What ’30 Rock’ taught me today

Have you ever wondered if what you did today is the same thing as you did a year ago?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the 15th episode of 30 Rock Season 6, Tina Fey (Liz) looks back on her diary and surprisingly realizes that everything that is happening to her is a repetition of what happened last year.

And so, I wondered – what did I do during the past August 25’s of my life?

2008 (blank)
It was a Monday. What did I do? Based on my planner, nothing.

2009 (more-than-normal workday)
Results of Civil Service Exam released. I passed! (9am); I had a meeting with the Program on Awards and Incentives for Service Excellence (PRAISE) Committee, City Hall(10am)

2010 Friday (another normal workday)
Technical Working Group meeting for the Balanced Scorecard Formulation of the League of Cities of the Philippines (9-3pm); Meeting with Mr. Loi David for the Center for Leadership, Excellence and Responsible Citizenship Foundation, Inc. (4pm)

2011 Thursday (normal workday)
Attended a ribbon cutting ceremony of the Organization of Socialized Housing and Development (9am); Printed telephone slips (1pm); Drafted questionnaires and topics for our newsletter (3pm); newsletter meeting (4pm)

There should be an improvement (so-called ‘level-up’) in the thing you do to gauge if you are moving forward (or backward) in life.

For the year 2012, August 25 fell on a weekend. I guess that’s the reason why it is not that memorable. I was supposed to treat my friends today or go out for dinner but staying at home seemed to be the perfect thing to do today. Nothing beats “me” time.

From a blank page in 2008 to a filled-up page in 2011 – I guess that’s a proof that something’s going on with my life.

Next year, I just have to look at my Facebook timeline instead. That would be easier!

For 30 Rock, you earned an avid fan.

Handy sites unearthed

While cleaning up my hard drive and deleting some old files in my laptop, I saw a Word document with a file name “Super Websites.”

The file was modified last November 2010 during the time when I was taking up my Management Information Systems course (under Prof. Aracid of the AGSB). I have been maximizing the use of these sites for quite some time and I really find them helpful, especially for business enterprises.

www.dropbox.com
Have you been sending your email or documents to your own email just to make sure you have your copy when you get home or you’re out of the office? You don’t have to do this anymore if you open a Dropbox account. Just make sure that you keep your password to yourself and don’t get annoyed by the pop-up of updates each time you edit a file or modify folders.

 

www.mailchimp.com
If you’re looking for an online marketing tool that allows you to send customized newsletter-type updates to your clients, this site comes in handy.

www.sugarcrm.com
The ‘trial’ version of customer relationship management (CRM) platform will help you manage your customer database. Once you tried this one, I bet you’ll be tempted to sign-up.

www.moodle.com
This is a site which is useful for teachers who want to collaborate with fellow educators or students. At first, I compared it to Yahoo! Groups and the BlackBoard e-learning system. But the scope is wider and you can also customize contents for free.

And lastly, I was surprised to see Google Docs in the list. I remember an activity wherein we simultaneously edited a PowerPoint document as a class using our individual laptops. Back then, the experience was awesome

Part of the list is a PowerPoint add-on called Microsoft Mouse Mischief which is a powerful tool for interactive classroom discussions because this allows several ‘mouse’ units to be used all at the same time. Be ready for a ‘class click-athon.’

With these sites now published on my blog, I’ll be able to free up a bit of disc space (22.0KB) after deleting the Word document with my list of ‘Super Websites.’

They’re not super after all. Let’s just say- they’re quite handy!

P. Noval and other streets

An interesting feature story by GMA 7’s Michael Fajatin (Pangalan ng ilang kalsada, halaw sa buhay at mga akda ni Rizal) roused my curiosity and made me think about the history behind the names of streets in Manila.

It took me quite some time before I stopped and gave up my online research about “Padre Noval” – the name of the street where I stayed for four years during my college days at UST. Around the centuries-old campus are very interesting names of streets. During that time, I didn’t bother to trace the roots of the street names but they can easily be associated with the life and works of our national hero, Dr. Jose P. Rizal.

Aside from four streets (plus dozens of eateries and dorms that surround the campus España, Dapitan, P. Noval and A. H. Lacson), I can clearly remember unique Sampaloc areas such as Laong Laan where the Victory Liner bus drops me off, the 24-hour McDo at P. Campa, the covered court at Felix Huertas, the Bambang area where we buy medical stuff, one-ways and confusing routes of S. H. Loyola, and the streets where you get caught by the red light such as Maceda and Blumentritt.

