Sunday, March 28, 2004

Bosses and scientific fraud stories

The Cat is telling stories about her Pinoy boss. The old-timer Pinoys have the hardest time understanding the changes that have occurred in the world. In their mind, the world revolves around them. They don't know that often times they are not smart enough to be the center of the universe. In most cases, they are expired materials.

It reminds me of one of the people I used to work with. He heard me say to an undergraduate that "Give me a call if you want to bullshit about this project." The old-timer thought that I did not like the project because I referred to it as bullshiting. When he confronted me about the matter, my jaw fell at his ignorance and his ability to spy on people. I told him that I was trying to communicate with the younger generation. I was using their slang and my slang. To bullshit is to shoot the breeze. Old-timer thought that bullshit was the excrement from a cow. In the end, there was excrement coming out of the lab, but it came from the old-timer not knowing how to run a project.

Old-timer's and his crony's biotechnology company is probably wallowing in the stench of scientific fraud nowadays. I told him that the data was not right. He should have listened to me. Beware of old-timer Pilipinos trying to sell you anti-cancer magic pills. They are lying.
The Movie Passion of Christ

Over the last month, the movie has grossed over $27 million (28 Mar 04). Benefitting from the controversy created by Mel Gibson and his production company, the movie puts on center stage once more the life of one Jesus of Nazareth.

I laugh and smirk at all the Christians who say that they have rediscovered their faith by watching this movie. Apparently, they were touched by the torture that Jesus suffered at the hands of those bastard Romans who were just upholding the law. Scenes of being scourged and beaten and having shoulders dislocated brought tears to people's eyes.

My response is that if scenes of torture of any human being do not bring tears to one's eyes, then one is a callous and insensitive brute. Of course you will be touched by the horrors of torture and brutality. You don't see it everyday. But I am amused by people who rediscover God. The movie experience should lead you to question man's inhumanity to man. It might even lead to a questioning and a deeper understanding of the sacrifices god makes for man. But finding God and its subsequent metaphysical questions of faith by watching a movie suggests that one's beliefs have not been examined to the fullest.

Besides, Jesus of Nazareth was lucky. He was tortured only once and he died from it. Now, slaves on the other hand are pretty much tortured whenever they disobey the master. Figure that a slave will try to disobey once or twice or three times, and the slave would have been flogged more times than Jesus. The only difference between a slave and Jesus is that Jesus has a very active marketing and sales firm working for him with the promise of salvation at the end of the world.

I have reached the stage in complexity of religious thought to know that Allah, God, Buddha, Bathala, and Zeus are simply the manifestations of one God who is so complex that the human mind can only approximate the reality. The human mind is so small that in contemplating God, the human mind comes up with the different variations on deities.

Friday, March 26, 2004

Restaurant Menu

Imo asked if there was any significance to her blog being in the Sisig portion of the menu on the right. In truth, there is some slight significance. For example I personally know the first group of bloggers under dinuguan at putong puti. Actually, the poet Eileen Tabios who has an audience of 10 million peeps, a coterie of a thousand blogs and a vanguard of fallen angels swilling brandy, smoking cigars and swearing at god is my personal inspiration to begin a blog. She seemed to have so much fun letting voyeurs into her poetic life that I figure that I should let others into my life. The SO of course is the one who gives me laughter. And the others are personal friends met through the jeepney ride of my life.

As for Sisig, the group is made up of younger writers who are in college or in their twenties. While googling, I found a blog by a college student. I ended up mining the links to find other blogs that were interesting. Some groups like Pansit Bihon are PIn@y migrants or immigrants telling about their stories in their new world. And of course the over 21 section is for more blunt and revealing blogs.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Bush's War

I am reading the San Jose Mercury News when I find that the US is planning to hand over security for Iraq to the Iraqis in one hundred days. Does anyone out there believe that the Iraqi security force created under US guidance is ready to handle terrorists who were former soldiers from Saddam's army?

Does anyone out there besides George W believe that in one year of training, Iraq will be able to stand on its own?

Does anyone out there believe that relinquishing control of Iraq after ONE year was in the plans when America invaded Iraq?

Bullshit. Chickenshit. That is what I think of Condoleeza Rice and George W. Bush and heck, let's throw in Colin Powell since he's prostituted himself to George W. Three morons without a clue. Lame ass politicians. Pathetic losers.

We go to war to get rid of Saddam. Then we will leave Iraq to the vultures. Wonder-fucking-ful.

