Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Travel and Tunes

To sum up 2008, I'd say this has been a great year for traveling.

The Poland trip at the end of 2007 reignited my wanderlust which continued on to this year. And I had some great, great,
great trips this year. There was El Nido with my college friends, and the Boracay teambuilding, and the Hong Kong and Macau trip with some current and former officemates. But the highlight of the year was definitely the awesomely epic SEA backpacking trip from Kuala Lumpur to Siem Reap to Ho Chi Minh City with the "cliquish" batchmates from the office. Angkor Wat has been my dream desitnation for a few years now, and let me tell you, right from the time I set foot on Siem Reap International Airport, to riding the tuktuk to the hostel, to seeing the temples and walking around the town, every second of that trip was amazing.

Being able to go to a dream destination is an awesome experience. Yep, this was an awesome year of traveling. Machu Picchu, Lalibela and New Zealand, anyone? =D


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I made the same list at the end of 2007 and since I'm all about routines, I thought I should do it again. So here are the 20 most played songs on my ZVM:

  1. Machines - Biffy Clyro
  2. Sex On Fire - Kings Of Leon
  3. 3 Libras - A Perfect Circle
  4. Missed The Boat - Modest Mouse
  5. If You Tolerate This - Manic Street Preachers
  6. Little Motel - Modest Mouse
  7. Keep The Car Running - Arcade Fire
  8. I See You, You See Me - The Magic Numbers
  9. The Comeback - Shout Out Louds
  10. The Origin of Love - Hedwig and The Angry Inch
  11. 9 Crimes - Damien Rice
  12. Grace - Jeff Buckley
  13. Oasis - Amanda Palmer
  14. People As Places As People - Modest Mouse
  15. Warwick Avenue - Duffy
  16. Weak - Skunk Anansie
  17. Dream - Alice Smith
  18. Oh Well - Fiona Apple
  19. Sway - The Perishers
  20. This Year's Love - David Gray
Happy New Year Everyone! May 2009 be great for all of us! (and when I say us, it means me and the people I like...)

Must Saw TV

We're in the first few hours of the last day of the year, and since it looks like this day is supposed to be significant (judging by all the firecrackers and all that noise), I figure why waste it on sleep? So instead of going to bed, I thought I'd spend just a few more minutes blogging while eating some yummy czekolada from Warsaw that my teammate Piotrek gave me for Christmas (although it's not E. Wedel or Wawel, pwede na... Thanks Boss Piotr!)

So as a year capper, and since this is also the season for Top n lists (where n = 10, usually)... I thought I should list down my must-see TV shows in the past year:

  1. The Amazing Race - It's travel porn paired with constant adrenaline rush. Of course it's my #1.
  2. Chuck - It's Alias, but funnier and lighter. And AXN showing back-to-back eps of the first season only added to my addiction.
  3. Pushing Daisies - I'm still pissed it's not coming back for another season. I'm really gonna miss this show, just like I still miss Arrested Development.
  4. Top Chef - A cooking competition featuring great food set on a kitchen filled with competitive egotistical chefs? I'm in.
  5. Damages - I remember wanting to be a lawyer when I was a kid. This brilliantly twisted show actually makes me happy that I didn't go that route.
  6. 30 Rock - Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, Kenneth the Page, Elaine and the whole cast is pure comedy gold.
  7. House - Hugh Laurie as House is just completely fascinating to watch, even if the show gets too formulaic at times.
  8. NCIS - It sort of replaced CSI as my favorite crime show. The plots are always interesting, but what really holds it up is the great chemistry between the cast members.
  9. So You Think You Can Dance - Forget Idol (until the new season comes in January, I guess). I'm not one who likes dancing at all, but this show is addicting. srsly.
  10. Family Guy - The best thing about Family Guy is that it consisteblgrruhgse.

Special Mention:
  • How I Met Your Mother- The only problem with this show is I can't catch it often enough on my TV...
  • The Office - You know how there are parts of this show that's so damn funny, and then there are those parts that really make you cringe and want to change the channel? Because it might actually be your office they're basing the plot on, and you might actually be a Dwight? Or a Michael?
  • Digging for the Truth - This is a show on the History Channel, and the host travels from continent to continent to prove (or disprove) a historical mystery. It's awesome if your a history/geography/travel geek like me.
  • The Summer Olympics - Hey, it only comes once every leap year.