Streets have become monumental. In fact, some have become part of pop culture such as Wall Street in New York, Harry Potter’s Privet Drive, and the scary Elm Street. A popular musical Avenue Q is a spin-off of a household name, Sesame Street. Locally,  we can add Balete Drive in the list.

Street names truly have an impact. In my opinion, politicians should not change the names of streets especially those with historical significance. People from the academe, on the other hand, should educate the young about the relevance of the street names so that kids won’t remain clueless.

By the way, the former name of P. Noval Street is Quezon (according to an article from the Phil. Daily Inquirer). If you can tell me anything about this priest, I would highly appreciate it.

In my bucket list: Have a street named after me.

When a bachelor plans a bachelorette’s party

It’s my co-worker’s shower party and being the only guy among the yuppies in our office, I was tasked to do some odd assignments such as decorating the room, preparing the playlist, and looking for the ‘special guy’ to spice up the night.

This was a ‘first’ for me.

Here are some tips on how to throw a shower party for any bride-to-be:

10. Everyone must be sworn to secrecy so as not to spoil the bride’s excitement. Or else, say goodbye to ‘blindfolds.’
9. Have everything prepared at least two weeks before the event. In any event, planning is everything.
8. Limit the number of participants. A smaller group is more comfortable to be with.
7. Choose a venue that will make everyone feel at ease. Ensure that the venue (i.e. hotel/room) will not make your visitors uneasy or have that ‘awkward’ feeling.
6.  Be careful in choosing ‘the guy.’ Privacy should be considered a priority.
5. Follow a budget. It doesn’t matter how simple your party is. Just make sure that everyone enjoys the night.
4. Prepare a program. Assign a person who will facilitate the games and limit it to around 2 hours.
3. Set the mood by choosing the right mix of party music and have some reserved videos ready to be played to break the ice.
2.  Be careful with camera shots. Choose the photos that would go ‘public’ because shower parties are considered as private events.
1.  Don’t forget the part wherein each one gives a ‘message’ or ‘advise’ for the future bride. This is the essence of the whole event.

After helping out in planning out this party, I just realized I’m not getting any younger.  Best wishes to the future Ara B. de Leon!

And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going

My gloomy Thursday was transformed into a night of giggles when I viewed the performance of American Idol runner-up Jessica Sanchez with Jennifer Holliday on YouTube.

The Jimmy Kimmel version entitled “The Many Faces of Jennifer Holliday” made me laugh so hard: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEuZENk1wQI

I also came across a Filipino parody: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ru3zUS8RTwA&feature=related

This led me to watch all the other funny videos I found very funny and entertaining. The top five that made my personal cut are:

5. The timeless Happy Slip.
4. Kevjumba’s Asian Antics.
3. Key of Awesome parodies.
2.  Trololo vid which was introduced to me by my co-workers today (call me late).
1. Homegrown Moymoy Palaboy videos.

And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going. >.<
Next stop, covers. I love this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZHIeXqkNJ7Q&list=PL2F8691E81B7510D8&index=4&feature=plcp&fb_source=message

My sort of “Perry” Tale

This one’s for “Perry: The Musical,” the play that reminded me of my childhood dream – that is to become a priest (believe it, or not!).

“Perry” is a modern take on how seminarians, priests, and lay people can be perceived nowadays. It is funny, real and definitely Kapampangan; I’m happy I didn’t miss the chance to watch this new production of Andy Alviz last night.

Since high school, I am already accustomed in watching theatrical presentations of seminarians from the Mother of Good Counsel Seminary. And when I heard of their collaboration with Teatru Ima and Arti (MaArti), I looked forward to seeing a splendid play – and I did!

Starting off with powerful renditions from Fr. Ted Valencia (Among Billy) and Reinon Tolentino (Perry himself), the play continues to wow the crowd with the interplay of lights and effects which is definitely an ArtiSta.Rita signature. Together with them and the seminarian-protagonists are the golden girls of MaArti who all gave life and color to the musical.

In a nutshell, the story is about Perry, who’s “called” to enter priesthood, but is tangled with harsh realities of love and life. The scenes are filled with courageous storytelling on what’s inside the mind of a soon-to-be priest. Confused about what his family and friends would say, he then faces the fact that he has to leave his girlfriend, and also confront all the “good vs. evil” stuff.