Just when I thought things can't get any worse, George W. acts.
Haynaku! Another convert

Tamageneris is the Pin@y Blog of the Day for the 24th of March, in the year of the Pin@y 2004. An is an outstanding debut for the haynaku form. Tamageneris has a double entendre if you got a Pin@y accent, tama (Correct) and generis (Generous). I'm sure the author did not intend that, but with a monkey, any slight hint becomes reality. I wait with bated breath for the next episode. There are very few times when I wish I had written certain things. This is one of them. Simply breathtaking!

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Nikon 3100

I just joined the digital revolution in photography with the help of the Apple store in Concord. The store was clearing away its stock of digital cameras and were selling several Nikon Coolpix 2100, 3100 and 5100 cameras for a reasonable price.

In 2000, I was working as a post-doc and at the same time, Nikon came out with the Nikon 800/900 series of digital cameras for a cool $1000. I thought that the price was excessive considering that the resolution of the cameras was for a 4x6 inch photo. Who would be insane enough to buy one? The camera just came out, the technology is not that settled, there are kinks in the way the camera works. Lo and behold, the lab I was working in bought one. For what, I still don't know. I tend to believe that the person responsible was so enamored with the grant money that he just received that he just wanted to show off to the other labs in the department that he has money. Thank you very much for buying the lab something that was not useful at any level at all. As a testament to his genius and leadership, that lab is wallowing and pining away for the good old days.

The camera I bought was reasonable for $200. I slapped on some doube A batteries into the camera and proceeded to take pictures at the party. After 20 shots with flash, the alkaline batteries were dead. Ooops, read the direction first! I'm not supposed to use alkaline batteries. I should use lithium batteries or the rechargeable Ni-Metal hydride batteries which cost around $60 for charger and batteries at Radioshack. The next day, I slapped on the lithium battery which came with the camera and took about 80 pictures. Not bad in terms of battery life and the amount of pictures. Of course, this time around, I turned off the red-eye reduction which affects mostly those who are optical pigmentation challenged.

There is a selection in the camera for the size of the pictures. The 3 megapixel is ridiculous because really, who wants to print 8x10 photos? If you do, you really should get that manual camera ready. For the Sunday party, I went to the 4x6 size and that is why I got 80 photos from a 16 MB compact media memory. There is also an option for a 2MB which probably translates to a 5x7 photo.

The size of the camera can be a burden and a blessing. For someone whith humongous hands, the camera can be difficult to control because it is so small. My hands swallows the 3100. For the ego, it is not so cool to be taking pictures with this measly little camera. However, on those days when I don't want to carry a 20 pound backpack stuffed with camera gear, well the small size is a blessing that is overdue my body. Place the camera in the buttbag and off I go to wherever land.

The slow speed of the shutter is something that is a problem. I'm sure there is a way to make the shutter faster, but the speed of the camera is equivalent to an ISO 50 film. 50!!! Perhaps that is one reason that this camera was on sale. Some of my photos of moving people came out blurred. Forget about taking basketball shots of the SO. All I capture is a blur of flowery clothing and a ball.

But how about the posed shots? They were beautiful. I was examining them last night and the camera was definitely worth the $200. I just upload the photos to and people can order whatever photo they want. No muss, no fuss. Just the type of camera I love.

If you are in the market for a digital camera, consider a NIkon Coolpix 3100 if you find it on sale. I highly recommend it. It gets five pots of rice.

Monday, March 22, 2004

Pin@y food

Diabetes and heart disease are the final companions of most Pin@ys in old age. Blame it on our diet of rice and meat. I'm not complaining; I'm just pointing out that we do it to ourselves. Let's examine the two parties over the weekend.

In the first party, there was a beautiful selection of meat led by Hawaiian pig (paksiw na lechon) and ribs from Mo's located somewhere in Concord. The Hawaiian pig was shredded and swimming in sauce. The delicate pieces of meat soaked up the sauce and gave it a heavenly texture. In contrast, there was the ribs. Usually, I don't like ribs because people can overcook it. But the meat fell off the bone at the slightest pressure. The ribs were so good that even the SO had to go back for seconds. There were also lumpia and pansit and a fruit salad swimming in creme. Um, yum. Thank goodness T only turns 40 once. Good lord, I don't think I can eat anymore.

But in the second party the next day, spread out on the table was the lechon. I took a picture of it. What an absolutely delightful pig. I know that I can never become a Muslim because I love to eat pork. Then, the second level of food heart attacks was led by kare-kare, adobo, pansit palabok, and fried fish.

