30 June 2009


What is fever?

Two days ago, I exhibited symptoms of what seems to be flu: muscle aches, runny nose, coughing, and increase in body temperature.

I took this very seriously because of the H1N1 scare. I thought I might be candidate for one. I didn't hesitate to go to the doctor the very next day.

But the night before, I prudently and continuously monitored every symptom I have and my body's reaction to different kinds of over the counter medicine. I also researched on the symptoms of H1N1 and learned that aside from common symptoms of flu, diarrhea and vomiting are two of the  prominent indications of  "the dreaded virus" -- which i didn't have.

The next day at the clinic, I showed my pulmonologist my hourly plot of my body temperature the night before which ranged from 36.4 to 37.4 C and with esteem I told him, "Doc, I have fever.. and this and that symptoms...."

He cautiously studied my "hourly plot" and said, "No, you don't have  fever. A person who has fever has  least a temperature of 37.5 C..."

He said that what I have is a simple respiratory track infection, and after checking my temperature again, (37 at that moment) he said, all I needed to do was to rest, drink lots of water, and take my daily dose of vitamin C.

And so that day, I learned that in adults, a temperature over about 100 F is considered a fever. That's about at least 37.7777778 degrees Celsius or roughly, as the doctor said, 37.5 C.

Thank God I didn't have a fever! (my temperature was short of 0.1 degree Celsius). And thank God I am cleared of flu A(H1N1).

Immediately right after, I went home and treated everyone to McDonald's and ice cream.

28 June 2009

On Education

"An educated man is not, necessarily, one who has an abundance of general or specialized knowledge. An educated man is one who has so developed the faculties of his mind that he may acquire anything he wants , or its equivalent, without violating the rights of others.

A man is educated who knows where to get knowledge when he needs it, and how to organize that knowledge into definite plans of action. It is not essential that he have this knowledge in his own mind."

 - Napoleon Hill.

26 June 2009

I'm a Secret Fan of Michael Jackson

Yeah, you got that right. I'm into Jackson music. When I was in elementary, I was known in our school as a metal rocker. I could shred heavy metal guitar solos and had a wide collection of rock records of  Metallica, Megadeath, Pink floyd, Kiss, and Led Zep, you name it, I probably have it. You can say I was some sort of guru of rock and roll back then.

Little did my classmates and co-heavy rockers know that sometimes, when I am alone, I listen to Michal Jackson music and practice the moonwalk. I even wrote Michael Jackson a letter and sent it to his fan club.

Michael Jackson was like a drug to a lot of people like me -- a lot are addicted to his music and yet no one admits. And so it came to me as a surprise when I learned the King of Pop is dead.

Farewell Michael Jackson. Your music (and finger pointing, crouching, high-kicking, splay-footed, crotch-grabbing, moonwalking style) will be remembered forever.

25 June 2009

What is Sociology Anyway?

When you are new on a job or a new in graduate school, the perennial question people ask is this:

"What was your course back in college?"

And of course I tell them, "Sociology."

This is almost always followed up by another question, "What is Sociology anyway?" "I never quite got what a Sociologist actually do..."

Of course I say, "Sociology studies human social behavior, especially the study of the origins, organization, institutions, and development of human society; Sociology studies social institution or societal segment as a self-contained entity or in relation to society as a whole.

As I explain this, it is almost always the conversation follows a long pause, as if people did not quite understand what I was talking about.

It's hard to make people appreciate the course. It takes so much reading, research, and meditations to actually appreciate the art.

I guess the first step in appreciating Sociology is through Sociological Imagination.

Coined by C. Wright Mills in 1950's, he argued that ‘nowadays men often feel that their private lives are a series of traps’ . Mills maintained that people are trapped because ‘their visions and their powers are limited to the close-up scenes of job, family [and] neighborhood’, and are not able to fully understand the greater sociological patterns related to their private troubles.

A lot of times people feel that they are trapped because they feel that they are so consumed with their personal lives. People feel that this life is a mere  trajectory, a mere routine, a mere series of personal events. It is common that they feel this  is a dog eat dog world, a rat race, a personal struggle to be solved.

Yet, if you look at it in a different perspective, "Neither the life of an individual nor the history of a society can be understood without understanding both" (Mills, 1956)

This understanding is what Mills calls the Sociological Imagination: the 'quality of mind' which allows one to grasp "history and biography and the relations between the two within society"

Ordinary people do not possess the quality of mind essential to grasp the interplay of man and society, of biography and history, of self and world." It is only with this interconnectedness of society and the individual that we can truly understand and possibly solve societal or individual problems/issues.

