Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year, New Hope

Another year we have lived and gone and another year come. It's just like starting to read a book, the first chapter is the first day of the new year and you still can't know what will happen next unless you start reading from the first page up to the end.

There were a lot of things happening in the past year, some were nice and uplifting and some were not so nice, even devastating. Some relationships were made and some were broken. The only comforting is that there were a lot of things that remained favorable, such as the love of our family and true best friends.

We come to meet and embrace the New Year full of hopes and aspirations and with God's guidance we all can get though life's many trials that comes our way.

Here's wishing one and all the best this New Year 2012 can bring. Hoping it will be much better and brighter.


Monday, December 26, 2011

Cold Winter Mornings

My favorite season of the year is the winter. Mainly because I came from a tropical country where most of the time it is hot and muggy, I always long for cold weather. Living in a desert can bring you extreme temperatures: extreme heat during the peak of summer and extremely biting cold on winters. The only consolation is we normally don't have snow in the desert. For 11 years living in Las Vegas, I only remembered a couple of times that we had snow in the valley.

Cold mornings make me feel lazy and good. It is always the best way to curl up under the bed sheets making me warm and easily doze off to dreamland. I remember similar scenario back in my country. We only have 2 seasons there: the dry season and the wet season. During the wet or rainy season, doing nothing but just staying on my bed with sheets and pillows all over me while listening to the pitter, putter of the raindrops hitting the roof was my favorite thing to do. How I wish I could do that again soon.

Nowadays, since I'm here in the middle of an American desert, doing nothing on a cold morning but just stay in bed is one of my favorite things to do. Well, let me add one more thing: staying in bed on a cold morning and tinkering on my netbook is one of my favorite things to do.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

My Usual Christmas

I can no longer count the number of Christmases I spent in my work place. Since my shift changed from morning shift to night shift, I no longer spend Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve with my friends and family.

This year is no exemption. Although Christmas day and New Year's day falls on Sundays which is my off day but I guess the highlight of the celebration is more on the evening when the clock strikes midnight. As usual, I'll be working in the hospital trying to save lives while the rest of the world is partying. Well, its not really that, I missed Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve with my family and friends. I actually missed spending Christmas in the Philippines with all my family and friends.
Someday, soon this will happen. I can just imagine how fun it would be specially if all my relatives could come home and have a huge get-together party, waiting for the clock to strike midnight.

Even if I'm away from my family, except my parents who are with me here in America, my fervent wish is for them to have the best Christmas year after year.

Monday, December 5, 2011

My Michael Jackson Experience

I grew up with Michael Jackson,the King of Pop. I've learned about him when he was still a little boy singing with his brothers during his Jackson 5 days. My favorite song from him was Ben. I lost track of him after that since I was still in the Philippines and we can only hear from him when he had a hit song that was becoming popular in the radio. The next time I heard from him, he was already grown up during his Thriller days. He was very popular already and deep in me I wanted to see him in person. He was always in the news and that was also the time when his physical changes took place. Whenever he had some special tv shows, I wouldnt miss to see it. I had danced with his music and me and my friends thought we were the coolest group since we get to dance an MJ song. My desire to watch him perform live was still growing inside me and I was dreaming to watch his planned "This Is It" concert until that dreadful day when he passed away. When the documentary movie of "This Is It" came out, I was one of probably millions who watched the movie in 3D. I also owned a copy of the said documentary film in BluRay disc.

Last year, in 2010, the hope of experiencing Michael Jackson came alive again by the news of a Cirque Du Soliel production of Michael Jackson's The Immortal World Tour. And it happened here in Las Vegas. Last Dec 3, 2011 I finally got the taste of a Michael Jackson experience even if it was half-baked. Half-baked because MJ is already gone and it was a Cirque Du Soliel show as a tribute to him and his songs. This was a touring company and they came from California before coming here in Las Vegas for the whole month of December.

