Thursday, December 25, 2008

The 25th of December 2008

The time is just 11:55 pm.

So technically, it’s not yet the 25th.
Tic. Toc. Tic. Tic.
In a few moments, the clock will reach 12 o’clock. And hey, the entire world will celebrate Christmas Day!
Families share festive meals, exchange of gifts with their loved ones, friends celebrate with cheers, cellular phone networks crashes caused by the huge traffic of SMS sent, never ending phone calls, television shows countdown, hence, those who are at work has no choice but to render their service to other people —nurses, doctors, policemen, firemen, call center agents, gasoline boys, 24 hour fast food crews, etc. — good thing I never dreamt of being one of them.

Past 12 o’clock. The world celebrates Christmas.

This year I’m celebrating Christmas with my nuclear family —mom, dad, sister, and brother— just like a decade, or more, ago. My sister’s husband and their son are both in Manila, so hypothetically, no extensions this year.
I saw our one and only family picture this morning when I woke up. That picture was taken when I was just eight or nine years old. I missed the good old days —those days when I don’t care about the world around me; days when they kept all the problems from me; times when I wake up on Christmas Day, I’ll find either a gift, a card, a toy, or cash in the sock I hung on the window.

12:20 am. Fireworks stopped. It’s raining.

Rain resembles blessings.
When it rains during your wedding, they say you will be poured with bountiful blessings.
When it rains during your JS Prom and you’re having it on open grounds, maybe your class adviser forgot to hold on to an egg.
When it rains on Christmas day, blame it all on global warming! And I’m definitely sure about this.

12:25 am. The rain stopped.

Suddenly, I miss the Internet. It has been more than 50 hours since the last time I was online. Although there’s an Internet connection here at home, I opted not to get in touch with my friends.
Suddenly, I miss my cell phone. It has been almost 40 hours since the last time I sent an SMS thru my cell phone. Although there’s a signal for my network provider a block away from our house, I opted not to get in touch with my friends.

This is my definition of hibernation. I cut all of my connections to the outside world. I want to hide myself from the world —the world full of agony, bitterness, pain, and inequalities. Agony caused by life’s adversities. Bitterness realized from imperfections. Pain brought by challenges. And inequalities established by a vindictive society.

Past 1 am. Mom asked me to pick up my towel.

When an organism hibernates, it seeks out a den.
Our house is my den. It is a den where I rest at times when I need to hibernate. This is my comfort zone. The free flowing river at the back cleanses my soul. The green mountains around and the majestic Mayon Volcano refreshes my mind. The calmness of air at night rests my body. And the warmth given by my family keeps the flame in my heart to burn.

1:10 am. A group of men passed by our house.

Since silence creeps through the cold air around me, I can hear all sorts of sound here and there. Frogs croaking, crickets making their sound, the cell phone of the neighbor rings, buses and trucks passing by the nearby Maharlika highway screeches, roosters cock-a-doodling (at 1 in the morning!), and my dad snoring from upstairs.
This is what I like best here at home: no traffic outside, I don’t need to buy food from the nearby carinderia, I can eat my dad’s champorado, I don’t need to worry about any bill: may it be phone or internet or boarding or insurance or credit card… even just for exactly two weeks.
In every 52 weeks per year, all I ask is at least two weeks of quality vacation. And I’m thankful to God that He had given me this.

1:30 am. I can feel that my pimple is about to burst.

If you noticed how random my thoughts are, it is because of the following reasons: (1) sudden emotional distress caused my amygdala and hippocampus to panic; (2) my interneurons are lethargic already; (3) it’s my bedtime already; (4) and most importantly, I’m afraid that my pimple will burst on Christmas Day.

This is who I am. And I choose to be myself.

But despite my frailty and my shortcomings, I’m still thankful to the Lord that He blessed me all of these years. Nonetheless, He gave to us His most begotten son, Jesus Christ. Happy birthday Sir! I owe you my life. : )

5 minutes before 2 am. The rain started to fall again.





Written before the clock ticked 12am and ended before the clock ticked 2am; 25th of December; in a house along the Bicol River.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

bored? try me.

am supposed to:
  • deposit in the bank
  • pay bills
  • shop for gifts
  • visit ortho
  • clean up desk full of gifts
  • check papers
  • blog
  • plurk
  • check mail
  • din-din with 'after dinner friends'
  • club
  • pack luggage
  • and many more!
just like you, i just had a Christmas fever... psychosomatic, i guess so.

but naaaaah... it's part of the season.

let's have a break and play these winterbells...

hope you have fun!!!



*blame it all not nate* grrrrrrrrrr!



Free Smiley Face Courtesy of www.FreeSmileys.org

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Dos Boys

Seven years and still counting…

minsan sa may kalayaan tayo'y nagkatagpuan
may mga sariling gimik at kaya-kanyang hangad sa buhay

That’s how long since I’ve known these guys…


sa ilalim ng iisang bubong
mga sekretong ibinubulong
kahit na anong mangyari
kahit na saan ka man patungo

Back then, we just joke around like idiot neophytes in the vague and ambiguous world of the Republic of the University of the Philippines.


ngunit ngayon kay bilis maglaho ng kahapon
sana'y huwag kalimutan ang ating mga pinagsamahan

Back then, Ma’am Tirona would screech at us saying: “Mga ****** *** ninyo, saang lupalop kayo ng UP nag-***y kagabi?


at kung sakaling gipitin ay laging iisipin
na minsan tayo ay naging
tunay na magkaibigan

Back then, this dormitory used to be a place we call home. It was a place where friendships flourished, ideas evolved, and personalities progressed.

minsan ay parang wala nang bukas sa buhay natin
inuman sa magdamag na para bang tayo'y mauubusan

Reuniting with some of my floormates last night kept me nostalgic the entire Sunday. After seven years, most of us are professionals now.

