Monday, December 31, 2007

Welcome, 2007 + 1

A couple of hours more before the new year comes in...

The year started off with a bang, then mellowed down to below mediocre (there was a point when I felt like our office turned into The Office, without the humor, but with Dwight Schrute), but things started picking up, with the 3-month trip to Poland putting the icing on the cake. (Not everything is on the ups though... One of those things? My bonus.)

So instead using this space to deliberate whether 2007 was a great year or not, I've decided that I will use this post to list down the 20 most played tracks on my Creative ZVM :D

  1. A Design For Life - Manic Street Preachers (If I was going on a protest, I'd sing this song on a megaphone, at the top of my lungs)
  2. She Ionizes and Atomizes - Modest Mouse (this is a song from one of Modest Mouse's earlier albums, it's actually the first song by the band that I downloaded)
  3. Worn Me Down - Rachael Yamagata (She has an awesome voice that I love listening to over and over again.)
  4. Missed The Boat - Modest Mouse (from their latest album, a standout song. Also, check out the various videos for the song)
  5. Run - Snow Patrol (Also from their older album. This is an awesome anthemic song)
  6. Spitting Venom - Modest Mouse (Another one from the "We Were Dead" album)
  7. Last Goodbye - Jeff Buckley (I'm surprised it isn't on any higher, this is my absolute favorite song)
  8. Transatlanticism - Death Cab for Cutie - (Another one of my most favorite songs ever)
  9. Us - Regina Spektor (A great, crazy vocalist)
  10. Casimir Pulaski Day - Sufjan Stevens (This song gives me goosebumps)
  11. Disarm - The Smashing Pumpkins
  12. Charm Attack - Leona Naess
  13. Samson - Regina Spektor
  14. Silent All These Years - Tori Amos
  15. Put Your Records On - Corinne Bailey Rae
  16. A Long Walk - Jill Scott
  17. Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town - Pearl Jam
  18. The Shining - Badly Drawn Boy
  19. Hedonism - Skunk Anansie
  20. Love For Granted - Phoenix

Happy New Year, everyone!



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Now playing: Manic Street Preachers - A Design For Life
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Europe’s Schengen visa expanded to 9 other countries

Europe’s Schengen visa expanded to 9 other countries

MANILA, Philippines -- Starting December 21, the coverage of Europe’s Schengen visa will expand to nine more countries -- the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia -- increasing the number of Schengen states to 24, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Monday.
Ahhhhhh!!! And just when my trip to Poland was over! Prague! Budapest! Malta! Vilnius! the Baltics! (and not to mention France, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, and the Scandinavian countries) :((

When (and how) can I go back???


on a side note: The Amazing Race 12's episode in Croatia made me really want to go to Dubrovnik. Now I only have to think of the easiest way to swindle money from rich people to have enough money for a plane ticket.

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Now playing: Muse - Stockholm Syndrome
via FoxyTunes

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Snow in Zakopane, and Parties in Manila

I've been back in Manila for more than a few weeks now, but hey, better something than nothing.



Here are some pics from our trip to Zakopane

Zakopane is a nice, small town up in the mountains in the southern part of Poland, near the Slovakian border. We stayed at a really nice hostel called Stara Polana. And we made a snow man!

The place is really beautiful. The ten-hour train trip was worth it. =)




I came home just in time to join our off-site team building trip to Anilao, and two company Christmas parties. The trip to Anilao was awesome; my teammates are always fun to be with. The first Christmas party was for our bundle, the HP AMG-DME group. It was a costume party, as usual, and our team came as characters from Robin Hood. It was a pretty good party (I got a 10-cup coffee maker as a door prize!) I'll post pics on my multiply site later.

The second party was for the whole company, and to be blunt about it, it sucked ass. Logistics was awful and the food wasn't all that great. I can't wait to fill out that post-party survey.

Merry Christmas everybody (who celebrates it)! Happy Holidays (to those who will get to spend one)! and have a Happy New Year (if you get by the next eight days without dying)!



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Now playing: The Postal Service - Such Great Heights
via FoxyTunes

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Gdansk!

I just realized that I haven't written about my Gdansk trip yet.

So, in a few word: Gdansk is such a beautiful city. It is right up there in Northern Poland by the Baltic Coast, and is just a few kilometers from the cities of Sopot and Gdynia. Like Warsaw, Gdansk was badly damaged during WWII, and also like Warsaw, fortunately, it's historical Main Town was rebuilt to its former glory. In my opinion, Gdansk's Old/Main Town is the most beautiful one I've seen among those I've blogged about.

