Monday, November 29, 2010

1. Gifts from across the seas 2. My bedroom

Pam and Jill recently arrived back from the US and Japan, and Giff finally escaped the fridge that is Canada (LOL!) and they were so awesome they included me and friends in their shopping list.

I simply wanted a canvas tote bag from Dean & Deluca since I saw this blog post on The Sartorialist (which also ended up in the book), but when Jill took a photo and Pam modeled it, ay parang ayoko na, lol.

But seriously, Jill said it didn't look like it was worth US$45 and I agreed. Pam then tweeted me and kept me in suspense:

@ we got you something better than that dean and deluca choova! :D kamukha pa din pero we think you'll like it more!
I fully agree!!! :-)
Tatin pointed out that the buttons with the initials M & J also stand for Mon and Jason! :-D
I promise to always use this tote and refuse plastic bags whenever possible! (I still haven't solved the fast food takeout conundrum.)

But it looks like I can be more environment-friendly in the plastic cutlery department with this awesome Klipo set!

You can clip off the head from the handles and change them into spoon, fork, knife or chopsticks:

Sorry, iba-iba ang white balance ko, lol.

It's funny how my eyes actually widened more over this than the Marc Jacobs bag, lol! It's a Madeline bean toy!!!!

I super love Madeline as you can tell from this 2005 post. It's not clearly seen in this photo but she also has a satin ribbon on her head, lol.

Pam and Jill also brought us chocolates but I've eaten them so no photo, lol.

Giff gave this bottle of ice wine which is so pretty I'm not sure I can bring myself to drink it.

But since Giff swears by the taste, of course I'll have to eventually drink it and I'll probably reuse the bottle.

Since I was shooting in my room, I also decided to take a few pictures of my bedroom which I only got to arrange after six months of moving into our new apartment.

First, I love my sheets, and those stood for the background in the product photos above. I got them from IKEA and they're really inexpensive for 100% cotton, like HK$100 to HK$200 for a set (includes two pillowcases). Last weekend, I wanted buy new ones at SM, but quality sheets were running in the thousands! Ayaw ng wallet ko, so I'm getting more on my next trip to whichever country has IKEA.

Speaking of IKEA, kamusta naman ang floor lamp na HK$120 lang?!

I've had more expensive meals for two at McDonald's! I love this lamp because it's stainless, the stem is completely flexible, the base is chrome aluminum, and the head never gets hot to touch. As in you can keep it on for hours, touch the lamp cover and it remains as cool as the room temperature! Amazing!

If you zoom in on the left, you'd find another pasalubong from a year ago, this time, from my India-based friend, Pepe:

Ganesh is the lord of letters and learning so I think he deserves his place in my stack of books.

And yep, this is my entire wardrobe :-)

I have more shirts in the closet (which I've set aside until I lose my attachment to them) but these are basically my clothes that are in heavy rotation. I'm really taking that New York Times article on living simply/wardrobe frugality very seriously and I will definitely edit this further...

... except I bought this new shirt from Bench, lol!

My excuse is that I don't have anything in this color yet (it's salmon pink!) so I hope I am forgiven :-D I also looove Bench's bag this holiday season. It does sparkle!

Anyhoo, lapse aside, I've managed to keep my wall free of clutter (for now), except for my Fisheye No. 2 camera and watch, which I find to be a play on the relativity of time.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Freudian slip

Di ko kinakaya. Ewan ko lang kung out of context ba ito, pero ilang ulit ko na binasa—from the the New York Post's secular-leaning blog post on one extremely religious man (LOL!) to Time's cautiously written article on the same subject—pero ito talaga ang interpretation ko:

Callboys talaga ang concern natin, 'teh?

To illustrate his apparent shift in position, Benedict offered the example of a male prostitute using a condom.

