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Showing posts from 2012

The Psychology of Mass Violence in a School Setting

It is unthinkable that several months after the fateful mass murder in a Colorado movie theater -- at a time when justice has not yet been received by Batman's beloved fans -- a new mass murder has once again taken place. This time, the timing would have been planned: bloodshed inside an elementary school involving 20 mostly six to seven-year old innocent children, and the approaching Christmastime.

One critic interviewed by Fox News channel at the height of their 'data gathering' hours said that one way by which we can curtail the cycle of committing mass violence in the American society is by "de-popularizing" the incident and by avoiding to mention the name of the perpetrator. Really?! Where is the logic coming from? Here's my take.

The accused mass murderer was a 20-year old Adam Lanza. At his age, he 'still' lived with his mother (well, that's part of a prevailing American culture to stay away from the family at 18; my culture says the whole …

What Research says about 'Breaking the Habit'

For people like me who establish a traditional routine, it is important to know that there are positive ways to break the habit on a regular basis in order to avoid burn-out or saturation.

In spite of the postmodern industrial concepts of building and redesigning work places, a lot of people have not been so fortunate to be part of those who are enjoying the benefits of working stress-free. Many are still stuck into structures that must have been built in an era where employee productivity was not yet part of the plan.

Thanks to latest research efforts because the routine in a work environment could now be remedied by cost-effective, sometimes free personal strategies employees can use. How does an ordinary worker 'break the ice' to stagnation?

Taking a nap. Research found that those who took a nap for at least 15 to 20 minutes between 1 to 3 pm exhibited more energy in the work place. An increasing number of employees are responding to this by providing their workers with some…

Does Harry Potter Bring Good or Cause Harm Among Our Children?

Liaa claims to be a Potterhead. Seriously, I don't know what it means, but for the sake of avoiding arguments, I'd rather do my own due diligence of knowing.

Urban Dictionary defines Potterheads as those who are obsessed with Harry Potter. This is alarming because we want our child to grow as 'normal' in the real world as possible.

Time and again, print and digital literature, community forums, and social advocates have reminded us of how media can "make or break" the human mind and destroy one's future. It sounds exaggerated, but how many thousands of cases have been highlighted involving the role and negative influence of media in the minds of the school children?

Even the world-renowned Twilight Saga and Hunger Games have earned negative speculations that they are in part responsible for kids whose attitudes have become extremely unusual in the present time.

And so is J.K. Rowling'sHarry Potter.

In my peaceful existence, sometimes I am squeezing m…

The Historic Presidential Elections and the Bieber-Gomez Split

Several days ago, I was thinking of writing something about 'a nation divided' in today's world superpower's presidential election. But who is going to care about my writing when everyone is so amused about the most-tweeted picture of President Barack and First Lady Michelle Obama? Lest the buzz about the results of the elections that resound in every angle that led to some people plunging into racial slur.

However, what gave me the greatest push to at least scribble a little bit in the midst of my busy life is the break-up between two spotlight icons: Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez. They earned many critics and silent enemies, but at least they are respected in their own way.

The cause: a long-time hatred for Selena by Justin's die-hard fans.

Come to think of it, why do I care in the first place? And when have I started dealing with showbiz celebrities? Seriously, I don't. But I am working with kids who look up to them as role models. Thus, I need to be conce…

'Pinteresting': Four Great Ways To Use Pinterest in Teaching and Learning

Pinterest is a recent phenomenon in social networking. However, it spreads like wildfire across the internet world.

This medium is not new to me. In fact, I was one of those who opened an account when it was introduced (probably 54,356,297th; LOL!). Because I didn't know how to make sense of it, I lost my password. LOL!

When I attended day 2 of my Reading Foundations workshop recently, our facilitator's promotion of Pinterest was so strong that it brought back my interest in Pinterest (the rhyme sounds ridiculous but I can't help it!). Ms. Laura Pilland, 1st grade teacher at Dare County Schools, NC, is a guru in Pinterest, and she needs to be named and recognized. She showed us how organized her account is, and what we could get from Pinterest.

