Archive for November, 2007

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Oh! It’s Coup Again

November 30, 2007


In a startling display of bravado, Senator Trillanes stages a coup again, and as with all half baked ideas and unplanned events* it ended in total failure. Someone should have told him this, “You do not wage a war to prove a point. You wage a war to win. Your point will be falsified when you lose. So strive to win. Win. Win.”
His methods were plain manipulative. He expected the people to rally behind his talk against the administration, but they didn’t come. It was Oakwood mutiny all over again. He staged it in another hotel, the Manila Peninsula. It even ended up with the same results; nobody rallied behind him. To his credit, he did have the balls to own his actions, not like the coward below:

Trillanes’s timing was way off the mark. The masses did not have time to think about politics when they had just withstood three heavy storms. Besides, who would support someone who was not heard of for months? He should have worked for that much needed publicity before he made that drastic move.
And to think he had the nerve to blame the people who voted him Senator for his failure! You voted me here. I thought you supported me. Where are you now?
The answer is quite simple. The people who voted for him are busy wagging their heads in disappointment. They made him Senator because they believed in him. They gave him a chance to change the government from within, through legal means. And he threw all that away when he reverted to his past actions!
Only time will tell what the consequences of his actions will be.

*This statement is debatable. A website designed for an unplanned coup should never have appeared instantly and with complete detail. Btw, there is also this site that warned people to stay away from Makati yesterday claiming as his source Greek hackers who intercepted classified emails.

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Sick but not Sick

November 28, 2007

I decided to be sick today.
I wanted the fever to run its course. I wanted it to stimulate and augment my defenses. If all went well, the fever would stimulate my leukocytes (white blood cells) to destroy the invaders. It would also reduce the level of free iron in my blood* so as to reduce the spread of bacterial infection. And in another leg of the process, it would induce interleukin-1 (IL-1) production,which in turn aids in the production and maintenance of lymphocytes, another division in the army of body defenses.[1]
Unfortunately, I had things to do earlier so I couldn’t afford the weakness that comes from fever brought about by my runny nose**. I took one tablet of 250mg Mefenamic acid to get me through walking the breadth of the city. It worked. My perceived temperature dropped to normal. It allowed my feet to me into diverse places. I made the reservation for the family holiday. I scanned through shops offering “economically equalized goods”. I even walked with traffic enforcers*** as they tried to maximize the road width by removing vendor paraphernalia.
Then I went home for a day well spent. By then, my head was just about spinning and I was getting drowsy. I thought it was because the fever was coming back, but further research later revealed that those symptoms were minor side effects of Mefenamic Acid. I hit the sack almost as soon as I came home, planning to let the fever run its course after waking.
It didn’t go as I expected. The fever did not return. My body missed an opportunity to maximize its defenses. This might mean that I’d have this cold longer, or it could probably mean that my body boosted up its defenses despite my intervention. So even though I don’t act sick, I’m still technically sick. My body is still working overtime to get these nasty invaders out of my system.

*Some bacteria love iron; they use it to make toxins. The body recognizes this fact, and hides the iron from them.
**In actuality, only my left nostril is affected. For some strange reason, I have had colds that affected only one nostril at a time.
***These guys were nicer compared to their Manila counterparts. Manila raids can turn bloody as objects are torn, strewn, and defended by equally aggressive enforcers and offenders. Raids here are done by telling people off, and that usually gets the job done.

[1] Burton, Gwendolyn, R.W. MICROBIOLOGY FOR THE HEALTH SCIENCES, 4e. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Company. 1992.