Here are my pics from the trip:

The weather didn't cooperate too much with us though... There were scattered rain showers the two days we were there. It was still fun though, just wasn't the best weather for taking pictures :p



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Now playing: Snow Patrol - It's Beginning To Get To Me
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

And you were the places that I wanted to go

I've been away from home for 8 weeks now, so I figure right about now would be the perfect time for me to wax poetic about how much I miss home, how homesick I am etc etc... But I can't, because I'm not. I've just been having such a great time here enjoying every second of this experience that I have no time to be homesick. Of course, there are some things in the Philippines that I'm dying to see again. But I figure, I'll only be here for 3 months... Why waste those three months on thinking about how much I miss what I'll be going back to for the rest of my life? You know what I mean?

Anyway having said that, I do miss my family and friends. That's a given. Even though I've met a lot of friendly people here in Poland, those people back home can't be replaced. (Naks!)

And I do miss Filipino food. Luckily, we met the Filipino Community here in Poland (yes, all 9 of them) who invited us to a gathering last All Saints' Day holiday, and where there's a Filipino community, there's sure to be Filipino food :D There was adobo, lechon manok, lumpia, Pinoy-style spaghetti, and my favorite, caldereta! So that really helped ease out the "I miss Filipino food" part (and anyway, if you see me now, you probably won't believe I'm missing any kind of food whatsoever, haha. I think I've gained more than 10 pounds since I got here. waaaah...)

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Right now, it's 0 degrees outside. And tomorrow (at least according to Yahoo weather), it will be snowing in Warsaw! That's gonna be a first for me (experiencing snow, I mean) and as much as that may seem exciting, I really really really was hoping it won't snow until we leave. Because snow would only mean it's gotten colder. And it's already too coooold for my tropical ass!

I saw some pictures of my Boracay trip from last year and from earlier this year, and it really really made me wish for the sun and the heat and the general tropical weather of the Philippines. The sun barely shines here, and if it does shine, it doesn't even sting the skin like it does in Manila at 12 in the afternoon. I wouldn't have thought I'd miss that, but there you go.

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Last weekend, we made our way to the town of Malbork and the city of Gdansk way up north by the Baltic coast. We went to Malbork to visit its castle, which is the largest Gothic castle in Europe, and the largest brick castle in the world. It was the seat of the Teutonic Order in the medieval times, and walking through its grounds and halls, you could really feel the grandness of it all. Gdansk is a port city on the Baltic Sea and has one of the most beautiful city squares in Poland, in my opinion. I'll post pictures and talk more about them on my next entry :D

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On a side note: The latest season of The Amazing Race is now on! WOOOOOHOOOOO!


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Now playing: Sigur Rós - Hoppipolla
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Krakow is the shits!

Last weekend, we went to Krakow, another city here in Poland. And it's an awesome city! I've always been raving about how nice and beautiful Warsaw is on my previous posts, but seriously... Krakow just amazed me. No offense to loyal Varsovians out there, but Krakow is just made of pure AWESOME. =D

Maybe it's just the recency effect t
alking, but Krakow is now my favorite city in the world. What can I say, I have a soft spot for non-asphalt paved streets on old towns filled with crazy and/or drunk people during the day and night

On a side note: I think I may have just tasted the best cake I've ever tasted in my life last night. We had after-dinner coffee and desserts at Cava, a coffee shop in Nowy Swiat here in Warsaw. I ordered the Tort Czekoladowe, and it tasted so good I can't even describe it. That's one point for Warsaw, I guess. :D


With the Wawel Cathedral in the background. The dome on the right is made of pure gold, and inside the cathedral are tombs of Polish kings and queens, and relics of two Polish saints. It's one of the most beautiful cathedrals I have ever seen.







The leaning Town Hall Tower in Krakow's Rynek Glowny (Grand Square). On the right side of the pic is the Sukiennice, the Cloth Hall where the textile trade used to go on. It was built in 1300. It's now being used as a market for tourist goods, with cafes springing up all around it.








The Cloth Hall, from the foot of the town hall tower, and the town hall tower from inside the Cloth Hall.




















The streets and buildings of Krakow's Old Town:






































Saint Mary's Church on the right, horse-drawn carriages for rent on the left















One of Krakow's crazy (and pretty) girls. I gave her 30 groszy, despite the abuse being done to the teddy bear by the dude behind her.
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Now playing: Modest Mouse - People as Places as People
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Lazienki Krolewskie and Ogrod Saski. They look nicer than they sound.

It's been a month since I arrived and I'm just really loving this city.

