Nothing to update.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Been real busy the past few days preparing for an upcoming trip. In the mean time, here's a food for thought to get you by your dreary work:

If you think your job is demanding too much from what little resource is available, think of P-Noy's hair stylist.

For something more serious, here's something off my think cap:

We really should start respecting our leaders - most specially the president. Trashtalking him on Facebook where our friends from abroad can read it may look like a good idea at first, but in essence it's just washing hands by disowning him for his failings.While we may not share the same views as the president, he's still the symbol of authority in our country, and general disrespect for his position tells the world of how we regard authority in general. It's bad form. I think the world's ready to forgive Filipinos. We just need to learn how to forgive ourselves first.


Friday, August 27, 2010

Where were you 13 years ago? If you've been on the net as long as I have, you probably would recognize one of these things:

1. First prepaid ISPs in the country: PLDT's Infocom and Philweb (100 pesos for 3 hours)

2. Yahoo Messenger. Just kidding. Try ICQ and Yahoo Pager

3. Yahoo Chat, javascript style

4. BobongPinoy.Com (fuck yeah)

5. Anime Web Turnpike (AniPike)

6. Real Media plugins

7. Shockwave plugins being more popular than Flash

8. A non-yahoo geocities that gave you a city-like URL.

9. State of the art 28kbps modems


11. Edsamail

12. E-groups, E-circles for mass mailing.

13. Enhanced "media" content - in the form of animated GIFs and MIDIs

On the flipside, here are the things that haven't changed:

1. Filipinos who lurk other national channels in chat.
2. Gay anime fanfiction
3. Free porn

And Then There Was None

Thursday, August 26, 2010

It was ten in the evening.

For Alyanna, the night couldn’t possibly get any worse.

The bus she was riding had broken down beside the nondescript highway and there was notably no public transportation passing by. No taxis, no buses, no jeepneys - not even the stereotypically creepy cars that accept hitchhikers unconditionally. Graveyard shifts.

After a few minutes of hopeless waiting and knowing that she’s already late, she finally decided to walk it out. Sure, it wasn’t the smartest thing to do but she was bound to arrive at the hospital sooner or later. It shouldn’t be too far anyway.

Or was it?

The darkness of the moonless night and the seemingly sabotaged array of street signs took their toll on Allie’s little expedition. After a few minutes of walking she felt already lost in limbo, as though she had been wandering in circles since forever.

Then, a voice shot out of the dark.

“Are you lost?”

Allie just kept on trudging without bothering to see who said that or for whom it was intended. She could felt her skin tingle just thinking about where it could have come from. She did not forget that where she was walking was a notorious place filled with no-good wanderers and all the caboodle of the proverbially evil.

“You look like a nurse from San Pablo GH. Are you sure you know where you’re going? This place can get quite confusing at night,” the voice spoke once more.

She could no longer ignore whoever was talking to her. It was true that she was new to the place. It had only been a week since she was deployed as an intern nurse at San Pablo. She realized that walking around without any assistance would be pointless.

She hesitantly turned and saw a man standing a few paces away from her, his hands on his sides and not holding anything threatening, as she had imagined. He looked trustworthy enough at that moment. The man was at his mid-twenties with a newly trimmed hair with slight traces of waviness towards the ends. She couldn’t make out the face properly but he had a rather wide facial build.

“I was riding the same bus that broke down and I just happen to be going there too. It’s not too far but the way isn’t as straight as you might think. You want to join me in walking?”

Allie wanted to already but most childishly replied, “I don’t go with strangers.”

“Well then,” challenged the stranger, “I’m Vincent Martinez. But you can call me Vince. Strangers don’t have names so I’m no longer one of them right?”

What a lame thing to say, thought Allie but she really had not much of a choice.

“I’m Allie, an intern at San Pablo,” she replied as she aligned her walking beside Vincent.

“To tell you the truth I was going to ask you to come with me earlier when I saw your uniform but you disappeared all of a sudden after you crossed the highway.”

Allie just smiled at her first good fortune that night. But the walk didn’t look like it was going to get any shorter.

To break the silence, Vince finally asked something probably out of intrigue. “How does it feel to work around such a place filled with sickness and death?”

Allie has heard the question countless of times. It was all too true after all – all desensitized truth.

“You get used to it. You learn to understand that we don’t have power over everything and then that’s when the attachment towards your patients end,” replied Allie in a boilerplate manner.

A standardized answer for a common question.

“Heh. I wanted to work in a hospital when I was a kid. But since my mother died, I knew I couldn’t stomach the sick and dying. My emotions will get ahead of me,” replied Vincent.

Allie looked at her companion. He didn’t really look like a guy who had weak knees. “Like I said, you just get used to it. We’re bound to experience it one way or another during our lives.”

My turn, Allie thought.

“So why are you going to the hospital at this time of night? Isn’t visiting hours over?”

Vincent laughed a bit and scratched his head. “I’m going to pickup a friend nurse as a favor. But I guess I’m a bit late too.”

Allie remembered her lateness and didn’t reply. Instead, she concentrated on walking faster to wherever they were really heading.

Silence filled the short walk that almost lasted for an eternity. After a while, the scenery turned from the strange to the more familiar. They were finally getting close. Allie noticed that as they went nearer the hospital, Vincent walked slower. After sometime, he finally spoke again.

“I’m sorry I couldn’t be of much help, Allie.”

Allie stopped on her tracks and looked at Vincent. He looked too serious for such a comment. He's probably the type who uses apology to get close to people, she thought. Or not. “Are you kidding me? Here you are, helping me get to where I’m supposed to go and you’re saying sorry?”

Vincent changed his mood to laidback once more. “Nevermind.”

“Well, we’re finally here - San Pablo General Hospital,” said Vince as he yawned and stretched his arms. “That was quite a walk wouldn’t you say so? I feel bushed!”

Allie nodded in agreement.

“Thanks for all your help,” said Allie with a slight bow of gratitude.

Vincent quietly requited the gratitude with a proud smile.

“Oh!” shouted the nurse, “I’m late for my shift already! I have to go now, Vincent. Thanks for escorting me here! Come visit me again sometime!”

Vince stood by and watched Allie disappeared towards the entrance of the ER just outside the west wing of the contemporarily designed hospital.

“Always glad to be of service. I guess I better get going too,” replied Vincent in a slow, muffled voice - almost speaking to himself as he walked towards the other end of the hospital.

The resident ER doctor was talking to one of the nightshift nurses when Allie came inside. They were conversing beside a patient covered with a white cloth from head to toe while the somber hum of the electrocardiograph echoed across the critical section of the emergency ward.

“So he finally crossed it, huh?” calmly asked the doctor as he put both his hands inside the pockets of his jacket. Beside him was a disconnected dextrose apparatus and a respirator.

Another one bit the dust too soon, thought Allie. She walked towards the body outlined only by its death cover; fresh blood was nowhere to be found but the banal scent of it lingered all over the place, indicating that whoever was beneath the sheets had died a little after he had been brought in not too long ago.

Allie asked her colleague out of curiosity, “What happened to this one?”

The other nurse flipped her rap sheet.

“Died of trauma complications after being in a state of comatose. Looks like he finally found the way out.”

Allie listened carefully. Doctors and nurses alike have been around a world where death is as routinized as the morning coffee that they’ve learned to see it from another level of indifference. The last sentence the nurse had said meant that the man was a hopeless case and had just been waiting for his time – as though he was wandering to find the exit towards the afterlife.

A chill ran through the spine of Allie. She couldn’t explain it but it was one of those things in life that need not really be rational to be plausible.

The doctor approached the covers and unfurled it to expose the visage of the demised.

“Vincent Martinez… He was a brave man to have struggled for that long a time. I only wish we had more heroes like him.”

A tower of ice and fear encased Allie as she stared at the exposed cadaver.

The name.

The face.

It was the same person she had been conversing to for the last hour walking towards the hospital. It just had to be coincidence, she thought. It couldn’t make sense from any angle.

“How could this have happened? I went into this hospital with this man! How could this have happened??” barked Allie, not really asking anyone in particular. Frustration brewed inside her.

Was this a joke? A ghost story? Allie couldn’t begin to think of any logic.

She glanced once more at the patient. I couldn’t have been anybody else.

Just then, another wheeled stretcher came from the other section. It too was covered with a white sheet. There was a clear mark of sadness on the face of those who would have been otherwise indifferent inside the emergency room as the morticians wheeled away from the ward.

“A sacrificed life for naught,” said the doctor in a raspy voice. “He actually thought he could rescue her from that rampaging truck.”

The colleague nurse intercepted the mortician before heading for the exit.

“Wait up. I need one final confirmation before you head her up the morgue.”

The seemingly undaunted mortician turned to the nurse and flipped the sheets, exposing a badly contorted face of a woman whose facial frame had collapsed inward due some external trauma.

There were tears welling in the nurse’s eyes as she once again opened her records and scribbled a few letters along the brown paper filled with grids of patient information.

“That’s Alyanna Raymundo alright. Please, take Allie… her away,” shakily instructed the night shifter. The doctor approached the nurse and held her close with his arms so as to console.

A singular tear formed across Allie’s left eye and streaked down her pale cheeks.

And then there was none.

The end.

Still a repost from the vaults of Underground Ragnaboards, circa 2005. One of my few attempts at horror, justifiably, because I just suck at it. Thanks for reading anyway. Still too busy at the moment to restart updating my regular series'. Sorry.

Fifteen Minutes

Nine fifteen in five.





People can be so unreliable, thought Jake as he blankly stared at his watch. He shook his head and tried to remove himself from the brimming smell of brewed coffee and hot pancakes of McDonalds by watching the comings and goings of the people around his table. The very ambiance reminded him of the not-too-stellar breakfast of dried longganisa, egg and rice he had eaten thirty minutes earlier.

