For Rent

When my family moved to this house two years ago, we left behind a very dear home in Parañaque City. It was the site of my childhood games, teenage daydreams, and passage into my twenties. For a whole year after our move, some extended family members lived there in our stead so I never felt that the house had passed beyond my care.

This year, my relatives moved out of that old house, and my dad put it up for rent. Yesterday, we met the tenants who would be renting the place and I realized the house was no longer purely mine. No furnishings of ours occupied space in the rooms. The walls had begun to be festooned with pictures of these people, not us, of places we’d never been and of interests we’d never shared.

The tenants seem nice enough. The husband is a British writer and the wife a Filipina; their child takes after his mother in looks but has his father’s forehead and lips. They seem to like plants because they asked us if they could plant some Indian trees on the lawn; this is good news for the house’s badly overgrown grounds. Also, rather than absolutely hating the extremely tall eucalyptus tree that we had planted to mark our property’s boundary (our neighbors like to encroach on our land), Mr. Tenant says he finds the tree’s trunk “noble”!

I think we’re leaving the old house in capable hands, but I’m starting to miss it badly.

Wikified

Anybody heard of Wikipedia? It’s a freely-editable compendium of articles submitted by, uh, almost anyone. Though it isn’t yet regarded as a reliable source of information due to its fluid nature (I did say freely editable and submitted by anyone), it’s an enjoyable exercise in writing.

So enjoyable have I found it, in fact, that today I found myself at work on articles I initially had no inclination of doing anything about. I spent the entire morning turning lists of Binibining Pilipinas winners into table format. Tonight I spent the last two hours researching and rewriting the article on the Mercy Me song “I Can Only Imagine.” I’m turning into a Wiki-addict.

I blame the Andy Roddick article. It referred to a Wikipedia article on his coach Dean Goldfine, but that article hadn’t been written yet so I took it upon myself to complete the task. I completed the initial draft on Saturday night. Then, it seems I couldn’t get enough of filling in blanks because I wrote the article about the Andy Roddick Foundation as well.

After those articles related to a fandom were completed, I began surfing Wikipedia’s random articles and made minor grammatical edits to a number of articles. This Wiki thing, it’s like a new toy: I can’t stop playing. But it does make me realize that I know nothing about a lot of things. Was it Plato, Socrates, or the Apostle Paul who professed to know nothing? Ü

Not-So-Carless Oval

I ran my legs off this morning in UP Diliman, which is a haven for joggers these days. They’ve shut down the entire Academic Oval from today until Thursday because student organizations have set up food and merchandise stalls along the circumference of the Oval in anticipation of this year’s Lantern Parade.

When I say “shut down” and “entire Academic Oval,” though, I don’t really mean it. Apparently the people who are conducting this closure of the road don’t really mean it, either. Instead of being fully carless, it was not so carless. At various closed streets feeding into the Oval, the road blocks were set too far apart, allowing cars to squeeze through and gain entry. I’m not sure if these vehicles had any legitimate business within the Oval, since the stalls were being stocked by small delivery trucks. In any case, I couldn’t exactly jog on the road itself without worrying about a rampaging car careening out of nowhere into me.

InterOPERAbility

After much research and some reluctance resulting from laziness at having to download an executable file, I’ve done it. I’ve clicked off my Internet Explorer and am now using Opera as my default browser. Ü

A couple of websites I’d been to in the last two weeks had little reminders on them saying that they were optimized for Firefox (another competitor of IE). What was this Firefox? I wondered. I had never seriously considered not using IE; it came with the operating system, it was easy to operate, it was familiar. I had always had the niggling feeling that there might be something more, something I was missing. I once looked at Opera as an alternative, but its file size seemed huge to me when I wasn’t on unlimited dial-up.

Then, yesterday, I Googled for a comparison between IE and Firefox and stumbled across Browse Happy, a website dedicated to spreading the bad news about IE (security holes, non-compliance with W3C standards, etc.) and the good news about alternative browsers like Mozilla, Firefox, Opera, and Camino. Intrigued but a little fazed by the unfamiliarity of Firefox, I decided instead to download Opera. Its file size was a piddling 3.66 MB compared to Firefox’s 5MB, anyway…

I’ve found that Opera renders pages much faster than IE, which sometimes displays only white space after 30 seconds of loading the page. Opera, in stark contrast, begins to show the content even before it has loaded the page’s embedded and linked media (like CSS style sheets and Shockwave Flash files).

Opera is also very strict when it comes to HTML and CSS mark-up; when I tried to view my websites through Opera’s eyes, I realized that IE had been letting me get away with a lot. My nested divs weren’t showing up correctly, the page body wasn’t centered like how I had written the CSS to do… Everything was a mess and I had to recode the CSS and HTML to correct the problem. It was a lot of work involving trial and error. Maybe some would say I should have just stuck to IE since over 90% of Internet surfers use IE. This way, though, I’m now comfortable knowing that my sites are written with valid HTML and CSS and will show in other people’s browsers (not just IE) the way I intended them to look.

I don’t think there’ll be any going back for me. I’m already loving Opera’s tabbed browsing. At the very least it gives me a clutter-free taskbar. Ü

Kang Kong

With the Philippine release of King Kong planned for next week, I’ve been seeing a lot of trailers and promotional material on TV. I’m intrigued by the film, but it hasn’t hooked me like Kong director Peter Jackson’s three Lord of the Rings films.

I guess what I’m saying is that unlike PJ himself, whose imagination was captivated by the original Kong film, I have no prior exposure to this material other than parodies and short clips from documentaries on films. In my mind, the giant gorilla is a brutish beast perched on top of the Empire State Building while clutching a scantily-clad woman. Suffice it to say that though this incarnation of Kong supposedly brings out and emphasizes the human element within the beast, I’m not sure I want to spend 130 pesos on it at the box office. I think I’ll wait until it comes out on video.

Maybe I just don’t like gorillas. Ü Mighty Joe Young was not my cup of tea, either.

On a related note, the “making of King Kong” segment shown on Cinemax shows a remarkably slim PJ. People who had been keeping tabs on King Kong‘s production diary had observed the slimming down, but I hadn’t seen anything of Jackson since the Rings film documentaries and Oscar wins. He still has the same hair, though.

Jackson says he did it through a change in diet plus a grueling filming and post-production schedule. How’s that for being productive? You lose weight and finish a film. Ü

* Today’s entry is titled “Kang Kong” intentionally. I used to joke that King Kong’s mate is named Kang Kong and the title is a reflection of my irreverence for the film franchise. Ü