Saturday Hybernation

Ever since I was a kid, my parents slept late at night. Which made it become my habit as well. And at the school where I studied in grade school, the top section always had classes in the afternoon so I was not required to wake up early. Since everyone at home seemed to sleep late, it became my habit too and even worse, as I stated growing up, I even slept more late, most of the time early morning. I just seem to be more productive during this time of the day. So most of the time I get less than 8 hours of sleep. Today, the same situation is true. I sleep less everyday, go to work, then work at home, then sleep late and wake up early.

But every Saturday, I go through this hybernation period. I sleep almost all throughout the day. I supposed to go pingpong with Mishon today, and bring a data DVD to Jimmy. But I was out cold in my hybernation period. I woke up at 5pm and here I am again, facing the computer and needs to finish a bunch or work. Sometimes, the work is so varied across several websites keeping focus on one gives me a hard time. Right now, I will focus on a proposal for some company in the Philippines for design and development. Then I know I have to do something for Seda. OMG, this is long over due. I will email Seda once I am done with the proposal.

Silva vs. Crocop

I am a fan of Kazushi Sakuraba because of his poker face he has when fighting. Although dangerous he has this expressionless face without much rage and likes to acknowledge the skills of his opponent even if he wins or loses a fight. Mainly a wrestler, he has fairly enough striking skills. But I found it sad watching him loose to the animal like Vanderlei Silva in all 3 fights they had in the past. Silva is like this beast that is going to eat you alive. Although one of Silva’s popular fights was when he lost by knockout to Vitor Belfort with Belfort’s extreme punching power and fast hand speed. You win some, you lose some, but Silva’s history has proven he is one hard person to match in the octagon and PrideFC. Being a practitioners of several martial arts myself, I like watching UFC and PrideFC as well as reading and interacting with others like in UFC and Pride forums.

Mirko Crocop on the other hand is this lean mean Russian fighter, formerly in the armed forces with great striking skill and precision. Crocop is popular for his high left roundhouse kick to the head that has already knocked out many opponents in the past.

These two fighters are really tough ones, and face Crocop and Silva together? What do you get? They fought September 10 last year and here is the result:

Pen Spinning and Book Spinning

Russian friend of mine Mishon who I also work just randomly asked me one day: Hey dude, can you do this? And he was holding a pen with his thumb and pointer finger slightly off-centered in a horizontal position, moving the pen up and down loosely held giving the illusion of a bending pen.
And I said, yeah, and just did it right away, and then I showed him the illusion of a spinning pen holding a pen between your pointer and middle finger. And then I showed him the spinning pen on your thumb. Which for me were things I did since I was kid.

He asked me where did I learn this and when did I learn it. And I cannot even give a good answer, since from where I came from, everyone seemed to know how to do it. I grew up in another country, in the Philippines and went to school there. And I believe I started spinning pens in 4th grade. Why? Because everyone else was doing it. I guess the first person I have seen it was from my cousin Jong Medrano who showed it to me and my sister started doing it to since everyone in school was doing it. I started doing it and many friends of mine were doing it. It was like a natural thing in school. And it was not only from my school, but all across the country.

Mishon was asking further why do we learn it, and I said, I really don’t know. And I said further, it is also the same reason we do book spinning. And he asked how. I just took any book and started spinning it on my finger. For some crazy reason, many people from school was doing this. And I was doing it too, sometimes you see the whole school spinning books and pens and I remember vividly my teacher Ms. Cherry Desiderio (Whom i believe has a new last name already) hated this spinning movements while in class. And if she saw anyone doing some pen spinning or book spinning, she throw away your pen or book. (But she was still one of the cool teachers I had.)

Now that made me wonder, what is it with the Philippines, that many students know pen spinning and book spinning like it is a default talent?

I’m not used to a cold environment

I slept the whole Saturday and work up at 7:00 in the evening. Just ate light, did a few email checking and a few work stuff and went to the gym, since it is part of my new year’s resolution to get back in shape. I went out at around 1:00am on Sunday. It was so cold and I was thinking it won’t be cold inside the gym. Since it was early morning, there was only two other dudes working out. So the body heat was not high and the air conditioning was still running where I can feel a light wind of cold air inside the gym. I was in a sweatshirt, keeping the body temperature up, and while working out as blood circulates and my body heats up, I feel, the cold air conditioning wind on my head, and it is just a large temperature difference between my head and body that I feel like getting sick. I feel my nose freezing up as my head heats up. It is cold but it is dry that it feels like my throat is drying up. In the middle of my working out, I decided to go low weight and just finish my workout as quick as possible. And after a few minutes, I just didn’t feel right being in a cold area. I grew up in a hot and wet country and I was just not used to what i was going through. So I decided I am stopping working out for now. Maybe I’ll try working out again when it’s not that cold.

