Sunday, December 20, 2015

A Case for Cases

With something as important as a smartphone nowadays, it's best to make it last in the long run. Constantly buying smartphones is unhealthy for the wallet so taking care of your cellphone is essential to constant access to communication. One of the biggest causes of a smartphone's death is accidental dropping. Just one momentary drop would cause your cellphone to have a brain hemorrhage and cease to function aside from being a well-designed brick. This is where cases come in.

Full disclosure: I work as a salesman for a cellphone company so I deal with cellphones that range from good to garbage quite a lot every day. It pains me to see a phone with a cracked screen but I'm not telling you to buy a cellphone from the company I work for.

With something as expensive as a smartphone, protection is necessary because a phone is a necessity, not just a vanity item. It's not unheard of to have no landline in a household because cellphones are much more convenient. Whether prepaid or postpaid, a cellphone is a part of daily living and losing a naked cellphone through gravity makes one get filled with the five steps of grief. And yes, I did say "naked cellphone".

The simplest way to take care of a phone is with a case because a drop could affect not just the screen but also the internals of a phone. One instance I remember while writing this, a customer brought an LG Nexus 5 phone that didn't have a working screen. The screen wasn't cracked but it wasn't working either. He said it fell on one specific corner that killed the phone's screen capabilities. Had he just bought a case for that phone, it could've have a chance in surviving.

With a pricey cellphone, you'd want to make your hard-earned money worthwhile. It goes the same for phones that are 100 dollars. It's not everyday you can spend that kind of money on a phone and that's not including the taxes and monthly bill payments that come with it unless you're rich or an idiot who breaks their phone all the time.

Usually, the more popular a phone is, the more likely are cases available for it. The cheapest option is to buy a case from a dollar store. Dollar stores usually have cases for the latest models of iPhones and Samsung phones but does it feel worth it though? The logic behind dollar store cases doesn't really seem safe in the long run. Sure, you bought a 2-dollar case but does it provide enough safety in case of a drop? Unless the case is actually pretty good, avoid dollar store cases because you did save 18 dollars on a case but it might just cost you a few hundred for a new phone after one timely drop. A case that provides nothing but to look pretty may not be the safest option.

Something that doesn't feel safe are those silicone cases that collect dust. You know those? The rubbery thin cases that feel like they're made of yogurt. These are the least protective cases unless you have those cases that look like cute bears. Those can at least withstand a minor fall.

But let's talk about my phone for a second. It's an Asus Zenfone 2 and I love it to death. I've accidentally dropped it several times and so far, it survived every one of them. Just so I don't have to deal with grieving over a cracked phone, I searched online for a case that focuses on protection instead of style.

I use this kind of case for my Zenfone 2. With a case like this, I have a phone that feels chunky and massive but that's okay because it can resist a drop more than a regular case. Plus, "chunky" and "massive" are the same adjectives I can use about the kind of hands I have. I have dropped my phone a few times but thanks to this case, the phone survived each drop with no damage whatsoever. Not even scratches.

Another phone I have that I use as a backup is the Moto E 2nd Generation that I bought on Black Friday 2015. Just to be on the safe side, I bought a 15-dollar case with it as well. Not just any cheap case though. A hybrid case that involves plastic and rubber that makes the phone feel bulletproof. Not literally but I like the security it gives my backup phone.

These cases have provided my cellphones at least a chance of survival in the case of an accidental drop and I recommend getting thick, secure cases for your smartphones. I can't stress the importance of cellphone cases enough. Don't be smug and say "I'm always careful with my phones". It never hurts to be safe because if you keep your guard down at the right moment, you'll lose your tool for communication in the world.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Ralph's Writing Collection - How I Never Met Your Mother [Part 39] – I Hope You Don't Mind

Kids, lets skip to February of 2012, just so we could end this story with Jill. Sometimes when you think you’re doing something right, you’re actually making it worse. That’s when you give up – when you’ve tried your hardest to make things right and nothing seemed to change. With something as delicate as the act of forgiveness and with an attitude like Jill’s from tourism, you’re running a fine line with disaster.


My first attempt at apologizing to Jill didn’t go as well as I had hoped. For starters, she didn’t want to see me nor did she want to hear my apology.
Ralph: Jill, I’m sorry.
Jill: Whatever. Whatever.
Ralph: I didn’t know what I did—
Jill: Whatever. Whatever.


When my friends found out what happened, they totally felt bad for me. I mean, it’s not every day that I’m nice to anyone and I get insulted like that. But that didn’t really bother me. If I wanted to stay friends with Jill, I should at least remedy whatever mistake I did. And I remember telling your Aunt Karina:

Ralph: I'm not giving up on her.

