Saturday, July 31, 2004

Vampire Orchid

Eating is a social act as much as it is a biological act. While it is possible to eat alone, people usually prefer eating with company. It is usually during this time that people bond with each other. That’s why there are usually family dinners. Or why students share a table at the school cafeteria. Or even why coworkers invite you to eat out with them. Not joining them usually ostracizes you from the group. I’m speaking from personal experience. Because I’m a deviant, and people usually don’t see me eat, at least not in public.

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Friendly Book-Slut Reminders

For the whole month of August, Powerbooks will be on sale.

Aug. 11-15 will be the 25th Manila International Book fair, which will be held at the World Trade Center (not at Mega Mall anymore) at Roxas Blvd.

If I could buy every Filipino a good book, I would. But I can't so I'll just do the next best thing and offer to loan you any book I have (expecting it to actually get returned in good condition, mind you).

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Did you ever notice that some of the more popular cakes are those that have chocolate as an ingredient? Black Forest, Chocolate Mousse, Tiramisu, etc. all have chocolate components in them. Because of my chocolate affliction (I'm allergic to chocolate), I'm deprived of such luxuries.

All I have in the end is blueberry cheesecake. which is actually quite good and sweet. Blueberry also has that exotic feel. I mean we don't see blueberry everyday here in the Philippines.

There was even one point in time when I was looking for blueberry drinks. Unfortunately, they were only available in the US as a Kool-Aid flavor. If you also remember ICEE (the 80's equivalent of slurpee), they also served blueberry, but they disappeared along with the Greenhills Theater (the old one, not its Theater Mall reincarnation).

Right now, I'll have to settle with Dewberry's cookies (the blueberry one, not the other red flavor).

Blueberry ice cream... mmm. Perhaps in the near future...

Once Upon A Time

Once upon a time, there was a smart but annoying brat named Charles.

Charles had few friends, so he concocted devious ways to acquire them.

To beautiful girls he was attracted to, he gave gifts and surprises.

In order to lull suspicion away from him, he gave gifts equally to everybody else.

Unfortunately, it worked too well that everybody thought of him as a friend rather than as an admirer.

Charles now prefers a more direct, obvious, and blatant method.

(So if I come bearing gifts, it's not because I'm interested in dating you. If I am, I will say so, directly and without any attempt at exagerration or metaphor. Otherwise, it's just probably one of my many evil ways of conquering the world.)

P.S. Yes, I'm single. And no, I'm not courting anyone at the moment (I really wish I was... life would be much more interesting that way).

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Friday, July 30, 2004


"You can't con a good man" is what some con artists would say. While that's partly true, the more subtle and insidious acts involves good people.

Take for example loaning money. Who in our entire lives had no need to borrow money from someone else? The unscrupulous person would scam his way out of paying his debt, but the honest person would strive to pay in full the amount he owes the other person.

Long-term debt is an insidious way of taking advantage of a person. If I (pretending to be an evil megalomaniac) were to loan out a large sum of money over the long term, there are two methods to "earn" from this. One is to charge interest. The other is to gain leverage, but this kind of leverage is only possible through honest people. I mean selfish people would probably mutter "he's stupid since he's not charging interest that I'm willing to pay". The honest person, on the other hand, think that I'm such a good friend, and that he'll owe me a favor or two as a means of repaying the lack of interest (without mentioning it to me, of course). The other person might even be mad at me in the future or wants to pass on a profitable proposition to someone else, but since he owes me money (or owed me money at a previous time), he obviously can't take full advantage of that situation. He might behave himself when in front of me even when he's mad, or a business venture was presented to me instead of his other friends.

Money is concrete. When you owe someone something abstract (such as good will), it's easier to take advantage since there's nothing definable, and you're left with your conscience to put a price on the abstract matter. And whether it's humility, wishful thinking, or a respect for the social norms, good people usually overprice this intangible debt.


In this example, let us pretend I am really an evil person. Because the actions I am about to tell are things I really do, although the motivation is not (at least not too much, hehehe).

