Tuesday, April 16, 2013

7 Most Misused Words

Originally posted on Facebook, but I had to take it down after a barrage of private messages from friends who were certain it would ruin my reputation forever. What? But it also made me realize that there really are things you can't post on Facebook. You have to hide your true thoughts behind some cryptic status or someone else's published thoughts because your friends will ALWAYS feel you're talking about them.

Here goes... and P.S., I was just really playing around with the Scientific American article and not reaching for any original earth-shaking groundbreaking epiphany.


In science (according to the Scientific American) and in gay pageants, or wherever these words are used. Let’s do gay, for now, and for the purposes of this piece let's freely interchange "gay" and "homosexual."

Hypothesis. A proposed explanation that can actually be tested. Rumors cannot be hypotheses because, for heaven’s sake, don’t attempt to test whether someone is gay by asking them to look at the soles of their shoes. Don’t ask them to go to bed with you (if you’re of the same gender) either because, if the request is denied, people will think the hypothesis is proven on you.

Theory. A theory is an explanation of some aspect of the natural world that has been substantiated by repeated experiments or testing. It’s not just an idea that lives in someone's head. So before you can prove someone is gay, you will need repeated (probably many times) confirmation. Preferably personal confirmation for more reliability.

Model. A model is a representation of something. Male models are not representations (or representatives) of the gay community, however much we would like to wish they were.

A skeptic will always entertain the notion that someone in stilettos (to better accentuate a 27-inch waistline) might not be gay, even when he is a perennial winner of beauty contests. A skeptic will also be open to Manny Pacquiao being gay. A skeptic could also get punched in the face for skepticizing too much.

Nature vs. Nurture. Are people born gay? Or are they made so by extremely dominant mother figures? So let’s not start talking about the Gutierrez twins. Let’s not even talk about genes. Because if Ninoy and Cory Aquino were alive (I'm not talking about Noynoy or gayness here) they will definitely take neither side. But epigenesis? Yes! Blame it on bacteria and the things you ate or sniffed.

Significant. Scientists are still warring about this. Does it mean statistically significant, or does it mean important? It doesn’t really matter to gays and other ordinarily mortals. Unless, of course, the word that follows “significant” is “other.” Gays do have a tendency of racking up statistics on this. And of course, they’re very important. Or important until gay marriage is legalized. At which point everyone realizes people actually grow old.

Natural. You tell me. What is intrinsic to and inseparable from being gay? The sex? The lifestyle? The fashion? Appreciation for and aspirations to sing like Regine Velasquez?

And why all this confusion? They’re blaming it on Bad Education. Not the movie starring Gael GarcĂ­a Bernal (the cute, the sexy, and other such adjectives). I tend to agree, but only half-heartedly. Because countless many rigorously educated people misuse these words on gay people, including many rigorously educated gay people.

They’re also saying that the human brain hasn’t evolved enough. So slow, this evolution. We know, right? The result is that people make mental shortcuts and tend to make binary distinctions. So, if evolution is too slow, let’s speed it up with revolution and pretty soon bisexual came along and binary was relegated to distant memory, because it was soon followed by other ____sexuals. The metro. The trans. The poly and pan. Hetero and homo can't begin to describe what we have become.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Pump Up the Quiet!

Today I felt like I was back in Grade School and locked up in the library because I was making too much noise in class. Then as now, it’s something that gives me extreme pleasure.

I was facilitating a training session on an innocent topic, Project and Process Quality Improvement, in one of those semi-aging Ayala high-rises with a mostly-female class of finance people. So we should all be bored and yawning, yes? No! 

First, they don’t make girls like they used to. The girls in my class were in their late 20s – early 30s and were gayspeaking with varying degrees of competence. The funny thing is, they’ve now taken ownership of the lingo so much that they don’t even sound gay. Just girls using colourful idiom. Amazing. Natural lang, ganun, and girl walang ka-effort effort. Wet na wet! But that’s not the reason why we were “locked up in the library.”

Blame it on Pinoy Henyo. Whoever invented this game should be given the National Artist Award. And it’s not like I gave them difficult words to guess. The theme was Christmas. The words were puto bumbong, simbang gabi, parol… Easy no-brainers? Eh bakit kung makatili ganun na lang? Pandemonium! M&M’s lang naman ang premyo!

We were in a row of training rooms and we must have made so much noise because all of them (all talaga!) sent representatives to our room to ask us (1) to please tone it down, (2) to be “not so loud” please, (3) if anyone was hurt, or just to tell us that (4) “elevator pa lang dinig na kayo. May sunog?”

I love this class!

Sunday, November 4, 2012


I was there, standing in line for a ticket to Skyfall when I changed my mind and ate pizza instead. Which is just as well because I’d already made up my mind about the title of the post, should the movie merit one. Skyfault. What if I totally enjoyed it? But that wasn’t the reason I turned my back. 

Between pizza and Daniel Craig, the one that I had the more realistic chance of actually eating prevailed.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Asus! 1.0

Antanga-tanga pala nating lahat, and we were bred to be so.

