Work woes

I’m finally paying for the many wasted hours I spent on anything other than work – yes, blogging and them some, during office hours. So I got a novel of comments from my US counterpart. The task I completed for training purposes was a mess. Although I initially thought I’d need more information on the technical aspects of the job itself, I went on doing my own thing and trusted myself to complete the exercise project. He sent me three PDFs, two of which include his comments on my job; the other one was his own completed version of the job. One comment file was actually my version of the document with his comments on them. The other comment PDF was an eight-pager reminder of most things I already know. And so I started getting on with the first comment PDF (my version of the job with his comments on it). Then I saw justice. I did really screw up on a lot of important things. I messed up on the titles, headers, watermarks, title formatting – the very visible, loud parts of the document that needed to be absolutely flawless in the first place. And for the love of moses, I called myself an editor! Maybe that was the reason I got an F for this. I guess seeing those in-your-face problematic areas angered him and inspired him to write another comment file that would explain everything (the eight-pager). I can’t blame him. He may have not known that I have also done my own research on the stuffs he was blabbing about. And all the technical questions in my head were banging like crazy it aches that I sometimes wish I was working in sync with US time (night time; at home) so I could easily talk to someone who does the same thing. But I would have not done an eight-pager comment. The first comment PDF would have been enough.


Public nuisance or a treat for cheap?

Public nuisance in the form of begging money from people in buses and jeepneys has always been a pet peeve of mine. People doing this makes me want to wish I had the power to transport myself through radio signals into a place other than the stinky bus we are in. I hate the idea of getting what you want out of nothing, doing nothing, without equal effort. I truly believe in cause and effect. And these people who just sneak inside buses to give you an empty white envelope with notes that say “I am Jenny, an out-of-school youth…”, to “Please help fund our charitable institution…”, just are plain irritating to the bone. Some envelopes don’t even have notes on them that you won’t have the slightest idea what the money they’re asking for is for. It pains me to see that many Filipinos try so hard to appear helpless to be pitied by, and thus be exempt from working hard to pay the bills, and the tax.

There have been many kinds around – preachers, sellers, and recently adding up spice in the industry – Badjaos. The first group is plain nuisance. They would preach about gospel and appear holy in front of you, then collect their envelopes and say “may god be with you always” – plain shit as that. So you get to have god be with you once you give them money? Ha. The sellers, on the other hand, initially hand you a note saying “I’m a widow with three children, blah blah blah”, then offers you their products. These kinds don’t piss me much, as the products weren’t very expensive, and these people carried heavy baskets of products just to sell them around, hence they worked for the money. The sad thing about their “force selling” is that they are doing some kind of blackmail. Those “help us” notes are the reason why I included this group in the public nuisance camp. And the third group is the artists – the Badjaos. They also hand a few envelopes, with little notes saying they wanted some help, or to that effect. And after distributing the envelopes, they would thump their bongos, sing their haunting Badjao melodies and do ethnic dances. Despite their filthy shirts, these kids - yes, kids – delighted me. It’s like I’m immersed in some other dimension, where pure art is all over around me. My husband would grin looking at me while I sway my body to the Badjao rhythm. So, despite the nuisance they bring, I felt like I was in for some treat. So I handed them my “help”, in exchange for a priceless experience the Badjao kids don’t know was very significant to me.


Summer time

Me and my officemates were in the middle of deciding which (available) beach resort to go to come summer. Yes, there are a lot out there actually, since our country has got the most beautiful shorelines in the pacific. However, since everybody else are going to the beaches this season, too, the top ones where we hoped to wear our first ever bikinis have already gone fully booked! This is really disappointing, and for one, we have scheduled our outing on the third weekend of May – yes, two months from today!

Oh, well.

Two months from now before breathing into the fresh sea breeze, the warm sand and waters I grew up with. I was thinking of having a family outing next month. I was thinking of taking that reservation at Munting Buhangin. I heard it’s nice there… I’d like to see Enzo frolic in the sand. The last time he went to a beach resort (Rosegold, Batangas), he was only barely 1 year old and wasn’t able to appreciate everything around him. I feel obliged to my son, and to myself. My husband isn’t much of a beach buff, but I bet he could use some fresh air to clear up his nicotine-clogged lungs.


This new fad i call personalized wellness program ...

Alright, so i've been a little too serious about this whole losing weight thing (said my husband), and yes, dreaming of fitting into a skimpy bikini in 2-3 month's time. I even tried this free personalized diet and fitness program site, which i stumbled into a few days ago. At first, it looked promising with all its calendars, and planners all over the place. It seemed like everything you need to track (food, hence calorie intake and workout, hence calorie used) can be easily managed in this free subscription. But after two-three days, i got tired of it. No, I'm not tired of the program i have already committed to practicing; it's the site that is still not that polished and as user-friendly as expected. Considering most people who would want to use it are always on-the-go and may not have the luxury of time to wander through the site. I mean, the site could have been designed better. Among its tools is the myNutrition, which allows you to manage your daily menu and its corresponding nutrient tracker and calorie counter. By default, you have four meal categories in a day - breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack. Each meal category comes with a default meal plan, and suggested meal items, both of which can be modified by the user (through a list of choices). THis could have been fine if users could add meal categories, and put in these new categories the meal items they want to include, but hell, no. The site just doesn't have this option. I mean, in the first place, in order for a person to keep fit, it is advisable one should eat more smaller meals a day, not three of four. This enables our tummy to digest smaller amounts food, and thus, leave nothing for storage. We need this because we're not anymore the hunters that our ancestors were. THose fellows used a lot of their calories in hunting, fishing, farming; and so they needed three huge meals everyday to keep up. We don't. We just sit for a few hours in our cars or train to work, then eight more hours sitting in front of the computer, and two more hours of little or no activity at all heading home. That means we are not using all the calories we took in for each meal of the day. I wish they could change the site for the better, so that it will be able to help a lot of people. As for me, i'm gonna be really into this truly personalized wellness program of mine. I guess i really don't need calorie counters or a diet plan. All i need is to lessen my calorie intake, and use as much energy as possible. It's even funny i came up with a personalized cardio exercise, which is a combination of a warm up exercise, and stretching from a different video, a fat-burning cardio video/total body burn from another, then another stretching/cool-down exercise from another video. Ha. That's what i call "personalized".


and oh....

