Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Rewards of Persistence and Smart Buying

My brother once commented that when it comes to buying gadgets I am very hard to please. This is, of course, with very good reason. I buy gadgets based on a need and it must meet a certain criteria. You have no idea how frustrating this compulsion can be.

My last 3 gadgets were chosen with so much scrutiny that even a few days after purchasing them I still suffered from buyer's remorse.

These were the following gadgets I acquired during my stay here by order of acquisition:

Toshiba Satellite M200-E431

I can honestly say I committed the one cardinal sin of not researching on the Internet about this but it was educational and a little too late. Being a PC enthusiast, I have never dreamed or planned on owning a laptop in my life. Remembering the days of my manipulative employers back in Cebu, owning one of those was career slavery. It would be just their excuse for me to work from home when I should be doing something else - like having a social life. I decided that I still needed one for my boring life here in Manila. It was literally a whole new scene for me. I needed no reminder that although a laptop and a PC were both computers they were completely different in their own right and choosing a laptop threw away all my EXPERT knowledge on the subject on PCs.

I was lucky enough to chance upon a laptop installment promo for the month of March. This was where my meticulous habit of choosing gadgets started kicking in. I place my decision solely on how much I wanted to pay in a month. Given the prices in the store, I settled for a maximum of 5,000 pesos per month for twelve months. Defining the budget then enabled me to decide on the product. Given the less than satisfactory after sales services for electronics here in the Philippines and coupled with the pathetic specifications available for sale I was already frustrated. It took me at least two hours to choose a laptop and that was AFTER I spent the night browsing through their catalogue. Honestly, at the prices laptops were sold in the Philippines I can get one in the States at twice the speed and half the price. If you were to choose the same lappy here it would cost twice as much and half the services, priveleges and perks.

Anyway, given the features I need and don't need I was able to make a sensible decision on the Toshiba Satellite. The only thing I wished it had was a matte finish. Given my clumsy nature and oily fingers the thing would be a mess.

A touch of style for my vanity; A touch of power for my programming and graphics uses; A good screen that's not a strain for long usage; A comfortable keyboard; And, all the capabilities for wireless convenience. Of course, I'd wanted a PC card slot so I can use my landlord's Internet card. How, oh, how could I ever download my beloved porn if I don't have Internet?! ;)

This unit fit perfectly into my needs. heheh...

My rule is simple:

1) A fixed price

2) Specs to fit for the price with only minor trade offs to live without.

Playstation Portable

This gadget was spawned from my initial decision to buy an iPod with one of those JBL speakers. A majority of my friends have suggested a PSP instead due to its gaming capabilities. Being a PC gamer the PSP wasn't exactly at par with my taste in games but in the end I found myself buying one and found the games quite addicting. They were very useful in passing away the time. On top of that, it can double as a media player for my MP3s and movies that I don't have time to watch at home. Did someone say porn? :D

Creative SE2300 Bluetooth earphones

I always thought if you wanted to buy a gadget it should be universally useful for its intended use. It was hard to find a cheap bluetooth headphone let alone one that doesn't have a microphone. The requirements were simple:

1) Bluetooth headset

2) No mic

3) Not gadget dependent (exclusive for iPod or other shit like that)

The day I started hunting one down at SM Megamall I was nearly suckered into buying a JBL Bluetooth headphone for 13k. The oblivious saleman who claims to have previously owned a psp confidently claimed that a PSP had BT capabilities. What the fuck?! The PSP specs does not mention of a Bluetooth capability I don't usually argue about these things because I really hate being right about bad things. I hate being right. For some strange coincidence I saw a small stall for Creative Labs in the trade hall. I asked them if they had the BT headphones they had in their site. Sadly, they didn't have it but they did refer me to their other stall in the lower ground level. There it was, a small cabinet as well. But what really shocked me was just on the lower shelf and obscured from view was the SE2300. I couldn't believe my eyes! It was like seeing a Ferrari being parked in a shady province! This was after the saleman said they don't have BT headphones. I admit I nearly gave up that day and I originally didn't want to go to their lower stall. I didn't give another blink about buying it. You can't find shit like that anywhere else - even with the rare brands I listed down and found on the gadgets floor! My search ended.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Office Bully

Maybe I'm just being paranoid or it's that inherited attitude of mine that no one is trustworthy around me but it appears there always one unpleasant person in the office that seems to get on your nerves. The office bully.

