Sunday, March 30, 2014

257 - 262/365 - Laziness and Illness

It has been a very lazy week in terms of blogging. I managed to take my daily photos but there was little to no inspiration. Plus for the life of me I could not find any topic to blog about.

257/365 - Mom and Martina's Miniatures
Mom and Martina's Miniatures
I finally did manage to try my 30D's external flash on my G16. Since I never really seriously tried using the external flash, I have little to no clue how to maximize the potential of the flash. I did manage to get it to work while mated to the G16, so that's one step forward.

258/365 - Speedlite Flash Photography
Flash photography with my external Speedlite 430EXII
My mom and I tried eating at Burger Bar in Greenbelt 2. The burgers were good, but I found it a bit expensive for the price. Would I eat there again? Yes I would. But not soon. Maybe on a special occasion. Mom and I got some burgers and fries to-go for Dad, Maica, and Martina to taste. They did like the taste also.

259/365 - Fries from Burger Bar
Fries from Burger Bar
That didn't mean I was always in the mood to shoot. Here I just took a generic shot of our room, with the lights out. This was when I was getting mini-migraines last Friday. It started early morning, it got bad in the afternoon. Thankfully my boss made me take the rest of the day off to rest, so I managed to go home and sleep.

260/365 - Built-In Flash Photography
Built-in flash photography
Unfortunately, it wasn't enough. I was still getting mini-migraines last Saturday so I needed to take the day off also to recuperate. It was nice of Maica to get me some food from Sakura for lunch. Then I spent the afternoon sleeping and recovering.

261/365 - Katsu Curry and Maki
Katsu Curry and a maki from Sakura
Thankfully today I feel better. Not 100% better, but the mini-migraines seem to have left. What do I mean by "mini-migraines?" Well, they weren't the full-blown migraines I used to have. The pain level wasn't as high but it was enough to bother me at work and at home. I have no idea why it happened last Friday and why it lasted until Saturday, I just hope whatever reason is over and I will be fine moving forward.

262/365 - Nero
It's Nero!
Anyway that's what happened this week. I was lazy to blog, and I got sick.


Monday, March 24, 2014

256/365 - Messenger Bag

256/365 - My Messenger Bag
Today I adjusted the strap on my messenger bag. Should have done this a lot earlier.
I usually have my messenger bag's strap extended to it's longest. But I have been noticing my shoulder usually gets sore, no matter how light or heavy the load. So this afternoon before walking to Maica's office I decided to shorten it a lot.

I first checked online if there was any "optimum" length or position for a messenger bag. Seeing that there was none, I decided to try for a shorter strap length, where the bag wouldn't dangle as much as before. I made it hug my body a bit more.

Not surprisingly, my shoulder didn't get as tired when I was walking. In fact, I think this is the strap length I'll be using moving forward. Who cares if It makes my fat more noticeable? At least I'm comfortable.


Sunday, March 23, 2014

253, 254, 255/365 - Weekend Rest

253/365 - Home Alone
Watching TV to fall asleep
254/365 - Tekka Maki
Some tekka maki for dinner to start my R&R
255/365 - Getting Some R&R
Squeezing every bit of R&R this weekend
I was very excited for this weekend to arrive. My mom had rented some small rooms in Tagaytay Highlands where we would spend the weekend. I was really looking forward to getting some much needed R&R. However, I had work until Saturday so...

Maica, Martina, and my folks went to Tagaytay on Friday afternoon. I was left home alone because I still had work on Saturday. When Saturday arrived I was really looking forward to clocking out in the afternoon, because I would follow to Tagaytay.

I left Manila around 5:45pm, and thanks to the light traffic arrived in Tagaytay around 7:30pm. I met with my family and we had dinner out. When we got back to our lodgings I just took a hot shower, then I fell asleep by 9:30pm.

I woke up around 6am feeling pretty refreshed. We bummed around a bit before heading home in the afternoon.

Overall it was a great quick vacation. I still wish I had Saturdays and Sundays off, but I can't really complain that much. I just miss my two-day weekends.


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Amateur Review - Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen at SM Aura

Today was Martina's Moving Up Day. After her school event we decided to go to SM Aura to celebrate and do the groceries. We decided to have lunch at Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen.

(Author's note: Martina's moving up day had some heavy snacks I ate. Then while waiting for Maica to finish her second class Martina and I had Starbucks. I was feeling pretty full when we arrived at the restaurant.)

Upon arriving I immediately notice the paper placemat.

Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen
Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen's placemat has a handy "how-to-eat-ramen" guide
Maica ordered the Miso Tonkotsu Ramen, and I ordered the Ajitama Tonkotsu Ramen. Martina and her Yaya Jill had the chicken karaage and extra rice.

