Jerome's incomprehensible but improving...
Saturday, September 27, 2003

Pale box glows harshly
In black room, papers, pens, books
One page, double-spaced

Taller trees on grass
Cut clean, people I don't know
Things have changed 'round here

On Intranet project-- mainly project schedule updates, resource organizing, following up on integration app owners, technical investigation and coming up with a plan on technical implementation. Am getting pretty familiar with MSCMS, C# and .NET.

Too bad didn't get to meet with Fritz and Pollie since Pollie had an attack of fever and asthma. Next week will do.

Thuirsday: I met Mae Sevilla! She works in e-Tel. Will remember to have lunch or breakfast with her.
Friday: Was quite interesting (see related blog).

Today is ACM judge meet. Have 3 problems already, just need to polish them up I guess.


Am rather organized now, with conducting meetings, and emails. Still having "physical organization" problems -- i.e. where's my mug? Am going out -- wait I forgot my pen, etc.

I snap at people sometimes. I am very considerate with explaining stuff with Helpdesk but with George I sometimes give curt responses. Should give advice with a more helping-out tone.

I get rather sarcastic with work at times. Keeping in touch with Eric, Sacha, even Mark is a good dose of idealism and positivism. Nice to talk to the Compsat guys and make me think again about work, in a different way. Hmm no we don't have to work that way. Why are we staying late in the office, etc.

Ah just remembered this question from KC: How do people work in the office? Does everyone contribute, instead of just 1 or 2 people doing the project? (Hmm I remember the days.)

I caught up with Ranulf who had a talk on Borland Delphi. Was a Compsat-arranged seminar in this neat big room they have in CTC (313).

Delphi = to be used with Oracle
New version: Octane - also compiles to .NET.
Kylix - for Linux
OpenGL stuff
Better than VB!

Had a nice chat with Miguel and KC of Compsat about work, and about my brother.

Quite surreal, we were passing by the Doghouse at Colayco. Then we're escorted in by the Celadon people into the aream where they organized a faculty thanksgiving/fun awards event.

Got to meet Steph and Stan and Andre and Sir Bong and the other DISCS faculty. And Sacha and Eric also. Dr. Intal dropped by.

Then saw Ranulf off, then some coffee and chocolate and moments of meta-conversing and watching trucks go by on a national highway.

Sorry to the ff. people who were kind of expecting a dinner out:
- Amil
- Fritz
- Eric (sort of, since we missed seeing him at the Grind)

We'll arrange something next week, will be great.

Had lunch with George and Lito at Mann Hann.

Over Fookien rice, white chicken and tausi clams, we talked about:
- Good Chinese restaurants.
- Wouldn't it be nice to just have a transporter device?
- A Star Trek episode where Jean Luc was being tortured with "Four Lights"
- The principle behind the transporter (physics)
- Why people spend their time making websites dedicated to these trivial facts

While going back to the office, from Lito:
- What is real? A study conducted on Area 51 witnesses: people were asked to write down what they had seen. Ten years later they were asked to narrate again. Their narrations did not match their past ones, in fact they were so different that when they were shown what they had written some even claimed that they were forged writings!

[BACKLOG ~9/24/2003]

Interesting show on Discovery Channel. It's about organ transplant recipients, who recall memories and pick up habits their donors had.

One woman developed a craving for cheese nibbles and rap music and tae-bo. She had an F2F with her donor's family and got to know him and found out that these were things he liked when he was alive.

The recipient of one transplant started dreaming about being followed and killed. Turned out the donor was a little girl who was murdered. By remembering the murky details of the appearance of the murderer from the dream, police were able to catch and convict a criminal.

One scientist's theory is that it's possible that cells have memory, particularly the heart which is such a powerful organ -- the heart continuously emits EM waves, much more so than the brain does.

My dad and I are only slightly skeptical.

[BACKLOG 9/21/2003]

Watched a movie with my sister ("Daddy Day Care" starring Eddie Murphy). Then I bought a box of Goldilocks brownies to take home.

We had some talk about movies, like who's better between Stallone and Schwarzenegger. And some updates on her pending job interview with the hotel.

Natutuwa lang ako na nakasama ko ate ko, nakapag-usap kami.
Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in
waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht
frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae.

