Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Lessons I Learned from iBlog4

Last year I did a post of the same title for iBlog3 and I'd like to say congratulations first to Janette and the UP College of Law for a very successful and fun-filled iBlog4!

I unfortunately arrived only in time for Juned's talk, but here's a rundown of what I picked up from the speakers:

Juned Sonido, Photo Blogging - if you are passionate about photography then just keep on taking photos! I've been actually bugging him the past few weeks for tips on taking photos and he's given me a couple of reading assignments. It helps!

Jonas Diego, Blog to Print - he shared that he managed to make his passion (which is comics) work for him. His web comics was immortalized in print and he's doing good business as well in making storyboards (shared that bit in Stitching). He also uses his blog to promote his business and hobby.

Coy and me, Podcasting and Vlogging - we weren't able to show our "conclusion" but what we wanted to say is "follow your passion". If you're shy, then try out podcasting, but if you feel like you can wing video blogging, then go! Just do it! Our videos are up, check this out for the podcasting bit and this for vlogging.

Luz Rimban, Manolo Quezon, and Janette Toral, Political Blogging - I agree with what they said that media focuses more on the candidates during elections rather than the real issues. The speakers surmised that blogging about politics will help stir things up and bring out the real issues. They also said that this will work especiallyf or provinces which really don't get any media coverage.

Atty. JJ Disini, Legal Challenges in Blogging - ahhh there are legal challenge in blogging, copyright infringement was much talked about during this segment. Coy and I also mentioned during our talk that one must use original material at all times. JJ also mentioned that in following "fair use" don't quote more than 10% of the whole blog post if you must mention it as a referral. It reminded me of a certain blogger who copied 75% of my post and just said one line about it in the end of his entry. It made me freaking mad! I was supposed to give a short talk about "How to deal with blogger abuse", but due to time constraints (good thing!!!) JJ didn't call me anymore. I have a video for it, I'll probably post it sometime soon in You Got Tech.

Noemi Dado, Blogging for Advocacy - Noemi shared her story about FilipinaImages.com where they tried to show the other side of the Filipina. We all know that when you search for Filipina in search engines, the not-nice side always comes out. I think it's a worthwhile project and should not be shot at because of search engine semantics.

Ria Jose, Blogging from the Countryside - Ria's talk was the most fun talk! I have been to Davao a couple of times and I think it's a more fun place to live in. Manolo asked the question, "What should an outsider do when he comes to visit so that the locals won't be freaked out?" Ahhh, I've experienced that a couple of times since I've managed to visit and meet bloggers from other cities. My tip, just make sure you know somebody in the city you are visiting and make sure you don't come off as someone who's going to dominate the place. LOL.

Here's a short video of my iBlog4 experience!



Up next (well hopefully soon!) will be my video about the party. And here's some photos I took -



Some more posts about iBlog4

Monday, April 28, 2008

The J.S. Manila Tour

Thank God it wasn't so hot today since we brought around Manila our Davao blogger-friends, Andrew, Ria, Winston, Blogie and Migs. Here was our itinerary:

The Binondo Round - walked around Quintin Paredes, the Binondo Church, Ongpin, and then around Reina Regente (?) then back to Savory. We had an interesting lunch at the Estero.


Intramuros - drove around for a bit until we settled at the San Augustine Church (my patron saint!) where we witnessed 3 weddings in the 2 hours we were there. Went around the museum as well.


Manila Bay Cruise - who would've thought of taking a cruise at Manila Bay? Well we did and we had so much fun taking photos.


Mall of Asia - ended up having merienda at Razon's (yummy halo-halo!) and then we tried to look for the non-existent Giligan's at the San Miguel Bay Park. We ended up having dinner at Gerry's Grill (most of us wanted sisig!) and we were joined by AJ, Benj, Jeff and Fritz. (Uyyy... sino bagong love team sa blogosphere? meron ba?).

Juned Sonido was the official tour guide. (Thanks so much Juned!).

And here's a special message for someone...


Sunday, April 27, 2008

Snippets from the iBlog4 and 88DB.com Bloggers Party

So much to blog about, but so little time!!!

