Monday, March 30, 2009

Another Award For This Blog


I cant believe it! I got two awards in a row from my blogger friend Goddy of "A Friend Named Goddy". This latest award that I received was the "Uber Amazing Blog" award.

Thank you Goddy of this award. I wonder if this is your way of pushing and encouraging me further to work on my blog.

Uber (synonym for Super) Amazing Blog Award is a blog award given to sites that:
a) Inspire you
b) Make you smile and laugh
c) Or maybe give amazing information
d) A great read
e) Have amazing designs
f) And any other reasons you can think of that make them uber amazing

I would like to pass this award to 5 “Uber Amazing” blogs:
1. Kablogie of Kablogie.com
2. Ande of Simply.The.Best.Lucky.Loser
3. Jhosel of Just Jhosel
4. Dennis Dumaup of The Absurb Mind
5. Goddy Ramirez of The Lighter Side Of Life

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Earth Hour 2009




Let me do my share of showing my support to this global initiative, this year's Earth Hour.

Just for an hour, lets switch off electric lights and other appliances that uses electricity. This is a symbolic act and a good start of a practical habit. Earth Hour happens tonight, March 28, 2009 from 8:30pm until 9:30pm. This is already the third annual worldwide event where millions of homes and businesses and hundreds of major landmarks will go dark for one hour to show that energy conservation is important and to send this message to political leaders attending the United Nations Climate Change Conference in December 2009.
Quoting http://www.earthhour.org/, " This year, Earth Hour has been transformed into the world’s first global election, between Earth and global warming. For the first time in history, people of all ages, nationalities, race and background have the opportunity to use their light switch as their vote – Switching off your lights is a vote for Earth, or leaving them on is a vote for global warming. WWF are urging the world to VOTE EARTH and reach the target of 1 billion votes, which will be presented to world leaders at the Global Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen 2009. This meeting will determine official government policies to take action against global warming, which will replace the Kyoto Protocol. It is the chance for the people of the world to make their voice heard."

So remember, Earth Hour is at 8:30pm local time wherever you are on planet Earth, Saturday, March 28, 2009.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Spring Comes To Las Vegas









Southern Nevada, specifically the city of Las Vegas is one place in America where you can only experience one season for the whole year. Even during the seasonal changes one can only see that its always sunny therefore warmer temperatures in Las Vegas. Occasionally, there are snowfall during winter, thunderstorms on spring and monsoon rains during summer but generally this place is always dry or receive very little precipitaion throughout the year, to the fact that we are in the middle of a desert.

The only time where one can generally witness the changing of the season is when you visit the Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens inside the Bellagio Hotel & Casino. In here, one can admire the essence of every season recreated with exceptionally gorgeous plants, flowers and trees thoughtfully arranged to inspire full splendor. Specially designed lighting spotlights every flower to accentuate its best features. To ensure the Conservatory & Botanical Gardens maintains magnificence 365 days a year, 140 expert horticulturists theatrically arrange gazebos, bridges, ponds, and water features uniquely for each season. One can immerse himself in the beauty and splendor of the exhibits' ever changing scenes during the Holidays, Chinese New Year, Spring, Summer and Fall.

This Spring time the theme of the exhibit is "Gardens From Around The World" and its open to the public for free until May 16, 2009. So, walking through the huge venue you can see "Jardin a la Francoise" featuring different varieties of tulips, the "English Garden" complete with huge watering cans, a "Greenhouse", home to 35 species of butterflies, an "Italian Garden" with Igor Mitoraj sculpture and a "Japanese Garden" with a tea house. I was able to capture some images with my camera and hopefully I was able to give justice to the grandeur of this unrivaled attraction.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Fremont Street East District & The Neon Museum

My recent visit to Fremont Street to witness the St. Patrick's Day celebrations paved way for me to check on the Las Vegas Neon Museum exhibit and the other side of Fremont Street called the Fremont East District.

The Neon Museum is a non-profit organization in Las Vegas with a mission "to collect, preseve, study and exhibit neon signs and associated artifacts to inspire educational and cultural enrichment for diverse members of the Las Vegas' international community." There are now a few restored pieces on public display along adjacent streets and the south side of the Fremont street. Checkout this link to see what signs are now available for viewing.

