Category: Interesting


Smell my hands!

The mini-outbreak of the A(H1N1) virus has seen a boom in hand sanitizers all over the Metro.  Many companies and office buildings require people to squirt hand sanitizer on their hands before entering the premises.  I’ve been going to a number of meetings in different buildings in the business district recently, sometimes more than once a day, so my hands kinda smell weird at the end of the day.

Here are the assorted scents from various sources that land in my hands lately:  From our building – like Johnson’s baby powder; our office – aloe; Ayala-FGU Center – lemon lollipop; Mitsubishi head office – alcohol; the one in my desk – country apple; the one in my bag – ocean.

And speaking of hand sanitizers… SM/Watson’s has a stupid and exploitative promo.  They’re probably the first to sell a 1-liter hand sanitizer SKU, but it comes with a catch.  You can purchase it for only P150 IF you have a P500 total purchase at Watson’s.  And they don’t have a regular price should you not want to avail of the “promo”.   WTF??!!!  Our HR/Admin officer requested them to sell several containers to her at a regular price, explaining that it is for company use therefore difficult to justify a P500 unnecessary purchase – to no avail.  She then went to Customer Service and told them that their promo was stupid.  Yes, she really used that word.  She also told them, “Don’t you think you could sell them even faster if you make a regular price available for those who do not want to avail of the “promo”?  Hehehe!  Go, E!

Real men wear pink.

Army-specialist-Zachary-Boy

(From the New York Times)

Cute.  Wonder what’s his new army nickname now? 😀

Finally!  Previously, only Sky Cable Platinum subscribers can see the show in the Philippines, since it’s Nat Geo Adventure channel that airs it.  Sky Cable Platinum is not available in our area, so I have to content myself with the preview channel on Sky Cable Gold.  They preview Nat Geo Adventure for 15 days every couple of months or so, and I accidentally came across Don’t Tell My Mother last January.  I already wrote about it here.

National Geographic Channel is showing the last 5 of the 10 episodes, but I’ve already seen 3 of the first 5 (Holy Land, Afghanistan, Colombia).  I’d still love to see the North Korea and Congo episodes though, specially the former. Here’s the NGC Asia schedule (Manila/Hong Kong time):

Pakistan – Saturday, May 16, 8pm

The Balkans – Monday, May 18, 10pm

Iran – Monday, May 25, 10pm

Iraq – Monday, June 1, 10pm

Venezuela – Monday, June 8, 10pm

Check the NGC Asia website for the complete schedule, including replays. Don’t Tell My Mother is a perfect cross between a serious documentary and a light-hearted travelogue.  Diego Bunuel’s hosting, injected with plenty of wit, charm and sometimes self-deprecating humor, is also a treat.  He’s not afraid to ask difficult or controversial questions and gamely participates in local activities, so the viewers get to see a different side of the notorious countries that he visits.

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I’ve finally found my version of Luke’s Diner – minus Luke.  For those not familiar with it, Luke’s is the iconic diner in the TV series, Gilmore Girls.  It’s one of my all-time favorite TV shows, and I always wished that I had a Luke’s.

Mama Chit’s Coffee House is our neighborhood’s Luke’s Diner, though “Coffee House” is such a misnomer.  They don’t serve the usual coffee variants, and they don’t even have pastries.  It really is a diner.  The specialties are the grilled burgers and sandwiches.

Aside from the really yummy and tummy-filling cheeseburger, it is the decor that gives character to Mama Chit’s.  The interior is decorated in 60s vintage pop.  Music from the 60s (Beatles, yay!) also plays in just the right volume – not too loud to get in the way of conversations, but loud enough to really complement the ambiance.  

 

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One wall is decorated with large portraits of Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley surrounded by black and white photos of Old Manila.  The opposite wall and the rest of the diner contain posters and other 60s-70s pop culture relics.

 

 

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The counter:

 

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I miss the old black phone!  It was where I first learned numbers, but no one told me if I ever counted “1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-0”.  😀

The food scene in our neighboorhood is booming, with establishments that combine good food and perfect ambiance.  We have the Italian Bellini’s, Filipiniana Cafe Kapitan, and now the vintage 60s Mama Chit’s – all in the same street, within 3 blocks of one another.

@Alchemy, April 25, 2-6pm

This edition’s theme was Why Not Be True? Tribute to Pinoy Subculture Tribes.  It focused on why it’s good to stay in the country and how we could make something out of our passion and use it to contribute towards making ourselves, other people, and our country better.  Speakers included Anton Diaz of Our Awesome Planet, Bong Rojales of LomoManila, Gabby Dizon of Flipside Games, Phil Cahiwat of Level-Up Games, Rej Layug of New Worlds Alliance, and director Floy Quintos.  “Tribes” were also present, with representatives speaking about their advocacies and/or showcasing their works.  There was the performance by Tribo Manila, live doodling by WeeWillDoodle, and live painting by Pilipinas StreetPlan.  Other tribes present were YTrip, Cosplay.ph (some members came in full costume of course!), JZone, YVote, One Tama, EntrepBuff, and comic book creators.   