There are at least 5 Cirque Du Soliel shows here in Las Vegas and I almost saw all of them but in fairness, the touring company was able to come up with a very good show at par with their resident counterparts. As expected from a Cirque production, there were a lot of acrobatic routines. There were pole dancers, gymnasts, dancers and live singers as well. They were able to give justice to every Michael Jackson song. The show was not overwhelmed by just acrobatic routines alone, there were also an equal mix of dancing. Since this is a touring company, they could not fully avail of the automated set changes like their resident sister companies are enjoying here in Las Vegas. The producers were brilliant enough to use portable sets in which the performers could push in and out from the stage. The clever use of light effects including film projections as well as stage pyrotechnics were prominent in the production. Images of Michael were almost always in every scene through the use of film projections. The show will never be a Michael Jackson show without the magic of his music. The production was able to come up with a good list of MJ's music. Live singers and musicians cleverly performed with original Michael Jackson recordings to come up with unique mixes. I really have to download the original soundtrack of the show. The only bad thing I observed from the whole production was that, sometimes there were a lot going on the stage and it was hard for me to capture everything at one time in my line of vision. Maybe this might be caused by my actual seating location from the stage. It may have helped if I was sitting directly in front of the stage, thereby the backdrop videos can blend well with the performers on the stage. As what I have said earlier, the show was very good, cleverly performed given their limited resources in terms of stage set changes.

This was the next best thing that I could have to experience the Michael Jackson magic and his genius. I think the whole production have two goals in coming up with this show: to showcase their Love to Michael Jackson and Respect of his talent and legacy. A fitting tribute indeed to the King of Pop. I'm pretty sure that MJ was with his fans in spirit that evening.

Favorite Moment: I actually have three; Human nature - breathtaking, Smooth Criminal - love the dancing and Thriller - dancing as well as the costumes.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Toxicity In The Work Place

Whenever you're working on a particular task for quite sometime, you tend to get used to it and everytime you do the work, it becomes second nature to you. This is what I realized in my job recently. I've been doing this job for almost 6 to 7 years now and I became comfortable with it. I became so efficient in doing the work involved that I can't imagine myself doing something else. It became one of my life's daily routines.

Recently, the company acquired a new system to replace the system that I was working on for some time. I know that any implementation of a new system is for the betterment towards the company's goals and objectives. It should improve the way we do things at work. But, I guess it is human nature to resist any changes specially if the old system is working fine. There is always that lingering quote "Why fix it when it ain't broken." You really have to undergo a paradigm shift and come to terms with the changes given the fact that these changes will bring about improvement and efficiency of the current job you are working.

During the actual implementation, I had difficulty in adjusting my time with the work load. It seemed we are always busy and non-stop work throughout the whole shift. On my first week, I even skipped my breaktime just to finish everything. It is not only me, the other shift have to adjust with the new process also therefore it affects everyone in our department. After two weeks of this new process, I can see a light at the end of the tunnel. The survival instinct in me kicked in and I'm finding my own way of getting through my work more efficiently and on time.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Feeling the Pain: I’m Human After All

"At least you have experienced pain, you're indeed human." I can't forget this line since it was the first time that it was addressed to me. I got it from my friend who made a comment on my Facebook page.

Even if I don't have the whitest and picture-perfect set of teeth, I can pride myself to declare that I didn't have or experienced the pain of having a toothache. Aside from the disappearance of all my temporary teeth in childhood, I never had any problems related to any of my teeth. I can still remember what the dentists said in my few times of visiting the clinic when I was still in the Philippines, that I have a good set of teeth and I have to take care of them.

