Tuesday, December 29, 2009

This pen makes me happy

Yesterday, I tweeted that I terribly missed using Pilot ballpens. (My present staple are the Pilot Hi-Tecpoint V5.) I went to Office Warehouse to buy a couple but the BP-SF turned out not to be as nice as I remembered them to be back in high school.

I scanned other Pilot types and I found one to my liking: the G-Tec-C4. I immediately bought three not knowing that it costs P70 a piece :-D Apparently, it is refillable (hence the initial cash out? :-P) and I will later find out if they are available in our local bookstores once the ink runs out.

I love how "thin" my handwriting looks; the ink is judiciously spread as one writes so that there are no unnecessarily chunky fonts. (Eep, cursive anorexia!) I also learned that those who write down notes on their Bible, with its onion-skin sheets, find this the perfect pen as the ink doesn't seep through the other side of the page.

I can't believe I only discovered this now when others have blogged about the G-Tec being their favorite pen for the last decade. I also discovered a blog that draws amazing cartoons with it. (Yes, as a geek, I do google searches on my pen :-P)


Monday, December 28, 2009

I'm curious (UPDATED)

Update: If you dislike Noynoy, why is Gibo the better alternative? Doesn't Gordon make the most sense?

Update 2: By the way, I'm posting these questions out of curiosity and not as bait. While I'm leaning toward voting for Noynoy (I was originally for Mar Roxas), I haven't decided with finality yet.

* * * * *

Merry Christmas!

Question: What do you make of Villar and his pro-poor ads? Is he exploiting the poor or is he merely highlighting his unique selling point?


Repeating Mano Po

I can't remember what year it was when I swore that I will never watch any of the Mano Po movies ever again. In any case, I had to eat my words when I forked over my money to see Mano Po 6: A Mother's Love.

To watch a Filipino film part of the Metro Manila Film Festival requires the moviegoer to drop logic and reason, lower his standards and shut down his IQ. This saves him from mental anguish at the course of watching the movie, and from regret, thereafter.

Even without fully meeting these preconditions, I am happy to report that Mano Po 6 is perhaps the best MMFF film I've ever seen (which isn't a lot :-P).

I stopped counting the times I chortled every time Sharon went onscreen, and had to depend on my imagination to gloss over Sharon Cuneta THE celebrity to believe her as the rags-to-riches story that is Melinda Uy, and who is desperate to reclaim the love of her daughter. (Brought this up with Mon: none of our most-celebrated actresses ever got lost in a role. Sharon, Vilma and Nora merely play dress up and never relish their characters with gusto. Then again, my barometer is Meryl Streep.)

Once I have gotten past that, the film went on smoothly: plot was predictable, yes, but it was solid. I thought it would suffer the same fate as most studio-produced films, wherein the scriptwriters get lazy and find the easy way out toward the end of the plot by having the most unimaginative twists -- and MP 6 did skim over this local conundrum -- but it was forgivable.

It is hard to guess if, through the Mano Po series, producer Mother Lily is attempting to elevate Pinoy-Chinese culture: there is the unnecessary switching between Chinese and Tagalog among the characters, and consequently, this results to their outrageous accents; and there is also Zsa Zsa Padilla's garish, and I guess, unintended sketch of a Chinese businesswoman: Pokwang could have delivered the same acting to better audience response. Essentially, these turn out to be a joke and unfortunately, are Mano Po's definitive elements (by its own choosing) so as to claim itself to be Filipino-Chinese.

As for entertainment value, there are a couple of memorable lines, Dennis Trillo is cute (and he displays his nipples), Heart Evangelista is gorgeous and Zsa Zsa attempts to be Pokwang. There is also the fashion. As one Greenbelt patron exasperatedly told her friend on the way out of the screening, "There will be an overrun of fake Chanel in Greenhills, for sure."


Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Out of Office

A friend got this auto-reply e-mail from one of our China colleagues:

Dear,
>
> I\'m on sick leave today (Dec 8) or maybe tomorrow (Dec 9).
>
> Your mail has been well-received and I will deal with it when I\'m healthy
> back.
>
> Good Health to you.
> Joseph*

I wish everyone can be as honest, lol.