Here's just a glimpse of the fabulous day I had at the iBlog4 -


And here's Janette hugging the chicken who won the "Come as Your Blog" contest. He blogs at ChickenMafia.com


It'll probably take a few days before I'll manage to make a proper post. Here's a couple of posts about the events (please leave a comment if you have a post) -

Sharie
Sarah Cada

Friday, April 25, 2008

Top 10 Emerging Influential Blogs of 2008


Last year I won a car during the top 10 emerging influential blogs of 2007 party. I remember being in a daze during the party because I just came from a looooong walk from Ayala to Max's Restaurant. Good thing best friend Anne and Lolo Harry was there with me to keep me calm and collected.

I was fortunately included in the 2007 list and the plaque that was given to me last year is displayed in my Dad's office (home lang). It feels like ages since that party and so much has happened to me as a blogger (I'm also vlogging now!) in the past year. Ahhh, blogging is just really fun, fun, fun!!!

Janette recently announced that she has decided to have another project, the "Top 10 Emerging Influential Blogs of 2008". To join just 10 blogs you think are "influential", remember the blog should have been created from July 1, 2007 onwards. Hmmm... I hope I meet a lot of new bloggers here at iBlog since I have yet to come up with my list. For more info kindly visit Janette's post.

Happy blogging!

P.S. If you like my shirt you can order from me or JayDJ. If you are shy to leave a comment here, please email me at me at aileenapolo dot com.

Speak-Art

The other day, I found myself in the middle of an "accountants meeting". It had nothing to do with me, I just tagged along since I had to rest before heading home. My Dad wanted me to become a CPA lawyer and I was actually enrolled in Political Science and Accounting in my freshman year in college. After a couple of units in accounting I realized I had no real love for numbers so I shifted to Political Science and Legal Management. I looooved my PolSci classes, but I was absolutely bored out of my skull during my law classes. I'd rather go through tomes of data than tomes of laws, EOs or bills. It's just not my thing (I'd probably end up like Elle Woods in court).

So that little meeting I found myself in made me realize that aside from different languages and the multitude of dialects we have, there's also the smart-speak of professions. I have observed this since I was a kid and I have learned to adjust how I communicate depending on who I'm speaking with. In sixth grade, my school diagnosed me to have the "gift of language". Duh, don't ask me what that means, my Kuya was the one who attended the session about it.

Anyway, I'm just rambling and thought how difficult it is really to mingle with many different types of people. Here's a couple of languages I encounter from time to time:

1. Geek Speak - ahhh, I'm no techie and that's why I ask a lot of questions when I don't understand something. I often ask Sweetie to explain to me a lot of developer-speak. I also bug a lot of my colleagues to explain things. What's great about developers is they explain things in a structured manner, albeit it's quite difficult to communicate in layman terms, but I have found developers to be very patient teachers.

2. Numbers Speak - accountants. One cannot live without them when you have a business. If you did not have business/accounting units back in college your nose will definitely bleed when they start exchanging accounting terms such as "schedule" (simply means "report"), "trial balance" (watered down version of a balance sheet), and "balance sheet" (that thing that measures your assets and liabilities). I used to do bookkeeping for my Mom's business. It's HARD.

3. Law Speak - if you've had the chance to read blogs written by lawyers you'd know what I'm talking about. The way they write and speak is very logical. It's like a formula, if A is B, and B is C, then A is C. Make sure there is no fallacy in how you do things or you'll get caught. I loved my logic classes back in high school, well that's just what I loved about law. So whenever I had to ask permission from my Dad, it had to follow that fool-proof formula and I had to be ready with evidence to defend my choices.

4. Edu Speak - this is one "language" I have not mastered. I have yet to understand how they manage to put things in modules so they could deliver it in understandable chunks to their students. It's all about learning. Educators ask a lot of questions. If you want to have a very stimulating conversation, go have coffee with an educator.

5. Religious-Order Speak - I used to spend a lot of time with priests since I used to have time to do our parish newsletter. I'd be in their convent at least twice a month and I'd hang-out with them. Everyone seemed to be happy, calm and collected at all times and they managed to weather any challenges with a lot of faith. I guess the religious speak the language of peace.

Well, keep your ears open and observe how people speak. And these are just based on "professions". What about the "language of love"? Kid-speak? Dog-speak? A lot huh? And this is just me thinking aloud.

What language do you speak?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

What is This? What's This?



Good thing I did not stumble... I'm glad I'm a nerd and not a beauty queen.

Don't forget about the party! Sign-up here.

