Wearing dice on my head since 2008 Programmer, engineer, scientist, critic, gamer, dreamer, and kid-at-heart. Randomly amazed.

Just Another Day

2011 in Review. Sort of. I guess.

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Somehow the years seem to fly by more quickly nowadays. They all seem to blend in together too, at least in my memory. When I was thinking of what to write for this post I thought that this was the year I had taken my break from working. That was actually last year. I don’t think it’s a sign that I’m growing old. Maybe more of a sign of the fact that I’ve settled in to some sort of routine that makes it difficult to tell the days or even years apart.

Dear Citibank, About Your New Website

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Hi, About this new website design/whatever. I am glad that you know have 2-factor authentication to protect me from fraudulent online transactions, but please check the following problems ( I gave up trying to post this using your messaging system, see #3 below): Please fix or replace the horribly unusable custom combo box control you have. When using it to select a payee while making a payment, it’s difficult and counterintuitive to scroll up and down the list (it seems I must hover my mouse over the up and down arrows on the scrollbar).

Maybe I'm just heartless

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… but I feel like this country has spent far too much energy pleading and praying for and glorifying and sensationalizing three drug mules when we should be trying to figure out how they got past our airport security and immigration officers in the first place. Comments Comment by rumz on 2011-04-03 18:06:00 +0000 no, i agree with you. once dead, there isnt anything we can do for them.

A Christmas Story

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Okay, story time. On my way home today as I was about to get on the jeep to Tandang Sora, a woman got off the jeep crying uncontrollably and declaring she would not go with him. Unsure what was going on I walked past the woman who was now wailing unintelligibly outside the jeep. I got on the jeep and took a seat. Inside was this man who was gesturing to the woman outside and telling her to be quiet and just get in the jeep.

Randomly Amazed

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The first thing (out of two): As not many people are aware of, I actually underwent some minor surgery last week. I’ll spare you the boring details, except for the fact that at some point I had to be given spinal anesthesia while I was fully awake. Now, if you’ve never been given spinal anesthesia before, let me give you a rundown: you’ll be asked to lie on your side and curl up into something like a C-shaped fetal position so that the anesthesiologist can inject a tiny needle into a small area between the discs of your spinal column.

August 23, 2010: A disgruntled and decorated police officer who had been dismissed on charges of extortion took hostage a bus full of tourists from Hong Kong. The hostage drama unfolded in front of the Quirino Grandstand in Manila with the expected media circus, confused cops and SWAT who didn’t know what to do and a tragic ending that involved dead hostages and a bullet to the head.

The Fifth Power

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I maybe getting older but as anyone can attest, I’m still a child at heart. As they say: life is a journey, not a destination. I still don’t know what my destination is, but I’ll keep moving forward one step at a time. Looking forward to the next power of two.

What Am I Doing Now?

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I get asked this a lot since I’m not currently working. I never get to answer clearly, so here’s an attempt. The short answer is: Whatever I want The long answer: Yes, I spend a lot of time goofing around – watching TV series, movies and playing video games. In fact I think for most of the first two months of my hiatus, this was what I did. Now there’s a lot less of that – I’ve caught up with all the series I wanted to catch up with, and I don’t have any significant video games I want to finish.

Free Time

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Aside from my current hiatus, I’ve taken month-long breaks even when I was still employed. One of the things I most often get asked when I take an extended break from work is “Won’t you get bored with all that free time?” This question strikes me as a strange attitude towards free time, as if it were an annoyance to be avoided instead of a resource to be enjoyed. The people who subscribe to this belief are probably the same people who watch TV all the time when at home, or who can’t imagine life without having a 9 to 5 job eating up most of their day.

On Working

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I’ve been meaning to write about why I quit a perfectly good job I had at Azeus, but it’s been hard to articulate the reasons, in the same way I found it hard to explain to people why I didn’t feel a corporate “9 to 5” was entirely necessary at this point. Then I read a blog post today “Why I Quit A Six Figure Job” which I found to express/coincide with my thoughts pretty well on the upsides and downsides of having a job.

