27.6.08

Mid-Year Resolutions

The pimple revolution is now over. And so is my budget. But at least I wake up every morning without the fear of a new zit. Thank you, thank you, Aveeno Clear Complexion Bar. Anyway, the MS is scheduled next year, and my parents have recently asked convinced forced me to apply for a housing loan. Yes, I am getting a house. A really really tiny house I won't actually live in. I have no idea what (or whom) it's for, but hey, if it pleases them, then all the better for me (less nagging, see). So no more ultra-low-EQ purchases, EXCEPT when I am in the depths of depression OR if I have a substantial OT pay. In particular:

1. No more impulse beauty product buys - all face gunk must go through the appropriate research process. I never realized skin care and make-up is this complicated. And how much bullshit goes into marketing. Case in point: Smashbox O-glow. Cosmetic companies are the female equivalent of oil companies. Why didn't I take Chem? I remember my fab high school Chemistry teacher, Sir G, was appalled when s/he found out I was not taking Chem in college. How liberating it must be to understand the ingredients list on every single bottle you plan on buying - you're practically bullshit proof. Anyway, when I was panic-buying for beauty things due to the pimple outbreak, I was so stressed out and desperate even the most idiotic SA can sales-talk me into buying anything. Now I have to be a bit smarter. No, no. I have to be waaay smarter.

2. No more buying foundation without testing on my skin. I know, I know, it's stupid. But my previous compact was a perfect match and I selected it with guesswork. But now it's phased out (Chelo! It's phased out! And the new one has shimmer things. Hmmf). So I had to go get something else. Well, actually I got two something else's. And they are both too dark!!! I mean I have heard of people buying too-light foundation, hence the Kabuki-actor effect. But now my neck is lighter than my face and that is just weird. So now I try everything out first. I know testers are gross, but that's what wet wipes are for (among other things).

3. No more asking people to buy things from Japan. I don't really need another Uniqlo jacket (but if it's free then yes, I do need one). And one Astroboy by Ohya shirt is enough. And do I really really have to try Shiseido shampoo Tsubaki? Now, if I were on a business trip, then I could buy all these with my allowance. But since I am here with Third-world country allowance, it's a no go.

4. No more passing by Gateway on my way home. I figured, since I no longer have someone to split the taxi fare with (Rodmaykel this is all your fault), it would be way cheaper to ride a jeepney to Cubao, and then take the train to Katipunan. Not. To get to the train station I have to pass by Gateway. Gateway to bankruptcy. The one time I did this, Mango was on sale, and who could ever resist clothes that are 50% off? Taxi is cheaper, see?

5. No more passing by Watson's on my way home. It's a couple of steps away from the Eastwood taxi bay, and low EQ. Watson's has so much cool junk, like paper soaps and hair treatments and kikay kits. So no more Watson's. Even on lunchbreaks.

6. No more passing by Rustan's on my way home. I always end up buying food and what not. Homemade spaghetti sounds cheaper, but really - beef + Ragu Sundried Tomato and Sweet Basil + San Remo spinach fettucini >> Fazoli's. And don't get me started on Rolled Gold Pretzels.

My New Year's resolution of drinking eight glasses of water a day lasted for about 5 minutes. Let's see how I will fare this time.

24.6.08

Retail Therapy



Fifty percent off. Yeah, I'm okay now.

23.6.08

Ferosh

From the mother of all gossip blogs:

Karl Lagerfeld does hazard chic: It's yellow, it's ugly, it doesn't go with anything, but it can save your life.



Security vests never looked so fierce.

21.6.08

Breaking Point

No, I'm not depressed; I'm in a shithole.

It's bonus day today at the office. The press release the day before was, in a nutshell, it's going to suck. So I prepared for the worst. Well, it was worse than that. Hah. My boss tells me it's performance. That explains why my bonus is 25% less than my bonus last year, never mind that I was promoted and am currently being forced into doing management tasks that I do not get paid for. I wasn't expecting an increase, but I was not prepared for a drastic decrease either.

At any rate, this just means it's over for me. It's been game over for a while now, but I was (stupidly) hoping things would at least be marginally better for the last year I will be spending in this godforsaken company.

So anyway, I consoled myself with thoughts of postgraduate studies. And then I find out that, well, one of the professors I plan to ask for a recommendation for one of the universities I wanted to apply to basically thinks I should look for other universities that are easier to get into. Which in my book would mean he thinks I'm incredibly deluded for even considering to apply. I know, I know, he might have meant it in a much kinder way. But it's not like I am applying for one university alone - contrary to popular belief, I am not Elle Woods. I plan to apply for all the universities I can find that I like. But, well, it's a quite vicious blow when someone tells you you shouldn't even bother to apply, isn't it? Is it really so wrong to aim just a tad bit higher than what other people think you are capable of?

18.6.08

See the Pigs Fly

Read about it here.

