Monthly Archives: April 2008

Cheryl Is Still Dancing with the Star!

Cheryl’s lucky STAR is still shining tonight after what happened yesterday, which I missed. I completely forgot it was already Monday night…and I was supposed to watch my favorite dance show. The computer is gaining power over me. Trying to unravel the intricacies of the web, indeed, is very time consuming.

(I’ll post some pictures tomorrrow)

*Originally posted @ https://zylla3.wordpress.com

Stuck Somewhere in Time–Again!

Sometimes it’s so hard to unstuck myself when I read more stuff about the ancient Philippines. In my younger days, history was just a subject I can’t wait to get rid of when the semester or year is over. Now it’s getting to be an obsession and frustration not to get ahead with my Philippine site(s). [rant…rant…& rave]

There are side trips, of course. I found the ‘mad about Martha [Stewart] site’…sure, I stayed for a while too. If I remember to get back there, I might find a few things to write about. Then I came across ‘Yahoo Answers’…why did I join? I  think I saw that question about going to Boracay and getting at Kalibo airport at 8pm and wondering about transportation at this time–I even have to call my sister in the Philippines to ask a few things–as if I don’t have things to do in my 24 ‘lil hours. Still another one, there’s that ‘Hub Pages’ that I thought was interesting–but wait a minute–after I was in and ready to roll, how do I get to the ‘where’ of writing? I see ‘text capsule’, ‘photo capsule’…but I am not sure why I can’t find the cursor to start typing. I knew when I saw capsules, I was in trouble again…I hate capsules, hard to swallow. You wouldn’t believe how stuck stuck stuck I was. In my wandering spree, I found more Question & Answer thing…you should see the length of my ‘favorites’ bookmarked that I don’t think I would ever find something again. However, there’s no way I could have answered them then, lest I would be showing the secret side of my sssupidity. Cinderella was already home by that time.

Now the pile of crap is not just paper all over the house but clutter in my computer including this blog. Oh, that’s not including what I call ‘ideas’ in my about-to-burst brain. How do I justify my new virtual lifestyle? I’m shamelessly blasting the trail to my Fairview apartment, that is so. I could go on and on and on, but my brother’s car is stuck in my driveway too.

This is reality check now…I’ll start with the silver lining. Last night, he came in to pick up the kids, left his ipod in the cigarette lighter plug thing (off though) to come in just to say hello and bye, only to come out to a dead car. Luckily, in our pile of crap, I had no trouble finding the jumper cable. Off they went…but 5 minutes later, I got the call and they’re stuck at the McDonald’s parking lot. Luckily again, they were just 5 blocks away, and the kids were entertaaaaaained by their newfound iced coffee while waiting for us to rescue them again. Another jump-start moment, then he went home in our car. With my wonderful prayer, we were able to get his car back in our driveway.

Today came, already Sunday, his car wouldn’t start again…can’t take it to the dealer tomorrow morning. We must find a way before tomorrow comes when everybody has to go back to work. We can only hope the engine check light would disappear when we change the battery–has to go and buy now. If not…we’ll have to go on from there, praying his luck will stick for a while. Imagine all these…happening from his job in the far side of nowhere in the middle of the darkest night…alone on the road? I shudderrrrr at the thought of it.

My 24 ‘lil hours would soon be gone again…ahhhhhh, time! If only I could put it in an empty bottle of wine…I could market it and be rich in a jiffy.

*Originally posted @ https://zylla3.wordpress.com

Motorbike Ban on Philippine Highways?

Ban? What ban? That would be the day…just for the sake of some wishful thinking: Lawmakers seek motorbike ban on highways (Thursday, January 3, 2008 )

Two lawmakers have filed a bill at the House of Representatives seeking to ban motorcycles on main thoroughfares and national highways.

Can you imagine how many oppositions they’re going to have? Just among my brother-in-law and his bike-riding friends who have their own organization: Samahan ng mga Amang Walang Pakinabang (Useless Father’s Club). Why?

