Should We Stop Shooting Our Children?

Vanity is my favorite sin. – Devil’s Advocate

Have you ever heard of KGOY or Kids Grow Older Younger? And do you know one of its causes? According to what the NYTimes.com article Why We Should Take Fewer Pictures of Our Children implies, the digital camera is to blame and I can’t help but agree. Shooting photos of kids has escalated from what was once just a fad to a regular sight. We see this almost every day, everywhere, any time: kids striking a pose in front of the camera whether in front of their parents or done on their own. It would have been fine if these are innocent poses but there are already those we see masquerading, unknowingly I hope, sensual or offensive gestures obviously influenced by what they see on TV or in print materials such as the glossy magazines.

Thanks (but not thanks) to the availability and affordability of gadgets, this addiction of kids to the camera in any form, whether through a mobile phone, a point-and-shoot, or an entry-level DSLR, became very irresistible. Plus the lure of social media, such as facebook and Twitter, or photo-sharing applications such Instagram and Flickr have made taking and posting pictures online a must-do activity for both parents and kids.

So is this frequent photoshoot of your kids destructive in the long run? Well, in my opinion, it depends – though for sure it’s annoying to some of your facebook friends if you keep on flooding their timeline especially with not so attractive pictures. For some, it’s one way of relieving the longing of their love ones who are away from them – like lolos and lolas. And for others, it could be another medium of boosting their child’s confidence. But whatever the reasons are, I acknowledge that it is about time we realize that we need to do everything in moderation including exposure of our kids to the camera. Let us make them live the moments without any worries if they appear good in the pictures of not. Let them be just kids, not little wannabee models.

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Our own kid is actually among these little models. I still remember the night when we passed by Roxas Boulevard in Manila and we noticed Marcus, who was just barely 2-year old then, staying still and smiling at every headlight, and even lamp posts, outside our taxi cab. We soon realized that it must be because he thinks these bright lights are camera flashes that he has gotten used to seeing as we have been pointing a camera at him since he was still a small baby. His fascination with these flashes continued until about a few months after that but nowadays it has stopped. He has, however, transitioned to doing the check-chin pose and some other weird facial expressions. Ti abi.

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Mood: 5/10 Honks! (Going to a car dealer to have our car’s headlight checked.)

There is Beauty in Trash Talk

The recent typhoon Mina (international name Nanmadol) has exposed once again the ever stinky truth our country has to face—waste management. In Baguio, several people, including innocent children, perished when heap of trash buried them after heavy rainfall triggered a landslide.

Sadly, this isn’t the first incident here in the Philippines wherein piles of garbage has caused death or injury. Several years ago the infamous Payatas tragedy took the lives of more than 200 people living near this open dumpsite. It was a wakeup call for those who survived and it sent an alarm to the government officials who acted, however late, to address this problem. Since then open dumpsites were outlawed. Or so we thought.

Now that this unfortunate news is all over the headlines, people begin to ask the same old questions. Who should be blamed for all these? The ordinary Juan De La Cruzes who on their way home would toss their fast food packaging anywhere they feel like it? The government officials who fail to implement the law? Or should this be again considered as an act of God—a reason that has been so overused by people who would try to cover their own insensitivities, carelessness or incompetence.

But while we try to find answers, for the nth time, to these seemingly hopeless questions, it is nice to know that there are still others whose minds are open and who still continue to seek solutions. For example, there is the beautiful and famous Anne Curtis Smith who openly declared on twitter (@annecurtissmith) her intent to use her popularity in an attempt to revive or improve the waste management awareness campaign. How far it will go, I don’t know but with her appeal and capability to influence others, I would like to believe that her advocacy will improve the way most of us take care of our environment. I’m keeping my fingers crossed because I really wouldn’t want to see this happen again.

For now, indulge me. I can’t let this moment pass without letting the world know that I had a short discussion with this lovely actress.

Seconds of fame brought by mere mention of my name by Anne Curtis Smith.

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Mood: 3/10 Honks! (Happy kind of sleepy.)

