Friday, October 30, 2009

My first two books...

...or, to be more precise, the first two books that I edited and produced: "Tradisyon" and "In My Own Little Corner" by Jeanne Lim.

My first look at Ubuntu 9.10

Unlike other folks on the bleeding edge, I waited until Ubuntu 9.10's official release before trying out the software. For some of you, this may already be old news. Regardless, here's my first look at Karmic Koala, running as VirtualBox guest.

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

No money, no honey

'Nuff said.

Ubuntu 9.10, Karmic Koala

If the schedule holds, Ubuntu 9.10, the Karmic Koala, comes out in the next few hours. You can be sure my downloads will be running then. I've been using Ubuntu for the past four years, and I really couldn't be happier with an operating system: it's free, it's got loads of software, and it doesn't have any viruses.

With a new release every six months, Ubuntu maintains the momentum and keeps up-to-date with the most recent developments. So while Microsoft may boast that Windows 7 came out three years after Vista, the fastest Windows release ever, all I can say is:


Batman's vanishing act

So early in the day and already I'm crying from laughter. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Oratio Imperata

Since Lent, Davao churchgoers have been praying, post-Communion, the oratio imperata issued by Archbishop Fernando Capalla. Entitled "Prayer for the Healing of Our Nation," the prayer is to be said on bended knee. This act of supplication and penance will go on until the next Lenten season.

As far as penance goes, the prayer itself serves as mortification enough. At close to 600 words -- longer than this article -- it takes four minutes to recite. It is repetitive, circuitous, evasive, whiny, and cloying.

Vote Nograles...or else!

Ah, election time. While you can't quite point to it as the source of all that's twisted and rotten about the country, you can bet it acts as the catalyst and focal point to bring out all the chicanery.

Today the sales assistant of a friend went on leave. She's studying part-time and she said she was going on a seminar. She does this from time to time, so that in itself comes as no surprise. When she came back late this afternoon, I asked her how the activity went:

"Oh, it was a Nograles thing." Like hundreds (or is it thousands?) of others in the city, she's a Nograles scholar.

Windows 7

As it happens, I have access to the Microsoft Solution Developers Network via the Academic Alliance. On a lark, I decided to check if I could get Windows 7 there. And surprise, surprise, I could! I would get it now, except for its 2.2GB download size. Since I won't leave the office PC running through the night, I'll wait till tomorrow.

But wait...isn't tomorrow also the release date for Karmic Koala.

Whatever should I get? Decisions, decisions. ;-)

Fork marks on my forehead

No, I didn't get into a fight. I stabbed myself. With a fork. In the forehead. How did that happen? I'm too embarrassed to say, so you figure it out.

And yes, it hurt. A lot. Ow.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Moneymaker configuration in PvZ

Having completed the campaign, I only play Plants vs Zombies intermittently now. However, the completist in me still wants to get the gold trophy and all of Crazy Dave's stuff. To do that, I'll need to earn in-game cash. I've found the Last Stand mini-game to be ideal for this purpose.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Vote for Best Halloween Flash Fiction

My friend and editor Kyu is a finalist for Fantasy Magazine's Best 2009 Halloween Flash Fiction story. Since the winner will be decided via reader poll, please take the time to head over to the site and vote. In his words:

But please, vote for "Lost for Words" only if you think it's good enough, otherwise, vote for the better story among the other finalists (I may regret saying that...).

I might add: I did like his story best, so that's why I voted for him. (That, and the other two finalists won't buy me pizza if they win. So there.)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Writing Short Fiction

Presentation from a short workshop I gave for the College Editors Guild of the Philippines yesterday.

Friday, October 23, 2009

I wrote this?

I'm preparing my presentation for tomorrow's talk for the College Editor's Guild of the Philippines.  Since they want me to discuss fiction in two hours as part of a workshop, I thought I'd delve into flash fiction.  While searching for some of my old samples, I stumbled on this story:

"Why do you spend so much time making that? Can't you just buy it from Aling Siony?"

Carding always asks me that question each time I go through my weekly ritual. It's not so much petulance, I think, as it is concern. Boiling rice over our woodfire stove, pounding ginger, adding a dash of chocolate and pinipig.... It's a long process, molded by years of tradition.