Last week, we went to the £azienki Królewskie, the royal summer residence of Poland's Last King.
Lazienki is an 80-hectare park that houses the Palace on the Water, and the Chopin Monument (yes, he's Polish ;D ), among others. Lazienki (wa-szhen-ki) is just a breathtakingly beautiful place. The park is huge and is filled with trees and plants. It has a really cool, romantic ambiance. It sort of reminded me a lot of Camp John Hay, except this was only a 10-minute bus ride from my apartment, and not an 8-hour drive up the mountains of Luzon. It also had a lot of friendly squirrels (sometimes too friendly), peacocks, ducks, and swans (or was it a stork?), so the Polish kids really love the place.





We also went to Ogrod Saski (Saxon Garden) where we found the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Saxon Garden is another park in the middle of Warsaw, and with autumn in full swing, the foliage is just turning everything to an artful picture. This place is so picturesque. It's a cam whore, I tell you. All you have to do is click.

We also got there in time to see the changing of the Honor Guards. I took a short video because their soldiers have a pretty cool walk, but I can't transfer it out of my SD card, because it looks like there's something wrong with the file. Damn it.



Anyway, travelling
around Warsaw really makes me think so much about Manila. Manila and Warsaw really has many similarities. But with the rate I'm going, I might come back home in two months knowing more about the city that's adopting me than the city I actually live on.

I have a feeling I'm not alone when I say I know so little of Manila. That's gotta change when I come back.







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Now playing: Björk - Hunter
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Science of Promotion

!!!NEW!!!


My flickr site: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bloodsportandriot/

=D

I also post the pics on my Multiply site.

Between four blogs, a Multiply site and around 4 other social networking sites, a pbase site (which I never use anymore), a lycos and an angelfire personal site, some message boards memberships, and this new flickr site, yes... I am a cyberwhore.

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Now playing: Modest Mouse - We've Got Everything
via FoxyTunes

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Where we go back to Wilanow, and a little bit of that Manila heat

We came back to Wilanow Palace earlier today. We went right after lunch time, while the sun was well up, so my pictures came out better :)

We went around the palace's park this time around. It's a great place to walk around in (in that it fits the general fast rule on what a nice place to walk around should be.) I'll share some pics later on.

In my previous post, I was talking about how cold it is here... Well, it turns out Polish weather is a bit fickle too. After a couple of days of sub-15 degrees C temperature, I took a quick look at the thermometer on my apartment window this afternoon and the temperature actually read somewhere north of the 30s! (It was directly under sunlight, so that may have contributed to the fact.) Anyway, I didn't even need to wear a jacket today! I missed that feeling.

That's when I realized: screw snow and winte
r. I'd rather have hot days than have the skin on my knuckles crack and bleed from the extreme cold (and that's not a hypothetical statement, the skin on my hands really are cracking and bleeding)

Of course, these little wounds (that will probably turn into scars) still aren't stopping me from having a good time here.

Status report: 2 weeks in Poland, still having a good time. :D

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Now playing: Janis Joplin - Summertime
via FoxyTunes

Monday, September 17, 2007

Week 1 in Warsaw

It's been a week since we arrived in Warsaw. Everything's going great :D

The place I'm staying at is awesome! We've been taking the public transport to get around, and it's a lot, lot better than the public transport in Manila. It's way more organized which makes going around the city really easy for a newbie. No jeepneys here, and buses actually follow loading and unloading zones. :p We bought a card which allows us to use the bus, tram, and subway around Warsaw anytime we want, as much as we want, for the next 3 months we'll be staying here. Walking a few kilometers a day has been commonplace for us too, but it isn't bad at all, since the cool weather allows us to not break a sweat even if we walk around the city for 5 hours.

Since I've mention the cool weather, let me tell you more about it. It's fr
eaking cold!!!1!1!! And to think that our officemates have been telling us that we should wait a few more months when winter kicks in because it's actually still warm! It's 12*C outside! And it's supposed to be warm! I might come back to Manila with three fingers lost from frostbite, seriously. (On a warmer note, because of the cool temparatures I've already bought two more jackets hehe.) Of course, the fact that its waaay colder here than it ever is, was and will be in Manila didn't stop us from buying ice cream. There's a bunch of ice cream stores over here. One thing I've discovered though, kebab and shawarma eateries are as ubiquitous here as Starbucks is in Makati. Who would've thought that? :p

So far, we've walked around the Palace of Culture and Science, which is just a street away from our apartment, been to Wilanow Palace, visited the Monument of the Warsaw Uprising, strolled around Old Town and New Town (Stare Miasto and Nowe Miasto, respectively) (a very, very beautiful place :-) ), and some parks in Muranow (and three malls in and around Central Warsaw.)

