Poem: Bring Me the Head of Tim Yap Superstar Columnist!

Yup, he's the guy.

Below is a poem by award-winning poet, fellow tippler, and literary felon Amado Bajarias Jr. which he wrote a few years back. Just find it fitting to post and share it after Yap, a self-proclaimed eventologist mistakenly identified an Inquirer reporter for winning the P741 million ($16.5 million) jackpot. This was reposted previously in eatingthesun.blogspot.com. [See: eatingthesun.blogspot.com, Amado Bajarias Jr., Reporter fears for life after Tim Yap tweet]

infecting the feckless
with their mi-droga tu-droga
faux naif venom
Manolo Blahnik et Prada et Miu-Mui
as Weltanschaung chi-chi

these post-Weltschmerz,
post-kitsch, post-irony,
post-cynicism, post-posturing,
post-superficiality, post-hype
post-hubris, post-epater les bourgeois
Nosferatu kindred
with their Roppongi pallor
cultivated in the ciggie-smoke
of buy-this-and-buy-that

I need to see them tortured, squealing
like abattoir pigs

My God Marcos was right
to ban them society pages
with their pasty-white
flash-bulb denizens
each another
fawning fake-smiles for photo ops
in the Grand Guignol style

I need to see them
faute de mieux disembowelled
on a rotating spit

Marcos was right to shut them down
a pity he stopped short
of giving them a coup de grace
to their oh-so-chic
beaucoup heads

Twitter, an electric company’s “noble cause”

(From lonewolflibrarian.wordpress.com)

Twitter makes many things possible.

It provides tips to clean your coffeemaker [See: Three things I learned from Twitter] or a link to a catalog featuring a series of Mercedes Benz cars — and their specs — produced for the American market in the 1960s (which I got from the person managing Donald Draper’s Twitter account.)

This latest blog piece — which includes what may well be my third  attempt at podcasting — was similarly brought about by Twitter.

In a tweet posted at around four in the afternoon of October 19, my Twitter friend @nicknich3 said:

No, it's not the lanzones we're talking about here. It's the tweet before that, my friend.

His tweet’s shortened link, in turn, brought this:

This reminded me of portions of the interview I held last June with some executives of Meralco, the Philippines’ largest electric company, regarding the firm’s Twitter strategy. [See: How Meralco got its Twitter name back]

During the interview, Kirk Campos, the company’s corporate communications staff, said that he once attended an internet convention in Manila which dealt with social media, including Facebook and Twitter.

According to Campos, a speaker in the event said that Meralco’s foray into Twitter was “a noble cause” since it was going to open the floodgates of complaints from its customers. However, the speaker said that without knowing that Campos, and his supervisor, Joe R. Zaldarriaga, the company’s media relations manager, was in attendance.

For more, you can listen to a three-minute portion of the interview, which lasted more than one and a half hours.

Twitter, Meralco\’s noble cause


From the Give Credit Where Its Due Dept.
As indicated in podomatic.com, the website where the podcast was uploaded, the interview was held last June 22, 2010 at the Meralco headquarters on Ortigas Avenue, Pasig City, Philippines. [See: Podomatic.com] Among those in attendance included Campos, Zaldarriaga, and Ernesto A. Fraginal, senior manager of the company’s call center operations. No credit goes to yours truly for failing to embed podcast. What the $%#@*&^+~!

Why Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 9 may be the newest Twitter app

I may be exaggerating of course.

And the free T-shirt distributed during the browser’s Philippine launch didn’t make me do it. (By itself, it was cool — in the manner that gifts are cool, save for coffee mugs, pens, and paperweights — except that this lagniappe emphasized the paunch I was trying hard to contain when I tried it out. Moral lesson: Swallow the much-vaunted pride and ask for the XL next time.)

In any case, my love handles didn’t dampen my enthusiasm for IE 9’s Jump List — strong words from someone who has eschewed all things Microsoft ever since a famous Filipino writer “bribed” him with a PowerBook 520 and turned him into a Mac fanatic more than a decade ago. [See: PowerBook 520, which by the way, introduced the use of a trackpad on a laptop]

Using the Jump List, you can tweet, read a tweet, view a mention, among others, all without launching IE 9 beforehand since it works seamlessly with Windows 7 and Vista.

