Saturday, June 30, 2012

Cleanup Crew

Few people know the preparation it takes to put a swanky reception party together, nor the cleanup afterwards.  But not long after the host has bade everyone a good night, the army of waiters and decorators sweep across the ballroom  to put everything away.  In the end, all that majesty is just lace, pasteboard, and curtains.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Red against blue

Something from my morning walk.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Bird on a Wire

 Where I now live there's a great variety of birds.  They always make my morning walk enjoyable, never mind if the day starts out gray and dreary.  (These photos, by the way, were NOT taken in black and white; it really was just an overcast morning.)

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Oh, Deer

Taken at Eden Park.

Threading Bait

"Poor creature!" she said as the old man threaded the worm into the hook.

"The life of a worm, my dear," said the old man.  "That's just the way it is."

Friday, June 22, 2012

At the Ateneo Quadrangle

After the Mass of the Holy Spirit (led by Archbishop Romulo Valles), Ateneo students sauntered out into the quadrangle to take advantage of the lull before the resumption of classes.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Sun Maiden

The maiden she sat
in the middle of the sun
and in her hands
she wove the light.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Om Nom

Can't blog much because I'm hip deep in a project with a major presentation this Saturday.  For sanity's sake, here's a picture of two Om Noms, which my wife just adores.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Neutrino Phase Shift Detector Array

Ateneo de Davao's neutrino phase shift detector array in operation.  Not much to see here as all the action is happening in the data visualization section of the Linux control cluster.  We'll start running the analysis soon, but with a few petabytes' worth of data, it'll be a few weeks before the preliminary report comes out.  Still, one can hope....

Master Cat at Noontime

I startled him from his nap, that's why he's staring. 

Playing with the Sony Bloggie this week.  Expect more pics.

My Shadow and Me

Taken with a Sony Bloggie during my morning walk.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Paparazzo the Robot Photographer's Pictures

Here are some shots that Paparazzo the Robot Photographer took.  Not being a very sophisticated robot, Paparazzo doesn't know much about proper framing: if anything comes into range, he shoots.  But from time to time, he does luck into a nice photo.
Ailyn startled by Paparazzo.  At this point, I hadn't written the program yet, so I was controlling the robot via NXT Remote.
Likewise for this shot of Ton.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Paparazzo the Robot Photographer

Paparazzo is an automated photographer that I built for my robotics class. The robot scans for objects in the vicinity (within a 180 degree radius). If it finds an object, it takes a photo by pressing the shutter on the onboard point-and-shoot camera.

This is my second wholly original robot design (the first being a so-so arm-and-claw assembly). Most challenging was the hardware design: it took some puzzling to see how best to apply force to the shutter, and how to transmit that force through the arm. On the software side, it was also my first time to use variables and conditionals in a program (so I wouldn't need sensors to tell the swivel when to start turning in the other direction.)

I would've wanted to improve the program a bit more, but I ran out of time. Still, I'm quite happy with how Paparazzo turned out.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

The Wedding Party

Attended a wedding tonight and took over 600 pictures.  Now my trigger finger hurts.  Also my first time out with a Speedlight; not entirely satisfied with my output, but better than dark grainy shots, I suppose.  And, of course, one of my better pictures has to be one where the flash didn't go off.

Live Forever!

From "Zen in the Art of Writing":

When did it all really begin? The writing, that is. Everything came together in the summer and fall and early winter of 1932.

By that time I was stuffed full of Buck Rogers, the novels of Edgar Rice Burroughs, and the night-time radio serial "Chandu the Magician." Chandu said magic and the psychic summons and the Far East and strange places which made me sit down every night and from memory write out the scripts of each show.

But the whole conglomeration of magic and myths and falling downstairs with brontosaurs only to arise with La of Opar, was shaken into a pattern by one man, Mr. Electrico.

He arrived with a seedy two-bit carnival, The Dill Brothers Combined Shows, during Labor Day weekend of 1932, when I was twelve. Every night for three nights, Mr. Electrico sat in his electric chair, being fired with ten billion volts of pure blue sizzling power. Reaching out into the audience, his eyes flaming, his white hair standing on end, sparks leaping between his smiling teeth, he brushed an Excalibur sword over the heads of the children, knighting them with fire. When he came to me, he tapped me on both shoulders and then the tip of my nose. The lightning jumped into me. Mr. Electrico cried: "Live forever!"

I decided that was the greatest idea I had ever heard. I went to see Mr. Electrico the next day, with the excuse that a nickel magic trick I had purchased from him wasn't in working order. He fixed it, and toured me around the tents, shouting at each, "Clean up your language," before we entered to meet the dwarfs, acrobats, fat women, and Illustrated Men waiting there.

We walked down to sit by Lake Michigan where Mr. Electrico spoke his small philosophies and I talked my big ones. Why he put up with me, I'll never know. But he listened, or it seemed he listened, maybe because he was far from home, maybe because he had a son somewhere in the world, or had no son at all and wanted one. Anyway he was a defrocked Presbyterian minister, he said, and lived down in Cairo, Illinois, and I could write him there, any time I wished.

Finally he gave me some special news.

"We've met before," he said. "You were my best friend in France in 1918, and you died in my arms in the battle of the Ardennes forest that year. And here you are, born again, in a new body, with a new name. Welcome back!"

I staggered away from that encounter with Mr. Electrico wonderfully uplifted by two gifts: the gift of having lived once before (and of being told about it)… and the gift of trying somehow to live forever.

A few weeks later I started writing my first short stories about the planet Mars. From that time to this, I have never stopped. God bless Mr. Electrico, the catalyst, wherever he is.

Live forever, Ray Bradbury. Live forever.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012


Over on Twitter, Rappler posted a question: "Do you consider yourself a Filipino? If so, what makes you a Filipino?"  And, of course, the requisite hashtag, #PinoyAko.

The only proper answer is: "Filipino-ness."

For context, I harken back to my college days of long ago. It was in Philosophy class. Our teacher, Mr. Salem, posed to us the question: "What makes a chair a chair?"

Someone quickly said: "You can sit on it!" To which our professor sat on the table and asked the class: "So is this a chair?"

Other answers followed. One said: "Because of its shape!" On the board, Mr. Salem drew in succession: a throne, a three-legged stool, an armchair, a rocking chair....

Answers pertaining to size, color, and material were likewise dispatched.

And the answer? Chair-ness. What makes a chair a chair is its essence of being a chair.

Likewise, that's the only way that I can approach the question of what makes a Filipino a Filipino. It's Filipino-ness.

Everything else is accident: history, geography, race, ethnicity, ancestry, even our culture(s). Because when you get right down to it, there's as many things that divide us as brings us together (and likewise, as joins us to one another as keeps us apart.) To be a Filipino is to be a contradiction.

Our Filipino-ness is malleable and elastic, which is what makes us both adaptable to and accepting of others. Our adaptability and acceptance is not surrender but assimilation: no one who comes in contact with us can escape becoming a touch Filipino themselves.

We don't need to articulate what we are. We just...are.

And you know what? Not far in the future, the whole world will be Filipino.

Friday, June 01, 2012

The Japanese Dolls Post

We found these dolls in, of all places, a combined coffee shop-plumbing fixture showroom.  How that mix came to be I don't know; but the owner has very eclectic taste in furniture and art.  Still, the Japanese dolls were captivating, beautiful yet eerie, and exquisitely made.  I just had to take photos.