Pubstomp at Mineski Infinity Taft

Pizza, booze, and games. If this combination doesn’t make a perfect weekend for a gamer, I don’t what a perfect weekend is. I just came from Mineski Infinity Taft’s Pubstomp and I was fully satisfied! I had a chance to interact with fellow Dota 2 players as well as Mineski’s staff, whose energy and excitement were infectious. I even played a game with Tryke, one half of the most explosive casters in the Philippines, and went against Jhoven. If you don’t know who this guy is, shame on you!

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At least thirty people were in the so-called adult eSports entertainment, so we felt VIP’s in MI Taft’s studio area. A wide projector stood in the middle of the room in which I thought was going to ruin my viewer experience. I was luckily seating directly in front of the screen. The image above doesn’t justify that though. Still had to take one for documentation!

The first game that we watched — games were being held simultaneously, so we had to choose — was between Mousesports and Zenith. As divided as the Eastern and Western Dota scenes, the folks opinion on whose gonna crush who was split. Most of them are very vocal about it too, me included. And when you’re with hotheaded highly passionate people, you have to walk the talk. Rhom asserted that we put our money on the line if we’re that confident of our teams. And just like that, we got bets rolling! I naturally joined in the fun, placed 100 pesos on Mousesports for two games and fortunately broke even.

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It was only a matter of time when people felt the booze kicking in. Some went home . The majority, though — Mineski CEO’s included — played some games. As I mentioned, I played a game with Tryke and went up against Jhoven. It wasn’t my best performance because of 50% alcohol and 50% being awestruck. We managed to snag a win nonetheless, but I’m pretty sure Jhoven was only doing some fan service. 🙂

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So that sums up the Pubstomp! If you missed the fun, you can still join next week when the TI3 reaches the playoffs. I’m sure it’s going to be more fun and more intense. And I’m going to be there too. Still, my day’s not yet over. It’s actually just starting. I’m hosting the 15th installment of the Bus Yan! DotA 1 tournament, and I’m writing this as I’m waiting for players to arrive. Hope I don’t doze off during the games!

 

 

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The International 3 is Just a few Hours Away!

If you’re a Dota 2 player or someone who follows eSports, then The International 3 or TI3 to many needs no introduction. I should note one thing about TI3: it’s posing as the largest eSports event in the history of mankind and it has all the makings of one. In just a few hours, TI3 will start which will run for 10 days. And boy, am I so hyped about it!

I’ve been waiting for months for TI3, but admittedly, I didn’t watch the first and second TI’s on livestream. I’m sure to not make the same mistake, especially if the events aren’t restricted to team fights anymore. There are solo championships, all star championships, and something under that banner. And if that’s not enough, the prize pool is at a staggering $2.6M, easily making TI3 the single eSports tournament with the largest prize pool. That amount of money puts teams in heavy pressure, but it also means an all-out entertainment for us spectators.

My favorites in the TI3 have to be the mighty Loda and his [A]lliance as with many other players (fanboy detected?). Another team I’m hoping to get into the finals are LGD.Cn. I’m surprised that many of my peers don’t agree with me on this though. They’ve come a long way from receiving a direct invite, having that invite taken away from them, and winning it again through the Eastern Qualifiers. I feel that they’re the hungriest team among the participants, but it doesn’t mean that I’m disregarding the other teams — that will be foolish, I tell you.

I’m going to watch the game from Mineski’s Pubstomp, which will be tomorrow at 12 AM. Cheers for day-offs! The Pubstomb will cover the first day of the prelims. Mineski was kind to toss in some booze and pizza to the party too. Looking forward to that. You should know that this isn’t the only Pubstomp happening in the country and in the rest of the world. See Valve’s Pubstomp website and know where you can watch TI3!

I’m excited to go home from work. The first day will feature the Wildcard match between Quantic and RattleSnake. I put my rares on Quantic, so I hope they win. RattleSnake ain’t gonna back down from the fight though.

