you out of my head

Goddess ascends from an oversized CD, in a micromini, occasionally lifting hem. Whoa. I'm not worthy.
I'm sleepy. I was up all night doing revisions on a script. All the energy I have left is the ability to press "Send" on my e-mail. Otherwise, everything else will have to go the way of Blah Blah Blah [ka-]Blog.


Wednesday, February 20

Give it up, Posh. The 90s are all over now.
I know a lot of Pinoys like singing. Witness the proliferation of videoke bars, which is a subculture all to its own, and the fact that every other household has a karaoke/videoke. We don't have one at our house, but our neighbors sure delights us with their, uh, musical skills. Expect that the next-door toughies won't let you sleep, especially on fiestas, when they won in the local karera, or just when they felt like burning their intestines with alcohol. And I really don't know why "My Way" by Frank Sinatra tops the list of favorite song on drinking sessions. (Runners-up include "Bikining Itim" and this song about some girl who got AIDS and the singer feels sorry for her because she lost her honor already. At least, that's how I think the lyrics add up.) And since they're drunk and all, they slur their way through their songs, and their drinking buddies get pissed and then they try to kill each other. This happens way too often, it turns up as a news article from halfway around the globe. Killed over karaoke. What, too bizarre for you? Wait till you get to live in my neighborhood.
So mainstream media is taking notice of the "phenomenon" (as they called it) of blogging. Most of the articles, like the one from Time, have been derisive, dismissing it as the activity of young people with "too much time and bandwidth." Well, given that everyone who has access to the net can create a blog/opendiary/whatever else you want to call it, you automatically have a very diverse population who can publish whatever they want. More than half of the net could be garbage, there can be brilliance. But all in all, you will have to be patient and look up what you're interested in.

What I find really annoying is people who do not do enough research but claim to be knowledgeable and then write something for a major publication on the subject of which he knows absolutely nothing about. The one thing they got right is that blogging is all about commentary: We are "minutemen [and women] of the digital revolution." This is more than just about reacting violenty to being refered to as cockroaches. Yes, Henry Jenkins, blogging is an extreme sport. You can expect that we are going to Blog This.

[found via jill/txt]
Today's Yahoo travel destination wants me to come and visit my own country:
The 7,000 islands which comprise the Philippines are the forgotten islands of South-East Asia: they're off the main overland route and have never attracted great numbers of tourists. There's no doubt that the country has lost out economically because of this, but its reputation as the basket case of Asia is now thoroughly outdated. Most of the Philippines is laid back, stable and relatively safe. The country likes to promote itself as the place where 'Asia wears a smile' and the locals are, by and large, an exceptionally friendly and helpful bunch. On top of this, transport is cheap, the food is good, accommodation is plentiful and (for the monolinguistic) English is widely spoken.
I wonder though if this is the updated version already. I was expecting a "Do not go here or prepare to be kidnapped by hooligans. Wear sunscreen." Or whatever. Travel is cheap? I don't think so. Not if you're paying for your own fare. Not if your own people would charge you an arm and a leg just like the foreign tourists. But I still would like to go around. We have a beautiful country. I'm convinced of that. We just have to take the paths less traveled (by tourists) to get to the really unexplored regions. I just hope that by the time I do get around to finally doing just that, those places will still be around.

Sunday, February 17

Because you are a natural snoop: The Peer-to-Peer Blog Review Project.
I agreed to meet up with some friends at the UP Fair last night, but I somehow lost them between getting off at the Educ Building and the entrance. Trust me, mobile phones are useless. And you really can't hear your phone ringing when Karl Roy is screaming his tonsils off onstage, right? I gave up looking for them and luckily ran into some people from my old block and some friends from Quill who also couldn't find their friends in the huge crowd.

Sometime after 2am, a hiphop group came onstage to do their rendition of (ugh!) Jabongga. Now here's an example of things with limited shelf-life. It's just so hideously 90s. Most of the people probably disliked them, and didn't mind saying so. They sat around, took a respite from all that jumping around and napped or sang at the videoke booth. Somebody requested the "Stupid!" song, but the duo resorted to doing a version of an E-heads classic. When they finally got off the stage, the bald guy emcee asked the crowd "Did you like them?"


