Who's Been Watching?
Saturday, May 02, 2009
Five years ago, when I signed up for Blogger, I saw a tiny little blurb inviting me to sign up for Gmail. I knew it was a new free email account, but OH MY, I sure didn't know how big it was.
At that time, 1G mean A LOT of free space. The biggest storage medium we had were CDs and what we called a Zip Disk (RIP), which had a whopping capacity of 750MB. So when we heard that a company was giving away 1G of FREE space, we all went nuts.
Suddenly, everyone wanted a gmail account. The only problem was, Google suddenly closed the free sign-up and made it strictly invite only. Which meant, the precious few (thousands?) who signed up suddenly found themselves with a hot new commodity: Gmail invites.
People were selling them on eBay, leveraging them for dates, and up at the gmail-swap forum, traded them for all sorts of things. Magic tricks, friendship, books, letters...Most popular offerings came from soldiers in Iraq, who needed the extra space so they could send pictures to their families. They offered pictures of the desert, momentos of Bagdhad, and other little things, such as you name scribbled in sand or a picture of a tank with a big, green bottle with your name on it. But most popular of which were the offers of LETTERS. That if you agreed to swap an account, you could get your own, certified, American soldier as a penpal.
Someone should call Google, because I bet a few marriages resulted over those transactions.
One could say that I used my horde of ten invites wisely. Made a couple of bucks on ebay, had my name stamped somewhere in Baghdad, or even my own military penpal (although that would not have settled well the boyfriend, even if I wouldn't meet him until two years later)
I wish I could have called myself the nifty early adaptor, but no. I decided to be pretty magnanimous with my stash and shared it with friends. When I got down to two, I decided to hold one to one, and swap the other. And what did I get?
I got...A card trick.
Yep, one of the hottest commodities at that time, and I bartered it for a stupid card trick. And not a good one, either.
I wish I could have said that I was an early adaptor, instead of a naive dolt who signed up for things. I settled for "semi-early adaptor", and vowed not to repeat that mistake again.
Until a few months ago, when I realized that before I took a hiatus from blogging, I signed this account up for AdSense.
Imagine the irony when I started earning a few extra bucks out of SEO a few years later.
We all know that the first people who managed to figure out AdSense made a killing. I was, sadly, not one of them. I would have, if I had the time. Instead, I fell in love (and you're more than a few thousand dollars sweetie! Because I know you still google me!)
Even when I found out I had signed up for AdSense, I kind of...ran out of things to say. But I was happy that I managed earn 49c--the result of 2 years worth of rants. So I decided that this way way too much work, and just went on my way.
So imagine my surprise when, after the Google keyword tool, I decided to check out my AdSense account and found a jump to $4.00.
Now, four dollars might be chump change, but it get's a little suspicious when $3 came from earnings made in February. Just February, and not a single penny since. Again, $3? Chump change. But $3 also translates to a couple hundred page views.
And considering that I haven't updated this blog for months, and has since dropped from the Google stratosphere...Who has been reading?
Sad that I haven't integrated any tools to track if this was a single visit from one person, or there's been a spike for a single keyword. Perhaps someone who thought my 24-year self's rant on Valentines Day funny...I can only hope.
Friday, December 12, 2008
Rally 2008: Here's a Brick, Let's Hit It On Our Heads
This rally at Makati seems to be inspired by the recent stand-off at the Thai Airport which, having learned anything, is something that we can't afford.
The whole world is in embroiled in a global financial meltdown, investors are fleeing to protect their assets, and what's our answer? BAD PR.
As someone who's been directly affected by the crisis, I feel fortunate that the Philippines has been able to hold up much better in this financial storm. Given that there seems to be someone complaining at the government rafters every month, and a whistleblower hoots every week, I think we're still doing pretty good.
But a shoutout for a major rally? This isn't something that we can afford.
Given our past history with Former President Marcos, I can understand our paranoia with any instrument that might extend a presidents term. Remember the hoopla over President Ramos' Cha-cha? Didn't we all bitch about that too? We thought he did so good, that he wanted to over-stay his term at the palace too. So scared were we of another dictator that we took to the streets and stopped that too, giving way to the Erap's laughable term in office.
Hindsight maybe 20/20, but it must have been some dumb luck that we booted out the one president who actually dragged us back to the black after the Marcos administrations lavish spending put us in the red for so many years, only to vote for someone who spent even more on his mistresses. Say what you will for Marcos, at least the guy was smart enough to have at least three US Presidents fooled. With Erap at the palace, we might as well have sent a monkey to work, because it sure as hell seemed that no one went to the office during those two years in their term.