Why is it every time I visit the whole experience always fit within the profile they have defined? Again, this also leads me to believe that the site may be full of shit and that it is there to draw people and agree to vague points that they can relate to. Hell, any person could probably read that site and say with unflinching confidence that I fit the profile. Then again where I end up working isn't always MY COMPANY to begin with so I could conclude that I do not fit the profile on grounds that I don't belong there. A general rule is that if you have no plans on sticking around you can just bend over and take it up the ass. Period.

There have been some incidents that have happened on more than one occasion that it would be too conspicuous to ignore. On more than one occasion some external factor has caused a screw up on some aspect of their office politics that I am, by some twisted logic, at the receiving end of the screw up. Let me put it in a statement that I can connect but never understand. If a plane crashed through your floor, it would still be your fault that your job was not done on time. These people like to project an image that their clients aren't human beings, which is ironic since they apparently end up projecting that image on themselves. Most of all, I don't even care if the client is pissed or dissatisfied! Oh, the corporate life. (rolling eyes) I don't deal with unreasonable people. What was even more pathetic was that these clients find them pathetic too! There are more important things in my life than worrying about what the other guy thinks.

I really don't mind taking the heat since I have been paid a generous sum by the agency to act like a blithering idiot for their clients but what I can't stand is the fear-mongering these retards try to instill that is akin to a teacher scaring the bejeezuz out of little children. Now, if for some reason, these oblivious ignoramuses lock me in a room with no light, no windows and no access to porn I would have at least a pinch of fear. But to use old people from some god-knows-where-country to intimidate me is just plain CHILDISH. I'm not exactly sure if that tactic actually works because I never heard the end of it. Then there's also this "escalate" word that I hear quite often. Do they find the building elevators inconvenient? I am technically not part of their company. They know it and I know it. So what's with the fear-mongering? Perhaps they're used to getting their way through this method? Perhaps I am not "one of them" that's why they think they can manipulate me. Perhaps it's because when I screw up the entire company can blame it on my agency? Good thing I'm not part of a assassin agency or the building would be gone before lunch break. ;)

Before we continue I'd like everyone to understand that there's nothing to fear but the fear-mongers themselves. For all aspiring professionals wanting to come here, I would like you all to know that big name companies here are not exactly "big" names here because right next door is the competitor and the competitor of that competitor. In short, these people are a dime a dozen. Hell, you can literally make a career out of skipping jobs! So don't be afraid. Take the leap of faith.

Okay, back on topic. Is it because I am Bisaya? Perhaps these people forget that they are the minority in this country. Other people built this city for them. Hell, I don't even bother to refine my knowledge in speaking their dialect because it is completely useless. What for, when two-thirds of the time I meet someone on the street who speaks my native tongue!

God, I really hope the rest of the investors move to my city - or any southern province for that matter - so we can really see how big the shit will be when it hits the fan.

I came to this city with no expectations and with the sole purpose to accumulate some experience in my profession. I have kept a low profile and never even bothered to keep close personal ties with people I have met here. Yet some ass-kissing workaholic with no social, love or sex life bothers to take out their frustration on me by weeding me out trying to cause trouble.

I came here with no expectations and by myself but I never said I am alone. If they want trouble from me they will find more than they can handle.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Realities in Aging

It's probably my mid-life crisis that's getting me. The time when you look back on the things you did and didn't do. It's the time when you're stuck with what to do next.

Back in the 80s I used to wonder in amazement at the people around me - the same way my nephew now looks at us with the same interest in his eyes. I watched the once beautiful people around me wither with age I begin to realize that I am destined for that same fate as I also saw lives come and go before me. Why can't it be just like before when everyone around me was young and beautiful?