About two months ago, I had one of my tooth chipped off. It was kind of annoying since my tongue could feel something sharp on that tooth. I decided to pay my dentist a visit. Since I arrived here in America, this will be my first time to see a dentist and use my dental insurance, a benefit from my job. On my first visit, x-rays were taken on my teeth, the dentist focused on my chipped tooth and was concerned that the chip actually exposed a part of the nerve so he frequently asked me if I feel any pain or pressure on the tooth every time he pressed on it. I did not feel anything so we agreed on the things to be done with my teeth although he made a note that there is a possibility of a root canal if that chipped tooth will hurt. On my second visit again he asked me if that chipped tooth is hurting and proceeded to set me up for a temporary crown. After that second visit, everything was fine and I was looking forward for my next appointment so that the permanent crown will be put on. It felt I had a new tooth already just with the temporary crown. Four days after that visit, I felt a little pressure on the tooth with the temporary crown. It suddenly became sensitive to hot and cold food or drinks. I just ignored it at first until the following day, the pain became so intense. The throbbing pain would radiate up to my temple and to my head. Unfortunately it was a Saturday and the dental clinic was closed so I decided to hang in there and try to live through the pain for the next two days. I was cautious to take any analgesic or pain reliever medications because of my kidney condition so I just took 200mg Ibuprofen only when the pain became unbearable.

This is my first time to suffer a toothache in 50 years so out of nowhere or maybe just feeling celebrity-ish, I actually posted my condition in my Twitter and Facebook account. Of course, my countless "fans" (LOL) were concerned and made comments on my post. One gave me a tip to just melt an ice cube in my mouth to numb the affected area. I followed the tip and it helped a lot, but one comment stroke a chord to me, "at least naexperience mo na kuya hehe.., tao kana haha.., joke.. ;)ingats" Wow! What were they thinking of me? Superman? Unbreakable? Maybe the feeling of pain is God's reminder to us that we are human after all, and I like that realization.

I already went to my dentist for an emergency appointment. He decided to have the tooth uprooted by January next year and replace or transplant it with a new one. To make me feel comfortable up to that time, he literally "killed" the nerve of that affected tooth and replaced back the temporary crown. He gave me a pain medication to manage whenever pain occurs and some antibiotic since he expected the affected tooth to swell so as to prevent infection.

As of this writing, I'm feeling quite well already, no pain although I still feel a little pressure on the affected tooth whenever I close together my teeth. A little pain is sometimes felt but it is more manageable since it no longer radiate up to my head. I just hope and pray that I will not experience this kind of pain again.

Sunday, September 4, 2011


It's been a month since my brother arrived here in Las Vegas for a vacation and visit. Although my brother's own family were not able to come with him because of his son's school commitments, it was still a memorable time for the family. The whole time that he stayed with us was so enriching with lots of stories and experiences being shared.
The highlight of his visit was attending the Maasin Fiesta celebrations in Northern California. We spent a total of 10 days for that trip. He was also able to spend time with my mom to celebrate her 80Th birthday. Going to the state of Arizona for two days added more adventure to his vacation here.
I was the one planning the road trips even before he arrived. I wanted his time here in the USA to be a memorable one, a huge contrast to the last time when he was here two years ago. We were able to visit a lot of beautiful places that one can only imagine upon reading travel books and magazines. I hope I successfully attained my goal of making his whole stay with us as memorable and enjoyable as can be.
As of this writing, my brother is already in-transit to the Philippines on board Philippine Airlines. Bon voyage my brother, we all miss you. Your room in our house suddenly becomes empty. I know my mom & dad were sad upon seeing him go but there were no tears because they can see that my brother have been enjoying his stay and that he was in his best condition health wise.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Revisiting Grand Canyon & Sedona

Earlier this week during my days off my family embarked on another road trip. This time, we went to the state of Arizona specifically the south rim of the Grand Canyon and Sedona. I've been to these places before but my parents and my brother wanted to see these places. Initially I planned to go to the west rim of the Grand Canyon just to experience the Skywalk, a fiberglass bridge overlooking the canyon but I have heard from some friends that they did not recommend this site; instead they suggested me to visit either the north rim or the south rim. We decided then to return to the south rim and I booked the same hotel where I stayed before.

