Sunday, July 28, 2013

This Rain Quote

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Oh, the pain.
The pain.
It always rains.
In my soul.

- John Green

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Integers, Exponents, Etc.

One of the random things we discussed in an informal meeting we had at school this week is the confusion of some high school students about integers and exponents.

In mathematics, any integer can be a base or an exponent. In science, in a given notation, the exponent is called an integer while the base is referred to as a number. But hey, science book, which I forgot to ask what title, isn't the base also an integer and exponent also a number?

I am no genius at numbers and abstracts, but in my understanding, all integers can be exponents but not all exponents can be integers. It is because there are integers that are only bases and so forth. It is like saying that all fishes can swim but not all that swim are fishes.

Scientific notation clear as the crystal water. Reference: www.the

I must admit though that I am more convinced with the mathematics concept on integers and exponents but I am not saying the science concept is wrong because there must also be some explanations behind the use of such terms. 

So while I am the only human in the world at this moment thinking about this seemingly trivial thing, I can only safely conjecture that both math world and science world have their own jargon. In order to avoid confusion, I bear this piece of advise in mind: Use their concepts in their respective fields.

Just two cents of an average person who can't move on. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Sweet Vengeance of Sayote

Almost twice a week, I and my colleague explore the backyard of our school for a fresh harvest of those clinging vegetables called sayote. I have this notion before that it is just a major culinary boredom and a poor man's plant, but an array of menu can be cooked with sayote and one just have to be creative - thanks to Shiela Mae S. Pama.

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Sayote, also known as chayote, is a vegetable of gourd family. Its fruit is pear shaped light green. I've always wished to crunch it like an apple but I have this sane part telling me not to. However, botanically speaking, it is a fruit rather than a vegetable. Fair enough craving?

Moreover, the green color of its leaves and the twirling noodle like shoots in the tip of the sayote is a culinary delight we discovered. Aside from boiled, I love it more when sauteed because it is crunchy. We jokingly name this specialty our "green noodle".

Just to inspire myself more, I would like to share some health benefits I read about sayote. 

Sayote is relatively a good source of folates. This is a kind of vitamin that keeps the heart healthy by preventing build up of homocystein. When taken adequately before and during early pregnancy, it can also help prevent neural tube defects in the newborn babies.

Furthermore, sayote contains some types of antioxidants which protect the cells from damage. These substances help scavenge harmful radicals from the body that play a role in cancer, aging and various disease processes.

Both sayote fruits and leaves, like any other vegetables, are also rich in dietary fiber that provides the bulk required for regulating bowel movement. My colleague is constipated and began to feel a lighter stomach, drawing inspiration after sayote became a part of our diet. 

Sayote also contains zinc, an essential mineral that helps keep the immune system healthy. It is also rich in copper, which is great for the thyroid. The Vitamin K in it helps with clotting and helps in the prevention of osteoporosis while the iron helps with red blood cell production.

So, for those who think that sayote is just one vegetable of a poor man, think again. I hope you will also enjoy a culinary experiment with sayote.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Of Letters F's and P's

The end of the PHILIPPINES?

One of the current bones of contention in the cultural and political aspect of our country is the urge of the Komisyon ng Wikang Filipino to replace the country's name from Philippines or Pilipinas to Filipinas.

If "Philippines" is a vestige of continuing American imperialism, then logically "Filipinas" is a symbol of Spanish colonialism. Truth be told in the first place that it was a Spanish conqueror who named our islands as "Filipinas" in honor for their king.

For me, with so many fuss surrounding this issue, the three names - Philippines, Filipinas, and Pilipinas - are as valid as anyone's opinion. We just have to use them in the proper context - Philippines in English; Filipinas in Spanish; Pilipinas in our own.

By still using "Pilipinas" and not "Filipinas" in our local parlance, we indiginized the original Spanish name by writing and uttering it in the comfort of our native tongue, that is by using P instead of F - a letter that did not exist in our original alphabet and does not exist so much in our present manner of speaking.