The most outstanding dish had to be the pansit palabok. I was trying to analyze why it tasted so good. Then I realized that it had so much oil that the noodles were pretty transparent. I could push around the noodles and you can see the pattern of the plates underneath. The noodles were cooked just right with the proper texture that it was not soggy. Maybe the oil served to marinade the noodles had something to do with that.

The kare-kare was also amazing in that it swam freestyle in oil. It must have been good oil because the kare-kare did not gel into a mass of solid at room temperature. Oh, Crisco, what you have done to Pin@y cuisine. And how can you eat kare-kare without the bagoong? Wow, someone take note of my blood pressure. Alta presyon is coming up ! What was interesting is that the oxtail was cut into little pieces. I can just imagine the butcher trying to cut little pieces of oxtail. "one, two, oops, I think that was my finger."

And for dessert, cake! I am coming from such a high from all the food that I am just as easy to please today as I have ever been. Kudos to all the Pin@y cooks out there. I hope you enjoy the coming rest of the weekdays.

Dragon and Monkey

Continued from the previous post: After that, it was off to celebrate a 40th birthday party for one of our friends. T is a new single mother reaching a plateau of sorts. She's a great person with an expansive view of the world. She has two children and is facing the world alone. When I spoke to her, she was happy and slightly content with the world. I guess that's the great thing about dragons. They don't really worry.

T the dragon had married a monkey. When the kids were getting older, the monkey left. I can only assume from my calculations that the monkey was married too early to the dragon. The dragon was probably in her late 20's while the monkey would have been married at about 23 years old. Sorry folks, I am a monkey but even I know that at 23, I was not ready to take on the world with wife and kids.

I would hypothesize that monkeys are okay to marry when they are in their mid 30's. By then, the slings and arrows of life would have softened the overly optimistic viewpoint of the monkey. It takes time to gain wisdom from the world when everything comes so easy as it does to a monkey. At 20, responsibility is a difficult concept to comprehend. It is only lately that this monkey has looked at children slobbering snot and god knows what else from their orifices and thought that perhaps raising a little one might not be so bad after all.

But to have teen-agers at the age of 35??? Boy, this monkey shudders at the thought. Perhaps that is what made the other monkey run off.

Parties of all sorts

It was a glorious weekend for parties. Saturday was reserved for a trip to Concord to visit friends and for a 40th birthday celebration. Sunday was a party to celebrate one of the SO's cousins' passing of the nursing examination. I porked up on Pin@y food. Now to the details.

Saturday morning was spent revamping and updating the karinderia site. I have been thinking of creating a new blog since this one turns one year old next April. At any rate, some of reorganization of the Pin@y blogs were made. The new was created since I did not update the putahe and the blog was cancelled. Picky, picky.

Saturday afternoon was spent going to the newly opened Fry's electronic store in Concord. It is tucked in the back of the mall and is hard to see. However, just about everyone is going to the store for the air conditioning and the selection in electronics. Just follow the massive lines of humanity waiting to cool off inside the store.

Fry's is a mecca for electronic buyers. DVD, stereo, computer, you name it, it's there. I ended up buying some CD organizers while the SO shopped for a very nice stand-alone lamp with three rotating bulb holders. The lamp creates a beautiful effect in the second bedroom. The SO's taste in furniture is excellent. The prices were rock bottom. I was surprised to see 160 Gigabyte drives for $200. That is amazing and nearly obscene. After Fry's, we hopped off to Ghirardelli's ice cream to get some sundae. I suggest you order the berry delight. It was very fruity with a nice balance to the cream cheese ice cream.

I got lucky at the Apple store. There was a clerance sale and some nice digital cameras were on sale. At first, I looked at the Nikon 5100, but it was too expensive. Add another $500 and you would get the D100 and I can use my other lenses to boot. There were some Nikon 2100 being sold for a measly $129. I almost grabbed one, but then I saw a Nikon 3100 digital for $200. Considering I have seen this one sell for about $350, I grabbed it. I then checked with the SO if it was a great price. She approved, and voila, I joined the digital revolution in image making.

After that, it was off to celebrate a 40th birthday party for one of our friends. T is a new single mother reaching a plateau of sorts. She's a great person with an expansive view of the world. She has two children and is facing the world alone. When I spoke to her, she was happy and slightly content with the world. I guess that's the great thing about dragons. They don't really worry.

