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Showing posts from April, 2006

3G? 3.5G!

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Starting today, Globe Telecom will be unveiling it's 3G, no, make that 3.5G mobile services to all its subscribers, prepaid and postpaid alike.

While Smart Communications may have beaten Globe to the 3G punch (see previous post here), clearly Globe isn't down and out, and is now coming up with a high bandwidth salvo of it's own.

What's the difference between 3G and 3.5G? While 3G has a maximum bandwidth of 384 Kbps while having a usable peak speed of up to 250 Kbps, 3.5G tops out at a whopping 1.8 Mbps with an actual usage peak of up to 1.4 Mbps. That's almost four times as fast as 384 Kbps DSL.

Globe's 3.5G service, otherwise known as Globe Mobile Broadband 3G with HSDPA (High Speed Downlink Packet Access) is slated to be available today, in selected coverage areas around the country. Check with Globe's 3.5G site for details.

And don't fret. From what I've read, the rates are affordable, that is to say, they have a virtually identical pricing scheme as…

More benchmarks....

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If there's a game which can surely bring all but the most powerful PCs down to their knees, it has to be F.E.A.R. (see my review of this game in this earlier post).

Like Doom 3, F.E.A.R. also has a benchmarking function built inside the game itself. All you have to do is go to the options menu, then click on performance, then test settings. That's all there is to it.

Here are the results I got on my PC:



Using medium computer and graphics settings as automatically set by the game, as determined by my hardware setup (no tweaking whatsoever):

800x600: minimum 21, maximum 76, average 35 FPS
1,024x768: minimum 13, maximum 54, average 23 FPS
1,280X960: minimum 9, maximum 34, average 16 FPS

Clearly, you have to have some serious muscle in your rig if you want to run this game at high quality and at high resolutions. Even with my current setup, I'm getting an average of only 23 FPS at 1,024x768. If your current PC's specifications are less than stellar, you may have to turn the setti…

Chinese Talk

Caller : Hello, can I speak to Annie Wan?

Operator: Yes, you can speak to me.

Caller: No, I want to speak to Annie Wan!

Operator: You are talking to someone! Who is this?

Caller: I'm Sum Wan. And I need to talk to Annie Wan! It's urgent.

Operator: I know you are someone and you want to talk to anyone! But what's this urgent matter about?

Caller: Well just tell my sister Annie Wan that our brother, Noe Wan was involved in an accident. Noe Wan got injured and now Noe Wan is being sent to the hospital. Right now, Avery Wan is on his way to the hospital.

Operator: Look if no one was injured and no one was sent to the hospital from the accident that isn't an urgent matter! You may find this hilarious but I don't have time for this!

Caller: You are so rude! Who are you?

Operator: I'm Saw Lee.

Caller: Yes! You should be sorry. Now give me your name!


From my inbox. :-)

Benchmarks....

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In the process of burning in and testing my PC's new components (see earlier post here), I ran a number of benchmarks to give me an idea of it's relative performance, particularly when running 3D games.

Here are the results I got. If you're into this type of thing, perhaps you could run the benchmarks yourself and compare your results. :-)



Futuremark benchmarks:

3DMark 2001 SE: 15,212 3DMarks
3DMark03: 4,891 3DMarks
3DMark05: 2,245 3DMarks
3DMark06: 779 3DMarks

Note: All 3DMark tests were run using default settings. Download free versions of the benchmarks above by clicking on their respective links.



Doom 3 benchmarks:

High Quality, 800x600: 72.9 FPS
High Quality, 1,024x768: 72.9 FPS
Hiqh Quality, 1,280x1,024: 60.6 FPS

Note: Testing done using Doom 3's built-in "demo1". You can do this yourself by bringing down the console and entering the command: "timedemo demo1". If you don't know how to access the console read this guide. Read my review of the game itse…

Elite force....

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A few months ago, I wrote a post about the mice problems that we have been having in our house. We finally decided to tackle the problem head on and engage the services of an elite force that we hope would finally decimate that rodent population in our household.

Meet the members of that elite force:
Introducing Ebony and Jerry. Standing guard (or sleeping on the job, take your pick) at the foot of the refrigerator. Trouble is, these cats aren't that much bigger than the mice their supposed to catch.

They're so small that we have to refrain from using the sticky paper traps for fear that they would be the ones caught in them.