_______________
*yeah, yeah, I know what he means but still, the name has been changed to protect his job :-P


Thursday, December 03, 2009

Beach, love and money



While the Devil's Spawn announced a National Day of Mourning, or three days after the entire country actually began grieving, Mon and I headed to Boracay to attend a wedding and spend a week of R&R.

I am in Boracay annually but I am never prepared for the huge changes the island goes through every time I visit. It now has Starbucks, Shakey's, Yellow Cab, Havaianas and Crocs (among others) lining up the coastline. There are major construction of buildings and resorts by its very narrow highway -- Astoria's was the only one that I managed to get the name of. It made me wonder how hotels expect respectable occupancy rates during the leaner months when there's an abundance of supply but very little demand. Also, I wish that it is the Caticlan airport that is undergoing expansion so it may accommodate more airlines.

We stayed at Island Nook, which is a few feet away from D' Mall (highway side). The rate was P1,500 per room and that includes breakfast.

This is where breakfast is served. Those doors are the rooms. We stayed on the second level.



Breakfast is ala carte and limited to variations of "log": tapsilog, cornsilog, hotsilog and bangsilog. They're practically expletives, lol.


The room has a huge flat-screen LCD TV but no closet and mini-ref. (I don't get the logic behind this.) Design and furniture are very minimalist so there are no aesthetic concerns for me to speak of. The room has no view so we kept the curtains drawn during our entire stay.

When you open the door... tadaaa!!! The room was smaller than they appear on some of the hotel pictures I saw. At the foot of the bed are the flat-screen, wall-mounted LCD TV and a slab of wood as stand for your belongings. The air conditioner takes time to cool the room, about 8 hours.



I took this photo by the bed. That's the main door on the left and the toilet on the right. Toilet has a shower head with heater. No tub, but there's bidet, hurrah!


Staff service requires patience (and I don't think they are available from 8 p.m. onwards); nevertheless, they are friendly and pleasant to deal with. If you're on a budget, this is the perfect accommodation for you, though personally, I think I'll go back to booking beachfront resorts for my future visits. I want to wake up to a stunning view, my partner excluded :-P

The wedding was held at Seawind resort and I must say, it had a fantastic setup. I'd categorize it as "casual rich."

Side view of the altar; behind it is the perennial stunner, Boracay sunset.



From the altar to the reception, guests passed through a gallery-like setup featuring the couple's pre-nuptial photos.



It was beautiful and doesn't compare to those I've previously attended (oops, sorry!) or those I've glimpsed at as a nosy outsider.

The reception tent.
I love how it was well-lit; bright lights but not harsh: everyone exuded a soft, warm glow. (Since I've a poor eyesight, restaurants that aren't well-lit are one of my pet peeves.)



View from outside the tent. Guests understandably had impromptu photo shoots, myself and our party included.



The VIP table; behind, some tables offered a more relaxed vibe.


The gorgeous bride said the resort took care of the details. Here she is walking down the aisle.

The gown was all white and featured silver embroidery, which my lowly camera didn't manage to catch.



Cute kid! This was the color motif of the gentlemen.


The invitation said attire is "formal resort wear" which I found to be contradicting so I decided not to stress over it; I picked colors which I knew would pop out in a sea of white, brown and off-white linen (read: guests).

From the impromptu photo shoot, lol: Linen top and sneakers (*gasp* at a wedding!), Zara. Cotton pants, Gap.


True enough, I was the only one in purple, blue and red, lol. Ooh, and it was funny that I arrived at the site via tricycle. Parang barrio lang!

Another guest, who was Dutch, was in a collared shirt and cargo shorts. The bride recounted that he was bewildered to see the other guests in their fine linen, pinya and jusi. "I thought this was a beach wedding?" she remembered him exclaiming. Pardonable na wala syang ka-concept-concept ng beach wedding. Baka wala nun sa Netherlands.

At the reception, while performers serenaded the couple with a song, Starlight, a 10-minute fireworks commenced. "Ang yaman! May visual aid pa talaga ang song at on cue talaga ha!" I said. Turned out the fireworks were for another event at a different resort.

