Saturday, March 3, 2007

A Moon Dance (Kikong Baterya)

Last night the pizza box had a strange, yellowish gleam. It wasn't the lamp post, there's a full moon
up there partially eclipsed by Sunnyholt Road's noise barrier wall.
Inside the house the tv talking head just announced a lunar eclipse happening 4th of this month. He said the moon will be red owing to gases that the earth's shadow would have agitated. I got excited..felt a pinch in my heart, maybe it's that piece of meat-lovers delight I ate. Minutes later I spotted the full moon in the wide open pizza box which now resembled its dark side, and right after all the round, sliced meat were plucked out by younger family members.
Everyone got inside soon after the first chilly breeze blew in while an ominous black cloud reduced the full moon to a subdued halo. Ugh, what a disappointment. Well I thought I'd lift the veil and expose my moon thoughts, being a moon child myself (astrologically that is). This is when I remembered Kikong Baterya! (right click on image to magnify and become readable in a new window)
Kiko (nickname for Francisco, first name of a famous Filipino poet) was a comics character I invented for a vague Filipino-Australian magazine that existed back in '91. He was part of my Lumbay (Melancholy) illustrated series of work.
Not shy to admit I was playing Van Morrison's Moondance all along while obsessively inking this genre of a comics. Moondance digs deep into my psyche as it was part of a long, depressed mood of a time I've long forgotten; yet it still fuels ocean tides of feeling in me, especially when black clouds loomed no more.
So there, Kiko was just a fictitious guy that fed my lunacy during times of creative loneliness. He wasn't popular with magazine editor at that time, telling me it's too heavy for her readers to comprehend (Maybe she's right but I can't believe she can judge the Filipino readers outright) It's all part of printed entertainment. Incidentally I saw that editor just the other day in a restaurant and she sure looked quite heavy enough to appreciate Kikong Baterya now:)
More of Kiko Komiks if I find the rest of them.
Meanwhile I have to find my trusty tripod to take a shot of this morning's lunar eclipse. Go away black clouds!
Here's lyrics of Moondance by Van the Man! If you can hack the guitar or piano it's best to play it in A minor. More info at this cool site.
Well, its a marvelous night for a moondance
With the stars up above in your eyes
A fantabulous night to make romance
neath the cover of october skies
And all the leaves on the trees are falling
To the sound of the breezes that blow
And Im trying to please to the calling
Of your heart-strings that play soft and low
And all the nights magic seems to whisper and hush
And all the soft moonlight seems to shine in your blush
Can I just have one a more moondance with you, my love
Can I just make some more romance with a-you, my love
Well, I wanna make love to you tonight
I cant wait til the morning has come
And I know that the time is just right
And straight into my arms you will run
And when you come my heart will be waiting
To make sure that youre never alone
There and then all my dreams will come true, dear
There and then I will make you my own
And every time I touch you, you just tremble inside
And I know how much you want me that you cant hide
Chorus Repeat 1st verse
One more moondance with you in the moonlight
On a magic nightLa, la, la, la in the moonlight
On a magic night
Cant I just have one more dance with you my love

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Thursday, March 1, 2007

Blackboard Science

-Honey how do you cook tikoy (Chinese mooncake)?
-Google search it!
-Darling my toe has a strange swelling!
-Google search it!

Google education, that's what. Search for infos here. Type in keywords there, even type in your name.. who knows? There might be a line or two about your existence. Ever wonder why council libraries don't have too many late book returns nowadays? No one's borrowing! Have you had the feeling libraries are purely archival? Useful but the format is archaic, as we burn an extra back-up cd for our precious photos.

You've probably heard of Wacom pads, Modbooks, wireless mice, pressure pens, holographic keyboards, laser pointers, etc. Do classrooms still have blackboards? Yes, that thing where a little white stick glides on a smooth, black surface. Then teacher, at a drop of a hat, had the school smartie erase the scribblings with a woolly block. All writings gone and wiped clean. Thank you Ruben. Now listen class. I hope you remembered what was written a few minutes ago. They're solutions for a math quiz tomorrow.

Mind you ever since teacher drew on the blackboard 26 Roman heiroglyphics for us wide-eyed 6-year olds to learn, we've probably inhaled tons of micro chalkdust particles. Come to think of it decades of classroom activity might have soaked our lungs with chalkdust and now they're slowly calcifying! Ugh, what a morbid thought! Make me feel good, do tell me they didn't make asbestos chalk in those days. Here's teacher..All right class, we're pushing for a class action suit; hahaha!

Most of us got thru high school then some to college but we're still the same faces gazing at that dark, flat window of dark space where teacher etched white trails of mankind's wisdom.

Civilization got kickstarted with a blackboard just after Rosetta Stone and nearly vanished as soon as E=MC2 was written on it.

Kids who rebel on what blackboard says end up writing on walls and trains. I miss the old blackboard. If we find it empty before high school class, we're quick to write profanities and rude drawings and all erased seconds before the guru arrived. The rebellion was delicious. We trespassed teacher's turf as we naughtily smirked at class whistleblower intent at damaging our integrity as higher section students.

