Recent Thoughts

Saturday, September 29, 2007

A Change Is Gonna Come

“If along the way, you act like you're someone you're not, pretty soon that’s who you become.”
~High School Musical 2

I'm sure you’ve heard of the cliché “the only thing constant in the world is change”, yada yada yada. But has anyone – whether a friend, a family or a mere former acquaintance – actually told you, “Uy, anlaki na ng pinagbago mo!?”

In order not to sound too preachy or condescending about this ‘topic’, I asked two good friends to identify what changes I have undergone as a person throughout the years. Here’s a summary of what they’ve told me.

STUDENT ACHIEVER. No doubt, this is one of the biggest changes I’ve undergone over the years. According to my friend, I epitomized the dream student a teacher could ever ask for. But now, not so much, haha! I am not the academic juggernaut anymore. Early on in college life, I realized that there are far more important things in life than good grades. But, not being able to do my best is a different matter.

PRUDENT AND PENNY-WISE. Well, I wasn’t exactly what you would brand as “kuripot”. But I owe my early fiscal maturity to my Mom who let me have my own ATM account at the age of 14. Not that there’s lot of money in it to splurge with, haha! She always emphasized about having at least a few savings for emergency purposes. I don’t get my allowance on a per-gimik basis – I get a regular monthly amount instead. The setup is still the same these days, but now I feel like I am too impulsive when it comes to buying – even on grocery items, haha!

A BRAT NO MORE. We use to call him “RK”. Oh well, actually, he is, up to now, a rich kid minus the “brattiness”. I still remember him pouting and brandishing his gloomy face in the house when he can’t have what he wants right away, may it be a cellphone or a laptop. Back then, he even had a better cellphone than us. What a brat! Now I know he has realized already that he cannot have everything right away. More than that, I know he now understands that he cannot have everything. These are the exact words of my friend. Her words say it all.

COMPUTING ATTITUDE. I remember having a fight with a good friend over a favor he asked of me which I didn’t give because for some reason beyond me, “it was unfair”. I guess that rift was the turning point of my ‘computing attitude or in Tagalog, ‘pagiging makwenta’. So these days, I am the ever giving friend and Kuya for my little brothers and sisters. Naks, parang ambait ko talaga, haha!

CHORES GALORE. I used to be the bunso of our apartment so I had room to be carefree. But not anymore. I am practically the landlord, bossing around my young housemates to accomplish their tasks, with deadly threats to boot for any failure to do so, haha! Quite ironic really, for when I am back at our home in Pampanga, I regress back to my childhood days, back when Mom would continually nag me to clean my room.

IN SUMMARY. The ranting and brat Rex has long been gone. He’s going through a lot but he chose to be silent about it and face it head on.

So what’s my personal assessment of myself? Well, I would like to think I am wiser these days. (Sige, na, pagbigyan niyo na ako na magyabang, haha!) In fact, for guy my age, I feel like I have experienced a lot of stuff an ordinary 22-year-old wouldn’t have experienced yet. And to think I haven’t had my heart seriously broken yet! (You see, I feel that at my age, having one’s heart broken should be the most painful experience of one’s life so far, and not be dismissed from college for up to 4 times, hehe!).

For me, it’s the stuff that we go through that changes us. (Okay fine, this realization is pretty obvious, haha!). I am just lucky (credits to my parents who definitely raised me well, I think, haha!) that despite the big stash of bad experiences I’ve had, I emerged a better person each time.

But that is not to say that right now, I am the best that I can be (waw, Mutya Buena’s song just started ringing through my ears). For I have yet to emerge the ultimate survivor completely. The ideal process would be to continually change and improve, for life never runs out of tests and experiences that shake us out of our comfort zones.

“Change… We don't like it, we fear it. But we can't stop it from coming. We either adapt to change, or we get left behind. It hurts to grow and anybody who tells you it doesn't is lying. But here's the truth: sometimes, the more things change, the more they stay the same. And sometimes, oh sometimes, change is good. Sometimes, change is everything.”
~Grey’s Anatomy, Season 4, Episode 1

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Blogs Galore! 18: Current Events Edition


It's been a week, so by now, I am sure you all know that UP won (over UST, FEU and the rest of them UAAP schools). Of course, I am proud of them. Considering our 0-14 record in Men's Basketball, at least in another highly publicized UAAP event, UP won.