When Your Wallet Gets Stolen

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December 17th. It was around 10pm, I was getting off the bus carrying a box of ensaymada in my right hand and using my left hand to make my way down the crowded aisle despite the speed and turbulence of the bus ride. As I alighted off the bus, I felt movement in my left pants pocket, where my wallet was. As soon as my left hand was free I checked to find my wallet missing and looked back accusingly at the mass of unfamiliar faces crowded along the door of the bus.

Thirty One

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Days seem to fly by at such an unforgiving pace. Has it really been thirty-one years now? I have a lot to be thankful for the past thirty-one years. Family, friends and other wonderful people that provide love and support; a roof over my head, three square meals a day minimum and a nice, stable and well-paying job. For all of these, I am thankful. One would think that at such a point in my life, I would be very satisfied for having been so blessed.

Casual Fridays?

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Here’s the scenario: Last Sunday in the early morning, there was a fire in our office building, which hit some power stuff in the basement. So yesterday (Monday), the whole building was running on generators without air conditioning. Last night, we were notified that the power was back in the building, but just in case, we should come in to work in casual clothes (“dress down”), normally reserved for casual Fridays/Saturdays.

It’s 8:30 pm on Friday. I step out of Maxim’s, a fastfood place near the office in Hong Kong. I flew in to HK the morning of the day before, and had given a presentation over a conference call on Thursday night. This was the only free time I had during the entire trip since I had to fly back the next morning. I decided to take a walk for maybe an hour or 30 minutes, to savor the cool night’s weather before going back to hot and humid Manila the next day.

My Phone Was Stolen

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I wish there was more to the story, but the true story is rather short: I had a moment of carelessness as I hurriedly tried to disemabark from the crowded MRT, and by the time I was getting on an FX at Megamall I noticed that the front pocket of my bag was open and my phone was missing. The PSP which was in the same pocket was still there so I guess the thief was in a hurry.

Catching Up

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I’ve been submerged in work for the past two weeks or so, not having much time to do anything else aside from work and the DS, which lets me sneak in some Professor Layton, FFTA2 or Civilization Revolutions while waiting for bug fixes to be confirmed. So I took a break this weekend and won’t be reporting back to work until Wednesday. No plans really, just some unplanned downtime to unwind a bit…

The Folly of Optical Media

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I find myself staring at stacks of old CD-Rs in my room that are just there taking up space. As far as I know, they contain copies of old TV series/anime I used to watch and backups of my old hard drives from time long past. (I’m pretty sure I still have backups of my drive contents from the IRC laboratory in UP.) I’m wondering whether I should bother going through them to check which ones are already useless (as some certainlty already are).

Sunday Distractions

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For all of my working life I’ve gotten used to sitting at a workstation where I do not have regular internet access. So while I’ve often read a lot of those articles about how to maintain focus, I’ve never actually realized how difficult it was until I brought home a bunch of work-related reading material to catch up on. Yes, I tried to read boring work-related stuff on an internet-enabled machine. Wonder how much progress I managed?

How A Coworker Thinks I Would Blog

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(02:25:57 PHT) Roy: do you really think I would be emo? :p (02:27:14 PHT) Coworker: ”… i looked at the screen… it did not look back at me… why? why? why must it be this f***** way..” (02:28:08 PHT) Coworker: ”… i pressed ctrl+b… the words did not become bold as i expected… instead, my data was lost when i save done… (sadness, grief… . despair)” (02:28:16 PHT) Roy: hahaha

Doodles

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I usually have a stack of random printouts on my office desk. I also usually take one or two sheets of paper with me for meetings, supposedly to take notes (I never do). What usually happens with these papers is that I end up doodling. It’s not a sign of my not paying attention to stuff mind you. Doodling helps me think, in some way. I took photos of some of my doodles (yeah, no scanner): Roy’s Doodles

The Earth is Flat

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Random memory for the day: I remember watching the Superfriends TV series when I was a little kid, and every time Superman would fly off into space, there’d be a shot of the earth as a globe, with Superman flying out from the northern hemisphere. As a stupid kid, I thought to myself, “I wonder why the earth is shown as an oblate spheroid? When I go out with my parents it was obviously flat.

Family

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I was too tired to post over the weekend – too busy. But seeing as how this is a log, I need to note significant events that happened over the past weekend: a. Saturday (Jan 12) – Younger brother got married. Had to give a best man toast. It went well, but I got hit by birdshit. b. Sunday – early morning road trip to Batangas, for a paternal-side family reunion.

