Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Just in case you didn't notice the solitary "F" logo flashing proudly in its place, yes, it's the Facebook phone. And no, I didn't purchase it because of Facebook.

I've been wanting to change my phone for quite some time now. Although I've grown fond of my Samsung UltraTouch, times have changed and my elderly mobile just can't keep up with the aspects of technology that has now proved to be a necessity rather than a cool function a few years back.

Enter Mr. Chacha. The name may be lacking a few punches and reminds me of red lipsticked middle aged women and the Dance Instructor era, I've chosen this Gadget Baby as my new everyday electronic companion. Most people are underwhelmed with his capabilities and poke fun at his calculator inspired aesthetics but I love him anyways. Here's why:

1. HTC Sense Interface. I've been drooling over the HTC UI for quite some time now since I've already grown sick of Samsung's dark and dreary screens. Aside from Apple's iPhone which is still unbelievably expensive and a bit redundant for me since I already have an iPod Touch, there are only a few brands which came to mind. 

  • Samsung? Pass, I'll try something new. 
  • Forget Nokia, Symbian is for cave people. 
  • Blackberry? Yes please, if they weren't so darn expensive. The touchscreen-qwerty combo is still on the 20k+ bracket if I'm not mistaken.
2. Responsive Touchscreen. For a phone boasting its comfortable qwerty keypad, it has a surprisingly sensitive touchscreen with great feedback. This is particularly a deal maker since I've cancelled a lot of HTC phones off my list (HTC Explorer / HTC Wildfire S) because of less than brilliant screens and lagging processors.

3. Great Full QWERTY Keyboard. I've never had a phone with a full qwerty keyboard before. I've always typed novel-length texts with a physical/virtual alphanumeric one and to be honest, my right thumb really needs an ally in his duty. And I won't lie, this Blackberry nation has brainwashed me into thinking qwerty phones look more professional and sophisticated.

4. Affordable. For 8,900 php plus a complimentary dedicated silicone casing, you can't get any other Android touchscreen plus a physical QWERTY keypad with just the amount of one month minimum wage salary.

5. Threaded Messaging Heaven. To say that HTC's messaging interface is 90% of the decision making mental pie chart that made me buy this phone isn't that far off. Since I've been texting a lot recently, the threaded blue and white send and received texts sorted chronologically has been life changing.

I won't sugarcoat the first phone that I bought with my own money, it isn't perfect. The internal memory is only 150mb as compared with its advertised 512mb and I've read it fills up easily with apps and cached information from Facebook and other programs. The battery also makes me paranoid because without the proper settings, it has the potential to drain quickly.

But since I will be mainly using this for the normal call and text routine (more of texts really), its limitations doesn't really bother me. Find another gadget for your games and graphic heavy apps because the screen will leave more to be desired.

But if you're like me who just needs a fairly cheap mobile with a comfortable keyboard, a messaging interface to salivate over and the yummy Blackberry-ish LED light indicator for notifications and such, then look no further, you would definitely love dancing to the beat of this phone.

Hannah Payne’s life has been devoted to church and family. But after she’s convicted of murder, she awakens to a nightmarish new life. She finds herself lying on a table in a bare room, covered only by a paper gown, with cameras broadcasting her every move to millions at home, for whom observing new Chromes—criminals whose skin color has been genetically altered to match the class of their crime—is a sinister form of entertainment. Hannah is a Red for the crime of murder. The victim, says the State of Texas, was her unborn child, and Hannah is determined to protect the identity of the father, a public figure with whom she shared a fierce and forbidden love. 

In a future world where the lines of state and church is eradicated, felons roam the streets in multicolored stigma and revered church leaders commit sins in the worst possible ways, this novel portrays an all too familiar society present today that some would not dare admit.

In this dystopian universe, a sexually transmitted disease has rendered a good part of the population sterile, giving way to an political and religious fusion which brought about extreme faith-abiding laws which served as a noose around personal freedom. It encapsulates the reality how the faithful worship religious leaders like groupies in a rock concert and how, in return, these evangelists spread hope and strength while keeping terrible secrets of their own.

Aside from the gripping tale of an unlikely sinner protagonist, it is the characters' views on faith which I enjoyed the most. Like many of the articles and opinions I've read, it mirrors exactly my sentiments on religion, faith and today's society.

