28 February 2008

Think Green. Act Green.

Are you green-minded?

Environmentally-conscious green, that is.
Yes? That's great!

Nope? Because it looks too much of a commitment? Nobody else to share your ideas with? Or you think it's for the rich people?

Well, here's your chance to become green-minded in a fun and group-hug way. Of course, the environment-friendly crowd will likewise find this a novel and great idea. Welcome to "Do the Green Thing", a non-profit website that makes nature and energy conservation look cool. And it works, too.

Here's how things get done: The Green Thing assigns a task for the members to do each month. The task for January, for example, is taking the stairs. If your office is just a couple of floors up, then why not take the stairs? Sounds easy and practical, eh? Plus, you get the benefit of exercise! But not only that. It also explains why the task is worth doing, what its benefits are to you and/or the environment. And then you can check it off as "done it" when you're done with the task. But that month is just the start of your green-mindedness. Continue working on it beyond that month and add-on other tasks, such as that for the current month. Soon these things will become second-nature to you, and is not as daunting as it seems.

Plus, The Green Thing also has a community going on. You can find and connect with friends who are likewise members. It's more fun doing things when you're with friends.

So do the Green Thing now and sign-up! And oh, let me know what name I can search you with so I can find you and we can form our Green Thing group! Or you can find me (the name's watson, and the photo is a cute guy with the Indiana Jones hat. hehehe) and add me up!

25 February 2008

Blog on!

What's more wonderful than being with your family on a weekend in Baguio? A four-day weekend, that's what! Well, technically I had to take the Friday off because we had some paperwork to do. And then Monday is a holiday. So it's a 4-day stay for me in Baguio. And as an added bonus, it's the Flower Festival weekend!

Today is the last day, and we're making the most of it by visiting the stalls set-up along Session Road. And here I am making a quick stop to the internet cafe for a quick update.

Speaking of updates, I am ever so excited because I found inspiration in the breakfast EB with some Berks members last week, which prompted some serious searching for nice templates and finally setting-up two more blogs which I have been planning on since last year! These are:

(1) MyKaleidoscopeWorld - a photo blog. Well... I haven't exactly been practicing and studying photography as of late due to work demands, but still... I love taking photos so I might as well revive my photo blog. Besides, this should be the easiest to update because all I have to do is upload a photo or two, insert a caption, and I'm done! I will be updating Kaleidoscope twice a week.

(2) Adobongblog - This food blog was in the drawing board for the longest time. I thought of the concept since way back 2007 Book Fair when I enjoyed reading the Adobo Book. I included the food blog as part of my new year goals to give it a boost. But after a full week of losing sleep, I have finally started this and the photo blog! whew! Things should start cooking up at the adobongblog. I will be updating it once or twice a week.

I might as well inform you of two other blogs I have...
(3) Baguio-Quezon - this was previously merged into my main blog but I soon discovered it wasn't working out for me. So I revived this and hopefully meet new bloggers from Baguio and Quezon province, and reconnect with old friends.

(4) Jo-Lo's blog - my son's blog which obviously, the proud daddy is updating!

I do hope you'll visit my other blogs as well. Thanks!

And speaking of Adobongblog, that makes 1 new year goal accomplished, and two others almost done!
(1) Monetizing my blog - I can use a little money, so currently I am selling ad space on my blogs. I have been wanting to try out PayPerPost and have registered since last year, but so far I haven't started it out yet. Perhaps one of these days.

(2) Pay-off my credit card debts- Yes! I have finally paid off my Citibank credit card bill! Yes! Lesson learned: don't start swiping if you don't have the cash for things you don't really need.

And those are my updates for today. I'm off to enjoy my last day of Panagbenga festivities!


Don't forget to join my 100,000 guest "contest"! Ends this coming Friday.

21 February 2008

The laptop made affordable

My wife wanted a laptop for her to use at the office for spreadsheets, word processing, and presentations. Aside from this and browsing, she doesn't really need anything else at all. So you would imagine that getting a laptop with the basic requirements will be easy as pie.

Unfortunately, that pie is quite expensive even in its most basic form. And we did not want to get a second-hand laptop either because we wanted something that comes with at least a 1-year warranty. We need at least 50,000 pesos to buy a decent laptop. And so she has been saving up for this piece of necessity.

Last December, there was a flurry of buying spree at our office for laptops. And they were personal purchases. When I checked out what the ruckus was all about, I was astounded to find this nice bit of news: you can now buy a laptop for 17,000 pesos! Whoa.