He hated having to get up early that morning and he would have hated having to go to school alone even more. Who goes to school on a Saturday morning anyway?

Two minutes later, Sara arrived at the front door sporting her favorite white sleeveless blouse that he had given her as a present for her 17th birthday a few months earlier. She appeared to be in a bit of a hurry when she came in, as she should be. Her shoulder length hair was still a bit messed up, held back only by a white plastic clip and the hooks of the slim frame of her eyeglasses that outlined her sleepy, chinita eyes.

Sara was pretty in her own, happy-go-lucky way. Her bubbly personality and her baby face that sports a perpetual smile has bagged her more than the usual share of admirers in school.

Deep inside, he probably was one of the admirers too. But then again, he has a significant other already. Or at least, used to…

"Didn't I tell you that we would meet at McDonald's at nine?

Sara stared at him, panted a while to catch her breath and then flashed her miniscule analog watch, pointing at the black hands imposed over a plaid while circle almost perfectly forming a right angle between twelve and nine.

“What is it with you and that stupid watch of yours? FYI, to the rest of the country, it’s only nine in the morning – as your royal clockness ordered.”

An honest mistake, really.

Jake knew exactly what she was talking about. But she couldn’t begin to understand. To him, no one could ever understand. So he stared at Sara for a while, bat his eyelids once, and finally rose from his seat that he had been holding for more than forty five minutes now.

Even being a Saturday morning, the station was just as crowded. Train frequency is usually reduced to half to cut operation costs during weekends so the same amount of people still had to wait and, when it’s time, cramp up into the train cabins.

Not to mention it was a very long wait.

“You think we’re gonna be late?” doldrumly asked Jake.

Sara patted him in the back in a mocking fashion. “No, we won’t. And besides, so what if we become late? It’s just make-up class for PE. What, you’ll add another fifteen minutes to your little watch again?”

“Don’t go there, Sara.”

Sara was going for seconds with the patting but immediately withdrew her hand as though it was about to be burned by something.

“Touchy! You know, if you would just tell me the reason for that silly watch of yours, I just might stop chiding you about it; if it’s that important, really. And ‘sides, who’s your bestest best friend in the whole wide world?!”

The train finally arrived -much to Jake’s relief and he felt his anxiety slowly ooze away. The flux of people going out and planning to get in the train had practically saved him from the rather uncomfortable conversation that he was having with Sara. She just had a knack of making him feel uncomfortable whenever he least wanted it, but that was probably the only aspect of her he couldn’t tolerate. They managed to mangle through the jumble of bodies by the entrance of the train and found a position by the rear end of the first cabin.

Window view, nice share of air conditioning – perfect. Or was it?

The train started moving already. They really weren’t going to be late. But as a self-confessed pessimist, he was expecting the worst.

“Hey, you’re avoiding my question again, aren’t you?”

Jake wasn’t off the hook after all. So much for backdooring the issue, he thought.

It was then that Sara changed the tone of her voice from her usual carefree blabber to a deeper, much more serious undertone.

“I really wouldn’t bother you with your own eccentricities, Jake. But your little habit is becoming more of a vice. You keep on chasing time that’s going nowhere.”

For the first time that morning, he heard something that made sense – sort of. Amidst the loud chattering of the two schoolteachers a half a meter away from them, he heard Sara’s words.

You keep on chasing time that’s going nowhere.

Then, a loud screech from the train’s brakes caused people to panic and get thrown towards the front of the cabin shortly afterwards. Jake hung on the railings for dear life while he felt Sara hanging on to him for hers. Suffice to say, his idle thoughts had been broken in the most surprising manner possible.

Then he realized that he was clutching his friend one step too daringly as people started staring. She was holding him very closely by his now-crumpled polo shirt while he had firmly clutching the right side of her rather well outlined bosom by pure accident.

Hands caught in the cookie jar, caught on camera, and framed on a wall - the two jumped like frightened cats away from each other and then blushingly pretended that nothing actually had happened.

Jake looked away, as with Sara.

“Err.. sorry about that.”

“It’s nothing, really,” quickly retorted the raspberry-red Sara in a raspy voice.

Jake noticed the way she blushed. It looked all too cute, even for a friend.

A friend.

It was then that Jake realized that he was really starting to fall for Sara. It was no rocket science to know that Sara also had her eyes set on him for a long time already, but in vain. He had read her diary a few months earlier and was once confessed to by a very drunk Sara two Christmas parties ago. To him, it was just smack ranting from a romanticist who’s read one too many Daniel Steele lines.

He had of course, fallen in love with another girl – Isah. And since Isah was conveniently Sara’s cousin and close girl-bud, she knew more than to stay away to some unknown degree of pain or inconvenience to Sara.

But then, ‘it’ just had to happen…

The yellow emergency vehicle of the MRT arrived on scene, sirens flashing and the whole caboodle. To Jake, worst case was actually happening already. From the whispering of the people passed on from the driver’s seat, there was a problem with the rail and it wouldn’t be fixed in another fifteen minutes or so. They were going to be late.

“Ah Jesus. We’re going to be late,” Jake spoke in a very nervous tone, “late I tell you!” Sweat started forming around his head and he felt his heart would jump out of the ribcage if it could.

Sara knocked her shoulders into his. “Knock it off, panic pants. You’re not helping here.”

“I can’t be late. I can’t be late. You know I can’t be late.”
“Well, It’s not like we can do anything about our predicament now can we?”
“We can walk.”
“Or we can just sit here, relax and wait for the train to move again. Relaxing is good.”
“No, you just DON’T understand!”

Several curious passengers looked at Jake, wondering why he was shouting. Jake saw Sara had been taken aback by his shouting. Was he lashing out on his bestfriend? Most certainly he did not mean to do so. But then again…

“Well now that you’ve mentioned it,” Sara said matter-of-factedly,” No, I don’t understand at all.” She took a deep breath and threw Jake a strong glare. “Because you always keep things on your own you know? It’s you and that lone rebel attitude of yours.”

At that point, Jake’s thoughts stirred violently in his head. Was it okay to start talking about it again? If he didn’t the situation would just repeat itself sometime in the future. And they really wouldn’t have other things to talk about anyway. Even worse, Sara was probably going to do another gossip-spelunking on her again about the watch.

Jake sighed and decided to jump the gun. She was his best friend after all. She above all people should understand. He proceeded to tap the snooping Sara by the shoulder. It was time to pass on the ball to her court too.

“Do you remember the day that Isah… died?”

Sara’s expression changed from farcical naivety to poker-faced seriousness. She bit her lip, with the familiar look of knowing a bit and probably dying to know all about the rest of it.

“December thirty first three years ago, Rizal Day bombing,” Jake recalled.

Sara stared outside the window as though she was the one who wanted to avoid the topic now. “I’m her cousin, I should know that too, don’t you think?”

Jake took one deep breath. This wasn’t going to be easy.

“Do you want to know the real reason why she happened to be in that train?”

“Because she was supposed to be going to the mall with you, right? I know it’s really painful for your side but what has that got to do with anything?” replied Sara as she obviously tried to keep the conversation light and detached.

“She happened to be in that train because I told her that I was going to be fifteen minutes late. If I hadn’t been stupid enough to wake up late that day she would’ve boarded an earlier train and she would still be…” shakingly narrated Jake.

Sara was staring at Jake now, still poker-faced. “Go on.”

“Anyway, it was my entire fault. I hope you understand why I never told this to anybody. I figured the only way to atone for something like that was to make sure to never make the same again. That, and bear the memory of those fifteen minutes that could have…”

“Saved her life?” interjected Sara in a roughly raised but partially controlled voice. People were beginning to notice the conversation but didn’t give too much damn as the repairs went on outside.

“Don’t be stupid, Jake. Flowers that bloom twice as beautifully last half as long. She was a very good person. Perhaps,” Sara stopped to catch her breath as she continued with hints of tension, “Perhaps, it was just God’s way of calling her to His Kingdom already. Things like that happen for reasons –reasons much deeper than a late boyfriend. She loved you up to the last moment Jake, and that’s what important.“

Love? And as much as Jake wasn’t a devout Catholic, for once he wanted to believe in what she was saying. Perhaps she was right; perhaps her religiousness actually had some purpose in life.

“But, I just can’t forget something like that. You just don’t understand that,” defended the rather exposed Jake. He had never been so clothed and so naked in his entire life. “We didn’t exactly part on the best of terms. She didn’t really love me anymore at that point.”

“No, I don’t understand, but I don’t think you do either.”
“And why is that?”
“N-nothing, nevermind. You shouldn’t be afraid to forget, Jake. If God didn’t want us to forget then he would have turned us into elephants instead. There has to be a reason why memories are not meant to last.”

Jake sniggered back to his usual contemptuous self. Elephants do forget. Men forgive but don’t forget, at least, not the things that they didn’t want to badly. That’s what separates us from animals, he thought. Silly Sara.

"I know how hard it is to forget mistakes because I.."

Jake's ear strained to hear the trailing words he was expecting but for naught. He didn't have to hear it to know but perhaps for once he wanted to get it from her sober self. Sara found her second wind all too soon and forgot all about what she had said.

"So what are you planning to do now? We're going to be late and there's nothing you can do about it," said Sara.

Jake was speechless. She's right; there wasn't anything that he could do. And to think that it was he who had brought up the topic voluntarily! He was bound to be late again. Fate has conspired against him.

He recounted that fateful day. Ironically, the real reason that they were meeting was that they were both ready to throw in the towel. Perhaps it was just for formality but Jake knew that it was over for both of them. Six months in, the sparks stopped flying and they were already looking at opposite directions.