Never have I seen a crowd so expressive of their dislike, to the accompaniment of mineral water bottles on a projectile. And since it was 2am, the later performers did one song per set to accomodate everyone. Waited around for the Makiling Ensemble, Sandwich, Brownbeat Allstars, The Radioactive Sago Project. I pity the girl who was trying to climb the wall for more than half an hour and was hurled with jeers and "Ayoko ng Baboy!" ringing in her ears. Then the Eraserheads came on. Loud whoops. You would think Magasin and Alapaap are the official anthems of the Philippines. Which I don't mind. Infinitely better than Jabongga.

Hullo Cel! [Watch this girl perform on the CWC thingie on February 22 at the Tanghalang Hermogenes Ylagan, Faculty Center, UP Diliman. She's going to front for Cynthia Alexander.]

Friday, February 15

Don't you just hate it when someone is rushing you to finish something? Bah.

Wednesday, February 13

"Former Student Takes a Class Hostage." Ah, just the sort of headline I'm looking for. If this happened here, you know where it'll land.

Meanwhile, I am still awful with geography and got lost navigating Glorietta. All I can manage is remember the shops near what I'm looking for, but to ask me if it's near the Shangri-La/Edsa/Landmark exit is stultifying. Several phone calls and ten miles later, I found what I've been looking for. And all because the stupid shop in Megamall didn't carry the shoes in my size.

Question: Why is everyone in bowling shoes? Wouldn't it look so much better if we brought along the equipment as well? *pause* Nah, I knew wouldn't like it.

Tuesday, February 12

Today is supposed to be errand day. I'm still sleepy, and outside there are heavy clouds, but no rain. I can't type much because I have an injured finger, which means I really have to bring my clothes to a laundromat. Or else I won't have any more decent clothes to wear. But I'm stuck here, lethargic, listening to Dealerkids. Check out "Nerdy Girl" and "Toujours Ta Fille." [Found through a whole lot of nothing]
Rejected VD cards -- as though Hallmark's aren't enough. [via cynthia, inside]
The BBC on takes VD with an in depth analysis of "The Science of Love:"

Scientists find out that love is a well-worn t-shirt, or we pick out potential partners who approximately smell like our parents. Couples (and even friends) also master the art of "mirroring." They begin to share the same gestures, voice tones, the way they stand or sit. Love can also make you mad, sad, or ultimately horny. There's even a match-making game.
From the New York Times: Silicon Valley startup Foveon "plans to begin shipping a new type of digital image sensor that outside experts agree is the first to match or surpass the photographic capabilities of 35-millimeter film." If so, film of the photographic sort may soon be extinct. If this can beat the affordability of the digital camcorders, then the way of the dodo indeeed.
The Iron Lady of Britain gives an advice to a superpower:
In many respects the challenge of Islamic terror is unique, hence the difficulty Western intelligence services encountered trying to predict and prevent its onslaughts. The enemy is not, of course, a religion — most Muslims deplore what has occurred. Nor is it a single state, though this form of terrorism needs the support of states to give it succor. Perhaps the best parallel is with early Communism. Islamic extremism today, like Bolshevism in the past, is an armed doctrine. It is an aggressive ideology promoted by fanatical, well-armed devotees. And, like Communism, it requires an all-embracing long-term strategy to defeat it.

The more important lesson is that the West failed to act early and strongly enough against Al Qaeda and the regime that harbored it. And because there is always a choice in where you concentrate international efforts, it is best that the United States, as the only global military superpower, deploy its energies militarily rather than on social work. Trying to promote civil society and democratic institutions in Afghanistan is best left to others — and since those "others" now include the British, I only hope that we, too, are going to be realistic about what can (and cannot) be achieved.
No matter how much I would like to think that colonial imperialism disappeared with the booting out of the American bases here in the early 90s, something like this comes along and proves how hard it is to get out of our colonial past.
Geeze. Trust none techie geek me to make a mess and then cannot find the way out of it. That was more than an hour of worrying unneedlessly. It was so stupid, I won't even tell you. If this works, then good for me.