T the dragon had married a monkey. When the kids were getting older, the monkey left. I can only assume from my calculations that the monkey was married too early to the dragon. The dragon was probably in her late 20's while the monkey would have been married at about 23 years old. Sorry folks, I am a monkey but even I know that at 23, I was not ready to take on the world with wife and kids.

Saturday, March 20, 2004

Revolutionary Songs

The Center for Southeast Asia Studies, UC Berkeley, presents:

"Laments of People's War"

Neferti Tadiar
Associate Professor, History of Consciousness, UC Santa Cruz

 This talk is an exploration of the role of the musical form of the lament in the organization of experience in the contemporary Philippine underground movement. Inspired by Maoist political aesthetics, the movement set out to revive traditional musical forms and to infuse these with 'revolutionary content' as part of waging a revolutionary 'people's war.' The political significance of lament in songs and other literary works of the revolution is examined by tracking its relation to practices of guerilla warfare and intelligence and mass mobilization during the height of the 'People's War' from the early 1970s to the mid-1980s. The talk reconsiders the role of such cultural resources in shaping notions of the Filipino people (bayan), revolutionary subjectivity and collective struggle and their consequences for post-authoritarian national politics. It is part of a broader effort to re-examine the legacies of radicalism in the contemporary period.

Wednesday, March 31, 2004
4:15 - 6:00 p.m.
2223 Fulton St., (at Kittredge), Berkeley, CA
IEAS Conference Room, 6 th floor

All Center events are free and open to the public.

The Center for Southeast Asia Studies, International and Area Studies, University of California-Berkeley, in consortium with UCLA, is a National Resource Center under Title VI of the National Education Act. Tel. (510) 642-3609; E-mail:;

Friday, March 19, 2004

Dinner Last Night

Met up with two friends from a former company and had dinner at a Mediterranean restaurant. The food was excellent. I ordered a Mediterranean platter which came with samplings of every dish in the house. The potato salad was interesting because of the mixed in chunks of onions, but it was very good. The onion did not overpower the taste.

The conversation turned to work and how things are. It is amazing how temporary one's current situation is. I thought then that everything was about work. I realize now that you earn money so that you can take care of your family.

Did you, dear reader, take my advice and speak to your parents about something? Did you tell them how much you loved them or cared for them? If not, you have the whole weekend to do so. Believe me, it is easier to do this when they are alive than when they are ghosts. Not to say that you can not talk to dead people. You just look up or down and say hi-hello-hi-hi!

Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Pader, Pader

The SO's little brother has been going through some interesting times. He is in college about to get out into the wide world and he does not know how to tell his father that he does not want to be a computer scientist. He has spent four years with one more year to go for a degree in computer science engineering.

At 21 years old, he sees the world with clarity. There are no bruises from the hands of life. Every single person you meet is a friend. Enemies are something made up by Republicans like George W Bush. Truth will conquer evil. Etcetera, etcetera.

The little brother does not yet know how to communicate effectively with his father. There is a lot of fear. After all, if one spent the last four years to please someone, why can one not just continue doing it? And here lies one of sweet life's dillemmas. When do you tell your parents that you don't want to pursue what you think they want you to do?

Of all the people, I thought the little brother would have the courage before anyone else. It just goes to show you that when you think you will be disappointing your parents, it gets pretty hard to open one's mouth.

Little brother also does not know how to talk to his father. I just shake my head at this lost opportunity. My father passed away when I was a teen-ager. What I would give to be able to ask him about his childhood, his teen-age years. How do you woo women? How do you drink alcohol so that you don't get drunk? What about those stories of World War II? Now that I am a man, can you tell them to me?

I believe my graduation present will be to talk with the SO's little brother and point out that parents are not immortal. You will lose them someday. Take advantage and enjoy their life stories now. It is better to speak to someone now and suffer through some discomfort than having to chase a ghost, an image that no one really knows.

So for those readers out there who have paders and maders, go and give them a call right now. I can only call mine in a dream.
Wrinkles, Wrinkles!!!

The day I have been fearing has finally come. Today while looking at the mirror, I can see the slightest hint of wrinkles on my forehead. They are not that noticeable. The furrows are just slightly darkened, the sign of oncoming middle-age in looks if not in behaviour.

Two or three years ago, some of my hair turned red. I did not suddenly become Irish. BTW, Happy St. Patrick's Day! I am wearing green so no one can pinch me. The hair loses its ability to produce melanin which results in lighter pigmentation which translates to the hair looking red.

