Saturday, December 30, 2017

[759] Tennis

I think I last played tennis in early 2000, that was almost 18 years ago.

I first took tennis lessons in the summer of 1993, before my first year of high school. As was usual my parents got me some summer activity to keep me from being a bum at home. I chose tennis lessons.

I did learn the basics and was chosen to participate in a mini-tournament among the different venues where the tennis lessons were held. This wasn't the typical tennis match you would see. Since I took the beginner course we only played in the middle half of the court (the areas where the ball is supposed to land during serve were the active areas; anything outside was out of bounds)I lost, as usual, because I kept running after the balls even if they were already out. Plus I usually got excited and ended up hitting the ball too strong.

The next time I took formal "lessons" were in college, when I chose tennis as my physical education subject. Our teacher / trainer was Tony Baluyot, who was my dad's tennis team coach when he was in college.

Aside from those two times the only times I "played" tennis was whenever my dad would bring me along whenever he played. In between sets or when his friends took a break he would spend a few minutes trying to teach me how to play. Sadly I wasn't a fast learner because of my attitude. Typical only-child thinking I knew everything and I was good at everything. Every mistake I made just made me frustrated.

I also played with my classmates. We just casually played, mostly for fun and never for competition. I doubt we even had any games. Just hitting the ball back and fort and impersonating famous tennis players at the time (Andre Agassi, Goran Ivanisevic -- my personal favorite player, Sampras, Becker, Seles, Graf, etc.)

Lately I've been thinking of trying to re-learn it again. Not just as a hobby but also as a form of exercise. I just don't know how much it would cost now to play. From buying a racket, tennis balls, and tennis shoes, to renting the court and hiring trainers. I'll probably give a look see about this in 2018.


Monday, December 11, 2017

[758] Bahay ni Maria

Last December 9, 2017 we spent a few hours in the morning at Bahay ni Maria.

Maica had decided a few months ago that it would be a good way to celebrate Martina's seventh birthday by spending some time with kids in an orphanage instead of the usual birthday party. I wholeheartedly agreed on this idea since I'm not too big on parties either. Plus the fact that sharing some of our time and gifts to people in need would be a great experience not only for Martina but also for Maica and I.

So my wife took care of everything. When we should go there, who brings the food, who was invited. It would be a small, simple party with only our immediate family invited. We also invited one of Martina's best friends but unfortunately he could not make it.

We decided to get the services of Jollibee. The party package they had included food, some parlor games, and a surprise appearance by a mascot (who turned out to be Jollibee himself).

I won't get into too much detail anymore, since I want to talk about the feeling I had during and after the gathering.

They started with a simple program of Christmas songs for us. They all sang very well. After that we had a quick snack of the food from Jollibee plus some killer cheese pimiento sandwiches Maica made. I was surprised after eating that all the girls were segregating their wastes before throwing them.

Seeing the girls' faces light up when the games started was very heart-warming. The younger ones were having a great time. When Jollibee came out even the older ones started getting excited as well.

Finally when that was done, the girls all got their giveaways. A pair of pajamas and a bag of snacks. All the girls were very happy and excited. After that they invited Martina to go upstairs with them to see their rooms.

All in all, I think it went well. I honestly hope that we gave those girls in Bahay ni Maria at least a few moments were they could be happy, specially this Christmas season.

I also hope that visiting the place made a mark with Martina. I know she just turned seven but I really do hope that these things will help her develop into a compassionate and understanding person.

Personally I really enjoyed my time there. It was a very eye opening experience for me and it made me realize that there is still so much hope in this world and that giving up would be a very, very desperate action.

If the opportunity presents itself I would probably consider spending my 39th birthday with them. We shall see.


Monday, December 04, 2017

[757] Pixar's Coco

Last Saturday, December 2, 2017, I watched Pixar's Coco by myself. I had read good things about it on my Facebook feed and I was curious about the story.

Pixar is so good at getting an emotional response from me. I got teary-eyed when I watched up. This movie is on another level.

I got watery-eyed a couple of times during the movie. I won't spoil it here, and I am not ashamed to admit this. It was such an amazing movie, and there were plenty of parts in the movie that hit me at that right spot.

The theme of the movie really got to me. The song "Remember Me" gets my eyes watery whenever I listen to it.

It was such a beautiful movie. The story was great. The visuals were awesome. The animation was as expected from Pixar.

Anyway, that's it. Maybe when it comes out to DVDs and Bluray I will buy a copy to watch. I don't want to watch it in the movie house again and start crying again.

Please go watch the movie.


PS John Lasseter was the executive producer. I know he's going through some issues now, still doesn't take away from the fact that the movie was really, really amazing.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

[756] I Don't Blog As Much Anymore

I'm not blogging as much as I used to, and it's all good.

