Saturday, November 30, 2013

141, 142/365 - Excitement Building

141/365 - Frisky Little Cat
Chula the cat is too frisky for me to take a good photo of her.
142/365 - Lolo's Grave
This is my maternal grandfather's grave.
December is going to be a very busy month for me. Aside from the usual Christmas gifts Maica and I have to buy, there are also three major birthdays in my immediate family. My mother and daughter share the same birthday, while my wife celebrates her birthday a few days after.

Aside from that, I finally have a job. I am moving away from what I know to take up a new challenge. This is way out of the comfort zone transition, because I have zero experience in what I am about to do.

And that is why my excitement is building. Because I'm about to face new challenges that will hopefully lead to new opportunities and new skills being developed. We shall see.


Thursday, November 28, 2013

140/365 - 30D Shot

140/365 - 30D Shot
You can see the fungal bloom on the right side of the picture.
One of the first few shots of my 30D since 2011. This was shot past 6:30pm and I was trying to take pictures of the stars. Unfortunately it's too bright out to see the stars and my tripod is a bit wobbly. Still, it's getting my photography juices flowing again.


139/365 - Getting Reacquainted

139/365 - Getting Reacquainted
I'd forgotten how heavy the 30D was.
So I'm still getting used to my 30D again. If you look closely at the picture you will see the CPL needs cleaning. I've done that already with my trusty Lenspen.

Not the Lenspen in this blog, though. That's for the LX7. I still have the old Lenspen for my 30D and it still cleans things well.


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

138/365 - It's Back!!!

138/365 - It's Back!
It's baaaaaaaaaack!!!
I first noticed the fungal bloom on the CMOS sensor during the 2011 Singapore F1 GP weekend. It really bummed me out, as I knew it would require a trip to the service center for my old reliable.

At the service center, the worst was confirmed - I'd have to have the CMOS sensor replaced. I had the money at the time, but I also knew it would be impractical to spend so much for a replacement sensor. Hell, I bought my LX7 a year or so later and it cost a few hundred Philippine pesos more at that time than the replacement CMOS sensor.

Besides, I was already seeing the negatives of having a DSLR as a main camera. The bulk, the weight, the hassle of switching lenses, the lack of a video option for my 30D. Having a DSLR was becoming impractical for me. I needed the compactness, practicality, and lightness of a point and shoot.

Also, as much as I enjoyed peering through an optical viewfinder to take shots, I knew this would be a challenge with my baby. I didn't want to actually miss out on her moments because I was peering through a teensy little optical viewfinder.

As a quick aside, a friend recently told me that sometimes photographers don't get to experience moments because they're too busy recording it. I experienced this at my daughter's UN Day presentation. A dad was busy watching his daughter perform through the LCD screen of his video capable DSLR. He was smiling, yes, but his daughter was also about four feet away from him. He just had to look up to see her dancing in the flesh, but he was too focused on capturing the moment on the DSLR.

During that same time, I was also watching my daughter dance, while I held my much loved LX7 at chest level, letting it record whatever it could from that angle. So I sort of killed two birds with one stone, I managed to record my daughter performing while enjoying the actual performance.

But I digress. I gave up on my 30D. I was expecting the fungal bloom to spread and ruin my camera. So I "put it in storage" so to speak. Left it for dead, and basically ignored it since 2011.

Today I had this impulse to bring it down from where I kept it. The battery still had a charge, and I still remembered vaguely how to use it. I turned it on. I took some test shots. Lo and behold, the fungal bloom did not spread. Great news for me.

So what's the plan now that my DSLR is back? I'll probably bring it out once in a while to take photos. It won't be my main camera, my LX7 will hold that role for a long time (unless I suddenly find enough money to buy a Leica or a Canon G1X). But on occasions that I will be able to bring the DSLR along, I'll gladly bring it along.

I don't think it was a coincidence I bought a photography magazine a few weeks ago. I think it was fate.

Apologies for rambling. I'm just really, really excited that I have a DSLR to play with again.


137/365 - Negativity

137/365 - Giant Mr. Potato Head
Martina's giant Mr. Potato Head
Everyone has been saying to remove my negativity. Yet every time I try to go out of my comfort zone, every time I try to be positive about something, all those people who said to stop being negative start giving me negativity.

So am I only allowed to constrain myself inside a box of other people's choosing? Why do they tell me to be positive but when I want to take calculated risks, they start telling me I will fail, that I can't do it, that I should stick to what I know? I'm taking a positive attitude to whatever undertaking I want, and they start giving me negative vibes.

Don't tell me they got to where they are playing it safe, because I will not believe it. For some people, I see their advice to play safe as concern for me. They know who I am, they know what I can and can't do. So they don't want me to dig myself into a deeper hole. And for that, I thank them. However, I am also a grown man. I am more aware of my shortcomings and I am more active in trying to overcome my shortcomings and grow in whatever ways I can.

