Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The lost kingdom of Erehwon



I was attending a training workshop in the Netherlands a few years ago and I came upon these displays in the lecture hall. One of the frames show the symbol of the kingdom of "Erehwon, an eagle clutching a rattle snake and 2 brown skinned natives with weapons at the ready. Interestingly, doing a little google research will tell you that the Kingdom of Erehwon is actually in a book by Samuel Butler. It was a satire on Victorian society [wikipedia]. It is also sometimes used to refer to a generic and undisclosed location since it is actually "Nowhere" spelled backwards.

What's even more interesting is that in another frame, the national anthem of the "kingdom of nowhere" is shown. Looks familiar? I actually don't know if I'll laugh or be offended by all of this. Hmm...

PICT0104

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Shrimp attack!


Shrimp attack!
Originally uploaded by Jepster.
I love seafood and shrimps in particular. But this is one shrimp that I wouldn't eat even if I get paid to do it.

This shrimp came from the bathroom floor of one of the apartments at our company's residential compound. She was taking a bath and noticed the tiny shrimp ogling at her. She said she was a little freaked out by this and she scooped him up (I assume it's a male shrimp) using a clear plastic cup and brought it to the office the next day to show to everyone.

Another person reported that he saw a shrimp (whether it's the same shrimp or not is uncertain) in his toilet bowl and when he tried flushing it, it just came back a few hours later.

Some people might find him cute and everything but personally I am a bit creeped out by all of this. I would always think about critters lurking about whenever I'm at the toilet bowl doing my thing. I shudder to think what other life forms are hiding in the toilet bowl. What's next? Crabs with sharp pincers?

Well, come to think about it, the shrimp gets the worst deal! And I thought my life is full of crap. Poor shrimp. Talk about a crappy existence.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

The hierarchy of animals and the natural order of things


Looking up...
Originally uploaded by Jepster.
A couple of kittens showed up where I was keeping my turtle tub in the backyard. I gave them a few pieces of Friskies cat food (I mix in some cat foor into my turtle food, the turtles love the variety and I read somewhere that it's ok to do so) and they have taken residence there ever since. They are getting more demanding now and would harass me whenever I feed the turtles. I saw one of them perched on a stool yesterday, looking intently at my poor turtles. I wonder if they know that they are being stalked. The only thing worse than the kittens are the half grown chicks roaming around. They would drive the cats away from the cat bowls and eat the catfood placed there. The cats would hiss and complain but they always give way to the chickens. Yup, the chickens are the top animal in these parts. With rabbits way down on the list. Flighty creatures those rabbits. I think they are afraid of their own shadow. hehe.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Ready for Take-off!


Dragonfly Yellow 1110
Originally uploaded by Jepster.
I was passing by the company's parking lot the other day and I noticed that there were dragonflies of the same color perched on dried twigs on the grassy "islands" in between the parking spaces. Each twig had its own dragonfly about a total of 3 in a row. They were just there like they were begging to have their picture taken. When I approached to take this shot, the dragonfly just fluttered a moment and settled in place. To take this shot I had to postion the camera about 2 inches away and it didn't seem to mind.

The strange thing is that when I came back a few days later, I saw another group of dragonflies with a different color (I shot the reddish dragonfly first followed by the yellow). Hopefully when I get back there next week another batch of dragonflies with a different color drops by for a photo shoot. I wonder if dragonflies of the same color flock together. Check out the rest of the dragonfly pictures on my Flickr album.

Ready for take off

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Lunar Photography


Moon
Originally uploaded by Jepster.
A colleague of mine took this photo using her prosumer digital camera. I was actually surprised at the quality. It was shot at the limits of the camera's optical and digital zooms but the pic turned out very well I think. Well the best thing with digital cameras is you don't have any film to waste by making a lot of trials to get the exposure just right. Astrophotography is one of those cases where you can't rely on the auto exposure settings. Nice pic. I really want a new DSLR but even then, I would need a good telephoto lens to achieve this effect. I feel so poor right now. :(

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Can anyone please lend me a hand?


hand
Originally uploaded by Jepster.
A few weekends ago I went to the mall to watch a movie. The movie ended a bit late already and there were only a few other cars left in the parking lot. As I approached my car I noticed that I accidentally left the parking lights on! I immediately attempted to start the engine but instead of the usual "engine revving" sound, it only made a faint "click" when I turned the key. Aaargh! Good thing there were a couple of off duty security guards passing by and I asked them to help me jump start the car. It has been a while since I jump started any car by pushing (I think the last time somebody did it for me since I couldn't get the timing quite right). A few failed attempts later ("err... can you guys push again, I seem to have forgotten to remove my foot on the clutch') the Good Samaritans were starting to give me murderous looks. Luckily, I got it right finally on my 4th (or was it 6th) attempt.

