I got a Robot for Christmas!

There’s a robot now, roaming inside our house. You read it right. A robot. No, it’s not as technically advanced like the NASA Mars Rover, but it does explore the expanse of our whole floor. Nor it is an alien robot, like the Transformers that can disguise like an everyday machinery, but it does do household chore.

Meet Flori (a.k.a. taga-linis ng floor), my new iRobot, Roomba Model 560, vacuum cleaning robot. It cleans our floor by itself and then goes back to its dock when it’s done. It even has a feature that it can be programmed to clean our floor on schedule, up to 7 times per week. Maybe they should add a feature that it would play some music too, instead of the hum-drum noise it emits, while it is vacuuming.

Flori cleaning our floor

After many years of wishing that “somebody” can takeover the mundane chore of cleaning the floor, which is my designated task since I was a boy (using bunot and floor wax) and that I carried over to this day (see previous blog here), finally my wish came true. I am really happy that I got this gift under my Christmas tree. I am not saying though that the manual labor of cleaning the floor has not given me any satisfaction. Or maybe it doesn’t, but it certainly builds character.

Yes, it may be a little slow, as Flori takes about 20 minutes to clean one room that I can do in under 10 minutes, but I am not complaining at all. She can take her sweet time. And me? I can use that 10 minutes in doing something else – like blogging. She may not be as good in cleaning the corners and nooks, or under the furnitures, and other hard to reach spots, but then again, I don’t mind that at all. As long as she does not run amok and take over our house like an out-of-control runaway machine, just like the plot of so many robot or intelligent machine movies, I am content.

Now if “somebody” could also clear the snow in my driveway for me, that would be really cool (I mean hot….or warm, as I would not be freezing my ears doing it, you know what I mean). Is it too early to make a wish list for next Christmas? A fully automated, industrial grade, robotic snowblower is definitely in my list. A GPS-guided, fully automated, self-propelled, robotic lawnmower would be delightful too.

Santa? Santa? Are you listening?

Sumampid na Saranggola

“Matayog ang lipad ng saranggola ni Pepe, matayog ang pangarap ng matandang bingi.” – Celeste Legaspi

Isa sa mga nakatutuwang alaala noong ako’y bata pa ay ang pagpapalipad ng saranggola. Kahit maging boka-boka man o guryon, ay gusto ko itong paliparin. Dahil sa sikip ng aming kalsada sa Sampaloc, at sa dami ng mga poste at linya ng kuryente ng Meralco, ay halos imposibleng magpalipad ng saranggola sa aming kalye. Kaya sa itaas ng bubong ng aming bahay ako nag-sasaranggola.

Minsan, sa aking pagpapalipad sa Maynila, ay lumarga ng malayo sa himpapawid ang aking saranggola. Tuwang-tuwa akong makitang matayog at matatag ang lipad nito. Ngunit biglang nag-iba ng direksiyon ang ihip ng hangin, at gumewang at umembang ito. Sa pagsisid at pag-bagsak nito, ito’y kumalawit sa antena ng TV na nasa bubong ng aming kapitbahay. Buti na lang at kasama ko ang aking tiyuhin* na mahusay magpalipad. Ibinigay ko sa kanya ang pisi, at sa magaling na pagdiskarte at pagmamani-obra niya, ay nakawalang muli ang aking saranggola. Ito’y mayabang na pumailanglang muli sa hangin.

Ngayon na ako’y hindi na bata (pero isip-bata pa rin?), ay nanatili pa rin ang hilig ko sa pag-sasarangola. Pinasa ko rin ang hilig kong ito sa aking mga anak.

saranggolang mababa ang lipad

Noong nakaraang araw, ay naging mainit at mahangin ang panahon dito sa amin sa Iowa. Kaya’t sinamantala namin ng aking mga anak na magpalipad ng saranggola. Maluwag-luwag ang aming bakuran, at walang mga poste at linya ng kuryente dahil nakabaon sa lupa ang mga kable ng kuryente at telepono dito sa aming lugar. Ngunit merong mga matataas na puno sa aming pook.

