Occam’s Razor

October 26, 2007

Foot Prints

I’ve been meaning to give an update on my, uh, so-called “Global Foot Print” (my friend Anna is getting excited too, read her) as soon as I got Paris reading. Perhaps it’s the French couple I met in one of those trips who visited my blog. In any case, when I got the Paris flag it got me really excited  for reasons I have previously blogged about. I guess also because of this Eurocentricity that I’m afflicted with.

Check out the map, my blog is read almost all over the US. In Europe the distribution is a bit less dense but spread out to my satisfaction. Teehee! Must work on my Australian  readership (guess it’s been only CJ who’s been reading hehe). Need to also spruce up readership in Asia although I’ve been getting traffic from Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines of course. But in China, Korea, HK, Japan — zilch!

In any case, what is the point of my post you might ask? Nothing. It’s just that I need to document this before I start losing interest. That kind of thing happens you know, what with the limited attention span our generation was cursed with!

Plus, it has been one heck of a work-week. October has been really, ugh, stressful at work. So I really need to remind myself that I have something to be excited about. Like flags!

So let’s go back to flags. Here now, presenting my most recent Flag list, tada!

So happy, sooo berry happy!


Are You Kidding Me?!@

Filed under: Uncategorized — lesturla @ 1:19 pm

An executive pardon??? Are you fuckin kidding me? Could that midget of a President be more guilty of all the allegations thrown at her? Don’t you fuckin forget that you were propelled to your position by people who marched to unseat that filthy bastard out of Malacanang!

I for one marched along EDSA during that time. So it fucking irritates me that you’d pardon the sonofabitch and put to waste what I, along with millions of Filipinos, fought for. And what you say is your reason? Fuck your reasons. We all know why you did this!

Oh you’re so quivering with fear right now because you know you were exposed and are vulnerable. So you had to use a lifeline. While you do this shitty stunt, I want you to know that you disgust me! I am ashamed that you are the President of my country!


Hoy GMA, that corrupt sonofabitch was convicted of stealing from the country’s coffers. Meaning yung tax na binabayaran ko for years binulsa nya! That’s one-and-a-half iPod Classic worth of my salary EVERY FREAKIN month. Put that in perspective, in a few months meron na dapat akong MacBook Pro! Pero I gave that to the government and this mofo stole it. Same case sa mga ibang Pinoy — that dude stole from us. we put you on your seat para lang you can pardon this bastardous thief? Some bitch you are!

October 18, 2007


In the mail today: some documents from the Foreign Affairs and a copy of Ian McEwan‘s Atonement — the main reason why I have this wild grin on my face. I have previously read Atonement about six years ago (bought the book twice and lost it twice) but I felt this strong urge to read it again due to the Booker Prize fever I am currently having.

My problem has been that here in Hanoi it is so difficult to get books that I’d care to read. Yes, I was able to get a copy of Catch 22 and Mr. Nice but they’re rip off’s as in photocopies of the real books — xerox with a putrid ink scent from a possibly beat up copier with the edges of the pages coming off as you flip through the book. It’s horrible! I have scoured all the bookstores here and saw quite a number of interesting titles. Alas, they are all translated in Vietnamese and possibly censored, too.

This of course made me want to acquire books even more. More than any time in my life I am craving for literature. I wake up each morning reaching beside me for a book but there is none! I tried to quench this urge by reading blogs like a total maniac but nothing beats the feeling of leafing through pages and hearing that flicking sound of pages turning while avoiding a nasty papercut. Or smelling ink on paper while you are in the midst of say Ian McEwan’s Enduring Love.

Thanks to my ate for sending me Atonement, I am finally going to be able to read good literature of the non-boring kind. Quite honestly I would rather read a good book again than waste time in say, HP ooops did I hurt any fans’ feelings? Oh, I blogged about HP before and yes I will someday try to read the darned thing when I’m done re-reading Ian McEwan.

