Thursday, November 01, 2007

Belated Potter Post

I finished reading book 7 in the Harry Potter series so I can finally read all those Harry Potter posts, (e.g. from Toe and niceheart). And I agree with Vern's comment in Toe's post: ka-korny nga yung last chapter (i.e. the epilogue). hehe. Anyway, what can I say? Galing talaga mag-sulat si Madame Rowling. I'm not really much of a fiction book reader. As I've previously posted, I only listened to books 1-4 of HP and only started reading the HP books when book 5 came out. Like niceheart, I'm also a slow reader. I'm just not one to sit for hours on end just reading. Thus, it'll take me a while to finish a book. I haven't even finished reading Return of the King (book 3 in the Lord of the Rings series)... and I started reading that book a few years ago. haha.

Anyway, I was wondering what it is about the HP books that has made them so captivating for readers worldwide. I have a few theories. One reason: I think it's because people can identify with the characters. I mean who among us can't sympathize with Snape, a guy with a dark past and who ****WARNING: SPOILER AHEAD***** as it turns out is a guy trying to redeem himself... as Potter finally finds out in the end. I was always rooting for Snape and I'm glad that he turned out to be a good guy. I thought it was a nice touch that Harry Potter finally paid tribute to Snape, a guy he previously detested by giving his son the middle name of Severus. Potter must really owe the guy big time though. I mean naming your kid Severus? hehe. Well, at least it's only a middle name. Oh, wait, the first name he gave the kid was Albus. Albus Severus. Poor kid. Good thing the kid's only a fictional character. ;)

Another reason why I think the book has captivated so many readers is because the characters are funny. They don't take themselves too seriously all the time and they can easily crack a joke or two even during dire situations. For example, how about Hermione making fun of Ron because Ron was complaining about how he lost some fingernails while she and Harry were fighting for their lives in Godric's Hollow?
Hermione: "Imagine losing fingernails, Harry! That really puts our suffering into perspective, doesn't it?"
How about Ron literally using the word "effing" on page 307?
Ron: "Yeah, and we're about as near getting rid of it as we are to finding the rest of them -- nowhere effing near, in other words!"
They're so proper, aren't they? They don't even say the whole curse word. haha. I couldn't remember exactly where Ron said "effing" so I typed in "Where does Ron say effing in deathly hallows" in a search engine. hehe. Now, Mrs. Weasley calling Bellatrix a ..... well, that's a different story. hehe. Well, that's my bellatrix... I mean belated Harry Potter post. :D

On a completely unrelated note, here's a song to go out on for the weekend. It's called "San Antonio Rose" as performed by Les Paul and Chet Atkins. :D
Have a nice weekend, people! ;)

Technorati tags: Harry Potter

Friday, September 14, 2007

Ilocano Lesson via Meme

I am half-Kankanay, an ethno-linguistic group that has roots in Sagada, Bontoc and Mountain Province. However, my Kankanay language skills are very poor. So to get in touch with my Kankanay side, I am trying to learn the language. Nevermind that I can't even speak "proper" Tagalog. Some may say I should master one language first before working on another. But I think there's nothing wrong with being mediocre in both languages. hehehe. ;) Anyway, since Kankanay is related to Ilocano as shown in the following chart from the book Ilocano Dictionary and Grammar by Carl Rubino, I figure that I will try to learn a little Ilocano:

I figure that learning Ilocano will help me in eventually learning Kankanay. Thus, I will answer a "middle-names meme" from Major Tom by using Ilocano words.

The rules:
1. State your middle name. If it’s too long or not sounding so good, then think about the name you wish you had as a middle name. And use that, of course.

2. For each letter of the middle name stated in Rule #1, write a specific trait or characteristic of your person and elaborate reasonably.

3. If you had five letters in such name, tag the same number of bloggers. Like if that name has seven letters, then seven other bloggers. If such name has one letter, then tag that one single blogger. Now wait, I don’t think that middle names—or any name for that matter—could probably have one single letter on it. But who knows, some names might just be like that, like Mr.X, or Mr.Y. We got a lot of names like that back in my accounting subjects in college, Mr. M owes this much, Mrs. Q earns this much, and so on and so forth.