My previous car emits a beeping sound if you open the door with the headlights or parking lights on. I wonder why not all cars have that feature.

And the moral of the story? Learn the correct way to jump start a car. It might save you someday from being mugged by pissed off do gooders.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The nappy stalker

I had this very strange experience yesterday. I was minding my own business in the grocery perusing some items of interest when I noticed that my basket had a whole pack of disposable diapers. It was the only item inside and I found it strange that I haven't felt anything. I surmised that the item might have fallen off one of the display racks and ended up in my basket. I picked it up and placed it in the current aisle I was at (household cleaners). I know I should have placed it in the appropriate section but I was feeling too lazy and was not about to actually exert the effort and look for the diapers section. I checked out the items, drove back home and started unloading the items. I quickly looked at my mobile phone to see if there were any messages and sure enought, I had 1 message from somebody not in my phone directory. It read: "Hey, I hope you did not forget the diapers." I felt my skin crawl. Waaah! That was soooo creepy!

When I told my friends about it, a lot of theories came out. The funniest was that someone (he or she) was fantasizing about me wearing just those diapers and is now stalking me. Hahaha. Hmm... now I creeped everybody else who might be reading this blog with that mental image. Now I'm not the only one hahaha.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Coffee shots


Deformed Starbucks plastic Cup
Originally uploaded by Jepster.
This is what a Starbucks (TM) "Grande" plastic cup would look like if it was left inside a black car the whole day at the height of summer. I have been accumulating these odd shaped plastic cups for a while now. It's a byproduct of my weekly fix of Grande Non-fat Iced Latte with Sugar-Free Vanilla Syrup during my long drive on Sunday nights to keep me awake and alert. This one was left on the cup holder for an entire week. I tried using other types of cups but these ones are still the best.

Conversations with a Barista

Me: Hi. One Grande Iced Latte with sugar-free vanilla syrup please.
Barista: Do you want it with non-fat milk?
Me: Uhh... sure, why not.
Barista: How about upgrading it to Venti size?
Me: Umm... no thanks. I wouldn't be able to finish. I have heart palpitations whenever I drink that much coffee.
Barista: Ah. Ok... How about some pastry?
Me: No thanks I'm diabetic. Ahh... can I ask you something?
Barista: Sure.
Me: A Venti sized drink has double the shots of espresso compared to a Grande right?
Barista: Well, no. Both sizes comes with 2 shots of espresso. The Venti sized drink will just have more steamed milk and ice so it is in fact more diluted.
Me: Hmm... must be psychological then.
Barista: What's that sir?
Me: The heart palpitations. So anyway, you mean to tell me that you are asking me to pay more for additional steamed milk and ice?
Barista: Will that be all sir? Can I have your name for the cup?

It's amazing how baristas recall the names of their regular costumers. There must be some trick to it. If there is, I want to know since I'm just terrible with names. Sometimes I forget a person's name right after we are introduced. I go regularly to this one branch once a week every Sunday night and after only after about 3 weeks, this one crew was addressing me by name. I came to this conclusion since the alternative seems very unlikely. The alternative being that this particular crewmember for some reason find me so unbearably attractive that she just couldn't help but remember my name and face. Nobody else. Just me. Ridiculous right? Yeah I thought so too.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The angry mother hen strikes again


P1021023
Originally uploaded by Jepster.
Yes. You guessed it. The same hen went back to my ledge about a month ago and laid 10 eggs this time. What's with my flower box that other flower boxes don't have? Why me!! I dumped some shredded paper on the hen and her eggs and the following day the hen made it into a nest. The eggs hatched last week. I shooed them away since they were destroying my mini garden with all that scratching and pecking. The resident cats doesn't seem to pay them any attention. The chicks were of a different color this time. Most of them were black. Different rooster I suppose. Hmp. That two timing hen better stay clear of my flowerbox or its roasted chicks for dinner tonight.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Yahoo 360º is Evil!!!