The two-hour Kapampangan play may have some scenes which needs a bit of tweaking because of microphone problems and dry-ice overload but the music is great. The lyrics are straightforward and the melody sounds truly original. No wonder the play has been shown in various local universities, and I know it will conquer other places for we Kapampangans (and Filipinos in general) are (as one funny line in the play goes) maka-pari more than maka-Diyos. Anyone who watches this would see someone (or maybe himself or herself) similar with the characters portrayed – the CWL manangs, the schoolboys, the super-moms, the strict (but kind-hearted) dads, or the wannabe-priest himself.

While enjoying the musical, one of my friends who loves Perry (and watched it twice) texted me and shared this beautiful line from the play: “Subukan mung manahimik king kainge ning kekang paligid ban meng damdaman ing aus ning Ginu.” [Try to remain silent and stay away from noise of your surroundings so you can hear the call of the Lord.]

I will.

When your nick is longer than your name

Ponkie, Pongky, Pongkee, Pongkie. It’s actually Ponky.

I noticed that my friends’ Christmas and New Year greetings sent through SMS included my nickname, “Ponky.” During this holiday season, I came across several versions of my name (which I found cute). Anyway, this instance has led me to make a quick research on the etymology of the epic “Ponky” nickname my dad gave me. The only thing I know is that he was one of my dad’s favorite local basketball players – Alejo “Ponky” Alolor.

Of course, the first thing I did was type his name on the search box of Facebook (and I found this very stalker-like). Voila! I found his account. Next stop, Wikipedia, and I found a list of Philippine Basketball Association players with his name and stats included in it. Alolor played for Mariwasa, Great Taste, Alaska, Pure Foods, 7Up and Ginebra. A few results came out when I searched for his name in Google and Flickr. A discussion board topic was even dedicated to him and many were interested in what has become of him after his PBA stint.

Dad isn’t disappointed when I didn’t become a basketball star. He himself isn’t that into the game and the craziest thing he did for PBA is to religiously watch the games on TV, but still, he managed to give his first born son a nickname of a basketball star (I wonder why he didn’t pick an NBA star.)

I have a lot of “Ponky” stories to tell. When I was in pre-school, I thought my middle initial (which is, incidentally, letter P) meant Ponky. In school (from grade school to college), I only use my real name and only a few of my friends know my nickname. Since only a few people know my nickname, it became a ‘term of endearment’ for those who are close to me.

Even though it’s one letter longer than my real name, I love it.

Public work, private life

The challenge of being in public service is that it can go as “public” as it can get. After the elections, I have decided not to write so much so as not to take sides in issues. I can’t help but take hold of my feelings whenever I have a personal opinion on matters which are controversial. For more than a year now, I have learned to discern and be critical in distinguishing what really matters.

Government service helped me become a more disciplined man. I learned how to face all sorts of people and take the blame for things which you have little or no control at all – from the cutting of trees along the MacArthur Highway to the yellow ribbon lanterns around the city – and a lot more issues sparked a debate between my friends and family.

As a private individual, it is very unusual not to open topics related to one’s work. In one of the gatherings of government officials in Naga last year, I shared my thought on how it is to be this young and become involved in governance. Yes, I still go to bars and hangout for coffee with my yuppie friends and during those moments, I always tell something about work. Sharing what I do will turn any conversation serious, gloomy and heartbreaking.  Funny thing is, just imagine me in a bar and shouting so loud for my friend to hear the latest scoop on corruption issues and government interventions! But this is the road I have chosen.

For 2011, and probably for the succeeding years, I will still be with the government. This is my contribution for my country. I may sound very nationalistic but I suppose this is the simplest way I can express my reason for staying in such a field. For as long as I can see passionate people willing to take on the challenge, I’m willing to stay. The upcoming months will be challenging, but the advocacy as imparted by the Institute for Solidarity in Asia (ISA) remains – to make governance a “shared responsibility.” And I am proud to be doing my role.

Not stereotypical

I was once one of those who belittled people in the Philippine government. I was furious whenever I hear of stories of corruption and patronage politics. But when I became part of the City Government of San Fernando, Pampanga, my perception changed.

Last September, I officially became a civil servant after accepting the offer of being part of the City Human Resource Management Office Training Unit (see related post: . During the first few months of my stay, the Performance Governance System or PGS is a buzzword in the city hall. Everyone is adopting the Balanced Scorecard – a very corporate thing that is unusual for a government agency to use.

When I assumed the post as Initiatives Manager for the city’s Office of Strategy Management, I became more exposed to the intricacies of the PGS. Everything came to me in a snap – helping out with a boot camp, attending an executive conference, and preparing for a global forum – all within a two-month period.