It's in these times of overwhelming reality - bloated by a growing world - that I begin to reminisce about the past life I once had. I sometimes find myself looking back at the times at how small the world was; the time when I didn't have to care about getting a job or about money; the time when there were only few people in my city that when my dad took me to ride a jeepney the drivers would recognize who we are and where we'd typical want to go. Now nobody knows each other anymore.

I used to remember my mother being young and beautiful and my father used to play with such vigor that a 40-year old could have. Much of our simple life was spent together in such simple joys in a world where the roads were smaller, the sun was milder and the sound in the air was quieter.

I still have fond memories of running around in my underwear and enjoying the warm sun in the morning. At noon, the air would begin to smell like cooking oil in preparation for the lunch later on. In the afternoon, I would begin to hear the idyllic sounds of radios tuned in to the AM stations. They were the form of entertainment by the housemaids. We didn't have the Cartoon Network back then so renting beta tapes were the "in" thing. The world was much bigger then.

My family also loves watching movies. Faces of the skinny but attractive people on the silver screen immortalized on film never seemed to age but as I grew older so did they. Immortality was just a frame on a camera but the medium does not live forever.

As I aged, I saw the people I knew breathe life into new souls and see those new souls grow into human beings - the future strangers of my city; future heroes; faces with no names; and, lives with unknown directions.

I still long for the simple life. Whatever the reason may be I am glad that I wasn't in a hurry to grow up. I enjoyed being a child. Where I stand now, I'd trade all of this away for the simple life I once had.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008


It's one of the ironies of life. The one moment you want the most and Mr. Murphy wasn't going to just hand it over to you. I'm talking about my elevator irony. You are on your way to work and the elevator just had to stop one floor before your designated floor. You just had to strangle the bastard through the door and move the elevator one floor up!

In my case it was early and I was still on my way to work and one of the typical disgusting experiences I have while riding the elevator just waddled her way into the elevator with only one floor to go. The bulging five foot nothing woman stood in front of us eclipsing the doors. I was afraid that if anything happened to us in the elevator this planetary body out of orbit would be the very death of us whichever way the elevator fell.

Finally, my floor arrived (Freedom!) and FOR-THE-LOVE-OF-ALL-THAT'S-HOLY this over-sized bowling ball went out with me. What the fuck?! You bugged us all for one fucking floor?! It's no wonder this anomaly of human mass and density exists! She can't even use the damn stairs for one lousy floor and she desperately needed the exercise! By the She-Hulk look on her face I can only cringe in assumption that she's not as bit as happy with her hideous predicament.

Is there a hidden rule somewhere that weighing at an unknown exponential value gives us the constitutional right to be assholes? It has always been my subjective opinion that being overweight is a matter of choice and not some damn disease that needs to be treated as what researchers are trying to do. You give lazy people an excuse to be lazy and they might as well find ways to just remove our brains and put them in some machine and make the sole purpose of humanity think. Not a pretty sight, ey? Why don't they just go back to finding the cure for cancer like they originally did?

I just wanted to scream "use the fucking stairs you fat lazy bitch!"

Monday, July 07, 2008

Life in America? A translation from the famous essay.

Okay, I haven’t written something mildly amusing reflective of my dark and bitter sense of humor that is in total disregard for human emotions for some time. I always waited for nice topics and opportunities as Triumph the Insult Dog would say, “to poop on”.

I was forwarded this email about the delusional life of the American Dream. The amusing points in this message sort of brought balance to the nosebleed I was having trying to decipher Tagalog – not one of my favorite dialects! I honestly can’t say I’m surprised with this one.

I was inspired to mimic this post while searching for other occurrences of this email on the Net. Yes, I know, “plagiarism is a clear sign of inferiority”.

So for the benefit of the non-Tagalog speaking readers out there I will try to translate this message to the LEAST of my abilities - exaggerated and blown out of proportion for mass hysteria.

Hay, Buhay America!
Lahat ng sinabi niya nakakatuwa at totoo.

