i150W: Weekends Are More Fun

I love weekends, especially Saturdays. Well, I’m pretty sure some of you love weekends too.

We often look forward to great weekends because it is the only time we can take a break from the usual busy life. It could be a weekend getaway or strolling in the park… maybe sitting in a café and having a cup of coffee while reading your favorite book. The possibilities are endless.

So what makes weekends more fun? Is it the activities? Or maybe the weather?

There are a lot of things to do on a weekend. But of course, the most common way to enjoy the weekend is to spend some quality time with your family. Aside from that, you can have a nice cup of coffee, go somewhere, watch a lot of shows and read a lot of books… and it doesn’t stop there.

You deserve a break. Enjoy the weekend.

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The Wonders And Dangers Of Escapism

Reality is harsh. I know it is. At times, I really need a break from reality and let my mind slip into the world of fantasy just to lure myself out of this unpleasant situation.

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The moment you step out of that fantasy world, the anxiety of real life comes into view. Sometimes, you wish you’d never wake up from a strange, fantastic dream. But of course, there’s always a need to go back to your ordinary, boring life. So there comes the daydreaming, wishing you were still trapped in your own fantasies and never let reality pull you back to your senses.

Well, escapism is intentional detachment and distraction from the real world.^ It gives us a chance to escape from the harsh reality of life. It’s more of letting your mind wander off the [usual] stressful environment and jump into a dreamy, more relaxing environment, even for just a short while. It gives you a moment to recharge your batteries before stepping back into the real world. Escapism can be achieved through reading books, playing games, watching TV shows and movies, listening to music, and even daydreaming. And perhaps, even a trip to the cafe and enjoy a slice of cake while enjoying a sunny afternoon and getting lost in your thoughts is also a form of escapism.

Everyday life can be stressful, upsetting, and at times depressing, hence there’s always a need for us to drift into the comfort of escapism and clear our mind of our emotions and unwanted thoughts. After a momentary period of escapism, you return to the real world (and your problems) with a fresh mind, enabling you to concentrate on your work without any worries.

While escapism may be good for the brain, too much of it is bad. First of all, it makes it harder for you to switch back to your usual routine, especially if you’re caught up in la-la-land, and may often lead to laziness and procrastination. Second, you tend to lose touch with reality, preferring the wonders of your imaginative, pretentious (sometimes make-believe) fantasy to a boring, ordinary life. And lastly, it can only make things worse if you keep spending a lot of time escaping your problems instead of finding solutions to it.

It’s not bad for a person to escape from the harsh realities of life every once in a while, but there’s no escaping your problems. Escapism is simply a break from the stressful and depressing life in order for you to clear your mind of any unnecessary thoughts, and giving your brain a chance to rest so it can function well the moment you start working on something again.

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Reality is harsh. I know it is. Every one of us needs to undergo a lot of challenges in life so we can test our ability to pinpoint our problems and overcome life’s struggles. But when things got too intense, remember that there’s always a need for us to drift off to a relaxing world of escapism and clear your mind of unnecessary thoughts that prevent you from thinking clearly.

Remember, a little dose of escapism is fine, but having large doses of it isn’t.

i150W: The Last Four Months Of The Year

It’s September already, marking the start of the Christmas season in the Philippines.

We have the longest Christmas celebration in the world. As early as September, most homes and establishments are getting decorated for the holidays, and Christmas songs are being played almost everywhere, especially in malls.

Around this time, the weather starts to get better and colder, with occasional rains and a few thunderstorms throughout the last few months of the year. It is the best time to bring out your jackets and scarves, as well as taking a sip of hot drinks and hot soups to get through this cold weather.

Aside from the Christmas season, there’s the Halloween by the end of October. For a while, some establishments are setting up creepy decors, but after that, it’s back to Christmas decors once again.

Well, it sure keeps getting cheerful for the most wonderful time of the year.

Anime Shows Are More Interesting Than Other TV Shows, Period

First row: Daisuke Niwa of D.N.Angel | Eren Yeager of Attack On Titan | Kirito and Asuna of Sword Art Online | Kaneki and Hide of Tokyo Ghoul
Second row: Sakura Kinomoto of Cardcaptor Sakura | Sakura, Naruto and Sasuke of Naruto | Izuku Midoriya a.k.a. Deku of My Hero Academia | Kei Nagai of Ajin: Demi-Human

Am I the only one who finds anime more interesting than other TV shows? Perhaps not. Anyway, let’s get on with this post.

