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Blog Action Day 2010: To Drink From Tap Again

15 October 2010

Blog Action Day 2010: To Drink From Tap Again

I’m only being honest here but this year’s BAD theme bored me to tears: Water. The Blog Action Day (BAD) team had been very helpful when they emailed topic guides for those who are lost with an angle to write and there’s this one particular item that turned me off the most: the action widget. When embedded, it’ll let your readers have access to a link to a petition “supporting the UN’s efforts to bring clean, safe water to millions.” Though noble and I fully support this, mind you, why do we need to gather signatures for this cause again? If people in global organizations who have the power to do this decades ago can not still discern that this is a worthy cause to pursue then I’ve lost faith. Oh, just because there are private citizens who’d do this for them anyway, is that it? There’s this episode on Oprah three or four years ago that showed she’s already built a well in Africa. It’s the same advocacy that BAD’s petition is trying to have signatures over and this bothers me.

If the UN did not get inspired, fully grasp the humanitarian essence of this deed, or if it would take Blog Action Day and thousands of blogs to give the UN a backing first before they can act then, sorry to say, as an Internet meme would put it, “I am disappoint.” It’s 2010. All of mankind’s concerted efforts globally through the years since 1996 have practically stopped the hole in the ozone layer from expanding. Look, UN and BAD, go ahead and do it, petition or no petition. It’ll make you feel good, the kind of feel good that’ll make you cry some happy, fulfilling tears.

I left the title as it originally was from the initial draft of my Blog Action Day article . Sure, I’d still wish to drink from tap again but those in Africa who’d have to walk miles just to have access to clean drinking water dwarf my battle cry in shame. I hope the 3,050 signatures (as of press time) on that petition’s enough to egg and cheet UN on aaaaaaaaaaaand I highly doubt that’ll be the case instantaneously. Still, I hope some time soon that some real action or miracle happens, whatever comes first.

As a personal advocacy to attempt in my own small effort to declutter the country I’m in with trash, pet bottles being the lot of them, I’d like to share some ideas on how we can all do our part:

1. Reusable Mugs: for those who are working in offices, carry your own tumbler and reuse it when getting drinking water from filtered water dispensers. I get at east one every Christmas and every one of them end up at home. I’m sure I’m no isolated case on this. Leave one at work, use, and reuse. They’re cooler looking than plastic/sturo cups and plastic bottles.
2. Sport Bottles: from home when going out in the field or going to school or places that don’t usually offer potable water from water dispensers, use sport bottles and take your cold water anywhere with you. My favorite brands for these are Sigg and Nalgene. These two are right about the coolest looking sport bottles on the planet and they’re available in outdoor equipment specialty stores in the Philippines.
3. Mind Water Fountain Wastage: there are still some establishments that offer potable water dispensed from electricity powered drinking fountains (like Buddy’s and out office cafeteria, for example). Observe. We spill more water than how much we drink when we bend and drink directly from the stream. Use a glass.

Let’s do our share in continuing to be mindful about the filth we throw away everyday. If anything, this for me is action more than just clicking a button to sign a petition. (NO to take out styro and disposable utensils!)

Header photo meta: Meta: 22mm, f/4.5, 1/3200 sec. taken 04.20.2010 5:08 PM, Camarines Sur.

Blog Action Day 2010: Water from Blog Action Day on Vimeo.

Join the global conversation around water on October 15th.

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Free Multi-Me Lifestyle Fair on October 17th at SM MOA from Centrum

15 October 2010

Free Multi-Me Lifestyle Fair on October 17th at SM MOA from Centrum

I’ll be so going, my fabled spinal injury be damned, to the Centrum Milti-Me Lifestyle Fair on Sunday, October 17, 2010 at the SM Mall of Asia Music Hall for this one single reason out of the many: FREE WALL-CLIMBING! While Barre3 (“ballet with with the wisdom of yoga” for fitness), Center for Culinary Arts Manila (healthy food preparation demo), Team Manila Lifestyle (lomography), Groovejackz from the Brewing Point Dance Studio (street, hiphop, krump, popping, and adlib dance), Freeway and Solo (fashion makeover demo), and John Robert Powers (personality development) will be setting up booths, demo classes, and interest group talks (where applicable) for the different multi-faceted or soon to be multi-faceted attendees (as the event is for free for anyone and everyone), I’d like to hog the wall because it’s been close to two months since my last climb and I can totally sense my muscles forgetting the discipline.

