Why I respect Dong Nguyen as an App Designer

Now, I admit that I can be quite judgemental with app and game designers given that they constantly give us reasons to spend our leisure time in sedentary activities aside from the already sedentary lifestyle we live. I still have my reservations to those who make a career out of it and dream to make a career out of it. However, I take my hat off to Dong Nguyen after reading his statement that was printed in an article from Forbes (read it here).

I am aware that game and application design are becoming quite a career for the creatives and the kick ass programmers that they can earn a fortune from a single app. I’m still amazed with how these developers thought of making such popular programs. However, the addiction that users develop and that developers feed is always a disappointing sight. That’s why after reading Nguyen’s statement, it was quite comforting to know that programmers like him exist – that he created the app with a vision that it will be played to relax and in moderation.

I am even impressed that he wasn’t even fazed with all the death threats (or I just don’t know about it) and went through with pulling out the game. A programmer who sticks to his principles. This is the perspective that online, print and other media covering this issue fail to look at. Everybody seems content with viewing the issue in the eyes of the Flappy Bird addict.

I hope Nguyen’s act of preserving the dignity of his creation becomes a reminder for us all to think before we flap… whatever it is that we can flap.

A

Lookback 2013

                So I did a little digging in this blog of mine because I was curious on how many year-ender/ new-year posts I’ve already written. Apparently, this will be the 4th of its kind. I started at the end of 2010 and gosh, time flies so fast. In a way, I have found it comforting that I have been able to continue this tradition of mine. I believe that in this point in my life, this is the only time of the year when I can go to the recesses of my mind and actually contemplate on everything that has happened to me in the past year. I have said my thank you’s at the beginning of the year. Now I think I owe it to myself to share what I missed sharing here.

I turned 20 this year.

I turned 20 and this was probably the saddest birthday I’ve ever celebrated. I did have fun celebrating with my friends, no doubt. I just couldn’t shake off the fact that coming home on your birthday, expecting the same warm greetings was just not there. Mom and I weren’t talking that week and it added to the already present tension at home. I blew my candles with a fake smile that night partly wishing I came home later when everybody just gave up on waiting went to sleep. But that was just my birthday.

It was the things after turning 20 that were exciting.

I almost failed a subject this year.

It killed me that I was dooming myself to a failure seeing the horrible quiz scores and less than mediocre overall performance I was doing in one of my Electronics subjects. I was so relieved, though, when the miracle of incentives and being an active officer of my course’s organization helped me get through it. Never again am I going to play that close with 0.0.

I got sick more times this year than the last.

It was all on stress. Blame it all on stress. In a way, it gave me a few days this year to calm down and reassess what I was doing wrong in my lifestyle. Well, I learned that sleep is valuable and I must bring back my healthy sleeping rhythm once more. I also figured out how much my parents care because I saw the worry in their eyes and I admit that I enjoyed seeing it. I know it sounds cruel but sometimes even if you know they care, it is comforting to actually see that they do. However, I do hope that in 2014 I won’t get sick anymore. It can be tiring.

My thoughts on love and marriage have been totally challenged.

I’ll have you know that I finally saw that grey area between right and wrong. It is frustrating! To have always been taught black and white and then grey comes into the picture and you become confused. I know that people have the tendency to say one thing but to the next. However, in the case where I think too highly of marriage and everything that comes with it, saying one thing but doing what has always been deemed as wrong – even more consenting to it, has got me, dare I say it, mindfucked. Even if it is not my business, I still do not know what to make of the issue. But this is for certain; Love and Marriage do not always come hand in hand. In my future, however, I want them to come hand in hand.

On other news, I’ll have you know that at one point of this year, I was pathetic enough to cry over someone and blame it on a dog that was once mine. Then I learned that it was better letting go of the feeling without even letting the person concerned know. But, all my friends know. I felt better.

I finally gave in and drank beer.

Now, I do recall that I swore I would never drink beer because it tastes disgusting. It still does especially without ice but it’s one of those things that seem to taste a little better as you age. It’s like ampalaya. Bitter and disgusting but as you age, you seem to just eat it and it tastes better than what you remember. Only with ampalaya, it has health benefits. With beer, I don’t really see the advantage besides the newfound confidence to babble when I’ve drank some. I’ll make it a point to only have it on special occasions because the bloated tummy and skin rash is totally not worth it.

