Counting Potatoes

Quirky Observations, Opinions and Theories on Life

Aug 30, 2008

The Day after Tomorrow

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Dollar’s Decline

“The American dollar had a great fall.. and all the king’s horses and all the king’s men, could not put the American dollar together again.”

It' certainly seems like it as the successive interest cuts by the Fed are not doing much in boosting confidence for the US economy. Unless meaningful changes are instituted to heal the trade deficit (more imports than exports) and federal deficit (more government spending than government profit) of the United States, currency values will continue to fluctuate and the markets will remain volatile.

After adjusting to the massive fall of the peso 10 years ago wherein it’s value declined from P25/1$ to more than P50/$1, it seems that we are again in for a currency roller coaster ride as the Dollar loses its value yet again because of the twin deficits of the US economy (Trade and Federal). From a peak of P56 per dollar three years ago to today’s P39 per dollar, many of us Filipinos (especially those with dollar dependent salaries) are wondering what the future has in store.

What exactly does a lower dollar mean for us?

1. Lower Remittances: Perhaps the fall of the dollar is most obvious to families dependent on remittances from abroad. Whereas before where a $1,000 remittance could mean P55,000, the same amount translates to only about P40,000 in today’s exchange rate. This is a P15,000 loss from the value of the dollar from 2 years ago!

2. Bad for Dollar Based Salaries: Dollar based salaries like those in call centers and medical transcription offices will also feel the crunch of the plunging dollar. After all, the currency exchange rate will start eating into the profit margins of these businesses. This could mean retrenchments and less pay raises for this year and perhaps even next year (depending on how the US economy performs)

3. Bad for Exports, Good for Imports: A weaker dollar means imports becomes much cheaper and thus foreign made products becomes a lot more competitive in our market. This should mean that consumer electronics, the price of oil, Swiss chocolates, and anything else foreign especially US made should become cheaper in the next few months. (the downside is, this does not seem to be happening as importers are still very happy with the sudden increase in their profits)

Moreover, exporters lose and this includes one of the primary exports of our country which is labor. Overseas Filipino Workers will be clamouring for wage increases (thus lowering the demand for Filipino labor) and our abaca, coconut, and other export products will cost more dollars to purchase and yup, this will include Philippine ebay products that locals sell through the internet.

4. Bad for US based Filipino Workers and Graduates planning to go Abroad. As the economic crunch hits the lower and middle class citizens of the US, US politicians promising their constituents more jobs and higher salaries, bad news is, there are only too much job openings in the US. This may result in Filipino workers there being sent home and their jobs given to US citizens.

5. Bad for Dollar Based Saving Accounts and Investments: Ouch! This one really hurts! After all, never in our wildest dreams did we expect the dollar’s value to come crashing down this quickly. As such, many Filipinos have invested in dollar savings accounts or stocks to protect themselves from the volatile peso. Now a $5,000 account is only worth P200,000 as opposed to last year’s P250,000. A P50,000 loss!

Some US politicians are saying that the lower dollar will actually be good for their economy as this will make US products a lot more competitive in the global market and thus generate much needed jobs in their homeland. As foreign corporations flock to the United States though to buy up suddenly cheap US businesses, I wonder how much of the United States will be left owned by American citizens after all of this is over?

Meanwhile, the Philippine government is touting the strengthened peso as proof of their success in boosting the economy. Hello! The peso increased in value because the US dollar’s value fell through the roof not because of your profound economic plans!

As the world becomes more globalized in terms of economy while the internet becomes a stronger business medium, I wonder how people in developed nations will fare in having to compete with the extremely cheap labor of developing countries? Globalization, after all is not just about products but services and while earning $1,000/month over there may put you below the poverty line, its certainly more than enough to live on comfortably over here. Would they have to lower their salary expectations in order to compete with us?

Capitalism, taken to its logical conclusion would tend to equalize the opportunities and benefits across borders. The only question is, will we become the capitalists or the hired work? For the short term though, I guess we’ll just have to contend with a medium to long term lower dollar value.

