Sunday, June 28, 2009

Michael Jackson is dead

I've been repeating the news over in my head a couple dozen times, but it hasn't yet fully sunk in that we're living in a world that is now post-Michael Jackson. There's an enormous gravity to his death that I hope everyone else feels, thought it probably can't fully impact those who haven't experienced him in his prime.

The Michael Jackson I knew

The thrilling entertainer who exploded into greatness in the 1980s, his music stands on a league of its own, with versatility, passion, and an instantly identifiable voice. His dance ability, in case anyone has forgotten, was not only in a definitively unique style, but executed with unmatched skill. And most notable of all is the monstrous enormity of his celebrity. Probably the biggest celebrity my generation will know. The biggest celebrity ever? His impact was unprecedented, and may never be equated.

The tragedy of his death is dwarfed only by the tremendous tragedy of his life. When you reach the top there's no way to go but down, but his fall from grace was just as epic as his rise. I can only hope his legacy lies in his greatness-- before the child molestation, baby dangling, chimpanzee, private zoo, Peter Pan, Neverland-- all the weirdness that ravaged his reputation and alienated his fans. When it was all done, the undisputed King of Pop was a distant memory, replaced by this androgynous humanoid.

But perhaps the sideshow wackiness of his life served to enhance his legendary status. The reclusiveness and eccentricity made him, in his way, untouchable--distracting from his music and talent, but giving the man an otherworldly glow.

Michael Jackson was a god among mortals.

And now he's gone.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Leaving NCR

I rarely use this space to talk about my own life, but it seems prudent to dedicate a post to announcing that I have left my job at NCR Corporation, effective today, and will probably be leaving Cebu for the forseeable future.

I've been a software development engineer there for 2 years and 9 months now. My first job. It's not easy to say goodbye to all the good people there, but it's time for change.

No one believes me when I say this, but there is no new job lined up for me just yet. Doesn't sound like a smart move with this economy, but I'm feeling confident.

As a going away gift, my teammates pitched in to get me this wonderful 5x5x5 Rubik's Cube-- with the sides replaced with pictures of our team, plus the company logo:

Such thoughtful people, aren't they? I had no idea.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Facebook friend statistics

Just a bunch of statistics and graphs from playing with Facebook data in Microsoft Excel:

Of my 232 friends in Facebook, 209 have their birthdays specified, and just 145 of those also specified the year that they were born.

Here's an age distribution graph of my friends (more accurately, the age that they turn on their birthday in 2009). The youngest is 14, and the oldest is 63. There's a massive spike at 25, since that's the age of most of my high school and college classmates. I'm actually 24 myself, and a year younger than most of the people in my class. This graph may be biased against old people, who I assume are more reluctant to reveal their age.

I was able to divide my friends into five categories with very little overlap: Family (including many extended relatives), high school, college (including faculty), work, and others. College people are the biggest slice of the pie. The majority of the people lumped into "others" are known to me mainly as friends of friends, plus some other people that I simply do not remember but would feel guilty removing since we have a lot of mutual friends. Haha...

Any other ideas for graphs?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Well, I just watched Taken, and Liam Neeson is the shit.

The premise: Albanian sex traffickers have kidnapped Liam Neeson's 17 year-old daughter during a vacation in Paris. Big mistake, because Liam Neeson is a retired CIA operative, a determined father, and a ruthless sonofabitch.

Ruthlessly effective is the best term I can come up with to describe him. He totally pushes the limits of how ruthlessly effective a character can be while still being a protagonist. The guy is a murdering machine. I can actually envision an alternate movie that's sympathetic to the sex traffickers as their business is besieged by the unstoppable Liam Neeson.

Bodyguard blocking a door? Kill him. Enemy henchman on the other side of the door? Kill him. Find a guy that knows where your daughter is? Shoot him in the shoulders, torture him for the information you need, and then kill him. There's not much complexity to it, the guy just keeps getting shit done. It takes an extremely Republican mindset to see the bad guys as simply bad guys, and justify dozens (hundreds?) of deaths based on that alone. Of course, it's an utterly stupid political philosophy in real life, but it's great so see Liam Neeson kicking so much ass.

The following is a major spoiler but I can't help myself because it's just that badass. Liam Neeson finds the guy holding a knife to his daughter's neck... there's a tense dramatic pause, then the guy says "We can negotia--" right before Liam Neeson shoots him in the head.