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Sesame Street Personality Quiz and the Party

You Are Cookie Monster



Misunderstood as a primal monster, you're a true hedonist with a huge sweet tooth.

You are usually feeling: Hungry. Cookies are preferred, but you'll eat anything if cookies aren't around.

You are famous for: Your slightly crazy eyes and usual way of speaking

How you life your life: In the moment. "Me want COOKIE!"


Me want cookie!!!

I still haven't figured out what I'm going to wear for the party on Saturday. How do I make myself look like an Apple? Oh, Juned suggested I should go as Eve... very funny Juned, nobody's going to attend the party if I do that. I'm sure some of my friends are going to wear their blog shirts (I don't have that). Some are really preparing for it and I wonder who's going to win the Sony PSP.

There will also be a congregation of bloggers from Davao who are coming for iBlog4 and the party. A rare occasion for all of them to come (kinulit ko kasi) and anyone's welcome to join us on Sunday. We'll be painting Manila (more of Binondo) red and probably take a cruise around Manila Bay in the afternoon. Sama na!

Party's this Saturday already... sign-up for it now!

I Lost Money because of Cebu Pacific

Cebu Pacific has caused me a lot of stress in the past month and if you've been following me on Twitter you'd know a bit of the story. To make a long story short -

I booked 4 members of my family for a trip to Jakarta. Because of the new policies of DSWD and the long time it takes to get documents from NSO I was not able to obtain a travel clearance for my son despite all the efforts I put in it. In short, I had to cancel his ticket.

Unfortunately the time I had to cancel the ticket was the time that Cebu Pacific decided to upgrade (a.k.a. mess up) their system and my calls and emails were left unanswered. I was also advised that it would take more than half a day if I went to their office as it was jampacked like a rock concert. I cannot stand crowds and hey I'm a very busy person, I cannot take half a day out just to cancel a ticket. Besides what are customer hotlines and emails for if you cannot call and seek assistance through these channels?

I only managed to get through the Cebu Pacific hotline on the day my family was set to leave and I was told by the customer service agent that they were only going to refund PhP3,400 of the PhP8,271 ticket since I only called on the day they were set to leave, plus one way was a promo ticket and they don't refund those. The agent also said that she handled a number of calls with the same problem that week and that they did not give any consideration despite the fact that there system was all fouled-up.

Okay, so I tried to be good natured about the incident since I knew that the customer service agent was just following orders. I also do not want to get all riled up over a ticket. I eventually sent a complaint letter to Cebu Pacific and have waited and waited and waited for them to reply. I guess since they already have MY MONEY, they don't really care.

I have now sought the assistance of the Bureau of Trade Regulation and Consumer Protection and have sent them a letter (see below). I am still hoping that I would get at least PhP6,700 back from Cebu Pacific. I am sure that other consumers have been made to suffer the same plight. And all because of their system's inefficiency.

I have been using Cebu Pacific and I'm very disappointed with them. I did not make a fuss when the Cebu Pacific plane I was riding lurched back down to the ground while it was taking off. That incident caused me a lot of stress that time and I lost about 10 pounds within two weeks after getting stuck in Iloilo. I also missed attending a number of important meetings for that day, but I just shut up then because I had a lot on my plate. Now this, this is really preposterous. I'm probably going to face the same thing with Philippine Airlines since they also do not answer back to emails.

Here's my letter to BTRCP -

Dear Atty. Dimagiba,

I found your email address through the DTI website under the ConsumerNet Directory. I tried looking for a grievance procedure on how to file a complaint, but found none online. I thought of writing directly to you instead.

I would like to seek redress regarding Cebu Pacific Air. I booked 4 members of my family (my parents, aunt and son) on a flight to Jakarta a full month before they were scheduled to go as I was aware I had to get clearance from DSWD for my son's travel with his grandparents. As I am an unmarried single parent I was unable to secure the "never married" certificate from NSO (because it takes at least 15 days to get one) in time for my son's travel supposedly on April 7, 2008.

I began to call the Cebu Pacific hotlines on March 31. The ticket said to call at least a day before to cancel flights. Much to my consternation the Cebu Pacific hotlines were either busy or re-directed to their fax. On April 1 a friend of mine asked assistance from me to book a flight, but we both found out that the online system was down and even travel agencies were not accepting booking for Cebu Pacific. We called around and found out that the Cebu Pacific offices were jampacked and one had to wait at least half a day to be served. I still kept on calling Cebu Pacific to cancel my son's ticket. I kept the faith that the Cebu Pacific hotline would ease up and I'd manage to cancel the flight over the phone as I have done twice in the past. My week was also fully booked and I cannot personally go to their offices.