Tribo Manila performance:

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Lego Man (who refuses to utter even a single word while wearing his mask because after all, Legos don’t talk):

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The wall art behind me and Florence was the result of the live doodling.

Each of the speakers and the tribes posed a “Why Not?” question, and some of the more interesting ones were Phil Cahiwat’s “Why not play with yourself?” (this one drew a lot of guffaws from the audience), Bong Rojales’ “Why not shoot without thinking?”, and Floy Quintos’ “Why not learn the rules so you can break them?”.

Floy Quintos’ talk was my favorite, and probably the most relevant to me.  He identified 10 items that define pop culture, and explained why they can equally be a positive thing and a trap.  He also had some words on the eternal struggle of creatives – that of reconciling the need to create “high art” and the struggle to pay the bills (or, as he says in the vernacular, “ang mag-benta ng sabon“).  He only had a simple advice:  “Get in, do the work, and get out.”  He also warned against being consumed by either extreme.  The key is to find a way to balance both worlds.  He also shared about “Aling Tasing” – representative of the common mass audience – (pretty much like “Juan de la Cruz”) a fictional character that the creatives in the entertainment industry refer to whenever they brainstorm for TV shows, etc.  When coming up with a concept, they would always ask themselves, “Maiintindihan ba yan ni Aling Tasing?” (Would Aling Tasing get it?)  Again, there are merits as well as disadvantages to that.  Someone from the audience raised the question of how Aling Tasing’s taste has changed over the years, or if it even has changed.  Floy Quintos said that yes, it has changed, but only up to a certain degree.  There is still that elevation threshold that hasn’t been breached.  He cited an example, but he wanted it off-the-record.  Let’s just say that what everyone thought was infallible was actually not.  The follow-up question was whether that taste elevation barrier would eventually be broken, and he was confident that it would – but not now.  “It will happen when you’re in your 40s,” he said.  Most of the people the room were in their twenties, so do the math.

It was a good forum, with a mix of idealism and a healthy dose of reality.  It’s not about finding answers, but rather about finding options and ideas that we may not have thought of before.  Learn more about it here.  I think the videos of the talks will eventually be posted.

Checkmate.

Just when you think you’re so clever, there’s always someone to one-up you.

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(Found at www.mymodernmet.com via adgoodness)

Presenting my pet project…

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Application Description:

Ever found yourself pressed for time, yet still wanting to prepare delicious and healthy meals? Want a different way of serving regular desserts and drinks? Then the Eat Rich Quick cookbook series is for you. Eat Rich Quick presents flavorful, easy-to-prepare recipes that don’t require long hours in the kitchen. Watch out for different themes in succeeding volumes.

Eat Rich Quick 1 is labeled “The Cheater’s Guide to Eating Well”. This application contains recipes that allow you to save time and energy; and when you serve the food, the others in the table won’t even have a clue about how quick it took you to prepare it. You can choose from 14 different recipes, ranging from appetizers to desserts. All the recipes are stored right in the application so you can access them anytime; no need for a wi-fi connection.

Eat Rich Quick also contains these other features for a more informative and interactive experience:

» Food shots (including some step-by-step images) – Tap to enlarge
» Cook’s Notes – Tips and tricks from the author
» Grocery List – Check-box feature to help you while shopping
» Cooks’ Community – Email the author or visit the blog to post comments, get more cooking tips, and see what other Eat Rich Quick users are saying

Enjoy cooking, and watch out for the next volume of the Eat Rich Quick series!

I loved doing this project!  I enjoyed working on the interface with the graphic designer and the developer, as well as with the author.  It was also nerve-wracking since it was our first time to come up with something like this.  There were plenty of bumps in the road, but finally seeing it on the App Store and seeing the download statistics were all worth it.  We’re still seeing a lot of things to improve, but this version’s not bad.  I would say it’s great, but then again, it’s my baby, so I’ll leave it to the users to decide.

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The Exploding Office Chair

Could this really be true?  I say it’s just another silly thing to be paranoid about.  Well, we had a good laugh at the office, pretending to be very paranoid – asking if we could just work from sofas and thinking of what we could wear or place on top of our seats to avoid getting shards up our butts should our chairs somehow explode.

Will we see a Mythbusters episode on this soon? 😉

At around this time last year, I wrote a post about the myriad of characters in our office building.  There have been several interesting developments over the year that made these characters even more interesting and significant.  Some of them are now longer mere familiar faces, but people with whom I’ve actually had some encounters – some funny, some downright embarrassing, and some awkward; all definitely out of the ordinary.  The funniest and strangest thing is that I still haven’t actually gotten to know any of them personally.  Heck, I don’t even know some of their names.

