Thursday, November 23, 2006


Had a good experience renewing my driver's license today.

Upon the recommendation of a friend, I headed to the LTO Driver's License Renewal center that's located at the Ayala Avenue MRT Station. The place was small, but it was laid out efficiently and there were no more than 5 other people waiting to get their licenses processed, so it didn't feel cramped.

Perhaps it helped that it's a Thursday and I arrived at around 10.45am, when most people would be at work.

Anyway, the entire process took around 45 minutes. The procedure includes a mandatory drug test, a vision test, a quick photo session using a simple webcam, and the actual printing of the card. I think the longest part of the process was waiting for the drug test result, which actually didn't take that long either.

All in all, it was a smooth and fairly efficient experience. The place was cool, well-lit, and clean. The people were friendly and helpful. It's such a far cry from my previous experience renewing my license at the LTO's main office three years ago. Maybe there's hope for our government yet. haha!

Saturday, November 18, 2006


At cellgroup this week, the discussion revolved around the fact that so many of our relationships with people never get past the superficial level, and that a sense of community in church cannot truly exist if people do not make an effort to deepen their relationships with one another.

I had some resistance to the idea of indiscriminately deepening all my various relationships because for the most part, I am really much happier keeping things at the superficial level with most of the people I know.

To be blunt, there are a lot of people whom I find totally uninteresting, and there are even more people whom I'd rather keep out of my affairs because I consider my life to be none of their business.

It sounds really harsh when I put it in writing, but that's how I feel.

* * * *

There are people who, for reasons unknown to me, will feign interest in my life and my opinions, but time eventually demonstrates that they're not truly interested at all.

Relationships with people like this are a real source of disappointment for me. When the truth is revealed, I have to resist the urge to ask why they even bothered to go through the charade in the first place. It's such a total waste of time.

I think that's why I'd rather be upfront and make my disinterest in other people obvious. I may be perceived as being unfriendly or aloof, but IMHO that's better than being fake.

* * * *

I think it's obvious enough to the people that I care about that they matter to me. Perhaps that's the saving grace in my attitude about all this.

It's so easy to be open with people with whom I have more than just a superficial relationship. There's no effort involved at all. Maybe it's because I feel like the interest is genuine, and therefore the motivation to be open and to share is there.

* * * *

I know this entry seems really weird, and my thoughts on this are somewhat jumbled and disorganized. It's partly because I experienced both extremes this week.

Sometime this week, I came to realize that someone I know is not being truly honest in their interactions with me... and I'm not sure what their motive is. I guess at this point I don't really care, because the reason doesn't really matter.

In stark contrast, two different friends (who don't know each other) emailed me this week to ask how I'm doing because I have been unusually quiet lately. It warms my heart more than I can express that they would be concerned and would write just to make sure everything's okay.

* * * *

At the end of the day, I think superficiality in relationships can be a good thing, and I will go so far as to say that it can actually be a healthy thing -- especially when used in the right context and to the right degree.

There's no point being fake about relationships, because there's too much effort involved to keep up the pretense, and the truth will reveal itself in the end.

Monday, November 13, 2006


I freely admit it... After two months of regular use, Twitter is now very much embedded in my life.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Twittering Anew

Twitter has released yet another round of updates and of course I immediately took advantage and tweaked my settings so that the color scheme on my Twitter home matches my blog.

Some thoughts:

  • Statistics. I like! It surprised me to realize that I am just one more post away from making my 100th "status update" using Twitter. haha! Obviously, I'm addicted.
  • Mini-thumbs. I like the fact that the avatars are all shrunk down to mini-thumbnails in the sidebar. Efficient use of space, especially for the uber-popular people who have 4,000 friends (mild exaggeration there).
  • Tabs. I like the faux-tab interface. Simple but snazzy.
  • Sleep. Had a laugh when I saw the new "Sleep Time" option. I used to wake up in the middle of the night when Twitter updates arrived. haha! But that stopped being a problem when I changed my incoming message tone to something less intrusive.
Anyway, I really liked the new updates, which is why I felt motivated to use the invitation feature today to invite a few more people -- mostly folks in the Philippines whom I don't see often enough. Since it's free for us to receive text messages, I figured it was about time I spread the good word around.

Unfortunately, no one has responded yet (it's been over 12 hours!), which makes me wonder whether or not the invitations even got sent in the first place! And the main reason that I'm wondering is this: I had added one of my own email addresses to the list of invitees and I haven't received the invite email yet. :-(

None of the items on my Twitter Wishlist have made it into this round of updates. But considering how quickly they're putting new features out, I have reason to hope. :D

Monday, November 06, 2006

Untag Me, Please

I couldn't help but laugh out loud when I saw the corporate write-up for

Tagged provides a fun, safe, and exciting environment for teens to showcase their personalities and talents, and to connect with friends and meet new ones. Tagged maintains this great environment by only allowing teenagers to register on the site.
They've got to be totally kidding about that last statement! I've received four or five "You've been tagged" emails already and they're all from people who are either in their 30s or older!