Akala ng mga tao na nasa Pilipinas kapag nasa America ka akala nila ayos na at madami ka ng pera. Ang totoo, madami kang utang, dahil credit card lahat ang gamit mo sa pagbili mo ng mga gamit mo. Kailangan mo gumamit ng credit card para magka-credit history ka, kase pag hindi ka umutang o wala kang utang, hindi ka pagkakatiwalaan ng mga Kano. Pag wala kang credit card, ibig sabihin wala kang kapasidad magbayad.

People from the Philippines think that if you are in America they think that you are filthy rich. Nah, we're just filthy. In reality, the “white boys” are broke! Deal with it! You have to borrow money to be trusted with money. Hell, I don’t trust people with anything higher than 100 pesos would you trust ANYONE at all in the States who have a good credit rating with $1,000?! Hell, you need that money too! Why would want to lend anyone YOUR money or vice versa? To them, it’s a good thing to be in debt. It is my understanding that the majority the American populace want you to be just as broke as they are.

Akala nila mayaman ka na kase may kotse ka na. Ang totoo, kapag hindi ka bumili ng kotse sa America maglalakad ka ng milya-milya sa ilalim ng init ng araw o kaya sa snow. Walang jeepney, tricycle o padyak sa America.

They think that your wealth can afford you a car. They buy a Lexus, Mercedes or BMW. In reality, certain Filipinos who end up in the States also end up with swollen egos. To show off their financial success they culminate their financial stability by buying the car that looks best when you take pictures of you in it. The rest of the five years of their miserable life is dedicated to paying off the $25,000 car they showed off. Of course, you don’t take pictures of it after 2 years because it’s going to start looking like shit. Now in the States I can clearly understand that you simply cannot walk miles and miles in the freezing snow or the blistering heat of El NiƱo without suffering from exposure. However, residential areas are not accessible by the usual mass transit that we have grown accustomed to here in the Philippines. There are no jeepneys or tricycles overloaded beyond capacity that can take you to every nook and cranny in the US. Forget taxis as they are expensive. That’s why it isn’t a surprise to hear about people getting “lost” for years in the US. If you're single, no car means no chicks and, thus, no fucking for you. Oh, wait, that's the same here in the Philippines too! :O

Akala nila masarap ang buhay dito sa America . Ang totoo, puro ka trabaho kase pag di ka nagtrabaho, wala kang pangbayad ng bills mo sa kotse, credit card, ilaw, tubig, insurance, bahay at iba pa. Hindi ka na pwedeng tumambay sa kapitbahay kase busy din sila maghanap buhay pangbayad ng bills nila. Kapag hindi ka nakabayad ng bahay o apartment magiging homeless ka. Buti pa sa Pilipinas ang mga squatter ay may sariling bahay kahit na sapin-sapin o takpi-takpi.

They think that life here in America is great. To take the quote of Bill Gates’ Rule #10: “Television is not real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.” So you can kiss your Starbucks-moments-pretending-to-be-someone-important goodbye! You still have bills to pay and you can’t pay them by drinking a Frap. Honestly, I can’t exaggerate more on the homeless part. Informal tenants are still the same no matter what country you’re in.

Akala nila masaya ka kase nagpadala ka ng picture mo sa Disneyland , Seaworld, Six Flags, Universal Studios at iba pang attractions. Ang totoo, kailangan mong ngumiti kase nagbayad ka ng $70+ para makarating ka dun, kailangan mo na naman ang 10 hours na sweldo mong pinangbayad sa ticket.

They think you’re happy because you’re showing off pictures of Disneyland, Seaworld, Six Flags and god knows where. Of course, you have to smile for the camera and actually pretend you’re happy blowing off your entire year’s savings on a fucking vacation after which you’re going to spend the next year without food, electricity or water. On rare cases, it is a company paid vacation so you might have every reason to smile. Truth about this is that the company found out that you're working beyond capacity and, to ward off lawsuits, they HAVE TO let you loose temporarily. But for the rest of us who weren’t so fortunate enough to work for a company who pretends to actually have money to pay for their vacation this is consolation enough. Try not to be carried away about working for an “American” company. Most of them are broke. Hence, the need for outsourcing.