Anthony is still teaching at the National Institute of Physics, at the same time taking his PhD (after dating Caramel who used to be my classmate/seatmate in several awarding ceremonies/co-faculty at UPIS, bitter ocampo? hekhek);

Xiao is finishing his MA thesis in History about her Mommy Imelda while tangentially teaching History at DLSU-Taft (yah, yah, we all know it was you who asked your students to dispatch those posters and distribute those flyers at FC and AS last summer, *wink*);

Jong is a Trade Desk Officer of the Department of Agriculture and sidelining at Kalayaan College. (see? he can’t even get over the word: Kalayaan. bwahahaha);

James is an auditor at the Philippine National Bank for almost a year now, after passing the accountancy board exam last year (without even reviewing for it, naks!);

Davis is a consultant in a training and consulting firm (honestly, I can’t explain on text what my roommate is doing for living. ulk. ulk. ulk.);

Allan is back at the College of Social Science and Philosophy to take his post-grad studies while employed in… OMG, I really don’t know! (why is it that I have no idea what my housemates are doing for a living? bleh!);

And the person to blame why we gathered last Saturday night at Sarah’s is Tonio — who is now based in Chicago while serving the US Navy. He’s here to have a two-weeks vacation before pursuing his post-graduate studies in the States.

Oh yeah, thank you Robert for sending this message over the yahoogroups:

Welcome home! ;)

Sent from my iPhone

(dude! that’s your iPhone crashing on yah face! LOL)


I have no idea regarding the whereabouts of the others. I just hope everybody’s fine wherever they are!


Okay I'm bluffing.
I know where 'some' of the others are hiding right now. Free Smiley Face Courtesy of www.FreeSmileys.org


ngunit kung sakaling mapadaan baka
ikaw ay aking tawagan
dahil minsan tayo ay naging
tunay na magkaibigan


pix courtesy of Xiao

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Soon...

Want to know why the Urban gurU is very busy lately?


First of all, he's still enjoying his golden tan from...




Second, it's because of...


soon...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Sembreak Day Three

This entry was written last October 28, 2008, 12:27AM while the Urban gurU was at Sariaya, Quezon. It just so happened it got lost in translation just like Scarlett Johansson...

naalala kita pag umuulan SEMBREAK
naalala kita pag giniginaw SEMBREAK
naalala kita ilang bukas pa ba
bago tayo ay magkita

I really hate it when my phone receives an SMS early in the morning. Since I always place it near my pillow, I would wake up easily even just by a single SMS alert.

Past 7 AM, AJ’s SMS woke me up saying:

This is Ms. AJ of PSYSC blah blah blah… I just want to confirm Sir that we’re supposed to meet at McDonalds Philcoa at 2pm this afternoon for our trip to Sariaya?

Good thing I woke up on the right side of the bed. So I replied:

Really? Oh that’s why no one from PSYSC showed up last night! Wadapak! I thought it was 2am?!

I’d better go home now and catch some sleep. See you this afternoon!

After a few minutes, my phone rang.

Tuzki Bunny Emoticon

After her call I went back to sleep for another hour or two. Past 9am I fixed my bed and tried to catch some Pokemon.

Oh, by the way. I always watch Pokemon before going to work. Like this one ryan_h caught for me:


Lunchtime I went to SM North to pay some bills and to deposit a check; passed by National Bookstore to look for the latest Reader’s Digest but ended buying a Discovery Channel Magazine.


Thou it is almost a hundred pesos more expensive than RD, the free CD of exclusive Discovery Channel ringtones, clips and wallpaper convinced me a lot to buy the mag —stuff that I can use in classroom instruction.

1:15 pm but am still on a jeepney headed back to UP Campus. Car accident along CP Garcia stranded me in an Ikot jeep that made me decide not to go anymore to the National Institute of Geological Science (NIGS). I’m supposed to give an HSBC form to Enj at her lab coz she’s about to leave for Kidapawan that night and am about to leave for Sariaya AT 2PM!!!

1:40 pm. Alas! Am home coz I decided not to give the form to her anymore. I still have 20 minutes to pack my things for an overnight stay at Sariaya, Quezon to visit PSYSC’s 2008 Children’s Science Interactive Workshop, as a member of its Board of Trustees.

I arrived at McDOA (McDo + philcOA) 15 minutes past 2 o’clock but AJ wasn’t there yet. She arrived after I’ve finished my fries and then we left to fetched another speaker at the College of Engineering.

Around 3 o’clock pm, our five-hour journey began. We had a pitstop at Sta. Rosa, Laguna to fetch another speaker. By the way, Chico Garcia has really nice pix of some EK-EK at Enchanted Kingdom. I highly suggest that you visit his site for the said pix.