Is it too obvious now that I am a rabid fan? If you’ve previously read Ian (yes first name basis) you’d know what I’m talking about. If not, well YOU HAD BETTER READ THE GUY! I usually recommend reading Enduring Love first because that book has the best opening scenes (yes scenes) I’ve read in the past ten years. Its exposition of a person with de Clerambault’s Syndrome (a disorder which makes the sufferer believe that another person is in love with them) and how it affected the life of his character Joe Rose is far from clinical as it is sordid. The subject itself is very interesting, I mean how many times have you had suspicions that a particular person is in love with you or vice versa? In this book, your suspicions become real and you’d have a very close glimpse of your vain thoughts and feel how these suspicions, translated to reality, can actually be completely destructive and tragic in a non sappy kind of way.

But the best thing about Ian is that he writes with so much ease that as many critics say, it’s as though the words are transparent and what he writes is not even inked on paper but are mere thoughts that are flowing in your mind or are scenes that you see with your naked eyes. Flipping through an Ian McEwan book is like watching a movie with perfect cinematography, compelling story and real life dialogues. His characters’ thoughts make you feel telepathic.

Enduring Love was made into a movie in 2004 and it didn’t quite work for me. So I’m hoping that Joe Wright’s movie version of Atonement will do the book some justice. He did a pretty good job with Pride & Prejudice. Atonement stars Keira Knightley and James McAvoy. It is a tale of how one small mistake (in this case a kid’s annoying mischief) can have dire life-long consequences. (This actually reminds me of Ray Bradbury’s A Sound of Thunder in a weird stroke of parallel). Read the book first before you watch the movie. Always works best that way.

Yesterday, this year’s Booker Prize was awarded to Anne Enright for her book The Gathering. I was rooting for Ian to win for On Chesil Beach although I haven’t read it yet (kasi nga walang expat friendly bookstore dito sa Hanoi), mainly because I feel that he should have won for Atonement on 2001. But then again this ain’t the Oscars with a backlogged awards system. I was told that On Chesil Beach is his weakest work but damn he still got shortlisted for the Booker. Ian has previously won the Booker Prize for Amsterdam.

I already emailed bookstores in KL so hopefully when I go there next month I will bring with me tons of books to keep me occupied for a few months here in Hanoi. Until then you can choose to send me a book or two because you’re, well, in the mood to do so. Teehee! Hint: I’m trying to put together the six shortlisted books for this year’s Booker:

·         Darkmans by Nicola Barker

·         The Gathering by Anne Enright

·         The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid

·         Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones

·         On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan

·         Animal’s People by Indra Sinha

Message me if you want my mailing address. Yeah, like seriously!

October 16, 2007

Dans La Crainte

Some explanation on why I am passionately awed by this robotic-balletic-perfectly idyllic tennis god named Roger Federer. His peers praise him on end. People whom he should have as idols like Borg, Becker, McEnroe all bow to him and his talent. They pronounce him the greatest ever. Who am I to question that even for a bit? Watch him play and you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Here are some quotes from Tennis Planet. One of ’em blogs I stalk.

What Roddick said last year when he lost to Roger in Cincinnati:

INTERVIEWER: Last time, at Wimbledon, you said “Next time I may have to punch him.” Do you have a plan B?
RODDICK: Kick him.

INTERVIEWER: Do you feel like Federer is the guy everyone is chasing?
RODDICK: Yeah basically nobody stands a chance against him… maybe we should all join together, you know like Power Rangers or something….

-”I am getting really sick of this guy,” Ljubicic joked. “But I guess he likes the same tournament as me, so I will have to keep seeing him. It is the first time I have done something like this. It seems I have to be careful choosing my tournaments in the future.”

-“He’s the most gifted player that I’ve ever seen in my life. I’ve seen a lot of people play. I’ve seen the (Rod) Lavers, I played against some of the great players – the Samprases, Beckers, Connors’, Borgs, you name it. This guy could be the greatest of all time. That, to me, says it all.” – John McEnroe, winner of 7 Grand Slams.