Surprisingly, the effect of just having cats, even kittens as young as these, can be quite dramatic. While before I would often see mice scurrying to and fro, for some reason they seem to be in hiding. No doubt they have already realized that the law is back in town.

Hopefully this would solve our mouse woes once and for all.

Now if I can only get used to the co…

More surgery pics....

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For some strange reason I had this urge to photograph the innards of my PC while I was performing surgery on it (see previous post here). I guess its both the blogger and techie in me that made me do so.

I really tend to appreciate the technical details behind these ubiquitous and highly useful machines.

Here are some more pictures of my recently completed project. Not that I'm showing off of course. I just love the technology. :-)
Two sticks of 512 MB DDR 400 RAM. I was hoping to get more than a gig, but I couldn't find any 1 GB modules.


A four disk RAID array. Not for the faint of heart. This setup can get pretty toasty, that's why it's cooled by two 80 mm fans at the front of the case.


Pixel processing courtesy of an 8-pipe 256 MB Inno3D GeForce 6800 LE. I wrote about how I chose this card in this earlier post. Beside it is a Creative Labs Sound Blaster Audigy.


If you want upgrade your PC with all sorts of stuff, make sure your power supply is up to snuff. The ones that c…

Brain transplant....

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Well, after several hours of shoehorning a new motherboard and CPU combo into my PC and reinstalling Windows XP and virtually all of my software, I can finally breathe a sigh of relief.

The deed is done.

I replaced the ECS K7VTA3 v3.1 motherboard and Athlon XP 2400+ processor with a MSI K8N Neo v2.0 and an Athlon 64 3000+.

The K8N Neo v2.0 is a fully loaded Socket 754 motherboard with an NVIDIA nForce3 250 chipset. It features an 800 MHz HyperTransport interface, support for DDR 400, ATA 133 and SATA 150, ATA and SATA RAID, USB 2.0, built-in 5.1 sound and network capabilities, and expandability via one AGP 8x/4x and five PCI slots. It also features dynamic overclocking.

The Athlon 64 3000+ is a 64-bit processor based on AMD's 0.09 micron Venice core. It has a transistor count of 76 million, or more than double the 37.6 million transistors of my old Thoroughbred-B Athlon XP. It runs at 2.0 GHz, and has 512 KB of L2 cache. Here are some before and after pictures:
This was the inside of m…

Technical difficulties....

My PC acted up last Sunday, necessitating an unscheduled motherboard replacement. And we all know how complicated and troublesome replacing a motherboard can be, from both a hardware and software perspective.

Finally got it working and online today, but there are still quite a lot of details left to work out. I'll get back to you people when I'm done. :-)

Blogger's block....

Suffering from blogger's block...again. There seems to be a set pattern. Every few weeks or so, I just can't seem to think of anything to write.

Oh well. Maybe something will come to me soon...

As Long As It Matters

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One of my favorite songs, which used to be a part of my regular lineup when I was still a frontman in a band a few years back. Ah, the memories...


As Long As It Matters
Gin Blossoms

How can I find something
That two can take
Without stumbling as we
Walk into our future's wake
I'm like a broken record
That you can play
Repeating as if it matters
Everything I want to say
I'll be all right
As long as it matters
As long as you're here with me now
Forget that time
It's nothing we touch and see
All this is fine
Even as it crashes down on me
I'm looking around
There's nothing that I could want
More than to tell you
There's no more than we've already got
I'll be all right
As long as it matters
As long as you're here with me now...
Forget that our time is almost up I'll be all right...


For Ane. I hope you find what you're looking for. :-)

How to recruit the right person for the job

Put about 100 bricks in some particular order in a closed room with an open window.

Then send 2 or 3 candidates in the room and close the door.

Leave them alone and come back after 6 hours and then analyze the situation.

If they are counting the bricks...

Put them in the accounts department.

If they are recounting them...

Put them in auditing.

If they have messed up the whole place with the bricks...

Put them in engineering.

If they are arranging the bricks in some strange order...

Put them in planning.

If they are throwing the bricks at each other...

Put them in operations.

If they are sleeping...

Put them in security.

If they have broken the bricks into pieces...

Put them in information technology.

If they are sitting idle...

Put them in human resources.

If they say they have tried different combinations, yet not a brick has been moved...

Put them in sales.

If they have already left for the day...

Put them in marketing.