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They say there are only two things that's constant: death and taxes. I beg to disagree, there's one more: women complaining about men. You could time travel a thousand years into the future or into the past and I'll bet you'd still find women nagging men. [along with new gadgets for men to block out the white noise]

Which leads me to a question: Why is it that men are almost always portrayed as the bad guy in the relationship? Looking over the forum posts and blogs in the internet, one could almost conclude that "good guys" have a lot more in common with medieval dragons, elves, the tasmanian devil, bigfoot, the Siberian tiger, pandas and tabios than living breathing men: they are either figments of our imagination, myths or extinct.

So, are good men really hard to find? YES! but not because they are an endangered species, i think its because women almost always look for them in the wrong places or snags them in the wrong situations.

Here are some common sense facts about men that most women do not seem to get.

1. Good Men cannot be found in a bar, a disco, or a singles party.

Looking for Bf material guys in a bar, a disco or a singles party is like looking for a new pet in the local dog pound. You might get a cute looking dog but the dog pound's surely not going to give you a rabies free certificate and with all the dogs locked up together, you'll just have to take your chances.

Good men do not go to bars and discos to pick up girls. They’re there to catch up with old friends and have fun! if by chance you do manoeuvre yourself into a conversation with them, they'll surely not going to take you as a GF material, at best, they're going to regard you as something that comes with the peanuts and beer.

2. Once a Cheater, always be on the lookout.

If you got your current BF by having him cheat and subsequently break up with his previous girlfriend, then why expect he's not going to do the same thing to you? Tit for Tat, an eye for an eye they say. In this case, you can't even blame the guy when he cheats on you and you can't even expect sympathy from your friends. Some people would say its justice served hot and they will be right.

They say the best predictor for future behavior is past behavior. I wonder then why girls do not apply this simple principle when it comes to choosing their BFs? Afterall, they're so great at connecting the dots when it comes to gossips and unrelated tidbits of info, they can even rival KGB during the height of the cold war.

Granted the guy may indeed change his ways when it comes to you, what with your irresistible looks and one of a kind personality. But until then, I’ll keep my popcorn and wait for the fireworks to start.

3. What You Show is what you get

I’m not against women dressing sexy and showing skin to feel well… sexy…, far from it, I rather enjoy watching them while playing fill in the blanks in my head. What I don’t understand, however, is why some women think that the amount of skin she shows is directly proportional to her chances in snagging a great guy. A regular hot blooded guy maybe, but a great BF material guy???

I mean, why use curves and skin as a bait and complain that all it ever snags are sex pervs? It’s like using worms as bait and complaining that all you ever catch is fish! Well what did you expect?? Submersible chickens??

Girls, what you need to understand is the fact that the moment a guy gets attracted to your revealing dress and miles and miles of skin, it’s not the heart, and certainly not the brain that gets a massive increase in blood supply. It goes somewhere else, along with the capacity to think or even entertain mushy feelings.

Use some intellect or some character to attract BF material guys. After all, it’s not the FHM magazine they pick up when they look for inspiration.

4. Sex Aint a Warranty for Lifetime Service

Did we somehow miss out the part in the Old Testament wherein God gave out the commandment that states “guys have to expunge themselves of hormones and testosterones and should never look or fantasize about other girls ever after having sex with their girl friend?” What is it with sex and fidelity anyhow? Is there a grand unifying theory that connects the two?

Sex is sex. It’s not a lifetime warranty for the guy’s love and certainly not a guarantee against him cheating in the future. It’s not an excuse for the other shortcomings in the relationship and certainly not a replacement for love.

Using sex to chain a guy in the relationship is a lot like using free meals and a roof as incentives for convicts to stay in prison. State sponsored meals and free rent may be great but it sure as hell won’t compensate if the company sucks! (figuratively speaking)

Sex is just another manifestation of love and sometimes a purely primal instinct (like smelling your fingers after scratching your armpits with it). It’s much like the chocolates and flowers and Ipod you gave him for your anniversary (maybe he just wanted a new Ipod and so ditched after getting it, he he).