Armed with a GPS, driving to the Grand Canyon was without problems. It took us about 5 hours to arrive to our hotel and it was still about 1pm. We had our late lunch and then we had our guided tour around the village and within the south rim of the canyon. The highlight of the tour was watching the sunset. It was a spectacular to see since the canyon walls changes colors with the setting sun. There was not much cloud cover that afternoon so it was clear to watch the sun hiding into the horizon.

The following day, we had our breakfast and then we embarked into our next destination, Sedona. As we were near the valley, we passed through a lot of winding roads with cliffs on the side but beyond this was the spectacular view of the red rock canyon with different colossal formations. We had our lunch and took pictures of the surrounding canyon valley. We ended up in the Holy Cross Chapel on top of a canyon rock, overlooking much of the city. Both my parents and my brother agreed that they liked Sedona more than the Grand Canyon mainly because of their personal perspective. In Grand Canyon, you will be impressed with how massive the whole area is and how deep the canyon below because we were actually on top of the canyon walls. In Sedona, aside from the different kind of rock formation, one can appreciate how high the canyon were and how huge the rock formations because we're actually at the bottom of the canyon walls.

Driving about 4 hours back to Las Vegas completed our road trip. I'm glad that my family particularly my brother enjoyed the trip. Next thing to do is to work with the pictures, post them online and have them printed for safekeeping. I'm planning to make a picture book to cover the whole time of my brother's visit here in America.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Last Leg - Going Home

The last leg of our road trip was our drive back to Las Vegas from Lake Tahoe. It took us a total of 10hrs straight drive with some stops to eat, rest or toilet break. I only relied on my mobile phone's GPS application since my old GPS bugged down on our way to San Francisco. To make sure and for added directions support, I printed out the driving directions from Google maps and my dad had with him his California - Nevada official map handy.
As we drove along, we noticed that the GPS guided us to a quite longer route, so we tried to divert to another route based on my dad's map but we missed one turn to bring us to the eastern direction towards the state of Nevada. Fortunately there were other alternate routes to link us to the US 95 South freeway. Once we hit this freeway, I tend to relax since this was just a matter of following this highway all through Las Vegas. One thing bad though, part of the highway after the town of Tonopah was being worked on and all motorists on both directions were using only one lane. So we took turns to pass that part of the highway which took us an additional half hour delay. We enjoyed the scenery along the way and we noticed the difference between the landscapes of California and Nevada. It was already dark when we reached Las Vegas and I think it was about 8pm when we reached home.
I am thankful to God for keeping us safe on all the drives we took for this road trip, my car for not bugging down on me and doing a very good job. Although my GPS failed on me, I guess we were still lucky since there were no major hitches along the way and it just added more thrill factor to the adventure.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Falling In Love with Lake Tahoe

While I was still planning this week-long California road trip, I didnt include Lake Tahoe in our itinerary. It was my mom who wanted to see this famous lake. She fell in love with it when we tried the Soaring ride at the California Adventure few years ago. She was dreaming to visit this place. While searching to book a hotel in Lake Tahoe, I became interested to visit this place as well mainly because of the pictures that I saw online. We decided therefore to stay for 2 nights in South Lake Tahoe after our 3-day sojourn in Folsom, California.
It took us about 2 hours drive from Folsom to our hotel in South Lake Tahoe. I fell in love immediately with its weather. The sun was shinning brightly but the wind breeze was chilly....very different from Las Vegas. We arrived around noon and after checking into our hotel, we went to Emerald Bay on the south-west part of the lake. Emerald Bay was recognized as a National Natural Landmark in 1969. It contains the only island in Lake Tahoe, the Fannette Island. The view of the bay is the most photographed view in Lake Tahoe. When we went back to our hotel by the end of the day, we went to the backside of our hotel for some view of the lake from the beach. Our hotel was located next to a marina so we had a short walk on the marina's wharf.
On our second day we went up to the top of the world. We took a cable car ride up to Heavenly Mountain overlooking the lake. The view was spectacular on the observation deck on top of the mountain. The Heavenly Mountain Resort offered summer activities during this time but it is a well-known ski resort during winter.
After two days in Lake Tahoe, I fell in love with it. This is now my official retreat place where I could stay and relax close to nature and away from the rigors of life's daily routine.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Roadtrip - Third Leg

