Thursday, June 10, 2010

Beautiful Complexity

This visualization found on is pretty cool, it analyzes the compositional similarities of different images. Didn't know math could be so beautiful. Now if only I could get my hands on a cool dataset so I can create something like this for my CS 242 class. :)

Visualization by bluprnt_van.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


A friend listed her favourite sounds in a post. It was cool and I thought I'd come up with my own list : )
  • The crunch of tires on gravel and the soft hum of a car slicing through the thick early-morning silence.
  • The reflective silence of church buildings and the hush that blankets a sleeping street.
  • The slightly contorted sound of rain as perceived from that region halfway between slumber and waking.
  • The sound of crashing waves.
  • The sizzle of garlic.
  • The wind caught among the branches of trees.
  • A child's breathing as he rests his head on your shoulder.
  • The many bastardized forms of your name.
  • The tapping sound of the keyboard.
  • The collective sound of your friends' laughter.
  • The gurgle of a mountain stream (the one behind my grandpa's place).

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Shortcut Generation

You think you're a writer because, well, you enjoy Kerouac and Hemingway, and like to jot down entries on a Moleskin notebook.

Your dad bought you a shiny new SLR and now suddenly you're a photographer.

You can write "working" code and you start calling yourself a software engineer.

Work on your craft until you start living and breathing it or just give up. Mastery is not something you can get on discount.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Yes you

One of these days I'm gotta stock up on canned goods and beer, lock myself up in a room and get down to coding that webapp. Finally.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

To Look at Any Thing

To look at any thing,
If you would know that thing,
You must look at it long:
To look at this green and say
"I have seen spring in these
Woods," will not do - you must
Be the thing you see:
You must be the dark snakes of
Stems and ferny plumes of leaves,
You must enter in
To the small silences between
The leaves,
You must take your time
And touch the very peace
They issue from.

- John Moffitt

I'm not quite there yet; I don't think in bits yet and trying to figure the Big O for a piece of code almost always leaves me with a monumental headache but I'll get there.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Geeks 2^2 ever

In the not too remote past, I wanted to become a rockstar.

These days I just want to know what a Hamiltonian cycle is. And my chances of getting a girl are slipping to nil, not that they used to be anywhere near impressive. =D

Photos by Lloyd Budd and paulsavala.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


"If you want to build a ship, don't herd people together to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea."

-Antione de Saint-Exupery

"ars longa, vita brevis"


""Excellence in any department can be attained only by the labor of a lifetime; it is not to be purchased at a lesser price."

-Samuel Johnson

I am but a starry-eyed wanderer at the foothill of a mountain. The first timid step has been made, thousands and thousands more lie ahead.

Saturday, May 9, 2009


I don't think mothers ever find their way into our daily conversation. Weather, yes. Prison Break, check. Irritating boss, check. Even all the forgettable faces at the bar have their five minutes of fame at the water cooler. But mothers, no. It's never in our habit to talk about our mums, let alone their affection for us.

Now that I think about it, I guess its because something of this magnitude is well beyond human expression. A mother's love resides in a dimension that language, in its scantiness, cannot hope to comprehend.

But as Melvin Maddocks points out, "Mankind craves definition as he craves lost innocence." So there definitely is no stopping people from muddying the waters trying to pin down the definition. Personally, I don't believe we'll ever come close to wholly capturing the essence of a mother's love (atleast with a medium as brittle as language). I'm not going to try. I'll go with somebody else's words. Erich Fromm has managed to snatch a glowing ember from that ineffable flame that is a mother's love.

Mother's love is peace. It need not be acquired, it need not be deserved.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Time Stains Like Red Wine

May '08: With the Makati team. Scrubbed and ready to go, feeling like a prizefighter on the night of his first big fight.

July '08: Slow day at the office. Wading through an impossible jungle of C# code.

August '08: Let loose. Fun and games at the beach.

August '08: Hey mister tambourine man, play a song for me. I ain't sleepy, I got nowhere to go. Dylan for a night.

February '09: Kabayanihan. Moving out of the dusty old office.

February '09: And into the new office that's going to get dusty real quick.

We were just a bunch of guys going about our duties and packing as much into life as we possibly could. They say time stains like red wine, the last year is a deep crimson splotch near the neck of my tee.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

You Doctor Yet

Apparently, this is why so many Chinese kids are motivated to study medicine.

Son: No Dad, I'm twelve.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Slipping into obscurity

It's friday night, and I'm basking in the pallid glow of a computer screen. Tapping away the same old lines on the same old keyboard. This has come to feel like a bad Sisyphean joke. You get the feeling you're gradually, inescapably sinking into the soul-numbing waters of the sea of obscurity when:

1) You coax yourself into believing that a view of the City lights from your twelfth-floor office isn't all that bad when you could be whiling the night away in the company of great beer, great friends, and great music.
2) The thread that binds you to all your friends is reinforced by your common interest in the C# programming language and the progress of the 2009.0.0.1 edition of Interprise Suite. Hey, its cool to have friends at work, but where did all my beach buddies go?
3) Messages from 2977 is the only reason your phone is ringing.

