Thursday, August 30, 2007

And the Super Bowl of Love Continues.


Letterman makes first ever Oprah appearance September 10.

Update 9/11 -- Here's a news article that covers everything, including the Top Ten. And in the modern spirit of keeping a cynical eye open when it comes to this kind of media event, here's the snarkiest one I could find.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Real Life to a 5-year-old

I caught the Little Boy jumping up and down on the bed. Again.

"What have I told you again and again about jumping on the bed?"

"It's not good."


"It can get broke."

"So why do you still do it?"

"Dad, I find it very very hard to be good. Really!"


Friday, August 24, 2007

Reality to a 2-year-old

Little Girl sees his Kuya sprinking pepper on his food. She looks up to her yaya and says, "Yaya, can I have some pepper?"

"Tanong mo sa kuya mo kung pwede ka mag-pepper."

"Kuya can I have pepper?"

"NO!!!!" (at the top of his lungs)

She looks up to her yaya again. "He said yes."

Thursday, August 23, 2007


1. As feared, earthquakes did hit these islands this week after shaking up the Ring of Fire a few days ago, the strongest being Monday's 6.6 in Davao.

2. A new wave of recalls of children's items the past couple of days: notebooks, tops, pails and jewelry (for lead paint), and articles of clothing (for formaldehyde).

We hope we've seen the worst of this batch of earthquakes for now. As for No.2, is it far-fetched to think that some interest groups are out to do a demolition job on Chinese goods to drive consumers away and boost products made outside of China? (Or is it more far-fetched to think there are still things that are actually being made outside of China?)

Update on the comment 8/31: Seems the thought isn't far-fetched at all. In fact, it sounds quite the theory in technocratese: it's in the "protectionism agenda" of some government officials and media in the US to use doubts on the quality of Chinese goods "to press for narrow trade protection". Read on.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Bears Eat Man at Beer Fest

Is there a Lead of the Year contest anywhere? I nominate this one:

"A 23-year old Serb was found dead and half-eaten in the bear cage of Belgrade Zoo at the weekend during the annual beer festival."

In as few words as possible, it covered the who, when, where and how much of the subject had been eaten. Here's the whole story it so makes you want to read.

FDA on Cough and Cold Medicine for Kids

Hoping to halt the growing number of injuries to infants and toddlers, the Food and Drug Administration issued an advisory Wednesday warning parents never to give cough and cold medicines to children under the age of 2 unless instructed to do so by a doctor, the NYTimes reports. Another article names Toddler's Dimetapp as one of those (we have this here in Pinas. In our medicine cabinet in fact.)

Jeez. A few days ago, we parents were told we probably gave our kids poison toys to play with. Now it's nasty medicine. Not a good week for parents and kids.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

It's the CD's Silver

Happy 25th, you round piece of shiny non-biodegradable plastic.

The first CD I ever had (I didn't say bought, because I actually stole it from my uncle's revolving CD rack back in the mid-80s) was "Frampton Comes Alive". I didn't buy my first CD until I could afford it (and the LD/CD player) in 1994. It was "Smash" by The Offspring. I'd always thought CDs were a scandalous extravagance (at P500-700+). In between, I was content with the decent, affordable cassette (P80). I had tons of those.

The last CDs I bought were "Speakerboxx/The Love Below" and "Underworld 1992-2002", two double CDs at the same time in 2003. I don't know what got into me. Brand new credit card I guess.

Now I buy blank CDs for P8 apiece and fill it up with seven albums' worth of music.

But I will still buy Up Dharma Down's "Fragmented" even if I already have the .OGG version in the hard drive. Some music are still worth and some artists still deserve the silver.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Earthquakes and Typhoon

A series of earthquakes has been rocking the Pacific Ring of Fire lately:

First, on July 16 at 10:13 am (0113GMT) 6.7 magnitude off the NW coast 240 km N of Tokyo.

Then three successive days of temblors beginning on August 15 at 6:41 pm (0041 GMT Aug 16) 8.0 magnitude 145 km. SSW of Lima.