Get Ready For The Future?

It’s already year 2009. Just another year more and lots of things will start to happen. No not according to Nostradamus or any other stargazers but based on TV and movies.

The night before we went for a two-day vacation in Batangas where we spent our New Year’s Eve, I watched an Arnold Schwarzenegger film, The Running Man. I know that this is among his first and I know that I missed this one when it premiered in the big screen. Back then, in 1987, I’m still hooked on Kung Fu Kids.

What I find fascinating about this rerun is the timeline when it is set—in 2017. More so, it is striking that its intro is so similar to that of Death Race and from that part alone I became more intrigued and compelled to watch. Besides, who wouldn’t enjoy watching a futuristic scene wherein America is in chaos (this must be one of Bin Laden’s favorite movies); characters don padded and tight-fitting overalls; people enjoying a sadistic live game (I’m sure the Japanese love this too); where the shows’ stage looks like a bit improved versus that of Eat Bulaga’s; where despite the technology advances cellphones do not exist; and where Bens Richards blurt out punch lines after every kill as if some standup comedian trying to solicit an applause from the crowd. Lastly, who wouldn’t love to watch the governator in his prime?

Of course, in this current state of my Hollywood-clogged mind, I knew from the very start how this movie will end. I’ve seen so much similar plot already that I can predict it just like any other. But this does not mean that I didn’t enjoy it because sometimes a lousy reruns can be a blessing especially if you’re left with nothing but other worse reruns from other cable channels.

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Wondering how the past conceived how the future would look like, so I did a quick check online and found something interesting. The following are futuristic video games, films, and TV released in their respective years as enclosed in parenthesis.

Computer and video games

Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War (2004)

Uplink (2001)

Street Fighter 2010 (1990)

Film

2010 (1984)

Thunderbirds (2004)

TV

Knight Rider 2010 (1994)

Stargate SG-1 (2001)

The Transformers (1986-1987)

Even though what authors and production designers have created will fall short of their expectations of what a futuristic setting will be (at least for 5 more years from now), I’m already beaming with excitement to see what might happen next. Wouldn’t it be fun to see flying cars and robots casually moving from all directions? Hmm. Not until we get to understand the basics of “land” road driving, I guess. But I just can’t wait for the robots to take over our senate and congress. At least these mechanical wonders don’t have greed. I may be wrong though.

Reference:     http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010

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What would happen if we’ve got flying cars and drivers don’t even know what do not tailgate nor a red traffic light is all about? Go figure.

 

Happy New Year!

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Mood: 3/10 Honks!

Too Much Hollywood

“Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction…” – Bad Religion

Who can accept that one way or another Hollywood has made an impact in their lives? I for one am raising both hands. Don’t get me wrong, but needless to say I have neither been near Hollywood nor ever have seen in person even one Oscar’s nominee or awardee. I’m not even an actor material (reminds me to check heritage.com). As much as I’d like to, I was never that close.

Just like everyone else I get my daily dose of it out of the boob tube if not from the giant silver screen. And as far as I can recall I’ve been watching a bit of it almost every day even since I was kid. Heck, that may even be the reason I started telling fabricated stories when I was yet in grade school. Just like any kid does. Remarkably better than an embedded chip, Hollywood movies or TV shows really know how to find their place in our mind, stay there for good and eventually affecting our daily lives – whether we like it or not.

Moreover, with the steady influx of technological advancement that is getting affordable or at least accessible to the masses (at a rate that’s quicker than most people can get their salary increases) blurs the line between real and reel life every time. From cable TV, the internet, mobile TV, virtual reality and my favorite high definition audio, one’s senses and imagination get treated better than it was before. Each sensory experience is getting more surreal and usually it feels so satisfying that oftentimes creating a make believe environment just like in the movies is as easy as closing one’s eyes.

Not trying to sound psychotic or one who has taken a good dose of hallucinogens and brandishing the peace sign, I love to entertain myself by superimposing some sort of Hollywood-ish flavor into my reality as often as I please.