If they are staring out of the window...

Put them on strategic planning.

And then last b…

The Silent Treatment

A man and his wife were having some problems at home and were giving each other the silent treatment. Suddenly, the man realized that the next day, he would need his wife to wake him at 5:00 AM for an early morning business flight. Not wanting to be the first to break the silence (and LOSE), he wrote on a piece of paper, "Please wake me at 5:00 AM." He left it where he knew she would find it. The next morning, the man woke up, only to discover it was 9:00 AM and he had missed his flight. Furious, he was about to go and see why his wife hadn't wakened him, when he noticed a piece of paper by the bed. The paper said, "It is 5:00 AM. Wake up."

Told you so!

I'm not the type of person who gloats, but I couldn't resist...

SC partly voids EO 464

Told you so!

Now about that Proclamation No. 1017...

Shouldn't someone's head roll because of this Supreme Court ruling?

Evolutionary, not revolutionary....

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Only a few months ago, I made a post about how I upgraded my main phone from a Nokia 6600 to a new Nokia 6680. Well, six months later, I upgraded again, after selling the Nokia 6600 and relegating the Nokia 6680 to backup status on my secondary line.

Leave it to Nokia for having such short product cycles.

So what's my main phone now? It's a Nokia N70, and it's actually not that much different from the Nokia 6680.

Why bother upgrading in the first place if it not really a dramatic improvement over the older model? It wasn't actually planned really. Someone offered a good price for my 6600 which I promptly sold, and needing a new phone for my other line, I spotted a brand new N70 in Greenhills being offered at a price even lower than that I paid for my 6680. Add to that my curiosity with all the hype surrounding Nokia's N series, and the desire to make all my phones 3G compatible, it wasn't a hard choice to make. And so I bit.

It's virtually identical to the 6680…

Modern day Pontius Pilate....

I almost fell out my chair my reading the Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI) over breakfast.

What flabbergasted me was a statement given by Justice Secretary Raul Gonzales regarding his thoughts during the preliminary investigation of the three American servicemen accused of raping a Filipina inside a van during a lull in the joint Philippine and United States military exercises held late last year.

He said, and I quote: "I almost exonerated them (three of the four accused). But I didn't, if only to satisfy the mob."

What was that all about? The above statement is something I would expect to hear from a tambay (loiterer) or an uneducated bum. But from the Secretary of Justice of the Republic? Saints help us.

During a preliminary investigation, what is of paramount importance is the determination of the existence of probable cause. In any potential criminal case, there is either probable cause, or there isn't. If there is, the case should proceed to court. If not, the case …

Chinese Sick Leave - "I No Come Work Today!!!"

CHINESE SICK LEAVE - "I NO COME WORK TODAY!!!"

Hung Chow calls into work and says, "Hey, boss I no come work today, I really sick. Got headache, stomach ache and legs hurt, I no come work."

The boss says, "You know something, Hung Chow, I really need you today. When I feel like this, I go to my wife and tell her to give me sex. That makes everything better and I go to work. You try that."

Two hours later Hung Chow calls again. "Boss, I do what you say and I feel great. I be at work soon.............You got nice house!"


From my inbox. With apologies to all the Chinese out there. :-)

iBlog2....

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In a strange twist of fate, I found myself in attendance to iBlog2, the 2nd Philippine Blogging Summit held at the University of the Philippines (UP) College of Law in Diliman, Quezon City.

Actually I was supposed to be attending the first day of review classes at the neighboring UP Law Center, but since I hadn't been issued my ID yet, and that the prospect of meeting some of the more famous bloggers in the Pinoy blogging community seemed too good to pass up, I decided to see for myself how it is to be in the presence of all the people behind the blogs I get to visit.

I wasn't disappointed.

I got to meet in person reknowned bloggers Atty. Punzi, Manuel "Manolo" L. Quezon III, Jove, J. Angelo Racoma, Abe "Yuga" Olandres, Dean Bocobo, Atty. Marvin, and Ajay, among others.

I also got to pick up a few things from the various speakers who covered a variety of topics ranging from political blogging to blogging as a career. Add to that virtually all of the iced tea I …

No such luck....

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Almost two months ago I wrote a post about how my Canon PowerShot A300 digital camera was acting up on account of a defective CCD which gave me nothing but blank pictures.