“Listen, Sara,” Jake said, “about Isah, I don’t think you know everything about what had happened.
That time we were supposed to meet was supposed to be the very last one before we agreed to let people know that they’re no longer together. We agreed to break up the night before. It never happened, however, to my regret, if only for the burden it cast on me. You don’t break up with a dead girlfriend. She’s simply dead, along with any closure I could have gotten. “

“It was like that huh?” Sara shook her head. “That’s not how I saw it, Jake and like I said, you don’t understand just as much because you keep things to yourself. See, she talked to me that same night about what happened. “

“What was it that she said?” Jake pounced on Sara’s words.

“She told me she had one big regret in her life,” Sara said sheepishly, as though she was embarrassed of divulging words that were not her own. “She said she wished that she could’ve done more for your relationship, but there were some things that could be easier redone than undone. She wanted out, but she only did so thinking of you.”

“So you knew all along about it?”
“Sorry, I promised Isah so I couldn’t tell you until you told me yourself your side.”
“Ah, I guess it’s alright. You’re just being a good friend.“

For Jake, it was like a revelation. And with his realization, the train started moving again, to the relieved sighs of all the passengers in the cabin. Not that it mattered to Jake now. Why were they meeting one last time anyway? What could Isah have thought of? He remembered her last message to him on the night they had a fight. It was the one message that didn’t fit their argument. “Tomorrow will be a new day. Let’s settle our differences after we’ve slept on it one last time.”

Tomorrow came, but it never left.

“So you get it now, don’t you?” Sara said, “She agreed to the breakup because she honestly believed she wasn’t the best person for you. She wanted you to try again.”

Jake’s eyes felt the sudden beckoning from tears. Old feelings. Feelings long since sealed off by the bitter memory of Isah’s death suddenly welled up and sprang forth Jake’s heart. “But I’ve always thought, it was I who… I can’t possibly… not when…”

Sara grabbed Jake by his shoulders and gave him a hug. She leaned towards his ear and whispered.

You shouldn’t be afraid of making the same mistake twice. The harder you try to avoid making the same mistake, the more likely you are to commit it again. Mistakes are a part of life, because even if you’re falling face first while walking, it still means you’re moving forward. Instead, learn the art of getting past the consequences, lesson learned intact. She loved you until the final moment and she wanted you to move forward. At the very least, you should keep that in your heart.

Sara loosened her hug. Jake grabbed her and hugged her back, but she slowly pushed back. She didn’t speak again for the rest of the trip. Her gaze floated idly along with the streaming background. Jake drowned in his own thoughts as well.

The train coasted to a stop at the final station. It was ten already. Jake was late for the class and he had accepted the fact already. Mistakes are bound to happen again after all, no matter how hard we try to avoid it.

And maybe it was that moment, or maybe it had already been so many, many months before, that he already knew it deep inside what to do and how to feel about it, but it was only then that he had finally accepted the rest of his life.

Jake was smiling as he got off the train. He has finally learned the real meaning of Isah’s parting words.

“I guess we’re really late now, huh?” said Jake in a challenging but much more carefree tone.

Sara placed her hand in her forehead. “You and your stupid watch. It’s only nine forty five. We’re only a ten-minute ride away from school. When will you ever learn to tell time properly?”

Jake didn’t snigger, his smile, his warmest in years. Just now, Sara – a thought that he kept to himself. Just now.

"Let's go. You don't want to be late again now, do you?" said the stammering Sara as she offered an inviting hand.

“Wait a tick, I need to adjust my watch first.”

Jake smiled at her and turned towards the train tracks. He took one final breath and finally pulled the adjusting pin of his watch. Fifteen minutes frozen in time. Turn the knob slowly he did so, for he was letting go of something he thought he could never part with within a lifetime.

Those fifteen minutes that could have changed his life with Isah slowly faded away at for each part of a rotation.

Fifteen minutes - one final turn and they've all gone. Jake felt so much lighter after that. He knew Isah would have wanted the same. She always knew what was best for him. Looking down from the bright sky above, she was probably smiling too. A sentimental tear flowed down Jake's cheek in acknowledgement.

Eleven thirty in the morning was the time in the watch - a quarter of an hour earlier than his former life. Jake dashed up the ramp caught up with the tapfooting Sara. He casually placed his arm around her shoulder like he always used to and gave her an out-of-the-blue light smack on her
heat-flushed cheeks.

"I'm feeling a bit adventurous today. Why don't we go catch a movie instead?"

Still a bit in ecstatic shock, Sara could only wonder what had gotten into her best friend as they were walking towards the station exit. "Did the heat inside the MRT get to you or something?

"Nah. But I’m great. I feel happy.“

“Now aren’t you glad you talked to your bestest best friend in the whole world?”

Jake laughed. “Maybe. I just feel that we've got all the time in the world now."

And they did.

Memories are little treasures that we borrow from time. They are never lost, only returned.

Fifteen Minutes.

author's note: Sorry Matt if this didn't make it to your exercise. I wanted to enter this one too, but I didn't get access to it until today. Anyway, I might as well post it. I started writing this story October 2004. Lack of inspiration, a short attention span, and bad recall for where I store my files kept this from being finished. But now, at least I get closure. Finally.

Mang Selmo's Flowers

Reposted from RB as requested by Allie

I can't exactly recall what drew me to the old man during those days I spent with him, but by the time he died, he had become somewhat a friend of mine. It was admittedly quite a rarity for me, a nurse who would rather find enemies among patients of the hospital than friends. I disliked getting too sociable with patients. It made work much more personal and experience taught me, when your work governs the thin line between recovering and passing on, personal can't possibly be good.

He was known to most of us by the patient number that appeared on his record, 3267. The newer nurses called him Mang Selmo but we hardly referred to him by his name. When he came in, you see, he was already bordering senility. A single look at Mang Selmo told you he had lived one season too many. Barely comprehensible, easily agitated, and just generally cranky most of the time, he was a challenge to talk to, and as with every similar case we've had, we quickly learned to ignore him as a person and treat him as more of a logistic.

My job was to administer him his medicine, a cocktail of pills that mellows him out for a few hours. And since nobody ever visited him, I often found myself lounging about his room - if only to avoid more duty at the nurse's station. Finding nothing better to do, I almost forced myself to make sense of what the old man mumbles on his bed. It was an act of futility anyway, since he oft spoke in tongues I've yet to discover.

And then one day as I was about to walk out of his room, he finally spoke in cushy, distinctive English. "How long do I have left?" he asked me. "Sorry sir, I wouldn't really know," I said. "How dreary it must be," he replied, "to not really know when end of one's journey." Hearing those words come out of him almost made me take back all preconceptions of the old man. He was yet lucid, at least to a certain extent. Looking back, it could have been the medication - or it could have been just his nature - sensible one moment and deranged after another.

"How long do you have left?" he asked me once more. I politely smiled, and laughed inside at the fact that it was the first time I had been asked about my lifespan by a patient and not the other way around. "Approximately an hour and a half," I replied. "After which my shift is over."

"Well now, I don't have long to live either, " Mang Selmo said, "We shouldn't be wasting each other's time like this." I looked at him, his eyes were filled with the light of life that's grown placid, far from the burning rages of youth I often see in younger patients. "Is there something we're supposed to be doing?" I asked.

The old man nodded. "Granted you are already here, you might as well listen to my story." At that moment, I'm not really sure what made me stay there. I suppose I've been around the old man for quite sometime already but have never gotten to know anything about him or what he did before he became patient 3267 - nobody in the hospital did. I never intended to get personal with him, I just wanted to know. I nodded, keeled by the hospital bed, and placed my ledger down by the foot table.

I listened.

"My name is Selominas," Mang Selmo politely introduced himself. "And I am a prince."

I would have to admit that Selmo is not a man I can say I know well outside his medical records, but his claims were far from believable. But I listened anyway, through the course of days, right after his medicines took effect until they wore off, he would talk about his life. It may not have been believable for me, but it was otherwise entertaining. The old man knew how to tell stories.

He told me he was a prince of Mabaga'ad, an elven country unknown to man. After the parents of Selominas were brutally murdered by his Uncle in an attempt to usurp the throne of the kingdom, he was forced to run into the realm of the humans. There he lived the life of a normal person, only assisted by very few of his countrymen who were able to follow him. It was by his introduction that he got me wondering, and unknowingly enchanted. Everyday he would recount a story or two about the country he had come from, with tales of magic and fairies and creatures I would only hear of in the bedside tales my grandmother used to tell me when I was younger. I was by the bedside again, listening to an aged voice, and the wonder that I had as a kid somewhat returned as I listened to Mang Selmo's tales.

After a while, I stopped reflecting on his stories too much. I learned to stop questioning whether or not he could have made it all up, or just borrowed it from some story book. I enjoyed listening to him the moments i could, and from the returning vigor in his eyes every time he recounted running into the woods while being chased by horsemen called Tikbalang, or having dinner with forest elves - I knew he appreciated the fact that somebody could listen to him.

There was a gradual change in Mang Selmo's personality many weeks after our first encounter. He no longer returned to his usual deranged crankiness that we had come to associate him with, even after his medication had lapsed. To me he felt years younger. His hallucinations were still a bit of concern for me, but being a mere nurse, I could only occasionally mention it to his overseeing doctor. In turn, I found myself looking forward to our casual meetings, listening to what he had to say. He had become my favorite storyteller without even realizing it.

Time flew by without even me realizing it. Time passed so fast, winter came unannounced that year.

One day as I came into his room, Mang Selmo had this somber expression. He was staring at a flower vase placed on the drawer by his bedside. It had a somewhat lonesome sunflower placed on it. I looked at it while preparing his medicine and drinking water. "Had a visitor this morning?" I asked.