5. Having a Guy Undergo the Girls’ Litmus Test

Girls have a very nasty habit of doing secret and complex experiments to otherwise OK guys just so they can prove to themselves that their BFs are loyal to them. Here’s a spoiler… Girls don’t usually like the results.

Generally, these experiments have something to do with unlocking the darker side of a guy’s personality (tendency to cheat, to lie, to flirt, etc). It’s much like unlocking the 3rd eye, or in the case of provoked infidelity, the 3rd leg, he he he.

Upon deeper reflection, it brings to mind the experiments the Germans were doing to the Jews during the holocaust. The Germans conducted studies on how long a human body can endure given a certain amount of daily calorie intake. I forgot the exact value but I’m sure I can find it again in Schindler’s list. In this case, Girls are experimenting how long an oxygen starved brain (blood is pumped elsewhere as mentioned earlier) lasts before as guy gives in to his primal instincts (which in the Old Testament is referred to as “go forth and multiply”).

IT’S INHUMAN! It’s almost like not knowing you’re in a survivor series show, temptation island, pinoy big brother, or whatever it is that gives girls these insane, game show, reality tv ideas about love. Here are a few noteworthy examples (guys, watch out for these standard baiting procedures so you’ll know it’s a trap:

The Cellphone Sneak Attack: She’ll have you go out on a surprise errand just so you’ll unwittingly leave your cell phone behind. She’ll then scour over the message inbox looking for telltale signs of infidelity. If you’re really careless, she’ll even piece the whole story together from the little crumbs of info found in your cell. She'll then sweat you with the good cop/bad cop routine after this. It’s like CSI without the flashbacks and Horacio One-liners. Unlike CSI though, you’ll be guilty until proven innocent.

The Secret Admirer/Stalker: This is actually one of the favorite MOs of girls. They’ll either pretend to be someone else, complete with new and untraceable sim cards, bogus friendster identities and stand in voice over the telephone (usually their friends) or let someone else ( a trusted friend hottie you don't know about) to draw out your incubus out into the open. Their bogus identities or trusted sidekicks will sound so credible you’ll even think they are female versions of Jason Bourne or FBI agents for the witness protection program.

Again, this is as sensible as putting a wet log over a fire hoping against hope it wouldn't burn. Hell, even guys over at big brother's house do it knowing very well that their GFs are watching their every move at home not just on TV but over the 24 hour feed on the internet!

The Hard Choice: Girls love to put guys in a position where they have to make a choice between two important things in their lives. Whether it be academics or her, your parents or her, your friends or her, your self respect or her, your vices or her, you can bet your ass there’s only one good answer every time. Nope, it will not even be a trick question as she’s going to give you lots of clues along the way. It's like Deal or No Deal with only one case.

Girls do not seem to get that there are no perfect guys out there. Dig deep enough and you’re always going to strike bedrock. The guy may truly love you and may truly want to give you his best but he’s still human and his frail human heart can still be overcome by his primally-coded brain.


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An incident several days ago reminded me to sit down and write this post. See, I’m pretty sure that most of us already have or are probably contemplating buying a home theater system or at least a larger screen TV along with a couple of speakers - which is not surprising since we Pinoys prefer watching pirated films in the comfort of our living rooms rather than going out and paying for several tickets so that the whole family could come along. Lean times demand lean measures after all, he he, if you could call buying a three-hundred-thousand-peso home theater system an austerity measure! Well at least you get to save some money since you won't have to buy those ridiculously, astronomically high-priced popcorn meals or hotdog snacks available at SM cinemas (do they spice them with gold dust??)

