Sunday, October 26, 2008

Geek?! Who? What? Where?

Snatched from Joan:

83% Geek
Surprise, surprise... Hehe, I don't actually agree with all the answers. I grok all, bwahahaha! Then again, maybe the factual answer is not necessarily the correct one. The a post gives a pretty succinct differentiation between geeks, dorks, and nerds. And I think the test would be more appropriately named a "nerd" test.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Toastmasters speech #4: Man - God's Software

This was my 4th Toastmasters speech. I'll probably post a separate writeup on my Toastmasters experience itself, but that's for another day... And now due to insistent public demand (what public???), tan-tara-ran!


I fell in love with computers way back when I was in high school. I and my dorm mates would stay up late into the night taking apart and putting back together 286 and 386s. None of them could run anything higher than DOS, and hard disks were a rarity. We booted up from floppy, or for those ancient IBM machines, we had BASICA loaded from ROM. Running the simplest program would give me the greatest pleasure. I'd spend hours poring over BASIC game "recipes" from the library and write up programs of my own after class. Those were my favorite times of the day.

I love software, I have ever since then. It is an extension of my will, bearing my stamp. The excellence (or crappyness) of my code reflects on my own abilities. And as time passed, my creations got more and more complex. I would divide it into modules, which were independent, but worked together as a whole. Now I see an analogy in nature. I see the same principles at work when it comes to God and His probably most cherished creation: man. All creation, while individually independent in motivation, works together to produce a stable ecology on our world.

Problems happen whenever we violate that stability. Wars, global warming, food shortages, all these have been attributed to man's abuse of power. Ultimately, it can all be traced to inconsideration. Large problems are caused powerful men not considering the rights of the unfortunate, or a large group failing to decide what's best for itself. Even smaller, everyday problems are caused by miscommunication between individuals. The moment we lose contact with others is the moment we make decisions selfishly and often cause harm to others. Aren't there people who are so easy to get along with? With whom we feel as if we were connected by some intangible wifi network of the mind? Everything we do with these people is so easy! They are dynamic and fun to be with and work with. And for each one of these people there are ten who are so difficult to relate to. Sometimes you get tempted to take that Ethernet cord and stick it so far up their behinds just to connect!

Whatever our religion or creed, I'm sure we universally agree about the importance of our fellow man. And key to this is communication. This is how we learn about others and how we can best serve them while getting what we want. Isn't all software about information, the processing, transmission, and storage of it; all for the betterment of man? If we really want our world to be bug-free, it is up to us to actively take part in building our world. We must communicate, debate, etc. Yes, even conflict is essential, for it weeds out what is undesirable. That is, as long as it is tempered with consideration for others, until we are all one in purpose.

Now I don't pretend to understand the source code drives us. It doesn't matter what language we speak, what protocol we follow. Belief, race, and religion don't matter in the face of these challenges! Some might say Muhammad showed us the way. Others might say Jesus came down to this earth to debug us. Still others might say it was Buddha who did it, and now you can learn how to do it yourself in 21 days! But I know we are meant to live together and for each other. No matter what race, belief, or nationality, we must come together to make this work.


I think this is one of my better speeches yet... Alright, so it's the best I've got so far. Expectedly, the earlier ones were pathetic, stuttering attempts at meaning and humor, hehe. This verson is as close as I could make it to what I actually said (Minus a ton of "uhms", "aaaands", "soooos", and more than a few run-ins.) With a few additional connectors to make the ideas fit better into each other, if that were even possible, hahaha! I should be the poster boy for scatterbrainedness... Oh well, as they say practice makes perfect. Well it better, for your sakes and mine...

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Mobile web access via 3G: addictive: Take two

Ok, That last post was a bust. As I was typing out the last entry on Multiply's mobile front end with my trusty Nokia 6120 classic, I thought I'd look something up on Go ogle. (wow, shouldn't I be raking in $$$ for all this advertising?) So I saved the unfinished entry as a draft. Upon returning to the Multiply window, it dawned on me that there was no option for editing the draft saved on my mobile. The only link from the draft view was "Publish this entry". Assuming I would be taken to a page that would at least give me the option to veto any permanent action, I naively clicked the link. And as luck would have it, whaddaya know, they did mean what they said by "Publish this entry". So, here I am, back on my laptop, nursing my sore thumbs (man, that phone's keypad is for midgets) venting useless frustration on what would have been a perfect (?) mobile blog entry.