After 24 hours of waiting to be re-invited in Pinterest (that's what you will also do if you are new to Pinterest!), I tried to figure out how we can make sense of it in teaching and learning. Below are recommendations on how P…

Using Online Books to Push Learners in Choosing Good-fit Books

The Daily Five uses a concept called 'I PICK' Good-Fit Books. Simply put, the book is read meaningfully through the following ways:

read the wordsread the picturesretell the story
I PICK Good-Fit Books concept include the following:
1. choose a book 2. determine the purpose for which a learner wants to read it 3. determine why the chosen book is interesting 4. check comprehension by throwing questions for understanding 5. check whether the child knows all the words in the chosen book (which leads to a sense of ownership of the whole reading process)

Teachers who are advocates of technology integration in the classroom can use the internet in encouraging learners to choose the books they can use in the Daily Five exercise. The internet is an alternative to the use of hard copy books. It also provides excitement, variety, and continuity of interest.

Keep on exploring sites to get the appropriate books that your learners need. However, it is very important to provide monitoring an…

Southwest Shrimp Fettuccine at Applebee's: Does it taste the way it sounds?

Liaa turned 10 today. Because it's her birthday, she had the liberty to choose where the final dinner destination would be. She decided to give Applebee's a try. We agreed. After all, it's just in the neighborhood. The rest (probably) had a great time. Since I was the typical 'fun killer,' I had my share of the night again.

At first the waiter served us a mountain load of chips and dip for our order of supposedly an appetizer sampler. As soon as the order touched our table, we hurriedly dipped and messed with the appetizer. A couple of minutes have passed, and the waiter probably realized he committed sin against his hungry guests. At a lightning speed, he snatched the platter and without any apology, he told us that it's not what we ordered. Minus two stars for being a moron!

Fifteen minutes and a few dips of chips in a spinach cream after, the main course came. My order was a grand-sounding Southwest Shrimp Fettuccine Alfredo. It looked good on the menu. But …

Brazilian Woman's Virginity is Worth $780,000!

eBay's policies clearly state: no live auctions!

I'm pretty sure it didn't happen on eBay. But wherever this auction was hosted, it is no longer important.

Catarina Migliorini, a 20 year-old Brazilian woman, has auctioned her virginity and won a whopping $780,000 from the highest of the five bidders. The lucky man is from Japan. He will receive his "winning auction" in the United States to avoid slur of prostitution in their respective countries (and what do they think of the US?!).

According to Slate Magazine, this auction process is part of an Australian documentary. They are very careful in clarifying that this is not about prostitution. In fact, the "winning item" and the winning bidder will undergo an STD test before the award! Horrible!

According to Catarina, her intent is good: much of the proceeds will be donated to charity.

Well, the world is spinning so fast.

Any takeaways?

Discover an Active Income from Home

Is there such a thing as active income from home? No matter how silly the question is, this is what I asked myself after reading tons of "passive" income from home ideas from the so-called 'gurus' of the internet revolution.

Affiliate marketers are always lured by the idea that you can have a passive income at home while sleeping. The fourth law of ecology, however, tells us that there is no such thing as free lunch. If you want rewards, work on them.

For quite a while now, I have been promoting Swagbucks as a publisher. However, I was not very much involved in the way it works. I recently experimented doing an active work with it, and my profits quadrupled. Curious? Try it for yourself.

How does anyone earn from Swagbucks? Earning comes in a variety of ways: use of coupons, accepting daily deals, participating in daily polls, playing games online, inviting friends from your facebook, twitter, pinterest and other social networks, searching online (using a special se…

Sleeping Position: Personality or Disorder?

In my about half a century of existence, I never bothered myself with the thought that my sleeping position would have to say about who I am. Well, not until recently...

According to latest study, sleeping positions can largely tell whether the person is bossy, stubborn, extremely critical, or in control of oneself.

For example, as I browsed through the bits and pieces of articles I have came across, I found out that my typical sleeping position is 'fetal.' In the study, about 41% of the respondents claim that they sleep sideways with bent knees. This position indicates that I am worrier, I lack affection (and searches for comfort), conscientious and structure about many things. The study also emphasizes that I am notoriously prone to overthink tasks (especially in the work place) and my daily life. Sadly, all these traits are true to me. :((

Other peculiar sleeping positions that are indicative of various personalities are freefall, yearner and log positions. Just google you…

A Challenge to Conventional Christian Dogma

Last Sunday's episode of 'Long Island Medium' has brought me to a whole new way of thinking about conventional church teachings on the 'afterlife.'