All the hardwork paid off on March 25 when the city was featured in the Institute for Solidarity in Asia (ISA) Public Governance Forum 2010 at Dusit Thani. Our city equally ranks with New Zealand Defence Force, Korea Customs Service and Boehringer Ingelheim when it comes to best practices.

There is still hope in this country and the power lies in the local government units. If San Fernando can do it, so can others. We may not do away with the political culture we have imbibed for several generations, but we can be agents in propagating change that can eliminate the negative notion we have with government agencies through political will.

For San Fernando, it takes an innovative idea from Harvard Business School plus the City Mayor’s ‘political will’ to do it right.

Useful link: http://www.sunstar.com.ph/pampanga/group-holds-public-governance-forum
More photos: http://earl1987.multiply.com/photos/album/124/ISA_Public_Governance_Forum_2010

Looking for something blue

I heard my officemate say that looking into a person’s closet will reveal many things about one’s personality. (I thought it was your comfort room that defines the personality.) Anyway, the idiom ‘skeletons in the closet’ justifies the notion that there’s a big secret behind the doors of our cabinets at home. In my case, I have a messy cabinet; does this mean that my life’s messed up?

Last Thursday night, I had to decide on what to wear on a ‘smart casual’ event of the Ateneo Professional Schools in Rockwell. During that moment, I realized that I had a cluttered closet. Although the clothes are laundered, they’re all mixed up. Now that I wear uniforms at work, all my corporate long-sleeved polos, vests and slacks jumbled with jeans, shirts and shorts. I wonder what I would do with the dozens of neckties I bought last year for my office attire (see related post: https://earl1987.wordpress.com/2008/08/30/neckties/).

In pursuit of something blue (in the spirit of that school on the hill), I ended up finding almost ten pieces of green polo shirts in various shades and designs. Well, green is one of my favorite colors, so it dominated my cabinet. Following the greens are the yellows. I never had a yellow shirt until the UST Tigers became champion in the UAAP Men’s Basketball in 2006-07 (and everyone was required to wear something yellow). More yellow polo shirts were included in my wardrobe as the Tita Cory and Noynoy fever swept the land. I also have lots of whites and very few blues.

The funny thing is that on the morning of the Ateneo Congress, I ended up wearing a bland, dry grey-colored polo. Now, all my clothes are scattered on my bed as I try to sort them out. It’s time to throw the ‘skeletons inside the closet’ – the old, overused and faded clothing.

[Note: The Ateneo Professional Schools Sesquicentennial Congress was a great experience. According to Ed Morato, we should throw away Porter’s Five Forces; should we? And so my classmates applauded.]

I heard my officemate say that looking into a person’s closet will reveal many things about one’s personality.  (I thought it was your comfort room that defines the personality.) Anyway, the idiom ‘skeletons in the closet’ justifies the notion that there’s a big secret behind the doors of our cabinets at home. In my case, I have a messy cabinet; does this mean that my life’s messed up?

Last Thursday night, I had to decide on what to wear on a ‘smart casual’ event of the Ateneo Professional Schools in Rockwell. During that moment, I realized that I had a cluttered closet. Although the clothes are laundered, they’re all mixed up. Now that I wear uniforms at work, all my corporate long-sleeved polos, vests and slacks jumbled with jeans, shirts and shorts. I wonder what I would do with the dozens of neckties I bought last year for my office attire (see related post: https://earl1987.wordpress.com/2008/08/30/neckties/).

In pursuit of something blue (in the spirit of that school on the hill), I ended up finding almost ten pieces of green polo shirts in various shades and designs. Well, green is one of my favorite colors, so it dominated my cabinet. Following the greens are the yellows. I never had a yellow shirt until the UST Tigers became champion in the UAAP Men’s Basketball in 2006-07 (and everyone was required to wear something yellow). More yellow polo shirts were included in my wardrobe as the Tita Cory and Noynoy fever swept the land. I also have lots of whites and very few blues.

The funny thing is that on the morning of the Ateneo Congress, I ended up wearing a bland, dry grey-colored polo. Now, all my clothes are scattered on my bed as I try to sort them out. It’s time to throw the ‘skeletons inside the closet’ – the old, overused and faded clothing.

[Note: The Ateneo Professional Schools Sesquicentennial Congress was a great experience. According to Ed Morato, we should throw away Porter’s Five Forces; should we? And so my classmates applauded.]