But then again, some have said that it is not the way you look which is important, it is the way you act. The SO and I have silly games which would make a teen-ager wince with pain because of the sugary slobbiness we exhibit. Don't get me wrong, we don't just entwine ourselves like woven money plants at the corner bus stop. We just hold hands and kiss but for a moment. Certainly, I feel younger and great whenever we play our games. I would hate to be married and not have the opportunity to hold the hand or to kiss. But then again, I say that now. What will I say in 30 years? Hopefully, I can say the same things.

In Bablyon 5 the television series, one of the characters who lived for millions of years said that it is only human conceit that allows us to think that love, marriage and emotion will last forever. I suppose that if one lived for millions of years, after a few million years, you would get bored of your wife or children or family. Hey, I meet some people and they bore me after twenty minutes. This makes me an ideal real estate person says the SO.

Tonight, I go to Costco to celebrate capitalism. In the midst of my wrinkles, I will celebrate the fact that now that I am old and working and have capital again, I will be able to buy things like underwear, pasta sauce, and bread. Now that I am older with wrinkles, I can buy those things which I thought would make my life complete. Such things like the latest gadget like iPods and Seiko watches. Hmm, Seiko watches!

I am going through this stage where I want a Seiko watch. When I was younger, my mom got me one of those. Now that I am older, I am thinking of getting another one. I suppose it is a symbol for me of my maturation and my wrinkles. Perhaps I will get me a ring too. I never did get my college ring. I thought that I was going to go to law school and I wanted that ring more than anything else. But the way life is right now, I will be content I believe if I get a ring for college.

Maybe I could say that the ring or the Seiko watch is my prize for the first wrikles on my forehead. Where there was once hair, now there are wrinkles. My, but how time flies.

Sunday, March 14, 2004

I have little tolerance for people like me

Yes, I keep seeing triple L's out there. Triple Losers. Jesus. I'm one of them. Yes, I'm a recovering triple Loser. Not that I was abusive or convicted of a crime or even an alcoholic. It's just that the way I led my life was full of fear. I cringe at the thought of how I used to deal with people. Even now, sometimes, the shyness and fear can overwhelm me.

That is why when I see young folks or college folks who have much fear of a public's opinion on them, I cringe and remember myself. I want to take them aside and tell them to be a lion. To enjoy life to the fullest because tomorrow, they might be fertilizing daffodils.

Yes, fear holds us back. Get a big stick and beat it.
Food on Aihaa

Aihaa is the Pin@y Blog of the Day for the 14th of March 2004. She is featuring pictures, descriptions and analysis of food in her trek through life and the universe. May Allah bless her in her search.
Rio Alma's work, an example

For those of you who insist that I bitchslap Rio Alma's work, ye judge for thyself: Alma's work
Maganda Magazine

Hmm, I found this at the following site.

4. Massive Problem 4: Lack of Accountability
Ever heard of Maganda magazine? Yeah, me neither, until I browsed through the ASUC Budget. Turns out they're a Pilipino literary arts magazine, 12th year, that received $4500 in the budget over the past two semesters. I've never seen it; do they take the money and run? Or, more probably, do they only distribute where I don't go by? I don't know, and neither does the ASUC; no one asks. Before the Senate, I was ready to answer questions on my program, a $17,000 a year website. The questions I didn't get: how many hits do you receive? Do students find it useful? They weren't interested if 100 or 50,000 students used the site. Similar hard questions about the ASUC Monthly have never been asked. Examinations of student group funding is limited. An interview with the head of the Finance Committee and a few others, then possible complaints on the Senate floor. With a million dollars to spend, no one has the resources to examine a thousand here and a thousand there.

It is written by this person.

It is not obvious when the above was written. For the sake of the current Berkeley students, I hope they gave this guy hellfire. Otherwise, I would feel ashamed that someone does not know Maganda. But my mind wonders, with all the 800 Verbal SAT and 680 Math SAT score, did this guy ever do a GOOGLE SEARCH? One would think that if one wanted to know Maganda, one would google. But as they say, not everyone who gets into Cal is really that good. They might be smart, but they are not practical.

Friday, March 12, 2004

Immigrant Thoughts

On the way to work, I have the opportunity to talk to two Pin@y immigrants at the bus stop. The three of us are regularly there early in the morning waiting for the shuttle to take us to our work. The last two days, Carpio has made some interesting comments about clutter and moving houses and about the welfare system in the US.

Carpio is renting an apartment for $1000. He wants to decrease the rent so that he can get his daughter to the United States. But what is holding him back are the gifts from various kind people. His sister and others have given him 27" televisions, living room sets, dining room sets and other things which need a two bedroom apartment. All of the material things are free.