Cebu Pacific apparently implemented a new system that week and that caused all the furor for all its clients (consumers and travel agencies).

I was hesitant to send an email to Cebu Pacific (they have it at the bottom of their e-ticket) since I felt nobody was going to answer it, but I was desperate already by April 4 and sent an email request to cancel my son's booking. I still continued to call them and have several times waited 30 minutes on the phone listening to their customer service menu, to no avail. I also re-sent my email several times but these went unanswered.

It was only on April 7 that the lines cleared up and someone answered. It was then that the customer service agent said that I could only refund one way of the ticket that was booked since I only called on the day they were set to leave and that it was a promo ticket (that little bit was not in the policies included in the e-ticket). I told the agent that I had exercised all efforts to contact Cebu Pacific for one whole week but their system was down, she just read to me some policies they had about ticket cancellations. She also mentioned that she handled a lot of calls already and that they did not make any considerations to it.

I am seeking redress from your office because I feel that I have been robbed of my money. I should've gotten back about PhP6,771 from the PhP8,271 (penalty of PhP1,500 only). I suffered the loss of money because of the inefficiency of Cebu Pacific's system and not because I was amiss in canceling the ticket on time. I am sure that there are a lot of other ticket holders who suffered the same fate as me.

I have written Cebu Pacific several times, but all of my letters have gone unanswered. I hope your office can help me retrieve the money I lost because of their inefficiency.

Regards,
Aileen Apolo
This was my complaint letter to Cebu Pacific -

From: Aileen Apolo <>
Date: Mon, Apr 7, 2008 at 8:19 PM
Subject: COMPLAINT
To: customerservice@cebupacificair.com


To whom it may concern:

I would like to file this complaint regarding the refund for 1 reservation for booking number MH1SD with reference number ITD01919375CEB for flight 5J759 on April 7, Monday and flight 5J760 on April 26 which has now been changed to J33C2P.

The ticket originally cost around PhP8,000 per person and upon request for refund I am going to be refunded only PhP3,400 according to Jona, the agent I spoke to last April 7, 2008 (morning).

I refunded because as of March 28 we could not obtain the proper DSWD clearance for Jose Miguel Apolo who is a minor who's supposed to travel with his grandparents to Jakarta.

I began calling your customer service hotlines on March 31 to no avail. I always got a busy tone all throughout the week. I had your ticket offices checked, but on April 1 we were informed that your system had an upgrade and the offices were swarming with people. Since I have been a frequent user of your service and have successfully managed to change bookings in the past over the phone, I persevered in calling the customer service hotline. I did not want to course my request through email because I thought I would not get any answer.

On April 5 I realized that I was never going to get through your customer service hotline, so I finally sent an email for my request. I also sent a follow-up email. They were never acknowledged. I also still tried calling again and again your customer service hotline throughout the weekend, even during evenings, to no avail.

NOW I HAVE TO SUFFER THE LOSE OF approximately PhP5,500 because of the INADEQUACY OF YOUR SYSTEM. I was also told when I finally managed to get through your lines that the fare from Manila to Jakarta was forfeited because it was a promo fare. THAT IS NOT SHOWN ANYWHERE IN THE E-TICKET BELOW (unless there's a fineprint I missed).

Pray tell me, WHY SHOULD I SUFFER FOR YOUR INEFFICIENCIES? I would like to demand for the refund of the ticket payment for Jose Miguel Apolo less the PhP1,500 penalty as stated in the conditions below. My refund should be approximately PhP6,500 and not just PhP3,400.

According to the agent there are others who have suffered the same fate as me. Kindly reply within 24 hours. Thanks.

Regards,
Aileen Apolo
BTRCP... HELP!!!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Shutdown Day

Can you live without your computer (or going online) for 24 hours?

I got curious about Migs Paraz' twit about it. I thought it included not using cellphones too. He clarified that he thinks you should not access the internet even through your cellphone. Well, I don't so that's going to be quite easy. The hard part would be not turning on my laptop for a whole day.

Anyway, ShutdownDay.Org is doing a global experiment. They want to find out how many people can live without their PCs/going online for a whole day. Of course, it would definitely result in saving energy.