The chicken potato salad was yummy. My family was convinced, my officemates, myself, we think the potato salad was good. Yey! Thanks to the site i got the yummy recipe from!

Starting today...

I will be committing myself to a health program i have devised - to rip off my belly fat, damn it. I have been trying (not so) hard to peel it off my used-to-be-flat tummy since my son's birth. And it has now been almost three years and it's still there, greeting me every morning with a bang! There's just too much skin that when i eat a lot, the tummy balloons into a fleshy ring bouy around my waist. Arrrggg!

Until I went to an ukay shop a few weeks back. The clothes i tried on that looked very good on their hangers looked ugly on me! This isn't the case like 5 years back! I have long accepted my new body, I only workout at home to feel better, not to look good. But when i saw myself in the mirror looking like that tacky lady me and my cousin would laugh at 10 or so years ago, I gasped. I'm becoming one of them - wives on gawdy outfits!

But it didn't just stop from there. I started downloading torrents of hiphop abs videos that i thought aren't just a bunch of gimmicks. THese videos are great. They don't bore you, and the longer you use them, the more fun the workout becomes. I used to dance occasionally, during school events. I was never the hiphop dancer, but Shaun T's videos upped my respect to the genre a notch more. I will be following the 30-day workout calendar, and the diet plan i will be devising shortly.

Starting today, I will be working out not only to feel good, but to also look good.


Accomplishing something

I finally did it. After three weeks of feeding my cupboard with dwarf potatoes, and getting "i-thought-we're-gonna-have-potato-salad-this-weekend?"-look from my family, i finally have it now in the fridge, ready for some fest tomorrow.

I like the idea of being able to cook yum food from not-so-expensive stuff. About a month ago, lettuce prices were way lower than its usual. So i had brought some caesar salad at the office for my lunch buddies. It's seldom those guys consider salad for lunch, but they appreciated my offering. It looked pang-gourmet (suited for the gourmet), as one colleague commented.

Also, three weeks ago, prices of dwarf potatoes have plunged immensely. This had me thinking of some potato dish that i could cook home. It took no time for me to decide it should be potato salad, as i have not yet mastered the dish. First time i prepared it - total disaster - uncooked potatoes, weird-tasting dressing... Second time was so-so. This time should be something good, as i have been feeling relaxed while mixing the ingredients - no pressure. Having all the ingredients prepped up on the table kind of makes it easier, and faster.

I hope it's gonna be delicious, as i have more or less memorized the ingredients and the proportions i need for that much potatoes. We'll see...


For the sake of art or just plain selfishness?

Silence - that was the reaction I got after announcing to my lunch buddies that I’m going to start a graphic novel about a stripper or a pole dancer. No reaction. The topic, which I tried to cut off to sneak in my plans, resumed. Nada.

That was also what I got from an artist friend, whom I expected to side me on this. What sounded like a gulp from over the phone, he tried to be as much rational to my utter excitement. And he called himself artist at that. Nada.

Antipathy – that was what I got when I mentioned it to my hubby while having Japanese dinner with an old friend later that day. He said the prostitution thing had been there since the world began that it was no longer an issue. If I were to make a project, it should be something that would impact the society, the country. Our old friend, while trying to digest too much wasabi and the discussion me and my husband are having, mentioned a few socio/political issues that might be better themes to my graphic novel than the stripper thing. I wanted to scream that I was doing this for the sake of art!!!

But I was cool with what they thought. I expected such reaction. I guess it’s way better that earlier on, even before it gets published, I will get to experience such degradations. After all, we live in a “religious” and “conservative” country, where most people either avoid the taboo and live a “clean” life or live in the taboo and get crucified. Okay, so I exaggerated on that crucified part.

But, really, give me one reason why I shouldn’t do it? I mean, I love to sketch/draw women – their bodies are the greatest sculpture ever made. A woman’s body is so complex and beautiful at the same time.

I once told myself that I would someday write about something. But to make it right the first time, the story should be something I know of very well. There lies my little problem – I know nothing about stripping. I know no woman who does such a thing. And this means I had to do mountains of research to know the latest issues regarding such activities. And I think this is very exciting. This is new to me, and since I’m a sucker for trying out new things, I think no one can stop me. 

That is raw art to me...

I used to despise illustrations created through computer software. I thought that these “artworks” were prepared by mere non-skilled, untalented artist-wannabes. I thought that anybody can “cook up” these illustrations as long as he knows the software tools. No need for a talent or gift. Spare my parents the blame; it’s just that almost all the happy days of my life were derived from the satisfaction I get from my “raw art”.

I advocate “raw art”, words which I reinvented to mean “art out of physical pen and paper”. This kind of art is done by a person with the skills to identify shapes in an object and draw them in paper as is. Yeah, art isn’t just about drawing. But a drawing can never be called art (ask me) unless someone with a gift did it.

While it is true that illustration softwares can make one an artist, more and more “raw artists” have also started using such softwares to enhance their artworks or to make these available for digital use.

And so I gave up. These softwares were created per advice from “raw artists” anyway.