Friday, October 29, 2010

Mr Spock

Found this on my desk the other day. I think it came from my sister. Press a button on his heel and he says "Live long and prosper."

Umbrellas on sale

Found while walking down Davao's Chinatown.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Richness of Embarrassment, the Epilogue

Yes, the story has an epilogue.

Last weekend, Emily and I were invited to a wedding reception. Very posh, with the creme de la creme of local Chinese society in attendance.

Over at the next table was a familiar face, a very familiar face. Emily and I walked over to her. I smiled sheepishly.

Emily nudged me to speak. I nudged her back. The woman eyed us curiously.

"Ah, hi, June," Emily said, "You know about last Monday...."

The woman's face lit up. "IT'S YOU!" she shrieked, and then she giggled.

"I'm sorry about that," I mumbled.

"No, no, it was quite all right," she said. Then she turned to her boyfriend: "You know about last Monday...."

And we all had a good laugh about that. At least, I think, we made a friend out of that incident.

I think I'll go look up the man with the German shepherds next.

A Richness of Embarrassment (Publication Version)

Compiling the two stories from before.

Should every story have a moral? My childhood tells me yes, my post-modernist friends tell me no. Between the two, I am inclined to believe the former. The point, I suppose, is to stumble upon the right moral. Some stories have morals so obvious you deliberately have to go out of your way to miss them; and some stories...well....

Last week, a series of events happened to me, and I'm sure there must be a moral somewhere, I'm just not sure which. There are the obvious ones, but I'm not quite sure they're the right fit. I'll just tell you the story -- actually, three stories, depending on how you look at it -- and I'll let you decide.

An Honest Man...

No, I haven't decided to follow local showbiz all of a sudden. It's just that I glanced at this headline over someone's shoulder. Of course, I fell into a conniptic fit.

Let's see: honestly, what man would be stupid enough to declare to the world at large that his ex-girlfriend was hotter than his current one? For that matter, what martyr of a woman, utterly devoid of vanity, would stand by such a statement made by her boyfriend?

If ye be such of either, please leave a comment. I want to interview you. And I want to see the train wreck that follows.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

This is why I quit Facebook

I wanted to preempt my Mom from sending me a friend request.

Killing of journalists to be classified as murder

...because Senator Loren Legarda is sharp as a whip and always solicitous for our well-being. All I can say is: "It's about time!"

Taken from today's issue of the Philippine Star, a really classy newspaper. Come to think of it, all Philippine national newspapers are classy.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The DSLR as Bling

I wonder what Freud would have to say about people who lug around cameras with long lenses?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Laser-guided bombs, now made in India

Found this on my Google Reader Play. I don't know why, but this got a chuckle out of me.
Well, sure, with a laser guide, one should hope it can hit a target with high accuracy. Not like you need a whole lot of it. It is a bomb, after all.

If you read the article, they call it an LGB, for laser-guided bomb. So I suppose the technology would be called LGBT?

"Do you know who I am?"

Following the embarrassing experiences I posted this week, here's one more to cap it all off. This happened many years ago but I still remember all the details.

I was manning the reception area of Sugbu Study Center in the early evening when the doorbell rang. I opened the gate and in strode a distinguished-looking gentleman: middle-aged, mestizo, casually yet immaculately dressed in a dark-patterned silken polo shirt, not a hair out of place, right down to the perfectly trimmed moustache. A huge golden ring glistened from his hand.

"Good evening," he said in a deep baritone. He offered his hand. "I'm Joe Romero."

"And...I'm Dominique Cimafranca," I said, shaking his hand. I remember was in jeans and t-shirt at that time.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Richness of Embarrassments, Part 3

What? After all those shenanigans, you mean there's more? Well, yes. Yesterday morning, I made an encore from Monday evening's performance. What happened? Read on.

Our dogs had been having another bout with the fleas for the past week or so. Back when my sister still ran a pet store, we could easily get vials of the Frontline anti-flea medication from her (note: she just reopened recently). This time around, though, we had to get it straight from the supplier.

Unfortunately, my sister had no idea where the supplier's offices were. It wasn't that easy to find, either, tucked away as it was somewhere in the Buhangin area. My sister gave me their phone number so I could order ahead and ask for directions.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Richness of Embarrassments, Part 2

Continued from part 1. Be warned: it gets much worse.

Emily and I approached my car in the parking lot. Absent-mindedly, I whipped out my key fob remote and pressed the button. The lights blinked and the car beeped twice. I've done this so many times I do it without thinking. Emily walked on ahead to the passenger side.

From the rear, I sidled into the gap between my car and the one beside it. I saw a girl -- young and attractive -- entering the gap from the front. I backed away to let her pass, but she had done the same. She walked round the other side of the car.

I shrugged, opened the driver door, and got in.

A Richness of Embarrassments, Part 1

Two events of unbelievable embarrassment happened to me yesterday. They deserve to be preserved for posterity. Here is the first part.

