Thursday, December 31, 2009

Looking back

Counting down the last remaining hours of 2009, and I thought it only made sense to bid it a proper goodbye. Some highlights:

New laptop
Poetry Night 2

1,500th post
Taboan Writers Conference
New cellphone

Once in a blue moon

There's a blue moon out tonight, all the more special because it falls on New Year's Eve.

Being a special night means that special things can happen. Like to me, for instance.

Much more than that, I won't say, except to add that I'm happy and beaming.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

My USS Enterprise

For years now, I've always wanted my very own USS Enterprise; two weeks ago, that wish came true. Toy Kingdom sold these at a markdown price of P600 each.

Additional funny story: there were three on the shelf when I first stumbled upon them. I decided to delay buying to look around the store some more. After all, not too many Star Trek fans in Davao, right? When I got back, it was down to two! I snapped one up then and there.

And two weeks later, they were all gone.

Sunday, December 27, 2009


I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.
--G.K. Chesterton

So far I've taken two approaches to turning 40: apprehension, as befits what they call the mid-life crisis; and levity, because humor seemed the best way to deal with the anxieties. In that hustle and bustle, I think I may have left out gratitude.

Forty marks a major milestone, and I have many things to be thankful for:

Many ways of looking at....

Hardly my most flattering picture, but I got a big laugh out of this. Yes, time for new glasses because my vision has actually improved. That's one of the upsides of being nearsighted all your life and hitting...well, you know.

My friends also gave me new ways of looking at my age:

40 is the new 20.

You're just 28 when written in hexadecimal.

If it makes you feel better, consider this your second 20th birthday.

You're 21 in Martian years.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Big Four-Oh

I know you all mean well, but shoo! shoo! shoo! Go away! Stop reminding me. I don't feel a day over thirteen.

Leave me in peace with my comics, toys, and cartoons.


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Remembering the Maguindanao Massacre

Interesting tidbits from the homily by Fr. B--- at the Misa de Gallo at Ateneo de Davao today.

It seems that the Mangudadatus dropped by Ateneo on November 21, the Friday before the Maguindanao Massacre. They had gone to consult with their Jesuit friends, and to ask for prayers. At the time, the Ampatuans had already threatened violence, hence they were worried. "We know we're not clean," they said, "but at some point, things have got to change."

The Mangudadatus made the conscious decision to send women and journalists -- without any bodyguards and weapons -- in order to emphasize their peaceful intent. We know how that turned out. That's why the victims ought not to be considered victims but martyrs.

If we view it as simply the Maguindanao massacre, then the most that we can do is to condemn. That's the easiest thing to do. But if we view it as martyrdom, then perhaps we can start looking at it as a turning point for change.

As per Fr. B---, the Mangudadatus have said that they will not retaliate against the Ampatuans. They ask for prayers that the other members of the clan hold true to that plan.

Yesterday marked the month after the Maguindanao Massacre. Christians and Muslims alike held a candle-lighting ceremony at Roxas to remember.

Misa de Gallo 2009

Just completed nine days of Misa de Gallo for this Advent season. As always, there's no better way to escape from the commercialism and really prepare for Christmas.

Being an early morning endeavor (a very early morning endeavor!), I can't foresee if I'll actually wake up on time each and every morning. There's always a chance that I won't. But this is what? the seventh or eighth year running that I've done the complete cycle.

And this year, I have my Mom to thank for being with me all throughout. Some mornings, she'd be the one to wake me up. We started going to Misa de Gallo two or three years ago, but this marks the first time we've done all nine days together.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Review: Avatar

Just how good is "Avatar?" During the banshee-hunting scene, when Jake Sully leapt from the floating mountain to a trailing vine, my acrophobia kicked in momentarily and I had to clutch my seat's armrest. From a technical filmmaking perspective, "Avatar" is that good.

However...I have a problem with the story.

For all its high-tech veneer, "Avatar" is an environmental anti-imperialist nativist/primitivist fantasy, translating everything that's politically correct into a scifi morality play. The film doesn't try to hide that. It thrusts it in your face. But as is the case with projects like this, the film simplifies way too much, and I'm not sure I like the underlying messages underneath it.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

5th Mindanao Film Festival

Thanks to Chi, I got a free ticket to the 5th Mindanao Film Festival, a showcase of 15 independent films from young filmmakers in Davao. As far as the movies I saw went, the festival had more misses than hits; nevertheless, still a worthwhile endeavor, if only to see what can be done in the future.

