Post Christmas Blues

santa_after_boxOnce the all the Christmas parties are over and done with, a respite from the rather strenuous holiday comes in form of a brief lull until the New Year’s celebration. The house is in a bit of disarray – garbage bags of boxes and gift wrap paper need to be recycled, fridge smacking full of left over food, car oil change schedule missed, and darn we worry about our diet which had been deferred until the season is over. It’s time to get back to routine things that were postponed all because of Christmas. There’s a sense of relief that big day is over but then there’s the anxiety on the ton-load of things to do 😯

When you think that the day after Christmas you can loaf around, it is not the case in this country. Dec 26th is Boxing Day, a statutory holiday and this is not to say that we spend the whole day watching boxing matches on TV – I wish we did 🙂 Boxing day is the day when prices of goods fall off from the cliff, a much anticipated day for people to shop and haggle with stores especially for big ticket items. It is a rather hectic day for some when they have to queue up early morning hours for the appliance stores to open before the stock runs out. If your wallet got burned with Christmas, it’ll be charred by Boxing Day if you’re not careful. Having said so, I did buy my large screen HDTV on a Boxing Day and boy it was a real sweet deal. This time, I’ve opted not to visit a store on Boxing Day. The bad news is Boxing Day prices last until New Year’s day. 😦

 
santaOne FM radio station here plays the yuletide carols ad free all day on Christmas Day since carols are are slowly taken off the air after Dec 25th. Maybe it’s just me but have you noticed the sudden surge of big name artists cutting Christmas albums lately? I don’t mind listening to Hall and Oates singing Jingle Bell Rock but James Taylor singing Santa Claus Is Coming to Town is kind of odd. He sounds like a drunken octogenarian peeing in the bushes, murmuring to the goblins to duck his pee. Michael Bolton singing White Christmas grunting and frowning like tacks are piercing his butt can cause depression to the weak hearted. Absolutely no comparison to the original Bing Crosby version. I was a bit shocked to hear Willie Nelson sing O Little Town of Bethlehem. It’s a rather solemn song fitting a church choir setting and Willie’s country style, mousy sounding pitch didn’t quite do justice to the song. Like it or not – time to say bye bye to the carols. Not in Pinas though. Last time I came home for vacation – the last week of Jan, the Little Drummer Boy was still playing his drums at the NAIA airport speakers 🙂

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HOLIDAY CHEERS

santasee022ea12a2When I think of Christmas, pictures of happy and giggling children inevitably comes to mind because frankly there are no happier human beings than children during the yuletide season. It isn’t hard to draw this conclusion because once upon a time I was a kid myself. Christmas time was like living in Disneyland – carols, food, gifts and abundance of good things made the atmosphere so. It was almost like a time warp, where time pauses and a Shangrila-like world rushes in .

santa3aThere was a time when I questioned the existence of Santa Claus and my parents punished me for being such a brat, for trying to convince my siblings that the fat man and his reindeers were a hoax. When we woke up early one Christmas morning , I couldn’t find my gifts ! Looked like Santa was upset, ignored my letter inside the stocking and totally passed up on me. My world crumbled. 😦 My aunt then told me ” maybe you should look around more. Santa may have placed your gifts somewhere , not by the Christmas tree”. I ventured into the kitchen area and lo and behold, the gifts were there just beside the garbage bin. Such was my lesson for being an imp and I stopped berating the fat guy after that. 🙂

candle21aAs we age, the meaning of Christmas transcends beyond the jovial celebrations, with a much deeper and symbolic meaning. Sometimes I just frown upon people trying to be too politically correct with the adamance to say Merry Christmas. I see no malice in wishing happiness on someone. I just hope people don’t go too far and start dropping the fat man from the list because SANTA could also be spelled SATAN 😯 These buffoons may celebrate Christmas eve at the laundromat washing their dirty linens but that won’t stop me from wishing them Merry Christmas. 🙂

 

BE CAREFUL !

We all look forward to a jolly holiday and sometimes get too rambunctious celebrating the season. Be careful – don’t drink and drive. It is fine to go to the pub and have a pint or two but get a designated driver. More importantly, be wary of picking up a stranger ! 😆

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The Party Season

images1In these tough economic times, salaries and bonuses are likely to be trimmed severely, especially those companies that are struggling to make a profit or those desperately trying to improve their balance sheets. Company Christmas parties have been shelved, at least for this year to save expenses. Our company is no exception. Every year we hold a Christmas dinner dance at a first class hotel but this year, it is cancelled. Now several groups within our company are organizing Christmas parties and I have been invited to four of them ! The bad news is, the revelers have to foot the bill so every attendee must contribute money 🙂 Dang, 4 parties is too much for me to attend, let alone the availability of time but I decided to attend two parties – my own department’s party and our division party.

Our business partners also invite us to parties organized for their customers like us. One account rep had been calling me up to confirm my attendance at their Christmas bash. Last Friday I received an email from him informing me that the party had been cancelled. Yikes, that was a bit embarassing don’t you think? Before you circulate invitations, you bloody make sure that you work out the finances ! I didn’t bother to ask why the cancellation but clearly it was done haphazardly and in poor taste methinks.

