29 8 / 2014

Details Matter

When it comes to how your clothes fit, the details definitely matter. When you think that a couple of centimeters don’t really make a big deal, I hope these pictures show you otherwise.

I had gotten a couple of shirts for my birthday this month and, as expected, none of them fit me as well as I’d hoped. At this point I’ve pretty much given up on the hope that clothing will fit me off the rack. Almost everything I buy needs to be tailored. It’s definitely worth it though! The improvements are always bafflingly great and make a world of difference.

Check out more of my tailored clothing improvements here.

27 8 / 2014

My Reason for the Nintendo Wii U

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The current crop of next-gen consoles has been out for a while and out of the three ones available, namely the Sony Playstation 4, the Microsoft Xbox One and the Nintendo Wii U, I chose the one made by Nintendo. It’s currently in last place as far as commercial performance goes, and it’s not very popular with consumers so you may be wondering why I chose this console. The answer is simple: to me it has the games that I like the most.

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24 8 / 2014

My Ballot for the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards

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One of the events I look forward to every year is the MTV Video Music Awards. I am a big fan of pop music and pop culture in general and to me, the VMAs are the culmination of everything that is popular for a given year. In the past couple of years, I feel that the VMAs have devolved to one big popularity contest but fortunately, they still have technical categories (e.g. Best Cinematography, Best Visual Effects etc) so I think that there should still be some semblance of artistic and technical merit recognition here. In any case, here are my picks if I were a member of the VMAs voting body.

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Video of the Year

  • Iggy Azalea (featuring Charli XCX) — “Fancy
  • Beyoncé (featuring Jay-Z) — “Drunk in Love
  • Miley Cyrus — “Wrecking Ball
  • Sia — “Chandelier
  • Pharrell Williams — “Happy

To say that Miley Cyrus’s Wrecking Ball is the most impactful video in the nominees list for the year would be an understatement. I remember the weeks following that music video’s debut and it absolutely blew up on Facebook and Twitter – everyone was talking about it! To wit, out of the nominees for Video of the Year, it is the one with the most views on Youtube and it leads by a mile. In fact, it has the most views out of all nominees in all categories as well. If there would be a music video to represent 2013/2014, Wrecking Ball would be it.

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Best Male Video

  • Eminem (featuring Rihanna) — “The Monster
  • John Legend — “All of Me
  • Ed Sheeran (featuring Pharrell Williams) — “Sing
  • Sam Smith — “Stay with Me
  • Pharrell Williams — “Happy

Out of all the Best Male Video nominees, I feel that John Legend’s All of Me is the best one. Of course, each one of them have their own artistic merit (especially Pharell’s infectiously cheerful Happy music video), but All of Me is just so sincere and thoughtful. Featuring John Legend and his supermodel wife Chrissy Teigen and set in the picturesque Mediterranean coasts of Italy, the music video is the representation of their real-life love story coming full circle as it ends with footage of their actual wedding. It really is sweet and intimate and most importantly, genuine.

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Best Female Video

  • Iggy Azalea (featuring Charli XCX) — “Fancy
  • Beyoncé — “Partition
  • Ariana Grande (featuring Iggy Azalea) — “Problem
  • Lorde — “Royals
  • Katy Perry (featuring Juicy J) — “Dark Horse

Iggy Azalea’s star-making song and music video is also the best one out of the nominees list in her category. Remaking the 90s iconic high school movie, Clueless, the music video updates it to today’s style and the result couldn’t be more stylish. It helps that 90s style is the trend these days, but with this music video, Iggy Azalea earns her right to her album title, The New Classic.

I’m skipping the genre categories since the divisions don’t seem relevant to me, and they’re just popularity contests anyway, so I’m jumping ahead to the more important (to me, at least) technical categories.