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Confessor by: Terry Goodkind (A Violent Reactory Review)

November 20, 2007

Confessor
SPOILERS. BEWARE!
Some books are not meant to be listened to. Confessor by Terry Goodkind is one such book. If you have any mercy left for your ears and your mind, then please don’t listen to its audio book.
Spare yourself from endless justifications and explanations. What could be glossed over in a few minutes with a real book could literally extend to an hour when spoken out loud. On one part of the book I wished the former Prelate dead for her endless tirade on why Nicci should whore herself to Richard Rahl. Nicci would not allow it, and it took about an hour for Anne to get her point. The revelation was, however, irrelevant for Ann. She died almost as soon as she realized Nicci’s point. The Sisters of the Dark would have to be profoundly dumb for them not to notice such a long conversation. They mercifully spared Nicci and me another hour of Ann’s talk.
If you still want to listen to it, then prepare yourself for total unrealism that even minds possessing the greatest potential for the suspension of disbelief could not justify. People screaming for their lives would stop whatever they’re doing and listen to Richard’s endless tirades on the validity of his cause and the futility of theirs. To their credit, at the least they resumed screaming when Richard was over. Deus ex machina pervaded almost every scene. I was left with no element of suspense to hold onto. I knew everything would turn out right.
And for the love of everything short, simple, and crisp; don’t listen to endless repetitions in it. Almost everyone who has a speaking voice in the book couldn’t resist doling out his or her opinions in explained, expounded, and dissected formats. If I were the book’s editor, I would have reduced its size by half and the story would have proceeded just as fine if not better.It came to a point that I was so fed up with it that I almost vowed never to read any book of the Sword of Truth saga ever.
Unfortunately, Confessor is the last book of the saga, and I was in the third to the last chapter. I had to finish it. In one scene, Richard was telling some people that they can never return to where they came from. If I were one of them and was told, “you can never return here,” in no less than ten repetitions in more than ten different variations, then I wouldn’t ever want to return to the place where the tireless, whining voice resides.
Now if you love yourself, please don’t listen to the book. Read it, and skim through the boring, repetitive, and unbelievable parts. You would have spared yourself torture from listening to the droning voice for endless hours. If you’re lucky, perhaps, you would even find the book a great read.

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Memorize This

November 13, 2007

“You’re the guy fro UP who went here last year, right?” she said after several lines of conversation.
“Yes,” I answered.
“I’m sorry. I have a bad memory.”
“Oh that’s alright,” I said with a deprecating smile. It’s one of the strategies I use so that I won’t be stereotyped under the arrogant UP image.
Then as I made my leave, I couldn’t help but conclude that she was getting too hard on herself. For her to remember me, one of perhaps dozens of inquirers, is no mean feat. Perhaps the word UP joggled her memory, or perhaps she does remember everything but she just pretends that she doesn’t.
I don’t know if there really exists a person who pretends to forget people for the sense of importance that they get in forgetting someone. I know some people do it for a real or a perceived slight, but to do that for other reasons is a warrant for a case study.
I don’t have a background on psychiatry yet so I do not know if this condition, or syndrome, already has a name. I would also include in this category every attitude and character trait of low level upstarts, and not so upstarts, who make a hard time on honest people just because they currently have the power to do so. And for nomenclature’s sake I’ll call it the “Feeler” Syndrome.*
Now aren’t you thankful you can now describe power tripping clerks, salesladies, guards, and 3rd level bureaucrats?

*A Feeler is someone who is “feeling”. “Feeling”, by the way, is a uniquely Filipino construct to describe people who inappropriately think so highly of themselves. In another uniquely Filipino construct, someone who is “feeling” is therefore a feeler.

