By Ruel S. De Vera Associate Editor I was always in awe of encyclopedias. As a child, having a set of reference books at home was an advantage for school work and fun whenever we got bored. My parents were helping out an uncle so we had several different kinds of encyclopedias at home; among our favorites were the Lexicon (great photos), the Encyclopedia of Science (great for homework), the Bible Encyclopedia (really unusual) and the Peanuts Encyclopedia (more fun than useful but super fun). We never did get the top of the food chain: the complete Encyclopedia Brittanica. We did have it in school, complete with dog-eared and even missing, torn pages (nothing like taking the reference home). Back then, the photocopier was still a relatively exotic piece of machinery so many students simply tore the pages and ran. My high school library kept my attention even beyond school work. There was an encyclopedia of the Wild West as well as reference books on the Second World War which I constantly referred to. In college, the library was useful for all the research subjects, be it abstracts or APA material. Whenever I got even more bored, I would set over to the bound periodicals where I discovered Sports Illustrated, a habit that remains with me today. Obviously, all this happened before the Internet. Back then, the only way to really do research was actually set foot in the library. We slaved over those books. We understood the value of long hours in the shhh-infused environment of the library. We don't discount the value of today's one-button search for what used to take us weeks. It's more about the loss of wonder and awe about books and what they contained inside. Leg work mattered. Everybody needed to crack open a book or two. Wikipedia wasn't the end all and be all. Today's children have the world at their fingertips with a single visit to Google being all it took. It's an amazing world, but surely one that could be enriched by understanding how the old fogies used to do it. Book and button together; that is a killer combination for research. Find out all about the Internet and our children today in the November 15, 2009 issue of the Sunday Inquirer Magazine.
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By Ruel S. De Vera, Associate Editor Sunday Inquirer Magazine EVERYONE’S affected by the economic crunch, and we all have to find our own ways of getting through the crisis with aplomb. Here are my five tips for riding out the crisis:
- Borrow, borrow, borrow: I understand we live in a highly acquisitive environment, but books, DVDs and the like are truly expensive these days. I won’t argue whether they’re luxuries or necessities (you can guess though) but creating a circle of borrowers can be helpful. Since we’re lending our own things, we should take care of what we borrow. Additionally, you can arrange for borrow, say, magazines from one person, books from another, DVDs from someone else and so on. At the very least, it can be a pleasure to explore someone else’s book shelf for a change.
- Take the jeep: The MRT/LRT/LRT2 is the height of public transport in the Metro, but now everyone and their entourages take the train, leading to some ridiculously backed-up crowd during rush hour. Buses are scary; tricycles are weird. Now it’s time to relearn how to take the jeeps. They run throughout the city, are still relatively cheap; and it’s just a matter of figuring out the labyrinthine routes they run and weaving them together.
- Take home everything: Foodies come in all stripes and sizes, but leftovers now become more than just an afterthought; they can be part of your daily meal routine. Think about it; when eating at a restaurant with big servings, you can already plan in advance to take the food home, making it part of your next meal (heated up, microwaved, heck, some even like pizza cold) instead of becoming literal dog food.
- Discover Book Sale: It’s actually insane how good the stuff is at Book Sale. Between the novels and the magazines, one just has to be very patient wading through the rows and rows of items. Ideally you could spend half a day at one Book Sale branch alone; you can spend the next day at another. And there’s no denying how affordable their merchandise is.
- Use landlines: Remember these? Most of these are not metered, have excellent reception (no more “Can you hear me now?” nonsense) and are just a glance away. The only downside is that you can’t move around while talking, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s very much a back-to-basics move, and makes a whole lot of sense.