Sunday, February 10

I don't understand Vanilla Sky. I really don't. And I really can't understand why anyone will actually pick Penelope Cruz over Cameron Diaz, who is the only reason I sat through the whole movie. She's like half-hair, half-muffin. It might have worked with the Spanish version, but I spent most of the time going, "What did she just say?"
It's always a reassuring thing to find others of the same persuasion as you are. Was hanging out with some friends of a friend in school last Friday, and met this girl who'll be attending this year's fair only on the nights Barbie's Cradle is performing. Our conversation basically revolved around inflicting subliminal messages on our friends (If you make them listen to it enough times or until the tape gets erased, they'll begin to look for it. I was successful." Maniacal laughter) and sharing Barbie and other sightings on television ("Have you seen the new coke commercial? Omg!).

Am I boring you? This is like interesting only to other fanboys and fangirls out there. Yes, all three of us. (Hello, Budj!)

Thursday, February 7

What does this country need to get ahead -- IQ or charisma? Tonight's "Debate" attempts to answer the question, although de Quiros prefers to think that it's a non-debate. But hey, looks like a good episode, so do tune in.
Something is wrong with this headline: "Rare rains leave tree dead in Peru." I really must be sleepy.
You can now determine where someone is and what she's doing at that exact moment without exchanging words. Presence awareness is a programming concept based on the realization that any appliance in a network can be detected by other such devices. Big sister is watching you.
"I don't like Mondays" by the Boomtown Rats was the No. 1 song in the UK pop charts in the week I was born. A cover of the song is also included in Tori Amos' Strange Little Girls album. "The silicon chip inside her head/ gets switched to overload." Swell.
Hey, look what I found: bleublog, le blog pour les francophiles!

Wednesday, February 6


Kantogirl abruptly stops walking upon hearing alarm sound coming from inside backpack. Traffic noises all around. It is a sweltering Manila afternoon:

Kantogirl: Say that again?

M. Headwriter: They want to get Ate Guy for that episode you're writing.

Kantogirl: Say what?

M. Headwriter: [muffled response}...due on Thursday...[muffled muffled]

Kantogirl: [turning off phone, mumbling] Hot damn.
Reason why we should all get a blog: so we can bookmark and link articles which interested us before, and remember where exactly we got it. If you’re like me, pre-blog days, you probably forget half the sources of the stuff you read while crawling the net. You may have right-clicked the article and saved it, but forgot to include the URL. After ten million years, you come across it again inside the dearth of your hard drive and blog about it, completely oblivious to the fact that you’re actually stealing links from somebody else’s blog.

It turns out the Lacan article from the earlier post from a cheesedip entry from way back last year, before I had this blog. You can find a link there to the original text there. Lia sent me the URL via email. Thanks, girl. I’m becoming senile.

Tuesday, February 5

This is weird. Nobody I know is online this very minute. For the first time in my life there is no one knocking on my online portal door. It's dark and I'm lonely. Sob.
There's an article in Time Magazine about the phenomenon of blogging. It's not a down the dark alley business anymore. We're going mainstream, baby.
And in the morning of the second day, Kantogirl stirs from beneath her blankets to the roaring sound of jet planes overhead. With much grumbling she gets up and peers outside the window just in time to see the flock in the direction of Malacanang. The Madame President Arroyo hath returned. All hail the President. Blasted aeroplanes. Bah.

Monday, February 4

Lacan and silence in television


"Voice does not simply persist at a different level with regard to what we see, it rather points toward a gap in the field of the visible, toward the dimension of what eludes our gaze. In other words, their relationship is mediated by an impossibility: ultimately we hear things because we cannot see everything." -- Slavoj Zizek

What should we make of the off-camera noises of Psychanalyse I, Lacan's television broadcast of January 1973, better known under the title of its 1974 redaction, as Télévision? Someone coughs; a shifting chair (?) squeaks; the recording machinery -- or maybe it's a central air system -- whirs noticeably throughout the film; the sounds of heavy traffic can be heard through the closed windows of Lacan's Rue de Lille bureau. Many of the aural artifacts of the film are obviously due to the poor state of the recording. But even if we discount that residue of the event -- and I would argue expressly that we cannot do so -- Télévision is a remarkably noisy performance.

The viewer -- or, more precisely, the auditor -- may be tempted to ask, was it always like this in Lacan's consulting room? The classic scene of psychoanalysis depends, we may have assumed, on an absence of sound: the hushed speech of the analysand, punctuated by periodic full-stops, signalling her resistance; the pursed lips of the phlegmatic analyst -- stand-in for the most impassive of all audiences -- speaking only when the silence becomes unbearable for everyone. But our phantasies of that sepulchral scene are, it would seem, discounted by the evidence of Télévision.