Among other things,

From the current P20,000 personal exemption for single taxpayers, P25,000 for head of family, and P32,000 for married individual, the tax exemption will be fixed at P50,000...

...all holiday, night differential, hazard, and overtime pay would also be tax-exempt...


Ah, yes. Election is upon us.

16.6.08

She Bangs



Ah, stress. But at least it hides the breakouts.

Pimple Revolution

I am stressed and breaking out like crazy. So the OT pay goes straight to them capitalist's pockets. Sure it doesn't clear up the face but at least I have something to smile about. Or more accurately, some thingS to smile about.



Nine pairs already. I know, right. How hard is it to make all the boxes the same size? It's so hard to stack.

Two of those I bought last weekend. On sale at 50% off! (Okay, so the other one wasn't but let's just pretend I got them both at 25% off). I almost ran to the store the minute I got off the taxi, and minutes later, pimples forgotten, I was grinning so wide I must have looked like I swallowed a hanger.


And since I am at the bowels of EQ I dropped by SkinFood at SM North. Again. And bought a shitload of stuff I won't be using until my face clears (using new things might make it worse). The SA asked me what freebies I wanted (how nice is that?) and I picked a couple of products I wanted to try, but they had no sample sachets, so she advised me to buy containers. So I grabbed a set of 3 containers from the department store (I can't find individual containers). I only asked for two samples, but apparently they give you as many samples as the containers you brought. And it's not like they give you a couple of tiny drops - they actually filled the 10-mL containers. Considering that the products cost over a thousand bucks for a 30-mL tube, that's a hell lot of samples. I mean if you are really really thick-faced and all, you could just repeatedly ask for samples and never actually buy the product. But that would not be possible with my EQ level now, would it?

14.6.08

Usog

So today while shopping I suddenly developed a killer headache and felt like throwing up and I turned really really pale. When we got home I headed straight to the bathroom but nothing turned up. My sister suggests that it's "usog." Usog in the mall? On a twentysomething? It's almost unheard of. And who could it have been from? The nice nice sales assistant in SkinFood who gave me loads of free samples (Tip: When you visit SkinFood bring along empty containers and they would gladly give you free samples of whatever product you wish to try)? Or the sales assistants in VNC where there was a clearance sale today? (The requisite EQ post will follow when I'm all better)

From Wikipedia:
"Usog" is a Filipino superstition where an affliction or psychological disorder is attributed to an evil eye hex. It usually affects an unsuspecting child, usually an infant or toddler, who has been greeted by a stranger.

Once affected, the child begins to develop fever, and sometimes convulsions. Supposedly, the child can be cured by placing its clothing in hot water and boiling it. It is said that the condition is caused by the stranger having a masamang mata, or evil eye in Tagalog, lurking around. Superstitious folk say they have observed this phenomenon and regularly suggest this be added to the Psychiatric Disorders Handbook DSM-IV. The suggestion has not been accepted.

Usog can also affect adults, although it induces vomiting rather than fever. Supposedly, it can be prevented by stopping a stranger or visitor from greeting the child. Unlike "lihi", however, usog is not medically accepted.


I don't know if I believe in this or not. Early this year we attended the Good Friday mass and then my brother said he was feeling dizzy and he was really pale so my mom took him home, and then a few minutes later the same thing happened to me.

Now the cure for usog, or at least that's what the old people say, is for someone to rub saliva on you. Gross, I know. But that's what my lola did that day and a few minutes later I was all better. Of course it could also be the ice-cold Coke they had me drink. My mom and my grandma come from the school of thought where all ailments can be cured by coke - nausea, diarrhea, even hyperacidity. Anyway, my lola is four hours away, and no, I do not welcome anyone's saliva on me (despite my cousin's generous, generous offer to spit on me) so I'm having Coke and hoping for the best.

12.6.08

What, they ran out of big cat names?

Apple previews Snow Leopard, presumably Mac OS X 10.6. Cougar would've been a better choice, I think.

To accommodate the enormous amounts of memory being added to advanced hardware, Snow Leopard extends the 64-bit technology in Mac OS X to support breakthrough amounts of RAM — up to a theoretical 16TB.


Right. Because I've been meaning to get 16TB of RAM for my Macbook. Maybe this one's for them high-level geeks (but if you are would you really get a Mac?).

10.6.08

The 3G iPhone Cometh

Today, Apple started the 3G iPhone countdown. The launch date is on July 11 in select countries.
And Globe Telecoms is bringing it to the Philippines soon after. Yes, Apple knows we exist. We even get our own crystal flag icon, just in time for Independence Day.


From the looks of it, the 3G iPhone looks exactly like the original iPhone. But a bit chubbier, I think.



So this just begs the question: Where in God's name is my EQ?

Edit: So I just re-read the post and looked at the ad. Half.the.price. The 3G iPhone starts at 200 dollars. Oh my Lord.