Am I the only person who thinks there's something wrong with Yahoo 360º? I'm not saying it's a bad concept as a social networking hub. In fact, Yahoo is in a great position to leverage their tools from photo sharing, avatars, blogging, sharing friends lists (social networking), website customization and potentially a lot more in the future. They were able to do this with an instant user base of millions of yahoo messenger users that have signed up for the beta. Not bad considering there are dozens of other sites that offer more or less the same service and have been in this game far longer than Yahoo. But that's not the reason why I do not like the idea. Turning something design for a certain purpose into something else entirely will certainly have repercussions.

There's a lot of things I don't like about 360º in a privacy point of view. I am in fact a 360º member but only because I don't know how to shut it off. I just deleted all my friend list (after discovering to my horror that some of my friends have very strange friends of their own profile-wise in 360). Receiving a note that so-and-so wants to be your 360º contact seems innocuous enough but this sharing of the friends list automatically without warning pissed me off. Sure that's the whole point of 360, being able to share your friends with other friends. I'd like to keep my friends list private thank you very much, just as I don't care who the friends of my friends are. If I wanted social networking I would have gotten a friendster account a long time ago or a MySpace account or from dozen other similar sites. I don't think some people knows just how much information they are sharing just by activating their 360 just judging from the... errr... “interesting” photos posted all over. If in the past people would think that the profile photos they use in Yahoo are viewable only by the people in their friends list, now that isn't the case anymore. It's viewable by anybody that knows the URL of the 360º profile of anybody in his friends list. The reason why I don't think some people know this is the proliferation of err... shall we say “indecent” profile photos all around 360º. I think that they never intended those photos to become viewable in the public space. After all, before 360º, these same photos was only seen by a select few. So what does a member of 360º to do? Well, If you really still want to use the service without any offensive content in your homepage, you can pick your "public" friends carefully with nice clean profiles and tell the rest that "I'm sorry I can't add you to my friends list because you are friends with people with indecent/bordering on the pornographic content". Call me a bit anal and a control freak but I don't want links and content that I have no control over. I'm even campaigning to friends and family members not to sign up. I personally think yahoo 360º is a can of worms that wasn't really properly thought through particularly on the impact on the existing user base. It's a shifting of paradigms from what it was initially designed to what they want it to be. The implication may not be as trivial as some would think.

It's a good thing that I have another yahoo ID where I have all my indecent pics... errr... you do understand I was joking right? Hehehe.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Check out my Brother's new mobile blog

My brother has a new mobile blog at http://japan.theublog.com/.

Go ahead and check it out. It's being provided by Samsung and is free to use for owners of their new phones. Instant blogging whenever an idea pops into you head or snap a picture of something using your phone and be able to just write about it at that very moment is a very different experience than waiting to go home to go online to update your blog. I used to be able to do that but unfortunately my Bluetooth CF card and my PDA aren't talking to each other right now so I couldn't use my phone to upload posts. I think I need a new PDA or a PDA phone. Hmm...

A Platefull of Mushrooms


Mushrooms
Originally uploaded by Jepster.
I don't know If I have posted this pic here yet. I think I'm getting old. I don't even recall which pics I have blogged about. You see I have a lot of backlog on the writeups for the pics I have uploaded on my flickr account. It's just that I'm so busy with work these days since I'm actually doing the job of 2 people right now (I wish I could have the salary of 2 people but alas that is not the case). I promise I will post those outstanding entries soon.

This is probably one of the first pictures taken by my D-Snap. Unfortunately I couldn't take the credit for this shot. This was taken by my brother before he sent me the camera. I just love mushrooms. *yum* *yum*. Thinking about mixed mushrooms with tofu in oyster sauce makes my mouth water. :)

Monday, June 26, 2006

Presenting: The Mall of Asia

I just recently accompanied a few friends to the Mall of Asia I keep hearing so much about. I think it's supposed to be the 2nd largest Mall in Asia. It just opened a few weeks earlier and it was still in a "soft opening" period with almost a 3rd of the shops already open. "Sprawling" is the first word that popped in my head when it first came into view. The place is huge! The fact that it was the only large structure in the reclaimed area by the bay also added to the effect. The mall even provided free tram rides around the complex for those people who are too lazy to walk from one end of the mall to the other. The trams looked nice but too bad I didn't had the chance to ride in them.