We’re at that day and age where being holistic and dynamic is nether only a suggested lifestyle nor a fleeting trend. It’s already become the consciousness that’s possessing everybody. If living the multi-me lifestyle were a virus, it’s one thing anybody’d rather die having. It’s a phenomenon that so good and sound, everybody’s buying. Nobody would want to be branded as just a corporate person doing good at their jobs, an artist who only knows one fiddle, or worst, somebody who’s just as good as his one hit wonder. If there’s anything of value that that slut consumerism has set a-walking on this earth, it’s creating demands for activities that actually benefit the consumers by giving them a wide selection and avenue where they can express their passions, realize frustrations, and live what they would have only forever dreamed all while in the pink of health.

So do you want to learn to dance like those kids at Got To Dance UK (great format, guys! I saw one episode last night and I was so inspired, I swore to go get street dance lessons again and soon) or So You Think You Can Dance? Or would you rather know how much it would take or at least get a feel of being in one of the best culinary schools in the country? What’s this Barre3 and why’s it being the world’s latest workout craze, pray tell? How easy or expensive is it to lead a “new you” life starting with a makeover? Can you beat the fritzparazzi at wall-climbing because he dares you to beat him? I’ll see you at the SM Mall of Asia Music Hall on Sunday for Centrum’s Multi-Me Lifestyle Fair? Yes? Yay! Last I heard, anybody and everybody can join the fair. No product purchase required.

Below are some photos taken during the Multi-Me Lifestyle Fest Press preview.

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7 Nokia N8 Features That Got It So Sold To This Fritzparazzi Rockstar

12 October 2010

7 Nokia N8 Features That Got It So Sold To This Fritzparazzi Rockstar

For my own peace of mind, I searched the web for reviews and initial reactions that may make me hate pre-ordering a Nokia N8. Enumerated below, ranked from the mostest bestestest badassiest and so on, are features that I know will make me whole again as a person. Now, if only the phone can give me like 3 inches more in height.

1. Excellent camera: 12 megapixel Carl Zeiss with autofocus, Xenon flash, 720p HD video playback and recording (can output and record Dolby Digital Plus surround sound. Unit is also pre-loaded with a photo and video editing application)
2. Superior connectivity: five-band WCDMA radio, WiFi b/g/n, FM radio and transmitter, HDMI connection
3. Ovi Maps with GPS/navigation, complete with free turn-by-turn spoken directions which can be used offline (“offline” would mean no roaming charges when used elsewhere in the planet)
4. Exhaustive multimedia playback support: H.264, MPEG-4, VC-1, Sorenson Spark and Real Video 10 video, MP3, WMA, AAC, eAAC, eAAC+, AMR-NB and AMR-WB audio (up to 320kbps), and support for streaming Flash video
5. Anodized aluminium casing won’t ever look cheap compared with the plastics
6. Plug a USB thumb drive into it (will require an adapter, but still)
7. Threaded SMS/MMS conversations and sortable/searcheable inbox.

If you noticed, I noted what I’d be using the phone for based on my lifestyle and habits. These are essentials for me, this very particular user, and if other smartphones can give me all these plus those cutesy and shiny icons from the iPhone 4 or other Android devices, then maybe I’ll change my mind.

N8, you’ll be mine on the 23rd. (Smart, I’m telling you you better eff’n deliver with your promise because I’m so looking forward to it and excited right now, it’s not even funny)

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Google Chrome Themes and Extensions for Filipinos by Filipinos

10 October 2010

Google Chrome Themes and Extensions for Filipinos by Filipinos

I first used Google Chrome in 2008 and what made me itch to get past the getting-used-to stage fast is its speed. I used to think that the snail pace loading of sites in my PC’s end is being caused solely by my ISP’s bandwidth download speed limits. That being constant, however, shifting to Chrome from IE (for example) will make any user experience a very noticeable difference on website content loading speeds. Next, there’s the look and feel. Launch the browser and you’ll see everything’s simplistic, minimalist, and decluttered. In times when netbooks are in, with those teensy weensy screens, a few lines taken away from browsers will actually make you see more of site contents which is the entire point of visiting websites, anyway.