It was not a boring trip with an Archeologist from the National Museum, a Chemical Engineer, an Environmental Engineer, and a Grade School Science Teacher. I guess you already have an idea of what topics transpired in our conversations. Nevertheless, since Science is already a part of our lives, I assure you that we still have other things to talk about. Examples were: the mechanics of why Filipino motorbike riders are very prone to accidents, Petron and Shell’s monopoly over the country’s oil economy, Coast Guard trainees diving over Manila Bay, an engineer’s bridal shower, and the THES-QS results and other politics inside the University, to name a few.

See! I told you, they are purely not geek talk!

Tuzki Bunny Emoticon

8 pm we arrived at Villa Del Prado. The sumptuous dinner waited for us as early as 7pm. Am telling you, any dinner would be very sumptuous for anyone who just came from a 5-hour drive.

Past 9 o’clock we transferred to a nearby resort where we will be housed.

So now, here I am writing this entry in a beach resort somewhere in Sariaya, Quezon.

It’s drizzling outside.
It’s cold.
And I’m excited to see YOU.

And oh, by the way, I just missed again another deadline for the Blog Awards Challenge. And that really…

Tuzki Bunny Emoticon



When the Urban gurU returned to Quezon City last November 1, he found out that the Blog Awards Challenge's deadline was extended. Unfortunately, work piled up on his desktop causing him to cram in computing his students' grades and not be able to write for the BAC.

Tuzki Bunny Emoticon

Monday, October 27, 2008

Sembreak Day Two

walang silbi sa bahay
kundi bumabad sa telepono
o kaya'y kasama ng buong barkada
nakatambay sa may kanto

In this case, I spent the day in front of Ace, as usual. And since I am certified weekend mall rat, I had dinner with best friends at Trinoma. Teni just came back from Palawan last Friday and it had been almost a month ago since the last time we saw each other. Markitotz who seems to be busy also with his work and his crunchyroll addiction decided to cancel his appointments for the day.

Dinner at Conti's and coffee at CBTL made our day.

Sembreak Day One

dear kim kamustang bakasyon mo
ako heto pa rin nababato
bad trip talagan t'tong Meralco
bakit brownout pa rin dito


October 25 is the official start of my semestral break. Even though it is a Saturday, I still included it in my official 9-day-vacation version 2.0 for 2008.
I just can’t wait for my version 3.0 vacation for this year —Christmas break!

--o--


Rom woke me up with an SMS asking me to prepare a costume for the Halloween party I’m supposed to attend later that night. Because of that exasperating SMS, I was not able to return to dreamland that early Saturday morn. Instead, I stressed out myself the entire morning thinking of what to wear for the affair. I am very thankful to my plurkmates who were very creative in giving advices about what to wear for the party. Here are some of their awesome suggestions:
  • nothing (yeah right, Pen, I’m sure you’ll enjoy that!)
  • my everyday attire coz it’s horror enough (I know that already Dean, since obviously, am a horror teacher. Bwahahaha!)
  • bahag (g-string) - good thing I don’t own one (Thank you very much Yaya Eloisa for the wonderful suggestion.)

In the end, I decided to come as myself. No make-ups; no costumes. Just me, myself and I.

Am telling you, it worked! They let me in!
However, they excluded me from the Best in Costume Award coz they thought I was too authentic for that award!

--o--


Prior to the Halloween party, the Professionals Group of the Gerry Roxas Leadership Awardees (GRLA) held their organizational meeting at the Gerry Roxas Foundation Office at the Aurora Towers. An election of the governing body of GRLAs was held in order to have an interim Executive Committee that will function for six (6) months or until their successors are elected and qualified on a meeting called for the purpose of establishing a permanent structure of the organization.


In case you are a recipient of the Gerry Roxas Leadership Award, either still studying or a professional already, please leave a comment here or visit the Gerry Roxas Foundation’s website.

--o--


While waiting for the Halloween party to start, I dropped by the Lomo exhibit at Cubao Expo which Denxa, a college friend, participated. I was amazed that the analog cameras we used to capture our fond memories back then are now considered as vintage.

While at the exhibit, I asked Denxa a stupid question, "May nagdedevelop pa ba ngayon ng mga film ng analog cameras?" She answered, “sa Florophoto,” with a matching raised eyebrows.

Here are some of Denxa’s friend’s pix during the event at Cubao X. LOL. (Too many reference points!)


--o--


To cap off my stay at Cubao that day, we watched the LFS of HSM3 at Gayway, I mean, Gateway.

Duh. I can’t even spell out HSM3. Of all the showing movies that night, they decided to watch the gayest movie of the year. Well, am just too scared that my students would found out that I watched that movie on the second day it was shown in Manila. Worst, I was able to watch it even before they had seen it. Yikes!

To be fair enough, I was really amazed by the technicalities of the movie. From costumes, production design, cinematography, sound, to choreography, it was fantabulous! (Fantastic and fabulous combined.) It’s rare that I appreciate a musical, so this one is an exception.

Even so, the plot was sooooooo cheesy, am too hypocrite to reminisce those mushy days. Charantia, anyone?


--o--

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Why should the 2008 THES-QS world university rankings not be taken seriously?

For an alumnus of a national university —the University of the Philippines (UP), it is not that easy to accept the fact that the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) outranked UP in the 2008 university rankings recently released by the Times Higher Education Supplement and Quacquarelli Symonds (THES-QS). ADMU rose from 451 ranking to 254 while UP landed to 276 from last year’s 398.

