Archive for January, 2009


A Good Kind of Tired

My leg muscles, arms and back are still a bit sore, and my brain just went on sleep mode at exactly 6.30 in the evening – but I’m not complaining!  I enjoyed everything I did that resulted in this physical condition.

The Shopping Trip and The Big Dinner

Aah, the year-end sale madness!  In late 2007, I decided to shop strategically from then on – meaning go a bit crazy during the mid-year and year-end sales (when you get great clothes, shoes and accessories at the best prices in the nicer shops in town), and then just  buy pieces that I truly couldn’t resist or that are really special the rest of the year.  It has worked so far, so I spent Saturday with Tintin, scouring our favorite shops at Trinoma.  I had just one observation from going around the mall and entering the shops:  Is there really a Recession?  Pinoys seem to be recession-proof!  On TV, we see the shops in the US, Europe and other parts of Asia offering such great discounts and yet very few shoppers come.  Not so in the Philippines.  Pinoys who earn regularly also spend regularly.  It’s both a blessing and a curse, and in times like these it might be even more of a blessing to the economy.

Anyway, the mall marathon induced a big hunger, so we had dinner at Bubba Gump (again!).  In our hunger and tiredness, we quite forgot about the large servings.  In short, we ended up too full to move a great distance, which was bad since we didn’t bring a car.  We took the LRT and MRT, which was more convenient (since we both live near an LRT2 station) than navigating through heavy traffic and looking for a parking space.  After some time, we decided to call her brother and ask him to fetch us, bribing him with food from Bubba Gump, hehe!  Kuya to the rescue again!

The Big Fix

There were two things that I wasn’t able to do during the long break – organize my closet and organize my books.  I finally got around to it yesterday.  I adhered to the tenet of taking something out when you buy something new, and I took out A LOT more!  It felt good, knowing that there’s a lot to give away.  It was also another kind of purging.  There were some items (not just clothes) that I held on to for reasons that are now silly, irrelevant, and foolishly sentimental.  Of course I still kept some that would most likely still mean something to me even when I’m old and gray.

Next in line were the books.  I realized that I currently have a 5-book backlog.  I also picked up the books that I’ve scattered everywhere around the house.  I like the way I’ve arranged them now – all my favorite books and the unread books in a storage bin right beside my bed for easy access, and all the rest in shelves.  Might be kinda odd, but that’s the way I like it.  Hmm, I also realized that I should already replace by battered, er, tattered copy of The Catcher in the Rye.  I’ve had it since high school and have subjected it to all sorts of conditions and book torture.  Ouch!

The Work

My organization and time management skills are being tested, and I think I’m still in the adjustment phase.  Mapping out a schedule hasn’t been working these past 2 weeks, so I’m winging it right now, simply attending to things according to urgency instead of according to project and task as originally planned.  Little emergencies crop up almost everyday, making it impossible to stick to a schedule.  However, I’m liking it!  I have greater responsibilities and a pile of things to do with the departure of my former immediate supervisor, but everything is falling into place now.  We are reorganizing the department and realigning the marketing strategy.  Since I got back to work this year, there has been no let up in things to do, unlike before when there would be a lull in the day or the week.  Good thing too that lunch break has been a real pleasure the past few weeks.  There’s something to look forward to aside from the food and the break from work. 😉  Still, no matter how much I like work right now, there are days like today, when the brain and the body just shuts down and refuses to do anything more.

Then I get second wind, enough to ramble out this quite lengthy entry.  I think I already wrote before that this is my own way of unwinding. 😀  Goodnight! 🙂

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G1

Ah…one of the perks of working for a mobile technology company.  I got to play with the G1 phone, which runs on Google’s Android mobile operating system.  The verdict?  Hmm…not quite the iPhone-killer yet.  In fact, I mostly do not like it.

The Phone

  • The phone itself is thicker and heavier than I expected.
  • The swivel-flip keyboard doesn’t look and feel sturdy enough.  All of us who played with the phone felt paranoid that one-half of it would go flying off if we’re not very, very careful with flipping, hehe.
  • The touch screen is not as sensitive as the one on the iPhone.  There were occasions when I had to slide or tap my fingers several times to get the screen to move.