For the final performance, two trannies came out gyrating and contorting their bodies in outrageous ways. As if those weren't enough for a spectacle, they also swung fire. At one point, one of the dancers slashed a line across the sand, which instantly burned in flames.

Heart-stopping production number!


I thought it was a perfect metaphor for love and for the money spent.

Love, no money.


Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Hopeless

I don't know how other people are able to keep fighting for this country when 22 years after EDSA, we are still confronted by the same issues: poverty, unemployment, poor education, corruption in the government, among others.

Nothing's changed.

I remember back in high school, I competed among junior and senior students for an essay-writing contest on the subject of freedom. I won that contest due in large part to Emilio Jacinto and his thesis, which I took inspiration from:

"There are instances when Liberty is smothered by error, by the kind worship of ancient bad practices and laws suggested by crafty hench men."

- Emilio Jacinto, Light and Darkness



I argued that we are never truly free; not until we rid the government of corrupt politicians (I did not discuss religion; I studied in a Catholic school and I did want to win the contest after all, lol).

I wrote the essay as a wide-eyed and relatively optimistic teenager in 1996.

Nothing's changed.

I don't want to comment on politics any longer, most especially on Arroyo. I figured, what's the point? We've hurled all that we can on The Devil's Spawn and yet, she has had the gall to file her candidacy for Congress. We've vented our frustration, anger and grief for the victims of the Maguindanao massacre and yet, more than a week after the incident, only one person is in prison for a crime committed by more than 100 hundred men. I couldn't help feeling incredulous and asking myself if Mindanao is the new Cambodia circa Pol Pot's regime. But the pressing question seems to be, "What's the point?"

I can't even blame the government anymore. Although The Devil's Spawn does hold a huge share in the list of reasons why this country is going down, I also can't help but think that this country voted for Bong Revilla and Lito Lapid in the Senate, plus a slew of corrupt representatives in Congress.

Hence, I see 2010 as a turning point for this country. If nothing changes, I'd rather migrate to another country; I can't keep hoping and waiting for another 6 years.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

It would have been idyllic

Photo: Erik de Castro/Reuters



It would have been idyllic, breathtaking even, to meet one's Maker under such a circumstance: the cast of the sun's morning glow, grass by your feet, the quenching view of long rolls of hills. It would have been a peaceful, melancholic death -- except there are 40 of you and 100 of them.

Women and mothers you never dared mentally undress now lay before you, their pants down, violated and raped. For some, bullets riddled their bodies. For others, it was a slash on the throat -- they silenced screams.

It would have been idyllic -- I wish it were idyllic -- but yes, it was breath-taking.

*for the victims of the Maguindanao massacre



Monday, November 23, 2009

Poor man's chai tea

So Cleopatra. My stirrer, McDonald's, looks like he's enjoying a milk bath, lol!

What you need:

mug
tea, any variant (I use Twinings but I'm sure any brand will work)
a heap of creamer
sugar to taste

Instructions:

Um, place teabag inside mug. Pour hot water, creamer and sugar. Stir... and voila! Your very own Chai Tea Latte, lol!


Ang ghetto, ba? LOL.

It may not be as good as Coffee Bean's but I personally think it's way better than Starbucks'! (My review of Starbucks' Chai Tea Latte when it was first launched here. Not sure if it has improved.) I've tried Twinings' Earl Grey, Green Tea & Lemon and Green Tea & Mint -- and they all taste good, albeit each flavor has varying degrees of zing. You'll just have to adjust the amount of water, creamer and sugar to get the right consistency/taste. Try it!


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Nativity Looklet

I've been reading essays by "free thinkers" or basically, philosophers who think that religion do more evil than good so buying a nativity set was the last thing on my mind. But when Mon and I saw this particular set, we were blown away by... the fashion! LOL! It's so Vivienne Westwood! So I bought one for my folks back home.

When we got back to our apartment, Mon thought of having a photo shoot ala Looklet, so voila!


This made me think how many of the Kings were actually black.



Here's the Aryan king. Shimmer kung shimmer!


Back detail


But hands down, this King has the most flamboyant couturier! Spectacular curving and curls!


Overwhelming but still proportional draping


Joseph in his empire-cut ensemble.


Full version. Even without a crown, he makes a spectacular headpiece statement.