Maica and I
Maica was starving, I was (unfortunately) full when we arrived
Here's a photo of my order. Sadly my order didn't look like the one in the menu. I was really disappointed that one of the ajitama eggs had no yolk, and the other was swimming face down in the broth - like a dead Jason Bourne at the end of Bourne Ultimatum.

Ajitama Tonkotsu Ramen
Ajitama Tonkotsu Ramen I ordered
I wasn't in the best of moods, since I was feeling sleepy, but the ramen was surprisingly good. Enough to wake me up. The broth was good, the chashu was tasty, and the ajitama egg was, well, disappointing. Maybe it's because I've tasted ajitama eggs in Japan (sorry for the humblebrag). Anyway, my order was good, taste-wise. The noodles I chose were firm, as recommended by our server, and I think it fit in well with the soup.

One good thing about reading the placemat before eating was seeing the advice how to enjoy the ramen. I added ground sesame seeds in my broth and mixed in some of the pickled ginger. The sesame seeds and ginger made the ramen taste even better. I told Maica to add some to her Miso Tonkotsu and she also agreed that it improved the flavor.

Pickled Ginger and Chicken Karaage
Pickled ginger, chicken karaage, and some crayons for Martina
Overall we had a good experience in Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen. The place was clean, the food was good, and the service was okay. Expect to pay around Php500.00 per head (including service charge) for one order with drinks. Maybe a bit more since we didn't order drinks.

I forgot to take pictures of the food
Group shot of the food we ate
Finally, would we go back there again? Not really. There's a reason why we never ate at Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen whenever we went to SM Aura. And that reason was Yabu. There are other reasons why we will have a hard time going back. Like Lugang Cafe, and that other ramen restaurant that opened beside Yabu.

I'm not saying don't eat there. Please, try it out. I wouldn't mind eating there again. But I also wouldn't go out of my way to eat there again.


251, 252/365 - Time Flies

251/365 - Gino's Pizza for Dinner
(Cold) Gino's Brick Oven Pizza and Pasta for dinner
252/365 - Martina's Moving Up Day
Martina's moving up again!
How time flies. This project 365 is wrapping up in a little over one hundred days. Another year has gone by and Martina is moving up to another level in her pre-school.

It feels strange. I know I have a lot more things I have to do to improve. Time moves so fast that if you're not careful a lot of things would have passed you by. So cherish every moment, be it good or bad. Use it as a learning experience. Use it as fuel to become a better person.

Good grief, I hope I can stop procrastinating. Sigh.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

249, 250/365 - Some Car Thoughts

249,365 - Reese's Puffs!
Guess what's for breakfast this weekend!
250,365 - Martina Before Turning 1
This was Martina a month or so before she turned one last 2011.
Last March 1, 2014 I was on my way back home from Batangas when I topped up my car at the Shell station along SLEX. I decided to give their Fuel Save fuel a try. Since that filling, I did notice my consumption was better. At least, based on the fuel indicator in the Rav4.

Well today I went back to my original fuel, Petron's XCS. I want to see how this affects fuel consumption in the car. When I topped up earlier tonight, my consumption was 7.89km/L. I haven't gotten that great consumption ever.

How do I compute consumption? I subtract the previous odometer reading from the current odometer reading when filling up. Then I divide the difference by how many liters it took to fill up now.

The past few months I've been averaging about 6.5km/L, so 7.89km/L is awesome. If I notice the needle going down faster I may try going back to Shell's Fuel Save again to see if it does give better mileage.

I do have one theory why consumption is better. I drove to and from Batangas before filling up last March 1. I ran my Rav4 at relatively higher speeds for a prolonged period of time (let's say 100kph for at least fifteen minutes at a time) when I was driving along SLEX and Star Tollway. That could have cleaned the engine of whatever gunk there was inside, helping to improve fuel economy as well.

So these next few weeks will help me determine what fuel to use moving forward. Also, I plan on driving my car along SLEX once every two months. Maybe take my family out one Sunday for breakfast in Sta. Rosa, budget permitting. This will make sure the engine gets a decent work out once in a while.

And on a final note, I do plan on giving my car a car wash once a month. After having it serviced at ARC Automotive I noticed the windshield doesn't have that oily film when I use the wiper when it rains. Must be with what they used to clean the car. This will be very helpful once the rainy season arrives. It will give me better visibility.



Blogging from the iPad 2 I inherited from my Mom. Sweet.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

248/365 - Two Steps Back

248/365 - Tiny AE86
A really tiny AE86
It sucks to know I'm only human. Just when I think I'm making progress something happens that causes me to take two steps back. And it's not easy to move forward, specially for someone like me.