I think I lost my original train of thought somewhere along last paragraph's second sentence. Anyway, the freedom and connectivity these innovative technologies bring us is undeniable. However, there is as always the hidden danger of us leaning on these modern conveniences as a crutch. Too often have I found myself staring at a computer screen aimlessly wandering around the net, flitting from one interest to another. A waste of time better spent on more productive pursuits. As with any other tool, the age-old cliche still applies to the internet: with great power comes great responsibility. That utterance from our friendly neighborhood arachnid DNA-infected superhero can in fact be traced to an even older source, the Gospel: "From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked." Luke 12:48. A great many things can be accomplished with such a far-reaching medium as the internet, not a few of which are unhealthy and even illegal... We are still free to choose the purpose for which we use these tools. I've kept in touch with family and friends online, made new friends, made some cash, learned tons and got to scratch that wannabe writer's itch with this blog. As well as a host of other activities are too unsavory to post here, hehehe... Yeah yeah, so I have gigs and gigs of illicitly acquired software tucked away somewhere...

So the question remains, what am I doing online at this hour? Am I doing anything worth depriving myself of sleep? Have I "set my mind on things above" (Col 3:2)? Tall orders. But I do hope to be more responsible with my online time in the future. I'm glad that I've cut down on my gaming time and eliminated some destructive online habits. Yet as always, there's a lot of room for growth. And with that, I bid you all a good night.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


It's time for another entry finally. Free time for me is at a premium nowadays, but I finally got it out. Right now I'm once again partaking of the hospitality of the Cruz family here in Bacolod. God bless you guys! =D [Update 2008-04-09: Nakiki-sabit sa wifi ng StarBucks sa kanto...]

I've been meaning to write this for a long time, but never got the time to do so until now. I just want to thank the Lord verbally (well actually in writing) for all the blessings that have abounded in the past year. 2007 was a faith-stretching year for me. I can honestly say that never have I been challenged more than in that year. Never have I risked more, lost more, and gained more than in that year. And from the looks of it, even more is yet to come this year. In fact, the bountiful blessings (and even greater challenges) have already started pouring in earnest. I am at the same time filled with both fear and excitement, in varying proportions.

The danger of being at a peak is that you almost know that a valley is almost certainly forthcoming. So with bated breath I sit in wait of the coming fall... That's hardly a Christian outlook though. We're supposed to think about "...whatever is true, whatever is noble... if anything is excellent or praiseworthy...(Phil 4:8)." So while it might be my nature to think of all possible ways my endeavors can possibly fail, dwell on the positive I must. Not merely because it is required of us all, but because I know that there is a grand scheme in all things. That the Lord has orchestrated all events in my life to work out for His glory.

So I hope y'all continue to support me in prayer as you always have, my beloved family and friends. Rest assured that you guys are always in my thoughts and prayers as well. Ok, enough mushyness. Gotta get myself to bed before I pass out here.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

My Time of day

I don't usually do blog quizzes, but this one caught my eye. And I think the results really fit...

Update 2008-03-08: Whoops, forgot to include this snippet from the site (buti pa dito sa Blogger, may indent agad sa toolbar):
Your time of day has a split personality -- sometimes it's sweat-streaked and
loud, and you're on the dance floor, getting your third wind, and shouting
lyrics like you'll never run out of energy. You are the time of night that
carves itself into your memory forever, because you'll never forget how much you
love these people and this moment and this song. It's not always about
unforgettable parties, though. Sometimes your late night (err? early morning)
burst of energy happens when you're home alone. Those are the times when you
say, "I flat out refuse to go to sleep until I finish reading this book, or
typing this page, or reorganizing my entire closet." In either case, you are the
time of night when it feels sort of forbidden to be awake, but you love
accomplishing something special long after everyone else went to bed. And hey --
you can always catch up on sleep tomorrow, right?

