Thursday, February 24, 2005

To the greatest people in the world...

my friends.

Some of whom who have been feeling uncommonly down and frustrated and confused about life's directions and their goals pursuant to that. Me included.

So here's my cheers to my friends, whether they be happy, sad, ecstatic, or tragic. They form a huge part of my existence.

Korny, you have never ceased to amaze me with your passion and zest for life. I just want you to know that you're incredibly unique and sparkly and zingy and sugar and spice and everything in between. You're the best Korny in the whoooooole wiiiiiiide woooooorld!

Deej, you definitely love to live. You're an adventure in itself! No one in their right mind would ever feel bored with you around. Writing has been in your blood for the longes time* and I doubt if it would ever get out. Keep the music playing, dietitician**! Superb doesn't even begin to describe you.

Krissie, laughing is always an option when I'm with you. You aren't even in the middle of your life and already you've accomplished so many things, with two rings besides. Shouldn't we be singing and ducking from Sir Boy's Sprite can?

Moyk, you continue to inspire a lot of younger people who look up to you. So who cares if we tease you about being stiff and formal? Who cares that you show up late to almost every appointment? Who cares you actually wore pink last night? You and I will continue to spar, my friend. You are a shining star. And when you actually make kurakot, don't forget us.

Z, with your loving acceptance of everyone, including their quirks, you're the bomb. And you're pretty hot too. I've learned not to be so judgmental, thanks to you, and I've looked at the other paradigms people hold. My shortcomings and flaws are risen to heights of superstardom because of your laughter. Bracelets should never be mistaken as hair ties and daughters should never bring their mothers to watch Y Tu Mama Tambien.

To be continued!

*It was the fault of the keyboard.
**I still maintain that it was the fault of the keyboard.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Vignette #3.

Who: Me, The Father, and The Sister-Brat
What: Family Fun Day, Victory Christian School
Where: Valle Verde II basketball court; Market! Market!
When: A starving 2.00 pm or thereabouts, February 19.

"Wow, you guys are overall champions! And your group won the first place medal for board games at your Sportsfest two weeks ago! Galing ng baby ko ah."
Three stomachs deign to rumble in reply.
"Where do you want to eat, babe?"
The walk to the car is slow and ponderous.
"Chowking!" The Sister-Brat is hungry. The Father is thoughtful. The car is hot.
We get in anyway.
"You know, there's a Chowking at Blue Wave. Why don't we go there? It's nearer anyway."
"Anak, I'm already hungry. Anyplace nearer?"
"Market! Market! We're already on C5 anyway."
"Alright already!"

Chowking is exchanged for McDonald's, and six barbecue sticks are consumed by The Father and The Other Daughter that were bought at that delicious barbecue stand at the open air area.

Hunger does that to you.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Monday Bloody Monday.

"Grieve and mourn your dead. We will make no distinction between civilians and (soldiers). You create your own government."

- Abu Solayman, self-proclaimed Abu Sayyaf spokesperson

There are few things that get our goats these days, because our skin is thick. Oblivious. But mostly resigned to the normalcy of our lives - wake up, wait patiently in line for the ride to work, and prepare to spend eight or nine numbing hours in the office.

Last Monday was not so much a normal day than most, not until three bombs exploded in different, but important, parts of the country. Seven are dead, and more than 60 are wounded.

I can't believe the news today
Oh, I can't close my eyes
And make it go away
How long...
How long must we sing this song?
How long? How long...
'cause tonight...we can be as one
You cannot expect the Abu Sayyaf to listen to reason. You cannot expect them to give us their sympathy whenever bombings occur because deep in the south, that is their way of life. Life, in their hands, is putty. Pun intended.

Close to home. The attacks were nearer to our little paradigms than we'd originally thought. In urban, bustling Manila, where robbers and thieves get away with no compunction, this easily got our attention, and the Abu Sayyaf have once again written their name in blood. The thorn-in-the-side Abu Sayyaf, who remain forward and ruthless.

Their cause is still the same. Angry at the government atrocities against them and their fellow Muslims. What's changed is the number of bodies claimed in the name of it.
And the battle's just begun
There's many lost, but tell me who has won
The trench is dug within our hearts
And mothers, children, brothers, sisters
Torn apart
And besides, is it just me, but isn't the term 'defenders of Islam' trite already?

*Snippets from U2's "Sunday Bloody Sunday". Go figure.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Madness in Music.

I've been tagged by one of my favorite bloggers, Mud!

Random 10: (sets WMP on random mode)
1. Jamie Cullum – Twentysomething
2. Manhattan Transfer – Operator
3. Maktub – Baby Can't Wait
4. Manhattan Transfer – Birdland
5. Craig David – Hidden Agenda
6. John Mayer – Back to You (Acoustic)
7. New Stories – Highway Blues
8. Maktub – Give Me Some Time
9. Jamie Cullum – All at Sea
10. The Corrs – Hopelessly Addicted

1. What is the total amount of music files on your computer?
I don't know; we're on a shared network here, maybe around 20-30 gig? At home, around 3-4 gig.

