Should I Tint My Car? A Case For The Untinted Car

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Note:(Written with a friend. He's going to put it in a form quite different from this one so I'm free to write at least the ideas we discussed).

While it's common sense to say that a tinted car has many advantages, from energy efficiency, to privacy, to security, there aren't many reasons put out in the open as to why you shouldn't tint the windows of your car. This is my take on why the opposite might prove advantageous.

1. Cars where the driver is visible are treated better in general by other drivers because tint dehumanizes other cars. The moment a human sees another human face, social semantics kick in, which is the same principle that allows us to decapitate a chicken with little remorse and not another human being. The moment normal people know they might get a reaction from other people, they start behaving in a fashion that will avoid an unwanted reaction.

2. Cars without tint are less likely to be broken into as well. While the going principle is that a car with a tint hides valuables easier, one without tint does not give the false sense of security that a user of a tinted car would have, so the owner is more likely to be responsible for his belongings. A thief would be less likely to see valuables scattered in the car, because the owner expects people to try and see.

2b. And even if so, a car without tint is less likely a target because anybody who tries to do anything fishy has a higher visibility from more than just the side where the door/window is being forcibly broken into. And since thievery is all about not getting caught, an untinted car is less likely to get stolen from.

3. An untinted car is less a target for carjacking as well. Since the interior of an untinted car is visible from the outside even when moving, carjacking one will expose the thieves to a higher chance of getting picked out at checkpoints. If they take the driver with them, all the more likely that they will get caught, as it will be hard to hold somebody hostage inside a car and not look like you're holding a hostage.

4. Lastly, an untinted car is safer for the sole reason that there aren't many like it these days. A criminal will always pick a car that does not stand out, given the choice between one that does and one that does not. It's not a conjecture. It's a statistical fact.

Kayo po na nakahubo

Monday, February 21, 2011

Subukan nyo namang tumayo.

Why Filipino Music is Dying

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Organisasyon ng Pilipinong Mangaawit is a joke and does as more damage to the local industry in the name of helping out.

Earlier this year, President Ogie Alcasid announced that OPM will be pushing for higher taxes for Foreign acts, in order to protect the so called "welfare" of local acts. Because of this, a ticket for a foreign artist's performance here in Manila would often be at least 20% higher than in Singapore or Hongkong, not even considering the fact that these are first-world countries we are talking about.

While this "might" help out the government in terms of additional revenue, I'm pretty certain foreign acts and local acts usually cater to a separate social status bloc. Putting on more taxes will hardly convince people who would rather see foreign concerts to watch shitty local ones just because they're "cheaper". You know what else is cheaper? Watching TV. If you do it from outside your neighbor's house, it's even for free. People watch concerts not because they can afford it. It's because they actually WANT to see the artist perform.

Killing competition by tax chokes is both underhanded and unsportsmanlike. Instead of trying to improve their acts, OPM pulls this, something tad step short of artistic fascism. So pull out a gun and take us hostage already. To make things worse, OPM refuses to eat its own cooking by SUPPORTING THE FOREIGN ACTS AND WATCHING IN THE VIP AREA OF EVERY FOREIGN ACT CONCERT. If OPM really wanted to compete, they'd take the foreign acts as a challenge to up the ante. If ever, foreign performances might even develop the local industry by inspiring up and coming acts, who might otherwise be too poor to watch it because a certain organization wanted poor people to stop wasting their money on useless concerts of foreigners and waste it on their useless concerts instead.

There's probably some other reason behind this move. Raising taxes on the grounds of fostering the community is a lie. No startups would be threatened by foreign acts. Why would your bar gig be sidetracked because Bruno Mars wants to come here to sing and snort cocaine? Only the ones who've been in the industry for so long would see that as a problem. Think about it.