-“I’d like to be in his shoes for one day to know what it feels like to play that way.” – Mats Wilander, winner of 6 Grand Slams.

-“Roger can produce tennis shots that should be declared illegal” – Tracy Austin

-“But there’s probably — I don’t think there’s anyone that hits the ball like that. Sure, if you take Roddick’s serve and Agassi’s returns and my volleys and Hewitt’s speed and tenacity, then you’ve probably got a good chance against Federer (laughter). That’s a lot of people involved in, you know, one player.”  Tim Henman

A quote from an article on James Blake:

Despite his recent play or, more likely, because he represents the Great American Hope, Tennis Magazine picked Blake to win the U.S. Open.

“Someone there hasn’t been paying attention if they are picking against Roger [Federer],” Blake said. “If you poll the top 200 guys in the world, about 199 are going to say Roger. The only one who won’t is Roger because he’s too nice about it.”

“I just have a very strong belief in my capabilities, in not showing my opponent how I feel fighting like crazy even though it doesn’t look like I am.”– Roger Federer on himself after beating Richard Gasquet in Toranto Masters.-

“I’d love to cook an egg on Rogies head.”-Tiger Woods.


reposted from Tennis Planet

October 15, 2007

I Want Your Flag

Filed under: drivel, play, travel, world — lesturla @ 8:04 am

I have this silly fascination with flags lately courtesy of Globetrackr.com. I have since included this “widget” in my wordpress blog. And I must admit that everytime I get a new hit from a new spot in the world I get a silly high. At the top are the flag hits that my blog has received (can’t do it here in Multiply though.)

As you can see, I have so far amassed hits from the UK to Munich to both US coasts all the way to Caloocan. Besides Vietnam, my hits mostly come from the US. The Philippines is only at third place in terms of the traffic that my site receives. I am sure to get hits from East and West Coasts because of family and friends over there. But my friends in PI should really step up a bit (hahaha!) and give me those hits! I don’t even think that the traffic I’ve been getting from PI are from friends, I mean I have received hits from Caloocan and Roosevelt — places that I’ve never been to (not by choice but there just wasn’t a chance).

And boy, Munich? UK? Possibly random hits although it will be a blast to realize that I have readers from those places who find my extremely self absorbed posts entertaining. The funny thing is I don’t even have ads in my blog yet so this fascination is really just for the “kilig” factor knowing that you are read around the world! Wahoo! Les Turla is going global ampotah! I feel like giving away virtual beers again! Yebah! I know it’s extremely babaw but what the heck, I find joy in simple things like this. So give this one to me na. Knowing me, I’m sure to outgrow this fascination in say two more weeks… but right now… Woohoo! I’m lovin it heaps!

October 14, 2007

On What’s Up

Filed under: Uncategorized — lesturla @ 5:32 pm

October has been one heck of a busy month. It’s only the 14th and I feel as though I’ve put in one whole month of work already. So now I blog and there are some bits and pieces that have happened here in Hanoi that I haven’t blogged about yet.

For example a few months back we had a chance to meet some Pinoys here in Hanoi. It was quite an impressive mix of people, we’ve got an international lawyer, diplomats who work for the Philippine Embassy, an Urban Planner who works for the World Bank and of course a Global Outsourcing Professional (ako yun, I just made my job title a little, err, high fallutin). We had dinner at this swanky, over-priced resto-bar in Hanoi Towers and proceeded to have coffee at Highlands Coffee (their version of Starfucks oops Starbucks pala). We talked about Manila and how each of the people round the table misses Manila already. But that conversation didn’t really stick to me coz at that time I was at a stage of thinking that missing Manila is a bit ridiculous since, well, I was just in Manila a few weeks back then.