Our next destination after San Francisco was Folsom, California to attend the Maasin Fiesta hosted by the Maasinhons in Northern California. It was their first major celebration but actually it was their fourth time to celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of the Assumption, the Patroness of Maasin City together as a group.
It took us about 4 hours from San Francisco to Folsom. Halfway to Folsom, we stopped by at a friend's house, also a fellow Maasinhon and had lunch with his family. At Folsom, we were able to attend the last Novena prayers for our Patroness.
The following day was the fiesta celebration itself. There was a Holy Mass before the actual party. We have met a lot of old friends and acquaintances. Most of them actually knew my family specially my parents and my brother since they were colleagues at one point in the hospital where they worked. There were lots of reminicsing of old times, laughter, food and of course a Filipino party will not be complete without the dancing.
A continuation of the celebrations which we commonly called "binuwagan" was held the following day in a park in Folsom. It was actually a family day for everyone. We had plenty of food and drinks and everyone participated in some parlor games. Badminton and volleyball games were played by the kids and the final activity of the day was the First Tennis Tournament of Maasinhons.
I was glad that we were able to attend the fiesta celebrations in Folsom. My brother was able to get in touch once again with his former colleagues and my mom and dad were able to meet once again their old friends when they were still in the Philippines. What I love about these group is that they were within the same age group and all of them worked hard with each other to be able to come up with a very successful fiesta celebrations.
I would like to thank the Maasinhons in this part of the California State for the warm reception they have given to us. They made us feel that we were also part of their group even if we were just visiting from the Las Vegas' Kaba-Maasin group. More power to you guys and more success in your future fiesta celebrations.

Friday, August 12, 2011

A Day in San Francisco

I had a lot of plans to tour around the beautiful city of San Francisco but I have to consider the physical condition of my parents and my brother who were travelling with me. As much as I wanted to take the famous 49-mile scenic drive to cover much of the city but this would take some time. The walking tour was also out of consideration because of the obvious reason that my mom could not handle too much long walks anymore. Armed with my phone's GPS, we ventured to Lombard Street and took the most crooked road in the world downhill. My phone's GPS had some difficulty in getting us to the Fisherman's Wharf but fortunately someone lead us to that area. We spent the whole afternoon in Pier 39. We took the Bay Cruise which took us under the Golden Gate Bridge, closing on the Alcatraz Island and then towards the Bay Bridge before heading back to Pier 39. We also had our seafood dinner at Pier 39. We then proceeded to a viewing point near the beginning of the Golden Gate Bridge to take pictures of this famous massive structure. I wanted to stay longer and wait for the darkness to be able to take pictures of the bridge lighted up. Unfotunately, the bridge was engulfed with thick fog at dusk and it was already bitingly cold and windy. We decided to head back to our hotel instead.