I guess this is all part of the inevitable, the next piece of the puzzle. Easing into the slow life as we approach the apogee of our orbits. Slipping into that lazy boy after a hard day's work and watching soap with the wife. Helping the kids with the homework. Dissecting the stock market with Tristan and Lemuel. This could be cool, i guess. Just not in the near forseeable future.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The scope of his pursuit

He was number nine in a brood of ten, and flair was just not in his style. Amongst so many, it was easy to melt into the background, and on most days he simply did. He was allergic to books, they disagreed with him, but his hands had the adroitness of a circus magician. It was alchemy, how he turned the bent and broken into articles of gold. He could craft beautiful objects from what passed for rubbish to most people.

But the world could not, would not, appreciate his unique gift. To them, there was only one way to measure a person's worth. They placed him on their childish scales and he was found wanting. With only an elementary degree, his chances were thrown to the dogs. How juvenile, but what could one do?

Over the years, their jeers and taunts have seeped into his pores . Diluting, diluted him. He casts his weary gaze towards the shadow of his past and sighs in silent regret. Beaten, he decides to stack up his hopes and dreams. Piled up, he proffers them to his progeny.

And because this is your race. I will read up on Ohm's law and the Big-O notation. I will memorize mathematical theorems, lemmas and proofs like the back of my hand. I will eat algorithms for breakfast. I will become a world-class software engineer, because your race is my race.

Friday, March 6, 2009

On the road

Well, not quite yet. But I guess, my being admitted recently to the UP IT Training Center at Diliman should be enough reason to haul my sorry ass out of the rut I'm in and get back on the road. Not as Jack Kerouac-ish as I'd hoped, more like 'Journey to Geek Wonderland,' but atleast it takes me away from the blandness of the familiar and well-trod path.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Life is all about living

I stumbled across this old article I wrote back when I was a student and it was just what I needed.

When I hit nineteen, I decided it was time to grow up. It wasn’t a specific, premeditated move. It was simply the next logical thing to do, like licking your fingers after finishing a bag of chips.

Learn to ride a bike. Become a movie star. Make the school team. Finish high school with honors. Go far away from home. Get a girl. Get any girl. Join a band. Major in drinking. Accomplished or otherwise, one after another I had ticked these things off in my mental calendar when it was time for me to take the next step in the sequentially-tailored path I had laid out for myself.

Growing up was now the next task at hand and I was expected to undertake it with the kind of unquestioning devotion common among holy men. Growing up meant shaping up, so I dumped the beer bottles, shopped for a brand new attitude, picked up a couple of programming books, and mastered the art of staying awake in class.

Following the track I had engineered, my grades went up and I soon found myself slowly inching towards the goals I had stacked up in life. As the year dragged on, however, I also found that I had to surrender more and more of my time to remain on track. Skimboarding gave way to study sessions. Get togethers with friends had to be scrapped because I needed more time to work on my projects. Reason told me it was the mature thing to do and I foolishly nodded my head in agreement.

Everything that didn’t fit into the plan found their way into the fast-growing trash heap and soon, under reason’s dictates, I had thrown my life out the window. Daily activities took on a mechanical tone and my days were forever tinted in the same shade of grey. Retaining what was absolutely necessary; I only ate to keep the machinery going. Rationing my energy among things that contributed to my academic growth, I sometimes forgot to shower.

In retrospect, I realize that I was not unlike a sorry lump of metal, cold and distant, orbiting the Earth in mechanical resignation, bound only by the lonely tug of gravity. I had lost my hold on life. But then, deep in my folly, my mind was clouded from any such realization.

It took a visit home to jumpstart senses that had gone dormant from inactivity. Sitting at the family table enjoying warm chicken soup and an unhurried conversation, I came to the realization I had needed all along. Life was suddenly more of a concept to me than a reality. The actual process of living was pushed aside in favor of a mere concept, something I constructed, polished and turned around within my head. But this concept was as hollow as the words on a dissertation paper, for it lacked the warmth of life, and that was what I needed at the moment.

With the realization, I saw myself for what I was, a kid running in circles. I came to realize I had my head propped towards the sky unendingly, not wanting to miss the promised fireworks that would turn the horizon aglow in a shower of colors. But I was doing this in the middle of June and there would be no fireworks display for another six months. I was waiting in vain. Meanwhile, in all its subtle beauty, life paraded by, as I stood dumbly staring at a blank sky that was a reflection of what my life had become.

Like a kid who couldn’t wait to get to the kiss, I had traipsed over everything else in a hurry. Laugh over the movie. Enjoy the conversation you have over dinner. Feel her warm hand in yours when you go strolling. And when its time to seal the night with a kiss, enjoy the kiss. Don’t forget the little things, for these are what bind us to our humanity.

Rewiring myself to what I once held dear was easy. It was what I had been doing all my life. It was living. Growing up? I still hope to get my act together, and when I graduate I am still headed for New York. I still plan to start a family when I hit thirty. Nothing’s changed. Only this time I call it living.

Everything's easier said than done. Luckily, it's never too late to start living again. The last week was frantic, jumped on a plane to Diliman, read up on Algebra, Trigonometry, and Geometry, took the admission exam for ITTC, and I hope I get in, I hope I get in, I hope I get in (what's the tolerable number of times I get to repeat this phrase without sounding too desperate). If favorable winds pay me a visit, I guess I'll unfurl these old sails and set sail towards the fabled unknown one last time.