On the existence of God:
"If God is the Creator, if God englobes every single thing in the universe, then God is everything and everything is God. God is the earth and the sky, and the tree planted in the earth under the sky and the bird in the tree, and the worm in the beak of the bird, and the dirt in the stomach of the worm. God is He and She, straight and gay, black and white and red - and green and blue and all the rest. And so, to despise me for loving women, or you for being a Red who made love with a woman, would be to despise not only His own creations but also to hate Himself. My God is not so stupid as that."
On having a personal God not necessarily in congruence with any established belief:
And yet, Hanna's parents had taught her that faith was deeply personal, something between her and God alone. The contradiction struck Hannah now, as she fully appreciated how little volition she'd ever had in her own faith, how little her opinion had even mattered.
"My God is a God of infinite wisdom and love and compassion," Simone was saying, "not some bully who spends His time in throwing fire and Brimstone at homosexuals."
On the diversity of different religions and practices:
"A Catholic would tell you that questioning God is your first mistake, that faith must be blind and absolute or it's not faith at all. Of course, if I were a Catholic, I'd be wearing a habit not a collar, and my opinion about such important doctrinal questions wouldn't matter a damn to anyone... It doesn't matter to  God what we call ourselves, or even what we call Him. We're the only ones who care about that...."
On Free Will vs. God's Plan
"You don't have to stop thinking and asking questions to believe in God, child. If He'd wanted a flock of eight billion sheep, He wouldn't have given us opposable thumbs, much less free will." 
She'd been taught that free will was an illusion; that God had a plan for her and for everyone, a premapped destiny. But if that were true, then He'd meant for her to get pregnant and have an abortion, to be chromed, to be despised and humiliated, kidnapped and almost raped. She saw suddenly that this was at the core of her loss of faith: a reluctance to believe in god who was that indifferent or that cruel.
What impressed me the most is the undertone in the novel that, even though the world in the story is full of liberal minded homosexuals, abortionists and hypocrites hiding under the veil of religiosity, there is still this wonderful all-encompassing higher being who is watching over us all. That things aren't black and white as they seem. The shunned criminal may have reasons for his actions and the most pious evangelist may be hiding the blackest of sins.

Religion may be a driving force for most people but it is not a prerequisite in believing and loving an omnipotent being who, in my opinion, doesn't need a specific name nor an image. He (or She) may be born in a stable to be visited by three kings or from traders from Mecca, what matters is, we do the most that we can in this existence and try to touch as many lives as possible, religion or no religion.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

This past 48 hours has made me lose faith in humanity more than any other incident in my two decades of existence. Here, I saw the worst in people, the monstrous and the downright despicable. Their ugly heads craning in glee in the despair of others. Animated tales of half-truths and speculations disguised as intelligent conversation float the streets like the smoke still stubbornly lingering in the air. 

They say "Love thy neighbor" but I really cannot imagine being able to right now. Not when I have seen and heard with my own eyes and ears the heartlessness and callousness of the people around us.

As a believer of the beauty of human nature, I cannot fathom how these people can still point fingers when the only ones who have lost almost everything are the ones they are pointing at. What is with these people that compels them to spread hysteria and take center stage as they narrate how shocked and panicked they felt at the height of the incident then brag to anyone who would listen how accurate they were when they said before they have seen this coming and thus act like pompous omnipotent Gods who were "right" all along?

These are the same people who would stomp on you when you're down, taking advantage of the momentary showcase of weakness of the successful entity they secretly want to be. 

Middle-aged women in multi-colored dusters look harmless enough but beware, these are the ones that you should be wary of. Those who have no life of their own and have nothing else to do with their dull and pointless existence so they feed off the tasty tales of others so that their lives will seem to have more meaning, more excitement to freshen up the day's mundane routines of sweeping the front of their houses while keeping an ear out for juicy gossip. 

Let's not forget the holier-than-thou Followers of Christ, the ones in all white uniform asking for your money during masses, reading bible verses and preaching the word of the Lord. The same ones who would judge without proof and concoct (and spread) their own version of the truth as they deem fit to their pre-conceived impression of others.

And lastly...

What kind of people are these who have already seen smoke coming out of a window and failed to notify those who may still be inside the building? Yes, thank you for calling the fire department, but it is still a mystery to me how your conscience could exist when you knew that there were living, breathing people inside a burning building still unaware of the mortal threat they were facing and yet you have done nothing to make sure that they make it out safely.


Humanity, I am disappointed. I know there exist murderers, rapists and thieves that do much worse, but I always regard them as those who have chosen a different path and thus separated from the people I see and interact with everyday. But this foul, selfish disregard to the welfare of others is unheard of before this moment. It made me see the evil inside everyday harmless citizens, most of whom you think are respectable and honest do-gooders incapable of those kinds of thoughts and (lack of) actions. 

So, to our neighbors who epitomizes the paragraphs above, I remind you one powerful word: Karma.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

10. Lose yourself in your work. Keep yourself busy and before you know it, the 24 hours of glittery hearts and pictures of a fat toddler posing with an arrow is over.

9. Watch horror/massacre/gore movies (but stay away from movie theaters!). Preferably films with scenes of lovers making out in a parked car while being stalked by a serial killer.

8. For the day, change your Twitter / Facebook profile picture to that of a scantily clad vixen from Google Images and watch as Friend Requests and Mentions come in.

7. Hug the one creature that has loved you for who you are and enjoyed every single minute he's with you. Your dog.

6. Mentally raise an eyebrow every doe-eyed girl parading in front of you while cradling a bouquet of roses and think: Feeling ko binigay lang niya yan sa sarili niya!

5. Beautify. Exude appeal and poise that can make all committed men wonder why they are in a relationship in the first place. 

4. Find a good-looking gay friend and HHWW with him at the mall while you both search for cute single guys.

3. Be constantly surrounded with people, at least just for this day. There is nothing that can make you feel like a Forever Alone meme than being... well, alone.

2. Stay away from re-watching films with these words in the title: One, Chance, More, Notebook, The

1. Spend Valentine's Day with your True Love. May it be shoes, badminton, books, or Tetris Battle. In my case, it's:

**Photos taken from Google Images and Tumblr
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