I was born to a Christian family, spent much of my existence in a premiere Catholic university, and lives devotedly as a person with a belief for Christ. I am, and I will always be a Christian. One of the teachings of my church is that there is an eternal life, and there are heaven and hell. There is also a Church suffering that needs the help of the living.

However, Theresa Caputo's revelation in an episode made me think beyond what I could imagine. In the episode, she was acting as a medium to a living mother and a daughter who passed away through suicide. The daughter never left any suicide note, enough to convince the bereaved family that she really had a reason to cut her young life. During the session, the daughter told mom via Theresa that she is happy, is with God, and is now in heaven. This revelation puzz…

Employment 101: Six Underrated Jobs in the US

In the midst of recession, hardly anyone deserves to have wide choices. Many Americans embark into something that will get them to finish line at the soonest possible time. This is true to the employment world, as well.

A lot of people want to earn money right away. So instead of preparing themselves for a more rewarding future, they engage in community college programs purportedly leading to immediate employment: physical therapy assistant, web designer, electrical engineering technician, dental support or nursing assistant, medical coder, and many other health care programs. While these programs are, indeed, leading to immediate income, not everyone who graduates from these programs is fortunate to land a job. The employers' fine print is that anyone who will be rewarded employment must have been to the field for quite a while. Hence, experience is necessary. What happens to those who finished the programs online? Well, there are millions who finished online. Run!

Luckily, ther…

How to Get a FREE iPhone 4 in the Mail

When I was about to publish this post, a friend challenged me why I was highlighting iPhone 4 in the midst of iPhone 5 craze.

Several days ago, iPhone 5 was released in stores in limited quantities. It looked like a mini-Thanksgiving Black Friday in the US because of the long queue of consumers lining up in stores a day before the release. Of course, opinions count -- and I have my own.

There is really nothing so remarkable about iPhone 5. Most iPhone users agree that the 4 is more stable because the bugs have been resolved. Some networks are still on work mode because their subscribers can't use the voice and data capabilities simultaneously. Although, of course, this opinion is unpopular -- and I might even earn critics instead of friends. Peace iPhone aficionados!

It is not my point, though. The real thing is that iPhone 4 can be acquired for free -- yes, FREE.

If you have been scavenging the internet world for quite a time, you will realize that there are a lot of things that …

Living on Paycheck to Paycheck

The American Payroll Association has finally revealed the results of their latest survey. Among the 30,600 American workers who participated in the survey, more than two-thirds said that they are trying to make ends meet using their paycheck. Of those who participated, 68% said that it is very difficult to survive if their paycheck is delayed by at least a week.

All of these are due to the increasing effect of one of the longest recessions in the history of the world.

Sadly, I can closely relate with this revelation. I have been wanting to change perspective, change life (as if I could), or explore the possibility of a career change, but it seems that the more I move farther from my existing condition, the harder life becomes.

Source: Chicago Tribune

Will Breaking Amish Last?

The return of Long Island Medium on TLC ( has given me a couple of entertainment because I was also triggered by 'Breaking Amish'.

Breaking Amish is a revolutionary reality show because it stirs the consciousness of some Amish and Mennonite who have been wanting to 'go out' of their 'shell.' The sad thing, however, is that they will not only travel the outside world; they will terminate their membership to the Amish community with a traditionally preserved and unusually distinctive culture, as well.

Will they succeed?

Culture is an entire way of life. Changing a part of it is not enough. 'Breaking Amish' means changing a whole lot of attitude, beliefs, getting out of their own social organization, getting rid of their own arts, literature, religion, highly established normative standards (including the use of electricity in daily life), embracing a new economic system, and adapting to the world of advanced technology.

Breaking Amish is …

EC Pho Comes Closer to Home

Asians are undoubtedly rice-eaters. This can be explained by rice being a staple Asian food.

As Asians living far away from home, we are always tempted to seek for stores that offer rice and a variety of food made out of rice. Recently, we found a newly opened noodle house in our Eastern North Carolina place. EC Pho Vietnamese Noodle House is perfectly a home away from home because it offers lunches and dinner packages with either steamed rice or fried rice. In contrast with the typical Chinese buffet that caters to American taste, EC Pho is uniquely Vietnamese, offering a semi-sweet, semi-spicy cuisine. It also offers a typical Vietnamese rice noodles -- with a taste of herbs!