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For many years, anime is (and will always be) a part of my happy childhood. Some of you may not admit this, but I’m pretty sure you also feel the same way.

Nowadays, there aren’t much anime shows aired on FTA (free-to-air) TV channels (excluding the digital subchannels). If there is one, then I’m pretty sure they’re more likely to air re-runs of popular anime like Detective Conan, One Piece, or Bleach. As for the digital sub-channel that airs some anime (along with cartoons and kid-oriented shows), they’re only exclusive to a specific brand of set-up top black box.

While there are some dedicated anime channels on cable and satellite TV, you need to subscribe in order to watch them. There used to be a Filipino-dubbed anime channel on cable TV, but unfortunately, it ceased airing early this year due to lack of advertiser support, with some of the ongoing anime shows on the now defunct channel will be aired soon on a digital subchannel of a major TV network. Online, there are some sites that let you watch anime shows, but is often restricted to certain regions and may require a subscription and/or registration. Anime channels on cable and satellite TV and some legit streaming sites offer a choice of original Japanese dub with English subs or an English dub, so these should suffice.

Now, why the lack of anime programming on FTA TV channels? First, acquiring broadcast rights to anime shows can be pretty expensive, and second, there are certain elements such as excessive violence, nudity, and a few others that can’t be shown on TV.

Anyway, with the lack of anime programming on FTA TV channels, there are some people wishing to bring back anime on afternoons. But the thing is, teledramas (television drama shows) and some Asian drama shows are already dominating the afternoon block, and talk shows and fantasy series are dominating the morning block, meaning that the only way to watch anime shows on free TV is on weekends, particularly Saturdays.

I don’t watch TV nowadays except for news and some public affairs programs so I don’t have any idea about the anime shows airing on these major TV networks. All I know is that anime is already a dying breed on TV owing to the rise of online streaming sites.

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So what makes anime shows more interesting than any other TV programs?

First of all, the cool-looking animation, the story (whether adapted from its manga counterpart or not), and the characters can really entice some of the viewers into watching these shows. Since some anime shows generally feature adolescents and teenagers as characters, they actually make it more appealing for the younger (and older) audiences to watch. It doesn’t matter whether it’s action, sports, romance, supernatural, or slice of life anime series, as long as the plot is good enough for them to keep tuning in.

Second, anime shows are getting more diverse than before. And with a lot of anime shows being produced in the recent years, there’s no shortage of interesting anime shows to watch. So it’s not all about the superpowers, high school romance, and giant (mecha) robots or machines that you’re watching nowadays, but almost everything.

And finally, the emotions in some anime shows are far more relatable and realistic than the ones in TV dramas. Also, some anime soundtracks (particularly the ones used as the opening and ending theme songs) are generally upbeat, and at times, emotional, and are far more enjoyable to listen to (though not much in my case). And don’t forget the anime scores, especially the ones that are played during some memorable scenes.

Nothing against TV dramas, but while they are popular with some of the viewers, there’s always the possibility of recycling some parts of the show’s script for another (similar) drama series. Major TV networks air drama series that feature the usual rivalry of the protagonist and the antagonist, intense scenes such as on-screen confrontations and fights, sensuality, third-party relationships, infidelity, and revenge, enough to burn out some of the viewers. I simply find them too boring to watch, no matter how great these kinds of shows are produced.

As for the rest… well, other than the afternoon and primetime teledramas, I can’t say much about comedy shows, game shows, and lifestyle shows, as these are what I typically watch aside from news and anime.

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Well, am I the only one who’s more interested in watching anime than any other TV shows? Of course, not.

There are others who binge-watch anime for hours, and some of them take their fascination with anime to a whole new level—including writing fan fiction, drawing fan art, buying anime-related merchandise, as well as accumulating an insane collection of anime figures, manga, and DVDs/Blu-ray discs of their favorite anime series and attending anime conventions and otaku events. For me, anime is not just a simple fascination or obsession, but it’s also a part of our lives.