And now we have the this: our country has seen the best growth in decades; we have been so far insulated from this financial contagion, that NEDA Dir. Gen. had the gall to tell the World Bank that it's growth forecast for the Philippines was just too conversvative. Moody's and S&P might have a gloomy (moody and poor?) forecast of our country, but considering how Wall Street bankers danced around them with the poorly structured housing market for a decade, I don'tquite know just how much I should believe them.
All I know is, for the first time in a long time, our country has produced the numbers, even if the people haven't stopped whining. Which isn't difficult, since we place the same obsession over our politicians as others do with Hollywood. I believe that after the hell we've put her through, the President will step down in 2010 and make room for change. It's just 365 more days, and there are more things we could do with them than to troop to the streets for another rally.
We should focus on further protecting ourselves from this financial turmoil. To asking ourselves how, in our own little way, I can help my government succeed. Because the government is US, and we need to know how to be able to help ourselves. It's time to just SHUT UP, and roll up our sleeves, and stop complaining and do the work.
And to the people at the rally...here, have a brick. And smash it on all our heads while your at it, then tell me how that helps solve any of the problems we're having now.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Return of the Meme...and I guess me too
After a long hiatus, I am resurfacing with this short survey culled from the bulletins of Friendster. I'd post a longer update, but I'm lazy right now and a bit ornery. But for the people who are looking for me...here ya go:
Have you had your birthday yet?
>> Yep. Three days ago. This is the fifth year that I'm turning 22.
Are you the same person as you
were at the beginning of 2007?
>> Nope. I'm glad to say that I am a pound heavier and about 2 lbs closer to my 100 lbs goal. Yezzzzz.
Are you still in the same job?
Is your favourite colour the same colour?
>> Always been, and I think will always be, unless there's drastic changes to my skin tone.
Have you got the same style/colour hair?
>> Yes. It just keeps getting longer.
Have you bought a new car this year?
>> I wish.
Have you been involved with the police this year?
All time drinking place for 2007?
>> I think I consumed my annual allotment of alcohol at Laarni's two weeks ago. So I'm gonna have to go with "Laarni's condo".
Is your best friend still your best friend?
>> Yep, yep!
Got any tattoos or piercings this year?
>> Nope. Still my ears and my navel.
Had a hair cut?
>> Just once.
Been in hospital this year?
>> Yes! Went to the ER for the first time in in 12 years.
Lost someone you cared about this year?
Been on a holiday this year?
>> No. And I damn need a vacation.
Been in love this year?
>> Still am.
Been kicked out of a pub this year?
Completed any studies this year?
>> Sadly, no.
Read a book this year?
>> The Black Dagger Brotherhood series. Currently wading through "I am Legend". Yet another vampire story, but this time with more cred since Stephen King loves this book.
Worst thing to happen this year?
>> They'd kill me if I told.
Best thing to happen this year?
>> They'd kill me if I told.
Sunday, May 28, 2006
The spawn of Brangelina is here: Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt. Born in Namibia yesterday.
Oh well. At least that's one thing crossed off my waiting list. Next up...dazzling the world with my brilliance. Now I just have to add the brilliant part on my list...
Saturday, May 20, 2006
Just a quick shoutout...
1. I am still flat broke, but I at least have two projects that I am working on. Will it bring money? Heck, I hope so.
2. I do have one contracted writing project that's supposed to bring me money. The only down side is that I feel like hitting my head on the keyboard every time I do it...
3. Back to school for a short while this coming June...fuck.
4. Still waiting for Brangelina baby (so's the rest of the world, I hear)
5. Lamenting that Elliot Yamin is now out of the running on American Idol.
I'm not much of an AI fan, though I did watch AI3 because two pinoys were competing.
But Elliot, wow man. This is the first time i've actually rooted for a contestant. I so cannot wait for his album to come out.
I must say though, that if he had to lose the AI prize to someone, no one deserved it more than Taylor Hicks. That guy can really sing!
Sunday, March 19, 2006
Yep, It Looks Like Up From Here
Sometimes, some things in your life make you stop and take inventory of the things you have.
Going hungry for weeks is one. Talking to my friend Jason about how frail life can be in a very positive (and he is one of the most positive people you will ever meet) is another. Editing the footages that came in from Leyte, is the latest one.
Life is beautiful. It's fucked up, but it's still beautiful. And sometimes you have to see the bad to reflect on the good, and hopefully wake up thinking "My life is shit...and today is the day I start fixing it".
So, as I start looking up again in my life, I am remembering--and appreciating--all the small things that makes me happy...or occupied...or just amuses me.
A bit of warning though, a lot of them are terribly MUNDANE.