Saddam Hussein Hanging

At the trial of Saddam Hussein, the final verdict was not led to torture but something worse. Saddam Hussein’s hanging. I am not that well versed in my history and current events, and all I knew about Saddam Hussein was his invasion attempt into Kuwait that the UN was against and the US has fought in a was against Saddam because of this invasion.

When I heard about this in the news, Saddam Hussein captured, went to trial, and will hang to death, I really do not know all the details and i checked out his biography, and his profile shows he was found guilty of crimes against humanity and sentenced to death. His half brother and the judge at the trial of the original case in 1982 were also convicted of similar charges.

Below is the video of Saddam Hussein’s hanging.

A Beautiful Mind

I still remember vividly 3 people that told me to watch the movie A Beautiful Mind. I do not want to give names but I will tell you some background about them and about the event when they told me to watch the movie.

  • A woman who I used to train in programming – Why she thought of recommending me the movie was I guess maybe my teaching reminded her of the movie. Many of things I was teaching her did not come from a book of techniques on how to do certain simple programming algorithms. But I just based everything from the programming language manual or reference book. When encountered with a problem, I just come up with a solution with the known functions I have. And in the middle of teaching her, she tells me: “You know what? If you learn this other language, I think you will do good to. Have you watched A beautiful mind?” I said no and she told me i should watch it.
  • A priest who was in a small group of parishioners in a somewhat prayer group – This once a month meeting of this group at church would read the readings and Gospel of the Catholic religion for the week of that meeting and reflect on it giving their own reflections and then do some prayer afterwards. As we were seated in a circle as everyone was sharing their reflections and sometimes the priest would call out someone to share just to make them share when no one else volunteers. When I was called, I simply said, I have nothing to say with a smile. And the members of the group were encouraging me to say something, any reflection I had and maybe they were assuming I was shy. And all I said was everyone said everything already. During that time was also the birthday celebration of some of the members and after the meeting was a mini party just eating some specially prepared food. And while I was sitting and talking with one of the members who was my long time friend, the priest sits near us but no one was talking. And just to break the ice, I told the priest: “Fr., the reason I had no reflection to share to anyone was because my reflection is so different that it might change the minds of many. And I do not want to influence them.” The priest got intrigued and asked more about it, although I made it clear that my reflection is not against any teaching and even augments it better, but many of my reflections involve a lot of science and our conversation went on and on. And the priest was not contradicting my ideas but seemed amazed with what I had to say. But since he was busy and needed to talk to many people, he ended our conversation saying: “Have you watched the movie A Beautiful Mind?” Again I said no and the priest highly recommended it saying: “You should watch it, it is good for analytical thinking, for intellectuals.” And all I said was, ok, I will watch it someday.
  • Someone I used to work with in a company – It was lunch time and in this company I used to work straight without breaks and my lunch was only 30 minutes or less. Maybe I was trying to impress the company then since I was still new in the company but as time passed by, I knew I was over working myself and was starting to take my breaks to the maximum possible time. And during lunch, I would eat fast, and after eating, I solve a Sudoku puzzle trying to solve it quickly and was challenging myself every time to finish it within my required break time. And he was watching me solve it just writing numbers and he asked: “Are you solving that?” And I said yes and he says: “But you should not repeat a number on a line…” and continues on telling me about all the rules of the puzzle. And I say, yes, I know, and he says: “And you are not using a pencil? What if the numbers are wrong?” And I say, well they are right. “And if I am not sure with the answer, I do not write it down.” And he asks: “How sure are you that those are right?” And I say: “Where am I wrong?” Looks like he can’t point it out either, but was wondering why I was solving it fast, and he then asks: “Have you finished any of these?” And I said: “Yes, I just finished one here, but this is at level easy.” Then he says: “You should watch A Beautiful Mind.” And I say: “You know what? You are the third person that told me that.” And he says: “You should, if you are solving Sudoku that fast just by looking at it, that movie is for you.”

