Taxi Drama

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wednesdays are usually taxi days for me. My car's not allowed on the roads due to the coding scheme and while theoretically I am supposed to be commuting instead, I end up waking up too late for that. So I take the taxi, where I can continue my sleep at the minimal risk of ending up somewhere else when I wake up (like Alabang).

Anyway, today's one of those days and I plan to check the stock market for a few minutes, and then sleep the rest of the way. But when I rode the taxi and told the driver my destination and preferred route, he answered in a weird voice "wag mo tatanggalin" (don't remove it)

I was like, "Remove what?" I almost chalked up the driver as one of those shabu-addled once who I've encountered more than once before, but suddenly somebody actually replied in a very minute voice "Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeh".  I looked at the shotgun seat from the back. There was nobody there. And then it spoke again "Masikip papa!" I leaned forward and lo and behold I saw a 3 year old kid (or so I think) sitting up front. It was also kind of cute, until you realize that an adult's seatbelt protects a 3 year old kid from accidents in the same way a condom protects you from gunshot wounds.

But yeah, not my kid, and I just wanted to sleep. If ever, it's just going to give the taxi driver an incentive to not drive around like the fourth horseman of the apocalypse spreading death, destruction, and traffic everywhere he goes.

The kid kept on complaining about everything. At first it was cute, because her voice was cartoonish, and then it was annoying, because I planned on sleeping. She wanted more food, and the driver, who apparently was her dad, promised her ice cream after dropping me off. She said she was thirsty, so he gave her his water bottle. (I could not see, but how the heck does a three year old drink from a litre plastic bottle anyway?) and then finally she complained that she just wanted to go home.

At this point the dad's voice changed from the usual half-annoyed-half-concerned voice to a stern one. And that's also the point when I started paying attention (while pretending to not care of course). "Walang tao sa bahay," he said, "wala ang mami mo dun. Anong gagawin mo dun kung magisa ka lang?"

So the guy's babysitting, I get it. I suppose it could be done, provided most of his passengers are like me, no more than 3 people and not really giving a shit if there's another person inside besides the driver.

And that was when i was caught completely off guard.

"Anak, dapat lagi na tayong magkasama ngayon," the driver continued with a raspy voice and a sad undertone, "kasi wala na ang mami mo. Iniwan na nya tayo." The kid could only say "iniwan? mami?" And this was while we were cruising down the highway.

I looked at the driver for the first time since the trip started. He looked tired, and somewhat sad. And that was what distraught me. What if this guy is sad to the point of being suicidal? No more sleep for the rest of the trip, that's for sure.

After a while the kid finally fell asleep. The driver would occasionally glance at the kid, still straddled with the oversized seatbelts and he'd give a warm smile, and pardon me if I might embelish the story a bit, that sort of told everybody who saw it "Don't worry now, everything's going to be alright."

It felt like I was inside a drama story waiting to unfold. As though one day that kid is going to grow up, and have a chat with his dad, and bring up the day that her mother left them. And I saw what would've been talked about ahead of her.

Sad and wonderful at the same time.


What The Hell Happened

Sunday, October 23, 2011

1800s - Amigo

 1920s - Pal

 1940s - 友達

1950s - Pare

1960s - Pards

1970s - Repapips

1980s - Tol, Tsong

1990s - Dude, men

2000 - Bro, dude

2012 - Ate, Teh, Titah


Signs you're getting older

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

It's normal. It's expected. Yet for some reason aging occurs in such a subtle way that makes denial such a tempting option for most of us. Time is such a good thief of youth that it manages to spirit off chunks of your life with the subtlety of a customs official - without tripping any Senate enquiry and/or burglar alarms.

The whole process, however, is far from fool proof. Occasionally you get these reminders that you are, in  fact, slowly inching your way towards old age, demise, and horribly sagging testicles.

 Here are some signs that you are aging:

 1. The jeepney driver looks like he just got his license five days ago. He's listening to things you thought only hyperactive preteens listen to. (Justin Bieber? Really?) Also, he's driving like Takumi from Initial D, and not because it's all happy coincidence - it's because he grew up watching THE Takumi on TV.

 2. And your barber? Long gone is the grand old barber who seemed ancient enough to have cut Manuel Quezon's teenage hair. While he may not know jack about stylishness, he probably mastered his trade long before you even knew how to masturbate. He could  do a heart bypass with his trusty scissors and comb and that's why you're confident your hair will be cut properly. No, now, he's replaced by a guy who's probably about your age, or worse, younger, and there's that lingering feeling that you shouldn't be trusting him with scissors any more than you trust a five year old with a kitchen knife.

