Friday, February 29, 2008

Home Stretch!!!

.:Booked Yet Again!:.

I have two bookings this weekend, then two bookings again in two weeks, then another booking on the 28th! I know April bookings seem a bit iffy on the horizon, but I guess it's all good then that I'm willing to save up for a rainy day at the moment, so I'm doing rather okay as far as my income flow goes.


Of course, the upcoming Mindstorm TV show is also a boon for me, to say the least. I already have most of the pieces of the puzzle in play, and it's all a matter of execution for me now.

.:Found My Student's Blogs:.

I noticed that a lot of my students have started blogging already, and tracking their entries down gave me a smile on my face since it turns out a few of them actually started blogging because of me.

In any case, I'd normally give teh link lurve for you guys to see their entries, but I don't want to embarrass them, since some of their entries do get a mite... surreal.

In any case, it's nice reading their thoughts. Glad to know that we have a few promising writers in the future, judging by the content some of them have.

.:All Videos In:.

I still have to watch Carnegie's vid, but I'm glad all three class musicals are already in my hands. I especially love Yale's production values, and so far, Columbia has followed the storyline of Catcher closely enough for me to really know what the source material was. I'm witholding my opinion on which video I found the best overall until I see all three...

Nonetheless, it was a hoot how Yale reacted to the knowledge that Carnegie watched their presentation. One of my students glared at me all throughout... heh.

.:The Atheistic Challenge:.

I finally settled on a topic for my Philosophy paper, and I decided to look into ethics and metaphysics by citing the atheist's point of view when it comes to these matters.

You see, atheists will often debunk theism on so many grounds, and say that theistic metaphysics as a basis for ethics is flawed. While their arguments may have merit, their outright rejection of metaphysics leads to a very untenable ethical position for them, since they no longer have any universal basis for their call to ethics.

As such, I decided to go into an analysis of Heideggerian metaphysics, itself neither theistic nor atheistic, in hopes of finding a more sensible ethical basis that is secular and allows for a universal rather than relativistic approach to morality.

After all, the biggest problem with relativistic morality is there becomes no compelling feature to follow it, since it doesn't apply to everyone. Establishing a secular metaphysics would hopefully offset this concern.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Musicals Rock!

.:Time To Update My Bio-Data...:.

Not everyone is fortunate enough to know how to really fix their own resume. While I am by no means the be-all and end all of resume writing, I can safely say that a lot of good potential employees get passed on simply because their resume isn't attractive enough. Here are a few things you *really* ought to do whenever you submit a resume - very simple tips people sadly overlook:

1. Proofread: Whenever a resume is being read by a potential employer, a glaring spelling or grammatical error is an immediate warning flag for the HR Department that this person is not serious enough about applying. If they can't be bothered to write and spell correctly when applying, HRD wouldn't feel compelled to give their application a second look. As an English teacher, I cannot stress enough how important it is that even your resume looks professionally written, from the quality of the paper to the grammar and spelling.

2. Don't grasp at straws: If you don't have an extensive list of qualifications, don't go to the well of saying you won your grade school's Quiz Bee to highlight your intellectual capacity. HR people see through the bull, and their intelligence gets insulted with pitiful attempts like this.

3. Organize: There are a million and one ways to write a resume, but never forget your name, contact details, academic achievements, work experience, skills relevant to the position being applied for, and any other important distinctions or qualifications. Sometimes, in doing these, we tend to forget the tiniest details. Go chronologically and try to avoid listing anything beyond your high school years. I have ironically seen applications that have everything but their name on it. How could you even leave *that* out?!?

Daunting? Don't sweat it. If you really need more help, luckily, you can ask for help from a good resume writer. They can make your life easier.

.:The Musicals Are Coming In...:.

So far, Yale's effort stands out as being as close to a musical as can be. There are song and dance numbers, and they balance out very well with the speaking parts. I don't think you can count something as a musical if the speaking parts tremendously dominate the whole film, and the music is included just as an afterthought.

In any case, I'm still holding my breath in hopes that we see some marked improvement from the last remaining class output. Yale's work was excellent, and I had a laugh, although they did take quite a few liberties when they changed the ending of their mishmash of Araby, Demon Lover, and Rocking Horse Winner into a *happy* ending. All three short stories had sad endings.

Nonetheless, congratulations, Yale! You had a sufficiently entertaining run, and I commend your efforts. :)

The Philippines Is Held Hostage By Its Own Heroes... Part I

This (rare) political diatribe will be in two parts. Of course, I could expand beyond politics and talk about even more "heroes" we ought to go over, but outside of Manny Pacquiao, nobody really comes to mind....

.:When The Philippines Is Held Hostage By Its Own Heroes:.

This is a brief series I am writing to talk about the kind of peculiar situation the country finds itself in when its "heroes" are pushed to the limelight. We can define what it means to be a genuine "hero" in varying ways, but rest assured that anything I bring up here, I wouldn't be alone in the opinion of referring to them as "heroes". If anything, a majority of people would share this value judgment.

Unlike other people though, I am far less forgiving of mistakes done by our so-called heroes. Being a hero is not an excuse for doing something wrong. As someone who specializes in Ethics, I am rather adamant about this fact.

.:The OFW Hostage Drama:.