2. The last CD you bought is:
Chicago – Broadway

3. What is the last song you listened to before this message:
For Now - Avenue Q (it's not really obvious that I like listening to Broadway)

4. Write down five songs you listen to a lot or mean a lot to you:
David Benoit - Linus and Lucy
Splender – Loneliest Person I Know
Switchfoot – This is your life
U2 – I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
Josh Groban – Mi Mancherai

5. Who are you gonna pass this stick to? (3 persons and why)
Soloflite – He's kooky and fun, so I think it would reflect on his music choices.
Sealdi – What do UP lit majors listen to?
Gigi – Her writing is fantastic; I'm pretty sure her musical tastes would be too.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Vignette #2.

Who: The Mother and I.
What: Genes, intelligence, and stupid men.
Where: Ayala, en route home
When: 12:45 am Saturday, February 12.

"Mom, I once read that children inherit their intelligence from the mother. Is that true?"
"Oh yes! Around 70 percent, if I'm not mistaken."
The road to the airport is smooth and serene at this time of the morning.
"So, it doesn't matter if I marry a smart man, right? I could just as well settle for a stupid guy and not worry about having stupid kids."
Laughter ensues.
"Then marry a handsome but stupid man, then."
"Oh, right, right. If I've got to marry, it might as well be for his looks. That way I can have smart and beautiful children."
Laughter is merry, all the way home.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Here's some live music to calm you down.

Live classical music, anyone? A call center company from the UK has decided to switch from canned pop music to classical music and pumping them out live as its "hold" music.

Don't get them wrong, though. The classical quartet is paid, and yes, they don't man the phones.

Here's my favorite quote from the article.
Universal Support spokesman Michael Jacobs said the idea of live hold music was about soothing the troubled breast of the technologically challenged customer. "It can be very stressful when your Outlook doesn't work or whatever. You want to throw the computer out of the window."
Indeed. I think.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Meet the Twentysomethings, part two.

I don't want to get up, just let me lie in,
leave me alone, I'm a twentysomething.*
When it comes to education, the article suggests that students end up paying more than what their degrees are worth. In other words, education has become more expensive, and with the jobs that twixters get right out of it, "seriously out of step with the real world in getting students ready to become workers in the postcollege world."

Take me, for example. I am a literature graduate from the other side of the fence. I work as a writer for an IT company. A far cry from being a professor (it goes with the degree) or a journalist, which I originally wanted to be. (but that's another story)

Because we take "education" in this country seriously, my parents paid around half a million pesos to ensure me of a degree that was mailed four months after graduation proper. It certifies that I am indeed "educated". And what's more, I don't owe the school anything in terms of loans or financial packages. Parents are not cash cows, I know.

It's a different story in the US, where most college students are pressed to accept financial loans instead of scholarship grants. The emphasis is on loans, and not grants. Now, writes Time, "recent college graduates owe 85% more in student loans than their counterparts of a decade ago, according to the Center for Economic and Policy Research." This alone makes it longer to pay off school loans and therefore longer to attain financial independence.
"Meanwhile, those expensive, time-sucking college diplomas have become worth less than ever. So many more people go to college now--a 53% increase since 1970--that the value of a degree on the job market has been diluted...To compensate, a lot of twixters go back to school for graduate and professional degrees. "
Going to graduate school seems a pointless waste of effort in the sense that the pattern is cruelly reinforced: to get better jobs and better pay, one must yet again avail of a school loan in order to go to graduate school, thereby piling up the already-huge debts and "pushing adulthood even further into the future."

To be continued. (again, I know.)

*Twentysomething by Jamie Cullum.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Meet the Twentysomethings, part one.

After years of expensive education,
a car full of books and anticipation,
I’m an expert on Shakespeare and that’s a hell of a lot
but the world don't need scholars as much as I thought.*
According to the cover story in the January 24 issue of Time Magazine, we never existed in the '70s.

What do you mean, we?

Twentysomethings. Thresholders. Twixters.

Here's an excerpt from the article**.
Michele, Ellen, Nathan, Corinne, Marcus and Jennie are friends. All of them live in Chicago. They go out three nights a week, sometimes more. Each of them has had several jobs since college; Ellen is on her 17th, counting internships, since 1996. They don't own homes. They change apartments frequently. None of them are married, none have children. All of them are from 24 to 28 years old.

Thirty years ago, people like Michele, Ellen, Nathan, Corinne, Marcus and Jennie didn't exist, statistically speaking. Back then, the median age for an American woman to get married was 21. She had her first child at 22. Now it all takes longer. It's 25 for the wedding and 25 for baby. It appears to take young people longer to graduate from college, settle into careers and buy their first homes. What are they waiting for? Who are these permanent adolescents, these twentysomething Peter Pans? And why can't they grow up?
I have a brother still in college, at 24 years. He has switched schools and majors so many times, I can't remember what his original course was. In my uncharitable moods, I privately call him a w----l or a sl-----. So what is he? A much-delayed Gen-Xer, or a freak of his time?

The article says otherwise. The years between 18 and 25, social scientists say, are a period where most young people put off their eventual road to adulthood.
Maybe I'll go travelling for a year,
finding myself or start a career.

