Words Of Wisdom

Funny how some quotes stick to you all your life, some for the wrong reasons. Here’s a priceless nugget from a high school classmate of mine who thought he knew it all at the age of 15.

Girls don’t dig guitar players because they have rough, calloused hands” -Divad Onairam*

It has to be mentioned that Divad didn’t know how to play the guitar so chalk this one up to spitefulness.
*not real name 

Shame on Upper Deck & Panini

I pay a lot of attention to the packaging of hobby products. In fact as a kid I based my pack purchases solely on this aspect.

watch a youtube box break here

Now I’d been away from NBA cards for more than 12 years and just recently got back into it late this year (2010). Back in the day, there were only a handful of brands from the 4 main manufacturers, Fleer, Skybox, Topps & Upper Deck. The most expensive products then were Topps Finest & the Skybox E-X releases. Game-used jersey cards were next to impossible to find and only Skybox products offered autographed pulls on relatively easy odds via their cross-brand Autographics inserts. So upon my glorious return to collecting, I discover that GU cards and AUTOS are pretty commonplace especially if one buys high-end products.

I am aware that the hobby demanded these premium cards and were very much OK to shell out the big bucks for them. High end cards sure look tasty and the card stock used is 4-5 times thicker than what I’d been used to. Then I watched a few box-breaks on youtube and I have to say I was pretty disgusted when I discovered how these products are packaged. For example we have the Exquisite Collection from Upper Deck. You have seven cards inside a cushioned box wrapped in plastic. This box sits inside a tin container which is inside another cushioned box again wrapped in plastic. Everything then is contained in yet another bigger cardboard box wrapped in plastic! What a shameful waste of materials! In this age of eco-friendliness and consciousness, how can we stand by this travesty? Is all this necessary to make consumers feel they are getting the appropriate bang for their buck? I think not.

I say Panini and the rest should set an example by being a little more ‘green’ and conserve on packaging which will no doubt lead to lower prices and “de-alienating” the rest of the hobby folk from the high end releases. Even if they choose to maintain the high prices, I wish they’d show more responsibility and maybe use recycled materials. Another idea would be to run a redemption program and let customers return the packaging in exchange for collectibles or cards.

Disclaimer: I am not a hippie nor a tree-hugger. I just care.

Pretty Porn Stars

This entry’s full title is WHY PORN?!? OR ADULT FILM STARS WHOSE LOOKS COULD’VE PROBABLY LANDED THEM JOBS THAT REQUIRE LESS NUDITY AND DEBAUCHERY. Sadly, Worpress does not allow titles that long, so yea.

I’m sure all guys have come across at least one porn film where the actress made them do a double-take and ask themselves, “She’s gorgeous, why in heck is she doing goddamn pornography for chrissake?!?” Then a few moments later those same guys realize the absurdity of that question and thank the lord for the blessing they are partaking in. So in no particular order, here are some of the females in question.

Lacie Heart
Sweet, girl-next-door looks. That is all.

Cassidey Rae aka Paizley Adams

One of the first stars I ever noticed and wondered “Why Porn?!”. It’s tough finding a photo of her not being all porn-like so you’ll have to settle for this goofy pic.

Sunny Leone

Sunny is downright gorgeous at times. And I’m not being a prude here, but I have not watched any of her films. I had just come across her a few times online and have always had to take a closer look each time. I would go as far as to say she looks like a genuine film star.

Stoya

Stoya has both the girl-next-door looks and a bit of the high fashion model’s as well. There are shots where she reminds me of Milla Jovovich too. Mmmm…Milla… It’s such a shame Stoya dated Marilyn Manson.

Maria Ozawa
“Sweet Jesus Fuck”, as Hunter S. Thompson would say. Maria is an incredibly good looking woman. If there were an epitome of what this blog entry is all about, Maria would be it.

Honorable Mentions – Tory Lane & Gianna Lynn


I’m aware a lot of people think Tory’s a dog but for some insane reason I think she’s alright. As for Gianna, she is included not only because she is sometimes pretty damn good looking but more importantly, because she is part Filipino.

Bret is Figwit!

This is probably old news to most folks but I just discovered that Bret McKenzie of Flight Of The Conchords fame, played not one but two roles in the Lord Of The Rings movies. He was an unnamed elf at the council of Elrond in Fellowship of the Ring, and Arwen’s elf escort in Return Of The King. He was credited for neither.