Like a couple of weeks ago until today, the weather has been harsh in our part of the globe. Mornings would usually come with bright orange dawn and would continue to become a very sunny, warm and humid noontime. In a matter of minutes though, as if on cue, AND as if a scene coming right out of Tom Cruise’s War of the Worlds, the sky would be overcast and the dreaded lightning flashes streak across the black backdrop. What follows next is a thunder roaring like something out of an Armageddon setting. During these times, I can beat Dash’s speed ten times. Trust me.

To keep reality in check, I always appreciate the presence of shows such as my favorite Mythbusters and when I get the chance or when my remote fingers stray away, I like watching Nat Geo’s What Happens If? and Mad Labs. These are shows which remind me that Hollywood will never be equal to reality (at least for now). It reminds me that cars falling off the cliff won’t normally explode, a piercing bullet in a gas tank doesn’t mean an instant kaboom, sticking a knife on a ship’s sail won’t cushion or slow down your fall and many more fallacies being obviously exposed that every time I get to watch a movie makes me a bad viewer–just waiting for mistakes to happen.

But my love-hate relationship with the weather always fascinates me that I can easily relate either a blue sky day or a cumulus laden heaven from a scene out of the movie world. For example, waking up this afternoon I saw that my wife eagerly waited to show me an animation of the typhoon Fengshen (local name, Frank). Although this typhoon is nowhere near a super storm, the rotating mass at the center which covers a great part of Luzon switched my neurons into role-playing time. I immediately heard a clapper sounding inside my head and saw a camera crane panning from behind me to my left showing just the glowing monitor which became a perfect backlight to emphasize my profile. If I could have lifted the mouse anywhere near my mouth and pretend it’s a transmitter’s mouthpiece, I could have uttered the words, “Andrea Gail…there’s a storm coming your way.”

storm
What the Frank!

As much as I find reality annoying and most of the days it is just tempting to surrender myself to our coach, grab one tube of Pringles, a bottle of ice cold beer complemented by a good DVD movie and an ever sympathetic wife just by my side, having a grasp of the concrete life along with its demanding goals remains a test of our true character. A character that plays its part unconditionally even without the luxury that its reel counterpart enjoys but with the assurance that every well-played part in the real world will have its real rewards and hopefully will have its own happy finale. But then again, I’d appreciate it a lot if our lives can readily have an alternate ending. Ti abi.

Wunderground

Credits: Images from Wunderground.com

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It appears like the cancellation of our Ilocos trip which was supposed to happen next week is a blessing in disguise. From wunderground.com, it shows that typhoon Frank seems to be planning to go along with our road trip. Hahaha. The price we have to pay for celebrating our wedding anniversary every June.

A Familiar Logo

This afternoon I was once again in the waves of ennui, surfing the internet trying to figure out what to do with the rest of my Sunday while feeling guilty of having to skip mass again and while also waiting for my wife to come home.

Emails checked. Multiply.com updates checked. Friendster.com scanned–not much friends here. Favorites list scanned back and forth. Lurked forums done. Emails rechecked again for the nth time in just a couple of hours. Thankfully I’m free from mouse to keyboard ratio recording or I could be sending red signals to the ergonomics guru of our company.

Not really knowing how to bail out of my PC’s chair which is getting butt-hot while I move the mouse aimlessly, I suddenly realized I was looking at Formula1.com’s interview with the recent winner of the Canadian grand prix, Robert Kubica. Having watched this race’s replay I must admit that it was one of the most exciting I’ve seen so far this year. It’s one for the books of fame and for the books of unfortunate events which by the way F1 races will always be I guess. Even Michael Schumacher has his own share of fame and shame.