The rset can be a total mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm.
Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but
the wrod as a wlohe.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

English to Filipino dictionary!
Sunday, September 21, 2003

Bread and Nescafe
Sound commercialistic but
Really starts my day


Chirpings and stirrings
Night fades in blue and pink wisps
I fold my blanket


Green grass, morning dew
Trees cast sunlight and shadows
On the stone gray path


Guard opens my bag
And nothing finding nothing
I rush on to haste


Rust house-tops rush by
Gray buildings prop leaden sky
Commuters' blank stare


Search the spider's Web
Reams of cluttered sheets unfurl
Worlds words truths unfound


Daily exercise
Of wit and banter amidst
Styrofoam lunches


Her farewell email
5 years worked, thanks, well wishes
Who was ever missed?


Her grace has remained
The same, as we talk of work
How are things, and stuff


Umbrellas are for
Sharing with a friend, against
A drizzle, no less


Dreams shatter as I
Am drowned in icy torrents
I reach for the soap


Moon lit somberly
Shadowed houses and street lamps
Another long day...

I had a nice day in the house today. I played with my niece, lots of short play conversations with her, she really knows how to talk now with a lot emoting. Then played "Super Bounce Out!" which was a "semi-bonding session" with my sister who would coach me on the strategy she uses and helps me spot out the 1 remaining ball combination. Kind of like what happens with me, my mom and my sister on TextTwist.

Had a nice lunch with my sister and Mommy over fresh alimango. My mom says it was the "bakla" variety which had the liquefied crab fat instead of the solid dark orange clumps you'd see in the regular alimango. Anyways, it was really great. We talked about my sister's pending job interview at a hotel, and the concert Mommy and Daddy attended last night at the CCP. (Michael something -- can't spell, sounds like French.)

Also had to help fix my niece's Barney VHS tape. I also taught her to pronounce "VHS" properly. I had to dismantle it and tape the torn and broken parts. Was rather a challenge identifying some small parts and putting it back together. This took me almost 2 hours I think.

I went to Sacha's place for supposedly an impromptu poetry session. Turned out to be quite different from what I expected, since it became an impromptu spaghetti cooking party instead. I had to leave early, since my parents might be worried again. I was in quite a rush to leave, something which I have thought about for some time up to right now (why did I do that?)

Some important reflections from today:

1. I seem to have been worrying my parents recently that I come home late, and don't properly tell them. The least I can do for them is tell them when I'm coming home. I will also try to come home early especially if I find myself idling somewhere like browsing the Web at work

2. Or staying late somewhere. Not that I don't value friends' company. Balancing work and life outside work is something that one can easily relate to, but compromising time between different people should not be a comfortable topic. In general, I should spend time with whom I feel needs more spending time with. That's why I didn't leave the house until I felt I've given enough time there. I mean it's not like I have a real schedule to keep.

3. I've had such a nice time at home today. With the hectic schedule I have at work, I feel rather bad that I am not spending more time just relaxing with my family. I have only the weekends to do just that. Sundays are good, we often have lunch together. Swap some stories. I know we're not really the talkative, touchy-feely type of family but we do value this time together. Over the years we've been moving around all over Metro Manila, me and my brother at the Pisay dorm, at several places along Katipunan, at my Tita Baby's; my parents at an apartment at Quirino for a time; my sister doing the night shift in the restaurant. We've still managed to keep together through all these different "residences" and the various travel routines we've had. I am more consciously aware now of our sublime togetherness as a family. I've been quite away from home, with the XChallenge and the JITSE review going on. Now just "bumming around" at home turned out to be quite relaxing and a good realization.

3. My geek power of managing to memorize the Periodic Table of Elements is nothing spectacular really. Why is it we keep on trading facts? This is glaringly apparent when talking with geeks.
Though we doing the same thing during lunch in the office anyway. I have kept myself in a "botheredness" frame of mind about many things, because I know I have to learn more about these things. Right now I'm being bothered by being too "left-brain", e.g. the Periodic Table thingy. I was expecting to chuck it all out for a day during impromptu poetry. Needless to say, it was rather a disappointment. Moral is (once again!) do not expect things.

Hmm, was it because of being in "poetry mode" why I seem to be contemplating a lot right now?

