Friday, July 30, 2010

Hilarious Old Spice ad parody - Study like a Scholar, Scholar

The amazing success of the Old Spice ads have spawned a number of parodies. Here is arguably the best parody - Study like a scholar, scholar.

When ads spawn parodies, that means something!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

On seeing the 100% perfect girl one beautiful April morning - Haruki Murakami

This amazing short story by Haruki Murakami was shared to me by a Korean friend. The charming part of this story is that it can happen to you - have you ever anticipated getting close to the person you desire, and you begin thinking about the myriads of possibilities that may happen once you're there, and how you'd rehearse reacting to each of the situations? The stuff daydreams and other dreams are made of.

The whole story follows, below. There's only one thing this story is about: how would you react if you met the 100% perfect girl one morning, while walking on the street? This story is a part of Murakami's The Elephant Vanishes, a collection of short stories.

On seeing the 100% perfect girl one beautiful April morning

One beautiful April morning, on a narrow side street in Tokyo's fashionable Harujuku neighborhood, I walked past the 100% perfect girl.

Tell you the truth, she's not that good-looking. She doesn't stand out in any way. Her clothes are nothing special. The back of her hair is still bent out of shape from sleep. She isn't young, either - must be near thirty, not even close to a "girl," properly speaking. But still, I know from fifty yards away: She's the 100% perfect girl for me. The moment I see her, there's a rumbling in my chest, and my mouth is as dry as a desert.

Maybe you have your own particular favorite type of girl - one with slim ankles, say, or big eyes, or graceful fingers, or you're drawn for no good reason to girls who take their time with every meal. I have my own preferences, of course. Sometimes in a restaurant I'll catch myself staring at the girl at the next table to mine because I like the shape of her nose.

But no one can insist that his 100% perfect girl correspond to some preconceived type. Much as I like noses, I can't recall the shape of hers - or even if she had one. All I can remember for sure is that she was no great beauty. It's weird.

"Yesterday on the street I passed the 100% girl," I tell someone.

"Yeah?" he says. "Good-looking?"

"Not really."

"Your favorite type, then?"

"I don't know. I can't seem to remember anything about her - the shape of her eyes or the size of her breasts."


"Yeah. Strange."

"So anyhow," he says, already bored, "what did you do? Talk to her? Follow her?"

"Nah. Just passed her on the street."

She's walking east to west, and I west to east. It's a really nice April morning.

Wish I could talk to her. Half an hour would be plenty: just ask her about herself, tell her about myself, and - what I'd really like to do - explain to her the complexities of fate that have led to our passing each other on a side street in Harajuku on a beautiful April morning in 1981. This was something sure to be crammed full of warm secrets, like an antique clock build when peace filled the world.

After talking, we'd have lunch somewhere, maybe see a Woody Allen movie, stop by a hotel bar for cocktails. With any kind of luck, we might end up in bed.

Potentiality knocks on the door of my heart.

Now the distance between us has narrowed to fifteen yards.

How can I approach her? What should I say?

"Good morning, miss. Do you think you could spare half an hour for a little conversation?"

Ridiculous. I'd sound like an insurance salesman.

"Pardon me, but would you happen to know if there is an all-night cleaners in the neighborhood?"

No, this is just as ridiculous. I'm not carrying any laundry, for one thing. Who's going to buy a line like that?

Maybe the simple truth would do. "Good morning. You are the 100% perfect girl for me."

No, she wouldn't believe it. Or even if she did, she might not want to talk to me. Sorry, she could say, I might be the 100% perfect girl for you, but you're not the 100% boy for me. It could happen. And if I found myself in that situation, I'd probably go to pieces. I'd never recover from the shock. I'm thirty-two, and that's what growing older is all about.

We pass in front of a flower shop. A small, warm air mass touches my skin. The asphalt is damp, and I catch the scent of roses. I can't bring myself to speak to her. She wears a white sweater, and in her right hand she holds a crisp white envelope lacking only a stamp. So: She's written somebody a letter, maybe spent the whole night writing, to judge from the sleepy look in her eyes. The envelope could contain every secret she's ever had.