Mother Mary and Baby Jesus


Kakapanganak lang nya sa lagay na yan ha!


The curtain call.



Unfortunately, the set doesn't say which company made these lovely creations -- although it does say it was made in the Philippines. Well done!


Monday, November 16, 2009

Ladlad

I may not have blogged about it, but I did tweet about it: Comelec rejects gay party list; cites immorality and exposure of youth to unreligious ways.

I've written as much entries as I can to prove my point and rile against the Catholic Church so I'll let these two do the talking on this particular subject:


To both of you, thank you.

And if you're gay/lesbian and have troubling reconciling your identity with God, I hope my previous entries help:



Sunday's clash

A few days back, I posted an entry wherein, in simple terms, I dissed militants. It stemmed from a quote by Terry Ridon, secretary-general of the League of Filipino Students, posted on ABS-CBN's news site.

If one gets past my catty language -- and I would understand if he/she can't -- I would summarize my entry as such:

    a) No system is perfect (although it can be improved, but I didn't write that in my post) and I feel that in general, rallyists are being overly critical especially because,
    b) We need all the help this country can get especially for Ondoy victims

Hence, I stand by my entry.

Now, Terry is passionate about his cause and would take no crap especially from a "simple-minded" blogger like me (:-P) -- so he posted his response in the comments section. Madness ensued, and for that, I apologize. (So yeah, while Pacquiao was preparing to fight Cotto, I was in the middle of my own match, lol.)

If you can get past all that mudslinging, partly mine, in the comments section -- and I would understand if you can't -- Terry eventually did expound on his organization's position regarding VFA. May point sila... but I'm wondering, if it's unconstitutional, why hasn't the Supreme Court stepped in (especially, as I quote Terry, the SC itself is discrediting the treaty)? There must be a literature out there that addresses this question but I don't have the time to research it now. And also, Terry says the US didn't have to invoke the VFA to justify its humanitarian causes, but from what I heard the US Embassy say, the VFA allowed the US to respond immediately, and I assume, due to logistical reasons.

On my part, I am OK for this country to do everything to rid itself of terrorists, even if it means having American soldiers over. If they engage in criminal activities, then they should be sent to jail, not the embassy. I will repeat it again: this country needs all the help that it can get. (And I think those who live in constant fear of the Abu Sayyaf and other terrorist groups should have a larger say in this. During Clinton's Manila forum, Ces Drilon said Mindanaoans approve of the VFA. I don't know where she got her data, though.)

I promised to post his entire rebuttal here, but I realized it is not quite fitting to this blog's theme, which is essentially fluff (insert self-deprecating humor here) so I will just summarize it and invite you over to the comments section for the full version.

Summary:

    a) VFA, as it is a military treaty, makes no mention of humanitarian aid.
    b) Any country may send the Philippines aid; no treaty is necessary.
    c) VFA is biased for US soldiers, not for say, rape victims.
    d) "VFA is in complete violation of national sovereignty and territorial integrity under the Constitution, which prohibits the stay of foreign troops, the existence of foreign military bases, facilities and equipment."

As his final note, Terry says, "The issue during Clinton's visit is the demand for the abrogation of the VFA, and no other. Not disaster relief, which could be done without the VFA."


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Love is in the Air

Mon and I are surprising my friends from high school later tonight. And no, I am so not cooking, lol. (I wish!)



Can't wait to start Christmas celebrations and turn over a new year -- 2009 has been horrible to the Philippines, some friends and acquaintances; I've had a few stumbles as well. Looking forward to 2010 and what better way to do that with a pre-Christmas dinner which includes crispchon!


Friday, November 13, 2009

Mirror, mirror on the wall, Part 1

Image is important to me -- not that it's an all-encompassing means to judge a person, but still, it is enough to establish or destroy a reputation.

In any case, this is not about me. This is about the presidential and vice-presidential candidates.

We pretty much know who are in the running for the top two posts in the 2010 elections, especially with the announcement of Edu as Gibo's running mate, and despite Villar's silence -- as Loren is his safest bet. Given this scenario, we have:


Gibo and Edu



Erap and Jejomar



Villar and Loren
(Let me just point out that only Villar cannot be referred to on a first name basis out of context; ah the travesty of having the same name as a Filipino boxing legend!)