We adopted "Pilipinas" from the original spelling because we wanted an identity that is uniquely our own - a sign that though we cannot deny a colonial past, we still embrace an independent present. Nothing has to be changed at all - nothing really in the stamps, documents, universities.

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As a conclusion, I stick to this rule:

Say PHILIPPINES in the international usage. Say FILIPINAS if you are in the Spanish world. Say PILIPINAS when you are speaking in the native tongue.

And by stating that rule, I may just declare: Longlive Philippines! Viva Filipinas! Mabuhay Pilipinas!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Set Fire To The Rain

Aside form the vocals, I usually like a song primarily for its expressive lyrics. "Set Fire To The Rain" by Adele is about a love burned into ashes but trying to rise like a mythical phoenix from the dust. 

Just like any other romantic tale, it all started when she gave her heart to a man who rescued her in misery. The "fallen heart claimed", "kissed lips and saved" and "weak knees to stand in the arms" is the usual story of a damsel and a knight. 

Until she discovered everything seemed not right. The "side she never knew", "games the played he always win" and "words said were not true" were deceptions.

At the chorus, she is caught at the crossroads of letting go and holding on. The "set fire to the rain" line which is also the very title of the song is where the beautiful contradictory element of the song.

Among the popular singers of this generation, Adele seems to be the poet among them. Different from metallic and club, she has the ability to sing the deep pains of human heart that is lost in awry. Indeed, this is the quality that made her early songs "Rolling In The Deep" and "Someone Like You" both enormous international hits.

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In the end, the song leaves its listeners the moral verdict. End love or accept lies? Hold on or let go?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Ripple Effect

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Life is a choice. And with every choice that we make, we create a chain reaction that looks more like that of a ripple effect.

Ripple effect, in psychology, can be described as an effect that follows after an initial event, like an expanding ripple across the water when an object is dropped into it. Life is more like a ripple effect, and our actions create a backlash that influence not only of what we become but also of what others become.

Our choices in life are also a reflection of who we really are. What we dream and aspire in life manifest in our choices. And how we think and act show as we reach those choices in the process. 

And since our choices are like a ripple, we need to make the wisest ones at the same time. We have to keep in mind that with our every choice, we make a lasting outward cascade of change to the world.

We'll never know how our choice of words may result into dark holes in the lives of others. Each person has a share of negative stories of the past, which we carry unconsciously. These gather like drops of rain until it runs over.

But on the positive side of things, we'll never know how our choice of simple acts may make one soul breath lighter because we did. These simple acts do not cost and are not actually hard to do. Let me just tell you some...

Notice. It may be the most encouraging reason for a person who needs attention to see his worth for the first time.

Listen. It may be the triggering cause that a perplexed person would finally feel that he is understood.

Smile. It may be the only bright sight that any person wandering along the way has ever seen for today.

Appreciate. It may be the most beautiful compliment that a girl suffering from poor self esteem has ever heard.

Help. It may be the kindest hand that could help a failing person stand up and fix his dreams again.

Love. It may be the most enduring act of kindness that could melt a stony heart in despair and misery.

Thank. It may be the sweetest word that one human may realize to do more good things in the world.

With these positive choices and more, why won't we start making these good choices in life and watch for the ripple effect of good things?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Happiness is...

In order to be truly happy, one doesn't need everything in the world. Appreciating simple things around and noticing the positive side of life is what makes life truly happy despite its flaws. This I realize in a typical day of my rigors in school. As a teacher, I find meaning of happiness this way...

