Button-Down Kinda Life

May 12, 2009

Epidemic? Or the next big hype?

Filed under: Uncategorized — me @ 5:11 am

All the newspapers headline these days is the problem of a new hybrid strain of swine flu. Oh, there are still the occasional problem of the global economy, and the various problems that the Philippines itself sees everyday, but these are old news. Alongside the stunning dimsantling of Ricky Hatton, there is the increasing number of infected people from the H1N1 virus - something which can be called the ManBirdPig flu. With more than 4,000 confirmed cases (not even mentioning the unconfirmed cases) and growing, world officials have decided that this new flu is dangerous enough to possibly be a pandemic. Though it isn’t the bubonic plague, the rate by which the disease spreads is something to be cautious about. For the paranoid, even a tiny bit of coughing would probably be enough to send them running to the hospital, ready to inject themselves with vaccines and cures. The combination of this disease, along with the failing economy and the nuclear crisis in rogue countries, makes my wild imagination think of a return to man’s Dark Ages. Whatever happens, good or bad, it will be an interesting year or two ahead of us.

February 12, 2009

Island Nation

Filed under: Uncategorized — me @ 9:15 pm

When you think about it, one of the main reasons our economy has never improved or reached its true potential (aside from corruption and bad business practices), is the inherent difficulties in communication and transportation through our islands. I’ve always thought that we would have been more successful if we were one landmass, where governance would be easier. The most obvious example of this is the war in Mindanao. Few of us living here in Metro Manila have a clue about the real situation in Mindanao, and frankly, do most of us care?

The Philippines, at times, feels more like a disjointed alliance of small territories rather than an island nation. Governors rule these territories like fiefs, observing no law but their own. Provinces seem extremely underdeveloped as well. People seem to know little about other provinces or regions. Even with the advent of inter-island transportation and communication, the earlier limitations on these left a lasting impression on the political and economic landscape. Maybe it’s time to think of the Philippines as a single nation.

February 9, 2009

New Interests - Computer Hardware and Buying and Selling online

Filed under: Uncategorized — me @ 5:56 pm

I haven’t wrote here in a long time, but I guess this time is as fine as any.

I’ve recently bought a new pc, replacing my 4-year old one, which even when brand new, was lower end at best. Now, let me say that I can get obsessive-compulsive when purchasing things with my own money. Oh, I don’t have a problem with using other people’s cash to buy stuff, but when it  comes to my own dough, I’d spend days and weeks finding the best deal, or getting the most out of my money. Persnickety or downright obsessive?

Anyway, this new pc is one hell of a machine, can run games like Fallout 3 and Call of Duty at max settings without any problems. The 22-inch monitor is an improvement over my old 17-inch CRT, LCD flaws notwithstanding. More importantly, it’s FAST, and actually makes using my pc fun again. Hell, even my crappy connection seems to be faster.

In the process, I learned much about pc hardware and peripherals. I spend a lot of time combing over reviews of certain hardware. For example, did you know that a generic PSU is never recommended, and you will be lucky to get half of it’s stated power? I learned the difference between a G31 and a P45 motherboard, and the difference between a 32-bit and 64-bit operating system. How about Nvidia’s confusing naming scheme? No problem!

Tipidpc.com is a well known site for buying pc parts, both old and new. And it’s a fascinating site, to be sure. Here you have a plethora of computer enthusiasts - from the newbie computer buyer, to the chronic upgrader, and even whole pc shops. You can get amazing deals here (I bought my video card and monitor here for way cheaper than what another shop would normally sell), and you can find rare components and peripherals.

So there you have it, my Flavor of the Month right now - PC hardware!

September 11, 2008

The end of the world? Or not…

Filed under: Uncategorized — me @ 11:44 am

Systemshock

Yesterday, the European Organization for International Research (CERN) tested one of the most ambitious physics projects to date - the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). The LHC is a machine that collides protons at near light-speed, creating energy that simulates a
“big bang”. This machine is hoped to find some elusive answers to some of the most baffling scientific questions. It is theorized that it will discover a particle known as the Higgs Boson, the so called “God particle”, which is said to be the most significant particle in the universe. The LHC will also try to explore issues regarding antimatter and alternate dimensions.

A lot of people are worried about this, saying it has the potential to spark microscopic black holes, which are areas with a gravitational field that is so powerful that even light itself can’t escape. Of course, the scientists at CERN dismiss this as practically impossible.

