Simple and Practical Stuff 001

Call me cheap. Call me a scrooge, a miser, if you will. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words cannot kill me, yadda-yadda. Not unless you are Gandalf with a potent incantation wielded with ardor, I’m good. I’m good.

So, everybody seems to create their own lists, why not make my own, right? Doesn’t matter. Have to appear consistent with these entries so I guess a list, or lists should fill the void and gaps while my so-called creativity is still in demand with my work.

As the title says, only simple and practical stuff in the list. Let’s start with my own advocacy of the affordable, whether it is technology, foodstuffs, literature or just about anything with mundane and dull written over it.

Now, it’s imperative that you understand, these suggestions come from someone like me, which is another way of saying that what you might read here might not jive with your fashion sense (if any), the common norm of expensive taste ( aah-choo! ) or the conventional dictates of the material world we have come to know.

1. CD-R King – Bought an MP3 player ( Php 1,080.00 ) that is so small, it can evade the snobbish looks people with expensive iPods and Sony players tend to exhibit. Don’t get me wrong. We all dream of owning really cool gadgets that go with your average costly lifestyle, but if there are cheaper alternatives, why spend more, right? With 1gb of memory and an FM tuner to boot, this one can store approximately 160 plus songs in mp3 format, depending on your compression preferences. I choose to limit my compression at 128kbps so as not to lose precious bass and enough sound layers. The earphones are okay, but I bought an A4 Tech earplugs at Abenson (another treasure chest for bargain seekers ) at Php 350.00 that rivals the dexterity of more expensive earphones in the market. But I had to find an adaptor for the earphone plug for it because the default set has the smaller specs than regular earphones. An with 5 hours or so of playback time, that’s a good deal for you. Also, CD-R King is where you can get low priced flashdisks, blank CDRs, DVDRs and PC peripherals that could alleviate your budget constraints. My auxilliary speakers I got from this store. Remember, whether buying expensive, well known brands, or stuff such as my own choices, practice good sense in testing the merchandise and keeping the receipts, read the warranty stickers and be sure to go back if anything is amiss.
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2. Pares – This one might raise some eyebrows and emit deep “oooohs” in some quarters. I dig these ambulant food stores. At Php 30.00 a set ( thick, steaming soup of meat and fried rice, usually just cooked rice laced with soy sauce) a meal that fills your hunger. And really tasty. You could even ask the guy if there ‘s available Utak ( beef brains, boiled and tied in a plastic bubble, floating around the huge kettle ), Balat ( beef skin, cooked soft and sliced ) or Maskara ( flesh scraped off from the skull structure of the hapless beast ), Mami ( a noddled version, but with less meat) or even, for the virility officionados, Bat en Bol or Soup #5 ( onion heavy mix, with the cows genitals as the star ). You might want to sample this ( all of them, not just the latter ) to know what I mean.  And they come ready with chopped green onions and fried, chopped garlic and chili, and the usual Patis ( fish sauce ), Toyo ( Soy sauce ) and that annoying Kalamansi ( this one I could never understand ). To sample this wonderful gastronomic adventure, just walk around Makati, in San Isidro or Pasay Road, you’ll find one Pares cart parked and bristling with taxi and jeepney drivers, overnight drunks seeking relief from intoxication and the common people looking for a filling and quick breakfast before getting down on the day’s tasks.

3. Bit Torrent Portals and Clients – Whoa. My celluloid fix just got better. In a manner of speaking. This one may clash with your ‘instant everything’ mentality, but with a speck of patience and a whole lot of gumption ( go find out what this word means. It’s what Google’s for ) you can download and collect, watch or listen to your favorite movies, documentaries ( yup, love those ) and music that you either cannot afford then or lost the VHS copy years ago. And it’s not just getting them, but the quality ( remember this word? ) is really up to specs. Utorrent is my bittorrent client, and to find the sites, just search torrent and you’ll be drooling with the availability of the good people who want to share their collection with the world. After all, it’s what shareware is all about. All you need is a good internet connection, some memory to spare on your PC set up, and media players that come equipped with codecs ( compression-decompression plugins ) and you are good to go. I mentioned patience, right? Because for schmucks like me, who are slow and dim witted, a good amount of learning the ropes, understanding bandwidth and kilobytes and gigabytes, is a must. And of course, if your ISP happen to be in your work environment, chances are you have to be a bit of the sleuth to hide quickly the interface when the Boss is come atrolling by to check on your assumed progress. Being a freeloader is a pain. Be sure to assume a poker face and some semblance of ‘working hard’ to pull this off. If you are working for a government agency, that’s tough breaks, man . . . . . .

4. Amici Pasta Pizza Gelato – Bosconians have it good! This restaurant/diner used to be the culinary baptism of fire for Don Bosco students who would like to have a career in kitchen skills. Rumor has it, the school sold it to a private firm, but retained the name. Who knows if there are discernable changes, but the food, pardon the pun, is something to dig in with relish! Pasta that could put to shame all those other restaurant fares elsewhere, gelato that literally tickles the roof of your mouth, and Pizza! Whoopeeedoodah! everybody loves pizza and you could really enjoy the feast served here. Located at Pasay Road, a stone’s throw from Walter Mart, this is the place to go if you are tired of eating on plastic and styrofoam dishes, bland fastfood stuff. Sure a meal may cost a bit more, but hey, good food, REALLY good food should be. If you think you deserve a better meal, then by all means, come to this place. I guarantee your taste buds and tummy will agree.

5. L.A. Cruiser Shoes – Men love shoes. Some scrimp and save to buy the latest Jordans, some prefer the latest catalogue variety, others are just flashy dudes with less taste. Me, I go for longevity and no-nonsense looks, good leather and tough soles. My two pairs of LA Cruisers are proof of that. My mid-cut boots deserve an award. Patterned after workboots, these shoes are 8 years old already, bought from an LA Cruiser outlet in Farmer’s Plaza, Cubao. The leather is superbly treated and tanned that it outlived two sole replacements. I wear out shoes like a Carabao wears down a path, and these dudes really put up with my lifestyle. With good maintenace and care, some practical petroleum jelly applied periodically, a good pair of leather shoes will stand by you through hot sticky pavement or flooded streets. The mid-cut ones are a bit older, being the first pair I bought ( sigh, it was my first real, self bought pair, not a hand me down ) a hang over from the 80s design, this pair also outlasted a couple of sole replacement and several laces. I took down the emblem attached at the sides for a simpler, inconspicuous look. And they are nubuck leather so shoe polish have no place for it. And it goes well with my t-shirt and jeans way of dressing.

There it is. My list. Maybe I’ll post some more.

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