It's better this way, rather than when I tried to post a blog a day. Everything was forced, I had to come up with dumb shit just to post something.

Now I don't have to. And I don't want to.

I still have many thoughts inside my head, but I'd rather not share them with anyone anymore. I'd rather keep them to myself. It's probably better this way.

And for the times I do decide to share them, I'll definitely post them here.


Saturday, October 14, 2017

[755] Mortality of a Friend

I recently found out that a classmate of mine in grade seven had passed away due to a heart attack.

I was shocked and saddened by the news. It was as recently as a few months ago that I was corresponding with this guy via social media. We even agreed to have lunch one time with another former classmate. Although as is the case with me, I never followed it up.

I would never consider him a good friend, to be honest. After grade school I transferred to another school and we never got in touch. Strangely enough when I was working already we would bump into each other once in a blue moon in Makati.

I guess it was through those random times that he decided to add me to his social media account. And I guess those were the steps that would have rekindled our friendship. He was, overall, a good guy to me. He did burn a portion of my left forearm with a very hot wire when we were kids, but hey, we were kids at the time. And I did manage to land a pretty solid (in my opinion) hit on the side of his head after he did that.

Did I carry any grudges with him? No. That thing he did to my arm was a childish thing that I had let pass. The scar, or peklat in Filipino, is gone. I still remember it, but that's because I remember so many damn random things in my life.

Anyway as I said earlier, he passed away due to a heart attack. Bloody hell. He's thinner than me, at least from what I saw in his social media posts. I don't know if he had any medical conditions. To pass away at this age due to a heart attack? Come on, he's about the same age as me. He should be anywhere from 36 to 38 years old and he dies of a heart attack?

I'm partially glad that I started walking in January and have lost weight. I'm partially frustrated that I'm now hitting a wall in my exercise and have no mood to do any lately. And I am totally afraid of something fatal happening to me anytime soon. I'm just not ready for it.

So anyway, I'm rambling again. Rest in peace, my friend. Such a shame we never got to have lunch. I enjoyed connecting with you, even if only via social media.


Sunday, October 01, 2017

[754] Fuel Economy

"7.67km/L on my Rav4. Biggest change? I was driving.
Edit: Previous top ups (including this one) 7.67km/L, 5.09km/L, 6.6km/L, 6.16km/L, 6.51km/L.
Driving style affects consumption A LOT. Also traffic. One other notable change was leaving the house earlier to bring my daughter to school to avoid traffic. Ten minute difference was a major factor."
- My Facebook post earlier today.

I drive a 2001 Toyota Rav4 AWD with a 2.0L 1AZ-FE engine. It is obviously an old car, and for quite a few years I've always had an issue with the fuel consumption.

This past week I had to drive my daughter to school and pick her up. This was a bit concerning for me since the price of gasoline here is relatively high right now and I know that the Rav wasn't exactly a fuel efficient car.

As a quick reference, I've heard that some 2nd generation Honda Jazz get 8 - 10 km/L consumption in heavy traffic. 8 - 10 km/L! How I wish I could experience that consumption.

Anyway, I had noticed that I was spending quite a lot almost every week for the gasoline of the Rav4. And now that I had to use it everyday to bring my daughter to school, I knew it was time to see if I could improve the consumption. As you read from my FB post above, I did.

The biggest change that happened was I drove it almost exclusively. My driving style is quite different from my Mom's driver, who normally brings my daughter to school and fetches her. I anticipate when to let off the accelerator. I try to make sure I keep the engine revving smoothly. And when it's an open road I make sure I move near the street legal top speed. Also, I stay in my lane and avoid snaking in and out of traffic.

Another change that greatly helped improve fuel economy was leaving earlier. Traffic sucks in the Philippines. Ten minutes is a big deal in traffic. We left ten minutes earlier, around 5:50 am and we normally got to my daughter's school around 6:20 am. Before when they left around 6 am they would get to school around 6:45 am or so.

Finally, I'm not sure if this helped but I put in 100 octane fuel instead of the minimum recommended 95 octane. Hopefully putting in a higher octane fuel helped de-clog the fuel lines or clean the engine. I don't know. For all I know using higher octane fuel did no difference.

You can imagine my surprise when I computed for the consumption of the Rav4. I was very pleased with it, but I also know that consumption will go back down once someone else starts driving my car. Oh well, at least I was able to get a little more bang for the buck in my last top up.


Thursday, September 28, 2017

[753] I Wish I Could Turn Off My Brain

I think too much. And I think too much of things beyond my control. Or I try to think of all possible scenarios for things I want to do in my life.

Oftentimes I focus on the worst-case scenario. I don't know why. And I wish I could turn it off sometimes. Just go with the flow, but be prepared. Sadly I'm not like that.