  • If you have children under the age of 18, you should be home helping them with homework.
  • On weekends, you should be home with your family and not with your buddies polluting the highways…worse, making your wife believe that you’re working overtime.
  • Considering that you can’t even afford a P5M insurance…well, if you have a job that is only enough for the upkeep of your motorcycle–I guess, nothing could be lost.
  • I could rant and rave like a raging lunatic, but this is a facet in the selfish man’s life that would never change unless something drastic happen–loss of limb or life.

I just hope they’re not going to be their children’s role model. Though, sad to say, this is a very enticing lifestyle from the teen-agers perspective. However, even families ride together–not just husband and wife, sometimes with 2 children between them.

Citing a World Health Organization report, Santiago said in many Asian countries including the Philippines, road accidents are usually caused by motorcycles….“Nearly 1.2 million persons die of road traffic accidents every year, 40 percent of which are under 25 years old,” he said…..”young motorcyclists make up a significant percentage of injuries and fatalities among road users in many Asian countries”.

I don’t believe on statistics alone. Numbers may not be everything…but my eyes had seen enough. My niece’s driver landed in the hospital, luckily, just a few days and a few thousand pesos to fix the bike–more than any savings he made–if he ever did. How many more like him? We can only guess!

Among the accident reports cited by WHO, speeding, non-use of helmets, risk-taking behavior and drunk driving were contributing factors to the rising trend of traffic accidents, he added….Teodoro said an Asian Development Bank report on road safety in the Philippines showed that motorcyclists were the “second most at risk” of being killed or injured in a road accident.

Many times that we had been on the road there, we have seen quite a few minor accidents. There was even one couple that skidded behind us one rainy night. I could only gasp, and luckily the traffic was awfully slow… almost to a halt; otherwise, the bus following them would have run them over. Still, a few unlucky ones like my brother-in-law’s friend didn’t expect to meet their end. Motorcycles are fun, convenient, but dangerous and are getting to be a continuing hazard on the road as their number continues to grow.

Records from the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority showed that motorcycles have the highest fatality accident rate with 122 motorcycles or 23.6 percent of the total fatal accidents. – Delon Porcalla

If you visit the website www.motorcyclephilippines.com , you will find more information from the serious to humorous. One picture I love was that of the dog backriding…and without helmet [or any harness], enjoying the ride in perfect balance. At least the human had one…I mean the helmet!

*Originally posted @ https://zylla3.wordpress.com

 

 

Motorcycles in the Philippines, a Blessing?

Let me count the ways motorcycles could be a blessing [primarily] in the Philippines, but I guess the first 3 would have a universal appeal. I’ll try to give ‘the thing’ some poetic justice first by looking past the tiny monsters that they are on the road.

  • With the soaring prices of gas, having one is a great money saver.
  • Need I mention the Metro Manila traffic?–an indisputable time saver.
  • Sure…it’s a convenient way of moving around in the highways and byways of life.
  • Then there are 101 reasons each motorcycle buff could concoct for some lame justification.
  • Bottom line, it’s personal gratification.

Exactly…that’s just how I personally feel about this miniature monster. Driving next to it in the wonderful roads of Orange County is no better than driving next to a humongous truck. Imagine that in the congested roads of the Philippines! I’m no mathematician but I can give you the square of hatred [=scorn] for the motorcycle, even the square root [=death]…somebody is going to kill me for this emotional statement. But…hey, I’m entitled to my opinion–as much as anyone is–on having it on the road.

It is personal…when my brother-in-law acquired one [whatever inventive reasons he could give], the repugnance became my battle. I have seen enough accidents on the road while on vacation, just in the vicinity of Fairview, Quezon City. Not to mention his dead motorcycle buddy (bless his soul) hit by the bus while we were still there. If he’s not the father of my nephews and the wife of my sister, I wouldn’t care.

*Originally posted @ https://zylla3.wordpress.com

The Wonderful ‘Sound of AGING’ Gracefully

Who had not heard of the legendary Sound of Music? I confess I have not watched the complete story [like any other movies]–it’s just me. However, I’ve heard of this supercalifragilisticexpealidocious* woman enough to include her in my personal list of awesome people. My friend who got this one from her [awesome-in-her-80s?] Aunt Marg forwarded this profoundly-compelling-to-share email:

 

Julie Andrews Turns 69–To commemorate her birthday, actress/vocalist, Julie Andrews made a special appearance at Manhattan ‘s Radio City Music Hall for the benefit of the AARP.