I really want to go back to my comfort zone, to my negativity. But I just can't. I know I shouldn't because then that would totally defeat all the epiphanies I've had since I turned thirty-three last year.


245, 246, 247/365 - Weekend Roundup

245/365 - Mess
Messy living room
246/365 - Artificial Insecutor
Artificial Insect Killer
247/365 - Natural Insecutor
All-Natural Insect Killer

It has been a somewhat relaxed week, with the intensity building up to Saturday's event at Batangas Racing Circuit. We managed to get a lot of clutter organized at work and hopefully things continue on the good path this coming week.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

244/365 - Learning

244/365 - Ministop Chicken
1 piece chicken for dinner.
Each and every day is a new learning experience. You just have to keep your eyes and your mind open for the lessons you can learn.

You can also gain a lot of insight by learning from not only positive influences, but negative influences also. I encounter a lot of "bad influences" everyday, and the biggest lesson I learn from them is what makes them negative in my eyes. I try to avoid doing the things negative influences do, and from that I learn.

I still have a long way to go to achieve a more positive attitude, but each and every day I try to keep an open mind to help myself achieve my goals.


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

241, 242, 243/365 - Changes

241/365 - Japanese Curry in Cubes
Japanese Curry in concentrated cube form
242/365 - Paper Airplane
Playing paper airplanes with Martina
243/365 - Farewell to my FW26
Farewell to my Hotwheels FW26 Walrus Tusk
My family has experienced a couple of changes these past few days. All of it should end up for the better, so I have no complaints.

I also realize I still have a long, long way to go in my journey to become a better overall person.


Saturday, March 08, 2014

Amateur Review - Saboten Serendra

March 8, 2014

Maica and I decided to have dinner at Saboten in Serendra. Good thing we arrived around 6pm because when we left a long line had formed outside. But I'm getting too fast here.

The place was well lit, and the prices looked reasonable. The only gripe I had with the menu is that instead of giving metric measurements for the portions they have the usual "small, medium, and large" so I have no idea how heavy the katsus were.

Saboten 1/5
Took a pic of the restaurant's name in case I forget
Saboten gives customers the usual shredded cabbage and the sesame seeds that you grind before pouring the tonkatsu sauce. One bonus with the shredded cabbage is they also include slices of radish and a pickled vegetable I can't identify. I just love having the salad with the ponzu (or was it yuzu?) sauce. I have a couple of servings, and our shredded cabbage, pickles, and radish was replenished twice.

Saboten 2/5
The usual katsu place "gimmick" - grind sesame seeds then pour on the sauce
My meal arrived in quick fashion. I was excited to try out the tonkatsu I got. Of course, before digging in, I decided to take a picture of my meal.

Saboten 3/5
My dinner - large tenderloin tonkatsu
The tonkatsu was amazing. It was very, very tasty. And it was also very tender. I would go so far as to say as it was melt-in-your-mouth tender. It was delicious even without the sauce. I usually taste the tonkatsu by itself before I pour the sauce to see how good it is, and believe me... It. Was. Fucking. Delicious.

Saboten 4/5
Just take a look at the quality of the katsu
Maica had a mixed platter. But from what she said, the portions were just right and the taste was also good.

Saboten 5/5
Maica's dinner - a mixed set
My conclusion? Saboten is now the best tonkatsu I've had in the Philippines. Yes. Even better than Yabu. There, I said it.

Better in taste, in price, in bang-for-the-buck. I am definitely going back there to try the other variations of tonkatsu, just to see how well it stands against Yabu.


238, 239, 240/365 - Fatigue Sets In

238/365 - Naan for Dinner
Naan bread for dinner
239/365 - Can't Wait to Go Back
I can't wait to go back to Kyoto
240/365 - Peanut Butter, Bacon, and Egg Sandwich
Peanut butter, bacon, and egg sandwich
The past three weeks have been draining for me. It started with the Clark trip. I got home very late at Sunday and had Monday as a day of rest.

The week that followed I had to do inventory and fix stuff for a trip to Batangas Racing Circuit. That happened last Saturday.

After that I had Sunday off, then Monday this week until around Thursday we were rearranging furniture in the office. It was major lifting of desks, either going up or down floors and I did a fair share of lifting.

So yes, I have been very, very tired. That was the reason why I took an extra day off today - I need two straight days of rest. Sunday just was not enough.

I just hope I can recover enough today and tomorrow, because this coming Saturday we're going back to Batangas Racing Circuit.


Wednesday, March 05, 2014

237/365 - Rest

237/365 - Martina's Vitamins
My daughter's vitamins and medicines
There will be times my body will betray me. I can feel one coming, and I know I need some rest to rejuvenate my body. Maybe take some extra vitamins to help my body recover.

