Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Slam it with Happy Problem

What comes to mind when you hear the word problem?

Heartache... empty wallet... impossible workload from your boss... etcetera...etcetera. 

Now, what if I tell you that there is something to be excited about called the Happy Problem.  Sounds good? Definitely!  Read on and slam all your worries and start to head bang with an up-and-coming band from the US.

”The Happy Problem” have found themselves at the heart of a new rock scene in New York City with the release of their first full-length album, “Head Case“. Born from the fighting energy of punk and the love of tuneful pop, and citing influences from Duran Duran to Pearl Jam to Gogol Bordello, “Head Case” features 11 melodic punk tunes, including the first single, “Matador,” written with impatience about the drunk hipsters crowding the F train on Shaber’s Lower East Side. There’s been enthusiastic response from bloggers and podcasters alike, (including UK’s  DarkCompass.com) as well as airplay on tastemaker stations across the US including KROQ in Los Angeles.

The band was founded in Los Angeles by former folkie Samantha ‘Sam’ Shaber who, after releasing albums and touring the US and UK for several years on her own, got bored with the coffeehouse bean grinders and earnest soul-searching, and wanted to create something more spontaneous, less precious and, well, louder. Shaber approached songwriting from a fresh platform and recruited players from Gnarls Barkley and The Fray to record the eponymous debut  EP, quickly landing song placements in film and TV, before packing up and moving home to NYC to find the final band members, Bronx drummer Tony Cortes and Brooklyn bassist Joe Nerve.

Shaber’s booming, raspy voice can also be heard in the upcoming Weinstein release, BUTTER, starring Hugh Jackman and Jennifer Garner, on the song “Harder Deeper Faster” which she co-wrote with dance-rock collective The Bashful.

Want more of the band, visit www.thehappyproblem.com now!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

I wish I can invent KUMOT

Last week, I was involved in a killing spree.  And boy, it was bloody!

Hep… hep! Before you call the police and the barangay tanods, I would like to make it clear that no humans were murdered but some were hurt pero parang kagat lang ng lamok. Actually, everyone only got mosquito bites in the process.

I asked two guys in our neighborhood to help me improved our kitchen ---- place tiles on the floor, paint the walls and moved out some clutters.  In the process, we disturbed a family of mosquitos that I was surprised was able to get through our screened door.

The next scene was the group Tres Amigos clapping, slapping themselves and cursing on these flying insects.  After a few minutes, several dead bodies of mosquito (few unrecognizable) are scattered on the floor but not without one of us getting bitten by one of its kind.  My friend just hoped that, “sana wala ‘tong dengue.”

His words made me paused for while and felt a bit of fear in me.  I have a 2-year old son who basically spend almost every hour of the day inside the house.  Even with the anti-mosquito lotion, insect sprays and other stuff made available in our home, I wish there are more alternatives offered in the market.

Then, I saw this question raised in www.vintersections.com: If ever you’re given a chance to invent something (that was not created yet), what would it be and why?

I have always thought that if only I have the opportunity (and enough resources, of course), I would like to tap the possibility of inventing a mosquito-killer blanket that has the ability to kill mosquitos and other insects that will dare step on it.

I want to develop a fabric that contains a scent that can attract mosquito then when they touch the cloth, a human-friendly toxin embedded in it will stick in the feet or mouth that can kill them within hours.

Here are some anti-mosquito plants that I saw at Manila Seedling Foundation that can be used in this project: (1) Rosemary, (2) Chamomile, (3) Citriodora, (4) True Lavender, and (5) Citronella Tree.

I even made a packaging for this product that I hope can save thousands of lives especially in dengue-prone areas in the country.  I want to call this product as Blanket in a Box or KUMOT (Kills Undesirable Mosquitos & Other Threats).

The government can also work on this and can even distribute this for free with partnership with generous private companies.  Suddenly, I realized that things like these is a necessity for our kababayans in Cagayan De Oro and Iligan City who until now have hundreds of people homeless and are just staying in gymnasiums and basketball courts.  This mosquito-killer blanket will be a great protection to both adults and children from diseases brought by mosquito like dengue and malaria.

Now, mosquito killing spree will be less bloody!

Monday, January 9, 2012

New Year’s resolutions to be better employees

Reading, whether a book or an article online, is forever a wonderful learning journey.  It never ceases to surprise every reader with a new discovery or two in a span of just a few minutes. I was surfing the internet when I stumbled upon this on about.com:

“Julius Caesar is credited in declaring January 1 as the start of every New Year while the Babylonians are said to have made the first New Year's resolutions.  It was explained that the New Year’s resolutions go back about 4000 years, when the ancient Babylonians resolved to return any farming equipment they borrowed during the year to their rightful owners in time for the start of the New Year.”  