I did a post about techno-stress a few days ago and I made it a policy to significantly reduce my PC time during weekends. I also try my best to cut-off time spent in front of a computer by 10 in the evening. I know, I always fail (it's 12:30 a.m. already and what am I doing blogging?).

Uh-oh, I should end this post now... I did sign-up for the challenge and said that I would stay offline on May 3. If you're up to it, then shimmy over to ShutDownDay.Org and sign-up for it.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Summer Lovin', Summer Bloggin',

I'm very excited over the upcoming activities happening in the Pinoyblogosphere and I toiled over this little video for a couple of weeks, hope you enjoy it -



The fourth iBlog Summit will be held on April 26, 2008 at the Malcolm Theater, College of Law, in UP Diliman, Quezon City . Register for iBlog4.

Here's the info from 88db.com for the first blogger party this summer -

What: 88DB.com Bloggers' Night
When: April 26, 2008 @ 7pm
Who: bloggers of any size, age, status or whatever
How: Just leave a comment below or register through any of the coordinators blogs
Why: Booze, Music, Prizes and 88DB.com
Where: Katips Bar in Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City

Come as your blog* and get a chance to win a brand new Sony PSP.

To confirm attendance, kindly leave your name and blog address as a comment here in my blog or visit any of your other favorite blogs. Check the list here.

*Come as your blog means you have to dress up like your blog. With all my blogs I wonder how I'm going to dress up... I'll probably come as an apple! Remember, the blogger who represents his/her blog the best wins the Sony PSP.

Coordinators (please let me know if you've made a post) -
Migs, AJ, Andrew, JayDJ, Anton, Sexymom, Noemi, Cokskiblue, Janette, Jayvee, Jomar, Jozzua, Jun Asis, Juned, Markku, Regnard, Winston, Gail

Jolly Update

The puppy has grown by leaps and bounds! We've gone to the vet, had several baths (and may I mention that she absolutely loves diving in the palanggana?), and we've ventured out to the park. She's one sassy dog.

Check out her pics -

Sunday, April 13, 2008

I have Found THE Camera!

A week ago I asked advise about what camera I should get. My Kodak Easyshare V603 which I have been using since I started this blog 2 years ago has become insufficient for my needs (did you notice the audio disappear in the middle of the acrobat video in my previous post?). I've been looking around for months and it dawned on me the other night at the Dell event that I have outgrown my camera already.

Thanks to those who gave advise on which camera I should get and for giving tips as well on how I should choose. I kept the following advise in mind:

1. Get something that you will be comfortable using.
2. Get something based on what you need.

So, I completely dropped the idea of getting a DSLR (much to the consternation of my photographer-friends) since:

(1) I don't like carrying around a lot of gadgets (having 2 phones is bad enough);
(2) I need a gadget that would be good both for taking photos and videos;
(3) I don't want a long learning curve;
(4) Getting a DSLR will open a new box of interest that entails buying more and more accessories; and
(5) I have so much to learn about photography and I think it's going to take a long time before I jump in the DSLR bandwagon.

So, after careful deliberation (after reading all the comments), I bugged Sweetie, Juned, Jayvee, and Markku for more advise. I was tasked to go through a multitude of websites, camera review sites and blogs. I realized that there are a LOT of cameras out their in the market. At the end of the day I marked the Canon Powershot G9 as my first choice and I wanted to check out as well the Kodak Z series since I've been a Kodak user for about 5 years now (my last film camera though is a Canon).

I've been window shopping for a camera the past few months, so the challenge I actually faced was finding a shop that carries (and has stock) of the Canon Powershot G9. Most shops do not carry it since they said it's an "almost professional" camera. I went to a couple of malls before I found it - it's available at the Canon-D shop and CameraHaus in Glorietta. The price was the same, but I decided to get it at the CameraHaus since the crew (Janice) was much more helpful and friendly than the staff at the Canon-D shop. (Oh, going to Quiapo was out of the question for so many reasons).

It took most of the weekend, thank God Sweetie and Miguel were really patient... and...

Here's my new toy!


Here's Jolly today! She's grown up really fast.

I'll probably do an overview soon about the camera once I get the hang of it in You Got Tech.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Acrobats in a Bar?