Cooking, instead of eating, has become my de-stressing activity

Ever since Christmas break started, I have been spending my time applying for an OJT, catching up on my favourite series or cooking. I can say that I make pretty wicked salsa and Dad has given his ‘Namit’ (delicious) on the Nachos I prepared a few days back. Most of the meals for tonight’s Media Noche, it was prepared by yours truly. Now, I don’t see myself taking up any formal cooking lessons, yet. I’m still enjoying experimenting on my own. My hands still smell like garlic, by the way.

Looking back on what I have written, that’s not even half of what I went through this year. There were many good times, boring times and very busy times. I have less than a year left in college and I have yet to be certain what I am to do after. I am certain, though, that I will finish school. In the meantime, I only have two New Year’s Resolutions.

The first one is that I should get in touch with my emotional side once more. I realized just last night that I have found it extremely hard to write my genuine thoughts on things because I have been squashing them on the back of my mind, always finding an excuse to do so. No, not anymore, if this goes on, I’m scared that my writing may go away with it. I must practice being honest with my feelings to myself and to others no matter how pathetic I will seem.

The second is that I should be more religious with exercising. For the last leg of the year, I have been forgoing working out because of all the school work. This year, I must find a way to once again bring back that drive and enthusiasm of being all sweaty and full of energy early in the morning.

That was my Lookback in 2013. Enjoy the gallery below. :)

Alec

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I’d rather fall in love with a rock right now

I’m in that point once more where I’m starting to feel attached with someone whom I’m not supposed to feel attached to. No, this is not a matter of availability but the truth that nothing good will ever come out of this route. It was supposed to be a fun and unadulterated friendship that was for keeps.

It feels like giving Bourbon away all over again. Bourbon was my dog a few years back when my mom’s friend couldn’t take any more dogs into her home since she already had one too many. We bought Bourbon because we thought we could give the love that she deserved. And we did. She was my dog and my mission was to make her fat with food and love. Bourbon and I became fast friends and at the end of each day, I would sit outside the garden and have her on my lap to tell her how my day went. That went on for months to almost a year. Bourbon had her first period early and I was busy with studies at the time. I wasn’t there to keep an eye and she somehow became pregnant. In a way, it was bittersweet. We knew that Bourbon was not ready to be a mama dog but she did manage to get through with the pregnancy however giving birth to deceased puppies. I thought that was the end of our grief. I went home one afternoon a few days after that happened to find out that Bourbon was to be sold. I didn’t want to. Up to this day I still don’t know why I agreed to it and it still tears me up. Maybe it’s because I knew that I gave part of myself to that dog knowing that if I gave love or not, she would still be giving me that unconditional love that dogs are always bound to give. I cried all night the day we finally sold her to a very eager buyer. And it was the silent kind of cry, the one that hurts more than wailing. I slept beside my Mother that night and she would never have knew I cried myself to sleep if I did not tell her a few months later.

The feeling of liking someone out of the boundaries of friendship is probably one of the best feelings to be felt. Knowing that you and that person get along well and having that gut feeling that there can be more and nothing left. Then, having to purposely turn the feeling off just when you realize you’re going out of the bounds of friendship may be one of the most painful things that I have felt. (Or am feeling) It terribly feels like giving away Bourbon, giving away that love.

What hurts more is that I’m never going to be able to express this admiration after this, even as a joke. Like a Christmas present that never reaches the destination and will forever remain unopened. But I think it’s for the good. We’ll be back to buddies.

A

Afternoon Serenade in a Jeepney

               Being a regular commuter of the Republic of the Philippines, I am well aware of the various gimmicks my impoverished countrymen pull-off in order to gain fast, tax-free cash. I often pass by homeless people begging on the streets on my way to school. I have been verbally harassed by pedicab drivers whose transportation services I have declined. I have seen pickpockets and snatchers in the act of stealing. I have witnessed potbellied policemen/traffic enforcers stick their hands in the driver’s side of jeepneys asking for their ‘share’ of the profit. I have experienced those Biblical lectures inside crowded buses – those ‘disciples’ reading a few lines from the Bible and then passing off white envelopes with messages asking for a little something in return. I’m used to this. It’s our way of life.