And why is it that people have stopped watching local concerts anyway? Let's just put it this way. The two highest ranking officials in OPM is Ogie Alcasid and Gary Valenciano. I have a lot of respect for the talent of these two guys. But! Both of which released albums last year that were just 80% covers, a good number of them from foreign artists. While covering is understandable and quite entertaining, let's not forget that the OPM is supposed to stand for ORIGINAL PILIPINO MUSIC. For people who advocate so strongly against piracy, originality seems to be so lowly regarded. Why bother watching covers when you can go for originals?

Ogie Alcasid was nice enough to say this during an interview:

What are his plans for the revival of OPM? “Siguro, we have to assess the problems affecting the music industry before we could offer any solution. Kung ako ang tatanungin mo, ang isang problema ay ang kawalan ng sigla sa bentahan ng music. Wala kang naririnig na bagong music. ‘Yung paggawa ng bagong kanta bihira na. Tapos ‘yung batas na dapat four Original Pinoy Music (OPM) songs ang pinapatugtog every hour hindi na rin nasusunod. Siyempre nariyan pa rin ang problema ng piracy. Then the taxes sa mga concerts,” said Ogie.

So to keep it short. He complained there's not enough originals out there and THEN went on to release covers anyway. Man's gotta earn a living, I guess. Fuck principles. Later in the interview, he went on to propose drafting policies to foster the community through mandated airings of songs and other politically charged bullshit that likely wont solve anything but the OPM's personal problems. You don't solve sociocultural issues with political solutions. It's never worked that way and it probably never will now.

To be fair, to show that OPM does care for artists who AREN'T groomed by the big publishers, they have launched an OPM-Pagcor search for talents. And I have no qualms about this. A lot of good talent are out there just waiting to be discovered. Of course, there's still the fact that even with this contest, you can see where OPM's emphasis lies. Instead of trying to address the issue of not having enough people composing new songs, they're just trying to bring in more people who can PERFORM. From the mouths of the organizers, the objective is to find the next world class performer like Charice and Arnel Pineda, BOTH of which became famous for singing other people's songs. Gone are the song-writing competitions. I can't remember the last time anything like that was even televised. Which is too bad. I thought a lot of the better songs from the 90s came from those competitions.

What we have now is an archaic organization ranting about the clear problems of the industry, while at the same time grossly contributing to the problem and taking steps that are backwards-drunk away from solving the issues at hand.

Since when has the OPM become a part of our government?

Chapter 1 : Vectors : Chemical Manila

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Engineer Alan Perez held the corked test tube on his hand and shook it in gentle circling motions. The water inside contained blue fluid that danced around, and then finally blended into colorlessness. The man breathed a sigh and placed the vial into the test tube rack, hands steady, but enervated. Just in front of his table was the standard company wall clock with the proud Manila Water Company logo. Six in the morning - not even break time yet. There was nothing much to do around the place, and for all the complexities of the processes in the water treatment plant, once you have gotten used to its peculiarities, life within the second Balara plant became filled with doldrums.

"Batch thirteen is clear from intermediate chlorination, recommending the release for post-disinfection, Sir," he said in a boilerplate manner while writing down on a blue ledger.

A man with a hardhat and an unshaven smug walked in. "Good, good. Let's keep up this pace so we'll be able to finish all of today's work this morning. Then we can take the afternoon off." The man was Supervisor Carlo Nuñez, a stubborn man who's said to have been around long before Manila had any potable water running on its pipes.

Alan's always hated his dry humor - even that day. Work never really ended in the water treatment plan, and the horribly inefficient redtape made work even twice as labor intensive. To top it off, nobody ever really paid attention to the work they're doing, despite the fact that it was them on the frontline of hygiene, making sure half of the city didn't die from some obscure water-borne disease just waiting to get into the lifeline of Manila. Oh no, not that, people would rather go over bonuses people were getting in sister companies than wonder whether or not that glass of water they were gulping down had its own share of life-sucking bonuses in it. Idiots. All of them.

To Alan and everybody there, they were practically unsung heroes.

"Oh yeah, Alan, the guys from the SIWI have the post-treatment package ready. I've asked the boys to start unloading from the vats for this batch," Carlo grumpily reported to Alan, "You can just send the pre-testing analysis to me later after lunch." Alan sneered secretly - Carlo never did have regard for his work and often did reckless things that drove Alan who was pathologically meticulous, insane.

