Saturday, February 26

Water, water everywhere

Christian Bale, baby!

Because it's such a hot afternoon and I'm bored out of my wits, I bring you Wet Men! All the wet men you can imagine! Whoever made it must have been bored (and very gay) enough to put together all the reasons why we should stay indoors on a day like this. In his words: "I can't help it ...I don't know why it is ...But can a man ever be too wet?"

Maybe not. The man on the site's front page is Christian Bale, soon to be Batman. What I'd do for a pic of that guy in his web rubber suit. Hahaha. There's Ewan McGregor, who is adorable even if he's not wet, barefoot, or bespectacled. This is my favorite Ewan shot:

Ewan is a very yummy bunny, hunny.

Other delights: Gael Garcia Bernal, wet. Gael Garcia Bernal, with spectacles. And even Gael Garcia Bernal, barefoot.

And oh, do look out for those wet hobbit boys. Nyar.

This is for Tita Arlyn; site found through Ian, who shows us how to live on a long weekend.

Friday, February 25

High School Daisy Chain

No, that's not a macro shot of a snow flake.

It's an illustration of how a team of sociologists view the romantic and sexual relations of a thousand students in an American high school. Over the course of eighteen months, researchers traced the entanglements of "Jefferson High School," an almost-white public high school in the midwest.

The pattern that emerged was different from what the researchers thought it would look like:
“Many of the students only had one partner. They certainly weren’t being promiscuous. But they couldn’t see all the way down the chain.”

The surprising thing about the network at Jefferson High was the near absence of cycling –- situations in which people have relationships with others close to them on the network, Moody said.

The lack of cycling seems traceable to rules that adolescents have about who they will not date. The teens will not date (from a female perspective) one’s old boyfriend’s current girlfriend’s old boyfriend. This would be considered taking “seconds” in a relationship.
I wonder how this would work in the Philippine context, where people are suffocated by their less than six degrees of entanglements.

Cuts like a Knife

They got me, doc. Right through the heart.

I would love to have this in my kitchen. Preferably if you can morph the head and attach any face you like for you to enjoy during boring lunch time hours.

Sunday, February 20

Cult of the Iron Hymens


Iron Hymens is the "GIRLS ONLY" Abstinence-Only Education Program produced by the US Dept. of Health and Human Services and the White House Office of Youth Purity.

You can also read First Lady Laura Bush's "very special dispatch" about the ten things every girl should know about boys and their vile private parts. Part of the pledge reads like this: "To never let tampons violate the sanctity of my hoo-hoo, because tampons are really nothing more than thirsty little albino penises." Yeah, man, albino penises are soooo scary.

I just find it so hilarious. You can also visit the equally riotous counterpart website for boys Sex is for Fags! which basically intones that if you spill your "dude juice" before you get married, you're dead meat.

So this leads us to the question: Does this mean that President Bush is bading? Shyet, I'm shutting up before the Secret Service pays me a visit.

Wednesday, February 16

Hello Kitty is not an alien

Sanrio supposedly commissioned Surface to Air to make an art work commemorating Hello Kitty's 30th anniversary. The crop circle can be found just outside of Stonehenge, and it took a month of planning and a grueling 16 hours of manual labor. They also had to rent the farm which was half the size of a football field for two months.

Gordon Hull of Surface to Air explains the choice of crop circle as commemorative art: "Our goal was to make something that would add to the mystique of Hello Kitty's origins, and at the same time work within the grandiosity of the Hello Kitty phenomenon (if you will). A crop circle — being of similar disposition — seemed to be a perfect fit."

I will never see that crop circle myself, unlike some Japanese tourists who flew in just to view it. On the other hand, I went to this Hello Kitty t-shirt exhibit in Glorietta where they had maybe a thousand DIY Hello Kitty shirts. On our way out the gallery, I spied this sequined white shirt with the label "Kitty Nadal" at just about the same time that the radio played that terrible terrible earworm "Huwag na huwag mong sasabihin." Wah. I wish we took photos, but no photos allowed. So there.

Monday, February 14

Monday Bloody Monday

While our Win-a-Date contest was winding down, news came in via sms that a bus exploded underneath the MRT Ayala Station a little past 7pm. This was just a few minutes after reported explosions in a bus station in Davao and in a shopping mall in General Santos City.

The Abu Sayyaf claimed responsibility in what was billed as the worst terrorist attack in the Philippines, possibly bigger than the Rizal DayBombings on the LRT several years ago. Abu Sayyaf senior leader Abu Solaiman read the statement in a radio interview some time after the blasts: "We will find any means to inflict more harm to your people's lives and properties, Allah willing. We will not stop until we get justice for the countless Muslim lives and properties that your people have destroyed. May the almighty Allah punish your nation again through our hands."

