Spam, Anyone?

SPAM

Function: noun

Etymology: from a skit on the British television series Monty Python’s Flying Circus in which chanting of the word Spam overrides the other dialogue

Date: 1994

: unsolicited usually commercial e-mail sent to a large number of ad- dresses

(www.m-w.com)

Coming out of bed from a short sleep after a graveyard shift duty, an idea pop out of nowhere (or out of boredom): Hey, why not put to good use the spams I regularly receive? And with that trash thought, comes…trash, of course. G. I. G. O–Garbage In, Garbage Out.  So blog world, please welcome my spam blog.

This blog is mainly all about forwarded emails coming from my wife, family members, friends and of course, last but not the least, spammers. These emails range from tips on health, safety, car maintenance and home care. Some are urban legends that by the power of the internet get recycled and create another wave of terror and sleepless nights to its clueless recipient. Others are jokes – both green or clean – and others are religious chain mails that threatens a gullible receiver of death or misfortune if not forwarded in 10 seconds to 10 contacts. And this is just a few of the emails I’ve received so far. In short this is a blog of emails on everything and anything under the sun. More often than not, I would become a spammer myself as I would forward emails that I think are good to my contact groups. Ti abi. The cycle never ends.

Nevertheless, I still think that not all spams are created equal. What is trash to me, may actually work for others. And so instead of deleting these mails, I’d bury them all here for others to read and learn. I hope you enjoy My Spam Blog.

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The David Among the Giant Printers

Choices for printers have improved a whole lot since the days of slow black and white matrix printers. Anyone can now have faster quality prints at home that years ago could only be achieved through costly commercial printing press services. Now we have one in our hands. It’s a Brother all-in-one printer 150C model. An impulsive but justified buy. A printer, scanner and copier in one package at the price of just approximately Php 4000 (<USD 100) is money well spent.

This brand may not be as popular as Canon or HP when it comes to printers, but the features it has are competitive enough. The printer’s interface is user friendly. Its overall case and parts appear sturdy which remind me of our Brother portable typewriter that I’ve done a good deal of torture but still remains in operation until now—15 years later. Hopefully this multi-printer will stay strong just like his brother (pun intended).

Scanned images and print outs appear better than expected. At first we got disappointed when the photo prints outs had lines in it but after reading the user’s manual (duh!) and following the instructions a better print came out. I can’t say it’s perfect, but it’s like just any other photo I received from my sister who I know got a Canon photo printer and from some friends who developed their digital images thru professional developing centers. By the way, it has four separate ink cartridges (black, magenta, cyan and yellow) which makes it economical. Only the consumed color gets to be replaced. My resume will use up only the black one first anyhow.

Nothing is perfect though. Upon installation I saw some issues with it. The scanning software doesn’t have a preview unlike my Canon’s LiDE 20 which I find very useful as it lessens scanning time when doing small size papers such as paper bills which I used to test it. I read in the manual that it’s illegal to scan money. Don’t worry I don’t intend to forge my 500 bill. Though I wish it could multiply just like that. Ti abi.

printer
AC Cord on lower left corner. Scanner bed is shown as lifted to access USB port.
printer2
Red arrow pointing at USB port.

Lastly, I find the AC cord and USB connections weird. I expect the AC cord to be at the rear part and the USB port just somewhere visible. The port is hidden underneath the scanner bed which must be lifted in order to connect/remove the cable. I don’t know if the other multi-printer brands are set up like this.

Overall, this neat multi-printer will make the top brands a run for their money. It’s like David vs. Goliath. It’s like AMD vs. Intel. Hmm. It’s a stretch, and let’s not go there. It’s for another blog.

 

Here Comes Bum Days

 

Every working day seems to be getting gloomier and gloomier at work but I still exude a positive look to most people—to my colleagues, to my peers. In short, I’m becoming a professional hypocrite. Ti abi. But that’s the way it should be right now. There’s no point in surrendering even if the fight seems worthless and unwinnable.  Sooner or later I’d be a bum but until that time comes I try to be positive. Remember: choose to be happy.

So what have I done so far to soften the impact of the inevitable? I’ve made sure that I equipped myself with bum tools.

  1. Unpaid car. Nice to drive around with. Necessary to eliminate couch rashes.
  2. Books. Lots of it. I think I’d be able to read most of it while in career hibernation. I’d start to worry when I start re-reading my wife’s Archie comics.
  3. Cable TV and Internet subscription. Other than being certified bum tools, both may be my connection to the outside world.  Which reminds me to check the schedule of the TV show Til Debt Do Us Part.
  4. DVDs. Genuine DVDs. Got to have popcorns and beer to go along with these.
  5. A Brother. Yes, a Brother multi-printer. The brother that can help me distribute my resume print outs while on a job hunt.
  6. Rubik’s cube. I don’t know if the recent recession and attrition is the reason this cube puzzle was revived. I’m smelling conspiracy here.

For now these should suffice to keep me occupied for the bum days to come.

 

Auto Financing, Anyone?