"There may be justified individual cases, for example when a male prostitute uses a condom, where this can be ... a first bit of responsibility, to re-develop the understanding that not everything is permitted and that one may not do everything one wishes." (Agence France-Presse, Pope says condoms acceptable 'in certain cases')

But seriously, for the ultra-conservative and orthodox Pope, why would he suddenly create this—I've not other word for it—'excuse' to justify specifically, a male prostitute's what is now deemed by the extremely religious man as an act of accountability*? What of a married couple's decision to raise the number of children according to what they could only afford? Wouldn't it have been more convenient for the Pope to have justified the conscientious decision of a heterosexual couple than that of a gay person in the sex business? And wouldn't have it been more humanitarian for the Pope to simply say, "Use condoms to stop the spread of AIDS" instead of phrasing it with several clauses (and adding that wild card into the equation, the abominable gay!)—a web of verbiage that would further entangle the Catholic Church into debate?

It raises too many questions about the Pope's immediate concerns. Sigmund Freud, graciously hear us.

*of course, like the Pope ;-) I do find it endearing that male prostitutes care enough about their clients to wear condoms

Friday, November 19, 2010


"Kung plagiarism ang daming nagpa-plagiarize, you use the same typefaces all the time (If we plagiarized it we would have copied it en toto)," (Secretary Alberto Lim) said.

Ideas are underrated in this country. That was my first reaction after seeing The Social Network some weeks ago. From the movie, we learned that the Winklevoss twins, the purported brains behind the Facebook concept, received US$65 million just for thinking about putting up such a website—they didn't even have to write a single line of programming script or code.

I walked out of the theater with such great awe for the Americans—they have such a tremendous respect for ideas that paying millions of dollars for them is not such a crazy idea.

That concept is weak here, and being a third world country is no excuse; we pay celebrity endorsers millions of pesos. I used to be satisfied with how much the Philippine Daily Inquirer pays me for my contributions because I know it's slightly above industry standards. However, I got a good dousing of cold water when I was asked to contribute an article by an international publisher of airline magazines and I saw the paycheck: the difference was a whopping 1,500 percent. That's how much other countries value ideas, in my case written in paper, and in such an environment, one would really be inspired to create original work.

Here, where magazines often pay their writers with gift certificates (if they actually get around to paying them) and with freelance writers hawking their talents to outsourcing companies for as little as P1 per word, it's no wonder that there is little regard for authorship and people unapologetically copy and paste another person's work and pass it off as their own—original work is undervalued. It's seemingly becoming normal and ingrained in our national psyche that I can't even wrap my mind around it—case in point: aside from UP and DLSU, no other school has spoken out against the Supreme Court's blatant plagiarism; I can't get over that!!!

And now, you have the DOT Secretary with no remorse at all, casually dismissing what I find to be a serious offense. Maybe stoning plagiarists to death wasn't such a bad idea after all.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My take on the new DOT campaign is...

November 18, 2010

Of course, it then becomes a huge problem when the recently launched Pilipinas Kay Ganda logo turns out to be plagiarized.

Image: Twitter user @Rambuc

Comparing the two side-by-side, it is obvious that one copied from the other. You understand that, you dimwitted plagiarist?

* * * *

... that the new slogan is the least of our problems.

For example: did you know that a round-trip flight from Manila to my father's hometown in Batanes is 75 percent more expensive than a trip to Hong Kong? (I know there are ROI factors to consider but still; I find it frustrating for the domestic tourist.)

And there are the problems with cab drivers, public transportation and pollutionthose that make a mark on a tourist's first impression of the Philippines once they step outside our airportsand many others that I'd rather not name because we all know what we need to fix. I guess, my point is, for the Philippines, it's more than just a branding issue. Of course, a brand helps: let's bring on the adjectiveswow, amazing and kay ganda. I just don't get why people are so... angry over this new DOT campaign. 

What's wrong with "kay ganda" (so beautiful)? Granted there is nothing wrong with "Wow Philippines!", eh sa maganda naman talaga ang Pilipinas bukod sa 'wow' ito. Will tourist arrivals drop if we use this campaign?

