September 2008


…well, almost.  $299,994,240,633 to be exact. And only in a virtual world via http://3trillion.org/:

It was harder than i expected. I did it twice because during the first time–due to my inability to figure out numerical details (in other words, I suck in math! grrr!), i overspent and had to start all over again.

I tried to take it seriously and not to cheat… Avoiding crazy items like spending an evening with Johnny Depp for $300M (Tchuh! Who me?), buying a magic wand or Canada, or building a time machine with my virtual money.  I prioritized clicking those important items that were needed in order to prove a point that giving is better than spending it all on war. It wouldn’t hurt to leave behind a great legacy if you spent 3 trillion dollars wisely…like feeding starving orphans first…

It was tiring…A lot of minutes had passed and i was still nowhere near 1 trillion dollars. I had to leave the site thrice and rest…because saving the world with 3 trillion dollars can really be ‘exhausting.’  If you’re interested, see breakdown of my shopping spree.

These are some of my philanthropic choices…if I had all that money:

….I would give aid to causes that promote education, and livelihood (Achieve Universal Literacy; Universal Preschool; Sustainable Agriculture Education Worldwide;  200T Cows for a Gift of a Heifer; End Poverty and Health-related Diseases); fight hunger and poverty (Rice for all; End Third World Debt); clean the world and fight diseases (Fight AIDS in Developing Countries; Clean water for Everyone; Cure a Deadly disease; Cure for Alzheimer’s; Cure for Cancer); Promote the arts (art center; salary grants for talented starving artists…wow, sana totoo); fight injustice (Human Rights; Lawyers for the Poor; War reparations for Iraq); Save the Environment (Switch to solar power; Plant a million trees), etc.

After spending 2.7 trillion dollars on saving the world… I had a spare change of a measly 300B to spend for myself… College education for all members of the family; make a Hollywood Movie: $106M; a collector’s CD set of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer: $133; Documentary Film-making fund: $5M; an island in the Bahamas;  the world’s most expensive fiddle; Create my own college; Houses of my dreams; Buy Google for $2.5B and Microsoft for $262B; an evening with Johnny Depp (oops…well, I did say I tried!)…

What did I feel after ‘spending’ three trillion dollars? Well, I always wondered how it feels to be in Monty Brewster‘s shoes (of the 1985 movie ‘Brewster’s Millions’ starring Richard Pryor) who was forced to waste 30 million dollars in 30 days…  In one memorable scene, Brewster came home looking dazed and bewildered and muttering to himself, “…I just bought an iceberg…” He felt frustrated and absolutely hated it and I could understand why.  But that was fiction.  What’s really scary is that there ARE people who did spend 100 billion times that amount by illegally occupying a single country.  And what’s even scarier is that unlike Brewster, these people don’t seem to be going around dazed and bewildered …they’re in a constant state of denial, showing no remorse or guilt whatsoever.  A colossal waste of money? No, colossal is not right. Unforgivable is more like it.

Postscript: if still interested, see this related site on same topic.
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it arrived yesterday….

my wordcamp 08 tshirt…

simply elated 😀   …

thanks to the guys who made the purchase possible…

even if i did not attend the wordcamp phils last Saturday…

promise i’ll be there next year…

it’s a bit small…

but it’s ok though…

giving me an incentive to lose some weight…

ngekk…  😕

Here’s what transpired at the first ever Wordcamp Philippines – 2008 (even the first in Southeast Asia!).  Sayang, it looked like fun…wish i was there:

I’m almost done reading the twilight books (whew!).  I wanted to see what the young people are reading these days now that the Harry Potter series have done its tour of duty.  They said that twilight was the next big thing. So fine…I took a look.

I’ll just try to make this short.  Young teenage girls adore the book, I think mainly because of the impossibly uber fantasy hAwT vampire guy (great, now i’m talking like a 14 year old–by the way, why do they have to complicate the spelling of ‘hot?’), Edward Cullen.  i respect their reasons for liking the book or its characters.  It’s pure fun… and should not be taken seriously because it is just one of those escapist fares, that fills the void in one’s dreary lives and adds fire to one’s boring daydreams.