I know I'll stir up a hornet's nest here, but I don't care. You see, ever since Flor Contemplacion, the Philippine government has been falling over themselves trying to save any OFW that happens to get into trouble, bar none.

I don't begrudge OFW's who would work for their family. At the same time, I don't condone them being mistreated by their employers. Nonetheless, the mistreatment they go through is never enough reason for them to get away with murder. Marilou Ranario's guilt was incontrovertible, and yet we went ahead and tried to pull her out of the fire.

People go to these other countries in hopes of making money for their families. They know there are inherent risks, and it should be obvious that they represent the Philippines wherever they go. If they are being maltreated, allowing that is the government's shortcoming. But if they commit a crime, it should be clear to them that they must face the consequences of their actions. For the government to have to go out of its way to save these people from the consequences of their actions, they should be protected more from the onset to prevent having them in a situation where they feel it's "kill or be killed".

Besides, why are we letting people who kill their own ward get away with it? May Vecina killed her own ward, and by mere virtue of their being Filipino, we turn a blind eye to the justice system? Is this fair?

.:A Double Standard:.

While we raised Hades over Desperate Housewives last year as Filipino doctors were supposedly denigrated, none of us so much as batted an eyelash over our own racist statements in our own news program, QTV 11's Sapulso, where the reporter quipped that Mexicans are fat because of the food they eat. This was in the same episode where I showed up in, so I know this episode all too well.

So why the double standard, Philippines? We can dish it out as much as we want, but we can't take it? If we are truly earnest about standing against racism, why do we tolerate our own countrymen who throw around racist statements like these? Because it's a joke? Well, wasn't that line from Desperate Housewives a joke?

There's a double standard at play here. We protested Nicole's rapist supposedly being sent back to the United States after the hoopla over the Subic Rape Case. We refused to let Daniel Smith get away and being sent back to U.S. custody because we believed this was a denial of justice for Nicole.

So, let me ask, Philippines: why the Hades are we letting our own murderers get away with their crimes?

Rape is a horrible thing. But so's murder. For us to just turn a blind eye to a Filipina's crime because she's Filipina while in the same breath condeming the United States for doing the same for one of their own is a brazen act of hypocrisy.

Are you ready to cast the first stone then, Philippines?

.:Fawning Over Our "Heroes":.

When 5 Koreans were kidnapped by the Taliban, they apologized after they were rescued. They realized it was a major inconvenience for a government, and being the way that they are, they did not feel particularly entitled to their protection, particularly when they went to Afghanistan against government advice.

Meanwhile, we praised Angelo dela Cruz for his "bravery" in the face of his Iraqi captors.

Quite a difference in mood and tone, don't you think? This is also in light of the fact that Angelo dela Cruz was allegedly working illegally in Iraq. How about them apples?

We are cultivating a ridiculously disturbing picture of our "heroes" here. All because of their economic gains, we are willing to let them get away with crimes, we applaud their courage, all without even noting that there wasn't really anything exemplary about them other than the fact that they are doing what they should be doing, to begin with.

We should protect our citizens from abuses in and out of this country, of course. But when they go out of line, when they commit crimes, it should be painfully clear to them that they have to deal with the repercussions of their actions, and the government shouldn't ever have to coddle these people when they should've known better.

The fact that we are willing to look the other way for these people all because of the economic gains they bring us pretty much shows why the Philippines has been looking the other way despite our less-than-stellar government acting the way it does. If GMA can make our GDP increase every year, it's okay for her family to steal from the country, huh?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Don't Call Him Harry Potter. Call Him...

.:H Piddy!:.

Harry Potter, despite being a storied hero in J.K. Rowling's series, was always of the rebellious type. Sure, he's close with an authority figure (Dumbledore), but even Dumbledore himself is a bit of a deviant... queer, if you will, in more ways than one. Harry's never really been the type who would just fit in. Snape's evaluation of Harry was somewhat spot-on: Harry would always find himself in the middle of something big all the time. Of course, Snape assumed Harry intended this, but given the kind of trouble Harry ends up with whenever he becomes an attraction, we can safely assume this isn't necessarily the case.

But you see, for all his "rebelliousness", Harry still doesn't fit the mold of a rebel (Except maybe the emo rebel that he was in the fifth book.). He's an oddity among apparent oddities, but it's not his oddities that really make him stand out. Quite simply, it's specific characteristics like courage and downright luck that make him different, not an inherently unique characteristic about him. Most people could have more courage than him, but it's his luck, good or bad, that throws him into the limelight.

So for this exercise of the mind, what if we imagined Harry to fit the ironic "mold" of a rebel? How would it be?

Well, I think we found the answer, and it may break your brain...

This Is A Heavy Week...

.:Paper Crunch Time!:.

Yes, I have little worries about what's left to do for Reedley, but it's my own academics I'm genuinely worried about.

So yes, I'm very busy, and yes, I could use some more time to breathe, and hence, my blogging for the next two weeks might be interrupted.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Just A Pair Of Video Links To Talk About...

.:From What I Heard...:.

I think the WGA strike is over already, or if not, it's at least close to being over. That being said, there were some classic moments that came out during the writer's strike, and one of them, in my opinion, was probably the crossover between three of TV's top hosts: Conan O'Brien, Jon Stewart, and Stephen Colbert.