Anyway, pirated DVDs aside, most people seem to have the false notion that all they can expect from their home theater system and large screen TVs are 1. Louder sound and 2. Bigger picture. If you are one of these people, then here’s a money- and energy-saving tip for you. SIT CLOSER TO YOUR TV. It’s going to make the TV appear larger and the sound louder PLUS you still get to save about a gazillion pesos. For those who actually want and expect a better viewing experience from their traditional CRT/stereo sound tube, read on.

A home theater system, after all, is named such because it should provide you with a truly immersive cinematic experience. Here are some basic facts and tips on how to maximize your Home theater system.

Choosing your TV

CRT, LCD or Plasma?

The very first thing that’s going to give you a headache when choosing a home theater system is choosing the TV type. Should you go for the bulky, heavy and thus un-cool traditional CRT TV? (WARNING: guys living in an all-girls house, refrain from buying a large CRT TV since you will be primarily responsible for moving it around when spring cleaning/home remodeling or when there is a typhoon). How about going for the sleek and thinner large screen LCD TV? Perhaps you should choose the super-thin and high-tech Plasma display TV?

To choose your TV, you should consider more than mere aesthetics. It is more important to consider the practical details associated with each type of TV. What are their maintenance costs, energy consumption and overall picture quality? Here’s a rundown on the advantages and disadvantages of each TV type.

CRTImages8 TV (cathode ray tube): As mentioned before, perhaps the major disadvantages of a large-screen CRT TV are its sheer size and weight. CRT TVs are also not available in supersizes above, if I remember correctly, 60 inches AND CRTs are rather sensitive to magnetic fields (which is why you sometimes see rainbows at the edges of the screen when the speakers are placed too close to the set). The advantages of CRT TV however are:

  1. Easy and cheap to repair since most TV technicians are familiar with this type and the replacement parts are a lot cheaper.
  2. Wider viewing angle so people viewing from the side will still see the picture clearly. LCD monitors are at a disadvantage here because the picture becomes hazy when you try to view it from the side.
  3. Better picture resolution.

LCD TImages76V: (liquid crystal display): Liquid crystal displays consume a lot less power than CRTs and Plasma TVs. Compared to the CRT, LCD TVs are a lot less bulky and a lot lighter, too. More importantly, LCD screens are compatible with your computer. Unlike CRT TVs that produce the picture through scan lines, LCDs produce the picture through pixels (which is the same way your computer monitor displays pictures on your computer screen).

However, there's a catch that most people fail to take into account when buying LCD TV sets. LCD TVs produce images by shining light through liquid crystals on the screen. This means that LCD TVs need a lamp to serve as a light source and, as with any other lamps, the LCD TV lamp needs to be replaced periodically - and THAT costs money. Moreover, with frequent use, dead pixels may start popping out on the screen, and since you can’t replace these pixels piece by piece, you will have to have the whole screen replaced - and THAT costs a lot of money.

PLASMA display TV: Plasma display TVs produce images by passing 44 electricity through an array of rare gases (xenon or neon) that glow and produce light. Almost all of the components required to produce an image can be found on the screen itself; thus, plasma sets are super thin and super light and they can be mounted on the wall, hidden behind sleek wall panels, etc. Unlike LCD TVs, plasma TVs do not need an internal light source; thus, they can render deeper blacks and provide higher contrast.

One of the disadvantages of having a Plasma TV set stems from its greatest advantage, its size. Break the screen and you can say goodbye to your hundred-thousand-peso investment. Another disadvantage of plasma TVs is its tendency to “burn in” images. Leave a static image on the screen for too long and your expensive, high-tech TV may just become a high-tech painting mounted on your wall (don’t worry, though, as new technologies are incorporated into plasma TV sets to make sure that this does not happen). Lastly, if you plan to use a Plasma TV for your Baguio rest house or some other high-altitude vacation spot, you may hear a buzz from its speakers. This is because the gases on the screen expand as the altitude increases, thereby causing your Plasma TV to misbehave.

Choosing your Sound

Five speakers and one sub-woofer usually come with a large-screen TV. To people who are comfortable with and used to a pair of stereo speakers, the three extra speakers and the sub-woofer are usually a paradox. Let me tell you what they're for.