But the lack of anime programming on FTA TV channels (excluding digital subchannels) will surely disappoint some of the anime fans and otakus who don’t have access to cable/satellite TV and some legitimate online streaming sites just to watch some cool anime shows. There’s Crunchyroll at least, but with limited availability of anime shows outside of North America (mainly due to geographical restrictions), and you’ll need premium membership for ad-free and high definition versions of anime, as well as simulcasts of newly aired anime one hour after its original Japanese broadcast. Completely deprived of such anime cravings, they might resort to illegal streaming sites or torrent downloads just to watch their favorite anime. Others would content themselves with replays of “classic” anime shows, even though some of them are getting tired of it and are wishing for some new anime shows to air on free TV. Right now, for those who don’t have access to cable or satellite TV, online streaming sites are the only way to watch these cool anime shows.

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Call me a weeb, but I love watching anime shows and I really can’t part with it. Besides, I tend to discover a lot of great anime since three years ago, and I ended up with a long list of anime to watch. It’s so hard to keep up, to be honest.

And by the way, if you think anime is for kids, then think again. Maybe you haven’t heard of hentai or yaoi anime, and these are strictly for mature audiences just so you know. Not to mention that there are certain elements which are not suitable for young audiences, such as nudity and violence. Of course, anime is generally targeted towards adolescents and teenagers, but it is actually meant to be enjoyed by everyone.

#Throwback: Weird Fifth Grade

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I don’t know why I call my fifth-grade weird, but I’m pretty sure it is. At least, it’s not as depressing as fourth-grade, but I still have bad luck when it comes to making friends.

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It happened seventeen years ago, in 2001. That was the time when Detective Conan (Case Closed) and After War Gundam X started airing on Philippine TV every weekday afternoons. It is also the time when my mom just had her very first cell phone, a Nokia 3210, where I often play Snake, compose a ringtone, or compose a text message and saved it in the phone’s outbox. Well, regarding my fifth-grade memories, I always had this weird feeling whenever I explore the school, especially during a light to heavy rainfall. This weird feeling would soon become a weird make-believe fantasy, and it gives me an awkward feeling every time I think about it.

Now, what is that weird feeling I’m experiencing? It’s kind of unexplainable at the moment, but I believe it has anything to do with the area near the restrooms, as well as the view of the houses from the school grounds. I always tend to imagine a make-believe character getting sick or waking up from a nightmare and playing these scenes over and over in my mind. These weird feelings I’m experiencing are partly due to these anime shows I’ve watched at the moment. It really triggers my ability to create characters and scenes in my head, and that might serve as a basis for a planned story I’ve been trying to write about. Some sort of imagination I had back then…

September 2001. I participated at the Palarong Pinoy as a sungka player during that time, and these weird thoughts keep coming to my head. Somehow, the thought of waking up on a Saturday morning and meeting up with the rest of the participants at the school grounds before daybreak seems kind of weird. Oh well, it’s just me as a first-timer to join inter-school events (and the only time I did). It happened during the first and second day of the event (the three-day event is only held every Saturdays). And for the next two Sundays, I always request for a sumptuous feast of scrambled egg, fried rice, and [instant] chicken noodles for breakfast. Since I got eliminated on the second day of the event, everything goes back to normal… at least for a moment.

On the day of the school intramurals, everything gets a little boring since I’m not involved in any of the sports events, probably except for cheering on my schoolmates. Anyway, my boredom sure does get intense midway through the event so I tend to roam around the school campus, check some of the classrooms and books lying around, and think of weird thoughts about the classrooms near the covered court/stage and the storage area behind the classrooms.

Of course, there were some scary (supernatural) threats from some of my classmates, and I think it’s considered a form of bullying rather than a case of simple weirdness, as it involves intimidation from fellow students. I guess this is where my anxiety intensified, and that’s how my academic performance suffered and I was already off the list of top students. I don’t know if I should panic about the threats, my poor academic performance, or both. To be honest, there’s nothing weird about this part, just some supernatural-influenced scare tactics.

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I still have mixed feelings about that school year. Yes, I may have met a lot of new classmates in that combined class, but it’s basically the same as fourth-grade… sort of. But this is where my weird thoughts blossomed (and later incorporated) into my not-so-normal life.

The main campus of that school looked like an appropriate setting for a young adult novel, the one where the main character experienced the horrors of dealing with bullies and terror school teachers. But then, I don’t always look at it the same way as what I’ve just mentioned. Besides, that’s where I graduated from elementary and it’s already a part of my school life. Of course, the weird thoughts from that time will always remain in my mind.

