Sunday, June 17, 2018

Citizen Homer Second Setting - Railway Watch

Happy Fathers' Day!

Easily one of my favorites is this Citizen Homer Second Setting manual wind watch. I chanced upon it being sold by its previous owner who was letting go of some of his collections. I was actually inquiring about another watch until he posted photos of this watch and I became curious when he labeled this as a railway watch.

Simple watch face with dauphine hands and arabic numerals. The brand and model are written in cursive script. It is a very functional, practical design given that train drivers and station staff use this for what could be the most punctual train services in the world.
Side view of the watch
Side view showing the crown, which bears the brand logo 'CTZ'
The engraving reads: Top - Showa 48 (Refers to the 48th year of the reign of Emperor Hirohito = Showa and translates to 1973). Middle - watch number (this was issued to railroad staff, particularly to those running the trains). Bottom - First two kanji reads 'Koku Tetsu', which is an abbreviation of Kokuritsu Tetsudo (National Railways). The Kanji in parenthesis refers to the Japan National Railways division where the watch was issued; in this case the first kanji is likely to be for Kanazawa and the second is 'division'.
It's easy to fall in love with the simpler, non-luxury watches like this Citizen Homer. And to be honest, I would prefer to wear these kinds of watches for most days, which is also the main reason why I have preferred to wear my old Seiko Kinetic after all these years.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Chocolate review: Vanini Dark Chocolate 74% with cocoa nibs

It's nice to have some chocolate on rainy days like the ones we are now experiencing in Antipolo due to Habagat. And this is not limited to the hot chocolate that we can enjoy any time of the day. We opened one of the Italian chocolates in our cache. We selected a bar that I remember we got from Bacchus at Shangri-la Edsa. That store had a pretty good selection of Italian chocolates and we never fail to pick up a few to go with the wines that we purchase there once in a while.

The maker prominently states the use of Bagua Cocoa, which is a superior quality cocoa originating in Peru
Details on the chocolate at the back
Information on the cacao and the principles in making this chocolate including fair trade and the use of non-GMO cacao.
Nutrition information, ingredients and the manufacturer. If you hover your smart phone on the label, it will detect the code and prompt you to open the company's website.
We were surprised when we opened the packaging to find more information about the chocolate inside.
Detailed information on the cocoa/cacao used for this chocolate, which is Bagua cocoa. This is supposed to be the original cacao from the Amazon that was later on spread to other countries.
The company's slogan and intentions are good. We can just hope that they are really helping make these realities at present.
This was another excellent chocolate that goes very well with wine, coffee, tea or even hot chocolate. I don't exactly recall the price but it did not exceed 150 pesos, which is pretty good bang for the buck for 100g of excellent quality chocolate. We'll definitely get more of these the next time there's an opportunity.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Hiding behind the numbers

Warning: This is an opinion post.

It is amusing to me when we try to get too technical as if we are trying to convince ourselves that something is right because of the technicalities. It is like hiding behind the numbers and it gives a new meaning to "lost in translation".

One example is the brouhaha about what was first reported as a statement by a government official on the monthly income required to survive for a family of 4. Ten thousand pesos per month seems to be a very low figure for those from the middle to upper income classes. But then it is a lot from the perspective of minimum wage earners. And a lot of us can do the math and show that this amount is not enough for a decent living. We can debate about benefits (e.g., free education, CCT, etc.) and assumptions but realistically we cannot deny that 10,000 pesos is only for survival, which is quite far from a decent living. I pity friends in that agency who are trying to explain their bosses' statements. They make poor apologists for something that's indefensible unless you get "technical".

An acquaintance opined that the reporter was editorializing. But then what was reported was how people, in this case many if not most of the reporters, understood the statement made. Later a more senior official made another statement in an attempt to clarify the numbers mentioned earlier. It only showed how far from reality certain officials are in their views. As another acquaintance puts it - the official is in denial about the difference between minimum wage and the income required to have a decent life in this country. I wonder what adjective you can use for those not earning this "decent" income level? And before I forget, one journalist has proof that the earlier statement on 10,000 pesos was literally expressed - the journalist has a recording of the statement.

The same acquaintance opted to stick with his opinions and cited more numbers, using statistical terms that actually would make no sense to the very people that are the subject of discussions on income. I was personally disappointed with the person whom I thought was quite objective and sometimes critical about economics during the GMA and PNoy times. What's changed with him? I'd rather not say here.

Meanwhile, many of our countrymen are toiling to make a living just to survive...