Noynoy and Mar


Here's how I perceive them to be if I were to relate them to, as Sesame Street puts it, "the people in your neighborhood."

The Pogi Boys

Gwapo, maporma, mukhang mayabang and as @heyjay pointed out, mga La-Sallista (whether that's good or bad, well that is up for debate, lol); The conyo boys raised by an evil stepmother (read: GMA)

I sincerely like Gibo but my problem with him is -- aside from the obvious and that is his Arroyo connection -- he seemed to have sprung out of nowhere. He wasn't heard of as a Congressman and not as Defense Secretary, at least until he announced his presidential ambitions. Given his outstanding and attention-grabbing educational record -- a law degree from UP, top spot at the 1989 bar, and a master of laws from Harvard -- how could he have been under the radar all this time? How could he have not excelled in public service? Given this missing piece -- a popularity and charismatic appeal earned through years under the public spotlight -- he should have tried being a senator first.

As for Edu, let's imagine he wins. And then let's imagine the President dies. I cannot imagine the dude who sang and danced to the Papaya Song, as my President. Also, granted that eradicating piracy is hard, do we vote for someone who cannot solve a hard problem? Do we also vote for someone who cannot even win Makati? A losing streak is a considerable image problem.


Ultimate Pogi:
Bill Clinton. If only these guys were half as good.

Lolong manyak na tambay sa kanto with sidekick

Si lolo na manginginom, sugalero at sabungero. Yung sidekick na pang-comedy na laging nababatukan, ala Babalu or Panchito.

I won't expound on Erap -- I highly doubt his candidacy will be be considered legal. Jejomar is a minor player aspiring to join the big leagues. Being mayor of Makati, as rich as the city may be, just won't cut it.

Besides, Binay is not Makati; the Ayalas are.

And seriously, these two put together is so depressing: they look dull and gray. Heck, one of them walks as if his scrotum can barely hang on to its balls. That image just doesn't inspire.


Ultimate lolong manyak: Nicolas Sarkozy -- Leaves wife to bag the supermodel -- to positive and improved popularity rating!
Ultimate sidekick: Dick Cheney -- when the sidekick is actually the evil, scheming master

Part two, Villar and Loren; Noynoy and Mar.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Militants

From the report, Clinton Arrives in Manila.
American aid officials have defended the agreement, saying it allows US troops to quickly respond to calamities.

But demonstrators said no amount of humanitarian work by the US military justifies their continued stay in the country.

"The visit of Mrs. Clinton in the Philippines will be a mere publicity stunt, and the entire promise of the Obama administration -- that it is going around the world for a renewed multilateralism, and for the opening up of the United States towards greater involvement in the world -- will be all for a sham," said Terry Ridon, secretary-general of the League of Filipino Students.


Please translate. All I read was, "Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah."

This is the same problem I have with people who claim to be animal lovers but continue to eat meat; or if they are vegetarian, continue to wear leather. I believe the Joker phrased it as, "misguided sense of righteousness."

I'm sure Typhoon Ondoy victims appreciated the help by anyone -- whether by fellow Filipinos, many of whom continue to destroy the environment; by the Japanese government, who still refuse to properly compensate, much less acknowledge comfort women; or by the US, whose sins are apparently so huge that "no amount of humanitarian work" may justify its errors.

I hope these militants are as perfect as they expect The System to be.


Tuesday, November 03, 2009

What am I reading/looking at

Dreams From My Father by Barack Obama. The Sartorialist by Scott Schuman. Bringing Home the Birkin by Michael Tonello.

I've been reading Dreams From My Father for over 6 months now but I'm finding it harder and harder to stay interested. (I'm in the part wherein he recounts his days as a community development organizer.) Just a couple of pages in and I doze off. Don't get me wrong, he writes extremely well for a politician as he keeps his prose simple and direct to the point. I just can't relate to his musings, particularly on racial issues, which is the book's center of discourse. This just might be my new Catch-22, the book by Joseph Heller which I never got to finish and never plan to pick up again.