I like to think. To analyze. To predict. Even stuff that shouldn't bother a normal person bothers me. My wife has tried to help me stop thinking. I've asked her countless times how to let go.

I've tried to rationalize to myself to stop thinking about some things that shouldn't even be problems.

I don't know why I think too much. I just do.


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

[752] Health Update

Been a while since I posted. Not really in the mood to post anything also, so I'll just give a quick update on my health.

I'm hovering between 98 - 99 kilograms. I've gotten bored of walking and most of my walks now are really forced. I've decided to ditch the timer and interval jogging to change my workout.

Now I'm going to try to do one whole lap of walking, then jog the next lap until I can, then walk until I finish the lap. Then jog again at the start of the third lap.

I tried this method out once, where I jogged the start of the second lap. I stopped a little midway and started walking. Then when I got to the "uphill" portion I started jogging again until I finished the lap.

Next walk I will try the earlier method I had planned. Sadly it won't be anytime this week as I have other, more important duties that take precedence over my exercise. Also, the weather has been bad.

Good thing I've been able to curb my eating. I'm actually surprised I'm still below 100 kg despite the fact I've been eating a bit uncontrollably lately.

I'll be going back to oatmeal dinners again now that we've stocked up on some whole rolled oats.


Friday, August 25, 2017

[751] August

August is almost done and I still haven't done a blog post. So here I go.

Life's been going along great. I can't really be very negative since I can see a lot of good things happening not only in my personal life, but also including my family.

I don't want to get political here so I will end it as is.


Monday, July 31, 2017

[750] My Health

By now you all know I go walking / jogging one to three times a week. I've been doing this since early January and I have seen the benefits.

I've lost weight, my blood pressure is okay, and my pulse rate is hovering in the low 70s.

Does this mean I love to jog? Not really. I haven't even been able to do non-stop jogging. I'm at a 45-second jog and 30-second walk which I try to do fourteen times every time I go out.

It's a challenge. I had gotten used to doing the 30/30 jog/walk combo and I thought it was time to extend it. But I still feel I am forcing myself to go out.

And that's how it should be. In my case, I really doubt I will achieve anything if I don't force myself. And I really don't think going for walks / jogs will become second nature for me. I just have to always force myself to do these things. That's how I'm wired, I guess.

Don't get me wrong, though. There will be days when I am looking forward to my morning ritual. It's happening more often than before. And to be honest as my body adjusts to the longer active time and less rest time I feel that I will eventually need to increase the duration again.

Hell, I've even started to add some 20lbs kettlebell squats after my jog. And I've been trying to exercise my arms to get rid of my unsightly arm flab.

It's the food that's the problem. I honestly doubt I will be able to live a life eating healthy food. I live to eat, and exercising is one way I can take care of my body so I can continue to eat what I want.

I did notice I am eating less portions nowadays. But when I encounter good food I am less guilty of eating to the point of gluttony.


Sunday, July 09, 2017

[749] Birthday Wishlist 2017

I have a few "traditions" I do whenever my birthday is coming up. One is to get a haircut, and I am done with that. The other is to write down a wishlist of things I want. After the events that happened in early 2017 this is my wishlist.

  1. A healthy life. Like I mentioned before, I have lost weight. It was partially because I knew I needed to be able to stay healthy if I want to be able to provide for my family.
  2. A stable, strong income. Enough to pay for my daughter's education AND be able to save money WHILE helping out in the expenses at home. Right now I can only do the first two, barely. I would love to help out at home and I am very, very grateful that for now we are not wanting.
  3. Peace of mind. I think too much and my emotions still get the better of me most of the time. I just want peace.
I am not joking when I write those things. Now here is my materialistic wishlist.
  1. Honda BR-V. When I saw this car in person for the first time, I was blown away. While a Toyota Innova is bigger and a Toyota Avanza is cheaper, there is something about how the BR-V looks that draws me to it. This right now is THE family car I want for the Philippines.
  2. Two-bedroom condominium unit in Makati with two parking slots. My daughter is going to a big school in a few weeks and it would give me a lot of peace of mind if we lived a lot closer to her school. Traffic wouldn't be as much of a concern, and the house would be close enough that in case of emergency I can pick her up faster and bring her home faster. Also having a condo in Makati would put us closer to malls and hospitals. And groceries.
  3. A Subaru WRX or Toyota 86 / Subaru BRZ. My first option would be the WRX. Still has the capabilities of a sports car but it could seat five people. Perfect fun car. The BRZ/86 is the secondary option because that car is nice. But small.
That's it. I don't even want a PS4 or an electric guitar. And in all honesty I would rather have the first three things I wished for. If I had those three I believe I would have no problem achieving the next three.


Thursday, July 06, 2017

[748] Life Updates

Hello again!

I'm back after more than a month off. Believe me, I had no desire to blog. I guess this is my down year for blogging, and to be honest I don't think I may even reach the 14 posts that was my previous low in one year.