The sub-woofer’s purpose is the most easily deciphered because the “booming” sound comes from it. What do you do with the other three speakers though? Are they spares? Do they make any special sounds? Are they for display purposes? (After all, six speakers do look far way cooler than just two).

56 Nine out of ten, we carefully arrange these speakers in such a way that:

1. They are all huddled in a group with the sub-woofer looking like a “papa” or "alpha" speaker; and
2. The speaker corner looks like a shrine.

THIS IS JUST PLAIN WRONG! Those speakers are not like pictures you can group together or religious figurines that you must keep together in a sacred corner! Each and every one of those speakers have its own little part in producing the “surround sound” experience that is written on the box and the brochure. Like the members of an orchestra, each speaker has a part to play in order to make your viewing experience a lot more realistic.

Let me explain:

23 Two-speaker systems produce what we call stereo sound. Two speakers mean two different sound outputs. This is why the sound transfers from one speaker to another when we watch movie scenes with car chases in it. Speaker one goes zzzzZZZZZZooommmm….. then the sound transfers to speaker two zzzzzZZZZZooommmm…. This also happens to gunshot sounds in movies.. one speaker goes “ratatatat!” while the other emits the sound of bullets bouncing off a wall. In Pinoy movies, this sounds like “ tuughhu tughuuu zzhyuuunnngggg!!” then Bong Revilla dives for the floor, he he he.

Now imag9ine 6 speakers, each with its own distinct sound output.

The 2 Front Speakers play the role of the traditional stereo speakers. One should be placed on each side of the TV.

The Center Speaker outputs the dialog sounds from just below the TV (so that it will seem like the actors are speaking right in front of you).

The 2 Rear Speakers, well, they have to be placed behind the Sofa or the couch. Remember Jurassic park where the tyrannosaur creeps up behind the main character? Well, in a properly set-up surround sound system, it should sound like the dinosaur is right behind your couch. When the rear speakers are behind you, and a helicopter is shown on TV, the sound of the approaching helicopter should first come from the back then - as the sound transfers from the rear speakers to the front ones - travel to the front.

As for the Sub-woofer, well, since this produces the lower frequency sounds, you could also place it right below your TV or, better yet, your couch (so it can give you a Playstation-game-console sort of vibration whenever you are watching a movie). By the way, the sub-woofer outputs only about 1/10th of the frequency range of the standard speaker. Thus, it stands for the 0.1 in a 5.1 surround-sound system.

Remember though that, as with any other system, garbage in means garbage out. Don’t go expecting a truly immersive and realistic movie experience (picture-wise and sound-wise) if you’re using pirated DVDs. Pirated DVDs (especially first releases) are usually encoded in mono sound and analog video format. Watching pirated films on your state-of-the-art, cutting edge and super expensive Home Theater System is just like playing Solitaire on a dual-core-GPU computer.

If you’re using original DVDs or pirated DVDs with digital video and audio formats, well and good, but don’t go tooting your horn just yet. You still have things to check out before pushing that Play button.

Choosing Your Inputs and Outputs

5_1 Check the back panel of your TV, do you see those different colored input and output jacks? Now check the back panel of your DVD player. Do you see different colored input and output jacks there as well? Remember the toys we used to play with when we were kids? The one that goes something like “slip that square box through that square-shaped hole"? Well, the same principles are at work here, which is why I’m surprised that most people don’t seem to know the first thing about connecting the TV and the DVD player. (Maybe there should be a Sesame Street type of show for older people about this subject.)

Anyway, here are the basics on cables and connections:

As above indicated: red goes to red, yellow goes to yellow, etc, etc. Just match the colors to the right jacks grouped together in a row and you’re bound to get it right. In the same way, a circle goes to another circle, a square goes to a square; if it doesn’t fit, DON’T force it.

