Philippine Road Rules

Monday, December 31, 2007

subtitle: Rules of Engagement for Foreigners Driving in Philippine Roads

I was talking to my girlfriend last night about how shitty the conditions of our roads and motorists are, which is usually the catch-all topic every in-the-car conversation boils down to when you've been on the road for at least an hour. She mentioned that if Australians were to drive on a laneless road like what constitutes 90% of our roads, they'd freak out, like maybe shout "Crikey!" a lot or whatever the hell they find fashionable nowadays.

To prevent that sort of thing from happening, I've decided to write an article about the some what subtle (read: day and night) differences between the theoretical rules and what gets applied on the road. Foreigners can read this primer to know what's in store for them while local drivers can read this to know why they're a bunch of idiots anyway.

On a three-lane road, theoretically, the middle lane is for the slow vehicles while the inner lane is for the fast moving vehicles. The outer lane is for exiting vehicles, or if there are no exits, it's another lane for overtaking. In actual Philippine practice, the middle lane is for the slow vehicles, along with the inner and outer lanes, which are also for overtaking, exiting, and occasionally coasting, probably to induce aneurysms on the other drivers on purpose.

Lines on the Road
Solid yellow lines mean that the outer lane is for exclusive use of exiting vehicles and public utility vehicles. Solid white lines mean that the overtaking is prohibited. Dashed white lines mean that overtaking is allowed, but should be done properly. Double lines are cautionary boundaries for merging roads, and other situations where yielding must be absolute.

Circular roads used for intersections with more than four exit points. Fuck Rotundas. If you can avoid these while driving, do it. Trust me on this.

Turn Signals
Turning signals are used to convey that you will be turning at the next intersection, or on a straightway, will be changing lanes. Be warned however, that Filipino drivers will consider this act as a direct challenge to the size of their penis, with the flashing light seemingly a signal form of the phrase "I am going to cut your lane, and you can't do anything about it." Of course, to the average Filipino driver, anything leaves a lot to interpretation.

Yield/No Yield Signals
In the absence of traffic lights, flashes of the headlights can be used as semaphores that tell drivers which car can get the right of way first. One flash means "I'll go first." and two flashes mean "You go first." Here in the Philippines, however, the meaning is different, in a sense that one flash means "I'll go first, you dirty faggot." and two flashes means "You go first, but you're still a dirty faggot, faggot." Expect retaliation soon afterwards.

Honking is an emergency device used to alert everyone of your presence, or any impending peril that may involve either you or the people around you. In most countries, honking indiscriminately while within city limits is already a traffic violation, while doing it outside the city is grounds for lashings or verbal abuse (depending on whether or not you live in Singapore)
Here in the Philippines, honking is a more primitive kind of communication, the same way ducks like to convey their feelings by quacking indiscriminately. Here are some possible meanings of honks in our country:

"Dude, move your fucking car"
"I want to buy cigarettes and candy from the greasy-looking kid"
"Come, ride my bus. I have a loud horn, so you should totally go inside."
"Thanks, asshole"
"I want to see your portfolio of harlots, Mr. Pimp."

I'll post more when I feel like it.

Inactivity Notice

Sunday, December 30, 2007

I'll be away for the new year. Have a Bronson picture in the mean time.

Bronson: "Hey Baby"

Amazing Race Asia and North Korea

Friday, December 28, 2007

Can you imagine what would happen if there was a pair from North Korea in the Amazing Race?

It would be awesome.

First, the pair would probably have funky Korean names nobody ever uses like Boon and Koon, not their real names of course since you're not allowed to own anything in North Korea, not even names.

Instead of camera men, they'd be given "watchers" who're basically like the normal camera crew accompanying the contestants from other countries, except they're supplied by Dear Leader himself, and they're under instructions to shoot NoKor's representatives if they're being too slow, or are trying to divulge State Secrets (like how Kim Jong Il manages to fit inside his clothes)

Each episode would be a double handicap for the North Korean team because they're trying to both win the race AND become refugees to every country they're visiting. Every now and then you'd see the tip of a handgun popping out of the camera's view, with the "watcher" ensuring good behavior from the representatives and preventing any form of escape.

Of course you cant expect them to fail more than once and live through it. But since people don't have names in Korea and because of deprivation, everybody except Dear Leader pretty much looks like each other, when the contestants do get shot, they probably get replaced midway. You may want to take note of how the hair and mole positions of NoKor contestants suddenly change.