Madali naming napalipad ang aming saranggola dahil sa lakas ng hangin. Ngunit sa pabugso-bugsong ihip, ay maraming beses ring bumulusok sa pagbagsak ito. Pero patuloy pa rin namin itong pinalilipad at pinakakawalan upang maglagalag at sumayaw sa himpapawid. Nang malaon ay naging matayog na ang lipad nito. Subalit sa isang malaipo-ipong bugso ng hangin ay biglang humilagpos ito sa pagkakahawak ng aking anak. Tangay pati ang pisi, ay sumalipadpad at sumampid ito sa tuktok ng mataas na puno.

sumampid na saranggola

Tulad ng paglipad ng saranggola, ay ang paglipad ng ating mga pangarap. Minsan matayog at matatag. Minsan sumisisid at lumalagakpak. At minsan ay napapatid at sumasampid. Ngunit kahit mahulog o sumampid ang ating mga panukala at panaginip, hindi nanganahulugang dapat na nating itigil ang pagpapailanglang ng ating mga pangarap. Kundi ay patuloy pa rin natin itong paliparin – hanggang ito’y sumahimpapawid sa alapaap ng tagumpay.

Isa sa mga panaginip ko noong ako’y musmos na bata pa ay maging basketbolista. Pero hindi ako biniyayaan ng 6-footer na height. Subalit kahit nasampid man ang pangarap kong iyon, ay biniyayaan naman ako ng matalas na isip, at marami namang ibang mga pangarap ko ang lumipad. Sa kasalukuyan ay nag-kakasya na lang ako sa pag-lalaro ng basketbol sa aking driveway.

Hangang ngayon ay nakasampid pa rin sa puno ang aming saranggola. Kumukuya-kuyakoy at kumakaway-kaway sa ihip ng hangin. At para bang nagsasabi at nagpapaalala, na minsan ay naging matayog din ang kanyang naging lipad.

May panibagong saranggola na naman kaming papaliparin. Maaaring bukas……..kung hindi uulan.

*******

*(Post Note: Parang paglalayag ng saranggola, ang tiyuhin kong kasamang magpalipad noon, ay napadpad sa Canada, habang ako naman ay dito sa Amerika.)

Knight in Cardboard Armor

For some reason my son is fascinated in Medieval times — from castles, knights, and the weapons of those times. I think most boys have that fleeting intrigue about knights and swords, but my son’s interest seems to be deeper. He had borrowed several books in the library about castles, knights and their battles.

One book he had borrowed at least 3 times is “Siege: How to Conquer a Castle”. He is so interested in Medieval warfares and tactics on conquering a kingdom. Maybe that’s why he is so keen in chess, with knights, towers, queens, and with all the strategies in capturing the opponent’s king.

By the way, why is it in chess the king is so helpless and needed to be protected by his men, while the queen is all powerful? Is it the queen, in real life, that is running the kingdom (or should I say “queendom”)? Just asking. Sorry I digress.

In his play time, my son have even built catapults and battering rams with his lego and tinker toy set. Then last week, he made a knight’s armor. He fashioned it from cardboards, cereal box, and an orange carton. He designed and construct it all by himself, though I helped a little bit, to cut things out that is too tough for him to cut.

Here is my knight in shining….. ah, er……..cardboard armor.

Today he creates a cardboard armor. But who knows what kind of armor he will design and create in the future. Maybe this?

Toys on the Couch

I like Toy Story. I watched all of the 3 movies of Toy Story. I even watched Toy Story 3 twice on the big screen with my kids. So it’s not surprising that I bought the Toy Story 3 DVD last week as soon as it became available in stores. Now we can watch it again and again and again (to infinity and beyond?).

Last night, when we we’re supposed to watch my newly bought DVD in our house, I got annoyed with my kids as they set all their stuff toys on the couch for the movie, leaving me no space to sit on. After I grumbled, they obligingly made a space for me in the couch, but they left their toys on it and they were the ones who sat on the floor.

I still don’t understand their “craziness” on having their toys on the couch while they sit on the floor…… until the movie started. Then I got it! It was Toy Story after all! They were just giving homage to their toys just like the movie.

I have forgotten how toys are not just toys in the eyes of the children. I guess I should watch the movie through the eyes of a child .

or through the eyes of the toys?

ultraelectromagnetic top

Nuong pasko, nang kami ay nasa Pilipinas ay niregaluhan ng kapatid ko ang aking anak ng turumpo na kumakanta at umiilaw. Nakakaaliw.

Naalala ko tuloy yung aking turumpo nang ako’y bata pa. Gawa ito sa binilog na kahoy, na may pako na nakabaon sa gitna. Ipupulupot ko yung tali, na may tansan sa dulo, sa aking turumpo, at saka ibababato ito sa lupa. Iikot na ito. Kahit hindi ito humuhuni o umiilaw, nailalaban ko naman ito ng batbatan sa mga ibang batang may turumpo. Nakakaaliw (kahit puro konyat na ang aking turumpo).

(Tanong)

Sino ang gumagamit ng ultraelectromagnetic top bilang armas sa pakikibaka sa mga kalaban?

A. Mazinger Z

B. Voltes V

C. Daimos

D. Darna