The Palace of Culture and Science
Wilanow Palace
Church at Wilanow Palace
Mausoleum of Stanislaw Kostka Potocki in Winalow National Library in Muranow
Memorial to the Heroes of the Warsaw UprisingView of the Warsaw Barbakan from New TownView of the Warsaw Barbakan from Old TownThe Old Town Market Place (Rynek Starego Miasta)The Old Town Market Place (Rynek Starego Miasta)
A picture of a statue of a Syrenka in the Old Town square
(aka the point when my camera's battery died)

I'm having a great time so far!

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Now playing: Paolo Nutini - Autumn
via FoxyTunes

Sunday, September 2, 2007

The passport goes back to Manila

After about a month, my passport is finally back from Thailand!

Ok... so the reason why it was in Thailand was because I was applying for a visa to Poland. I'll be there for about 3 months to have extensive training for a new role. We were actually supposed to leave sometime mid-August, but our visa got delayed for various reasons... But now that it's here, we're almost sure to leave on Saturday. =D

We didn't get the Schengen Visa that I mentioned in one of my previous posts though, so we might not be able to jet around other European countries like we hoped to. (
The 15 Schengen countries are: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Greece, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Sweden.)

Just a bit of story here: when I first told my friends that I'll be going on a trip to Warsaw, they initially thought I said war zone, which made them mildly confused.



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Now playing: The White Stripes - Seven Nation Army
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

To Cheap-Ass Time Machines

Sometimes I wonder why I write on this blog. After all, whatever I write here could be held against me no matter how much I protest to it. It could get me in some kind of trouble or another (or at the very least, in a situation filled with a lot of awkward silences.)

And then I read my older posts. The ones I wrote when I was still in college or when I was still new at my job. Back when I thought dropping f-bombs on each sentence would add a nice touch. I read them and it somehow makes my narcissistic ass feel good.

That's why I write on this blog. It gives me easy access to what I once was. To what I used to be like, to what I used to focus on and think about. It talks to me the way not many people can and teaches me things that even fewer can. (I've already mentioned the narcissistic part, right? Add some self-congratulatory ass in their. This is where it kicks in)

To cheap-ass time machines. May your servers always have a back up.

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Now playing: Rachael Yamagata - Worn Me Down
via FoxyTunes

Friday, August 17, 2007

I can't wait for the fourth one.

Traffic was insufferable last Wednesday. I left the office a few minutes before 11am, I got home a few minutes after 3pm. It took more than an hour to travel from Ayala corner Paseo de Roxas to Buendia corner Pasong Tamo. That's probably less than 5 kilometers right there. Waist-high flood covered most parts of Buendia from Pasong Tamo to the Pasay/Makati boundary. I was on the very first row of the bus and it was sort of surreal watching the bus go through the murky waters like it was a boat.

Right now, it's 7am. I'm almost ready to leave my desk, and the thick gray clouds outside are threatening to unload on the city again. The third typhoon to hit the country in two weeks is reportedly getting stronger.

I hate working past midnight and having to go home at 9 in the morning. But don't quote me on that.


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Now playing: Death Cab for Cutie - The Sound of Settling
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Hi, I'm Jim

Alvin, you're Jim Halpert

You're not the person running around the office with a lampshade on your head (yet), but you've still got a sense of humor (and it's not of the makes-us-cringe variety). Sure, sometimes you're too busy cracking jokes to take care of business, but is that a crime? And you can't deny it — nothing says "HR meeting" like hiding a coworker's notes!

But when you're up against the clock, you'll come through in a pinch, which is why upper management keeps you around. After all, getting serious is always a possibility for you, just not exactly the probability...


Take this test at Tickle
You're Jim Halpert

Do You Belong in The Office?
Brought to you by Tickle

Ha! And I know who Dwight Schrute is...

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Now playing: Modest Mouse - Invisible
via FoxyTunes

Friday, August 10, 2007

Channel 82

BBC Food is gone from our cable. Just disappeared without notice.

Damn. I loved watching that channel.


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Now playing: Portishead - Sour Times
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Non-Hong Kong-bound and 3,000 pesos poorer

I'm supposed to be two hours into my Hong Kong trip right now. But as luck would have it, I'm in my living room, flipping through channels finding out that there's nothing good to watch on the tv tonight.

Oh, and I also have my laptop right in front of me; I'm working. Most probably well into the night.

My scheduled four-day trip for HK didn't push through, wait, check that... The HK trip did push through... but without me. I couldn't make the trip because I don't have my passport with me yet. As I'm typing this, my passport is currently enjoying itself in Thailand (I wonder if it's been to the red light district yet.)