Apparently I share the same results as 11% of the takers. Took me a couple of times to get similar results too. The other time I was 11 am or something. Basta, tamad, yun!

Yep, around this unholy time of day I usually find myself wrenching my eyes away from the computer screen/a good book to check the time. After which I mutter to myself "just a few more minutes... just let me finish this chapter... just let me get this function done... just until the next save point..." Hahaha!

One of my fondest wishes is for the discovery of a cure for sleepiness. No wait, they already have that. Rather, the cure for the need to sleep, hehe. If only I can make the day last longer. If only I could move faster. Well, my relentless drive to cram more things into a day will probably lead to my demise someday I'm sure. I know that it's practically contradictory to the Lord's command to Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). It's really a struggle for me to slow down, slack off, sit in silence and just enjoy the moments as they pass. But when I'm forced to relax, like when I get sick, I always find the experience restful and feel immediately rejuvinated.

The funny thing is that I always procrastinate. I guess that's just me dragging my feet before moving on to the next activity. Once I'm locked in to one activity that I enjoy doing, I find it hard to draw my attention away and move on to the next task on the list. Be it sleeping or bug fixing. Even though the thing on my list could possibly be more urgent or rewarding. Ahh well...

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Multiply cross-posting failure

Here's a quick one. I just posted the last item on Blogger yesterday after enabling and configuring Multiply's cross-posting functionality. Turns out that it didn't work out that well, even after a day of waiting for my Blogger post to appear here. I ended up doing the import manually. I'm not sure exactly how cross-posting is supposed to work. There presumably is an interval between the posting of an entry in another site and it being copied into Multiply. Possibly a batch job running every now and then waiting for updates.

Anyway, that's that, it didn't work. I'm going to try it the other way around now. Look for this post on my Blogger page.

Update (2007-11-12): Wow, it worked! Baka may oras nga lang talaga ng pag-synch in between blogs.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

A Bout of Lethargy

Ahh yes. Finally, another entry after so many months of silence. The title is a dead giveaway, hehe. Not only does lethargy afflict my blog, but other areas of my life as well. Every day becomes a continuous battle against the forces of inertia. I have to drag myself out of bed, stuff myself into office attire, pry my butt off the office chair, and finally bang my head on the wall to sleep. Each action, each transition into a different stage in the day has to be preceded by an internal struggle against procrastination. My passion for life slowly ebbs with each passing day.

In the course of my descent into oblivion, I have tried to retrace my steps and find the onset of my condition. It seems only yesterday that I was so energetic, so impatient to get along with life, anxious to complete the tasks I had at hand. I'm guessing it would have been around my last blog post, early May, that my energies reached their zenith. I had so many things lined up for me to do, so many plans. Aiming to maximize my stay, I set out to cram as much as I could in a day. I would go for weeks at a time with four hours of sleep during weekdays, then recover it all in the weekends. Not the most healthy lifestyle, that's for sure. Eventually I ended up burnt-out, disappointed by my perceived failure to accomplish my goals.

In retrospect, I probably wasn't as unproductive as I thought I was at the time. Maybe it was just my obsession with perfection that led to my disillusionment. I am reminded of Matthew 6:11, "give us today our daily bread." My failure to appropriate this truth in my life is partly responsible for my present condition. While Jesus was definitely reassuring us of God's provision for man's physical needs, He was also emphasizing the importance of God's word in our everyday lives. I'll get to that in a moment. I remember a sermon, or maybe it was a book, I heard or read once, that discussed the many meanings of this verse. An additional aspect of this verse was that we should live our lives one day at a time. I was trying to tear out enormous chunks out of my loaf, with the expected result of choking on the excess.

Another detrimental effect of this rushing was my loss of focus on my walk with the Lord. As deadlines drew tighter, I would take time of my other duties. Simple yet important tasks such as exercising, preparing meals, even cutting my nails, were shifted to lower priorities. Worst of all, spending time with the Lord got steadily whittled down. Daily devotions all but ceased, prayer time was reduced to saying a few words before meals, sleeping through Sunday made Church an occasional affair. Now I'm not claiming to be a "saint" (in the modern sense of the word), but I was definitely backsliding... again... for the nth time. Aaaaahhh... At times it's really hard to accept the reality of Christ's salvation, especially when we turn our attention to the worst in us. The worst part of this is, while I have been spending less and less time doing productive work, I make up for it instead by doing unproductive stuff. Playing games, reading nonsense novels, watching videos, anything to escape the pressing realities of the world. I have been ever the escapist, preferring to wallow in comforting lies than responsibly facing the truth of a dismal situation.