Roadtrip - The Second Leg

Our second leg of the roadtrip started from Long Beach to San Francisco. We were planning to have several stops along the way to get some pictures & to get some rest. Our first stop was at Solvang, a very nice Danish-style city. The city is home to many bakeries, restaurants and merchants offering a taste of Denmark in California. We stopped by at the park near the Old Sta. Ines Mission church and had some light lunch.
After Solvang, we proceeded to San Luis Obispo to visit the Old Mission church there. San Luis Obispo is located between Los Angeles and San Jose in the Central Coast and is one of California's oldest communities.
From San Luis Obispo, we headed further north towards Carmel-By-The-Sea but this time we were driving along California Highway 1. It is a state highway that runs along much of the Pacific coast of the U.S. state of California. It is famous for running along some of the most beautiful coastlines in the world, leading to its designation as an All-American Road. It was almost dark when we reached Carmel-By-The Sea. Carmel is situated on the Monterey Peninsula, the town is known for its natural scenery and rich artistic history. Actor Clint Eastwood was the Mayor for one term from 1986 to 1988. We were able to get some pictures on their gorgeous white sand beach. This was also the point that my GPS bugged down on me. Fortunately my mobile phone's GPS worked fine and guided us to our final destination in San Francisco.
Since it was dark already, and my GPS was not working, we decided to proceed to San Francisco and skip a visit to Fisherman's Wharf in Monterey. Guided with a map and my mobile phone's GPS, we reach our hotel near the San Francisco International Airport at around 11pm. We were on the road for a total of 12hrs, including the several stops along the way. My highlight of the whole leg of this trip was driving along the Pacific Coastline along Hwy 1. The sights were beautiful coupled with the danger in driving along a two-way lane of foggy and winding road.

Monday, August 8, 2011

First Leg of Roadtrip

My brother arrived here in Las Vegas last July 31 from the Philippines. He will spend the whole month of August with us. Since his stay is quite limited, we planned a roadtrip adventure for the whole family starting from Southern California towards North California then proceed to Lake Tahoe and Reno in Nevada and then back here in Las Vegas. We are trying to fit the whole trip to about 10 days.
Our first leg of the roadtrip is going to Long Beach to visit my mom's causins. It took us about 4 hrs drive in going to Long Beach from Las Vegas and fortunately the traffic was not really heavy along the freeway since it was a Sunday. We arrived in our aunt's house around 2pm. Bonding with the family was quite heart warming. What was good in Long Beach was their chilly weather in the evenings and mornings, way different in Las Vegas. We will be staying for two days here in Long Beach relaxing and sightseeing. We will proceed with our next leg of this trip early Tuesday morning towards San Francisco via Hway 1. Driving through Highway 1 along the California Pacific coast will be the most picturesque drive that you'll experience. The downside though is that this will be the longest drive of the trip.
Will update more on our trip in the coming post.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Getting Ready

It's been since my last blog update here, since July 4th to be exact. There's not much to talk about my life for now except that I am spending more time on Twitter and Facebook than writing on my blog. I hope my blog provider will not delete me from their membership.

What makes me more excited nowadays is the upcoming trip of my brother back here in the USA. This coming July 31, he will be coming over from the Philippines for a visit. It was a good timing for him since we were planning for a summer roadtrip for about 10 full days. Our route will include Palm Beach, San Fransisco, Sacramento, Lake Tahoe and Reno. This is a good time for my brother to see America on the road. On our way to San Fransisco, I am planning to drive along Highway One which has the most interesting and beautiful view of the Pacific coastline but this is also the longest route from Los Angeles to San Fransisco.

I have not completed all the preparations yet although our hotels were all booked already except the hotel in Reno. The Reno itenerary was added on the last minute since my mom wanted to see Lake Tahoe and since we still have a few days to spare, I agreed to include Reno as our last point of destination before coming back to Las Vegas. I have my appointment with my car dealer tomorrow to make Mr. Connor MacLeod (that's what I call my Toyota Highlander based on the movie and TV series Highlander)fit for his longest roadtrip so far. Next is to finalize the details on what to do in each destination we go. My camera though is always ready for action. Hmmmm...have to focus on what to wear....wait how about the weather???