Some kind words first, lest you think I'm being too harsh: the films let me see Davao in a different light. Viewed through the artists' lenses, the city gains focus if only because so much is left out. Well-worn Davao becomes unfamiliar territory once more, and therefore new and filled with possibilities.

My mini-reviews:

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Pebbles in the Flood

Having rediscovered Battle of Wesnoth of late, I'm playing more than I really should be. I promise to stop at the end of the holiday season. Really.One scenario has captured my imagination and emotions, though: "Pebbles in the Flood", part of "The Southern Guard" campaign.

AsiaSource 3

Asia Source 3, Silang, Cavite, Nov. 3 to 12, 2009. Best fun I've had in years.

Thanks to Coy for the picture.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Mark Shuttleworth stepping down as Canonical CEO

Announcement over at his blog. He won't be leaving Canonical or Ubuntu altogether; he'll be taking on another role. Excerpt:

From March next year, I’ll focus my Canonical energy on product design, partnerships and customers. Those are the areas that I enjoy most and also the areas where I can best shape the impact we have on open source and the technology market. I’m able to do this because Jane Silber, who has been COO at Canonical virtually from the beginning, will take on the job of CEO.

Hats off to you, Mr. Shuttleworth. You really made a difference.


No knight in shining armor can survive the cesspool of public service unless the lord of the manor is totally beyond reproach.
--Boo Chanco

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Happy happy joy joy!

I snagged this at Toy Kingdom yesterday. I've wanted my own USS Enterprise for the longest time, and coming upon such a great bargain (I'm embarrassed to mention the price -- it was such a steal), this is a dream come true.

I so want to put it back in the box and giftwrap it so I can tear it open on Christmas morning.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I love Facebook...

...because it's like high school all over again, and you can see a grown man throw a temper tantrum like a little girl (and I can now use the power of the Internet to pay him back for all his past douche-baggery.)

Just so you know, what kicked off the whole drama was I took him off as admin of our Facebook group along with a few others as part of housekeeping. Otherwise, I would have just kept quiet.

Update: I posted this in haste yesterday, thought better of it and took it off. But I'm putting it back because, first, some friends had already commented and I didn't want to let their insights go to waste; and second, because I still think it's damn funny and childish (of me as well as of my frenemy.)

As to who's right and who's wrong, I leave you to JUDGE, er, judge.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Throwing away the book

When I got the schedules for my teaching load this second semester, felt perplexed and annoyed. Instead of the expected two lecture hours and three lab hours per week for Operating Systems, I got two two-hour blocks plus one remaining one hour block. I groused, of course: how could I teach the course with that arrangement?

In the end, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The two-hour blocks took place in the lab, so I just had to move the remaining hour to a classroom. As it stands now, I have four hours of lab time and one hour of lecture.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Joint Session

No, I am not following the joint session deliberations on TV. It will only lower my IQ by several points.

Seriously, what's the point? It'll just be a display of illogic, unreason, and outright untruths. And in the end, the congressmen will vote based on where their money is coming from.

It's like these guys are all just smoking, you know, joints.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Anti-Martial Law Silent March

Silent march against Martial Law ongoing now along C.M. Recto. I would have taken more photos but unfortunately the protesters, er, protested against their pictures being taken.

Anti-Martial Law Poster

Posted all around Ateneo today.

"Where Words Most Fail"

Prayer/poem written by Don Pagusara, and posted at the ground floor lobby of Ateneo de Davao

No Parking

No parking for anyone except for Hailey's customers? Or only Hailey's customers are prohibited from parking?

The Bird Sellers

Monday, December 07, 2009

Why you need to say NO to Martial Law now

Let's face it, I'm no MLQ3 or Gang Badoy: my blog posts don't resonate with the rest of the blogosphere. I don't have the power to mobilize.

But just this once -- just this once -- I'm asking you all to say NO TO MARTIAL LAW now, and express so vociferously in your blogs and tweets and Facebook posts.

Why? This administration thrives on trial balloons. If it sees that there is little opposition to its actions in the public opinion, it will continue to do as it pleases. It lives on and clings to every cynical sneer that asks: "What can you do? Why don't we just move on?"

Never mind logic or legal reasoning. Such things don't exist or don't matter to this administration. Don't bother with any analysis. None of it will convince them.

But we have seen in the past that if we shout loud enough, we can make a little bit of difference. It's because we made such a hue and cry about the Ampatuan Massacre that the administration is cracking down on an ally.

While we're finally seeing action against the Ampatuans, it is unfortunately of the wrong kind...of the worst kind.

We need to speak out against it now, while we still can.