Two other local universities made it to the rankings. Quoting blackshama on his Filipino Voices article On university ranking: views from both sides of Katipunan Road:

De La Salle is at 415th and our only ancient university, the Royal and Pontifical University of Santo Tomas is at 470th.”

As early as July 2007, UP announced already its refusal to participate in the said survey because the THES-QS could not explain where it got the figures on which UP’s rank was based in the year 2006.

The UP Newsletter article entitled Only two RP universities made it to the world’s 500 best; but must the rankings be taken seriously? written by Alicor L. Panao continued:

“In response to UP’s objection, however, Quacquarelli Symonds research assistant Saad Shabbir simply wrote back that if it did not receive the information by the deadline then it would be 'forced to use last year’s data or some form of average.'”

Just last Friday, October 17, UP announced again in its website that it did not participate in the THES-QS university rankings and President Emerlinda R. Roman did not even receive any invitation to be a part of it.

To give you an overview of how the THES-QS came up with ranking of the top universities of the world, here are the six indicators they used:

  • 40% - Academic Peer Review - Composite score drawn from peer review survey (which is divided into five subject areas). 6,354 responses in 2008.
  • 10% - Employer Review - Score based on responses to employer survey. 2,339 responses in 2008.
  • 20% - Faculty Student Ratio - Score based on student faculty ratio
  • 20% - Citations per Faculty - Score based on research performance factored against the size of the research body
  • 5% - International Faculty - Score based on proportion of international faculty
  • 5% - International Students - Score based on proportion of international students

Apparently, if you don’t submit proper documentation in the abovementioned criteria, old data will do for the THES-QS researchers. Sounds rational enough, isn’t it? Okay, not really, am just being sarcastic.

To boot, Wikipedia’s THES-QS World University Rankings article offered several other criticisms about the said survey including too much emphasis on peer review, errors have also been reported on the faculty-student ratio used in the ranking, the pool of responses is heavily weighted in favor of academic ‘peers’ from nations where the Times is well-known, the results have been highly volatile for other universities, and others.

Panao’s article in the UP Newsletter also offered flaws in the THES-QS survey in other higher education institutions in many countries just like what happened in Duke University whose rank rose drastically in 2005 when it was listed to have 6,244 faculty members. It turned out that this figure was actually the number of undergraduate students enrolled at Duke in the fall of 2005.

ADMU’s official comment in the 2007 THES-QS World University Rankings questioned the criteria used in the survey as not congruent to a Catholic school’s mission and vision. Hence, the results became their benchmarks to strive more “to grow in excellence and in linkages with peer institutions internationally… and continue to be the formation of a next generation of leaders who will not only be the best in their chosen professions, but who will place this excellence at the service of others.”

True to a fact, they deserve congratulations for emerging first among Philippine schools included in the ranking.

However, I just don’t get the basic idea in a certain part of the article Rankings and caution by Ramon Miguel Samson posted in the ADMU website saying:

“Self-professed experts would have provided their own analyses of the rankings, ranging from intelligent and pragmatic examinations of the methodology, to delusional theories that are on the same level of saying “nobody called us,” which all make reference to karma or some other supernatural cause.”

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Hiatus

The torrent is finally over, as far as I believe.

And guess what? The Urban gurU is back. Back from exactly 55 days of hiatus.

Let me start my excuse letter from these events that deserves a post:

  • August 25 – Gerry Roxas Foundation Anniversary Launching
  • August 30 – Eraserheads Reunion Concert
  • September 6 – PSYSC Science Olympiad National Eliminations
  • September 7 – UAAP Cheerdance Competition
  • September 19 – Ipo Dam Tree Planting
  • September 20 – Math-Sci-a-Ka
  • September 21 – 2008 Philippine Blog Awards
  • September 27 – PSYSC Science Olympiad National Finals
  • September 28 - surprised visit to the ER!

Regardless of how long this list would be, am still thankful that September is finally over.



*plays Green Day’s Wake Me Up When September Ends as background music*



Over the past five years, it had been my busiest month of the year. But this year, it had never been as painful as it was also. Sigh. Thank God it’s finally over.


here comes the rain again
falling from the stars
drenched in my pain again
becoming who we are


pix by poloy

Believe.



"When someone suddenly
shuts down something
and tells the world
that he will never
do that thing again,
never ever surmise."


Monday, August 25, 2008

Urban gurU Dreamt of the Eheads Concert Pushing Through

In a music/-OH hub at E.Rod.


(Music: Ten-ten-ten-ten ten-ten-ten ten-ten ten-ten-ten ten-ten-ten-ten-ten ten-ten-ten… ten-ten-ten-ten-ten… I have a dream…)


Urban guru enters the music/-OH hub.

A guy taking a picture of the hallway blocks the Urban gurU’s path towards the staircase.


Urban gurU: Ah… excuse me…

Guy: Sorry… am not actually an artist. Am just trying to be one…


Urban gurU climbs the staircase and settles in one of the couch.


K: By the way, this is my friend Julie. Julie this is the Urban gurU and E.

J: Hello! I’m J. And I’m drunk. Hik!

E: Oh… you really are.


Twas a very hard Sunday for the Urban gurU. He was still sleepless after a pre-birthday party of a college friend at the north end of T. Morato. To think, the birthday celebrant was not actually there. Dammit.