On August 16 at 7:39 pm (0839 GMT) 6.7 45 miles WSW of Honiara, capital of the Solomon Islands NE of Australia.

About 8 hours later, still on August 16 at around 11pm Jakarta Time (1600 GMT)
5.9-magnitude West of the island of Java, 280 kilometres SW of the capital Jakarta.

And now this morning at 9:16am Jakarta Time (0216 GMT), a 5.8-magnitude quake struck SE of Ambon in eastern Indonesia, according to AFP. An hour later at 10:04am Jakarta Time (0304 GMT) a 6.2-magnitude quake, with an epicenter in the same area nearly 250 kilometers SE of Ambon. (According to CNN however, the US Geological Survey reported the first earthquake at 6.3 magnitude followed by a 6.1 in the same area about 2 hours later.)

I can't help but think that the Philippines being a major player in that ring -- and cowering under a typhoon as i write this -- is next in line. As we pray for the victims whose numbers increase by the hour, we plead for our own safety -- from the rumbling skies, the rising waters and now the restive earth.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Toy Recall Redux

CNN has compiled an interactive list of the Mattel recalls 1 and 2, plus the Thomas the Tank Engine recall blogged here last June.

In the Philippines, consumers were advised to call the Mattel Care Line at 891-3472 for additional information. More...

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Holidays August to December 2007

So, courtesy of Malacañang, these are The Holidays Still to Come This Year:

Double triple:
August 20 (Monday) - Ninoy Day (Proclamation 1353)
August 27 (Monday) - National Heroes' Day (RA 9492)

Let's hope Oct. 12 Friday gets declared:
October 13
(Saturday) - Eid ul-Fitr (RA 9492)

Four-day weekend for those above ground:
November 1 (Thursday) - Undas
November 2 (Friday) - Special Non-working Holiday (Proc. 1211)

3-day Payday Christmas Shopping Holiday:
November 30
(Friday) - Bonifacio Day (Proc. 1353)

Really Happy Holidays with back-to-back 4 day weekends:
December 24
(Monday) - Special Non-working Holiday (Proc. 1211)
December 25 (Tuesday) - Pasko
December 30 (Sunday) - Rizal Day (Proc. 1353)
December 31 (Monday) - Last day of the Year (RA 9492)
January 1 (Tuesday) - New Year's Day (RA9 9492)

Say Merry Christmas and good bye to your officemates on Friday Dec 21st and come back to work in 2008. That's a 2-week vacation for a 6-day leave. File your Leave Form this early before the boss beats you to it.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Holidays. . . Ooh yeah. Ooh yeah.

Gloria Arroyo signed Republic Act 9492 a few days ago and made her "holiday economics" policy (longer holidays = vacations + domestic spending) the law of the land. All the holidays in the Philippine calendar (except those which are day/date specific ) are now moved to the nearest Monday guaranteeing us three-day weekends where once there were but midweek day-offs (which were good only for nursing hang-overs from the night before) or Sat/Sun holidays (which were good for nothing).

The official roster:

Regular Holidays (Get 200% your pay when worked):
New Year’s Day - January 1 (fixed)
Maundy Thursday - Movable date
Good Friday - Movable date
Eid ul-Fitr - Movable date
Araw ng Kagitingan - Monday nearest April 9 (Bataaan and Corregidor Day)
Labor Day - Monday nearest May 1
Independence Day - Monday nearest June 12
National Heroes Day - Last Monday of August
Bonifacio Day - Monday nearest November 30
Christmas Day - December 25 (fixed)
Rizal Day - Monday nearest December 30

Nationwide Special Holidays (Get 30% premium):
Ninoy Aquino Day - Monday nearest August 21
All Saints Day - November 1 (fixed)
Last Day of the Year - December 31 (fixed)

January 1, November 1, Christmas Day and December 31 are the date specific holidays. Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Eid ul-Fitr are the day specific ones.

The law states that if date-specific holiday falls on a Wednesday, it will be observed on that week's Monday, and if on a Sunday, the following Monday is off. It also provides that Malacañang will "issue a proclamation, at least six months prior to the holiday concerned, the specific date that shall be declared as a nonworking day". (To remind people who they're supposed to thank for their furlough?)