The Sartorialist is a street-style picture book featuring some of the best personalities and celebrities to have graced Scott's blog site. I simply flip the pages to wherever and observe the subject's style -- his color choices, the proportion of his clothes, his quirks, silhouette, accessories. Mostly, I look at the subjects with admiration as I've yet to be inspired by their style, and conversely, translate them into my wardrobe. In some of the photos, Scott would offer an explanation as to why the person interested him and this makes me wonder how many times have I let inspiration escape me due to my blatant lack of interest in details. (Ergo, why I will never be a successful editor and why I've no huge dream of becoming one, either.) By the way, this was Pam and Jill's birthday gift :-)

Mon and I discovered a new favorite hangout with the most delicious coffee and highly glamorous toilet (LOL!) and while lounging around, I saw a copy of Bringing Home the Birkin, which I remember Pam telling me about. This is Michael Tonello's account of how he became a successful eBay reseller by auctioning rare and hard-to-get Hermes items. He offers tips on how to get that sales assistant sell you a Birkin, a bag that has a waiting list of two years. In other words, an advice which I don't see any need for unless I win the lottery. The author can be overindulgent with his prose, and I suspect, this is to stretch his material to come up with XX number of pages, but one cannot be so critical of "chick lit." I'm halfway-through the book and I must say, it's a refreshing change from Obama. :-P



Monday, November 02, 2009

Spooky

This happened early this morning.

It was about 4am and I was half-asleep, when I felt that it was colder than usual so I reached for my blanket and tried to cover myself with it. "Tried" because as I attempted to do so, I could feel something else tugging the blanket to the opposite direction. I tried doing this several times, me tugging the blanket toward my body, but when it dawned on me something was preventing this, I got jolted awake. I got very scared so I kept my bedside lamp switched on.

I fell asleep and I dreamed about my lola, who passed away 13 years ago. In the dream, she was alive but in her early stages of cancer (she died of cancer of the lymphoma). The entire family was hearing Mass and I just kept crying and crying as if we were so close to each other (we weren't in real life). When I woke up, I felt as if my heart got lifted off its burden -- what one usually experiences after crying in a very long time. It may have just been a dream but it was the first time I cried for my lola.

* * * *

In other news, these were taken during my Cebu trip, at the Basilica of the Sto. Nino:

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Figure is a little hazy, but if you take a closer look, there's a white silhouette of a kid in this one:

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... and that of long-haired lady, peering out of the window (perhaps, staring into the camera) in this one:

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Linear control

Found this interesting photo over at http://yvanrodic.blogspot.com taken in Seoul. I'm not sure what it is exactly but it's a very intriguing concept: demarcation lines is all it takes to mark boundaries and lanes on a street.

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Photo by Yvan Rodic


I love that it is minimalist; more so what it says about self-discipline. No need to put up barricades like fences, wires and cement blocks (in the Philippines, such construction projects are susceptible to graft and corruption). Also, said blockades, which have taken up a lot of space in Manila's main thoroughfare, EDSA, are still not effective enough to discipline drivers, and have also been known to be causes for accidents.

If implemented in Manila, you think this will only create mayhem? How much trust do you place in Filipino drivers?

I'm pretty sure Ruby will say zero :-P


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What's going on?

I lost the Looklet Ludic Contest. I'm thankful for having been nominated and getting a decent number of votes. In terms of ranking, parang Philippines lang sa Miss U, haha.

Thank you to those who voted :-)

* * * *

Mon's Looklet for me while I was bedridden for six days last week:

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Cuppycake asked the Gift Lady to bring these presents to Bluearden: (1) a Tenderheart Bear toy, (2) some flowers arranged by the Flowers Guy, (3) a BIG KISS, and (4) a "My Heart Belongs to Bluearden Alone" balloon. Get well soon, Pogi. Mwah! :-)


I told him I wanted to see him dress like this in real life, haha.

* * * *

And one of my city series creations, which I dedicate to Auee:

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London


* * * *

Isn't Glee just the most awesome new TV show? It made me drop Gossip Girl off my viewing list; GG characters have become too emo and Lindsay Lohan for my palate.