Malacanang has already condemned the blasts, calling them "despicable acts." The police and the military are now on the highest alert. But still, hundreds of commuters and people celebrating Valentines Day in Makati are currently stranded because of the gnarled traffic and the suspension of the MRT operations following the blasts.

Check out's breaking news section for more valuable updates. BBC report here.

Manila Transit Cops on BB

Stupidity by whatever name, even that disguised as an "anti-piracy campaign," has legs and travels all over the net. We blogged about it before, and now Cory Doctorow of Boingboing picks up this story about Manila security people confiscating unlabeled CDs/DVDs in public transit stations.

What's troubling about this is that there's still no official word from the authorities. No official word from the LRT either. So what the hell is up, really?

Let the Love Begin

Managed to sneak in a movie last Friday night. Earlier in the evening, some fellow dungeon dwellers and I hung around the Katipunan jeepney station across Vinzons Hall for Dulaang Laboratoryo's "Sa Ating Mga Naglalakbay ng Nakayapak." It was a slow burn, and by 9pm, the only significant thing that happened was this girl started yelling, "Hihintaying kita! Hihintayin kita!"

I don't know what happened after that, and psychicpants says that things did get better when they boarded the jeeps, so there. I hied out of the Diliman campus and proceeded to Glorietta. I was determined not to tax my brain anymore, and my friend didn't want to grovel all over Piolo Pascual, so we joined the line at Glorietta for tickets to "Let the Love Begin." This was GMA Films' first movie after a four year absence and after a heavyweight filmography that boasts of Jose Rizal, Muro-Ami and Deathrow. The official iGMA site declares that the film "starts in high school. Pia has the beauty and the wealth. She is the campus sweetheart and the girl of every guy’s dream." Suffice it to say that the character Angel Locsin plays isn't a "beauty and brains" mix. No, no, no: She has "beauty and the wealth." Meanwhile, Richard Gutierrez plays Eric, a cute janitor who attends night school and is somehow portrayed as a very intelligent young man. In another universe, it would have lead to a very Good Will Hunting sort of narrative, but the writing tandem of RJ Nuevas and Suzette Doctolero only wanted us to have a good kilig moment. This should have warned us that we should have parked our brains outside when we parted with whatever little wealth we had to give up to watch this movie. We were looking for lighthearted fare, and lightweight it was.

Let the Love Begin definitely veers away from the usual highbrow fare that GMA Films used to offer. They're now playing Star Cinema's game, and had even somehow beaten Star Cinema at it. Reports have it that LtLB had a better box office showing than Dreamboy. Now that it's been reduced to the battle of the pretty boys, will this be good in the long run? Everyone's complaining that Philippine Cinema is almost dead, dead, and will somebody please kill it already so we can begin a resurrection? But that assumes that there is still life after death. What if all we have is what we have now?

That's it. We're doomed.

Saturday, February 12

The 48 Laws of Power

Law # 1: Never outshine the master.

The 48 Laws of Power is sort of like The Art of War crossed with The Prince for Dummies. It's full of 17th century examples mostly culled from European and Chinese history. Plays best for MBA wannabes, but can also function as a Dilbert for any work aquarium.

Win a Date with Psychicpants!

Do you want to go out on a date with this boy?


Can you bend a spoon using your brilliant mind or at least bend over...and pick up a spoon that fell on the floor?

Are you willing to climb up five flights of stairs to retrieve a pack of spaghetti sauce and then proceed to dance the ispageti while cooking your Valentine's dinner?

Can you sing all the words to Pik-piripik-pik--backwards?

Do you even know who Psychicpants is?

If not, here's your chance to win a fabulous date with the most dashing psychic poet in town! We promise you Action! Romance! Comedy! Dancing! The Horror! The Horror!

We're handing over Monsieur Psychicpants to the ablest contender on Monday, 14 February at the ground floor of Bulwagang Rizal, UP Diliman. Date includes dinner and a book (Definitely NOT this one), but batteries are not included. Contest starts at 5pm. Proceed to FC 1019 for directions. Wear killer shoes. Non-Koreans may also apply.

Thursday, February 10

Hemingway, With Fraps

Renaissance Girl does Hemingway's "Hills Like White Elephants," only with mocha fraps instead of cervezas:

Leo told me it wasn't going to hurt. I suppose he didn't know he was wrong -- as that pain is one he could never feel.

