Monthly Archives: October 2012

Aside from Oktoberfest(which I already discussed in my previous blog on 10/1/12),another reason to celebrate the month of October is Halloween, an annual worldwide tradition celebrated every October 31st.

Also known as Hallows’ Eve , it’s considered as the eve of Western Christian feast of All Hallows , dating back to Western European harvest festivals and festivals of the dead with pagan roots especially Celtic Samhain.

Every child looks forward to this as a fun day to dress up in  their make-believe  costumes and get to receive a lot of candy.

Typical Halloween activities involve costume parties,trick-or-treating,visiting(with a reliable adult figure) spruced up homes as haunted houses,watching horror movies,pumpkin carving producing jack o’ lanterns( pumpkins with a smiling face), building bonfires and in some places,apple bobbing.

I also see a lot of black and orange colors around  in some of the Halloween costumes,candies and decorations during this time. Black signifies the macabre,gothic and horror themes. Orange color, I guess refers to the jack o’lantern facial carvings on the pumpkins which typically are orange in color.

There’s a lot of partying going around this day but lately through the years, many business owners see the economic upswing of this and even advertise grown-ups to join in the Halloween celebration as well.

Besides, many grown-ups enjoy this day too especially for the partying and dressing-up, not necessarily for the candies. Everyone is still a child at heart, I guess.

Happy Halloween anyway,everybody!


Saving the environment has been getting more traction now these past 20 years or so. One aspect that I’d like to discuss for today is the choice of paper or plastic shopping bags.

Concerns for sparing the trees from further denudation thus resulting to less paper production and in some cases, paper bags ,paper being a byproduct of trees is around. Same with the so-called impracticality of plastic bags which clog our drains and wouldn’t disintegrate among the debris for centuries to come. The result would be flooding which could lead to potential environmental and structural damage.

There even has been the existence now of  biodegradable paper and plastic shopping bags which are both environmentally-friendly and  practical to use. Sewage and drainage friendly too which would lead to less or no flooding at all.

The  increasing advocacy to use reusable shopping bags like cloth/fabric bags  or even shopping cart-bags with a luggage carry-on design  is something not to be ignored as well.

Whichever, this ongoing paper/plastic issue will continue to go on for days to come.

I personally will continue to be ecologically cognizant of my surroundings  and still follow the simple use of reduce,reuse and recycle.

With the way global warming is upon us, ranging from tsunamis, heat waves,floods,hurricanes,earthquakes,etc, it’s good to put some thought in how we use and dispose of our shopping bags.



One of the newest comedy shows to hit town since the start of this year’s TV season is titled “The Neighbors” on ABC. It depicts suburban living between a human family(The Weaver family headed by Marty and Debbie Weaver) and a whole flotilla of space aliens called Zabvronians assuming human form after their spaceship crash-landed on Earth. It’s unclear when these space aliens will ever return to their previous galaxy home but in the meantime, they try to make the most of their Earth stay by trying to fit in inspite of great trepidation and  paranoia leading to hilarious moments of growing pains.

The Weavers on the other hand had just moved to suburbia and had to deal with these space aliens who in a funny way assume celebrity names like their space leader and patriarch Larry Bird and matriarch Jackie Joyner-Kersee.. As if adjusting to a new home isn’t hard enough, they also have to deal with  these aliens who practically bought up and lived in the rest of the gated subdivision for some time now,exhibiting strange habits for example….the need to not eat nor drink,putting a lot of plants in their bathrooms and apparently has no need to bathe either.

As the  story went on in  the coming weeks, both the Weavers and the aliens have gradually warmed up  to each other and have gone to great pains to adjust to one another’s habits and idiosyncracies but without any demands from one another to totally change their individual personas  for the sake of their evolving friendship as well as to protect the Zabvronians’ real identities from other human beings.

Which leads me to think that true friendship involve adjusting to and accepting of other’s flaws and strengths and not change the shared camaraderie that one feels for another in spite of such realities.

We usually don’t choose who our neighbors would be but sometimes, if cordial neighborly relations aren’t at least possible , we try to adapt by ignoring them or totally moving out to another place so as to avoid them.

The old saying: “Good fences make good neighbors” holds true.

One’s neighbor or even yourself aren’t mandated to tell one another your inner secrets and personal history. To force it would imply meddling and invasion of one’s  personal space. Being respectful and polite to them  is the least basic courtesy that both of you owe one another without necessarily becoming friends. And that’s not a crime,believe me. At least in the realm of achieving peace and tranquility, it serves its purpose.

Just my 2 cents on this matter.



I noticed this as far back as 2 years ago when Christmas stuff(decorations,wrapping paper,cards,etc) have started appearing as early as September. Even the local Hallmark card shop has been selling Christmas tree ornaments as early as July every year since God knows when.(Definitely more than 2 years ago).

They’re around already before Canadian Thanksgiving, Halloween,Remembrance Day ,Rosh Hashanah,Hanukkah but NOT before Labor Day(the unofficial end of summer). It’s almost like you have to have a flexible mindset when you go into a store and see them around and tell yourself, it’s not that time yet to celebrate.