1. Brangelina and their much awaited bundle
Not quite an obsession but c'mon, have you ever seen a more perfect celebrity couple?! Not only do they look good together but they're activists. And as is the case when two beautiful people get together, you just can't wait to see their offspring.
2. Keyword searches on dating sites
This cures my writers block. Popular words are "Star Trek", "Star Wars" and "Monty Python". Believe it or not, the word "Pickle" actually generates more than one profile, and in a Catholic website! Who the hell knew.
3. Videoke Videos
Do they have direction? Who the hell makes them? Why do they never make sense? Why are the women always rolling on some bed and the men all look fucking gay? And with considering the overwhelming amount of unemployed but incredibly talented, not to mention DROP DEAD GORGEOUS actors out there, why do they have to use people who look so damn plain?
Especially free buffets. That come with dessert. Usually also comes with the money to pay for the cab ride home many hours later.
5. The 4400
Specifically, Chad Faust, the latest addition to the constantly expanding collection of Templates.
6. Clark and Chloe fanfiction (a.k.a. "chlark)
C and C. Not that I don't like Lana. I just have a soft spot for unrequited love.
"Kitty" is now past the four week mark and also has a name: Scheherazade. Besides having a taste for gold and a penchant for getting into anything electrical, she is--after many hours of hand-feeding--in the process of being weaned (THANK GOD).
Monday, March 06, 2006
Wag The Dog
It's been that way for a long time. In fact, it's an "unwritten rule". The Philippine Cinema makes movies for the masses.
I have a hard time determining what exactly "the masses" are.
Economically speaking, it's that big chunk of the pie chart that's well below the poverty line, with a small slither of the lower middle. They represent about 60 to 75 percent of the population: the underfed, underpaid, and under-educated.
Survey says that they also like to watch a lot of television and even, on occassion, spring some of that hard earned money for a movie or two.
So it makes a lot of sense that huge portion of the industry caters to them.
What doesn't make sense is this beliefe that the industry has that they are stupid, because here's the thing: they're not.
Yep, here ye comes the new generation of masses. The public school kids who grew up with camera phones, the internet and the Knowledge Channel in their classrooms. Somewhere along the way, they got smarter. Too bad The Powers That Be got stuck in the upgrade, because we are still batting out the same tired plot-lines to pacify the people.
I once got locked into a debate at my union office about what exactly the masses wanted.
Technically, we couldn't make a TV show like The Practice because no one would watch it. You're Honor came out and it flopped. It's too brainy, and the upperclass is already busy watching...well, The Practice.
You have to give Richard Gomez some credit for pitching something new, and maybe ABS-CBN for actually letting him do it.
Now here's the deconstruction: You're Honor flopped because it spent most of it's time focusing on the courtroom drama. It's aim was to show passionate lawyers and titillating cross examinations. Judges aghast at clients' hysterias...
The thing is...there is no such thing as courtroom drama. It's all bullshit. Lawyers stutter, clients rattle off answers like robots, and some judges sleep if they're not fining the lawyers for excessive dialectics.
In real life, court cases are boring, that's why the lawyers from The Practice only spend about 5% of their time there. And even then, it's always in a direct one minute closing argument/speech.
Poetic license be damned, there's only so much that you can make up.
The real drama happens behind the scenes, with the clients and among the lawyers. It's not the court cases that make the story, it's the people that make the story. A case is a piece of drafted paper, it's the people mentioned in it that bring the conflict.
And for a country that usually handles it's cases by settling out of court, it would have made for a lot more interesting stories, not to mention shed light on the process.
The writers of the show should have made it more episodic than serial, writing each one like a stand-alone movie with a snippets of courtroom drama.
That doesn't mean though, that the show and the format couldn't have worked. I think the network dropped the ball too early, way before the writers could've re-tooled and improved.
Writers are dynamic, they would have re-worked it. Writers aren't stupid and neither is the audience. The only people dysfunctional in this system are the people who make the decisions.
I understand that network TV is scared to lose their money, we're not like Hollywood that can afford to pop out pilots the way they do Vicodin pills.
But for Kahless sake, grow some balls dammit. Try and match the growing independent movement done by cinema.
Yes, we get the fact that soaps work, but do they all have to be soaps? Take a risk and stop coddling your audience! They aren't monkeys in bars, they've long ago started thinking.
A great example of this are the Hong Kong OFWs. Karen recently marketed our TV show there and it was--surprisingly--well accepted. We had hoped they would love it, but we never actually thought that they really would, especially that much. Their reason?
"We're sick of watching movies with the same stories over and over. We'd like to see something new, and even see some documentaries in there."
We're a country that has a basic literacy rate of 96%, but a functional literacy rate of 86%. That's a sad number.
So dog darn it people, we already know we can bite, now give us something that we can actually chew.