I expect them to win in food eating challenges, as back in their native country, getting food is the challenge. Eating it is the reward. Bull testicles? Fuck yeah, protein source. Any other physical challenge will be fishcake. All that manual labor in the mountains and all that wall scaling to smuggle contraband into the country will pay off.

Every time the team gets interviewed, they just go silent and a media spokesperson will tell the audience how great it is to be competing in the name of Dear Leader. Meanwhile, in the background, the team will try their best to, you know, beg for help from the outside world - because damn. That's what I would do if I were in their shoes (that and just run away)

They'll probably get shot after that scene too, but hey, Communism.

Sucks for this season. Next season perhaps? North Korea for the win! Maybe we can even include real Thai people, not over westernized class-A hookers who are anything but Thai.

Oh and yeah, mandatory warning. This article contains strong racial profiling.

Aguinaldo, Aguinaldon't

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Plutarch once said, there are only so many times a man will be exposed to a force of such magnitude, the mere presence of which already lifechanging. I think he was referring to a rampaging tenwheeler. That or hivemind mobs. Speaking of mobs, I can only partially describe to you how much ruckus aguinaldo-giving on christmas day can generate when twenty peso bills are involved. All 600 of them.

Now I've participated in pamasko-giving sessions before, but this year's response was simply overwhelming. By overwhelming I mean holy-shit-resident-evit-redux overwhelming. At one point, our gate's hinges nearly broke down because of the sheer amount of people pushing to get a good position. If the gate could file for early retirement I'm pretty sure it would have, and probably lodge a complain or two in DOLE while at it.

With the help of my sister, mom, and proper crowd control in the form of Tita Arthur and the Knights of the Round Parlor, we were able to distribute more properly. Not to be a neat freak or anything (Hell, I didn't take a bath the previous day) but I showered before distributing the money, 2 hours after which I felt that I needed another one, with my hands covered in grime.

It was fun though. You can't put a price in having a kid, a complete stranger come up to you with delighted eyes that you will never see in any well-to-do kid even on christmas morning. He'll give you a warm hug saying "Salamat po, Merry Christmas." And you'd think courtesy is dead.

It's just sad to think that there are still so many people able and willing to take advantage of a system for personal gain even on Christmas morning. People pretending to have lost their claim stubs, stealing stubs from the younger kids, and just plain line cutting to get more aguinaldo. In a society that rewards ingenuity, suddenly following the rules becomes somewhat unappealing. When a kid asks me in the future, what it was that destroyed our great culture, it would be surmised with this: "Us and our value for the characteristic called 'wais'"

Merry Christmas, people.

Oh and yeah, Plutarch didn't say anything about what I mentioned earlier. I just felt that I want to mention his name in this article.

[pictures to be uploaded later]

An Open Letter To SOPAS

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Dear Secret Organization of Pickpockets And Snatchers (SOPAS),

Tonight was the fifth time your members have tried to get my cellphone while riding a jeepney, and unsuccessfully. This has happened to me so many times, shit is getting cold. It's not even funny anymore. If you ride a jeep, find pickpockets onboard, get off the jeep, find another jeep and still find the same sort of assholes in your ride, you know people are having a hard time finding better things to do. Bottomline is every time I change rides because your members are trying to do something criminal retarded, I feel like I'm paying extra for other people's stupidity.

As a proud citizen of this country abhorring such ill-conceived practices, I have some suggestions that you may find useful in improving your services.

1. The Cargo Has To Go. - Did you by some chance institute a uniform for cellphone jackers? The cargo shorts may be useful, but look at the year people. It's almost 2008. The only people who are still wearing the shit you wear while doing your deeds are time travelers from the 90s who happen to suck at picking a good time, and you guys. Since time travelers are usually smart people and do not choose this century as a destination, that short pants with oversized pockets is as dead a giveaway to crime as a handgun in broad daylight. Wear jogging pants, they're not as useful, but hey, at least we know you like to workout (your way from prison).

2. Stop Making People Pick Things Up - Really. Coins. Cellphones. Keys. Bullshit. Nobody falls for it anymore, and it is anatomically possible for people to get the coin without bending completely over. Tip: what you see in Looney Tunes does not translate to a good modus operandi in real life - specially since we don't have ACME products.

3. Get A Decent Haircut. - I'm no expert in covert operations but I think looking half decent will remove at least 80% of the suspicion thrown at you. Like, you know, stop looking like a washed-out drug addict that screams "I like robbing people to get my fix."