The big globe in the front was the first thing you will notice when you approach it from the main coastal road (well it used to be a coastal road before all the reclamation activities started). I was surprised to see the parking lots full. Fortunately they converted the empty lots beside the mall as temporary parking spaces so it didn't take too long driving around the compound before I finally stepped down from the car. It was a bit far from the main mall entrance though so I entered via the IMax theater side entrance. But before going inside, I ventured first to the back side mini park (where the breakwater of the bay is) to observe the families and lovers sitting by the rocks and enjoying the cool sea breeze thinking idly what it would be like out there when in the middle of a strong typhoon and huge waves are crashing into the breakwater. Hmm... that would be interesting I think.


At first glance, the mall looked impressive. It has an airy feel about it thanks to the partially "open" architecture. What I mean by "open" is that portions of the mall are not air conditioned allowing the sea breeze to go in and there's a lot of natural lighting from open areas inside the mall where garden "squares" are situated in the ground level with some sickly looking trees, which I suspect have been transplanted already fully grown, and some ornamental plants. It's not much to look at right now but I can imagine it turning into lush mini gardens situated all over the mall if properly tended. I think I can recall a mall who attempted something like this but eventually they switched to artificial trees when not one of the trees survived after replanting. Hopefully the ones in the Mall of Asia fares better. There's also a lot of wide open spaces like the amphitheater-like concert hall at the back overlooking the ocean, the full olympic sized ice skating area (for ice hockey and ice figure skating I think) and activity areas which was being used as a venue for a badminton tournament at the time. The concert hall looked particularly nice and at the time I was there, a band (like a marching band but they weren't marching - not like a band group... err, you know what I mean) was playing lively (and LOUD) music sponsored by a cellular network service provider. There were portions with centralized air conditioning also. I wonder if the stalls located inside the air-conditioned area pay more rent than their open air counterparts.


There were a lot of food establishments around the mall. Surprisingly however, almost all of them seems to be filled all of the time even during off peak hours (peak hours are around lunch time and dinner of course). The "food court" where there are many food stalls but with a common sitting area was too small for a mall this size. Since most of the other restaurants were full with people waiting in line to get seated, we decided to try the food court. Getting the food was easy but finding a vacant table was the challenge. We ended up waiting for about 30 minutes holding our trays keeping an eye for vacant tables before we were able to eat (but not before glaring and making growling sounds at a teenage boy who was about to occupy OUR table -- "My table... Mine! Grrr..."). After lunch I went to GoNuts Donuts, my favorite donut chain because they serve these nice mouth watering sugar free donuts. *Yum* *yum*! I think I'm craving for one of those donuts right about now :(

We also checked out the Imax theater. The choices were a film about Mt. Everest and a 3D documentary about NASCAR. We chose NASCAR because it was about to start in a few minutes. This was my first Imax experience and I was very impressed with the whole 3D experience. I think this would be very effective with horror/suspense films. The trailer of a documentary about underwater creature made me jump out of my seat (a shark suddenly lunged at a small fish swimming about 2 feet away from my face). I think a well made thriller can cause heart attacks. Hehe. The film was great but the 3D effect actually made me a little nauseous.


All in all the visit gave me a nice impression of the mall, well until right before it rained anyway. Suddenly the openness of the design doesn't seem so nice anymore. Mist began showering us near the amphitheater venue and people who were seated at the steps watching the band started to evacuate. It rained harder still and soon water was trickling down from above in earnest. The strong winds were blowing the rain into the gap between the roof and the walls. The band stopped and started to gather their stuff and take shelter. The mini garden squares I described earlier became muddy overflowing ponds. I don't think the drainage system was properly thought out. I was amused when service crew were actually bailing water from the 2nd floor to the "ponds" below using dustpans(!) and mops. I suppose they expected the rain to behave and fall straight down. Well nature doesn't really behave that way does it? The roof was actually leaking in some places. After the worst was over, a battalion of cleaning crews began descending on the amphitheater floor and the 2nd floor balconies to mop out and scoop up excessive water. It was a bit funny to look at hehe. I hope they get everything sorted out in time for the end of this month. That's the time when almost all of the rest of the stores will be opened. Best of luck to the management and crew of the mall. I think you really need it.