I say nothing, though, I only smile, and Carding shuffles off to another household chore, as if to show what else I could be doing. I calmly wrap the rice in the banana leaves and put it on the clay pot.

But I know in an hour's time, when the fragrance of the sticky rice wafts through the house, his mood will mellow down. When I remove my work of art from the pot, he will be at the table waiting silently.

Then he will say: "Ah, Neneng, this brings back memories of mother you know. Aling Siony could never really get it right."

And I know it will all have been worthwhile. Suman latik, just like mother used to make.

According to my blog, I wrote it back in 2005. Somehow I can't believe I did. The words just seem so different.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Villanelle for a Bumpy Ride

This poem, written by Jermafe Kae Angelo of UP Mindanao, came out in the October 4, 2009 issue of Dagmay. It received quite a number of positive comments. I'm reposting a section here; you can read the rest of it in Dagmay.

All my mothers will hum your lullaby
Hold tight as we ride the habal-habal.
And they will all forgive when you first cry.
Quietness falling, not failing the skies
Hold tight as we bump along the rough road.
All my mothers will hum your lullaby.
I will not pass the Abortion Road and die,
Daddy will drive us home before midnight
And they will all forgive when you first cry.

Pro-Life Day of Silent Solidarity

More info.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Notting Hill

"Notting Hill" played on HBO last Saturday night. I caught it somewhere in the middle, and contrary to efforts to distract myself with something else, immediately got hooked all over again.

It's not easy for a guy to admit liking chick flicks, but "Notting Hill" is one of those rare chick flicks that I can't help but like. ("You've Got Mail" is the only other movie that comes to mind.) On the surface, it's unadulterated romantic fantasy: a Hollywood actress falling for an average guy? Su-uuuure.... Hugh Grant as an average guy? Ri-iiiiight.... All that is just an excuse to whip up the cheesiest lines: "I'm just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her."

Harry Potter boxed set

I like to think I've outgrown the Harry Potter series (somewhere around the fourth installment or so), but I still found the boxed set at National Bookstore quite attractive...attractive to look at, okay? not attractive to buy, as we already have the complete collection at home.

Seeing this makes me wonder if Potter-mania is still alive and well today. The movies don't seem to generate as much enthusiasm anymore, and the only reason I think they're made is To Just Get To The End. But I could be wrong.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Open source first-person shooters on Ubuntu

These ought to whet the appetite of first-person shoot-'em-up addicts: three very nice shooters available for free on Ubuntu. While I'm not into shooters myself, I thought I'd give these a try and write them up on my Ubuntu for Games blog.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Philippine Genre Stories Horror Special

From my friend Kyu I got the very good news that the Philippine Genre Stories Horror Issue is already out.  It's been a long wait, roughly a year, but such are the vagaries of small publishing in the Philippines.  In any case, I'm very glad it's finally seen print, and not for least because it has one of my short stories in it.  Read it, and tell me what you think.

According to Kyu, it's available now from Comic Quest Megamall and SM North Edsa.  It should soon be available at National Bookstore care of Anvil Publishing.

Monday, October 12, 2009

NASA slams rocket into the moon

Last week, NASA slammed a rocket into the moon to check for the presence of water. The event reminded me of the above scene from Georges Méliès' A Trip to the Moon.

More on the LCROSS project at the special NASA web site dedicated to the project.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

A grittier, edgier Mickey Mouse

Story from Blast magazine: Disney confirms Epic Mickey video game. From the cover, you can already see that this is not going to be your Uncle Walt's rodent. In case you didn't know it, or you just needed a reminder, Epic is the maker of the Gears of War and Unreal video game series.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Goodbye to the old layout

I thought it was time for a change in the layout. Not a major change, just a change. I might be doing a few more tweaks over the coming weeks, but I'll be using this template in the meantime. Hope you like it, or at the very least, I hope it doesn't bother you too much.

Here's a pic of the old one, just as a reminder of what this site used to look like.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Rain on Manila

This poster outside Ateneo de Davao made me smile.

The Farthest Shore

Joey and Dean's The Farthest Shore anthology is now online. The collection focuses on stories set in secondary fantasy worlds.

Apart from my story there, I also helped build the site and am hosting it. Note the domain.