Are you a Facebook Addict?

Computer Addiction

Yesterday I got a very interesting and funny e-mail from my friend Gly. The e-mail has a title “Are you a Facebook addict?”

It is actually an article posted in Yahoo! News (Philippines) about the signs of Facebook addiction.  In summary here are the signs of Facebook Addiction Disorder (FAD) and my response…. Whoa, they even have a term for this kind of disorder now. Seems many people are categorized into this group.

1. You lose sleep over Facebook. When using Facebook becomes a compulsion and you spend entire nights logged on to the site, causing you to become tired the next day.

Check. I have this syndrome when I just started using Facebook last May and got hooked up in Farm Town (the first App that I spend most of my time with).  If you track back my old post about Farm Town addiction, you would know what I am talking about. Luckily, I got over it now.

2. You spend more than an hour a day on Facebook. Lipari said it is difficult to define how much is too much when it comes to Facebook usage, but that an average person need only spend half an hour on the site.

Check. I guess majority of the people using Facebook spend more than 1 hour in this site. Of course  you have to consider the number of friends in your profile so if you have many, then more or less you spend time checking their profile, activities, pictures, etc. Internet connection is also a factor. I spend longer time because my internet connection is as fast as a speeding bullet (or should I say an overworked snail!).

3. You become obsessed with old loves or exes you reconnect with on Facebook.

Naah.

4. You ignore work in favor of Facebook. This means you do not do your job in order to sneak time on Facebook.

A big no no…my friends can attest to it. If I am busy at work, I am busy at work and they dare not disturb.

5. The thought of getting off Facebook leaves you in cold sweat. If you try going a day without Facebook and it causes you stress and anxiety, this means you need help.

I guess this is a terrible sign of addiction. No, I don’t feel stressed or anxious if I cannot visit Facebook. Of course, sometimes you worry your crop may wither or whatever things you need to do in Facebook but what the heck, even if it withers or other Mafia’s attacked you big time, it doesn’t cost you real money or physical injuries  so why be so bothered.

So in general, I got 2 out of 5..maybe possesses a small level of addiction but should not be a cause for alarm or a quick appointment to a shrink.  As what I have said in several of my old posts, this is just a FAD (coincidentally the same acronym for the Facebook disorder) and it will come to pass soon.

Full article is in this link. Please check it and assess your level of Facebook addiction:
http://ph.news.yahoo.com/abs/20091020/tph-are-you-a-facebook-addict-85c5a6c.html


The Phenomenon of Mafia Wars

Mafia Wars

I have been into Facebook for many months now and what keeps me glued to this social networking site is the fact that it has been a constant source of information about my friends, former colleagues, family and relatives. In fact, during the time of the Typhoon Ondoy (Ketsana) wherein my home got affected and some of our relatives as well, Facebook has been the source of Free and instant communication between me and some of my relatives staying in the US and Canada. Since we cannot contact most of our family members back home, if we get any news or if someone managed to receive any SMS or are able to call any member back home, we just messasge through Facebook.  Really convenient. I even see many people trying to encourage others to extend help or give donations to the victims sent through Facebook. This is a very effective means of communication and conveying our message across the globe.

Another reason why I don’t mind spending late weekday nights and most especially weekend nights even renting computer in a net cafe is because of the very interesting and unique games which is popularly known as “Apps” short for applications. Currently, I am playing Farm Town, Farm Ville, Barn Buddy, Fish World, My City, Restaurant City, Roller Coaster World, Cafe World, Island Paradise and of course Mafia Wars..too many apps for me to be called a real app “addict” you may say. Well yes, I spend at least 2 hours a night just for me to do usual rounds of these games. Apart from going to fitness, I guess this is just my way of getting past my boredom especially since I am living alone and communication back home is limited. Sometimes if I finished work then heading to the gym and taking a quick dinner, either the folks are already sleeping or about to sleep so most of the time, I have been talking to them during weekends. At least this kind of addiction doesn’t do any harm to other people and is quite entertaining if I may say. Only thing is that of course instead of me sleeping longer, I had to cut at least 2 hours of my nightly sleeping time but just like any other fad, I am sure this will come to pass soon.

Actually even I am playing many of these apps, it doesn’t mean I have to visit them all everyday. It’s just a matter of time management and effective scheduling. Ha ha ha! For example, in Farm Town if you plant a crop for 3 days, then you don’t need to visit in the next 3 days until the crops are ready for harvest. Unless you are really hot to gain XP to level up faster then you need to visit neighbors often, work for others etc. But for my case, I am not taking it too seriously and am not in so much of a rush to level up fast. Besides, I have other “more important” things to do on other times of the day. Of course these activities doesn’t have to coincide with work or family affairs for that matter. Well, lucky for me, even I sleep past midnight every day, I don’t feel sleepy or not alert in the office or trying to do something silly because of lack of sleep. I am confident even my boss would read this post can say my work is not affected at all so everything should be ok I guess.. Ha ha ha!

