20 February, 2011

Cops And Robber

Mid-day this afternoon, inside J&M Coin and Jewellery, I was busying myself counting a sackful of '67 silver quarters with the help of a coin counter. Inactivity is a grave sin against the company. Once you're caught, okay. Second time, count your days. Third, expect the obvious: oblivion.

Though I may sound ridiculously paranoid and exaggerating, the dread has always been ingrained in me, especially since the owner, Joe, began his dehumanizing staring assaults at me; due in part to the innocence reflective of my questions, and the blunders that came alongside learning and experience. In order to neutralize the pretense of a seemingly lazy and idle day, I did find myself one of the least favored works, of counting coins and bagging them; that not only messed your head from the continuous barrage of loud clicking sounds from every count the machine did, but also back-breaking work that it demanded.

Just as the machine had began the intermittent counting, my attention got snatched away, when I heard Joe shouting (which I would always presume suggestive of trouble), "Hey! Don't let him out! Don't let him out!" Then even before I could assess the situation that was now on red alert , Joe began chasing after the quick devil who absconded away with his treasures displayed in the jewelery section showcase. For a very brief moment, I was held back by shock and indecision. But seeing the old Italian don chasing after the crook out to the open bravely, while Mr. Fong, the soon-to-be retiring veteran of our department, also following suit, I was quickly galvanized into action, and began heading out to the exit door alongside my colleague, Sean.

When we came out, it was like a game between cats and mouse. If seen from third-person point of view, I and Shaun would have looked like we concerted to concurrently turn our heads to our left, and seeing nothing turn it to our right; but again, barely seeing anything. Fortunately, a bystander who must have witnessed the chase told us the direction (to the right). Then we began with the gungho pursuit. We crossed the first block without really caring so much for the cars passing by, then immediately spotting two bikes speeding down the alley to our right, moved our butts to that direction.

After a block or two more down that stretch, the bikers had suddenly veered to make a left turn, and when I and Shaun came to the corner, we realized the futility of ever catching up with them, as their lead had already drawn a huge gap between us. But then, my years of experience in first person action shooting games played its role in making me quickly determine the most feasible and strategic direction to go. So, I told Shaun, "Ah! Let's go this way," while pointing my head to the direction straight ahead and move there. The idea was to bank on the possibility of the snatchers, whom I thought to be the two bikers at that time, to go back towards the direction we were now headed, by making another swift right turn after they had just done one and disappeared from our sight.

When we reached the other side and turned left, I was not quite sure what to make of the situation. The two bikers were in front of us from afar, but did not seem to continue moving towards or away from us. At that moment, my mind was still juicing up on our next step while moving closer to them. "Should I attack the bikers?" I confusedly wondered. Then I realized that they were actually helping us, just by judging the way they were left mesmerized from the mysterious disappearance of the culprit. Then a black SUV abruptly stopped beside me and Shaun, the driver pulled down his window, and tipped us, "He's behind one of those bush against the wall of the building." So we searched for the bush nearest us, and walked our way inside the building parking lot, which was where we thought the man was pointing at (half-ignoring the tip).

As I moved along the steps of the staircase of the building, I thought, "I might actually die today for reasons I shouldn't be dying for." while I kept a vigilant approach to my surrounding. Seeing no one, we all grouped up in front of the main building - I, Shaun, and the two bikers (Joe and Mr. Fong were missing). We all agreed that we must have lost him, but wondered how it was possible to escape an entrapment from both sides without catching sight of him. After a brief moment, the man in the SUV went down, and pointed to everybody the exact bush the thief was hiding behind. And Shaun and the bikers carefully moved in, peeked from the sides, and exclaimed, "He's here! He's here! Get out of there! Get out of there!" and commanded, "Drop on the floor! Drop on the floor!" repeatedly.

