Grey’s Anatomy

grey's anatomyI finished watching the end of season 2 of Grey’s Anatomy last night. I didn’tfollow the series on TV, but since it had a strong showing in the recent Emmys, my curiosity was piqued and so I decided to buy the DVD. It’s strongest point isn’t so much the medical drama theme but that it’s character driven. It’s about struggling medical intern Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) and her circle of surgeons in training friends. Meredith comes from a broken family, a daughter of a legendary surgeon mother who suffers from an advanced stages of Alzheimer’s, a former girlfriend to an attending surgeon who never informed her about his real marital status and dumped her when hotshot surgeon and drop-dead sexy should’ve-been ex-wife arrived in town. 

Each episode deals with a particular theme: competition, forgiveness, and even superstitions dramatized within the walls of Seattle Grace Hospital where Meredith and friends Izzie (Katherine Heigl), George (TR Knight), Alex (Justin Chambers) and Cristina (Sandra Oh) serve as interns under some of the city’s best medical practitioners, Drs. Derek Shepherd/”McDreamy” (Patrick Dempsey), Burke (Isaiah Washington) and Bailey/”Nazi”.

As always, there’s the usual casual encounters, the dreamy married guy who can’t make himself available for real to the one he really loves, the perfect guy who falls for the girl but whose feelings can’t be matched by the object of his affection (McVet), heavenly charming but sickly stud (Denny–sheesh, the death scene can make you cry buckets) and of course, professional competition and problem parents. There are the seemingly oh-so-perfect characters, such as the very neat and super confident Dr. Burke, uber-professional Dr. Bailey and Meredith’s competition, Addison Shepherd with her perfectly blow-dried red tresses, legs that reach up to there, stratospheric IQ level and the fighting spirit worthy of Xena (Bailey to Karev: “You burn her, she burns back.” Addison to Karev: “I’ll have your ass until I’m satisfied.”).

Denny Duquette - Grey's AnatomyOh yeah, there’s the favorite hang-out too (nearly all series have the typical bar where characters converge after a long day’s toil to talk about their latest misadventures), Joe’s, the usual pet, Dog. And as always, the lead has a heart of gold and is everybody’s go-to girl, but when it comes to love she can be just as weak as the next patient. But I think this is the strongest selling point of the story: it has characters whose weakneses watchers can relate with. This is, in the first place, about loss, love and generally what it’s like to be human. I also like it that the show has a good sense of diversity, featuring a multi-enthnic/racial cast (not just showing a token African) which includes Asians, Latins and Africans, as well as gays (Joe and cute bf) and lesbian characters.

Derek is definitely McDreamy, but Denny Duquette (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), even when he eventually turns McDead, is downright McCharming.

How to Engage the End-User

We keep wondering why users won’t RTFM, but just look at our FMs! Nice brochures are printed on that coated silky paper that begs to be touched, while the manual is printed on scratchy office-grade paper. Even just that one change–making the user manual as touchable as the marketing material would be a good start.

Why marketing should make the user manuals!

I remember the time that I first attempted to use someone’s ‘s bioni-age souped-up digital SLR, which, to my chagrin, no matter how much I tinkered with it, stayed on the “P” mode.

I don’t usually go about RTFM when the product or service is easy to use in the first place. What really ticks me off is a terribly developed product or service accompanied by a terribly designed FM. Just because something is complicated does not mean it’s smart. It’s just complicated.

Kathy Siera‘s post about focusing too much on the tool rather than the user (or the use of the tool) makes a lot of sense. A few key ideas:

  1. Are we focusing too much on the tool (e.g. camera) rather than the thing our users are trying to do with the tool (e.g. photography)? And by “focusing”, I mean that your documentation, support, training, marketing, and possibly product design are all about the tool rather than whatever the tool enables.
  2. Is the product just too damn hard to use even if a user does know what they want to do with it?
  3. Do we encourage/support a user community that emphasizes mastery of the thing the tool is for?
  4. Do we train our users to become better at the thing they use the tool for, in a way that helps make the need for all those other features seem obvious?