In order to reduce the amount of money spent on rent, Carpio must move to a cheaper and smaller apartment. But, what prevents Carpio from moving is the clutter and the material Things. In Carpio's mind, he has to keep all of the furniture because they were free.

I remember that when my family came to America that we had nothing. We only had the clothes on our backs. Many of the winter clothes we got were hand-me-downs from some nice family or relative. As we lived through the years, we slowly accumulated “material wealth” which is a nice way of saying we bought material things that were supposed to make us feel good. The material objects were supposed to say that we had arrived in America, that through hard work and sacrifice we are no longer poor.

This mind-set is very ingrained in the Pin@y immigrant mind. Hard work and sacrifice will bring you success and money. The only fault I see with this reasoning is that money is not equivalent to material wealth. Money can be exchanged for various forms of trade. A sofa can not be exchanged for food or a car.

Thus, this leads us to Carpio’s dilemma. How can he get his daughter here when he can not save enough money because he is harboring all this material wealth? I tried to suggest to him that in America, the way of thinking is different. When you don’t need something, you can donate it or throw it away. I could see how this information broke with his beliefs. His brow furrowed and his face was neutral. He was polite to listen but he had made up his mind. I should have suggested to him that he is in effect paying for the furniture that no one wanted to stay with him. He should compare his love for the furniture to his love for his daughter. If he did that, I wonder who would win.

The other topic Carpio mentioned today was about the welfare system and the arrogance fo the people who received it. Carpio told the story of how this Spaniard (more likely someone who speaks Spanish) was bragging that he had bought a new car. Carpio was pointing out to Lydia the other Filipina that the Spaniard should not brag because taxpayers like himself were paying for the Spaniard’s apartment. Why brag when you are receiving food stamps and the government is paying for your rental apartment?

Carpio also complained about single mothers who were receiving food stamps. He was triumphant when he told us that the program only lasts five or six years for each person.

While Carpio was telling us about his opinions, I made a mental note not to dominate the conversation. I remembered my girlfriend’s advice that I often talk too much and not let other people talk. So I just smiled and said nothing. At the end though, I tried to explain in a very non-threatening way how the system works.

First off, if anyone and I mean anyone does not make enough money one can apply for welfare. The design of the welfare system is to help someone get out of the hole of poverty. Immigrants who just came to America would be eligible if they somehow find themselves runnning out of money. The shame of welfare is that some people abuse the benefits. This is up to the individual and does not bespeak of the effectiveness of the system.

Foodstamps are given to people so that they can feed their family. But, it is to the American way of life to trade and barter. If you can get real money for food stamps, why can you not trade? To immigrant Pin@ys, one has to play by the rules. I no longer necessarily believe in this. What I have learned is that rules can be broken or at the very least bent. So long as the bent rule does not deserve jail time, it's fine with me.

The federal government gives subsidies to farmers in the Midwest so that the price of agriculture does not crash. Americans are so efficient that our land produces many more times the amount of agriculture per hectare than any other rancher. With the law of supply and demand, prices would dramatically drop and many farmers would be out of business without government subsidies. One can look at agricultural subsidies as WELFARE for the FARMERS.

Welfare for farmers can be of different types. They can be paid not to till land. Huh? Paid not to plant? Well, it all stems from the efficiency of the system. If you don't plant, then supply is lowered. But how about those milk farmers? What happends to all that milk? The federal government buys the milk, turns it to cheese and that cheese is sold at low cost to the people on welfare. See how welfare for farmers circles around to welfare for poor people?

There are other government subsidies in America designed to support certain producers. The goal is to have an open market in the world so that America can export the goods. The caveat on this is that open market would devastate the economic base of other countries in terms of agriculture and milk products. No one and I mean no one can compete against the modern machinery of the United States. The US will be able to feed every single Pin@y in the Philippines for a measly amount of money. Imagine all the Pin@y farmers out of a job.

A shift needs to occur in the industrialization of the other countries. And that is why industries and companies are shifting production to third world countries. But in the US, Americans are losing their jobs so this is now a hot potato that no one wants to touch.

Yes, we can be mad and pissed off that people are arrogant and bragging about welfare. But, we knowthe truth. Why should we care how they brag? Maybe they are trying to do some positive thinking to improve their mindset.