Forty years on and it's still heartwarming to catch a glimpse of a busy blackboard even if only watching Jack Black (Finn) educate his wards in the School of Rock movie. (internet photo from Paramount's School of Rock)

Blackboards were always part of old school student life. Beatles' lyrics were written and memorized from it. Blackboard karaoke was our way to high school rock stardom. Soon as I see one it reminded me of my high school friends that inhaled the same chalkdust of education. (Photos sent in by classmates who now reside in the United States)
Don't believe everything in the internet echoes the old saying Don't believe everything in print. Nothing's changed. We're still moulded in the primeval ways. Only direct classroom teaching is more effective, I think. Kids absorb first hand information more readily than the glass monitor. It's the human face in front of a blackboard that makes all the difference. Studies prove that new born infants are cognitive of facial features, instinctively reactive to a smile or a threat. Now blackboard is replaced by crt, plasma, lcd or projector screen. Take your pick. No more pure, white chalkdust of education particles flying around which when settled will only need a little rain of encouragement for a good water:pigment ratio. White goache paint you get! Wet chalk, I learned as a kid, reacts differently on blackboard. Sticks like solid paste and when dry is hard to erase. Okay Bart Simpson write this a hundred times on your cartoony blackboard: PUT MORE MONEY ON EDUCATION INSTEAD OF WAR!

Despite all high tech learning tools that abound, I'm still partial to a human face-to-face interaction. The humble blackboard will remain intact for and behind infant Man whose temporary scribblings shall eventually push him to intellectual progress. Mortal Man is to impermanent chalk while blackboard is to Earth, the latter to remain a writing tablet for man's history (including rock & roll:) long after the chalkdust has gone.

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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Zookra - More from My Strange Garden

I'm aware of Jim Paredes' Writing on Air but have you heard of writing on helium?

That's when I submitted an article (below) to Helium, a creative writing site which challenged me to reflect on Food. Helium says there's money in writing! Not a lot of gas I hope. I better ask Jim:) Check it out here.

I wrote the short piece for about half an hour, just noting down what fragmented thoughts lingered. The helium community has still to rate me. I might get an F:) Anyway I developed the article further here.


Of course I'm not what I contradict that old saying.Food nourishes, that's all. Beef won't turn someone into a cow (hmm maybe?:-) nor did I see any bovine turn into grass.

Well I guess it's just a motherly advice. Eat good food and you'll stay in good health; eat junk and you get a wasted feeling. Limp..both mind and body.

Eat's good for you! Drink cranberry, you'll live forever! Eat fish, less pork! Nothing wrong with me , I just lac tose:)

I've accumulated a number of health emails harking benefits for mankind. I feel a kind of health advice fatigue. My dopamines hesitate when I have to watch everything I put in my mouth. Mind you some people don't eat anything at all like some fakirs in India. They only gulp air and last for months! I gasped, they eat air? Air in, air out.. would passing wind levitate them a metre high?:) Meditation or not it defies logic.

Eat natural is best I guess. No engine oil for me, only olive! No fake nor real sugar at all, only nice and sticky Australian honey! They're cheap, you'll be surprised.

I grew up with rice, hot and steamy in sticky Manila. Did I hear someone say: Bad for you, too much carbs! Aw leave me alone I say. You just throw in a smoked mackerel and some sliced tomato and you're sated, with a bit of ripe, mango juice on the side. Omega 3 never had it so good.

Third world diet is quite nutritious and easily prepared. Asian meals are satisfying, too with all the noodly soup opera that abound. Food is main concern of the world. Now with Al Gore and the Global Warming issue getting hotter, there should be some relevance in the way we traffic and prepare food. To feed the world is a massive responsibility and to fuel all those cooking pans surely contributes to our temperature-sensitive times. Maybe sushi is the answer so as not to feel guilty turning on that electric grill, or maybe microwave ovens might do without bothering all those fossil underneath.

Alas I'd have a change of heart if this present summer heat fries me to death and make me stop eating fried food! On my tombstone: "He was what he ate."

Meanwhile while I'm still alive and kicking I'll just eat what's good for me. Here's what nutritionist Sylvia Zook had to say about okra. This inspired me to create Zookra, the wonder okra! So take heed guys. She's a nice lady.
> >
Subject: Okra

A guy had been suffering from constipation for the past 20 years and recently from acid reflux. He didn't realize that the treatment could be so simple -- OKRA!

He started eating okra within the last 2 months and since then have never taken medication again. All he did was eat 6 pieces of OKRA everyday. He's now regular and his blood sugar has dropped from 135 to 98,with his cholesterol and acid reflux also under control.

Here are some facts on okra (from the research of Ms. Sylvia Zook, PH.D (nutrition), University of Illinois.

Okra is a powerhouse of valuable nutrients, nearly half of which is soluble fiber in the form of gums and pectins. Soluble fiber helps to lower serum cholesterol, reducing the risk of heart disease. The other half is insoluble fiber which helps to keep the intestinal tract healthy, decreasing the risk of some forms of cancer, especially colo-rectal cancer.

