Saturday, January 17, 2004

An Exhausting Day

I've been basically away from home yesterday, going to school to do some "chores" for my block, then boarding the MRT and LRT to get to Rockwell for the Sci-Fi Con. Of course my biggest problem with getting to Rockwell is that I have to walk from the MRT station to the Powerplant Mall, and EDSA is far from the healthiest places to do so. And this would be repeated on my trip home, where I blended in the darkness like the stalker that I am.

Booths All Over

Sponsors involved a Fully Booked booth (manage to get Robin Hobb's Golden Fool, and while Good Omens had a pretty cover, it was selling for P600+, a book which I can get for half that price), IBM, Neutral Grounds, Anito (and one of the cosplayers dressed up as one of their characters), and a stall selling VCDs.

The groups present there was Star Trek (with Enterprise as their main display), Star Wars, Matrix Philippines (new member), Highlander (new member), Arkham Asylum (new Lovecraftian member), AEGIS (my gaming group, which now has great displays thanks to Comic Quest), Harry Potter (there was this celebrity... forgot his name but he's on ABS-CBN, Gameplan, etc. dressed up as Harry Potter and a lot of girls were swooning over him), X-Files (almost invisible to me at their "hidden" corner), Tolkien Society (which Mr. Yapan joined recently), and Komikero complete with artist/writers like Gerry, Carl, and Budjette.

Costumes of Note

My friend Robert finally had his seminar about costume design after the long talks on Lord of the Rings. Of course Lord of the Rings seemed to have dominated the costumes of the day with a cast of elves, Arwens, and Ringwraiths. My friend's boyfriend even dressed up as Sauron and let's just say that he was towering over everyone else (Ramon even stole a snapshot). Gabe won second place as one of the Crazy 88, complete with mask and katana.


Of course all the while, I was helping out at Aegis, helping out some of the cosplayers I knew, introducing and meeting new friends (even seeing some old acquaintances), hailing taxi cabs for people, and stalking people in general. =)

Read more!

Friday, January 16, 2004

A Taste of Your Own Medicine

Vin was asking me if I did anything so far that I haven't done in the previous years, to symbolize the New Year. Apparently, walking the streets during New Year (complete with explosives blowing up in your face, smoke clouding your vision, and the carpet of ash in front of you) doesn't count.

Of course when we finally got to eat dinner at the Ramen House in Mega Mall, I told him if we could try the sake (so as to "do something new"). Vin reluctantly agreed, and we each got a bottle of sake.

Of course now I'm woozy but fear not, that hasn't stopped me from blogging.


No, it's not the sake giving me one but my blockmates. Take for example the text messages I received Thursday evening:

"Go to the Fil dept. at 9 am to see...."

"Meet us at SEC field at 9:30 am for the construction of..."

"Can I meet you at 8:30 am because we need the money..."

Honestly people, just because you think I'm not busy does not mean I'm not doing anything. And while I'm willing to help if any one person asks, you can't expect me to do all these things for various people at nearly the same time. At least not until I've perfected my cloning experiments (my teleportation experiments, on the other hand, are progressing...).


Also known as harakiri (but harakiri sounds more vulgar to the Japanese), this form of suicide apparently involves writing on your stomach the Chinese/Japanese character for heart (shin). A friend is supposed to be nearby and who will mercifully cut off your head once you've finished writing heart on your stomach (because carving on your stomach is painful, for those who don't get it).

In the 20th century, there was a rightist writer who attempted to commit seppuku. Or rather, she succeeded in writing shin on her stomach but her assistant/lover failed to chop off hear head in one go (because it's the 20th century, and 20th century Japanese don't exactly practice using the katana). The assistant eventually managed to kill his lover after, uh, several tries.

The Japanese constitution

Apparently, it's written on their constitution that Japan will not have an army, navy, or air force. However, they do have a land, air, and marine defense force. Oh, did I mention that only 1% of Japan's annual budget goes to defense? Never mind the fact that 1% of their annual budget is actualy larger than the income of a third world country in South East Asia like say, the Philippines.

