Angry No More

January 3, 2009

The Angry Manileno has seen the light thanks to the incessant prodding of a concerned feng shui enthusiast who said that going by this name may not be a good idea. 

To my two loyal readers, please join me in exploring the world of blogging through my new site  wordsformoolah.blogspot.com.

World domination is just a click away.


Expensive Coffee Can Make You Lose Your Shoes

January 2, 2009

It is widely known that coffee has stimulating effects and more recently that it  has anti-oxidative properties. With this, some scientists say coffee, if taken in moderation, can be good for one’s health.

But, unknown to many, coffee especially the expensive kind may have some very disturbing side effects. Apparently, it can make you lose your shoe.

Scientists have yet to finish taking their coffee break and investigate this phenomenon but I can assure you this is real. Just visit any coffeeshop that serves overpriced coffee and you’ll see how bad this is affecting some people.

For some, losing a shoe or even a whole pair is not even the only side effect. Some also develop a compulsion to assume the Indian-style sitting position or any other ultra-relaxed pose. Some even raise their legs on the low tables or the armrests of their cushy cushy seats. Others even assume the fetal position, totally forgetting they’re not in their own homes.

Unscientific attempts to explore the reason for this disturbing coffee-induced behavior has resulted in some troubling discoveries. One is that there seems to be a correlation between the location of the coffee shop and the number of people afflicted with this mysterious malady. Upper-scale locations tend to have a bigger concentration of people with these symptoms. The same situation is prevalent in locations with a high concentration of college and high school students. Of course, these findings still need to be verified.

Incidentally, just last weekend, I found myself in a coffee shop. Having heard about this disturbing trend, I observed the other customers who were there. One girl caught my attention. She was all by herself reading a book, seemingly waiting for someone. Nothing out of the ordinary. But then, I noticed that she had the symptoms — feet unshod and the Indian sitting position. What really disturbed me though was that she remained in that state for more than 30 minutes. I’m sure you’re wondering why I’m fussing about this. Well, you see, my logical side initially brushed off what I saw, thinking that maybe she was just trying to be comfortable. That would have been the logical explanation if not for the dead giveaway. You see I can imagine how comfortable it must be to sit that way on a cushy cushy seat but this girl was sitting on a wooden chair the kind that comes with a super-straight backrest. Can you spell uncomfortable?

The Anti-Coffee Crap Movement fears that there may be no remedy to this. Its members believe that as long as the hot brew retains its coolness factor there will always be people who will be susceptible to these side effects.

I, for one, am not a big coffee fan. I prefer tea. But unlike the English, I don’t lay claim to any degree of refinement. Still, unless forced, I would rather eat coffee beans freshly harvested from a civet cat’s pooper than have a cup of overpriced coffee and risk losing my shoe.


Synchronicity and Two Taxi Drivers From Hell

December 30, 2008

Of the many things I hate the most two that I really cannot tolerate no matter how hard I try are liars and people who challenge simple logic with stupidity.

I encountered both last Saturday in the form of two taxi drivers from hell. How I ended up in a situation involving those a__holes is something I’d rather forget but I just cannot as of the moment. I’m still a bit shaken by the whole incident so this post will most likely come out like a stream of consciousness piece (translate: disorganized and long winded).

It all started when Taxi Driver A rammed into the back of the car of my “master and kumander.” When it happened I was almost at a full stop and was already waiting for about a few seconds for the vehicles on the other lane to clear the way so I could make a left turn. I happened to look at my rear view mirror and I noticed this taxi coming in fast directly towards me. It only took a few milliseconds for me to realize that this beat down taxi was on a direct course towards my “master and kumander’s” Toyota Vios. In an attempt to avoid being rammed into, I stepped on the gas to put some distance between me and this speeding taxi. Unfortunately, the taxi still connected and with enough force to send me into temporary shock.

I disembarked and inspected the damage. What I found was a dented bumper with scratches too many to be fixed with a simple paint touch up. I then turned towards Taxi Driver A who, by then, was already walking towards me.

Considering the fact that it was pretty clear from my point of view that the accident was the result of recklessness on Taxi Driver A’s part, I was all set to give him a severe dressing down. Well, to my utter shock and disbelief, Taxi Driver A beat me to the punch and started pinning the blame on me. He said I made a sudden stop and that I was probably using my cellphone while driving. Big mistake. Had he not started off with that line and tone, I would have probably just released a few invectives and immediately proceeded to discuss with him damage settlement. But, since he came out blaming me, he gave me more than enough reason to unleash the wrath.