Mang Selmo nodded and looked at me, his expression serene and his breathing very calm. "This flower is me," he said. "Disconnected from its roots, it can only follow one path for what little remains in its life." I did not say anything back, and handed him his medicine. Mang Selmo obediently drank the cocktail and I took the glass back. Mang Selmo then leaned back to his raised bed and resumed staring at the flower. "I've had my share of this life's adventure, and there's nothing that I can possibly regret."

Figuring that it'd be somewhat rude to stay silent for too long, I finally replied. "That's very good for you." I had nothing more to say, but Mang Selmo looked like he did. The old man then turned to me and asked, "What do you dream of doing?" I found myself smiling, recalling my dreams. For some reason the old man had me turning into a child again, first listening to his stories and then me sharing my dreams that I don't even tell my closest of confidants.

"I've always wanted to visit Africa," I replied and breathed a sigh, "maybe on a medical mission or for some other purpose, but I've made it a life goal to go there." I went closer to the flowers. They were a rare kind of sunflowers, perfectly cut, and assumingly fresh."I've always loved looking at flowers, even as a kid. Africa has flowers I've only seen in books. It would be a dream for me to go there and see them personally." Reality sunk in after a while, and I found myself heaving a sigh. "It's quite far though, so I'm not getting my hopes up."

The old man nodded diligently. "Yes, we should try visiting that place sometime soon. I'm getting the feeling your life's adventure will be waiting for you there."

"And what make's you say that?" I said, while staring at the old man who looks more excited than me.

Mang Selmo shrugged. "I'm an elven prince - and we elves have this way of seeing the fate of somebody long before he sees it himself." There he goes again, I thought. Always with the wild imagination. "You said we," I said to the old man, "I thought I heard you said we." The old man laughed, the first time I've heard him do so heartily in quite a while. "You're right. I did say 'we'. But it looks like I won't be traveling with you, will I?"

Silence flooded the room. I found myself looking at the sunflower. Severed from its roots, it runs on very limited time. "Maybe," the old man smiled, "I'll go on ahead. See if you can follow me. It's not like I have a place to return to so I might as well get going," I looked at the old man, in all his grandeur and frailty. His face had already changed. He was once more pale, flaccid, and drained of his seasons.

I forced a smile, trying to keep inside that familiar feeling I thought I've been jaded from all this years. I was going to miss the old man, and I knew it deep inside my heart. I bit my lip and nodded. "Just don't take so long, okay?" The old man smiled and nodded.

I promptly exited the room.

Winter came unannounced that year.

And that was the very last conversation I've had with the old man. He died that very night, of natural causes as the doctors told me. It was like all of a sudden he just lost all will to live on. The sunflower wilted with him, albeit too fast. And I could not bear look underneath the covers of his deathbed.

The pangs of isolation bore down on my flesh. This was the real reason I didn't want to associate with the patients. Time stood frozen inside that hospital that day. No, perhaps it was inside of me that time stood frozen. I did my rounds, expression empty. I didn't even have a thought. How dreary life in the hospital has become, now that the old man was gone.

I heard from a friend at the hospital morgue that somebody had finally come in to claim Mang Selmo's body. For some reason I was glad that even though it was just in the end, there was really somebody who looked after him. Where will he take his body I wonder? To his kingdom? I smiled, but panged with discontent - the kingdom couldn't exist, and his body will never be able to follow his imaginations.

Call it instinct, but that moment I found myself walking towards his room - or at least where his room once was. Soon it will be used by another patient, without his mark left anywhere but in my memory. I decided I should take as much memories of our short acquaintanceship while it lasted.

I opened the door and found a lady with auburn hair. She was sitting by the bed and looking at the half-open blinds of the room's sole window. I knocked at the door, despite having already opened it. She turned to me and I saw her face, surrounded by the corona of the morning rays. I barely made out her face.

"Excuse me; were you the one who claimed Mr. Selominas's body?"

The girl nodded. "I'm a close family friend. Unfortunately he does not have any more direct family members, so I had to take care of him for them. It was their will and his," she replied with a formal, somber tone. A barb of guilt touched my heart; I felt that I should have acquainted with the old man who had been so lonely sooner. But it was all too late now. I clenched my fist.

"And you're his friend who visited him regularly, yes?" she asked me. I noticed that she had some accent of sorts - though unfamiliar. "I bet he told you lot's of beautiful stories too."

Those words made me recall. "Yes indeed, they were beautiful," I replied, "He made me feel like I was a child again." Then a thought occurred to me. Shyness took over at first, but I took a breath and decided there were things I just had to find out for myself before the opportunity passed me by.

"There's something I have to ask," I told the lady, "He kept telling me stories about him being a prince of some country. Would you happen to know if this was uhm,"

I stuttered, I didn't know how to exactly say it.

"If this was?" the girl asked, as if leading me on to give out the rest of the question.

"If some of that was true. I mean - he was so consistent about things. There has to be a basis of sorts to his stories, right?"

The lady got up from the bed and lifted a paperbag from the floor. I had not noticed it was there when I came in. Her face was removed from the rays of the sun and I could clearly see her features. She looked like a Caucasian lady, mestiza and with strong western accentures.

She took out a bundle of some flowers that looked familiar to me and placed it on the emptied vase on the table of Mang Selmo's room. "He's an elven prince," she said, "and I am a unicorn."

My heart skipped a beat. "Really?"

The lady plopped the flowers with her slender fingers and laughed generously. "Are nurses here really this gullible? I was just kidding. Count my legs? Four?" She laughed more.

I laughed too, half nervously, half embarrassingly. "O-of course, of course. What was I thinking anyway, huh?" Trying to escape the awkwardness, I looked at the flowers. Wait, I thought. Flowers?

She had been arranging the flowers on the vase busily when I decided to stop watching like an idiot and just ask her. "Excuse, me," said I. "About those flowers -"

The lady stopped arranging the flowers and turned to me. "What about them? Aren't they nice?"

"Why would you need to place them here, when Mr. Selomi - no Mang Selmo has already passed on?"

"Oh, these? These aren't for him," she said. "Actually I came here to give these to you."

"Me?" I asked.

"Yes," the lady replied, "I brought it here on instruction. Think of it as his gift to you. What would you think of it?" She was smiling. In her eyes there was a look of daring, as if challenging me to solve a mystery.

I looked at the flowers again. They really looked familiar - and it was then I realized what it all had meant. I approached the flowers and caught its scent. "You know," I said confidently, "I never really told anybody else about my dream. And I'm quite certain Mang Selmo did not have any visitors shortly before his passing on."


"These flowers are not grown in this country. They are Tamiki wild flowers that can only be found in the Congo Republic - Africa. How is it possible that he could tell you in advance what kinds of flowers I wanted?"

The lady was smiling still. She took out from her purple hewn purse a red cellphone. "The wonders of technology, Sir Nurse?" I shook my head. "I'll settle for that answer," I said, smiling. Prince Selominas eh? He was a mysterious man. He is a mysterious man.

"So that solves that," I said. "By the way, can I escort you on your way back?"

She nodded and smiled. "I'm not sure I get what you're trying to say," she said in a polite voice. I'm sure she did, she just wanted to drag it on a bit longer for amusement.

Maybe that was the reason Selominas had come into my life. Maybe some dreams just need a bit of waking for them to come true. Maybe other dreams need a bit of more dreaming for them to come true. Mine was a little bit of both.

"I think I got his message," I smiled, "and I know the truth about him."

"Because of a bundle of flowers?" she asked me.

I nodded my head and turned to the flowers. "It's not that he was able to ask you which flowers to get for me," I said. I lifted one flower until its stem showed up. "It's that these flowers were obviously picked out less than an hour ago. I can tell that much of a difference compared to other flowers."

Her arms crossed, but she retained her acknowledging smile. "I picked them out myself."

I crossed my arms as well and smiled back. "Now, are you ready to tell me more about yourself and Prince Selominas on the way to where he is right now?"

She began walking towards the door, passing me as I turned to face her. She was lovelier close up. She'd just as I'd imagine her if Mang Selmo was there to tell her in a story.

"I don't know," she said to me, and turning with double-daring eyes,

"If I told you, would you find it in you to believe what I'll say?"

The end.

Professor X is a Lazy Bastard

Is he working or asleep? Office workers around the world agree
that the best kind of work is the one that requires you to close your eyes.

As far as the ratio of powerfulness to uselessness goes, Professor X pretty much tops the chart of most useless superhero ever. Or, at the very least, he ties up with the Silver Surfer. That would be unfair for the Silver Surfer though, since he's not really a sworn hero. He's more like an overpowered hippy, chillin all naked and telling foreboding words of doom and stuff. Professor X on the other hand...

Think about it. Professor X can read the mind of anybody. He can locate anybody in the world and know what they're planning to do long before any intelligence officer can even know who they're dealing with. He can throw you out of the window by just thinking it. Hell, he can bend space and throw you out of this fucking dimension just for a change. In more than one instance, he is able to destroy his opponent without even lifting a single finger (although we assume he does give the enemy the middle digit salute off-scene, just for spite)

He's THAT powerful.

And what does he do with all that power? He opens up a school. An exclusive school where he teaches god knows what subject. Let's say, grammar. Sure, that telepathy thing would really be swell when dealing with cheaters during examinations. Sure, the telekinesis would be awesome in hurling chalk at the aforementioned cheaters. But while batman has to make do with zero powers and a rather awkward utility belt to fight pretty much half the population of Gotham City every night, Professor X spends his lazy days chilling inside his school.

In doing so, he is solving approximately 0.00 threats to humanity on normal days and goes on to send his minions students to fight the bad guys that he could have whooped five times faster and from the comfort of his chill seat.

Somebody should tell that guy being bald doesn't exempt him from regular superhero work.