Just when I thought that my history professors in high school and college have it all covered, I’ll find cool stuff like these through casual reading.  That’s why in this age of e-books, online magazines and blogs, I still find time to visit bookstores and look for hidden treasures.  Thus, my New Year’s resolution for 2012 is to finish at least one book every month.  And I think I am on the right track since my “mommy” in our recent office monito/ monita granted my wish for a book that I have always wanted to buy. 

Definitely, reading will help me become a more productive employee because it makes me aware and updated of the latest happenings and issues around the world.  It’s also from books that I get good practices related to my job as a communications specialist.  My writing skills can also improve through reading because it gives me an opportunity to learn new styles and forms in expressing my ideas.

How about you, what’s your New Year’s resolution? Being one curious soul, I wanted to know what my colleagues and friends want to change in their ways for the coming year 2012 by asking them through this question that I posted on my Facebook wall:  What’s your New Year’s resolution to be a better employee?

Here are some of the notable responses that I got:

John Philip Mamaril, Proposal Engineer, “My New Years Resolution is to strive to improve myself, improve all good aspects my life"

Bennix Baygas, Network Administrator, To be more productive, strive for excellence and work diligently as well.”

Leon Abrilla Pangilinan Jr., Information Systems Researcher: “To be always on time in accomplishing my to do list and not let stress get in the way of happiness and productivity in the workplace.”

Manette Flores-Aquino, Freelance Writer: "To observe time management and knowing which task to prioritize."

Jonha Revesencio, Social Media & Community Manager: "Be able to make time for much more essential tasks and be not easily distracted."

Ruel Natividad, English professor: "My new year’s resolution is to do less blogging and focus more on my job."

Vincent Haoson, Web Marketing Officer:  "I don't really consider it as a resolution but I plan to maximize my time I spent in office"

Grace Bondad Nicolas, Project Engineer: "Focus more in details and more time than writing"

Jerlinda Domingo, Special Educator: "Will try to further enhance my creativity to make my lessons more interesting for my kids."

Christian Melanie Lee, Blogger/ Web content writer: "To always obey my superiors.  Would love to have a better working relationship with my boss”

Judee de Leon, Bank Officer: "I will try to avoid to be involved in office intrigues and just Work hard for my my company and to all our clients"

Ronald Delima, Programmer: "Like what my boss always tell me, I will try to work smarter not harder."

Jayson Biadog, Account Executive: "I will give more value on ownership of my job and never waste time in my company as if this is my own business."

After getting those inputs from other employees, I am beginning to recognize some improvements I need to apply in my work habits in order to be more effective in my job

Reading those resolutions makes me want to make a list of things I want to accomplish in 2012. It would be helpful to keep such list so we can check next year if ever we have achieved the personal goals that we set or our resolutions just ended up as broken promises.

Hopefully, all of us will stick with whatever resolutions we will come up with whole year round because it will definitely not only benefit our respective companies but would also be personal accomplishments we can be proud of. 

This article was published in the January issue of the Philippine daily Inquirer and People Manager magazine January 2012 issue.

Friday, January 6, 2012

The list is out! Top Grossing Local Movies of 2011

For the first time this year, I was able to do my regular task of scanning local newspapers today.

It has been quite a transition for the half portion of my body still on vacation mode to finally accept the reality that there was no long New Year vacation last week.

So I grab every available broadsheets I can find in the lobby and check for some interesting news that might impact the local business landscape that my company should know--- inflation hits 11-month low, Bangko Sentral planning to cut interest rates, the government earning $1.5 billion from a global bond sale. Wow!

But the most interesting news I read today is from Business World courtesy of their Weekender sub-editor Jeffrey Valisno who wrote the feature The Filipino Movie: Reports of its death are greatly exaggerated.  By the title itself, one can tell that the writer wants to prove the fact that local cinema is very much alive.
He supported his article with some figures which I scanned (so forgive me with the quality of the images in this post) from the hard copy of the newspaper.  Browse the lists below and see for yourself.  2011 gave three of the top ten all-time box office hits in the Philippines: The Unkabogable Praybeyt Benjamin, No Other Woman and Enteng ng Ina Mo.      

Now, when almost everyone is excited about The Avengers, Hunger Games and the likes, would it be quite interesting to wait and see what great finds local movie goers are in for in 2012?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Who wants to be an extra for a hollywood film?

Who wants to be extras for the Hollywood film Bourne Legacy starring Edward Norton, Jeremy Renner and Rachel Weisz filming here in the Philippines?

