Hello. Hi.

Oh hey, I won the lotto. Three numbers = PHP 150. Not bad for a P20 bet haha.

It’s been a busy past few days. Last weekend, I went home to Zambales with my family. My aunt and uncle was visiting from the States, and we had the three boys there as well. We weren’t complete, because my two brothers stayed behind in Manila, and our other cousins weren’t present. Nonetheless, we had a great time.

The kids spent most of their time together, watching DVDs and playing around the house. We took a lot of pictures, went to the beach and had a lot of fun. We visited our grandma and uncle’s puntod, as well as those of our ancestors. It was a great weekend for family bonding an relaxing. I wish we had more of those.

It was also a nice surprise to see several Plurkers in Candelaria. I saw Lem and Lorelene, who were there with their family. Rina was also there. I said hello when I was in the resort with my sister’s friends. Then I went to watch a really, um, entertaining beauty contest. LOL.

Last Saturday I went to the wedding of my good friend Thea and her man of seven years, Justin. Thea and I knew each other from Sykes, while coincidentally, Justin went to OBMC during his elementary years. I went with David, my high school best friend who happens to be a good friend of Thea from college. Small world huh?

Still a lot more I need to do with this post: New Pinky, new teammate, lunch out at Cafe Lidia and so on. I just wanted to post something.

Weird and kind of funny dream

I had a weird dream last night. In it, some people were in our house and taking over. They weren’t bad people. I mean, anyone who looked like Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer couldn’t be, right?

My house was initially this castle-like structure that had a lot of passageways, nooks and crannies. When we heard the “invaders” (for lack of a better term) coming, I immediately told my family to leave, and they did. I squeezed myself into a small space underneath a stairwell. I was wearing a really fancy dress with a huge balloon skirt. How I fit in there, I don’t know, but I ended up being thought of as a big, furry dog. One that looked like a cross between Barkley of Sesame Street and the Luck Dragon.

The house evolved into a small apartment. One night, when the invaders were out for a book signing (it was Neil and Amanda after all), everyone who was hiding came out. We cooked, had dinner, watched TV, but did our best to make sure that we didn’t leave anything that would tell the invaders that any thing happened during their absence.

However, they arrived earlier than expected. People were still milling about at the small balcony, drinking beer and eating the remains of the sizzling sisig. I stuffed the dog costume (the dress) down the back of the couch, threw the dirty dishes on to the sink and tried to clean up the mess as best as I could. Y’know, sort of like when you had a party and had to clear all evidence before your parents come home?

In the end, the invaders (now a pet name for them) didn’t mind. They joined the other guys and became chums before the night ended. The only thing that worried Amanda was the dog was missing. I never told them the truth.

Possible causes: Watching Queer Eye earlier (because the dream apartment was really nice and well designed), excitement for Neil Gaiman being here in Manila, exhaustion for the the design project and probably too much sugar in my system.

Randomness, again

From this day on, I resolve to find something interesting every day. Even if the day is bad, even if it was boring, so long as there’s one interesting thing, I’m going to have to document it. Kind of like a Project 365, only it’s not going to be just pictures.

Today, I spent the whole day in an orientation. I arrived at exactly 8:30 and it already started. So I didn’t have time to dump my stuff at our little corner of the world.

Some parts of the orientation were lively, some boring, but all informative. It was interesting to note that I was practically the only non-engineer in the room. Even the kid next to me is an engineer at age 21. It just makes me wonder how come he looks so young compared to my brother who is the same age?

Work’s good. Still in the stage of nothing much to do, which I was advised to enjoy. Eastwood is an interesting place. There’s still plenty of places I haven’t explored, especially the part around the Eastwood Mall. Maybe in the weekend.

Ok, my mind’s blank now. That’s what happens when I multi-task. I lose focus of what I was supposed to do in the first place.

Besides, a few of my thoughts and ideas are not meant for public consumption (heads over to the blogs that have a privacy function per entry).

Tomorrow is my last day of the first week at work. I’m going to get my ATM card, but I won’t have any money just yet because I didn’t make the cut-off. I will be financially dependent on others for the meantime, hah.

Oh, I already have an idea for my 365 tomorrow. I’m looking forward to getting a picture of it. 🙂

2010’s generated New Year’s resolutions

I posted a link on Plurk about a New Year’s Resolution Generator. Most the stuff it throws up are pretty decent, but it becomes funny depending on the person’s point of view.

I didn’t note the ones I got that time, but I’m going to give it a go again. Here are my top ten generated resolutions, followed by a brief commentary hehe.