More Pictures:
P1020946
P1020942
P1020940
P1020937
P1020935
P1020939
P1020947
P1020954
P1020955
P1020956
P1020957

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Making the most out of family and friends

Our company just launched an exciting program designed to attract mature talents into its workforce. They plan to do this by offering rewards to employees with successful referrals from our friends and family (yep including family). The reason why its so exciting is that the company will give us lots of freebies and wads of cash in exchange for these talents. There are certain conditions however before you can get that reward. The applicant should stick to the company for a number of months and the employee should still be employed with the company at the end of that period. The offer is limited only to technical positions in the company (engineers, geologists, chemists etc.) and not other positions such as Human Resources, Marketing, Accountants and IT. Apparently IT professionals and Marketing staff are a dime a dozen these days.

Clever huh? The HR department found out a way to make the employees do their job for them and the employees are all buzzing with excitement. Of course the promise of wads of cash helps things a bit (OK not only a bit).

I now have a new way of looking at family and friends -- as potential wads of cash. Hehe. Imagine, I can actually increase my annual gross earnings 3 times if I can recruit at least 1 technical person every other month. Maybe I could set up an account in Friendster or in one of those other social networking sites with the phrase "Wanted: Engineer and Scientist buddies for friendship and perhaps more." Of course by "more" I mean as an alternate source of income. :p

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Turt at Large!!


Turt at Large!!
Originally uploaded by Jepster.
Hi I'm Turt. A red eared slider turtle. Help me I'm lost. I need to go back to my tub with my other turtle friends (Turt Jr., Pong and Kiko). Please help me find my way home. I measure about 7 to 8 inches long and I have red streaks on the side of my head. I love to bask in the sun with all my feet stretched out.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

More Poopoo Bread Goodness


Poopoo bread up close
Originally uploaded by Jepster.
Last week's Poopoo Bread was such a hit that I decided to make more. This time with raisins! I also made ones in the traditional bun shapes but I really liked the turd shaped ones the most.

I also made a few Adobo Siopao (steamed bun) that I always wanted to do but didn't had the time. Might as well take advantage of my turd shaped bread making frenzy huh. The steamed buns were great by the way. The pork adobo filling also tasted good! :D

This batch was a lot better than the last one. These were more moist and tasted better. The color is a bit lighter too. I added white sugar in this batch as opposed to the pevious one I made where I used only brown sugar. Oh and the raisins were also a nice addition. Now it looks like a chunky doggy turd with half digested raisins sticking out on the surface hehe. *Yum*

More poopoo bread goodness
A raisin poopoo bread
Adobo Siopao (Steamed buns)

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Poopoo Bread


Poopoo Bread
Originally uploaded by Jepster.
I decided to bake some bread a few weeks ago. I thought it would be cool to make interesting shapes with the dough. Here's my favorite creation. A dog turd shaped bread I call "Poopoo Bread". Doesn't look that appetizing huh? But trust me it tasted great! Hahaha. :D

I always enjoyed baking bread. There's something very relaxing about kneading bread and waiting for the yeast to do its magic for a few hours and punching the dough and kneading it again. And the smell of freshly baked bread is just wonderful. Kneading used to be done manually by hand but now I use my trusty old mixer with dough hook attachments. Making it possible to do it much effort.

Hmm... I think I'll make some steamed buns this weekend. I wonder how a steamed Poopoo bun will look like :)

Friday, May 05, 2006

A matter of privacy

I was in a restaurant jotting down stuff for my blog on my PDA when one of the crewmembers approached me with a hefty looking logbook. For a minute there I thought I already overstayed my welcome given the fact that the salmon teriyaki I ordered was already finished and digested probably hours ago. She was looking at me so intently with the logbook in her hands that she looked ready to beat me with it. Well, as it turns out the logbook was a customer feedback record.