Monday, October 26, 2009

What you know

500 Days of Summer was cute. Not earth-shattering but cute just the same. (I was a bit tired I fell asleep on some parts, only to be awakened by my phone's alarm, signaling that I needed to take my antibiotics. My alarm tone was I Gotta Feeling by Black Eyed Peas. No moviegoer shhh-ed me, hehe.)

For us adults, I'd like to think that we know these things already: love is unpredictable; love is subjective. It takes one person + love to screw up your entire world and take you to a plethora of emotions and episodes within a span of weeks.

Love changes.

So I hope it didn't take this movie to switch on a lightbulb in people's heads, with the exception of teenagers and virgins.

Julie & Julia echoes this premise: Live your passion and you will rule the world.

We're all supposed to know this to be true, right?

It should not take this movie to switch on a lightbulb in our heads because this truth has been hammered into our mindset several times in books, other movies and on Oprah.

Over and over. Again and Again.

Then why are we still stuck with dead-end jobs we don't jump off the bed at 6 in the morning for?

In love, teenagers and virgins have an excuse for their stupid choices: naivete. We adults rattle off children, mortgage, security and stability, as if people who live their passion don't have/never had to contend with these challenges.

I know these things. I am not doing anything about it.


Friday, October 23, 2009

Third World Banks

Our word for the day is Bureaucracy.


I receive an HSBC check drawn from its New York branch. I go to BPI in SM Megamall to deposit it to my account. Bank teller tells me it's impossible. Calmly, I walk away.

I go to HSBC Discovery Suites branch to encash it. Bank teller tells me it's impossible. Naturally, I asked why; the check is drawn from THEIR bank. Bank teller tells me their computers don't have an access/connection to the New York branch. Apparently, we really are third world like that. Bank teller suggests I deposit it to wherever I have an account with. I tell him about the BPI incident. He smiles and tells me it's all he can do to help -- to smile that is and offer no other solution. I calmly walk away.

I proceed to BPI in Podium, fill out the forms and walk to the teller. Teller stares at the check for a good one minute, opens mouth, stares at it again, and finally, tells me what I wanted was impossible. "I called your customer service center; the agent told me what I'm asking you to do is very possible," I politely tell her.

Of course, I made no such call and had no such conversation. Teller asks for advice from a colleague. I stare at them as they huddle.

Teller returns to me and says I must have a dollar account. I refuse to accept her answer, still insisting on the phantom call I made. Teller leaves her counter and asks a senior colleague for advice. Senior colleague leaves her desk and approaches the bank manager. Bank manager says it's OK -- they can process the check.

This is a major attitude problem, particularly among those in the government.
They say "No, it can't be done," out of:
    a. Ignorance
    b. Laziness
without even verifying the rules; or by simply IGNORING the rules.


So I proceed to the manager. Manager first throws a sales pitch: "If you open a dollar account with us, the clearing period is much shorter, about 15 days."

"No."

Manager leaves for senior colleague to take over.

I sign a form and hand over the check.

"This will take as much as 45 days before it gets deposited to your account," she tells me.

Our word for the day is Bureaucracy. Bureaucracy is when BPI would take it 30 more days to convert a currency -- which money changers can do in minutes, by the way -- because its client doesn't have a US Dollar account.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

I'm a Looklet nominee!!! (updated)

I AM NOMINATED FOR LOOKLET's LUDIC FUR CONTEST!!!

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Please vote for me by clicking the heart next to my entry. It is titled "Sexy Back" under the name bluearden. Thanks! :-D

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Since I made this look quite some time ago, I was taken aback by my cheesy title and the Justin Timberlake reference -- I couldn't figure out why I named it so... until I remembered what the back part looks like:

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So please vote :-) Deadline is this Sunday, October 18. Thanks!


Monday, October 12, 2009

1st-time tourist city series: Shanghai

Thanks to Wednesday for the city idea! :-)

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Zuleyka's such a superstar she won't let the Shanghai skyline eclipse her style.

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(This is perhaps the most chic of my city series. Kept the China references subtle.


Sunday, October 11, 2009

1st-time tourist city series: Lhasa

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Sonia dreamed of meeting the Dalai Lhama. She went to Tibet ready to impress the Buddhist leader, garbed in traditional colors. When she reached Lhasa, it was only then that she discovered that the Dalai Lama has been in exile in India since 1959.

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