in This time it's personal

My Airing of Grievances, series of 2011

BLAME it on Seinfeld.

In an episode entitled “The Strike,” Frank Costanza, a minor but very funny character in the show, unintentionally popularized Festivus, described as a festival for the rest of us. [See: Festivus, Frank Costanza, The Strike]

Also celebrated during the holidays, Festivus involved putting up an aluminum pole instead of a tree. It also involved practicing other rites including the Airing of Grievances in which festival guests and participants vent their angst to one another, usually during dinner.

In the spirit of Festivus, let me just share a few parochial observations against this year, 2011, before it ends.

This year wasn’t a good year, all because of, among others, the typhoon Sendong. And if you haven’t done so yet, please donate. [See: Donate to Sendong]

Here’s to a better 2012.

1) The Ghosts of My Christmas Present (literally and figuratively)

The Customs Bureau, the national government’s second-largest revenue source, and DHL, the shipping company, became the Ghosts of My Christmas Present this year.

How?

Both entities asked me to pay P1549.60 for an item worth $30.00 (or P1320) that I bought online at a discount.

Customs asked me to pay P971.00 in taxes while DHL asked me to fork out nearly P600 for handling fees, all for an item—a Lamy Scribble ballpen that isn’t available locally—that was worth P1320. [See: Lamy Scribble]

And to think that I already paid a separate $12 for shipping from Kuala Lumpur.

I already called up DHL and informed their staff that I’m abandoning the package because I’m not paying for shipping and duties. Yes, I’m charging that one to experience (and of course, to my credit card). Next time I buy anything online, I’ll make sure I’ll be abroad (Makati, here I come).

2) And now, for your listening enjoyment

I’m a big fan of Sony earphones.

Although it’s mid-priced (and therefore not a bling), it doesn’t skimp on the user’s listening experience.

But the latest Sony earphones I bought—the MDR-EX50LP—may just be a result of too much innovation. [See: MDR-EX50LP]

Unlike all the other earphones, this pair requires some assembly.

You have to attach earpieces on both the left and the right earphones to enhance sound delivery.

But that’s the easy part.

The hard part involves measuring the size of your earholes.

Is your earhole size small, medium, or large?

Despite being generally self-absorbed, this is a question that I haven’t thought about at all.

That is until the MDR-EX50LP (Sony also needs to improve its product naming conventions) came into my life.

When I opened the package, I was surprised that it contained three sets of earpieces, presumably a set each for an earhole size.

Even after figuring out the best size for your listening enjoyment—which I haven’t done yet because I find that tedious—the earphones manage to get on your nerves further.

To use it, you have to wear it like a stethoscope, which helps to block out outside noise.

Except that outside noise is usually helpful especially when you’re running or in the gym.

After all, that female health buff might suddenly decide to strike a conversation with you while on the track or the treadmill.

While that has never happened to me before, I don’t want my earphones to cancel that kind of possibility.

Meanwhile, given the lack of options regarding mid-priced earphones, I guess I’ll still stick with the MDR-EX50LP. After all, I still have a pen to pay for.

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