Sociology probably can not be contained in a single definition. Its meaning may vary from one experience to another. But one thing that all sociologists share is the ability to look beyond one’s own everyday life as a cause for daily successes and failures and see the entire society in which one lives as potential cause for these things.

For me, it seems that Sociology is about reading, feeling, and understanding a lot -- and then reading, feeling and understanding some more. For me, it is about fighting for what is  right and just. It is about questions to be answered and answers to be questioned so that at the end of the day -- we may gain epistemically and be in a position to make better choices in life.

23 June 2009

Schedule your comebacks.

"Progress toward your goals is never gonna be a straight line; it'll always going to be a wavy line. You'll go up and come down a little. Two steps forward and one step back. Now most people get discouraged when they take the two steps back, they think they're failing. But they really haven't. They really in sync with the natural rhythm of progress. Now once you understand this rhythm, you can look ahead on your calendar to refresh, renew, and recover. Schedule your comeback while you're on top. Schedule a block of time to get away. Even to get away from what you love. Because coming back is gonna be that much more exciting when you've been renewed."

- Steve Chandler

20 June 2009

Fire distinguisher

Yesterday, on my way home, I was in the LRT  and overheard two teachers  talking about a fire incident that happened at their school. Apparently, they were ranting because their principal was very disappointed with them. Students, while the fire incident broke out, were very unorganized and in complete restlessness. Some students even went back to the site where the fire broke out to retrieve their things.

One of the teachers said:

"Baliwala yung... (hesitates) fire distinguisher, hindi naman kasi natin abot, hindi din natin alam gamitin!"

The other teacher replied, "Oo, nga. Nagseminar pa nga tayo kung paano gamiting yung fire distinguisher na yan, pero hindi din naman natin kasalanan kung bakit nagkagulo yung mga bata ng ganon. Buti nalang napatay nila sunog agad. Pero, sana nasunog nalang yung room para narenovate lahat..." They both giggled as they alighted out of the train.

I had my own giggle, too!

It's the first time I heard of a device that distinguishes fire.

Do you know how to use a "fire distinguisher?" -- Well, I don't.

I will learn to use it as soon as possible. We'll never know where the next fire might happen.

19 June 2009

Happy Birthday H1N1 virus

I though I've just discovered a remedy for Swine Flu.

Before class I went to the CR to compose my self. There I saw my friend  washing his hands while singing "Happy Birthday to You."  

I wondered if it is his birthday, but before I had an opportunity to ask, he left. He was late for class.

A while ago I received an information that San Beda has just confirmed its first case of Swine Flu and that the school will be closed for 10 days.

I panicked. I don't want to get infected.

And just like a lighted bulb. A spark of idea came to me.

You can sing "Happy Birthday to You" while washing your hands. It  takes about 15 seconds of applying soap to ensure that hands are clean. Singing happy birthday takes just about the same length of time. You will know your hands are clean when you are done singing.

If you don't want to sing Happy Birthday, you may instead opt to sing
Ba Ba Black Sheep or Twinkle Twinkle as they all share the same melody anyway.

I just thought I've stumbled upon a really good idea. Not until I saw a tarpaulin outside our school that recommends exactly the same thing.

I realised that's the reason why my friend was singing Happy Birthday a while ago in the first place.

My idea wasn't original after all.

Right at that moment my imaginary "light bulb" at the side of my head flickered and became totally dim and dark again.

15 June 2009

The Right to Die

Lately, I have been having bad dreams about the many ways to die. Every time this happens, I wake my self up, because I'm scared. This causes me sleepless nights.

K.I.A. or killed in action is a military jargon for dying in the line of duty. For many who have dedicated their lives for a cause, this means dying with honor.

If you have seen Forrest Gump, there was a scene there where Lieutenant Dan was badly injured in battle. Forrest Gump was saving Lieutenant Dan but Lt. Dan wanted to die on the spot. To quote:

Lt. Dan: Now, you listen to me. We all have a destiny. Nothing just happens, it's all part of a plan. I should have died out there with my men! But now, I'm nothing but a goddamned cripple! A legless freak. Look! Look! Look at me! Do you see that? Do you know what it's like not to be able to use your legs?

Forrest: Well... Yes, sir, I do.

