State of National Emergency

Lest I be accused of avoiding the real world by writing about TV shows while events start to unfold which may or may not plunge our nation into chaos , I suppose I should put my two cents into the matter. For those who read this text in the future at a time when all these links are broken, the current President of the Phillipines, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has declared a state of national emergency today, claiming that a broad alliance encompassing traditional oppostion groups and the far left and the far right are trying to bring her down. Ironically, she did this on the 20th anniversary of the People Power revolution.

Now, I can’t pretend to be smart enough to realize the legal implications of today’s events, nor can I provide some detailed analysis of how we keep doing this sort of thing to ourselves over and over again, nor am I old enough to note any eerie similarities with the events during Marcos’ time.

What I do know is that whoever advised the President to proclaim a state of emergency at this stage is either an idiot, or an agent of the political opposition out to take her down. I would like to think that any Philippine President, especially one undergoing questions of her legitimacy, would stay away from anything that would show people that she really was the monster they all claimed she was. A threat of curtailing our democractic freedoms in order to handle a “coup” that is not even visible to the people (much less a clear and present danger) can only be construed as an attempt to desperately hold on to power.

Yesterday, I was informed through the usual SMS channels that there might be some sort of trouble during the next couple of days. I shrugged it all off, knowing full well that no matter how many warm bodies the opposition manage to pay off to join their rallies, nothing would happen until they presented a viable alternative to the people, an alternative so blindingly obvious people would have to be idiots not to want it. All GMA had to do was weather the storm, same way she did the whole impeachment fiasco, and she would survive. She just had to avoid “biting” at all the forces taunting her, avoid doing anything patently stupid such as declaring martial law.

Well, it wasn’t martial law, but it was still stupid. And just the sort of mistake her opponents have been waiting for. But will they be able to capitalize on it?

Programmer, engineer, scientist, critic, gamer, dreamer, and kid-at-heart.

I remembered that I haven’t written an About page yet. This post will go there.

The Blogger profile describes me as a “Programmer, engineer, scientist, critic, gamer, dreamer, and kid-at-heart.” Let’s break that down, shall we?

Programmer : Since January of 2003 I’ve been working as a software developer for the RP office of a Hong Kong-based company. I’m no Computer Science graduate, but I did manage to fake it well enough to pass the JITSE certification exams. I code because I find that I’m fairly good at it. This is my day job, and I’m luckier than most, because I actually enjoy my day job.

Engineer : I’m an Engineer by education, having completed a degree in Electronics and Communications Engineering from the University. I passed the ECE board exams in 2002, but have never practiced as an Engineer.

Scientist : Does having a Bachelor in Science degree allow me to consider myself a scientist? What about graduating from the premiere science high school in the country? A naturally geeky curiousity that tends to overanalyze everything?

Critic : No wait, that last one from “Scientist” goes here. Maybe I’m only somewhat of a critic. Or maybe what I really meant at the time was that I enjoy criticizing things. 😀

Gamer : Well, just by reading this blog you know I’m into games. Card games, board games, console games, computer games, psychological games, you name it. Regarding electronic gaming, I started with the Atari 5600 that my parents bought in the US, and only during the PS2 era have I started to slow down. At one point or another I have been addicted every major genre: strategy, RPG, action, FPS, puzzle, whatever. Well, except for Dance Dance Revolution and the like. I’m really sucky at that.

Dreamer : I dream of a lot of things, and not only when I sleep. There are a lot of things I want to do, and more things I want to be. Off the top of my head, I want to be a published game developer, a published writer and world-famous. And those are just the three most probable ones :p

Kid-at-heart : I guess you have to be a kid-at-heart to dream the dreams that I do. I really want to expound on this, and the “Dreamer” part, but I’m afraid that would entail entirely separate entries. 😀

I Wanted to Run Away And Start A New Life

On our way down the mountain from Batangas, we stopped in a small, quaint town filled with old-fashioned simple folk. For some reason, I took the opportunity to vanish into the shadows and watch as the buses left me behind. I roamed around the small town, hoping to find some sort of means with which I could escape my mundane life and start over in a some other paradise.