To respond that these noises are merely an incidental background to Lacan's utterances in the film misses, I propose, the crucial sense in which the noises are accidental, but in a specifically Lacanian sense: which is to say, the sense in which their fortuitousness is essential to the properly psychoanalytic reception of Lacan's message. The ultimate irreducibility of noise is a founding element of Lacan's address to his television audience."

I can't remember where I got it, except that I wrote in down after reading it somewhere while I was in Bacolod last year. I find it strange because we are often told that television cannot be too quiet. One watches television while attending to post-dinner chores, while brushing your teeth. It doesn't take into consideration those who sit and watched totally enraptured, an audience willing to suspend all other activities except to watch and listen. So what we have is a television that is often noisy and rambunctiously so. There are screams and slaps and tendencies for melodrama. While the video about terrorists or soldiers or protestors roll on in the six o'clock news, there is an accompanying voice commentary, the ambient sound playing in the background. Nowhere is there total silence. Which reminds me of something Allen Ginsberg once said: "Whoever controls the media - the images - controls the culture."
Today's horoscope couldn't be any more accurate:

Pay your bills on time. Get the laundry done. Finish your chores. Don't forget to deal with your daily responsibilities. The work has a way of piling up.

Bah. I'm off to do work now.
Is chatting bad for your health?

A study says that Hongkong residents are more likely to catch the flu because they talk too much, loudly. They talk while they walk down the streets, while eating, and they have the highest concentration of mobile phone activities as well. But it's also possible that the high risk of getting the flu has to do with population density and the brisk movement of people around the island.

It's also weird because I thought the article had something to do with chatting the mIRC or the IM/icq way. But no, it's just talk.
Watched The Others this afternoon. It nearly gave me a heart attack, and there was a collective scream inside the theater when things got really really mind boggling. It's not something to watch alone in the dark, when there are rows and rows of empty seats around you. The Exorcist is child's play compared to this. And scarier than reading the script to Se7en in the dead of the night.
Sarah Bunting of Tomato Nation writes about tech wars and the revenge of the luddites.

Sometimes I miss the old luddite me. Writing feels more like work when you do it longhand. A couple of years ago, I would consume an entire tablet of yellow paper just to write down my first drafts. After that I'd head to the nearest computer shop, preferably those that stay open all night, or at least until 3-4am. There aren't many shops like those now, and I do my drafts using Word like everybody else. I still have my notebooks and reams of recycled paper which I still use to write random stuff. I like paper, and I like the click-clack sounds typewriters make. But it'd be hell to type out entire scripts that way and re-type the whole thing for the second, third, nth drafts ad infinitum. Long live Word, yey.

[Actually, the Tomato Nation article is more about the inability to follow manuals for techie stuff, or anything that requires a manual. If there's one thing that I would probably not do for a living is be part of a tech support team. I don't have the skill, nor the patience. And yeah, troubleshooting is just so annoying. I just hate the "You've just described a problem that Microsoft Troubleshooting cannot solve. Please refer to our online tech support. That just sucks, much more than the busy signals you get when you try dialing such numbers. Argh.]

Sunday, February 3

My mother just gave me some Hello Kitty chopsticks for my pancit canton addiction; and I only touch the stuff in its chili incarnation. Hey, it freaking rhymes. Nice. Hehe. They also make cute hair ornaments. Can you say stickhead?
If you think that adolescence angst as captured in French cinema is all about "forty something guys recalling what happened to them when they were twelve" -- which can be anything from 400 Blows to Zero de Conduite, check out le teen movie Sexy Boys. The Farrelys aren't the only ones capable of gross-out movies. You'll never look at pasta the same way again.
How to start a day of slacking: Watch Winona Ryder and Ethan Hawke in Reality Bites, check your e-mail, have a late lunch, talk to your mom, call up a friend and agree to meet up and watch a scary movie, if it's still there.

Then you realize that you actually have an appointment later in the day and it's kinda running late. You panic, and then think that everything is pointless anyway, so why not not cut your hair/chainsmoke/lounge around doing nothing. Hey, all we really need is "you, me, five bucks, and a really good conversation." Why the hell not? After all, everything is pointless and you can't change the world or anything, so let's just go pump gas and go to the convenience store and dance to "My Sharona" to the puzzlement of the Big Gulp attendant. Yeah, why the hell not. Feh. It's making things more complicated. Everything is pointless anyway.