To cap off his Sunday night, he went out with two friends to have dinner at a veggie restaurant at T. Morato. To his amaze, the taxi driver who brought him there was a ‘kababayan’ (townmate) from his dad’s place; who used to train with him for CAT way back in high school; who really looks like younger than him, to think he’s a taxi driver. Wadahek. His conclusion, this world is such a big place to live in, thou sometimes it is not.


K: You saw Marcus downstairs.

Urban gurU: Huh?

K: The one with the camera?

Urban gurU: Oh yeah… now I remember him.


It had been a great confusion for a lot of Ehead fans whether the reunion concert slated on August 30 will still push through. Being a fan, since grade school, the Urban gurU is very much concerned also of not getting the free tickets online. Now, how can he afford the cost of the tickets that is worth:

+ +

Philippine peso, after S & Bertelsmann Music Group took over the sponsorship?

To think, they’ll be releasing the tickets on the day attributed to the Roman god Mercury. Just imagine the pandemonium it will cause maybe in your favorite music store or in a prominent ticket outlet found in the biggest mall chain in the country!


J: Hello again!

Urban gurU: Hi! We’re just talking about some Eheads stuff…

J: Oh… Do you know the song Julie Tearjerkey?

Urban gurU: O-M-G! (Dropping entire jaw while eyes are popping out). No way!

J: I was already in third year when they were staying at Kalai.

Urban gurU: And I was in second grade when they formed the band!


Nostalgic as it seems, the Urban gurU’s dream brought him back to reality when he found his bed at 6 o’clock in the morning, realizing that he still need to attend a function at the Mandarin Suites at 10 o’clock in the morning.


I wanted life to be this way
Just a little bit of love could mean so much
Oh please don't take it all away
But with you heaven is still close enough to touch
Because your love is still the only thing
That matters in this world
The only thing I can believe...






pic credits

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Blog Challenge Experience and ‘Other’ Experiences

Despite of a spontaneous guilt of my last ‘virtual vice,’ here I am again in front of Ace writing another post. For those who still don’t know who in the world is Ace, here he is:

I remember a plurker reacting to my plurk when I mentioned that I’ll be spending the entire day with Ace. Duh. (insert annoyed emoticon here)

By the way, Ace turned 1 year old last August 5!

Happy birthday Ace!

---


After two weeks of not writing a post, I am holding Plurk accountable for this disequilibrium. Weekly plurkfiesta emptied my wallet, held me sleepless at night, and kept me wondering should I even attend work the next day…
(Fail on the dramatic effects. Hekhek.)


What matters most now is that Plurk proved to me that it is indeed a social networking site. Meeting fellow bloggers in real human form is a leap in Darwin’s Theory of Evolution! Back then, I only read about their thoughts online, but now having conversations with them, debating with relevant (and not so relevant) issues, watching them finish packs of cigarettes or blow their pipes, sharing –OH with them, food, food, and more food, etc, etc.
(Wait, this topic deserves another post. I’ll try to ponder first how will I write it.)
---


So before I forget, I just want to thank The Blog Award Challenge for including my entry as a finalist to the 6th Blog Awards Challenge: The Virtual Vice.

My post entitled “Vicious, As It May Seem” was included in the top three final entries.

The Blog Awards Challenge, by the way, “is a blog competition combining literary skills, interactivity and peer polling.” It is a theme-based writing event for everyone in the blogosphere. Done monthly, it is designed to have a peer-to-peer recognition and is aimed to promote and recognize good writing from both veteran and new bloggers.

Being a finalist for to the 6th Blog Awards Challenge, my entry will now compete for blogger votes, which will count for 20% of the final score.

You can visit the list of entries here.

But take note, you can only vote if you are blogging for at least three (3) months with a minimum of thirty entries in your blog, prior to your voting in the competition. This rule will eliminate phantom voters and reduce incidence of cheating.

ARE YOU QUALIFED TO VOTE? Then, visit this page and leave a comment.

Voting ends on the 6th of September, 2008.





(Now back to plurking!)

Monday, August 11, 2008

Vicious, As It May Seem

Depravity, iniquity, wickedness, or corruption. Infirmity, frailty, imperfection, or simply a bad habit. Whatever you call it, to what vicious extent had cyberlife affected your ‘real’ life?


Gula


It all started with mIRC (Internet Relay Chat).
And I am blaming Khaled Mardam-Bey for my Internet addiction!

Honestly, I was a late bloomer.
I started chatting thru mIRC in the year 2000, five years after Khaled created the software for Microsoft Windows. In my entire fourth year high school life, I was busy browsing mIRC chatrooms, looking for fellow Filipinos, annoying an aged American chatter, or scavenging rooms just to bully anyone until 2 o’clock in the morning.

I vividly remember an instance when I recognized a name in one local chatroom.
The profile says: “dundz f 25.” Curious of whom she was, I asked her, “hi! asl please?”

Homaigood!
I was startled. It was my English teacher! It was my English teacher who lives two blocks away from my house.

Cool… isn’t it?
A teacher chatting with her student minutes before midnight? (Wait a minute! Now I know why I’m allowing my 6th grade students to bother me in YM in unholy hours! Gee...)

mIRC is like gluttony.
It is an over-indulgence and over-consumption of anything to the point of waste. I was over indulged to the point that I didn’t notice I was wasting my time.