I am personally surprised at the 0.5 point difference between UP and UST. I thought given UP's almost flawless ruotine and kick-ass attitude and UST's incomplete pyramid and weird lack of energy, UP will win by a mile. I say that UST's Salinggawi Dance Troupe's lack of energy is 'weird' because for the past years, I must admit (even if I hate to, haha!) that UST SDT has always been fluid and graceful with their routines. Never mind the issues of lack of originality -- UST SDT is a dance troupe indeed, so magaling talaga at magandang tingnan ang pag-galaw nila as a whole. But this year, I felt that the grace and fluidity that has always been a trademark of UST SDT was missing. Is it just me, or they looked so tense and a little down-trodden during the rest of their performance because of the 'fall' early on their number?

Now about the 'UST SDT Photo Scandal'. 'No comment' na lang. It's like Malu Fernandez all over again, albeit in a lesser degree. The more people comment, the more the issue gets out of hand. But if ask me if that offensive photo changes the way I perceive UST, well, the answer is NO. I have friends from UST, and UST has its own moments of glory as an educational institution. Stupid behavior from 5 UST students cannot (or must not) ruin the reputation that UST has built in its 400 years of existence. What I don't like though is when our own schools' academic excellence records are dragged into the issue (which should be totally irrelevant, by the way). UP is UP. Period.

But anyway, since our Pep Squad won FAIR AND SQUARE, we're entitled to a year's worth of bragging rights, right? Hahaha!


What the hell is the Arroyo Administration thinking?! A judicial process is still going on (there's still the appeal to the Supreme Court by the Estrada lawyers), so why is Malacañ
ang so excited? Obviously, it's an issue of political survival for GMA. Haaay naku..

My take on this? Absolutely and definitely no pardon whatsever for me. Don't I have compassion in my heart to spare for an ailing and 'respected actor' and 'public servant'? Well, think of all the poor people that the huge money that Estrada illegally amassed could have helped. You should know by then that you're barking at the wrong tree. Ask Estrada himself instead (and his slutty mistresses).

His followers are delusional. They should not be allowed to vote, for they don't exercise wisdom* when they do so.

*I used the word 'wisdom' instead of intelligence, so as not to belittle uneducated people. Wisdom in choosing our leaders can be acquired even without the help of diploma, right?


So, here's my super late thoughts on Cris Mendez's death.

For us UP students, it's a common knowledge that hazing exists (in varying degrees) in certain fraternities' initiation rites. Yes, that holds true despite the law against it. Heck, there's even a university rule that bars freshmen from joining fraternities and yet, these (some) fraternities actively recruit freshies.

I don't know what Cris Mendez's reasons were for agreeing to join the fraternity, but considering his age and background, I am sure that he fully knows what he was getting into. I am not saying it's his fault that he died, of course. His only fault is that he trusted the wrong people.

My provincial organization has always been enough for me -- in terms of personal relations, training, etc. So I never felt the need to join a frat. And it's not like a fraternity would be sane enough to recruit someone as 'physically-challenged' as me, haha! (I was scavenging my brain for the proper English word for lampa, but to no avail, haha!).

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Premiere Week

'Tis the season to be jolly, fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la. And no, I'm not talking about Christmas (although on second thought, the 'Ber months are already here!). For US TV Series fans like me, this week and next week will be quite a hectic week -- it's one season premiere after another for our favorite US TV shows!

Brothers & Sisters, Season 2, Sept 30, ABC
It's currently my #1 favorite US TV show. It's well-written, the ensemble cast is equally amazing and entertaining. It's a family drama, so expect a lot of mushy issues to come up. But this is not your American version of our hard-core drama teleseryes. I actually love the way they handle the dramatic scenes -- it's mushy enough to thug the strings of your heart, but subdued enough to not come across as scripted (although we all know it's scripted). This is pretty much Grey's Anatomy, with all the wit, humor and drama, sans the convoluted love lives that tend to be annoying, especially in the past season, hehe!
Grey's Anatomy, Season 4, Sept 27, ABC
The past season was too gloomy for me, a lot of characters have been killed or written off. But I am not giving up on Grey's yet. It's still my #2 pick. I do miss my Seattle Grace gang (as if close kami no? Haha!).

