Christmas 2010

I vividly remember listening to a talk show on my car radio a few days after Christmas last year when the announcer asked the lady caller on the phone “ So, how did you spend your Christmas if I may ask ? “ The woman promptly replied, sounding quite ecstatic “ We bought some pizza, rented a couple of movies and watched them at home. We had fun ! ” Ugh, if that’s your idea of Christmas eve fun then what would be your Saturday nights like ? 😉 This simply reaffirms the fact that in a multicultural society where I am, not everyone celebrates Christmas and that’s just fair. You can’t force people celebrate so called religious holidays like their adherents do. At best what one can universally do is go with the flow, greet people and wish them well and enjoy the spirit of the season as well as the treats they pass around 😉

Over the years I’ve seen how Christmas had been systematically commercialized and the practice of gifting had given people more burden than joy it seems. It is said that the average Canadian spends $700 to buy gifts during the holiday season. What is crazy is after Christmas here, there is a second tide of the spending spree – the Dec 26th Boxing Day – where prices of merchandise drop to some ludicrous degrees. The rule is if you want to take a good grip of your dough, never read the daily newspaper flyers or visit the store websites on Christmas Day. Chances are you’d score something totally unintended, like upgrading your BlueRay player or boosting up your subwoofer’s power, not because you really need to but because the price is so darn good that you feel like you’d never see such riduculous prices again, ever.

But that’s just the spirit of the season, the one time of the year where you become more generous to your loved ones than ever, even pamper yourself with cool toys or spiffy clothing. The din however fizzles out after Dec 26th where you would cease to hear Christmas carols being played on the airwaves and I totally agree. Let’s get over with the euphoria and get back to business as soon as we can. I see no sense in playing the carols until Valentine’s Day 🙂 I remember years ago when I vacationed back in Pinas, I arrived Jan 21 and the Little Drummer Boy was playing on the airport’s sound system. I wonder what the motivation is – businesses and their deftly continuance of the commercialization of the yuletide season perhaps ? Whatever the reasons are, I’d still prefer to get back to reality as soon as I can. Heck, those people prefer an overdose of the season are likely the ones who have no credit card charges to pay 😉
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Thoughts for Year 2010

The typical dilemma for those of us in the 9 to 5 workplace is the lack of recognition or let me put it in another way, our “perception” of our boss(es)’ lack of recognition of our effort and dedication. Whatever the reasons are – legit unfairness or remonstrations of our bloated egos, there is always a case to make when it comes to not getting the breaks we expect. This reminds me of the movie Picture Perfect, where an advertising analyst portrayed by Jennifer Aniston went ballistic when she did not get the credit for the savvy, highly successful ad she conceptualized for a major client. The credit went to the other senior members of the team and not her, the brainchild of the ad. The senior marketing executive of the firm told her that the reason why he did not give her a promotion was he wasn’t sure he could keep her because she was young, single and unattached, with no mortgage and car loan liabilities and she could f-off anytime to the competition ! The short end to the story was she concocted a plan – paid someone to pretend she was engaged… well just watch the movie 🙂 Just an aside – Jennifer Aniston might not look like a goddess like Marilyn Monroe or Elizabeth Taylor but man, the way she walks- the swan-like graceful trot – kills 😉 Her walk is as sensual as a nude pose, to me that is. 🙂

Okay, the movie Picture Perfect I watched many moons ago might be a dumb example 😉 ( and I thought the movie, if not for the delightful Jennifer Aniston was wishy-washy to say the least ) but it illustrated how people can go crazy when it comes dealing with frustrations in the pursuit of their ambitions.
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Knowledge

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“To know that we know what we know, and that we do not know what we do not know, that is true knowledge.” Henry David Thoreau

My daughter is in grade 2 and was given an assignment,  a presentation on non-fictional and fictional animals to the class. The other night I checked her presentation and discovered two words I never had a clue about – warren (burrow or tunnel) and leveret ( young hare). My oh my, and I asked myself a question – “now what do you really know, old boy ?”

 

“Knowledge is of no value unless you put it into practice.” Anton Chekhov

  

 

In my previous job, we had an office mate who was dubbed  Mr. Know-It-All.  The guy always seemed to know everything more than anyone- cars, PC’s, stock market – name it and he has something to say about it. So one day, ” I took the man’s brain to the bank ” and invited him to be one of the evaluators of an entirely new service I was in charge of implementing, for he seemed to be knowledgeable with the subject. He agreed to my email invitation but never filed an evaluation report. One time at lunch he was telling us about an interesting shareware program he downloaded from the net. He promised to give me a copy of the software but never did despite a few friendly reminders from me. Strike 2. His actions made me think he was either a selfish jerk or a farce.  Surprisingly, I noticed his braggadocio ebb a bit after his no shows on my two requests.

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Reflections On The New Year


2009The new year story can elicit mixed feelings , be it a mixture of some sense of boredom, thankfulness, anxiety and optimism. The celebration matters not, for whether you participated in the revelry, the fireworks, the familiar hugs with auld lang syne playing in the background or worked out a graveyard shift at your workplace during the eve, none of us can proclaim 2009 to be the year of boom or bust. One thing we know though – a forgettable 2008 is certainly way behind us.