This is going to be an awesome week!

P.S. Didn’t bother to edit this post. I’m just way too excited to care for my coherence and whatnot right now. 🙂

You’re on the Right Track

Linking this post to the Daily Prompt.

I’m amazed at how the most recent events in my life coincide with the Daily Prompt’s topics.

My girlfriend is a real estate broker. Meeting clients and agents is part of her everyday tasks, and she’s extremely well at what she does. In fact, after barely a year of working in the field, she’s already breaking quotas and has been a consistent top performer in the company. What’s more amazing is that she didn’t have any sales trainings nor educational background — she is a BS Nursing degree holder. Some might say that her success was handed to her because she’s working with her mom, the senior sales director of the same company, but I saw her work firsthand. She does everything by herself and doesn’t need the help of her mom or anybody for that matter. That’s why I wasn’t surprised when she was promoted to sales manager.

Moving to a higher position entails more responsibility however. Aside from generating sales, she also has a team of agents under her. And that is where her problem as of late lies.

She talked to me last night, and I sensed the frustration in her. Her agents aren’t well-trained, which means that she has to do the heavy lifting for her team. That also meant that she has to go to client presentations in behalf of her agents, trainings, meetings, and other appointments. And when she gets home, she still has to make e-mails, calls to several personnel. She enjoys doing these tasks though, but she feels that she’s the only one working in her team. Now, the questions arise, “Am I on the right track? Why am I working hard for my agents when it should be the other way around?”

You see, my girlfriend is as highly concerned of her career as many young professionals out there. She vented out her frustrations, e.g. her mom’s ways don’t match with her beliefs, the agents heavily lack training, the company’s system is broken in itself, etc. And she still had to meet one client in her agent’s behalf. I didn’t have anything significant to contribute, as I know nothing of real estate and salesmanship. I do know however that what she’s doing is extremely impressive and admirable. I do know that she is an indispensable part of the company. And I do know that she is on the right track in her career.

I confided her as any good partner does and assured her that she’s doing just fine. I also told her that she doesn’t need to hurry because she hasn’t scratch the surface of real estate yet. She still has a lot to learn — we all do — and she should take the problems she sees as part of the learning experience. In the end, my speech reassured her a bit and she was back on her determined stance to be the best sales professional that she could be.

Mahal, I’m very proud of you and what you’re doing right now. Problems are there, and they will keep coming at you. But I know that your resolve and determination is mightier than those trivial things. Use those tools to achieve even more success. I love you!

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Workplace Internet Leisure Browsing

Workplace Browsing

Photo from karlmac.com


To quickly get to the point, I want to ask: How does Workplace Internet Leisure Browsing affect your productivity? The question has been answered countless times already, with many studies supporting WILB as an acceptable workplace practice. But most of them are done by companies, organizations and whatnot. It’s cool to read data and numbers, but I’m hoping to read some real opinions on the matter.

I am also eager to know your company’s policy on WILB and how you deal with it. If the company you’re working for allows it, how do you space your work and leisure time to meet your expected production? And if the company you’re working for doesn’t allow it, how does it affect the environment of the workplace?

This blog might be residing in the nether reaches of the internet, but I do hope that someone will read this and shed some light on the matter.

MA Journalism: Plans in Detail

Linking this post to the Daily Prompt.

If you could take a break from your life and go back to school to master a subject, what would it be?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us MASTERY.

I wrote about this matter before, but I didn’t talk about the details of the subjects I want to study. Going to that point, I listed the probable courses that I would take (hopefully this September, but this seems very unlikely because I haven’t saved enough money yet) and the reasons why I would want to take them. These courses are offered by the Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication, a premier Journalism and Communication Arts graduate school in the country.