One of the benefits of killing time is that I get to sit in front of my PC, stare blankly at the glowing CRT and instinctively place both of my hands on the keyboard’s home keys. This is also one of those times when I dream I have my own treadmill and gym set which could be a healthier way to pass time. So while I’m not there yet, I let my typing fingers do the walking for now.

Just a few weeks ago while unconsciously surfing the net like a “career zombie” trying to find a plan B after our company pulls out of its Philippine operation, I chanced upon a sticky thread on one of my favorite automotive hangout. The thread’s title is “…is looking for new talent.” That intrigued me. I can drive, I can do two-point reverse maneuver, I can blindly pass through Daang Hari at night and I can grab the hand brakes while my wife does a sharp turn that feels like 80 kph. So what could be better than these?

I clicked to read on.

To my disappointment they’re not looking for dummy drivers. They’re looking for someone who can do automotive journalism—still some dummy of sort. And so I thought that while I still haven’t seen my career plan B yet, I might as well make this one my plan C. I sent a private message to one of the administrators.

Unfortunately, I received no acknowledgment since then. I actually returned to the thread to check if my foolish mind failed to see the exact date when it was posted. It was just recently. Damn.

Today, however, while checking my emails after graveyard duty, I saw one from the car forum. My mind woke up in an instant and once again I fantasized being inside a brand new Toyota Camry to do a review, inhaling deeply and sucking all the new car scent it could offer, fiddling nervously with its keys while contemplating on what it could offer as it zoom past Cavite’s potholed highway to test its wide wheelbase and torture its suspension. But reality sets in just as soon as it has left me.

A line on the email says, “Can you do an article on auto financing? Make an outline first, then we’ll start from there.” He must be kidding, his reply confused me.  Thank heavens, Yahoo! came in handy. I checked what the blog world has to offer regarding auto financing and I didn’t fully expect what I found because the search tags are similar to where I’m at right now—in  debt, needs financing.

And in my current state, if I were to write about auto financing, I would have some of these catchy copies:

  • “Just got promoted? Reward yourself with a brand new car!”
  • “Is your company’s inventory piling up? Is your company getting less attention? Did the CEO just recently focus investments to Vietnam? Is your stock price in a plateau state? If you answered yes to all, screw it, grab a lovely car!”
  • “Best deals in town are all over. From 5% off, all-in offers, 3 years + 1 warranty, etc. So if you have a proof of availability, and (a pause and drum rolls are highly recommended at this point) a severance package, now is the chance to own a brand new car!”

Wait, did I mention what my career plan A is? Well, it’s to bum around for months while looking for plan B to Z. Ti abi.

Gone Fishing

Two years ago my wife bought me a Shimano fishing rod and reel for my birthday. Thanks to my friend Mike who influenced and got me somewhat hooked on this hobby. For some reason,  however, there was a long gap after I acquired my own set. But this year seems the season again.

So finally I was out fishing once more. My fourth this year at the same place in succession. The timing have been on my favor after Mike resigned from our company which allowed him to adapt to my day-offs and set our fishing trips.

Just 10 kilometers away from home is a fishing venue called Fishers’ Farm Resort which is also a quite decent place for an outing event in the heart of Dasmariñas, Cavite. The resort offers swimming, horseback riding, and of course, fishing. Although, we’ve had days when fishes don’t seem to take the bait, we still prefer hanging out here as foods and drinks bought outside are allowed. Fees are very affordable as well.

Today we’ve got all the reasons to go fishing: Roman came back from Canada for a couple of weeks vacation, Mike will be leaving for the US sometime next month, Manny’s birthday tomorrow; and lastly, Manny, Jhun and I are just taking time to relax and clear our heads from the looming closure of our company.

the fishing gang
Disclaimer: None of the fish were shot using the airsoft rifle.

***

My uncle who’s also into fishing passed away this week. Other than the fact that I was saddened by his sudden death, I was also shocked as I’ve been considering going back to his place sometime this year for a change of fishing experience: on a bangka and in the middle of the sea.

His death made me think that we are like fishes in the sea while God is the fisherman. Only he knows when he’ll take us while we spend our time wiggling our tails and fins while clueless of the bait. It takes just a snap and we’re gone, hanging by the hook, twitching helplessly in resistance and then facing the inevitable death. Sometimes he may have to catch and release though if he sees we are not yet fit to be taken–that’s being given the second chance.

***

The day will come when I’ll be fishing for jobs. I’m crossing my fingers that when the time comes for me to cast the bait, some employer will find it alluring to catch it. And hopefully, I’ll be fit and quick enough to reel it in.

Lost in La Luz

It’s been years since we’ve savored sea, sand and sun. The last one we had was in 2006 when I tagged along with wifey being one of the top employees of the year who were treated for free in Boracay. It would be one of the worthy memories with our company. So on April 2, April Fools ’ Day in the US, we embarked on a road trip to see the beach once more.

It was a trip full of mixed emotions. We looked forward to fun and excitement in spite of the impending uncertainty and anxiety. The trip would be our farthest down south but it was fun as we passed along good roads and scenic views. We located La Luz beach with ease, thanks to the directions I printed from the internet. The last 4-kilometer stretch was a challenge due to the rough and dusty road with a couple of hill climbs as a finale to our destination.

old house
Creepy but interesting structure.
last stretch
Testing the car’s off-road capability.
hill climb
Slow climb.

