Archive for August, 2008


A Saturday in the Bookstore

Posting from Fully Booked Bonifacio High Street, using Tintin’s ThinkPad… She’s currently roaming around, probably nesting in the cookbook section.  I’ve already done my bit earlier while she was creating her travel journal and uploading travel photos.  This is my first time to go to this branch and I love it!!!  I may never go home, hehehe.  I’ll hide somewhere so I don’t have to leave at closing time, and then I’ll have the place all to myself afterwards. :evil grin 

I got Terry Pratchett’s Reaper Man!  I’ve been searching for other Discworld books, specially the ones featuring Death.  I love that character.  I know that Death is supposed to be morbid, but he’s really very funny and very “human” in the Discworld series.  Actually, I bought the last two shelf copies of Reaper Man – one for myself and one for Tanya.  I just had to text her and ask if she wants me to buy it for her.  It’s called “self-preservation”.  She’s quite obsessed with Terry Pratchett, and that’s putting it mildly, haha!

It’s odd how I keep combing bookstores for books that I want to read but can’t seem to find, even though I could always get them online at Amazon.  But for me, nothing still beats the physical experience of going to the bookstore – soaking up the texture, and yes, even the smell of books!  Even if I don’t always buy anything, I still enjoy every trip to a bookstore. 

We’ve been here since around 2pm (it’s now almost 6pm), and I don’t know what time we’ll be leaving.  There’s a Starbucks conveniently located on the 3rd level.  It’s also the Eraserheads reunion concert tonight here at The Fort.  We don’t have tickets, but I hope to hear some parts of it.  I don’t know the exact venue, but I’m almost 100% sure it’s gonna be open air.  There’s no enclosed show venue here!

Gotta go now…I still haven’t explored the fourth level, which has the art, design, architecture, photography and music sections.

YM Videoke

Anna and I just did something really silly and totally crazy!  We practiced a videoke routine via…chat!  And I don’t mean voice chat…we were copy-pasting the lyrics as we were singing separately in our own homes.  Here’s a chat excerpt:

10:21:46 PM amravillano: start ka… nung sayo
10:21:47 PM amravillano: :))

10:22:08 PM amravillano: copy and paste mo na!@
10:22:10 PM amravillano: hahaha
10:22:11 PM amravillano: =))
10:22:23 PM leah: Nothing is so good it lasts eternally
Perfect situations must go wrong
But this has never yet prevented me
Wanting far too much for far too long.
Looking back I could have played it differently
Won a few more moments who can tell
But it took time to understand the man
Now at least I know I know him well
10:22:51 PM amravillano: type mo wasnt it good
10:23:00 PM leah: Wasn’t it good?
Wasn’t he fine?
Isn’t it madness
He can’t be mine?

10:23:05 PM amravillano: isa lang…
10:23:08 PM amravillano: pano ako sasagot?
10:23:12 PM amravillano: X-(
10:23:13 PM amravillano: =))
10:23:13 PM leah: Wasn’t it good?
10:23:16 PM amravillano: Oh so good
10:23:21 PM leah: Wasn’t he fine?
10:23:24 PM amravillano: Oh so fine
10:23:28 PM leah: Isn’t it madness
10:23:32 PM amravillano: He can’t be mine?
10:23:35 PM leah: He can’t be mine?
10:23:43 PM leah: But in the end he needs
A little bit more than me —
More security
10:23:45 PM amravillano: He needs his fantasy
And freedom
10:23:55 PM leah:
I know him so well.

Thanks Anna, for this great, inane idea!  I badly needed something like this after one of my most infuriating days in the office.  This totally cooled me down and cheered me up.  I’m better armed for the next round tomorrow…plus the mountain of workload!  Oy Tricia, this is partly your fault! 😉  Hehe!  Kidding!

I think I’ll be catching part of the Buglasan Festival in Dumaguete this October.  I remembered that the festival is traditionally held in October so I Googled this year’s dates, and what do you know, it coincides with our trip (from 17th-19th)!  According to an online issue of The Visayan Daily Star, this year’s festival is scheduled for October 16-23.  I haven’t been able to find a complete schedule of activities, but it’s still a bit early.

Actually, our regular traveling crew have always planned on attending major provincial festivals, and just recently, we resolved to finally make it to at least one next year.  We’re targeting the Masskara Festival in Bacolod.  However, this time around I’m going to Dumaguete with a different set of friends.  Festival participation with the regular crew will have to wait til next year.  I might not hear the end of it for not telling them about the Buglasan Festival, but I swear I really didn’t plan this trip around the festival! In fact, my initial reaction was, “Oh no, there’s a festival again!”  You see, I miss seeing a clear boulevard.  It was the Santacruzan Festival the last time we were there, so the boulevard was lined with tents.  Now THAT one was really accidental.  We didn’t even know about it until we got there.

But I’ve changed my mind.  I’m now excited about witnessing the Buglasan Festival, or at least some parts of it.