AIJC has a ladderized program, which means that when you earn units from your Graduate Certificate Program, you automatically qualify for the Graduate Diploma Program and the Master Diploma Program subsequently, or so I understand. The curriculum dictates that I have to take 15 units in the Graduate Certificate Program, 12 units in the Diploma Program, and another 12 units in the Master Diploma Program for a total of 39 units. I have to note however that I must take an additional 12 units because my undergraduate degree is not in the field of communication (which I talked about countless times already). This makes a total of 51 units.

Six units in each program are for foundation courses; the Graduate Certificate program has nine. The remaining units are elective subjects. I’ve already listed my possible elective subjects, but I can’t discuss them in detail yet because I’m notorious in changing plans every so often. I haven’t decided on the 12 additional units as well.

These 51 units will take two years to finish, which is exactly what I’m expecting. The main issue for me however is whether I can balance having a day job, pursuing my eSports career, studying, and my personal life. When I enter grad school, I’m heavily considering to stop working for a while just until I get a grip on my schedule. Although that’s going to be hard because I have bills to pay. I can’t just ask for money, can I? I digress. Moving on!

My goal is to master the basic concepts that surround Journalism; I’ve had no formal training in this ground except for my English units in college. I do study in my free time and observe the practice of some journalists, but I consider my skills to be extremely unrefined and need a ton of polishing. I also tend to focus on online journalism, as I feel that online media, no matter how advanced it is, can still go further and it would be insane to push against that wave. I am also keen on their Photojournalism course. I have long despised being in front of the camera and haven’t really considered the power of pictures in storytelling until recently. And finally, I want to improve my research skills and my ability to make value judgment calls.

Alright! That’s my daily prompt!

 

 

The Act of Killing

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I attempted to write about this film at an angle that discusses it in detail, but I felt that it is something to be left to the viewers. Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Act of Killing can be summarized in one word: terrifying. The idea that a man can proclaim that he killed thousands of men with utmost conviction and mirth cannot be put into words; seeing murderers re-enact their war crimes and create a film based on them is indigestible.

The Act of Killing revolves around the genocide that happened in the 1960’s, when the Pancasila Youth rose into power after the overthrow of Sukarno. Anwar Congo, the main focus of the film, is the leader of one of the most notorious gangster squads in the Medan area and was responsible for killing 1000 men between 1965 and 1966.

Since these ex-killers wanted their story to be known, Oppenheimer approached them by asking the killers to write, produce, and star in their own film. This concept got me intrigued, as I believe that there is no documentary that has done this setup. Even harder to believe is that you’re asking ex-killers to portray their atrocities in such a creative platform, where you have musical numbers, Hollywood references and much, much more injected to the film.

As the ex-killers were developing their plot, they recount the violence they’ve done in the past with such objectivity, as if talking about the murders is integrated into their daily musings. The killers are very much aware that their actions are wrong however. “We were allowed to do it and we were never punished,” said Adi Zukaldry. Congo was determined to make the re-enactment as accurate as possible, recounting various methods of torture and execution such as strangulation using wires, stepping on their prisoners’ throats using table legs, and plain beatdown. One killer even expresses that he found joy in raping beautiful girls. He remarks, “it’s going to be hell on Earth for them but heaven on Earth for me.”

The Act of Killing continued its examination of human morality by depicting a scene in the film, wherein Anwar’s decapitated head was beside his rotting corpse. Beside him was his conscience, played by his brethren Herman Koto, who then proceeded to eat Anwar’s liver and penis in front of him. When the two watched the scene, Anwar argued that it should be put at the beginning of the scene so that it wouldn’t mislead the viewers into thinking that what has happened to him was karma. He wanted to be seen as someone who was oppressed by the communist by mutilating his body but rose to exact revenge for himself and for the people that the communists ‘hurt.’ The whole sequence says a lot as to how we justify our act so that we can look heroic even though it’s clear that what we’re doing is wrong.

