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The Difference Between Temperament And Wisdom

Published on Dec. 13, 2010 at midnight by XC

This is a quickie
Temperament: Knowing that you lack experience to come up with a solution to a given problem.

Wisdom: Asking others for help.

Knowing that you don’t know is not wisdom. Thinking that you couldn’t possibly know is stupidity.

I said it would be quick

Category: Better Living

All Saint’S Day

Published on Nov. 1, 2010 at midnight by XC

So here I am, enjoying my sixth rendition of All Saint’s Day here in The Philippines. The last five years found me travelling to the family grave plot to keep those who have passed company on this day, the day where spirits can purportedly walk in daylight. This year found me home, alone with my wife and daughter enjoying the festivities at hand without me while I get over the last leg of a nasty case of conjunctivitis.

Filipinos are a very spiritual and quite often superstitious people, which is one of the many traits that they enjoy with almost every other living (or dead) inhabitant of planet Earth except in most situations the US. While the idea of a large, united family unit was lost to many Americans around the time that LSD was mass produced, the atomic family is still very much a part of the culture of the rest of the world. I can’t help but digress from work and study today in order to ponder the world’s tenacity to cherish and sometimes worship those who have passed.

Death, when you look at it closely, is a very complex process. In fact, I can’t conceive a reasonable exponent to illustrate the sheer number of ways that someone could die, I suspect that the possibilities are infinite. No matter the catalyst (a piano falling on you, a train wreck that severs you in half, a blast of some kind , etc) our bodies always shut down in some kind of order. If one thing stops working, another soon follows and an orderly chain of predictable events ensues.

Category: Better Living
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99 Things I Really Need To Do

Published on March 4, 2010 at midnight by XC

Ok, well, I’ve done some of them. Thanks, Corey for posting your list
Here we go:

If you want to post your own list, just copy this one and bold the items that you have done. Comments are optional, not surprisingly Corey and I share some similar comments.

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a thunder and lightning storm
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch (programming and photography)
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning(salmonella)
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow figh
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language(working on Tagalog without a tutor)
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke

Category: Better Living
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Crap. I’M Growing Man Boobs!

Published on Feb. 22, 2010 at midnight by XC

McDonalds: its been real, its been fun, but I think we need to see other people. I lightly'' pulled a muscle in my chest today while averting a fall due to not watching where I was going. A little while ago, I was rubbing the sore spot and noticed something I had not noticed before .. a slightsquishy” feeling. This is a sure sign of man boobs in the making, thankfully I plan to nip it in the bud.

I know its a little late to make a new year’s resolution, but I’m making one. No more fast food unless there is just no alternative. No more convenience store fried chicken, no more pizza delivery, no more microwave and eat lunches, I really have to start watching what goes into my body. Compounding this is the amount of time I stay seated while my fingers get plenty of exercise.

I’ve been meaning to eat a lot more fish anyway. My super size days are done.

Category: Better Living

Homeless, From Chicago To Manila

Published on Aug. 7, 2009 at midnight by XC

At various points in life, all of us are convinced that we have seen it all. A week and a half ago, I went to visit some friends at their office in Makati. While outside of the building smoking a cigarette, I came across the most unusual and extrodinary person that I have met in a long time.

Joe is a man of about 55 years. He served in Vietnam (two tours) and returned to a country that was ill equipped to receive him. While spending the last decade homeless in Chicago, Joe became very religious while gradually losing his sight and saving money to buy a plane ticket.

He was sure that if he could make his way back to South East Asia, he could start a new life by monetizing his English skills. He is now homeless on the streets of Metro Manila, asking for pesos instead of dollars. I did not take notice of Joe’s approach, its very typical to find US citizens retiring in Metro Manila. I’m sure many of you are related to an obsolete child that fled to Florida to spend their convalescence, Manila is similar but slightly cooler and less expensive. The smell of someone who was in desperate need of a bath is what first alerted me to Joe.