TV inputs and outputs: Almost all of the jacks you see at the back of your TV are inputs, which mean that if you connect anything to the TV, the signal is transferred from the external device (e.g. your DVD player) to the TV. Of course, if you will notice, the jacks are grouped together in sections like Video 1, Video 2, Video 3, and so on and so forth. Make sure to remember which section you connected the external component to because, in order to see the picture on the screen, you will have to tune your TV to the appropriate input selection (Video 1, Video 2, etc) by pressing the Input button on the remote.

Most TVs also have video and audio output sections located at the back panel. What are these for? Well, you can use the Audio-out (var/fixed) jacks to output the sound from whatever you are watching in your TV to an external sound system like your home theater system (the 5 speakers and the sub-woofer discussed earlier). This way, you can set up your system so that you will hear Kris Aquino’s screeching voice not through the built-in speakers of your TV but through the 6 speakers that comprise your home theater system (get 6 times the headache by watching Kris Aquino's Deal or No Deal through a home theater system). Anything connected to your TV will also be able to output their sound to these speakers. Of course, to do this, you must also tell your DVD player/home theater system where to get its sound by pressing the function button on the remote until you see your TV appear on the unit’s LCD screen.

Here’s a typical TV set-up. Connect your DVD player to one video input on your TV. Connect your Playstation to another video input. If you have a Magic Sing, connect that to another video input. Got a security camera? Connect that to another video input as well. In short, anything that you will use as a video input source for your TV, connect to a video input jack on your TV.

DVD player --------------------à: :-------------à Recording Device

Gaming Console --------------à: :

Magic sing ---------------------à: TV :

Computer ----------------------à: :

Security Camera --------------à: : ------------à Sound System

Aside from Audio-out (var/fixed), some TVs also have video-audio-out jacks. Here you can connect your TV to an external recording device like a VCR or a VCD/DVD recorder unit. By connecting a device to these output jacks, you are basically making sure that what you see and hear on your TV can be “seen” and “heard” by your recording device.

DVD player/Home Theater System Inputs and Outputs

If your DVD player comes packaged with a set of speakers, then it’s a DVD player/Home Theater System. This means that aside from the usual video and audio outputs at the back panel, you will also see some inputs for external components as well as other devices that may use the connected speakers to output their sound.

Outputs: There are probably going to be several types of video and audio outputs at the back panel. Remember though, you do not have to fill up these jacks with cables. YOU MUST ONLY CHOOSE ONE depending on which is best for your TV.

Here are the usual choices for video and audio outputs found in DVD players (arranged from lowest to highest according to video/audio quality produced):

Images6 Coaxial Cable: The coaxial cable is what you probably use for your cable TV subscription. It carries both the video and audio signal and produces the regular video and sound quality you see on your TV. Among the cables, this is the most antiquated and thus produces the lowest quality.

Images Composite Cables: (Yellow, Red and White), this is probably the most common output as well as video/audio cable used of all. The yellow cable carries the video signal while the red and white cable carries the right and left audio signal, respectively, to output stereo sound. These cables carry analog signals only and so will have low fidelity in carrying video and audio signals. In short, the video and audio output will only be standard and not that good.

Images5_1 S-video Cable: The S-video is a cable that caries video signals only. It separates the video feed into two distinct feeds and thus is able to output a better picture than the composite cable.

Images3 Component Cables: (Para-Red, Para-Blue and Para-Green), this type of cable is used SOLELY for the transmission of video signals. Because the video signal is transmitted through 3 separate cables, the resulting image on the TV screen will be markedly better than a composite-cable image.

Images4 DVI/HDMI cables: DVI and HDMI cables can carry uncompressed digital video signals. HDMI cables, in particular, can carry uncompressed digital audio signals as well. This means that you will get unsurpassed video quality and resolution as well as digital surround sound. This output jack is only available in selected models though.

765 Digital Optical and Digital Coaxial Cable: The digital optical and digital coaxial cables are used to transmit digital audio to an external component. This means that you will be able to transmit audio signals in (5.1 – 7.1) Dolby or DTS format without any loss in sound quality.

