2014 in review – Thanks to all your support!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,300 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Pipelines to the Past

Today, I decided to get out of my bedroom and bring my reading to the living room. It was often empty now since mom decided to live away where she held her small business, save for Uncle Dave, our dog, that constantly lurked around the dark and dead space we called the living room in our modest lair. I sat down the old armchair made of wood that was withered and tarnished all these long years – it belonged to a living room set of 3 (one long sofa, 2 side armchairs) a really simply put-together piece of furniture, (not very strikingly beautiful by any standard) my mother invested from the money my father sent from overseas shortly before she gave birth to me. The seat felt small and it was not until I opened my book that it lingered on me that I was sitting on the armchair we had for more than 26 years, a sudden gush of different emotions flooded me. I did not understand many of them – were they sad or happy emotions – but they made me stop and evaluate what I was feeling for a quick instant. I’ve read somewhere that it is both a blessing and curse to feel everything so deeply and it always interested me how something as inanimate as an armchair can conjure so many distant memories.

I felt a rapid surge of energy, like electricity; things have happened on this armchair and the whole living room set played in front of me. It was a blur but a very vivid one; like I had a time travel to many points of my life, not seeing every flashback in very clear details, but feeling these pointy spikes in the insides of my chest. I touch the surface of the armchair and I saw the 6-year old me, sitting on the floor, arms laying lazily on top of a big color book when I was in the process of discovering my love for colors and art. Instantly after,  I had a glimpse of the 11-year old me sitting down on it on a stormy evening, sleeping in front of an abandoned TV after waiting all night for my mother who was coming back from the public market selling eggs to make ends meet.

Visit www.facebook.com/JanoBoscherPhotography for more
Time Travel http://www.facebook.com/JanoBoscherPhotography

Many other pictures entered my head, making me terribly nostalgic of when my high school friends and I used to watch video tapes we borrowed from a nearby video shop after school. I saw at one quick instant my grandfather in 2005, laying at the sofa, sickly and dying, and suddenly, I woke up from a sleep, one night, upon the sound of my mother’s restrained weeping as she laid on the sofa a few days after my grandfather’s burial. I was young then and knew nothing about comforting a suffering person so I went back to sleep and cried for my mother’s grief in my sleep. A sound from somewhere outside the house snapped me out of the daydream. I opened my eyes and felt my hands tightly clasping on the right arm rest. This time I closed my eyes in the hopes of seeing more memories. I saw my cousin, his wife and 2 children sharing the sofa as their solitary resting place when they got kicked out of the house they used to rent when my he got laid off his contractual job and had to live with us – they were happy in spite of their poverty and their future’s uncertainty. So many layers of short figments frenzied in my head. It overwhelmed me to some extent and I had to will myself to stop. It was powerful.

It amazes me that some magical connection seems to bind us and objects we grow up with that stirs some deep memories we thought we lost. It can oftentimes be triggered by the simple sight or touch of these objects, and sometimes, they are these the last things we expect us to have a heavy emotional attachment with – a wash basin, or a broomstick, a rusting kettle, or in my case, an armchair and a sofa set. I like to think of these objects as a pipeline to our past, or perhaps a conductor of energy that, if touched, it instantly transfers to us such queer sensation of being catapulted to the yesteryear of our lives. In my case, it always happens instantly and when it does, I savor each moment of that “time travel” and I feel thankful to somewhat experience these memories all over again. I think memories, good or bad, are fragile, precious gifts we should keep attached to these objects, like a part of us is literally embedded in them and we can always go back to find them.

What objects do you feel that magical connection with? What objects have you time-traveled through? What memories do they stir up? Please feel free to share.

Jano

New Facebook Page: Jano Boscher Photography

Dear Friends,

I am happy to announce that you can now view and follow my work on a new Facebook page named “Jano Boscher Photography” and I would like to warmly invite everyone to visit. For the past months, your support has been great inspiration for me to continue on with my passion for art and photography, and it would mean the world to me if you would continue your support by liking and sharing my new page.

Facebook Page: Jano Boscher Photography

To go to my new page, please click here.

Thanks for supporting an aspiring artist like me. Let’s keep supporting all artists around the world.

Yours,

Jano

PS: Please note that I will be taking down the page “Jano Boscher” very soon.

Mothers and Christmases

A bowl of my mother’s sweet spaghetti brings me back to my early childhood Christmases when life was much simpler and her sweet spaghetti was all I would look forward to on a Christmas Day. Today, life is much more complex, I look forward to bigger things, often (and guiltily) wanting more than what I deserve. Today, I am thankful for Christmas (and my mother’s sweet spaghetti) for reminding me that I can be a kid again and life can get simple at least once in a year.

There’s nothing very uncommon about the ingredients she uses – pork, a few bits of hotdog, banana ketchup, cheap cheddar and pasta (two packs you can buy for the price of one – every store has some kind of a promo), but mothers have this thing about their hands that everything they put together turns out to be something really special.

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Asinan (Salt Factory)

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This is how salt is produced in Anda, Pangasinan, Philippines. When the sun fully dries the sea water contained in these man-made ponds into salt, it will be scraped off, held into sacks and stored in these small huts until small trucks pick them up for delivery to towns and cities. Salt-making provides living not only to many of Anda’s folks but to rest of Pangasinan’s.

We passed by this quaint asinan (salt factory) on our way to Anda’s Tondol White Beach, one of the North’s unpopular but absolutely gorgeous beaches.

Pangasinan is a province situated at the Northern, mountainous region of the Philippines and its name translates to “The Land of Salt”.

FACEBOOKING: You Know It’s Too Much When

Warning: This writing is judgmental. Read at your own risk.