The camera was promptly brought to Canon's service center in Pasong Tamo (which I only recently learned has been renamed to Don Chino Roces Ave.), Makati. It was confirmed that the problem was with indeed with the CCD. As it turned out, a particular batch of A300s had a defect with the CCD right out of the factory, resulting in the symptoms that I had experienced. It took somewhere in the area of two years before the problem would come to rear its ugly head with my particular unit. Now that it has, I turned it over to Canon for repair.

As it was a factory defect, I had been informed that I would not be charged a peso for the repair, though I may have to wait two to three months before I got the camera back.

Punzi came across that post of mine, and by sheer coincidence, also happened to own an A300 with a defective …

The "sari-sari mentality"....

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Photo from the Sari-Sari story, © 2002 by Jim Richter. While standing in line in a large chain supermarket near my house a couple of days ago, I quietly observed dozens of carts overflowing with various dry grocery items, like various canned goods, instant noodles, snacks, juices, soaps and toiletries, etc.

Here I was, trying to buy a loaf of bread, a bottle of ketchup, a bottle of seasoning, and some other stuff, surrounded my these massive shopping carts filled with what looked like tons of grocery items. It's obvious that these copious amounts of groceries aren't for personal use. Rather, it's more than likely that these items will be sold in one of the probably thousands of sari-sari stores dotting the Philippine suburban landscape.

Sari-sari is a Filipino term which means "variety". Hence, a sari-sari store can be translated as simply a "variety store". Sari-sari stores are a staple of Philippine life. They're literally everywhere, offering vari…

Lazy Days....

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Perfect for those hot, lazy, summer days...


Lazy Days
Enya

Lazy old day
Rolling away
Dreaming the day away
Don't want to go
Now that I'm in the flow
Crazy amazing day

One red balloon
Floats to the moon
Just let it fly away
I only know
That I'm longing to go
Back to my lazy day

And how it sings and how it sighs
And how it never stays
And how it rings and how it cries
And how it sails away... away... away....

Happy Easter!

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Strozzi's The Incredulity of St. Thomas Jesus said to him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen, and have believed." - John 20:29 A blessed and meaningful Easter Sunday to everyone!

But what then, Señor?

An American businessman was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.

The Mexican replied, "Only a little while, Señor."

The American then asked, "Why didn't you stay out longer and catch more fish?"

The Mexican said he had enough to support his family's immediate needs.

The American then asked, "But what do you do with the rest of your time?"

The Mexican fisherman said, "I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life, Señor."

The American scoffed, "I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. With the…

Holy Week sightings....

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St. Peter's Parish.


Only during Holy Week do streets get deserted as this.


For those who may have forgotten...

The Gospel of Thomas....

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Seven years ago, I saw a movie entitled Stigmata. It was about a woman, an atheist, who, without physical cause, spontaneously suffered the same wounds endured by Jesus Christ during his crucifixion. This phenomena was subsequently investigated by the Vatican, which led to the uncovering of hidden gospels which turned out to be inimical to the interests of the Church.

That movie was perhaps my first exposure to the so-called "missing gospels" through popular media. I have heard and even read about some of these gospels before, but I never really realized the impact they possessed, especially when some of the ideas they advance run counter to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

Of course, the events depicted in the movie are fictional, but the gospels referred to in it are based on a real document, the Gospel of Thomas, a collection of sayings attributed to Jesus Christ found completely preserved in 1945 in Nag Hammadi, Egypt.

This gospel, consisting of 114 verses, toget…

A faith under fire?

The past several years have seen a resurgence and renewal of interest in ideas which go against the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. The rise in popularity of these ideas have reached a fever pitch the past few years or so, culminating with the controversy surrounding the Dan Brown bestseller The Da Vinci Code, and now in recent days with the discovery, authentication and translation of the lost Gospel of Judas.

How significant are the ideas espoused in these works?

They have been described using a variety of terms ranging from heretical, non-canonical, apocryphal, esoteric, and my personal favorite, gnostic. The adjective gnostic is a favorite of mine because it is based on the Greek word gnosis, which means knowledge. And knowledge, is indeed something that I have strived for since my younger years, and it is even the underlying theme of this blog which is rooted in the search for the truth.

But what is the truth anyway? That's an even harder question to answer.

I'm also …

Overheard....

Overheard at Watson's the other day:

"Miss, pabili nga ng pampurga."