This year I will…

1. Let go
I laughed at this first, given the events of last year, but when you think about it, it makes sense. I need to let go of the things that burden me emotionally and spiritually, as well at the material things that I don’t need or just clutter up my life.

2. Be happy and healthy
I made a mental note late last year to start living a more healthy life. I’m mostly sedentary, but I do a lot of walking to and from my office. This year, since I’m moving to a new place, I’m planning to find a route that’ll allow me to get my exercise in as well. I’m also planning to do some exercises to tone my body. I’m not really fat, but I’d love to be more fit.

As for being happy, I’d like to think that I am, but I know I still feel discontent with a lot of things. I guess that’s related to generated-resolutions no. 1.

3. Grow basil
I have actually been meaning to do this for a while now. I love pesto, and I’d love to have my own basil so I could make pesto any time I like. I already know where to get seedlings. I just need to put the plan into action.

4. Wear sunglasses
There’s a reason why I don’t really wear glasses of any sort. First off, it’s hard for me to find one that fits me. I have to get them custom fitted. Second, I tried, I really did, but I get irritated by the feel of the glasses. Although, I’m seeing the merit of wearing a good pair, especially if I’m going to be walking around most of the time.

5. Get married
As I’m typing this, I am hearing “The Wedding March” playing somewhere in the building. Huh? Well, I’d love to get married but for the fact that I don’t have a groom. Hehe, oh well, there’s still plenty of time left in 2010 right?

6. Appreciate the simple things
Even though I already do, it’s nice to be reminded this every so often.

7. Throw a dinner party
My sister and I are actually planning one! I hope it pushes through! I’m excited!

8. Get to know the neighbors
I live in a condo building with my three brothers. They already know a lot of people here, while I only know the shopkeepers (some who already moved away). So yeah, I should get to know them, even bit by bit.

9. Throw a penny in a fountain
Then make a wish right? 🙂

10. Back up my computer files regularly
I am guilty of not doing this! As my laptop is approaching it’s second year, I really should get to cleaning it up. I really need to back-up my photos too. Time Machine must be engaged!

I made a mistake and clicked on the generator 11 times, so here’s an extra one:
11. Stay in touch
Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, it’s far easier to stay in touch with people, but it’s also difficult because there’s a mindset that “Oh I can contact them anytime.” I love finding friends online, and I love talking to them about how they are. I hope I can talk to more friends this year, and better yet, meet with them in person. 🙂

What’s your resolution?

Laugh lines

I was watching a performance of the UP Madrigal Singers over at Facebook and having a good laugh over it, when I realized something.

Most of the conversations I have that had me laughing so hard that I can’t talk or my stomach hurts, are with people whom I really care about. I know you can relate on that. Sure, I have conversations and have fun with people whom I barely know or just have a passing acquaintance (which is possible even with people you’ve known for years), but it never fails: all time when I’m with these people whom I feel closest too, I laugh.

When I laugh really hard, my eyes turn into slits and I can barely see. My mouth splits into a wide grin and often, my gums can be seen. When I laugh really hard, sometimes no sound comes out. I can’t talk and my stomach hurts. Sounds awful? Nothing can be much further from the truth.

Who are these people? Topmost on the list are my family. My parents, my siblings, even my cousins, aunts & uncles. If there’s anything that never fails to occur, no matter what the occasion, it’s us laughing about anything and everything. And when I say laugh, it’s in a really good way.

The friends category is a bit mixed. There’s my best friend and her family, then there’s my college best friends. There’s the J2 and Helfdesk folks, and there’s my online friends, to name a few (sidenote: How can you have a bellyaching laugh with online friends? Trust me, it’s possible). There is never a dull moment with any of them.

Feeling down? Think of the people who can give you a good laugh. The kind of laugh that you can’t get from comedy shows, jokes or things you get online, but rather, the kind of laugh that stems from a deep camaraderie of your relationship with one another.

Idiot box disconnect

A lot of people are surprised when I say I don’t watch TV anymore. When someone makes a comment on a soap opera or the latest Pinoy-adaptation of a reality show, I go, “What? Who’s that? Ano yun?” I can’t even relate when someone talks about that girl who keeps saying “Congratulations” on Wowowee.