A mere digit change on the year doesn’t automatically alter the destiny of our world. It does however startlingly resets the earthling’s psyche with some degree of synchronicity, that we may not be playing a new game but at least we have changed venue. Same players, same game but a new playing field makes one heck of a difference, psychologically speaking.


When thinking of 2009, I am reminded of a previous post which highlighted this short snippet – from a materialist’s point of view :

 
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“Creative response to challenges is good; evil is stagnation. Unlimited power or unlimited knowledge is not good. If perfection were obtained, it would be boring. Only where there are limitations and challenges is there a game. Things that seem evil, such as dark ages and barbarism, often clear the way for a greater good. What appears to be progress, such as technological growth and natural science, often destroy things more valuable than itself. Good and evil are real enough from one point of view, but from a higher point of view, it takes both together to produce growth. Good may be bad if it leads to stagnation. Destruction can be as creative as construction. Graceful acceptance or retreat is often more creative than strength, initiative and bravery. Forgetting can be as useful as learning. Life is beautiful, in its evil and terrifying aspects as well as its good and gentle. Indeed, one requires the other to complete it. Stagnation is the only ultimate evil, and because of the devil in mankind, stagnation is always temporary. ”

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piggy_bankBad can be good and good can be bad. This time around the evidence is so compelling. Man’s propensity for greed and the sophisticated tools he developed to amass tremendous wealth had triggered the button of self-destruction. Perhaps it is nature’s way of bringing equilibrium to an overly stressed system but severe damage had been done. The resultant financial crisis had led to the retrogression of the collective wealth of this world. The comforting news is we recognized our actions of self-destruction. We might be in a state of decline but not stagnation in my opinion. My hope for 2009 is man will use his superior knowledge, indefatigable drive and unflagging fortitute to subvert the evil of stagnation. In short, I am optimisic of a healthy economic rebound in 2009. If good and bad work together to produce growth there is reason to be optimistic. My part in this would not be cheering in the bleachers but doing my job to the best of my abilities, paying my taxes and supporting my government in every way I could. 2009 is one unique year where it appears that my success no longer entirely depends on my individual efforts but on a societal scale to a greater degree.

HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM THE GREAT WHITE NORTH


A view from my driveway on New Year’s day taken with my new toy, a Panasonic Lumix DMC FX35 acquired during last day of Boxing week sale 🙂 The price drop was simply irresistible, although I craved for its bigger brother, the pricier TZ5 with its 10X optical zoom which didn’t go down much in price, dang 👿  When you shop on Boxing day it better be a knockout, and I feel like I did score on this one, yeah 🙂 Suffice to say I now have a dandy camera I can hide in the palm of my hand and slide out from my breast pocket ever so handily to capture those photo moments. But other than size it has to be special and this baby with it’s 25mm wide angle LEICA lens, HD quality video, 10.1 megapixels, 4x optical zoom and proprietary AI ( Advanced Intelligent) auto mode are all I can wish for in a “buddy” camera 😎 Stuff it with a 4GB Class 6 SDHC memory card and I’m ready to go 😆

Well, the white stuff will be around for another 3 months and I can’t play my favorite game but that doesn’t give me enough reason to be grumpy and bitchy eh ? 😆 Hey, for an optimist like me, let’s just said it’s a nuisance hehe 🙂

I had a blast celebrating new year’s and I hope you did too. Wish you all the best for 2009 !

CHEERS !

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Valentine’s Day

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This is what I got for Valentine’s last year – a gorilla hugging a red pillow and a small red box of chocolates (gone). Perhaps my wife thinks of me as King Kong , totally crazy about her , jumping buildings and valleys, braving the Apache helicopter’s firepower so I can take her to my lonely den up the cloud laden mountains hehe 🙂 Isn’t he cute ? No?? That’s fine with me as long as she doesn’t pull a “prank” on me, sending me a Valentine basket at work which she did quite a few times. It embarrassed the heck out of me 😳 that I vowed to be absent from work every Cupid Day hahaha 🙂 My female colleagues were rather impressed ehem… my male colleagues surprised ( hey, did it really come from our wife?) 😛

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monster37.gifWe’re not really that big with Valentine’s here unlike in Pinas where people celebrate it like crazy, with restaurants and motels getting too crowded 🙂 I’m going out for dinner with my wife and I’m not even sure who’s paying haha 🙂 Just kidding – the wifey and I share the same vault. Funny I mentioned this because here there seems to be an unwritten rule on who picks up the check. I tell you it’s great to be a girl in Pinas 🙂 On Valentine’s we try to give our partner something nice and meaningful. Some go the full stretch to give their loved one the big kahuna 🙂 I remember the time when I was in Manila and had to leave before Valentine’s , I ordered a dozen roses for my wife ( was still my girl friend at the time) from a flower shop in Glorietta to be delivered to her office on Valentine’s day. Many years after we got married she revealed to me that she called up the shop to check how much the flowers cost. She then told me I should have given her the money instead hehe 🙂

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