Peaceful Elections

So far, the record of the "most peaceful election" in the Philippines is a death rate of 71 people.

I also neglected to mention that "cat and mouse" games are popular in the Philippines. In some of the more rural areas, people actually chase ballot boxes, and are in turn chased when they managed to steal them. And COMELEC has officially been declared unreliable.

Freedom Islands

Also known as the Spratleys, this group of islands is being contested by a number of countries, two of which involve the Philippines and China.

Again, it's another of those cat and mouse games as China lays down its markers on the islands, and Filipinos arrive and destroy those markers.

On a side note, we have military bases in those islands. Unfortunately, there was once an incident when a certain Filipino news reporter from GMA 7 was sent there by plane but the plane couldn't find the islands. They were running out of fuel and were lost. You can just imagine what this news reporter was babbling in front of the camera as she thought of her impending doom (which didn't happen).

Of course the follow-up to that incident was a bunch of reporters going to the Freedom Islands by boat (so as to avoid the disaster of getting lost via plane). On the way though, they met the Chinese fleet who fired a warning shot (boom!). The Filipinos fired a warning shot as well (pffft.). The Chinese fired a warning shot again. The Filipinos thought it was a waste of bullets to fire another warning shot.

So there it was, a stand-off between the Chinese navy and the Filipino ships with reporters. Normally, after the warning shots, both groups would depart to avoid an incident. Unfortunately, the Filipino ships had engine problems, which meant they couldn't leave. Obviously, with their pride at stake, the Chinese navy couldn't leave until the Filipinos left. So the two sets of ships were standing there, one of which was waiting for the other to leave, the other one probably wanting to leave but could not leave.

Nuclear Free

Apparently, it's in the Philippine constitution that we will not possess nor use nuclear arms. Not that we could afford it... (well, unless someone attacks our nuclear powerplant which no one is using).

Read more!

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Compare the Lengths

As a supplement to my earlier post, here's a sentence in Chinese, English, and Pilipino:


Today is not my birthday.

Hindi ko kaarawan ngayon.

Read more!

For those of you into web design, you might want to look at these links for your color needs:

Nutrocker's Web Color Chart.

At this site, download the nHue.gif and nValue.gif.

Read more!
Moments You Wish You Were Elsewhere

My Pol. Sci. class just started when my seatmate started having an asthma attack. The teacher asked if there was anyone who could accompany her. I hesitated but a second (because anyone willing to assist her would have stood up during that brief moment) and stood up to accompany her.

Now don't get me wrong. It's not that I don't want to help the person. It's more of because I'm unqualified. I mean what can I do when someone's having an asthma attack? That and I didn't want to miss my teacher's lesson.

Accompanied my seatmate to the restroom. The female's restroom that is. See my point in being useless and unqualified? Obviously, I can't go into the female's restroom and make sure she's okay (but I was by the door, in case I hear her suddenly collapse).

When we came back to the classroom, the teacher told an anecdote probably relating to my seatmate having an asthma attack. He was on his flight to Bangkok, taking the morning flight so that he could enjoy the night life, but a passenger suddenly had a heart attack and they had to go back to Manila to bring him to the hospital and save his life (he eventually got to Bangkok early morning the next day). Of course the moment they landed in Manila, the first concern of the companions of the man who had a heart attack was where would their luggage go.

The Longest Constitution in the World

I think I already mentioned before that the Philippines has the longest constitution in the world. To prove a point, my Pol. Sci. teacher brought out the Japanese constitution, all of which was neatly written in a Japanese fan (back to back, small font, for those who are curious). Of course to our credit, Japanese (and Chinese!) text is shorter (length-wise) to write than the English language. (For example, France is written as 法国.)

Fast Reading

For simplicity's sake, I'll move on from Japanese characters to Chinese characters (a significant number of which is part of the Japanese use as well in their language). Chinese characters are faster to read than English characters. Years of watching anime subtitled (in either English or Chinese) has shown that to me.