Alan opened up the drawer and took out a small medicine bottle. The Swedish International Water Institute's logo had been emblazoned on it. Was it really okay to just dispense additional chemicals into the waterways without notifying the people in at the MWS head office? He was going to ask Carlo but it seemed that he had already taken off for an early and lengthy break. If the senate enquiries had to crucify somebody - he wouldn't really mind to volunteer Carlo. That b*stard.

The engineer shook his head and poured the chemical into a flask of water on his table. The water remained colorless, which Alan quickly found to be odd. Usually for test chemicals sent in by SIWI or any other water monitoring agency, it always had trace coloring to ensure that everybody working with the substance would know the water's experimental.

Lifting the flask, he walked towards his pet mice within the same office. He had always kept a pair of dagang costa as a quick measure for water safety, knowing that even for rats the particular species of white-haired rats were susceptible to strong chemical reactions in the water.

The mice drank hastily; it was a hot day after all.

Alan watched carefully. The mice seemed fine and he breathed a sigh. Maybe Carlo did have a point in cutting corners when it came to the procedural labyrinths of administering water treatment. The chemical's supposed to be just another supplementary compound - nothing outside routine.

And then the mice proved his thoughts wrong.

The mice convulsed started coughing. Not ordinary coughing, but coughing like it's in pain. Alan had never seen such a reaction before - at least nothing so quick and gut wrenching. Blood started spattering after every cough and within a few seconds, the mouse stopped moving. Alan moved closer to the cage. The rats still had their eyes open, and for some reason both of them looked like they were still breathing. "Is it poisoned?" Alan wondered.

Then one of the rats sprang to life, blood streaming from its eyes and started shrieking uncharacteristically. A rush of chills circulated in Alan's body as he watched with horror the rat systematically bashing the cage in an attempt to get to Alan. The rat's immaculately white fur soon turned red with its own blood.

Alan was thrown back in surprise.

"My God!"

He then remembered Carlo's words. The substance would be delivered to all the treatment plants that day, and theirs was already administered in the thirteenth batch of the day's supply. With a boost of adrenaline he darted out to halt the release.

"sh*t! sh*t! sh*t! sh*t!"

Alan saw Carlo ,still standing on top of the open-air treatment areas, and the fact that he's still there meant the water was still unreleased. Alan panted as he got closer, staring at the ground. "Jesus f*cking Christ. That chemical from SIWI is dangerous. Good thing you're still here Carlo, you motherfucker."

Carlo did not reply.

"Say something you son of a..." Alan stood up and stared at Carlo, face to face. Carlo was livid, his eyes bloodshot and his mouth slacked. Blood slowly came out of his eyes and nose and a steady, rising grunt came from his throat.

Alan felt the need to run, but Carlo's eyes were somewhat teasing him. This was just a joke, wasn't it? It just had to be. Alan laughed, manically. "Okay I get it, now let's just..."

Carlo lunged forward and took Alan down in one bodily thrust. His teeth sank into Alan's throat and the blood purged erupted violently into the rapidly decreasing water reservoir. With Carlo's big burly build, Alan could only vainly struggle and watch as his blood choked up his breathing, leaving him into a writhing man soon bereft of life.

Howls echoed all around the treatment plant, along with blood curdling screams,drowned by the gushing of water, and the empty drumming of the exhaust fans.

The vector has been delivered.

And so with this, the purge of Manila begins.

Prologue: The Smoking Gun: Chemical Manila

Smoke blown from the thick cigar between the lips of the general wafted around, like the lingering feelings of resentment that emanated around the conversation. The general was far from being at a retirable age, but the weariness in his eyes and the wrinkles on his body told of a spiritual exhaustion beyond belief.