Quirino Grandstand Hostage Taking Analysis - What Went Wrong

Monday, August 23, 2010

Shit. I haven't felt so angry at a live news feed in a long time. If I don't see heads rolling after this incident, people resigning and shit, I will completely lose hope at our police force's chance of ever improving. Here's a short rundown of the things that went wrong over the course of the hostage taking drama that took place at Quirino Grandstand.

1. Firearms were used to take out the wheels of the bus. Rule #1 in hostage takings - no unnecessary shots.

2. Too much media coverage. The hostage taker listened to the radio while inside the bus. Of COURSE HE KNEW WHAT WAS GONNA HAPPEN. Rule #2 in hostage takings: Media blackout.

3. Usage of hammers to breakdown the door. The door of a bus is designed to withstand 50Gs of instantaneous force or more. A hammer will do nothing to break it in one hit. There's an emergency lever under the bus that can be used to open the door. Nobody knew about it. Instead, they proceeded to hammer all sides of the fucking bus like it's a pinata.

4. Teargas concentrates can kill hostages and hostage takers alike. Tossing it in a zero ventilation environment is about as reckless as it gets.

5. Ununiformed officers ran too and from the scene, creating unnecessary chaos.

6. Flash photography from the dimwitted mediamen created confusion and unnecessary distractions

7. SWAT didnt even use hand signals. They were shouting for crying out loud.

8. There was no armored cover. A vios, really? WHAT CAN A TOYOTA DO AGAINST A RIFLE ROUND?

9. Zero crowd control. By the time the ordeal was over, reporters arrived at the bus even before the medics did, and never left. The medics had a hard time entering the area.


11. M16 rifles used for CQB. Anybody with a remote knowledge in urban close quarters should know better.

12. Flashbangs are used once, just before entry. Tossing loads of them into a crowed-filled bus will not kill the hostage taker.

13. Incompetence, sheer incompetence.

Today is a very sad day. I hope this becomes a wakeup call to authorities.

Update: Sorry if I sound too angry. I really am. I mean no offense to anybody here. I think the worst part of the whole ordeal is that there simply was no clear plan. The police looked as panicked as we were, making things all the worse. The cocksure statements of "ending it by today" earlier this morning was a foreboding sign, and one that I prayed was wrong. At the end of the day, nothing can be done to change what's already happened. Let's just hope this will be a cue to institute change inside and around our security forces.

PAL Open-Lies Policy

Robert Lim Joseph, chairman of the Travel Cooperative of the Philippines and chairman emeritus of the National Association of Independent Travel Agencies, said the Aquino government should support PAL as it tries to overcome its problems, instead of looking at outside help and adopting an open skies policy.

“The government should support PAL and not act like they are operating PAL. It should leave PAL to work with its airline partners and implement its contingency measures in case a strike will happen,” Joseph said in a news release.

He emphasized that government should not intervene because if it does, interest groups or individuals will take advantage of the situation, to the detriment of PAL and the national interest.

Joseph recalled that when foreign airlines were allowed to service some PAL routes when it temporarily ceased operations in 1998, fares went up.

If somebody spent half a minute to think about what this guy said, you'd realize how senseless his statement is.

The basic idea for Open Skies is to promote competition among carriers for routes, than what's traditionally a monopolistic domain of national carriers. Basic economic theory states that competition will tend to drive prices down, or quality up in a periodic fluctuation function until it reaches homeostatic baseline overtime. Simply put: more providers = less price control = more bang for travellers buck.

Now, how can something like that lead to higher prices?

Let's keep in mind that for the last 50 years or so, Philippine Airlines has held a near monopoly of the local sky routes, at least until the entry of the Gokongwei's Cebu Pacific, which subsequently overtook PAL as the largest carrier in our country today. During the time before cebu pacific came about, prices for airfares were kept high, regulated only by a government that also had a stake in the then partially owned carrier, which kind of defeats the purpose. We had no choice!

While it's true that the fares when higher during the strikes, that's because there's simply no other competing airlines were interested in the routes that were surrendered before. The handling of the open skies policy was shoddy before, and airlines could afford to not take domestic routes. Essentially we replaced one local carrier with another foreign carrier per route, and then left it at that. That's why fares went up back then.

Ten years later, it's a whole different ball game. Cebu Pacific is a new big player, and the international carriers are now willing to microfacilitate even smaller domestic routes such as those in our country. This, plus a correct implementation of the open skies policy such as the more successful ones abroad such as that of the Trans-Tasman routes, will work opposite of what Robert said. A lot of budget airlines will kill prices to get those routes, and the second they want to start overpricing, other airlines will cut them loose. Short of anti-trust, I can't see how this can go wrong.

To make it short, I think there's a reason Robert is saying all this. Either he's got an interest against cheaper airline fares, or he's not looked at the whole picture yet. (I'm sure he has, more than me.) I'd say he's being asked by PAL to say all this, which would go to show how low PAL has sunk over the years. If PAL is indeed dying, we should let it go die in its course and screw national pride. Should we really be proud to have a national carrier that can't even profit even after being given all the advantage it can get from the government? I'd rather have no national carrier then.

If it's really something national, it should be owned by the people, non-profit, and for the people.

Quick Review: Space Above and Beyond

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Space: Above and Beyond is 15 years old but is no less engrossing to watch today than it was before. It's one of the very few Sci-fi shows I'd be proud to share to people who aren't into scifi for the sole reason that it relies on the powerful character-centric narratives rather than the usual nerdgasmic worldbuilds and scene-to-scene grandiosities that most geek shows rely on.

The series is about a group of human marines that find themselves embroiled in a war with an alien race. Throughout their missions, they face perils dealt to them by many things other than their enemy: racism, politics, and their own personal demons.

Each episode is well written, and contains twisting plots that could pass for short movies. Character development is at a level above the par for other sci-fi series. This show takes itself very seriously, and with brilliant results.

There are no fan services in this show. No epic battles. No sex-starved aliens. Space is a dark place, and war is hell. My only gripe about it is that it's over all too soon. Definitely not for the mainstream, but people who can stop getting erections from CG-peppered pop sci-fi will most definitely appreciate this series.

Seldomly Asked IT Interview Questions

Friday, August 20, 2010

I've done my share of interviewing in my previous job, and one thing that I really hate is that nowadays, there's not much that you can ask without the answer to the question being plastered all over the internet. Sure, there's merit in being able to answer a textbook question with a textbook answer, but as experience tells me, that's never any guarantee of skill, so it kinda defeats the point.

After leaving my old company, I realize that I won't be doing any interviews anytime soon, so I figure I might as well share some of the standard questions that I have developed for my own interviews:

1. Define overloading and overriding. (if the interviewee can answer that) Why do we overload? We can use the same function name again, but why should we? Why can't we just create another, more specific name that describes the parameters involved? What are we trying to achieve by overloading?

For this question, I don't really expect a sure answer at first. (Surprisingly, very few people get it right anyway) The battery of succeeding questions in designed to clue the developer into the most possible answer very discretely. This is to test if the interviewee can go beyond what he knows and use the context clues to formulate a solution to the problem.

2. Explain database normalization. (if the interviewee can answer that, and by god he should be able to) Name one possible instance where not normalizing database design can be advantageous.

This question tries to test the ability of the developer to perform a reversal of perspective. There are actually a lot of possible answers to this question and I'm sure I'm not aware of each and every one of them. Quite frankly, I don't care as long as the developer can justify his answer. Many interviewees find this harder than the first question, but to be fair, you can actually find the answer on any database book. They just don't elaborate on the idea too much, or at least not as much as industry experience - which is what matters most of the time.

3. (For more senior proggies) What's the difference between AGILE and Waterfall? What are the ideal scenarios where the two can be used to their full potential.

Developers tend to have biases. By presenting a question like this, I am forcing the developer to try to act fairly between too very polarized ideologies. This is also usually the question that brings out the level of passion and argumentative attitude of a developer - something you're likely to encounter a lot when he's already working for/with you.

4. (At the end of every interview) Do you remember the names of your interviewers?

This last question started as a fun bonus a few years back when we got bored of what we were doing. Interestingly, it also measures the degree of observance of the interviewee, specially if we deliberately mention the interviewers' names throughout the session. Being able to answer this question is usually a plus, but we don't really weigh it against the subject if he can't answer (personally I'm poor with names)

Pimp Up Your Facebook Account: Share Public Static Articles To the World

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Ladies, gentlemen, and that other regular whose gender I still don't quite get, I am proud to announce that Public Static has once again evolved for your convenience. To ensure you are able to show off your excellent taste in choice prime-cut reading material to your philistine friends, you can now use a "Share on Facebook, Twitter, Blogger" function button at the end of every post on this site.

A certain Brandon Reynolds* shared five articles from Public Static and the following day, Megan Fox showed up in front of his doorstep to give him a sensual massage.**

Mel Gibson*** did not share any articles in Public Static and he is now locked up in a battle for child custody with his gypsy ex-GF. Also, he almost died from a car crash earlier this week. (true story)

Either fates could be yours. As for which one could be yours, to quoth a certain animated environmentalist - THE POWER IS YOURS.

*not his real name. his actual name is Marlon Pagudpurin Jr.
** actual results may vary, depending on accompanying level of intoxication
*** real name

Sangguniang Kabataan. Sangguniang Kalokohan

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Our Dear President, in a bid to save money, has decided to nix Sangguniang Kabataan from the budget. SK, in case you're not familiar, is an offshoot program from Kabataang Barangay that was created by the then president Ferdinand Marcos 20 years ago. It's purpose is to get the youth into politics early on, so that they may grow wise faster and become more politically mature. Right-o.