I'm lucky I know when these things are coming. I also know enough to pace my body so I can time my rest. I need two straight days of rest, to be honest. So I'm hoping it happens this weekend.


Tuesday, March 04, 2014

236/365 - Slips

236/365 - Dinner
Dinner and some light reading
There will be slip ups. Times I will be down. Today was one of those days, fortunately I was able to pick myself up quickly. I just hope I can do this every time I fall.


Monday, March 03, 2014

235/365 - Gino's Brick Oven Pizza

235a/365 - Mushroom Pizza
Mushroom Pizza
235b/365 - Spaghetti Bolognese
Spaghetti Bolognese
My wife and I had dinner at Gino's Brick Oven Pizza near her office tonight. Here's my quick review.

We ordered the mushroom pizza and the spaghetti bolognese. Both were pretty tasty, but I enjoyed the pasta more than the pizza. Maybe because the pizza had white sauce?

The pizza was a bit bland and salty at the same time. Bland because I couldn't taste too many flavors, and salty because of the cheese I guess. I'm not saying it's a bad thing, it maybe needed something else to add to the flavor. It's definitely better than the oily stuff we usually have delivered at home. And I'm excited to try other flavors because they make their own dough and the crust was definitely one of the highlights of the pizza.

The bolognese, wow. That's all I can say. They make their own pasta, and the pasta was thick, firm, and very filling. I'd go so far as to say that the pasta we had was very hearty. Let's not forget that it was also very delicious.

The pleasant surprise we had during dinner was when this nice lady beside our table told us to try the buratta she ordered. Apparently she was a regular there, and she always orders the buratta. She was very nice and let my wife and I try her buratta. We couldn't say no, and I liked the creaminess and the slight saltiness of it.

She also had us try her fresh squeezed calamansi juice. It was also very good, not too sour and just the right hint of sweetness.

Finally my wife ordered chocolate chicharon to-go. It is what it says, chocolate covered chicharon. A very interesting dessert. First you taste the sweetness of the chocolate, then the saltiness of the chicharon comes in. It makes for a very interesting taste combination.

Other thoughts regarding Gino's Brick Oven Pizza? Well, price was worth it. It's not cheap, but it's not that expensive either. Considering the taste and how filling the food was, it was definitely worth it.

Would my wife and I go back there again? Yes, yes we would. We'll order our own buratta next time, and we'll definitely try the other pizza and pasta offerings.


Sunday, March 02, 2014

231, 232, 233, 234/365 - Top Five Family Cars (Again!)

231-365 - My Backpack
My backpack
232/365 - Martina's Dress
Martina's Dress
233/365 - Travis
Travis, Nero's brother
234/365 - Chula
Chula, lounging under Martina's baby chair
I've got another top five list of brand new cars I'd want. And yes, I've revised it for the nth time. And I will keep revising it. Because that's what I do. Also, a new category for my family car criteria: track capability. I attended Circuit Showdown last March 1, 2014, and I can tell you I'm starting to get hooked on motorsports. So I'd want a car that I can hopefully use for track days also. Not that I can afford it. But dreaming is for free, so keep on dreaming.
  1. Honda Jazz 1.5L AT. With the paddle shifters. Who am I kidding, as much as it's practical to get the 1.3L engine, I really want paddle shifters. Besides, I'm guessing if I get more addicted to motorsports a Honda Jazz is the most practical car to also modify as a track car. I'm guessing suspension changes would be enough for a trackable family car.
  2. Ford Fiesta 1.0L Ecoboost AT. This is also in-line with my trackable family car. This one will be more costly to modify, since I know for a fact I can put a Brembo BBK (big brake kit) in front. That plus improved suspension will definitely cost a lot.
  3. Toyota Avanza 1.5L AT. This cracks the top three simply because this is the perfect entry level family car. I won't be able to track this, but with the space I can definitely take my family out for nice road trips. Power is a concern for such a big vehicle.
  4. Kia Rio Hatchback 1.4L AT. I have no idea if you can track this car, but it looks fast. And wouldn't it be interesting to be one of the first people to have a Kia Rio hatchback track car?
  5. Hyundai Accent Hatchback Diesel 1.6L AT. This suddenly comes barging in to the top five because of the amazing fuel consumption and torque. Again, it would also be interesting to have a Hyundai Accent track car.
To be honest, that track capability isn't really a big priority. It's just a great coincidence that my top two cars now can be used as track cars. I did see a Honda Jazz running time attack at Circuit Showdown, and I won't be surprised to see a Ford Fiesta go on track soon.