Here's a nice little recap of the crossover for the ages: all three shows, no less. I don't know about you, but I really find the fake feud they had incredibly amusing, and I'm just a sucker for crossovers in general, really.

.:Jack Thompson Is At It Again...:.

Another school shooting? It doesn't matter if the killer hasn't played games since high school. It doesn't matter if the killer is 27 freaking years old, and not at all the "impressionable" patsy he loves to profile, Jack Thompson will blame video games because that's just how he rolls!

.:Topics For Backblogging...:.

Something about respect, and something about Justin Miller's latest rant.

Sigh...

.:Disturbed:.

Ever had a dream that felt so agonizingly real?

I woke up this morning feeling incredibly exhausted and stressed out. It would appear that last night's dream had a lot to do with that.

I can't even begin to tell you how upsetting the dream was to me. It all felt so real, and in the back of my head, I kept on thinking it was all my fault how someone who used to be special to me had a heart attack and I was trying to deal with her loss from that point on.

Every single time I broke into tears during that dream, it felt like I was genuinely crying. By the time I woke up, it felt as if I did turn on the waterworks at least five times, from my hazy recollection of the dream.

To this moment, I was almost tempted into contacting that person and ask her how she's doing. I know I'm not supposed to even exist in her life now, let alone be asking her how she is, but the dream just felt so disturbing, and a part of that has a lot to do with things we never really resolved.

I guess the main impetus for refusing to contact her, aside from of course the fact that I myself told her I'm never speaking to her again, would be the fact that it's not exactly the nicest thing to hear... "Hi there! How've you been? I was thinking of you recently because I dreamt you had a fatal heart attack a few nights ago. I hope you're doing just fine."

This isn't even beginning to cover the issues that, in my opinion, remain simply because we never really settled anything.

For now, I'm only hoping that she actually reads my blog from time to time, and she knows it's her I'm talking about when I say that I still feel an inordinate amount of guilt when I think of how it came to the point that I'm just a much-handwashed footnote in her life. While I'm perfectly sympathetic to why she did that, I can't help but feel hurt that this has still been the case. I *really* hate having loose ends I can't tie up.

If not, well, I take consolation in knowing it was just a dream...

Sunday, February 24, 2008

New Post In Magi-Kel!

Yes, there's another one. This time, it's about my show in Tektite. Nothing particularly out of the ordinary, really.

Briefly Seeing People...

.:Hello Again!:.

Had a quick dinner with Elbert, April, and Estelle, as I was in Greenhills for a while, so I wasn't quite able to go to Podium immediately since I was doing a lot of stuff, for the most part.

In any case, it was fairly non-happening, although there were lots of laughs to be had while I was playing "Patapon" on my PSP, which, I must say, is one of the best "quirky" games I've ever played.

.:Finally, Quelling The Multitude...:.

I think I did well with Dr. Kaelin's oral exams last Saturday. Whoopee!

.:My Beloved Pays Me A Visit!:.

It was great to see my Beloved this weekend again. I missed her terribly and as most people know when I'm down in the dumps, hugs tend to pick me right back up. Unfortunately, I'm not particularly on hugging basis with most of the people I'm around on a daily basis.

That being said, she was absolutely stunning yesterday. She looked well-rested, and she was just such an angel.

Ahh, yes. She made my day, no question about it...

The Berglas Effect...

.:The Berglas Effect...:.

EDIT: Due to a recent article by Cracked, a lot of people wishing to discover the secret to the Berglas effect have apparently ended up on this blog.

Let me preface this entry, three years after having first written this, that after all this time, I still haven't found a satisfying way to perform this effect without any of the following:

1. Gaff cards or a gaff deck.
2. Pre-show work.
3. Masterful sleight of hand.
4. A stooge or a confederate.
5. A stack or memory palace.

Having said that, expect me to write another blog entry about the Berglas effect this Monday (I write a weekly segment on my blog called "Just Another Magic Monday," after all.), to explain a theory I have, based solely on the Britland book, but not on the Marc Paul video. I believe that the Marc Paul video probably utilized a different method from what is outlined in the book, and as such, would not fall under the several methods Britland hints at in the chapter on the Berglas effect.



... proves to be a Holy Grail of sorts. For now, I think I figured out already how this is done, actually.

I'm going to have to practice it extensively, but I think it can definitely work out.

It's a genuine reputation maker, to say the least. It could very well even make you a lot of money if you can perform it flawlessly. Almost as much money as you would from HDB, but *maybe* not quite.

.:In Detail:.

I'm going to step away from the Magikel blog and instead put this on my main blog, mainly because this is one of the most amazing effects of all time. David Berglas, known as Britains "International Man of Mystery" has pulled off the seemingly impossible with the Any Card at Any Number routine, commonly known as the "Berglas Effect".

While I was going over the Britland book, "The Mind and Magic of David Berglas", it was becoming very clear to me that this wasn't exactly a tell-all book. While I felt mildly disappointed that the information I got was woefully lacking, I realized that this was a book meant for the experienced performer, and as someone who has been into magic for sixteen years, but has had only a few years of performance under his belt, I may not yet quite be ready for the stuff in the book.

