Tuesday, June 29, 2010

e-Passport

In November 2009, Cebu Pacific sold discounted air fares for such low prices that I decided to purchase tickets to Singapore for June 2010 travel even if I hadn't renewed my passport yet. (Think P1,500 for two, round trip.)

In January, the Department of Foreign Affairs fully launched its e-passport service—a much-needed upgrade to our green passport with the pasted photo and handwritten basic information. Since I have little faith in our government, I decided not to renew my passport so early into the service's introduction: I was sure it still had kinks to sort out.

In April, when I figured I had a free day that week, I decided to finally set an online appointment at the DFA website. My heart sank when I saw the next available slot that was open: second week of June. Even with rush processing, my passport would be delivered a day late for my flight.

And last week, that's exactly how it happened: my passport was delivered on release day itself (hurrah for courier service 2GO)...  or a day after my flight left for the lion city, lol. Alanis Morissette can practically add new lyrics to the song, Ironic: "It's like getting your passport when you've already missed your flight."

* * * *

In a report by Jerrie Abella for GMA News, it said that fixers are still lurking around the newly built DFA passport application center along Macapagal Ave. (Though to be fair, I didn't spot one while I had my turn there, whereas, in the previous DFA center, fixers were like termites that bullied and harrassed naive-looking applicants.) What's worse is that they are booking multiple appointment slots, which they in turn sell to applicants who need earlier scheds.

To put an end to this scam the DFA should not allow changes to the information submitted for the slots; and for the applicant, don't be stupid like me—apply months in advance.

Other than that, the process itself was a breeze. Though I did wait for an hour for my number to be called so I could submit my documents, I was at least seated in an air-conditioned room. And after that, I sped through the rest of the process—payment of fees, picture-taking and courier service—all in less than 10 minutes.

So now, I'm a holder of a much respectable-looking passport (go maroon!) with a photo that I won't be embarrassed about :-P

* * * *

Oh, and for those who will be using the courtesy lane via your government employee relatives, they must be your parent or wife/husband.


Monday, June 28, 2010

Sabbatical

So here's what transpired since I last blogged here, plus I few things I learned about myself:


  • I had to see three different doctors. (I'm fine and very much well now.)
  • I can't wear contact lenses for two weeks.
  • Itching due to an allergy is underrated—it almost broke my spirit.
  • It is stupid to pick something heavy with only your thumb and forefinger.
  • I changed apartments... two doors away from the previous one.
  • I am Internet-less at home because PLDT makes it really hard to transfer lines between apartments two doors apart.
  • Sky Cable charges P2,000 to transfer lines between houses of said distance.
  • So yes, moving is a hassle, even if your new home is right in front of the previous one.
  • I find myself involuntarily cheering out loud while watching the World Cup.
  • Our bidet is suspiciously beginning to sound like a vuvuzuela.
  • The World Cup will take its toll on my eyebags should Argentina advance up to the finals.
  • Lee Chul Hairkerker is a really, really funny name for a salon. Or for anything, for that matter.
  • I set up an appointment at Lee Chul Hairkerker. While nearing the place, I was thinking of backing out when I saw a super stylish Korean dude at the entrance. I thought he was a client so I decided to push through. He turned out to be the hair stylist the receptionist assigned to me.
  • Korean salons are awesome. I mean, I'm all for Pinoy pride but Koreans really do know their hair. I mean, did you see the South Korean players during their rain-drenched match with Uruguay? They were flipping their gaddamn hair like it was for a shampoo advertisement.
  • They are so awesome that for the first time, I experienced getting a shampoo right in the cutting chair. Then, while lathering my hair, the stylist ran a gigantic, vibrating brush through my scalp. It was orgasmic... except that it looked really funny as I stared at myself in the mirror.
  • A stroll through the home section of Rustan's can be extremely entertaining.
  • I mean, how can you not find an P8,000 trash bin so... fetching? It would look extremely gorgeous as I feed a banana peel to it.
  • Or, be captivated by life-altering inventions... such as a plastic bacon hanger.
  • And we thought SM got it all.


Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Not everyone is a jejemon

I couldn't believe the article We Are All Jejemons by John Teodoro because for a college professor, he wrote quite a lot of... crap. In fairness, he didn't write all of them; credit should also be given to Palanca winner Roberto Añonuevo, one of Teodoro's sources.

For the record, I have no problem with "jejemons" so as long as they don't use the language to communicate with me. I have enough problems editing reports and articles even with the words properly spelled out, thank you very much. I also have no problems with the Department of Education's campaign to eradicate "jejenese." We butcher spoken English well enough, and now, we're allowing our kids to butcher not only written English, but Tagalog as well?

Now, my problems.

Teodoro quotes Añonuevo, defining jejemon as "an anti-establishment movement."
"It was invented in order to subvert the power of authority. It developed into a sub-culture in order for a group of people to fight the dominant class by creating a new language which is really a code."

Teodoro then interjects:
"A subversive movement by whom? According to him (Añonuevo), by spammers and hackers—all IT experts—who want to control the world. Jejetype is nothing but a set of codes understandable only to jejemons, just like Morse Code which can only be understood by radio operators. I cannot help but think of all those 'IT experts' hired by politicians who lost in the last election in order to “probe and prove" that there was indeed election fraud in the first automated election of the country, much to the chagrin of the very handsome, despite being so harassed, Cesar Flores of Smartmatic. Maybe these IT experts are really top-rank jejemons out to play with the Comelec?"