New Year Noise

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It surprises me sometimes. Living in a country such as this, where many people complain of extreme poverty, harsh economic conditions and the like, one can only wonder how we can celebrate the New Year so extravagantly. These were the thoughts running through my mind as I watched the fireworks display by our neighbors in the subdivision. It’s not like these guys are rich, they’re middle class folk like me who probably balk at the cost of food or furniture or appliances but are now burning away thousands of pesos worth of fireworks, all for a single midnight of revelry.

Pack Rat Mentality

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Every year I do an end-of-year cleanup of my stuff. (I try to at least) Somehow there always seem to be so many CDs/DVDs/books/comics to sort up and shelf or sleeve or whatnot. I’m growing tired of it all. The other day I was planning to backup everything on my computer to DVD when I realized I was just adding more to the pile. I’m not sure if there’s any important reason to backup all the episodes I’ve been watching to DVD when I’ve already watched them all.

Fear

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I was in Galleria earlier today and suddenly the power went out for a few seconds. It came back up almost immediately, but of course everyone was a bit spooked given the recent bombings at Glorietta 2. Even I felt a bit shaken up I might add, even considering cutting short the tournament (I wasn’t doing well) I hate that. Being overcome by fear, even for a very short instant.

Abundance and Scarcity

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When at home or at the office, if I ever get a craving for something to snack on I can usually find some easily. At home I just go down to the kitchen and check the ref or the cupboards. At the office, there’s always the pantry or those people you know that usually store some snacks. If I need something, I can get it fairly easily. This is something of an abundance situation.

Back Home

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My first day of work back home, and I’m immediately greeted by a powerful storm and terrible traffic jams. I love this country 🙂

Check. Yeap, I turned 29 a couple of days ago. There’s a typhoon signal no. 8 over HK right now as I type this. For people in the Philippines, that’s hard to imagine since our local indicators only go up to storm signal no. 4. But it’s really a bit calm where I am right now, some wind but not much rain. I’m not inclined to go out though, I’m running out of clothes as it is.

Brush with the Law

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A friend of mine, let’s call her “C”, was waiting for a taxi near her home. There were several other people there waiting for taxis but she had been there first. She finally managed to hail a cab and had already gotten in the back seat when an MMDA traffic guy [1] stopped her and told her that he had hailed that taxi for two women nearby that he pointed to.

Bad Day Perspective

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Some days just don’t go very well. You wake up with a mild headache. Your bed demands that you stay just a few minutes longer. Your computer refuses to work correctly. You have no energy. Every task assigned to you seems to be something you’d rather not do. You find out some people hate you. You get drenched in rain on the way home. You arrive home and feel completely useless, thinking you’ve done nothing today.

Top 5 Strengths

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I took a longish survey at the Authentic Happiness website. (Registration required.) I list my results here for my future reference. _ Your Top Strength: Judgment, critical thinking, and open-mindedness _ Thinking things through and examining them from all sides are important aspects of who you are. You do not jump to conclusions, and you rely only on solid evidence to make your decisions. You are able to change your mind.

Wowowee

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So, I was there in the taxi with my youngest brother Brian. And I brought up the topic of the noontime TV show Wowowee, which we had just seen about half an hour of before we got in the taxi. I told him that I thought of it as a really terrible show. Sure, poor people win relatively-large cash prizes and stuff from it, but it feels so exploitative. Hundreds, maybe thousands of poor folk from god-knows-how-far-away queue up outside the studios every day hoping to get into the studio audience to participate in the cash giveaways.

Down Cycles

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No matter how much of an optimist I am, I have to admit all people will have down cycles. The last few days seem to be one of mine. Health-wise: My stomach has been in a rebellious mood for the past three or four days, I actually went to work with a fever last Friday. Also, it seems my blood pressure was a bit high since yesterday. I’m thinking about going in for a checkup within the next week or so, depending on how my condition changes.