In this race Lewis Hamilton rear-ended Kimi while on their way out of the pit lane that brings the conspiracy theorists like me raise an eyebrow out of suspicion. Hmm. Robert Kubica of course wasn’t one hypocrite not to accept the fact that he felt more hope when these two leading drivers crashed. It was not only his day to win but it was his day to lead the drivers’ championship with 42 points. His consistency during the past races eventually paid off and June 08, 2008 became the day for him to be in the middle of the two drivers in the podium for the first time. It was the day BMW claimed the most coveted win of every races. It’s the day their sponsors have been waiting for. Wait, something looks familiar in the picture. Ah, our company’s logo.

I’ve got used to seeing Mclarens, Ferraris, and Renault exchanging top positions for years that it took me until now to realize that right beside BMW’s logo is Intel’s. It may have something to do with the fact that Intel’s Philippine site is closing this year that I forgot to cheer my heart out when the whole BMW team was cheering and savoring the huge champagne during the awarding ceremony.

BMW and Intel’s win may have been late to be fully relished especially for us working for the latter but as they always say, “A win is a win.” Now I don’t know if I’d be celebrating next time if BMW takes the 1-2 position once again. Hopefully yes.

Go BMW. Go Intel. Greetings coming from a Ferrari fan.

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bmw poster

When we had our pictures taken in front of the team’s mall display back on April 2007 in Suria KLCC I never thought the BMW guys behind have any chances of winning a 1-2. Now, I stand corrected.

 

Smash Lab: A Mythbusters’ Copycat

If there’s one cable TV channel I instinctively choose to partner with our couch, it would be The Discovery Channel. Over the years I’ve come to love the programs it has been showing. I can endure its re-runs played the nth time and still get awed and surprised every time I see it. I don’t call it short memory retention, I just consider it both an entertaining and a learning experience.

Discovery has been like a drive-thru movie (which we Filipinos here in Pinas see only in films) that my wife and I love whenever we’re home. It’s like a subliminal message has been planted over our brains that whatever mood we’re in, we just appreciate the fact that we’re in front of the boob tube absorbing whatever show it feeds us. Discovery has made us love the mood swings of the Teutuls of the Orange County Choppers; learned the art of survival with Bear Gryll’s Man vs. Wild; realized why the king crabs are such pricey meals after watching Deadliest Catch; understand how ordinary things take shape in How It’s Made; and of course, how can I forget the Mythbusters.

Considering me as a fan of conspiracy theories, urban legends and of any myths around, the Mythbusters has been like a How-To book to me. It is TV’s version of howstuffworks. You watch it when you want to know if one myth is plausible or busted. I once told my wife that I’d prefer it as my background while at home over FM radio stations. Mythbusters is music to my ears.

This week another seemingly promising show debuts–Smash Lab.  Despite coming from a graveyard shift together with the cool rainy weather outside, I was able to resist the call of our comfy bed. I glued myself in front of the TV to welcome the show Smash Lab. I was full of anticipation.

But like any myths in Mythbusters, I was soon like Adam calling it busted just as the myth is told. I was nowhere in the middle of Smash Lab premier when I saw myself in the mirror yawning not because of the lack of sleep but because of sudden realization that the show is a total bore. Other similarly predictable boring series began playing in my head.

So that’s how I got lost in Smash Lab. It now belongs to my list of most hated shows like Lost and Sex and the City. This one is a total waste of production money and talent. The premier episode is about stopping cars using aerated concrete added to existing barriers and lane dividers in which all of the experiments end in a pathetic and pretentious shout of success. The show falls short of convincing Mythbusters fans (like me) to pack up and let Adam, Jamie, Grant, Kari and Tory be a thing of the past. As for first impressions, which could last, this show is BUSTED.

smashlabusted
      

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Why also avoid these shows:

  • Lost. Lost people who get to wear new set of clothes every episode? No thanks.
  • Prison Break. Want a clue what this show is all about? Duh!
  • Numbers. I hate this show just as I hate math. I would even kneel wherever I am if one day I would read in the papers that an FBI/NBI investigator plotting complex mathematical calculations to pin point a criminal. Until that time comes, this show for me is Zero.
  • Sex and the City – It’s nothing but promiscuity. But frankly, I get turned on just at the sight of Sarah Jessica Parker.