The Foxy Switch

Random Users Plurk about Google Chrome

In the beginning, there was IE and we saw that it was good. Better than buggy Netscape Navigator (hold on, I’m getting dizzy from a wave of nostalgia. Give me just a sec to recover) in several counts. Then came Firefox. And then, Google Chrome.

Getting multiple tabs/session instances in one browser window with Firefox was a Godsent experience for Internet users the world over. Shortly after, Firefox introduced add-ons, upping the ante of what Internet browsers can give Internet users in terms of customized usability, depending on their need or required user experience (like the amazing CoolIris, FireProxy, Firebug, streaming video and screen grabbers, etc). While Firefox had all these going, as new player Google Chrome got in the picture, it being indeed faster than Firefox, still left those who got so attached to Firefox Add-Ons with lots to be desired, making halfassed converts of some who are hesitant to fully cross the switching bridge. Recently, however, Google Chrome introduced “Extensions.” The feature is still fairly new but I foresee that the Add-Ons we so loved on Firefox will come out surely come out as Extensions versions in Chrome in the very foreseeable future.

It is great to point, too, that during this one time when my ISP decided to be f*cked up stoned for the night at home, I had to visit a nearby Internet Cafe and was surprised to see that they have Google Chrome installed in all their computer terminals! Using Chrome’s “Incognito Mode” in public computers for me is the most secure way of checking emails and entering passwords because as soon as I close the Incognito window, nothing will be stored in the PC’s memory that may be accessed by the next renters. Good times!

Pinoy Extensions and Themes by Pinoys

Chrome Themes Screenshot
The point of the Google Chrome launch was to formally introduce the Philippine Google Chrome Extensions and Themes. With extensions developed by Filipinos for the Filipino, Chrome users can access a wealth of information from the likes of ABS-CBN News (displaying Top news, Latest News, and Video Feed links), AyosDito.ph, Banco De Oro, Cebu Pacific (book using the extension), Carlos Celdran (keep abreast with the latest of Carlos’ guided tour dates and rates), MMDA (access to the site’s FAQs, quite useful for motorists and drivers), PAL (book using the extension), and the PEP – Philippine Entertainment Portal (for the latest gossip LOL).

Finding which Extensions will make your browsing life easier is fairly easy and installing them happens just after three clicks of your mouse button. Either do a quick search of the keyword of the extenstion that you want or navigate around the categories on the left-hand sidebar for the feature of your choice.

Another nifty feature introduced durign the launch is the availability of themes made by Filipinos for Filipinos. I may not be too keen on themes but I’d have to say, Chrome just keeps on getting better and better.

Photos from the Launch

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Cosplayers of Cosplay Mania X Day 2

4 October 2010

Cosplayers of Cosplay Mania X Day 2

More than the want to practice “ambush shooting” (as Flawless Model serch Paul Reyes who I happened to meet at CosMania would put it), I’m a huge fan of cosplayers. Seriously, I am. I’d never have the guts, heart, patience, and passion to do what you guys do. I give my great heartfelt thanks to your kindness in putting up with countless pose requests all throughout the day. To the costume makers, some of whom do not cosplay at all, I admire your craft. They don’t go unnoticed. Also, my niche is not about cosplay photography. The four last posts having been such is purely coincidental LOL.

During Day 2 (see my shots of Day 1 here), there seem to be as many photographers as there are cosplayers. There were also spectators inside the con venue who do not seem to have a firm grasp of what good personal hygiene is. Step one, bathe. Two, apply deodorant onto the underarms (VERY important). Three, put on clean clothes (equally important as step Two). A deodorant is cheaper than the entrance fee to the event venue, FYI, just in case the cost correlation isn’t so obvious.

There were also a whole lot more cosplayers but I slacked off and I’m sorry to admit that. Thus, I only took around half of the shots I did during Day 1. Congratulations to the TOrCH finalists for putting up a great show. The judges must have had a tough time deciding who to declare as winner. Great job, Manila Team TOrCH Finalists San Diego (Haseo) and Kenji Matsushita (Balmung, both from .hack//G.U.)! Pulling off a cosplay change like that for the finals was both gutsy and brilliant. Brilliant because you still managed to out do your Regional Finals stage performance, with video to boot. Way to go!

