Smell my Ninja

The other night, my pal Aj and I decided to watch a freshly downloaded, hot-off the torrent oven movie. Perhaps a mutual agreement, a time off from playing the usual DoTA game which he is finally beating me in. Being the ‘gamer’ that he is, which what he practically says all the time, I always get my sorry-ass kicked every time we play PC or console games. Except in DoTA, where I held my final stand. Until recently, we decided to go 5 on 5 employing insane a.i. bots instead of 1 on 1 where I always kicked his ass. Opposed to what I always say during job interviews, I found out that I am not an effective team player.

As the movie started I was surprised that Korean superstar Rain was the main character. It was definitely a Hollywood movie from Warner Bros and Rain was lead role. Somehow the name Rain and the title Ninja Assassin doesn’t seem to match up. I was expecting hardcore Asian action stars like Jet Li, Tony Jaa or Tak Sakaguchi to play the role of the vengeful ninja who was raised in a ninja clan.

The movie barely even started and I’m already butchering it. Rain will probably dance the bad guys to death while rapping his rendition of Usher’s songs in Korean. As a singer and dancer he is a gifted artist, hands down. Movies like this gravity should be handed to the pros. IMHO.

 This is not movie review.

This is about a scene in the movie that reminded me of something I did way back, sort of. He was asked to live for one year without one of his senses, and just as you imagined it was his sense of sight. Blindfolded and armed with his favorite weapon, the Kusarigama, he slices his brethren in a Kill Bill-like fashion, blood spurting like mini geysers. Oh yeah, baby, yeah!

I mean I didn’t lived for one year without my sense of sight, when I was in grade school I lived roughly an hour without my sense of smell. I woke up one Saturday morning with the previous science experiment still fresh in my head; I chopped onions, apples and potatoes in same sizes, doing my best to have a semblance of a wafer stick. I placed them in my mother’s Tupperware – which is practically the name of every plastic container even though it wasn’t made by Tupperware. Credits to my mother for simplifying the complicating err simplifying the complicated aspects of living in this world. I love you Mom! Peace!

After placing them inside the Tupperware, I left them for awhile to take a bath to wash away all the tears caused by my crush err the onions. As soon as I got out of the bathroom I blindfolded my eyes with my mom’s Armando Caruso, and in case you are wondering, handkerchiefs in our household were not collectively known as Armando Caruso, end of discussion.

I placed a black metallic object to cover my nose, the one that is commonly used to hold pieces of paper together, which I found holding pieces of documents belonging to my father. Boy I was lucky that my father’s line of work enables him to bring tons of documents and papers which he actually never reads. Peace Dad! I love you.

Carefully inching my way to the target zone, blindfolded and without my sense of smell, I opened the Tupperware and began chomping the wafers by half, placing the other half aside. I realized that it was another stupid experiment that I made to contest the validity of an age old truth, that certain things taste the same without prior intent of catching their scent.

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Let the Man name his Cabinet

Let the Man name his Cabinet

BY MARLEN V. RONQUILLO


IN 1961, John F. Kennedy’s New Frontier did not exactly name controversial personalities and policy trailblazers to the cabinet, disgruntling the liberals and the left of the Democratic party in the process. Kennedy instead paid a visit to a respected figure of the Establishment, Robert Lovett, Truman’s defense secretary, to seek advice on his cabinet appointments.

Lovett, in turn, directed Kennedy toward the likes of Robert S. McNamara, a management whiz and number-cruncher who was then president of Ford Motors, whose politics may not even be Democratic. Kennedy, heeding Lovett’s advice, promptly recruited McNamara for defense.

C. Douglas Dillon, a banker, was named head of treasury and Dean Rusk, instead of Adlai Stevenson, was named secretary of state. Stevenson, the favorite of Eleanor Roose-velt, was given the UN post, a consuelo de bobo.
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From the pollsters’ lens–darkly

From the pollsters’ lens–darkly

BY MARLEN V. RONQUILLO

The camp of losing presidential candidate Manny Villar got tremendous boosta, even during the darkest hours of the failed campaign, from an in-house polling firm that has compiled a track record of skewing figures to favor its principal. And, boy, it really delivered.

If you graph the figures of this pseudo-pollster, there was never a point in the campaign that showed a noncompetitive Villar. The fake pollster exclusively reported two results: Villar closing in on the figures of the survey leader or Villar surging to victory.

The pollster can never compete in the mainstream market and is fully aware who butters his bread. So he does what his principals pay for—arrive at results that would lift even the most hopeless campaign.

It is interesting to dredge up what this fake pollster did in previous engagements: put out figures that showed a competitive run by Joe de Venecia in the 1998 presidential campaign and a parity in the senatorial fight between the GO and the TU in the 2007 senatorial election. We all know the results: de Venecia was massacred in the 1998 presidential election and the administration senatorial ticket, the Team Unity, just won three of the 12 slots up for grabs in 2007.
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Lapu-lapu

In search of Lapu-lapu we came to Mactan.

Baby, it ain’t over ’til the election’s over.

While waiting for a 17B bound jeepney here in Asiatown IT Park, I received an unusual SMS from my mom. An innocent SMS that had me smiling despite the abrupt stop-and-go ride, asking if I knew how to reconfigure the PCOS compact flash cards that caused failure in the mock election last Monday. I was smiling for several reasons.

Talk about Murphy’s Law in action. The Comelec and Smartmatic overlooked a simple detail that caused the PCOS malfunction during the mock election last Monday. In the news, they opted to use technical jargon rather than using lay terms to explain what went wrong. A fair analogy that I can think of would be an optometrist that gives the same eye glass prescription to all its patients because he forgot to adjust his phoropter. Call it overconfidence or just plain old laziness. Even the king of excuses would have a hard time making one for Comelec and Smartmatic.

Otherwise, if the Comelec and Smartmatic had the slightest inkling that this would happen and made no attempt to reprogram the PCOS compact flash cards before the election, it would be a different story. A story that if we Filipinos would only care to understand, it’s implications on the integrity of the results our forthcoming elections, could cause the much feared failure of elections.

When embarking on anything new, whether it be in technology or (any)logy, the best practice is to cover all worst case scenarios and never assume 100% error free results. There is, and there will always be, something bound to go astray. Coz’ baby, it ain’t over, until it’s over.

I would have to rename this blog to above-averagejom if my mom believes that I can reconfigure the PCOS compact flash by myself. Although it is merely a process of reprogramming the compact flash to adjust to the standard ballot, I have shunned software engineering and concentrated on network engineering.   The previous test on sample ballots were deemed successful because coded instructions on the compact flash cards are fitted to read sample ballots not the real ballots to be used on the actual Election Day. That explains the missing votes on certain candidates, some parts of the real ballots are not being successfully read by the coded instruction on the compact flash cards.

Everyone likes to point fingers at each other when something goes wrong. In this case, fingers should be pointed to the party that refused to test the PCOS on actual ballots prior to D-day. There is no valid reason not to test the automated counting machine on ballots they were specifically built to count.

Who wants to live forever?

Who wants to live forever?  Would you like to make a reservation? You are skeptical about the question that you wouldn’t even honor it with an answer. How in the world could someone live forever? Does it involve drinking in a fountain of youth? An elixir as such doesn’t exist, well at least in our world. Advancement in medicine like stem cell technology still has a long way to go, and it would probably let you live longer not forever. The only way you could live forever is for you to leave a legacy that the whole world would never forget. A legacy that resides in extremity of either good or evil. Ghandi or Hitler, no in between. Either you start the third world war or end existing wars. A choice between martyr and assassin. It is your choice.