At about this time last year I had to take my trusty Dell XPS M1330 to a shop in faraway QC to have the motherboard replaced. In other words and to skip the brain-freezing techieness, it died. I vowed that I’d get myself a new one within the year but it never happened because shortly thereafter this wonderful thing called Ultrabooks happened. And because I’m cautious about gadgets and would rather be a late adopter than stuck with a clunker I opted to wait until the 2nd and 3rd incarnations before I got myself one.

So the new ones are here, and they’re more wonderful and I got one.

I’ve been staunchly anti-Apple for many years now not because they’re inferior machines or I couldn’t afford them but because they’ve become fashion accessories and I didn’t want to belong to that group of people who used these powerful devices for frivolous activities in public places. Now that this group has migrated to mobile devices, I like Macs already. But I like the new Windows devices better.

The manufacturers finally understand what Apple had known all along. Make the products scarce.

Don’t skimp on the specs, load them up with the best stuff, design them to the point of distraction, and drive prices up to or way beyond Apple levels. Samsung and Asus are getting it. Toshiba is still compromising. Everyone’s raving about Samsung Series 9. Asus’ UX32VD is always out of stock in online stores. They’re almost as or more expensive than equivalent Apple products. And no one’s gushing about or buying Toshiba’s Portege, which was my first Ultrabook crush.

Then two days ago I read Cialdini’s Influence: Psychology of Persuasion and the gazillobytes of observation data accumulated over many many years whirred and clicked into place. Kaya pala! Nothing new, nothing groundbreaking. Mostly common sense stuff we already know, or do deliberately or unknowingly.

The moral lesson is: Antanga-tanga pala natin.

 (To Be Continued...)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Foolish Circles

It's like banging your head against a wooden pole. Slapping (I hate "facepalm" so much!) your cheeks till your palms turn red. Write or die. That's my story. You can call me crazy, and no it's not maybe. This writing thing has my number. And keeps on ringing it. Ringining and ringining. Tingining life 'to.

Vanity. That's the root of it. With hunched shoulders, right slightly higher than left, telling the world I can do lots of other things. Numbers? Yes! I can do numbers. I can crunch and pivot and OLAP the life out of data. Code? Yes! I won't write it because I go catatonic when I attempt to, but I sure know how other people do and I can make their code crash any time I want to. Enterprise Architecture? Waddahek. Give me all your org stuff and I'll TOGAF and Archimate your org knots until they're all laid out in neat straight lines. 

And also because I'm such a pok-pok. There isn't anything I won't do if I'm paid well enough to do it. Except, I've noticed that lately all that people want to pay me for is write!

So I'm back. But this time, I'm backer! Because now, this thing I'm writing for isn't pure pokpokan. There's also pukpukan! Real honest to goodness investigative data-driven journalism which they now call content marketing. Which is really just another marketing ploy meant to impress old people who actually understand new media except new people would rather they don't.

And I'm loving it this time. So I'll probably revive this blog which I hope no one reads because it might be self-incriminating. I might again be accused of Sottoporting, which meant the accusers didn't read what I wrote. Over the last year I found out that content curation and blogging are conjoined at the butt. I need to blog again.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Full circle

I've been avoiding writing as a means of livelihood all the time, for the longest time. I thought tech was the solution. Wrong.

Tech types (most of them) haaate any form of formal documentation. Formal here meaning grammar and composition and all that. They have no problem writing scripts and code. So I eventually always end up doing the writing part. Or maybe I need to be kept away from email. They also hate reading more than one paragraph of more than three sentences of more than four to five words each. I write chapters. For someone who declares he doesn't want to make a living out of writing...

I need to stop this warla with words. Or maybe It's just English I'm quarreling with. Will try to write in Cebuano and Tagalog. I need to reclaim my ability to think in these languages. In mid-paragraph I hear myself blabberring away but I feel disconnected with the words coming out of my mouth because of the extra layer of translation going on.

Try nga natin....

Ambot unsa'y akong nahuna-hunaan. Sa wa'y hinungdan wa mapugngi ang kahidlaw sa kanhing kinaham nga lauya. Ang kalainan, lahi ang lauyang nagduwa-duwa sa akong alimpatakan. Nganong bukog-bukog man. Di diay mahimo ang pata?... Pata? what's Cebuano for pata? Is it pigi?

Try nga again...

Sa di mawaring dahilan 'di ko mapigilang mag-crave... Mag-crave talaga? Ay leche.... next time na nga lang...!

Saturday, June 4, 2011


Missed this blog and thought it was lost forever. Funny how passwords remain buried in the subconscious and reveal themselves when they're least expected to. I think we should do away with passwords altogether and instead require all gadgets to have retina scan as the default authentication method. Or maybe saliva analysis, You shout Open Sesame ten times or until you froth in the mouth enough for saliva to spew onto the screen where it sizzles while the acid therein is analyzed by the touch screen, Or something else. Whatever. Anything that doesn't require me to memorize something. Leche!