When it was demonstrated during the launch held last Wednesday, September 22, at Microsoft’s Philippine offices, it blew me away.

You could be checking your inbox using a separate email app — say, Thunderbird — and you could post a Tweet, all without visiting Twitter.com or using any of the hundreds of Twitter apps, the best of which, if you ask me, still is Destroy Twitter. [See: Destroy Twitter]

So I guess IE 9 — as a Twitter app — comes second and that’s only because of its Jump List (which, if I’m not mistaken, also allows users to send email and post their respective Facebook status updates).

Except that the use and enjoyment of these apps still remain vicarious as far as I’m concerned.

After all, I’m still using a five or so year old Macintosh PowerBook, appropriated from the same Filipino writer famous enough he wouldn’t mind even if I failed to give him — that’s Jose Y. Dalisay Jr. — credit. (As always, I remain grateful, professor. So how about I buy your Blackberry this time on friendly terms? iPhone? MacBook Air? Mint condition Volkswagen Beetle?) [See: Jose Y. Dalisay Jr.]

Three things I’ve learned on Twitter so far

1) Vinegar is good for cleaning the coffee machine.

Or so says @FrankAdMan, a US-based Twitter user who, for some reason, decided to follow me (and I was prompted to follow him as well, introducing me to the Twitter accounts of Donald Draper, Roger Sterling, and Steve Martin etc.) [See: Donald Draper, Roger Sterling, and Steve Martin]
Run through about a mugful of vinegar to clear the gunk in the machine’s innards, he told me in a tweet. I did that just now, a warm Sunday afternoon, a year after I received the advice. Guess what? Coffee I just made tastes crispier, cleaner, all because of tips shared by users of a platform that uses no more than 140 characters.

2) “What fresh hell is this?” was an original quote from Dorothy Parker

While writing a review of Californication — which was later uploaded in hotmanila.ph in exchange for a hearty lunch — I had the mistaken assumption that the quote was first uttered by Kathleen Turner, who played Barbara Rose, in the War of the Roses. [See: Californication Review]
At that time, I had just bought old Rolling Stone magazines from a neighborhood garage sale. One of those issues featured a review of the movie in which the writer quoted Barbara Rose as saying exactly that, without referring to the feisty female of the Algonquin Round Table. [See: Dorothy Parker, Algonquin Round Table]
In Californication, Hank Moody — played by David Duchovny — uttered that same quote, referring to the cantankerous Sue Collini, also played by Kathleen Turner, the new boss of Moody’s agent, Charlie Runckle. [See: Californication]
I was about to point out that Turner ORIGINALLY uttered the same quote that was later used to describe her in another role.
Fortunately, the oversight was caught in time by @hotmanila and @sleeplessgirl while exchanging various Tweets. So much for my background in literature.

3) Last but not least, Twitter users can teach you a lot more about the world.

You just have to be patient.
Through this microblogging platform, I learned that @meralco — currently the Twitter handle of the Philippines’ largest electric company — was initially held and controlled by @nicknich3, an American electricity price analyst based in Cagayan de Oro by the name of Nick Nichols. [See: Nick Nichols’ blog.]
Nichols later agreed to “return” the handle to Meralco during the height of typhoon Ondoy last year. [See: How Meralco got its Twitter name back]
Through his various blog entries — links of which were posted on Twitter — and direct message exchanges on the same platform, I was able to get an idea — however vaguely — of what the term “stranded costs” meant in the arcane world of the Philippine power industry. “Stranded costs” represent the portion of an electric bill that is used to pay for investments of companies that built power plants especially after the value of these generation assets may have changed due to a shift in government policy. [See: Stranded Costs in Energy Dictionary]
See? I’m learning something.

How Meralco got its Twitter name back

Thanks, slakker9.blogspot.com, geekandpoke.typepad.com.

Two famous typhoons of 2009 — Ondoy and Pepeng — forced the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) to use Twitter.
Problem was, the Twitter handle @meralco, was already taken.
And someone else on the platform — @manilaelectric — was tweeting information different from the official version.
Here’s the link to what now appears to be the first in a series of Twitter-related stories I plan to write for GMANews.TV, the website that employs me.