The others? I don't even want to think about what intentions they have for telling me to play if safe. Maybe they do that so they can get all the risks and rewards. I have no idea, but to them I say: Thanks for the advice, but stay out of my way from now on.


Sunday, November 24, 2013

136/365 - Christmas Spirit

136/365 - Christmas Tree 2013
Christmas tree finally decorated.
So things have been on a downward spiral since Wednesday or Thursday this week. Today something happened that made things worse.

Now I'm digging myself out of a deeper hole than I expected. 

The good news is that I am now going to start making decisions for myself and my priorities only. I won't be trying to please everyone, just myself and the people I consider important to me. Aside from that, to hell with everyone else.

Merry Christmas, fuckers.


Saturday, November 23, 2013

134, 135/365 - Keep Moving Forward

134/365 - Guests Under the Car
Guests under my car.
135/365 - Rainy Afternoon
Another rainy afternoon.
Keep moving forward. That's a line I got from the movie "Meet the Robinsons." I've blogged about it before, but I always have to remind myself to do this.

It's okay to feel bad and sulk, but I have to keep moving forward. Lessen sulking time to maximize forward moving time.


Thursday, November 21, 2013

131, 132, 133/365 - Days Go By Fast

131/365 - 7 Cheese Pizza Reward
I treated myself and my family to Pizza Hut's 7 Cheese Pizza.
132/365 - Ignorance is Bliss
Still smiling, unaware of what was to happen.
133/365 - Reality Sinks In
Reality has sunk in.
This week has been an incredible wave of highs and lows. Right now I'm at a low. Last Tuesday I was at a high.

Bottom line, I didn't get the job I applied for. I was called for a final interview last Tuesday, and I thought I would get a job offer. I felt the interview went great, and the company seemed really interested in my background.

Wednesday I left the house to run some errands. Little did I know that they had already sent the rejection letter. I could have seen it before I left had I checked my e-mail earlier, but I didn't. So I was feeling pretty positive the whole day, and after dinner I saw the "rejection letter." Still, I sent them a thank you note and hopefully that will leave a good impression with them.

So now, Thursday, I'm feeling pretty down. Everything's starting to slowly sink in. I have to start picking myself up and moving on. Right now it's a bit difficult though.


Monday, November 18, 2013


I am a negative person. That is who I am. But that does not mean I have to be negative all the time. All it needs is a little adjustment in perspective. This is something I am forcing myself to continuously do. And so far it appears to be working.

Before I go on, I have to thank the people who helped me realize this perspective change. I won't say their names here, because they might prefer their privacy, but I really appreciate what they've done to help me on this journey I call life.

It does take effort, of course. I usually focus on the most negative thing all the time. Ever since I became more "self-aware" of my faults, I've been consciously forcing myself to look for the bright side.

To be honest, it works. I've encountered quite a few depressing scenarios recently. I started getting depressed or anxious, but then when I catch myself I start looking for the positive. And eventually I do, and I'm not as negative, depressed, angry, or anxious as before.

I am quite proud of this, because I never imagined I would start behaving like this. It's one big step towards becoming an ever better person than I am.

So my advice to you out there, if things don't turn out the way you want, take a deep breath. Calm your thoughts, and try to look at your situation from a different angle. You'll feel better in the end.
Bee Cheng Hiang Singapore
Taken 29 Dec. 2007 in Singapore.

130/365 - Waiting's a Bitch

130/365 - Waiting's a Bitch
My folks' alarm clock.
When you are expecting something, it sometimes gnaws at you when it doesn't arrive. It's so frustrating and annoying, you can't do anything but wait or distract yourself.

This sucks for someone like me. I hate waiting. I try to be punctual for meet-ups or meetings, usually arriving with time to spare before the agreed upon time. I just think it shows respect for the person you are to meet.

Maybe that's the reason why I always bring a Nintendo DS or a small book when I go out to meet someone. In case they don't arrive on time, or are really late, I can always play, read, or draw something.


Sunday, November 17, 2013

129/365 - The Bacon Bomb

129/365 - Bacon Bombs
The Bacon Bombs
Cooked the bacon bombs today. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't great either. Overall I learned a lot from the experience. Here are some tips I got:
  • More seasoning. The bombs were relatively bland. If it wasn't for the gravy my mother-in-law came up with, I doubt it would have tasted very good.
  • Hotter oven, longer cooking time. Apparently I read the thermometer wrong, thinking it was in Centigrade, but it was actually in Fahrenheit. My bad, so the oven wasn't as hot as I wanted. Plus I should have baked this for at least an hour, so I had to re-bake them at the in-laws.
  • Use plain bacon. I used honeycured bacon, and it sorta messed up the taste.
  • Use a wet rub before baking. I tried this brown sugar dry rub before baking but I don't think this needed to be sweeter than usual.