Despite that, it's 500-odd pages of incredible material, mainly dealing with psychology, performance, and showmanship. Berglas may be a bit stingy on going into full detail with some of his treasured effects, but believe me when I say that despite this, the book is an engaging read. I may feel a bit shortchanged for the amount I paid for it (After all, I bought the thing PRECISELY for the Berglas Effect, and found out that he only gave five vague pieces of a 52 x 52 - piece puzzle... 52 different cards. 52 different numbers.), but I haven't even gone into half the book yet, and already, I've found performance aids that will enhance any effect I perform in the future.

The Berglas effect, in my estimate, is the pinnacle of all the mentalist's tools coming together for the ultimate mystery: showmanship, audience management, psychology, neurolinguistic programming. What makes it even more astounding to the eyes of people is that it could very well be sleight-of-hand free, as you can see in the video above.

If there are two books I would recommend to people who want to have a wider knowledge base in mentalism, I'd recommend Corinda's Thirteen Steps as your toolbox of sorts, and the blueprints would be the Berglas book.

Unfortunately, I think the Berglas book is currently out of print...

Saturday, February 23, 2008

New Post In Magi-Kel!

Check out my new post on Magi-Kel, where I cover what happened to me as I embarked on two shows on the same day!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Two Shows, And I'm Bushed...

I just came from two shows today...

I'm tired, and I'd love to talk about it, but I'll do it once I regain my bearings. I'm slightly miffed over the rampant disregard for what I was doing that day during the Thanksgiving, really. It's one things to have skeptics. It's another to have them throwing around theories about your effects when this isn't even a paid show.

I find that very unfair to a person who makes his living from doing shows. Seriously.

Hweh?!?

.:Classes Were Canceled, But Work Wasn't!:.

Oh, well...

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Sabaw

.:I Can Never Tell You Enough...:.

... just how much I really love Loli Loves Venom!

I do not exaggerate when I say this is my favorite webcomic. Ever.

.:So I Heard This Really Stupid Joke...:.

... but I laughed, anyways.

So the joke goes like this...

Hey! Do you remember that guy on the Souljaboy video?

Which one?

::points finger:: YOU!!!


.:Lozada:.

Before I go in depth when it comes to my thoughts about the guy, let me just say for the record that I feel he is little better than Chavit Singson, in all honesty. He already enriched himself by the time he came forward.

He's an opportunist, but he's a whistleblowing opportunist. I'd still want to listen to him, and I still wish he'd produce actual evidence soon, although he has a lot of smoking guns to his credit as is.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Unicorn

.:My Hopes Of Being OIC For A Day, Dashed! Dashed, I Tells You!:.

I guess I won't be in class tomorrow, either. That's too bad...

Darn, I'm soooo waiting for a vacation. There are so many Value Hotels in the Philippines, and I haven't even gotten further than Luzon!

.:The Unicorn:.

Ever notice how guys sometimes seem to always go for someone they know they can never have?

Ever notice how their interest in that girl rapidly dwindles when they *finally* win that person's heart?

Let it not be said there's no name for this condition. There simply are people who spend their entire lives trying to win the hearts of people whom deep down, they know, they can never have. They are, to put it in TLC terms, "Chasing Waterfalls". It's not about being able to get someone they want so bad. It's actually about going after someone they realize they can never have.

Maybe it's because the girl is a celebrity, and she's clearly out of his league. Or maybe the girl has a boyfriend. Or maybe because she's jailbait (::shudders::). Or perhaps it could be simply because he's not her type at all. It doesn't really matter what the reasons why he can't have her are. It's simply about the fact that there's no way he can have her, and that, in truth is what gets him going in the morning.

This, my friends, is the Unicorn Effect.

Unicorns are fictional characters praised for their beauty. In some legends, it has been said you can never catch a Unicorn. To some, the appeal of the Unicorn is precisely that you can see it, observe it, but you can never quite capture it, preserving its beauty from contact with unworthy old you.

And it's not just endemic to guys. Girls do this a lot, too, although it's mostly the whole "Bad Boy" schtick they have going. We go for Unicorns because the thrill is in the chase, and a part of us hopes that we never really get to catch them, because by then, they'd no longer be a Unicorn.

The Unicorn Effect is ruthless, and is an undying source of unnecessary suffering that people inflict upon themselves. Many people are guilty of this, and they don't even realize it. I have countless friends who keep on pining for girls who they know they can never be with, and never get to appreciate whoever they're with simply because it's all about the Unicorn. It's all about chasing after that which we know we can never catch like some lovesick puppy. We hurt ourselves as we keep on following after them, never accepting the fact that it just won't work. In the unlikely event that it actually does, we then realize that we don't even want it.

It's the Unicorn Effect. And until you learn how to disdain the things you cannot have (Law 36 of the 48 Laws Of Power), you will discover, much to your chagrin, that you can never have you want, because what you truly want is to never have.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Allow Me To Break Your Brain...

.:Your Moment Of Zen:.


With Samuel L. Jackson, the movie should've been retitled as "1".



.:Harvey Birdman, Attorney At Law Rocks!:.

I just finished the game, and it was a laugh and a half! If you have a PSP, you should get it, if you're fond of comedy.

Of course, if you're a hardcore gamer, I wouldn't recommend this, though...

.:U2 Is Confirmed...:.

This site may be delayed, but from what I know, and according to a co-worker of mine who's a HUGE fan, it looks like U2 is performing sometime this October...