Anyway, if you've tagged me and you're wondering why I haven't replied, please don't take it personally. Until I see a compelling reason to sign up, I'm staying untagged.

A parting thought: if you really want to 'play tag' with the unwired generation, you're better off signing up with Twitter.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

New Find: Food Blog

Just found a food blog today called Dessert Comes First.

It's incredibly pretty, and it looks like the type of blog that can provide hours of fascinating reading. Now I know where I will look the next time the family wants to try a new lunch venue.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

The Prestige

Oooh-lala!! What a mind-bending movie!! I walked out of the theatre with my mind still reeling from what I'd seen.

Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale star as bitter rivals caught in an escalating tangle of one-upsmanship in The Prestige, a Christopher Nolan adaptation of a 1995 book written by Christopher Priest.

IMDB's message board has incredibly enjoyable discussion threads about the movie. Worth a visit after you've watched it.

And since I don't want to risk letting any secrets out, I will end this post here.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Going, going, gone!

After months of having the game box just sitting on my shelf (it was a Christmas present!), I finally unwrapped my copy of Modern Art: High Stakes Bidding in the Galleries while we were at the cemetery yesterday. It's a board game designed by Reiner Knizia, and it is manufactured by Mayfair Games.

Here's a little excerpt from the box:

Welcome to the high-risk world of art auctions! You seek to earn profits by selling the works of up-and-coming new artists. Players take turns running auctions of different styles, with the highest bidders claiming the artwork to sell at the end of the round. Do you have the insight to invest in the artists that will have the most staying power? Can you manipulate the art market so that your favorite artist will give you the greatest return?
It was funny how we all started out so tentatively, making bids that were rising in increments of $1,000 each time. By the fourth round, we all had a better understanding of the game and the bids were opening at $52,000. haha!

Since the game was new to all of us, we were learning the nuances as we went along, and it's amazing how the simplest action can have consequences ranging in the hundreds of thousands of dollars!

While it's definitely not a game for everybody, I really enjoyed it. I look forward to the next round, whenever that may be.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Paying our respects

Just got home from the cemetery where the clan trooped en masse to pay our respects to my grandfather, who had passed away a few years ago.

I feel kinda sad, because I've lately been realizing more how so much is lost when someone dies, especially when it's someone elderly. When I think of all the stories, life experiences, lessons, and even bits of history that were lost forever when my grandfather died, I feel bad because we have so little left of him to hold on to.

Lately, I've been thinking of my parents and everything that they've achieved both personally and professionally, and I can't help but wonder whether their grandchildren or great-grandchildren will one day know just how proud they should be of their grandparents.

I guess it's the job of my generation to ensure that the future generations know, understand, and appreciate.

Vital Friends

Stumbled across a podcast interview of author Tom Rath whose second book, Vital Friends: The People You Can't Afford to Live Without, is out. The podcast is available courtesy of 800-CEO-Read and is hosted on Odeo.

The Vital Friends book has a companion site which lists the 8 roles that different friends fulfill in our lives -- and emphasizes that expecting one single person to fulfill all 8 roles is a guaranteed recipe for a disastrous relationship.

The roles are (see Vital Friends site for full descriptions):

  • Builder. Motivators. They invest in your development and genuinely want you to succeed.
  • Companion. Always there for you, whatever the circumstances.
  • Connector. Bridge-builders who get to know you -- and then connect you to others.
  • Collaborator. Friend with similar interests; you share a passion.
  • Energizer. Your fun friends. You have more positive moments when you are with these friends.
  • Mind Opener. Friends who expand your horizons with new ideas, opportunities, cultures, and people.
  • Navigator. Friends who give you sage advice. You go to them whenever you need guidance, and they talk through the "pros" and "cons" with you until you find an answer.
  • Champion. Champions stand up for you, and defend you until the end.
I find the concept behind the book interesting (although I haven't actually read the book yet) and I am seriously tempted to buy a copy because it's a drill-down on yet another Gallup book that I had read a few years ago, entitled First, Break all the Rules. That book forever changed the way I think of my role as a manager (but I won't go into why for now since that's a subject for another post. hehe!).

Anyway, I'm glad that I can actually name at least one person in my life for each of the above roles, with the possible exception of the Connector role... which I guess isn't that surprising since I've yet to master the fine art of networking.