The economy nowadays isn’t as upbeat for the past 4 years and I couldn’t blame the stores for being so preoccupied with Yuletide  profits since it comprises 25% of their annual profit. Without it, they’ll have to close shop. They’re so eager to get your money that they’ll  try to entice you with all sorts of sales whether instore or online until the after-Christmas Day sale. Here in Canada,we call it Boxing Day–Dec. 26), a British traditon wherein the masters reward their servants  with boxes of gifts after Christmas Day.

Last year, many Canadian stores even have a Black Friday,same day as the Americans have after  the U.S. Thanksgiving as the unofficial start of the Christmas shopping season. Reason for such opening is that the Canadian retailers want to keep their fellow  bargainhunting Canucks from doing crossborder shopping  in the U.S. whether traveling down there or going online with free shipping to boot. I wouldn’t be surprised if this happens again this year, mon ami.

That’s our new reality as far as Christmas shopping is concerned.

Enjoy it anyway. We’re the ones to gain with getting the best prices for the things that we want to buy.

Happy shopping!


In a span of  1 week this month of October 2012, I have heard  reports of a set of mass shootings(three of them). The storylines are somewhat simpler yet compelling to comprehend nonetheless.

The first was in a beauty salon in Casselberry, Florida on Oct. 18. 3  of the female patrons were shot and the gunman escaped to a friend’s house where he shot himself to death. The beauty salon manager knew him but as to the nature of their relationship has yet to be determined. The gunman reportedly had a history of domestic abuse which resulted in a restraining order. He also had a previous history both in Florida and Rhode island of domestic and felony assault,stalking,burglary and drug possession.

The second was in Inglewood, California last Oct.20. A  tenant was previously  given his eviction notice and apparently it  didn’t sit well with him especially after he lost his appeal in court for that just recently.  Within a matter of days, he  shot 5 of the landlord’s family members.He was wearing a painter’s mask at that time and had burned the family’s home before the shootout.The father and his 4 y/o son were both  shot and subsequently died during surgery. The mother and 2 other younger kids were injured but expected to survive. He knew the family for several years being a long time tenant of theirs. He went on the run but recently gave himself up to authorities.

The third happened only this past Sunday(Oct. 21) at the Azana Spa,located in front of the Brookfield Shopping Mall in Brookfield,Wisconsin. The gunman was an ex-Marine who went to the spa where his estranged wife and daughter were both working. He shot 3 people(one of them was his wife) and even shot himself to death. 4 other people were wounded including his daughter who is said to be on her way to recovery.

The man’s family situation appears to be that of a case of domestic abuse for which the wife had previously requested and was granted a restraining order( just 4 days before the shooting) from the husband. He reportedly also slashed his wife’s car tires just before the shooting probably to make sure that she doesn’t escape easily from him. He also reportedly bought his gun 1 day before the shooting.

His estranged wife was said to be a hero trying to save other people inside the spa during the shootout especailly when she was calmly talking to her husband,hoping to deescalalte the situation.

Whatever his motives were for this shooting at the spa is still being determined at this time. And to think that less than 2 months ago,also in the state of Wisconsin, at the town of Oak Creek, there was a mass shootout at a Sikh temple.

As I have always said again and again, in spite of ongoing debates regarding  gun control and regulation and 2nd Amendment rights, all of the above 3 mass shootouts stem from individuals dealing with their own  personal issues and  the quickest way possible in their own minds to deal with it is by gunfire.

It’s very hard to predict nor to control such individuals’ thoughts and motives. The only thing that we can do is to be vigilant as always and hope for the best.


The upcoming U.S. presidential elections is being watched  all over world-wide since every nation has a vested interest in keeping up its ties with the United States,the Policeman of the World,the Big Daddy to turn to in good and bad times.

Political attack ads ,fact-checking,media overplay of each political party’s campaign,even satirical political skits from Saturday Night Live,etc. all embody  neverending political commercials which aim to mold the prospective voter’s personal perception of the political candidates which in turn will affect the voter’s decision whether to vote for that candidate or not.

Doesn’t sound scientific in a way,looks more like subliminal brainwashing yet all of us of voting age are always reminded to get acquainted with the candidate’s political platforms and decide objectively. (Huh!) and I have a bridge to sell you by the way.

Getting back to my point. We all have gone through life enriched with a lot of experiences which affect us and somehow gives us our own personal perspective of the world we all live in. My view may be different from yours. What I  want in life may be different from yours also. Same in choosing a political candidate to win an election.

Combined with our objective thinking,we also have an emotional brain to decide who’s the best man(or woman) to win the political post. Once a decision is made as to who we believe serves our own personal interests and perhaps other people’s as well , the vote is then made with a simple shading of  a circle or the pull of a lever from a machine.

The voting process is very simple but the decision making in coming out with that vote isn’t!

When you have  a chance to vote,VOTE! Enjoy that privilege. Other folks in other countries  even have to give up their lives to fight for that chance to vote.

Bear that in mind. Vote wisely and may the best man(or woman) wins!

Whatever the election outcome, we will  have to  accept it and move on to another day. The world will still continue to exist.

As they say, “The people have spoken.”