[I should've given up on her.]
Ralph: This girl could be special.
[She was the devil.]
Ralph: I’m gonna apologize and things are going to work out with Jill.
[No they're not, dumbass.]

So I thought about paying Mediartrix, a musical theatre organization in UST, for a serenade. Your Uncle Martin and your Aunt May would help me with that. I actually had everything planned. Days before February 14, I had a sign that said “I'M REALLY SORRY” written in the How I Met Your Mother font. Martin and May would sing the song and judge Jill’s reaction. If Jill liked it, they’d give her the sign and she’d know who it’s from.
Before I could do that though, I needed help once again in Jill’s schedule. I called your Aunt Camille U. for help.

Ralph: Camille! I need Jill’s schedule again.
Camille: What do you need it for?
Ralph: For Jill!
Camille: You’re gonna have her serenaded?! But she’s a glitch!
[She didn’t say “glitch” but you get the point.]
Ralph: One last apology then I’m done!
Camille: Idiot! Okay, I’ll call you later.
Ralph: Thanks, Camille~

40 minutes later, Camille got me the schedule.

Camille: 2.30pm at room 116.

Ralph: Why can’t they stay put in one room?! Sorry, not the point. Thanks again, Camille!

And you wonder why people don’t like me. Anyway, it couldn’t get any worse, right?
When we arrived at the Albertus Magnus building, I asked the guard where room 116 was. It was in a hallway but it looked more like an alley. I expected trashcans and a homeless man outside the classrooms. When we got there, I suddenly had a thought. Something I really didn’t think through.

Ralph: Wait, how do we get you guys in there? Do we just ask the professor and interrupt his class? Oh god, we are so gonna get stabbed.

To this day, I still don’t know why I thought I was gonna get stabbed that time.]

Thankfully, your Aunt May had friends in that section and they let them enter. The professor, for some ungodly reason, allowed the serenade to take place. I didn’t want to enter the classroom yet because, again, the lingering thought of getting stabbed was running through my mind. I’ve watched the anime School Days a little too much the past few weeks, that’s why.


Your Uncle Martin was really a good singer, judging by the reaction from Jill's classmates in room 116. It was either that or those girls were trying to drown him out with their screams. I was never sure. I was just outside holding a sign. I heard the chorus of the song Uncle Martin chose to sing. Elton John’s “Your Song”. “I hope you don’t mind,I hope you don't mind that I put down in words. How wonderful life is while you're in the world.

After the song had stopped, your Aunt May called me to enter. It was the finale. When I entered the “I’m really sorry” sign, they all went “Awww”. Even their professor was smiling. I didn’t need to say anything because the message was clear. I was sorry. It was a good gesture. Or at least I thought it was.


Later that day, I checked Twitter and a friend of mine showed me a tweet from Jill. She said that I basically “ruined Valentine’s Day for her” by having a song dedicated to her. I wanted to throw my cellphone when I read that.

That’s when I gave up. No matter how hard I tried, no matter what I did, I could never reach her. I could never get her to forgive me. Oh well. My friends didn’t like how it turned out. Aunt May and Uncle Martin got mad when I told them. They knew about the effort I’m exerting to get this girl to forgive me, to just be friends again, and they hated Jill for not even giving me a simple thank you. Oh well.
I even remember what your Aunt May said.

[Except she didn't say "glitch"]

And kids, sometimes when you do something nice for someone, it could go both ways. Sometimes they appreciate it and sometimes they'll hate you for it. Jill never wanted to see my face again and that’s alright. The only reason to give up is not when something goes wrong – it’s when you know you’ve done everything you could but nothing ever changed.

And you wanna know the funny thing about this? I asked my classmate Camille about it and she told me that Jill misunderstood a tweet I posted, thinking that it was directed at her. So after all the conversations, the offering of that guest spot for the radio show, the personal delivery of that stuffed pink puppy after finding out her schedule, Jill gets mad at me for a simple misunderstanding that wasn't my fault.

Back then, she and I would talk for hours with random conversations and jokes about friends and the university in general. I'd always reply to her whenever I can and she did the same. Everything I wanted in a woman, she had it all. She was pretty. She was alluring. She was gorgeous. She was smart. She was funny. She was sarcastic. She got me.

And now it's all over. Oh well.

What I thought was there, she thought differently. That was the last time I did anything nice for a girl I like.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Ralph's Writing Collection - How I Never Met Your Mother [Part 36] – Rock Bottom

Kids, when you’ve done something wrong to someone by accident, that’s alright. It can be corrected. However, that opportunity to be corrected depends on the person you’re trying to apologize to. I’ll get to that later. 