Updated Top Five Family Cars

Here's the list from my previous entry: 1. Toyota Innova 2. Kia Sportage 3. Subaru XV 4. Land Rover Defender 90 5. Toyota Avanza.

C! Magazine's August 2013 (I think, not sure about the month) had an article comparing some SUVs. Long story shot, the Kia Sportage scored lowest, and the only high point it had was the looks. Fuel efficiency, space, handling, sports performance were all pretty low. I was very disappointed with this result. So I decided to update my list. Here's the newest list.

  1. Toyota Innova (Diesel, A/T) - Still at number 1. Practicality still takes top spot. The Innova has decent height, space, and size. It can seat more than five. It has decent safety features. And it also looks pretty decent.
  2. Subaru XV (Gasoline, A/T) - This one jumps up to number 2, until I read a review about it. Yes it has small space, but it looks great and it is a Subaru. Bonus points for the semi-crossover ability.
  3. Kia Carens (Diesel, A/T) - The Carens takes the place of the Sportage. Because this seems more practical than the Sportage, and it is cheaper also. This also reminds me of a soccer mom's ride, in a good way.
  4. Land Rover Defender 90 (Diesel, M/T) - This still lingers on in this list just because I still like the Defender. I've been reading articles that the Defender may be phased out due to lack of modern safety tech, but I hope not.
  5. Toyota Avanza (Gasoline, A/T) - I managed to ride inside an older model Avanza. While they may claim it can seat about seven people, it is a bit cramped inside for a man of my size. Still, if you are looking for a cheaper and slightly smaller alternative to an Innova, this is it. The new model looks good too.
There you have it. An updated list, and the biggest omission, the Kia Sportage, got removed because of a car review. And yes, I do put a lot of weight on car reviews. Mostly because I am not able to try each ride by myself.


Saturday, November 16, 2013

127, 128/365 - Cleaning Up

127/365 - Dusty Toys
My Metal Gear Gashapon
128/365 - Building a Box
Building an Ikea Box.
My personal stuff still needs a lot of cleaning and organizing. Hopefully sooner rather than later.

I just realized there are still boxes of toys still unaccounted for, and that I need to find them so I can re-organize them and hopefully lessen the clutter at home.


Thursday, November 14, 2013

124, 125, 126/365 - Christmas is in the Air

124/365 - Belen
Belens - Filipino Christmas Tradition
125/365 - Hamburger Curry for Dinner
Hamburger Curry for Dinner
126/365 - Christmas Decors
Our Christmas decors are now littered on a coffee table.
Since Martina was born we've started putting up our Christmas decorations earlier than usual. We just need some new Christmas lights for the tree...


Monday, November 11, 2013

122, 123/365 - Earthbag Homes and The Philippines

122/365 - Sleeping Nero
Sleeping Nero.
123/365 - Throwback Mondays
High School IDs. Days with the Lord on the left, Summer Enrichment Program on the right.
Note: My post has no connection with the pics above. These are my ramblings regarding earthbag homes and why I totally believe in the concept.

The recent super typhoon Yolanda (aka Haiyan internationally) that hit the Philippines, along with the earthquake that hit Bohol a few weeks before, made me think about earthbag homes. I had read about earthbag homes years before via the internet, and I thought it would be a cheaper, earthquake and weather-resistant alternative for housing here.

Even if they weren't built as permanent housing, these earthbag homes could still be used as temporary shelter against the elements for the thousands of Filipinos who have lost their homes to either Typhoon Yolanda or the earthquake.

I read an article that gave me hope. Apparently Mr. Illac Diaz, more known for his solar bottle bulb, had built an earthbag home somewhere in the Philippines before. Based on the article, only one house was built and is now in a state of disrepair.

I thought it was a shame that the earthbag home did not take off. The domed design would allow strong winds to flow around the design instead of buffeting it. The sturdy earthbag construction would make it more earthquake resistant. Plus the unique look makes it, personally, more of a home and less of a house.

Unfortunately I read from another article that, "A leak could soften the soil and cause the dome to collapse, so the fill soil has to be stabilized, which adds to the labor and expense." So building earthbag homes isn't as simple as I thought, since you still needed to weather-proof the bags of earth. I'm guessing it would still be a safer alternative to some of the homes some of my countrymen live in.

However, I do think that with proper research and funding earthbag homes can be adapted for use in the Philippines. I just hope someone can revive this idea and push it nationally. Let's hope that whoever does it doesn't get caught up in corruption and red tape.