With the coming Christmas season upon us, the task of choosing a greeting card for this occasion will be tackled once again. Even for other occasions, certain principles in choosing a card or even an e-card for that matter should be kept in mind.

One would be the occasion. Even if it’s just a “Thinking about You” moment is an occasion in itself especially if the recipient is someone you haven’t seen nor talked to in a while.

Second would be the color scheme and design.

Third would be the message written in the card/e-card.

Taking all these 3 principles in mind, we should also consider the person or even group of people that will receive the card or e-card.

Why? Because  if we know their personalities and circumstances ,  the chosen card/e-card would be appropriate and suitable as if  it was custom-made for them. This also holds true if you designed a home-made one yourself instead of going to the store to pick a ready-made one.

It will make them think that you took a lot of time and effort to  find that perfect one  for them. They would then appreciate it as a result.

Now if you hardly know that person, you still would apply the above 3 principles and go safe and generic by going mid-way in card style and message.

Lastly, always remember that the greeting card represents you when you’re not physically around to meet the receiver face-to-face. When the recipient gets your card, they would know right away that it’s from you since knowing your personality, they would say that they wouldn’t be surprised why you chose or made that particular card.

Choose well and happy hunting!


Before the high-tech world became more prominent these days, in terms of reading an article or story,one goes to a newspaper,magazine or a book(soft or hardcover or paperback).

With the  onset of iPads,tablets,smartphones and e-readers like Kindle or Kobo, reading anything has taken on  a whole new meaning now. You hardly stain your fingers with printer’s ink nor touch a paper page with these fancy hi- tech gadgets for sure.

But some purists especially the bibliophiles still love the feel of the paper pages as they leaf through the length of the article that they’re reading. They love as well the  look,smell and design of the book,newspaper and magazine that they hold to.

Of course, the e-reader is environmentally friendly since no trees were killed to produce paper but even a book/magazine nowadays can be produced with a certain % of recycled paper too.

One’s fingers does the turning of the paper pages with a book/magazine/newspaper while on an e-reader, one’s fingers keep on clicking to go electronically from 1 page to another  via a touch-tone screen.

Whichever way one prefers, reading has become more versatile nowadays. Still the purpose of disseminating information and taking our minds and imagination to faraway places through reading remains the same.


Just this past  Saturday morning, I woke up to see frost covered over all the roofs and windows of the parked cars in my apartment building’s parking lot.  Shortly after, I saw some of my co-tenants scrape away the frost from both the roofs and windows of their cars for at least 5 minutes to my estimate.

The color of the leaves around have now taken on rich hues of amber  and gold; some of the trees are slowly starting to be shedding their leaves as well.

The wind is brisk,cold and icy inspite of a bright ,sunny sky above. These past days and weeks in between, there has been abundant rainfall and more to come later on this week!

Luckily, the frost melted out quickly and it’s easy to walk around without putting any traction on one’s walking shoes. I heard that up north from my city of abode, snow had already appeared in some parts but had quickly disappeared during the rest of that same Saturday this past weekend.

Fall weather with a few sneak peeks into winter has already started!

Bonjour nevertheless,mon ami!


A 94 year old lady who lives on  my floor  had lamented the lost art of letter writing nowadays. She said that because everything now is so high-tech and advanced that the need to get things done quicker is so expected.

Case in point she said is the way people communicate on paper. She noticed that not a lot of folks nowadays send friendly  letters through the mail except for official business.

Nowadays, she said that people with their computers and cellphones either e-mail,text,fax or tweet messages at lightning speed. Seems she says that people have no more patience and are lazy to wait for other people’s responses through the mail. She’s concerned that many young folks in particular don’t know anymore the fine art of letter-writing and might not be astute in spelling either, what will all those shortcuts that texting does.( I doubt that  she ever heard of spellcheck or either)

She loves the sight and smell of a fresh piece of stationery being removed from an envelope that she gets from her mailbox. She loves the thrill of mailing and receiving one.

I told her gently that in this digital era,one’s way of communicating has advanced as well and is the sign of the times. Faster communication isn’t a bad thing . In a way, it gets a lot of things done. I told her that if she ever learned to use a computer or a smartphone,it’ll broaden her horizons and  on her perception of this world even further. But knowing her, she had already told me long ago that she’s not interested in learning how to use these 2 high-tech devices because she’s too old to keep up with them. She couldn’t even keep up with her offsprings,grand- and great grandkids being so high-tech as well.

I did agree with her that letter-writing is slowly dying but not totally dead in my opinion.

There are certain life situations that would require letter writing or even writing on specific cards with one’s penmanship like messages of thanks,congratulations,sympathy,good wishes and at times,even bad news like the death of someone for example. Nothing beats the personal touch.

For those letters that can do with typewritten text would definitely be of formal correspondecnce and other business matters.Sometimes,one’s penmanship could be hard to read if used in these cases.

It was a good discussion with her and which made me think it over about the letter’s significance in this current digital/hi-tech world.

Yes! That’s progress for you!

But I extremely doubt that the post office will no longer exist in due time. That’s cutting it too far, in my own humble opinion,mon ami.