Please send your profiles (name, age, height, vital stats, contact #s) and picture to janellyn.briones@gmail.com ASAP. Deadline of submission is January 6 (this Friday). Minimum age is 13years old and no maximum age limit (as long as he/she can walk).

They are also looking for stand-in talents for lead actors Jeremy Renner and Rachel Weisz are. Please send your picture with name, age, height and contact number to jilbert_bmx@yahoo.com or text 09153080403 and look for talent coordinator Oghie.

Lead actor Jeremy Renner is the one actually posted this call via his personal blog.  Renner most recent blockbuster films are Tom Cruise's Ghost Protocol: Mission Impossible 4 and Thor as Hawkeye.  He is also included in the highly anticipated superhero flick The Avengers.  Renner is best known for his role in the Oscar Award-winning film The Hurt Locker where he got an Academy Award for Best Actor.

If you want to watch the shooting of the film or avoid the heavy traffic it will surely cause, please take note of the following schedules and locations:

These areas in Manila include portions of San Andres St. from January 11 to 15; J. Bocobo corner Remedios streets, January 18 and 19; Leveriza Street, from Balingkit to San Andres, January 15; San Andres corner Quirino and Taft Avenue, January 14); Riverside Road, Real and Sta. Lucia Streets in Intramuros, January 25 and February 17 and 18; Jones Bridge, February 5; and Ramon Magsaysay Boulevard, February 8 to 15, based from the news published by the Manila Bulletin.

It was also reported that 25% of the film will be shot in the Philippines and will also visit Navotas, Pasay City, Quezon City and El Nido, Palawan.

The movie is written and directed by Tony Gilroy and tells the story of CIA operative Aaron Cross played by Renner. The film is slated to be released in the US in the summer of 2012

There are also reports that Renner is already in the country and even welcomed 2012 at a five-star hotel somewhere in Makati City.

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year's Headaches, Anyone?

I thought that I’ll have a headache going to the office in the first working day of 2012 but commuting went smoothly and I was only late for a few minutes.

Talking about headaches, the most recent “attacks” happened last December 31 and boy, it was a series of hits!

1. I was forced to wake up at around 6 am so I can accompany my wife in the market. I only got 4 hours of sleep brought about by a lot of reasons--- iPad games, blogging, watch movies, etc. I knew headache was coming so I can’t blame anyone but me.

2. We were surprised to find out that a fastfood chain near the Pasig Public Market was open very early that morning.  Well, it’s the last day of year so maybe they just want to cash in the bulk of people passing by.  We ordered two bowls of Arroz Caldo worth Php 39 each. They looked delicious in the tarpaulin outside the store.  Then came the shock of the year and a pair of headaches--- we were served two scoops of “hot wet rice” with tidbits of garlic, ginger and tinga-size chicken bits that they call Arroz Caldo. In the picture, the bowl is as big as a plate of sizzling plate, but in real-life it will be served in a taza as big as the ones used in serving FREE soup.  This is not OA, go try Mang Inasal’s 39ers.

3.  Inside the market, I thought the whole population of our barangay is there for a roll call. I never saw our market in my 30+ years of going there as crowded as that time.  So who said, ubos na ang pera ng tao last Christmas?  Everyone is there gearing up to complete their own 12 round-shape fruit sets.  We got ours after one and a half hours and a headache.

4.  After lunch time, I grabbed my iPad to continue my adventures in Iron Man 2. I tapped on the app icon and viola! Headache! Somebody overwrote my accomplishments and thus I need to start all over again. Tell me, how do I explain to a toddler to stick with Angry Birds or Smurfs?

5.  My son Charles watches Walt Disney’s Dinosaur DVD everyday.  I was taking a nap that afternoon when he approached me with the said DVD still in the box.  He was asking if I could play it so he can watch.  That’s my first siesta in months so I felt a little nudge on my head.  And also, I was with Lindsay Lohan before I was awaken.  Then I noticed that the disk has cracked on it, probably due to little hands trying to take it off from the plastic box. Headache? Yes, it’s worth Php 275 in Astrovision.

6. Cooking for the Medya Noche feast.  Just the thought of it is already a headache.

7.  Just when I thought that I already have enough headaches for the day, we have a very “cooperative” neighbor who lives to the house in front of us.  We were impressed on how loud his pla-plas (firecracker as big as a palm) but when you hear it more than a dozen times until 2 am of January 1, I think this guy perfectly fits the title of being the first headache of the year.

I don’t intend to have a Guiness record for this.  I just hope that I’ll have less headaches and stress-free moments in 2012.  But just in case headaches do come, all I can say is just remember BAYER or Battle Aches Year-round w/ Exercise and Right medicine.

So what’s your headache story?