Going to the east side of the Fremont is the newly opened Freemont East District. In late August 2007, the city of Las Vegas completed a $5.5 million streetscape effort for downtown’s new entertainment district, Fremont East. These streetscape improvements were made possible through a public-private partnership by the city of Las Vegas and Fremont East property owners. The Fremont East District sits adjacent to the popular tourist attraction called Fremont Street Experience, which was visited by 18.7 million people last year. New non-gaming clubs, bars and restaurants are now starting to put up their businesses in this area. One establishment which attracted my attention is the Dont Tell Mama Piano Bar. I have read some of its reviews from the day it opened its doors to the public and it seems a cool place to chill out. I will tell you all about it once I get the chance to visit this piano bar.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Celebrating St. Patrick's Day - Mar 17th



















































March 17th was St. Patrick's Day and its my first time to witness its fan fare and celebrations. I was off from work that day so I got the chance to check out how Las Vegas celebrate this Irish holiday. I went to the downtown area particularly the Freemont Street and found that a lot of people are indeed celebrating. St. Patrick's Day revelers are in everything green, from fancy hats, t-shirts, pants, dresses, shoes and even hair. All I can see is green, green everywhere. To top it all, most people were drinking some green stuff, I'm not sure what were these but I'm pretty sure these were alcoholic beverages. There were Irish bands playing Irish and Celtic music and people were dancing on the street. Beer are flowing everywhere as restaurants and bars from inside the casinos set-up stalls on the side streets selling booze.

So just what is this celebration called St. Patrick's Day? I went online to check some facts about this event and found the following:

Named for the patron saint of Ireland, March 17th is the day St. Patrick is believed to have died around 493 A.D. A missionary in the 5th century he is credited with converting Ireland to Christianity. Since then, the Irish have observed this day as a religious holiday. But Americans have added their own secular touch to the annual celebration with parades and a lot of fan fare.
The first St. Patrick's Day celebration in America took place in 1737 in Boston. The second took place in Philadelphia in 1780.

But why does America celebrate St. Patrick's Day? I'm not really sure but looking at some facts, here are maybe some of the reasons why:
-- More than 40 percent of U.S. Presidents had Irish ancestors.
-- 70 million people worldwide can claim Irish ancestry.
-- It has been said that there are more Americans of Irish decent living in the U.S. than Irishmen living in Ireland. Americans celebrate the day with such wild abandon that instead of participating in events at home, many people in Ireland turn on the TV and watch the parades!

There you go folks, I guess that answers the question.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Monday Blues Turned Disaster

Every first day of a workweek, you always feel something weird all day long. Mostly I feel tired on my Mondays which in my case is a Wednesday night. I work in the evenings starting at Wednesdays through Sundays. Most of the people would probably have an idea what I was talking about specifically those who are working in an office environment. This feeling of being low and down in the first day of work usually would disappear on the second day and gradually be replaced with increased excitement and enthusiasm at work toward the end of the week. The same cycle would go on every time a new week would begin.

Yesterday was my Monday. I had slept the night before but during the daytime, I went to the gym, did some errands and end up of having only 3 hours of sleep before actually going to work last night. As expected, I felt the monday blues again. Towards the middle of my shift, while working on our Robot-Rx, the machine started to become erratic and eventually it stopped working. I called the service technicians for help and after some calibrations the problem was not resolved. Eventually I called some other headcount to help me do the manual pick for all five (5) floors.Since it was a manual thing to do, the task became so tedious and took more time to finish. It turned out to be a disaster. I was never able to take a break to eat my dinner. Even how much effort we exerted to be able to finish everything before the 7:00am deadline, we only finished everything by 8:30am.

I felt so tired when I was on my way home. I took a warm shower, eat a very light meal as my breakfast, and now after posting this entry would head for bed to catch up on lost sleep.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Team Victory Recaptured

Yesterday, the 8th of March was the 7th Game for the Kaba-Maasin basketball team. Once again they won that game, their 5th win out of 7 games so far for the Las Vegas Asian Basketball League. If they continue their winning streak, they probably be included in the final 4 playoffs and maybe, just maybe we can see them in the championships.

As usual I went to see the games to be able to capture their moments on my camera and posted them in our official website, Kaba-Maasin Online. This time around, aside from my usual Nikon D60 DSLR, I brought with me my old Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P92. Its a point and shoot digital camera with a capability to take unlimited mpeg videos, of course depending on the capacity of the memory stick. I was able to capture some action from the games and tried to edit them on some kind of video editing software that comes with the camera when I purchased it. After some trial and error using the editing software, I was able to reduce the background noise due to shouting and cheering of the crowd and superimposed an audio file which I think recaptures the mood of excitement of the games. You might notice some timing and mixing issues but I guess I'm on the learning process.

Here it is.....

video

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The "First Friday" - Revisited

In my previous blog postings, I have mentioned about the "First Friday", an arts festival event held here in Las Vegas every first friday of the month. For the month of March, it was held last March 6th at the Las Vegas Arts District.