"You will experience something like a bad menstrual cramp; so take deep breaths," warned the old man in the dingy lab gown, as a humming from what sounded like a pump filled the small window-less room in the basement of the hole-in-the-wall maternity clinic Leo spent weeks finding. As the pain heightened, I kept my eyes were glued on the dove pin on the doctor's lapel -- the exact kind my novena-praying aunt wore. Part of me wanted to yank it off; but my hands were too busy shaking. "Do you want you boyfriend to sit by you?" -- the doctor's voice was void of true concern.

"Okay." I managed.

"Babe?" Leo walked in a second after the man peeked out the door. This was the same Leo who told me I had lips like Angelina Jolie. The same Leo who had grand plans when we graduate in March. The same Leo who told me our little set-back could never change what we have. After this mess, he said we would still watch movies like we used to. We would still splurge on those overpriced vendi caramel frappucinos which were my most favorite things in the world. We could finally drive his dad's SUV from Luzon to Davao like we planned. He said if I wanted the world, he would have it giftwrapped.

Leo sat beside me and held my hand in silence, waiting for the pump's wailing to fade. Soon, the doctor nodded, signalling it was done.

"Babe, how do you feel?" Leo brushed the hair from my eyes. "Are you okay? You want me to get anything for you, babe? Just tell me what you want. Anything."

I wanted ... nothing. Even the world Leo promised could never fill the void I bore inside me now. Ever.
I'm not saying it's her version of the Hemingway story. It's more like they tackle the same story, but with somehow different sensibilities. I've read another story, Fran Ng's "White Elephants Like Hills," which was more direct in saying that it was, really, a feminist reading of the Hemingway original.

Wednesday, February 9

Nicholas Negroponte's sub-$100 laptop

Nicholas Negroponte, chairman and founder of MIT's Media Labs, says he is developing a laptop that will sell for less than $100 (£53). His goal is to make laptops more common than the mobile phone, and in an interview with the BBC, the author of Being Digital said he hoped it would become an education tool in developing countries.

A laptop for less than Php5,600! Whoa! That's like 1/10th the current price of low end laptops. But Negroponte claims it's possible to make a laptop that cheap by "skinnying it," having the parts developed elsewhere and then have it shipped as a kit to be assembled locally. It's also going to run on Linux. Now there's something to look forward to in 2006.

Charlene Fernandez, Columnist

Fellow dungeon dweller Charlene Fernandez of matabangpusa makes her debut today as columnist at the Manila Bulletin. If you have twenty pesos to spare, go grab the Feb 9 issue and flip to section I. While you might not see the photo of the girl behind "Scratching Post," you will see a caricature that somehow resembles her more than what a real photo can do.

Dude, Where's Your Brain?

If you're a commuter taking any of the LRT/MRT routes, it might be best not to bring along any unlabeled CDs or DVDs. The security people have only one directive to follow: confiscate any suspicious looking (i.e., pirated) cds. Here's the e-mail warning coming from azrael:
MRT / LRT commuters advisory: dont bring any pirated vcd/cd/data cd if u plan to ride, read more hre

dont bring any pirated vcd, copy cd, data cd when you plan to ride the LRT or MRT. they are confiscating cd's unlabled and unliscensed cds. they dont care if it is a data disk for your work or files for school.. pls pass this info to avoid the situation and if ever they tried to confiscate your data cd for work/school purposes, just prepare a explanation for the importance of your data cd.

they dont even know how to identify a pirated cd/vcd or personal data cd files. if you have CD or DVD files. its best not to ride the MRT/LRT VRB has a operation in confiscating pirated media effective today

pls pass this message to warn all of our E-media data users. thanks
I first got wind of it from BnC yesterday. We were about to take the MRT at Quezon Avenue and she told me about the new directive she got in her inbox. Markmomukha mo also disses the new combat plan against piracy. Although there is a dissenting comment posted over at deviant art's journal that the said directive is actually false, Corporate Drone narrates his trouble with the authorities at the MRT Ortigas Station.

There is no official statement about this directive at the LRT site. But if you have first person accounts of it happening, I'm rather inclined to think that it's not collective paranoia. Especially now that the VRB/OMB post is troubled. They want piracy completely eradicated, and they're doing it the way they know how. Bust the commuters who bring around unlabeled cds which may or may not contain bold movies or school projects or photos from their phone cams. A cd is a cd is a pirated cd.

Then there's added buzz that soon enough it's not just The Bong and Edu Show, but rather The Bong and Edu and Daboy show. Three action stars are better than two. That's the way to solve piracy. Aren't you slimy pirates scared yet?