Across the table, a younger man with a press badge and bloodshot eyes resisted an urge to cough. On his hand is a small tickler notebook where his right hand scribbled madly, in a desperate fashion. "So," the reporter spoke, "you're saying that you know the real reason why on the twenty second of February, 1984, the regime was finally able to uncover Rebolusyon ng Alyansang Makabayan's plot to oust Marcos?"

The general nodded. He answered with a raspy voice. "The stakes were high for both sides, and between us and them was a secret that could turn the tide of the struggle. Neither the RAM or the dogs of Marcos would like the public to ever know about it, so in the event, the story revolving that aspect of the revolution was kept secret."

"The secret?" the reporter asked like a child on Christmas morning.

"The intelligence officers from within the RAM, they knew something was up at the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant right from the start. There was more to the project than it being overbudgeted, undersupervised, and unusually militarized. To those in the know, Marcos had meant for it to be that way - as to why, that was the question everybody was left to ask.

What we knew was that there was something else being developed there. The fact that the amount of resources being funneled into the place doubled, tripled, at the height of the rumors of the Sabah invasion's Jabidah incident led us to think it was a weapons research program. Funds were coming in from the president's own coffers, some of them even reportedly from the amassed gold from Yamashita̢۪s plunders, and until we knew what was going on there, we could not hope to bring Marcos down."

The fists of the general clenched as he bit on his cigar. The reporter stopped writing. "The Sabah Invasion, you say? You mean Operation Merdeka? If I remember it correctly it was a move to destabilize Sabah using trained Muslim commandos as a prelude to going to war with Malaysia over the territory. In the late sixties, the commandos rebelled when they couldn't stand what was going to happen and the higher ups of the military had them liquidated in Corregidor Island. As far as I know, after that, the Marcos government junked Operation Merdeka."

"Mistakes happened, but it seems the government had other ideas than to just forget about the islands. Either way, we had to know for ourselves what was going on. On the night of the 21st, we sent our black ops to investigate the plant. I'm the last living member of the support group of the unit that went inside."
"And then what did you see inside the plant?"

"The plant itself was heavily guarded but with our skilled troops, we managed to get in effortlessly. Once inside, evidence of human experimentation started showing up. Far from being just a nuclear power plant, sections of the place looked like a genetic laboratory, with specimens in stasis with overgrown muscular structures and menacing looks. We discovered that BNPP was in fact a cover for a research program for creating enhanced soldiers - not too different from Stalin's genetic experiments during the Second World War. All I was able to catch was something about the Tabon Man gene, of which I have no idea about even to this day."

The reported could barely mask the shock on his face as he stood aghast. The general smiled a bit. The secret had stayed hidden for so long he'd almost forgotten how much of a surprise it must be to somebody in the dark about the true "peaceful revolution." He slipped back into his seat before continuing.

"We tried to gather as much information as we could, but a firefight broke out in the plant. Those outside heard loud explosions coming from inside afterward and communications with our lead unit was broken. I supervised the retreat of the remaining units - the ones that went in never came back out, and soon the central building of the plant was in flames."

"What happened to the laboratory you discovered? Was there any information that you could have kept on record?" the reported leaned forward, as though trying to elude an imaginary eavesdropper.

The general sighed. "A good number of our comrades died that night, the price we had to pay for the destruction of the laboratory. Unfortunately for us, nobody survived among those who witnessed the place first hand or gathered documents. However - "


"As I was the point man for the retreat, I trained my rifle's scope at the exit points. I thought I saw a man carrying a briefcase and a baby amidst the smoke and confusion. No, I'm pretty sure even now that it was in fact a man. I could not get a clear identification if it was friend or foe, so I hesitated."

"So you're claiming somebody survived the explosion and that person possibly has information on the secret of the nuclear power plant?"

"Yes. Of course, I couldn't tell anybody about the plant, even more so about how I let a survivor leave. It would bother our comrades, and we'll be spending unnecessary resources looking for him, and possibly endangering our lives further in the process."

The reporter finally closed his notebook. "The following day, the government started the crackdown on the RAM, Enrile and Ramos turned coat, and the people started gathering in EDSA, making the revolution public, ushering the People Power Revolt and the rest, they say, is history.