We learned that the resort is already fully booked so we decided to settle in one of the local’s rental place–a nipa hut managed by Aling Ely—instead of going back to find another resort. Besides, I’ve been curious what if feels like to sleep, even just overnight, in one of those rooms.

As soon as we got settled, sad news came. In that small room is where we learned thru SMS from a colleague that the long standing rumor is now confirmed. The company’s top bosses flew in from the US that same day and have already told the news to all Cavite employees that the company is pulling the manufacturing operations out of the country in 6-9 months. An April Fools’ day joke? A thousand Filipino employees for sure wished it was, but unfortunately, it was not.

Setting the expected news aside and having had my mandatory siesta, we checked the beach. No big deal, we’re just going to be unemployed. The weather that afternoon appeared just as confused as we were. It rained hard but it quickly dissipated. The sun beams came out of the dark gray clouds after a brief but heavy rainfall.

The beach at that time was rather serene which I find unusual given the fact that it’s summer. The water was fairly clear yet the waves tend to be strong. Some portions underwater are also uneven and may surprise anyone unfamiliar with the area. And one thing I can’t help but notice was that sand all over the place is quite loose. Must be where the name La Luz was derived – from being La Loose. Ti abi. A few meters of treading on the loose sand (or pebbles) drained most of my energy. With every step we took,my stomach protested. Hunger eventually sets in.

Looking for food was also unexpectedly hard. Other than failing again to get reservations in La Luz’s dining, the surrounding area itself is scarce of bars or restaurants. Although there were some kainan or carinderia, the choice of food that you expect to eat while at the beach were not available. I find it ironic that we had a difficult time finding fresh inihaw na isda (grilled fish). Thankfully, after crisscrossing and thoroughly combing the nearby area like two hungry stray cats, one resort’s bar accommodated us as walk-in customers—believe or not we’re the only customers at that time so that could have left them no choice. Weird.

Night time was more quiet. With my San Mig lights beer from Taramandu bar, my wife and I settled in one of the cabanas with the dim incandescent light coming from the distant posts as the only illumination. It was a perfect time to talk about lots of things—our job, for one. It was also a perfect time to do some star gazing which as far I can recall I haven’t done for years without the distraction of honking cars, TV shows, noisy neighbors and interference coming from the street lamp post. The beach that night was almost pitch black. The only star that night, well, are the stars.

dark
Nothing but dark beach.

We went home the next day after sleeping over at the nipa hut.  I had a very good sleep that night even with just having only an electric fan for ventilation. The native materials from roof (nipa) to flooring (bamboo) allowed good ventilation. It was a change from the usual air-conditioned rooms we’re used to when we travel. Except for the toilet where my wife discovered some friends from Joe’s Apartment (go figure), the overnight stay at Aling Ely’s place was worth the price (Php 1.2K) and the experience.

banka
Boats and huts.

The Yoyo and One Vantage Point

Every now and then, I would always remember one of the emails I received regarding man having just two choices the moment he wakes up and starts his day. So as this week seems to be a week of confusion, fun, adventure, fun—or in short, just confusion, I had to deal with these two choices: is it going to be a good or a bad day? So on April fool’s day, despite already having a hint of the things that may happen within the week, my wife and I refused to let it go down on us. We chose to be happy.

At lunch time we decided to eat at Brazilian Bbq restaurant in ATC which is fairly new in the area. The place is just at the back of the former Saisaki restaurant and its small space gives a homey feel to it. I think it can only accommodate approximately 50 customers at a time—less elbows to rub, less buffet rivals, more chance to pick and savor the food. Don’t be deceived by its size though as this restaurant packs a variety of good food, mostly grilled. I don’t know who conceptualized it, but this place gives yoyo diet a new definition.

Other than the plates, spoons and forks, and condiments, the waiter also places a yoyo on the table. To a newcomer, this may come as surprise as to what its purpose may be. The yoyo is colored green on one side and red on the other. Laying the toy with green on top means a waiter will come to your table with random grilled food still at its rotisserie stake although you may ask whatever food you preferred. They’ll be coming right back until you’ve turned the yoyo over with its red side on top. It just occurred to me that this is a good way to keep the customers from saying “stop” while their mouth is “stuffed”. Wise idea.

As we normally do, we checked out the movies after the hearty meal. And as much as I’m longing to watch an animated film, Horton. I quickly erased the thought of it as the grilled meat made me look for something adrenalin-packed. So we transferred to the nearby Festival Mall and without any doubt I saw what I’m looking for—Vantage Point.

The first 30 minutes of the movie will make one think of seeing a crappy film. The scenes keep on coming back at 11:59:59 AM. Back and forth, back and forth. It drags. Sooner though, the plot continues to become clearer and interesting and that is when the movie reveals what 8 strangers, 8 stories, 1 vantage point mean. The car chase scenes are almost at par with that of Ronin. Other that the obvious Hollywood flaws like the almost preserved clean state of some of the characters amidst the bomb blast and car crashes this movie has a cast who renders convincingly great acting. Two thumbs up.

***