One of the musical numbers she performed was ‘My Favorite Things’ from the legendary movie ‘Sound Of Music’.   Here are the lyrics she used: > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > (Sing It!  – if you sing it, it’s especially hysterical!!! ) Maalox and nose drops and needles for knitting, Walkers and hand-rails and new dental fittings, Bundles of magazines tied up in string, These are a few of my favorite things. Cadillacs and cataracts ,and hearing aids and glasses, Polident and Fixodent and false teeth in glasses, Pacemakers, golf carts and porches with swings,    These are a few of my favorite things. When the pipes leak, When the bones creak, When the knees go bad, I simply remember my favorite things, And then I don’t feel so bad.

Hot tea and crumpets and corn pads for bunions,   No spicy hot food or food cooked with onions, Bathrobes and heating pads and hot meals they bring, These are a few of my favorite things.

Back pain, confused brains and no need for sinnin’, Thin bones and fractures and hair that is thinnin’,  And we won’t mention our short shrunken frames, When we remember our favorite things. When the joints ache, When the hips break, When the eyes grow dim, Then I remember the great life I’ve had, And then I don’t feel so bad. > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > (Ms. Andrews received a standing ovation from the crowd that lasted over four minutes and repeated encores. Please share Ms. Andrews’ clever wit and humor with others who would appreciate it.

 

I did sing a few lines that my faltering unmusical mind somehow remebered, still…it brought home some humor to my morning. This brings back to a nagging question as to who finds all the stuff floating in emails, and how do they travel from the very original source? Etc…etc…etc! I heard of the blogger that snuck in her (?) recorder and got Obama in the bloggy [helluva] news. Oh…well, this must be from another blogger I should say–Thank You!

 

Again…is there an AARP in the Philippines? Are there AARP members in the Philippines? Thanks to AARP for making it happen I guess…esp. to the brilliant Ms. Andrews. Brilliant! Come to think of it…did Oprah’s rating go down by 13%? What do I care anyway…I really should declutter my aging mind, too.

 

I hope I’m spelling *super… properly! Why do I need to install whatever plugin to use the spell checker here? I’m really developing a bad case of plugin-phobia. Another irritating thing in this new dashboard is using the tags…still have to type individually again (pain, pain, pan, pin…in). I knoooww there’s a quicker way, but I sure can’t unravel it yet…simpler to GRIPE, and more griping–such a gripping gripe! OK…I don’t go to forums; my ‘DSL’ level is making me think I don’t understand English. Maybe, I’ll wait for another serendipity moment.

 

 

*Originally posted @ https://zylla3.wordpress.com

Loving Those Young Coconuts

It’s been known that a coconut palm is an indesputable tree of life (?), but my husband loves it for some simple pleasures it provides. It all started when our family friend who has the tree at his sister’s house got curious as to how a foreigner would like it. Since he had some ready for picking, he went to climb it himself. They have the dwarf version so it wasn’t so bad. Proud as he was of that beautiful bunch fresh from his tree, he handed two to my husband to see what he would do with them.

This green coconuts are soft and could be eaten in several ways.

The juice had been saved; they’re ready for anyone to scoop them.

My husband’s turn to figure out what to do with his share. Yeahhh!

Nothing better than drinkin’ it str*t–hmm, straight from the nut.

Coconut trees thrive in tropical places, which means we can find these incredible trees in abundance in the Philippines–beach, mountains, or valleys. I’m counting the days when we go on vacation in June. I should have booked our tickets in March [but I’d been so consumed by blogging] and now I’m hoping that our agent would find cheaper ones than what I found at the internet today.

Here are a few coconut shots from the beach of Boracay when my sister’s family went there in October. My niece got one of those heavily discounted tickets during the rainy months. You just have to know how to dodge the storms–just kidding–pray that there wouldn’t be showers and thunderstorms while you’re on board the plane, I guess. Be brave and Boracay beach will not disappoint you.

The beach still seems welcoming; discounted ticket is worth braving the storm.

Did the storm run the poor boat aground? It’s simply high tide…isn’t that so?