4. Spaghetti cooking earlier was funny. Too many people in the kitchen. I didn't pretend to know I cook. Everyone was trying to be helpful, but, well only so much needed to be done. Nix and Martin took care of the main stuff. It's rather awkward when you want to be helpful when there are too many people being helpful.

5. Related to this, I don't know, but while it's nice to be helped, in our house, it's also a sign of respect when something is easily done and you just let the other person do it. Such as opening doors -- we open doors for others in the house if someone's having a hard time like a difficult gate or they're carrying packages or in the case of my pregnant sister, but I assume they can very well open the door themselves otherwise. It's the same with others with respect to me. I understand Nix was being nice, but I certainly didn't mind opening the door on my own. The thought did cross my mind -- "I can open the door, you know." Others I have thought of before -- "No I can commute, thanks," "I can get my own glass of water," and "I can find my own way out," etc. This thinking is a way for me to not bother someone (hindi makaabala) and with the roles reverse, respect for one's independence. (Hindi ko palalabasin na hindi niya kaya mag-isa.)

With regards to chivalry, it is for me like my view on etiquette or good language (see recent blogged thoughts) -- it depends on the situation whether you choose to emphasize chivalry or respect independent-mindedness. What I shouldn't do is adopt something blindly. I need to be still in a sense of "botheredness" that I only adopt something that I've really thought about, especially if I'm coming from a different background. I should keep in mind to be critical of things even if at all sides they seem good.


Hmm, why the hurry?

I really couldn't answer this immediately. This was a sign that I needed to think about what was going through my head. I've been thinking about the events of today a lot anyway, so...

I of course, really had to go home because of my parents. And with the nice reflection on just staying home and spend time with family, really felt that I needed to go home. Same way with how I decided to go to the party in the first place -- I just felt when it was time to go. I should find time to just relax with family, as well as find time with friends.

I admit something was just bothering me with this particular geeking-out session. Probably because I was expecting the poetry stuff, criticize our analytical frame of thinking, just open up through words. Instead we read stuff, quoted stuff, got shown a conjugative adjective list, and they asked me to do the Periodic Table party trick again. Would have been better on another day, but this day, it just set me thinking about how we're doing the same things again.

My reflection here is: while I've certainly enjoyed these parties at Sach's place and learned a lot of things about esoteric stuff and life, it is most likely true that this is just one way of looking at life, and while I enjoy geeking out, I am also convinced ("bothered") that I also need to get in touch with others, reminisce with others.

It's not really comfortable speaking of not seeing people to see others, but realistically, I have only so much time to give, just not useful to think that way. I just need to develop more that sense of knowing and balancing time to get to know more people whom I should know meaningfully. Especially my family, as I've reflected on this day.

I felt that, all of this should not confine me to a view of things, it was time to assert myself in a way, to be independent. While having to go, I also felt ready to leave, the same way I felt I finished what I was doing at home and went. So I just resolved to find my own way out, after saying thanks and goodbye. I didn't have to bother my host, whom I'd inconvenience by leaving early. Though I should have remembered what my host would have wanted done. My bad really. Will find way to make up.

Of course not that I won't be coming again, this is just a wake-up call that there may be so much more I'm missing. I'm still young and I have lot to learn, and so I don't have to imbibe a particular view of life as gospel truth. It was really nice to get in touch with my Pisay classmates last month. hmm, next week, will get in touch with Pollie and Fritz, and Sanjay and Neil, etc. Will be great to arrange this while I'm on early morning to early afternoon shift. Just one week though. At work, Intranet project is just shaping up, and this could be the real start of my changing role from programmer to "documenting and diagramming guy". Seriously, would love to have Mark H's former role in Web architecting the entire company.

Ah really, this way I'll be less boring and more helpful to people I know...

Ack, the sun's now up. It's Sunday! Ah better enjoy this with pandesal and coffee. Mmmm! Rather giddy about coffee, don't understand quite, but.... I'll write a few haikus after my coffee just for kicks. New things, new things...

Since I slept really late, around 2AM, I was an hour late at the office, but it was fine as I managed to have all the meetings I needed with the US people. I worked from 7AM to 10:30PM today.