4. There is no Rule #4 so might as well go on.
Instead of using English words, I will use Ilocano words for the initials to describe myself. Another thing though is that I don't really like my middle name. Fortunately, the rules say I can choose a middle name if I don't like my given middle name. Thus, I choose "Danger" since "danger" is my middle name. haha. That joke is from the movie Austin Powers, of course. hehehe. So here's the Ilocano words that describe a little bit about myself from the initials of my chosen middle name:

Dayaw - with the root word "dayaw" meaning honor or glory, the word "manangdaydayaw" means respectful. I try to be respectful of other people even if we don't agree on certain things. That should be a given, no? ;)

Álus - used, second hand. I rarely shop for clothes, but when I do, I usually buy them at thrift or second-hand stores.

Nadalimpako - wavy or curly hair. As I stated in a prior post, I once had wavy hair. I still do. Just not as many. ;)

Gadang - with the root word "gádang" meaning either wading, short pants or shallow, the word "magadang" means shallow, water not reaching the waist. Although I can swim, I don't like swimming in the ocean if its deep. In fact, I've never swam in deep ocean water. I prefer swimming in the ocean if it's shallow.

Étika - This is actually borrowed from the Spanish word for ethics. Most of the words in my Ilocano dictionary that start with 'e' are derived from Spanish words. Anyway, I choose this word because although I have my inner struggles like everyone else, I still try to lead an ethical life.

Raém - polite. Another given. Example from the book: Raementayo kuma ti pammatida a kas met ti panagraemda ti pammatitayo. Translation: We should respect their beliefs as they respect ours.

Now how to use the other 5 Ilocano words in an actual Ilocano sentence is another story. hehe. So there you have it. An attempt to learn Ilocano via a meme. I just need to do this meme several hundred more times with different Ilocano words and I should be a fluent Ilocano speaker in no time. hehe. Now, according to the rules, I now have to tag 6 bloggers, the same number of letters in the middle name. Thus, I'm tagging the first 6 commenters of this post who have yet to be tagged by this meme. If you don't have a blog, then just reply to this post with your middle-name meme. ;)

Technorati tags: meme, Ilocano

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Ear Health and a Concert

Updated 8/31/07

My first exposure to extremely loud music was during a Tears for Fears concert. They had massive speakers and I had ringing in my ears right after the concert and maybe the next day. I later learned that the ringing was symptomatic of tinnitus. I learned more about tinnitus and hearing loss through organizations such as H.E.A.R., which featured ads in a guitar magazine I frequently read:

There's also this article, which explains how hearing loss will likely be more prevalent today than before due to the use of in-ear earphones, loud concerts, etc. As expected, many musicians have suffered some form of hearing loss or tinnitus due to repeated exposure to excessive noise. These musicians include Pete Townshend, Sting, Jeff Beck, Ted Nugent and Mick Fleetwood. This Rolling Stone article lists some ways to prevent hearing loss (e.g. turn down the volume, give your ears a rest after exposure to loud noise).

Speaking of hearing music, I just came back from the Freddie Aguilar concert. It was great to finally hear Aguilar perform live. He sang the classics, of course ("Magdalena", "Ipaglalaban Ko", "Mindanao", "Bulag, Pipi at Bingi", "Anak", "Bayan Ko", "Pinoy", "Kumusta Ka", "Estudyante Blues"). It was pretty cool when he let the crowd sing along to some of his songs. And to hear him sing "Ang Bayan Ko", well, what can I say? Simply amazing.

Aguilar wasn't the only one to perform that night though. Comedian Ella V. and actress/singer Ara Mina performed for about an hour and forty-five minutes as the opening acts. As far as opening acts go, I think Aguilar should've had an up-and-coming Pinoy rock or folk band open up for him. I'm not saying Mina and Ella V. were bad. Mina was ok, I suppose. But I think she knew that the audience wasn't there to see her so she did her best to win them over by going into the audience while she sang a few songs. Gotta give her credit for that. Ella V..... well, what can I say? She basically did raunchy humor. If that's your cup of tea, then you might enjoy her comedy. But I also gotta give her credit for going up there to entertain the audience. Comedy is tough. As the saying goes: dying is easy, comedy is hard.