Now…it’s really bad. The storm is here and it’s starting to really sink that ship.

Nah…they had a wonderful time, and maybe one day, I will take my own pictures of the coconuts. Too bad…when I was growing up in Negros, I didn’t have the chance to take pictures to contrast the inland coconuts, and some of them were even in the middle of sugarcane plantations. Those were the days I did not even realize how our lives were enriched by the coconut trees planted by my grandfather’s parents. I just knew they were my gradfather’s pride…and our family’s joy in many ways.

*Originally posted @ https://zylla3.wordpress.com

Password to Modern Civilization

Oh…civilization, what thoust bring to the world? Paper trails of human foibles, for isn’t it a folly to want all the [un]necessary trappings of life? Even the trappings of success are really just traps that keep one from enjoying the basic necessities of living life to the fullest. How many things does one need to survive? …to love? …to hope? …to whatever? Whatever! Teen-agers discovered how to sum up life all in one word. Why can’t we?

What’s in your desk drawer? …in your filing cabinet? …in your computer? Hhmm–‘to do’ lists, bills, records, etc…. Oh, you are organized! In this modern civilization of this day and age, daily headaches would consist of soaring gas prices, doubling effect on groceries, and the rest of you can go on from there. Then it gets harder month-to-month: car payments (Volvo? Mercedes? Lexus?), house mortgage (Beverly Hills? Newport Beach?)–the ultimate [American] dream. What about your cell phone? What else did you say you have…ipod, blueberry, wii, xbox? I won’t dare go on, or my ignorance might betray me.

Life in a filing cabinet…this is just the beginning of modern civilization. Lucky are those computer savvy nomads [or not] with the password at their fingertips. For the uncivilized ones like me…even my husband, what is life like? The password curse is back! I finally convinced him to continue being Mr. Drumblogger (grudgingly, he seemed to be willing; let’s just say I cast that persuasive woman’s spell for now). Ohhh…now, we need the password. That was November then…sure we have some kind of record printed. Somewhere. Hhmmm…I thought it was in this filing cabinet. Do I have to hunt it amongst this ebay receipts? Five months ago, I remembered putting 1 computer stuff file folder right in front of all the other ones for accessibility purposes. Look what 5 months can do! Let’s backtrack…what was your ebay password then? How about your computer password? Nope! Some would know the rest of the story.

I start feeliiiing it in veins…patience, I envoke. Now, let’s try the easy way out–hit that forget-your-password button. See…it’s being sent to your email. Check your email–ooops, not in the Yahoo one; not in the Hotmail, either…then what now? Did you make a Gmail one for the blog? Yeaaaaaaah…that was 5 months ago, too. Which means–with the temporarily misplaced records–the reason why we’re having this problem in the first place. OK…another moment in time lost! I guess I’ll have to wait for another serendipity moment on this one.

Civilization goes with information explosion…always a mind-numbing experience, at least to me. Technology moves at a rapid speed; I can’t comprehend how some humans could make it so…indeed, ‘humans are still smarter than computers’ remains my contention. It’s just the rest of humanity that is sometimes left behind. I am left behind…or should I include my husband? This business of existence is really taking a toll on our retirable minds. This is when computer is better [not smarter] at remembering things. 

I can only dream of what my life was in the Philippines. As a carefree uncivilized kid in one remote farm in the Philippines half a century ago, I had nature as my playground. I didn’t have to go any farther for playmates; I had my siblings and cousins. For some reason, everyone was somehow related to one another: first cousins, second cousins, third or maybe even fourth. Toys? Aaahh…you mean those leaves and twigs and branches and even trees to climb for fruits when you get hungry? Nature has endless possibilities…no need to worry about lead in products, that translates to testing kits…to lawsuits and what nots. The records we kept were in our hearts! The only password we needed was LOVE4EVER…hard to forget–even when the memory starts to fade.

*Originally posted @ https://zylla3.wordpress.com

 

Serendipity vs Stupidity

The year 2008 ushers me a new life that hovers between serendipity and stupidity. Looking at these 2 words makes me wonder: Where is the serenity that I thought comes with growing wiser?  Let’s have some play of words here. In serenity, just a little dip [mirror, please] of stupidity–then one has to rely on ser-en-dip-ity.