Example #1 involves treating people out. I can treat them to lunch, dinner, or merely buy them a gift. To supplement this example, the said person in question is someone I barely know. A selfish person would merely smile at my actions and would probably only associate with me in the future with the hopes of getting more freebies. However, a scrupulous person would think that I'm a nice guy, and would behave kindly towards me in the future. Some might even think that I must be repaid for my efforts, and this can take the form of free lunches in the future (at the cost of one free meal, I get several free meals in the future), or simply favors (such as introducing me to a friend of theirs that's my crush) that they wouldn't perform for people on an ordinary occassion.

Example #2 involves loaning something to someone you want to see, such as your crush for example. I could loan the person a book, for example. I immediately get two rewards for this. One is the sense of debt the other person feels, and while it isn't as much compared to giving a gift or treating them out, it's still there nonetheless. The other reward is the fact that I will have to meet the other person again, since they have a possession of mine with them. The latter, in fact, can take the form of a demand. I mean I can easily make an excuse of wanting my book back to force a dinner date with the other person ("you can return the book to me at tomorrow's party") for example. And unlike the free gift in example #1, I can choose and demand the reward I'm going to get (i.e. "Are you done with my book yet? Don't worry, you don't have to return it yet. Although it would be greatly appreciated if we could meet tomorrow for lunch perhaps. Or maybe you could loan me that comic of yours."). It gets even better if the said person is unable to return the object that you loaned, be it because it got destroyed while in the other person's possession, or it simply cannot be found (as is the case with many people who have messy rooms). The said person can either stall (in the hopes of the object popping up sometime in the future) and get stuck doing perpetual favors until the said item is recovered, or admit the loss, and make various promises and reparations (which translates to more good will and a sense of debt, especially considering the object wasn't given freely, and the loss of it wasn't planned [which is the case with gifts given freely]).

Example #3 involves making a good first impression. If I'm kind and generous the first time you meet me (and a few times after that), the other person will think that I am a good person at heart, even if I do selfish acts in the future. The person would always be reminded of the way I acted at the start, and will most likely think that I'm still that person, even though I've clearly changed. At the very least, I get the benefit of the doubt, and I can reap the rewards in case the said person rises to a position of power (such as a poor person suddenly becoming wealthy, and perpetually treating me out to lunch because I treated him out on our first meeting).

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Reluctant Heroes

If you're a reluctant hero, does that make you less of a hero?

Obviously, there are certain criterias that must be addressed. I mean if your only concern was the act in itself, then whether you were coerced into doing so or not makes no difference. Somebody who saves a drowning boy, for example, nonetheless saves a drowning boy, whether it was due to sincere concern for the person or because of a more selfish incentive (such as gaining fame, or impressing the child's sister).

There's also the fact that some people, whether due to too much humility or merely lack of self-confidence, would otherwise refuse to be a hero or take the position of a hero unless it is thrusted to him/her. That's not to say that they aren't capable, but would merely avoid the situation unless totally necessary.

When taking into account the mentality of the person, a more pro-active hero would be preferred over a passive one. But sometimes, too much of the former might change the person from hero to villain (which can be interpreted by some as Hitler's case, where too much nationalism became a vice), while some can take refuge in the fact that the latter only exists because it was necessary and no other options (which has a good chance of succeeding) were available (such as the case of the Philippine's first female president, Cory Aquino).

In the end, I'd like to think that a lot of us are reluctant heroes. We don't actively seek problems, but when faced with them, we do our best to cope with it and eventually overcome it. And when it comes to the welfare of our fellow human beings, we might not plan at the start to save this or that person, but end up doing so as a result of our actions in a particular scenario. Are we less of a human being for being so? No, definitely not. Are we Heroes? Well, that's probably best answered by our peers. Should it matter what they think? Personally, as long as I can live with my conscience, it doesn't matter whether I'm a hero or not.

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I'm not really that much a fan of strawberry. But since I'm allergic to chocolate, strawberry is all I have. I mean look at Sundaes, for example. There's only three choices available: chocolate, strawberry, and hot fudge (which is also a variant of chocolate). When it comes to milk shakes, there's also three choices: vanilla (which is okay but you get bored after drinking too much), chocolate, or strawberry. Even look at the Starbucks Frapucinnos. Originally there's chocolate, and only later did they come out with a variant of strawberry. So in the end, I'm stuck with strawberry.