  3. Music sucks, and you have your own channel or radio program playing music that you like - and they're either called "rewind", or "retro" or simply "classics". 

 4. And it's pretty okay for you to accept that. 

 5. People you grew up admiring are dying off. Michael Jackson, Cory Aquino, Steve Jobs, Jimmy Santos (EDITOR'S NOTE: For the last fucking time Jet, he's not yet dead. Stop killing him in your articles) 

 6. All your friends in FB have turned into babies, if you're to believe their profile pictures. 

 7. Remember that time back in college when you attended like, 5 debuts a month and had to be eighteen roses/candles/condoms in at least three of them? You didn't even remember the name of the debutante half the time. Weddings are like that now. 

 8. You're appalled at the fashion sported by kids nowadays. 

 9. You're using the term "kids nowadays", clearly accepting you've long since graduated from the demographic. 

 10. Half the time you're online, you're reminiscing about childhood stuff that your younger friends have no idea of. And I'm not even talking about your inaanak. I'm talking about the new intern at work not knowing who Computer Man is and why he's badass. (hint: he can travel through electrical wiring. Why? because he's a badass computer man, that's why. Fuck you.)

Twitter One-Liner Lowdown

Thursday, October 06, 2011

To be human is to think alone and feel collectively.

That which does not kills us makes us reconsider insurance.

Wag mong gawing trabaho ang bagay na gusto mo kasi hindi pwedeng bigyan ng parehong paggalang ang bagay na iniibig sa bagay na pinagkikitaan

Mark my words, we will be spending 10 years trying to record everything in our lives and the next 10 years trying to erase them

It's easier to pretend that Marcos is the long and short of the evils of that era, rather than consider him as a mere symptom of the times.

In light of SM Pampanga shooting SM pulls back selling SM Bonus bullets and personal firearms.

Sorry men, dahil may anti-planking law na, bawal na manabla.

Walang basagan ng trip!

When was the last time protesting actually fixed the problem?Bullets change opinions faster than placards, though not always for the better

When I have a kid I'll name him Winter so whenever he gets invited to a party, he can answer in the coolest voice "Winter is Coming".

I'll never get why people say being rich doesnt make you happy. Give me 500 thousand peso bills and I'll slap 500 people with them happily.

Madaling sabihin na "window shopping" lang. Pero pano kung lumundag yung mannequin papunta sayo at sinabing di mo na sya kailangan bayaran?

Never a love in the world for naught, if never a late realization left unsaid.

If you want to get into somebody's good side, never bring up any topic on politics, religion, sex, or UAAP.

God bless social technology for serving as the best jerkwad detector of all time.

Sometimes its not about solving something. Sometimes its just the acknowledgement that the problem exists.

You know its for real when the whole world seems to conspire for and against it at the same time, and you cant be bothered to care. 

You mean the world to me, if I actually cared about the world I mean. 

Balang araw,lahat ng non-negotiables mo sa paghanap ng pagibig lulunukin mo rin. Kaya kung ayaw mo mabulunan, liitan lang ang requirements. 

Behind every great man is a woman. If there's none behind you, well, we can't all be winners now, can we? 

Ang hindi lumilingon sa pinanggalingan, mabilis matututo mamisikleta.

People keep saying "never settle for less". What they ought to be saying is "never settle for less if never is fine with you." 

Stop quoting Rizal as a Tagalog-user. He wrote his novels, poems, letters in Spanish, and watched Marimar undubbed (citation needed) 

The fastest way to find out you can't change the world is to actually go there. 

Lesson 4 today: Dont trade and drive. U myt get hit b4 ur sell orders does. 

Sana magkaseat sale dyan senyo para makaupo naman ako sa tabi mo... 

Right before the market takes a huge dive, the forum I go to turns into chaos. After only few posters remain - then it's buying time. 

I once was sad because I had no shoes. Then I saw somebody with no feet. Who was white. And a lady. I was scared into not wanting shoes. 

Ang pagibig parang taho. Hindi dapat puro tamis. Masarap sa umaga. Habang nakakalog, lumalabnaw. At higit sa lahat, mas enjoy pag sinisigaw. 

Love is a lot like a pizza delivery. Getting there at record speeds means nothing unless the other side opens up. 

When was the last time you experienced glory? The only real faith that matters is that of tolerance and respect. 

You can't always get what you want unless what you want is not always getting what you want. Problem solved. 

The fastest way to drive out a nail is with another nail, unless not having any nails is your objective. 

People sometimes tend to say that they want a lot of things. I'm willing to bet more than half of the time, a simple hug will suffice. 

Everybody needs a certain degree of liquidity. Money that you cannot spend when you need it is of no use to you. 