Serendipity is the effect by which one accidentally discovers something fortunate, especially while looking for something else entirely…that’s according to Wiki. Mr. Google seems to think hightly of Wiki as ‘he’ would always take you there first. Go and find the Prince of origin yourself.

Everytime I search for something, stupidity stares me in the face–today, pluginsfeedfooter–making me feel I am reading words I thought were English but they sound “Greek” or some sort of mathematical transcription to me. If I’m inside the classroom being graded, I’d probably get an F in flying colors. The serendipity part of it though, I came across a blog: http://www.joostdevalk.nl/make-the-scrapers-work-for-you/#comment-33414 where they actually discuss the reality of blog scraping [this far, I think I understand]. At least I can justify to myself sometimes feeling on the verge of insanity. In some crazy ways, I am coming to terms I could make the scraper work for me !

There was also an interview with WP Matt Cutts by S. Spencer, which would have been interesting and informative if only I could understand half of what they’re talking about. Again, I used to trust my knowledge of the English language, and I seldom doubted my level of comprehension; however, I couldn’t seem to go beyond the word “link“. Should you be interested, you’re better off reading this yourself: http://www.stephanspencer.com/search-engines/matt-cutts-interview 

Serenity may not come yet until I learn the FeedFooter plugin or something to that effect. Second in the wish list is using some link within my site, but I’m not sure what link in that interview [should not be more than a hundred at least] is good for google PR. I don’t even care about page rank, I only want to declutter this blog. This may have to wait until I get to the Philippines…what year???

Amazing Internet: Scam or Scum

It’s 3am my time here and I didn’t intend to stay up this late after my googling mood on my Survivor Philippines. Upon seeing surwar11’s posts mentioned at propeller.com , I couldn’t contend my curiosity again. I went back to http://www.propeller.com completed 82 pages [coercing myself to keep moving after pages marked supposedly as end of search]. I’ll report on my mind-googling experience once I’ve gotten my beauty rest since I’m feeling like a beast now.

This time when I got to propeller site, I typed surwar11 in the search box [top right hand corner]…I got what I wanted to find! And more…

http://search.netscape.com/search/search?query=surwar11&invocationType=net-home 

This is just for a starter!

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I finally got to sleep at 4am and woke up at 8am without even hearing a single thing. I have now fully awakened to an error in typing [http://propeIler.com] which I already corrected above. The [I] and the [l] just looked the same to me last night. This is just what I mean by the consequence of fatigue: the brain becomes incapable of checking the eyes and the fingers. No check and balance here anymore; doesn’t the government run this way? Hey…that’s a thought!

Let me go back and edit again. Yes, it’s still not connecting to the site…I hit save, refresh, open another window, transfer to another computer [which still shows my error -propeiler-the first time], so I’ll try putting the www which didn’t matter when I type the url separately not this link here. This reminds me when I was checking surwar11 [which my fingers sometimes insist on sanwar or sumwar] –the link that has no http before my url could not get back any result. Really…Ggrrrrr! Is it my computer or my…nevermind! If it doesn’t go through–type it, please!

This is one reason I should edit my about section as visitors are starting to check the lunatic in me. I assure you it’s temporary…I hope it’s temporary. Tsk…tsk…[accompanied by the slowww shake of the head]…this in Pilipino which means “poor you?”.

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UPDATE: 5/29/08

I used to check www.flyhotel.net every now and then as I was curious what would happen to it when I blog its blog scraping technique. Someone suggested that I should report it to google, but for some reason, I don’t think it was doing me any harm except that I was irritated to see my family picture on that website, and maybe because almost the complete blog was in his website. The comments were even turned off and no reference to the owner whatsoever…even submitting the blog to propeller.com as his own writing.

I’ve seen it having no more AdSense after a couple of weeks and I kept wondering why it continually runs the site. Today I couldn’t find it except for the previous google index that has warnings below the title– “This site may harm your computer.” I even went to my post here to get the link from within, and it gave me the same search result. Well, I guess it’s really gone after almost 3 months since my discovery. Maybe I will miss this routine of checking his site. I should probably be writing a separate blog for its demise.