Lt. Dan: Did you hear what I said? You cheated me. I had a destiny. I was supposed to die in the field! With honor! That was my destiny! And you cheated me out of it! You understand what I'm saying, Gump? This wasn't supposed to happen. Not to me. I had a destiny. I was Lieutenant Dan Tyler.

Forrest: Yo-You're still Lieutenant Dan.

This scene asks us a very important question: whether or not we have the right to die.

The right to die has in its core the concept of dying with dignity. But how can someone die with dignity? This might seem an oxymoron, but it is true, there seems to be ways to die "better."

Spartans of ancient Greece take great pride in dying in battle. Iraqi suicide bombers use their bodies in the cause of  freedom. Mothers sacrifice their lives for their unborn children. These are regarded as very honorable ways of dying.

Much less dignity is afforded by children who die out of hunger in Africa, those who are killed mistakenly with no reason at all, and those who are tortured before dying.

The trajectory of life is that one day we will all die, but when that time comes, I want to die with honor and dignity.

Let it be known that I want to end my life well.

As my favorite philosopher Gracian writes:

"If you enter the house of Fortune through the door of pleasure, you will leave through the door of sorrow, and vice versa. So be careful of the way you end things, and devote more attention to a successful exit than to a highly applauded entrance. Fortunate people often have very favorable beginnings and very tragic endings. What matters isn't being applauded when you arrive -- for that is common -- but being missed when you leave. Rare are those who are still wanted. Fortune seldom accompanies someone to the door. She is a courteous to those who are coming as she is rude to those who are going."

Anyway, as to my dreams of death, it seems that for many cultures, it is unlikely to forecast an actual event, rather, death dreams seem to  represent the ending of one phase of life so that a new one can begin.

If this were true, I am excited. I like new beginnings and surprises.

14 June 2009


Professors are paid a great deal of money to teach and to give  fair grades.

Sadly, some professors, who are not in any way worthy of the academic title "professor,"are synonyms for book parrots.

What's worse, when the semester is over,  these "so called" profs play a game called "dart-a-grade."

I didn't believe it  until I saw it with my very eyes. Darts are real. It has  happened, is happening, and will happen again. It targets students indiscriminately at the most unexpected times.

Pray if you must. Seek for the intercession of your saints. Be humble, because you'll never know, you just might be the target of the next dart.

07 June 2009

Extracting the Sweet From the Bitter

Only an espresso machine can extract the sweet crema from the bitter coffee, that's why, I am saving up to buy an "espresso machine" to replace, for good, my hassle, unreliable, and wasteful "coffee press."

Espresso is a concentrated coffee beverage brewed by forcing hot water under pressure through ground coffee. A distinguishing characteristic of espresso is the crema - a caramel  foam that floats on the surface and traps and holds the finest coffee oils and aromas that in other brewing processes are lost.  If you know good coffee, you know crema. A good crema undoubtedly means a good espresso.

And just like an espresso machine, I extract the sweet from the bitter. Like in the same way, I transform lemons to lemonade, stumbling blocks to stepping stones, loss to lesson, difficulties to opportunity, and oppression to justice.

Yes, it might have been a bitter arbitrariness that I have tasted, but from that bitterness, I will extract my sweet success -- just like how an espresso machine extracts crema out of bitter beans.

06 June 2009

Lessons from Poker

I won my first million chips in Facebook today .

I fell in love with the game of poker from the first time I learned to play it, perhaps because the game is more like life itself -- the drama of life unfolds with every turn of a card.

Since I have reached this far in "the game." I have no further intentions of pursuing another million chips. The game does not appeal to me anymore. I have done enough for the game, and for this, I am officially retiring. I'd probably just give away my chips, especially to those who helped me during my "darkest poker times."

In my quest for my first million. I have learned a lot of lessons from poker as in life, which I hope you can learn from, too.
Life is both luck and skill, in the short run, "luck" prevails, but in the long run "skill"  triumphs.

Don't bluff, but don't be totally honest either.

Be patient, composed, and calm

To get better, practice and study.

Look for patterns.

Never make an important decision when you're tired or have recently consumed alcoholic beverages.

Stick to your level of stakes you are comfortable with.

While you're at it, you might as well enjoy the game.

Poker is a game of empathy. It is a game of understanding others' intent and motives so that  you can arrive at correct decisions. In a sense, Poker teaches us a lot about life. It develops discipline, critical reasoning, management of finances, strategy building, tactical implementation of the strategies - all are useful not only in life but also in any game that you want to pursue.

02 June 2009

on taking shots

"You miss 100% of the shots you didn't take" - w. gretzky