Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Birth Announcement for Shelsey

Crystal Wilkerson's Spring Fling Elements
Bren Boone's The Peacock Lady Kit

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Happy to Downgrade

After 3 years if service, my Nokia 9500 finally gave up on me. It served me well - I've taken notes on it which I got to email directly to my former bosses, used it to review contracts and memos which clients needed "yesterday", stored frequently used laws on its memory card and even drafted and published blog posts on it. It also gave me quick access to my office email which always had urgent tasks waiting to be completed. Even if it looked (and weighed!) like a brick, it was always with me.

It took me quite some time to find a replacement - I ignored the fact that one of its hinges had already joined some cans on a recycle bin. But when the phone's LCD started acting up, I new that it was time to accept that my not-so-cheap gadget has ended its useful life (waaah!).

After considering some options, I bought a cheapo - a Samsung E590 (a little over 7T pesos at 0% interest for 6 months!), which only feature is to look handsome. It does have GPRS capabilities (no wifi!), a 3 MP camera (it can take decent pictures as long as there's sufficient light) with a mini-bean bag as a stand, and you can use it as an MP3 player and a radio (features which I probably won't use,) but it's still a definite downgrade from my old phone. I love my Samsung E590! I guess it's mostly because it reminds me that I no longer have to send notes within a few hours from attending a meeting, or review contracts or memos on the go. And I really do find it handsome. It also helps that it's really light!

Speaking about downgrading, I took advantage of another office perk that I now have - working from home. I started to do some research in the morning and ended a little after 1:30. Since I wasn't expecting too much traffic, I passed by UP to satisfy my curiosity about their Masters in Technology Management (admissions is closed for this sem, can't enroll middle of the year, their office is closed today - ha??? so what was I doing sitting on their sofa and chatting with the staff?). I was done by 2PM but heavy traffic along Katipunan road forced me to accept that I would never reach our office at the Bonifacio Global City by 3PM. Since I can't use my car from 3 to 7 because of this improperly-called-color-coding traffic scheme in Manila, I decided to work from home. It was not a good idea - when I reached our house, our room was being cleaned and it was just too humid and warm in it. So, I decided to work at the Starbucks branch a few kilometers away from our house.

Not being a tea drinker, I am not too fond of Starbucks. But today, it was my "home" as I can't literally ask my boss permission to "work from Starbucks"! It had wi-fi and a plug for my laptop. The chairs and tables were the perfect height for working and it had a clean washroom! The guard kept an eye on my stuff when I used the washroom or ordered more food, or ordered more food (no, I'm not being repetitive, I'm just stating what I did this afternoon.) The temperature was also perfect. At first, I ordered a grande Dulce de Leche Frap (really creamy and yummy!), and a honey-glazed donut, which I should have eaten as fast as I could, as it got tough when it cooled. An hour later, I started munching on their potato chips. I got a couple of bags in different flavors - barbecue and spicy thai (?). Those chips were crisp and delightfully spiced! The bags were a pain to open, though, so I had to request the staff to open them for me (or maybe I'm just a wimp? And no, I wasn't being helpless because I found the server cute - he wasn't but he was helpful so he was okay.) It was surprisingly quiet and the only distraction I got was a phonecall from my brother-in-law saying that I have a new niece! (I didn't go to the hospital immediately - I gave my sister a call and she said that she wanted to sleep. She also said that she was fine, just tired, and that I could only see my new niece tomorrow as she'll be in an incubator 'til then. I guess she just didn't want me to barge in her hospital room today with my camera with her still trying to shake off the effects of an epidural.) Needless to say, I finished the office task which I set out to complete today.

And since I didn't have to spend an hour in traffic going home, I got to take a peek at the pics I took during our summer outing! Unfortunately, I was not too happy with that batch of pictures - I guess I was uninspired or just plain tired (I only had a day to rest from Barcelona before leaving for Batangas.) Not that La Luz Resort was ugly. It was far from that - its Filipiniana-inspired decors were just perfect for the beach. I also loved the row of white beach umbrellas in front of the cabanas. (But La Luz was also far from being a luxury resort - the bed and pillows were as tough as punching bags, and the toiletries provided were in sachets.) The beach itself was okay, the sand was white but not Boracay-fine. The pebbles didn't prevent my other officemates from enjoying the cool water, though. I didn't swim with them - I didn't want to treat my officemates to an afternoon of whale-watching. But I still enjoyed our company outing - in the afternoon, I had a relaxing massage in one of the cabanas, and in the evening, I enjoyed singing with my officemates (I stayed up 'til 4 but some of them were still singing 'til 5 AM!)

