May 2007


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Love South Park but (sometimes) cringe at the profanity? Well a website lets you make your own South Park avatar minus the vulgarities — which is probably what made the show popular. My friend discovered this site and I’m glad she shared it with me. Now I have spent most of the afternoon creating different kinds of avatars (for all occasions, different moods, and changing seasons). Of course that means almost a whole afternoon of snickering and laughing to myself and getting little work done.

cartman.gifCalled the South Park Studio, you can spend hours toying with the different hairstyles alone. Surprisingly, there are no plus-sizes, no Eric Cartman silhouttes, so apparently, you can’t mess with Cartman.

And this is avatar me:

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Later when the kids joined me, i had become:

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The downside is, you can’t directly “save” your avatar by simply right-clicking it. You have to “save” the whole screen by pressing Alt+Printscreen (or Prt Scr) on your keyboard. Then you paste and crop your avatar on Photoshop. The site provides instructions for this.

A sneak-peek of the site:

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May 14 proved that in the Philippines, elections are always dirty. Every election day, streets leading to the polling precincts are littered with discarded sample ballots handed to voters by each candidate’s volunteers or people hired to give them away. No matter that the Commission on Elections had ordered that campaign paraphernalia are not allowed within election premises. But I guess the Comelec exists primarily to be ignored.

sample_ballots.jpgDuring the Election Day coverage of GMA 7, Ivan Mayrina in his report showed how much discarded sample ballots the school janitress had gathered (almost a sackful, and half of the pedicab’s space). It was only two hours since the polling center had opened. Ivan then asked the janitress to make a personal appeal for the candidates to tell their supporters and “volunteers” to stop giving away what obviously was just littering the area. Unfortunately the poor woman didn’t quite catch on and simply muttered some inaudible stuff (well at least we know the whole thing wasn’t rehearsed). Ivan unfazed by the lack of enthusiasm then turned towards a “volunteer” standing right beside them who had a handful of sample ballots. The two of them had a brief but interesting exchange:

Ivan: “Ma’am alam nyo po ba na bawal na mamigay nyan?”

“Volunteer”: “E, nais ko lang naman po makatulong.”

I: “Kahit po bawal?”

“V”: “E nais ko lang nga makatulong.”

I: “May bayad po kayo dyan sa ginagawa nyo?”

“V”: (mumbles inaudible stuff)

* * *

sampleballot_manila4.jpgThis is one of two photos from the PCIJ blog showing children who were hired for a fee between P50 to P200 to distribute sample ballots (See Child Labor on Election Day?). This is not an unusual sight every elections. Children are more convenient to hire because they are not very conscious of the amount (anything of monetary value is probably appreciated) or they can be easily intimidated into keeping silent when payment for their “services” is denied.

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The EcoWaste Coalition is calling to task all the candidates to do their share in post-campaign cleanup. Along with this was a reminder to not burn or simply dump the collected campaign material. Instead, all efforts should be done to reuse or recycle them. The EcoWaste Coalition blog tells more details about the cleanup drive that QC Mayor Sonny Belmonte, Rep. Bingbong Crisologo, and other volunteers participated in last May 15, 2007.

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I must admit, despite regularly reminding my two daughters not to pick flowers, it’s still always a delight to receive a bunch of cut flowers from time to time.

Curlytop came home last Sunday with quite a big bouquet and some coffee cakes from a bakeshop. I was the one to open the gate for him and immediately saw the flowers as he stepped out of the cab. “This is bad,” I told him, smiling. “Happy Mother’s day!” said Curly, smiling. I took a few moments to just admire the flowers. Then we called the kids to take a look. The big white one in the middle was the eye-catcher and it was also very fragrant. Of course Curlytop forgot its name.

flower_arrangements_mom.jpg Out of the big bunch I was able to make three separate arrangements. The big white flower I placed in a teapot along with the other mums. How cute right? Mums on Mom’s day. The rest of the mums along with the colored talahib I gathered in another container. That would be the one on the left, in the pink drinking glass. The three roses I also put together in another tall drinking glass with the leftover baby’s breath and other weeds that came along with the whole bunch.

Three separate arrangements from one bouquet. That’s not so bad, I guess.

Unfortunately, that’s also a lot of plants cut.

While searching for the real identity of our gumamela’s resident sucker, we came across this cool site for buggers.

You know, bug-enthusiasts, insect-aficionados, Entomology fans?

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The page shown above is the “Bug Love” page, where invertebrae-voyeurs can get their fill on insect sex. Or not.

what’s that bug? provides answers to “what’s bugging you?” questions. Yes, literally of course. It’s an interesting and informative resource site on bugs with really great photos. True to its “what’s that bug?” name, readers can send their photos of creepy crawlers for the site’s “bug expert/s” to identify. Better to know your bug before you squish it. Quite contrary to what the site’s owner/s intend. The site in fact, gives a better understanding of what those little “pests” are — friend or foe — and how best to deal with them. Which doesn’t necessarily mean a can of chemical spray.

Here are a few more interesting pics from the site:

leafhopper.jpg Scarlet and Green Leafhopper

katydid_nymph_australia.jpg Katydid Nymph

lacewing_larva_aphids1.jpg Aphid Wolf attacking Ant Cows

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While going through the different photos, I don’t recall encountering any cockroach pic. Not that I’d want to see one. And then I realized why there seems to be no coachroach pictures there. Cockroaches, they’re not bugs. They’re aliens.

Was all set to blog about a pest that has been sucking the life out of our beloved gumamela (hibiscus) when i saw this in the Inquirer.net – “Salonga sees Marcos in Arroyo, Ver in Esperon”.

It’s too disturbing to be ignored and although I do value our plants and dealing with nasty pests that destroy it, there are pests in our midst that have to be faced and talked about first. What Salonga said in his open letter to Gloria Arroyo was an affirmation of what has been disturbing me for some time now. Earlier, Curly-top and I were talking about it over our morning coffee- how Gloria Arroyo had simply lost control over the AFP, and could really do nothing about keeping them in line. A scary thought, because really, if the military turns against her and stage a coup, who’d want to rally behind GMA? Although getting rid of her would be most welcome, these top military people, if they do it, are far from being the good guys.

In the news article, Salonga said through an open letter to Mrs. Arroyo that

“the ordering of checkpoints was what [the dictator Ferdinand] Marcos also ordered in the 1969 elections, described by Newsweek (Nov. 24, 1969) and Time (Feb. 16, 1970) as the dirtiest, most violent and most corrupt in modern Filipino history.”

Included in Salonga’s open letter were recommendations to Arroyo on how to “regain the people’s trust and confidence at this crucial hour.” Some of these steps pertained to AFP Chief Hermogenes Esperon, who he likened to Marcos’s Gen. Fabian Ver.

Salonga said Ms Arroyo should also deal with the purported public distrust of AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Hermogenes Esperon who, he pointed out, had been “linked to the dishonest elections in southern Mindanao.”

He said that while he held “no personal grudge” against Esperon, the latter was shown in surveys, “whether correct or not,” to have the lowest rating among Ms Arroyo’s allies and subordinates.

“We recall a similar figure during the last days of Marcos before EDSA I — Chief of Staff Gen. Fabian Ver. As commander in chief of the AFP, there is a lot you can do to avert a similar upheaval. We respectfully urge you to do so as soon as possible,” Salonga told Ms Arroyo.

Here’s a photo of AFP Chief Esperon:

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and here is a photo of the late Gen. Fabian Ver:

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I guess whatever physical resemblance they have doesn’t end there. It’s very disconcerting but I’m glad Sen. Salonga said it.

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In the same article, Archbishop Oscar Cruz was also quoted as saying-

that the President had been relegated to making “oral protestations” and ordering “ceremonial investigations.” “More than the national leadership telling the AFP and the Philippine National Police what to do, she simply accepts what they do,”

Curly-top said something like that too. It’s really scary. I wonder if Mrs. Arroyo is just as scared.