Good thing I’m finally over with mIRC.
I downloaded the program last year and tried to relive the good old chatting days. A few months ago, I caught myself deleting the program from my drive after realizing that I need to move on…


Luxuria

In 2001, I graduated in high school, interestingly in mIRC also.
By the time I was in college, Yahoo! Messenger (YM) was a hit. My college years wouldn’t be complete without YM. It served as a meeting place for class reports, consolidating facts for a term paper, conveying holiday coursework, and so on… Indeed, it was very helpful in my academic life.

But time came when I religiously open my account to meet other people.
I get their accounts from Yahoo! Groups, some from other social networking sites. Lechery became an issue. It was lechery in the sense that I am engrossed with sociological compulsions. I easily fell for those whom I met online. Subconsciously, I submitted myself to Dante’s criterion of “excessive love of others.” Besides, it became an excessive reason to stay online…


Ira


Friendster awed the world when it was launched in March 2002.
Nevertheless, it was only in November 2003 when I joined the said Internet social networking service, months before TV Patrol had their primetime news about its phenomenal hit among Filipino netizens.

If I’m not mistaken, blogging in friendster started only in the year 2005, by this time, blogging became the outlet of my angst.
I blogged about getting a 4.00 in my Biology class, posted a copy of the lyrics of my theme songs for the one my hypothalamus is crazy with, worst, I even ranted about losing my very first job thru my Friendster blog. Indeed, friendster was a witness on how I manifested a vehement denial of the truth. It became my tool in my inward expression of wrath.


Invidia


Having only one social networking account did not content me.
In August 15, 2007, I created my Multiply account. I was so envious of my college friend/housemate who discreetly maintains a personal website thru Multiply.Multiply was overtly better than Friendster. I can post there my narcissistic pictures, attach the videos I love the most, upload the songs that had been running thru my head lately, easily review the last movie I watched or the book I’m trying to finish for the past 15 months, continue to blog about my rants and raves in life, and many more. The best part of this, you can easily filter those whom you want to have connections.

My Multiply is very private.
I only connect to my friends, schoolmates, classmates, and some online acquaintances with it. It is not infested by any of my past/present/future students, unlike my Friendster account, which is undeniably spammed by messages from them.

Because of that envy, now I believe that I have a better page in Multiply than my friend.



Superbia


YouTube’s slogan “Broadcast Yourself,” is perfect for anyone who wanted to show his or her excessive love of him/herself.


Last March 30, I created a YouTube account just to upload the short films my students made as their project for my subject.
Pride gave me the courage to create an account, and later uploaded their videos. It was not actually my work; it was their fruit of labor. It was a plain act of desire to be more important than others.


Avaritia


Chatting with a high school classmate thru YM opened me to the possibility of gaining extra income thru blogging.
With her recommendations, I opened my Blogger account in March 8, 2008. It instantly became the outlet of my overflowing thoughts. I redirected the stress I am giving myself by writing them down. Hence, there are also moments when I purposely stress out myself, especially when I have nothing to write about.

Greedy
as it may seem, but the very first reason for me to open a Blogger account was just for personal gain.


But hey!
After five months of maintaining a Blogger account, I don’t even have a PayPal account up to this very moment, nor incorporate an AdSense widget on my page.


Acedia


I am blaming Plurk for my blogging hiatus.
It had been exactly 35 days since my last post here at blogspot. Since I created a Plurk account last July 13, I had enrolled myself into a full time micro-blogging post-graduate degree. Being a portmanteau of ‘play’ and ‘work,’ Plurking ate most of my valuable time for the past four weeks.

Plurking is not only an outlet of attention deficit people, like me; but also it is a social networking service for attention deficit people, like me.
Thru Plurk I’ve met a writer-columnist in a national newspaper, a magician-at-night-DJ-at-late-night, a New York film & music producer and publicist, a photographer, an accountant, a researcher, and other e-celebrities. In other words, geeks who have nothing else to do on a Sunday night (well, aside from blogging).

Despite the fun and excitement of meeting new acquaintances, I admit that I’ve lost track of my own time because of plurking.
I am guilty of not doing my work beyond what is required of me. I am very unwilling to do my real work, lazy and indifferent to my real profession. Being a natural born procrastinator, I slept not earlier than 3am for the past 10 days just to finish four exams and Plurk most of the time.

Yes, I know, I am a sloth.









Gluttony.
Lust. Wrath. Envy. Pride. Greed. Sloth.


In the end, we go back to the ultimate question whether cyberlife is successful in exterminating real life intimacy.
My answer to this query, and basing it on my personal experiences in this ambiguous and ambivalent world of the World Wide Web —is definitely NO. It even led me into treasured real life intimacies —intimacies that are now just part of the memories of a melancholic guru.


Nevertheless, vicious, as it may seem, the cyber world still made me realize that the principles of temperance, chastity, patience, kindness, humility, charity, and diligence are more essential and imperative in this 'real' world full of uncertainties.







Monday, July 7, 2008

Urban gurU hibernates

ATTENTION NETIZENS!

The Urban gurU will be undergoing hibernation from July 8-10, 2008. This is in relation to the 2008 ASEAN Youth Science Summit to be held at the Traders Hotel, Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines.
Quoting the 8th ASEAN Science and Technology Week website:

The ASEAN Youth Science Summit (AYSS) is a complementary activity of the ASEAN Science and Technology Week Celebration in Manila that will involve the science-inclined youth of other nations, specifically those coming from the ASEAN-member nations and eight dialogue partner countries.