Yesterday I fetched Emily from her meeting at Victoria Plaza. On the way out, Emily asked if we could drop by the third floor as she needed to buy some Styrofoam balls.

"You can wait in the toy section," she said.

"Sure thing!" I said. One thing my fiancée and I have in common is our fascination with toys. We somehow always manage to wander into the toy department of whichever store we're in.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Feast of St. Luke

Today is the Feast of St. Luke. Ignatius Insight has a moving meditation on the evangelist. I particularly liked the line about how St. Luke was Our Lady's Troubadour.

Thoughts on Technopreneurship

Two weeks ago, my co-teacher Ed asked me to sit in the panel of his technopreneurship class. I don't know what made me particularly qualified to judge the students' entrepreneurial ideas, excepting perhaps the string of failed businesses and half-started ventures that I have under my belt. Nevertheless, I accepted the invitation as I thought it was another chance to interact with the students. Perhaps I was also looking for inspiration to start anew.

It's hard enough to come up with a good and original idea for a business -- and harder still to pull it off. I should know: failed businesses and half-started ventures, remember? I thought of my stint as a sounding board for the students. With a pair of fresh eyes, not under pressure from deadlines of finishing the paperwork, I could point out where the business plans were weak and where they could work.

Some plans were good, some plans so-so. I actually found one worth putting time and money into, if the students were willing to work on it over the next semester. We'll see.

St. Candida Maria de Jesus

Mother Candida Maria de Jesus, foundress of the Daughters of Jesus, will be canonized by Pope Benedict today.

The event is significant to me because I grew up in Stella Maris Academy of Davao, a school entrusted to the care of the congregation. The Hijas de Jesus are practically family to us, and we maintain contact with the sisters who ran the school during my time.

Brief bio of St. Candida:

Juana Josefa Cipitria y Barriola was born in Spain in 1845. She was always sensitive to the needy and abandoned and felt at an early age that she was "for God alone."

In 1868, at age 23, she met Jesuit Father Miguel José Herranz, who helped her respond to her call to found a congregation. Thus it was that in 1871, the Congregation of the Daughters of Jesus was born.

The congregation is devoted to education in all its forms, and inspired in the spirituality of St. Ignatius. The Daughters of Jesus offer Ignatian spiritual exercises.

The founder always endeavored to pay great attention to her religious, to the beneficiaries of her works, to priests, to students and to the neediest.

More here.

On this joyous occasion, I pray for more vocations for the Hijas de Jesus.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Vaudeville Act

The tour guide may have wanted to dress like Jose Rizal, but he only ended by looking like Oliver Hardy.

All things considered, perhaps the photo below is more appropriate:

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Wounded bird

This bird slammed into a window at the 6th floor where we hold our office.

Google Reader

What has filled the void left by the social networks that I abandoned? Apart from a return to more active blogging -- never mind if few people are reading -- I'm spending more time with Google Reader.

Unlike the microblogging platforms, Google Reader offers more substantial reading fare, and these along the lines of subjects I'm really and truly interested in. I get my daily dose of Catholic opinion, comics, technology, literature, and design from Google Reader now. I feel way smarter than when I was just on Twitter and Plurk.

More people really should get on Google Reader. I even have some semblance of a social network there, some people who share interesting items they've read. Happily for me, it's not as intrusive or as trivial as the other social networks, and it's not hampered by vacuous comments.

You can follow what I'm reading at my share page. Activate your Google Reader now, and let me know what it is you're reading.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Go, Chile, go!

We're rooting for you. We're rooting for your miners. It's an incredible story of endurance, survival, and hope,.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Pepper & Peppers

Lunch at Pepper & Peppers with E. We had the spare ribs and the cream dory. Excellent, excellent dishes. Owner Chiqui gave us an impromptu overview of her cooking styles as well. Highly recommended.


This is the creepiest part of Toy Kingdom now.

Gorilla of my dreams

Found at SM City.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Antisocial Experiment, continued

Now that I've given up online social networks altogether, you must agree that I've been writing longer posts here, and more frequently, too. So far, my experiment is holding up. I hope to be back to my old pace pretty soon.

Many a time in the past few days, I've had the urge to Plurk or Tweet whenever something I felt significant happened. I've fought the urge to do so, beat it down over the head until it went away. Yes, it would be nice if I let my small circle of friends -- friends, you hear? not followers -- know what I was up to at that moment, they really need to? I'm sure they'd appreciate a word now and then,

If it's not important, it's not worth a status update. If it's important, then some time for reflection is needed before the thought is let loose upon the world.

Time like these, I feel that Mother Mary is well worth emulating: "...and she kept all these things in her heart." (Luke 2:19)


No, I won't cheat here: I'm writing this already on the 11th of October. I had wanted to put out a blog post at 10:10AM of 10/10/10, but as you know, I was busy with other more important things yesterday.

Also: an observant wag pointed out that 1010102 is 4210 which, to anyone worth talking to knows, is the answer to the meaning of life. A good day to remember Douglas Adams, for sure.