As the film further unfolds, we see Congo strapped to a chair and being interrogated: he’s assuming the role of a communist. He was then tortured using his own method, the wire strangulation. His life flashes right before his eyes at that moment. The scene goes into a cut, and he exclaims that he can’t do the scene again. This is the first time I saw Anwar Congo scared, trembling into the idea of being victimized by the very same thing that he has done to thousands of innocent lives he took. He was proud to show the take to his grandsons at his home, but when they were gone, he starts bursting into tears, guilt-laden and full of regret. His monstrosity had already caught up with him.

In the last scenes of the film, Congo returned to the rooftop of the Medan Pos. This time, there’s no laughter and no dancing — as he was on the opening scene of the film — only lament and realization that he was a cog in the wheel in the darkest times of Indonesia.

No killers were convicted and tried. They are still their own villages, wearing fancy clothes, drinking and dancing every night, and leading such happy lives with their families. The Pancasila Youth is three million strong today, with the heads of the country protecting the gangsters or ‘free men’ as they refer to themselves. Today, they carry out jobs that are too nefarious for the government to handle, such as illegal gambling, smuggling, extortion, bribery, and of course, murder.

Despite this horrible truth, I believe the intent of the film is to uncover what man can do when he’s given power and is allowed to play god. It has little to do with the history of the Pancasila Youth, the genocide of 1965 – 1966, and the life of Anwar Congo and his gangster squad. The Act of Killing truly deserves the recognition and high acclaim it has garnered, as it shows the barbaric nature of man while combining fact and fiction into a seamless storyline. This movie will challenge and astonish you; definitely a must-watch!

When Lag Ruins a Tournament

Lag is annoyance that is embedded in any online game. Oftentimes, it happens sparsely and you can totally brush it off. But there are times that lag compromises a game so much that playing it becomes a painstaking task, defeating the purpose of having fun and leisure. And when it happens in a tournament-oriented game, you get an outcry from players and frustrated officials.

We had a taste of just that yesterday, when lag and disconnection issues became too overwhelming in the Dragon Nest Mineski Pro-Gaming League. At first, we speculated that the problem was in the ISP of Mineski. This speculation was quickly erased since I reckon having multiple disconnection issues when playing at home, which the players have seconded. These issues have been crippling Dragon Nest for a long time now. There are times that I can’t play for a week or two because I get booted out of the game when I enter a city or a dungeon, when I finish a quest, or when I’m playing in the Colosseum. But since the release of the 700.MARK, lag and disconnection became more frequent than normal.

Nonetheless, we pushed through the event, desperately hoping that some miracle will intervene in an otherwise stressful event. We all know it’s a long shot, and players are already expressing their dismay. Only 40 teams participated in eight branches so that makes at least five teams in each branch. And in an internet cafe that has an average of 200 PC’s, hosting the tournament should have been a breeze.

The lag became so horrible that we had to stop the tournament at 12 midnight. Pushing through was pointless since players are already tired and frustrated and some of them backed out already. We decided to resume the tournament at a later date but there are conflicts in the participants’ schedule. In the end, we seemingly wasted a whole day trying to facilitate a tournament because of lag — something that we can’t control.

My tone would be so different if the delay was on our end. If the computers aren’t working, then that’s our fault; if there are no units to play in, then that’s our fault yet again. Some say that the lag was exclusive to Mineski’s network, which I find absurd when other games run normally. I am playing Dragon Nest at home too as I mentioned a while ago and my home’s not linked to Mineski’s network.

I guess the failure on our part is that we haven’t coordinated with Cherry Credits to forecast the condition of the server prior to the tournament (as mentioned by our head marshal). But the DN GMPGL 5-7 was already scheduled before the year started and altering the schedule will affect the other events. This is what we’re facing now because I believe that the Dota 2 GMPGL 5-7 will be next Saturday, which is tenfolds bigger than Dragon Nest.

I do wish that the Cherry Credits team will do something about these lag issues in tomorrow’s weekly maintenance. Dragon Nest has the makings of a top tier MMORPG and is catering to hundreds of thousands of players from all over the world. But when lag pummels the game hard, I don’t know how long it will survive especially in the eSports scene.