I quickly answered the questionnaire and jotted down some generic comments about how good the food and service was and that I will be coming back again just to get it over with. What I found strange hower was the type of personal information it was asking. Normally a feedback form of this sort would be concerned with the basic demographical questions like age group, sex, probably household income bracket and the like. But in this case it was very specific. It asked for my name, adress, even contact number and actual birthdate! What's even more surprising is that people actually provided those information. And to make it worse still is that all of these information were in this thick logbook for any potential stalker to see. Not that I have any stalker tendencies mind you, but what the hell were these people thinking! The probable truth is that they weren't thinking at all. Some people wouldn't hesitate to give out personal information just for raffle coupons, freebies, and for this case just because the crewmember asked nicely enough. In this age of stalkers, identity theft and kidnap for ransom, to whom would you trust your personal information? The banks? The utility companies? Advertising firms? The crewmember of your favorite fastfood at your local mall? The complete stranger that just happen to obtain your personal information from your favorite fastfood at your local mall?

Ok, enough ranting for today. I might just have a chat on the phone with a certain Melissa later and ask her why she hated that prawns tempura so much. Or better still I just might pay her a visit. Imagine how pleasantly surprised she will be. Wahahaha [evil laugh].

Friday, April 28, 2006

Happy Easter!

I spent the entire long Holyweek weekend cooped up in my new apartment. It was so hot during the day that I did most of my activities at night when it was cool and spent most of the day sleeping and napping and snoozing some more. I still haven't installed the airconditioning unit in my apartment and as the days passed by I increasingly wished I had. I also didn't have cable yet so I had very limited viewing choices apart from the usual lenten specials and televised holy mass. Oh, it wasn't so bad like when I was younger when all free TV stations would sign off the whole of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday but at night the stations would sign off a little earlier than usual and I would watch shows from my computer (I stocked on movies and shows to watch in preparation for this occasion). I watched a marathon showing of the entire Battlestar Galactica first season series, Stargate: SG1 (which sucked by the way), and Stargate Atlantis as well as a couple of full length anime movies (Steamboy and Howl's Moving Castle). I tried playing some Prince of Persia: The two thrones on my PlayStation2 but I got stuck somewhere on the game (right after you defeat that giant with his tongue sticking out). I also baked a nice reduced sugar blueberry cheesecake in the middle of the night. It was quite good. Took me the whole week to finish that one off.

Well if lent meant fasting and doing without the conveniences in life then surely having to live without airconditioning, cable television, internet and eating blueberry cheesecake with reduced sugar is in fact some form of fasting, right?

Err... If my mom is reading this, I was only kidding of course. I assure you I watched one of those mass shows on TV and have in fact been a very good boy. I brushed my teeth and washed behind my ears and all that! Honest.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Yeast Matters

"All breads contain yeast," the person in front of me declared. "No I don't think so," I managed to say in a straight face while hiding incredulity from my voice (at least I hope I did). My friend sitting beside me expressed his agreement. I tried to explain further that there were other leavening agents aside from yeast such as baking soda and that other kinds of bread aren't leavened at all. Surely this person has heard about unleavened bread? Well, apparently not for he was vigorously shaking his head and muttering that he should know because his family is in the bakery business. I'm not in the habit of arguing with strangers however so I just let the conversation end there.

We were eating dinner beside the beach. It was pitch black outside the restaurant so I couldn't make out the ocean just a few meters from me and the sounds of the sea was drowned by a cacophony of voices in an unfamiliar tongue coming from the other table. There's no mistaking the smell of the sea breeze in the air though mixed with the delicious smells emanating from the kitchen. I was in a beach resort getting ready to eat good food and I should have been enjoying myself. Something nagged at me though. Yeah you guessed it, that business with the bread and yeast. It's bothering me even until now and I just had to write about it. I mean what is the world coming to?

As I look back, I think the whole thing started when we saw a poster advertising beer with live yeast. It was being advertised as a health drink and the print ad went on to extol its numerous supposed virtues. I jokingly remarked that it would probably give you a yeast infection. How it eventually lead to the yeast argument I couldn't quite remember.

I shudder to think that this type of... err... ignorance will become prevalent in the future generations. Just thinking about all those misinformed people makes me sad. I therefore implore everybody reading this to spread the word. Not all breads have yeast! Please, for the sake of our children.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Fertility totems and white sandy beaches

I received a weird postcard from my mother a few months ago. Not that she sends out postcards because she does so on an almost regular basis since she went on vacation. It was weird because the postcard depicted 2 African fertility statues from Ripley's that was supposedly responsible for thousands of women getting pregnant simply by touching it. I wonder. Is she trying to tell me something? hmm. Her message on the card was innocuous enough. Something about sinkholes I think.