Then let's take it from the top. Have a good day. :)
Drat. Brownpau beat everyone to blogging about the lunch thingie. Fifteen minutes. Hm, PLDT DSL.

Also, somebody remarked that February 2 was a holiday. (Which sucks because A. It was a Saturday; and B. I don't do the weekdays nine-to-five schtick.) We're supposed to celebrate Constitution Day. Didn't even know it existed. And heck, the way this country is run, you wouldn't think we actually have a constitution.
I went to the Power Plant mall in Rockwell Center earlier today and met up with some of the Manila-based bloggers and learned:

That Mark not only likes Jolina dolls but enjoys paintball war games as well.

That Shiloah and her brother Tom aren’t Slavic, but that doesn’t come automatic for the people.

That Brownpau’s hidden agenda for going to the States is not to find a job or get into graduate school, but hunt up that guy who got the “Brownpau” handle and domain first and shake the hell out of him. Feh.

That Studio Girl has not one, but two EBs today. Busy busy girl.

That Cheesedip wanted to be fashionably late, but woke up sick and so wasn’t able to show up at all. She is missed by every all. Get well, Lia.

That Jio is actually a bit quiet. But we’ll hear more from him soon.

And that people actually read this blog. Yey!

It was nice to finally put a face behind the sites. It was weird to introduce yourself as "Hello, I'm Jessel from and you are?" and have people reply with other URLs. We didn’t really discuss anything, the way blogging can sometimes appear to be about something but ultimately be about nothing. But we all had a fun time.

Saturday, February 2

Waeguk on the culture of eating dog:
Koreans should eat what they wish, and let the west take care of their own backyard. I believe my suggestion to Koreans was to say "Kiss our hairy asses!". My primary problem [with the good professor's essay] lies in the politicizing of the issue, something that not only annoys the hell out of me, but happens constantly in Korea, for complicated historical reasons.

It may well be because I have heard things like this about "Korea's magnificent culture" so many times that each further repetition becomes an annoyance. When people tell me (as they do, all the damn time) that Korea is unique in that it has four seasons, I nod sagely. When I'm told that kimchi (which I love) is the greatest health food ever invented, I smile in wonderment. When someone insists that Hangul (the Korean alphabet, which may truly be one of Korea's greatest achievements, I admit) is the greatest alphabet ever created, I agree that that may be possible. When a colleague insists that Cheju island is more beautiful than Hawaii and Tahiti combined, I murmur my amazement quietly to myself.
He goes on to point out that eating dog per se isn’t what gets in the nerves of people from the West but the cruelty to which the dogs are subjected to before they are cooked. The dogs are beaten because it is believed that the adrenaline forced into the bloodstream actually makes the meat more tender. Then there is the issue of politicizing the idea of eating dog as a product of historical and cultural enslavement. I would want to say more, but I feel like I’d make more of a hodgepodge than actually making a point out of all this. So just go read Waeguk’s take on this.
I got two new discs the other day. Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs which I've already seen but would like to see again. If you watched Sugar and Spice, it's one of the movies the cheerleaders watched so they can get tips on how to be a criminal and how to successfully rob a bank. I haven't seen The Limey yet, but Terence Stamp is there and Steven Soderbergh directed it.

We were supposed to watch the movies at a friend's house but ended up channel surfing and watching a video worth over a thousand pesos in overdue fines. Her neighbor forgot to return it and never once mentioned not doing so even if they saw each other nearly every day. I wouldn't want that to happen to me. Question: Are the video guys going to actually haul you to jail for not returning an overdue video?
Something must be really out of whack if one of the first things you do upon arriving home is booting up your computer and going online. Or getting up in the morning and booting up the computer and then go online. But as it is, I've always been out of whack. So no prob there.

Friday, February 1

From the Letters section of the Inquirer comes a 7-point argument offering UP Diliman as the ideal site for the 2003 South East Asian games which the Philippines will host.