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Now playing: Pink Floyd - Shine On You Crazy Diamond
via FoxyTunes

Monday, December 29, 2008

5 is The Number of the Week.

I got five (5!!!!) new shirts as gifts last Christmas. Is that a subtle sign that the clothes I wear suck? If so, noted, and LOL.

The other thing I enjoyed doing last Christmas was buying gifts for my godchildren (I've got 5 so far), mostly because they're all kids/babies/pre-teens and it's always fun to look for the coolest toys and other baby items. My oldest godchild is actually around 10 or 11 (or 12?) years old already (I don't think I was even a teenager yet when he was born) (his name is Denzel btw, and yes, he was named after Denzel Washington), so instead of buying him a toy, I gave him 3 Hardy Boys books instead, since I was about his age when I started reading books.

Yep, those Hardy Boys paperbacks (and Archie comics) were the main reasons why I got into reading.



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Now playing: Newton Faulkner - Foundations (Live On The Live Lounge)
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Another End To Another Year

I finally got a new cam (after my old one got stolen...) It's a Canon IXUS 870 IS that I asked my OFW friend Karon to buy in Singapore since gadgets are usually a lot cheaper there. I was choosing between the IXUS 870 and the black IXUS 980, which looked awesome but was also about 100 SGD pricier. You won't believe how excited I was when I took the camera out of the box. Shiny new things are awesome :D It burned a huge hole on my pocket though, but I guess I'll just tag it as a gift for myself and cross it out of my spending ledger (except I also still have plans to buy a new phone because my old one's batt keeps on falling off. Where's a salary increase when you need one?!??!??)

Anyway, if there was anything good I could take away from being robbed, it's that my cam is new and improved. Woot!

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Last week was a really hectic week for me. It was the last official work week in our company before the annual Holiday shutdown, and it was also a week with Chirstmas Parties, dinners, and get togethers. There was our bundle's Christmas Party, our team's Christmas Party, our dinner with the aforementioned OFW balikbayan Karon (hehe) (pics here), and our monthly batch dinner, where we also met up with another Singapore-based balikbayan, Ben
(pics here)

December is a fun month, isn't it? I hope you're done with your Christmas shopping! (I'm not...)

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Now playing:
Amanda Palmer - Another Year
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Gifts as Character Reference

I just did my Christmas shopping earlier today, which is actually pretty early for me. Last year, I was still scrambling to buy Christmas gifts on the 24th.

Anyway, one of the things I found were these cellphone-holder-while-you-charge things:













The idea is you plug in your cellphone charger through the angel/devil's mouth, wrap the charger cord around its neck, and leave the cellphone sitting comfortably on its lap. I found them charming (and convenient) enough (which are also qualities one should look for in a one-night stand, btw), so I bought about a dozen of them, divided equally between the Angel and Devil design. I figured I'd give my nice friends the Angel ones, and my asshole friends the Devil ones. See, this way, not only will I be giving them a gift, I'll also be giving them an idea of how pleasant or nasty I think they are.
*

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Another thing that I recently bought is this 17-in desktop monitor that I'm staring at right now. My old monitor was making its best efforts in giving me a migraine and turning me colorblind by filling the screen alternately with blinking, saturated greens, blues and reds, so I was only too happy to get rid of it. Good thing Mich and James, the eBay conglomerate that they are, were selling this item at the time I was looking for one. At least now, I can put being colorblind at the bottom of my "things to worry about" list.




*For the record, I'm just kidding, and I'm keeping a devil design for myself.
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Now playing: Modest Mouse - Spitting Venom
via FoxyTunes

Saturday, December 13, 2008

All We Need Are Blinking Christmas Lights.

I didn't realize that Christmas is actually less than two weeks away until I bought Christmas gifts for my college friends before our dinner last night. That's odd.

It's probably because luck hasn't been on my side lately. Or because I really am getting a bit too old for the shiz that is the season of joy and gift giving and Santa and merrymaking. Or maybe it's because our company's Christmas party was
canceled because of cost-cutting measures (and to think that I was actually complaining about last year's sucky Christmas Party. Now, all I can say is at least '07 actually had one.) Or maybe it's because our Christmas tree doesn't actually have Christmas lights on it.

Aaaaand, I'm actually part of the Christmas Party committee for our team. So, I really need to step up my Christmas spirit, I guess.



Hell Yeah

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Mixed Bag

In another not-so-good news, my grandfather has been in the hospital since last Friday. I really hope he gets well soon.

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*Some spoilers here, if you haven't seen the TAR 13 finale yet...

On a much lighter topic (because I really need to talk about a much lighter topic), I just finished watching The Amazing Race 13 finale. I really liked this season, and that final leg was pretty exciting with Ken and Tina and
Nick and Starr neck-and-neck through most of the leg. The final task was a pretty good life-sized memory game, and since it was life-sized, there was a lot of running around involved too. I still think last year's final roadblock, the logic puzzle that Rachel (of TK and Rachel, the mellow quasi-hippies) rocked, was more challenging though.

And just like last season, the team I was rooting for won! I love this show, but most of the time, a team that I hate crosses the finish line first... So it's good to have a team I like win two seasons in a row.





(It was the siblings, Nick and Starr btw)


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Now playing: Kings Of Leon - Fans
via FoxyTunes

Monday, December 1, 2008

That's Not a Ghost, That's a Guy in a Red Shirt! And He's Got My Laptop!

Ok... To whoever controls the ways of the universe: When I said that it was gonna be an eventful weekend, I was just being sarcastic, ok?

That being said, I'm absolutely gutted.

Saturday, ~1:30 AM: I got home, went up to the computer room and left my backpack on the chair where I always put it. After that, I went to my room, watched some tv, listened to some music, and then went to sleep.

Same day, ~9:00 AM: My dad woke me up and I had breakfast with my parents and sister. It's been a long time since we all had breakfast together, or for that matter, a Saturday morning together. We were heading to the province, which is why my parents were in Las Piñas, and my sister and I were awake before lunch on a weekend. Anyway, after I finished my breakfast, I went up to the computer room again, and took my cellphone, which I left inside my backpack. The phone's batt was dead, so I took it to another room and charged it. I went back to bed while waiting for my mom to finish using the bathroom.

~10:30 AM: After much prodding from my parents, I got up from bed and took a bath, then I went straight up to my room, got dressed and started packing my stuff.

~11:30 AM: I went down to the computer room to grab my laptop and digicam. I wanted to bring my laptop so that I could watch some movies and tv shows on a decent screen (because there was no cable TV in my parents' house in Quezon.) When I got there, my backpack (which doubles as my laptop bag) was gone from its homey chair. I asked my parents if they've seen it, or if they knew where it was. Of course, they didn't. I suspected that my dad just mistakenly loaded my backpack to the van together with all the things we were bringing to Quezon. So I checked, but the backpack wasn't there either. I checked my room, hoping that I brought it up there, and I just totally forgot that I did for some reason (someone else moving my things, short term memory loss, early signs of Alzheimer's, sleepwalking or other sleep-induced movement, I was willing to go for any reason...) But it still wasn't there.

My backpack, and everything in it including my laptop and its peripherals (geeky word, I know), my cam, my favorite brown jacket, my company ID, and important office stuff, was gone.

Apparently, when my mom was in their room getting ready, she saw, from the reflection in the mirror, someone in red coming out of the computer room. She didn't mind it thinking that it was just me, or it was just something she imagined (some friends have claimed that they see ghosts in our house, so we've gotten used to ignoring things that seem to move out of the corner of our eyes.) Also, apparently, my parents forgot to lock the door to our kitchen after they loaded all our things in the van. And apparently, our neighbor saw a guy in red taking a peek into the screen door of their house, surveying what's inside. Our neighbor locked the door when he saw what the guy was doing and the guy left.


Apparently, the guy in red was a robber, and he went into our house and from right under our noses took the easiest thing he could take: my backpack with my cam, and my favorite brown jacket, and my 3 month-old laptop containing all my work files and important emails, most of which have no backup copy. Lucky bastard.


As I said, I'm absolutely fucking gutted. And pissed and annoyed and depressed.


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Now playing: Modest Mouse - Parting of the Sensory
via FoxyTunes