Friday, December 28, 2007

Down The Last Stretch

As we come to the close of 2007, Daily Dotventures is compiling some of the highlights of the year. A kind of "the best of times, worst of times" summary to an otherwise nondescripit period of history.

In the following days, we will be coming out with a series on what made 2007 a milestone year for some, and a regrettable year for others. And without going into a fearless forecast, we will attempt to analyze how 2007 will mark the course of the lives of many peoples around the world.

We invite everyone to review the year 2007 with us as we look back and examine, celebrate and wonder at what the past 365 days have done and will be doing to most, if not all of our lives.

Come back soon for the first "Daily Dotventures: Year At A Time."

Thursday, December 20, 2007

"You Better Watch Out!" Things To Look Out For During The Holidays

Santa isn't the only one who should be making a list this Christmas season. And I'm not talking about a holiday shopping list here. With the Christmas rush comes a greater chance of overlooking some mundane detail, which while seemingly trivial may actually knock the spirit off the holidays.

Murphy's law it seems has a corollary - "whatever can go wrong, gets worse during festivities!"

So get your pen and paper and jot down a few reminders - A Christmas watchlist, if you will, of things to do before something goes horribly wrong and you start feeling sorry instead of jolly.

And don't fail to check them twice!

Watch The Wires - Unlike dear old Rudolph (the reindeer, not the actor) whose nose allegedly glows in the dark by some odd organic glitch, the rest of us have to plug into an electrical outlet to get our Christmas lights blinking. Over the years, I've seen too many fiery newsflash of Christmases turning into ashes because of overloaded electrical outlets. Its fine to brighten up one's abode during the holidays, but for goodness' sake, you don't have to make it seem you have your own private nuclear reactor going on inside your house.

"Octopus" connections at electric outlets are a big no-no. Make sure wires don't end up beneath rugs or wedged under anything. When something is plugged in, the wires heat up and if it's pinned down the chances of the insulation getting cut or melting increases which may result in a short-circuit and a nasty fire.

Watch The Labels - Christmas and New Year's are the "primetime of marketing" when everything new comes out and are offered at attractive discounts, even freely at times. Deny it or not, at some point you will be buying (if you haven't already) something offered at you during this season even if you don't need or want it, or worse - even if you don't know what it is! If you don't want to be subjected to this jedi-mind-trick like manipulation, cut up your credit cards, head for the mountains and wait until the fireworks die out after the January festivities. Otherwise, you cannot escape the inevitable - you will be a holiday consumer (insert scary, low-shrill viola chords here).

Your task therefore is to read the fine-print. Watch out for anything, the name of which you wouldn't want located anywhere adjacent to your internal organs. You don't want the doctor telling you later on, "Oh, you have a tetrahydrosubzynamide concentration in your bladder." Remember them lead-laced toys Mattel withdrew from the market since last August? And don't be trying out some new fabric for the sheets this time of year. Most allergic reactions are triggered in December than in any other month because everyone is trying out something new during the holidays.

Also, we're not just referring to product labels here. When dealing with the season of discounts and interest-free buying, you always have to ask "what's the catch?" It's not human nature to read the fine-print, probably because they were written for foot-high hobbits, dwarves and them Keebler elves, what with the font's size and all. Nowadays, its but practical to stoop low and carry a magnifying glass just to make sure you're all square with the deal.

Watch the Birdie - Christmastime is picture-taking time. Now, I've had my turn of being the "official photographer", back when f-stops made all the difference in shooting a good photo. I have heard so many complaints about how they didn't look good with that shot, or that they had their eyes closed or that they weren't smiling in the picture. Ladies and gents, its not the photographer's fault. You know you're having a get-together, you know its supposed to be a joyous occasion, you know there's a cameraman running around. Ergo, you be the one to look good and smile! Otherwise, you'd indeed have a lousy mugshot for posterity. The same holds true when you have video coverage, even more so since you're image is being taken approximately 30 times a second.

Now, there are two ways to ensure you are genuinely smiling during a photo or video shoot (Botox treatment not included). First is to imagine your companions naked. The downside of this technique is it can make you throw up even before you down that bottle of wine, depending on how your companion may be imagined by you as naked. "What's the second way to make sure you're all the smiles during your Christmas parties?" you ask. Read on.

Watch The Time - pun intended on that one, but as they say, and it's so true - "time flies". We're so busy shopping, so busy looking at gift catalogs, so busy reading blogs on stuff to look out for at Christmastime, that we've run out of time. Time to pray, time to visit our relatives and friends, time to be with our family, time to appreciate all our blessings and the time we have together with our loved ones.

Enjoy the holidays with the people you love, whether they are near or far. Hold up a toast for them - for their generosity which sustains you, their quirkiness that makes you laugh, their sound advice that gives you direction, even their bad sides that makes you feel you're a better person than they are.

Celebrations are best shared with someone else and Christmas is the best celebration to be with other people, old or new. After all, the birthday celebrant of this occasion had shepherds and kings come to his crib.

A happy Christmas to one and all!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Here Comes The Holidays!

For several weeks now I've been griping about my snail-paced Internet connection. I couldn't get any work done online. Needless to say the Daily Dotventures suffered as a result.

I missed quite a few events which I wanted to write about. Like Chinese beauty Zhang Zilin winning at home for the Ms. World 2007 pageant last December 1, same day as the commemoration of World Aids Day.

Or the Hatton-Mayweather fight which saw the returning WBC welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather retain victory over the challenger with powerful head shots that knocked Ricky Hatton down twice in succession in the 10th round, urging referee Joe Cortez to stop the fight in favor of Mayweather.

Then there was that ill-conceived siege at the Manila Peninsula Hotel by frustrated-mutineer-turned-Senator Antonio Trillanes IV that miserably failed (again) to overthrow incumbent Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Don't forget the Spice Girls' ongoing reunion world tour. Love them or not, they're back in a big, gingery, scary, sporty, baby and posh way.

Well, like I said, I missed quite a bit because my ISP is, in a word, c-r-a-p! The significant slow down may also be attributable to the oncoming holiday season. More people are sending emails to their loved ones, surfing for bargains, doing online purchases, booking flights, making VOIP calls, uploading video greetings, and so on and so forth.

Not only that, apart from the slow down in Internet connectivity due to increased demand in bandwidth, the holidays are also a time for the hundred-fold proliferation of spam. Every online marketer and their brother are making their mailing lists and checking them twice. It doesn't even matter if you've been naughty or nice. You'll get the spam and chances are there's a "free" gift along with it - READ: malware.

So do protect yourself online this hoiday season. Deck your Internet halls with a safer browser, an anti-spyware, an anti-virus and a firewall. And while we patiently bear the holiday lag online, perhaps its a good opportunity for all of us to ponder the true meaning of the season.

Here's wishing everyone a less-stressful and a happy online holiday.

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