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Best Direction

  • Beyoncé — “Pretty Hurts" (Director: Melina Matsoukas)
  • Miley Cyrus — “Wrecking Ball" (Director: Terry Richardson)
  • DJ Snake and Lil Jon — “Turn Down for What" (Directors: DANIELS)
  • Eminem (featuring Rihanna) — “The Monster" (Director: Rich Lee)
  • OK Go — “The Writing’s on the Wall" (Directors: Damian Kulash, Aaron Duffy & Bob Partington)

Best Visual Effects

  • Disclosure — “Grab Her!” (Visual Effects: Mathematic and Emile Sornin)
  • DJ Snake and Lil Jon — “Turn Down for What" (Visual Effects: DANIELS and Zak Stoltz)
  • Eminem — “Rap God" (Visual Effects: Rich Lee, Louis Baker, Mammal Studios, Laundry! and Sunset Edit)
  • OK Go — “The Writing’s on the Wall" (Visual Effects: 1stAveMachine)
  • Jack White — “Lazaretto" (Visual Effects: Mathematic and Jonas & François)

OK Go has always provided fans with fun and innovative music videos; who can forget their iconic video for the song “Here It Goes Again" where they performed choreography on treadmills? I feel they one-upped themselves this time with their clever use of optical illusions and the intentional low-budget look made it all the more endearing. The execution is superb as well, as I believe it was all done in one take so the band members must have been panicking behind the scenes, changing costumes and getting ready for their next scenes. I’m also choosing it for Best Visual Effects. Seriously, this video should be seen to be believed. It’s a shame it’s only nominated in the technical awards as this is absolutely Video of the Year material.

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Best Choreography

  • Beyoncé — “Partition" (Choreographers: Svetlana Kostantinova, Philippe DecoufléDanielle Polanco and Frank Gatson)
  • Jason Derulo (featuring 2 Chainz) — “Talk Dirty" (Choreographer: Amy Allen)
  • Michael Jackson and Justin Timberlake — “Love Never Felt So Good" (Choreographers: Rich and Tone Talauega)
  • Kiesza — “Hideaway" (Choreographer: Ljuba Castot)
  • Sia — “Chandelier" (Choreographer: Ryan Heffington)
  • Usher — “Good Kisser" (Choreographers: Jamaica Craft and Todd Sams)

It’s sad to see the general decline of choreography’s relevance in mainstream music videos these days. It was only a few years ago when dancing was a minimum for a pop music video, and now all we get are some sad excuses for dance sequences that they tack in to those artists who seem unwilling to learn choreography. In any case, the dancing in these five nominees are good, but I was really blown away by the one in Sia’s Chandelier. Contemporary dance styles haven’t been shown much love in mainstream media and I like how intense the routine is in this music video. Knowing the performer is only a teen only impressed me further.

Best Art Direction

  • Arcade Fire — “Reflektor" (Art Director: Anastasia Masaro)
  • Iggy Azalea (featuring Charli XCX) — “Fancy" (Art Director: David Courtemarche)
  • DJ Snake and Lil Jon — “Turn Down for What" (Art Director: Jason Kisvarday)
  • Eminem — “Rap God" (Art Director: Alex Pacion)
  • Tyler, The Creator — “Tamale” (Art Director: Tom Lisowski)

So I’m a bit torn over this category since the art direction for Fancy is a straight-up scene-by-scene homage (or rip-off, depending on who you ask) but to me it is the video who looks the most fitting for the song and it just looks cool as hell. They even reproduced the classic scenes and costumes as well as filming in the exact location of the source material.

Best Editing

  • Beyoncé — “Pretty Hurts" (Editor: Jeff Selis)
  • Eminem — “Rap God" (Editor: Ken Mowe)
  • Fitz and The Tantrums — “The Walker" (Editor: James Fitzpatrick)
  • MGMT — “Your Life Is a Lie" (Editor: Erik Laroi)
  • Zedd (featuring Hayley Williams) — “Stay the Night" (Editor: Daniel “Cloud” Campos)

I’m of the opinion that Best Editing awards always boils down to “Most Editing.” In this instance, MGMT’s video for is clearly the winner. I can only imagine how complicated the video’s timeline looks like in Adobe Premiere. It’s full of super quick cuts but the transitions are always seamless and matches the music without skipping a beat.

