Malunggay Lotion, Anyone?

For real. The Body Shop just released a new line of products inspired by the Moringa tree. That's the good old malunggay for you.

How come we didn't come up with this first?


When I was in first grade I did this declamation piece about Mt. Pinatubo. Up until now I cannot, for the love of God, understand what possessed my teachers that made them think that a poem about the eruption of a long dormant volcano would be worth listening to. If I remember correctly it addressed Mt. Pinatubo in the second person, like why did you erupt and shiz. God, just remembering it all is traumatic.

Anyway, so my friend Maymay is home from Malaysia (truly Asia) and decided to invite us all to a trek up Mt. Pinatubo. Now this is the same friend who literally crawled her way on the monkey trail trek to the underground river in Palawan, so it's quite a bit shocking. At any rate, I figured that since the volcano just recently erupted (in volcano years, I guess 20 years is a very short time), the chances of it repeating the destruction anytime soon is slim. So up we went. Well, at least Chelo and I did. The rest of the girls were unavailable. Hmmp.

The trek was relatively easy, and a hundred times better than the Taal trek - it's not dusty, the forest is lush, the weather was cool, and best of all, there were no horses and people trying to coax you into renting one. The path is a bit rocky bouldery though. And the crater is huge, and you can actually go down and swim. That is, if you're comfortable with the fact that the crater lake is 5000 feet deep.

Oh, and in case I forgot to mention, we were the only five people who dared climb the volcano that day. And with good reason. On the way down, the sky started acting up.

Halfway down, it started drizzling, and minutes later we were right smack in the middle of a torrential downpour. Thank God for Ziplock bags, it saved Miz G (the Canon Powershot G9) from early retirement. You can view the pictures here, here, and here.

So anyway, I survived the 6-hour trek, but now my legs ache so much I'm practically disabled. I've taken to using the wheelchair ramps because going up and down the stairs is just hell. I was so not made for strenuous physical activity, and yet the two summer outings I decided to join both involved scaling volcanoes.

Next summer, it's beaches (with pretty bathrooms - the comfort room near the Pinatubo crater is the worst I've seen ever) or nothing.

Minesweeper the Movie

Hands down, funniest thing ever. These people must have been so bored. You have to watch it, it's too good for words.
Oh, and you have to know what Minesweeper is, of course.

Maybe next time they could do Tetris. Or Text twist.

Me Likey

I have a feeling these "Me Likey" posts are going to be a regular thing.
Anyway, here goes.

1. Moleskine

What's better than a moleskine? Two moleskines!
The big one is courtesy of Sir Gad.
I've had flashbacks of this time in class when he was discouraging the use of exclamation points and he goes, "And people? You know what's worse than one exclamation point? Two exclamation points!!!" I couldn't agree more. See there, I used three.

2. Mr. Clean magic eraser

Again courtesy of Sir Gad. Apparently this has been lying around in his house for two years already. And to think that I have been scouring Manila for this. One man's junk...

3. Nike slippers

I wanted to buy white havaianas (again), but they never really fit me well (size 35/36 is a tad bit too small, size 37/38 is huge). And I saw this one in yellow and green and there goes my EQ.

New Blog Template!

So this took quite a while. The entire morning to be exact.
But now you can select the background of my blog by clicking any one of those tiny squares up there. ^^ How cool (and geeky) is that? So if you're not too fond of the pink argyle print you can rest your eyes on something else. Although they're all pink anyway.

Macbook Detox

Something happened this weekend that I can't quite put my finger into, the end result being my Macbook becoming painfully slow. I know, I know, I should just stop hacking cracking attempting to play downloaded games for free. My hunch is, I accidentally moved a system registry file which I am not supposed to touch.

Luckily, computers, unlike people, can be re-formatted when things go awry. So after some back-up hell (apparently NTFS filesystems are read-only for Macs, and Windows does not allow large partition to be formatted using FAT32), and a little over two hours of installation (I have Tiger installation discs and a Leopard update disk so it took longer), Nish is detoxified and squeaky clean. Of course now I have a bazillion gigabytes of software updates to download.

Wouldn't it be great if we can just reformat ourselves? We would still be the same person - computer specs don't change when we reformat, after all - but we get a fresh start again, and this time we know better. Like this time I will really try to stop fiddling with Nish's filesystem in search of system registries for downloaded games (and I don't need to because I already know how to crack them! hah!), and I won't install applications I won't really use, and I'll get my stuff organized and shiz.

Anyway, the truth is right now I am seriously seriously uninspired to work - I have lost all the willpower to excel, and to do more than what is expected of me, which, I would like to believe, is how I was before. There was always the "Well, I've done it, but I think it would be better if I did this too." Now it's just "I would like to get this done and over with." It's hard working with really low morale - whereas two years ago I get an adrenaline rush out of work; now it just drains all the energy from me. I wonder where I can get an installation disc for myself.

The Island

Let's stop trying to be meek and admit to the world that yes, we do Google our names, because we are vain like that.