Well, fifth-grade is much better than fourth-grade for as long as my emotional well-being is concerned.

i150W: Anime, In General

When you say anime, the first thing that comes to your mind is Japanese animation. Yup, you’re absolutely right about that.

Anime is a style of hand-drawn and computer animation originating in Japan.^ Basically, most anime shows are adapted from manga, though some of them are originally produced by animation production studios. Seiyuus (Japanese voice actors) provide voices for anime characters. Outside Japan, it may be dubbed by English or other foreign voice talents.

Anime has a wide range of genres that cater to certain demographic groups, and it can be enjoyed by everyone regardless of age and gender. Most anime shows are aired on TV (and at times, online), though some OVAs are only released in home video formats and are sometimes bundled with certain manga releases. And of course, anime films are also hitting the cinemas worldwide.

There’s always a good reason to watch anime. I always do.

i150W: Internet–A Superhighway Of Possibilities

We all know that the internet is the information superhighway, that’s why we often rely on it. But there’s more to it than just doing research and exchanging messages.

Nowadays, the internet is where we found almost everything we need. Aside from doing research or exchanging messages, it is where we do online shopping, work online, watch movies, TV shows, and anime and listen to music (through various streaming platforms), be updated with the latest news, play online games, and chat with friends. Along with the growing number of internet users, there’s the need to socialize with others online, hence the birth of social media sites such as the now-defunct Friendster, Twitter, and Facebook.

A lot of people nowadays are spending a considerable amount of time online. Sure, the internet is full of possibilities, but we do need to disconnect from time to time and enjoy life off the net.

 

Never Too Young, Never Too Old

Is your age really a concern? You may be thinking too much.

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Let’s face it, we can only enjoy certain activities at a certain age. What young people enjoy is something old people can’t enjoy. What old people enjoy can be quite embarrassing for young people.

Okay, so maybe some of you are thinking like that. Me too. But then, there’s no age limit to almost everything for as long as anyone can really enjoy doing it.

You’re Never Too Young To…

  • Start thinking of your future–Back then, we were asked to write what we want to be when we grow up. And we shared it with the rest of the class. Even though that may not happen in the end, what matters is that you plan everything.
  • Be financially responsible–As kids, we were always told by our parents to save money. But being financially irresponsible I was, I tend to spend my allowance on anything I fancy. Perhaps, some of you already realize this, but if you’re good in saving up for the future, then chances are you won’t encounter any money-related problems in the end.
  • Learn anything–Some kids can cook at a young age, provided that they are guided by a parent or guardian in order to avoid accidents. Some kids can paint a simple piece of art or write stories and poems. Anything is possible.
  • Come up with cool outfit ideas–While some teens are pretty much conscious about their looks and their outfits, some kids are doing it as well.
  • Do gardening and home crafts–Some of these activities can also be enjoyed by children.
  • Start socializing with others—It’s important for children to start making friends at an early age and start hanging out with them, especially at school. This will help them develop their social skills and can help prevent loneliness and depression. Of course, parents must guide their children in choosing friends, whether in real life or online.

You’re Never Too Old To…

  • Try extreme activities–Nowadays, even some elderly people are trying out various extreme activities, no matter how risky it is for as long as they’re physically fit to do it.
  • Get famous, in a good way–Some late bloomers started their careers later in their lives.
  • Continue your childhood hobbies–There’s no need for you to give up our childhood hobbies… even binge-watching anime shows and reading manga!
  • Be fascinated by what you watch and/or read—So you’re fascinated with Naruto or Harry Potter? Then go for it. Maybe go write some fan fiction or create some fan art based on your favorite shows or books.
  • Go job-hunting or go freelance—There’s no such thing as overqualified in office-related jobs, and maybe call center jobs. Remember, they’re after your skills and abilities, not your educational backgrounds and your (old) age. If you can’t find a job, then go freelance.
  • Don cool outfits–If you look young, then why not? After all, not everyone gets to grow old youthfully and gracefully to don such outfits.
  • Rediscover your talent–Being old doesn’t mean you’re not talented. Who knows, you might have a hidden talent that you haven’t even realized yet.
  • Continue learning—If you think that learning stops once you start aging, then you’re 100% wrong. You’ll never stop learning as you grow older, so keep this in mind and start learning new hobbies and activities that you’ll do and enjoy for the rest of your life.