If it did happen though, I theorize that some people will be transported to alternate dimensions or timelines.  For the adventurous, this can be a good thing. Or a bad thing if the world disintegrates to spaghetti strips. One thing is for sure though, if this machine succeeds, expect some significant scientific breakthroughs in the next few years. Even for someone who isn’t inclined to science like me, something the current technological revolutions are things to watch out for.

Onward to singularity!

September 3, 2008

Filed under: Games — me @ 9:34 am

When I was  9 years old, I was given the piece of plastic and wires that would largely define the entertainment that I would be growing up with. Nintendo’s family computer is primitive compared to the modern generation of consoles that feature graphics that even CG movies would be proud of. But 16 years ago, to my young and already deteriorating eyes, it was an invention to rival the wheel.

Looking back, I realized that games then were very much different from games now. they still give the basic premise of all video games, but the worlds were less immersive, the colors limited, and the “people” looked more like sticks with guns than anything actually resembling a homo sapiens. And they were harder too.

Contra  was a manly man’s game. it consisted of various levels of kicking ass, both terrestrial and extra, by two commandos. In fact, in Contra  the story didn’t matter (although it did have a story), what mattered was that you were there, guns blazing, ass-kicking motherfucker trying to reach the big  bad alien at the heart of it all… literally. Contra was SO manly, that it didn’t have saves. You need to sleep, go to school? Tough luck. You have to play right from the beginning. Without cheats, you only had a total of three lives. A truly hardcore game if I ever saw one.

June 17, 2008

Unexplained

Filed under: Musings — me @ 2:05 am

The world is seemingly ordinary and boring. it makes you think if there is any real supernatural phenomena that lies underneath all this seeming sameness. I’m not talking about ghosts and monsters either, although I do admit that supernatural phenomena does excite and terrify me. I’ve been reading Wikipedia this past few weeks, trying to gobble up as much info on such seemingly unexplainable. How do we find out what’s at the end of the universe? Is there a wall that encompasses this whole reality? Is there something beyond that wall? All this talk happens usually when one is out with friends… maybe drinking beer, or generally just pondering the nature of true reality. This makes me wonder how intelligent early philosophers like Socrates were, to have been able to grasp a little bit about the true nature of the universe. Then again, maybe part of it is ingrained in the old collective psyche of humankind. All in all, this makes for some great points to ponder, if you truly believe that there is something underneath what our ordinary senses tell us. And if there is, isn’t it amazing how much of the reality is truly unexplored, and how little we know about it?

June 10, 2008

Some thoughts on technology

Filed under: Musings — me @ 5:41 pm

Isn’t it funny how fast technology has evolved? I remember seeing the first pc my family bought and spend hours just watching it boot up. Imagine my reaction when i got to use a colored pc (Boy, nothing could top this!). How about cable? I even remember the heydays of pagers and easycall, when it was the must have accessory for conios and wannabes alike. Woe betide the person who didn’t have even a low tech one!

Now fast forward just a few years later, and you’ll find me on my monobloc chair (a great invention I might add), glued to the computer. All in all, thankful enough never to have used a typewriter.

The internet has changed much of the way we handle information. To me, it stands as the most significant invention of the past 20 years. Having started as a military project, it has become a staple not only in information, but also communication. The days of chatting on the phone has been replaced by instant messengers for the internet crowd. There is youtube, which allows a person to view millions of videos of every possible thing. Dogs crapping, to the old 80’s video you’ve always wanted to see again. Hell, we have internet celebrities like Tay Zonday and Samwell, whose fame is based on a mostly free enterprise.

Here in the Philippines, due to poor infrastructure, it takes a long time for technology to become mainstream, but if it’s useful and cool enough, then it will happen. Cellphones are the primary example of this. I was in high school when cellphones were just being introduced to the masses. It only about 5 years ago that it became the necessary gadget for everyone.

Technology the past 150 years or so has evolved faster than we’ve ever seen it. Seriously, what changes were made between, say, 1089 AD to 1357 AD (random years I chose)? Without looking at Wikipedia (another indispensable tool for the cramming student and the bored alike), I’d say not much. Which leads me to believe I’d be living on Mars in a few years.

And then nothing could top that!