4.6.08

Skin Food

So this has got to stop.
I am so getting addicted to Skin Food. I have to constantly remind myself that I just recently bought a shitload of beauty loot (not to mention I am waaay overbudget) to prevent me from rushing to the nearest mall. And then I just recently realized that there is a Face Shop branch a couple of cartwheels away from the office. Oh my dear EQ.

So right now I'm seriously EQ'd over the Skin Food Peach Sake line.



Next month, perhaps?
Or next payday?
Or tomorrow?

Stresstabs

If you look carefully on the box of Stresstabs multivitamins, you would notice that nowhere does it say "No approved therapeutic claims." And the description says it relieves stress. Now this is a quite popular brand of supplements, and I am guessing manufactured by the same company that manufactures Centrum. Centrum incidentally has the "No approved therapeutic claims" clause. Because really, how hard could it be to prove that after taking bucketloads of Centrum, you are still not complete?

Anyway, so supposedly the clause was designed to warn the consumer that any claims made by the manufacturer may not have been substantiated by case studies or what not. In other words, it may be completely BS. So when I realized that Stresstabs does not make this claim, I bought a box and if it doesn't work, I can sue. At least in theory, I can sue.

Now I take my vitamins after lunch, because some vitamins need other vitamins (or fats or carbs or things) to be absorbed by the body, so the best time to take it is when you think you have those things they need inside your digestive system. And, well, today I forgot to take the darned supplements. At around 4 pm my eyes got so incredibly heavy and I was out. I mean completely zonked out for around 15 minutes or so. And when I woke up my brain was completely blank - I was so nonfunctional.

So to make the long story short, I guess Stresstabs works after all. Too bad, I wanted to sue.

There is always a catch

When I saw the University of Liverpool's MSc in Microelectronics it was love. This is it. This is me next year.

Computer Networks (7.5 credits)
Signal Processing (7.5 credits)
Program Development (15 credits)
Digital Filtering (7.5 credits)
Microprocessor Systems (7.5 credits)
Digital System Design with VHDL (15 credits)
Integrated Circuits - Concepts and Design (15 credits)
Project Outline Investigation (15 credits)
Research Skills (15 credits)


It's going to cost me 11,650 pounds. For tuition fees. Pounds. That translates to roughly a million pesos. Which I would not be able to save for even if I increase my EQ a hundredfold and I start working myself to death. Silver lining: international students get an automatic scholarship amounting to... *drumroll* one thousand pounds! Great! 10,650 pounds, which still translates to roughly a million pesos. And don't get me started on the living expenses.

Now I have been fixating over this school for several weeks now, so of course I'm looking for scholarships, and I came across one from ARM. Now if you're doing system-on-a-chip and application-specific ICs, you would know that ARM is big. My first ever block is confidential, but I can tell you it has something to do with ARM. It's fate, see? The scholarship also comes with a 3-month internship with ARM R&D in Cambridge. God, I would kill for an internship with ARM. It's just so perfect. And applicants should have the following:

A keen and demonstrable interest in computer architecture, computer micro-architecture, compilers, operating systems, C and assembly languages, algorithms and data structures.
A high first class or first class with distinction BE, ME, BTech or MTech degree in a relevant subject (including Computer Science if computer hardware electives have been studied).
Relevant work experience in embedded systems, system on chip or IC design.
MSc candidates are expected to have prior knowledge of digital systems, CMOS transistor circuits and signal processing topics such as Fourier, Laplace and z-transforms and s-plane/z-plane representations.
Good English language skills (minimum IELTS 6.5/TOEFL 230 + ER 4.0 or 70% in English at Standard XII from national or metro state boards).


This is me!!! Me, me, me! I mean, sure I have to brush up on Fourier and Laplace, but the keen and demonstrable interest and the relevant work experience I have.

Now, as with everything else in this cruel world, there is a catch - it's for two students from India. And the application period ended last month. Maybe next year, they can accommodate Filipinos as well? I swear to God I will be the best baddest most wonderful scholar you have ever had. ARM, I love your bus protocols and your processors, please please please give me that scholarship.

You know, early last year I told myself I was going to buy myself a Macbook, and I never really saved up for it, and I ended up getting one, just because the universe loves me like that. Let's see if it works for Postgraduate tuition fees too.

Or maybe I can just do the Casino counting cards thing.

2.6.08

Me Likey

Nish would look terribly gorgeous in this, don't you think?



Pink Goyard Ambassade. Fits a Macbook. Priced at around 3000 USD. Hey, a girl (and her Macbook) can dream.

1.6.08

Freebies Galore

I'm officially a Korean facial care brand convert. They have so many freebies! And their customer service is wonderful.