The letter writer wants to avoid the white elephants resulting from the Palarong Pambansa a couple of years back. We should therefore find a place which already has the required infrastructure, or is at least near to several ready venues. He then volunteers the nearby schools' gymnasiums (gymnasia?), the Araneta Center, the Pasig Sports Complex. He has a sense of logistics, yes. If we are to depend on the university's resources alone, we might as well take the games someplace else. I can't imagine a swimming competition in the school's pool. Legend has it that the water is changed only every four years. The water is so murky you can't even see the bottom of the pool, and there are reptiles doing the backstroke with you. Which is why I never took up swimming and enrolled in contact sports. At least all judo requires is a room with a mat and your ability to fling people off the walls.

But let's play the devil's advocate. Isn't he a bit deluded as to the university's actual capability to support such a huge event as the SEA Games? Let's take this one by one:

There are enough dormitories in UP to accommodate 3,000 athletes within the campus. In addition to this, there is a health service (hospital) and medical and dental personnel, several canteens and eating places, a couple of banks, a post office and two telegram outlets. Security is not a problem because the campus is enclosed and there is an existing security force.

Evidently, this guy hasn't come within a two-thousand mile radius of any of UP's dorms. Residents have long complained of the leaking roofs. Two-person rooms are occupied by four people because that's all the university has to offer, and it's all the students can afford. Lodgings inside the campus aren't exactly offered for a song and a jig. They cost an appendage in the very least.

And do not get me started on the infirmary bit. It's a walk-in tomb with zombies for its attendants. If I were in pain and needed medical attention, I'd much rather endure the pain and the traffic and try to get me transported to a more competent hospital. In all the years I've been in UP and try to get medication for various ailments, all I was offered was an excuse slip and paracetamols.

I guess it'll be okay to give the athletes a different health regimen. If you have the penchant for eating paper or cardboard, go for a taste of CASAA's cuisine. Very tasty. Yum. If they want better food, the athletes can also try eating at the Chocolate Kiss or the other eating venues, but they will have to pay for it for themselves.

Let's not tackle the telegram thing and the mysterious case of the 28.8kbps modem connection at the Shopping Center, the Computer Center and the library. As for the security, I would think twice or two million more times about it before I'll put 3,000 athletes in UP Diliman. I was in a first floor Palma Hall classroom when a student was gunned down in the AS Steps at close range. Our class thought the shots were part of the Chinese New Year celebrations, then when somebody shouted for help and several more shots rang out, we immediately ducked and clung to the floor and hid under chairs. Is that security? Armed men freely enter and roam student-populated areas and shoot a student and we're talking about security? You cannot even walk along the roads any more without fear of getting kidnapped or raped.

Media coverage will not be a problem since most of the television stations are located in Quezon City.

Okay, if he says so. I have no doubt that we have some of the most reliable broadcast reporters around. And some of our reputed sports commentators walk around with coffee machines offering people instant coffee passing itself off as brewed.

Many shopping centers are found in Quezon City and, as part of the culture of international sports competition, there must be an abundance of nightlife services. Quezon City can rival those in Clark or anywhere in the Philippines.

What do malls and gimik places have to do with the culture of international sports competition? Is that all we have to offer now? Shoebox structures with plenty of uncirculated air and l'eau de toilette. The athletes can have a hand singing videoke and get insulted by the bar's host. And yeah, maybe they can jog along Quezon Ave and Timog. They're not that bad and go for as low as a hundred on a slow night. Rivals Clark eh?

Investments on sports facilities and equipment in UP will give this premier academic institution the resources it needs to become a Games Village for future international competition. It will likewise contribute to the quest of the state university for world-class status by the time it observes its centennial year in 2008.

Finally, if you still haven't caught on to what I'm trying to point out. Yes, the university needs support and investment not just in sports equipment. It badly needs a rehaul for its dormitories, its facilities, its education program. It's not so much for gaining world class status but to at least retain or improve where it's currently standing: in a muck of mud. Each year when the Asiaweek rankings on the continent's best schools come out and UP slips further down without fail, they all blame the dwindling resources. UP swings by on its reputation where the students are brilliant, socially-aware, etc. I used to believe the myth myself. But now, I'm not so convinced anymore. We have to be merciless in order to have an accurate assessment of a situation. Several decades ago, the "UP is the premier state university" may be a true supposition. Maybe, but each generation becomes a shade paler that the one before it. Students and alumni delight on those old Ateneo-La Salle-UP-Ama jokes, but soon we may find ourselves the butt of it if don't do anything about it.