Social Media is a Sketch Pad

Witty. Funny. Common words I’ve heard and read so many times from different people who would describe my ideas and how I write. I’m not good at accepting compliments, nor giving one, but it always gives me the needed kick to keep writing whenever I receive such.

Countless times I have encountered writer’s block and I know it will happen again–and make it as an excuse again. Even the most prolific writers dread it. Managing writer’s block is key to overcoming it. Like how you manage your boss–related but it’s another story.

Churning out ideas forming inside our head requires turning individual words into one that makes sense. One that is fluid, harmonized, or at least structured. (While I type at this moment I struggle already so bear with me.)

Sometimes the intent to impress by being verbose is the culprit, a trap leading to a draft that won’t be published ever. So writing something brief but catchy does the trick in keeping that writing brain running. Let loose and type away.

Many people online appreciate news digests. It’s become the trend since information technology overloaded the world wide web of anything under the sun. I don’t have the exact stats but I am quite sure I’m not the only one who would do a quick glance and scroll to the next that interests me. Nobody nowadays likes spending too much time on one article. Agree?

This is why I now treat social media as a sketch pad or a writing testing ground. I love the challenge of writing something short but interesting that I was among those who hated the day when Twitter decided to go let go of its 180 characters limit. Twitter was more fun back then.

Then there’s Facebook. Its “What’s on your mind?” is always a come-on to express something in the form of words or images or a combo of both regardless of quality of context. Done properly, however, posts could solicit the desired impact, reactions, or interactions. The challenge lies in knowing who your readers or friends are, how they would respond. So far my recent activities prove that being creative, clean, and having rant-free posts mean more likes, love, and laughter.

Sometimes one like is more than enough.

I also realized that posting beyond my circle of friends is also a good test of how my ideas and insights would be received. I once shunned commenting on news on Facebook as it exposes me open to the public, specifically to the trolls and grammar Nazis–karma sucks, I know. But I discovered that posting comments or opinions is one way of getting timely feedback about my writing style. So what works based on recent personal experience? Staying relevant to the topic, respecting the opinion of others, and infusing some wit (or sarcasm) do get good reception.

Practice, practice, practice they say. So whether perfection comes–if and when–or not I will try to write, write, write, and write more. It’s not going to be always easy but it would be a shame if I don’t even try to let my ideas see the light of day at least for fun or for a paid job. Which reminds me to check if there are job orders already…

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Mood: 2/10 Honks! (All boys day today! Wifey’s day out.)

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Call Center Light Bulb

How many call center agents does it take to change a light bulb?

Just one. But there would be probing questions.

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How many call center agents does it take to change a light bulb?

Just one. But it’s going to be recorded for quality and training purposes.

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It’s almost a year since we transferred house but there are still boxes with contents waiting to be stored in shelves or to be disposed. The latter is preferred. This minimalism thing is tougher than it seems which is why it takes time before we let go of stuffs that we don’t really need. The last one that was hard to give away were my MBA books but I gave it anyway. So far no regrets except that I could have sold it for a minimal fee.

Next in line are our Reader’s Digest issues from 1997-2006 with only a few missing months. If not for this magazine’s shift from educational and clean entertainment articles to Cosmopolitan-like contents then we could have continued our subscription. There’s now an urge to read everything for the last time before I throw or give them to someone else again.

Facebook and Kindle would have competition in the next months.

So if those light bulb jokes sound familiar then those are inspired by once again enjoying Laughter is the Best Medicine and All in a Day’s Work segments of Reader’s Digest just like the good old days. This reminds me that I’ve been wanting to be paid $100 for an RD contribution.

Out of curiosity if my call center light bulb jokes are noble ideas,  I downloaded Plagiarism Checker on Google Play Store and the app says these are considered unique results. It means they are mine but feel free to use them for fun anyway. Just in case–far-fetched thought, let me know if want to pay for it for commercial purposes though. 

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Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Feels like summer already.)

Understanding the President

This blog rarely contains political posts as I would avoid doing it as much as possible. I see such as one that usually contains rants and more often than not it is similar to any drunken social media post that anyone would regret the following day besides nurturing a bad hangover. But sometimes it has to be done on a whim especially when there is a challenge to do so.