4. Don't Scout Targets Like You're Shopping AT Target. - Last time I remembered, you're supposed to steal glances, not sensually rape fellow passengers by staring at the target from head to toe. You're not checking chicks out. You know what you're after. Focus on it and stop ogling.

5. Don't Overpopulate Jeepney Routes - You know, if you keep on adding people to the same jeepney route there will come a time when the guys from SOPAS will be pickpocketing each other because they outnumber the actual passengers who take that route. Diversify. Airplanes are pretty hot nowadays.

I have more suggestions but I'm too lazy to type. You guys tire me out. As a last suggestion, implement a frequent customer program, where previous victims can avail of the "no phone, already stolen" club perks. It may not make things easier for you, but it sure will improve your image as a group.

More power, and have a nice eternity in hell.

Public Static

HumpyDumpy Sucks

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I loved field trips as a kid. They were awesome. Come to think of it, anything that prevented me from sitting inside the classroom for the day was awesome as a kid. This includes field trips, fairs, sports fests, firedrills, small fires. The last one happened so many times because some genius put our canteen's chimey beside the 2nd floor of our only wooden building it's actually something we looked forward to more often than sports fests. Pretty good logic you got there assholes.

Anyway, there's only one thing I hate about Field Trips, and it's not even supposed to be related. It's food that I swear, should be considered as contraband stuff. We all hate it, and you should know what I'm talking about.

Humpy Dumpy Corn chips.

There. I said it. Those things are pure evil. I bet they were originally designed as chemical warefare payload. Open a bag up and you're sure to lose companions here and there. Add the fact that buses are closely confined spaces and you got yourself a deathtrap.

When I see my seatmate open a bag of those smelly cornchips, I know our relationship as friends won't be lasting long, and trying to salvage any diplomacy will only end in tears and crushed chips being thrown out of the window.

What I don't get is why, despite all the food engineering mumbajumba they put into making those chips, did the makers of Humpy Dumpy not consider making their product not smell like fresh cowpiss.

Another thing I don't get is why people _still_ insisted in buying it. Have you seen the cover of one of these things? It's coloured purple. Unless it has something to do with UBE, purple is something you avoid. And it's not like it tastes good. Mr. Chips tastes just as interesting, but it's not packed with so much bullshit scent.

If cornchips were people, HumpyDumpy would be the equivalent of taong grasa. It stinks and hanging around it will make you unnecessarily antisocial. (people will not want to go near you)

Do they still make these chips? Are kids still suffering during field trips?

I'm not sure about the solution to global warming, but making sure no Humpydumpy packet is opened again will surely lessen the airpollution we have right now.


Thursday, December 13, 2007

I was watching the Discovery channel the other day and thought, what's the deal with crocodiles? And why do lots of these science people suddenly have the urge to wrestle them in front of cameras just so they can show you they have teeth? Now I'm no expert in crocodiles but I think I know enough that they have teeth. You don't have to show that to me. Can you imagine of these guys became dentists? You'd be getting your braces while agonizingly locked in a figure four, tapping out and shit.

So how come despite so many crocodile wrestlers I see on tv, I don't see any lion wrestlers? There probably are, but their taping sessions don't last very long. I wouldn't really mind if travel hosts adapted their "hands-on" approach to things though. Reporter: *wrestles passerby* Here in Rome, we can see the average Italian woman with amazingly well-formed Italian boobs - look! Very unlike the ruins around their city. Crikey!

Going back to crocodiles, don't they just remind you of slow people? These things are basically dinosaurs who kinda just got left behind. Like when all the dinosaurs were going fad after fad, these guys were just probably laying around like logs (they still do) and when extinction became the "in" thing (kinda like how suicide is to emo-tards), they missed the whole thing entirely. When the crocodiles realize they should start living life, they'd probably go "Shit, Steve, where are the others? I think we overslept again."

But you know what's going to finally end them? Crocs shoes. Those things are so ugly and disfunctional, I bet a lot of crocodiles are now planning on ending their life out of shame. "I'd slit my wrists too," says Mark the Crocodile, "if I can reach my wrists with my hand."

Nope nothing good about those animals.

Bad English

Monday, December 10, 2007

Ever encountered people who want to speak English properly but just can't? I remember one time, I was hanging at a friend's house. In that house everybody spoke fluent English - except the maid. That day my friend pointed out the maid coming in from her dayoff.

