Tuesday, June 29, 2004

The Handheld That Rocks The Cradle

As far as handhelds go, Symbian is the undisputed king of the OS hill. Elegant, simple, stable, intuitive. It’s everything the Pocket PC OS (Windows) is not.

Really, a moron is one who gets all constipated railing against the bugginess , slowness and bloatedness of Windows, and then goes out and buys a Pocket PC handheld – just because he finds it cute to have a mini-version of that rolling-hills-against-a-blue-sky theme of XP sitting on his phone or organizer.

Pare, tingnan mo, parang Windows yung phone ko ‘no…ayos ba?, ha, ayos ba?

I should know. I am one such moron.

While under the influence of some dark force, I once gave up my Symbian phone (a Nokia 3650), for a Smart Amazing Phone. Well gee whiz, Mr. Manny Pangilinan sir, may I just tell you that your gizmo ain’t really what I would normally call “smart” and is nowhere near a 10 kilometer radius of “amazing.”

I was supposed to know better. Indeed, grandma always said to me,“You want your phone to do Windows? Fine, but expect to get Windows -- warts and all , bugs and all, Clippy and all.”

But grandma’s sage advice flew out the window in the face of the withering temptation of having a mini-version of that rolling-hills-against-a-blue-sky theme of XP sitting on my phone. And besides, I figured Bill Gates wanted to get into the handheld market so bad that for once, he wouldn’t hire programmers who write books-full of code to make the gadget chirp “HELLO WORLD!”

Or so I thought.

The lovely phone hung all over place, was slower than the Congressional Canvass, groaned under the weight of all those gratuitous lines of codes, and came with a plastic camera. And the best part is, it had no way of sending and receiving business cards!

(Just for a minute, imagine telling your client that no, he just can’t simply send a biz card but if he badly wants you to call up this certain number, he would have to manually type this up and then SMS it to you –-- all because not one of wonderboys in Microsoft remembered to squeeze in a few miserable lines of code to handle vCard/vCal )


Thank goodness I eventually snapped out of it. Now I’m back happily using Symbian! And once again, I can astound friends by seeming to pull any darn information from thin air without anyone realizing I’m using my phone’s lean, text-only browser to Google it.

Also, no longer do I agonize over people thinking I’m a swellhead that’s ignoring them whenever I couldn’t reply to their texts at once. A nice little Symbian program I got from a WAP site automatically sends all texters a message informing them that “Skip is currently busy but he would text you back as soon as he can.”

Now that’s Smart. And pretty amazing, ain’t it?





Friday, June 25, 2004

For the Sigma Rho...FIGHT!!!

I haven't bellowed out that war-cry in a long long while. Luckily, the Fourth of July is just around the bend. Which means that Sigma Rhoans from all over the country will be saddling up and trekking all the way to UP Los Banos for our Anniversary, soaking up all the alcohol the body can take, and shouting FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT till we're all hoarse.

Aww yeah... this is gonna be fun.

For the Sigma Rho...FIGHT!!!

I haven't bellowed out that war-cry in a long long while. Luckily, the Fourth of July is just around the bend. Which means that Sigma Rhoans from all over the country will be saddling up and trekking all the way to UP Los Banos for our Anniversary, soaking up all the alcohol the body can take, and shouting FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT till we're all hoarse.

Aww yeah... this is gonna be fun.

For the Sigma Rho...FIGHT!!!

I haven't bellowed out that war-cry in a long long while. Luckily, the Fourth of July is just around the bend. Which means that Sigma Rhoans from all over the country will be saddling up and trekking all the way to UP Los Banos for our Anniversary, soaking up all the alcohol the body can take, and shouting FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT till we're all hoarse.

Aww yeah... this is gonna be fun.

GMA Proclaimed! Truth Takes a Six-Year Vacation

Gloria, as your final step before we allow you to run this country,
you have to take a lie-detector test. Uh, yes -- it's sort of like uhm, Meet My Folks.
Only in this case, if you turn out to be dog, the Filipino people can't pretend to have a headache and bail. Hey, you really like dating shows, don't you? (Sardonic laughter. And by the way ,will someone please come up with a better way to transcribe sardonic laughter other than with "Hehe" ?)

So, if you're ready...

(Suspenseful music wells up. Cut to shot of Gloria caught trying vainly to morph her smirk into a concerned look.)

Tell me, Gloria. does your complete name have Pidal anwhere in it?

- No

Ok. Did you ever try to sleep with Big Business, Corrupt Kingmakers, and Crazy Cabalists?

- No

(Very Gravely) Now tell me -- did you cheat in the elections?


(Suspenseful music grows to a crescendo. Heartbeat sound effects are heard. Cutaway shot to Gloria. Dramatic pause)

- No

(Music swells. Cut to shot of polygraph needle. Cut to extreme closeup of Gloria)

Unbelievable! The needle did not swing as wildly as it did when Lacson vowed never to enter politics. Much as I hate to say this, it appears you were, ulk, telling the truth after all. Congratulations, you passed the polygraph test. We proclaim you as President of this Mussaenda Republic.