The good news is, the typhoon that recently sideswiped Manila is headed for Hong Kong, so not making the trip means I don't have to walk all over Causeway and Central while being drenched by the downpour.



I better get that Schengen Visa.



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Now playing: Tracy Chapman - Fast Car
via FoxyTunes

Friday, August 3, 2007

Entertainment While the Storm Winds Down

You know that specific instance when you just realized that you've bitten off more than you can chew, and you want to have to just stop because you're starting to feel rotten to the core, but you can't and you realize that you really, really, really have no other choice but to deal with what's choking your heart and soul but you don't want to because you don't have the slightest hint on how to handle it and you get so overwhelmed and anxious that it's almost easier not to breathe? Is there a word for that? Because if there is, I sure would hate to be that.

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Hey, look at that! Blogger has a new feature that lets you insert the signature of the song that's playing on your media player (I use Winamp) via FoxyTunes. FoxyTunes is a really cool Firefox plugin that let's you operate practically any media player installed on your PC via a small tab at the bottom of your internet browser. Nice!

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Now playing: Badly Drawn Boy - Everybody's Stalking
via FoxyTunes

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Save the Pigs!

Caught The Simpsons last Friday night. Floooved the movie! It had me laughing out loud in some parts, and grinning from ear to ear on most of the others. (Some jokes fell flat though, like the "To be continued..." and the scrolling ticker at the bottom advertising a Fox show. Meh)

But otherwise, it was one hell of a funny movie.


He's not Spider Pig anymore, he's Harry Plopper. Wahaha

Sunday, July 22, 2007

An Extraordinary Machine

Things I learned the past few months (or a few minutes ago):

Worrying is counter-productive. Just because you declared on your resume that you're a person who
"works well under pressure" doesn't mean that getting stressed out will automatically turn you into a well-oiled machine. There's still that part of the equation where you have to put actual effort in transforming the stress to something else more positive. Stress is no use if it remains a negative lump of knot in your stomach.

Most everything that rises to the top is the cream of the crop. There are exceptio
ns though. There are times when you find out it's just scum.

Facing the truth is a lot harder if you've managed to build your path by lying through your teeth. Or by making excuses. Lies and truths are pulled out from the same hat.

Anxiety is brought about by stupidity, in a word.

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Just got back from watching Die Hard 4. That was a freaking awesome movie. Great jaw-dropping action and a pack of characters who just wouldn't die (I think Maggie Q is actually still alive at the bottom of that elevator.) Ironically, the villain died after one gunshot. The movie felt like a whole season of 24, minus the intense drama, packed into 2 solid hours of ass-kicking action. Bruce Willis' John McLaine is Jack Bauer with a good heap of humor (or is it Kiefer's Bauer is McLaine minus the wisecracks?)

Too bad it got lost in the Transformers/Harry Potter/SpidermanShrekPirates 3s muddle. Other movies I saw the past month: Transformers (asteeeeeg) and the 5th Harry Potter (Some people were disappointed by it. I actually liked it a lot. I didn't finish reading the book though, so I guess that could be one of the reasons I liked it.)

Finally... The Simpsons is opening this Wednesday! Woohoo! Can't wait! :D


Friday, July 20, 2007

Comeuppance

Because you'll get yours too.






And the world will smile until its over. =)

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Why does it always rain on me? (aka Boracay, 2007)

Pics from my Boracay trip last June 21 - 24. Woohoo!

First two days were really rainy, but still had loads of fun. Stayed at the creatively named Boracay Beach Resort. Almost had a slight mishap on the plane to Kalibo (almost didn't get in the flight :p), did some two-person wrestling in the waters while raining was pouring hard, rode the Banana Boat and the Flying Fish (fucking awesome as always, fell once and was holding on tight to the handles belly down, but the waves were hitting my balls so bad I decided to turn belly up, but then that's when I felt my shorts getting pulled off of me, so I just let go instead of being left in the middle of the sea bare-assed). Also went jet skiing for the first time. That was a complete 30-minute adrenaline rush! Tried the Still Standing after 15 in Cocomangas (I was still standing, sure, but I was also still puking after 15, unfortunately...) We were supposed to go island hopping the next day, but no one woke up early enough, so we just laid low the whole day. And by laying low, I mean try skim boarding. Jacq and Dalin tried it first; I tried it for about five minutes until our 1 hour session expired. Mike hired his own instructor and rented his own board, and got a sprained ankle after all of it was done. Boracay was fun, but next time, I'm going back during the summer =D

See pics -> here <-

Saturday, July 7, 2007

How Wimbledon sucked this year

So how exactly has Wimbledon sucked this year?