He proceeds:
"In his blog www.alimbukad.com Añonuevo has this analysis of the jejenese: 'Ang mismong paraan ng pagsasakataga ng jejemon ay hindi basta paglalaro lamang ng salita. Ito ay mauugat sa Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) na pangunahing wika ng pagpo-programa sa Internet. Lumilikha ng sariling kodigo ang mga jejemon, at ang mga kodigong ito ay isang anyo ng paglilihim upang ikubli ang mga pakahulugan at paghihiwatigan nang hindi madaling maunawaan ng nakatataas o awtoridad, gaya ng magulang at guro. Sa madali’t salita, ang wikang jejemon ay hindi panlahat. Ito ay para sa isang uri ng subkultura na may angking konsepto at diskurso, at bagaman umiiral sa kasalukuyang realidad ay nakakayang tumawid sa mala-realidad na likha ng Internet at World Wide Web.'"

And later:
"I think another theory... that can explain the jejemon phenomenon is the chaos theory. It is a theory in the exact sciences like mathematics and physics that says there is an arrangement or pattern in chaos. Jejetype will look chaotic to the uninitiated or the grammar Nazis, but the fact that jejetypes can be read by jejemons is proof that there are hidden rules governing jejenese, making it intelligible to the jejemonsters."

Did these people actually interview jejemons? Jejemons are "spammers and hackers" (or who the author lumps as IT experts)? Have they ever met one? I cannot imagine a jejemon justifying his text messages as "anti-establishment" or "subversive." And if jejenese is this prevalent (see Facebook walls, Twitter posts and messaging boards), is it still underground?

The next problem I have is the assumption that jejenese may be rooted in HTML. Jejenese is not a complex language reduced in the simplest of forms as in our Internet source codes (fine, debatable) or Morse Code (as Teodoro suggests). Jejenese, in fact, forgoes minimalism, opting to go Baroque in its opulence of the "Hs" and "Zs"... or in Pinoy slang, barok. (Sorry, couldn't help it :-P) There is also no overt goal of keeping jejenese secret ("... ang mga kodigong ito ay isang anyo ng paglilihim upang ikubli ang mga pakahulugan at paghihiwatigan...")—anyone can read a jeje-word within a few seconds; there's no need for a decoding manual, but mere common sense. Inversely, anyone can write in jejenese: it's a choice. You can't say the same for HTML or Morse code. (So also, there goes the chaos theory.)

Jejemon is not in the same realm as gayspeak. Gayspeak is used for flair and drama: "48 years ka naman kumilos!"; to assert or announce one's identity: "Bakla ka ba?" "Pak!"; and in its infancy, as a secret code: "Ang BY ni kuya, o!" Now, that's an underground (now mainstream) language worth theorizing on, and I'm sure theses have been made on the subject.

So please, stop intellectualizing jejenese. (Twitter buddy raz_ambat said it best: "Parang college thesis ko lang :-)) Bigyan ng meaning ang wala.") These kids simply can't spell and communicate well enough in English, and are thus, attempting to create a language where they can excel at.

Teodoro argues:
"A jejemonster, when answering a written test in the classroom, is aware that the teacher giving the test is a jejebuster and a grammar Nazi. Why risk getting a failing grade? A jejemonster will automatically shift to academic, meaning mainstream, type of language."

Yes, a jejemon may attempt to write in the proper manner but I'll bet my Gap chambray shirt that the most prolific of jejemons will spectacularly fail in a spelling and English exam.

Teodoro concludes:
"C’mon jejebusters ang grammar Nazis! You have more worthwhile things to do like looking for permanent solutions to the perennial problems of classroom and textbook shortage, the absence of clean toilets, not to mention the overall decline in the quality of public education."

Why should jejebusters and grammar Nazis—now, let me do the lumping: editors, we call them—solve government problems, such as shortages in school facilities and clean toilets? Their expertise is somewhere else, and apparently, they are doing well enough to warrant this article from a jejemon sympathizer.

For the record, not everyone is a jejemon. I am most certainly not one. I will leave it to Emily Dickinson fans to speak for their idol. (The writer was unfairly labeled by Teodoro as one of the precursors of jejenese. Um, right.)


Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Buddha Banana x J.walking, lol

A few days ago, Ram of ME BUDDHA BANANA (*gasp!) left a comment on my post, My national costume for Miss Philippines, 2010 edition. He said he'd like to give my design some color and I got excited with the prospect because I tried doing just that through Photoshop and it was a major failure, lol.

Today, he e-mailed me the results and I love them, including the welcome editing!


I love the drama and especially the earring  -- Ram paid attention to the details, haha!



This looks so cute! I love the silhouette and how the stars and flag colors turned out. Now, I know that "V" is the international hand sign for peace, but I'm just not sure if Marcos used the same hand sign for when he ran in the snap elections against Cory? We need a historian here. Or maybe, she can just use a giant dove puppet? Haha.

Nevertheless, they look so adorable. Thanks Ram! :-D


Because it's too long for Twitter

Hasn't it crossed anyone's head that the more we entertain these allegations of cheating, the more Comelec and Smartmatic give away the security details of the CF cards, PCOS machines and hosting servers, and thus, the more these losing politicians are able to find loopholes and flaws, and consequently, find the means to cheat in 2016?

STOP ENTERTAINING THEM.

They don't even have hard evidences, just mere theories, which make it all the more obvious that they are just seeking those cracks which they may exploit in the next automated elections.

End of rant.


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