I take a few more strides and turn: She's lost in the crowd.

Now, of course, I know exactly what I should have said to her. It would have been a long speech, though, far too long for me to have delivered it properly. The ideas I come up with are never very practical.

Oh, well. It would have started "Once upon a time" and ended "A sad story, don't you think?"

Once upon a time, there lived a boy and a girl. The boy was eighteen and the girl sixteen. He was not unusually handsome, and she was not especially beautiful. They were just an ordinary lonely boy and an ordinary lonely girl, like all the others. But they believed with their whole hearts that somewhere in the world there lived the 100% perfect boy and the 100% perfect girl for them. Yes, they believed in a miracle. And that miracle actually happened.

One day the two came upon each other on the corner of a street.

"This is amazing," he said. "I've been looking for you all my life. You may not believe this, but you're the 100% perfect girl for me."

"And you," she said to him, "are the 100% perfect boy for me, exactly as I'd pictured you in every detail. It's like a dream."

They sat on a park bench, held hands, and told each other their stories hour after hour. They were not lonely anymore. They had found and been found by their 100% perfect other. What a wonderful thing it is to find and be found by your 100% perfect other. It's a miracle, a cosmic miracle.

As they sat and talked, however, a tiny, tiny sliver of doubt took root in their hearts: Was it really all right for one's dreams to come true so easily?

And so, when there came a momentary lull in their conversation, the boy said to the girl, "Let's test ourselves - just once. If we really are each other's 100% perfect lovers, then sometime, somewhere, we will meet again without fail. And when that happens, and we know that we are the 100% perfect ones, we'll marry then and there. What do you think?"

"Yes," she said, "that is exactly what we should do."

And so they parted, she to the east, and he to the west.

The test they had agreed upon, however, was utterly unnecessary. They should never have undertaken it, because they really and truly were each other's 100% perfect lovers, and it was a miracle that they had ever met. But it was impossible for them to know this, young as they were. The cold, indifferent waves of fate proceeded to toss them unmercifully.

One winter, both the boy and the girl came down with the season's terrible inluenza, and after drifting for weeks between life and death they lost all memory of their earlier years. When they awoke, their heads were as empty as the young D. H. Lawrence's piggy bank.

They were two bright, determined young people, however, and through their unremitting efforts they were able to acquire once again the knowledge and feeling that qualified them to return as full-fledged members of society. Heaven be praised, they became truly upstanding citizens who knew how to transfer from one subway line to another, who were fully capable of sending a special-delivery letter at the post office. Indeed, they even experienced love again, sometimes as much as 75% or even 85% love.

Time passed with shocking swiftness, and soon the boy was thirty-two, the girl thirty.

One beautiful April morning, in search of a cup of coffee to start the day, the boy was walking from west to east, while the girl, intending to send a special-delivery letter, was walking from east to west, but along the same narrow street in the Harajuku neighborhood of Tokyo. They passed each other in the very center of the street. The faintest gleam of their lost memories glimmered for the briefest moment in their hearts. Each felt a rumbling in their chest. And they knew:

She is the 100% perfect girl for me.

He is the 100% perfect boy for me.

But the glow of their memories was far too weak, and their thoughts no longer had the clarity of fouteen years earlier. Without a word, they passed each other, disappearing into the crowd. Forever.

A sad story, don't you think?

Yes, that's it, that is what I should have said to her.

Monday, July 26, 2010

To the people who don't know, this is Cheryl Cole

Why many people in my social circle don't know of Cheryl Cole is a mystery to me. This woman is easily one of the hottest women singers/reality show judges on the planet. She isn't famous here in Asia, but if you're that hot, shouldn't the news travel? Anyway, according to Wikipedia:

Cheryl Ann Cole (née Tweedy, born 30 June 1983) is an English singer, songwriter, actress, dancer, model, and television personality. 

Following her appearance on The X Factor, the media have referred to Cole as "the nation's new sweetheart". Simon Cowell stated, "she must now be the most popular person on TV." 

In a 2009 poll by the Style Network, Cole was voted best dressed woman of the year and style icon of the decade. Cole was also named the "Sexiest Woman in the World" in the 2009 edition of FHM's 100 Sexiest Women poll, having reached number seven the year before.