March 22, 2008

On Food

Filed under: Food — me @ 6:46 pm

Food is such a good thing. Whenever I see something that even looks good, I start becoming hungry again. There is something about food that is seemingly irresistible. I’ve experienced times when I was down to my last few wads of cash and chose to eat, not thinking whether I could even get home with the money I have. There are a few delicacies though, that stand out above all other dished. Even writing this post already makes me hungry. Without further ado:

CALDERETA  

There is something about this dish that makes me want to eat it all the time. Spicy, thick, and delicious. Beef is the meat of kings, I truly believe. This is the almighty pulutan, the dish where goats end up in. Also a dish I believe nobody could hate.

  KEBAB

Why does this stuff taste so good? There is something about that white sauce (garlic sauce?) and the buttered rice which makes this dish irresistible. Waiters beware of murderous eyes staring at that slab of meat on that plate. Maybe this is the thing that will bring peace to the Middle East.

ICE CREAM 

I truly believe that whoever invented ice cream was a genius. How could a combination of milk and ice be so addictive? It’s almost surreal. When eating ice cream, I feel a lightheaded-ness that allows me to be at peace with the world. A work of art and genius. 10/10.

Obesity is a problem of many people (and I thank my metabolism that I’m not obese). With all the delicious food at the modern world’s disposal, I can’t say I blame them for being fat.

How to stay clear of these myriad of fatteningly delicious delicacies? It’s a conundrum that won’t be answered soon.

February 28, 2008

Losing that “edge”

Filed under: Musings — me @ 6:23 pm

When I was in grade school, I dreamed of great things. Basketball player, president, senator… I knew I would succeed because I believed so much in my abilities that I knew even half-assing would bring me greatness. This feeling held throughout most of highschool. I dreamt of being rich, of owning mansions. That BMW I see would soon be reality for me. I was on an unstoppable path towards greatness as only someone destined to be, could be. And I believed all of this.

In college though, something changed. Maybe it was the effect of growing old, maybe it was the onset of cynicism that destroys fantasies. Maybe it was just me being a realist. Perhaps the state of the country had something to do with this, or the fact that I was a naturally lazy person who could rely on my natural abilities rather than on any hard work. Maybe I was losing my edge. I no longer loved money as much as I used to (although you can never say no). I grew bored of politics and business and drawing (I still liked writing - thank God). I was faced with a crisis! I still kept my fantasies, but they were no longer centered around the usual things people wanted. I was in search of a passion.

It was a combination of this change, plus an apparent lack of ability to think ahead, that contributed to my “dulling”. I was always a “for-the-present” guy. I rarely thought about the future, and when I did, it was with abstract ideals like “happiness”, “success”, “fulfillment”. It was  never anything concrete, never anything to say that “Look, this is what I want to do.” For a person who always lives for the moment, this is very hard to do.

In many ways though, I’m glad that I still  have the dreamer in me. Perhaps he dreams of other things now, like working for an non-profit environmental organization, or seeing as much of the world as he can, or writing columns… but he still dreams. And I still believe in my abilities. Looking back now, losing that “edge” could have been nothing more than changing the blade. And the wielder of the knife is so unused to seeing a new blade that he perceives dullness where there is sharp steel.

Games

Filed under: Games — me @ 6:05 pm

I’ve always seen myself as a gamer. My childhood was spent in front of the television, playing console games ranging from Duckhunt, to Spartan X, to Mario. I played Final Fantasy, was immersed in a myriad of RPG’s. I spent years playing Ragnarok Online, dreamed of better pc’s, not for editing, or the speed, but simply for its capacity to run better games. Graphics whore, lore nut, I probably spent a few actual years of my life playing games.

What is it about games that generate so much addiction? At the end of the day, it seemed, I was just another junkie, getting my high off these games. Online games in particular, were highly appealing to me. Perhaps it was because the real world, in contrast, seemed so dull and boring. Sometimes I felt it was what I was meant to do, play my life out as some Undead Rogue.

For many people, games serve as an escape from reality. It’s a way of coping with stress, and enjoying themselves amidst some fun competition. Other people see it as a form of social interaction. I once wrote a paper on how we can be the persona we choose to be in online games. Maybe some people like it that way. Games also serve as a way of stoking one’s ego. How many times has that high-leveled paladin turn out to be some guy who works in a fastfood chain selling burgers? You’ll be some lowly guy in real life, but you can be a king in a game. Who can say no to that?

In my opinion, gaming is a much deeper subject than many people realize. It’s something so full of potential that people see only the external appearances of games, and, unless they’re gamers themselves, often neglect to see the meaning in a few bunch of pixels.

Then again, maybe that’s all there is to it.

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