How I made the Clockwork Droid mask

When Joiz and I decided to attend the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary party set by fellow Whovians, we thought it would be cool to come in costume, as we were sure many attendees will be doing. However, we had little time to decide which to go as and get it set up. We decided in doing some villains because for sure there would be a lot of Doctors already, and villains are a bit of a challenge.

I picked the Clockwork Droid from the episode “The Girl in the Fireplace”. I figured it would be easy to find the clothes as it was more or less standard for 18th century France. The mask was going to be the bigger challenge.

In the end, it was actually the other way around.

Materials
Basic materials (scraps and tools not included here)

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Budgeting blues

It seems highly unlikely that for a person my age and resources, I have never been outside the country. But indeed, I will only have my first international flight this coming June. Then again, there are a lot of folks who have never set foot outside the Philippines and do not really care. I’d be the same if it hasn’t been a lifelong dream of mine to see Japan.

What are the possible reasons why I never indulged in a trip abroad before? Resources, first of all. I do plan and try to save up but more important things would come up and I’d end up using the money somewhere else. Second, I’m usually not into traveling alone, so when I’d ask someone if they’d like to go, the response I usually get is “I can’t.”

Finally, I decided “To heck with it,” especially after my childhood best friend said she’ll be going to Singapore. Plus, I was so tired of feeling envious and feeling sorry for myself that I thought I’d just go right ahead and buy a ticket. I lucked out and got a sale seat, so instead of spending thousands in the five digit bracket, I only got to spend thousands in the four digit bracket (I hope that hasn’t confused you hehe). Thank God for seat sales and luck.

Now comes another challenge: Budget. Just because I was going with my friend doesn’t mean I’m ok, especially since we’re traveling with her mom, who will most likely foot a huge chunk of the bill. I do want to chip in my share, and I also want to have some money to spend for souvenirs and stuff.

How to do this? My original plan was to set aside some money from my salary. It’s possible, especially if my increase kicks in soon (any day now… *crickets*). However, given that I usually go beyond my budget most months, I don’t think it will work, unless I live on crackers and water until June (I’d be so thin, ugh). I am earning some extra money from my freelance side projects, which was small but if it’s consistent, may just work. So, I brought out my favorite thinking tools — a pen and paper — and got to work.
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Kitchen experiment again

When I was a kid, I hated Lent. First off because even though I had my cousins to play with, we’re not allowed to (Catholic tradition thing). Second, you can’t eat the “good” stuff (meat, candies, sodas) and third, you have to pray (an hour of kneeling isn’t something a kid can’t tolerate much). I’ve gotten past the first and last, but the second is still sort of hard to do.

Decided to cook dinner today, since I did manage to skip eating meat the whole day. I went to the grocery to buy my ingredients, but I didn’t really have a plan. I got cream dory, some mushrooms, a head of cabbage, dried seaweed and rosemary. Coated the fish in salt, pepper and rosemary, fried it in olive oil then tossed in garlic, onion, some water and a dash of soy sauce and sukang Iloco to taste. After the liquid boiled, I added the cabbage and mushroom, then for the heck of it, stirred in some dissolved sugar because I thought it was too salty. My sister suggested I added some evaporated milk and though skeptic, I did. I let it simmer.

It tasted fine to me, but it had to pass the judgment of my three siblings (Nunik was out because he was watching the Stone Temple Pilots). They all had one thing to say: “Masarap.” That’s good enough for me. I don’t expect them to wax poetic about my cooking, but the fact that they didn’t complain was testament enough. Did I mention that nothing was left of it?

Hurrah for another success!

The Art of Book Hunting

I love books, but they can cost a lot. There are days when I resort to ebooks because they are cheaper. Most days I wish we had a library, not just the one in schools, but a public library where I can borrow the latest books or DVDs, hang out for the day and just read.

Wouldn't you want to have this in your neighborhood?

Thankfully, we have the option of buying used books. Metro Manila has tons of secondhand book shops, many conveniently located in shopping malls. I frequent a lot of them and end up buying tons of books that would normally set me back a couple of thousand pesos. It’s a great place to look for out of print titles. Sometimes, you’ll find something totally unexpected in those bins.

My friends believe I have a skill when it comes to scouring secondhand bookstores. I find the books they want to have without much effort, and I’ve completed tons of series through here. I’m sharing lessons I’ve learned over the years of browsing through such stores. Ready?

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