The Interface

  • The orientation doesn’t turn to landscape when the phone is tilted sideways!  You have to flip out the keyboard even if you’re not actually going to use it.  Huh?!
  • There are no next-page indicators in the Home screen, unlike those discreet little dots at the bottom of the screen in the iPhone.  So, it’s up to the user to discover that there IS a next page.
  • Typing a new URL in the browser’s address bar is a pain!  Step 1: Flip out keyboard.  Step 2:  Press ‘Menu’.  Step 3:  Tap ‘Go to URL’ button on the touch screen  Step 4:  Type URL  Step 5:  Press ‘Enter’.  5 steps!  Why, oh why, can’t we just tap the address bar?
  • There’s no virtual keyboard

However, here are a couple of things I like:

  • Texting is easier with the keyboard.  Hehe, somehow I still can’t get used to iPhone-style texting.
  • Design-wise, I like the UI.

We haven’t downloaded any apps yet, and I haven’t tried all the other functions.  I mostly just explored the interface.  In spite of my gripes above, I think the phone and operating system have great potential and will be better after couple of versions/updates.

The next mobile gadget we’re most likely to get is Amazon’s Kindle e-book reader.  I can’t wait to explore that one!

And the tradition ends…

…with not quite a bang. No new desktop Mac! And no new product. No surprise Steve Jobs appearance either. A new Mac mini was expected, but nada! I was really disappointed about that. Since it was Apple’s last participation at the Macworld Expo, I seriously contemplated participating in a time-honored Philmug tradition – staying awake for the keynote (which starts at around 1am Manila time), tuning in to the live blogs, and sharing reactions in the forum. But the thought of the very hectic work day ahead got the better of me.

The product announcement I loved best was the Mac Box Set.

mb997

iLife ’09, iWork ’09, and Mac OS X Leopard all in one neat package! It costs $169, but for us in the Philippines, it’s P9,890 at the Apple Online Store. I’m hoping the Authorized Re-sellers would have a lower price, like they do with Leopard. The box set has huge savings, considering the total cost if the three are bought separately.

I haven’t been able to upgrade to Leopard yet since all the re-sellers have been out of stock and I couldn’t bring myself to shell out an additional 1k by getting it at the Online Store. It has turned out to be a blessing in disguise! Now I can also get the latest iLife and iWork at a fraction of the cost. However, there’s a dilemma. iMovie ’09 would only work with G5 and Intel Macs. My Mac mini is still a G4. I have been holding out (and trying hard to save!) for an aluminum Macbook. It finally came out, and I was drooling over it, but I had already grown to love the Mac mini. So my decision for now is to pair the Mac mini with a netbook (Linux OS, please; really can’t go back to Windows outside the office) for mobility purposes. But then again…who knows when Apple would release a new Mac mini? Should I get the Mac Box Set and figure out the way to use the old iMovie with iLife ’09; wait for the new shipments of the latest existing Mac mini model that would already have iLife ’09 in it; or wait indefinitely for a new Mac mini? But then again, new Macs don’t contain the full version of iWork. Haay… I’m think I’m just giving myself an unnecessary but sort of fun dilemma, haha!

The keynote ended with Tony Bennett singing ‘The Best is Yet to Come’. Hmmm, interesting! The new Mac mini, perhaps? 😀

Back to Red

No more snow, so it’s back to my favorite red template.  Happy to stick to this one!

Oh my, oh my!  Diego Buñuel and his show on Nat Geo Adventure Channel, Don’t Tell My Mother, chased away all traces of my sleepiness this morning!  I like to have the TV on in the background as I prepare for work each morning, usually tuned in to CNN or any other news network.  This morning, I channel-surfed while CNN was on break and chanced upon Diego’s show on Sky Cable’s Platinum preview channel.  He was in the Holy Land in this particular episode, and the part I caught was when he was in Gaza.  Everything about the show caught my attention – the place, the people, the situation, the events, and of course, the host!  The show documents life in war-torn places, with Diego mingling among the locals.