Monday, March 08, 2004

Me and My Big Mouth

While at a party for a A'sand H's 25th wedding anniversary, my big mouth was on cruise control. The SO told me that I tended to manipulate the conversation and to not let people talk. Yes, sometimes I do this. I tend to try to be more subdued at work. But the monkey inside wants to perform. If the monkey gets bored, he tends to start amusing himself.

It's difficult talking to people and trying to get them to talk about themself. I think I am very interesting and amusing so I always say things whenever the conversation slows down. But sometimes, I see that I have to tease out the soul of people. Try to get them to see their own beautiful Pin@y side. The monkey sometimes forgets that other people were not born in the sign of the monkey.

I saw several graduate students in the party. They are either finishing up or in the middle of the slog. I hope they make it to the end. The process can be difficult and lonely. I remember that at several points, I almost quit because of the bullshit. What kept me going was the fact that people dumber than I am were getting their degrees. If they can do it, why can't I?

Cheers to A and H. 25 years of togetherness! Cheers to H's 50th birthday. May you have many more.

Saturday, March 06, 2004

Dumb Things about Dumb Guys

Okay, so there is this new book about "Guy Logic." In it, the author suggests that powerful successful men will look for a woman who is less successful.

I must be a mutant. I wanted a woman who was better than me. This book tells you why we in the US can get so messed up.


Oatmeal, pronounced ot-mil by those of us immigrants, is the blog of a Pin@y immigrant. Gino Baltazar chronicles the sunny side up life of Pin@ys living in America. He finds the human inside Chinese, Vietnamese, and other immigrants. As a photographer Gino captures the beauty of everyday life. Otmil is the Pin@y Blog of the Day for the 6th of March 2004. Since he's in San Francisco, I better find him someday and invite him to lunch.

I am extremely silly. I can not help the monkey inside of me. I do things that are off beat, funny and amusing. I have always wanted to have fun. It never made sense to me until I saw that in the Chinese zodiac that I was a monkey.

Along with the inner life and zest for life, I have this one crazy looking smile. I realized while in grad school that I looked like the super-hero Joker from DC comics whenever I smiled. Of course, I don't have the white makeup, but if Joker spent some time in Hawaii, I would have been it.

The smile scared away most women that I liked. I looked like I was planning something sneaky or mean. That was actually the assessment of Betty, one of those women who long ago tried to help me figure out why I could not attract women.

So, when I met the SO, I walked on eggshells. I did not smile. Verbotten. No smiles. I was always serious and I always showed my academic Professor side.

Later on, when she knew me better, I revealed bit by bit how silly and stupid I can get. And like every human being out there, I have tremendous faults. It is when your partner accepts your faults and gives you opportunities to grow out of those same faults that I would say you have found a true love.

At different time points in my life, I met women who I thought was IT. To reconcile that, I propose that in each of the stages in your life, you can have a partner who will be right or will suit you. The difficulty with the scenario is that for some people, stages in lives last maybe two or three years. Sometimes, people outgrow each other.

I have been with the SO for six years. I think that is a long enough time to see how we outgrow each other. It never fails that she surprises me and makes me laugh out loud. She makes stories of people and locations come to life. And she matches my silliness to no end.

I am amused at the thought of having children. Poor kids. They will never win. They might grow up sooner than their parents.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004


In my childhood, I read American books about fire engines, firemen, the town of Oakwood and the Americans. The biggest impression to me were the fire trucks which bellowed out its howling horn to rescue the poor people trapped by a fire. The second impression I got was that in America, there was snow. A lot of snow.

When I arrived in America in the city of angels, I went looking for snow. It was February and the winter days were the coldest I had ever felt. It was as if the cold burrowed into your bones seeking to stop your heart. Frost came out of my mouth. In the December of my youth, I blew frost like an addict smoking a cigarette. In Los Angeles, that frost was pure torture. My sinuses would protest my living in a climate bereft of humidity and heat. I began to dread the cold.

So I was excited to go to Tahoe and play in the snow. It had been twenty odd years since I have been in America and I felt that I knew how to deal with the cold. I wanted to feel ten years old again and wonder at the beauty and the power of the snow. I wanted to see just how cold it can get while playing with snow. How do you make a snowball? Does it hurt when you get hit by a snowball? And how about a snowman? How do you roll up snow and make a snowman? I am a man trying to be a boy wondering about nature.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Logical Fallacy in the Following

This is one of the responses to the debate created by Mel Gibson's "The Passion." It is interesting because in one of the layers, there must be a logical fallacy. I gotta figure out what kind. Or if you want to, you can e-mail me.