After the engagement, E. and I headed over to Worlds of Fun at SM City for a round with the arcades. We won enough tickets to trade in for an Ernie beanie doll.

10-10-10. Perfect day.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


I'm getting engaged today. Formally.

It'll be a traditional Chinese engagement which, if you really need to know, doesn't sound as strange or exotic as it does. It will be my family meeting her family over a meal, followed by an exchange of gifts. And that's it.

Okay, so there'll be plenty of hopia and other goodies, but that's about as Chinese as it gets.

I should be nervous or excited, but surprisingly, I'm not. I feel...normal. Like this is the most natural thing in the world.

And happy, too.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Science and money

Picture from Christian Science Monitor.
As I suppose like many, I was surprised to learn that the 2010 Nobel prize winner for Chemistry Richard Heck lived in the Philippines -- to be precise, in a humble bungalow in Quezon City with his Filipina wife. He seems to be genuinely affable man and I hope to meet him some day.

I caught a brief telephone interview with him on ANC, just a day after the announcement of the award. I noticed that news anchor Tony Velasquez padded quite carefully around the man, as though not sure what to ask. Was he afraid to make a faux pas?

The kicker came, as I half-expected it would, when Velasquez asked Heck: "Did you make any money out of your discoveries?"

Now that, my friends, was a laugh.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Modern Christian Martyrs

Even as people here at home rail against the Catholic Church, our bagong bayani modern heroes are showing themselves to be modern martyrs as well. Twelve Filipinos, along with 150 others, have been arrested for attending Mass in Saudi Arabia.

From the report:

Saudi authorities have conditionally released the Catholic Filipino migrant worker arrested on 1 October in Riyadh along with 11 other compatriots - released Oct. 3 -, while attending a Mass along with 150 foreigners celebrated by a French priest. At present, the 12 Filipinos have been entrusted to their employers and representatives of the embassy in Manila in Saudi Arabia are negotiating with the authorities for their repatriation. The fate of the others present at the Catholic mass remains unknown.

According Exxedin H. Tago, charge d'affaires of the Philippines Embassy the 12 are not yet completely out of danger. "It is still unclear - he says - if their case was closed. They were accused of proselytizing and if the authorities deem them guilty they could return to jail”.

Does anyone else notice this discrepancy of behavior? Here at home, we praise a flamboyant tour guide for disrupting Mass in a cathedral; abroad, our OFWs are willing to face arrest to attend Mass.

What? No front page coverage? I wonder if the press will attend to this issue with as much passion as they attended to the controversy on the hostage-taking fiasco, or to the RH bill? Or is the wave of recent anti-Catholic sentiment in mass media so strong they are going to sweep this story under the rug?

Thursday, October 07, 2010


Like everyone else, I make resolutions every new year. What kinds of resolutions? Oh, the usual: to lose weight, to be a better person, to read more, to write more, etc.

Like everyone else, I set those resolutions aside well before the middle of the year comes around. Par for the course, right?

Well, not quite this year. This year -- this year! -- I finally managed to make some of those oft-repeated oft-forgotten resolutions stick. A big nyaah-nyaah to all you naysayers out there!

Moonshot (and Venus)

I took these shots during the September full moon.  The moon sure was bright that night, as was Venus. A right proper time for mystery and magic.

Just please keep the sparkly vampires away.

Software Freedom Day 2010 at Ateneo de Davao

It's a little delayed, but I have finally put together our report for Software Freedom Day at Ateneo de Davao.

In brief:
Over 200 students from ten different schools in Davao City converged at Ateneo de Davao University to celebrate Software Freedom Day last September 18, 2010. Joining them were local IT industry practitioners who had built businesses around free software.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

The Antisocial Experiment

Last weekend, I severed my link to my last online social network. Plurk had been a source of amusement for more than two years, and I met some kindred spirits there that I wouldn't have found elsewhere. But when you gotta go, you gotta go, you know.

I'll admit, it was a painful decision, and one I did not easily arrive at. Unlike Facebook, my Plurk had a much smaller community, and I had greater control over who I wanted to interact with. Unlike Twitter, I could follow discussions easily. And one other hook: it used a system of karma points, which went up with every action and went down with inaction.

So why did I quit? In the main, I finally got bored. At the same time, I felt that it was sapping my creative energies and that, small community notwithstanding, I was starting to get annoyed with the herd mentality of social networks.

Deliver us from evil

I don't know what disgusts me more: that flamboyant tour guide Carlos Celdran should disrupt Mass at the Manila Cathedral with his antics, or that many Filipinos on the Internet should approve.

I don't even know if "disgust" is the appropriate word, though it's the first one that comes to mind. I feel many things: anger, certainly, and shame, too. But more than that, I feel sadness and I feel fear.

Oh, I'm not afraid of Celdran nor of the vociferous voices that applaud his action. Celdran is just a clown, and all those voices are only about as brave as the Facebook "Like" button will let them.

But I am afraid of what I see behind all this.

Saturday, October 02, 2010