I don't even know what Indonesia's and Vietnam's advertising slogans are but they are ahead of the Philippines in 2009 arrivals, with Cambodia, (My goodness, Cambodia!!! They only have the Angkor Wat! We have over 7,000 islands!!!) whose advertisements I haven't seen either, catching up way too closely. Malaysia is ahead of the pack with what I personally find as the most obnoxious slogan of allTruly Asia. (What makes an Asian country truly... um, Asian? It reeks of arrogance; I'm surprised Filipinos, who rile over the slightest of things, haven't filed a complaint at The Hague: "Sinong tinatawag nilang pekeng Asian?!")

So you really can't tell with these slogans; who knows? There is more to tourism than spurning catchy sound bites for moneyed travelers. 

Monday, November 15, 2010

Excuse me

I find it offensive that Floyd Mayweather, Jr. is being labeled a "homo." I've never backed down from a fight. I once faced a bully and smashed his head onto a flower pot. Call him as he isa scared guy.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Merry Christmas na by 1:43

I have to agree with Mon: this is way much better than the ABS-CBN Christmas station ID, lol. And the song's catchy too!

Thysz originally posted this on her Tumblr and when I read her and @elvinelvinelvin's tweet about the male camel toe in the music video, I just had to watch it for myself. And yes, the camel toe sings too! *chos*

She also lists poetic wisdom from the song that would make Pablo Neruda weep:

Your love for me is warm
And with you is where I belong
And you shine so bright in my life
Para kang parol sa aking bubong…


Ganito pala ang feeling ng paskong may ka loving
Three kings ang dating
Sarap ng monita La-christmas bonita Angel ka sinta
Pag-ibig naghahari My heart so very happy umaga hanggang gabi
Tayo’y mangagsiawit ng magagandang himig
Coz you and I We’re Pag-ibig

Because love is all about being hoisted up on the bubong and suspended indefinitely like a shining parol, right? Ü

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Oh, something random—let's discuss plagiarism!

"Plagiarism... comes from the Latin word that literally means 'kidnapping'—'plagiarius.' To plagiarize another person’s thoughts, expressions, ideas or creative work and pass it off as one’s own is, in effect, kidnapping in a different guise. And where the proof lies in the simple act of comparing the two works in question side by side—word for word and line by line—and concluding from there that one had indeed copied from the other, 'malicious intent,' whatever it is in this case, would not even be a question."

Open season, Philippine Daily Inquirer editorial, October 23, 2010

In my vocabulary (as well as my friends'; I sought their opinion), translating my blog post from Tagalog to English constitutes plagiarism. No self-proclaimed writer would even attempt doing so, that is, if they have respect for the word, 'writer.' (Even I find it hard to attach the title to my name; depending on the circumstance, I introduce myself as an editor or journalist.)

I mean, come on! *wipes off sweat from eyebrow with ring finger* If you were hit with inspiration by another work—whether that may be a song, a painting, an art installation, a novel, or a measly blog post by some measly blogger—just cite the darn source! If your ego's too huge to accept the fact, then good for you! Have some integrity and create—whip up something original—it's what writers do.

I understand the Supreme Court has legalized plagiarism but that does not mean people would no longer find it disgusting.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Working it and making it work

"There are times when I want to stop the world for a moment and ask certain people some probing questions, such as: All of these people are trying to get off the subway train. Why do you six people think you should enter before we leave?"

Introduction, Gunn's Golden Rules by Tim Gunn

It's the same question I ask myself whenever I use the elevator at our office buildingI don't understand the rush of those who bulldoze their way onto the lift when people are still trying to get off it. (What I do is bump them out of the way. That or I let them all enter and settle and just before the elevator door closes, I press it open and I make my way outside.) And don't get me started on those who wait for 5 minutes at the lobby, squeeze themselves among the crowd, even bumping off other persons to wait for the next lift, and lo!they get off on the second floor. (Our building's staircase is right next to the elevator.)