Simplicity

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At work, especially during assessment time, they often ask me if I have any concerns or needs or suggestions that I want to raise to management. And I never have any answers. So I thought about it today, and I realized why I seldom have complaints: I’m a simple person. It doesn’t take much to make me happy, and I figure I’m already ahead of the curve anyway. I have a fairly good paycheck, I like my job (more or less), I like the people I work with, and they recognize and respect me for my contributions.

An Uneventful Holy Week

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Due to pressing work concerns, I was unable to go to confession for Holy Week this year. So much for being a devout Catholic. As is tradition, most of the long weekend was spent watching a whole lot of stuff: ** 24 ** – I’ve been keeping pace with the episodes so far. The thing about 24: people die. A lot of them. And amazingly, Jack Bauer gets off every single time.

Searching for Direction

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I’m sure a lot of people have experienced it, the feeling of being adrift, directionless. Just living your life day in and day out not knowing where you’re going or why. Maybe not everybody though, as I’ve met quite a few people who seem quite content with the monotony of their lives, doing the same thing day in and day out, never bothering to overcome the inertia of their daily lives.

Time > Money

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Post Part I: This being my first week back to work after a month-long hiatus, I inevitably get the usual sort of questions people ask when you get back from a vacation: “Hey, where did you go?” “Do you have any pasalubong?” (souvenirs) “So, what did you do for one month?” I’m amused by how very few people seem to get the fact that I didn’t do “anything” in particular over the break.

New Year 2007

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This year, I resolve to find more direction. That being said, I’m kind of behind already. I usually manage a total cleanup of all the stuff in my room before the New Year. This year? Not even close. At least I have an additional 3 weeks of vacation to finish everything. Review of last year’s resolution: “I will try more new things this year” : I’d say that’s a resounding success.

New Year's Eve

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It’s around 7 PM on the 31st of December. Around this time it starts to become dangerous to walk upon the streets of Metro Manila. In fact, I would never go out on the streets after dark on New Year’s Eve. People are starting to throw their pyrotechnics around, and no matter what community you live in, there’s a chance of some reckless kid carelessly tossing some dangerous firecracker somewhere in your direction.

The Meaning of Christmas

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When you’re a kid, the days leading up to Christmas are full of wonder and anticipation, and you eagerly await that time when the gifts under the Christmas tree are finally handed out to the recipients and you tear open those packages with such enthusiasm and disregard for the effort put into wrapping it. As an adult, the days leading up to Christmas are filled up with days of overtime as you struggle to meet year-end targets, constantly having to attend gathering after gathering, and worrying about whether you’ve gotten the right presents for people.

Spare Time

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Today is the first day of my four-week hiatus from week, after an exhausting three-day overtime streak I basically collapsed into bed last night. Over the past week people have been asking me why I would take a month-long break from work. Am I going somewhere out of town? Sightseeing? By sheer coincidence I was also looking over a copy of The Little Prince, and one of the chapters there echoed perfectly my sentiments about all these questions: why are all you grown-ups so worried about so-called “matters of consequence”?

The More They Stay The Same

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One of the difficult things about my three-week sojourn is that I had almost no internet access; the one internet terminal we could use at the site was unbearably slow, and even when it was free, it was hard to slack off reading Slashdot when there were several other people busily working nearby. Being without internet is like living under a rock apparently; you have no idea what’s going on in the world.

Silly

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A friend of mine at work once commented to me that I ask the silliest questions. When I’m a bit bored at the office, I will sometimes throw random meaning-of-life questions at them. things like: “If you had a time machine, what would you do with it?” “IF you were president, what would you do about [thing]?” “What’s your most impossible dream?” “If you could vanish right now, where would you go?

How to Order at Jollibee, Part 1

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Or any other fast food place really. There are a lot of people like me who view having to line up and pay for your food as a rather large inconvenience. If you’re one of us, consider the following guidelines. Know what you’re going to order. Don’t be one of those annoying people who chats with all her friends while they’re waiting in line, then when they get up to the front of the line they spend 15 minutes discussing various options with the guy behind the counter.

Wanderer's Thoughts

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Late afternoon on Saturday, I was looking quite a bit more work ahead of me, an amount that would later prove to last into the early morning. For some reason or another, I was a bit out of sorts, not really into what I was doing. Not wanting to waste company time being ridiculously unproductive, I decided to take an early dinner break and wander around Ortigas Centre for a bit.