Guitar Tab: Duncan Sheik – Mouth On Fire

I’d been searching high and low for a transcription of this amazing song forever. I never found one so I decided to try and work it out on my own. Let me warn you folks though that I didn’t exactly try that hard to get it note-perfect like some of you hardcore people do. So take this tab for what it is and that’s just my own version of the song – the way I play it, the way I hear it through my normal stereo speakers. Enjoy yo’self!

If the text below is wonky and misaligned, just copy it all and paste into notepad and make sure the font used is Courier New.

*************************************************************
Mouth On Fire
Duncan Sheik
Phantom Moon
pretend-tabbed by Arthur Liam del Mundo [arthurliam@gmail.com]

Tuning: D G D G B D (Open G)

intro and verse
-------------------------------------------------0--0---
--0-1-0-3--3---0-1-0-1--1-----0-1-0-3--3---0-1-0-0--0---
--0-0-0-0--0---0-0-0-0--0-----0-0-0-0--0---0-0-0-0--0---
--0-3-0-5--5---0-3-0-1--1-----0-3-0-5--5---0-3-0-5--5---
--------0--0---------0--0-----------0--0---------0--0---
--------------------------------------------------------

refrain/chorus
--0----0--0----0---0---0-----------0----
--3----3--3----3---3---3-----1-----0---- chord shapes here are
--0----0--0----0---0---0---3---2---7---- to be finger plucked
--0----0--0----0---0---0---------------- experiment with it
--x----x--5----3---2---3----------------
--3----1-------------------3---3---5----
"i brought my heart to feed..."

(verse 2x)
(refrain)

bridge A
notes in [] are for string section =)
notes in () are played the 2nd time around
--0----0----0--(0)--0----0----0----[5]-------
--4----3----4--(4)--3----3----0-----[6]------ play bridge A 2X
--5----4----5--(5)--2----3----7------[5]-[7]-
--5----5----5--(5)--0----0-------------------
--0----0----5--(3)---------------------------
--------------------3----1----5--------------
"where the silver streets? where the blossoming?"

----------------------
----------------------
--0--0--0--0--0--0----
--0--0--0--0--0--0----
----------------------
--3--5--0--3--5--5----

*this part is admittedly the least accurate but still kinda works
----------------------     ----------------------
----------------------     ----------------------
--8--10--8--10--8-10--     --8--10--8--10--8-10--
---------------------- 2X  ---------------------- 2X
--8-------------------     ----------------------
----------------------     --10------------------
"la da da dah da da..."

----------------------     ----------------------
-----3-----3----3-----     -----3-----3-----3----
--2-----2-----2-------     --3-----3-----3-------
---------------------- 2X  ---------------------- 2X
----------------------     ----------------------
--3-------------------     --1-------------------
"la da dah....la da dah....la nana na na nanah...."
"where all might cease...the talk the walk the posturing..."

(refrain/chorus)

outro
--1--1------------------------2----------2-----
--3----3--------------------0---0------0---0--- play a bajillion
--3------3-0-2-3--3-2--0--0-------0--0-------0- times
--1--------1-1-1--1-1--1--2----------2--------- with variations
-----------------------------------------------
"where poetry? where mystic harmonies?"

ASUS EeePC 1201T Review or How I Used To Hate Netbooks

I never thought in a bajillion years I would ever entertain the thought of purchasing a netbook. To me they were mere toys, underpowered playthings, that only the fashion-conscious crowd desired. That was a few years ago. Enter the year 2010 and more importantly the ASUS EeePC 1201T. This model, one of the latest from the reknowned EeePC line-up jumped out and screamed “Buy me!” from one of the websites I was browsing. And so I did for a meager Php 21,500.

Ok, to clear things up, the reason I even started looking around for a netbook was I found out that Serato Scratch Live works perfectly on these babies even with their not so astounding processing power. I used to DJ with Native Instruments Traktor Pro or M-Audio Torq coupled with my M-Audio Torq Xponent DJ Controller. To make things short, that Xponent gave me nothing but headaches because the internal audio interface was glitchy and then to top it off the MIDI signals being sent were getting all mixed up (my right pitch fader started controlling the library view). In any case all I’m saying is that the reason I switched over to Serato is because it’s economical with computer resource and I won’t need to bring any controllers for gigs anymore.

Now on to this blasted review then.