If her smile got any bigger, it'd go all the way to the back of her head! =P

I Wish I Didn't Even Find The Time To Do This...

.:Red Kryptonite Galore!:.

My Beloved is sadly very occupied as of late, what with the fact that she's on the night shift for her nursing duty. It's frustrating to know she won't be the last voice I'd hear before I go to sleep...

What really gets to me is that while sprucing up my Multiply and Friendster, I inadvertently run into some people I wish I wouldn't have to run into anymore.

It's easy to say they're out of my mind when I don't see them or talk to them, but wounds always open up anew when they're within my proximity.

I easily get affected not because I want to get with them, or anything ludicrous like that. I'm easily affected because I never really do learn to forgive myself for any mistakes I have made back then. That I screwed up so bad that I can't even bring myself to face them normally gives me all the hints I need to realize that I'm my own worst critic.

I still sometimes worry I'm a horrible boyfriend, or even a horrible friend for that matter. I try so hard to not repeat any of my past mistakes, but in doing so, I end up stepping on a hornet's nest, at times causing even more harm than good.

Unfortunately, I just can't forgive myself for my countless screw-ups. I don't know if I ever can.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

New Post Up At Magi-Kel!

.:Check Out Magi-Kel:.

I had an exciting week for magic and mentalism, so go on ahead and check out my thoughts on the matter at my Magi-Kel blog. Mmm-hhmmm!

Lolz

.:A Quick Break...:.

I can't get over the laugh trip that I got when I realized that it's a trend for Reedley parties to produce couples, and how the host of the party determines the complexion of a particular person's eventual beau.

When asked to compare the two, nothing could say it more succinctly... "They're like night and day."

I know, I know. I'm shallow.

Yes, I Was Wearing A Loud Orange Shirt!

.:Much Thanks To Jamie Chan...:.


Yours truly with his doppelganger (i.e., student teacher).



Much thanks to Saskia for the picture! I'm still on a high over Teacher's Day...

Posting Later, But A Tidbit...

.:Cross-Posting Insanity:.

I accidentally cross-posted nearly my entire blog on my Multiply site, which has resulted in a lot of inconvenience for me, personally.

Anyways, I'm slowly deleting entries from there until I can go back to just relying on my blogger and LJ as my only genuine blogs of note.

.:Teacher's Day Reflections:.

Kim Do Young was my student teacher for the day, and she acquitted herself well as she stepped into my shoes for a day. Since it was a Friday when she took my place, she had to deal with going to three classes for two periods each, which is arguably one of my heaviest days as is.

In any case, I was extremely proud of her, because she really handled teaching well, and the faculty room was quite a cornucopia of wackiness on that day, seeing how the students were there with us, which really added to the sheer mayhem we usually experience there as is.

I realize now that Teacher's Day was the reason Eileen (Her English name.) asked me about my favorite food. Remembering how often I ate Yellow Cab during parties, I ended up with one, and I very nerly finished the whole thing during lunch.

All in all, with the teachers and students just enjoying each other's company that day, Teacher's Day was a roaring success. I can't stress enough how amazing it was, from jokes to mini magic shows to a presentation from the students where they actually sang "Thanks To You" for the teachers. It's easy to say that we're all jaded and unaffected by these things, but I'm a sucker for sentimentality, and today left a huge smile on my face, to say the least. I really felt it was an amazing day for all of us.

Chalk up one more reason why I love Reedley.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Sumilao Farmers Visited Our Class Last Night...

.:Stunned:.

When you hear the earnest pleas of the Sumilao farmers to be heard and understood, you can't help but see their sincerity and the call for justice that they stand for.

I've been mulling over what's been said. Last night, we spent the first half of our three-hour class talking to two of the farmers, and they were very affable and funny, although the seriousness of their call to action was clear.

San Miguel has successfully wagged the dog by insisting that they are the current owners of the land, and then calling into question the legality of the supposed legal owners of the land (The farmers.). What is even more ludicrous is that they insist that other lands be instead distributed, which goes against the principle of the issue. This land was taken from the Higaonon farmers, so it should be this land that they get back. Any attempt to sidetrack the issue by saying "But oh, the Jesuits own so-and-so land, so they should give *that* up instead!"

Who the Hades are they kidding? The land the San Miguel piggery currently stands on is precisely the land that is being disputed. Way to push the genuine issue aside by looking elsewhere. We see this technique all the time, and I haven't even started talking about the whole Jun Lozada issue yet!

This is the indignation of the indigenous. San Miguel, you are on notice.

Coming To Reedley This Saturday...

.:If You're From Reedley, Don't Miss Out On This!:.

Blogging 101 is a special seminar happening this Saturday at 2:00 in the afternoon, right here in Reedley International School. Here, you're going to find out about the basics of blogging, and get some of the best advice on blogging from two of the top bloggers in the country, and overall great friends of mine to boot, Anton Diaz, and Jayvee Fernandez.

It's going to be a blast and a half, and I can assure you of that, even if I won't be there (I'm double-booked this Saturday. Sorry about that!) to be in on the fun.

So yeah, go ahead and check it out! Maybe one of the Reedley students could turn out to be the next big Filipino blogging phenom!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Oh. Em. Gee.

.:While I'm Not At Liberty To Tell Who...:.