To maximize your home theater experience as well as the value of your money, a simple rule of thumb is to choose the highest quality cable that is applicable for your system. After that, you can sit back, relax and enjoy your hard-earned surround sound, digital quality movie.:)

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It may come as a surprise to most, but did you know that the price we pay for democracy is literally one of our biggest monthly expenses?

Check your payslip. How much do you pay in taxes every month? For those earning between P10,000 – P20,000 a month, taxes + Pag Ibig + SSS contributions may amount up to P4000- P5000 monthly. For those in the P20,000 – P30,000 income bracket, the charges may add up to P6000 – P7000 a month. That’s more than 30% of your hard earned money! More than what you spend on your girlfriend, more than what you send to your parents, more than what you save and far more than you are willing to give to the government! He he

Fact of the matter is, the government charges us around 30% -50% of our monthly income just so it could provide us with the services that we need: security, roads, Law and order, subsidized education, etc, etc. I may not have most of the figures correct but more or less those are the facts. For more info, take up accounting.

That means that for those paying P5000 in taxes monthly, the total cumulative cost of democracy that the government charges you for the whole year is P60,000. That’s almost as expensive as a branded Dual-Core laptop, definitely more expensive than your new 3G, 4 Mega-pixel, touch screen cell phone and most probably 10 times as much as you have saved for the whole year!

Imagine what will happen if your brand new 8 mega-pixel camera turns out to be defective? I’ll bet 10 to 1 that you’ll storm the shop you bought it from as if you’re a hound from hell. You’ll scream you’re lungs out and wont care a fig for the scandal you’re creating.

Imagine if your James Bond like cell phone gets snatched. I’ll bet you you’ll cry more tears than you did at your grandma’s funeral. Yes, it will definitely hurt. You’d toss and turn in your bed for almost a month thinking up a storm of what-ifs and what could’ve beens. Hell, it would even hurt like the first time you got dumped.

We worked hard for these things and we expect to enjoy the fruits of our sacrifices. That’s why we spent months poring over catalogues, brochures, internet reviews and such before we finally make a final decision on what camera, plasma TV, cell phone or laptop to buy. Even then, our hearts do that little flip flop as soon as we turn over our hard earned money to the cashier, looking for just the tiniest indication that we are being scammed so that we could bolt out the door...

and after… we spend days just looking over our new purchase from all angles with wonder in our eyes and sometimes… sometimes we can’t even help it if a whisper escapes our lips as we caress our newly acquired possessions.. “mmyyy preeecccioouuusssss….”

I wonder then..

Why do we so easily disregard our right to vote? Why do we so easily vote for someone just because our mother tells us “this and that politician looks nice”? Why do we so easily laugh it off every time we hear of some new scandal or if one we voted for turns out to be defective? Why do we take it as natural that our politicians are spending our hard earned money on themselves and their families?


Our right to vote, our right to basic services, our democracy is one of our biggest monthly expenses. Why should we expect lousy service in return?? would you excuse such a lousy service in Greenhills or Gilmore's?

Think about it...

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Aug 19, 2008

The ButterBowl Effect

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6 Toilets…

1 Septic tank…

It’s no wonder that things can get a bit weird in the toilet sometimes. See, I was quite content just sitting there, smoking my mandatory one stick per session and reading a sci-fi novel when I suddenly heard a sound from deep within the bowels of the earth… okay, maybe it’s more of a sound from the pipes running underground and connecting our toilets together. Anyway, I was still deep in reflection about what the sound portends when the bowl suddenly bubbled forth and spewed its wrath. It was like Armageddon and Deep Impact all rolled into one. Believe me, I must’ve jumped two feet off the floor in terror…

I must admit, it may seem hilarious now but it was certainly horrifying at that moment with me in wide eyed terror huddling in the corner of that tiny room staring with morbid fascination at the raging tempest at what was once a peaceful body of water. I was even half expecting Sadaku to come out of the bowl… Yuck…. Maybe this was how the ancients felt when confronted with the unexplainable forces of nature and why they turned to religion for comfort and answers. As for me, I certainly wasn’t feeling too holy at that moment. All I was thinking about was how I could reach across the bowl in order to get to my cigarettes.