Some days are like sh*t rolling down the hill. And then you find hilarious videos online such as this one showing Conan O’Brien playing 1864-style baseball. I always enjoy watching Conan, especially when he makes fun of himself.

And who could top Pinoys’ hilarious take on the English language? Funny Pinoy signs anyone?

funny pinoy english
Bres para sa ngipon gives you that million-piso Kodak smile.

funny pinoy english signs
No shit!

funny pinoy english
Gotta have me one of them Canvers New Star.

(More at Witerary.)

Boracay Pics

Finally, the photos of our Bora trip have arrived:

boracay regency cafe cristina buffet breakfast
Breakfast buffet. First of the many attempts by Regency to fatten us up.

Lunch at Regency's food plaza
Lunch at Regency’s food plaza

Boracay main road
Beachwear hehe…

swimming pool
Boracay Regency’s pool

bacon waffles at zuzuni
My favorite – bacon waffles at Zuzuni


Boracay Station 2
Station 2

lamps and henna
Buy lamps or get a henna tattoo by the main path.

Guimaras Oil Spill in NASA Photos

NASA guimaras spill

By August 29, the government of the Philippines reported that the oil covered 245 kilometers of coastline; 16 square kilometers of coral reef area; 1,128 hectares of mangrove area; and 1,143 hectares of a marine reserve. At least 17,435 people had been affected by the spill, and many coastal residents were evacuated because of toxic substances on the shore.

–NASA Observatory.

guimaras oil spill map

This Radar satellite image map shows the extent of oil spill in Guimaras island following the sinking of Solar I tanker. The oil spill (yellow) covers an estimated area of 66 square kilometers.

Visit Sludge for more udpates about the Guimaras Oil Spill.

Visit UNOSat for more images.

Banksyfied Paris Hilton, Asia’s hottest, wiki model, romance

  • 100 Hottest Companies in Asia – Red Herring is unveiling within the next few days a series of 100 hottest companies in Asia, which is a list of what it considers the most promising startups:

    The 100 companies on this list could serve as a snapshot of the pecking order of venture capitalism during the past year in Asia. They represent 10 countries, with the largest number of companies, 33, from China, followed by India (24) and South Korea (20). Of course, there are selections from Japan, Taiwan, and Singapore. We also found companies we liked in Australia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and even Sri Lanka.

  • Banksy gets a go at Hilton.

    Hundreds of Paris Hilton albums have been tampered with in the latest stunt by “guerrilla artist” Banksy.

    Banksy has replaced Hilton’s CD with his own remixes and given them titles such as Why am I Famous?, What Have I Done? and What Am I For?

    He has also changed pictures of her on the CD sleeve to show the US socialite topless and with a dog’s head.

    More at BBC News.

    Click here for more images of Paris Hilton’s Banksy-fied album.

  • New Websites Seeking Profit in Wiki Model – A nice New York Times article about how startups are harnessing the power of wikis.
  • Is It Over? Log on and See – Another Times piece on the role that social networks play in today’s romance and breakups. Note: your status is important. 

A Million Girls Would Kill for This Job

miranda priestley - meryl streep - the devil wears prada

I watched The Devil Wears Prada last Saturday. I’d seen the film on “dibidi” but I still wanted to watch it on the big screen just so I could further gawk at the fabulous garb worn by its characters. Based on Lauren Weisberger’s 2003 novel, the film features Meryl Streep as Runway magazine’s editrix-in-chief Miranda Priestley and Anne Hathaway as Andrea Sach, Priestley’s personal assistant, a job a million girls would kill for.

The film is a lot different from the novel although it still stayed true to the spirit of the story. Interestingly, it’s actually Miranda that one could sympathize with while at the same time realizing that a big part of the character is sadly contemptible. Streep cleverly reimagined the character from the book’s Anna Wintour-inspired fashion editor to a breathy American career-obsessed boss whose own manner of putting someone in her proper place can be reduced into two words: That’s all! Well, that and staring you down should you happen to be wearing grandma’s unfashionable blue sweater.