I immediately informed my wife about it and without second-thoughts she handed over the cash and I bought her laptop and I bought her a nice laptop bag to go with it (am I a nice guy or what? hahaha)

The laptop I'm talking about is the Asus Eee PC. Catchy name, isn't it? The laptop came in cutesy white last December so it looked like a small Macbook, but now you can also have black and other colors (but beware, the other colors don't come with a built-in webcam).

The Eee PC comes with the following specs:
7" display
Pre-packaged with Linux and OpenOffice (but is Windows XP compatible)
Ethernet connection
Wireless Internet
512MB memory (DDR2)
4GB Solid State Disk Drive
Stereo speakers and headphone
0.92kg weight

Now, the Eee PC also comes with a 1GB memory and 8GB Solid State Disk Drive model (I don't have the price of this yet)

What I like about the EeePC is its size. It's so easy to carry around! Plus it has wi-fi capability and webcam built-in. It also has 3 USB ports to plug in your other peripherals such as an external hard disk drive, or CD-ROM Drive.

What I don't like about it is its hard disk size. 4GB can be easily filled-up so what we did was we bought a 4GB memory card and inserted it into the built-in memory card slot. The OS stays in the hard disk, and the data into the memory card. Also, the monitor has a resolution of 800 x 480. They could have adjusted the monitor resolution to 800 x 600, a standard resolution size. What happens now is that when there are window prompts whose lower part goes beyond the bottom of the screen, you have to adjust the display to 800 x 600 so the screen will slide and you can click on the buttons. Or, you can click "esc" for cancel or click "enter" for ok. Well, ok, there are workarounds...

The keyboard is also nicely laid-out and you can type on it rather easily but I won't expect anybody to be writing novels and multi-page reports on it. I suggest getting a full-size USB keyboard for those tasks (but that would look sooo uncool).

But still, where can you get a laptop for 17,000 pesos! Overall, its usability makes it a worthy buy. If you need a laptop to do your office work on-the-go, or need internet access minus the small phone screens, the Eee PC packs in a lot of value.

This is not a paid advertisement.

The Eee PC beside the 15" Mac PowerBook I use at work. Pardon the mess :-).


Don't forget to join my 100,000th guest celebration "contest"! Details in the article prior to this.

18 February 2008

A healthy breakfast EB

Last week, I received an SMS from Doc Emer informing me of a breakfast EB in Makati. Well, I'm not exactly a morning and breakfast person but I said I will make extra effort to attend for the love of blogkadahan.

A day before Valentine's, I was rushing off for the EB venue, a bit late (well ok, it was more than 30 minutes) but I was glad they were still in the middle of breakfast when I arrived. After a few minutes, we were sipping coffee (or juice) and enjoying the morning company with topics ranging from Google pagerank to blog monetization. It was an enlightening and fun breakfast meeting overall. I wish meetings were all like that.

Thanks everyone for the company!


100,000 Hurrahs!
I was mildly surprised when I noticed last week that my visitor count was already near the 100,000 mark! Because of the breakfast meeting, I got newfound inspiration to further spice up my blogs and hopefully get some extra moolah from it (after all, who doesn't want extra budget to fund our little cappriccios in life?) And while removing buttons and links that lead to nowhere, I noticed my statcounter. Yipee! 100,000 visits in a little over three years. Wow. Has it been that long?

So, in looking for an excuse to celebrate (for after all, I haven't celebrated my blog's anniversary for three years), I have decided to celebrate 100,000 visits by giving a Baguio gift item to three lucky visitors. What those items are, I don't know yet... I'll be asking my wife to help me look around.

Joining is simple. Just write a comment to this post, let me know what you like most about this blog, and what your favorite article here is and why. So that there will be no bias, I will ask my wife to choose the top 3 winners. Deadline for commenting is Feb 23, or when my statcounter reaches the 100,000 mark, whichever comes later.

Thank you all for sharing your time and stories!

12 February 2008

Good Food at Good Earth

We found ourselves in Greenbelt 3 one lunchtime as we searched for a place to spend our gift certificates. Don't you just love freebies? After a few strolls we found ourselves in this nice restaurant called Good Earth.

While looking through the menu consisting of 300 - 500 peso items, the waitress handed over this buffet menu selection. The mechanics is rather simple. Order from this menu and you can try any of the items in the list and you pay 299 pesos per person. No leftovers, no take-out. Fair enough. Our stomachs decided for ourselves and we gave in to temptation.

We thought we'd be shortchanged with our buffet decision (there's always bound to be a catch with these promos) but lo and behold! We loved it!

We were able to reach stage 3 in our ordering level. After this level and with bottomless iced tea (not included, 75 each) and my hot tea (not included in buffet as well, 80 pesos), we declared the buffet menu a winner and we win at stage 3, complete!