First off are the aesthetics. I’m really not a fan of the 1201T’s rather bland, all black, glossy plastic look.  The whole damned thing is a proverbial fingerprint magnet but I’m guessing this design choice was to keep costs down. (Note: the MacBook Pro-looking images you see of the 1201T on the web is actually its significantly more expensive sibling the 1201N.) Once you open up the lid, you see the unit’s biggest draw looks-wise in my opinion, the excellent chiclet-style keyboard. Nicely-spaced out, great tactile feel, and just so pretty to look at. [Edit: After a week or so Ive notice the keyboard flexes a quite a bit on the left portion, near the W,E,R keys.] On the left side of the 1201 you get a VGA-out port, the AC adapter port, and 1 USB port. The right side has an ethernet port, 2 USB ports, the mic and headphones ins, and an SD card reader. Sufficient yes but I was later to discover that the headphone port is a tad too close to one of the USB slots so when I plugged in my USB key drive and tried to jack in my headphones next to it, it got a little too crowded for comfort. The back of the unit is port-free since it only has space for the 6-cell battery to slot in. It’s well worth noting that the left side of the netbook is where the heat vent is and it gets pretty damn warm. Not too hot that you’ll end up with charred pants but still alarming at first.

Now on boot-up, the uninformed might faint at the sight of ASUS’ proprietary Express Gate screen instead of Microsoft Windows. When first advertised, the 1201T was to ship with Windows 7 Starter but it seems this was changed last minute to keep its retail price to a minimum. Since netbooks’ slim profiles prevent the inclusion of any internal optical drives, I was forced to purchase a separate external DVD drive so I could install a copy of Windows 7 myself (not a biggie since the Samsung drive I got only cost Php 3,000 and I needed one anyway for my other laptop). So after the trouble-free installation of Windows, I rebooted the system and timed its overall boot-up time. From power-on to Windows 7’s log-on screen it took a measly 17 seconds. Nice. Finally,I installed the necessary drivers for the trackpad, soundcard, and the like, from the included ASUS DVD, again without a hitch.

Now I never learned to use and understand the usual benchmarking tools for computers such as PCMark and 3DMark and I’ve solely relied on Microsoft’s own Windows Experience tests to see how my rig fares. So according to the tests, the Asus 1201T garners a base score of 3.1. Not too shabby, I thought, considering my Core 2 Duo 1.7Ghz ASUS F3JR scored 3.7. Here’s breakdown of the individual scores for the 1201T

I’m surprised the ATI Radeon HD2300 got a relatively high score of 4.6 but since I don’t plan to install any games I’ll never know how good it really is. It’s also worth noting that when the 1201T was first announced, it was to utilize the AMD Congo dual-core processor. It seems this too has been replaced with a modest single core Neo version. Well the 1201T is advertised as being capable of playing 1080p videos so I downloaded a sample video from Microsoft’s website to see how true that claim is. The video played pretty well on Windows Media Player 12 but then started stuttering about 40 seconds in. To save face I tried playing the clip through RealPlayer and VLC Player and the video stuttered the exact same way in the exact same spot so I’m guessing the video file itself is corrupted. I shall grab another sample video soon to further test this. I have to say too, that the 16:9 LCD screen is pretty awesome but also pretty shiny so if you’re the gung-ho outdoorsey type then expect many-a-head-dodging as you try to move your reflection out of the way of your work.

So after about a day of continuous use, the ASUS EeePC 1201T hasn’t disappointed. It’s a very reasonable priced, mean, little machine. The only thing left is to find out in a few weeks at Deep Fried if it can last a whole DJ set. And if my stint with digital DJ-ing has made me vinyl-retarded.

Edit: A feature I forgot to mention was the trackpad. Most trackpads on netbooks I see these days are sufficiently sized and almost on par with the larger notebook counterparts. The 1201T’s however is still on the smallish side. I guess I really am just not used to the overall size of netbooks but I find that the trackpad buttons sit too close to the edge of the unit and I struggled during the first few hours of use to get used to them.  Anyway the trackpad is probably the biggest hurdle I’ve had to overcome so far.