So what's the point of this post? Wala ulit (but when I started writing it, it was supposed to have one, I just lost it along the way.) It's the coffee speaking.

Oh yeah, the picture with the laptop was taken using my new phone. Obviously, the picture above wasn't.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Barcelona pics are up!

The Barcelona pics are here.

I'm still feeling tired after the Barcelona trip - I only had 2 days to rest before heading to La Luz, Batangas for our company outing (now that's a different story.) So I don't have much energy to do anything other than work. I'm hoping I'll be better in a few days. See you then!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Kung Bakit Payat si Paris

With only 1 hour and 29 minutes left on my internet card, 250 ml remaining on my 1-liter bottle of Evian and 2 hours and 5 minutes prior to check-out, I decide to take a rest and divulge some facts that I recently discovered.

Bakit payat si Paris? Dahil hindi siya kumakain.

Bakit di siya kumakain? Kasi hindi talaga masarap ang pagkain dito sa Hilton!

At first, I thought it was limited to the finger food that they serve during the meetings. I was wrong. Yesterday, I was too exhausted to move after 3 days of non-stop meetings. So, I decided to order room service for lunch and dinner. The sea bass for lunch was fresh but poorly seasoned. They just grilled it with the other vegetables and the chef probably thought that the sauces of the onions of the aubergines and onions would be enough to flavor the fish. Just like me, he was wrong. The sea bass tasted flat.

For dinner, I decided to order something basic, something that even I can prepare - a bacon cheeseburger. Since they called it the "Hilton Cheeseburger" I was hoping that it would at least be decent. Again, I was wrong. The fries that were served on the side tasted like cooking oil, the bacon was tough and the meat patty was dry. I am just so happy that I can charge all those crappy meals to the office.

Bakit payat ang mga tao sa Barcelona? Kasi ang bilis nilang maglakad!

Only a handful of our meetings were held at the Hilton. Most of the sessions were held at the Hotel Rey Juan Carlos. According to everyone in Barcelona, Hotel Rey Juan Carlos is only 15-20 minutes away on foot. Since I didn't have any reason not to believe them, I walked from Hilton to Hotel Rey Juan Carlos. It took me 45 minutes to get there.

A similar thing happened for dinner. We were scheduled to eat at a resto, which the concierge said was only 10 minutes away from Hilton on foot. It took me 10 minutes to get there in a cab.

CONCLUSION: People in Barcelona as are fast as taxis.

Bakit wala pa ring Barcelona pictures? Kasi wala pa akong napupuntahan. Kagabi lang natapos ang meetings ko.

But I am now on my personal time. Hola, Barcelona!!!

Friday, April 11, 2008

I'll be right back!

I'm in Barcelona on a business trip.

I arrived midnight last night and attended a meeting from 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM today. Needless to say, all I've seen of Barcelona are the interiors of the hotel where I'm staying at - which isn't saying much. I don't get the off-white and metal combination of Hilton Barcelona - it looks cold and unwelcoming. I really feel like I'm sleeping in a school cafeteria! And an over-priced one at that. The sandwiches were ordinary, the salads were too sour, and the fruits on the desserts weren't sweet. But I love their extra-fluffy towels and robes, as well as their Crabtree and Evelyn toiletries.

I'll post pictures after I take a short nap.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Living without Mercy

I've been working from home since Monday because one of our helpers, Mercy, went home to her province.

I love working from home! I get so much work done because I don't have to spend time travelling. I have complete control of my time - I can start working immediately after breakfast and take a cold shower in the middle of the day when the summer sun is at its peak. I also don't have to worry about what clothes to wear! My only problem with it is that all our office software run a bit slower and it takes more time to retrieve emails and handle files.

I'm actually a bit sad that I'll be going back to the office tomorrow - Porkchop will definitely miss our morning walks! But it's not consistent with our office policy to have people working from home (at least not when we're still creating a corporate culture.) It's also helpful to interact with my officemates from time to time as we learn a lot from each other.

Speaking of Porkchop, she really must think that she's a human princess. While being the poster-girl for supreme laziness, she has found a way to communicate with us. When she's feeling warm (which is all the time this summer) she parades in front of the fan and makes funny noises until we turn it on. She also stares at the freezer until we give her ice cream. She goes to our bathroom and stares at the faucet when she needs a drink. She knocks on the door when she needs to get out of the room. She's such a brat, but the way that she's trained us is just so amazing!

So what's it like living without Mercy? We've been eating lots of pizza, our room's a mess and my back hurts after washing the dishes. I so miss our daily breakfasts in bed as we eat all our meals in the kitchen. (So now you know where Porkchop gets her princess-complex from.)