I remembered though the conversation about the Chocolate Buffet at Sofitel Metropole which Thea and I still haven’t tried yet so must make mental note to go there soon. I have however, during one wandering-around-Hanoi noon-time, tried their lunch buffet. It was actually pretty good my Shang and Marriott raised palate was treated to a wide selection of European dishes. I totally snubbed their Japanese food section although I am a Japanese food fiend. I especially loved their selection of cheese and scooped up their unending serving of caviar with matching Italian red wine. The best thing about going to good restos here in Hanoi is that the waitresses speak French. So with all the Sofitel ambience and European food feeling mo talaga nasa Paris ka. My conversation with the waitress:

Me: Parlez-vous l’anglais? (although I knew she could speak some English)
Waitress: Oui! Comment est-ce que je peux vous aider?
Me: Je voudrais essayer le votre secoue.

Basically, meaningless and I’m pretty sure mispronounced French. Nonetheless I had a blast.

A few weeks back I also finally decided to cut my hair. My motivation to have it long then was that I never really had it long before. And my motivation to cut it short now? I was starting to look like a dirty professor when I go to work — the type you’d make fun with kasi hindi nagsusuklay. Good thing that they have Toni&Guy here although I never really tried T&G in Manila but their stylist here was really good.

Oh, and I also took to heart our Vietnamese life and leased a motorbike. This actually made people at work so excited that I have locals asking me left and right how I find it. I tell them it’s fun coz during the weekends when you use the motorbike for pasyal it can be fun. But heck when you have to ride it going to work amid the Hanoi traffic:

it can really bad. But I have since learned to drive through the pavement albeit ever so carefully in traffic cases like the one in this photo. And cussing in English goes a long way here. Who would have thought that yelling “Outta my way styoopid fart!” can make people freeze in their tracks? But some of the disturbing things I’ve noticed was that motorists here can get really hot tempered. Geez, ilang suntukan na sa daan ang na witness namin ni Thea. And everytime we make usyoso talaga the classic Pinoy way with Thea providing commentaries like, “Oh my god, I think he’s really gonna kill the other guy na!” or, blow! “Ay!” blow! “Ay!”. One time a motorist ran to a sidewalk vendor and got the poor vendor’s knife to make saksak his kalaban with in the street duel. I stared at them and thought shet parang Fernando Poe movie. Asiong Salonga in Hanoi!

I also experienced getting caught in the rain on my way to work. So you could imagine how much cursing was involved while I got wet and gooey. Compound that with the fact na it’s autumn here and it can get a bit cold especially when it rains so I was wet and cold and I didn’t really like the fact that I was scampering like a literal na basang sisiw looking for a shed while I wait for the rain to stop. Eeeek!

On a darker note, just yesterday we saw a guy killed in a motor accident as in with oozing blood from the face and a desperate man (whom we thought was the one responsible for the accident) trying to shake him up in a desperate attempt to wake him up. Our reactions:

Thea: “Oh my god, may patay sa daan Boo!”
Me: “Huh?” I slowed down, got about 10 feet away from the mob of people making usyoso. I didn’t speak further as I tried to analyze the crime scene a la Grissom of CSI. With distraction of the mob and all the shock that comes with seeing the scene I didn’t get much out of it.
Thea: “Did these people bother calling 911 or an ambulance man lang? Oh my God, I think he’s dead!”

Sadly the other man kept shaking the victim. If the victim were merely unconscious with all the injuries he’d have had he would have had died because of the shaking that could have snapped his spine and stopped blood flow to his brain. Even more sad is that amid all the bickering and analyzing we did nothing to help. We felt a bit guilty later on for not calling 911 or its equivalent here coz well, we didn’t know 911’s equivalent here and we were shocked! We treaded on with the speed of a turtle on tranquilizers and went to the dentist for our appointment. It was not the first time we saw a bloody scene in the streets of Hanoi due to motorcycle accident but seeing death freezes us and saps out something in us — that thing that would be bibo enough to do something significant to help.