In December 15 of 2011, after finally meeting Jill from tourism, I thought everything would be golden. I thought everything would be nice and alright. Boy was I wrong. When my friends found out what I did for Jill, they were somehow impressed. Heck, just 30 minutes after meeting Jill, I already waited outside room 209 where your Aunt Angel was having classes. My friend Jasmine was there for some reason and we had a conversation.

Jasmine: Where have you been?
Ralph: I was at CTHM. I met this girl
Jasmine: Oooh, how’d you meet her?
Ralph: Twitter. After 5 months of talking to her, I started to like her so I gave her a gift.
Jasmine: Really?! How?
Ralph: Got her schedule from the CTHM dean’s office. They thought Karina was shifting.
[They actually did.]
Jasmine: Oh my god, I can’t believe you actually did that!
Ralph: What, what? Is that bad? I knew it was bad! It’s creepy!
Jasmine: Nooo! It’s a good thing. 


For a while, several of my classmates thought I was a sweet guy instead of this sarcastic villain they see. And for a while, Jill and I were tweeting with each other more constantly than ever.

However, it came to a sudden halt.

I was seeing the misery of my classmate and all of his “sophomore hardships” that he was talking about. I was just laughing at whatever he posted. He was miserable. So I posted “Laughing at other people’s misery” on Twitter. So what does this have to do with anything? I’ll tell you later.

At the same time, Jill was posted on Twitter that she wanted a guy best friend that would be mistaken for her boyfriend. I, in my everlasting weirdness, wanted to shout “I VOLUNTEER!”


But when I tried to reply to that tweet, there was a problem. I couldn’t. “You are not allowed to perform this action” or a similar error message like that. That wasn’t supposed to happen.

When I checked Facebook, it informed that I was no longer friends with Jill. I clicked her profile and it said “Page not found”. Of course I thought it was just a momentary error but then I realized that it wasn’t. A friend of mine showed me her posts on Twitter and it was basically referring to someone to shut up. That someone was me. And I felt terrible.

I asked your Aunt Miho for help.

Ralph: She blocked me on Facebook and Twitter. How else am I going to apologize.

Miho: You have to apologize in person.
Ralph: Wait, what? You wanna have me killed?
[I bet she did, really]
Miho: No, come on, it’s the only thing you need to do if you want to end up as the good guy here.
Ralph: But I am the good guy here!
Miho: Not to her! When you apologize, it’s up to her what to do. The ball’s in her court.
Ralph: Alright, alright.

So days before January 3, the resumption of classes, I already planned on what I would say to Jill. 

Ralph: I didn’t know what I said that made you mad. It may have been a misinterpretation of words or bad timing but I’m really, really sorry. 

I asked my friend Jasmine to review that. She said it was simple yet effectively meaningful.

That’s what I planned on saying. Instead, when the day arrived and I was already in the CTHM building…

Ralph: Jill, I didn’t know what I said that made you mad—
Jill: Whatever.
[She really said that.]
Ralph: I’m really sorry—
Jill: Whatever.
Ralph: Come on, whatever I said—
Jill: Whatever! Whatever!


As the door to her classroom slowly shut, I leaned back to a wall nearby. Time stopped. It felt like everyone around me disappeared. I wanted to rewind time. A second chance maybe? A second go for an apology for something I didn't do.

The song “Hero” by Regina Spektor played in my head in a constant loop. “I’m the hero of this story, don’t need to be saved. I’m the hero of this story, don’t need to be saved.” I didn’t know what else to do. I didn't know anyone in the building to talk to. I felt alone. I didn't need to stay there. Why was I still in that hallway? Staring at a door that I know will never open for me again. Time resumed. I realized I was back in reality. I walked through a crowd of tourism students, some had already seen what happened, most likely thinking "He deserved that". I just wanted to go back to my building and regret everything.

Obviously not the best outcome but it wasn’t the worst. The worst would be Jill suddenly stabbing me School Days-style in front of cheering girls from CTHM who thought I was a stalker. That was the first of many times she would call me that but I’ll get to that later.

I went back to room 209 to talk to your aunts Angel and Inah. They looked at me from inside the classroom and smiled, silently asking me how it went. I just shook my head slowly, silently delivering the bad news. They both ran out of the room and ask what happened.

Angel: What happened?!
Ralph: She… didn’t listen to me.
Inah: What do you mean?
Ralph: I go there to apologize, and she was having none of it...

To this day, your Aunt Inah says that it was the first time she actually saw I was hurt. She saw the pain in my eyes somehow and it was new for her because I wasn’t this bully that I usually was. I was a guy who lost a friend or something more.

The story with Jill is not over though. I’ll get to that.