Heroes, Season 2, Sept 24, NBC
It's X-Men on TV, minus the spandex costumes. So Peter and Nathan blew up after all, up up in the air that is. So what happens next? Brothers & Sisters may be my favorite show but this takes the cake when it comes to suspense and making me look forward to Tuesdays for a brand new dose of Heroes. I wonder what Veronica Mars' star Kristen Bell's powers gonna be.
Prison Break, Season 3, Sept 17, FOX

And Michael Scoffield and friends are IN PRISON YET AGAIN! Geesh.. Haha! Well, it won't be Prison Break without the steel bars! Bad news though, Dr. Sara Tancredi will not be back for the new season. There goes the only rose among the handsome thorns, hehe!
Smallville, Season 7, Sept 27, The CW
Season 7! Could you believe that? When will this series end? Haha! The truth is, the only reason I am still following this show is out of curiosity -- how young Clark and young Lois will end up.
Ghost Whisperer, Season 3, Sept 28, CBS
I know this is not as popular as my other choices, but so what. I am into these kind of shows, hehe! Because I like the way Melinda (the lead character) helps people with their loss and the ghosts with their unfinished business.

Ugly Betty, Season 2, Sept 27, ABC

Given DH's less than remarkable story development the past 2 seasons, UB has taken over the #1 spot on my favorite comedy-drama series. Not to mention that there are a lot of eye-candies here, haha!
Desperate Housewives, Season 4, Sept 30, ABC

I miss the good ol'Housewives days. Ergo, the first season. This show has failed (at least for me) to surpass its first season in terms of story and comic content. Susan (the supposed main lead) has become more annoying than ever! I'm am still gonna watch it though, because the other characters more than make up for Susan's shortcomings in terms of character substance. Besides, I miss forwarding text messages of quotes from this series, hehe!
How I Met Your Mother, Season 3, Sept 24, CBS
This is the only sitcom on my Must-Watch List these days, hehe! Considering the fact that I am a fan of Friends, it must be the barkada dynamics and antics that has endeared me to this extremely hilarious show! Besides, I am really curious, who the mother is, haha!

Haaay, torrents galore na naman nito! Haha!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

There is justice in the Philippines..

.. after all. Yey!
Wala lang, gusto ko lang i-share. Here's to hoping that this will not adversely affect the way of things in our country.
For more info about this news, click here and here.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Michael Fajatin meets his match

If you don't know who Michael Fajatin is, well, let me introduce him to you..

Ano kaya reaction ni Arnold Clavio sa Live Report na yon? Haha! I am not sure when this news was, but I am certain it has been more than a year since I first watched this hilarious video.

And just recently, a Miss Teen USA finalist gave Michael Fajatin a run for his money!

Oha! Wala akong masabi, hehe!
A few days after, Miss South Carolina guested on an NBC show to talk about her final question debacle which by then, has already spread throughout American blogs and the Youtube. If you wanna know how she answered the question the second time around, click here.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Unpopular Opinion 5: UAAP Men's Basketball is overhyped

All views and opinion expressed by this blogger does not in any way reflect that of or the whole blogosphere for that matter. Whatever bold statement read here should not be taken as the omnipotent truth. This blogger only wishes to share his opinions of the way things are in this universe, of which he is entitled to. If you don't share his opinion, you are very much welcome to share yours. But don't in any way hate this blogger for whatever opinion he has that is opposed to yours, for he does not in any way imply that he alone is right and that everyone else is wrong. Respect is valued here, as much as your opinion is, whatever it maybe.

Okay fine, the Fighting Maroons suck -- big time most of the time. But so what if UP has a 0-13 record in Men's Basketball? Life goes on for us UP students. It's not like we're counting on divine intervention or something, haha!

I don't want to proceed in basketball discussions because frankly, I am not a regular follower of the sport and the side issues attached to it. Neither am I an ardent Maroon fan (with the exception of the UP Pep Squad probably). If the Maroons win any game, "Yey!" If not, "Oh, well.." Certain victories are sweeter than the rest, but frankly, despite being an Isko myself, I have resigned to the fact that sports is not one of UP's strength as an education institution.

That's why I hate the way UAAP's Men's Basketball is overhyped.