"Ano po, Combantrin o Antiox?"

"Ano ba yung one-dose?"

"Antiox po."

"Sige, pabili ng dalawa."


Am I the only one who finds this exchange amusing?

If you don't understand, don't worry about it. It's probably a culture thing.

Love your Life

Erase Negative Programming

Do away with all the old, negative messages you were given about yourself. If someone has told you that you are worthless, undeserving, dense or unattractive, that is their problem. No one has a right to judge you or belittle you. We are all struggling to get by in this world, and no one else has all the answers. Honor your own truth. In your own heart, you know who you are...don't let another take that power away from you. Love yourself.

Everything in Life Happens for a Reason

Life is full of peaks and valleys. Even though they are more difficult, you learn more during the valleys or the challenging times. When you are in a valley, you might not see the value of it; but later, when you look back, you will realize that you have learned a great deal. Know that nothing you experience is an accident. Everything you experience and everyone you meet teaches you something or holds a lesson for you.

Know That When One Door Closes, Another Opens

Change is good. Thi…

PLDT myDSL's idiotic policies....

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A few minutes ago I was talking with a PLDT customer service representive regarding a concern I have with my PLDT myDSL account. What she told me gave me fits that I couldn't help but raise my voice at the poor girl.

In a nutshell: You have to pay a fee of P5,000.00 if you want to downgrade your account. Needless to say, that has got to be one of the most idiotic policies I've ever heard of.

The thing is, I have been a PLDT myDSL subscriber for more than a year now, and my lockout period has already expired. I'm currently paying P1,995.00 a month for broadband access supposedly up to 768 Kbps. When I first got on broadband more than a year ago, P1,995.00 per month was the lowest plan available, and it offered up to 384 Kbps of bandwidth. A few months after my subscription was locked in, they came up with a cheaper plan, only P999.00 a month for 256 Kbps internet access. Now, they have upgraded their cheapest plan by offering up to 384 Kbps for the same amount.

I figured since…

Power to the people....

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While caught in traffic late last week, I snapped a couple of photos which, in a nutshell, describe the state of the electrical distribution system in dense, residential areas in the Philippines:
Because of the prevalence of electricity pilferage (meter tampering, among others), these meters are placed about ten meters above street level. Question is, how do you get to read them?


I know Fire Prevention Month was last March, but with electrical connections as haphazard as this, it's a wonder that we haven't had as many electrical fires as we could have. The scary part is, electrical connections in highly congested residential areas are all virtually like this. Perhaps this is something the authorities better look into.

"Ang buhay ay parang bato, it's hard." and other truisms

From my inbox: various quotes reflecting Filipinos' unique view on life and reality.

Better late than pregnant.
Pag may tyaga.. goodluck.
Ang sakit ng kalingkingan, kailangan ng alaxan.
Behind the clouds are the other clouds.
Aanhin pa ang damo.. kung bato na ang uso!
Its better to cheat than to repeat!
Do unto others... then run!!!
Pag di ukol, di bubukol...siya ay baog!
Kung may isinuksok, may mabubuntis!
Kapag puno na ang salop, kumuha na ng ibang salop.
Magbiro ka na sa lasing, Magbiro ka na sa bagong gising, 'wag lang sa lasing na bagong gising.
When all else fails, follow instructions.
Ang hindi marunong magmahal sa sariling wika, lumaki sa ibang bansa.
To err is human, to errs is humans.
Ang taong nagigipit...sa bumbay kumakapit
Pag may usok...may nag-iihaw.
Dont judge the book by its cover...if u are not a judge or else you will cover the book!
Ang taong naglalakad nang matulin...may utang.
No guts, no glory...no ID, no entry.
Birds of the same feather that prays together...stays together…

Dark Days for Philippine Democracy

I guess the aforementioned article (in the preceding blog post) isn't the only thing The New York Times has to say about the current state of Philippine affairs.

This editorial from the April 5 edition of the same publication paints a less than rosy picture of the current administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who is portrayed to be a Ferdinand Marcos in the making.

What do you think?

Dark Days for Philippine Democracy
Editorial, The New York Times, April 5, 2006

Filipinos thought they had put an end to electoral chicanery and governmental intimidation when they overthrew the Marcos dictatorship two decades ago. Unfortunately, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has completely lost touch with the ideals that inspired that 1986 "people power" movement.