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Rise of (my) Civilization

November 8, 2007

The Germans didn’t stand a chance. They came too close within my borders for comfort that I decided to wipe them out. Besides, their land looked fertile. My people would love to live there. The Russians were no different. I gave them a choice to leave or declare war. They chose the latter and promptly got destroyed. Their legions of horsemen did not stand a chance against my cavalry half their number.
The Byzantines knelt and swore fealty to my superior might as my armies coming from a continent away took their cities piece by piece. They had an Oracle that I envied. I captured him and made him work for my cause. The Aztecs posed a challenge. I could have been driven out from their continent if not for the help of the Hittites. Eventually, their knees buckled and I took my place as Emperor in their land.
I made sure the English were my friends. I bribed them with luxuries they hadn’t even heard of. So when the Hittites called for their help against me, they flatly refused. Soon it was raining ICBMs across the Hittite lands. Cities that used to harbor millions were left with a few thousands. Land cultivated through millenia, in a single day became too dangerous for use. What’s worse for them was that I completely ravaged every Hittite city I’ve captured.
I would have done the same to the English except that the game decided that I had used up all my remaining turns. I was declared the winner and took top place in the roster of high scores. And that concluded game play that stretched for three real days to the exclusion of a lot of my responsibilities. It was a great game, but I wouldn’t be touching it for a few days.
I now remember why I uninstalled that game before. It was eating up everything in me, my life and even my thoughts. Truly Civilization 3: Conquests is perhaps the greatest strategy game ever made.

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Hallowhat?

November 2, 2007

Jack
Photo taken from: Wikipedia:Halloween.
It’s just past the Halloween season and people half a world away have just finished dressing up into all kinds of costumes and go trick or treating. I would have passed the holiday off as aloofly as if I didn’t even know academically what Halloween* was until I saw kids dressing up for it on TV.
So my first thought was, “Awww. They look so cute in those costumes.”
Then my second thought surfaced, “But wait; is this TV showing reality? Why are these Filipino children dressing up as ghouls, witches, and ghosts; and what’s with the jack-o’-lantern buckets they’re carrying?”
Never mind that they’re miles away from where I am. They’re still standing on Philippine soil. They’re still Filipinos, at least from their looks. They just looked so alien with their costumes and their trick or treating in a time when Filipinos are traditionally supposed to go out to the cemeteries to be with their deceased loved ones. The sight of them awakened the latent activist in me that I was about to lash out about colonial mentality when something struck me.
I realized that I am also not a traditional Filipino, but it is due more to religious upbringing and choice rather than colonial mentality. I do not celebrate fiestas. I have next to no knowledge of Filipino superstitions especially the ones involving Holy Week and Halloween. And to the best of my knowledge, I haven’t even visited deceased relatives during Halloween periods. I think I’m about as WASPy as any non White, and Non Anglo Saxon can be.
So I forgave the children their celebration. I believe it is a fundamental right of citizens in a democratic country to pursue happiness in a legitimate manner, even though it may be for a religious reason or something else. Besides, the Americans did not invent the Halloween celebration we are familiar with. They have the Scottish and Irish immigrants to thank for it.

*In the Philippines, the Halloween period, which stretches from Oct 31 to Nov 2 is called undas in Tagalog, and kalag kalag in Cebuano. The real observance date is on Nov 1 but people start to keep vigil in cemeteries on its eve. This holiday is called Día de los Muertos in Spanish, or Araw ng mga Patay in Tagalog, Day of the Dead in English, and is practiced in many Roman Catholic countries on All Soul’s Day or All Saint’s Day, but with different traditions.

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Friendly Advices

November 2, 2007

With all my forms ready, I was heading to the medical school here to pass my application for the NMAT. On an advice from a medicine student friend, I slipped into the short cut where an unfriendly sign told unauthorized persons that they were not allowed inside.
I was greeted by an empty room where the school staff worked, and a handyman. The handyman looked friendly and I asked him the obvious, “Closed ba?Is it closed?
O. Holiday mi Nov. 1,2. Balik lang sa Monday,” he replied with what sounded like a Maranao accent.
Yes. We are on holiday on November 1 and 2. Just come back on Monday.
Magpass man unta gud ko ug NMAT,” I told him. “Sembreak man di ay pud sila.”
I was supposed to pass my NMAT application. Turns out they are also on sem break.
And the funny thing about that conversation was that it turned funny. We both laughed at my remark. Then he advised me to return on Monday. I made my leave and left via the same shortcut with perhaps one friend richer. I think I’d need all the friends I could have once medicine school proper starts.