... I just have to say that during my class this morning, one of my students decided to end his interview by asking his interviewee to go steady with him.

I may be jaded, but I still get giddy with stuff like this every now and then.

Single Awareness Day

.:When I Think About It...:.

So there I was, listening to juicy details about my students as they conducted interviews with each other, and while I found their interviews to be mighty interesting (And no, I'm not saying.), it got me to thinking about how close we are to February 14.

Single Awareness Day.

Every single year, I have some words with this day. Never mind the fact that to my recollection, I've never been single during February 14 for the past seven or so years, but even then, I find the whole point of Valentine's to be such a pain to deal with, in all honesty.

At this point, sending someone flowers is just so passe. While I know there are more creative ways to tell someone how much you like or love them, what gets to me is that it's been an excuse for a lot of people to be jack@$$3$ to each other for 364 days in a year, so long as they "make up for it" tomorrow.

I have a problem with the greeting card mentality being insensitive to people who are single, and I know it's a bit hypocritical of me and it's guilty of the slippery slope of "Mother's Day" being insensitive to orphans. Regardless, Valentine's day really feels like such an excuse for shelling out money and pointless merriment. While here we are, giving Hallmark and Dangwa their huge paydays, so many people will just find themselves lost in the mire while bigger fish are left out of the frying pan.

Whether it be about the Sumilao issue, or Lozada, or any other issue right now, I think since I'm not seeing my Beloved tomorrow anyways, I'd really pretend Single Awareness Day doesn't exist and it's not happening tomorrow. I honestly have better things to occupy myself with, and for me, let's face it... every single day is an opportunity for Valentine's Day. It doesn't have to be February 14.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Worried About Failing For The First Time...

.:Tricky, Tricky...:.

This past semester has been proving very tricky for me.

For the first time in a while, I'm worried about failing a class... good Gawd.

It's Been A Long Day...

.:LEAP For Magic...:.

I have lots to tell you about this morning's effort of teaching street magic to some people in DLSU. It was definitely a load of fun. :)

It was a great time, truth be told. More on it next time. :p

Monday, February 11, 2008

Just To Let You Know...

.:I Just Can't Get Over It!:.

There's something especially endearing about these guys... it's just so sweet!



Same with these two guys, really... talk about being two peas in a pod!




Just breaking your brain today with a bit of Surprise!Buttsecks!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Friday, February 08, 2008

Habermas...

.:Thoughts On Habermas...:.

This chapter (The chapter entitled "The Task Of A Critical Theory Of Society" from Habermas' book, Theory and Communicative Action 2.) is a succinct way to wrap up the discussion on Habermas, by putting his critical theory to use. While the critical theory itself was never outright stated in the chapter, it was heavily referenced all throughout, and we clearly saw what he was trying to achieve at this point: he wanted to see if it was necessary and possible to “replace the theory of value” in the first page of the chapter, in order to enable us to connect theoretical statements about lifeworld and systems to each other. This was a promising start to the chapter, insofar as it is attempting to show the interaction in society when the system and the lifeworld come into contact with each other, as the system concept of society can be considered a “methodological objectification of the lifeworld”, and is thus describable in action-theoretic terms, more than anything else.

Critical theory is “critical both of contemporary social sciences and of the social reality it is supposed to grasp”. This simply means that critical theory is designed to address the issues hounding the social sciences and the social reality a particular social science is supposed to grasp, such as psychology and the supposed human psyche that psychology is trying to understand. With this in mind, it becomes reasonable to expect that critical theory is an attempt to explain specific limitations and relative rights of various lines of research, rather than an attempt at supplanting them as would a competitor do in other circumstances. Simply put, critical theory is therefore not a competitor in this sense, but rather, an analyst.

Critical theory is in place to address six different issues: the forms of integration in postliberal societies, family socialization and ego development, mass media and mass culture, the social psychology behind the cessation of protest, the theory of art, and the critique of positivism and science. This spectrum reflects a specific conception of an interdisciplinary social science, which succinctly attempts to string together what is going on in society because of its multi-faceted approach that covers the important bases of society's lifeworlds and systems.

Critical theory (p.383) is, at this point in the article, more of a conjecture than a fully fleshed theory that attempts to pin down the workings of society in a far more all-encompassing way. The theory, as is clearly shown in its being a very general one, attempts to escape the trappings of modernity by underscoring that despite its seemingly universalistic slant as is the case with most works of the moderns, does also take into consideration the possibility of going into the specifics on a case-to-case basis. While this may prove to be difficult because being in the realm of universality tends to leave out a lot of particularities, it cannot be denied that the flexibility of Habermas' Critical Theory indeed plays to its strengths by ensuring that we do not ignore the particularities for which a critical theory must prove useful for.

Critical theory assumes a considerably rationalized lifeworld as one of the initial conditions for the modernization process (p.384). By referring to the lifeworld as rational, it becomes possible to form a coherent and sensible critical theory that attempts to analyze society's workings with the interplay of system and lifeworld being taken heavily into consideration.

Thus, we can say that the critical theory of society is something that maintains a certain modicum of openness (p.400), as it were. While the theory is indeed in place, it is perfectly open to “unlearning” certain errors or simply misperceptions that occur and are either patently untrue, or simply a case of temporal distance thus muddling up such results, as is the case when fads become accounted for in critical theory. When we consider that, we realize that a critical theory of society is not merely critical of society itself, but the critical theory is critical of itself all the same, subjecting itself to reifications brought about by changes in society.