Unarmed and not dangerous, he went out with his hands offering surrender and laid on the floor just as seen in the movies. It turned out, the building in front of the one he was hiding against the wall of was actually a police forensics building. And everyone started becoming cheery, laughing over the unlucky circumstances the now hopeless, tired, and anxious rodent literally brought himself to. Shortly, Joe finally arrived. His eyes were dimmed infuriated at the sight of the thief, but uttered nothing. Silence is his intimidation, and he carried it out well. Later, two policemen from the police forensics building came out, and handcuffed the pinned down thief. When another police car arrived, it became apparent that there was nothing more left for us there. So the boss looked at me and Paulo (another one of my colleagues who just arrived) and remarked, "Okay, you two go back to the store" so we did obediently. All along our way, we jogged back with a hint of cheerfulness gleaming on our chin. Justice had prevailed without having the need for violence. And to that, I was thankful.

Comment: My entire life being spent in the Philippines, I have never even chased after someone for the same reasons. I have never deemed the prospect of doing so, ever, for reasons I think agreeably rational. The irony of it all is that I did - and I did in a first world country. What an experience. I should add it up in my resume.

18 January, 2011

The Looking Glass

Once I came across a child - not any normal one - for he did not glance or stare, look or watch, speak or listen. But everything that surrounded him did. He was still and silent; his face impassive, his eyes unwavering, and his mind void of consciousness. He is out of this world, but we have him in ours.

The eyes are the windows to the soul. I stooped down and with a searcher's eye attempted reading his. It was brightly lit, slightly teary, utterly reflective. As seconds passed, my pupils grew larger and larger in the desperate and exhaustive encounter. "Why won't you look at me? Look at me. Look at me!," I whispered to him in my consciousness, applying a sharp and painful whip of the tongue with it, as if a command that demanded action. I burst in outrage, of disbelief, of discontent. "Hopeless!", cursed I did onto his futile bearing. In a minute or so, I shunned away from the misery, and went back to my seat for dear comfort.

There seated slouching, with gazed eyes staring down, as if at a loss, I conclusively asked, "Why do you exist? What is your purpose?" Then, shortly, it was as if an angel, eavesdropping over my dreary thoughts, retorted, "What are you gonna do about it? What is your purpose?" An answer in the form of a question that made me fall silent, ashamed at the response that felt like two slaps in succession: one hitting my left cheek, the other hitting my right. The special child had spoken to answer the fool who mockingly asked.

Then as the event came to an end, words and hand gestures of goodbyes were made. Everybody who attended, one by one, visited the boy one last time; looked him in the eyes, held his hand, or touched his head, and said "Goodbye, happy birthday," then left homeward. When the queue had shortened and my turn was next, I gently pat his head with my hand, knelt down, and finally greeted him, "Happy birthday, 'God bless you -- and me.'" And after another glance at the looking glass, I stood up and walked away with the confidence of a new discovery.

16 January, 2011

President Aquino's Porsche 911 Purchase

The news of Noynoy Aquino's Porsche 911 acquisition has drawn too much unwanted attention. But is this justifiable? What makes such a decision grossly intriguing? There are those who, by their rationale, do not express anger, disbelief, or contempt for this volatile action. But many are protesting against what they consider an apparent insensitivity to the plight of most Filipinos.

Had it been a tycoon - the like of Lucio Tan, Henry Sy, or John Gokongwei - who obtained a luxury sports car, no feelings of resentment would have even surfaced. What drastically switches the media spotlight to President Noynoy Aquino stems from the holistic experience of a battered country. Ask a person experiencing poverty why he suffers, and his attention suddenly veers to government corruption, with little or no reflection of his own misdoings. So trite this response has become, that it has in fact become commonplace among Filipinos to share the same sentiment. This, in turn, justifies their claim when things such as Noynoy Acquino's "unethical" opulence happen.

People who stand neutral are content with the idea that the P4.5 million Porsche 911 Noynoy Aquino purchased came at his own expense - not the taxpayers's. At a personal level, Noynoy has all the right to the possession, so long as no evidence should prove otherwise. However, this mars the image his parents put so much effort to establish - one of conscience, love, hope, and peace. But then again, the question of whether his purchase is justifiable or not, rests not on our explosive visceral reactions. There is no difference between keeping P4.5 million in a local bank and concretely transforming it into a vehicle or any other material for that matter.