Basically the same way it has sucked every year really: by having so much rain delays you'll almost feel like you were watching Transformers, except it was the version without all the special effects and Megan Fox.

Still, Wimbledon has produced some interesting matches and eye-popping results, with three more important matches to go. The Ladies finals between 3-time former champ Venus Williams and 18th seeded Marion Bartoli of France seems like it will be a washout, with an easy win for Venus pretty much in the bag. The 22-year old Bartoli has never reached a quarterfinal of a Grand Slam before this year's Wimbledon, and her she has never been ranked higher than 17. But she has been playing great tennis on the grass the past month, having reached the semis of grass-court tournaments in Birmingham and Eastbourne. She also had to beat world #3 Jelena Jankovic in the fourth round and #1 Justine Henin in the semifinals after losing the first set both times. I didn't even think Marion had a chance of taking a set from Justine, but here she is in the finals (and goes to show what I know about predicting score lines), and if she brings her Monica Seles-like game to Venus, the finals might not be much of a washout after all.

Venus on the other hand, played champion-level tennis in shaming Maria Sharapova in straight sets, then repeated the performance against #5 Svetlana Kuznetsova, and again versus #6 Ana Ivanovic of Serbia in the semis. Back in 2005, she surprised everyone by coming out of nowhere, beating then #2 Sharapova and #1 Davenport to win it all. This year, she is ranked even lower (#31) but threatens to nail her 4th Wimbledon crown later today.

The men's semifinal matches have yet to start, owing to the poor weather. But the line-up is complete, with 4-time champ Roger Federer leading the way followed by three of the best new balls in tennis today. World #2 and King of Clay Rafael Nadal had to struggle in his matches against Russian Mikhail Youzhny and big-serving Swede Robin Soderling, but his easy win against Tomas Berdych (who routinely beats him on hard courts) has soldified his chances of reaching the finals for the second straight year. Add to that the fact that his next opponent, #5 Novak Djokovic of Serbia, had to struggle to beat Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus in a match that lasted 5 freaking hours. This will be Novak's second grand slam semifinal appearance after his semis run in last month's French Open. Completing the men's semifinal lineup is underachieving Frenchman Richard Gasquet. 21 year-old Gasquet was touted as a prodigy ever since he was 9 years old, and he has showed great potential in the past years, even beating Roger Federer in 2005 (one of only 4 players to d so that year). But the pressure of turning his potential to winning matches probably got to him, as he has never made it past the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam, and has never entered the top 10 rankings in his career. But all that changed this week. With his 5-set win over Andy Roddick in the quarterfinals coming back from 2-0 sets down (4-6, 4-6, 7-6, 7-6, 8-6), Gasquet reaches his first Grand Slam semifinal and will break into the top 10 rankings come next week. About time for Gasquet, who owns Federer-like talents!

Lots of Wimbledon action later. Hopefully London doesn't get pwned by the rain again.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

To Commemorate the Hotness, 2007

My parents just got back from Boracay a few hours ago (They celebrated their 33rd wedding anniversary there.) From the bits and pieces of stories that I've heard, looks like they completely enjoyed their first time in the island :D

Tomorrow, I'll be heading to Boracay myself. Wooohoooo! I'll be there till Sunday with some officemates. Last year, I was at Boracay from June 21 to June 24 too. Looks like those four days have become part of my annual Boracay tradition. :p

I'll post pics later when I get back. See you then!


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Good News For People Who Love Bad News

Ok, not to be cliche or anything, but today makes yesterday look foolish. What a difference 24 hours make.

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I just heard Chris Cornell's (hey, he's got a nice website btw) new single Arms Around Your Love on the tv. Is it just me or does it sound too... I don't know, 3 Doors Down? Rob Thomas? (ducks bullets and eggs)

His vocals are still great, but the whole song just sounds so... Adult Alternative? Contemporary pop/rock? Its weird. for a Chris Cornell song, that is.

But I should probably listen to the whole album first (or the whole song even) before really spouting sacrilege.


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It's my Dad's birthday today*. It's also the Philippines' national Independence Day*. But I barely felt it. No parades, no fireworks, today's not even a holiday! So much for nationalism.

For what it's worth, Happy Independence Day to all Filipinos!

*I'm writing this at 2:15 am, June 13; but I'm still considering now June 12
according to my frame of time-consciousness. Since I woke up at 1pm today. :p

Monday, June 11, 2007

We were dead before the ship even sank.

So what's the cure for anxiety?