It's easy to blame others for your future, but from the future looking back, you'll realize there's only you. 

If you always go for win-win in a zero sum game, consider that somebody might be getting the lose-lose end. 

Filmmaking, stories, games and jokes got replaced with work, business and everything in between. Growing up is as boring as everybody says. 

The last product anybody ever really needs is contentment. 

Teach a kid to ask "where to" and then watch him go farther than the kids who ask "how far". 

The management ability most needed for survival is the ability to handle disappointment. 

Wanted to use this wit-phrase "Am I in Vienna? Because I'm surrounded by sausages." but cant because it sounds gay in 19/20 instances. 

A good teacher is worth a thousand books, and a good student, a thousand dissertations 

Some people take a punch in the face better than they take a joke. The rest tend to fare worse in the fist-to-face division. 

As children we were encouraged to write long essays and as adults we're encouraged to write short tweets. Ano ba talaga? O-o .

Samsung Galaxy S2 Kies "cannot start service"

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Just a friendly note to the people who are having issues with connecting Samsung GS2 to the latest version of Kies.
I have a Galaxy S2 running on 2.3.3, rooted. Unfortunately I am unable to connect my phone to Samsung's inhouse PC interface program called Kies. After what seemd to be years of searching for a way to connect the damn phone, I was able to make it work, finally.
Here are the methods that I used.
1. Stop using Windows 7 64bit. This OS is currently unsupported.
2. Update to the latest version of KIES and use the driver installation method.
3. Restart the computer many times.
None of those worked, but after reading something on the net about SD cards, here's what I did:

1. Remove the battery.
2. Remove the SD card.
3. Startup GS2.
4. Startup Kies
5. Plug the device to the USB port.
And it worked! What the fuck. Anyway, In case anybody stumbles upon this, I hope it also works for you.
Now I'm having issues with trying to make the Kies backup work.
Oh Samsung, what would we do without you?

Dead Island Review/Tips/Cheats

Monday, October 03, 2011

(It's been a while since I did a full article on any game, but then again, it's been a while since I played a game that can't be finished in one day. Anyway, yeah. Also, I'm reviewing this game on the PC with the game version only up to patch 1.1.) 

Let's just say I'm not a fan of games that stress me out. I actually like games where I'm not challenged, where I can get power, abuse power, and ultimately get away with abuse. Dead Island gives me nothing of those, and yet, here I am, taking the time to write an article about a game that basically took away hours of potentially good rest to be replaced with unwanted muscular jerking, heart pumping, and soiled underpants. We'll get to that in a moment.

Dead Island is a zombie-themed person shooter that shares the questing-and-collecting elements of Fallout 3 with the theme of .. well.. zombie apocalypse. Most people would like to compare the game to another previously successful zombie-themed FPS game, Left For Dead. The comparisons are somewhat justifiable. There's only so much innovating you can do to a niche theme that's been done and overdone through the years. Some mechanics are similar, the usual "escape or die" theme, and even the enemy roster (hint: zombies) are near identical. It's not all apples and apples though, as there's something about Dead Island that makes it different, and that something is enough for me to say that at the end of the day, it's an entire game of its own.

The story is a mixed bag, but it's not like anybody watches zombie movies for the unique storyline either. You're in a resort as any one of the four starting characters that happen to be immune to the virus, and then you work your way though (as a team or alone) the whole island trying to escape and help others survive at the same time. A mysterious voice on the radio and a particularly obnoxious asshole lifeguard lead the plot on, while characters you encounter along the way provide more meat to the whole experience through their own smaller storylines. The twists in the game are somewhat predictable, but the effort that you will be putting in towards progressing the plot will make you feel all the much immersed in the plight of survival. Seeing a person die from some trivial bullshit right after you pulled an all nighter trying to save his ass, for example, is heartbreaking. The game is not without the emotional moments that the trailer promised us, but lets just say the acting could have been done better.

Graphics wise, the emphasis to detail in the landscape is astounding. It's an island, and beyond the shadow of a doubt, you will believe that the places you visit could have been real places if you take away the whole zombie invasion thing. The lighting and weather effects have been masterfully utilized to set the mood and paint any stage with a certain emotion. The effect works so well that sometimes you will find yourself afraid without even seeing any enemies. The zombies on the other hand are well within the current roster of FPS titles. The splashes of blood on high settings will make you appreciate killing the undead. The facial expressions are fairly limited, which is quite a disappointment since the game is supposed to explore the human side of a zombie apocalypse. That said, the game looks the part.