Fine, who reads what I have to say anyway. On with the pictures! Oh, and for the record, the 7-Eleven slurpee was free flowing until the wee hours of the event night. You have redeemed your name from Day 1′s fiasco, good sirs. :) Before the cosplay photos, here be toy photos I took from the display cases inside the Cosplay Mania X event hall. I grabbed the opportunity since new toys are too expensive to buy for the sole purpose of shooting (because I’m cheap like that LOL). There’s just one challenge: shooting through glass and the uncontrollable ambient light.

Brook of One Piece from MegaHouse 2 on display at Cosplay Mania X (Day 2, October 2, 2010)

Brook of One Piece from MegaHouse 3 on display at Cosplay Mania X (Day 2, October 2, 2010)

Black Rock Shooter Figma from Good Smile on display at Cosplay Mania X (Day 2, October 2, 2010)

Crocodile of One Piece from MegaHouse on display at Cosplay Mania X (Day 2, October 2, 2010)

Luffy of One Piece from MegaHouse on display at Cosplay Mania X (Day 2, October 2, 2010)

Luffy of One Piece from MegaHouse 2 at Cosplay Mania X (Day 2, October 2, 2010)

Smoker of One Piece from MegaHouse on display at Cosplay Mania X (Day 2, October 2, 2010)

Rin Kagamine Nuclear Fusion from Max Factory on display at Cosplay Mania X (Day 2, October 2, 2010)

Rin Kagamine Nuclear Fusion from Max Factory 2 on display at Cosplay Mania X (Day 2, October 2, 2010)

Robin of One Piece from MegaHouse on display at Cosplay Mania X (Day 2, October 2, 2010)

Saber Lily from Good Smile BW at Cosplay Mania X (Day 2, October 2, 2010)

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand now, the cosplayers and then some. Just to add, cosplay cons got me thinking. It’s only fair that cosplayers in costumes do not get charged entrance fees in events like these. They are, after all the crowd drawers. One cosplayer will most definitely have an entourage of friends, family, and supporters. Plus there are paying fans like myself who would not think twice to shell out a small amount for the chance to do practice shots and touch base with friends in the community. The number of cosplayers is but a small fraction of the crowd in these events. But that’s just me. ;)

To view the full image, left click on the thumbnail. It make take three clicks for some to load properly. Thanks for your patience.

Until next con!

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Cosplayers of Cosplay Mania X Day 1

3 October 2010

Cosplayers of Cosplay Mania X Day 1

During Day 1 of Cosplay Mania X (“X” for the number 10 for 2010, 10 years of something, yeah you can have it that way, or read the entire event name as Cosplay ManiaX. See what I did there?), the supposed 10 glasses of Slurpee that comes as a freebie when you get your ticket(s) to the 2-day event (P250 for a two-day pass, P149 for one day), as the manong guard said, “kanina pa po ubos yan” when I tried to get just one cup at around 6pm. Way to go 7-Eleven sponsorship! Ever notice how the price of tickets for this kind of convention tends to increase faster than inflation while the venue still remains to be relatively small sized compared to the turnout of participants? Ah, yeah, because there’s demand, OK I got that.

I would love to go on with the soliloquy but there are more pressing matters like me publishing a fresh batch of cosplay photos taken just this afternoon. Fresh off WordCamp, I beelined to SMX to witness what I think could be the best cosplayers’ gathering yet! Lots of great character plays and me bumping into personalities whose cosplays I have photographed during different past conventions. All hail the versatile rubber sheet and all powerful Greco! Horray!

All of the shots below were taken using a 50mm f/1.8 lens on my 550D plus an external flash. (Left click on a thumbnail to see the full-sized image. Some photos may take a third click to load correctly. Thanks!) Do let me know your name and who you were cosplaying as (if you are one of these cosplayers), just so I can label the photos correctly. TOrCh finale on Day two of Cosplay Mania X. Rooting for Team Manila! Woot!

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