Consumer spending is anticipated to be down this holiday season. But seeing the malls packed these days, I’d be curious to know the decline percentage. Stores have been marking down their items so attractively that as a buyer, you’d wonder if you’ll see these prices after the season. Today I saw a Sergio Leone original DVD pack with 4 of Clint Eastwood’s famous spaghetti western movies for $29 bucks with a voucher of $15 for gas as freebie. How can you possibly beat that? 😉 I’m quite sure more crazy deals are in the offing for those who plan to do their shopping on the 24th 🙂


THE WINNING CAMERA- Canon SD500 Scores a Pacquaio-like Upset

canon1I hate lugging around with a camera bag. Seriously. I’ve been really wanting a small but powerful compact camera, one that I can stick into my pocket and take quality pictures when a photo moment arises. I had been scoping out the Panasonic Lumix DMC TZ5 as my Xmas present to myself but my brain keeps telling me – “you don’t need the darn thing kid. You have a bigger camera and you didn’t even learn all it’s functions yet”. Alright 🙂  Just as I was about to can the whole idea, my craving had been rekindled when the 2008 Global Metro Photo Challenge in Toronto was won by a diminutive point and shoot camera, a Canon SD500 . The theme of the contest was Urban Jungle.  Man, when you think that there were 55,000 entries from all over the world the win is  truly a gargantuan upset.  An aspiring young photographer – totally low budget with his little point and shoot camera and plastic $20 tripod waits for hours to take a shot of the tram car in the early morning hours to create the winning shot. Check the amazing story here.  One heck of a great win really. For his effort the winner gets $2000 cash and a trip to Paris plus a spanking new Nikon 700D camera worth $5,000. Now that is a real dandy camera. You would definitely need a pretty decent knapsack to lug it around 🙂

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NOW THAT PACQUIAOMANIA HAD DIED DOWN A BIT……

beanI had a whale of a time with the recent Pacquiao vs. de la Hoya fight, not only with the fight itself but with the usual pre-fight hype and hooplas that characterize such a big event . In a nutshell, it was damn intertaining ! I particularly like HBO’s novel 24/7 show, which normally airs a few days before the fight. It features a calculated intrusion or mild invasion of privacy of the boxers’ lives as they train and prepare for the grand showdown. The show really brings you down into the ceiling level of the private homes of these people and you get a glimpse of their “ordinary-ness”, their daily routines, how they interact with family and the team and cope up with the stress of showing up fit and trim for the big day.

Here’s a few of those Pacquiao 24/7 Pinoy moments in LA :

  • Manny shares a condo with this wife while his Pinoy entourage, all 10 of them cramp up a 2 bedroom condo. One of them even converted a closet for his bedroom.
  • The boys cook strictly Pinoy food at the condo but 6 times a week, Manny and the boys frequent a local Thai restaurant where no dish costs more than 6 bucks .They feast on hefty servings of Asian dishes especially cooked for the team.
  • In an effort to keep the boys trim, Manny offers a $1,000 incentive to the ones who lose 10 lbs and $2,000 reward to those who lose 15 lbs.
  • Manny offers a $1,000 reward to the sparring partner who floors him in a sparring bout
  • Manny listens daily to the heatbeat of his unborn child through a special listening device that he places on his wife’s tummy
  • Manny gives aways free turkeys at the Filipinotown during Thanksgiving. He stands inside a big truck handing out frozen turkeys to Pinoys. Some Pinoys simply came to shake his hands and declined to accept the handout.
  • Manny drives a Lexus while the crew roams in what looked to be a Ford Explorer SUV
  • Manny jogs daily with his pet dog aptly named Pacman
  • Actors Mark Wahlberg and Mickey Rourke pay the Pacman a courtesy visit in the gym
  • Manny plans to go back to the US on Dec 17 where we will spend Christmas with the family. His wife is scheduled to give birth at a US hospital sometime this month.

 

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Horse Talk

horse1

For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

This proverb has been around for centuries hence beaten back and blue by moral crusaders since time immemorial but hasn’t lost its wisdom. You can practically paste this proverb as post mortem to a failed endeavor be it a collective or personal one.  It amazingly fits the cause and effect scenario we dread to hear – troubles always start from the small things we chose to ignore.

We often make it a habit of changing the rider when the horse is unable to  run properly because of a malfunctioning shoe that is missing a nail. It has dawned on me that the recent bail outs of ailing companies, the changing the nation’s leaders with the hope of curing the country’s ills is  symbolic of a rider change and a grand makeover, of donning fancy suits to project resplendent optimism and to resuscitate the flagging spirit of a weary people.  But within the depths of our soul a question begs to be asked  – is this the real solution ?

We can’t avoid the feeling of frustration and despondency when we mull over on what had gone awry with our world. Could we still fix that missing nail? Oftentimes I entertain thoughts of our world akin to an ailing PC that had been running for too long , accumulating a whole pile of bugs and errors that cause applications to run erratically. At some point when the prevasive degradation appears irreparable you are faced with a decision – must I reboot this machine ? Alas, perhaps the world needs a reboot, with a clean slate to start over.  Maybe not in my lifetime. Just a thought.

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