Since then, I am glad to report that the program has impacted my life as youth and as I am right now in a grand total of zero ways. The program is so successful in being unsuccessful that the only time anybody heard of SK in our hometown was when the SK chairman got shot after a row with rigging an online computer game contest. I am not making this up.

Oh yeah, they also like to put up street signs, where the SK logo is larger than the actual streetname. Real useful, if you need to know whether SK exists or we're just funneling funds into an imaginary branch of the government.

Kabataan partylyst and the current SK members are of course in protest. But then again, is there anything really that nobody will care to protest against in this country? Like maybe the usage of green straws when serving cocacola?

Listen, SK does not work. Not in my lifetime. If once upon a time it did, it doesn't anymore. Kids nowadays are so busy with pretty much everything else that they cant even be bothered to check the news that doesn't involve the cancellation of classes. The only ones who are interested in SK are those who are already looking into running for mayor even at an early age, like say five, persumably because our local government positions are now run like family businesses.

If our goal is to put more misinformed people into positions of power, then yeah, I think we've been doing a swell job of it. The only thing more dangerous than an adolescent who knows jack shit about the world is that same adolescent with public funding.

If we really want our kids involved with the government at an early age, we should enforce mandatory taxpaying. Tax allowances and let them know how it feels to be robbed in plain daylight so they can go have that trademark disgust for corruption long before they can be exposed to the "perks" of being on the other side of the dirty laundry biz.

That's the only time I'd talk eye-to-eye with a child on governance.

OPM = Original Pilipino Music DURR HURR

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Seeing as today is a lazy article today, I've decided to just pick an Inquirer article today and rant express my justifiable opinion in this article. Thankfully, Inquirer never lets me down when I need some shitty articles that make my blood boil.

Inquirer ran an article today happily reporting that there's been a surge of OPM album releases, lead by contemporary singer/composters Ogie Alcaside and Noynoy Zuniga.

Link Here

Hurray for the music industry!

And by hurray, I mean I'd like to wear black when I attend the funeral of the long dying industry.

People seem to be forgetting what OPM actually means. Half of the songs mentioned in this article aren't even Pilipino/Pinoy OR original. The reason why there was a surge is that before, you can only get an album out once you have composed, or asked help in the composition of at least five to ten songs. That's a very tall order right there, and such feats require years to achieve.

That's no longer the case now. All you have to do is get an acoustic guitar, license some song abroad, and then cover it, and the people will think you're a genius. In the same way we think getting a computer, getting a licensed song abroad, and then playing it in our music player is genius.

And it's partly because of the demand for cover songs, which goes to show that the industry is just adjusting to the retardedness of the market. Why do we got to hear five different covers of the same song anyway? It's stupid. Some covers like Sabrina's album aren't even trying. Like one day she sat inside a bathroom, got a guitar, a recorder, and then made millions on the spot - literally or otherwise.

It's stupid and I can't wait for it to go away, if ever it does.

Cover songs will kill the music industry faster than piracy ever will and slipshod articles like this will kill media faster than media killings ever will.

Short Announcement

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Just a short announcement. The bug that prevents people from using Google Chrome from viewing this site has been fixed. Thanks to the people who reported the problem. I can count at least seven, but I may be missing a couple of people so I won't list them here.

In exchange for your help, I hearby present to you an interesting carplate I found a couple of days ago.

Highroad Hassle

This morning, I almost came in late for work because of unexpected traffic caused by a car that hit a jeepney while trying to change lanes on one of the cloverleaf curves of the Nicols interchange. Issue number one: who the hell in his right mind drives a vehicle into an already rather awkward portion of road and thinks "This just might be the best time to play lane switcheroo!" huh? The bonifacio-bound loop from the southbound lane, in case you're not familiar, is almost always congested with traffic. It could be the dead of the night during christmas eve after the rapture, and you'd still see a shitload of cars there as though there's some sort of car magnet buried underneath the place by Toyota engineers duing the Second World War.

So anyway yeah, tge car hit the jeep. As dictated by the tradition first laid out during the stone age when Grok, if two vehicles hit each other they are required to stay in their original positions for a fixed period of time which is roughly equivalent to the length of a presidential administration. On good days, you can still see people dressed in spanish-era clothing still standing around two calesas that hit each other 200 years ago, waiting for the guardia civil to fix things.

It doesn't matter if the two vehicles occupy about 90% of the passable lanes, and that the only way for other cars to pass through is either tiptoe on the sidewalk or develop the same jumping feature that you can find in Speed Racer's car. No, the cars have to stay there.
According to people, it's so the police can confirm the position of the vehicles for later filing in insurance, or for even rarer cases, for taking to the courts. For me though, it's just so the inconvenienced owners of the vehicle can spread the joy of being late for work/school/street dance battles to other drivers who they probably assume are more than happy to empathize. And by empathize, I mean commit road rage-fueled acts of brutality.

Actually, I understand why the cars have to be not moved. If the vehicles move and somebody starts bluffing as to who hit who, and it's not really obvious without the original setup of vehicles, deciding who's calling in bitch can be decidedly hard. But come on. If we can apply technology to ridiculously simple things like telling our friends what we ate for lunch, why can't we use its benefits here, where it can actually help? Every other cellphone nowadays has a camera with a resolution good enough to shoot HD sex scandals. Why can't we apply that here? Take a picture of the damn accident scene. If it's too falsifiable for you, take a video. Then move the goddamn vehicles. If ever it's a more reliable way of doing things, since it doesn't leverage on whether or not the cop who responds to the scene is high/drunk/catatonic. Taking a pic or a vid can be done in a matter of seconds, as opposed to the police who will undoubtedly take a while to arrive due the same traffic the vehicles are causing. You can show and show it again and nobody's the wiser.

Taking that idea further, I'd like to think that in the near future, our cars will have blackboxes that record the last 24 hours of a car's activities including a 360 peripheral view of the car that will allow you to recall what happened to the car accurately. This way, we don't have to rely with the time tested procedure of See-who-shouts-louder-and-claim-affiliation-to-a-more-powerful-individual mode of contesting liablity.

Technology is progressing, really. But I get a feeling it doesn't get applied enough where it should count.

On a completely unrelated note: Sidecars, motorized sidecars should be outlawed on national roads. They are both dangerous, and representative of everything wrong with Filipino culture.

This Is "A Linggo Ng Wika" Post

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Cycle Beads

Actually I just found this inside one of my old folders. it's a last minute poem for some school project of a certain somebody, but ended up not getting used anyway. It's about Cycle Beads which is probably the last thing I'd write poetry about, given that I'm not a very big fan of the medium [I hate it] But what do you know? I guess I did write it anyway. If you don't know what Cycle Beads are, let's just keep it that way.

Taludtod ng buhay, sa aking daliri
mga sandaling di sukat magkamali
sa daluyong ng araw, luha't pagkabigo
tuwa't sakit, pikit na libido

Taludtod ng sakit, sa aking mga palad
lamig ng gabing iniwan akong hubad
saan nahan ang tala iyong pinatamasa
naglahong dugo, dumadaloy na pagdurusa

Taludtod ng tadhana, sa aking mga umaga
sa paglaho ng buwan ika'y nahan na
pangakong nawasak, pangarap naalintana
kabuwanan ng tiwala, mapaglihim na pluma

Taludtod, taludtod, taludtod sa purselas
sa bawat abaloryo, tiwala ko'y napitas
sa iyong paglisan, naiwan mong binhi
at pruselas na sawing aking ikinalulugami

MASSIVE Facebook Oneliner Roundup

Monday, August 09, 2010

(For those who are already noticing that I only do these kinds of posts when I'm out of time/ideas/both, you are merely imagining things. Now excuse me while I get back to playing Starcraft 2. When I say MASSIVE, I mean MASSIVE. These are oneliners from my FB account since DEC 2009 last year.)

We are all third world countries until somebody figures out how to hold elections on Martian soil.

If you get a cat life insurance, do you get 9x the amount?

Life's a triangle. There are always three sides of things. Your side, the side of others, and the side from which the other two derive. How these sides interact can spawn an infinite variation of triangles, but at the end of the day, there's only one that is truly right.

When I was younger, as long as I had loose change in my pocket, the sun overhead, and an excuse for when I needed to get home, I felt like I could conquer the world. Life's supposed to be simple like that, and it probably still is. It's just harder to see things that way when you're grown up.

Ang pagibig parang tren. Nakakapawis ng kilikili.

God bless the Philippines, where you can face the problem of water shortage and floods on the same day.

"I'm in a dream," I told him, "see my totem is still spinning." Cobb drew a pained expression, "You know what? Maybe choosing an electric fan wasn't such a bright idea afterall."

Instead of putting those tacky European car plates under, why not North Korean ones? It boldly tells anybody who sees it "I escaped from that hellhole, and was bad ass enough to bring my shitty car along."

Investment without thinking risk is buying a lifetime's worth of canned goods with only inflation in mind, and not the expiry dates.

Kung bahay ng presidente yung nasa 20 peso bill, dapat ata yung bahay ng vice presidente yung nasa 10 peso bill.

The people who always get left behind are the same people who usually survive the first round of volley fire.

When life serves you lemons, 檸檬茶!!!

To beat life, you go up up down down left right left right and in the end you hey, behave, and that's the only time you start living.

It's always a strange sight when a security guard delivers your food inside a restaurant. What should you do in return? Salute and say "Thank you, for keeping my Big Mac safe from the grasp of Hamburglar"? My happy meal has one more reason to be happy.

Alam mo, kapag may gusto ka sa isang tao, wag ka na magpatumpiktumpik. Sabihin mo agad ang nararamdaman mo. Wala naman mawawala sayo. Kasi kung gusto ka nya, gusto ka nya. Kung hindi, tapos pipilitin mo lang magbago ang isip nya sa ligaw, pano kung magbago ulit? Kung mas madali mo malalaman kung may pagasa ka, mas hin...di ka magsisi pag di umubra dahil nag-'invest' ka na.