In the recent days since I started being confined in a cold room at work–so cold I swear it feels like below freezing–with nobody else but one person I realized I am not totally introvert after all. I need to talk to someone, anyone, and so Facebook became the perfect place. My then dying MyPhone Rio didn’t deter me from answering “What’s on your mind?”

Little did I know that I would do more than just catching up with friends. I discovered that news and posts on my timeline has become more political. (There’s still a fragment of adults who continue to believe in copy-pasting hoax and requesting to type amen on comments but it’s another story.) Soon I would find myself getting so involved in the discussions.

I do not consider myself yellow, neither I’m a big fan of the current President who has continued to take an aggressive stand against the drug trade. I like this guy’s vision for the country but I don’t like his methods. Recently he and his loyal fans cry foul over the media that they accuse as biased, as an organization who openly take the President’s words out of context. Yesterday his allies crafted another defense. They called for everyone to open their minds and have a creative imagination so that the nation would understand our main guy. I heed the call so I made a pop quiz for my Facebook friends.

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Pop quiz! How well do you know the guy. No cheating. #digong101

1. When he says “Go to hell”, does he mean:
A. Go home
B. Go to hell
C. Go to hill
D. A and B
E. None of the above. It’s just his bipolar ego talking.

2. When he says “For the life of me, I’d rather kneel before the king of Brunei or Thailand but I will never before the Americans”, does it mean:
A. He loves the King of Brunei.
B. He loves kneeling in front of the King of Brunei.
C. He was once a Brunei beauty in his past life.
D. He plans to one day kiss the King of Brunei.
E. A and B
F. B and C
G. A and D
H. All of the above
I. None of the above. It’s just the media getting him out of context.
J. An American once broke his heart.

3. When he says “… there’s three million drug addicts. There are. I’d be happy to slaughter them.” Did he mean:
A. He owns a slaughter house.
B. He will personally slaughter all these addicts.
C. He needs help to slaughter all addicts.
D. Not really all, it’s just a figure of speech.
E. It depends if he finds friends wrongly included in the list.
F. All of the above
G. None of the above. Blame the biased media.
H. F and G, depending on which bipolar trait is currently in control.

4. When he said he will “ride a jet ski while bringing the Philippine flag”, is it because:
A. He plans to show defiance and aggression towards China.
B. He plans to surrender the island with a Philippine flag on it like an icing on a cake.
C. It’s pure propaganda composed by a paid troll who is now likely part of the cabinet.
D. Our country does not have any decent boat he can use.
E. All of the above
F. None of the above. Misquoted.

5. When he swears, does he really say “F*ck you!”?
A. Yes, but it’s just a harmless expression because he was once poor.
B. No, PI is the preferred word because he is Filipino.
C. Nope, he does not swear. The media is only using bleep in the news to make him appear as if he swore.
D. A and B
E. Next question please.

6. When he said he will get rid of the drug problem within 3 months, does it mean:
A. Yes, 3 months only.
B. 3 months x 2
C. 3 months x 4 x 6 years
D. It depends as there are 3 million addicts.
E. Did he say that?

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Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Some light bulb moments could get us in trouble.)

Never Too Old for BMX

 

The first quarter of this year was when I made my slow return to riding my BMX bike again. Our new place is less than five kilometers from a park where local BMX riders hang around. While my riding sessions haven’t been as regular as more than 20 years ago, I once again become aware and interested in the country’s and international BMX scene. And I can see that BMX sport continues to evolve. BMX riders are now more daring and the new tricks they can do are just unreal. My favorite flatland isn’t the flatland that I used to know. Good signs that behind the seemingly common fixies, MTB’s and Triathlon bikes, BMX too has become just as popular.

To prove that local BMX is gaining grounds, riders in the Philippines have been celebrating BMX day. It isn’t clear though when it first started. Even Google doesn’t offer a definite answer if, when and where the first BMX day originated. But July 23 seems to be the D-Day. So on Saturday riders of BMX bikes in the country gathered together in their respective rendezvous. Fans and pros alike pedaled around in numbers in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao to celebrate. Knowing the potential of this sport, I would have loved to be part of this celebration.