To abbreviate, Taxi Driver A and I had a lengthy argument. Naturally, I defended myself from his ridiculous claims and stressed the obvious point that he was the one who hit me from behind while I was practically parked. I must admit it got to a point that I was directly calling him “gago” and other colorful Tagalog terms to describe an a__hole.

I also ended up showing him my media ID. Now, regarding this part of this story, let me just make it clear that I don’t make it a habit to flash my media ID as if it were a badge. The fact is I don’t even use it even when I’m in the office. I do, however, keep it on hand in case I find myself facing abusive state employees who want to separate me from what little money I have.

Going back to what happened. When it became clear to me that Taxi Driver A was trying to weasel himself out of the situation I felt I had no choice but to resort to some intimidation. So, while he was in the middle of accusing me of using my cellphone while driving, I told him to accompany me to my “master and kumander’s” car as I was going to show him something. I also told him that I was not going to use whatever it was that I was about to show him to pin the accident on him but merely to make him drop his false accusations.

Well, I will not deny that it helped that i showed him my media ID. The moment he saw it his tone improved and he became a bit more cooperative. He even asked me if I was Kapuso or Kapamilya. I said it didn’t matter. The fact is I was neither for I am merely a Kanguso.

With his accusations out of the way, we proceeded with discussing how to settle the matter. It was then that Taxi Driver B came out of nowhere. At first I thought he was just a curious pedestrian. I only suspected he was another taxi driver when he started saying things in support of Taxi Driver A. My suspicion was confirmed later on when I saw him getting something from the driver’s side of a taxi parked a few meters away from the site of our little accident.

To abbreviate again, Taxi Driver B messed up what had already turned into a civilized discussion between me and Taxi Driver A on the matter of damage settlement. Taxi Driver B succeeded in doing this by acting like a Crime Scene Investigator. As if it were his business, he approached the Vios and pointed out that some of the scratches on its damaged bumper were not caused by this accident. At that point it became clear to me that I was faced with an uzisero who just didn’t know his boundaries. Well, just like taxi Driver B, he received his share of colorful Tagalog words. Hell, I was ready to rumble by then. Two a__holes against one. Luckily, it didn’t get to that as Taxi Driver B apparently got it clear that I was ready to raise hell if he insisted on meddling with our business. He left soon enough but only after taking some camera snapshots of the “crime scene.” This a___hole must have really been channeling one of the characters from CSI.

Again, to abbreviate, after Taxi Driver B left Taxi Driver A and I continued our discussion. He later admitted that he beat the red light and that he didn’t see me as he was looking somewhere else. I did suspect though that he may have fallen asleep on the wheel judging from the sullen look on his face.

Not long after we were negotiating for a settlement. I demanded that he pay me P2000 right there and then to cover the participation fee I may have to shoulder if I were to have the car fixed under the terms of its insurance coverage. As expected of all a__hole PUV drivers, he laughed at my demand and made a counter offer of P500. We haggled and haggled but then I got tired. My “master and kumander,” who was already at the site by then, also told me to just let it go. In the end, I just accepted Taxi Driver A’s P500 offer.

I’m pretty sure, about half of my two loyal readers, would say that I should have just called a policeman to secure a proper police report. A security guard from a nearby establishment called the precinct. And, I did wait for more than 30 minutes for the policeman to arrive but to no avail.

All in all, this whole accident put a big dent on what should have been a relaxing weekend. In fact, it really messed me up that I fell ill the following day. Clearly it was the stress. You see, despite the blog title that I chose to run with, I really don’t like having feelings of anger. I also don’t like feelings of guilt. And, I definitely hate having these two feelings all mixed up.

You already know the angry part of the story. The guilty part came in after the fact. Taxi Driver B was about my age and was physically fit enough to get rough with me if the situation called for it. Taxi Driver A, however, was probably in his late 40s or early 50s. He was also smaller than me. The truth is not once did I think of getting physical with Taxi Driver A even at my angriest point during our confrontation.

Ironically, while I didn’t resort to bashing his head in or stomping on his foot, I ended up taking away what could have been his day’s earnings. My angry side could argue that his settlement of P500 was nothing compared to the damage he caused. Still, my guilty side felt that I could have secured that amount in a manner that didn’t involve any intimidation. Somehow, I felt that I came out looking like the abuser.

It’s been a few days since that accident. I no longer feel guilty. Why should I in the first place? Strangely though, in lieu of guilt, questions of some seemingly cosmic significance now occupy my mind. (Play “The Twilight Zone” theme music here.)