A reflection on work:

It's not bad that you don't work within the "regular hours". I'll work such that I'm satisfied with your work. So sometimes I'll work like a dog, sometimes I just slack of a bit, read up on something, for general improvment. I'll make birthday cards and cook popcorn in the pantry, because I feel like that's the best thing to do at the moment. Though sometimes work needs to be done. In short, I won't get tied down by rules (except HR rules to some extent I guess because that'll mess up my record with them, but I'm quite comfortable using the morning 9:30 grace period.)

The question this opens up is "How long should I work?" Ahh, that's something that can't be answered fully at this point in my life. For now, I feel that the statement "work is made for man, not man for work" is the thing. But I wouldn't like it if people use this phrase on me when I'm still in the office at 9PM coding something and told to "get a life." Sometimes I'm just there because I like to finish something thoroughly, and my life should include "setting high standards for oneself." Advice is good, but each one of us will have to decide what's "living a life" about. Maybe I don't join in the other guys' billiard sessions that often. I'd enjoy a videoke party though, strangely enough. And I enjoy programming.

There's also something to be said about working efficiently. If you don't systematize at least a bit you won't get much done even with so much time spent working. Some efficency is always good. If you're going to spend the time on more work or more time out that's up to me. And, I'll try to eat regular meals. Hmm, I've almost never really skipped meals at work. Just a reminder.


1. I stand corrected with regards to the statement "If someone has a lousy work environment, I'd expect that it's more likely that he or she will do the job in a mediocre way." I still think it is true, statistically. While human potential is unlimited, not all of us are in the self-actualizing level. If we take that these people who still look at a job as just a way to "make a living" are equally to be found both high and low, I guess you'd still find that there are more unhappy workers where a company is not well-run. Though, that is not a useful way of looking at things. It will just make me judgmental.

This is for the same reason that eugenics may be good in principle, I mean the fact is that if you take out the blind, the deaf, those with congenital defects etc. from the gene pool the "quality" of people may improve, but to think about it seriously is not practical, since it is a very subjective matter to say the least, and starting to be judgmental as to who "stays" and who "goes" can lead to dangerous thinking.

2. However, I feel strongly against the statement "I will make a conscious effort to associate myself in certain circles because they speak English or Filipino precisely." It's for the same reason that I don't mind abbreviated text messages as long as they're comprehensible (which I've blogged some months earlier I believe.) Language is primarily a means of communication, and of course it helps that you're keen on your grammar. If everyone just invented their own grammar, well that would be chaos. Though it would bother me if I had to explicitly say I choose to talk to friends who use English or Filipino well. I don't choose friends because of some skill they have. In work especially, I'd be appreciative of people who speak in good English regularly, because they help me improve my use of the language. But I don't think this is a very good reason alone. I think I'm pretty ok with both English and Filipino. My sister delivers excellent English at work and natural conversational Filipino at home. Once you are called to use it at work or at home, your use of language will improve.

We speak English for international teleconferences, but come lunch break I really don't care if you speak Taglish. We have so many stories to swap over lunch, and as for the language issue, you never really notice what you're talking in, since that's not what's important. Even if we're having discussions like what's the word "sewer" or "information" in Tagalog, we don't notice.

I may have been doing some unconscious choice in talking to some people more because of shared interests. Like I'd like to talk someone who knows Spanish or Japanese, so I can practice my hobby languages, and I don't mind that. But for English and Filipino, which are both day-to-day languages, well, etymology for me is quite interesting, and analyzing grammar is something I can geek out on, but I'd draw the line between being precise in language because it's fun as a hobby, and it's something new to learn, and being precise in language because you "should" talk to me precisely.

I remember Sacha mentioning that precise language is being nice to someone, similar to good manners. I agree, and fine language is in many ways like fine etiquette. They're both good because they're useful (for table manners, they keep eating orderly, you have to admit) and they also involve different people being used to different standards. Some people will feel uncomfortable in a fine restaurant. People who are used to fine restaurants will find these other people a bit sloppy. For me, yes, I do feel slightly uncomfortable where everyone talks in English. Though of course, you just do as the Romans do in the situation, to be polite. And just as in the case of language, I'd be
bothered about consciously talk to people who have fine etiquette as a matter of socializing.
Language, like etiquette, is generally practical, but insisting on its fine points for casual discussion for the sake of form, it just seems like snobbery to me.

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