Mrs. Arroyo is no Ferdinand Marcos, at least not yet. But this onetime reformer is reviving bad memories of crony corruption, presidential vote-rigging and intimidation of critical journalists. Unless the Philippine C…

The Philippines Wages a Campaign of Intimidation Against Journalists

This article in the April 3, 2006 edition of The New York Times tackles the Philippine government's attempts in suppressing press freedoms, comparable to the loss of similar freedoms under 20 years of the Marcos dictatorship.

Now even the international community is starting to take notice.

Are we truly going back to the way it was before?

The Philippines Wages a Campaign of Intimidation Against Journalists
By Seth Mydans, The New York Times, April 3, 2006

MANILA, the Philippines — The Philippine news media, among the most exuberant and freewheeling in Asia, are coming under serious government pressure for the first time since the rule of Ferdinand Marcos more than 20 years ago.

Along with hints that the government may restrict public assembly, the campaign against the press strikes at the heart of the freedoms won in 1986 when Mr. Marcos was driven from the presidency by a popular uprising.

The pressure involves warnings, watch lists, surveillance, court cases, harassment lawsuits and t…

The Devil and the Duck

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There was a little boy visiting his grandparents on their farm. He was given a slingshot to play with out in the woods. He practiced in the woods, but he could never hit the target. Getting a little discouraged, he headed back for dinner.

As he was walking back he saw Grandma's pet duck. Just out of impulse, he let the slingshot fly, hit the duck square in the head, and killed it.

He was shocked and grieved. In a panic, he hid the dead duck in the wood pile, only to see his sister watching! Sally had seen it all, but she said nothing.

After lunch the next day Grandma said, "Sally, let's wash the dishes." But Sally said, "Grandma, Johnny told me he wanted to help in the kitchen." Then she whispered to him, "Remember the duck?" So Johnny did the dishes.

Later that day, Grandpa asked if the children wanted to go fishing and Grandma said, "I'm sorry but I need Sally to help make supper." Sally just smiled and said," Well that's all …

I don't get no respect....

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My son thinks highly of me. Really.

Who Does What

A man and his wife were having an argument about who should brew the coffee each morning. The wife said, "You should do it, because you get up first, and then we don't have to wait as long to get our coffee." The husband said, "You are in charge of cooking around here and you should do it, because that is your job, and I can just wait for my coffee." Wife replies, "No, you should do it, and besides, it is in the Bible that the man should do the coffee." Husband replies, "I can't believe that, show me." So she fetched the Bible, and opened the New Testament and showed him at the top of several pages that it indeed says.......... "HEBREWS"

F.E.A.R.

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Might as well get it out of the way. F.E.A.R. is the best first-person shooter I have played since Half-Life 2. And you know what? It may just even be better.

Developed by Monolith Productions, who also developed other well known first-person shooters such as the Blood series, Shogo: Mobile Armored Division, and TRON 2.0, F.E.A.R., which stands for First Encounter Assault Recon, boasts state-of-the-art graphics and sound, astounding gameplay, a compelling storyline, and the right amount of thrills and scares.

In it you play an unnamed F.E.A.R. operative given the mission of hunting down a telepathic commander by the name of Paxton Fettel who has escaped custody. Under his control are a battalion of clone soldiers determined to stop you at all cost. But if you think this game is nothing but your run-of-the-mill run and gun shooter, you are sadly mistaken.

What makes this game unique among other first-person shooters is the use of certain elements from movies such as The Ring or The Grudge

A gust of cool air....

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Last week I finally decided to get rid of almost twenty year-old air conditioner installed in my study. That air conditioner was virtually useless and was left there just to plug up the hole in the wall. It sounds and vibrates like a badly maintained diesel engine when turned on, and it hasn't blown a gust of cool air in more than four years. In addition, it was being used as a passage of sorts by rodents, judging by the amount of mouse droppings in the immediate area.

The problem was that the area surrounding the air conditioner was surrounded by tons of books, magazines, documents, boxes, and all sorts of knick knacks. There was even a tall shelf blocking access to unit, that I had to manhandle just to get out of the way.

Of course, moving stuff won't just do. I had to clean up the area as well, leading to the disposal of tons of refuse and old stuff that was just eating up space. With a rag in hand (and fear of leptospirosis at the back of my mind) I had to wipe down virtuall…