Meanwhile, the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant was deemed too dangerous to use and remained inoperable by the new administration, as you claim, as it probably was mean to be like that.

As for the events that happened that night, none of it ever leaked outside the military, leaving unsung heroes and forever changing the face of the so-called bloodless revolution. If I'm not mistaken, this story could possibly be the story of the century."

The general guffawed. "It seems you have researched this topic pretty quickly beforehand. I almost forgot to thank you for coming on such a short notice. "

A resigned expression permeated from the reporter's face. "I'm only interested in making sure everything that happened is in my notes. I take pride in my thoroughness."

"I feel like a burden has been lifted now knowing the people will know of the bravery of my comrades.They may finally rest at ease."

The reporter stood up. "Perhaps we misunderstood each other, sir General."

He pulled out a silenced pistol and unerringly pulled the trigger on the General's forehead. The general did not even see it coming. A moment later, he was dead, blood and brain pouring out of a wide exit wound where the lower half of the man's head used to be. The crimson stain slowly pooled into the wooden floor of the room.

"Loose lips sinks ships, General."

The smoke steadily cleared as the reported opened the door of the apartment and walked out into broad daylight. He tugged the press badge out of his neck and threw it on the creek just beside the street along with the smoking gun.

End chapter.

Philippine International Pyromusical Competition - Songlist and Review for Spain and Italy

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The family of my girlfriend was nice enough to invite me to dinner during the first leg of this year's pyromusical competition, and since I don't get to have a nice (i.e. paid) view of the event very often, I might as well do a review on it.

One thing I really like about these Pyrolympic/Pyromusical events is that it's like that only time of the year when my real musical preference gets the center stage. I'm a soundtrack addict, and although there's pretty much a soundtrack for everything in the entertainment industry, from epic movies to Kris Aquino's laughter, you don't really hear these things out of their original contexts.

For some reason, the contestants have a weird but nice habit of picking their tracks from movies, games, and other things that require soundtracks, so I get to enjoy fireworks AND tracks that are more than familiar to me.

That said, this week's two contestants are Korea and Spain. To anybody who's asking which Korea (I was), it's the Korea whose idea of explosions doesn't involve all-out war. I'm not sure about the mechanics, but I think they're required to do a talent portion (fielding something unique from their country), and then go on with the fireworks.

Talent Portion

Korea's talent was really good. I didn't quite catch her name but the violinist lady did good modern interpretations of various classics. When she covered "Anak" people just lost their shit, specifically the guys at the Spanish side, whose idea of capturing the hearts of Filipinos is to field four Flamenco dancers who, unfortunately, couldn't dance to the same beat. (effects of a Two drink minimum perhaps?) My gf told me she was also a beauty. I wasn't able to see, as I was busy prying meat from the crab I was happily eating at the time. So yeah, winner on this part is South Korea, hands down.


Korea worked with a lot of classic soundtracks. Opening with the Terminator Suite, I expected them to come on strong and maintain a strong motif throughout the performance. One thing about the terminator suite though is that its beats are very distinguished, which, if they don't sync with the fireworks, they make the timing delays very visible. From rough and tough, Korea swung to easy street with a couple of stringed Korean tracks, which I could not understandably identify, but were really nice to the ears. The usage of the long burning waterfall configuration of fireworks accentuated the peaceful aura of the music, which was a big plus on my opinion. And then as though to deliver a kick in the balls after the lull, Korea spent the next half of the performance rocking the shit out of the audience with the powerful track of the movie The Rock. After that,back to Korean stuff (at this point, you just know they're just messing with you by fielding as many curveballs as possible) and then they finished off strong with Gladiator's main theme, which is, to say the least, perfect for a strong yet somber finish. Timing of the fireworks are apt during the latter half and made up from the somewhat confusing first half.