It is televised via Studio 23. TV and newspaper news crews cover it more than the other sports. Thus, its players (especially the exceptional ones) are far more popular than other UAAP athletes. There are many factors why so -- sponsors, sponsors and sponsors. It's a chicken-and-egg case for me -- more people follow the competition so naturally, the news people cover it extensively. But since more news media cover it, the people have more opportunities to follow it.

Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against basketball. In fact, back in my elementary years, despite my personal knack for it, I was quite the avid fan of the Alaska Milkmen, especially in 1996, their grand slam year. I never was able to watch a game live for economic and geographic reasons. But that didn't stop me from making a bond paper size cardboard sign that shouted, "Go Alaska!" and waving it in front the television. I was also a huge fan of the Pampanga Dragons when they won the first ever MBA Championships.

What I hate though is the way Men's Basketball sort of represents the rest of the UAAP because of the lack of media coverage in the other sports. I am fully aware that UAAP Basketball's fans are not only limited to the students of the 8 participating universities. I am sure high school students and college students from other colleges or universities who share a similar passion for basketball are fans too. But do all of them know that there actually other sports competitions in the UAAP other than basketball?

When UST won the title at the expense of Ateneo in the 69th Season, that game hogged the evening headlines. Together with the rest of the country, we all heard that UST bravely won the basketball title. But did we ever learn that UST not only won last season's basketball title but also the Overall Title in the Seniors and Juniors Division? Last year's overall title is UST's 19th in the past 20 seasons (the other one was UP's, back in Season 1997-1998). Which bring their total to 34 Overall Championships. Very impressive right? More impressive than a basketball championship, if you ask me, for the latter just contributes 15 points to the university's total score in the league standings (UST had 331 points VS UP's 254 points).

How about my alma mater UP? We were actually 2nd overall last year and the other year (Wiki has no information on the older seasons). In fact, in the last season, we were the Champions in Girls' Swimming, Men's Swimming and Women's Judo. UP was the 1st runner-up in 10 other competitions. For the current season, while the men's are the bottom-dwellers with 0-13, the Lady Maroons actually share the lead with Ateneo with an 11-1 record. Do you think, UP sports (as a whole) would still get a lot of flak if its success in other competitions were also publicized and had more exposure? I don't think so.

Just the other week, I learned something about the relation between perception and substance from an alumna of my org in UP. And I can't help but relate the lessons I learned in UP's pathetic basketball campaign (at least in the men's division). Just because we suck big time in the highly televised games, it undermines the rest of our athletes in terms of perception. Ateneo and La Salle however, just because they are 'rich' universities, they are stereotyped to be well-trained players (a generalization I am guilty of myself).

So what's my point then? Haha! Well, I just want other sports to be televised as well, not only for the welfare of the winning teams in those competitions but also of the sports themselves. I think that in its own little way, a bigger awareness of the other sports helps in promoting that sports to us Filipinos. I feel we are too obsessed with winning an Olympic gold in basketball even if we actually have higher chances in other sports.

This year's Cheerdance Competition will be on September 16, 2007! Go UP! Haha! *cough* bitter sa UST!

U-nibersidad ng Pilipinas!
Matatapang, matatalino
Walang takot, kahit kanino
Hinding-hindi magpapahuli
Ganyan kaming mga taga-UP
U-nibersidad ng Pilipinas! U!

Well, except in men's basketball. Haha!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Definitely not running for honors

This is not a graph of the Dollar-Peso exchange rate the past few months where the lower the value, the stronger the Philippine Peso gets. It's how my GWA* (General Weighted Average) plunged through my n-years at UP Diliman, ehe.

They say that a picture paints a thousand words. Well, here's a quick recap of the story behind the 'picture'.. (Click the picture for a larger view)

1) It's my first sem ever in college and obviously, at UP. Incidentally, it's also the highest point of the graph, haha! Back then, it wasn't my strategy to excel in my subjects that consisted of GEs (General Education, UP's term for minor subjects) and a 5-unit Math major. Of course, I studied for my exams and I aimed for above average scores. But I never aimed for the highest marks the way I used to back in high school. I figured back then, I am but a small guppy in a sea of science high school aruwanas, how could I possibly stand out? Haha! I also decided that I am done with trying to meet other people's extreme expectations (read: receiving honors / medals). Looking back after 6 years, do I regret it? Yes.. Haha! Because it was my one and only chance to be a College Scholar (UP's own version of a Dean's Lister), and I didn't even grab the chance. Looking at the empty fields of my resum
é for 'Honors Received' in college, of course, I do regret it.