In addition to the above performers, Aguilar's two sons also performed -- his guitar playing son played two songs while his other son rapped two.... uhhh ... raps(?). His guitar playing son is a pretty good guitar player, but he did a bit too much showboating and posing a la 1980s hair band. Overall, the concert was great, but it would've been nice if Aguilar sang more songs. He only sang for a little over an hour.... a bit bitin, if you ask me. My one suggestion is that there be less of the other performers and more of Aguilar. That's who people paid to see, not the others.

Updated: Below are two (albeit not that great) photos I took during the concert:

Ara Mina goes into the audience and gets swarmed by folks with cameras:
Aguilar performing:


Technorati tags: tinnitus, Freddie Aguilar

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Da Man, Da Legend

As blogger Duke commented in my last post, singer Freddie Aguilar will indeed be performing his first North American tour this month with stops in San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Winnipeg (Canada) and Houston.


The tickets aren't cheap, but this guy is a legend so that's to be expected. In any case, I did buy that "unofficial" Freddie Aguilar mp3 compilation that would probably be more expensive than the concert ticket if I bought that compilation at the non-pirated price. Oops, did I say it was pirated? I meant it looked pirated. hehe. If he has an autograph signing after the show, I wonder if he'll sign my "unofficial" mp3 compilation of his songs. :D

Aguilar will be joined by the Watawat band and special guests Ara Mina and Ella V. (she doesn't use her last name apparently). Mina appears to be some sort of actress and singer while Ella V. is listed as a Viva hot babe (whatever that is). I have no idea who Miss Mina or Ella V. are or why they're on the same bill as Aguilar. To sell tickets maybe? Although I would be surprised if Aguilar really needs them to sell tickets. Anyway, I'm psyched. I'll be going to the show. I wonder if he'll be taking requests during the show. ;)

Technorati tags: Freddie Aguilar

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Six Pack Movies and a Meme

I saw two movies recently: End of the Spear and 300. What do they have in common? Angry guys with six-packs. :-D My roommate rented End of the Spear on DVD. It's about a group of Christian missionaries who are killed by the Waodani, an Ecuadorian tribe, during the 1950s. The main characters are Mincayani, one of the tribesmen, and Steve Saint, one of the sons of the murdered missionaries. Undeterred by the murders, the missionaries' wives and family still try to reach out to the Waodani by living with them. Overall, it was an interesting story.

The next night, I saw the movie 300. I was reluctant to go b/c the movie looked like just another mindless, violent film, but I was with a friend and his friends and I didn't want to be a wet blanket so I went. Ok, let's see, the film had:

1) violence that seemed gratuitous even for a battle film
2) ridiculous elements that look like they're straight out of a J.R.R. Tolkien novel and not a history book (e.g. a giant rhinoceros, a Goliath-like creature, a half-goat/half-human, a human with crab-like limbs, fighters called the immortals with skull-like masks, a group of deformed mystics, and a hunchbacked Spartan)
3) occassional wannabe-freedom-speech moments that comes off as Braveheart-Lite
4) historical exaggerations, e.g. a characterization of Persian leader Xerxes that is downright silly

Aside from those things, the movie is great. hehe. Oh, I could go on, but I'll just say: skip this film and watch the History Channel or PBS if you want to know about Spartan history. Also, if you're into ancient war films (not necessarily Spartan-related), check out the classic Braveheart instead.

In meme related news, Carey created this meme in which I was included. Her rules are as follows:

1. Choose five blogs randomly from your blogroll.
2. For each blog, choose at least one entry (you could add more) which is your favorite post by this blogger.
3. Include a link to this post and explain why you like it.

4. The chosen five bloggers are considered tagged and they will also have to do the same in their blogs.

o far, Carey has posted this meme three times, each with 5 different bloggers. I was included in part 3. Cool. ;-)

Ok, like Alternati, I didn't really choose randomly. hehe. As I've said before, there's lots of great bloggers out there but I did have to choose only 5 of my favorite posts from the bloggers on my blogroll. That's not easy because each of them is unique and great in their own way. Note: I was a politician in a past life. :-D Anyway, here's some of my fave posts from the bloggers on my blogroll:

1) Toe's Let Me Drink My Diet Coke:
The first blog post that made me LOL.