Best Cinematography

  • Arcade Fire — “Afterlife" (Director of Photography: Evan Prosofsky)
  • Beyoncé — “Pretty Hurts" (Directors of Photography: Darren Lew and Jackson Hunt)
  • Lana Del Rey — “West Coast" (Director of Photography: Evan Prosofsky)
  • Gesaffelstein — “Hate or Glory” (Director of Photography: Michael Ragen)
  • Thirty Seconds to Mars — “City of Angels" (Director of Photography: David Devlin)

All these videos are beautifully shot, but I was really impressed by the music video for City of Angels. Night time shooting is hard since you really have to nail the lighting to achieve the look you want. The setting of Los Angeles in the sunset and during the night time is truly beautiful and this video shows that.

19 8 / 2014

Nokia Lumia 1020 Sample Photos

Captured in the 41-megapixel camera full-resolution and RAW format

Click through each one to see a description.

I’ll post a full review soon.

14 8 / 2014

You may have noticed that posts on my Tumblr have been getting sparse as of late and I am ashamed to admit that this video is to blame. As a birthday gift to myself, I got a Wii U! And I’ve been playing Mario Kart 8 non-stop to the detriment of my other activities :( Oh well, I’ve been having a blast! One of my favorite features is the built-in video sharing. If you did well in a race and you’d like to capture highlights and save them, you can edit and post them to YouTube in-game! That’s how I was able to post the video above on my channel. This is a video with clips of me winning my first cup in the game.

#LuigiKart8

12 8 / 2014

What is EMC?

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The EMC Corporation (stylized as  EMC²) is one of the major technology companies in the world. In fact, they placed at #128 in the 2014 edition of the Fortune 500, sandwiched between well-known companies such as Qualcomm and Time Warner, Inc. EMC is traditionally considered as the world’s largest provider of data storage systems, competing against companies such as NetApp, IBM, Hewlett-Packard, and Hitachi Data Systems. Having said that, you may be wondering why you haven’t heard of this company before. As with my previous company, Teradata, it is because EMC deals mostly with enterprise customers. So when I say data storage systems, I mean those that are of enterprise caliber – petabytes (1015bytes) or even sometimes exabytes (1018bytes) in size. To put that in perspective, a petabyte is equivalent to 1000 terabytes and an exabyte is equivalent to 1000 petabytes. This isn’t a tech company whose products feature in websites like Engadget very often.

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05 8 / 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy (Spoiler Free) Movie Review

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As the first Marvel movie that featured obscure characters, especially when compared to the mega popular Avengers characters, there was a lot riding on the Guardians of the Galaxy's (acronym GotG) shoulders. Marvel and Disney were out to prove that the Marvel brand name is enough to pull in audiences and can stand on its own without relying on established characters. I was first exposed to the Guardians through their 2008 comic, so I was already familiar with these characters beforehand. I can only imagine how hard it would be for casual fans to accept such absurd characters in a mainstream Marvel movie. Either way, I’m so glad that the producers took such a huge risk as this is exactly the shot in the arm that the MCU needed to keep from producing movies that are so similar. It’s the most original Marvel movie yet.

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01 8 / 2014

What to Wear to Your Job Interview

Job interviews are some of the most nerve-wracking experiences everyone goes through. Every aspect of your being — from your knowledge and experience, to your personality, the way you carry yourself, even your appearance — is going to be judged and this experience makes even the most confident of people anxious. This is why I’m of the opinion that you really do have to prepare for your job interviews and cover all bases. Of course, the main things to really focus on are the content of your interview, but I think the other details matter as well, especially your appearance. Searching “what to wear to job interviews” on Google give this top result:

Even if you would or could wear jeans on the job, or the work environment is outdoors and a very non-suit environment, wearing a suit to the interview shows you take the interview seriously as a professional meeting. Dressing well is a compliment to the person(s) with whom you meet.