Twice people from the company came back, looking for someone, but apparently not me. I successfully dodged their attentions the first time by hiding inside a dinky comfort room that looked like nobody bothered to maintain it, although it was a close call since one of them also followed me in and I was forced to hide in one of the cubicles. The second time I had to walk right past two women from our company, which I accomplished by pretending to be devouring a newspaper article that conveniently covered my place.

With that done, my escape was nearly complete. I slunk around the shadows as dusk started to arrive, and somehow walked into a nice middle-aged lady’s house; I asked her where the nearest seven-eleven or ministop was, but she shrugged and apparently there were none in town. Instead I was able to find a small neighborhood drugstore, and began looking around for something to eat, hoping nobody would notice me…

…and then I woke up. I get the weirdest dreams when I stay up overnight on Saturday and sleep through Sunday afternoon. This one was particularly vivid, though I wish I could have remembered more of the details (and I was fudging some stuff here and there); when I woke up I had the distinct impression that there were much more adventurous undertones in the dream than I recalled. I considered using my awesome dream-recall powers to go back to sleep and continue the dream, but then I realized I was late for Church…

CSS-Based Design

A while back, inspired by the CSS Zen Garden, I modified my Blogger template to use entirely CSS-based design. That is, I can know update the layout instantly simply by replacing the stylesheet file used by template (like now!)

The new layout uses up a wider screen space, but I think it’s neat. The lighter colors are easier on my tired, computer-strained eyes. Hopefully, this new CSS-based design allows me to do more experimentation and improve my ability to design web UIs.

Speaking of web UIs, I only recently saw the new look for Yahoo Groups. Similar to the change for the main Yahoo site, it focuses more on lighter colors now, and has significant usage of font coloring to show important points. I like it. Maybe they’ll improve the Yahoo Mail layout next.

Wheel of Time 10 – Crossroads of Twilight

Haven’t read Robert Jordan in a while. Someone gave me Crossroads of Twilight as a gift, so I read it and hope that his pacing has improved. It has not. He writes well enough, dialogue is nice, descriptions are more than adequate, but I expect some things to happen in his books! He has so many plots running at once, he should at least resolve two or three per book. Perrin, Mat and Elayne get a lot of chapters, but they barely get anything done. Rand al’Thor himself barely gets one chapter, and I’m thinking it was just put in ’cause people would be pissed if he didn’t actually appear in the book. Egwene at least had the good sense to go out and try to do something. Not that she got anywhere sensible of course…

I swear, with so many things going on, it will take him forever to wrap up this series. And while that may be good for him, I wonder how many people will bother following the books for so long? Especially when they’re more of the same…

Books: More Bob Ong

A while back I blogged about Bob Ong’s first book. A short while after, I also picked up his next two books, Bakit Baliktad Magbasa ng Libro Ang Mga Pilipino? (Why Do Filipinos Read Backwards?) and Ang Paboritong Libro ni Hudas (Judas’ Favorite Book).

“Bakit Baligtad” focuses on the Philippines, its people, its quirks and its problems. “Paboritong Libro” is a lot harder to classify, as it jumps across several topics, with the unifying theme being the chapters named after anagrams of the seven deadly sins. At least I think that’s the unifying theme…

“Paboritong Libro” is also the better of the two books. Or at least the easier read, as “Bakit Baligtad” had a tendency to be a lot more serious and preachy, which might turn off people looking for a light read. Also, “Bakit Baligtad” contains a significant amount of non-original material, from the apparently-now-defunct Bobong Pinoy website and from several online forums.

In fact, after reading “Bakit Baligtad”, I realized the particular appeal of Bob Ong’s books…all of them, including the first one, read like they were written on the internet. Maybe in a blog or something. Each book is like some sort of running commentary on some part of life in general; (the first book was about education, the second about the Philippines; I’m still not sure what the third book was about) That’s why it’s so hard to pin down, it leaves you with that internet feeling of “hey-when’s-the-next-update?”

Both books are generally hit-or-miss though, with a bit more hit than miss, same as the first one. Some good parts, some you’d want to sleep through. They’re good for the price they’re at. In any case, I’ll probably pick up his next book as an impulse buy if I see it.

My favorite part of these two books (I’m not sure which book it was in anymore) was a list of amusing signs found all over the Philippines. One of them is described as such: on a cracked lopsided wall along Libis, QC: Danger Wall is Falling!

Hehe, that cracks me up, and I’m not sure why. I’d like to see that wall.