2) Vern's The Pursuit:
It shows her persistence when it looked like she wouldn't get into the college of her choice. Her "won't take no for an answer" attitude is kinda inspiring. :-D

3) Alternati's 13 X-tinct Games:
I also played these video games as a kid and despite the cheesiness of the graphics, they do bring back memories. Just looking at the picture of the video game Kung-Fu Master makes me grin. If you've played that game, you know that the game is the epitome of "cheese" with it's damsel in distress plot. Still, I liked it. ;-)

4) Bill Billig's Let's Have Fun and Paulo Avelino Raps:
If there's one guy out there who speaks for my Igorot heritage, it's Bill. He articulates what I have a hard time putting into words. I chose two posts from his blog: his post about Paulo Avelino, a half-Igorot guy in some Pinoy game show and a second post about the controversy involving Barrio Fiesta restaurant. Ok, so Bill mentioned me in the 2nd post which is another reason why I like the post. hehe. Anyway, discussions on Bill's blog are always lively, fun and intelligent. Bring your thinking cap when visiting this blog.

5) Niceheart's Ten Things I Would Never Do:
I just feel bad for Arlene, who is mentioned in number 9. hehe

As far as tagging goes, like Alternati, I'm also waiving that requirement for the mentioned bloggers. ;-)

Technorati tags: meme, 300, End of the Spear

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Meeting My Fellow Bloggers

Verns tagged me to do this meme. Well, she didn't exactly single me out -- she tagged EVERYBODY. hehe. Anyway, this meme involves meeting my fellow bloggers. If I should I ever meet my fellow bloggers, I wonder how it would go. I mean meeting other bloggers can be strange. There's a chance it might not go well. For instance, there might be lots of long, awkward silences. How will you know if the meeting didn't go well? Because they'll probably blog about it. :-D For example, they might say in their blog:

"He's not as tall as I thought he was."
"He kept blabbing on and on and on...."
"Geez, what a weirdo."

I would prefer that bloggers say the following in their blogs if they ever meet me:

"Definitely way better looking in person."
"Even funnier in person."
"His blog doesn't do justice to how great a person he is. More people should be like him. In fact, a cult should be started right now in his honor."
"I laughed. I cried. I would tell all my friends to go see it." Wait a minute, that last one is from a movie review. :-D

Anyway, enough intro, here's the meme:

Who is the first blogger you met?
My sister. hehe. Aside from her, haven't met any bloggers. Although everyone seems to have a blog nowadays so I have probably met bloggers but I just didn't know it. ;-) I did try to meet a blogger once, but.....well, let's not get into that. ;-)

Who is the blogger “you most want to meet”?
Kevin Sites because I like reading blogs by people who are actually on location covering what they blog about. It also takes a lot of courage to do what he does.

Who is the ‘I can meet, want to meet, but somehow never got to meet’ blogger?
Right now? Well, I don't know too many Bay Area bloggers so I guess no one.

Who are the group of bloggers that you most want to meet?
This is a weird question. Group of bloggers? Can I make up my own group? If so, then I would say I would like to meet the bloggers whose blogs I often visit and leave comments on. What an awkward sentence. ;-) These are bloggers who make me laugh and have the same sense of humor as me. Ka-lebol. hehe. I also like reading about their personal stories.

Do you have any bloggers/blog readers that you would like to meet right now?
Yes. hehe. Well, you didn't ask who. ;-) But seriously, just see the previous question. :-)

As far as tagging people, I 'm going to add a twist to the tag: I'm tagging everyone who DOESN'T have a blog. So if you don't have a blog, good luck doing the meme. hehe. But seriously, feel free to do this meme if it interests you. :-)

Technorati tags: blogging, meme

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Green Mac

I finally switched over to a mac about a month ago and it's been great. No, this isn't a "Supported Post." hehe. But I just got tired of all the viruses on my PC laptop. I'd say I must've formatted my laptop at least ten times ever since I bought it 5 or 6 years ago. So much for anti-virus software. Also, the hard drive on my PC was only 6 GB. That's pretty small for today's standards. Not only that, but the battery didn't seem to last too long (i.e. it would only work if it was plugged in). That sort of defeats the purpose of the laptop, which is that it's supposed to be portable. It was portable long as there was a plug outlet nearby. ;) Anyway, I thought it would be a difficult transition from PC to mac, but the mac is truly a user-friendly computer. Ok, forget the fact that Steve Jobs actually got the idea for the windows format from Xerox, but still, gotta admire the guy for improving and marketing the product very well.