You'd think this is pretty much common sense but apparently, it is not as Tim Gunn has an entire book's worth of other etiquette rules that needn't have been written about in the first place. (Too obvious.) Hence, the only persons I know who'd probably have a life-changing epiphany after reading this book are the barbarians who probably won't even give it a second glance in a bookstore.

I'm hard-pressed to cite new things I've learned from Golden Rules and I don't mean to say that I've my Emily Post manners down pat. (My perennial excuse is that it's better for me to stick to my own business. Sometimes it makes sense although I'm sure the Dalai Lama would think otherwise.) In any case, I guess etiquette can be best summed up in one of Tim's chapters about being a good guest, where he underscored one's "dangerous sense of entitlement."  And the more I think about it, the more it made sense! That Mai Mislang incident was an example; she thought she was entitled to speak her mind, particularly on matters pertaining to lack of taste, beauty and class. One time, I gave a Christmas present to a friend; I heard no thanks from him, or even the slightest mention of an acknowledgment. (And I'm sure he received it.) Perhaps, he knew it was only natural that he was bestowed the honor and felt no need to be grateful. And the elevator people who get off after one floor? They feel important enough to waste your time; the same goes for habitual latecomers.

Whenever I encounter people who break the rules, I attempt to relax myself and think, "Okay Jason, let this be your lesson in tolerance." However, in a country whose government has gotten by on its citizen's collective stupor, that lackadaisical approach to living ("Bahala na!"), I cannot make sense of my self-imposed, pseudo Eat, Pray, Love need to stretch my fuse. I'd have more fulfillment if I could break their skull! (Among many other things, this country is lucky I am not its President; our prisons would be way much more spacious as there'd be more people roaming the streets with no arms and legs.)

On a different note, I wish Tim Gunn had written an autobiography instead. I found it more interesting to read about his childhood, his early struggles with his sexuality, and his decision to be celibate. He also dished out on celebrities, peers, ex Project Runway contestants, and former employers who broke etiquette rules as examples for his book, a fact which I found ironic and slightly disconcerting for a man whom I've always found to have only good words to say on TV. I suppose it's his way of breaking a person's skull.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Sweet 16

Nauuso ngayon sa Twitter yung #tweetyour16yearoldself na hash tag. Basically, you tweet what you'd say to... well, your 16 year-old self! Marami akong gustong sabihin, so dito na lang sa blog ko:

  • Binobola ka lang nya.
  • Binobola ka rin lang ng teachers mo.
  • Nope, wag mo na sya i-rationalize; hindi mo talaga kailangan i-calculate kung anong tren ang mauuna sa Point C.
  • Hindi mo rin kailangan i-calculate kung anong prutas yung unang babagsak.
  • Magbasa-basa ka naman ng libro, yung hindi required.
  • Sulat pa.
  • Seryosohin mo naman ang pagpili mo ng college.
  • Lalo na ang pagpili mo ng course.
  • Alamin mo nga ano difference ng "ng" at "nang"... wait, I'm telling this to myself now, lol.
  • Masyado kang guarded; sayang ang mga friendship.
  • Kala mo ang ganda mo, lol!
  • Pero overall, good job! Naks! :-D

* * * *

While writing this, na-realize ko, ang daming butas ng aking high school education. Parang robot yung pagkakaturo sa 'min; walang chance para ka mag-isip, magtanong, mag-explore ng mga possibilities. Buti na lang mahilig bumili si Mama noon ng mga hardbound at colorful na mga books on world history, sciences, etc. Si Ate naman na psychology major, at mahilig din magbasa ng libro, ay may mga books on human pyschology, biology at kung ano-ano pa. (Kaya bata pa ko, may concept na ko ng mga nagpapaka-emo or yung mga nag-iinarte langhay naku, dinedma ko talaga yang mga yan; ayoko silang bigyan ng attensyon ko. At ang mga Harold Robbins romance novels ni Ate + books on anatomyayun na!)