This past week, I have had encounters and incidents with practically all of the most interesting and significant ones.  Let’s start with the leading man – The Enigma.  After a few months of different kinds of eye contact and several shy and awkward moments, bam, physical contact!  Not what you think, naughty minds out there, haha!  He literally bumped me (Intentionally? Hmmm… :D).  Missed opportunity though, since I didn’t know it was him!  I had my back turned, and it was a light bump anyway so I didn’t bother turning around.  However, according to E (who happened to be facing him), he stopped and turned, probably to apologize, but sadly, I didn’t look back.  Haay, parang pelikula.

Then there’s Ex-Bodyguard.  I accidentally stepped on his foot inside the elevator.  We used to call him Bodyguard, until we found out that he’s actually part-owner of his law firm!  In fact, one-half of the firm’s name is his.  We called him by that nickname because he looked like one!  He is a big guy, who always wears a plaid polo, tinted glasses (even indoors!), and always hangs around the food court, just walking around and looking at everybody.  He looks as though he’s “scoping” the place.  This brings us to another character – we imagined him to be the bodyguard of…Ex-Lawyer.

Just as in the case of Ex-Bodyguard, the “Ex” part of the nickname was a late addition.  We simply assumed he was a lawyer because he works at a law firm and dresses like one.  It’s a long story how we found out that he’s actually not.  Suffice it to say that he’s the only one among the Characters that one of my officemates (ahem, sino kaya? 😉 ) actually got to know personally.  Ex-Lawyer ALWAYS wears the same orange hoodie.  So, I wasn’t able to hide my surprise when I met him in the hallway this week and saw him wearing a yellow hoodie!  It was an awkward moment because of the said “history” and because we were the only ones in the hallway.

Finally, there’s the Original Leading Man (before The Enigma came sauntering through the food court doors).  I saw him again after many months, and it was kinda funny.  We caught each other’s eye, and he had this tiny smile on his face.  He probably remembered the really funny embarrassing moment way back.  It had nothing to do with him whatsoever, but it was just really funny.

There are many other Characters in the building, such as HMG (happily married girl), Jaja, Kabit (not in the way you think).  Maybe I’ll have interesting encounters with them eventually.  Trish wants me to write a sitcom out of these characters, encounters, and incidents (there are a lot more  that I don’t blog about).  I don’t know how it will actually turn out, but it will definitely be a lot of fun to do!  If nothing else, it could be a nice keepsake to make us smile. 😀

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Oh, and I’m asserting my rights to these Characters and stories!

Rafa vs. Roger

Tennis has always been one of my favorite sports to watch.  It may not be as exciting to some, but once you really get into the game, understand the history and get to know the players and follow the rivalries, then it’s easy to get passionate about it.

I started watching during the time of Boris Becker, Stefan Edberg and Ivan Lendl.  I rooted for Becker.  Then came the Pete Sampras-Andre Agassi rivalry.  I followed every Grand Slam, willing Sampras to break the all-time record for the most number of Slams won.  And he did!  Fittingly, against Agassi at the 2002 US Open.  Sampras retired after that and I no longer followed the tournaments regularly.  Then came Rafael Nadal and his rivalry with Roger Federer.

Their rivalry is very interesting since they are such fierce competitors on-court, yet are very good friends off-court.  It was something that never happened with Sampras and Agassi, considering that they’re compatriots.  What I like about the Federer-Nadal rivalry is the great respect they have for each other, for the game, for their fellow players.  But when they go on court, all that respect goes flying out the window – in a good way.  Especially in the case of Nadal.  As we say in the vernacular, “walang sinasanto“.  He doesn’t care who’s facing him across the net.  His mission is always to demolish, and you can see it in his every move.  Federer’s mission is the same, but he does it in such a contrasting style.  He’s all about grace and elegance; Nadal is all about brute strength.  It’s like watching a match between a ballet dancer and a slugger.

Rafa is now the world number 1.  He won last year’s French Open (demolishing Fed), Wimbledon (against Fed in 5 sets; one of the greatest matches ever), the Olympics, and this year’s Australian Open, again beating Fed in 5 sets – after coming from a 5-hour 5-set match less that 48 hours before!  The next Slam is the French Open, where he’ll most likely win again.  The guy is practically unbeatable on clay, but it’s almost unbelievable how he could also have won Grand Slams on grass and hardcourt.  That’s where he’s one-up on Fed, who has never won the claycourt French Open, just like Pete Sampras.  That’s the barrier to either of them being acknowledged as unarguably the greatest-ever.  Also, how could Fed be the greatest-ever when he has a losing record against the number two guy (well, back then) and he has never won the French Open.  Hmm…I have a feeling that Nadal may even beat him to winning all four Slams.  All he needs now is the US Open, and it’s not impossible, since he has already proven that he could win a hardcourt Slam.

So, on whose side am I on this rivalry?  Rafa!  However, I must say that I have nothing against Fed.  I also love watching him play, I just don’t want him to beat Rafa, hehe!  He can beat everyone else, but not Rafa.  I thoroughly enjoyed their Aussie Open match, and I just wanted to hug them both, especially during the trophy presentation.  They have my vote for the greatest and most ideal rivalries of all-time.

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