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Well, the world is full of possibilities. That goes for the things that you thought can only do or enjoy at a certain age. Remember, there’s no age limit to almost everything as long as you can really do it.

The fact that you’re thinking about your age is something that prevents you from doing the things you want and/or love. So get up and live your life without any worries.

I Only Look Good In Pictures

Welcome to the era of Photoshopped images and beauty cams!

I may be quite obsessed with selfies, but the thing is I’m not that attractive. Even donning unusual and cool outfits don’t work. What’s worse, the visible pores on my face and the ever-growing facial hair makes me look even more unattractive. I can only wish for a smoother, fair-looking skin, especially on my face, but most treatments and procedures cost a lot of money. I am so desperate to achieve that flawless look, no matter how time-consuming or expensive it is.

Guess I’m completely out of luck when it comes to looks. Well, there’s still hope… though it’s kind of deceptive.

It’s In The Camera

My earliest selfies are taken using Nokia 2680-s, a cool-looking slider phone with a VGA camera. So of course, the pictures don’t look great, especially with poor lighting. On the brighter side, at least the blemishes on my face didn’t really look obvious.

Okay, so you think VGA quality cameras can conceal the facial blemishes on your face, but you’ll always end up with a low-quality pic. Even budget-friendly smartphones nowadays can do the same thing, only there’s a possibility that these blemishes might appear to be noticeable if you try to look closely at the pic.

But then, I simply wanted a good-looking selfie pic, in high quality. Thing is, how can I make my face smoother without the need for a cosmetic procedure?

Photoshopped To Perfection

Well, it looks like I’ve found a reliable partner in my looking-good selfies… the Adobe Photoshop!

Okay, so I initially did some minor cosmetic edits to my pics by hiding some facial blemishes using the spot healing brush tool, and that somehow worked like magic. In fact, I used it to erase some writings on scanned old pics, as well as the earphone wires from some of my earlier selfies. The result appears to be satisfactory, but not 100% perfect. In fact, there are possible traces of slight distortion in the edited areas of the pic, which may or may not look visible in the finished project.

Right now, I only use the program for artistic-style editing and nothing else. If I want to use this program to edit out some unwanted spots or blemishes from the pics, then I’ll definitely need to learn some basic photo editing lessons.

Other Than Photoshop

Some smartphone image-editing apps like Pixlr may have the option of removing slight blemishes by using the app’s spot heal tool. This works in a similar manner to Photoshop’s spot healing brush tool.

I’m pretty sure there were other image-editing apps available, but I never tried anything other than Pixlr, or even PicsArt.

Beauty Cam

Have I discovered the most wonderful feature in most smartphone cameras? Yes, and that’s the beauty cam.

Most smartphones have that feature, which allows you to adjust the buffing (face smoothness), skin tone (complexion), and whitening. I tried using it a few times, and it comes out great. I can even see the difference.

Perhaps, I can consider the beauty cam feature as a real miracle in making yourself look good in pictures. After all, who wouldn’t want to look flawless in your selfies?

Artistically Edited

Sometimes, I’d rather do some artistic edits to my pics and use it as my cover photo or my profile pic. Aside from Photoshop and the aforementioned apps, there were other image-editing apps that can transform your selfie into a 3D picture or a painting, and maybe even a glitched pic.

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Well, looking good in pictures can mean two things: looking good in a chosen outfit or looking good without the blemishes.

Looking beautiful in pictures, edited or not, is something most people desire in life. After all, we all want a photographic remembrance of how we looked like during a certain time. Imagine how wonderful it is to look good in pictures, it can even be more memorable if you’re incredibly fond of it.

i150W: A Certain Disappointment

We have our own disappointments in life. Some people do get disappointed for a certain reason.

Yeah, it’s like you already know the reason for your own disappointment. I mean, some of you already deal with traffic, long lines, unreliable services, unexpected delays… these are the things you can actually rant about on social media. If you’re used to dealing with these daily life struggles, then you’re definitely used to expressing your disappointment towards the people behind these unnecessary inconveniences, like incompetent government officials and inconsiderate oligarchs.

What could be worse than broken promises, canceled plans, and failed expectations? Of course, the feeling of disappointment. It seems like they’re here to ruin your mood and motivation in an unexpected way, much like a surprise. At times, it can be really frustrating.

We have our own disappointments in life. No matter how disappointed we are, we can’t always dwell on it.