Dead Island's strongest appeal is that unlike almost pretty much every zombie game out there, it's sandbox styled, meaning, the order of the quests, what you want to play and what you want to skip is up to you. Sidequests give you experience, money, and better weapons, as well as additional flavoring to the main quests, which need to be completed to progress the storyline. Vehicles help you get around doing quests and a fast-travel system between safe haven help you get rid of having to trudge Two kilometers just to fetch some guy something to drink. The sandboxing is almost like Fallout 3 actually. The only difference in Fallout 3 is that travelling 2km will likely end you up fighting once or twice along the way while Dead Island will make sure you will be earning meter by meter in blood. The zombies spawn everywhere and clearing an area will only be temporary at best.  It's because of this nature of gameplay that will make you hesitant to keep on venturing out on your own. The island is dangerous and the game makes sure you don't forget that.

Items can be scavenged around the island for use in quests, barter, or creating unique weapons. More than half of the time this is pretty much what you will be doing actually, but the implementation is okay and the game ensures your frustration will not make you pull out (all of) your hair. Items needed for weapons, for example, are randomly available from merchants every now and then so if you cant find it outside, you can buy it for a slightly ridiculous price.

Combat is stricly melee. The guns exist, but ammo is scarce and the effect they have on the undead is limited. A shot in the head is no better than a shot in the leg. I personally believe that FPS and melee just dont mix. Not when you cant see either your leg or fists. For some reason though, the style works for the game. At times the swings are inexact, but rest assured that it's a lot better than what you used to see in.. say... counterstrike. Once you get the hang of it, you won't be comlaining  anymore (much). Weapons range from oar paddles to katanas to cooking pans. Each weapon has stats and attributes that make it more or less powerful. YOu're free to upgrade these weapons and modify them with the junk you collect around the island, imbuing them with poison, electricity, or fire or just additional moving sharp blades. Weapons get damaged as you use them, however, and the more unique and powerful the weapon, the more expensive it gets to maintain. This blancing feature will leave you budgeting weapon use for only the most important of situations, as going on bloodlusts all the time will leave you weaponless at a crucial period.

Healthpacks are available although not nearly enough are around most of the time. You can drink canned drinks and eat candy bars for additional health but these cant be carried around with you and must be consumed on the spot. So to set the mood for you, you're basically budgeting health and weapon health. Run out of either and you end up dead anyway. I can't remember how many times I ended up almost finishing a mission and then getting clobbered to death on the way back because I did not think of a good exit strategy or the logistics to back it up.

The enemies of this game are not particularly intelligent or diverse. Each type of enemy has certain movement patterns and once you figure them out, you can dispatch them easily, that is, if the game wasn't so goddamn clever in placing enemies around the ingame areas so strategically. The worst enemy of this game, when you think about it, is the island itself. It's the darkened corner of a seemingly clear hallway, it's the shrubbery placed alongside the main route, it's the detour through the showers that you have to go through. It's the fear htat any moment, you might make a mistake in clearing an area and have half of your life drained by a random zombie while you're in a hot zone. I cannot remember the last time I had a game that I played with a constant level of tension.

And that's what Dead Island is all about. You will never have the upper hand. The game ensures that you will be always at a disadvantage, limited in resources, and fighting for survival. When you get stronger, the enemies do too. When you start getting the hang of your skills, the game presents you with more targets. Until the credits roll, you will feel the need to survive more than to complete the mission. And as far as zombie games go, it doesn't get more immersive than that.

For all its limitations, bugs, and gameplay imbalances, Zombie Island is the zombie game of the year.

Some hints for the guys who are already playing:

1. Always consider running away as the best option. Level ups from fighting can only give you so much compared to quests, and every fight leaves you with less durable weapons and possible death. If you need to fight, fight near safe zones, workbenches, and sources of health.

2. Electricity > Poison. Stunning your enemies is a lot better than having them die slowly. Poison hardly has any effect even when in higher levels.

3. Dispatch Rams by running to the side when he's charging 5 meters away from you, then when he stops, hit him in the back. Grunts can be brought down by cutting of their arms when they're roaring. Drowners need to be flanked by running towards its back and then hit in the back. Infected need to be slashed right before they come at you, or if you suck at timing, a good kick will do the trick. If you're fighting 3 infected with helmets on, well, see rule number 1.

4. Always use the kick. They interrupt a lot of attacks (except from the larger enemies). At later levels you can dispatch downed enemies with just your foot. Save on weapon strength, use your legs.

5. Bundle quests objectives together to save time. Plan your routes to avoid dying in the middle of nowhere.

And lastly, if you are having a hard time with the game or are running on limited resources (i.e. time) because you're an adult who has to slave away countless hours at work, look for Razor 1911's Plus 10 Trainer. Works like a charm.


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