Disclaimer: This piece does not represent anyone in particular, but paradoxically speaking, if deep in your heart you felt that you do what’s being described, then there’s a strong chance that you really do (and everyone who reads this would know if you contest and leave hateful comments below – see “warning” above). You may think that I only see these things because of the kinds of friends I have on Facebook, and yes, I agree.

To me, this is a compilation of all interesting stuff I notice my friends, and myself, do on Facebook, consciously or not. To you, these may be things that make you think of cleaning up your friends list or closing your account for good.

Without further chit-chat, here are the things that go a little too much on Facebook today:

  1. Too Much Info – Are you having troubles burping? Did you just bought a bottle of Coke from 7-11? Have you discovered a new mole on your body? We would love to know!
  2. Too Much Selfies-ness – excessive posting of pictures of your favorite person in the whole, wide, world: YOU. Normally taken by no other than your favorite person in the whole, wide, world: YOU (usually disturbingly showing a portion of the extended arm taking the picture from a short distance). May include shots on the bed, in the tub, along the highway, etc. Commonly closed-up, face shots, with captions ranging from: “Finally visited Vienna!” or “Marvelous scenery!” to the explicit:  “Am I getting fat?” “I may not be pretty on the outside, but I have a genuine heart,” or “I love you, boo” (tagged: girlfriend/boyfriend living overseas). When the disturbing arm isn’t visible anywhere within the frame, you would notice a portion of someone else’s shoulders, cheeks, or any other bodily parts, carefully cropped out to look natural (common caption: “Having fun with my close friends!”)
  3. Too Much Drama – Oh we enjoy compassion. And what better way to fish for some than to broadcast your issues with a person whose name or identify you couldn’t muster the strength to mention. These posts are normally followed by equally malicious, drama-loving chums who always seem to know what’s going on, leaving comments, likewise as vague as the original post, carefully thought of to trigger interest, pulling the curious, innocent, you into the trap of finally asking “What happened?” Because these are riddles, you wouldn’t get a direct answer, no you don’t. Furthermore, this also comes in the form of I-live-in-a-cruel-world, suicidal posts, whose problems may include (but not limited to) lone lines at the mall, being dumped by a crush, or serious family issues, making us Google help hotlines or consider venturing into clinical psychology. These posts could be so stressful! A few years back, when I discovered Facebook, I remember seeing only stuff about all things fun e.g. quiz answers to which Naruto character you could possibly be in your past life, etc. Now, I seem to be developing cancer cells each time I see my newsfeed full of hateful posts.
  4. Too Much Liking – This only goes too far when you start liking your own posts.
  5. Too Much Tagging – In the past, tagging has reminded us that we need not to look too wasted at parties, has trained hundreds to sleep with a closed mouth, and had thrown parents and bosses away and out of our Facebook life. Today, we can only thank God and Mark Zuckerberg there’s Timeline Review.
  6. Too Much Game Invites – This is probably my biggest pet peeve. Apart from the fact that I don’t play games, nothing is more disappointing than seeing 82 notifications one day, discovering about half of which are freaking game invites. And no matter how you block game invites one by one, there’s always going to be a new game your friend will discover and invite you to play.
  7. Too Much Poking – Shame on you if you poke me once. Shame on me if you poke me twice.
  8. Too Much Indifference – I seriously racked up my brain thinking of a new, flattering way to smile. All you need to do is Like the selfy I recurringly share or repost or change my profile pic countless times into, you cold-hearted bastard.
  9. Too Much Ranting – Similar to Item # 3, this includes carefully structured complaints about the weather, government, politics, and other things you have absolutely no control over. These posts seem to aim to change the world based on the number of likes gained or something. Similarly, these could be rants about how people post on Facebook like it’s their damn business.

Dear Facebook Friends: Don’t let this piece stop you from doing what you want on Facebook. Please don’t stop being you! And if you have Lady Gaga, Pink, Beyonce, or Joey Mcintyre on your iPod, you probably believe that you can be whatever you want to be. As much as what you may be doing may be made fun of by sleep-deprived people who don’t have better things to do in an afternoon than write a distasteful article on Facebook faux pas, please don’t forget that the world is free and so is the internet. Just like what your company vacation leave benefits, government loan benefits, or your basic penile function teach you: Use it or lose it.

Hashtagging 101 For Non-Twitter, Strictly Facebook Peeps

OK, so instead of posting mellow-dramatic stuff, broadcasting on social media how miserable my life is (seems like posting stuff about personal issues people are remotely interested in is the new trend, in my country, at least), I decided to post something actually useful in the 21st century: How To Freaking Use Hashtags.

Now that hashtagging is going to be an official Facebook  function very soon, I feel the strong need for me to do my part in educating my fellow social media peeps on how this is done without looking funny. Consider this my first gift to mankind.

1. Hashtags cannot contain other punctuation marks other than the pound sign (#), so no smileys or spaces between hashtags please.

2. In addition to item #1, please keep the pound sign as close as possible the word you’re hashtagging and never put it at the end of the word.

3. Keep it short. Let’s not tell a novella via hashtags. Moreover, let’s try not to hashtag #each #word #you #say #like #you #want #every #word #to #trend #worldwide.

4. Just use two to three hashtags that strike interested or embody your post. Putting in a bunch of hashtags makes it heavy to the eyes as there’s just too much to read, it’s annoying.

5. As I mentioned above, Facebook’s making hashtags function the same way as on Twitter very soon, but until then, let’s not put hashtags yet on our Facebook posts (unless they’re fed directly from other social networks where hashtags function in the present), it’s just pointless.

So those are just a few, basic how-to’s on hashtagging, my dear Facebook friends. For tips on how you can use hashtags work effectively for your business, see this article.