I could work for the poor though I’m hungry for fame

we all seem so different but we're just the same.
The argument goes that twixters are "reaping the fruits of decades of American affluence and social liberation" and that this new period is "a chance for young people to savor the pleasures of irresponsibility, search their souls and choose their lifepaths."

Young, middle-class Filipinos may not have had decades of Philippine affluence at hand, but is it not more than enough to say that we embody a lot of these American traits?

The article says that others are worried, however, that twixters can't grow up, simply because they can't. "Those researchers fear that whatever cultural machinery used to turn kids into grownups has broken down, that society no longer provides young people with the moral backbone and the financial wherewithal to take their rightful places in the adult world."
Maybe I'll go to the gym, so I don't get fat,
aren't things more easy with a tight six pack?
Who knows the answers? Who do you trust?
I can't even separate love from lust.
Teri Apter, a researcher at the University of Cambridge, noticed that a high number of students after college were struggling. Otherwise well-adjusted and expensively-educated 23 year-olds "wound up sobbing in their old bedrooms, paralyzed by indecision." For parents and members of the older generation, this can come across as extremely weird behavior.

But Jeffrey Arnett, a developmental psychologist at the University of Maryland, says otherwise. He thinks that twixters are doing "important work to get themselves ready for adulthood." Bar-hopping, job-switching, and living with parents, anyone?
Maybe I’ll move back home and pay off my loans,
working nine to five answering phones.
Don't make me live for my friday nights,
drinking eight pints and getting in fights.
A striking part of the article took my interest. This is Arnett's thinking in why twixters are what they are.
In his view, what looks like incessant, hedonistic play is the twixters' way of trying on jobs and partners and personalities and making sure that when they do settle down, they do it the right way, their way. It's not that they don't take adulthood seriously; they take it so seriously, they're spending years carefully choosing the right path into it.
This could perhaps be the best quote of the article, or the most deluded nonsense I've ever had the pleasure of reading. I'm not sure that something that sounds initially confusing can turn out to be good advice. But the world is fickle, and time stops for no one. How much more leeway can the world give us?

To be continued.

*Jamie Cullum is a Twentysomething indeed. Lyrics, of course, are his.
**Idea for the blog post from the incomparable Dude.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Next Year, Baby.

Next Year,
Things are gonna change,
Gonna drink less beer
And start all over again
Gonna pull up my socks
Gonna clean my shower
Not gonna live by the clock
But get up at a decent hour
Gonna read more books
Gonna keep up with the news
Gonna learn how to cook
And spend less money on shoes
Pay my bills on time
File my mail away, everyday
Only drink the finest wine
And call my Gran every Sunday
Well baby they come and go
Will I do any of these things?
The answer's probably no
But if there's one thing, I must do,
Despite my greatest fears
I'm gonna say to you
How I've felt all of these years
Next Year, Next Year, Next Year

I'm gonna tell you, how I feel
Well, resolutions
Baby they come and go
Will I do any of these things?
The answer's probably no
But if there's one thing, I must do,
Despite my greatest fears
I'm gonna say to you
How I've felt all of these years
Next Year, Next Year, Next Year

- Jamie Cullum

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

A sour Apple?

Could someone have bitten Apple, Inc., off for more than he could chew?

Nicholas Ciarelli, who heads ThinkSecret, which is one of the web's most popular Macintosh rumor sites, shared at least two weeks before the company's official announcement details of Apple's iPod Shuffle and the revolutionary Mac mini.

Now Apple, Inc. has sued him, saying that he published information that Apple regards as trade secrets. According to the article in the Sydney Morning Herald, Apple is getting a lot of flak due to its decision.
"Apple has declined to comment except to say that 'our DNA is innovation, and the protection of our trade secrets is crucial to our success'. It also is showing no sign of withdrawing the suit despite the furore in the US media and on many internet forums."
It should be noted that Apple had threatened Ciarelli before over his disclosures on the web.

In his defense, Ciarelli has cited the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, posting on his website that "Apple's attempt to silence a small publication's news reporting presents a troubling affront to the protections of the First Amendment."

What is the First Amendment?
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
— The First Amendment to the
U.S. Constitution

According to the, without the First Amendment, "religious minorities could be persecuted, the government might well establish a national religion, protesters could be silenced, the press could not criticize government, and citizens could not mobilize for social change."

It also cautions, however, that there are difficulties corresponding with this freedom. "Most people believe in the right to free speech, but debate whether it should cover flag-burning, hard-core rap and heavy-metal lyrics, tobacco advertising, hate speech, pornography, nude dancing, solicitation and various forms of symbolic speech."

My view of the matter is that this is exactly the problem. Journalists, for example, can cite the First Amendment as protection against suit when the information published is deemed of public interest.

But is Ciarelli a journalist? The Sydney Morning Herald article continues that "with the internet allowing anyone with a computer to publish whatever they like without hindrance, who is a legitimate journalist? Nobody suggests Mr Ciarelli is either unscrupulous or malicious, but concerns are rising about whether the First Amendment should be used to protect everything, good or evil, that is crammed on to the internet thinly disguised as "journalism".

Doesn't Apple have a right to protect its interests?