              But yesterday afternoon’s encounter was something that pretty much rubbed me the wrong way – enough to have me write about it.

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Meeting Tito Beans

            So last Thursday night, I had to venture to Makati to meet up with my Mom who also travelled there all the way from Alabang to meet with her first cousin. I didn’t know who he was at the time. All I knew was that he was Mom’s cousin making him my uncle and that I had to make sure I arrived at Dusit Thani still looking like a human being after battling Manila’s rush-hour commute – Mom’s order.

I managed to make it there alive. I was introduced to Tito Vince who came here from Hawaii on business. And according to what I have heard, the last time he and mom saw each other was a couple decades ago. When I arrived, they were in the middle of reminiscing their childhood in Bacolod and Tito Vince was recalling his visit in the Lacson Ancestral House in Talisay. He, Mom and Tito JohnLee looked like they were enjoying their little trip down memory lane. In fact, Mom looked like a few years were taken off her. This wasn’t the first time I’ve been with my uncles and parents while they were reminiscing their childhood but every time I had the chance to see be with them reminiscing, it’s always a sight to see. I get to see how much fun they had before they all grew up and became a generation old.

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Friends with OCs

                I was out last Friday with my friends, Laurice and Roselyn, for an afternoon of playing really chill bowling followed by watching Despicable Me 2. It’s been a while since I went out to spend that much time on leisurely activities and I must say that it has been refreshing.

                Knowing myself, what I enjoy most in these get-togethers are the conversations. During our late lunch in Sbarro – Yes, I have to say where we ate because I love the food there – we had a rather interesting conversation on what peeves us and daily bathroom habits.  It started with the topic of OC- obsessive compulsion – the things that we couldn’t fathom not doing or the things that we must do or see in ourselves and our belongings. Roselyn and Laurice are self-proclaimed OCs. And it’s really fun hearing them rant on what ticks them off and the lengths they go through just to even the lengths of their shoe laces before knotting them. It was really interesting to know the side of them that I don’t see in school. At some point, their ‘Obsessive-Compulsiveness’ has made me feel like a general slob. But not really. I have OCs of my own. Well, the conversation somehow led to bathroom habits.

For such a random conversation topic, it somehow managed to rile some of us especially when we realized how different our bathroom habits are! Roselyn couldn’t understand why I hated changing in the bathroom because I’m a klutz with handling clothes in there but we did share the same peeve of wet bathroom floors that are not within the shower area. Laurice and I shared the same sentiment of finding changing in the bathroom a difficult ordeal. Up until last Friday, I always assumed that all people did the same things I did in the bathroom in the same order. Really.

                On our way to the bowling alley, I realized that the three of us differ a lot in our personal habits – that some might seem disgusting to the other – but we still manage to get along. I know that my assumptions seem to hold onto quite shallow justifications but these days, it is difficult to find friends who are willing to overlook the each other’s differences and choose to enjoy the company of one another.

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                Well, as it turned out, I am a lame bowler. They were poking fun at how I practically ‘threw’ the bowling ball on the lane among other things. But I’m used to it – and it’s entertaining to have your friends laugh at your lame habits like it’s the most bizarre thing in the world. It reminds me that I need to live a little and that they care enough to rub it in my face. ;)

                We watched Despicable Me 2, after. I couldn’t stop laughing every time a Minion appeared on screen. They’re the cutest things ever! We found ourselves really hungry at dinner – or so I think. No, I think I was the hungriest. Anyway, I enjoyed the all-meat dinner. And I was taking my sweet time eating because Dad came to meet me so we could go home together.        

They were really happy that I stayed with them until 1030 in the evening. They deem it as an achievement on my part and it somehow does feel like I earned a gold medal. Gold medal for staying out past my bedtime and for having sweet friends like them HAHA :”>

A