The Videoke Queens – Encore Run

After more than a year, Anna and I finally got around to going back to that videoke booth at Timezone.  So if there was a deluge in your area last night, we’re really sorry.  But then again, we’re not, haha! :p  It felt so good to just let loose and belt out or at times at just sit and sing easy.  There are things that you could inflict only on family and bestfriends and in our case, it’s our singing!  Anna said that I’m the only one she could ever ask to go videoke singing with her and the only audience welcome is our high school barkada.  I agree with her 100%!

Half the fun in videoke is the repertoire.  Pa-baduyan na! What is it that makes cheesy songs so much more fun to sing?  We were enjoying it so much that we were determined to use up the P400 on her Powercard.  Well we would have, but Timezone closed before we were done.  We had a good laugh over that – napagsarahan ng videoke!  :))  Well it’s not getting us down.  We’re coming back with a vengeance soon!  I’m only in the I’s in the playlist.  Still a long way to go, hehe.  So make sure to always have an umbrella around and brace yourselves!

While waiting for the Wall-E screening at the Promenade, Tin and I ventured into Gourdo’s, conveniently located beside the cinema.  We both enjoy checking out kitchen supplies and food stores, so we naturally gravitated towards Gourdo’s.  We ended up buying this cute and very functional cheese grater that solves the problem of grating your fingers once the cheese piece gets too small.  As we made one last round of the store, we found a T-shaped tool made of two pieces of light wood that’s slightly thicker than a pencil.  It had no label indicating what it is, only a price tag.  We were fascinated with it, primarily because we had absolutely no idea about its purpose.  We didn’t even know which is the right side up.  Do you use it hang something, or to whack something, etc.  We finally asked an attendant, and he told us that it’s used to flatten crepes.  Ohhh….heehee.  Well, it’s always nice to learn something new.

Where were you and what were you doing on this date?  Were you already existent?  Did you know who Ninoy Aquino was?

I was seven years old, and my parents and I came home from a family day out to find my maternal grandmother in tears.  She was watching the television and pointed the news to us.  Senator Ninoy Aquino was shot as he alighted from a plane at the Manila International Airport tarmac.  My grandmother was vacationing from the States, and she was deeply saddened by what happened to Ninoy and what’s happening to the country in general.  Being a little kid, I didn’t know much about what was going on, but I did feel that it was something big.  And just like any kid, I was more fascinated with the Ninoy pins, shirts, stickers, etc.  I think I actually collected them for a brief period.  But my parents still made the effort to explain to me who Ninoy was, why he was very important to Filipinos, and why such a massive crowd marched at his burial.  It was very easy for me to understand since all my older male cousins were anti-Marcos activists, so I already had some vague concept of the importance of freedom and love of country.  The corruption part was the one I couldn’t grasp yet at that age.  What stuck to my mind was that “The Filipino is worth dying for”.

Which brings me to what’s happening in Mindanao right now.  There have already been so many senseless deaths over a matter that is being solved in a misguided way.  I am not from the region, so I do not have a full grasp of the situation and the roots of the conflict, but I am a Filipino, and it both saddens and angers me to see the fighting and what some MILF members to do their fellow Moros and Mindanaoans, their fellow Filipinos.  What’s even bad is that the proposed solutions are just making things worse.  Aaargghh!  That’s all I can say, and it’s frustrating!  It’s so easy to just wish that the spirit of Ninoy would just swoop down on the country and heal everything.  But of course that’s just escapism for a reality that’s made up of seemingly endless obstacles, dead ends and false trails.  But I know that every maze eventually has a clear exit, and I hope that it would be sooner rather than later that bloggers could write about a certain date when the right path was found.

iCreate Philippines

Maiden issue cover (courtesy of www.digitalphotographer.com.ph)

Maiden issue cover (courtesy of http://www.digitalphotographer.com.ph)

At long last, a Mac magazine in the Philippines that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg – because this is a Philippine edition, the first-ever for a Mac magazine.  The international editions of other Mac magazines are all priced in the P500 and up range, but iCreate Philippines costs only P295/issue or P1,500 for a 1-year (6 issues) subscription.  That’s a very good price for a very informative magazine.  iCreate Philippines comes from the same group that publishes Digital Photographer Philippines.

I found this issue very useful.  I discovered some more new things, especially on OS X and iLife.  It’s really more like a reference magazine that is best placed beside your Mac – something that you can immediately reach out for when the need arises.  The tutorials are very simple and practical.  I’m even more excited about the next issue which is all about Mac and photography.

iCreate is available in the higher-end bookstores (read: Fully Booked and Powerbooks, and some National Bookstore branches) and Authorized Apple Re-sellers (Power Mac Center, Digital Walker, iStudio).  For subscriptions, email subscriptions@icreate.com.ph.

I want to meet Jonathan Ive

And speaking of Wall-E’s Mac references, here’s the Apple executive I most want to meet (yes, more than Steve Jobs):

Jonathan Ive, Apple's Senior Vice President for Industrial Design

Jonathan Ive, Apple's Senior Vice President of Industrial Design

I like this image showing him with one of his creations, the 2nd generation iMac.  Jonathan Ive is the man largely responsible for the design of Apple’s most innovative products: the G4 Cube, the iMac, Mac mini, iPod, and iPhone.  He won several international design awards for the Cube, which unfortunately did not do well in the market because of miscalculated pricing and marketing strategy.  The Mac mini appears to be a direct descendant of the Cube, and this time around Apple got it all right.