Fish fillet with sweet and sour sauce, Joana's peborit
Beef with broccoli, Nick's and Kenneth's peborit
Crispy peking chicken
hot tea
Chicken with blackbean sauce, Pauline's peborit
Team A: Pauline and Joana

Team B: Nick and Kenneth
Our only gripe is that they use the most basic chopsticks. The dining experience would have been nicer with better utensils. Otherwise, the food is great and the waiters were very accommodating. Thank you, Good Earth, for the wonderful lunch!

Good Earth is located at the 2nd floor of Greenbelt 3.

08 February 2008

Cloverfield: a movie review

It is a rare occasion that I watch a movie without Googling the title and reading up on what critics have to say about it. Cloverfield is one such movie. I have seen the poster of the beheaded Statue of Liberty a couple of times as we pass by the mall, and wondered how it was related to the title. I haven't seen the trailer either. But yesterday, we got a chance to go home earlier than usual and so we had time to sneak in a movie before surrendering to the comfy confines of the pad.

Well, of the 4 movies currently showing, Cloverfield showed the most promise (based on the poster). Oh wait. A colleague said they watched it last weekend and they liked it. Hmmm... would you consider that a review?

Anyway, we rushed into the theater as it had already started and we missed a couple of reel minutes.

The movie is about a footage shot by a friend for a going-away party which turned to disaster because of trouble afoot which prompted the evacuation of Manhattan. First, there was a tremor which momentarily created a black-out. The news later revealed that an oil tanker capsized near the Statue of Liberty. Then another tremor shook the building. The next series of events depict what happened as they try to survive the unfolding crisis.

The movie reminded me of the Blair Witch Project. The story is told through the eyes of the video camera which faithfully recorded the group's story. The camera was found in an area designated as "Cloverfield Site US-447" (hence the title).

It also reminds me of War of the Planets and another movie which I would like you to guess if you have watched Cloverfield.

The film engages you to share in the suspense and the adventure. The feelings are real, making the scenario which is highly unlikely to be plausible. It was like watching something that did happen some time ago.

I like this movie and enjoyed it not because I'm sadistic, but because it was an emotional roller coaster. No boredom whatsoever, and makes you think and feel long after you have experienced the film. Watch it with friends and loved ones this weekend.

04 February 2008

Hwag maging dayuhan sa sariling Bayan

My Lakbayan grade is C-!

How much of the Philippines have you visited? Find out at Lakbayan!

Created by Eugene Villar.

Is a C- an ok grade? Hmmmm.

01 February 2008

It's a kaleidoscope world

My memory of kaleidoscopes is a comforting one. I had such a toy when I was a kid. I remember having one vividly because there was a time when we were in Jungle Town (this is a neighborhood in Baguio - nice name, huh?) and I got sick for a week or so. My Nanay or a relative would keep me company, but most of the time I was alone in bed. A kaleidoscope kept me company. It was such a simple toy and yet it entertained me immensely. I wondered how the beautiful images were rendered when the cylinder is turned.

The kaleidoscope of those days were adorned with gift-wrapping paper., and at the opposite end where light enters is a round, transparent piece of glass. When my kaleidoscope finally got worn out, I discovered the hidden wonder within. Three long strips of mirrors formed an equilateral triangle, and colorful bits of flat, hard plastic were reflected on these mirrors. So that's how it worked.

I have been looking for ages for a kaleidoscope to share with my kid. Last December, I finally found one. A DIY kaleidoscope from Toy Kingdom! I bought one and had it wrapped up as a gift for Jo-Lo and me.

During Christmas vacation, I assembled the piece. Instead of glass and mirror components (which can be dangerous), this one has highly-reflective, metallic strips and a plastic cover.

If I were to do a review of this particular product, I would say that assembly is not as easy as 1-2-3. The cardboard tube is one size too big to comfortable fit the plastic covering on both ends. That was the frustrating part. I ended up with having the shiny wrapping torn and warped out-of shape at the cylinder's ends because I had to force the plastic covers on both ends. I also had a difficult time with the three reflective strips. You have to carefully "force" the strip into the tube, ensuring that the strips wouldn't bend and create unwanted folds onto the surface.

But having finally assembled the piece, I took a peep and was transported back to my childhood. This kaleidoscope has a nifty feature: you can change the bits that form the patterns in the chamber. And this is included in the kit as well.
It's nice to know that aside from toys, there are now many wonderful gift items for kids that not only entertains but educates as well. Aside from the kaleidoscope, there are science kits, magic tricks, pattern-making and beadworks for the girls.

Visits to the toy shop just became more interesting.
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