Ok going back to the games..I had been hooked up in Farm Town for quite a long time and in fact the post I made here in my blog about Farm Town has been one of the most popular topics in my blog in terms of searches and visits. Truly, Facebook is a global phenomenon and many people have been trying to get information about these apps thru blogs. Lately, I have been spending more time with Mafia Wars which is one of the most popular if not the most popular app in Facebook. Wikipedia listed that as of October 2009, Mafia Wars have 25.9 million monthly active accounts.  It means, it has even more people using this app than the registered population of the whole city of New York!

But what makes Mafia Wars quite exciting if not interesting considering it is not even an arcade type game? Well for one, you gain power, money and influence every time you accomplish any job or have had successful fights. You can even grow your mafia family every so often.

You can select a character type. You can choose to become a Mogul (which means you earn money faster) or fearless (meaning you can recover energy faster so you can do more jobs) or become a maniac (to recover stamina faster so you fight more often). I actually chose the Mogul character. As of this writing, my cash which I have not deposited in the bank is more than 200 million already and I believe I have over 100 million in the bank which I have deposited earlier. Wow, if those are real money, I can take the place of Warren Buffet or Bill Gates very soon especially with the very fast inflow of money into my coffers.

I continuously am trying to improve my Top Mafia based on their profile and level so every job or fights I take, I can get more Experience Points or money. I am currently at level 60 playing less than a month. So if anyone wants to be part of my Mafia family, please feel free to let me know so we can level up together!

That’s all for now folks…I need to read John Grisham’s The Associate. Really very interesting..cannot drop the book even late at night. As soon as I finished the book, will make a post about it.

My very first Thai Cooking

I have been living and working in Thailand for over a year now and while staying here, I learned to love Thai food. For one, it is tasty and flavourful cos they used many herbs and spices in their food. Of course the most common ingredient in Thai food is the Chili. This ubiquitous red or green vegetable has been a recognized staple in Thai cooking (27 herbs and spices in total) together with basil, mint, pepper, garlic, onions, spring onions, lemon grass, coriander, lime and many others. Another reason why I love Thai food is because it is very cheap. Cheap means a meal consisting of rice and a viand costs around 30-60 Baht if you are eating on local food court or road side restaurant. Actually, eating in a “real” restaurant is also not too expensive. A dish would normally cost around 90-150 Baht. A seafood dish is cheaper as well (if I compare to Philippines).  A dish made of Crab or prawns would cost around 200-400 Baht while in Manila, it may cost double. Of course the prices may vary depending on the category of the restaurant or if it is located in a Tourist area but I still find it cheaper. Moreover, Thai food is basically healthy cos there are a lot of vegetables and herbs in it and they tend not to overcook the vegetables so it remains crispy and the nutrients not lost. Thais can even eat String Beans, eggplant and some vegetables raw which is a first time for me to do as normally either we cook the vegetable or boil it in water.  One thing that I noticed though is that many foods are oily. Also, I realized sugar is added into most dishes so have to caution my cholesterol and sugar level. Good thing though, I regularly exercise nowadays which I tend to neglect back home and on my last check-up my cholesterol level and blood pressure is normal, thank God!

Near my place there are many food kiosks and local shops selling noodles, duck, chicken or barbecue however living here for a year, I get bored of the usual food I can buy along the street. Fortunately, I found a good restaurant just within my apartment complex. The food is good and cheap (price ranging from 30-90 Baht)  as well. What’s more important is that one of the waiter can speak English well so I don’t have any difficulty ordering or them serving the wrong food. My favorite in that shop is their Pad Thai (Thai noodle very similar to our own Pancit Palabok) as well as Chicken with Basil Leaves though sometimes it tends to be too spicy for me the waiter had to place the Electric Fan in front of my face to avoid sweating too much and give me an extra glass of water.

I have been reading and researching on how to cook Thai Food which actually is almost the same as cooking Filipino food. I even planned to enroll in a short Thai Cooking course for the basic fact that I still dream becoming a chef someday (still possible I think).

Yesterday, I researched for a simple Thai recipe (Spicy Salad and a simple pork dish first). I went to the supermarket and bought the ingredients afterwards.