Back in my younger years, we never had an annual BMX day event. In my days, every weekend is our BMX day and, for the lack of Facebook and social media, I only know that our team was the only BMX freestyler (hint on the term) team in Bacolod City. I even would bet that in the city’s BMX community anyone would recognize the name Linear Radicals. We were a familiar sight in the Bacolod City Lagoon—bikes were allowed inside back then. People stop and stare when we start jamming around. We would make heads turn when we do impromptu tricks in the crowded streets during the MassKara festival. There was even a time when we packed our bikes in a small pickup truck and headed somewhere far north to be part of a town’s fiesta. There was another team who did the racing event but ours took over the stunt show. Modesty aside, for once, we were famous in our own rights.

Not me, not my pic. (Image from the web.)

Fast forward to 2016, the BMX scene changed a lot. Think of heavy black rotary phone versus sleek smartphones. Change was rad. I remember the first time we saw on Betamax the first time an American perfected the tailwhip air on a vert ramp but locals nowadays can pop one from a bunnyhop. It is just unbelievable to see that the BMX flatland tricks my generation once do are now considered basics. The scuff tricks are now used to progress to far more technical rolling tricks. Even young riders nowadays would transition from one trick to another through a short squeakerson, front yard, backyard, or funky chicken. And did I mention they do all these brakeless?

My own old  bike turned brakeless.

While the BMX flatland tricks have become more complicated, the BMX parts and its setup is the opposite. It is now common to see totally brakeless bikes which means brake levers, calipers and detanglers are starting to be obsolete. BMX flatland riders also now prefer chainwheels with only 25 teeth and they have also set the seat lower than before. With lesser and smaller yet better parts, what’s left is the basic bike that is less cumbersome thus making it an effective street or BMX flatland bike. Despite its simplicity, prices do not come cheap. Popular price range is 10,000-20,000 pesos.

The BMX sport will surely get better and bigger. In the Philippines alone, popular riders like Paulo Gepulango (proudly from Bacolod) and Renz Viaje, who in the recent years joined an It’s Showtime contest, continue to inspire new generations of BMX flatland riders. There’s also this promising BMX team in Bohol who made me realize that there’s more to this place than just its Chocolate Hills and tarsiers—I would definitely try to find where they hang out if I get the chance to travel down south.

Philippine BMX flatland videos always zap me back in time when all we care about is BMX (yup, I’ve skipped classes for it).  Every time I see one makes a part of me a very young boy eager to get on a bike to see if I can pop a wheelie for starters but another part an old man conceding that what these young lads do aren’t for me anymore.  By the way, those guys I hang out with in Tanauan are half my age so I guess I could claim to be their father of BMX. Regardless, I think nobody is too old for BMX so I will remain to be a big fan of this sport and would like to continue seeing more of it. To old-schoolers and young BMX riders alike, more power.

 

This was also posted on Flatmode Philippines (Official). Paulo Gepulango is this FB page’s admin.

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Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Almost on tip-top shape.)

 

 

Gone too Soon

Early part of this year has been full of news of death of celebrities whose names have been all too familiar with me as they have been part of my generation’s pop culture. There’s the iconic singer David Bowie, Glen Frey of Eagles, and the actor who played villain roles, Alan Rickman. I thought everyone in their sixties are dying but today one broke the trend and probably the saddest and tragic so far.

Dave Mirra was found dead and reports tell of an apparent suicide. Mirra who is an icon in the BMX world continued to live the life that others like me could only dream of. At age 41, he is known to have transitioned to be an active triathlete. From the Rad years to his own Playstation game and up to Facebook I was one of those who witnessed his full life, well, until I read the Facebook post on Lad Bible about his untimely death.

Suicide sucks but will always remain a mystery. It is easy to judge those who did it but we will never would understand why, even despite accomplishment and fame, they would rather end their own life. Rest in peace Dave and we pray that God bless your family and kids.

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Mood: 7/10 Honks! (A day of happy and sad news.)