Sunday, February 6

Skipping stones won't break my bones

Trust the French to devote to something as world changing as discovering the best way to skip a stone. This New York Times article was part of The Year in Ideas series which came out last December, but I only got to browse it now. There's apparently a world record in stone skipping: 40 skips, set in 2002 by Kurt Steiner. If you aim to break that, you must throw a stone four inches in diameter at roughly 60kph, and at an angle of around 10 degrees.

That's what French scientists Lyderic Bocquet and Christophe Clanet discovered when they made a robot throw metal discs in an unpertubed water tank. I don't know if this foray into the physics of stone skipping has anything to do with a certain stone skipping French lass, but at least, now we know. So the next time you pick up those stones by the beach, choose one that's four inches wide and you better throw it 10 degrees sharp.

Wednesday, February 2

Win a date with Psychic Poet!

This goes out to all the girls (or guys) out there who are afraid to be alone this coming VD:

Psychic Poet (Not to be confused with psychicpants, although perhaps we can start such a campaign. Hehe.), 25 years old from Israel, is auctioning himself off for a "Magical Date," all expenses paid, this coming Valentines Day. The date includes "a Rose and a first copy of my Poetry Book "Legend Named Juli@".

Here's a glimpse of what's in store for you on that "Magical Date":
I promise not to take things fast,
I don't want to cause your heart to blast.
I'll listen to your words carefully,
considering tomorrow I may be writing my life story.

Romantic evening that I want to end on your porch,
as I kiss you good-bye and we start again to flirt."
Current bid at $8.50. O, ano pang hinihintay n'yo? Bid na!

Malcolm Gladwell Day

Today is Malcolm Gladwell Day.

I promised my friend a copy of Gladwell's The Tipping Point for Christmas. I saw hardbound edition of it at National's fourth floor, but put off buying it. When I came back for it, I couldn't find it in the rubble that was National's shelves.

Mr. Gladwell would have chastised me against the procrastination and told me to get the book in that split second that I considered it. The more time you give someone to rationalize a decision, more doubts would come it and he would shy away from that gut feel decision. In this Nerve interview, Gladwell explains that our "adaptive unconscious" is more powerful than our everyday conscious decision. There is wisdom in our snap decisions.

After many searches, I finally found a copy of The Tipping Point at Powerbooks in Megamall. I spent most of today alternating between that book and excerpts from Malcolm's follow up book, Blink.

Tuesday, February 1

Multo sa CNB

Earlier in my 10-11.30 Eng10 class, way up at the top floor of the CAL New Building, we were having a lively exchange regarding the public use of space and the history of the megamalls. According to Vicente Rafael, public spaces are defined by the "civil society," and has a tendency to migrate around the metropolis. Thus, Escolta was the place to be during the 1920s, but you wouldn't be found dead hanging out there in the 60s--you'd rather be rolling skating in Ali Mall. But then Cubao died and Makati was the new new Escolta, and now Cubao is the new Greenbelt.

So public spaces have a long history of use--i.e., all those Catholic school rumors about how they were formerly graveyards and/or Japanese garrisons where people were decapitated and now haunt the present buildings. Urban edifices also generate legends, like that of the snake in the dressing rooms of a certain mall in Ortigas. Or how leaders built huge concrete monuments in their names and then pour concrete all over everything. But if it's a new building, chances are there won't be any hauntings.

The door tentatively opened a crack. We all waited who would dare come in when there's only half an hour left of class time and after a quiz. No one came in.

"Oooh, do we have a visitor?"

I asked the big boy at the back of the room to close the door again. He stood up and made a big business out of shutting it. All the while, we uneasily joked about how we might just prove the belief wrong. I remembered this post by psychicpants about how this professor was talking to the air. Something like, "Get out of this room. You don't belong here anymore."

Just then there was a movement (a stirring perhaps?) and then the door was pushed open and aside, as if someone (or something) got irked and walked out.

It took a nanosecond for our screams to register and arms and legs fled to cling to the window grills, taking cover. I found myself entangled with the token Korean in class, who seemed quite unsure of what was happening.

"What was that?"

"The wind, maybe?"

"But there was no wind. And all the fans are off."

"Holy sh*t!"

"Then it must be---"

More screams and we were ready to jump out at any sign of a chair or table lifting, an aparition. But I was still the teacher, after all. I tried to give the class back a semblance of normality while I disentangled myself from the Korean.

"Okay, time for your homework."

They scrambled for paper and pens, but we all stared at the gaping door, waiting for shadows and suppressed laughter to ring down the hallways, the crisp high fives for a prank well done, but there was none.