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30 7 / 2014

ASUS VX239H Monitor Review

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I was in the market for a small HDTV for console gaming but eventually settled for an HD IPS monitor instead. They were a little bit cheaper and performed just as well as HDTVs. After all, they do only have a single purpose, which is displaying visuals, so they should do that well, right? Just my luck, I saw this 23-inch ASUS monitor on sale and after researching it online, I decided to get it. Here is my review of the Asus VX239H as a gaming monitor.

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24 7 / 2014

Nike Flyknit One

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I wrote about some bargain sneaker finds in the past, but I just recently scored one of the biggest deals recently. The Nike Flyknit has been one of the most innovative designs in athletic footwear and since sportswear has been a big trend in menswear in the past few months, Nike Flyknit sneakers have also scored high in the fashion world. Flyknits are actually composed of yarns and fabric variations that are precisely engineered for a feather-weight, form-fitting and virtually seamless upper. This translates to an extremely comfortable and breathable running shoe that feels really nice to wear. Here’s a closeup of the individual knits.

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22 7 / 2014

Unboxing Nokia Lumia 1020

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Some of you may remember that I shared this status update in my Facebook a few days ago. I mentioned that Electroworld/Abenson Philippines is holding a major sale of their Nokia Lumia phones. I actually believe they were holding a fire sale as they really seemed like they were clearing inventory. The Nokias may have been huge flops after all. In any case, this was a great opportunity to try out the undisputed best camera smartphone. Electroworld was selling it for the really low price of Php 11000, down from the original SRP of Php 24990 — this is a huge discount, and a deal that I couldn’t really pass up. I’ll post a review soon, but for now, here is the unboxing.

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18 7 / 2014

Leaving Teradata

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It seems like it was just a while ago that I wrote one of these posts… Anyway, after today, July 18, 2014, I will no longer be an employee of the Teradata Corporation. I’ve learned many things and fulfilled a multitude of responsibilities during my stay, but the best experiences I had were with the people in this organization, and this is what I will really miss. Nice and helpful colleagues that are also very professional — these are the kinds of coworkers that make you look forward to going to work everyday. Goodbyes are sad, but I’ll always look back fondly on my time here.

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14 7 / 2014

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (Spoiler Free) Movie Review

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Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (acronym: DotPotA) is the second movie in the rebooted movie series about human civilization being wiped out and replaced by hyper intelligent apes. The first movie,  2011’s similarly lengthy titled Rise of the Planet of the Apes was actually a surprise hit, both critically and commercially. Planet of the Apes as a franchise doesn’t really seem to have much fans, so the only thing it depends on to succeed is if the actual movies are high quality. I’m glad to report that the second one exceeds the first one by a mile. Long story short: it’s the most exquisitely crafted high budget summer blockbuster this year so far, and I say this without hesitation. Read on to find out why I think it is a praiseworthy movie.

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10 7 / 2014

Red Light by f(x)

Even by kpop standards, girl group f(x) has always been releasing singles that are pretty off-kilter. Their new one, titled Red Light is no exception. In my opinion, this is their strongest single yet. Amidst heavy bass, strong synths and multiple tempo changes, the girls deliver confident lyrics about slowing down in a rapidly developing relationship. I’d describe the production style as controlled chaos. Borrowing elements from EDM, trap music and hiphop, this mishmash of genres totally work and their sweet voices serve as a nice contrast to the intentionally messy production.

As nice as the song is, the music video is even better — it’s one of the most stylish ones I’ve seen so far this year. Shots of sharp looking choreography on a distressed background with matching costuming interspersed with glamorous shots is a standard in pop music today, but there’s something really polished about the execution here. The direction and production values of this music video certainly rivals those in the international music scene whose budgets probably run deeper.

Red Light firmly establishes f(x) as Kpop’s top hipster queens.

08 7 / 2014

The Coolest Trends from the Men’s S/S 2015 Collections

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A couple of Fashion Weeks wrapped up in London, Milan and Paris recently and multiple big-name designers showcased their collections of what they hope to be popular items for next year’s Spring/Summer season. Here are some of my favorite trends from this year’s selections.

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