It begins with the fact that Chinese characters are much like symbols. With English, you have to read the word one letter at a time (e.g. w-o-o-d). With Chinese, you take one glance at it and you either know it or you don't (e.g. 木 the Chinese character for wood). To put it in another way (or for those without unicode installed in their browsers), reading in English is like reading the number one (o-n-e), while reading in Chinese is like seeing the number 1 (1). While both convey the same meaning, your brain translates 1 faster than o-n-e.

Another factor in the reading speed is the number of syllables a word has. For example, there might not be much difference between reading 1 and o-n-e but there's a more noticeable difference when we use a higher number, such as seventeen. Read the word in your mind: se-ven-teen. Compare when you see "17". The meaning of "17" occurs faster than the spelled out se-ven-teen. At least that's for comprehension. Chinese characters take it to another level because each word has one (Japanese Chinese characters have anywhere from one to three) syllable (or two for compound words). For example, in English, we have per-son. In Chinese, 人 or ren (forgive me if I don't put the appropriate pronounciation, because in Chinese, there's five ways to pronounce a word, much like "maragsa" and "malumay" in Pilipino).

I'd also like to note that for the same reasons, reading in Tagalog words can take longer than reading an English word because Tagalog words tend to have more vowels (which in Tagalog is synonymous with syllables because unlike English, we read syllables as they are; for example, oo is read as o-o and not oooooooo, or Ta-ga-log and none of those -ou in English like "pour", "sour", etc.), which is something to take into consideration when making your layouts (because honestly, reading long lines with a lot of syllables is difficult to read).

A Better Memory

Of course a disadvantage of the Chinese language is that you really have to memorize all the Chinese characters and all their possible combinations (for compound words), whereas with English, there's just twenty six letters to remember and the specific sequences they come in.

So my friend asks me this question: "Does that mean that Chinese have better memory than other people?".

My initial answer was that strictly speaking, not really. Just because one manages to know Chinese (and if one lives in a place [and exposed to it at a young age] where one uses and speaks a particular language, one will eventually learn that language) does not necessarily mean that that person will have a good memory (such as memorizing the multiplication table, etc.). And also, learning Chinese is a step by step basis and not an arbritrary system of characters. For example, using the symbol analogy, one could memorize all the road signs in any particular order. Memorizing "no U turn" first before "no left turn" makes no real difference. In Chinese, however, there is (it is a systematic to be a language, after all). While Chinese characters involve symbols of various sorts, there are "root characters" which are like root words and more complex words use a variety of root characters (which sometimes hint at the meaning of the word). For example, 木 (mu) stands for wood. When you take the same character and put it side by side, such as this, 林, you end up with lin, which stands for forest (I hope you get the transition from wood to forest). Basic education involves teaching those root characters, and as students get older, more complex characters are introduced and even characters with multiple root characters (one way to distinguish a root character as a word in itself from a character with multiple root characters is the spacing and size... I mean 木 looked smaller in 林).

So while I am right in the fact that just because one knows Chinese does not necessarily mean one has better memory in other aspects, I do think that the brain of your average Chinese person has more folds in the part of the brain involved with memory, compared with say, your average American.

Of course now when I think about it, Chinese education uses other mnemonic devices. The abacus, for example, is the "Chinese calculator" but it's far from the calculator in which we just input the figures and it computes for you. Rather, the abacus is just there to aid you in memorizing and does not perform the actual computing (that's still left up to you, but you have a "marker" of what you've already counted).

So perhaps indeed, I was wrong and Chinese do have a better memory than other people, because of the various forms of education that rely on memory they receive (and not solely because of their language).

It's Not Really Surprising

There was once a survey that showed that the average Japanese person can finish reading the phone directory-thick weekly manga in Japan under an hour. For me it's not phenomenal, because of the reasons mentioned above. Japanese (and Chinese) is not English, and words aren't read one letter at a time (well, it's only half-true in the case of the Japanese). Their language also enables them to convey a lot of things in as little volume as possible, so reading long texts are not as intimidating.

But one really has to admire a nation whose entire constitution can be written in a simple fan.

Read more!

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

So Far...

...attemps to garner comments from people have worked...