But I bet not all Google name searches end up with this:

My very own island!
Special thanks to my parents who picked a mishmash of Spanish words for their eldest daughter's name, and to my dad's surname which I still blame for me being the last person in my kindergarten class to get my diploma.

Ella belongs to the Yap Group of Islands which is part of the Federated States of Micronesia. The island of Ella, Yap is located right below Guam, just a couple of backstrokes away from the Philippines.

It's that tiny red pushpin to the right of the Philippines:

So how much to own an island in Micronesia?

Hello Moto

I have had my Globe line since high school, which is a billion years ago in mobile phone years. And I'm still using the original SIM card, the one that can store only twenty text messages and one hundred contacts. I've always felt like switching to Smart, because for the past few years the signal strength inside our house is getting weaker, and for the past few months the service has been really annoying, like there are times when I can't text or call due to some network glitch. Anyway, I never did switch because, well, I've gotten quite attached to my number.

But the point of this long, long ramble is, for the first time in years I'm thankful I didn't switch. I got this text from Globe about rewards for staying connected, and I was instructed to call this number and I did, but I got this pre-recorded message about something like internet data rates or something so I dropped the call. Apparently I was supposed to wait for the advertisement thing to end hehehe. So I called again a while ago, and they offered rebates on my bill for one whole year amounting to around 1200 every month. Which is the total amount of my sister's and my monthly plan. Thank you thank you Globe. ^^

So since I won't be paying my phone bills anymore I can go buy a new mobile phone! Now, the problem with owning a MotoRazr is that you get so used to the keypad that all other keypads feel wrong. And I love that my phone's dictionary "learns" as you text - it can now auto-complete "ngak" and "ngek" and "nyak," among others. But The Office does not allow camera phones, so I have to leave it with the guard every single day. And having no mobile phone during office hours is like having no mobile phone at all.

Now, 3G mobile phones with no camera are one in a million. And they tend to be on the fugly side. So imagine my delight when I saw this:

It's the Nokia E51, and it's available with a no-camera option. I'm not sure if the no-camera version is available here, though. I asked around in Nokia shops in malls and well, they didn't even know there's a no-camera version. How in God's name am I going to get my hands on this phone? A frawn cocktail for anyone who can tell me how. What's a frawn? It's a large scowling shrimp. Thanks to Maymay for the link. ^^

All I Want for Christmas is...

I know, I know, it's May. But I needed a bit of cheering up. And I dare you to visit an Apple Store, take a quick glance at a 24-inch iMac, and tell me that all the other displays do not appear a tad bit dimmer and a lot less striking.

Anyway, I really should be wishing for a scholarship for postgraduate studies in electronics engineering, preferably in some country with cold weather, good food, and gorgeous men (the latter is optional, really). Obviously my scholarship-hunting has not been very sucessful, although I've been at it for less than a week (and only on the very little free time I have). A giant hug (and maybe a cheeseburger) to anyone who can send me a useful, relevant link that would lead me to a master's degree. Gossip blogs, no matter how much I enjoy them, do not count, but you can send them anyways. ^^

Labor Day

Today I have overextended my stay in The Company by exactly one month.

I've always thought it odd that during my interview they told me they hoped - hoped - that I stay for at least two years. And that was it. Not "we hope you build your career with us," or "but we hope you stay longer than that." Just two years.

I never did regret my choice of a first job (and by saying first, I mean there will be a second). In fact for the first few months I kept wondering why I was surrounded by people who are either resigning, or are in the verge of resignation.

Well apparently you figure things out after two years. And now I feel so naive and stupid, even. I guess I secretly hoped that it's possible a flourishing career in microelectronics without having to leave the country. But now I realize I'm working for a company that would rather hire fresh grads than retain their current roster. Apparently engineers with three years of experience can easily be replaced by a fresh college grad. It kinda brings you down. Severely. To be fair, there was the so-called "retention policy" which was launched after a mass resignation ensued early this year. If anything, it succeeded in making the new hires and the rookies happy.

And for the record, in a field as specialized as this, no amount of college excellence can measure up with experience. Whenever people leave, when project members leave, they just think they can replace them with some new hire and it's all going to be great. Same manhours equals same productivity. What they don't see is the amount of effort we exert in training them, the amount of time we lose in tech transfer, and the huge huge loss of quality because let's face it - nobody gets it right the first time.

The sad sad thing is, I realize this only now when I have had ample brooding time, I guess. The annoying thing about this company is that the technical work itself is great, and the people around you are great, and you get so comfortable that no matter how frustrated you get and how dim your future may appear, it's quite hard to leave. It's like you're in a really really comfortable chair and you look around and everything is a mess and in theory, you want to clean it up, and maybe do your groceries too, and maybe exercise because you've been gaining weight, but maybe you'll do that later, you'll just sit and watch TV for a while, until you realize the day is over and you have accomplished nothing. In hindsight, I guess that's why we congratulate people who actually muster enough strength to resign.

The original game plan was to work for two years, and then get my MS, and then we'll take it from there. But it's a bit too late to be applying for universities abroad. So I guess I'll just have to grin and bear it for another year or so. And then I'm so out of here. This company and this country. Watch me.