14 January, 2011

Mobilicity Service: Things to Know Before Diving In

Mobilicity Logo

Mobilicity is Canada's newest mobile phone network provider. It has solid aggressive marketing strategies that draw consumers easily to the fishing lines. And truth be told, I am one of those who got snagged within an hour of sales talk. The exclusive unlimited plan offers of Mobilicity lure many consumers, especially because of a promised unlimited data plan. And because Mobilicity keeps a competitive price and a no-contract reputation, they are able to breach through the market with apparent ease. At the rate they're going now, consider their CA$40/month Mobilicity Exclusive Holiday Offer, that includes all available options, an early investment. However, there are a few important things you might not know about Mobilicity's service that you should first consider and prepare for.

1) Misinformation - One of their sales representatives either deliberately gave out false information or assumed an innocent but pretentious role to me. He said a "CDN Roaming" instead of a "Mobilicity" icon on your cellphone was due to Mobilicity network updates, and works the same as the "Mobilicity" network status. But it didn't. And I'll explain why on number 2. The lesson: beware of some sales representatives, who may pay no concern to you - only their commissions. I reckon, this is not exclusive to Mobilicity, however.

2) Cellphone Issues  -  Mobilicity’s network uses a frequency called AWS, with bands 1700/2100. If you only need a plan for an existing unlocked cellphone, make sure the phone is compatible with the said frequencies. If not, your phone will either work under "CDN Roaming," or receive no network response at all. Under "CDN Roaming", you will experience a farrago of technical issues: no incoming and outgoing calls, text messaging, and no internet connection. Basically, paying for nothing. The only immediate solution would be purchasing a bundle (phone and line) with Mobilicity. However, it is also worth mentioning that, as an alternative, you may also purchase Wind and T-mobile phones that carry compatible frequencies - as Mobilicity currently lacks an interesting cellphone line-up. This does not guarantee having the "Mobilicity" status all the time though. Once you lose their network signal, you either see an empty network bar, or the "CDN Roaming" status that has the same effects previously mentioned.

3) Customer Service (by phone) - You may contact Mobilicity at this hotline: 1-877-866-2458, or you may call from a Mobilicity phone by dialing *611. Prepare yourself, however, for a grueling 30-minute (or longer) wait period. Unless willing, then there shouldn't be any problem for you, as they are helpful once they heed your call.

At this moment, Mobilicity's service is in tatters, as complaints on technical issues barrage their hotline all-day, all-night. Since Mobilicity offers no-contract plans, abuse the opportunity of testing the waters first by spending as little as possible. Purchasing an expensive bundle (phone and line) is a dangerous investment, since the phone will be deemed rather useless if you suddenly decide transferring to another network that does not support the same frequencies. You'll just find yourself in a tighter bottleneck with Mobilicity. As a consumer, your decisions should always put you in a comfortable position; being able to transfer from one network to another with as little constraints necessary.

Note: these were all based on my experience with the network. Don't get the wrong idea of mistrusting the Mobilicity experience. It is the service that needs most of the fixing. My problems are now solved, and currently enjoying their service.

10 January, 2011

Superheroes: Seattle Vigilantes

The streets of Seattle acquires a new League of Justice in addition to police presence. Criminals now have to think thrice (instead of double) before they dice. If you don't believe deja vu happens, then here's a reason why you must consider. 

Last year, an action-comedy film called Kick Ass enjoyed attention on the silver screen. The movie began with a glorified scene of a man standing upright, superman-like, on top of a high-rise building. Then in just a while, he leans forward gently - with arms in flying position - to attempt the impossible. You know what happens next. 'Houston, we have landed!' seems an adequate hint to say the least. Superheroes like Superman, Batman, Spiderman possess unique supernatural powers to defeat villains. The ordinary teenager in the film, Dave Lizewski, role played by Aaron Johnson, wishes to defy the odds, and plays the game of a superhero in 'real-life.' His first encounter with two brazen thugs nearly sent him to his grave. Though without success in his first attempts, he later meets and teams up with two other superheroes; not to get back at the thugs, but defeat a far more formidable enemy - the antagonist in the film. This is a cliche of a drama that unfolds only in the fictitious world of superheroes.