I also picked up a couple of postcards when I went to the beach last weekend. While I was writing on it, I realized that I never sent anybody a postcard before. Come to think about it I don't think I even know where the post office is located. I'm almost tempted to just scan it and attach it to an e-mail message. It showed a scenic view of White Beach (we did not actually stay there but we did go there on our 2nd day and is actually about an hour away by boat). The place looks a whole lot better in the postcard if you ask me. Those postcard photographers must really be good. Postcard perfect as some would say. Hehe.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Bowling Blues

I think the only reason why I signed for the company's bowling tournament is to have the nice maroon bowling uniform they provided for the team members. I am not a good bowler. Sure I have taken up bowling in physical ed when I was at the university but I barely passed. Now I'm stuck with it twie a week untill the end of the month. The first game was last Thursday. I got a measley 60 on the first game and it deteriorated further to 52 on the 2nd set. I don't think I had that much excercise in months! My thighs were sore and I couldn't go down a flight of stairs without holding hard on the railings for fear that my legs would just give way and just fold on their own accord.

I felt much better on the second match yesterday and I don't feel as tired and sore. I got a score of 77 and 65 this time. Big improvement huh? What I don't understand however is why is it that when it's only practice I get 96 but I don't get that during the tournament itself. Must be the pressure. Heh.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Angry Mother Hen

Chicken
Originally uploaded by Jepster.
...and speaking of eggs.

A few weeks ago, I was watering the plants at my plantbox (my flat has a small plantbox just outside my window). Summer has arrived and the few scraggly plants living (barely) in that space looked like they needed a good soaking. I was so busy the past few weeks that I didn't had time to check their condition. There was a water valve connected to a perforated pipe that ran through its length so I just opened the valve and let the water spray the ground a couple of minutes. I purposely let the water flood the box a little bit so the water could really soak through the roots of the plants. Imagine my surprise when I was about to turn off the valve when I saw a floating chicken! It wasn't dead or anything like that. It was trying its best to sit still at the far corner of the plant box. Then I realized that it was a hen and she was trying to keep her eggs warm! I immediately turned off the valve and tried to shoo away the chicken to see if there really were eggs beneath her but she wouldn't budge. I really do not want any direct contact with live birds with the avian flu epidemic and all so I just let her be.

All throughout the following weeks, I would take a peek outside and look at the hen. She would be exactly where she was day after day seemingly not leaving the corner at all. I was feeling sad for the chicken thinking that the eggs probably died because of the "flash flood" I caused and that she probably wouldn't leave the eggs even if they would not ever hatch. I imagined the chicken eventually dying of hunger or something.
All puffed up chicken
I woke up very early this morning due to an irritating intermittent chirping sound that I could not quite place. The first thing I checked was the chicken and I was pleased to discover cute little spotted yellow chicks huddling close to their mother hen. I whipped out my digital camera and the mother hen became so agitated that she tried to puff up her feathers to appear twice as large and I think she was ready to peck my finger off when I tried to get a close up shot.
protective mother hen
With the cats, rabbits, turtles, chickens, and even a couple of deer wandering around the compound, the place is starting to look like a wildlife preserve.

By the way, the chirping sound that woke me up did not come from the chicks or the mother hen. I found out much later that it actually came from my low on power Motorola 2-way handheld radio. Stupid radio.
cute chicksmore cute chicks

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Turtle Tales


Turt
Originally uploaded by Jepster.
2 new turtles have been added to my turtle family. My colleague asked me to take care of his 2 baby turtles. He and another colleague are taking care of the turtles and several rabbits. Rabbits being what they are however, soon they found themselves with too much rabbits on their hands and no time to take care of the turtles. I gladly accepted the 2 turtles since I have enough space on my turtle tub. I named the 2 turtles “Kiko” and “Pong”. I still can't distinguish between the two however. They do have different shell patterns but they are still too small to make out with just a glance.