If you can see the photo of the traffic above you’d notice how motorists don’t bother wearing helmets. Very few people actually wear helmets here. Relatively speaking, motorbiking in Hanoi should not be all too dangerous because the streets are narrow like that of Italy’s and the traffic is not really that fast. But some motorists like anywhere else in the world really want to be daredevils and like the man from yesterday, they don’t bother putting on helmets. From all that I’ve seen, the novelty of riding motorbikes has surely ended. I’ll just finish the lease and settle with riding cabs after. Nonetheless, I promise to ride ever so carefully and I would never forget my helmet.

On a lighter note Thea and I got influenced by Cullen to try on new things like, kiddie slides and rides:

Anyway, what else has been keeping me busy? This:

My endless fascination with my Roger Federer – Pete Sampras and Nadal – Gasquet exhibition tickets. Also my Krzysztof Kieślowski collection. Thea and I just finished watching Blue from the Three Colors cycle. Stars Juliette Binoche (nurse Hanna in The English Patient and star of Chocolat). I am convinced completely that Kieslowski is a genius of the lens. Each frame in this movie is a meaningful photograph with carefully choreographed pans of the camera and oh so lovely splashes of blue here and there. No wonder Blue consistently makes it in the listS of greatest movies ever made. Will tell you more when I finish his collection especially when I finish the highly acclaimed Decalogue. I’m also starting on The Sopranos. Will fill you in soon with the experience. Right now my two-year old is bugging me to sing the Barney song. So next time.

October 9, 2007

Vampire Runs

Filed under: Uncategorized — lesturla @ 10:21 am

I’ve never been one to like outdoor activities, heck I don’t even like the beach save for Bora or some awesome Carribean beach I’m destined to see someday. In fact, I secretly define outdoor running as a desperate attempt to achieving distance when glaring and/or throwing invectives don’t work in throwing disgusting humanoids off of my periphery.

Having said that, why then was I out of town for two days getting all outdoorsy and running with a fierce smile?

It was for a good cause… Alright, i’m kidding! Although in a genuinely non-sarcastic manner, that is also true. We took existing and potential leaders in the company I work for to a two-day out of town leadership training.

Oh, and there was a team competition involved a la Amazing Race but with five members and no flights to catch involved. Or at least that’s how I treated it to be, since I am unforgivably, intrinsically and neurotically competitive (imagine Cristina Yang of Grey’s Anatomy screaming “What’s up!?!” and “Come on!@!” at every challenge a la Lleyton Hewitt).

I thought this is it! All those dreams of joining the Amazing Race have finally come to these two glorious days! My team will win! (Insert cracking knuckles, neck bending and jumping in position emoticons here. Alternatively, you can imagine Gollum saying, “My preciousssss!” That’s how bad it is.)

I was still asleep when I got to the pick up point and officially woke up only when we got to the “Lake House” the venue for the leadership training. Hence I was in an extremely gullible state during the bus ride. Proof:

Owing to the fact that I am wearing army type Abercrombie shorts and “Vietcong Style” cap, they asked me to make a Vietcong pose but I didn’t hear clearly coz I was still technically asleep. So I did it again, here:

Boy, I suck at being a soldier. Anyway, I lost interest in the story that I was gonna say. Plus I’m busy making the slide show for the event. So here are the pictures:


Team cheer? Like song and dance? We’re so fucked! I couldn’t dance to save my life!

Roll the lemmins! Yay we won here, we also won in charades, pick the balloon, pretty much during day one my team dominated save for the cursed Team Cheer competition.


Passing the French, Chinese, Filipino and Vietnamese message.


Photo Op

Second place finish here. The Quack Quack team!

Day two: exercise with Ric.

The most stable tower. Basically we scare off the judge and say, IT’S STABLE!!!

How very kanto boy running with no shoes!

My first time to experience water falls! That fat naked idiot at the top is me!

I totally fell in love with the lake here!

Oh and before I forget, my team was overall champion. Teehee!

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