Rating: 5 stars. Worth-visiting.

Fall and winter days will no longer be as cold as before with hot and spicy noodles and rice packages at EC Pho.

Discrimination in the USA: A New Look At An Old Issue

While I was entertaining myself with Filipino migrant stories, I came across an article featuring a Pinoy special education teacher in Prince George's County Schools, Maryland, who was driven back home for working with an expired visa, and for losing a job in spite of his exemplary classroom performance.

The article also cited something about the plight of Pinoy teachers who were deployed in a Baton Rouge, Louisiana, school district.

Those are common stories that happen everywhere. When I came to the US in 2008, I, too, was unemployed for nearly a couple of months without any support from our agent who even harassed us regularly.

What struck me, however, are the new forms of discrimination. The legal pages of American History have already paved the way for equality, fair treatment, and mutual respect. However, bits and pieces of harassment are still evident, sometimes they penetrate into our skin. For about four years, I was in a rural high school. I have never submitted myself i…

July 31st: A Day To Remember

Back in the early days, I enjoyed July 31st because it was a holiday in the Ateneo schools. But mind you, July 31st is the busiest day for all Atenistas: alternative classes here and there, outreach programs, campus activities in every corner, tiangge, org exhibits and many more.

July 31st is Ignatiana: a day in celebration of the martyrdom and sainthood of Ignatius of Loyola, the Ateneo schools' greatest role model and founder of the Society of Jesus (whose members are known among the outsiders as 'Jesuits').

As July 31st approaches, I cannot help but relive the memories of the past: rigid rehearsals by the Music Ministry and play schedule of Dulaang Ateneo (among my li'l memories of yesteryears...wahahaha!). Who would ever forget the song 'Fundador', and 'San Ignacio...kawal ni Kristo'? They are very much 'in' during this day-long celebration.

I could also recall visiting the local mental institution for a "Share-a-Day". Haaays..g…

What's in a Criminal's Mind?

The recent movie massacre in Colorado is raising a lot of questions. It calls for a revisiting of perspectives, family, moral, and cultural values, and the question of public safety and security.

Over the years since the September 11 terrorist attacks in many institutions of the United States, the paranoia against many forms of terrorism has been gradually elevated. Satellites were set up to serve as  'national security umbrellas,' military and civilian survival strategies were strengthened, and even prison systems were revisited to ensure greater stability. Airports were never as flexible as before because you have to take off your most precious jewelry and leave your most favorite fragrance bottle behind -- all in the name of security.

A few minutes before the time of writing this post, James Holmes, suspect to the massacre, had his first appearance in a local Colorado court. Below are some images captured through Fox News television (apologies for the bad image quality). Th…

The Dark (K)Night Has Risen -- Will You Blame Batman?

When I was a child, just like anyone else my age, Batman became part of my rich imagination. In my days, the Batman movies were simple and naive. My maximum satisfaction was met simply by looking at Batman flying and defeating his enemies, notably Joker.

Nowadays, I am more preoccupied with other issues in life. Although I am still fond of the superheroes who would spend so much time planning on how to save humanity, I am no longer inspired to look forward to latest movie releases. This younger generation calls the new releases a work of art, innovation, and a product of 'postmodern' creative imagination. Much of the way the movies are produced go beyond what I can consider to be classical. In my opinion, they are supra-violent, something that my nine-year old child will never be able to watch without convincing us to the extreme.

Last night, a consequence of what has been viewed to be 'creative' and 'innovative' has finally happened. In a Colorado screening o…

Dolphy is "Christmas In Our Hearts" (with apologies to Jose Marie Chan)

In the eyes of several generations of Filipinos, Dolphy is the comedy icon. He made my grandfather, my father, and myself, realize that there are few celebrities in Philippine show business who could establish a name with great dignity and respect.

He carried a variety of aliases in several generations: John Porontong, Facifica Falayfay, Kevin Kosme, Father Jejemon, and many more. However, to an ordinary production assistant or movie crew (or probably the common 'tao'), he is known simply as Mang Dolphy.

He made my father cry; he cried because of uncontrollable laughter. He has thrown comic strips that are still being used by today's promising comedy novices. Truly, Dolphy has made us realize that 'laughter is the best medicine.'