Ok, all of those were some number of years ago already. And here comes the opportunity to watch it. I finally decided to watch the movie. I just finished watching the movie and is making this blog post right after watching it. All I can say is, these three people that were very enthusiastic in telling me to watch the movie, like there was some great mission to watch it, for me is just a so-so movie. Not really a big deal. It had nothing to do with thinking, it had nothing to do with analyzing things in the movie which I was expecting this movie to be a thinking movie. Something that was like solving a puzzle or something. It is nothing but a drama movie of the life of Dr. John Nash.

Now before I continue, do not get me wrong that I am saying this movie is not a good movie. It is in fact a great movie with 4 Academy Awards, and Dr. John Nash is one of the greatest mathematicians also. But all I am saying is this movie had nothing to do with the reason I was told to watch it.

  • Do they think I am a great thinker, some analyst like John Nash? I believe not, I am just Benj Arriola. Although I may like the sciences, my knowledge is no where close to anyone with a PhD in Math or any natural science. None of my college professors nor classmates would say that. But these people that told me to watch it had no science degree background as well. Although these things may seem simple to many people that do the same things I do, but for the unknowledgeable, they think I am doing something great already. It is just like an ordinary person that finds a medical doctor smart simply because they are not knowledgeable, but among the peers of doctors, some doctors are just simple doctors like any other doctor. Let’s say Pacquiao is admired by many boxers, but Pacquiao admires Efren Bata Reyes’ billiard skills because he is less skill than Efren Bata is. These people that told me to watch the movie maybe thought that I should watch the movie because I am smart or something, I think not. I am just the ordinary Benj that just knew a little extra of what they did not know and I am sure they also know something I don’t.
  • Do they think I have the potential to think of something great? Well I think yes in small stuff, but not as the magnitude as shown in the movie. A total disconnect, but for the people that may have thought of it that way, well all I can say is thanks. But I am sure they themselves have their own great potentials in themselves that maybe they just haven’t seen yet.
  • Do they think I am thinking too much that I am going nuts? Hahaha maybe. Nyhahahahaha. Well many great thinkers really go nuts sometimes. When I was in college, I can think of 2 professors that were nearly by the borderline of going nuts. One of them reads NMR spectra as if she was reading a book of fairly tails and gives the summary already looking at these 2D graphs in crazy lines. The other was an excellent physicist, that at the end of every class, her clothes look like it was used to erase the whole blackboard. I have heard about another professor that I was not a student of and was in another neighboring school that dragged his chalk box on a string and would walk backwards on stairs. But all of them had this incredible mathematical ability.

To me the movie is nothing but a feel good movie of triumph. It is not different from a sports oriented movie when someone starts out losing in the beginning and starts working on their weaknesses and becomes triumphant in the end. And along the way, the movie highlights all the drama involved in this quest for success. In some movies it can be a game of basketball, football, karate match, whatever, but in this case, it was with one’s own mind in dealing with schizophrenia. Generally, I like the movie. It is good. I loved watching it because of the drama of success, and overcoming weaknesses, but I would not say I would love the movie because it is for thinkers and analytical thinking. The movie does not go into that details. It is not about the specific computations John Nash had in his life. It was all about John Nash’s life, his personal life and problems and how he dealt with it.

What I need to do before 2007, and what I need to improve on in 2007

Before 2007

  • Finish all client projects – Probably one of the toughest, but I will push through with it.
  • Answer client calls – I still have many pending issues, either by email, voicemail, or our support ticket system. Projects are overwhelming and just taking over the time of everything.
  • Fix up room – Due to all client projects, this is what is also delaying everything else in my life.
  • Greet everyone – I am not done with all my Christmas greetings. It is still a long way to go but I have partially sent all my ecards already.