It seems like practically everything that's happening these past few days triggers anxious feelings, like I'm constantly on the verge of throwing up while speaking in front of a huge crowd. No, not really. That's an overstatement. It's really just because of this one thing. There are some things that are going right. Really, there's a number of them. But somehow, I just seem to have this uncanny ability to always think about the worst thing that can and will happen, and its negating all the positive energy that I should be having.

Shit.

Since when did deviance become a good thing?

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Back when I was a little younger, I'd use to listen to music to get me out of these slumps. Then I realized... It doesn't really help if you just listen to Jeff Buckley and Radiohead, or whatever Radiohead-like band was popular five years ago. They're not exactly the most cheerful music you'll ever hear, you know?

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Thinking positively, looking at the bright side of things, searching for the silver lining in dark clouds. It's not exactly the easiest thing in the world to do. Someone should make a guidebook, preferably in pdf format, so that I can do quick searches.

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Which brings me to Modest Mouse's latest album. I have it on repeat in my, ehem, ZVM for weeks now. That's how much I love it. Combine Isaac Brock's almost feral,
intense singing with quirky melodies and guitar riffs (hey, Johnny Marr of the Smiths!) and you've got yourself an incredibly enjoyable record right there.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Roland Garros was a Fighter Pilot

Who knew spring in Paris would be so rainy?

It's the second day of the Roland Garros French Open 2007, and not even half of the first round matches have finished (or have even started!)

Anyway, my picks to win would be Justine Henin and Rafael Nadal, with Serena Williams and Roger Federer coming in at a close second.

I'm actually rooting for Federer, but I think that Nadal will take his third straight Roland Garros title. Federer's win last week over Nadal (see post below) sure made things a lot more interesting though. Justine is currently the best female tennis player on clay, but doesn't seem to be as dominant on it this year. Add to that the fact that the start of her season wasn't good, when she and her husband went through divorce. She may have a steely mental resolve on the tennis courts, but her divorce has got to take a toll, mentally and emotionally. But I still think that Justine will bring her best tennis at the French Open. Her potential quarterfinal and semifinal match against Serena and Jelena Jankovic respectively should be great.

Hopefully the weather improves the next few days (in Paris.) Right now, I'm loving the rainy Manila weather :D

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Federer beats Nadal

Federer finally beat Nadal on clay!


This is the first time Roger has beaten Rafa after five meetings on the slow clay surface! And his win (6-0 in the third set too) came totally unexpected, as Roger has been on a mini-slump lately.

For any other player, winning a Grand Slam and a smaller tournament, and making the finals of a big one would have already been enough to make a great year... But it's a whole different story when it comes to Fed. He
won the Australian Open convincingly last January, and then went on to win his next tournament in Dubai. But then, on his next tournament at the Indian Wells Masters Series, he shockingly lost his first match to a player outside the top 50 to snap a 41-match winning streak. On his next tournament, he lost to the same player again, in the fourth round of the Miami Masters Series.

Then, Fed went on to play at the Monte Carlo Masters Series and reached the final, but lost to Nadal easily. After a few weeks, at the Rome Masters Series, Federer again lost in straight sets to another player ranked outside the top 50. Needless to say, Roger hasn't been playing up to his usual greatness. Even on this week's Hamburg Masters, his matches have gone to three sets, and when he faced his clay nemesis in Nadal, a lot of people pegged his chances of winning to very slim.

And that's why Federer's a great champion.

It was a great win for Roger, he won his first clay tournament in almost two years, and in the process, stops Nadal's 81-match win streak on the clay surface.

Now, time for Federer to figure out how to beat Nadal at the French Open over five sets. The French Open suddenly turned very interesting.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Mind Over Mutter

It's all you really need sometimes.

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So what happens if everybody has laid everything on the table? What next?

Exactly.

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We're getting the puppy tomorrow... It's a girl so I can't name her Rafael Nadal. Suggestions?

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I've finally changed my blog template. I was planning on using this other one, but apparently that other one doesn't work well with Firefox because the pictures are png and not jpg. Sayang, I really really liked that other template (Sayang, I was just too lazy to convert them to png format haha). Anyway, this isn't so bad, huh? It's still green.

Speaking of Firefox, if you do use it, I have a nice little add-on to suggest: Cooliris. It's a pretty nice add-on that allows you to view the contents of a link on a page without leaving the actual page you're currently on. It's nice, and they don't pay me for advertising their product, so trust me and go get it.

Monday, May 14, 2007

The Sound is the Word

About an hour ago, I exercised my right to suffer.

If you did vote, then you'd know that aside from voting for 12 senators, we also have to vote for one house representative, one mayor, a vice mayor, and a half dozen or so city/town councilors. I had no idea which councilors to vote for, mainly because I didn't really know who the candidates were. I never saw posters or any campaign material from any candidates other than those under the current mayor's electoral ticket. And I didn't really want to vote for them just because they're there... you know?

So I did the next best thing, which was to copy off someone else's votes. Except for one... I voted for one councilor because her occupation according to the Comelec List of Candidates was sewer/dressmaker.

Hey, in a field of Businessmen/Incumbent Councilors/Attorneys, that was pretty spiffy.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

A Conundrum

Tomorrow will be the national elections, and I still don't know who I'll be voting for. So many candidates, so few choices.

It's (very) early Sunday morning. I'm in front of my computer listening to my bleak playlist. I've been thinking of some things lately (who I'll be voting for is not one of those) and I realized that I've just been confusing myself. I've been looking for answers when there were no questions to begin with. I've been, for the past few months, just going through the motions. I've been for the past few weeks just going with where the flow takes me. The only thing that has been constant with me is my erratic sleeping hours. I haven't been paddling. I've been directionless.

Goals. Objectives. Strategies. Measures. It worked back in college.

There are some things I just never learn, even if I know I should. And then, there are some things I don't want to unlearn.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

(call it a non-sexual orgasm.)

I took my family out on the night of my birthday last Friday to have dinner at Melo's in Alabang. The steak there is just insanely great! I had the Angus beef rib eye. It was soooo tender and tasted frakkin great. The best steak I've ever had, without a doubt. (It also did not come by coincidence that that dinner was the most expensive meal I ever had to pay for.) Happy 22nd birthday to me!

Thanks to my friends from the office who gave me a copy of Alisa Kwitney's The Sandman: King of Dreams in
hardcover(!) It's an annotation, if you will, of Neil Gaiman's The Sandman series.

Thanks for a great great gift and Tuesday's cake, everyone!

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I remember that time when I met Neil (close kami, bakit ba?) almost two years ago at his book signing here in Manila. I blogged about it way back when (check the July '05 archives) and, man! Looking back to that experience, something that happened two years ago, when I was still in college... before I started working... when all I was stressing about was finishing our thesis (and defending it to our panel)... when I was still a lot less cynical than I am now... It still gives me a huge rush of excitement, an adrenaline rush that makes my chest feel like it will swell up and erupt (call it a non-sexual orgasm.) That. Was an amazing moment. It really was.



What? So I'm a fanboy.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

What's with today today?

For tens of millions of people around the world, volunteering is an expression of support for a principle that strikes to the heart of the United Nations system: that by working together, we can make the world a better place for everyone.
Donate Now

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I'm turning 22 tomorrow.

When things are not going as great as you hope, it's always important to put things into perspective. When you see things clearly, you are better equipped to move to any direction you want.

No bridges need to be burned. No walls need to be brought down.

Fuck off assholes. This is my moment of zen.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Girl That Does Yoga

Hey, its Fed vs Rafa in the Monte Carlo final!

Have I mentioned that I'm buying a puppy soon? (umm, not me exactly... my dad's paying for the puppy (I think), but I was the one who convinced him to buy one. Heh.) So anyway, one of this pups will be named after whoever wins The Federer-Nadal final later today. (Federer or Rafael) :-)

Of course there is a chance that we might get a female puppy, and if that's the case, then the Fed/Rafa thing won't really fly.

I'll probably name her Dustin or Kandice :-))


Friday, April 20, 2007

A well thought-out silence is the best response to an intense situation.

It's that little souvenir of a terrible year
which makes my eyes feel sore

and who ever would've thought
the books that you brought were all I loved you for.

Oh the devil in me said,
go down to the shed, I know where I belong

but the only thing I ever really wanted to say
was wrong, was wrong, was wrong.


It's that little souvenir of a colorful year
which makes me smile inside

so I cynically, cynically say, the world is that way,
surprise, surprise, surprise, surprise, surprise.



Here's where the story ends,
ooh, here's where the story ends.


Harriet Wheeler's voice is really calming. Just what I needed.

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It's hard not to feel offended, no matter what side of the fence you decide to fall on. It's especially hard not to feel offended, because it's so hard to try not to feel the nudge of the elbow to my rib.

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Sometimes things just fall awkwardly into place, and you just have to accept it. Sometimes I wish I could honestly say that it was done on purpose, just so I could have more satisfaction in turning my fists into two fingers.

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You know what asshole? If I knew it needed to be saved right then and there, I would have done more about it. But now that I know what you really think, I sure as hell won't be doing anything even if your life depended on it.

Motherfucker.

Despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a cage
Despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a cage
And someone will say what is lost can never be saved
Despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a cage