Two more sticks and a cup of coffee later (in a different room this time), I finally relaxed somewhat enough to reflect on my experience and I came to the conclusion that life’s like that sometimes. All of us, to one degree or another, have to contend with neighbours, shared “septic tanks” and splash damages of whatever we do to other people. Every decision we make can and will have a corresponding effect on other people in our society. Our votes during election, our treatment of our trash, energy conservation, political apathy, our prejudices, biases, etc, etc. All of these things somehow get flushed down in the pipelines of society and may bubble up somewhere down the line to scare the hell out of someone else.

We see these everyday, parents wondering how their children grew up as pickpockets and criminals, citizens staring at horror on what their country has become and couples crying their hearts out because of their relationship’s one way ticket to hell. All because of people’s misconception that what they do doesn’t influence the actions of other people.

Hmmmm… Too much reflection on a simple toilet incident and too much coffee I think.. A Filipino Expression goes “kung anong isinuksok, siyang madudukot (garbage in, garbage out)” and “kung anong itinanim, siyang aanihin (You reap what you sow)”.

Well, in my case, that’s exactly what happened.. DJ calls it the toilet bowl's Mc Arthur effect " I'll be Back", you could also call it the terminator effect "Hasta la Vista, Baby". In any case, i wouldn't like what comes in in that toilet bowl to pop in and out of existence.. I think the pipes should get checked..:(

to those with the same toilet bowl problem my advice is:

Cover your Ass.. Literally, ehe he

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Here's to a weird New Year’s resolution. he he, promised myself that I would post at least one new blog for every week this year. Hmmm...
that's 4 per month and 48 blogs for the whole year. Not much... but at least its a start and what better way to start with a thousand blog target than to crank up the creative juices to create the first one?

Moreover, aside from hopefully exercising my long dormant creative side in order to be better suited for my work (have to file those useless formulas, equations and cold facts somewhere first), I would certainly like to have a repository of those weird thoughts, insane ideas and countless two cents I have every once in a while. It would certainly be nice to have scrapbook like collection of thoughts I can look back to 10, 20, or 30 years from now.

I wonder though, would something exquisitely profound now sound disgustingly corny 10 years in the future? See, 10 Years ago, I was a wide eyed-martyr-naïve high school student going through the painful stage of puberty, desperately trying to balance the idealistic innocence of youth with my seemingly uncontrollable raging hormones. On one hand I was then professing my undying love to the duet of chocolates and flowers (the corniness can make you bite your pillow at night sometimes) while going out to the midnight carnal forays that began with a certain movie in Advent Theatre (Tonight! He he, to the three guys that started the whole deal, the story is documented in the jokes section of FHM – forgot which issue it was though). Thank God there were no blogs then!

Going back, I also hope to document in this blog certain ideas that hopefully, some of the readers would find not only interesting but applicable to their present lives as well. Ideas like
the truth behind credit cards, mortgages, hmmmm love life? (but don’t bet the farm on it working though, he he), some seemingly insane observations like why the toilet bowl suddenly bubbles in the most inopportune moments, investment ideas I picked up in my writing research, etc, etc…

So much for the first day of 2008! Ehe he, made my first blog, visited my uncle in the hospital [1 am early morning. Note: Mother Seton likes patients to pay prepaid or in cash, so no cash – no treatment.. I wonder where the teachings of the Church fit in in all of this?] Drank approximately one Grande of Red Horse, checked the team status – dispatched the last batch of files, corresponded with the clients [trying to worm my way into an increase of rates to compensate for the fall of the dollar], and finally after this, I will be off to watch some pirated DVDs that have piled up in the living room.
As the Brits say, A Bloody Productive Day if I May Say So Mate! Till Next Time!

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