In 2007

  • Get back in shape – Especially in cardiovascular endurance. It is more of a psychological war to me than a physical limitation since I tend to compare myself to my physical abilities in the past when I was competitive in various sports and I tend to compare what I can do before and what can I do today and this has depleted over time. Which sets frustrations in. Unlike if I was just starting and was unaware of my past, it would be easier.
  • Concentrate on customer support – I am considering on adding a good CRM system, and concentrate more of the production processes than doing production itself.
  • Develop production teams – And since I am not going to concentrate on production, I will develop production teams of my own. Sometimes I can never be contented with the code and I am strict with the code. So hopefully, I get to find the right people to do it that has nice and clean code.
  • Fix computers – Basically my workstations, I have 1 windows PC running and 1 laptop, both on dual monitors. My Mac is temporarily not used because of the convenience I get with dual monitors on my PC and I have no monitor for the Mac. I have 2 more PCs that are not running that I will fix where one will be my Linux workstation and the other I will give away or sell.
  • Sell printers, scanners and photocopier and maybe my fax machine too – I will buy a 4-in-1 color laser printer, copier, scanner fax machine probably, it will be a space saver in my small office-home office setup.
  • File management – if my room is a mess, so are some of my files. And have a better organized backup system.
  • Watch more movies – Mainly not for recreation, but awareness of trends. Awareness of the market. I will just probably sign up with Netflicks and watch at home.
  • Attend tradeshows – This can be expensive, so I will probably just attend 2 or 3. I am targeting Search Engine Strategies, Search Marketing Expo and maybe Webmaster World’s Pubcon.
  • Go to church more often – Although I have my own meaning of the church, my own definitions, my own belief, I believe I am not in conflict with the teachings. I may even augment and strengthen my faith, but if I share it with others, it might just confuse other people and they will say I am weird or something. So i do not share my belief, but my belief is basically having my religion entangled with science and they are actually united in a way and are not divided as some people may think.
  • Get a new video camera – The Internet is all about video next year. More Internet marketing activities will involve a lot of rich media, so I need a video camera, and will start working on some video editing skills, and if time permits it, try working with some animations as well.
  • Get a new lens for my digital camera – Maybe a lens with a better aperture and some F-stops and will try to do some magic with my amateur photography skills.
  • Speaking engagements – Will probably talk more in mini shows, mini conventions, small training seminars I can arrange. Probably both in the US and in the Philippines.
  • Buy some VOIP hardware setup – This is for better customer support as I will have someone dedicated to work for me on the other end of the world for my US customers, who can also immediately implement some technical help needed. With this setup, which I do not plan to abuse also, but I can use after office hours for cheaper calls to my family by installing a VOIP gateway as well on the other end.

So far I only have those to do. Maybe even more but I haven’t planned it out that well yet. Let’s see.

When will I be certified?

Apogee Search in Austin Texas is one of the SEMPO supporters and I believe they are also an Adwords Qualified Company right now. One nice thing I see with Apogee is they are not only concerned with the clicks a client gets from a PPC campaign or from SEO efforts. They are interested in the customers they can bring in to clients. Which I believe should be a must in every SEO/SEM service.

I blogged about my opinion on Search Engine Optimization/Search Engine Marketing certification already on Ituloy AngSulong. I still believe these certifications may not be proof of one’s proficiency in SEO/SEM, but I think I still need it just for better client trust and no other purpose. Although I have my ways of proving my SEO/SEM proficiency with my current clients’ performance, having these certifications will just probably help a little bit more in my own ability to sell. So when will I be certified?

Why is Santa Red?

Actually Santa Clause did not wear red and had no specific color and was often dressed up in red, blue, green, or purple. Until a Boston printer named Louis Prang introduced the English custom of Christmas cards to America, and in 1885 he issued a card featuring a red-suited Santa. This version of Santa was then starting to replace all other colored Santa Clauses.

Although some people believe the red Santa Clause was made by the Coca Cola Corporation, this is not true, although Coke helped in making the red Santa Clause the more ubiquitous as they used the red Santa Clause in their marketing campaigns as early as the 1930s. And that kind of closed the choices of colors and red is already like the uninanimous known color of Santa Clause.

I wonder what would have happened if an artist kept using other colors and Pepsi would be the first one to use Santa Clause massively in their marketing campaigns? A blue Santa would emerge?

Here is a video greeting by people I used to work with. I guess all we need is a blue Santa to brighten up our day.

Coke and Pepsi are registered trademarks of their respective companies. Benj Arriola thinks the people working at Geary Interactive are cool. Benj Arriola is no longer connected in anyway to Geary Interactive except for maintaining friendship with the people that work there.

Colors on Santa Clause if Pepsi was first to use Santa Clause in their marketing campaigns is just my personal opinion and do not reflect the opinions of any company mentioned, nor their management, staff and employees.