Kung hindi dahil sa mga supplement readings ko, at paglipat ko sa isang unibersidad para sa college, eh feeling ko saradong sarado ang utak ko sa maraming bagay.

Ganon din ba sa high school nyo? Ngayon kasi, pag nababasa ko yung mga tungkol sa Philippine High School for the Arts sa Makiling or Philippine Science High School sa Quezon City (na juice ko, di ko talaga pinangarap na mapasukan, pero since "Science" school, I assume eh, mas bukas ang isip sa pagtuturo ng mga sciences at hindi dinadaan lahat sa dasal), iniisip ko ang swerte-swerte ng mga estudyante doon kasi, in the case of PHSA, malalaman mo talaga kung san ka magaling and you have several years to grow your talent (and I think, secular school din 'to); at sa PISAY, eh wala kang religious baggage hanggang sa tumanda ka na. Nasasayangan lang ako sa taon na ginugugol ng mga bata... para lang maging robot.

Additional reading:
"Victims of Enthrallment," previous blog entry
"Don’t work. Avoid telling the truth. Be hated. Love someone," commencement speech by Adrian Tan at Nanyang Technological University

Tuesday, November 02, 2010


Voldy, I think we found someone for you.

I was close to tears (from laughter) after reading this column by Tingting Cojuangco on last Sunday's The Philippine Star. She wrote that she loves to people-watch, and took a swipe at one particular sub-group:
I nearly get bumped off my bench by—how shall I describe her delicately—a fat woman. 

Yes, why settle for dainty descriptions when you can just ram the imagery onto your readers, straight and simple:
There is no avoiding calling her that because she was really fat, as wide as three people at least. 

And then, after you've reconsidered your intention to be pleasant, why not just go ahead and be—how shall I put this delicately—an asshole:
I worry for her seatmates on the plane, and I wonder if it ever occurs to them to be sorry for being fat when they have to fit into an airplane seat.

Wow, what a roll! *applause, standing ovation*  But of course, like a good Catholic, she atones for her sin and brings up God because there is beauty in all of us:
People come in all shapes and sizes, in all personalities, moods, and character. I love to remind myself that in so much variety, we can only be sure of one thing—that there is so much good in every one of God’s creatures.

I find it all so... Damasonian.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows


I tried to delay reading the last book of the Harry Potter series as much as I could, but alas, with the release of the first of the two-part installment of the film franchise this month, I had to face the inevitable: my adventure with Harry Potter and his world would have to come to an end.

I have to admit that I wasn't an instant fan of JK Rowling's workthe very first Potter book was juvenile for my tastebut it wasn't difficult to be won over. For us adults, we've seen Harry and his friends grow up before us (including the actors for the movie version, long enough to see one of them, sadly, pass away, and for another to disrobe in public). I find the relationship strange: they're practically the only kids I have an emotional attachment with.

Deathly Hallows is the best book I've read in the series, making it more difficult to part with Potter and friends. I was disheartened by the amount of deaths in its pages, but it were the slivers of determination and hope—when wizards would rally around Harry Potter—that actually got me tearing up. (That line by Mrs. Weasley—I was laughing and crying at the same time; my eyes were red and puffy when I finally turned the book's last page.) Voldemort's rise to power, or the Dark Lord, as he was referred to by his followers, funny (or unfortunate) as it now seems, reminded me of what I know about the Nazis, and I couldn't help but think how JK Rowling's fiction was in fact, real life for the Jewish people during Adolf Hitler's regime. I hope adults would care enough to explain to their children that at one point in our history, "Voldemort" and his "Death Eaters" did reign supreme, and while resistance may have been slow to stop the death of millions, it wasn't just "one Harry Potter" that stood up against them but countries and their governments and citizens.

In the Philippines of course, there was a similar story: not as brutal as the Nazis' but the lives lost, though not the same in number, were no less important.

It is easy to dismiss the battle between good and evil as abstract; but to put it in these contexts, I hope we all see how important it is to choose to be on Harry Potter's side in all matters of life.

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