Cleaning out the turtle tub indoors could be quite a chore so I decided to install another tub outside at the patio. This way, I can just get the garden hose for a quick water change. I was a bit worried at first since it would seem that all the neighborhood cats soon came over and stared at the tub from a distance. They soon lost interest when I sprayed them with the garden hose however.

I tried releasing Turt on the lawn so that she could properly sun herself. She went straight on to the base of a tree and began digging with her hind legs. I think she might be preparing a nest to lay eggs. Unfortunately, I had to move her since I saw some aggressive looking ants near the tree. I'll repeat this activity some other time when I have located a more suitable ant free place for Turt to wander around.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Of Giving One's Flower (huh?)


Of Giving One's Flower (huh?)
Originally uploaded by Jepster.
A colleague of mine spotted this caption on one of the thermos bottles in our office pantry. She snapped the picture not me. I find it particularly funny. Heh. :p

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Sunday, March 19, 2006

First Light: An astronomy themed blog

I would like to advertise my friend's new astronomy themed blog called First Light. It looks very promising and I would like to invite all of you to go visit his site at http://starcrosser.blogspot.com/.

Keep up the nice work :)

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Mushroom after the rain


Wet Mushroom
Originally uploaded by Jepster.
I took this photo after a rainshower. I went out to breath in the nice scents that comes right after a good downpour and I noticed several mushrooms beneath a tree. This one had a pool of rainwater still trapped on top.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Makahiya: A very shy plant


Makahiya
Originally uploaded by Jepster.
Flowers of the makahiya plant look like bursting pink fireworks. The name is derived from the tagalog word for "shy". Touching the leaves will make them close gently together. It's the only plant I actually seen that moves fast enough to be noticed. Hmmm... a relative of the venus fly trap perhaps? Isn't diversity in nature just amazing?

Monday, January 02, 2006

New Year Traditions

This was my first time to spend the new year in my new apartment. New year at my new place however was uneventful. I did notice that it was noisier there than it was in the previous apartment (more firecrackers). The fireworks display was very nice. I tried to be neighborly and went down to watch the fireworks with the other residents and greet people a happy new year. After that I went back to eat some spaghetti I made and some smoked ham.

We have a family tradition of serving 12 round fruits for the new year. Only criteria is they should be unique fruits (having green apples and red ones doesn't count as 2) and they should not be sour (so that your luck for the new year doesn't get sour?). So despite the fact that I was celebrating the new year alone, I still bought the requisite 12 fruits. Let me see if I remember it correctly: apples, oranges, grapes, pears, guava, chickos, melon, watermelon, honeydew, pomelo, papaya and kiwi. OK so the problem is how to eat all of these fruits before they get spoiled :S

Do you have similar traditions for the new year? I can think of several more - some makes sense, others are a result of superstition and some are just plain silly.
  • People I know believe that what you do during the new year will reflect what they will be doing the entire year. Or the condition of something during the new year will be the same throughout the year. For example, if you just laze around the house and not do your chores, you will be lazy for the rest of the year. Or if you did not clean your house in time for the new year your house is doomed to be dirty for the rest of the year. I think I have slept the entire day during the new year. Does that mean I will be sleeping for the rest of the year? hehe.
  • My mother likes to wear read polka dotted dresses during the new year. *snicker* I'm not going to comment on the fashion implications of this outfit for fear of reprisal but she claims it symbolizes money and good fortune (it's a Chinese thing I think)
  • Some people stretch out, jump and hang on to overhead bars in an attempt to increase their height for the new year. Haha don't deny it, you know who you are. :p
  • Loud noises like firecrackers are supposed to drive away the old year and welcome the new. Some say it bring good luck and still some believe it drives away bad spirits (whatever that means - probably stale alcoholic drinks hehe).
  • Shaking piggybanks full of coins creates noise and is similar to the previous item. Also applicable are trumpets, gongs and other noise making objects.
  • All doors are opened at the moment of the new year to let "good fortune" in. How they can tell if it isn't the bad fortune scared silly by all that racket outside that goes in the house to take refuge I don't know. Perhaps that's what the coin shakers are for (normally they are the ones too scared to go outside because of the firecrackers so they just use trumpets, gongs and coin banks inside the relative safety of the house).
  • And finally, the most sensible tradition I know of, is ending the new year with a nice feast so everybody can replenish their energy from all that merrymaking :)
Happy New Year to you all!