2) I finally had a EEE major -- a introductory programming course. That sem, I tried to outdo my first semester performance, but alas, my first real taste of hard core programming (my programming lesson back in high school are so easy!) and Chemistry did not cooperate. I redeemed my Math self-esteem that sem though with a 2.0 in my first Calculus course (I got a 4.0 in my college algebra and trigo subject, thank God I managed to pass the removals back then).

3) It's the school year where I was my organization's officer -- my first major extra-curricular responsibility in college. One can assume it affected my academic performance, but really, to produce a 2.50 average for a year where it's 85% majors for me is not an easy feat.

4) My first DROPPED subject -- Math 157 AKA Discrete Math Structures. Primary reason for the surrender? It's the professor, hehe! Dr. Hermo is probably the most feared but famous Math professor in UP in recent memory. But he sure was one of the best mentors. Mabagal lang talaga ako pumick-up, haha!

5) First 5.0 -- EEE 103 and EEE 51. 103 is an introductory course in electrical engineering and 51 is a subject of complicated and convoluted electric circuits. I am just thankful I'm through with those. It's my first time to be a disappointment, at least academically, to my parents so telling them (they're abroad) was a challenge. The reaction was way better than I expected though. :)

6) I was the President of my organization this school year. Yes, yet again, it did affect my studies which bore another DRP and the said 5.0s. After my term, I decided to 'retire' from the leadership business.

7) More 5.0s for me, but it's also my first ever 1.0 on a 3-unit subject -- Psych 101. Wow (sarcastic), a 1.0 on a free elective, haha!

8) My first ever 5.0 and DRP free semester in 3 semesters! But before you say I have redeemed myself, I almost did not achieve this minor achievement. I actually had two 4.0s that sem which I both luckily passed.

9) Dark Ages. The steep decline should say it all, hehe -- a deep hole from which I have to save myself from as of yet. It was the worst year of my life but if I look back at this point in my life someday, I know there was a good reason behind it. You know how your room gets even messier while you try to clean it? You know, the brief period where you put out all your stuff in the open to decide what to and what not to keep, and arrange them properly from thereon. That's how I want to look at that stage of my life.

10) To end on a brighter note, I'll focus on my 4 fruitful summer terms -- all of which were DRP and 5.0 free. At least, my summer sacrifice weren't for naught. :) Notice how my GWA would minutely increase after each summer term.

Obviously, I am barely the achiever that I was back in high school. When I finally graduate from college, I would receive nothing else other than the fake diploma the Engineering Dean would hand to me (the real diploma will be released MONTHS after, haha!).

Do I have regrets? Of course, I do. But not over the medals or honors I would have received if I made the conscious effort to focus entirely on my acads (and probably perform better). Friends would always dish out the patented excuse that after all, "mahirap naman kasi talaga ang course ko -- Engineering ako, CoE pa..". But it's an excuse I would rather not use, and I myself wouldn't deem reasonable (if I were on the receiving end of the excuse). I can't even invoke the classic Starstruck excuse where "tinry ko naman po ang best ko" because deep in my heart I know I didn't.

But what's done is done. (Clich
é excuse na naman, hehe!) I would have to live with the consequences of my mistakes, but at least as I go on with life, I have ways to redeem myself and realize my true potential. Wushu, may mga ganoong statement? Hehe!

At least I had a full college life -- and this is an excuse I would always stand for. With 'full' being defined as something that was designed to teach me some things I wouldn't have learned any other way, and made me a better person. Like I always say, better grades only make me a better student and a better son, but not necessarily a better person.

*Not to be mistakened as my Semestral GWA. Each point in the graph is an updated, overall and as-of-this-sem GWA. My semestral GWA is another story. I would need a deeper Y-axis, haha!
*GE GWA: 1.80, so kahit pala based on minors, hindi pa rin ako Cum Laude, haha!
*Eng'g GWA (subjects required for all Engineering students, regardless of specialization): 2.72
*EEE GWA (all my actual majors): 3.22. Oha, bagsak na bagsak, hehe. Andami kasing 5.0 eh. May mag-ha-hire pa kaya sa akin?

Quick Thoughts