I don't know why local brands do not realize this but customer service is really important, unless you are CDR-King in which case you can hire the dumbest, slowest, and bitchiest sales attendants and still have skyrocketing sales. I mean seriously, it takes them half an hour to process your purchase of 2 blank CDs. And whatever you inquire for they always tell you it's out of stock even if it's right behind them. And in the Eastwood branch, they would always be on the phone gabbing away, and when you place your order they sigh and act like you owe them a biggest of favors just because they had to put the phone down and attend to you. And there's this one other teeny tiny store in TriNoMa with, I don't know, either really bitchy or untrained personnel. I was buying shorts, see, and I didn't know my size. And sizes vary from store to store. Like if you buy from Kamiseta your size would always be smaller than usual because they have XS and XXS and XXXS - it's marketing, I think. So I ask if they had it in medium or large. So I tried both on and I asked the salesperson if they had it in any other color and she exclaims "Oo nga ma'am Large nga kayo! Ang laki ng baywang niyo!" I didn't know how to react because I didn't know if she was being catty or if she just really really meant it. Anyway, I digress. Back to the freebies.

So yesterday I went to The Face Shop in TriNoMa. The minute I entered the store they gave me a sample of what I assume is facial soap. See? Happy already. I usually hate it when sales assistants follow you around like you're some kind of fiend, but they had so many products it was so overwhelming that I had to ask for help. And I ended up buying these:



That's Quick & Clean facial wash and Pore Minimizer Controlling Cream.
And I got these for free:



Beginning Serum and Maximizing Gel Cream from their Su Hyang Snow line. I have no idea what the hell those are for. But see, they're free. Scary though - they have nano gold particles. Gold as in Au. Nano as in 10-50 nm particles. Does my face really need that? Anyway, I might try when my skin has calmed down (it is on total revolution right now). Oh, and I got two more tiny soap bars.

A while ago I went to SM North to buy storage containers that I can place under the bed because my two closets are bursting. I dropped by Skin Food and the sales attendant was really nice and she seems... smarter? more knowledgeable? than the one in The Face Shop. And she advised me that my pimples under the chin could be from whitening toothpaste. And OMG it very well could be. Because I switched to Colgate Whitening when I got back from Japan and that was when they started appearing and back then I blamed the change in weather! Anyway, I bought the BB cream.



Apparently if you buy something worth thismuch you can get selected items for Php99 (from Php400), but I wasn't a big fan of make-up so I didn't get anything. Although they had this Diet Lip Balm which supposedly helps curb your appetite. Interesting. And my freebies are:



Rice Mask and Lettuce & Cucumber Water Drop Essence. Again, no idea what the hell these are. But the sales assistant was nice enough to explain. And I also got this voucher for a either a free makeover or nail art. I am a big fan of neither so if you want it, you can have it.

Breaking Out

When I got back from my two-day leave I had so much paperwork waiting for me in the office. Now I'm an engineer. Paperwork stresses me out more than anything. Give me nosebleed-inducing codes anyday. Anyway, so now I am breaking out like crazy. I figure it's time to do some damage control because it is seriously getting out of hand.

Now I am not much of a beauty junkie. I have been using good old Clean and Clear since high school - whenever I switch brands, I break out so I switch back and everything is fine - and I started moisturizing only when I was in college. But all of a sudden my face decides it has had enough of the departments store brands. It has been fine and relatively breakout-free for a million years and now all those pent-up zits are surfacing. Hay, the horror.

So I spent the entire afternoon surfing the net for beauty products which is quite futile because regardless of the number of reviews you browse through, everyone's skin type is different and what works for most may not work for you and vice versa. Like I have a friend who swears by The Body Shop and I have never found anything from that store that actually agreed with me.

I was able to drag Rod to watch Sex and the City (chick flick, but what can I say, i love it!), and we had an hour or so to kill before the movie started so I grabbed the opportunity to buy a shitload of beauty products (okay, so I only bought facial wash, toner, moisturizer, and lip balm but already that is a shitload for me). I will post if anything (good or bad) happens.

One other thing: the contact lens review. I've been using Biomedics for a month now, and so far so good. It even survived the torrential downpour during the Pinatubo trek. And it doesn't dry out the eyes at all - I haven't been using drops anymore. When I was using Acuvue I am always acutely aware that I was wearing contacts and my eyes would get really really tired. I usually take off my contacts at around 5 pm. I can wear my Biomedics until midnight and my eyes would still be happy. My only issue is that the contacts seem to have a life of their own and sometimes they decide to wander around the eyes, and I have to fish for them inside the crevices of my eyes. It has happened to me several times like when I'm in the middle of talking to my boss and then suddenly I have to run off and search for the missing contact lens. Now the doctor tells me that even if I switch brands it wouldn't help, because all brands use the standard size. But other than that I am perfectly perfectly happy. I am a bit tempted to try 02 optics, but it's a wee bit expensive so it's biomedics for the next six months or so.