This morning when I woke up, I tried preparing the 2 dishes for my brunch. First, I prepared Phat Phet Thua Fak Yao Mu Sab or Ground Pork with String Beans. It is very easy to cook, just stir fry the ground pork in garlic, onion, chili then add the seasoning (soya sauce or fish sauce, oyster sauce and some sugar). Once the pork is tender, just add the String Beans until it’s a little bit soft.  After I finished cooking the dish, I placed in a bowl and whoa, it looked like the actual recipe I saw in the website. 🙂

The next recipe is a Spicy Salad made of Chinese Sausage and Cucumber. Actually, Thai food has some influences of Chinese cooking like the method of stir frying or deep frying. So if you noticed, even their salad have Chinese Sausage. To prepare this dish, you have to fry the Chinese Sausage then cut into small diagonal strips. Then slice the cucumber in small portions as well as Onions. On a separate bowl, prepare the dressing made of Soya Sauce, Fresh Chili, sugar. I added some vinegar to balance the taste since vinegar is also very good dressing for cucumber and onions. Then pour the dressing to the Chinese Sausage and cucumber.

The recipe is so easy isn’t it? But why am I sharing these to all of you considering it’s actually not a major feat? For me it’s a personal achievement actually…

It was really a shame that when I went back home last May, I didn’t even had a chance to prepare some Thai Food for my family so they can taste some “authentic” Thai recipe which is totally different than the food being sold in Thai Restaurants in Manila which tends to be too commercialized. My cousin Rona when she had a training in Japan can cook some Japanese food when she returned home. Pity me!

Another thing is that I have been cooking Filipino foods since I learned to cook (growing up in a family wherein all family members and most of our relatives can cook) and being able to cook a foreign dish adds up to my so-called “qualification”.

So much for that long story..I would like to share with you through pictures the 2 dishes I prepared this morning which I have been eating for Brunch and now Dinner (while I am writing this blog post and Facebook-ing). If you noticed, the chili is not as much as those being served in Thai Restaurants. Of course I had to suit it to my spice level so at the moment I just put about 3 pcs of chili for each dish. Maybe soon, I can put 1 chili garden in my dish. Ha ha ha! Next time, I will attempt to prepare another personal favorite, Tom Yum Goong (similar to Sinigang) and Som Tam (Papaya Pok pok salad as what they call locally). Sounds funny and naughty isn’t it? I am not too sure why they call it Pok Pok as well but the salad is actually prepared by pounding all the ingredients in a mortar and pestle so the same in Tagalog which pounding means “pukpok”. I dunno but I think maybe some Filipinos travelling to Thailand during the early days actually gave a tag for the Som Tam to be called Pok Pok salad. How naughty can the food be sounding right?

Happy eating!

Phat Phet Thua Fak Yao Mu Sab

Spicy Chinese Sausage with Cucumber Salad

Marge Simpson in the cover of Playboy

Marge Simpson in Playboy

Move over all sexy Playboy bunnies…the throne for November’s Playboy Magazine cover belongs to a lady, every inch a celebrity, a Mom of 3 and a wife of Homie..She is no other than Marge Simpson..

Whoa, a cartoon character in the front cover of the hugely popular Playboy Mag? Am I seeing things incorrectly? Marge is actually making history as the first ever cartoon character to be feted as such in the Publication’s History.

Surely Hugh Hefner, the Playboy owner sees opportunity in this somewhat comical way of selecting the featured model for their mag. For one, “The Simpsons” dubbed as America’s most popular disfunctional family is celebrating its 20’th Anniversary and being a Simpsons fan, Hugh (who also appeared in an episode of the cartoon in the 90’s) probably viewed this as his own way of giving tribute to The Simpsons’s success.

This move would also strengthen their direction to tap more of the 20-something crowd since the Cartoon would definitely appeal to this age-group.

What I am very interested is to see the various poses or interview of Marge in the magazine’s inside pages and to know how creative the people of Playboy can get. Surely, this issue would be a collector’s item of sort.

I will not be surprised to hear that FHM is negotiating for Lisa Simpson’s appearance in their mag once she comes of age or Homer will be featured in an instructional video on how to lose belly fat. Now, that would be more interesting since his waistline has been as big as Central Park ever since we saw them in the Boob tube.

What about Sponge Bob in GQ Magazine? Seems not only the climate is going crazy these days..LOL.

After Ondoy, here comes Pepeng…who’s next?

The last quarter of the year seemed to bring the most calamities and catastrophes in the Philippines and the world. A string of very strong earthquakes had been rocking Asia and the Pacific from Indonesia, to Samoa to Vanuatu even Jolo, Philippines. Very strong typhoons have been visiting the Philippines and nearby countries almost simultaneously. The disasters brought about by these natural disturbances are alarming.

Thousands of people died in Padang and the damage to properties are widespread. Same with Samoa and American Samoa wherein hundres of people die in the Earthquake plus Tsunami it generated. In the Philippines, the death in Typhoon Ondoy (Ketsana) is over 500 and as I read the news online, reports confirmed that there are 264 deaths in Typhoon Pepeng’s  (Parma) wrath and counting especially since rescuers have to dig through the massive landslide and floodings in Benguet and Pangasinan provinces and many other areas of Northern Luzon.