Spain had a shitty intro talent portion. It's like they know it and decided to apologize by hauling ASS during the fireworks competition. Spain opens up with Requiem For A Dream (AKA the default epic music of almost every fantrailer on youtube) just to show they're not going for shits and giggles. Choice of fireworks immediately shows why they have won a lot of previous competitions. Mixing rock music with The Matrix Revolution's Neodammerung, which is arguably the best track in the whole trilogy. The theme of imperative doom sung by a ghostly Sanskrit voice ensured that any arrangement would be epic, but Spain took no chances and matched the track with a lot of rapid rockets and quick-flash fireworks. At this point they could have stopped and still won, but the time was barely at the half mark. The next song played is the first part Armageddon suite soundtrack, with the clear plucking of the Spanish guitar complimenting the slowed delivery of the lights display. To pick up the pace, the second half of the suite was played as well along with 2001: A Space Oddessey, though to a lesser degree of gloriousness compared to Neodammerung.

For the last part of Spain's performance they left the already beaten path of soundtracks and used a remix of Tchaikovsky's 1812 overture, a piece famous for having REAL CANNONS as part of the instruments played. What better song to be used for a pyromusical competition? Spain does not disappoint. Their finale was done so well to such degree that I literally had my mouth hanging wide open by the time the performance ended. I have never seen the whole bay in front of MoA light up as bright as that night, and I probably never will.

Spain > Korea. No contest.

Birthday Talk Doesn't Amuse Me

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Here's one more thing I don't get. How do people get away with realizing it's your birthday and then acting surprised that you're already one year older than the last time they saw you have a birthday? "Wow, you're 27!" Good job demystifying the puzzle, Sherlock. One year after my last birthday, I AM one year older. We didn't see that coming. Whoah.

Some people take it further, going all three bases fully loaded for the homerun of retardation by telling you "You're older now!". Think about it. Every time you say that to a person, even if it is not his birthday, it will always be true. "You're older now!" Say it ten times, it will still be true, for very small increments, like "You're a second older now!" "And now!" "And now!" "And - " click! bang! It's stating the obvious.

It'd be more interesting if people started saying "Wow, you're younger now." Because then, holy shit. How did that happen? If I were told that, I'd start tracking back to everything I ate and drank and try to figure out which part of my diet constituted the elixir of youth. Was it the sisig? Was it the half-consumed pizza that's been on my freezer for approximately 2.5 weeks?

And then there's the usual talk from the elders that go like "Oooh you're now. Shouldn't you be getting already? I hear is also looking forward to it already too." Now just fill in the activity for marriage, going abroad, or running for mayor(as is the tradition in some families, it's their coming of age thing). It's kind of pointless. The next time somebody does that, get back with Ooohhh you're now. Shouldn't you be getting a nice plot of land somewhere in Loyola already? I hear is looking forward to having cocktail parties in the afterlife too. Then it'd be fair and square.

I'm just saying.

Facebook Oneliner Roundup

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

"And perhaps, it's of even greater tragedy that the true value of some people can only be seen by the size of the hole they leave behind in our lives." - scribbled on my Azeus training notes from six years ago. I can't remember why I wrote it.

Somebody told me a long time ago, hearts are like stickers. The more places they've tried to belong to, the lesser the chance they'll ever attach for good. You only have one heart, so make sure you stick where it counts.

Weeaboo during Japanese occupation = makapili.

Bakit naman dati hindi tayo obsessed sa mga mali sa printing ng pera natin? Bakit andun si Jose Rizal sa proclamation ng independence? Bakit pwede mo lagyan ng sumbrero yung kalbong katipunero? Meron nga bang kalbong katipunero nun? Wala naman nagtatanong dati.

Changes are like storms, in the fashion that you can never point to the exact moment they begin.

Payo sa buhay #1: Kapag binato ka ng bato, batuhin mo ng tinapay. Tapos habang kumakain sya, suntukin mo sa kwan ng sobrang lakas. Bawi ka na.

What does a guy trying to learn cycling have in common with Piolo? If they don't want to fall, they have to look straight.

Is it just me or are the girls I meet at the bars exceptionally good at quantum mathemtatics? Everytime I approach one, I end up getting imaginary numbers.


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