• the JEWS killed Jesus Christ (JC).
• ALL the Jews killed JC
• all the Jews THEN living killed JC
• all the Jews then living and all living TODAY killed JC
• all the Jews then living and all the Jews living today and all the
Jews TO
BE BORN in the future killed JC
• ONE Jew killed JC
• one man named MAN. killed JC
• Hitler KILLED millions of Jews during the war
• Hitler ORDERED his men to killed millions of Jews...
• Eichmann KILLED millions of Jews...
• Eichmann ORDERED his men to kill millions of Jews...
• Eichmann was orderd by HITLER to kill millions of Jews...
• Eichmann was ordered by HITLER to kill millions ... and ORDERED his
men to
kill the Jews...
• Eichmann was ordered by HITLER to kill millions... and ORDERED his
men to
kill millions ... and Eichmann's men ordered ONE of their men to
THE GAS to kill millions of Jews...
• All GERMANS living during Hitler's regime killed millions of
• All Germans in Hitler's govt. heirarchy/ bureaucracy KILLED
millions of
• Hitler NEVER ONCE pulled a TRIGGER of a gun or turned ON (or OFF)
SPIGOT in the gas chamber that killed ONE or millions of
Hitler never killed millions or even ONE Jew... was there EVER a

Monday, March 01, 2004

Winter Wonderland

Growing up in the heat and scorching sun of the Philippines, I read about snow and the winter wonderland. It sounded so beautiful. To play in snow, to watch as the horses ride with nostrils flaring plumes of water vapor, and to see the softness of the land after the falling of the snow.

What the books do not tell you is the cold that creeps around your neck and embraces your ear like a slap in the face. Jeans become wet because of the melting snow. Breathing becomes an exercise in futility as my small nostrils try unsuccessfully to warm the air. The cold air feels like a hand creeping into one's chest.

But, snow was beautiful when viewed from the car. At night, icicles glinted off the roofs of houses and restaurants. Some icicles were so big they almost touched the earth. Icicles form when snow melts in the middle of the day and the water freezes in the cold of the night. Icicles are a tribute to the ebb and flow of life on earth. A glowing tribute to the shackles of man's mind.

The backyard off the hotel room was covered with beautfiul soft snow. Here and there, the landscape was dotted with mounds that looked like nipples. The snow hides all the flaws of the earth. I will try to include some links to photos. It should be fun.

Lake Tahoe Snow and Gambling

I went to Lake Tahoe with the SO, a friend and her boyfriend. I took Friday off and it was just the right time to take a three day weekend off. I had some debate in my head about taking a day off from work, but I asked myself what was the reason that I worked. The answer was that so I could take care of family, and the SO is a big part of that family.

Let's pick some of the highlights. My fear of many things often stops me from doing. Instead, I stand back and let other people have fun. This time around, it was walking into things that was making me have some fear. It had snowed in Tahoe last Tuesday and Wednesday, and the whole landscape including the backyard was covered in virgin snow. The snow was pristine, but the snow prevented me from seeing what was underneath. I had seen people walking into snow and sinking into their waist.

On Saturday morning, a father and his two kids made a trail to the snow. Later on in the afternoon, the SO wanted to make snow angels. Snow angels are made by falling backwards on the snow, extending one's arms and swinging the arms and legs sideways to clear the snow. I had to get a photo of the SO's snow angel so off to the snow I trudged. Sinking into the snow is not the most comforting feeling one could have. It was cold and you feel like falling.

After the snow angel, the SO went off to a farther part of the backyard towards the shore of Lake Tahoe. This involved walking over some areas that seemed to be over some trees or shrubs. Since I did not see what was underneath, I was afraid to walk over. I ended up going back to the porch area of the motel room. But, seeing that no one was going to photograph the SO, I gathered up my courage and walked over to the shrub. In trudging over the tree, my left foot sank up to the knees while my right foot had sunk just to the ankle part. Good thing that I have been trying to stretch. After twisting and bending, I finally got out.

Ahh, gambling! I did not gamble because the rules were not so clear. Blackjack was too fast and the minimum was $10 to $200. Too rich. I saw pai-gow poker which is more conservative. I liked that one. I also saw Texas Hold Em at Harvey's Casino. I have to get back there because that is more interesting. The one incident of gambling was with a dollar slot machine. I did not do too well on that one.

The buffets were alright. Las Vegas knows how to do it better. The portions were huge, but the food somewhat lacked taste. Next time, we'll go to more interesting restaurants. But then again, this is Tahoe. You go there for skiing, don't you?