This wasn’t my first vehicular accident. I have fallen victim to the recklessness of other drivers quite a number of times over the past few years. My old car, a Nissan Stanza, got hit once by a Pajero driven by a minor. Well, that was the story told to me by a taxi driver who claimed to have witnessed the incident. He also told me that the driver of the Pajero didn’t even bother to check how much damage he caused and just sped away.

Years later my other old car, a Mitsubishi Lancer, was sideswiped by a bus, rammed from behind by a tricycle, sideswiped by another tricycle, and hit by a bicycle all in the span of three weeks. The bus driver tried to get away but I caught up with him and was able to get a measly settlement of P700 for a dented fender and a broken headlight. The first tricycle driver I just let go seeing that he was old enough to be my great grandfather. The other tricycle driver, well, he got away. As for the bicycle rider who dented my passenger side door, I really had no chance of getting anything anyway since he was just a kid.

Accidents happen all the time I know but this latest accident made me think that maybe Karma is at play here.

When I was just new to driving, I found getting in or out of parking spaces quite difficult. One time, while I was backing out of the parking space in front of my favorite bookstore in Quezon City, I scraped the side of an old Toyota Tamaraw parked beside me. The driver of the Tamaraw was nowhere in sight and since I really had no idea then how to deal with such a situation I decided to just leave the scene. I did intend to leave a note indicating my contact numbers. But, of course, intending to do something is not really the same as actually doing it. Although, it was just a very small scratch, I’m sure the owner of that Toyota Tamaraw cursed the a__hole responsible for the damage to his or her property. Incidentally, the place where this happened was almost the same spot where the hit and run on my old Nissan Stanza also happened years later.

One of my two readers finds it funny that I would even think of such Karmic implications. When I told her that I thought the accident with Taxi Driver A happened for a reason she laughed. She laughed even more when I proposed that the accident could be God’s way of amusing himself at my expense. I only said that because the street where it happened was wide enough for three cars to pass through side by side. There were also no other vehicles on that side of the road at that time. It was also daytime so visibility was not a problem. In short, I thought it was an accident that shouldn’t have happened or could have easily been avoided if not for some cosmic intervention.

Sure, I could just dismiss that accident as just another experience. But, why shouldn’t I milk it for my own amusement? And, how could I not think there’s some strange force at work here when just yesterday, while driving along Araneta Avenue, the same taxi that started this whole thing came driving up alongside me. (play “The Twilight Zone” theme music here again).


I Love My MSI Wind

December 25, 2008

i am one of the early adapters of the netbook craze. my first netbook was the asus eeepc 701. it was a good unit and i was able to make very good use of it even though it had the pre-installed linux system for an os. until i rediscovered my love for pc games…

i tried to make do with games designed for linux systems. unfortunately, i found the whole linux installation process much too complicated for my skill level. there was also this new netbook then that was making some noise in the marketplace, the msi wind.

it didn’t take long before i found good reason to replace my asus eeepc. my father helped me make the decision when he expressed interest in netbooks. he had been using a big acer laptop and was complaining that it was much too heavy to lug around. being the considerate son that i was, i willingly let him have my eepc.

netbooks are inexpensive but they’re not exactly cheap. good thing though zero percent interest offers are quite common here in the philippines. so using my trusty credit card i bought the msi wind.

i’m really happy with my purchase. the wind really performs as advertized. without getting into too much technical details, i’ll say the wind is without a doubt one of the best netbooks at the moment.

i’ve installed a few games mostly  first person shooters among them “call of duty,” “medal of honor,” and “hitman.” i also use the wind for work of course although lately i’ve been using it more to write stuff for this blog.

anyone considering buying a netbook should consider the msi wind.


The National Association Of Criminal Gangs of The Philippines Nationwide

December 23, 2008

iv’e always wondered why some media entities still insist on giving labels to so called criminal gangs.

if the group breaks into a house they call them ‘akyat-bahay gang.’ if the group uses a hammer to break store display cases they’re called ‘martilyo gang.’ if they wear bonnets – you guessed it – they’re called ‘bonnet gang.” and, should these criminals decide to break into a house while wearing bonnets and armed with hammers, perhaps they shall be called ‘akyat-bahay-martilyo-bonnet gang.’

whenever i hear or read these labels, my mind immediately brings up images of criminals gathered together, holding hands and declaring, “from here on out we shall be called this and this gang.”

are those media practioners perpetuating the use of these labels seriously thinking that all burglars from batanes to tawi-tawi belong to one nationally recognized group called ‘akyat bahay gang.’ talk about organized crime.

why not just call them robbers, burglars or thieves depending on the crime committed and describe their modus operandi instead. we can just say that a group of robbers went inside the bank and threatened everyone inside with hammers or the burglar kept his identity secret by wearing a bonnet.

this may just be a minor annoyance but i seriously think news editors, news managers and anyone who has the power to facilitate change within the media should take the time and effort to correct this. they should do this for the sake of the next generation of news media practitioners.

dear editors please don’t perpetuate something so utterly stupid. please support this advocacy against the ‘National Association Of Criminal Gangs of The Philippines Nationwide.’