Now that GMA has the "holiday" bit down pat, wonder what she intends to do with the "economics" part.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

The Las Piñas Friendship Sticker 2007

Got mine last Thursday. A special venue (covered basketball court) has been set up by the city government for application processing. From Alabang, turn right at the corner of the road opposite the old Ever Gotesco Mall in Phil-Am (just before gas station) and look for this sign:

Click pic to see requirements.

You're not required to bring the car you're applying for so you can just present the papers for all your cars that need stickering. They'll be there until August 15, including Saturdays and Sundays up to 5pm. At least that's what they told me.

Btw, it's FREE!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Praying for Rain in Monsoon Season

The bishops last Sunday asked us to pray for rain. We did and now people are wet.

Next time I hope they ask us to pray for moolah. Wouldn't mind being neck deep in that.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Mary Immaculate Parish Roof Drive


Anyone who's been to the Mary Immaculate Parish in Moonwalk, Las Piñas even once would be quick to agree that it made quite an impression. The tree stump pews, the capiz doves in flight and the suspended cogon/anahaw roof that practically had no walls holding it up are hard to forget. This urban oasis wasn't called the Nature Church just for the materials and decor though. Architect Bobby Mañosa's brilliant design also made minimal field impact and even integrated existing fauna into the structure.

Ironically, these same qualities rendered the church easy prey to urban hazards, a hapless victim of the very surroundings it nourished and enhanced. On New Year's Eve this year, the church was razed to the ground. A wild kwitis that had hit a tree landed on the cogon roof and lit it up like a tinderbox in the dry breeze.

We went to Mass there in early June. A spartan steel structure put up in another part of the parish grounds now serves as the place of worship while the old church is under reconstruction. After communion the priest gave an update on its fund raising drive and asked everyone present and not for more help. Click on the pic below to know how.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Baguio - Manila Alternate Route

Been hearing a lot of good stuff about this other way home from Baguio. It's longer but the driving is infinitely better -- well paved roads, great scenery, proper directional signs. They say you can turn off back to the main highway at several points on the route, but for the quickest way straight to Manila follow these directions to the decimal point:

Set the odometer to 0.0 as you turn LEFT at the Binalonan Junction;
at 1.7 kms turn LEFT
at 2.3 kms turn RIGHT
at 3.0 kms turn LEFT
at 9.8 kms turn LEFT
at 17.1 kms turn RIGHT
at 21.8 kms turn RIGHT
at 30.1 kms turn LEFT to Cuyapo
at 32.5 kms turn RIGHT to Cuyapo/Guimba N. Ecija
at 62.8 kms turn RIGHT
at 74.7 kms turn LEFT via Pura
at 81.3 kms turn RIGHT
at 81.4 kms turn LEFT to Victoria
at 97.1 kms turn LEFT
at 98.5 kms turn RIGHT
at 116.9 kms turn RIGHT
at 119.9 kms turn LEFT towards Concepcion-Magalang Road
at 128.7 kms turn RIGHT to NLEX.

One more thing: they say that due to the absence of roadside assistance, this route is not to be taken at night.

Update 27 April 2008: Finally got to try out this route last week and it was all it was hyped up to be. Last Friday, the Inquirer published the route incorporating the new Subic Clark Tarlac Expressway cutting travel time by an additional 30 minutes. I posted the northbound and southbound versions of this route in diagrams. Just click the links.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Radio Ga Ga Ga

Three pre-sets on the car radio have been getting a workout from me the past two weeks, tuned to stations that aren't quite garden-variety.

One is set to 108.00 FM, right on the edge of the dial. (Yep, there's traces of life beyond NU107.) I don't know how long this station's been on, who owns or operates it or what its call letters are. Heck, I don't even know if it's legit. It plays nothing but dance -- house, dub, trance, techno, garage, old school Chicago. There are no talking DJs, no ads, just a few stingers announcing the DJ on the tables. You'll find yourself nodding to the groove in no time although nobody can really listen to this stuff for more than twenty minutes alone and sober. But it's a good picker-upper especially when traffic is light and you hear an old anthem or two.