Lately I've been trying to pick up the fragments of my broken life. Yeah I know, I sometimes drop the pieces faster than I pick them up. Anyway, one book I've been reading recently gives me refreshing reminders of God's plan for us: The Passion of Jesus Christ: Fifty Reasons Why He Came to Die. It's mostly just a reiteration of things I already heard, but I have come to realize how important it is to be constantly reminded of the basics. Analyzing the times when I was falling out of line with God, I find one factor constantly involved in them: spending time with God. In all those times, I was either not meditating on His Word, or not engaging in meaningful fellowship and ministry.

While I think that I have been reading and meditating now more than ever before, the social aspect of worship has taken the back stage lately. Now that I'm lacking in the area, I'm beginning to see what a large part of my life ministry was. Involvement with other people, investing time in serving them, sharing my life and working with them, is indeed an indispensable part of God's plan for us.

Ever since college, I have been involved in ministry at varying degrees. Not that I was doing great at it. In fact ministry was always a struggle for me. Hehe, laziness is one of my biggest flaws, and my inner Juan Tamad showed his ugly face every time I would go out into the field. There was also the constant struggle with the heart of course. Part of this probably comes from the enemy, I suppose. "You're not worthy to serve," I would catch myself telling... myself. "You don't have the guts to do it, coward," was my second favorite line. Even sometimes "I'm so great, I did that all by myself." But through it all, the Lord has been ever gracious to me. While my service is flawed, He has never stopped working within me to change my heart and sanctify my service. Bahala na, basta gawin mo na lang, bahala na Siya doon sa iba. In the end, what can we do that is not from God? Does He not have all things? Is there anything we can give that we have not first received? Ahh yes, sometimes I feel that I was the greatest beneficiary of my imperfect service. In times of strife, in my agony brought about by self-conflict during ministry, the Lord was passing my heart through the flames, burning away the decayed parts, leaving what was good and pleasing to Him.

I miss those times. Now, more than ever, I am aware of the importance of ministry and fellowship. I would say that interaction with other believers would be the mortar to a sturdy temple built for the Lord. "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another (Proverbs 27:16-18)," right? My circumstances contribute to this deficiency. Having recently moved out of my home for 17 years, I am now left without a steady church. I've spent the last month "church shopping". When I fail to go home for the service, I attend GCF at Ortigas. Things are not the same though. The size of that place makes it hard to really know anybody personally. Plus I'm not exactly Mr. Congeniality, hehe. I've been considering signing up for one of their small groups, but I feel that my work would probably get in the way, me being quite a ways from Ortigas. Maybe I'll take my high school friend up on his long-standing offer of joining his small group in Makati. I used to decline because I already had one back home, but since moving out I rarely get the chance to go home on weekdays. We'll see.

I find it funny to think about how much I've changed since my teens. Well not that I'm bragging or anything. It's not like I'm responsible for the improvements. I tell you, I've resisted change every step of the way. My stubbornness knows no bounds, hehe. In fact, I think part of my laziness and procrastination stems from my resistance to change, my fear of losing the status quo. Yet the Lord has overcome all my defenses and conquered my fears, setting me free from the strongholds of the enemy. For that, I can't be more grateful. So while there are strongholds holding me chained yet, I remain ever hopeful that He will triumph in the end. In fact, He is already victorious, and that will serve as my security.

Ok, now that got waaaay more personal than I set out to get. Much longer than it's supposed to be, that's for sure. You probably dozed of in the middle of the second paragraph, ha! I'm still a little squeamish about this whole blogging thing. How much do I dare reveal? How far is too far? Anyway, I've wasted enough of your time. I hope you got something out of this, innocent bystander. I do.