The AYSS is a gathering of the youth from the said countries for the purpose of providing a venue for the next leaders of regional S&T development to discuss relevant scientific and global issues, with the end view of promoting peaceful agreements among Southeast Asian nations.

The Urban gurU had been invited by the Department of Science and Technology - Science Education Institute to facilitate the teacher's sessions of the said event.

Included in the country paper presentations in science education are:
  • Best Practices in Teaching Science Research to Students
  • Gifted Education in Science and Mathematics

The 8th ASEAN Science and Technology Week will be done simultaneously with the 2008 National Science and Technology Week .


Hence, the first ever ASEAN Youth Science Summit is an offshoot of the 2007 National Youth Science Summit (NYSS) which was co-presented by the Philippine Society of Youth Science Clubs (PSYSC).

So, I'm off to another week of blogging hibernation...


See you at the Traders Hotel!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Playing Tag

Since Tala insisted that I should follow her overdue tag, here it is:

Fifth sentence:
Was that guy for real?

Next three sentences:
Was Pittsburgh really scouting me?
"What if they are?" he said.
"It don't change what you gotta do, Chick."

For the record, this is the very first tag I'm replying to. And because of that, I'll put this tag to an end. Bwahahaha! (Oh! I'm such a deviant).

Those lines were from Mitch Albom's For One More Day. A book I bought as a birthday gift to myself last year but unfortunately up to this very day, I'm still not finish reading it. See how much I love this book...?


To be fair with Tala, here are the rules of the tag:
1. Pick up the nearest book of at least 123 pages.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people.

Duh for rule number five! Harhar!

---


Talking bout tags, I came across this blog readability test a week ago. My blog's reading back then was actually GENIUS. But after a week, look at my blog's readability:

blog readability test



I'm really wondering why did my blog downgrade into this level...



Tag!


Thursday, July 3, 2008

OVER: the week that was!

I know. And I am very sorry. I know that I do owe you all a lot.


So let me start my soliloquy by accounting all my eustress for the last week of June 2008...


23rd of June, Mesmerized Monday

Frank’ spared me from lecturing in the laboratory this day. However, he didn’t spare the lives of hundreds of people aboard MV Princess of the Stars, nor the ill-fated citizens of Western Visayas.

I guess my friend is right, Sulpicio Lines should start changing their line of business into Sulpicio Funeral Homes after all of those maritime mishaps.

I do remember boarding Princess of the Stars three years ago. It was a trip to Cebu for the 2005 National Youth Science, Technology, and Environment Summer Camp. It was only tonight when I finally decided to look up for my remembrance of that trip. Here it is:

I vividly remember how huge that ship was. If I’m not mistaken, it’s the largest vessel I’ve boarded. Who would believe that it would succumb to ‘Frank’ that easily?


24th of June, Thrilling Tuesday

While those living in Manila were enjoying their very long weekend holiday, I myself was indeed exuberant upon receiving my very first credit card. Many thanks to my orgmate’s blockmate in college who is also my co-teacher’s schoolmate in high school and grade school. Oh never mind the intertwined relationships!

In exactly 21 days, I received my HSBC credit card with a credit limit of Php*****.00. (I’ll keep it to myself coz you might be able to figure out how underpaid my profession is).

Nevertheless, just as an ‘old’ friend warned me not so long time ago, I swear from this day on that I wont use my card that much every time I pay a visit to the mall.

Using it twice in every visit is a good idea…right? What do you think?


25th of June, Wednesday Workout

One thing that made me very excited this day is the fact that it’s the first day of classes for my Photoshop class. Yippee! I’m glad to be a student once again. Teacher NiƱo, the school’s Art teacher, opened his graphic arts class for the school’s grown ups. So, who are my classmates? Teacher Lilia (the Filipino teacher), Teacher Ana (the School Registrar), and ultimately, Teacher Gracel (the School Principal).

At least now, I can edit already the pictures I’m posting here in my site (without using Paint!). Hehe.

See for yourself!


26th of June, Thursday Tautness

“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.”

1 Corinthians 12:4-6

This is what the Lord impressed to me upon waking up from a dream before 3 in the morning. Thou I know that I had a hard time the whole day figuring out what am I supposed to do with my vision, the Lord assured to me my actions at the end of the day. "Mission accomplished," I would say. Thus, just as a colleague remarked the following day, this is just the beginning for me, I know that there are still a lot more things He prepared for me.


27th of June, Friday Fiasco

Even without enough sleep the other night, I still accompanied my class to their field trip to the Quezon City Central Post Office. It was also my first time inside a big post office. Despite my fascination on how they were able to sort and deliver all of those snail mails in the biggest city in Metro Manila, I was disgruntled at the same time by the actual condition of the post offices in the country. It seems that everything was a makeshift in that post office, from the packets where they sort the mails, to the used sacks of rice they use in delivering the mails to the other central post offices. Ridiculous, I may say.

Good thing my students still enjoyed the entire trip to the dilapidated post office. (Taken for granted that it was their first time to actually mail a ‘real mail’).


28th of June, Saturated Saturday

Work doesn’t end for me on a Saturday. By 7:15 am, I was at the school already 'coz we’re headed to Grace Christian High School for the International Competitions and Assessments for Schools – Science (ICASS). Two of my students joined the said competition. But since I have angst about this competition, I’ll be posting soon another entry about it.