Happiness is... the gentle flame that burns
The water in the pot boiling as it turns;

Happiness is... the sprinkling frost on hair
Upon a foggy and chilly air;

Happiness is... the perfect beating
Of national anthem as everyone sing;

Happiness is... the chorus of greeting
That children say in the morning;

Happiness is... helping a kid read a line
And fighting sleep at the same time;

Happiness is... a board work of numbers
But realizing the delight of the learners;

Happiness is... the buzzer when it rings
And the sound of putting away things;

Happiness is... a neat pile of stick brooms 
Before cleaners go to their own homes;
Happiness is... the sweet song of flower
That cold zephyr blows through the hill;

Happiness is... a pair of warm knee socks
Knitted with the soft thread of twilight;

And happiness is... simply coming to terms
With life's odds and burns.

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What about your own happiness, too?

Sunday, July 14, 2013

When Jo In Sung Blows, It's All Summer

Caught between deceit and love, which will you follow?

This is the story of the new drama series entitled THAT WINTER THE WIND BLOWS. I don't have enough leisure time to follow the show that has started though, but as from the initial views that I had, I think it will be a hit as it unfolds more. 

What I like more of the show is the come back of Jo In Sung who I admire first in his sensational role in MEMORIES OF BALI. He physically looks older, but I guess it did nothing with his acting prowess that is better matured here.

Jo In Sung plays the role of a bad boy who wanders a meaningless life and was involved in a dirty game with a gambling lord. As a desperate attempt in order to pay his debts, he was left without an option but to pretend as the long lost brother of a heiress whom he will later fall in love with.

Set during the winter season as the title puts it neatly, I have this feeling that it will be all summer in every nook and cranny as the story goes on that beautiful conflict between deceit and love.

Catch the show on ABSCBN primetime!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Grass of Imelda Marcos

When somebody mentions General Santos City, the visual imagery that comes in my mind is that of wide plains of yellow creeping plants. 

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These weeds are locally called "imelda grass" and "yellow creepers". It has small leaves, yellow petals, and spiny nuts. In college, I remember avoiding them on the way to the university for its sharp thorns especially during summer season when they thrive most. 

Ican also be found in some parts of the world, notably in arid and hot places. A legend says that the plant was pegged from Imelda Marcos who bought and thought it would thrive best in the once barren area of General Santos City for its warm climate.

Aside form the tuna, why not make this peculiar golden plant a symbol of the city? I have never seen them in any place around the region.

Friday, July 12, 2013

An Autism Novel Worth Reading

How much has our society developed in terms of awareness and acceptance of autism?

The fiction novel entitled HOUSE RULES written by Jodi Picoult is about the struggles of a differently able person and of selfless people around who embraced Asperger's Syndrome, a high functioning developmental disorder often included in the autism spectrum.

Such is the condition of Jacob Hunt who lives with his mother Emma and brother Theo. He resists changes in routine, a typical characteristic hard to deal for persons with autism and often causes tantrums and aggressions. He is also obsessed with forensic investigations, a bee in the bonnet that later brought him into a conflict.

Jess Ogilvy is a college student whose field involves children with autism. She worked for Jacob as a social skills therapist and the two later formed a genuine friendship. When she was killed, initial evidences like fingerprints led to Jacob pointing him as the murderer. A case went to trial. The prosecutor, having little awareness, misconceived the symptoms of condition of Jacob like little eye contact as signs of guilt.

At the peak of the story, Jacob confesses to having been involved in the case by moving the body of his tutor and setting the scene anew to lead the investigation to a different direction. A form of satisfaction to his innate obsession on crime scenes aside, Jacob realizes that it was a part fault of his brother Theo.

Personally, having had encounters as a SpEd teacher handling children with autism, I could relate so much to the characteristics of Jacob like hand flapping, picky eating, literal understanding, unusual fears, etc. I've had a student before who, like Jacob, exhibit jargoning, a language mostly picked from movies used by children with autism when they are at loss for words to express.

My heart honestly goes to the genuine presentation of the character of Emma for her struggle in raising a child with autism and a single working parent at that. It was a mother's compassion and strength that she could selflessly exchange her own life for the person she calls her family.

The novel is also a very timely enlightenment. It showed the bare bones of what really the persons with autism and their families experience in reality. The misunderstanding and discrimination brought by the condition of Jacob are still very true of today's attitude of the society toward persons with autism. And these all has to come an end.