(Cut to Gloria grinning broadly as she goes around the room shaking the hands of Big Businessmen, Corrupt Kingmakers and Crazy Cabalists)


Thought Ballon Hanging Over Gloria:

Bwahahaha! Suckers! Suckers all! Darn polygraph test was freakin' easy to cheat. Didn't they know that all you need to mess up its result is to deliberately strain yourself and work yourself up to a state of extreme stress, whereupon you let go and relax? If they only knew that I simply puckered up my you-know-what with all my might during the first two control questions and then released it before I answered that biggie...

Did they really think I would let the Philippines go to the dogs by allowing FPJ to win? Heck, they should be falling prostrate before me and thanking me for risking my eternal soul cheating just so the Philippines wouldn't suck big time at at APEC summits like we did with Erap. Bwahahahahaha! Now, where's Mike Defensor? I need him to sign me up for The Fifth Wheel.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Eighties Schmeighties

***Originally written May 1999. This is the slightly updated version***

Monday, a big business deal crumbles to bits. Tuesday, your stocks take a nosedive. Wednesday, the bathroom sink backs up and regurgitates a year's worth of tangled hair and dark sticky goo. Thursday, the kids get bored with being cute and turn your hard-to-find CD's into Frisbees. Friday, the police find you on a park bench gazing emptily into space while mumbling "Take me back to 1986. Take me back to 1986..."

When things turn from crazy to helter skelter, don't you just wish you could step out of the rat race and back into that fabled era when you had no bigger worries apart from "Bagay kaya itong fuschia na medyas dito sa tangerine na undershirt?" or "Oh my God! I'm out of Dippity Doo Gel!"

More importantly, don't you just wish you could to go back to the time when that size 28 pants had plenty of room to spare?

I'd like to know, why is it that despite the 90's having given us creature comforts like email, cellphone, Palm Pilot, malls, fast food restaurants, cable TV, Hed Kandi; many people still cling to the hoary 80's like barnacles to ship bottoms.

Is this some sick obsession? Or does everybody from our generation share the same fetish for the 80's and its artifacts? As for me,
I'd take the following anyway:

• P-mail. When e-mail was still a glimmer in some geeky
programmer's eyes, we had something called p-mail or
"paki-abot" mail.

Remember? It had taken you two weeks and five pads of scented
Hello Kitty stationery (stolen from your kid sister, of course) to write that love letter for that cute girl from 3B Girls. But as you're dotting the last "i", you find that courage has deserted you.
You could not hand it over to the girl. You could not
even sign the darned letter. Panicking, you plead and cajole
your best buddy to be the "tulay."

You beg him to deliver the mail to cutegirl@3BGirls'Room
room by hook or by crook! So grudgingly, he marches over to the gym and hands over the letter.

Oh God!, she seems "kilig to the bones!" You write another letter.
The "tulay" delivers again.
Oh yes, she's mine, mine, mine!
You write another one.
The "tulay" delivers it once more.
Oh no!
The "tulay" gets the girl.

• Aranda's.
Remember that quaint diner fronting the
school parking lot? Before there were Teriyaki Boy, Cibo, Superbowl of China; Aranda's was THE dining place.
Make no mistake, the food here ain't at all bad.
Yun nga lang, you had to fork over your whole allowance
for hobbit-sized portions of rice and even smaller servings of mechado. Plus, you had to endure getting microwaved
alive by the stifling heat.
If your gang, however, was scrimping for a weekend
romp (''gimik'' was 15 years away from being coined) or was simply ravenous after five hours of battling
monsters with scary names like Logarithms, Abscissas, and
Quadratic Root Equations, you all made a beeline to
Salvador's, an eatery run by Abet's family.
Never mind that the dark & dank interior reminded you of
Egyptian catacombs (you half expect to bump into a grinning Tutankhamen).

Never mind that it was cramped with layers upon layers of
hungry, sweaty boys (I swear, no girl had EVER been sighted
within a twenty kilometer radius of this place).
You didn't go to Salvador's for ambience.
You went to Salvador's for the man-sized
portions of tasty food which you could have
for a song. I swear (na naman), I have seen
some boys lining up for second, third, even fourth
servings of rice while only paying for the first one.


• FEN (Far East Network)
In those medieval days before cable TV, our gang's
link to the outside world was Michael Gabat's FEN connection
which emanated from Subic.
While the rest of the country had to wait to read it on the
papers, we got to see the NBA Finals live flickering on
Mike's humongous Zenith TV. Snowy, hissy, it was difficult to even make out the players on the court.

Live naman.


• Manuela Department Store. While today's mallrats cool their heels inside the uber-posh GB2, GB3, ATC, G4, and Rockwell, our generation
had Manuela, considered to be coolest thing to hit town. In fact, Jasper, who lived in nearby PhilAm, was known to spend entire days prowling the labyrinthine nooks and crannies of this "mall mall-an" looking for Haruta Penny Loafers at bargain basement prices.



And who could ever forget SkateFun?

Not that we could skate with any degree of facility, but we hung out at SkateFun just the same, trying (very unsuccessfully)
to get lucky.

• New Wave Music. Fun Boy Three. Cactus World News.
Orange Juice. The Jesus and Mary Chain. The Church.
The Sisters of Mercy. Strawberry Switchblade. Talking Heads.
Joy Division. New Order. Mobile ni Eric. Party sa bahay ni Eileen!!!

Need I say more?

• Rumors Disco. Think John Robinson. Think Timex Social Club.
Think baston pants.

Alright. Maybe not that last one.