After the contest, we returned to our school 'coz by 3 o’clock pm, we had the first Parent Interaction Hour (PIH). It’s an orientation for our student’s parents for the new school year (some sort of a PTA meeting).

At 8 pm, I had an organic dinner with a girl friend in a nearby vegetarian resto. But since I was not happy with my tall glass of homemade mango yogurt, I insisted to her that we should drink a bottle of –OH. Good thing she was not happy either with her cute mug of hot chocolate drink. And so we both drink a bottle of –OH.

And the rest is history...


29th of June, Shopping Sunday

What is the best way to formally end an entire week of eustress other than shopping? Answer: more shopping.

Today is the first time I used my credit card. And the first thing I bought with it are my…

Then I also bought a…


…and I lived happily ever after…



THE END


Monday, June 23, 2008

The Nature of Zorro

In an email my student sent me today, she forwarded some things that I really need to ponder upon. Here's an example:

Three things in life that are never certain:

1. Fortune
2. Success
3. Dreams

But anyway, this blog has nothing to do with that email...


An online friend finally allowed me to post her pictures here in my site. I met Chutte in Multiply. Here are some of her pix at the Bromo Crater in Indonesia two years ago:

Bromoarea

Mountain View at the National Park

Beautiful, aren't they?


I just love nature. And traveling is my addiction.


I decided also to feature pictures in my sidebar. (Well actually, I've been doing that since I started this blog). The only difference now is that I'll be featuring shots regularly. Every two weeks maybe... =D


Oh, one more reason why I blogged this late is that I'm waiting for I-Witness.

Howie Severino documented "three teens from public schools, all headed for college at UP Diliman. These youngsters carry the weight of their families and communities' expectations as well as their branding as part of UP's centennial batch."

Not to mention their first encounter with the home-grown rallyists who are always there everytime there's a Freshmen Orientation at the University Theatre.


And who can forget Zorro! I love this guy. He's always up to date with what is happening in his society. I always catch him reading newspapers in Nadasha (a 24-hour eatery here in our place).

Anyway, the commercials are over, I need to go back in front of the TV...

'Til next time!

Mabuhay ang mga bagong iskolar ng bayan!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Signs that there’s a Public Storm Signal No. 3

According to PAGASA, at 2:00 a.m. today, the eye of Typhoon "FRANK" was located by radar, satellite and surface data at 30 kms South of Tayabas, Quezon or 90 kms Southeast of Metro Manila (13.9°N 121.5°E) with maximum winds of 120 kph and gustiness of up to 150 kph.

It is expected that "FRANK" will move north northwest at 15 kph.

When I woke up at 11 am, Typhoon "FRANK" has already passed east of Metro Manila and is crossing Central Luzon.

Hence, below is the latest 2D Image issued by PAGASA for 3pm today.

Since we’re already in a contemporary age, at the same time all of the emo’s out there are trying to defy the laws of nature, here are some ways to confirm that there is indeed a Public Storm Signal No. 3 in the metropolis:

1. You are back to basics. You wake up at lunchtime and compete with your housemate with the use of the kitchen as you cook your all time favorite instant noodles.

Yummy. This reminds me of college midnight snacks at Kalai (my freshman dormitory).


2. Talking about freshman years, the second sign leads you to old friends sending you unexpected SMS.

Here’s an example:


Jong: If there is something better than sharing with others the best of what you have, it is sharing with others the best of who you are… : )
UG: Kumusta naman kabagyuhan diyan? (How's the typhoon over there?)
Jong: Emo-emo lang… Haha. (Just being emo... Haha.)
UG: Wala ka ngang magawa… (You have nothing else to do.)
Jong: Kaya *** na lang! LOL. (That's why I'll just have ***! LOL.)



Jong is a good old college friend. He lived three doors across my room way back when we were freshies. At the age of 23, he had finished already is Masters Degree in Economics. He works at the Department of Agriculture and can't directly answer my question whenever I ask him, “Is there really a rice shortage in the country today?

To boot, Jong is an epitome of a USB!

Thanks to Billycoy for introducing me USB. It’s actually a line of collectibles available here.


3. Another friend challenges your Algebraic abilities, online!


Marge, another college friend, started our YM conversation by asking how’s the downpour at the metropolis. And after complaining about herself gaining a fat ***, she asked me if I know the expanded formula of (a+b+c)^3. Being a natural-born-Algebra-lover, I immediately picked up my pencil and notepad and solved for the solution. After a few minutes, I replied:


a^3 + b^3 + c^3 + 6abc + 3ab^2 + 3a^2b

+ 3ac^2 + 3a^2c + 3bc^2 + 3b^2c


Shoot! That was loooooong.

She responded:



margie: haha
margie: eh (a+b)^3
stupefied protagonist: kailangan ba tlga? (do you really need it?)
margie: medyo (quite.)
margie: haha
margie: alam mo yung shortcut (do you know the shortcut?)
margie: type mo na (type it now)

After quite some time...

margie: kuha ko na (i got it!)
stupefied protagonist: a^3 + 3a^2b + 3ab^2 + b^3
margie: tama (correct)

(^ indicates exponents)


Marge! You’re giving me a headache!

Marge has a degree in Public Health. She’s currently in her province way up north working in a local Water Company.


4. Finally, your last hint is that you stay in front of your laptop and tries to write as many blog entries as you can instead of checking your student’s quizzes. Oh! That’s another topic I can blog about!

Just wait, there’s more!

Outside: