Tuesday, April 25, 2006


Was reading an article on popular science called Science Confirms the Obvious. Among the items confirmed was the idea that too many meetings rendered an employee unproductive.

3. Too Many Meetings Make You Grumpy

The Study: “The relationship between meeting load and . . . well-being of employees,” Group Dynamics, March 2005

The Findings: Ever get the feeling that you’d get more work done if you weren’t constantly attending meetings to discuss all the work to be done? Two social scientists from the universities of Minnesota and North Carolina hypothesized that meetings are analogous to “hassles,” defined in stress-research literature as “annoying episodes in which daily tasks become more difficult or demanding than anticipated.” The psychologists analyzed diary entries from 37 meeting-prone midlevel university workers over one week. They found that days chock-full of meetings left employees feeling stressed, exhausted and burned out.

Why Bother? Employers take heed: Since beleaguered workers may perform poorly, be tardy, or quit, the authors suggest that “organizations be sensitive to the number of meetings employees are required to attend.” Managers could create “formal guidelines” for meeting necessity (presumably not drafted at a meeting).

I IM'd this information to a friend, who quickly replied: "Ah, kaya ka pala grumpy palagi. Akala ko kulang ka lang sa sex."

On a note that may or may not be related, another item on the list confirms that women like funny men, while another says that the beer goggle effect is true.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Pepe's myth

On tonight's i-Witness, Howie Severino tells the story of the legendary Pepe Smith.


Friday, April 21, 2006

Bringing down the house

Keeping up with the gambling theme, I wrote about Ben Mezrich's Bringing Down the House for the Prose Portal. The book tells the story of MIT students playing blackjack and taking casinos for millions of dollars.

Let's play some fuckin' cards

I'd written before about the movie Rounders, and how it's got me hooked on poker back in college. Last week, while playing poker with a bunch of high school friends, Mike McD's words still rang in my mind.

Anyway, Bill Simmons exchanged some emails with the guys who wrote Rounders, asking them really great questions, like why Mike McD didn't sleep with Famke Janssen, why Teddy KGB just didn't have Mike McD killed after their final heads-up, and why there isn't a sequel yet.

Also found out that they'll be writing Ocean's 13, which should be great. Meanwhile, let's play some fuckin' cards.

Monday, April 17, 2006


Sports Guy wrote his top picks for the NBA's MVP, and while discussing his choice for number 8, Detroit point guard Chauncey Billups, he masterfully compares the Bad Boys to the cast of "Lost":
8. Chauncey Billups
The best player on the best team this season. But can you really call anyone "the best player" on a team that works solely because they play so well together?

For instance, "24" wouldn't work without Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer; nobody else could play that part. But "Lost" relies on a number of quality actors, all of whom play a role in the show's success to varying degrees: Jack, Sawyer, Locke, Kate and Hurley (that's their starting five). Personally, I think Sawyer is the best character, not just from an acting standpoint, but from an entertaining/interesting/dramatic standpoint). He's the Rasheed Wallace of the group, someone who doesn't need to carry every episode, brings a ton of stuff to the table and takes nothing off (and they're both funny as hell). As for the rest, Locke is probably Ben Wallace (does all the little stuff); Kate is Tayshaun Prince (the token chick/fifth man); Hurley is Rip Hamilton (totally underrated, always rises to the occasion); and Billups is Jack (the leader of the group).

So here's the question: Does the show work because of Jack, or does it work because of the group as a whole? Obviously, it's because of the group. Well, the same goes for the Pistons; calling Billups a bonafide MVP candidate demeans the contributions of everyone else involved. Would they slip that much with Jason Terry in Billups' spot? Probably not.

(Of course, if Jack ends up taking down The Others, and Billups takes down every contender this spring, maybe we have to re-evaluate.)

I guess we should start calling Tayshaun freckles now.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The psycho moment

After dinner last Saturday, my friends from high school and I were chilling out over beers and buffalo wings. Over the whole evening, talk hovered mostly in the adult realm -- careers, money, relationships, mortgages, and engagement rings, which was probably more responsible for my feeling light-headed then than the two bottles of Super Dry I had.

I was reminded of this earlier today while reading this post over at Craigslist. Sad, yeah. Hilarious too.

Monday, April 10, 2006


Wrote about Amsterdam, Ian McEwan's Booker Prize-winning novel, for the Prose Portal.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Why asking her out is terrifying

Is ka-torpehan an evolved trait?

From the article:

It seems that men find the act of asking a woman out to be very strongly associated with fear. Indeed, one often hears of a man who can brave enemy bullets in battle, and can shout down his boss in an argument, who turns into a timid wreck when faced with the task of approaching the woman he fancies. I believe that this is an evolved instinct.

The other articles are just as interesting, including Why women have breasts and Why Bond villains employ dwarves.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Thaksin resigns

Working late on some stuff for GMA News, I noticed a breaking item about Thailand Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra resigning after mounting pressure from Thai opposition.

Haay, wish ko lang sumunod na si Gloria. Heh.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


Empire Online lists the 50 Greatest Independent Films. While it's sure to spark debates among film buffs about the movies as well as the definition of "independent", the list contains some of my favorite movies. I bolded those that I've seen. Also a good list to keep handy on your next trip to the dee-bee-dee, dee-bee-dee stores.

50. El Mariachi
49. Run Lola Run
48. Cube
47. Blood Feast
46. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
45. Mad Max
44. Amores Perros
43. Shadows
42. Swingers
41. Dead Man's Shoes

40. The Descent
39. The Passion Of The Christ
38. Grosse Point Blank
37. Being John Malkovich
36. Buffalo '66
35. THX-1138
34. The Blair Witch Project
33. Shallow Grave
32. Two Lane Blacktop
31. Pink Flamingos

30. Sweet Sweetback Baadassss'...
29. Bad Lieutenant
28. In The Company Of Men
27. Dark Star
26. Lost in Translation
25. Drugstore Cowboy
24. Happiness
23. The Evil Dead
22. Nosferatu
21. Roger And Me

20. Slacker
19. Lone Star
18. Withnail And I
17. City of God
16. She's Gotta Have It
15. Blood Simple
14. Stranger Than Paradise
13. Memento
12. Eraserhead
11. Bad Taste

10. Mean Streets
9. Sideways
8. The Usual Suspects
7. Sex, Lies, And Videotape
6. Night of the Living Dead
5. Monty Python's Life Of Brian
4. Clerks
3. The Terminator
2. Donnie Darko
1. Reservoir Dogs

It's hard to argue with the no. 1 choice, especially after the write-up discusses the impact of the film not just on popular culture, but on the habits of movie-watchers as well.

Also, between the opening discussion about Madonna's "Like a Virgin", Steve Buscemi, the great shots, the old-school soundtrack, and the black-and-white suits, I would say that, for my money, Reservoir Dogs is the coolest movie ever.

The Prose Portal

About a month ago, Mika came up with the idea of starting a book review blog. Of course I was on board as soon as I heard about it, and so now we have The Prose Portal.

A few moments earlier I wrote about a couple of books about baseball, Bernard Malamud's The Natural and Michael Lewis' Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game. Just in time for baseball season, which opens this week.

Monday, April 03, 2006


Last night I finished reading this young adult book by Jerry Spinelli called Stargirl. I started reading the book as a sort of dessert after getting through Waiting for the Barbarians, a novel by acclaimed South African author JM Coetzee that was an allegory for the cruelty of civilization as well as a tale about the human face of heroism. It was also a 150-page book that felt like it was 1,500, so the lightness of Stargirl was certainly very welcome.

The book tells the story of Stargirl, the most unique, kind-hearted, and enigmatic girl who came to Mica High. Her quirky nature makes her become the most popular kid in school, but then the entire school turns on her because of her eccentricity. This makes life difficult for Leo, the boy whose heart she steals with her smile, and the narrator of the book.

Yes, it was very teenybopper, and it was very sweet and wonderful. The ending was bittersweet, but I turned the last page of the book wishing I had a Stargirl of my own, and that if I ever did, I would be smart enough not to let go.

This weekend I saw a promo on Star Movies for an airing of the film Ten Things I Hate About You. While I never particularly loved the movie, I remember quite clearly how much my girl friends from college adored that film. There was this one incident that has been stuck to my mind.

It was the beginning of the school year, we had just moved apartments, and since there wasn't much to do, we decided to rent some videos. For some reason, the girls decided to tag along, even though we made it clear that we will be the ones choosing the videos (since it was our apartment and all, and we'll be the ones paying for videos anyway). But then we got to the video store, and they saw the video for Ten Things, and they started jumping and doing this little dance and shouting, "Ten things! Ten things! Ten things!"

We ended up renting the video.

It's funny thinking about it now. One of the girls there was Hannah, who is now married and a mother to a cute baby boy. I'm sure she's still a sucker for teenybopper stuff though.


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