Monday, November 30, 2015

Top Productivity Apps for the Busy Holidays

Now that the hectic holidays are upon us, you’re no doubt facing year-end deadlines left and right—not to mention all those family reunions and barkada get-togethers you just can’t excuse yourself from. Because everyone (including yourself) is fighting for your spare time and your weekends, it helps to have some life-saving productivity apps on your ever-reliable smartphone. Here are some of the top picks that you should download this season for your own sanity’s sake.

NaNoWriMo 911: Insider Tips on Getting Published

According to Harlan Coben, “Let me back up a little and tell you why I prefer writing to real life: You can rewrite. A novel, for example, can be cleaned up, altered, trimmed, improved. Life, on the other hand, is one big messy rough draft.”

While it’s true that writing can be revised, editing your novel to perfection is anything but easy. Now that we’re midway through National Novel Writing Month, do you already have something worth showing the world, or have you not even begun to jot down a single word? Writing your masterpiece is extremely difficult—we can all agree with that. But thanks to an editing master class I attended last month during the Asia Pacific Writers and Translators conference that our home country hosted this year, I at least got a glimpse of how editing actually works.

Award-winning author Sally Breen held a writing workshop last October 24th titled “What Editors Want”, and the class was just that—an insider peek at the publishing landscape so that we can finally find out what exactly editors want. She shared a bunch of do’s and dont’s on how to get noticed and how to rise above the so-called slush pile, so without further ado, here are some insider editing tips that I’m totally sharing with all of you (free of charge!):

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Waze vs. Garmin: Avoiding Holiday Traffic with Smart Navigation

Now that the holiday rush is upon us, expect EDSA to be your second home. Take your life back from intense traffic in the metro by using the GPS navigational tools available to us today.

Gone are the days when in-car navigation was tedious and only available to the most advanced cars. “If you want to update the maps in your car, it’s an expensive and complicated process of having to go to the dealership,” Strategy Analytics’ John Canali says. Now, with Web-based navigation, updates come easier than ever. “We’ve historically had these onboard, embedded nav systems. That’s just not going to cut it anymore,” says Tim Nixon from OnStar, the navigational service from General Motors. “The game has changed, and the bar has been raised by these always-connected devices that bring fresh information into the car.”

So, with everyone clamoring to mount devices on their dashboards and windshields, which do you think is better: Waze or Garmin?

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

What’s So Ultimate About Ultimate Frisbee?

If you’ve always thought that ball sports were too mainstream, then trading that ball for a flying disc might just be the perfect thing for you. Move over, basketball. Ultimate Frisbee is steadily growing more and more popular in the country today—because isn’t badminton or bowling too last season?

Where it all began

Who would have thought that when American toy company Wham-O popularized the Frisbee Disc in the 50s, it would spawn a myriad of followers and create a whole new sport of its own? And it’s not just about throwing and catching—Frisbee enthusiasts all around the globe will tell you that it’s so much more. If you’re looking to increase your stamina, enhance your agility, and improve your cardiovascular endurance—not to mention develop your body coordination—then this sport is all you’ll ever need. With Frisbee’s ability to help you burn a hundred up to seven hundred calories with just thirty minutes of playing, what more can you ask for?

Book Review: A Wild Sheep Chase by Haruki Murakami

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A girl with magical ears. An ovine-centered photo. A Sheep Professor. A Rat gone missing. A dying corporate giant who may or may not rule the world.

And of course, at the center of it all: a mark shaped like a star on a seemingly innocent sheep.

What begins as a crippling divorce ends in uncovering a diabolical plan to plunge the world in anarchy. And when that happens, you can be sure that it’s one heck of a story. But then again, that’s how all Haruki Murakami stories are.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Awesome November Celebrations You Didn’t Know About

There’s more to November than Thanksgiving, so before you busy yourself with stuffing turkeys, here are some of the coolest days you can celebrate this month (yes, Black Friday aside).

                    November 2 – National Plan Your Epitaph Day and Cookie Monster's Birthday

It doesn’t matter if you’re morbid and obsessed with death, or you’re just a curious little thing. On November 2 (just in time for All Souls’ Day), you can go ahead and look far into the future into your own demise. It’s tough to decide how you want people to remember you by. After all, your tombstone can only contain so much words and letters, right? Planning your epitaph is so important that the world is giving you a whole day to figure it out—and if you decide to change your mind, you can always have another go at it next year.

Is it any wonder that the day of death also coincides with beloved Sesame Street character Cookie Monster’s birthday? We think not, because a cookie overload does indeed equal an early death, doesn’t it?

                    November 3 - Sandwich Day

Speaking of dying young, the following day is a day of celebrating one of the most amazing and ingenious human inventions in all of history—the sandwich. Imagine: anything you’ve always wanted to scarf down between two slices of hearty bread? What an inspired creation! Today is the day to celebrate your fave PB and J with your best buds, or perhaps whip up your own concoction in the kitchen. Whatever you decide to do, just dig in and indulge—it’s a “holiday” after all.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

My Life For Aiur: Waiting for StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void

StarCraft fans, rejoice! The dawn of the Protoss is finally upon us. After all those excruciating years of helplessly waiting since the first game came out in 1998 and doomed us to a lifetime of sitting in front of the computer all day, we will finally get a closer look at the Protoss home world of Aiur. StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void comes out next month on the 10th of November. The release marks the thrilling conclusion to the StarCraft II trilogy, and the story arc that’s 17 years in the making. Brace, brace, brace. It’s the end of an era, and we’re sure it’s going to be one heck of a ride.