Moving On

After carrying a number of heavy furniture for my block's play, had to commute all the way to Podium with my very heavy bag as a favor for Elbert since he asked me to get him tickets for Thursday's screening for Return of the King.

Unfortunately, Podium only handles ticket sales for the day itself. But currently they're accepting reservations via phone, for those who are interested.

4 Jollibees

Apparently, Mega Mall has 4 branches of Jollibee. A tad bit too much in my opinion, but then again, I'm the person who walks from Virra Mall to Mega Mall. So...


Yaoi Con

Read more!

Monday, January 12, 2004

A Slow Death

I'm far from the healthiest person around and for the past few days, my breathing has been clogged and a lot of phlegm that's supposed to come out of my nose has been diverted to my throat. Right now, I'm only breathing through one hole in my nose.

Of course if there's one reason I'm tempted to move to another country, it's due to health reasons.

Abroad, the air is slightly cleaner, which means I can breathe normally and even induldge in my foods that cause me allergies (i.e. chocolate).

For Dean

Here is a link to the picture you wanted from the previous con. Got it from a friend.

Read more!
Bye Bye BTS

If Dean and company lost the leisure of Country Waffles, well, Katipunan shares a similar fate.

Gayuma (literal translation is "love potion" or aphrodisiac), known for their chocolate cakes (with layers upon layers of chocolate) called BTS (Better Than Sex), got burned down.

Which means some people won't be tasting BTS for their birthdays.

It Was Fate

I knew there was something bad going to happen today, because I have this superstitious belief that everytime I masturbate, God punishes me the rest of the day for doing so.

Began the day by getting my transcript of records, but apparently I couldn't get it because my first semester grade in English 11 is incomplete. The story that comes with that was during finals week, part of the requirement was to submit a paper. I did submit the paper but it got lost somewhere and I didn't find out until sometime near enrollment. Since the teacher knew I was "the type that submits on time", she gave me the benefit of the doubt and gave me an incomplete grade instead of an F. Of course some people get all the luck that in case of doubt, it's an automatic A. Anyway, that was four years ago and I thought the registrar would have cleared it up by now (my grade is supposed to be either an A or B+) but I guess not.

Then there's also the fact that my last class, which happens to last for three hours, was a free cut.

In Other News

It's really annoying that my blockmates expect you that just because you aren't doing anything (for the group), you're not busy. Which is partly true but since everybody else assumes you're free, everybody starts assigning you tasks to do.

Take for example last week. It was suddenly appointed to me to inform the entire Filipino department and invite them to the poetry reading on our book launch. And in the same day, I'm asked to sign-up for ticket sales, sell P400 worth of tickets, help build and paint the set of the play, and manage the electronics and energy consumption requirements of the show. (Naturally, the people making these requests aren't coordinating with each other, much less taking the time to ask if I'm actually free.)

Oh yeah, duty at the ticket booth today involve sitting behind an org selling tickets to the "premiere" of Last Samurai and the trailer kept on getting repeated over and over again (Tom Cruise: "What do you want from me?" Japanese Guy: "What do you want for yourself?").

Factoid of the Day

My brilliant Pol. Sci. teacher did mention that in Hawaii, there's this island that has a really high volcano so much so that there's actually snow which you can ski on. So yes, you're by the beach enjoying the sun in the morning, and by the afternoon or evening, you can go up to the resort and ski.

Read more!

Sunday, January 11, 2004

Thinking is All I Can Do

Because at the moment, there's a build-up of phlegm in my throat (which happens every now and then) so speaking isn't one of my strongest skills right now.

Of course me being be, I'm cramming my homework for Pol. Sci. in which, among other things, I have to come up with a plan to build a stronger sense of nation.

In other news, I'm selling tickets to my department's play on Jan. 21 for P80 each. I doubt if any Pinoy Otaku people are still reading my blog (because most of them have abandoned their own web logs and I haven't heard from them since *hint* *hint*) but if they are, I really encourage them to watch the play, if only to see Mia in black leather and smoking a cigarette.

Read more!