Update 11/22/07: Frequency has been changed to 107.9 some weeks back. I've heard the station call itself 107.9 FM and something that sounds like "Q" FM. Hard to hear with all that thumping.

Button No. 2 is on 92.3 MHz, the old "Joey" getting X'd and resurrected as xFM. Music is chill-out, downtempo, ambient, some dance and indie. In other words, it's Anton Ramos's weekly show on the old Joey stretched 24/7. Nation Broadcasting Corp. pulled out all the stops with this new format doing market research, appointing industry veterans Raymund Miranda (ex-DWRocK, ex-GMA 7, ex-Disney Channel Asia) as President/CEO and Al Torres (Al W. Leader ex-99.5RT, KissFM, ex-DWRock) as Managing Director, throwing launch parties and blitzing media with press releases and interviews.

This is definitely the most polished of the three -- best reception, well-produced stingers, normal adverts, and taglines voiced-over by girls who sound as young and well-scrubbed as its target market. All in all the station sounds hip and cool and trendy enough -- like you're in some edgy boutique or gallery -- with the music rather esoteric and the artists appropriately obscure (except for some Lamb, Bjork, Tricky here and there, I have no idea who's playing almost all the time). But still, bits of Coldplay, George Benson and Diane Reeves manage to slip in especially at night. Seems the old Joey ain't that dead and buried just yet.

Update 11/22/07: For a time it sounded like the old 92.3 was really back, with the old Joey songs in heavier rotation than the XFM stuff. Now it's back to the XFM groove, but genres have been split with the downtempo/ambient/electronica stuff heard in the nighttime and the smooth jazz/pop in the day. Also, I heard Raymund Miranda jumped ship and landed with NBC Universal International.

The last button brings up 105.9 RJ Underground Radio, Ramon Jacinto's latest venture. There had been buzz that loud music was coming out of this frequency and people immediately thought the old LA105 was back. Turned out it was the old RJAM that was getting a new lease on life. Nothing but rock on this dial, each 3-song set made up of something old (Led Zeppelin, Cream, The Guess Who), something newer (Radiohead, Sigur Ros, The National), and something Pinoy (The Jerks, Yano, Hilera). It's amazing that the format is 1/3 OPM and as far as this segmet is concerned, not restricted to straight rock -- more a showcase of the talent found in the burgeoning local scene, and so acts like Nyko Maca and Sino SiKat also get their share of airplay. Howlin' Dave even takes the helm Sundays 12 to 3pm with Pinoy Rock n Rhythm (haven't heard it yet tho).

I don't find anything "underground" about the broadcast, except maybe the reception which sounds like it was transmitting from under the ground. Some of the DJs do sound like they just crawled from under a rock, obviously reading off the artist's webpage or wiki entry or babbling like their mike wasn't on.

But the music is tremendous and the focus on Pinoy Rock even more so, making it worthy of the top pre-set button on your head unit. That is, if you can get past the most ridiculous taglines on the air today. A sampler (and no kidding here): "RJ Underground. The hand that rocks the cradle, cradles the rock!", "RJ Underground Radio, if they don't play it, we do! If they play it, we don't!", and the best of the lot yet: "RJ Underground Radio. You see nothing, but you hear everything!". After which, something like Van Morrison's Astral Weeks is played. Stupidity sets up the sublime. Maybe that's how it's done underground.

Update: See Comments.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Surprise! It's a Dick In a Box

Yes, I live under a rock . . . in a cave near a mountaintop in Pluto. It's been out since Christmas and yesterday after I'd learned of it from Letterman for the first time, I became its 24,672,822nd viewer.

This is, as Dave called it, the genesis:

This is how it went down on the show:

This is how it will be on September 16th, about 8:14pmPST:

[EMBED VIDEO of Adam Samberg and Justin Timberlake accepting 2007 Emmy Award for Best Original Music and Lyrics HERE]

Might be of interest: