Happy Wednesday Shopping

So here's the loot I acquired one happy, happy Wednesday in Shibuya.

Astrogirl tee from the Astroboy by Ohya collection in Uniqlo (would have bought more if it wasn't so expensive).

This is the first time I have ever seen an Ursula toy. Ever. Who would've thought that the Disney store sells villain plushies? It's adorable in a strange way, I guess. And incredibly cheap too. I am tempted to come back and get more villains.

Socks! We spent soooo much time in this store that sells only socks (it's called "Fashion Leg Shop" heehee), going round and round the same display stand.

Finally, I bought Chuck Taylors. It's been a while since I last bought Chucks. I was hoping for some crazy designs this time, but they were kind of bland. I settled for a pair of pristine white Chucks, to match the Macbook. ^^

Whoever said money can't buy you happiness has probably never gone shopping.

Happy Wednesday

In our Shimomaruko office, Wednesdays are Happy Wednesdays, which means we get off work at 5. Our usual Happy Wednesday destination is Shibuya, and today is no different.

Shibuya is home to the world's busiest crossing, where a bazillion people cross all at the same time. It's crazy. There's a Starbucks overlooking the crossing, and it's one of the world's busiest, too.

Of course I had to visit the Apple Store.

I was debating on whether I should get myself an iPod touch or an iPod nano. So I tried both to see which one felt right. The iPod touch, although striking at first, is still painfully slow. And since I can't justify the additional expense, I guess I'm getting an iPod nano, after all. I also tried the Macbook Air, but sweet as it is, I still feel that it's way overpriced. What I really want is an iMac, but good luck bringing that baby home.

Dinner is at (where else) Pepper Lunch - the same branch where I celebrated my birthday last year. We were looking for the larger branch but we couldn't find it, so we ended up here.

Sizzle it your way, indeed. I had the usual steak cubes thing (I still don't know what it's called).

And I took a (sneak) picture of the order-vending machine.

So now my trench coat reeks of Pepper Lunch. But I'm full and happy, so what the heck.

Hotel Social, Kamata

This is where I'm plotting my revenge against the menopausal immigration monster lady.

The room is tiny but it's cozy. And comfortingly old-school.

There's this old-fashioned radio on the headboard. I was actually surprised that it is still working.

It also doubles as an alarm clock. It's quite charming, actually. Although it is unable to wake me up on cold spring mornings.

Now if only I could take this home with me.

Manic Monday

You would think that after the ant-in-eye misfortune and an ongoing bout with kidney stones (I am currently drugging myself crazy to get rid of the pain), my trip to Japan couldn't be any more jinxed.

Well apparently, the bitch of an immigration officer doesn't think so. Admittedly she isn't the one to blame for the events that transpired, but my God, she is shrill. Anyway, back to the story.

So this is my third trip to Japan; my last trip was October 2007, and I have never had any problems. And considering I haven't done anything significant in the past few months, this trip should be no different. Or so I thought. From out of nowhere, I am sudddenly on the BID watchlist (or whatever it's called). I told the immigration officer that it was impossible, this is already my third trip, and she shows me, and true enough, my name is there with a hold order from DOST-SEI.

I was on hold because I was supposedly a DOST scholar. I said no, I'm not a DOST scholar, and the immigration officer asks me if I'm sure. Good Lord, how can I not be sure I do not have a DOST scholarship? I tell her of course I'm sure. And then she asks me where I went to college. And then high school. And then grade school. Now how, for the love of God, is this going to help? But of course I answer, pointless as it may seem. And then she asks me again if I'm sure I am not a DOST scholar. Did I not receive allowance from DOST? Or tuition fees, perhaps? I am not an idiot, woman. I know what a scholarship is and if I received any allowance from DOST, I am sure I would have remembered, don't you think?

Anyway, I explain to the shrill shrill woman (who was already shouting at this point) that I have left the country twice already, and I have never been asked for a clearance, nor have I been told I am in any hold order. She then investigates my passport, and apparently, she was the same immigration officer that processed my passport during my first trip. She tells me that she must have asked me for a clearance then. I tell her, no, she didn't, because if she did, then why would I be there would no clearance. And then, she retorts, "so sinungaling pa ako ngayon!?!" What the fuck kind of an answer was that? So I give up and tell her I'm calling the office, and then she tells me she'll let me pass this time but next time I should have a clearance. I have no idea how I am going to get clearance when I am under no obligation to DOST, but I just grabbed my passport and left before I can hear her shrill voice again.

So thankfully, my trip pushed through, but not without a lot of stress and increased blood pressure level. The people at DOST have a lot of explaining to do. The fact that my name suddenly appeared in the DOST watch list when I am not, and never was, a DOST scholar is inexcusable. I did take the exam, and I passed, but I declined the scholarship precisely because I did not appreciate the travel restrictions and the added hassle. I am so frustrated right now I just want to burn DOST to the ground. And I would have, if the trip was cancelled. But we'll see when I've mellowed down. The cherry blossoms should help.

Freaky Friday


So Good Friday was supposed to be a day or rest and meditation.
And then I woke up with an ant in my eye. A real live, crawling ant in my left eye. Okay, so it might have been dead but that doesn't make it any less real.

So of course I freaked out and tried to remove the damned creature - flushed my eyes with water, tried to remove it the way you would remove a wandering contact lens, and in the final throes of desperation tried prying it out with moist cotton buds. But the godforsaken creature won't budge - it must have bit into the eye because one part (of the three ant-parts - I have little no recollection of ant anatomy lessons in high school) is stuck while the rest of the ant body moves. So my mom tells me I should stop trying to pry it out because my eye was really really red and irritated (and she also hinted that it happened because I woke up so late).

So there was nothing left to do but take a picture. If you are squeamish, this is the point where you close the browser window. Although in all probability you have already seen the picture. I apologize for the hazy picture but much as I would have wanted to use a megapixel camera I was afraid the flash might go off and blind me, so I had to make do with a cellphone camera.

My poor poor left eye (lopez). First the subconjunctival hemorrhage, and then this. For the record, I would have gone to a doctor right away, but it's Good Friday and my mom (and my brother, who is a nurse) tells me that only idiot doctors are left in the nearby hospitals during holidays, and it is in my best interest to wait until the better doctors return. Phone conversation with my brother:

me: nandito pa din yung langgam
b: hah? sandali lang, tanong ko kung sino doktor dito...
b: (talking to someone else) sino? si dr. ******?
b: (to me) naku, wag ka na dito...
me: eh bakit?
b: basta wag ka na dito, maniwala ka sakin.

Anyway, in case you're curious, the invading ant is gone now. First the two ant-body parts which came off this morning after I flooded my eyes with Visine. The third part - the head, I assume - remained stuck until this afternoon. So now the left eye is fine, just a tad bit irritated (more from prying the ant away than the ant itself).

Damned thing almost got a free trip to Japan. With no visa, at that.

Four More Days

And I'm coming back!

Shoe Shopping 101

I love love love VNC.
And ribbons on my shoes.

I saw this lovely pair last week, and I returned last Saturday to bring them home with me. So I went straight to the store, tried them on, and proceeded to go to the nearest ATM machine because I was low on cash. And then, without warning, this girl suddenly grabbed the shoe and tried it on!!! I swear I went so pale and I held my breath during the eternity it took for her to try it on and place it back. The moment it touched the shelf I seized it, marched to the counter and paid for it. Never mind that I was holding only half of the pair, I am buying these shoes, dammit. I probably looked just the slightest bit deranged. But I have my pretty shoes so I don't really care. ^^

Shoe shopping is not for the faint of heart.

The Heat is On

The air-conditioning in The Office has been going haywire for two days now. By haywire I mean not functioning. And so are we.

A couple of months ago I kept complaining that I am unable to work function when it is freezing cold. I swear even the Japanese visitors complain about how cold our office is. I tell them it's because we have a one-bit switch - there's only ON and OFF, and nothing else.

Well now the darned thing is off, and it's taking them quite a long time to fix it. And so the office is godawfully warm. It's not comfy warm, it's annoying warm, like the way you feel when there's a power outage. So the mail server keeps going down, there are problems with simulating jobs, there are newly-deployed dysfunctional project report templates to deal with, and my music CD that I have been waiting for the MIS to process two months ago is still with the MIS. And on top of that, it's 30 degrees Celsius. It's a heart attack waiting to happen. And I can't even code because I have to fan myself and it's pretty darned hard to type with only one hand.

I actually miss the cold office where you can probably breed penguins with not much difficulty.

Anyway, there's this study about productivity versus the office temperature. Apparently, at 18 degrees Celsius, workers worked 54% of the time with an error rate of 25%. At 24 degrees Celsius, they worked 100% of the time (yeah right) with an error rate of 10%. Which led them to the conclusion that warm offices are more conducive to work. But what they forgot to mention is that at 30 degrees Celsius, employees would fan themselves 50% of the time, complain to their immediate superiors 25% of the time, and spend whatever time is left trying to craft a USB-powered electric fan out of whatever supplies are available.

No, I Don't Feel Any Pressure Right Now

I so regret falling asleep while watching Bb. Pilipinas. I can't believe I missed this!!!
Warning: May induce nosebleeds. Or convulsive laughter. Recovery time not yet determined.

Could anyone please, for the love of God (and of country), explain to me why we are sending this girl to the Miss World Beauty pageant. But then we can't really judge her, can we, as she is not a book? (Melanie Marquez, isdatchu?)

Miss Janina San Miguel, you rocks.

(Dream) Job Hunting

For a couple of months now there has been an ongoing mass resignation in The Office. So much so that the HR has resorted to desperate measures, including catered food in the company lounge (yesterday we had sushi, although on bad days we are served peanuts and rock-hard biscuits). Now I'm not really inclined to leave anytime soon, but when half of your friends are leaving it makes you feel like you're being left behind, like maybe you should be leaving, too.

Now the thing is, I have long accepted the fact that admin is a bitch, but I love my technical work too much to care. And now that we have free food I couldn't be happier. In the end, it all boils down to the food. Never mind that I can easily afford it - nothing beats a free meal (or in this case, snack).

But since everyone is looking, I decided to do my own (mini) research. Who knows, maybe I can land either of these one bright, sunshiny day.

1. Google Hardware Engineer
BS or MS in Electrical or Computer Engineering or equivalent, with strong emphasis on computer system design. (PhD a plus)
Several years of hardware architecture, design, and bring-up experience.
Experience in shell scripting or assembly language a plus.
Knowledge of Unix/Linux or embedded environments.
Familiarity with high speed board design, devices and interconnect.
Experience with component-level and system testing is a plus.
Very high level of attention to detail; noticing and responding to contributory factors not part of the original design and test plan.

2. MacBook Hardware Design Engineer
BS/MS EE or equivalent with a minimum of 5 years of experience in the design and development of high speed digital and/or analog boards and systems.
Must have a solid understanding of the system development process including concept creation, schematics and board development, as well as board and system bring up and debugging.
Must have direct experience with one or more of the following technologies: Intel-based systems, high speed bus design for low emissions, low power design, industry standard protocols (audio and video, Firewire, USB, Ethernet, DDR2, etc.) and their design issues.
Must have excellent communication skills.
Experience with Mac-OS a plus.

Now if I get to be a Macbook engineer, there would definitely be a pink Macbook. Wait for it. In three years or so, because I lack experience points. ^^

Pink Noise for World Peace

It won't cure cancer, but it can prevent you from strangling the loud, obnoxious moron occupying the table next to yours, or from strangling yourself while aboard a jeepney playing yet another dance remix of "My Heart Will Go On." In 2008.

Pink noise is a signal with a flat-line logarithmic frequency response, and it can be used to mask background noise. The idea is, blasting pink noise through your earphones drowns out the noise from your surroundings, so you can listen to your favorite 80's hits in peace while the rest of the world has to suffer through yet another record from movie stars turned wannabe singers.

Finally, you no longer have to hear your co-worker's dialogues with himself. Or his imaginary friend. See? World peace. Or at the very least, a dance remix-free day. Interested? Download here.

The Mac Bag(s)

The first Macbook bag was this kid's trolley. The first time I saw it in Azalea in Kawasaki I thought it was cute and terribly cheap, considering it's from Sanrio. But I couldn't think of any use for it, and I certainly don't have extra space in my luggage. And then the inevitable happened - the Mac won't fit into my handcarry. So the very next day (which was a Monday) I left work early (!) and hurried to Kawasaki and practically ran to the store - there were only two left and I was afraid they would be out by the time I got there. And so after a lot of broken English and frantic hand gestures I bought the very first Macbook bag.

So on the trip back to the Philippines I had to lug around two trolleys (one huge and one tiny) with two huge shoulder bags (one huge and one normal-sized). And switching trains with four pieces of luggage is not much fun. And the young Japanese girls kept looking at it. ^^

Needless to say, I wouldn't want to travel like that ever again. And since the trolley is being held hostage by my mom, I have been scouring the malls for the perfect Macbook bag for months. And I finally, finally found it!!!

It's from the Samsonite "Sensu" collection (in Bubblegum). I have seen this a couple of times before (but in green) but I wasn't sure the Macbook would fit. So I took measurements and the very accomodating people in Travel Club measured the inside dimensions for me and it was perfect! It's not a laptop bag, though. But I have a sleeve for the Macbook so it's okay. And it's pink (although beside the rest of the pink things it kinda looks red). Of course I'm broke now, but at least the Mac is happy. Now if only I had the matching luggage...