Let me clarify some things though. I am not 100% not watching TV. I tune in on occasion to the crime shows on CS9, and if I manage to catch something interesting on QTV, I’d watch it. I love series like Chuck, Fringe, Bones, The Mentalist, Eureka and Psych, as well as watching Mythbusters or shows in Travel and Living, among others. Otherwise, I’m pretty much a non-TV person, with the exception of the occasional news when I’m at work or catching up on my old favorites when I’m visiting people with cable.

If asked, I could probably say that I haven’t been watching much TV since our cable service got disconnected about four or five months now. Then again, I could even pinpoint this back to 2006, when my aunt, uncle and I moved to separate houses and I didn’t have a proper television til a year later.

Like any kid my age, even kids nowadays, I grew up enthralled by the television. I faithfully watched Saturday morning cartoons and cartoons after school. I thank Sesame Street for the part they played in helping me with the English language. I love TV. That didn’t change as I grew older, adding more cartoons to the mix and discovering more interesting shows along the way.

But somewhere in that journey, despite the wide array of shows to watch, I lost some interest in TV. First off, given my oddly erratic schedule in school then at work, I didn’t have the luxury to watch the shows that I wanted when they were airing. Second, TV signal (especially when I was still studying) was so bad, I would rather be reading (well, that’s always my first choice). Third, having several people want to watch different shows at the same time is hard, especially when you all have but one TV between you all. Plus the proliferation of telenovela remakes and copies turned me off all the more. No matter what some say that this actor/actress is good and this series has some redeeming factors, sorry.

I guess that’s why I can easily go to place where there’s no television and still be ok. Now for the Internet… ah, that’s another matter.

If I won the P150M lotto jackpot…

1. I won’t tell anyone except my immediate family.
2. I’d hand in my resignation, but give them a 30 day courtesy thing so I could turn over my duties
3. Buy tickets to Singapore for November
4. Contact my uncle for some financial advice
5. Give my siblings P5M each: P4M to save & P1M to spend, but in staggered amounts and with conditions (such as they have to finish school first to get the P4M, they get an allowance from the P1M for school and other expenses, they can’t spend more than P20,000 a month for non-academic related purposes and they have to show me proof that it is for school, etc).
6. Give my parents P10M
7. Pay off debts
8. Pay the condo in full and set up an account for the monthly expenses (utilities, tax, assoc. dues)

I figure I’d have about P70M left.

9. Set aside P25M (that’ll leave me with P45M)
10. Invest in a business (P2M more or less = P43M)
11. Go back to school
12. Buy land & build a house (P40M)
13. Travel to Japan
14. Build a library
15. Hire a housekeeper to clean the house
16. Get a full physical check-up
17. Get a beachfront property
18. Help family who needs it.

I think I’d have about P25M to P30M left. I don’t think my wishlist isn’t that bad, right? How about yours?

Again, I say…

Here’s something I wrote back in 2006 regarding text speak. PinoyExchange (PEx) implemented a strict rule of not allowing text speak in the forums. It brought to mind my complaints about people who use text speak and sticky caps (the alternate capital and lowercase typing) online, so I wrote this.

Text speak was born out of necessity. Earlier mobile phones allowed only 160 characters per message, and more enterprising users resorted to creating shortcuts for words. Many of these shortcuts have been around for quite sometime and are universally accepted and were used for ads, nicknames etc. Numbers replaced words that sound the same, and the same goes for symbols. When texting in Filipino, words became much shorter. “ABNKKBSANAko?” is already a complete statement expressing amazement that one can now read.

What irks me are those who write text-speak outside SMS. I’ve come across several blogs (out of politeness I am not posting their names here, but if you browse my Multiply account, chances are you might come across them), received several email and even had IM conversations with people who use text speak. It is not an easy feat to read what they said. Not only do I have to understand what was written, I have to first decipher it. What’s bad is if they don’t use the conventional shortcuts, or use shortcuts I have never seen before.

What I don’t understand is how can these people do it? I’ve tried to type text speak on a letter, but I had a really had time. Maybe it’s just me, as I’m used to typing, given the practice I’ve had over the years, and I suppose my mind has unconsciously memorized the layout of the keyboard I can type without having to look down on it. But really, it takes more effort to think about what the text speak is and then typing it out on a full keyboard than just typing everything out right.

Here’s another kicker. hOw CaN pEoPle TyPe fUlL pArAgRaPhS WiTh ThE lEtTeRs In AlTeRnAtInG cApS? Hold shift, type the letter. Let go of the shift, then type the letter. Repeat. The time it takes for me to type that sentence would normally give me three or more sentences in regular fonts.

