06 May 2015

Last night, I heard a tick-tick-tock in the ceiling lamp

It did not sound like the flies that swarm the light during rainy season. I looked up: it's a dragonfly.

I don't know how it entered my office.  I think it passed through the windows in the toilet: it is made of cement with slits slanting downwards.  A tree frog used to enter that way.  And now a dragonfly.

Perhaps, the dragonfly mistook the fluorescent lamp for the sun.  I checked the literature on the photoreceptors of the dragonfly's eyes.  Their eyes are sensitive to UV, Blue, and Green. The fluorescent spectrum have peaks at red, green, and blue.  So the dragon fly saw the blue and the green, but not the red.

This morning, I heard the tick-tick-tock again, but this time not on the fluorescent bulbs but on the glass windows facing west.  The window is about 6 feet above the floor.  To open the window, you have to turn the latch at the bottom pane, then move the window outward.  The hinge is on the upper pane.

The window is closed.  The dragonfly can't get out.

I climbed the aluminum stairs below the window and tried to open the window.  The latch is stuck.  It hasn't been opened for a very long time, about three years, I guess.  Oh, what will I do?

But the dragonfly is gone!

I checked the bottom of the window pane.  It is partially open, just enough for the dragonfly to climb out and fly. How did it know that there was an opening?  I guess because of the wind currents.  It went where the wind blows.  Only a living thing can swim against the current: it is true with fishes and also with dragonflies.

It is only by faith that I say so, but it is enough reason for me to smile.  There is hope not only for flowers but also for dragonflies.

25 January 2015

A friend asked for a transparent lady's bag for Christmas

So I went to Gateway Mall and searched, until I reached Rustan's Department store.

Rustan's in Gateway Mall is inconspicuous.  From the outside, it looks like a small store with white Christmas lights hanging on the entrance.  But when I went in, it opens up to new caverns, like the Dwarven Mines of Moria.  You see some flight of steps here and there, some walls, but you don't get to see everything all at once, unlike in SM Department Stores.  Perhaps this is really the design given the space available to Rustan's at Gateway: the compartmentalized design makes you focus on each product as if you are the  only person around, making you feel special, far apart from the masses in the malls.

"Sir, where are your lady's bags?" I asked one of the attendants.

"It's on the lower floor," he said.

I went down through an escalator.

When I reached the floor, I met some staff carrying plexiglas display stands--probably for shoes or for jewelry. I looked around.  There were lady's bags made of leather in colors brown, yellow, and green.  I didn't see the brand.  I didn't even check the price.  Where's that bag? I asked myself.

Perhaps, this is the difference between men and women in shopping.  Women tend to wander around and wonder: "Wow! A bag!  How lovely! Will this match my shoes?   Will this go with my dress?"  Men, on the other hand, focus only on the task at hand and forget everything else.

"Sir, I am looking for some transparent lady's bags," I asked one of the attendants.

"We have no transparent lady's bags.  But you may like to check our bags here." He brought me to the luggage bags!

"No," I said. "I am looking for a lady's handbag. Transparent."

"Sorry, Sir," the sales lady said. "We don't have the bag."

I took a leave and left.

On my way out, I spotted some bags near the entrance/exit. Oh, a transparent bag, I said to myself.  I checked it out.  It's a Hello Kitty bag.

"Do you have other designs? I want a transparent bag with no large Hello Kitty painted over it."

"No, sir," the attendant said. "That's all the designs we have at the moment. Are you buying for yourself or for your friend?"

"I am buying for a friend."

"It's a Hello Kitty bag.  Your friend would surely love a Hello Kitty bag."

I checked the specs.  It says that the plastic simulates the strength of a leather--or something to that effect.

"How much is this?"

"Twenty-six fifty."

"Ok. I'll get this."

I went to the cashier area.  Some of the staff at the back are wrapping gifts.

"Do you also wrap gifts?" I asked

"Yes," the cashier said.

"What's the cost for the gift wrapping?"

"It is free, Sir."

"Why?"

"For any item worth at least Php 500, the gift-wrapping is free."

"But my item is less than Php 500."

The cashier checked the price.

"Sir, the price of the bag is Php 2,650."

"Oh, I thought it's just something less than Php 300."

Twenty-six fifty. Yes, that's Php 2,650.  It is interesting how we talk about prices.  If we ask about the price of shoes, we say three-five to mean Php 3,500.  This assumes that the other person already understands the price range of men's shoes.  But when it comes to lady's bags, it's my first time to buy one and I have no idea at all.