Dishing Out Justice In Light Blue

December 23, 2008

the philippine national police has come out with a brilliant idea to stop criminals from getting away with their shenanigans by posing as law enforcers. lo and behold the new and improved pnp uniform.

the pnp’s logic is mindblowing. its thinking is clear and simple — by changing the design of the pnp uniform criminal groups will no longer be able to use the old pnp uniforms they already have. who would have thought of such a clever solution? really.

luckily, criminals here in the philippines are so dumb they would take forever figuring out how to replicate the new pnp uniform. it is also highly unlikely they would be able to find a tailor who would be willing to fabricate the uniforms.

the brilliance of this new uniform strategy is only matched by the pnp’s impressive record for solving cases. (bear in mind the pnp considers a case closed or solved as soon as charges are filed regardless if there is already a suspect in custody.)

credit goes to the pnp for doing everything it can to fight crime even at the risk of committing sartorial injustice. did i mention that the new pnp uniform is in a lighter shade of blue?

speaking of crime fighting, some of the pnp’s brave personnel are also showing a high level of efficiency. the past few weeks have seen quite a number of shootouts between policemen and suspected criminals, most of which have ended badly for the suspects involved. i’m not sure if media is just getting its facts all screwed up or is the pnp really getting good at dishing out lethal justice?

if i weren’t trying to be sarcastic in this post, i would say the pnp is really making me feel very safe especially now that they look like mmda traffic enforcers.


The Man In The Water Trumps Pacquiao

December 19, 2008

Hollywood has been churning out some really entertaining hero movies these past few years. Being a big fan of special effects and CGI, I especially enjoyed “Transformers,” “300,” and most recently “Iron Man” and “Hancock.”

 

These movies may not exactly fall in the category of cinematic greats but at least they succeeded in perpetuating the hero ideals of courage under fire and self-sacrifice.

 

I am a sucker for stories of heroism. News reports of people making the ultimate sacrifice to save others move me deeply. I guess I’m a hero fan.

 

I looked up the dictionary definition of the word just to be perfectly sure I know what it means. I was prompted to do this after realizing that the word has been reduced to a cheap, trivial title.

 

The two most common definitions I found were:

- a person noted for feats of courage or nobility of purpose, especially one who has risked or sacrificed his or her life

and

 – a person noted for special achievement in a particular field

 

Filipino boxing champ Manny Pacquiao’s hero persona hues more closely to the second definition. The People’s Champ is known the world over for his achievements in boxing. His life story from his humble beginnings as a simple probinsyano to his meteoric rise as a world-class boxer and multi-millionaire is truly worthy of admiration. One can only imagine how many people Pacquiao has inspired to take up boxing or to simply dream big.

 

There are many more Filipinos who are truly worthy of being called heroes. Overseas Filipino Workers or OFWs are among them. I doubt it if anyone would question the heroism in working in a foreign land to provide for one’s family thousands of miles away. For me, these heroes or bagong bayani (literally new heroes) as we like to call them are more of the first type. They are people who show feats of courage or nobility of purpose.

 

Unfortunately, today’s media has developed a habit of attaching the hero label to just about anyone. Taxi drivers who return belongings left behind in their taxicabs are routinely hailed in the news as heroes. There’s no question such a deed deserves praise but calling it an act of heroism is just wrong. Heroism is extraordinary. Doing good is and should just be standard practice.

 

But, if the media will insist on trivializing the concept, then I guess I will have to ask for recognition for recently returning a lost pen to its rightful owner.

Let us praise all good deeds; let us reserve the hero label for those who truly deserve it.

 

I recently came across a Time magazine article titled ”The Man In The Water” by Roger Rosenblatt. Published in January 1982, the article is included in the book ”Time: 85 Years of Great Writing .” lt is a poignantly written piece that left me teary eyed. Anyone who feels the need to be reacquainted with what it really takes to be a hero should check it out. Tear shedding is optional.


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