Meralco, Twitter, and brownouts

Twitter is freaking amazing.
But don’t take my word for it.
After all, I’m just quoting @nicknich3, the Twitter username of a Cagayan de Oro-based electricity price analyst and founder of an Asian energy advisory group.
@nicknich3 was prompted to make the assertion after I expressed similar sentiments about Twitter, the microblogging platform that allows users to tweet, that is, to write and publish their thoughts online in just 140 characters.

Now why would I — a person who can’t shut his trap even if you paid him to do so — sing praises for an online app that offers a mode of communication shorter than a single text message?
Its limitation is its advantage.
Twitter users are generally forced to express their ideas clearly and briefly when formulating tweets and/or communicating with their followers (which is to Twitter what friends are to Facebook).
Besides being amused by witty tweets from users with names of people dead and alive, real and imagined, Twitter users also gain a deeper understanding of subjects and issues — trivial, arcane, or both — with the help of their fellow Twitter addicts.
Take my exchange with @nicknich3.
It began with, of all things, an unscheduled, temporary, one-hour brownout a few weeks ago in the area where I live.
When the lights went out at about one in the morning, I sent a tweet using my cellphone to my Twitter account, a process explained by clicking here.
My tweet, which came out on Twitter’s public timeline, also mentioned the Twitter username of Meralco — @meralco — the Philippines’ largest electric company and the lone electricity distributor in Metro Manila. (I mistakenly tweeted NGPC, when it should be NGCP for National Grid Corp. of the Philippines that runs the country’s power grid.)

As a result, as soon as whoever handled @meralco checked its Twitter account, s/he would see that I mentioned the company and was awaiting a reply.
Early the next day, the company replied that a tripping occurred in my area.

When I realized that @meralco was eager and earnest in replying through tweets, I peppered it with more questions, some of which were inane.
I asked @meralco about its stock price forecast, a question I knew it was unwilling to answer.
I then asked whether costs of getting electricity from bunker fuel plants were lower or higher than getting them from coal plants.*
That was when @nicknich3 came in.
From the looks of it, @nicknich3 was a follower of Meralco’s Twitter account who saw that @meralco was talking to me on Twitter.
He then replied to me.

After that, things started becoming a bit more fun and frenzied.
Immediately after following each other on Twitter, @nicknich3 and I talked about the new pricing scheme — the performance-based rating (PBR) — that Meralco was allowed to implement.
The PBR formulation allows companies to charge higher rates — sometimes even at shorter periods — so that these firms will be able to recover their investments (i.e., in research and development and in capital equipment) that may already be in danger of being obsolete and worthless.
The PBR is useful especially in industries such as telecommunications where technologies change so quickly.
Unfortunately, these quick advancements do not occur regularly in electricity distribution, Meralco’s core business, @nicknich3 said.
Which is why he also told me — again via Twitter — that he remains confused about the Energy Regulatory Commission’s (ERC) decision that allowed Meralco to use PBR when charging customers.
Shortly after that, our Twitter exchange ended.
I was unable to formulate an intelligent question nor continue the discussion, being a pseudo-professional deadline beater.
But one thing’s for sure, next time I write about the power industry, I know whom to call and where to go.
Thanks, @nicknich3, Twitter, and yes, you too @meralco.
*From the That’s A Fact, Jack Dept.
Consumers incurred higher power costs from March to April because of increased generation charges. Electricity used by Metro Manila is predominantly produced by power plants that burn coal, the cheapest yet dirtiest fuel. However, some coal plants were taken offline — these needed to be fixed for maintenance — and were therefore unable to produce electricity.
To make up for the shortfall, and to avoid brownouts, distributors such as Meralco bought power from plants that use bunker fuel to produce energy. Bunker fuel comes from oil, the price of which remains expensive. High costs of bunker fuel are then passed on to consumers, prompting them to pay more for electricity consumption. This was explained by me in a text message by Dean de la Paz, a consultant of the Joint Congressional Power Commission and a blogger for GMANews.TV, the website I work for.

From The Digital Credits Dept. Digital Art from www.twitterbacksnow.com.