"O, inday, bakit magisa ka lang ata ngayon? Diba nililigawan ka nung sekyu sa may tapat?" The maid took a deep breath and stared at my friend. "Yis sir. But I don like him. He is a sarcasm."

"Sarcasm? Hahaha, Inday, you must be using the wrong word," my friend replied.

"No sir," replied the maid, "he's a sarcasm."

Finally my friend gave up and asked "What do you mean by 'a sarcasm'?" The maid shook her head, seemingly in disbelief that she couldn't be understood.

"He is a sarcasm. He is asar kasama."

Make Your Own Dead Man's Switch

Thursday, December 06, 2007

A dead man's switch is a switch that's supposed to activate after the man who's created it has died or become incapacitated. They're usually applied for vehicles that require human participation (i.e. train operation) but they can also be used to denote methods for people to perform actions after they're dead. Since dead people are normally in no position to do stuff on their own (i.e. flip switches, eat living people) some form of automation is needed.

One example of a dead-man's switch can be seen in the novel Beyond Recall, where Rachel Lesage threatens the world using biological weapons deployed via courier service delivery that she calls every 24 hours for delaying the package. If she doesnt call the delivery (i.e. she's dead) the weapons are deployed.

This article discusses a very simple way to deliver messages post-mortem without anybody being in direct knowledge of what's going to be delivered. This design was originally concieved for usage in one of my stories. But then again I realized it could actually work in a real scenario.

Here are the steps:

1. Create a blogger account (e.g. Public Static) or an email account.

2. On that account, draft your messages. Make sure they are left in "drafts" and not actually published/sent (that would be embarassing).

3. Get at least four people. All four of them should be net savvy and active online and it will be much more secure if they do not know each other.

The first person should be very close to you. If possible a family member. He or she should be somebody who will most likely know if you're dead. If you feel that there's a chance that he or she might die with you, get another secondary close person too. These persons will be called "reporters".

The second and third persons should be specially active with their emails. They will be called "components".

The fourth person should be somebody you completely trust. He will be the only person who will know of the format the messages will be sent in. he'll also be the first to read the messages so he should be conditioned to publish no matter what it says. (it's helpful if the messages dont contain anything that would cause him to hesitate)

4. Tell the "reporter" if ever you die, he or she should send a mail to two email addresses containing a passphrase of sorts e.g. "The fat lady has sung." as a title. The two email addresses should be the addresses of the "components"

5. Give the username and password of the account to the second and third person respectively. Do not tell them what the phrases are for, just tell them that if they recieve an email containing the passphrase you told the "reporters", they should send their phrase to another email address. This email address should be the address of the fourth person.

6. Instruct the fourth person that if ever he receives two emails, he should use it to access blogger/email and publish all contents that are inside the account.

So there. Using this mechanism, you can have a message delivered after you're dead, without having to setup any fancy computer program for the function. The participants in the sequence will not be able to act independently and view or publish your messages. They wont even know your favors are for a dead man's switch.

Reliability is of course traded off with security. You can have many reporters and ask the components to not send out until every reporter has sent an email. This decreases the chance a reporter will try to become an asshole and send an email even before youre dead and succeed in publishing your entries. However, it increases the chance that one of the reporters will not send and your messages will be locked forever.

Anyway that's just the general idea. It's not 100% reliable but it might be fun to see how it turns out (spoiler: you don't). Have fun.

Get Your Trendy Shit Out Of My Net

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

I thought we've already settled with "embedded content" years ago. Now Friendster wants us to call them Apps (many call them widgets) Assholes, if many people call them widgets then why don't we call them WIDGETS?

And while where at it, fuck widgets. Widget is basically a shitty way of saying "program". I still don't know why we have to use that word. By definition, a widget is "A device or control that is very useful for a particular job". Right. Like "programs" arent like that?

It's this habit of trendwhoring that keeps the dumb fucks dumb. People who still don't know that blogs are basically websites, that what they're calling BRO is actually just wireless broadband. Emoticons are just smileys with interpretive graphics.

And audibles, well, fuck audibles. They shouldn't have any name. They're useless, annoying, and a bane to the collective internet. The guy who thought of them should be shot twice, for safe measure.

That is all.

The Cat and The Bird

Monday, December 03, 2007

... The bird flew as high as she could, past her own fears of flying, with no intention to return. She realized her feline friend could be eating her next, and used the fear to spread her wings. And the cat? The cat stood beside the corpse of a bird she had found that morning. She stared on and smiled. To have her bird friend flying no matter what it takes, such was her intention from the beginning.

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