Yup, that's what awed me the other night at the Dell event at the Prince of Jaipur at the Fort. I was amazed how these performers managed to "frolick" on the cloth that was hanging from the ceiling. Take note they did not have a harness strapped on them.

Check it out -



Dell actually launched their line of consumer products during that event and the acrobats were part of the gig. Anyway check out what it was all about at You Got Tech. (I'm wishing for the Ruby Red notebook!!!).

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Swing Out Sister Live in Manila: A Beautiful Mess

A few weeks ago Sweetie excitedly told me about the concert of the Swing Out Sister. I've known SOS since I was a kid and remember my classmates dancing to the tune of "Breakout" (remember those P.E. classes where we always, ALWAYS had to dance?). Anyway, Sweetie wanted to watch so we immediately got tickets. I was looking forward to it since it's been a long time since I watched a concert of a foreign artists - the last one I watched Ricky Martin was just 12 years old (guess who they were... the Menudo! LOL).

We arrived early so we won't have trouble looking for seats and ended up waiting a good two hours before the show started. The show started at 8:45 p.m. with Faith Cuneta as the front-act. We thought that she was going to sing just 3 songs, but she sadly announced that she was tasked to sing for 30 minutes. So, the audience politely listened to her while she was doing her arias err... birits (which I think was really uncalled for). Her most applauded song was her last song. You-know-why.

So we were all at the edge of our seats awaiting for the band to come out, but we were made to wait another 30 minutes. People started to bang the back-boards at the general admission area, others sounded like they were stomping their feet and some where already whistling. I was getting restless and cranky myself since: (1) the show started 45 minutes late and (2) I think the SOS did not need a front act (did Toto have one?) since I'm sure everyone was raring to hear them already.

The band members did a little act when they went up on stage and we were wondering who they were and then Corinne Drewery appeared. The audience cheered. She opened with the song "Surrender" and sang a number of songs from their new album "Beautiful Mess" and songs they've popularized through the years. I was awed with her voice. It has not changed through the years and she never failed a note. When she sang "Forever Blue" she mentioned that it wasn't really in their line-up, but since a lot of the people she met here in Manila mentioned it they decided to sing it (Sweetie said that the song was very popular here and not in other countries). Corinne also said a few phrases in Filipino like "Salamat po", "Ayos ba kayo diyan?" and said that she loves the Philippines because of the warm weather and people.

The band exited just before the final song and Corinne reappeared wearing a styled barong (Sweetie said that she's a designer). I was surprised. It was the first time that I saw the barong worn that way. I wonder if it's going to be picked up by the local designers? Here's a glimpse of it -


To build expectation the guitarist and drummer did a little show before they eventually started the intro for Breakout. It was a really, really long version and if you care to watch a bit bouncy video (sorry, we were standing and very excited) here it is -



Thanks to the Swing Out Sister band for coming to Manila, you may my Sweetie very happy!

To Ovation Productions Manila, thanks for bring `em but I do hope next time: (1) You choose a more appropriate front act (you can actually do without one); (2) Having your name mentioned again and again during the front act is tacky; (3) Do not let the audience wait too long, we paid to watch a concert and not waste our time waiting; and (4) Make sure you set up the instruments properly. It was a good thing that despite the mess, SOS is such a beautiful and graceful guest.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Are You Techno-Stressed?

I realized early this morning that I haven't opened the magazine I bought 5 days ago. I also couldn't remember where I placed it. And I thought that it was a very bad sign. I also realized that I've been spending too much time online.

I found the magazine still in the plastic bag where the vendor put it on the rocking chair in my sala. It took me a while before I managed to leaf through the magazine since I had to clear out some stuff first. When I finally managed to rip off the plastic and leaf through the mag, one of the few articles I managed to browse through was a feature about "techno stress".

With all the gadgets available today I don't think one would feel bored. I remember when I was a kid I would be so bored out of my skull during Holy Week because there wasn't anything on TV and the radio stations where also on vacation. Today there's cable, the internet and those gaming gadgets you can distract yourself with when the whole country shuts down for the Holy Week. I therefore conclude, one cannot live without a battery operated gadget on hand.