With all the trappings of glamour, it’s easy to fall in love–or at least believe in the idea of being in-love–with Andrea’s job. Being dolled up is a requirement and budget is never an issue: one could always run to the magazine’s “closet”, every fashionista’s haven of mouthwatering clothes, shoes and bags showcase. Andrea’s story has many parallels in real-world careers: fresh grads forsaking their dream professions for first jobs that while pay well, hardly provide them the intellectual challenge for which they toiled through four years of college. There are jobs and there are jobs that one takes to pay the rent.

Even while reading the book, which seems to me less glamorous than the movie version, I can’t help telling myself that I just might kill for Andy’s job. While her work is less journalism and more of fasion, it is still publishing (which I think deserves emphasis in journalism schools even just as an elective–not all journalism graduates want to be reporters although they still want to be involved in publishing). My first job was with a women’s magazine. Unlike Andy, we were required to wear “smart casual” which was actually a pairing of slacks and a top that was anything that was not a T-shirt. No rubber shoes allowed. What meager, below-minimum-wage salary I earned on my first two months had to be spent on following the company’s dress code. We didn’t have clothing allowance.

anne hathaway - the devil wears prada

Unlike Andy, who runs errands for Miranda in a town car, gets invited to parties just for being Miranda’s gatekeeper and gets to keep her fashion stash, I and my friend and colleague, Tina, had to pick up clothes, shoes and accessories from stores in Makati all the way from Cubao. Back then, traffic jam along EDSA was at its worst since the MRT was still being constructed. We were not allowed to take cabs unless the worth of the merchandise which we had to use for fashion shoots was more than the combined salary of the staff. Otherwise, we had to take those clunky tin cans on wheels parading as buses to and from the stores while lugging bagfuls of clothes and shoes.

To drive home the point that we, the EAs, were at the bottom of the foodchain, not even the security guards would offer assistance to help us carry the stuff from the gates to our second-floor office, which was a good walking distance away in the first place. Tina reached her boiling point when she had to open the heavy sliding iron gates by herself while carrying SIX huge Louis Vuitton suitcases as the guards were idly watching by. The slightest tear on any of the suitcases would cost her four months of pay. I failed to replace a price tag on an 800-peso (roughly $20 back then) dress once and I received an earful from a stores manager like I should pay for the crime with my life. I wanted to scream that my ukay finds look so much better than her rags, but of course I shouldn’t. On an occasion that I could not replace a typewriter’s (!!!) ribbon because the purchasing department couldn’t give me the supply, the editor berated me in front of my colleagues supposedly for not taking her seriously. Her secretary who witnessed it later gave me her extra ribbon for which she still owns a portion of my soul.

Oh yes, computer-to-employee ratio was 4:1 and internet access required a password that could only be supplied by the EIC, the managing editor, and the chief artist. Nobody did the WWW thing unless it was absolutely necessary. We had to work for 6 days a week and had to stay on beyond the required eight hours during fashion shoots. On out-of-town assignments, I had to buy supplies and pack everything that was needed for the shoot until midnight and be back at work by 4:30 AM. I had to pawn my own life for the security of the model, especially if she was some upcoming mestiza teenage starlet whose mom was ten million times nicer than the spawn.

After four months at the magazine, we both knew that it was not the job we would kill for, but that it could just kill us. And we were simply too young and way too virginal to die. Thank God, the title folded up in less than a year and in spite of being out of job for a month, we were happy to not return to the publishing house that still asked us to work as account managers. I believe life’s so much different in fashion magazines nowadays. Our lives are so much different nowadays.

And so back to the book and movie, I can’t help but wonder what all the whining is about. There are tough jobs and there are those that suck absolutely. If this were in real life, Andrea just might have finished her one-year tenure instead of telling Miranda to naff off, the latter’s seeing a bit of herself in the assistant, notwithstanding. At least she gets to keep the shoes.