I don’t blame them if they think it goes way up there with Pride and Prejudice because obviously I assume they haven’t read a lot of the English classics yet.  (Hopefully they will soon, and be able to see the ‘light’).  I was a teenager when i read P &P, and yes, I adored Darcy like he was the hottest male character anyone ever came up with.  But please lang, ano? there is no comparison.  Puede ba?

I know teens will get riled up if they see their beloved book series get dissed from time to time (my favorite and most intelligent anti-twilight arguments are posted here). I don’t blame them with the hormones and all.  I’ve seen how some act all ‘really mature’ about it–cursing and swearing at others who voice out their opinions contrary to their own.  Ironically, they remind me of the ‘newborns’–mindless vampire twits who do someone else’s bidding because they don’t know any better.  There is a proper way to voice out opinions–and not through intimidation and bullying. Show some respect and the world will respect you back.

(And OK, to be fair—to those who hate twilight, calm down as well, present your opinions with enough basis to support them-which I’m sure you have lots–and argue well (same goes for the fans). But do not put up picket signs to infuriate the fans when the movie comes out–you’re asking for a bloodbath–but you know, leave them be.  They have the right to escape, and enjoy, too. And try to finish reading the books before you criticize–I know it’s going to be extremely difficult but at least you can present your arguments better if you did read them).

I didn’t say i didn’t like it, i said it is good escapist fare but that’s just it.  I had fun but i also had fun reading Bridget Jones and didn’t take it seriously.  Bella and Bridget are both ordinary-looking, imperfect characters who goof up, flub and stumble but you’re wondering WHY the hell those hot guys are falling and fighting over them! My God… if that is not escapism, what is?  That is the ultimate wish of the hopelessly romantics… to be noticed by the hottest guy by looking ordinary and yet cutely klutzy–played out time and again in books and in movies.  And Meyer is just one of those writers who took advantage of that demographic who will eat up that line over and over, and they will never go away–generation after generation–you see ’em coming, always wanting more of the same–only repackaged in a different wrapper–in this case–gentlemen vampires and muscle-ripped werewolves.  Yes, very different indeedy.

Having said all that, I am grateful because Stephenie Meyer made young people read some more (in this age of psp’s and wiis–i’ll take what i can get).  I mean, it is better than not reading at all, right? She does have a way with words.  And I hope she will do better (as in no more of the usual, eye-rolling cliches, and repetitive, superficial descriptions of how impossibly gorgeous a character is) in her next project.

Congratulations to the avid teen fan who read these books for they ARE indeed very long (and unnecessarily so, having 20% of it makes up the meat of it–while 80% of it is just all fluffy fluff and looong long conversations about drawn out, ‘whiningly,’ repetitive topics like “how much i love you, bella, and no one smells like you, bella,” and “when can i be a vampire like you, edward, huh? when? when? when?”).  If there is one thing I like about Bella, she’s a reader–she would still read in good times and in bad times (I mean who wouldn’t be amazed by a character who often got chased by tons of deadly vampires who want to drink her blood and YET still had the chutzpah to take time to reflect and compare herself to Shakespeare’s Juliet and Catherine of “Wuthering Heights?”). I earnestly hope you will graduate from these books and move on to higher stuff.  Believe me, there are better stuff out there with better characters.  Just have the patience to go look and see.  Good luck and keep on reading!

Postscript:

With that I’m leaving you with a funny comics ‘in honor’ of twilight by the talented shinga of shinga.deviantart.com who got Edward’s look dead-on (pun not intended).  Chill and relax. It’s just a series:

We took a restful short breather last Aug. 23 to 25 which happened to be a long rainy weekend.  I joined up with Doc, Sis and kids for an overnight stay in Tagaytay where the weather was damp and cool.

There are many things and sights to see in Tagaytay, much of it are already well-known by most Luzon dwellers so I don’t need to talk about them here.  But there’s only one place we visited (and may revisit) and it is the ‘bulalohan’ eateries at Mahogany Public Market (right).