*Originally posted @ https://zylla3.wordpress.com

Love from the Heart, Life from the Hearth

You have to love the Philippines to come back and retire there; you have to love life to be in front of the hearth without complaint. I don’t know why someone would search for ‘kitchen in the Philippines’ but it reminded me of the ‘dapog’ [hearth] we have while growing up in the remote farm of Hacienda Estrellas [I think it’s Spanish, meaning ‘farm of stars’] but it was really named after the sugarcane plantation owner’s last name of Estrellas.

However, let’s go back to that kitchen a long time ago. Oh, I wish I had the picture of that hearth as it was the essence of our family’s simple existence. Numerous poignant stories of growing up revolved around there. [Another blog later maybe or when I learn to do the links]. I should probably mention…there was no electricity and running water. Unless you have gone camping, you probably won’t understand that kind of survival. Don’t get me wrong, it was the time dearest to my heart. Maybe one day, I’ll recreate our place in my dream village.

The hearth inside the house is a luxury in the farm. That’s how I look at it now, considering that most farmers and laborers have a Nipa Hut just enough to give the family a roof over their heads…that when the night comes, they would find shelter from whatever lurks in the darkness of the night. They usually cook outside [lucky to have a make-shift cover to protect the hearth from rain].

If you can visualize 3 rocks arranged in a triangle, that’s the basic of the hearth. These rocks elevate the pot and allow the chopped pieces of wood to be positioned underneath the pot. This is just the preliminary activity; the actual cooking has not begun yet. If the luxury of an old newspaper wrap is not available, you just have to be resourceful to find your fire starter from nature as wood will not catch fire like the way the stove’s pilot light would start your cooking. It’s a lot of blowing, which is probably a good lung exercise. It could be a lot of crying too–from the smoke…or maybe from the hard work. Nobody questions…it’s a chore to be done.

I actually came across a few of the different pictures of bathrooms that one of the Lonely Planet pioneers took in his travels, and I think that was pretty interesting. You reeeally wouldn’t want me to post the Philippine ones, but that’s an idea someday when I travel to the bundoks [Tagalog origin of boondocks]. I’ll try to see what I can find on these kitchens though. I think I have one blurry picture from 50 years ago when they were cooking outside during some celebration [not digital…scanning???]. This must have been the reason why Filipinos have traditionally want a ‘dirty kitchen’ in their houses. Did you say why would someone want a dirty kitchen? Believe me, we cook a lottttt of things that could make our kitchen dirty. I’ll show you some when I get to it.

For now, I have the ready pictures of — what can be better than Fairrr[h]view kitchens. I was ambitious at first and I thought I’ll have the small stove/oven combination in the furnished unit. My sister was practically aghast at the idea, but she went along with one trial. After a year without any takers, it was transferred downstairs when we finally did my own kitchen.

      grn rm

 This is the kitchen [fan-only unit] with the ‘dirty kitchen’/laundry area. 

    

Our A/C unit kitchen–same layout in all other units, just different colors.

This kitchen [from the window] shows the location of the cooking area.

The second floor 1st unit has an extended area intended for family gatherings.

This family hub is still at its finishing stage; now it’s the hubbub of activity.

This picture has no bottom cupboard yet, same style as the one above the sink.

My sister wanted to finish the kitchen downstairs so she transferred the stove.

 The cupboards were done by one of the workers with doors bought from SM.

 

This island needs bar stools but I’m too cheap…maybe my worker can make one.

Still with miniature fridge…and on the other side of the door is the dirty kitchen.

 The dirty kitchen…still clean–no plans for dirty cooking yet.

    

My favorite nook–adjacent to the dirty kitchen/our bedroom extension.

Our bedroom is connected to my favorite little nook…a secret access just for me.

From the hearth…to the heart of Fairview, or should it be from the heart to the hearths of Fairview apartments. Where are we? Stuck here in California in an old house [that I equally love] but hard to maintain for just the two of us–again! Even my husband misses my family as much as I do…especially the bigger kids that keep him company. I can’t blame the guy for wanting to retire before retirement.

*Originally posted @ https://zylla3.wordpress.com