"Martial Law is Not a Substitute for Competent Police Work'

I got this via my blog buddy lawyerArcibald. This note is Public Domain and may be circulated.

Martial Law is Not a Substitute for Competent Police Work:
Statement on the Reported Proclamation of Martial Law in Maguindanao

Marvic M.V.F. Leonen
Dean and Professor of Law
University of the Philippines

The heinous massacre of civilians in Ampatuan, Maguindanao deserves competence of the highest order in the gathering, preserving and evaluation of evidence as well as in the subsequent arrest and prosecution of its perpetrators. It should also be the platform for a sober approach that will comprehensively address the issue of private armies of misguided politicians. Any meaningful solution should be led by civilians preferably those who can remain independent of influence from national public officials who have openly declared partisan interests in the upcoming election.

The reported declaration of Martial Law in Maguindanao should be assessed in this light as well as in terms of its compliance with the very stringent requirements contained in the 1987 Constitution.

Ang Bwisit na si Aling Gloria

Aling Gloria! Ano ba namang kabalbalan itong kagagawan mo ngayon?

Para kang batang malikot, hindi mapakali ang kamay, kung ano-ano na lang ang binabasag o ginagalaw o binubulsa. Lahat ng ayaw namin, gagawin mo. Ay, teka! Lahat ng ayaw namin, ginawa mo na! Bwisit ka, Aling Gloria, bwisit ka!

Hindi dahil kasing pandak ka ng bata ay dapat ikaw may karapatang kumilos na parang bata: na ayaw bumitiw sa kanyang mga laruan, na kung basta-basta na lang tatraydurin ang kasamahan, na kung anong sinasanto namin ay yayapakan. Bwisit ka, Aling Gloria, bwisit ka!

Matanda ka na, pero para kang batang laki sa layaw....




At ang dapat sa iyo ay: Mumurahin! Um! Papaluin! Um! Papatalsikin!Um!

Bwisit ka, Aling Gloria, bwisit ka!

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Martial law in Maguindanao

Well, she's finally done it: GMA has declared martial law in Maguindanao. As I write this, Ermita, Remonde, Verzola, and Ibrado are conducting a conference with the Malacanang Press Corps, broadcast through NBN. Ostensibly, this follows as a response to the Ampatuan massacre. Several members of the Ampatuan clan have already been "invited" for questioning.

My comments:
  • As Ermita has read several times from the Constitution, martial law can be declared in cases of "invasion or rebellion." Are we in a state of invasion? Of rebellion?
  • Ermita was very careful to say that martial law only applied to "GRP-controlled" areas, not to areas controlled by the MILF.
  • Ermita further justifies the declaration by pointing to the inability of the courts and other government structures to function.
  • Declaring it on Saturday morning gives them 48 to 72 hours without interference from congress, unless congress convenes a special session.

    This declaration of martial law is illegal and unconstitutional.

    Overall, this highlights government weakness rather than strength. The situation is not one of rebellion or invasion but of lawlessness. And this is a lawlessness that this administration has permitted, even encouraged and sanctioned (see EO 546).

    Question: how will this eventually make its way back to the election anomalies of 2004?
  • Friday, December 04, 2009

    Buck Rogers in the 25th Century

    Oh, yea-aaaaaaaah.....!

    MBC statement on GMA's run for congress

    Highlights below are mine.

    After months of playing coy, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has finally come clean with her plan to run for a seat in the House of Representatives in next year’s elections. Two days after the Maguindanao massacre took place, as the body count was still rising and the public was still reeling in shock and outrage over the unprecedented scale of violence, President Arroyo did not head south to condole with the families of the victims but made her way north for her 50th visit this year to her home province of Pampanga to inspect a dredging project.

    She declared she is “not ready to step down completely from public service.” We believe it is not public service that President Arroyo is unwilling to give up but public office and the accompanying trappings of power.

    Thursday, December 03, 2009

    MA in English Literature

    This semester I finally took the jump and am at the beginning of my course proper in MA in English. Strange, eh? But hey, I like it and it's not like I have anything better to do right now. I'm approaching this as a professional so I'm taking the guidance from my professors but doing most of the actual research work on my own (as any student should.)

    One of my subjects this sem is Advanced Philippine Literature, and we're starting out on Folklore and Philippine Epics. I'm a third of the way through a long paper on "Indarapatra and Sulayman", and I'm looking to tie that in with Maguindanao aristocracy and the Campbellian framework. I have to wait for initial feedback from my professor. Keeping my fingers crossed.

    No, I won't post that work here; I'm looking for publication in a proper journal, even a small one. But you can email me if you want a preview.