There were many eateries to choose from along this foodstrip.  Sis wanted the one which had the most customers (having more customers means it might be the best) but naturally, there were no available seats anymore.  So we chose “Betchay’s House of Food” which was great, too.

The Bulalohan Foodstrip alfresco-style: it’s like dying and going to Bulalo heaven.

Bulalo is a dish of boiled bone-in beef shank with vegetables.  The bone marrow is the bulalo itself and it is the soul or core of this dish (pun intended).  It is not an ideal dish for those suffering from high levels of cholesterol so it should be something (as do most  delicious foods, I guess—sigh!) that you only get to enjoy once in a while.

Bulalo is what we came here for and that’s what we got:

Perfectly hot for a rainy cold weekend: They served bulalo in a very presentable transparent serving soup bowl heated up by a small flame underneath (wow, where can I get one of these?).  This brilliant idea serves to keep the fat in the broth from congealing into greasy soup which pretty much ruins anybody’s appetite.

….We enjoyed tawilis (small sardines) –fried to a crisp (left).  Condiments recommended for bulalo (right): patis (fish sauce) and calamansi juice with hot sili.

(Right) Get as many as you want! They also serve banana señoritas…for free!

The ‘bulalohan’ experience was worth it and really affordable. There is a public restroom near the market but it would be better to do your ‘business’ somewhere else before coming here.  Betchay’s food attendants were helpful and courteous.  The utensils looked clean enough.  They might need to improve on the quality of their tables and chairs for they tend to wobble while one chair I noticed was missing a leg (the ground is also a bit uneven).  Also being an open marketplace, the place has  some souvenir vendors walking by. So expect many of them to strut food and souvenir items and to ask you to buy from them while you’re sipping your broth.  It comes with the territory, I guess.  You can buy from them or politely refuse…after all, we all have to earn a living.

The next day, we went back to buy beef from the market itself.  A kilo of freshly butchered beef costs just a hundred and fifty pesos. And when I mean fresh meat—I mean meat that was still twitching while hanging from their hooks (pardon me for the visual imagery…I mean, I know! While  i was watching it, I don’t know whether to be appalled or be fascinated by it)!

We bought enough meat to last us for several days.  Beef chunks and ribs for Dad’s nilagang baka (a favorite of mine), and sirloin bought at low prices compared to the ones in the supermarket.  Like what our dads and lolos used to say…“Ayos na ang butu-buto!” Nuff said!

One day, at mcdo…

I saw what appeared to be a doppelganger lady or my Sis’ probable twin! I secretly took pictures of her look-alike…

In fairness, the doppelganger lady looks like a movie star (oo na, shempre, ikaw rin, Sis!).  I did not only say that to appease doppelganger lady in case she gets riled up if she ever finds these unauthorized pics of herself posted on the web (just think of it as papparazzi kunwari, k?), and also for calling her ‘doppelganger lady.’  nah, i ain’t scared of that.  i’m sure she’s a nice lady.  Maybe invite her for tea and for some chit-chat, too.

Kamukha mo siya! Mas kamukha mo pa nga siya kesa sa akin…Siya ang totoo mong kapatid–kakambal mo pa ata!” I cajoled and teased Sis when we met up one weekend. I showed her the candid shots of her mystery twin.  “Oo nga…ako nga yan! Haha!” she exclaimed.  Everyone agreed when they saw the photos from my cell’s cam.

To show you the uncanny resemblance, here is Sis during Paula’s birthday 2 weeks ago (it’s the only one i could find–a blurry shot of her profile that matches my equally blurry shots of the doppelganger lady):

And here is the doppelganger lady (i didn’t eavesdrop on her conversation—I’m not THAT nosy; i just used my imagination just to make this post a little more interesting.)   😉

“Napanood mo ba kagabi?”

Ang cute ni Gabby no?”

“Ay, oo, mare…sinabi mo! Dapat piliin ni Claudine si…”

“Hay, ang init sa labas…libre mo naman ako ng mcflurry o.”

What do you think…kamukha ba? 🙂