These are my favorite creations from Ive and his design team:

G4 Cube

G4 Cube

The original iMac

The original iMac

2nd generation iMac

2nd generation iMac

Aluminum and glass iMac

Aluminum and glass iMac

Of course it goes without saying that I love the Mac mini.  It’s the model I eventually bought.  Oh, special mention also goes to the clamshell iBook.  I lived on it and the original iMac when I worked at the graphic design agency.  Anyway, read Jonathan Ive’s profile for more about this design genius.  He’s the popular choice among Mac users to replace Steve Jobs as Apple CEO when that time comes, but that’s far-fetched in reality.  The man is notoriously private and would much rather focus on designing.  He doesn’t seem to want to be bothered by CEO concerns.  And I wouldn’t have it any other way too.  And I hope he and his team will finally give us the 12-inch aluminum Macbook. 😉

I fell asleep in the middle of it – but the movie not to be blamed entirely.  It was just the combination of a terrible headache, drowsiness, really comfortable seats inside a chilly theater (Promenade in Greenhills), and some not-so-compelling bits of the movie.

What I liked is the environmental message.  A lot of animated movies deal with relationships among people and more common themes such as achieving dreams, bravery, triumph over adversity, etc.  Wall-E takes place 700 years into the future, wherein humans seemed to have irreparably trashed the planet and now live in spaceships.  The only one left on Earth is Wall-E, a machine tasked to clean up all the junk.  All he has for company is a cockroach.  One day, a spacecraft lands and he meets Eve, another robot.  This was where Pixar did great.  They were able to make the interactions between Wall-E and Eve interesting and funny even without dialogue – just “robotic” sound effects.

The story is centered on the search for a sign of sustainable life on Earth so all the humans could go back.  This is symbolized by the tiny plant found by Wall-E.  Ok, I should stop narrating the story now since I missed parts of it, leaving a lot to misinterpretation.  However, what I did get to watch struck a chord in me.  This is an animated film and while at first thought, the story may be an exaggerated interpretation of environmental destruction, it may actually happen!  If not exactly as what was shown in the movie, then something very close to it at least.  It’s good that this theme was dealt with in a film primarily for children.  It’s never too early to educate them about taking care of our planet.

On a lighter note, the Mac addict in me thoroughly enjoyed the Mac/Apple references in Wall-E.  First off, there’s Wall-E’s start-up sound, which is also the start-up chime of the Mac.  That chime elicits warm, fuzzy feelings in every Mac geek, hehe.  Then there’s Wall-E’s iPod.  And the clincher – Eve’s design.  Jonathan Ive, Apple’s Senior Vice President for Industrial Design, is partly responsible for it.  He was loaned to Pixar for a day to help design Eve.  I think Eve looks like a robot counterpart of the eMac.  Well, all these Mac references, including Ive’s participation, come as no surprise.  Steve Jobs is Disney’s biggest shareholder after all, so a lot of Disney/Pixar movies have Apple/Mac references.  Remember the white car with a certain, ahem, logo in Cars? Hehe.

There have been opposing opinions about what turned out to be a controversial portion of the Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremonies – the song number of a cute Chinese little girl.  A few days ago, it was revealed that she was actually just miming – the song was actually performed by another girl who was deemed to be not cute enough to actually go onstage at the Olympics.  Some people deplored the decision, while some were ok with it, saying that it’s just a show and whatever will make it better is just fine.  Here’s my two cents’ worth:

Lip-syncing is fine, if the person doing it is also the one who recorded it – or if the original singer is unable to perform for valid reasons.  But to substitute a performer for aesthetic reasons is just wrong.  No matter how some people give the Chinese organizers credit for their admission, the fact still remains that it wasn’t disclosed from the very beginning.  Everyone who watched the Opening Ceremonies live fully believed that it was indeed performer’s voice.  And what about the effect on the two little girls involved?  I’m just extra sensitive about how children are treated.  I felt sorry first for the original singer.  How did they tell her that she won’t be the one performing during the actual Ceremonies?  Did they tell her the real reason?  How do you tell a child that she’s not cute enough?  I couldn’t believe the reasoning of one Chinese official:  “We have to show only the best” or something to that effect.  Is beauty the only or the primary consideration for this?  Since when?  Then my officemate Clint said that he feels sorrier for the one who mimed the song and come to think of it, he may be right.  Yes, she will have excellent memories of performing during the Olympics, but what good would it be knowing that it wasn’t really her voice – and that it generated a huge controversy.

There are other “fakes” in the Beijing Olympics (some of the fireworks, anyone?) – and even in other Olympics.  But this “miming” thing just takes the cake.  It reminds us of the typical Communist tendency of glossing things over.  They present their best face to the world, no matter what it takes to achieve that “best face”.

I don’t know if I’m taking the whole thing too seriously or too negatively, but as I wrote earlier, I’m just too sensitive when children are involved.