Mr. Illac Diaz, I hope you can revive your earthbag home idea. If you need help, drop me a line. I'm just an ordinary Filipino citizen,  but I sincerely believe in this earthbag home concept. And I will help you any way I can.


Sunday, November 10, 2013

121/365 - Yolanda's Aftermath

121/365 - Darkness
Early morning, no power due to the storm, used my LX7 and my Maglite flashlight.
Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan internationally) was well on the way out of the country Saturday morning. But the devastation she left remains. Sometimes the magnitude of certain situations only hits you when it becomes more personal.

One of my high school classmates was in Tacloban, but if what I read was true he was evacuated along with his wife and baby boy to Cebu. His parents also survived, but unfortunately his in-laws didn't. I have no idea how true the last part is, and I can only hope it isn't.

Another high school classmate still hasn't had contact with his parents, who I believe live in Iloilo - another place hit my Yolanda. Again, I can only hope and pray that they are still alive and safe.


Friday, November 08, 2013

118, 119, 120/365 - Typhoon Haiyan

118/365 - Reflection
119/365 - PC NBA 2K14
My copy of NBA 2K14.
120/365 - Breakfast
Chorizo and quezo de bola omelette by me.
As Typhoon Haiyan (Typhoon Yolanda locally) is wreaking havoc over the Visayas region, I can only hope for the best and pray for those heavily affected by storms. For now.


The Beetle Baja Plan

I think I've been to focused on getting a picture a day that I've gotten bored of it. Plus the fact that I've been stuck at home the past two months adds monotony to the pictures I can take. Or maybe it's just because I've been lazy. Either way, I thought I'd blog about something different. Instead of the Project 365 blog I've decided to write about a more concrete plan for my Beetle Baja dreams.

As you all know I've been obsessed with the Baja Bug for a few years now. And I've always had ideas on what I want it to look like or how I plan on building it. But it's always been vague. Well not anymore. Here are the steps I plan to do if I can make this dream a reality.

As a caveat, before I can even do this I would need money, space to park the Bug, technical know-how, and maybe contacts who can do the stuff I couldn't do.

  1. Purchase. You can't build a Baja Bug without a Bug. Preferably buy two Bugs, one in good running condition and one donor car.
  2. Disassemble. Remove the body, remove the fenders, remove electrical, remove the engine. Remove everything. But of course, remember to take pictures so you can remember how to put them back together.
  3. Restore. Remove rust everywhere, fix dents and dings, overhaul the engine, fix all electrical stuff. Just make sure things are back to reliable working order. Also, rust-proof and paint the floor plan. Fix other mechanical stuff, like transmission, brakes, suspensions. Replace old, worn out parts and components.
  4. Modify and upgrade. Chop the fenders. Modify the body to make it look more like a Baja. Upgrade the suspension. Modify the engine to whatever set-up I want. Convert brakes to all-wheel discs. Use steel-lined brake hoses. Upgrade car's lighting, both front and back. Get a new gas tank. Upgrade electrical system, use alternator, add insulators to battery (I heard that there were times the Beetles would catch fire because of the battery's location).
  5. Beautify. Paint the body. Upgrade rims (banana type or baja type rims). Have custom roof rack built. Have custom front and rear tube bumpers built.
  6. Reassemble. Put everything back together correctly.
  7. Interiors. New front seats, preferably sport seats. Re-upholstered rear seats. Add in-car entertainment. Add clear tint to windows. New dials for a modified dash. Maybe cup-holders. Definitely cup-holders. LED interior map lights. Add in-car heat insulation.
  8. Drive. Test run, then use as a daily driver. Enjoy.
As you can see, the plan still isn't finalized. But at least I now have a more concrete idea of the process I'd want in case I have the resources to achieve this dream of mine.


Tuesday, November 05, 2013

115, 116, 117/365 - Bored

115/365 - Smiling on the Outside
Smiling on the outside only.
116/365 - Would You Like Fries With That?
Would you like fries with that?
117/365 - Caged Chula
Our newest pet cat, Chula.
Things will eventually get better. I hope.


Saturday, November 02, 2013

112, 113, 114/365 - Tagaytay Mini-Vacation

112/365 - Lasagna
Lasagna by Tagaytay Highlands Clubhouse
113/365 - Shawarma Rice
Shawarma Rice at Tagaytay Highlands Halloween  Bazaar
114/365 - Diagonal Elevator
Diagonal Elevator at Tagaytay Highlands
We spent two nights over at Tagaytay Highlands for a mini-vacation. Good timing as there was a Halloween Bazaar near where we stayed. And the good part was that there was now food being sold. I managed to try the Monster Burger and the Shawarma rice. I actually enjoyed the Monster Burger better than the shawarma rice. Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of the burger. Oh well.