The Rain City Superheroes (from left to right: Red Dragon, Phoenix, and Buster Doe)

In Seattle, however, it is as if Batman, and two unknown black and red ninjas, fell off the screen of a TV to find themselves wandering the wrong streets for action. Phoenix , Buster Doe, and Red Dragon are only a few members of an organized vigilante group called Rain City Superheroes. And their purpose for mimicking what seems Hollywood-you-wish fantasies aligns accurately with well - Marvel superhero characters. One can only imagine the impact movies bring us. And the extent to which this might actually extend itself. Weirdos, fools, and a horde of imbeciles may soon be found at your local district. So just you know, this might actually hit the tipping point and become a norm and defining moment of our time.

Call them however necessary to contain their delusions of grandeur into your harsh judgments. But as for this current minority, some semblance of authenticity seem fragrant in their actions. The clash between a cacophony of disputes with matters such as this is like any controversy that remains with no definite right or wrong answers. It only brings us closer to familiar stories (like deja vus) of quixotic men, who once upon a time, boldly challenged the world. Died. But died changing it.

>>>WATCH THEM HERE<<< at youtube.com

08 January, 2011

Comments on True Grit

True Grit Movie by Joel and Ethan Coen
True Grit is one film for the wallet. Although I have not watched the original John Wayne version, I'd say it's still worth cashing out on. That distinct old Texan accent that pervaded throughout the film proved essential to compliment its theme and setting. However, being unused to words of old usage and peculiar pronunciation made it an extra bit more challenging for me to swallow the dialogues whole. Mind you, it's my personal flaw, not the movie's.

Jeff Bridges, taking on the role of Rooster Cogburn, put sense of humor to play. Unlike many western films we're used to watching, True Grit is part-action and part-comedy. And not just depictions of what would have likely been a cowboy - obstinate, brash, cocky and anything of similar degree. Some dialogues from certain scenes were instant hits of laughter among the audiences at the theater. The storyline, I think, had been a bit altered from the original version; though to be considered a new one that run its course in pure adventure and excitement - something I won't be able to compare with the former until I watch both.

Rooster's somewhat antagonist Laboeuf (character played by Matt Damon) at the beginning of the movie, acted in much earnest than him, whose interests in drinking and a laid-back, reckless lifestyle, only seemed to make him appear relatively incompetent for his task. At some point, Hailee Steinfeld (Mattie Ross in the film) did express her disappointment of him and was desperately withdrawing her support to transfer to Laboeuf. Unsuccessful, she had no choice but continue the journey by Rooster's side.

The plot revolved around the early intentions of Mattie Ross to find her father's murderer. And the quest had led her acquaintance with both Rooster and Laboeuf, who were guardians of justice as well as bounty hunters. The role play of all three leading characters was ingenious. The entire film was totally immersive, that I hardly thought of anything else while it lasted. Almost all the scene-to-scene transitions were laid out smoothly, except for one that I noticed to have been a bit hastily done. A flaw of little importance anyway. Overall, True Grit is a strongly recommended in my scorecard.

05 January, 2011

Cheffed by my sister Lianne, tonight's supper, like many others that had come before it, measured up to my discriminating palate. A simple dish, her slightly marinaded lamb chops saw dinner table earlier and proved irresistibly appetizing. Although it wasn't smothered to perfection with anything special, its source of simple key ingredients such as salt and pepper kept its natural flavor and aroma sensible in our taste buds.

After a bountiful dinner that comprised mainly of rice and her signature lamb chops, we both agreed to a short jogging session around the neighborhood. We challenged ourselves to a brisk walk through our chosen course and ran through uphills in a faster pace. We decided to come back home after 2 laps due to Mother Nature's ice-cold wrath, however. Exercise prematurely ended, but it was nonetheless better than none at all. I'd say, a relatively good night.