"Sorry, I won't buy the bag," I said to the cashier.

"It's ok, sir," she said and smiled.

So goodbye, Hello Kitty bag. Maybe someday I'll have a chance to say hello to you again.

04 January 2015

Why use TweetDeck?

1. Twitter owns TweetDeck

Twitter bought TweetDeck last 25 May 2011.  It has supported Facebook and other applications before, but now has focused only on Twitter.  This makes sense, since Facebook has its own post-scheduling capabilities, which makes TweetDeck unnecessary.  The fact that Twitter owns TweetDeck, you can be sure that TweetDeck will always be in pace with Twitter's developments.  Also, since TweetDeck is focused only on Twitter, you can be assured that your Twitter experience is as wonderful as possible.

2.   TweetDeck columns gives you a bird's eye view of your Twitter activity

When I first saw this feature, I said, "Whoa!" The standard columns are the following:
  • New Tweet
  • Home
  • Notifications
  • Messages
  • Activity
You can't see all these things at once in Twitter.  And the best thing is you can add more columns. Just make sure that your screen is large enough. My screen resolution is 1920 x 1080 px.  With this resolution, you can have about 6 columns.

3. You can add other Twitter accounts to manage

I haven't yet tried this, but I prefer to manage only one account to build my @QuirinoSugonJr Twitter brand. I shut down my @MonksHobbit account.  Actually, it is still there, but I am not anymore using it.

4. You can schedule posts

This is the clincher for me.  This is the reason why I logged in to TweetDeck. As a content marketer, I need to post some tweets extracted from my articles with the tiny url links of the articles and post them at different hours of the day at different days.  This is like fishing with several fishing rods or with one fishing rods with several hooks or just simply with a net.  Whatever the analogy is, the aim is to catch more Tweeter readers from all corners of the world living in different time zones.  Duc in altum. "Cast into the deep," Christ said (Lk 5:4).  Christ made Peter and the Apostles fishers of men.  And so are we in the content marketing and social media business--fishers of men.

5. It's Free

This is all I ask.  There are no stats.  But it is ok: I can see the stats in my Blogger dashboard and in Twitter Analytics. Right now, Google and Facebook are the major referrers to my blogs, with some vistors from Twitter.  I hope this will change with TweetDeck.

Should I consolidate my blogs into one blog?

Or should I make separate blogs for each of my interests? I have been trying to answer these questions again and again. And my blogger friend in FB would always laugh at me and say that she also had too many blogs before; now, she just have one blog. And she advises me to do likewise.

Having many blogs has advantages. A blog with a different name gives you focus. It is as if you are donning a costume and do your specific superhero duties. And you become recognized by your blog's name. Then you don another costume and do another superhero duty. One day you are Superman--super strong, super fast, but super weak when faced with a Kryptonite. The next day you are Batman--intelligent, good-looking, martial arts expert, and billionaire. The costumes by themselves do not give Superman and Batman extraordinary powers; rather, the costumes provide a reminder of their identities as superheroes with specific functions and missions, in the same way as the habits of religious priests and nuns remind them of their chosen habits in life, i.e. how they work and how they pray.

But having many blogs is also tiring. You tend to stretch yourself too thinly like butter, as Bilbo used to say. A man can reasonably blog about one to two hours a day. If he writes in only one blog, then he would already have seven blog posts at the end of the week. But if he has seven blogs, then even if he spends an hour or two a day for writing, he would still end up only one post per blog per week, which is nothing much. And this can be frustrating.

On the other hand, if you have only one blog, then you can devote all your free time to that blog. You can write more posts and enjoy seeing your blog grow.

But because you have only one blog, it cannot anymore be a niche blog. You would then tend to cover as many topics as you can think of. As a result, your blog becomes a porridge that your readers won't have something to hold on to, And this is particularly true for personal blogs: you write about sports, food, movies, politics--things that you would normally post in in Facebook or Twitter updates. The only thing that holds them together is you: you are the one who wrote them. The brand now becomes you yourself. You are brand you.

Right now, I don't have the answer to the question. What works for your blog may not work for those of others. For this blog, I'll try to consolidate my posts again, except for my well-established blogs like Monk's Hobbit and Clifford's Chalk. But doing so also makes me sit in sadness as I watch good blog names finally go to rest.