Lastly, if you are the usual squealing spoiled brat of a Filipino actor or businessman who got rich by robbing Filipinos in their hometown then you have the luxury to show off your cheap two-piece bikini (cheap by American standards) wasting daddy's money driving daddy's car and try to actually pretend to be one of the white boys.

Akala nila malaki na ang kinikita mo kase dolyar na sweldo mo. Ang totoo, malaki pagpinalit mo ng peso, pero dolyar din ang gastos mo sa America . Ibig sabihin ang dolyar mong kinita sa presyong dolyar mo din gagastusin. Ang P15.00 na sardinas sa Pilipinas ay $1.00 sa America , ang isang pakete ng sigarilyo sa Pilipinas P40.00, sa America $ 6.50, ang upa mo sa bahay na P10,000 sa Pilipinas, sa America $1,000++.

Akala nila buhay milyonaryo ka na kase ang ganda ng bahay at kotse mo. Ang totoo milyon ang utang mo. Ang bago mong kotse 5 taon mong huhulugan. Ang bahay 30 taon mong huhulugan. Ibig sabihin, kayod dito - kayod doon, alipin ka ng bahay at kotse mo. Hay, talagang mahirap ang buhay dito!

They think you’ve got a big paycheck because you’re earning in dollars. The truth is most people don’t understand the concepts of inflation or economics. The costs of items are directly proportionate to the currency. A pack of cigarettes, food, pussy or weed costs more in the US due to the higher value of the dollar. A house or a car here will take you just as long to pay here and in the US. So if I were to pop a tablet of ecstasy or hire a hooker I’ll take my chances here. Hell, Americans come for miles just for a taste of our women so I don't see why there is something they knew that we didn't. So let me get this through the thick skulls of deluded aspirants that there will NEVER be a case where you will be earning in dollars and spending in pesos! Deal with it!

If you haven't heard, the consolidated consumer credit card debt of the US of fucking A is already in the trillion mark. Congratualtations, you now have a contribution to it! You are a poor man with a house and a car that you can barely pay.

Madaming naghahangad na makarating sa America . Lalo na ang mga nurses, mahirap maging normal na manggagawa sa Pilipinas. Madalas pagod ka sa trabaho. Pag dating ng sweldo mo, kulang pa sa pagkain mo. Pero ganun din sa ibang bansa katulad dito sa America . Hindi ibig sabihin porke dolyar na ang sweldo mo, yayaman ka na, kailangan mong magbanat ng buto para mabuhay ka at manatili ka dito sa ibang bansa.

Many think of the American Dream especially occupations that claim to be “in demand” in the US. The Americans have already been disillusioned by the American Dream. Everyone who has ever been there knows that this is bullshit. The American Dream was a marketing ploy back in the days where America wasn’t America. These days they call it by different names: The Canadian Dream, The New Zealand Dream, The Australian Dream or The Singaporean Dream. The demand for people dictates where you will be going in the future. You are NOT in control!

Isang malaking sakripisyo ang pag-alis mo sa bansang pinagsilangan at malungkot iwanan ang mga mahal mo sa buhay. Hindi pinupulot ang pera dito o pinipitas. Hindi ako naninira ng pangarap, gusto ko lang imulat ang karamdaman at buksan ang bintana ng katotohanan sa ating mga mahal sa buhay, kaibigan at mga kababayan.

It is indeed a huge sacrifice for you to leave your homeland and your freeloading relatives behind. It is a huge sacrifice to no longer be able to disrupt the peace with your beer and videoke sessions. It is a huge sacrifice to be away from your drugs, women and sex that you enjoy in this country while getting away with it. It is not easy accepting the fact that you cannot buy pirated DVDs in your nearby Walmart because you actually have to pay $15 for the original. You can and you will got to jail for buying porn with your son! Money doesn’t grow on trees and the dollars in America are no different. I don’t want to destroy your deluded ambitions of the American Nightmare but the sad sorry truth is that all these points pretty much state the obvious. Stop the Colonial Mentality from propagating. America is broke! Stop adding to their problem! The Philippines is the real land of the free! There are no shortcuts in life!

Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!

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