Many residents fear that the big dams in the area are damaged due to the big volume of rains. However, the government assured that the Dams specifically San Roque, remained strong and firm.

I saw a news article in ABS-CBN news website of SM Rosales Pangasinan being submerged in water up to the 2nd level. The news reported that over 1,000 people are either staying in the higher floors of the mall or on the roof when the flood waters rose very fast. This scenario is very much alike what happened in the Metro during the onslaught of Ondoy’s presence in the country.

Now it is imminent, the effects of Climate change is already affecting people’s daily lives. The compelling question is how the Government can at least assure the people that they are given assistance to rebuild their homes and livelihood. Of course as a citizen of the world, everyone has to have its fair share of responsibility. But the Government should impose stricter policies to help prevent continued denudation of the forests, initiate better garbage collection and disposal thru the local governments as well as have mass cleaning and re-forestration projects. The government should be busy on helping the nation instead of being more of a liability as what many Filipinos perceived them to be.

We don’t know what comes next after Pepeng. The least we can do is pray. As a nation, we have to move forward. We don’t know what’s gonna happen next and we should all be prepared. This actually applies not only to us Filipinos but anywhere in the world what with disasters frequently happening in many nations of the world today.

Analysis by Winnie Monsod

While I was watching various videos of update on the Super Typhoon Pepeng and the damage of the last typhoon, Ondoy, I saw a video in YouTube about the analysis of Professor Winnie Monsod on the Government’s spending especially Foreign Trips which the President has spent over 10% of her total days in the office since she assumed the Presidency. What’s more alarming is not the number of days spent abroad but the costs spent on the trips.

The news anchor Ivan Mayrina said he view the trip as essential especially the last controversial US Trip since the US is the country’s major trading partner.

Agreed.

However, reviewing further the costs of these trips based on Winnie’s analysis, if we are to average out the cost of trip, Winnie said that in 2002, cost per day is USD 45, 880/day and within 5 years period (2007) it rose to 6 times or worth USD 255,600 per day. She also claimed that it is not attributable to inflation, cost of trips (e.g. Hotel accommodation, airline, etc) has increased because it will not increase more than 20%. over that period.

What was said to have contributed to the tremendous increase as quoted on the video is a.) The size of her entourage must have increased tremendously b.) their per diems must have gone up enormously c.) some combination of both.

Winnie’s suggestion: Continue the trips but cut down on the expenses. (I can’t agree more on this proposition).

In connection to this analysis, I saw another video in GMA New’s website on the same News programme wherein Winnie talked about the tragedy of Typhoon Ondoy and it’s relation to what could have done by the Government.

Link to this video: http://www.gmanews.tv/video/48659/qtv-analysis-with-winnie-monsod

She said one factor is that PAGASA (the Government agency tasked to give weather forecasts) do not have a DOPPLER RADAR which is used to determine the rain content of storms and the intensity of flooding that may occur and wind velocity. Cost of this Doppler Radar is a “mere” USD 300,000 to USD 1 million or roughly PHP 15M to PHP 50M. She tagged the amount as “mere” because the cost of this useful equipment is much less than the Pork Barrel allocated to a Congressman (reportedly worth PHP 70M for each Congressman) or PHP 200M pork barrel allocation for each Senator.  Whoa, such a big amount of money really.

Prof. Monsod also compared the cost of this radar to the Foreign trips of the Government. As earlier analyzed, cost per day of a foreign trip is USD 255,000 in 2007. This means the cost of the radar is anywhere between 1-3 days cost of the foreign trips of this Government.

There were many other human errors that she intelligently analyzed.

The National Disaster Coordinating Council reported a loss of PHP 4.8 Billion in damages across Metro Manila and other parts of Luzon and claimed the lives of 277 and counting.  Had the government given priority on these essential instruments , it  could have saved the lives of all of these people and properties even if it costs more than USD 1MILLION.

Of course we cannot blame all of these damages to the Government because I believe everyone is partly to be blamed. All of us in one way or another has contributed to the climate change because of unguarded if not uncontrolled use of energy and natural resources and continuously dumping trash improperly. But many people are trying to point out is for the Government to come to its senses in allocating the budget on priority projects and spend the taxes paid by the Filipinos wisely and morally.

Surely, as a nation we have encountered many natural disasters in the past and we have overcome these tragedies. Soon, everything will be back to normal. Of course, we cannot return back the lives of those people who have died in the calamity but we can do something to correct or improve the way we do things or the way we live.

I fervently pray that God will spare us from more natural disasters and for God to bring a true leader to the country in the next election. I believe the Philippines deserves a better leadership…