I think here are some sure signs that a person is techno-stressed:

1. You get anxious being offline within 2 hours of logging off.
2. You just absolutely need to check your email every 15 minutes.
3. You turn on your PC/laptop upon waking up (and you do it before going to the bathroom).
4. If you blog, you think about how you're going to post an experience while you are still experiencing it.
5. You leave your PC on the whole night so you could multi-task while you are sleeping.
6. At a cafe/resto, the first thing you ask the waiter is, "Do you have free wifi?"
7. You're reading this post on a Sunday night... hahaha... gotcha!

Can you think about other signs?

I know I've been techno-stressed lately, so this are some remedies I'm trying to take:

1. I try to stay online only during "work hours".
2. I've been looking at doing pre-internet-addiction activities again.
3. Making time to read books (not e-books!).
4. Spending time with my pets.
5. And I try to stay offline during weekends.

What about you? What do you do?

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Looking for a Camera

The last time I got a camera was in 2006, the Kodak V603 which I featured in Episode 4 in You Got Tech. It's the camera I use both for photos and videos in this blog, but since I started doing vlogs I've been quite unhappy with the quality since it's just a 6.1MP camera, my videos have been grainy and it's not really good for evening photography.

It took me months before I settled with Happy (my laptop). It takes me a long time to purchase a gadget and sometimes it takes me over a year. I've actually been thinking about getting a new camera since middle of last year and I've been looking around eversince. I have quite a number of photography-addicted friends and they've been giving a lot of advise. I'm confused over getting a DSLR or a digicam.

These are my conditions:

1. I should be able to use it both for taking photos and videos.

2. The audio for the video feature should be quite good.

3. It should be quite easy to use. I don't read manuals and normally discover features when I'm using the camera. This means it should be idiot proof (that's why I stuck it out with Kodak for years).

4. Takes good quality photos (siyempre!) and good for taking photos at night (that's where I'm really frustrated over with my current cam).

5. I prefer charging the camera over using AA batteries.

6. It should not be huge. I always bring my camera anywhere I go. I also have small hands so it should allow me to grip it without difficulty.

7. Should allow me to easily upgrade the memory card. I take a lot of random photos and videos.

8. Should be below 30K.

Your suggestion will be greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Ang Tsinelas

tsinelas = slippers = flipflops

It's something that each one of us have. It's something I personally cannot live without since I don't like getting my feet dirty. The feeling of alikabok drives me crazy, and getting my feet wet drives me insane (oh yes, maarte ako when it comes to my feet).

Anyway, I got an invitation from Havaianas a few weeks ago. They organized an event to launch "Flipping for the Beach", a contest about beaches in the Philippines. All you need to do is submit an entry by May 1, 2008 about your favorite beach place. If you win, you get to go to the destination you wrote about and you'll get featured on Studio 23. This activity is done in partnership with Studio 23 and is supported by the Department of Tourism. For more information kindly email promo (at) havaianasphilippines.com.

The invitation actually made me think about how we use slippers and that's when I started gathering materials for this vlog. I showed it to my parents earlier and they were laughing their heads off. Watch and find out why -



I'm not fussy about my footwear. As long as I'm comfortable wearing it then it's gotta be good in my book. I also don't go for expensive stuff because I believe in being practical, plus mabilis ako magsawa. I got my first pair of Havaianas as a birthday gift. That was back in 2005 (the pink one) and then I bought a pair late in 2006 (was discounted at the Duty Free that's why). Both have traveled a lot already and I was quite surprised that the underside is still ribbed. Now what am I going to use as an excuse to buy a new pair?

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The Magic of Leodini

I would've posted this last night, but electricity went out around midnight. I was already uploading the video when the lights just suddenly conked out! It's NOT a nice way to start April Fools Day, so I thought I'd skip the occasion and just post about who the people who consistently fool us (no offense meant) - magicians! Magicians, after all, have been around for centuries.

Last Sunday, Sweetie and I attended the birthday party of his godson. The magician's performance was such a pleasant surprise. I've attended quite a number of children's parties and most (if not all) of the magicians were b-o-r-i-n-g. I think I was about 7-years old the last time I actually enjoyed watching a magician. Anyway, we were quite perplexed with Leodini's looks. Yeah, yeah I know, you're not supposed to judge a book by his cover... but... we thought he looked a bit scary.

We were proven wrong.

Leodini gave a great performance. I was totally freaked out with how he did things and how he managed to making magic entertaining. He was quite funny.

Here's a bit of his show, but it is waaaay better if you get to watch him in person.



I got his card, for inquiries please email him at leodini @ leodini.com.