Can you direct me to a church .. any church? he asked while eyes like a mole struggled to peer through, then over thick reading glasses to meet mine. I really need to find a church. Unfortunately, Makati’s central business district offers every other comfort but a church.

Category: Better Living
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Social Experiment

Published on July 1, 2009 at midnight by XC

I’m hoping to recruit some help for a social experiment. You will need the following materials to participate:

A semi decent suit (Must be snappy)
A brief case / cell phone / laptop / etc
$20 – $40 bucks
Six to eight hours of time

First, put on the suit .. you need to look very professional. Passers by need to think that you are some kind of executive. Your field of business does not really matter .. you could be a stock broker, technology guru, lawyer, whatever. The choice is up to you, pick whatever you like.

Second, find a city .. within the city you will find someone sitting on a bench or porch steps holding a sign asking for money. Take $20, stuff it in the cup and ask if you could sit for a while. Strike up a conversation, get to know the person. Get a couple cups of coffee (one for them), ask them if they mind if you do a little bit of work while you sit. Find out how much the person collects on any typical day, record this amount with whatever level of discretion seems appropriate. Feel free to let the person know that you’re conducting an experiment, in fact I encourage you to do so. You’ll be making a friend, false pretense is taboo.

Now, open the laptop .. fire up the phone .. say things like “See if they offer a deal – no more than 2 years!”, or, “No, dammit, I said SELL!” .. or whatever is appropriate for your vocation of choice. Just be loud enough for passers by to hear you. You need to stick around for 6 – 8 hours doing this, so get creative.

Category: Better Living
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Why Every Cs Student Should Freelance

Published on July 1, 2009 at midnight by XC

Kalyan’s tweet on freelancing reminded me of some recent conversations that I’ve had with several C/S students who recently completed their thesis. The conversation basically boils down to “Why should I spend time on freelance assignments when I don’t really need the money?“

I can only suggest that C/S students think of freelance assignments as part of their studies, the money is rather incidental. I am a proponet of open source software and I continue to recommend that new programmers find an interesting project to work on, however doing so does not really expose you to how nuts the rat race can be.When working on open source projects, you will eventually be exposed to abrasive personalities. However, these people are easily endured because you know that you can quit at any time or just ignore them.

When working in the real world, you will endure the same or worse, without the comfort of knowing that you can simply stop. Moreover, its very likely that at some point in your career, a very abrasive person will control when you wake up in the morning and when you get to go home.

When freelancing, you will learn to deal with a different kind of peer review. With open source, peer review generally improves the quality of your code. Now imagine having to take the same, beautiful patch and intentionally retard it because some CEO read an idiot’s guide to programming and wants to be “involved”.

When freelancing, time is definately money.

Category: Better Living
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Order To Chaos

Published on July 1, 2009 at midnight by XC

Final thought after a very long day.

I have heard many people chanting the mantra “Order To Chaos” , I wonder if they realize the implict literary meaning of this phrase?

Sure, you can bring “order to chaos” by cleaning up your desk, or witness the other meaning any time the traffic lights start blinking red in all directions.

Inner peace, on the other hand, is accomplished by doing (and thinking) nothing at all

Category: Better Living

To Reiterate: No, I Don’T Use Paypal

Published on May 26, 2009 at midnight by XC

This is one of the many reasons why I stopped using PayPal years ago. Somewhere along the line, I think that they forgot that they urge you to tie your PayPal account to your checking account, the same account that you use to pay your rent/mortgage. Then they want a back up funding source.

So, your account gets compromised, your checking is negative and the card with available credit is maxed as a result? Then, in the midst of your confusion and fury you deal with a canned response that even a brick could rival for an empathetic score?

No matter how convenient, PayPal is just not for me.

Category: Better Living

The Words Of The Prophets Were Written On Sea Containers

Published on March 30, 2009 at midnight by XC

I found this today and it made me chuckle:

Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting HOLY SHIT, WHAT A RIDE!

Or did you expect that you’d get out of life alive? Enough said, this highly air conditioned, well preserved body is now going back to work.

Category: Better Living