Good news is I have work now. It was unofficially six months of unemployment, job searching, and soul searching. I didn't even get to enjoy my unexpected vacation since I didn't want to go on a vacation at the time.

I did have two or three trips to the province to visit relatives. Aside from that I was usually at home waiting for a job interview or an exam.

I did manage to drop my weight from 105kg to 98kg right now. I started walking 3km at least three times a week in January and increased my "training" where now I'm doing interval trainings of 30-second jogs and 30-second walks 20 times.

Aside from that I guess all is good. It is another adjustment period with my new job but it is something I know I can do.


Thursday, May 25, 2017

[747] Before May Ends

I would just like to post that I am still alive and trying to recover from this shitstorm that I call 2017. I cannot wait for this year to get better.

And don't go telling me, "Oh it's all about your attitude. YOU are the one making 2017 suck." Comparing your problems with mine will always result in one winning and one losing. I see things this way and I try to find ways to cope.


Sunday, April 16, 2017

[746] Musings About Myself

Today marks the end of my really long, unplanned vacation. Tomorrow is a new beginning. Short term I have a future again. Medium term the outlook is also good.

Long term is still the biggest question mark. I am still unsure of the long-term future, and if I can be the provider I should be for my family. At least for the short-term things are looking good.

If you still don't understand my post, basically I'm starting work tomorrow. It is a freelance job for about a month. It's still work. Something I haven't done since basically the first week of January.

After that the good news is that I passed one of my entrance exams with a company. I just need to schedule my interview with them and pass that and I will have a steady source of income. Aside from that I am still waiting for the results of another exam I took for another company.

We shall see what happens. I am thankful for all the people who helped me during my down times, and all the people who helped me find employment. I was very happy and surprised that someone I worked with years ago also helped a lot during these times.

I just hope that this is the start of greater things for me in 2017.


Tuesday, April 04, 2017

[745] "Marchless"

It looks like I did not post a single thing for March.


Friday, February 24, 2017

[744] Wishlist

There were a lot of things I was planning on purchasing this new year. Unfortunately due to things that were beyond my control I lost the financial flexibility to do so. However once I'm back on my feet I may just buy some of the things I was planning on getting. Here they are in no particular order.

  1. A new laptop. I have been planning on getting one since last year, and thank goodness I haven't bought one yet. Since there are already some laptops getting the newest GT1080 video cards, or variants of that video card, I can wait until more laptop models come out with the latest video cards before I make my new decision. Hopefully the prices also drop before I decide to buy.
  2. Substance Designer and Substance Painter. This was the year I was supposed to try this out at work. We all know how that ended up. Okay, you may not know but I do. And since these two are pretty expensive I don't think I can afford both at the same time. But I am definitely getting these once I get a new laptop.
  3. New sneakers. I've been doing brisk walks at least three times a week and I have lost weight, but that's another story. However my walking shoe isn't really something I'd consider as a good walking shoe. I need a better pair of sneakers that I can not only use for walking but also for going out. My latest target is the Nike Metcon 2 Flywire.
That's it. And yes, it will cost a pretty penny. I would have bought these one at a time during the year but since my plans were changed, I guess I have to adapt and rise above it all.


Monday, February 06, 2017

[743] Introspection

I guess right now I am living in the "when the going gets tough, the tough get going" phase of my life. I have to say that I was totally unprepared for the trials I have been experiencing in my life since 2017 rolled around.

Sure, there are plenty of things to be thankful for. And if I shifted perspectives I'm sure I could find the positives in what I am currently going through.

I'm not like that right now, however. I have a hard time accepting the positives when I had so many great plans for 2017. So many plans brought to a sudden halt because of what happened last January 6, 2017.

And now as I am scrambling to find a new normal in my life, I find myself at times feeling very, very depressed.

I am not used to this, and I should never be used to this. I must strive and overcome.


Sunday, January 15, 2017

[742] New Year, Major Changes

Due to factors beyond my control my life was shaken in a major way last January 6, 2017. It was a bittersweet day. Bitter because of the earth-shattering news I got at work. Sweet because it was also my wedding anniversary.

I've kept quiet too long. I won't post too many details since I now know the value of self-censoring. Let's just say I got beaten to the punch. And now I'm scampering to find a new sense of normalcy in my life.

I'm actually surprised I am handling these changes quite well. I'd normally be a depressed and angry person by now. I am not as depressed nor as angry as I was before. Maybe because I am growing up.

Anyway I've decided to ditch the 3 posts a month quota on my blog. I will not force myself to write random ramblings just to fill my blog. I will write when I feel like it. Like right now.

Two things I really want to improve this year are my health and photography skills. I want to force myself to walk at least 3 km five times a week. As for photography, I really want to start taking photos again.