Unfortunately, she was married - Cole married Chelsea and England football player Ashley Cole in July 2006. In February 2010 the couple separated. In May 2010, the singer filed for divorce from her husband.

Anyway, here are some of Cheryl's pictures: (images thanks to 

This is probably one of her most famous pictures

Saturday, July 24, 2010

This blog article is now... DIAMONDS!

You can't read this blog because Old Spice Guy converted this article to diamonds.
More here. Even more at Old Spice's Youtube channel.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The long term joys of teaching

Let me start with this - at the beginning, teaching is a thankless job. These are the two biggest barriers in my opinion:

1. It's tiring - before the lecture, as you have to plan what to say; during the lecture, for obvious reasons; and after the lecture, for I chose to walk back home :)
I taught Math during Saturdays at my high school - the school wanted its students to know more Math beyond what's taught in the curriculum, so they invited me to teach a few of their current students. I also taught summer Math classes in my nursery school. At that time, I was still a University student. Because I was a student for five days of the week and a campus journalist for seven days of the week, teaching during the weekends becomes exceptionally more tiring.

2. Is it really worth it? - In many university classes, some students would always quip, "am I really going to use <> when I graduate?" Some students do not appreciate the things that are being taught to them. Now imagine when you teach in what others would say optional classes. How less appreciated would you be? 
I told my students that in the academic arena, the primary object of learning is to learn how to learn, because school can't teach you all that you need to know in life. But it can equip you with the right framework and discipline for learning, for adapting, for succeeding. Even with that, I've had some (young) students give a blank stare from the beginning till the end of class, and these would hurt me. Some though would believe me, and that consoles me.

At least to me, the joy of teaching becomes imminent once you realize that you've changed someone's life, or you've imparted something that they still remember after a long time. Those have happened to me!

1. Changing someone's life - In my summer Math class, I had a young high school student. He said because he was struggling in Math, it being his worst subject in school, his mom enrolled him for summer. So we went through the summer, and he was one of the energetic students in class. He even came to my house a few times to say hi, play games, or ask questions.
The good part: One year later, he told me that Math is now his best subject! He even asked if I was teaching the next summer. Unfortunately, I couldn't make the next summer...
This memorable experience could not have happened without the help of Paul Garilao and my brother. They helped make this summer class possible by substituting for me in quite a number of classes. (I was doing my thesis, and working as the editor in chief of the university paper at this time.)

2. Imparting something - Continuing what I said to my students about school, since school is primarily about learning to learn, what is more important to achieve then is excellence and well-roundedness.
The good part: 5 years later, someone told me that she remembered this point I said. :)

img thanks to

This is honesty

Now, this is honesty!

For more 419-related fun (this is the serious type), go to - scambaiting at its best.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Just who is this woman, the face of Estee Lauder?

Estee Lauder ads seem to dominate airports both in and out of the Philippines. So in my recent forays abroad, I have frequently seen their ads and wondered just who the model in those ads is.

Thanks to a stroke of luck, I now know who this woman is. Her name is Hilary Rhoda, a 23 year old American model.

Seems that Hilary is a well accomplished supermodel. According to wikipedia:

She has appeared in advertisements for Balenciaga, Valentino, Belstaff, Dolce & Gabbana, Givenchy, Donna Karan, Gucci, Gap, Dsquared, Shiatzy Chen, Blumarine, and Ralph Lauren, and in Victoria's Secret catalogs. She has also appeared on the covers of American Vogue, Vogue Italia, Vogue Paris, British Harper's Bazaar, Time, Numéro, and W.

In January 2007, Rhoda signed an exclusive contract with Estée Lauder as their newest face. In July of that same year, earning at an estimated total of $2 million in the past 12 months, Forbes named her twelfth in their list of The World's 15 Top-Earning Supermodels.[5] She is the current face of St. John Knits (replacing Angelina Jolie), ERES Beachwear, and the Neiman Marcus spring/summer 2009 campaigns. 2009 also marks Rhoda's debut in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition

Images thanks to and