I started appreciating him during the John en Marsha days. Just like in real life, he has carried the dreams of an ideal father. But he was always lambasted by his mother-in-law (Dely Atay-atayan) because of his poverty. Hence, the closin…

Adventures in the Islands of Adventure

It took Liaa months to visualize her dream to reach the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

The dream started when she encountered a book in the school library. Since then, she became interested with J. K. Rowling's fantastic hallucinations (apologies!). December became a lame excuse to let her sustain her reading crave. Since her receipt of the Harry Potter book set, she read and re-read the books more than she could count. The rest is history.

When tourists step on the dreamland of Harry Potter, the child in them is captured by the facade that only lurks in a complex imaginative mind. According to the Universal Islands of Adventure catalog:

"From magical spells to magical creatures, from dark villains to daring heroes, it's all here. Pass through the towering Hogwarts castle gates and explore the familiar passageways, classrooms and corridors. Stroll the streets of Hogsmeade and dine at the Three Broomsticks and the Hog's Head pub. Shop at some of the best-known establ…

The Various Colors of Universal Studios

We were unfortunate to be scheduled on the 11:00am shuttle to the Universal Studios. We had to convince Liaa that half day of fun is not enough to raid the Islands of Adventures where the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is a part of. So we headed to the Studios, instead.

In my opinion, it is a serious disadvantage when both parents are growing (just a lil bit! lol!) old and you have a nine-year old kid (and thinks she is a toddler!) who wants to forcibly enter into the gates of humongous roller coaster rides, horrifying adventures, and 'death-defying' (parang ang exaggs naman), heart-pounding, and colossal simulators.

At least there are 4D and 3D theaters that saved us from those nerve-wrecking rides and adventures. lol!

Overall, the timing was wonderful. Although it was officially the start of summer in the Sunshine State, the weather was cooperative.

Universal Studios-Orlando rating: 5 stars - worth-visiting. Just make sure your tour package can accommodate the voluminous r…

Review: St. Augustine's Best Attractions

Liaa deserves a break from a year-long pressure of being in a grade level ahead of her age. So we threw her a promise to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
It requires at least 10 hours straight drive to reach Orlando, Fl., seat of the Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, where Harry Potter attractions can be found. On our way, we had a day of stopover at Saint Augustine, Fl., a historic landmark of the sunshine state. We have been there in the past couple of years when we raided Disney World. However, we had very little knowledge of what's in store for the tourists of the town.
After a typical Sunday mass, our tour bus brought us to a place that would change the way we looked at St. Augustine. The downtown houses a hundred-year old tradition that fuels the town's present-day economy (btw, the town was founded in 1565). The tourist attractions are very well organized. The urban design preserves traditions, while sustains the growing needs of tourism at the same…

Repost: Bye School... for Now?

The school year has finally come to its end in NC. After the raging state tests, kids are now preparing for a long break. Books have been stacked for a while. Classrooms were shut for overhauling. Schools will start to hear the sound of silence temporarily again.

Will there be another school year for the rest of America? Certainly, but not all schools will re-open in the next school year. The effect of global recession has caused a number of counties and independent school districts to tighten budget. State employees received -- not bonuses for a job-well-done -- but salary deductions. Some schools are closing permanently while others are merging. Even groupings are affected. The traditional K-5, middle, and high school groupings are under threat. Staff and administrators will lose their jobs while others might assume relatively unstable positions. At the very edge are international teachers, both H and J visa holders, who will sacrifice their most sought-after jobs. Some Filipino, Ja…

Is Independence Day Still Meaningful?

The Filipinos -- at home and away -- have started the day with a popular shoutout: "Happy Independence Day!" Today is June 12 in Philippine timezone. Following the holiday economics, this day is a working day for breadwinners and a school day for the "hope of the Fatherland."

This year's Independence Day is being celebrated with an unusual twist: Pnoy's rating has gone unusually low since his election as the president of the Philippines, the former president being on hot seat, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines just having completed his traditional walk away from his office to the eviction hall, and lo and behold (I think this phrase is inappropriate -- but it sounds good, huh!), contemporary hero world champion Manny Pacquiao has just been ripped off his title.

Do we have the reason to celebrate this year? What are we celebrating in the first place?

For people whose blood truly remain Filipino, regardless of the number of English wo…
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