In doing so, Habermas successfully highlights the necessity for a critical theory of society. We see here a very adaptable theory that accounts for society, but does not take consolation in standing by only what appears to be “given”. As it were, “it is only under the pressure of approaching problems that relevant components of such background knowledge are torn out of their unquestioned familiarity and brought to consciousness as something in need of being ascertained.

Therefore, we can state that only in putting the theory of society out there can it succeed in finding appropriate means of fine-tuning and reifying the theory in order to become more relevant to the people who do employ such a theory, instead of a static theory that does not recognize the fickleness of changing times, as it were, as the main reason why these theories prosper at some point but not at others, to begin with. It is this adaptability and resilience precisely that gives much legitimacy to Habermas' critical theory of society, insofar as it knows that “in and through the very act of knowing, it belongs to the objective context of life that it strives to grasp”. In short, its relevance comes to the fore precisely because it knows not just the general theory, but also the constant things that surround its particularity, which are often ignored in common parlance, as was usually the case during the modern times. While indeed Habermas was very much irrevocably of the modern way of thinking, he gave enough leeway for a more contemporary way of looking at his theories.

In conclusion, critical theory, despite its apparent weaknesses, has merit in its relevance to the people who employ it.

Get Ready For Mindstorm!

.:Mindstorm!:.

The new press release for Mindstorm is here. Don't miss out on it!

Seven Psychic Entertainers. One victor. No camera tricks. No limits. It's Mindstorm.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Reminiscing...

.:Homecoming:.

I haven't been to my high school alma mater for a long time, so dropping in on Don Bosco last week proved to be a very enjoyable experience.

It's been a while, to be honest. I can't tell you enough how fun it always is when I get to go there because it's such a rarity, and seeing old faces in DBTC never fails to pick up my spirits.

I think one of the most wonderful moments of that day was when I ran into Mrs. Fely Tiburcio while there was a dance-off happening among the school's staff, and I was sharing to her that I was teaching in high school. She and I found this very interesting because she was the first person to ever ask me if I wanted to be a teacher, and I never forgot that fact. What made this even more poignant was the fact that she told me she's contemplating retirement this year, which means I'm getting into teaching the moment she's getting out of it.

I don't know, really. I mean, it may seem to be the case that teaching was something that came out of left field for me, but I don't regret making that jump at all. Even if for some reason or some other I never end up retiring as a teacher and end up in a different career, the things I've gone through, from the happy moments to the sad ones to the disappointing ones (Yeah, I'm looking at you, _ _ _ _.), it's all been worth it, as I've really grown a lot as a professional, to say the least. While radio will always have a soft spot in my heart, being a teacher has really changed the rules for me.

I guess it caters to my inner square, really. I've never been the party animal, as I've always preferred hanging out with friends and talking, usually at some house than a bar. I've always been introverted when it came to that, and while I can and do socialize, it's never been something I'd pick over the company of old friends. Being a teacher only cemented the need to avoid being caught in places I wouldn't want my students to see me at, for starters, and I'm grateful that Mr. Castro gave me a chance to “prove him wrong” when he felt I didn't have what it takes to teach in RIS.

It's just a little over a month before this schoolyear ends, and already, I feel the separation anxiety. It's been a wild ride for the schoolyear, and reminiscing about it makes me feel that I've really grown as a person in the past three quarters I've worked for RIS.

To Mrs. Tiburcio, this post is for you. Thank you for being one of the people instrumental to my finding my vocation.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

I Have A Lot To Learn...

.:It's A Long Way To Go...:.

For now, I'll avoid stage shows. I think I'd rather do closeup at this point until I really get a good handle on my stage act, because I'm just way too green in the stage magic department...

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Congratulations!

.:Rye School Musical!:.

Columbia's kicking their production into high gear for their musical version of "Catcher In The Rye"! I can't begin to tell you guys how excited I am about this.

.:Cambridge Won The Debate Open:.

I had the time of my life hosting, and while none of my kids from Yale, Columbia, or Carnegie got into the finals, I'm still happy how well the Debate Open turned out. Yale gets extra kudos for getting as far as they did, and they can only get better and better.

B-Buh?!?

.:No, I Don't Want, Nor Do I Need, A Fling...:.

Some girl (I *hope* it's a girl.) was bugging me over text the other day, trying to get to know me and all of that stuff. Now, anyone who knows me knows I'm not awfully fond of chatter for its own sake, and so was mostly brushing aside any attempts at talking to me, since for starters, I didn't even know her name.

Next thing I knew, she was asking me if I had a girlfriend, to which, despite the whole complicated setup I'd rather not get into, I answered "yes".

What I got next just made me really pissed off for the day...

"Would you like to have a fling? She doesn't have to know."

Right then and there, I snapped at her and asked her to not text me again anymore. I'm not exactly the paragon of virtue, but I've worked really hard to earn people's trust, so it's a matter between myself and my conscience if I actually bothered taking up Ms. Anonymous here on her offer.