This was my third attendance to this event with my good friend Rafael, who also loves anything artsy. Although my attendance was kept short because I have to leave early for work, we walk through the whole open air venue to check on new things. I have noticed that there were video projections being installed showing locally made music videos of local artists and locally produced short films. There were also new bands performing on three venues as jazz, pop/rock and rock music filled the cool night air. New restaurants put up stalls to let visitors try their menu offerings. There is always something for each and every visitor to peruse and appreciate.


To learn more about First Friday, check this site online: http://www.firstfriday-lasvegas.org/


I found a video from YouTube taken from the First Friday January 2009. Watching this would probably provide an idea what this event is all about.


video

Monday, March 2, 2009

Kaba-Maasin Basketball Team







The association that I belong to and been active with here in Las Vegas is "Kaba-Maasin Las Vegas". Kaba-Maasin formed a basketball team and joined the Las Vegas Asian basketball League. So far the team already played 6 times and out that won 4 times. Not bad for a new league participant. The games were held at a local high school gym every Sunday evening. Complete with uniform jerseys, the team is wholly supported by the members of Kaba-Maasin, all coming from our native hometown of Maasin City, Philippines.

In my last entry, I have mentioned that our former president just passed away and we all attended his funeral service. After a day of mourning, the Kaba boys were all geared up to go back to the gym and dedicate last Sunday's (Mar 01) game to the late Alan. What was so special about that game was that an Alan-incarnate played with the team in the person of his grandson, Jonathan. The youngest among the players and the quickest, Jonathan was able to cope up with the team and had a very good performance throughout the game. He wore the jersey of his granddad complete with Alan's name embroidered on the back. The team ended up winning the game, its 4th win for the season.

GO TEAM!!!!

For more pictures, visit the Kaba-Maasin Online at http://www.kabamaasin.homestead.com/



Sunday, March 1, 2009

My Own Tribute to Alan


A family friend and a fellow countryman recently passed away this week. His life was claimed by a hideous disease of pancreatic cancer. If I remember correctly, Alan battled this sickness for a year and two months to be exact, based on its first diagnosis.

In his happy and healthier days, Alan was quite a personality. A very proud and aggressive person he has the knack of getting his way on whatever he wants specially for his family and friends. He has such a magnetic persona that those who are close to him is at the same time loyal to him. A talented person, he loves to sing and dance. A grandfather, a father, a brother, a husband and a lover, that's what Alan was to his family and friends.

Yes, just like you and me, Alan is far from perfect. He also has his flaws and shortcomings but when a person leaves us permanently to face his Creator, isn't it proper to think of all things good about that person to remember him by? Indeed Alan have touched the lives of all the people he met and befriended as proven by the filled up chapel during his funeral services.

Likewise, Alan have touched my life in a certain way. Back in our hometown of Maasin in the Philippines, I only knew Alan because of his influential family. We were never close at that time. He knew my family since our families were also connected by bloodline but that was it. He left the Philippines long time ago that I cannot remember anymore, but I met him again when I joined my parents here in Las Vegas last November of 2000. There were already several friends from Maasin that were living here in Las Vegas. I never experienced homesickness when I moved here because of these friends. As a natural leader, he founded the Kaba-Maasin, an association of men and women from Maasin who are now living here in Las Vegas, with him as the president. With Alan's encouragement, I was able to construct a website exclusively for Kaba-Maasin and I called it simply as "Kaba-Maasin Online". The association's original purpose was to celebrate the Maasin fiesta every year here in Las Vegas during the month of August complete with novena prayers to the town's Patron Saint, Our Lady of the Assumption. During these activities, Alan trusted me to get involved with the conception of productions and programs. Talented as he is, Alan knows the intricacies of coming up a good show and I owe it to him to have trusted me to handle all the messy work. Spearheading the group, he came up with a project that we implemented last 2004 in Maasin in time for its fiesta celebrations. We called it "Pamistang Gasa Para Sa Pamilya" its a feeding and gift-giving project for some indigent families of Maasin. The first time we did it was a huge success that he insisted to do it again if possible on a yearly basis. Indeed we did the feeding and gift-giving project again last August 2008. I just hope that with Alan gone, our new president would think of continuing this charitable project in the years to come.

I can go on and on, talking and reminiscing the days when Alan was with us partying, dancing and karaoke singing almost every weekend, not to mention the drinking sessions. I would bet that Alan would never allow us to shed a tear on his passing but celebrate his life, our lives together instead. I dont want to remember Alan during his last few days with us, I want to remember him when he was still full of life.

Farewell Alan, you will be greatly missed.