We write with immortal ink now. Everything you leave here will be here for everybody to read many years after you've long since forgotten about your momentary thoughts. When you write, write as though you're doing it for your future self - and how much respect you think he will deserve.

Taking a crap while on an airplane is quite a strange experience, though I'm not sure why. It could be the turbulence, the altitude, or just the glare of the guy on the next seat.

Packing up things is a lot easier than packing up memories, because the latter eventually gets lost no matter where you keep them.

Some people spend their lives planning. Other people spend their lives trying to live out their plans. The happiest lot, of course, are those who just let the current carry them somewhere and say when they hit land "Ah, just as planned."

Ang pagibig parang water slide, kaunting tulak lang ang kailangan, nakakatakot, tapos di mo lang namalayan, limang metro na ang layo nung shorts mo kung nasan ka.

At the end of the day, it's not the work that you do but what work does to you that will shape the rest of your life. Specially if you happen to be a crappy boxer.

Give a man fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. If he can find fish.

Lately, the trend's been taking pictures with highend cameras, and posting as much as humanly possible online through social networking. 10 years from now the children would probably ask us what we were smoking to find these things interesting. Me? I'd probably just say we just woke up one day and realize we really sucked at remembering things.

True leadership is not in making decisions. Any monkey can pick between a few options. True leadership is in the ability to provide people the options that exist but cannot see for themselves.

I could tell you now that five years on we'd be laughing about what's making you so down right now, but you hate spoilers, and I hate having to explain my jokes.

Ang puno na totoong malusog, hindi takot malaglagan ng prutas. Magbubunga at magbubunga sya ulit sa katagalan.

Make room for change at the beginning of every day. Sa mga hindi nakakaintindi, BARYA LANG PO SA UMAGA.

Don't preoccupy yourself too much waiting for a sign. Sometimes the best sign is the lack of one, in the same way nobody prepares for an earthquake when the ground is already shaking.

Ang mga totoong bagay, di mo na kailangan pang paulitulitin sabihin para lang maging totoo. Hindi mo kailangan sambitin na sisikat ang araw bukas, o na mapapaso ka pag lumapit ka sa apoy. Totoo yun eh. Kapag kailangan mo pa sabihin ng paulitulit sa harap ng maraming tao, yan ay dahil di ka rin sigurado, at gusto mo lang ng karamay.

A typical jeepney driver has to look for passengers along the road, pick an optimal route amidst traffic and dropoff requests, avoid traffic violations, monitor passenger payments, perform cashier work, make mental estimations on fare costs, balance out fuel costs against the gross quota.

Powerful pictures need neither powerful men nor powerful cameras.

Far less attention will given to how you get the colours you need compared to what grandiose picture you paint. Never let what you have to do now get in the way of what you want to do in the future.

You probably don't know it now, but I'm from the future, and I'll tell you - these idle, passing moments are those that you'll miss the most one day, because the significant things will be marked by mementos, memoirs, and memories, but for the rest you will have nothing but unceasing wonder what happened in between. - 1010: The Library of Hearts

Ganun lang talaga ang buhay, parang gulong. Minsan ikaw ang gulong, minsan ikaw yung taeng nasasagasaan.

here's nothing scarier than having everything that makes you happy and realizing how much you can lose.

Sometimes, even with all the planning in the world, things still break down and leave you helpless. Times like these, you gotta do two things: Quit being so serious, and have faith that there's a greater plan in play.

A bottle of beer is a weapon, a health pick up, and an enemy boss all just waiting to happen.

Some things are beautiful precisely because they appeal to nobody else but you.

If we allowed those tiny lego people to vote, can we still frown upon block voting?

Reasons for running keep on changing nowadays. Back then, we only had one type - "Takbo para iwas kalaboso" and it worked all the time.

Sabi mo sa sarili mo, heto na, sasabihin ko na sa kanya ang nararamdaman ko. Tapos sasabihin mo, mamaya na lang. Tapos bukas, sa makalawa, sa isang linggo, sa isang taon, kasi nasa isip mo lagi naman may susunod na pagkakataon. Nagkakamali ka. Walang kasiguraduhan sa kinabukasan. Ang meron lang ay ang ngayon, at ang nagsisising nakaraan.

Today reminded me of something important. When you learned to ride the bike, the first thing you were asked to do was to stop worrying about the details and just keep your sights on the horizon. Sometimes life's just like that. Find a goal beyond what's obvious and the rest will fall into place.

Every now and then we come across turnpikes in life that force us to decide which way to go. One path leads us nearer to our goals, the other leads us towards the evil red-head henchman of Takeshi's castle.

Never be afraid to go after your dreams. They're not real anyway, so they can't fight back.

I'm thinking one reason why I'm scare of Santa Clause even as a kid is because of that one time he came from the roof and took our television set and radio

Sure, he's God's gift to women. But only for Kris Kringle, and only if the theme is "something ironic".

Biggest News of The Day

Chronology of Significant Events

1918 - Germany declares an armistice with the allied forces during the Great War

1945 - The Japanese formally surrender, thus ending the bloodiest war in history

1984 - The Marcos Regime is forcibly ousted by the People Power Revolution

1998 - President Estrada formally steps down amid popular calls for resignation.

2010 - The Arroyo Administration ends. A new era begins in clean governance.

Today - Hale announces that they are finally throwing in the towel.

We interrupt the scheduled release of articles in this site to announce that Hale, one of the more prominent poster groups for the typical "Pogi Band" has finally decided that they should be doing something else with their lives. Champ looks like he finally realized that if he does want to look pogi instead of actually making music, he should just go model, or acting, seeing as we have such a low bar of standard for actors nowadays anyway. The rest of the band has finally realized that one possible reason they were in the band in the first place was to make Champ look even more "gwapo". "Fuck it," I can hear them imagine saying.

Well good for them.

Starcraft 2 Ending Song Lyrics

Friday, August 06, 2010

At the end of Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty, a rock song plays. I tried looking for the title of the song and apparently, it's called "Terran Up The Night".The song was made by Level 80 Elite Tauren Chieftain, a band formed among the Blizzard employees. For a while I thought the song was amateurish, and I almost felt embarassed sitting in front of a computer playing the song, but I guess it's okay since it's from the guys who slaved to make this game a reality.

Anyway, actual lyrics after the song:

The smell of rusty metal, dead zerg and napalm, The sound of friggin’ laser beams and Gatling guns. Strapped into powered armor, Got the ladies always looking at me, They can’t believe the size of my over-engineered codpiece. Well, I’m a convict In a siege tank I ride Not protossin’, not zergin’, No, I’m terran up the night! Terran up the night! Terran up the night! Terran up the night! Alright! Don’t want no shiny protoss flying machines Rather have a clunky, funky, rusty SCV. Strap yourselves in girls, We’re gonna soar across the stars ‘Cause when you’ve got a battlecruiser, Hell, who needs a car? Well, I’m a convict In a siege tank I ride Not protossin’, not zergin’, No, I’m terran up the night! Terran up the night! Terran up the night! Terran up the night! That’s Right! [Hell yeah] You come in peace, well I come in war I’m counting corpses, I ain’t counting score When the protoss charge and the zerg start to swarm, Don’t want no Zeus, I want my own Thor! We’ve got our own transformer, The rough and tough Viking. He can fly, and doesn’t cry like that little girl Starscream Never served the King, no Never served the Lord But if we lived in Azeroth, honey You know we’d join the Horde! Yeah! Well, I’m a convict In a siege tank I ride Not protossin’, not zergin’, No, I’m terran up the night! Terran up the night! Terran up the night! Terran up the night! That’s right Terran up the night! Terran up the night! Terran up the night! All night

McDonald's Needs Better Food Technicians

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Let's face it, McDonald's in the Philippines isn't exactly the most creative fastfood out there. The last time they thought they could pull off something radical, they came up with the abomination that is the LONGGANISA BURGER.

the only surviving image of it on the whole internet

It's the greasiest sausage on the planet squeezed into a patty and then put in between oil-absorbent bread. I honestly have no idea how the marketing guys were able to plow this product through all the levels of redtape without anybody mentioning the apparent lack of important attributes such as, maybe just maybe, EDIBILITY.

After that, the damage was so great and irreparable, most of us just flipped on the defensive mechanism of our brains that allows us to forget tragedies. (Exactly why you don't remember that this one was still selling as recently as 2006) The guys in HQ who were keeping tabs were so embarassed, for the last four years, they've done no other further "product enhancements". The only thing that they can do is the following:

1. Movie tieup
2. Change the color of sprite using dyes that taste like turpentine
3. Mix McFlurry with a new flavor

Speaking of McFlurry, they can't even get that right. I was in McDOnald's this morning and my officemate Julie pointed out their newest flavour: BERRY. No, no, not strawberry. You guys love that. They used RASPBERRIES. The same stuff they mix into cough syrup. Not that I am against the amazing hallucinogenic effects of cough syrup when you OD it (don't try this at home - at least not wihtout me), but what the hell
were they thinking in assuming that we'd love to have cough-syrup ice cream?

In Hong Kong, there's a Milo McFlurry. It tastes awesome. Milo is around us here in Manila, so I doubt it's hard to make. Hell, it's the breakfast drink choice of pretty much every other person who will read this article. Why do we not have it here?

Okay, enough ranting. To help anybody from McDonald's willing to lend an ear (or an eye), we at Public Static would like to give the following suggestions for their new product:

Chicken McFlurry - Chicken flavoured McFlurry. Your favorite dessert to go can now also be your favorite meal to go - and all in one nifty, pasty package.