What ticks me off about this whole thing is that there really are people out there who just have seared consciences about things like these. I personally cannot fathom doing this to my Beloved, especially not after everything we've gone through already, and for Hades' sake, I don't even know the girl's name!

I guess combine that with the fact that I absolutely abhor the concept of a "txtmate", and you can tell why I was exceptionally harsh when I rebuffed whoever that girl was.

.:Speaking Of Annoyances...:.

Mr. Yoso just got himself owned some more, when he decided to go completely ad hominem and attack my "personality" and all of that, instead of just owning up to the plain and simple fact that for an English "major", he's an idiot at the language.

I just got to thinking that maybe he thought being an "English major" was really a rank kind of thing, that you're not good at English unless you're an English GENERAL.

Whatever the case may be, I'm through dealing with this moron.

New Post Up At Magi-Kel!

Well, go and check My Magi-Kel blog out, because I updated it to contain some fun tidbits about last Saturday's walkaround effort at West Greenhills, including a brush with celebrity that was completely unexpected!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Friday, February 01, 2008

2010 Is Coming...

.:2010 Is Closer Than You Think:.

Ms. Jannette Toral tagged numerous bloggers to address the issues of the upcoming 2010 Philippine Presidential Elections, and I think now is a good time as any to bring up the issues coming into play.

You see, the Philippine political scene has always been a personality-based rather than an issue-based kind of showdown. Whereas people care what Barack Obama's stand on abortion or immigration is in contrast to John McCaine's views on homosexual marriage, or what Hillary Clinton would have to say about taxation as opposed to Mike Huckabee's plans for health care. U.S. politics may not be perfect, but people's votes are affected by what their candidate's stands on key issues happen to be.

Here in the Philippines, we don't see that. What we see is a clash of personalities, all promising generally the exact same things, with no clear platforms or ideas, either because they have none, or are afraid to seem like they're talking down the masses, whose votes they are obviously pandering to, given the jingles and campaign sorties they employ during election time.

Let's tackle some of the issues that I think would be very important for the 2010 elections...

.:Education:.

Since the drastic tuition increase of U.P., education has taken a significant hit in this country. While the military budget seems to increase every single year, the education budget continues to shrink and shrink. U.P. is no longer a quality school for those who can't afford one.

Whoever wants to take the presidency must address this issue. Education is important to the development of the country, and leaving this in the dust will only present more problems for the country over the long term.

.:Censorship:.

After the whole hoopla of the MTRCB giving an "X" rating to several political films, I think it's high time we looked at what purpose the MTRCB is really serving. To give political films an "X" rating just because it doesn't paint a flattering picture of the president is a sick joke. Movies are in no way supposed to be journalistic pieces, and the double standard is very obvious when a documentary like "Imelda" gets through, but "A Day In The Life Of Gloria" and "Mendiola" don't.

The Philippines(I hope.) is sick and tired of adventuring and relying on mass action to get things done. If the last Senate elections were any indication, the average Filipino is wising up, seeing how many celebrities didn't get into the Senate by sheer dint of star power. Letting more political material into television, radio, and film, can only be a good thing for the country.

.:Slim Pickings?:.

Whether it be a No-El resulting in more Gloria, or an attempt by Joseph Estrada to run again for president (Despite promising never to seek public office again!), or FVR doing more of the same, or even Bayani Fernando deludedly telling himself people will love to have him as president, we do not have a promising field of presidentiables.

I fully stand by the notion of having only two candidates during an election. It costs much less money because unlike the U.S. elections, we won't have those messy primaries, so the political parties can settle the differences on their own. The biggest issue I have with the presidentiables is they really do not have a definite stand on an issue, and will bend their opinion depending on what public opinion tells them.

This is the issue for the presidential elections, in my opinion. It's just really sticky, to say the least.

2010 is really unpromising right now. We're going to more likely than not find ourselves treated to the same old crap from the same old traditional politicians... gah.

The Failure Of The Concept...

.:The Failure Of The Concept:.

Admittedly, I haven't really been able to pore over the text to begin with, but the topic alone, “the problems with the concept of the multitude”, is almost self-explanatory to anyone who has actually read the book. You see, the first thing anyone asks themselves when reading “multitude” is rather simple: what exactly *is* the Multitude?

Throughout the book, Hardt and Negri were skirting the issue without ever making a specific stake on the nature of the Multitude, either because they're post-modernist, therefore always descriptive, never prescriptive, or because they're simply playing it safe, and would rather not make a definite statement so nobody could refute them.

The biggest problem with the concept of the Multitude is it's so vague. The fact that it's vague makes it next to impossible to really identify the Multitude when it's finally there, but gives Hardt and Negri the perfect excuse of saying “it's exactly as we described”, despite the fact that we still have next to no idea what they were trying to get at in the book.

The Multitude is supposed to be a reaction to Empire, but how is it a proper reaction? It would seem that describing the formation of the Multitude is little more than an exercise in mentioning reactions that seem to have little connection to each other in hopes of finding an underlying general movement in all of them. Is this even a valid claim or implication to make? Or is this, quite simply, just a gross assumption that may not really hold water when thought over thoroughly?

The Multitude as a concept fails because its vagueness makes it possible to label anything that topples Empire as the Multitude, even if it's not necessarily the case. It's admittedly difficult to just assume things when even the authors aren't sure what they're talking about.