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.


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


Last night, the 23rd South East Asian Games was declared closed by President Macapagal-Arroyo amid fanfare in Luneta Park. These Games saw the Philippines become overall champion for the first time in the Games’s history with 113 golds, 84 silvers, and 94 bronzes. Tempo has an article wrapping up the medal tally, and it seems that the only sports where we turned up medal-less were badminton and football.

I’ve been watching the coverage all week, and my heart has leapt within me every time a Philippine athlete wins. It even got to the point where I stood up each time they played our national anthem. Ü Our athletes (homegrown and balikbayan) did their best to bring honor for the country; Philippine tourism benefits from the exposure of not only Manila, but various other scenic sites where the Games’s sports were staged. Overall, the Games are something to be proud of and to smile about.

POSIBLE: During the interminably long commercial breaks, the only commercial I was fond of seeing was Globe Telecom’s “Posible” commercial. Rivermaya’s inspirational song combined with Filipino athletes showing off their skills made me want to get out there and win something. Alas, I am no athlete.

GOOD AND BAD: The good news is that after this huge win Philippine SEA Games athletes will be treated to a free vacation courtesy of the Philippine Tourism Authority. President Macapagal-Arroyo even thinks this will be the beginning of the Philippines becoming a sports power in Asia. That may be difficult to do, if the bad news happens. Next year the Philippine Sports Commission’s budget could be slashed to 27 million pesos, down from its 107 million peso budget this year. Boo to the Department of Budget and Management for recommending the budget cut. Really, really stupid.

RELATED LINKS: I have a SEA Games tennis wrap-up at my tennis blog. Arybba talks about her experience organizing the SEA Games. Ganns talks about Philippine victories in 2005. Also, has the full list of Philippine gold medalists.

SEA Games Searches

My posts about the South East Asian Games brought in a lot of search traffic on:

I was planning on writing a longer wrap-up post about my impressions on the SEA Games tomorrow, but I’ll answer the last search query tonight. According to the television commentators, the mascot‘s name is Gilas (Excellence), and he’s an eagle (agila in Filipino).

UPDATE: I also got linked to from a thread on the AsiaFinest forum.