Ketchup Flavoured Fries - Lazy people like fries. Fries are awesome with Ketchup. Ketchup packets are hard to use. We gotta bring the flavour to the lazy. Ketchup flavour that shit and watch it sell.

McIsaw - Sometimes when I eat dessert in McDo, I get to thinking. You know what would taste good with this? Fishballs and Kikiam. There's your market.

Now get to work!

1000th Post Marker - Supposedly

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Let this be the 1000th post marker of Public Static. Even though the actual count is 1008. A few years back I told myself that when I hit 1000 posts on this site, I'd go about and start writing my book already. Well now that I have, and have forgotten to do the 1000th post on the 1000th post, I'm not really sure what to do anymore. I don't think I'm up to writing a book just yet, seeing as I have a lot of other writing projects stashed in the cave of "unfinished would-have-been swell projects"

I guess I'll just take up this post to start thanking people/groups who've contributed to the success/failure of this website.

Anna Kubkub whose persistence made me go further than what creative space this blog offered me. It may not be as comfy outside that space, but I'm getting there.

Cindy Dominguez who took me to a HS play one fine day four years ago and inspired me to write random stuff on my old friendster account and made me realize how much fun blogging can get.

Iman who moved out of his friendster blog to seek greener pastures, and made me follow accordingly. He chose tabulas. I chose blogger. Because seriously, fuck friendster blogs.

Marhgil for opening up a whole new world of SEO-based blogging, and teaching me the idea that you don't have to sell out to actually sell.

Idea Bouncers (people who cause me to start thinking crazy shit that I post here after a mere minutes of talking to them
- Nard, FishCake! resident exconvict and rehabilitated porn dependent
- Mai and Ryan, who got a lot of the earlier posts of this blog rolling via chat
- Riina. If I had to explain here, it'd be defeating the purpose of our agreement.
- Abbe. You crazy sunnova... you better have them pastries ready when we meet again.

Avid readers (or readers who I think are/were avid, in no particular order)
- Lyra/Liureiyi aka that person who prodded me to finish W:FSP
- Hikari/Jade/Jean (Here's a confession: I often mistake you for Lyra and vice versa)
- Persh (I'm sorry I really can't spell your full name up until this day)
- Zen Bitch/Icantatrix (Thanks for dropping by every now and then!)
- Matt Healy. I still don't know where you got that name from, but what the heck.
- Ragnaboarders, Gang of Crazy Artists, Fanfare peeps - REPRESENT!
- Officemates from ISI, ACTS, Azeus, my current company which I dare not disclose at the moment.
- Highschool classmates/batchmates. Gratitude, fuck yes.
- A lot of guys who wish to remain anonymous, but are there anyway.

Everybody who I may have missed, sorry. 12am is not exactly the best time to do these things, but I am a very busy man with very busy hobbies (like procrastinating really really hard)

Thank you all. This blog will go on until the internet dies or I do, whichever first falls into the pit of doom during our joust.

Starcraft 2 2nd Episode?

Does anybody have an idea as to when this is coming up? I really hate it when storylines are broken up in installments whose release dates are years apart. (We're looking at you, Hollywood, Xenosaga). Sometimes it takes too long and we forget what we're even waiting for. Kinda like that old guy in Inception.

Starcraft 2 is going to be like that too apparently, and now I'm one mission away from the ending and I'm now hesitating to finish the game. If I finish the game, that means I'll have to spend the next year or so wondering when the second installment of Starcraft 2 will come out. That's like longer than waiting for a baby to be born dude.

Just ranting.

This is not an ad.

This has to be a joke right?

I have no title for this post

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Okay, so maybe the airline pilots of PAL were subjected to "inhuman" conditions. I've been there, I know what it feels like to just want to not go to work anymore. Chances are, anybody who's worked in any field apart from the adult film industry would be able to relate. There's nothing wrong with hating your job, because it's a job. As I always say, if jobs are so awesome, we won't ask to get paid to do them.

But I have one request.

Can we please stop acting like the goddamn pilots who skipped the job are total victims?

First of all, I doubt that there's any condition hellish enough to say that being paid 100k a month is totally not worth it. People keep on reporting that their salaries are small. 100k a month is small RELATIVELY to say, 500k offered by Singapore Airlines monthly. I can imagine some people would suck cock at 30,000 feet everyday just to get the 100k kind of salary. Why? Because we live in a country where the average Metro salary is 15k, that's fucking why.

Next is the talk that the pilots were coerced to sign contracts into the sister company Air Philippines at a lower salary. Forced? I can't imagine a situation where a corporation can actually coerce you into joining another corporation without any option of bailing out. And if ever they were in fact coerced, how did they end up just saying yes? What methods were used? Am I supposed to believe that something like this happend?

Pilot: Listen, about the contract..
PAL: Have you signed it yet?
Pilot: It says here I'll be paid in airline peanut packets, is that a figure of speech for something?
PAL: There's no more room for interpretation tehre than there is room for sex in the airplane lavatory.
Pilot: Oh god. I don't want to...
PAL: Listen, I have 30 planes up there at any single time.
Pilot: So? I'm backing out.
PAL: Rumor has it a lot of our navigation equipment's been malfunctioning lately.
Pilot: ...
PAL: You don't want one of these airbuses to "accidentally" land on your 200-room house in Ayala Alabang do you?
Pilot: I... I...
PAL: I thought so. Peanuts it is.

Bottom line is the pilots signed up on a contract with a bond. Probably for reasons such as they had training. Training bonds are tricky, but they aren't very hard to understand. A company spends money on you to learn, and you gotta earn back - or pay back - the value there. It's a trade that may or may not be fair, but it's something you agreed to. You didn't accidentally walk into the office one day, slipped on a bananapeel and got your signature into the contract by sheer luck. You asked for it, you gotta pull through as law intends.

You can always resign. And then pay for the bond if you have to. That's just common sense. These pilots did neither. And they're supposed to be victims. I don't get it. Now everybody's whining and shit, acting like they didn't see it coming. I mean, come on. Didn't see it coming? Any guy who can read a newspaper would know that PAL's got a long dark history of screwing over so many of its employees. If its planes can be fueled with sheer hate, we'd have scheduled flights to the moon already.

If ever I should feel for anybody else, it's the smaller guys in PAL. Those guys whose jobs aren't about being inside the cockpit and travelling around the world. The guys who have to clean after them. Yeah, those guys. The guys who are still there, who have nothing to do with stranding passengers because they failed to live up to their end of their bargain.

And just because "There's better opportunity abroad."

Tell that to 90% of our countrymen who'd kill for their jobs.

Public Market Static

Monday, August 02, 2010

Just to clarify to the girl readers, guys have no issues with doing the grocery shopping. It's just that we handle things differently. We like to treat grocery visits the way we would kidnappings. We prepare the details, we get in, we grab, and then we go directly to the cash transaction part. We do it as fast as possible, as though the shopping carts have been laced with depleted uranium that will cause our nuts to fall off if we stay near it long enough.

Anyway, yesterday after mass, my sisters decided to watch Salt. Me being tired of having to watch every movie I've seen this month at least twice, I begged off and just went to the grocery with my mom. Grocery, as a term, is being used loosely here. See, the groceries I grew up with are those tiny sarisari stores that you can walk into and every nook and cranny from underneath the shelves up to the ceiling overhangs are packed with goods. That's my definition of a Filipino grocery. SM Hypermart in MoA, hardly qualifies as a grocery. It has a food court, a drugstore, an appliance center, and a strategic missile lauch facility (probably) inside. They're probably selling everything there from canned tuna to submarine ballast tanks.

I think there are more aisles in that supermarket than the national library. And just to screw with you, the positioning of products changes every week so you have to spend possibly a quarter of your lifetime just looking for condensed milk. I thought I even saw some nice folks from the Spanish Occupation period, still wandering around looking for El Queso y Macaroni Real. I remember before, some of the staff there even wore inline skates just to get around. Inline skates. Inside a supermarket. I shit you not. Some things are just destined for sad endings.

Also worth mentioning is that yesterday was the first Sunday after payday, which for most people in this country is a sign to gather the whole family and purchase enough supplies to outlast a nuclear winter, or a Kapamilya Tribute special (I dont know which is longer). You'd see caravans of carts just lining up the cashier, which I swear could sometimes reach a tab equivalent to our government's current budget deficit. But at least in the payment counters, the carts are all lined up. Inside the mart, it's just utter chaos.

See, on the roads we have lanes, we have traffic lights, we have enforcers. God knows how sucky they can get around these parts of the world, but it's a system that works. Inside the SM Supermarket, we don't have that kind of luxury. Carts are just everywhere, some of them just abandoned, half filled with groceries with no shoppers manning them. Did the rapture happen while I was getting a pack of instant noodles? Half of the carts are being driven enthusiastically by six year olds who got their cart driver's license from A1 - A-Wanna-Drive-This-Metal-Deathtrap-Into-Your-Ankles school of Driving. It's crazy. The carts don't even have airbags.

It's a real jungle inside. And it's probably one reason why I always have an idea of what to do inside the grocery. I want to get out as fast as possible. The last time I went in without any real intention of buying, I realized that the supermarket doesn't even have any exits where you aren't going to pass by a cashier. Eventually you just start wandering around the aisles thinking if you have to buy anything. And then you see an interesting product. You don't need it, you didn't even know it existed, but it's interesting. And then there's another interesting product across the aisles. And then another. And another and another. And before you know it, you've spent 10 years inside the supermarket only to buy a tube of toothpaste in the end.

If there's anything in reality close to the limbo described in Inception, this has got to be it.

Only if you try to kill yourself by shooting yourself in the head, you won't even be able to go back to reality.

You'd just hear on the speark "Cleanup on Aisle 7. Cleanup on Aisle 7."

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