However, while the author obviously made an extensive and careful study in order to understand the special condition and make Jacob a realistic character, it turned out that her attempt to expound the world peculiar to the condition sounded too much of a lecture rather than an implicit conversation between the writer and the reader.

As much as the author also wanted to give a background on each manifestation of the symptom for readers who might not understand the pieces of the disorder, she almost attributed all the manifestations to the extreme, crafting a character in double emphasis - too not typical of the too not typical persons with autism.

As a whole, this novel will surely touch the hearts of parents, siblings, teachers and therapists of children with autism. It particularly showed the impact of autism in the family life and the effort of people around to stand above the situation. 

I encourage not only the people acquainted to the special community, but also the general populace to read this wonderful novel. We need more hands in spreading the autism awareness and acceptance of them as special pieces of our diverse society.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A Late Movie Review for Up

Better late than never? Think again.

I watched the fresh release of the movie entitled UP three years ago. I was in Davao City that time, spending a weekend from my training in special education. Even if I really loved the movie that I wanted to pen a review, blogging wasn't a slice of my life that time yet.

What brought me into putting this movie review three years after is that I happened to watch it last Sunday on the idiot box. As I have always said, I'm not a movie buff. It was chance that the movie was featured and I was having my usual weekend online check, so I thought of writing this.

The movie was inspired from the creative geniuses behind the animated movies and it was not the usual spinning of the yarn. While the movie was all fantastical, it conveyed depths of human life. I laughed out loud. I cried a bucket. I thought in pensive.

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The movie tells the story of an old man named Carl, whose beloved better half Ellie has passed away. His frustration is that he was not able to fulfill taking his wife to visit her dream destination in South America. Willing to fix this broken dream whole, he fills his house full of helium balloons and deploys them out of his chimney, tearing his house from its foundation and bringing it southwards. 

However, on his way to his destination, he finds out that a young explorer named Russell slipped on board in an attempt to help him, as such win his boy scout “Assisting the Elderly” badge. Together, the two form a rough relationship as each of them reach their respective goals.

As a movie civilian, it was effective. There was never a scene that didn't excite or affect my strings. The animation was wizardly. The scenes were amazing in its own way in fantasy as it would in its own right in reality. And the music was also superb. It added life effectively to the movie, like making sad scenes sadder.

However, the movie was somewhat "bipolar" if this term is appropriate for what I mean.  At the prelude of the movie, one would relate to real emotions - the joys and sorrows of humanity. Then, one would be taken to the adventurous imaginations - the possibilities and weirdness of fantasy. In the end, the movie seemed depressive and manic in the swing of the story teller's mood.

Moreover, I would just suggest a parental guidance on underage viewers because of some violence and ferocity incorporated in the conflict of the movie plot. These must be usual elements for conflict development, but for a cartoon movie with children as huge market, just enough might be too much.

As a whole, I like UP more. It may have some downs but it is effective. It really gave me glimpses of both worlds of young and old, of reality and fantasy, of happiness and sorrow. And perhaps its greatest impact in me is the lesson it tells that: Life must always go on. 

With 10 as the highest, a brownie 9 for UP!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Fast or Slow - How Do You Find It?

Is it just my mind or is time moving really slow as a snail lately?

I have oftentimes complained how time flies so fast and how week passes quickly before I knew it all happened under my nose. But this week is just weird. It seems that everything turns just so slow.

It might have something to do with anticipating the pay day again, which is too far in the calendar from now. Or to planning to look for a new environment to get my grey cells work again on second semester. Or to the fact that I find this week just way easy without challenge and pressure.

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I have this pragmatic voice behind reminding me of a simple lesson back in the grade school that a day is composed of 24 hours - all the same. So, time can't really be slow. Maybe I just need to reset my mind. And have more fun.

Fast or slow - how do you find yours, friends?