I was immediately hooked, and had to force myself to get up from the sofa and  go to work.  Of course half the interest in the show is the gorgeous, sexy host! 😀  He reminds me so much of someone. (Trish, one guess! 😉

Hit the Ground Running

It’s back to work today (after an unusually long vacation) for a lot of people.  I expected to feel very sluggish today, but the complete opposite happened.  I think I actually missed work!  I checked my office email midway through the break and found plenty of emails from our CEO, consisting of new assignments and forwarded articles that would be helpful for those assignments.  The thought of that pile of work made me very reluctant to go back to the office today, but once I got the rhythm going, it wasn’t so bad.

It’s a very good way to start the year at work.  I wish everyone the same thing.  Haha, there were also two things that made it easier to wake up this morning in spite of the cold weather – the probability of seeing one person, and the fact of not seeing another (in two weeks’ time). 😉

The Vicious Cycle

Israeli troops are now moving into Gaza after more than a week of attacks and counter-attacks from both sides.  More casualties, more confusion, more questions, another round of humanitarian crisis.  While I do not condone the Hamas rocket attacks, I am also uncomfortable with the strength of Israel’s counter-attack under the guise of “proportionate response”.  Israel bemoans that she is being bullied by surrounding countries, but who’s acting the bully now?  But then again, if Israel will be the one to take the first step in ending the current hostilities, will the Hamas attacks indeed stop?  This and other conflicts all over the world make me believe that only Divine Intervention could bring true peace in those regions.  Still, the fall of Communism (in most places, at least), which was thought to be near-impossible, happened, so who knows…  Then again, we’re talking about conflicts that have existed since Biblical times.  Vicious cycle.

I remember writing early last year that I wanted a more “alive” 2008, as compared to my very sedate (ok, boring) 2007. Well, I certainly got it! Leap years have always proven to be very good for me, and 2008 was certainly no different. And as a way to cap 2008 and usher in 2009, allow me to make a thank-you list and a looking-forward-to list.

People and things that I’m very thankful for:

  • My dad
  • Old and true friends who continue to bring me great joy, comfort…and good times!
  • New friends that allow me to constantly discover different sides of myself
  • Old friends, classmates, and relatives who popped back into my life, even if only through Facebook and Friendster, in some cases
  • A great year of traveling and other leisure activities: the Hot Air Balloon Fest; Holy Week in Capiz with my dad, Tintin, and relatives; the stormy beach trip to Langub Beach in Negros Occidental; Baguio with the high school barkada; Dumaguete with Trish and Jeff; and the countless movie, coffee, shopping, and food trips
  • Unpredictable career twists and turns that’s now leading to a good place
  • An evolved fashion sense! I actually bought only one pair of jeans for the year; the rest were skirts and dresses.
  • A more “interesting” (well, as compared to 2007’s absolute zero-ness) personal life
  • Better finances
  • People who have read and commented on this blog. Special mention to UP Manila Orcom grads and students. I never expected that my one post about Orcom would eventually have its own page and become a mini-community.

What I look forward to in the year ahead:

  • Continued good health for my dad, myself, and all my loved ones
  • More family get-togethers
  • Considering that my 2008 travel list consisted mostly of “re-visits”, I look forward to a travel itinerary consisting of places I’ve never visited (except for Corregidor; yes Trish, itutuloy na natin yun!)
  • Maybe even go back to Dumaguete again if the opportunity arises, with my dad this time around
  • Finally finding the perfect calf-high boots in my size!
  • Challenging and fulfilling activities, strategies, and decisions at work
  • An even more interesting, and maybe even finally a movement in my personal life 😉
  • Becoming more assertive in EVERYTHING 😉
  • More books!
  • Enough determination and courage to submit entries to writing contests
  • Greater will to fight occasional bouts of apathy
  • More readers and quality comments on this blog 😀
  • More early starts to the day
  • New friends, places, and experiences!

HAVE A GREAT YEAR, EVERYONE!