I love cherry though. So feel free to make a cherry sundae, a cherry milk shake, and a cherry frap.

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Wednesday, July 28, 2004


NASA has a Death Star

Kreuk Talks Earthsea

Batman Begins Teaser

Spoiler For Teen Titans and Justice League Unlimited (and the 2nd episode of the latter will feature an adaptation of Alan Moore's comic of the Trinity [Superman, Batman, Wonderwoman])

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Xenophobic Chinese

It was mentioned by one of the guests at Straight Talk (who's acronym, interestingly enough, is STALK) that the Chinese community in the Philippines still carries their xenophobic ancestry with them. Which is why they usually don't want to mingle their bloodlines with Filipinos, for example.

Being raised by a Filipino-Chinese parents, I have to agree. My parents (and even some batchmates back from Xavier) perceive themselves to be superior.

And in a certain way, this also gives the Filipino-Chinese a certain drive. I mean when you're in a hostile environment, people tend to band together. Which partially explains why Filipino-Chinese tend to clump in groups and try to monopolize a certain area of business, for example.

Of course in the long run, xenophobia is bad. It resists change and adaptation, and if there's one reason why the human race has survived for so long, it's because of its ability to adapt (roaches, unfortunately, don't need to adapt).

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Tuesday, July 27, 2004


Have you ever wondered what life would be like if one aspect of you was changed? One of people’s biggest complaints about me (but not the only one) is the fact that I’m skinny and underweight. Which, of course, is true, but I’ve been that way for most of my life. I’ve known no other lifestyle except the one I’m currently living. For me, being skinny is normal. The Charles that you know wouldn’t be the same Charles if he wasn’t the skinny, underweight kid you knew.

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Taking a Break

After last week's continual trips to Robinsons Galleria, Mega Mall, and Glorietta, I'm slowing down this week and locking myself up in my room. One reason is because I'm broke, and people who have no money can't exactly go out as much, and anothe reason is so that I can take a break from all my activities and start doing some of the things I do indoors, such as reading and writing.


And of course, I'm glad that I can still surprise Vin with my talker prowess, such as naming his customers even when I'm not there, or guessing what his "good news" was.

Good News

I'm happy to be debt-free, although I can't say the same for certain people. =)

One more month to go before I start going to work!

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Monday, July 26, 2004

Animax Shows for the Month of August

Gundam (the original 1979 TV series) (go Amuro Ray!)

Card Captor Sakura (season 1)

Baby Ba-chan

Hungry Heart

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Sunday, July 25, 2004

Book Sale!

In previous years, "book month" has always been September. During that month, the annual bookfair would be held, and bookstores would usually go on sale (offering the standard 20% discount).

Of course this year, it's their anniversary so the book fair has been moved one month ahead of time (and given a different venue). The question we've all been wondering is whether the annual book sale would still be in September or moved to August as well.

Fresh from the mail is an announcement that the Powebooks sale will start in August, with a pre-sale on July 30 and 31. So if anyone wants to come with me and go on a book buying spree... (but yes, I'm still currently broke and indebted)

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In Man's Image

It has always worried me that many zealous Christians usually refer to human superiority by quoting a certain passage in the Bible: “God created man in his image…” To me, that statement, while possibly containing several theological truths, only proves the humanity (in both a positive and negative way) of the writer. Because such a philosophy is far from unique. Or rather, it’s a juxtaposition of our innate wishes.

What I mean by our “innate wishes” is that within each and every person is a sense of pride. And along with that pride contains to one degree or another a certain narcissism. To put it in another way, the closer something resembles us, the more appealing we find it to be. In the case of Christianity, our God appears to be like us. The only difference between Christianity’s God and the Greek’s gods is that we resemble the latter not through the power of the deities but rather plainly assumes it to be so. Of course there is a big development from the latter to the former. Greek gods, after all, are pretty much like super-powered humans, with all the flaws and weaknesses that go along with humanity. That’s not present with Christianity’s God, although following along those lines, it really shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that in order for us to be saved, God took on a human form. Jesus could be understood as a reconciliation between what we wanted our God to be and our innate form. God did not create man in his image but rather we created God in the image we wanted to fashion.

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