Recently, however, I was surprised to find out something about macs...something disturbing. I was doing some blog hopping and came across Ajay's blog. She had a post about Greenpeace claiming that the upcoming Vista operating system will not be compatible with as much as half of the PCs out there. That incompatibility will force people to upgrade sooner, thus trashing their computers into landfills along with their hazardous chemicals. I thought, "No worries. I don't use a PC anymore. Everything's cool, right?" Wrong. That same Greenpeace website had bad news for mac users, also: apple ranks among the least environmentally-friendly electronic products. These products also include iPods and iBooks. According to Greenpeace
When they [apple products] are tossed, they usually end up at the fingertips of children in China, India and other developing-world countries. They dismantle them for parts, and are exposed to a dangerous toxic cocktail that threatens their health and the environment.
I was quite surprised to read this. Of all the companies I would expect to be green, surely it would be apple. Say it ain't so, apple. Well, I did just what Greenpeace suggested and clicked on their "email Steve Jobs" link, which had a pre-formatted letter urging Jobs to make his products greener. When apple was in trouble a few years back, Jobs stepped in and saved the company with his leadership. He can show his leadership abilities once again by stepping up and making the company more environmentally-friendly.

Technorati tags: apple, Steve Jobs, Greenpeace, mac

Monday, February 12, 2007

Final Thoughts on my Vacation

I've pretty much posted the highlights of my Philippine vacation. Now for some random thoughts about my trip:

1) The Philippines is still obsessed with looking white (i.e. skin whiteners). Here's some billboards I saw in Manila :

Is this colonial mentality or what? Although I have to point out that I only saw these ads in Manila, not in any other city I visited. So I don't know if I can attribute this "wanting to look like a white person" phenomenon to the entire Philippines.

2) Discrimination is still rampant. Here's an example of a typical job ad from a Baguio newspaper with height, age, and of course, the "pleasing personality" requirement:

Do you really need an age or height requirement when working the front desk? C'mon, just have them sit or stand on a couple of books if they're short. :D Meanwhile, at this Manila establishment, they don't mince words:

What's an unattractive person to do? hehe. Can you imagine being rejected for this job? "Miss, you've got all the qualifications, but unfortunately.... well, you're not easy on the eyes." hahaha. Well, at least the restaurant didn't require the waitress to have a "pleasing personality." :D

3) Fireworks....annoying fireworks. I became annoyed at all the people setting firecrackers near our house in Baguio and leaving their trash everywhere.

I suppose this graphic poster of severed fingers they had posted at the sari-sari stores wasn't enough to deter the revelers from playing with fireworks:

I'm not trying to be KJ, as they say in the Philippines, but some of these fireworks ARE illegal and dangerous. I did see a headline the next day that there were 600 fireworks-related injuries. So much for that graphic poster.

4) Nothing beats relaxing around a bonfire with a few drinks. Here's one where I drank hard liquor around a bonfire, but didn't get drunk. The liquor was only 65 proof. :D
We had to move the hard liquor b/c it was a little too close to the fire. ;)

6) The export of human labor continues. Yet another relative has left to work overseas as a nurse. I have another relative studying nursing. I think she already has a degree in another field. Is the Philippines always going to be an exporter of human labor? Will there ever be a time when people will consider the Philippines as the one with "greener pastures"?

7) Tough jobs....there's a lot of them in the Philippines. Some of these tough jobs include vendors (whether it's chicharon or peanuts or sweets,etc.) on buses or those prawn vendors along the highway who advertise their product by holding up the prawn as you whiz by them on the highway. Other jobs are unofficial. For example, kids will flag taxis for you but expect some sort of tip. Probably one of the toughest jobs I saw was the restroom or comfort room (CR) attendees at bus stops who collect 1 or 2 pesos from riders who use the bathroom. If I had that job, I wouldn't even touch the coins. I'd just tell them to put it in a box or something. And if they ask for change, I would just let them use the CR for free. ;)

Well, I guess that's all I have to say about my trip. Looks like I can get rid of this sim card I bought in Manila... won't be needing it anymore:
I had a blast. As Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz once said, "There's no place like home." Too bad I won't be back for a while. Yan ang buhay ng Fil-Am .... or Amboy, as someone once called me. ;)

Technorati tags: Baguio, Philippines, skin whitener, discrimination, firecrackers