Edit 2: So I got to use the 1201T at Deep Fried and it actually performed rather well. A friend helped me adjust some settings like switching the processor scheduling to be best for Background Services to allocate more power to the Serato Scratch Live software. He also tinkered with a few settings within the Scratch Live software to lessen the burden on the AMD Neo CPU. All in all the 1201T didn’t let me down. I hate blaming the tools but the only times I had trouble was when the turntable needles gathered dust and instead of the usual skipping, it actually slowed down the record (mp3 in this case) which made cue-ing a chore.

shameless plug: Deep Fried – proper house and tech – Feb 13. Route 196, Katipunan Ext, QC

The Significance of Archie & The Gang

Since Filipinos in general are quite fond of American culture, it’s no surprise we’ve taken to one of their iconic pop culture phenomena, Archie Andrews and his merry gang from Riverdale. I, as a young teen, used to collect the single and double digest versions of the comics and read them fervently like, I assumed, every other kid in the world was doing at the time. So imagine my surprise when I learned during my 8 year stay in Sydney, Australia that almost no one there has ever read Archie comics, with some people having never even heard of it in the first place. This got me to thinking, “Why then is the popular title and its characters so endearing to Filipinos?”

So what exactly is it about Archie that we, as Filipinos, relate to? How many of us can associate with living in a ‘Smallville’, USA type town, having milkshakes and burgers at the corner mom n’ pop store on lazy afternoons? How many can identify with having their own car to drive at such a young age? Or playing for the high school football team? Or better yet, having red hair and freckles? None too many I would think.
Going the more character-specific direction, let’s look at the lead character, Archibald “Archie” Andrews. Auburn hair and freckles notwithstanding, the most significant aspect in Archie’s life that I think not many people in the world can relate to is that he has 2 very attractive, young girls (3, if you count Cheryl Blossom) pining for his attention. Now unless your name is Jude Law, this seems an unlikely scenario for you. Maybe it’s because we Filipinos think and like to believe that “gayuma” or a love potion indeed works! Ah but we all know that it’s because this setup is every man’s fantasy. I liked an observation I read about how Veronica and Betty, aside from the hair color, are virtually identical (looks-wise). So Archie is playing out the fantasy of having twin sisters and then eventually getting them to make out with each other. That is every man’s fantasy, right? Anyone? No?

Next up, we have Forsythe “Jughead” Jones. A total slacker (and hero, in my opinion) who wears a flippin’ crown and detests girls. Personally, I think Jughead is ace. He is a non-conformist who honestly doesn’t give a rats ass about what other people think of him. If he were into the female of the species he’d be a god among men. But then again, if the only girl chasing after you were Ethel Muggs then maybe I’d stay celibate myself. (For those who watched/read To Riverdale And Back Again, you all know that Ethel outgrew her adolescent unattractiveness and turned out to become a supermodel.)

Now for the infamous Reginald “Reggie” Mantle. Reggie is good-looking, athletic, talented, and according to some storylines, he’s also pretty well-off. Sure ol’ Reg can be a bit of a jerk, but you gotta admit, he’s pretty funny too. So why can he never get the girl (we all know girls love assholes, right)? Realistically speaking though, most dudes can lay claim to only about 1 or 2 of those attributes. So Reggie is probably one of the hardest to relate to and is testament to the saying that “looks aren’t everything” (nor is money, talent, or athleticism).

And now for ze ladies. Elizabeth “Betty” Cooper is the quintessential girl-next-door (no, not the Playboy-style girl-next-door).  She is pretty, sweet, smart, down-to-earth, and according to some renditions, has a Bo Derek “10” figure to boot. So it really is a mystery as to why Betty is single and why none of Riverdale’s boys are after her. Maybe her breath stinks, did ya ever think about that? Hmmm?

Finally we have Veronica Lodge.  Veronica comes from a family of multi-billionaires and… Ok, wait,  let’s stop right there. If you can relate to that last sentence then why are you even reading this blog? Why aren’t you doing lines of coke with Paris Hilton right now? Hmmm now that I think about it, Veronica is Paris Hilton, only brunette, a bit smarter, and hotter. Ok I think I’ve given Paris a little too much credit and you know that’s unheard of.

Suffice to say, there isn’t much that Filipinos can relate to in terms of the characters from the comics. I guess I’ll try and be bold and say that what we Filipinos get out of reading the comics, besides the obvious escapism, is it strengthens our ‘romantic’ view of America. I am no elitist and wholeheartedly include myself in that as a kid, the only other country that mattered besides our own was the U.S. of A. So the Archie comics was nothing more than another link to the oh so greener pastures of the western world.