Oddly enough, I can text speak on my mobile with ease, though I rarely do that. I input the words out completely too. Text speak is acceptable when used in mobile phones, as that what they were created for in the first place (but hey, with more phones coming out that can handle 300+ characters, who needs to use text speak?). Maybe for design purposes, I can let it pass, but if you write me an email in that format, I’m going to request you to retype everything before I’ll read it.

I don’t speak or make sulat ferpect write perfect English, but I love the written word, and as a (aspiring) writer and having grandparents who were English teachers, I know the value of the written word and the joy one gets when reading something that is well written.

How ironic it is for a country that prides itself as having English as its second language, and despite the boom of the call center industry, studies show that when it comes to proper usage, spelling and grammar, the number is declining. Don’t you find it funny that we spend so many years in school studying English and we end up throwing it out the door just like that?

I’m all for PEx’s new policy. I’m not being a snob. Take note it doesn’t ban the use of Taglish or the Filipino language, bt rthr d use of d txtspk tht cn b a bit dffclt 4 a # of ppl — lyk me — out der.

I decided to look for this entry while I was listening to the Pakbet’s latest podcast. I reiterate that there are alot of people, young people specifically, who can communicate in English and get their point across but not in a way that you can call competitive and effective. What’s worse is that in many cases, it’s not just teens who write this way, but adults too. Now that’s scary.

Visual lesson
Inspired by WordBoner, I present to you my “Same sound, different meaning” er, graphics. We occasionally commit the error of writing words that sound like the one we need, but spelling-wise means something else. I can’t say that I don’t make these mistakes, but I try not to… and I don’t make the excuse “English is not my main language.” Ah well.

April no fools

Playing pranks on April 1 isn’t such a big deal for me, although I do know of some people who do it religiously year after year. It gets tough to top each effort, they say, and sometimes some people don’t get sucked in anymore.

Anyway, I love the first of April for a whole lot of other reasons. It’s my birth month… and also my sister, my cousin Lee, my uncle Athan, my aunt Tata, my late grandma Edith’s birthday as well (to name a few).

April also signals the other month for the year that has a long holiday, thanks to Holy Week (December to January is by far the longest). As a student I love April because it means the start of summer, the break from the tedious student life (bah, who am I kidding? I loved school, especially college). It also meant the trip home to Zambales (or to other places where there are relatives) for hanging out with my siblings, days at the beach, green mangoes and bagoong, and home cooked meals.

I add this to my reasons why April is a good month. Today, I received the pocket Moleskine reporter that I won from Avalon.ph’s 10th anniversary contest. I knew I had a slim chance of getting the autographed Neil Gaiman book, but I felt I had a fair shot at winning the notebook. Here is my entry, which I had fun writing. Thanks to Jasper, the brains behind Avalon.ph (a great site, I tell you).

Saturday is my talent determination test at UP Diliman. It’ll let me know if I am worthy to enter the hallowed halls of the College of Fine Arts. If I don’t pass this… well, I’m heading off to the hills of Baguio and see if I can get in there. Half serious on that.

I really have a feeling that things are looking up. 🙂 Thank you!

And no regrets

I’m sure that almost every person in this world has uttered the words “If only” at least once in their lifetime. Possibly during moments when things aren’t going as smoothly as they had hoped or planned; when life seems to be against them in all aspects. Uttering “If only…” somehow gives us the feeling that had we made a different choice (because for sure, there was a choice somehow in that point of time that we lament), things would be better.

Or would they?

The “If only” and “What if’s” of life.

Sometimes, I play that game. I take a look at where I am now, go back to a point in my life where I made a choice and ask myself, “What if I took the other road?” Definitely, I wouldn’t be where I am. I would probably be somewhere else doing something different. I imagine that perhaps now I’ll be off traveling the world, or writing a novel, or maybe married with kids. I let my imagination run to how life would be and how far from what it is now would it be.

I return to reality not with a thud but with a graceful landing. Despite these occasional musings, I feel no regrets in choosing the paths that I did. For one, there is no guarantee that the life I imagined would be real had a chosen the other path. For another, I wouldn’t have the experiences that I did when I picked this path. Lastly, I know for certain I wouldn’t even have half of the people I know now as friends had I gone the other route. I am happy.

Who’s to say that I can’t have what I dream of anyway? There’s plenty of time for world travel, plenty of opportunity for great adventures and writing that great novel. The family too, will come in time.

So enjoy your life. Don’t live in regret that you didn’t choose the other option. Make the most of what you have and where you are and if you don’t like it, well, you can always find a way to change it.