Nearly 10% of the recommended levels of vitamin B6 and folic acid is also present in a half cup of cooked okra. Okra is a rich source of many nutrients, including fiber, vitamin B6 and folic acid. He got the following numbers from the University of Illinois Extension Okra Page.

Please check there for more details.Okra Nutrition (half-cup cooked okra)* Calories = 25* Dietary Fiber = 2 grams* Protein = 1.5 grams* Carbohydrates = 5.8 grams* Vita! min A = 460 IU* Vitamin C = 13 mg* Folic acid = 36.5 micrograms* Calcium = 50 mg* Iron = 0.4 mg* Potassium = 256 mg* Magnesium = 46 mg

These numbers should be used as a guideline only, and if you are on a medically-restricted diet please consult your physician and/or dietician.

Ms Sylvia W. Zook, Ph.D. (nutritionist) has very kindly provided the following thought-provoking comments on the many benefits of this versatile vegetable.

They are well worth reading.

1. The superior fiber found in okra helps to stabilize blood sugar as it curbs the rate at which sugar is absorbed from the intestinal tract.

2. Okra's mucilage not only binds cholesterol but bile acid carrying toxins dumped into it by the filtering liver. But it doesn't stop there...

3. Many alternative health practitioners believe all disease begins in the colon. The okra fiber, absorbing water and ensuring bulk in stools, helps prevent constipation. Fiber in general is helpful for this but okra is one of the best, along with ground flax seed and psyllium. Unlike harsh wheatbran, which can irritate or injure the intestinal tract, okra's mucilage soothes, and okra facilitates elimination more comfortably by its slippery characteristic many people abhor. In other words, this incredibly valuable vegetable not only binds excess cholesterol and toxins (in bile acids) which cause numerous health problems, if not evacuated, but also assures their easy passage from the the body.

4. Further contributing to the health of the intestinal tract, okra fiber(as well as flax and psyllium) has no equal among fibers for feeding the good bacteria (probiotics).

5.To retain most of okra's nutrients and self-digesting enzymes , it should be cooked as little as possible, e.g. with low heat or lightly steamed. Some eat it raw.

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

I'm Older than My Dad!

What? No 29th this February? Everyone felt sad. Heck I was just a kid. That meant Dad would have no
birthday this year and every non-leap year. What a disappointment. Oh can't we reform calendars? We were up in arms, bring back the solar calendar. Bring back the lunar! Sorry, there are only 2 famous calendars, namely Gregorian and Pirelli!:)
Wonder how Dad felt cheated a day by Gregorian. Did he consider it an emotional threat which often deprived him of an important ritual event from the day he was born? Was he glad as he felt younger not having to celebrate birthday yearly; wow..technically each cake candle represented 4 years.

We are the only family who celebrated a leap year, often finding ourselves drowning in hot mami noodles and choking on siopao at Ma Mon Luk's restaurant. Bless Ma Mon Luk, a Chinese immigrant who left a lasting legacy to generations of chopstick-clicking Filipinos.

I only have a monochromatic picture of Dad probably taken by my uncle. This was Escolta in '48, a year before I was born. That's the old Escolta bridge with a blurred Regina Building in the background. Dad was trying to catch up with my mum rushing towards a big shoe sale.

God, how I miss Dad, he died in 1998. He enjoyed life fully and never wanted to go overseas. He had lots of friends from all walks of life. For us his children he made sure we went to school and has guided us without interference. He was Barangay captain, basketball coach, drove the first Mercedes Benz Golden Taxi Cab just after the war, drove a lorry for Caltex, drove for executive businessman Mr.Yuchengco and drove us mad when he can't be bothered while running through racing tip papers that filled up his filing cabinet.

I love you Dad. Happy Birthmonth.


Monday, February 26, 2007

Nagfa's Ambigram Challenge

Hurrah, my ambigram entry was accepted in this month's ambigram challenge!
The word to have fun with is SINGULARITY.
Just like the word itself, the process proved long and difficult but I tried to give it my best shot (see image; of course you can also read it upside-down!). I used a fine felt pen in the original and scanned it thru to Photoshop. Good fun!

Have a go guys! NAC challenges you!
It's good exercise if you're into calligraphy, designing logos or just doodling for fun! Right click here to open new tab and visit NAC (Nagfa Ambigram Challenge) homepage.
Share you email (below) from NagFa (Naguib & Fadilah, both guys are organisers of this ambigram challenge. They're from Singapore.)

"hi, edd
thank you for participating in this months' NAC. we knew you could come up with a great design, and you proved us correct. considering that this is done with a fine pen, the end result looks spectacular: fun and a lot of movement. We like it. one thing we love about the solution is the ng-ri formula: that second line from 'n' which rotates into the leg of 'R' is subtly done. You've got a good eye for details. the flawless smoothness in the s-y combo is too nicely crafted.. beautiful overall effect, and the presentation: framed, titled, named adds class to the piece.. thank you edd. we will be showcasing all designs late next month, do check them out..
salam (peace)
nagfa, singapore "