Will post more details on the roadtrip as well as pictures...soon.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Drenched on 4th of July Weekend

Last July 3rd was our opportunity to attend American Independence Day activities at Lake Las Vegas Resort at the city of Henderson, Nevada. It was a Sunday and me and my dad were off from work. Although I was lacking of sleep since I worked the previous evening, I decided to go to the venue early so that we could secure a spot for parking and a good spot to view the performances on Las Vegas' only floating stage. This would also be my big opportunity to take pictures during the fireworks display which they said would start about 9:00PM. Its a picnic day for the family and the admission was free to the public. We packed some snack items and a lot of drinks in a portable ice chest. We braved the heat at around 4:00PM and we got a good spot to spread our blanket where we can sit and view the activities. Unfortunately huge rain clouds formed overhead and I got a text message from my friend that it was already raining in the city of Las Vegas. Later on an announcement came out that it was already raining hard in Henderson. The people booed, stood up and start dancing to ignore the possibility of rain. We were anticipating a concert by the Henderson Philharmonic Orchestra and then followed by the fireworks display later that evening. At around 7:00PM, big rain drops start falling on us, the DJ blasted on the volume of the music and people started dancing under the rain. I think Mother Nature didn't like the defiance so she poured more rain on us. At first people just used their blankets to cover themselves from the rain but lightning came in succession that most of the people including us were running to take refuge. We were all drenched by the rain but we still managed to have fun. I think the rain was welcomed by the people because it was a brief break from the summer heat, we are talking triple digits in temperatures here. Small kids were just playing and running around in the rain. Around 8:00PM, the rain was still pouring hard on us that we decided to give up and just go home. There went my photo shoot opportunity.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Bonding with my Dad

Last week, I've been looking for a place to dine with my parents for the coming Father's Day. Since I already brought them to some nice buffet restaurants before, I was juggling the idea of bringing them to a seafood restaurant. In Las Vegas, there are a lot of these restaurants to choose from but I don't want to bring them to a high-end formal dining places where you are just forced to be satisfied just because the place is quite expensive. After some research and soliciting opinions from my co-workers, I decided to end-up in a seafood buffet restaurant. I don't want to bring them again to my own favorite Japanese/seafood buffet because we've been there numerous times. I chose the newly renovated and re-opened Village Seafood Buffet at the Rio Hotel & Casino. I've been in this place years back and since the price range is on the upper end, which is understandable because seafood is quite expensive in this city, I did not make myself a regular customer. I thought it was the right time to visit this place again with my parents. On Father's Day itself, I checked online to see what time the restaurant opens. They are not serving breakfast or brunch, of course who would eat crab legs for breakfast? Since they are offering only dinner, we went there around 4pm. Yes, dinner at buffet restaurants actually starts at 3pm. Indeed I was not disappointed. The place had improved in terms of its ambiance. My folks were fascinated by the variety of seafood both raw and cooked on the buffet table. I'm glad that my parents enjoyed their time in this restaurant.

I'm Not Perfect

The first person that I looked up to as a hero in my life is my own father. He is always there for me and my younger brother. The first time I ever stepped into school, that was in my kindergarten, up to my high school days, he was always there supporting us. Every morning he was always the one to bring us to school and by the end of the day he was always the one to pick us up for home. I always relied on him on my school projects and as my private tutor. When I reached high school, he refrained himself from being too visible with me but still he was a huge influence. College was something new for me since I went to school away from my hometown. Thanks to my father, he was there to guide me through in order for me to survive the first few days in a new place. When I was done with college, it was time for me to find a job. While waiting for the results of my board exams, he offered me a temporary job in the same office where he worked. After the positive results of the board exams, I moved back to Cebu City and started applying for a job. Staying in a city away from my hometown and family taught me the value of independence but even then, my dad was always there when problems came up. Eventually both my parents moved to America in the hopes of bringing me and my brother there. Unfortunately I was the only one who was able to join them since my brother chose not to move to the USA but got married and started a family instead. When I first came to America, it was my father who guided me with all the things to start up a new life in a foreign land. He drove me on my first job interview. He was with me when I first got my driver's license. It was kind of new to me since I've been living on my own for the past 17 or so years while working in Cebu and when I joined them here, it seemed I went back to my elementary or high school days. I have no complaints though since I already realized that no matter how old you are, and no matter what's your status in life is, your parents are always there for you. They are just a call away, in my case, they are just there next to me to reach out.
After all these things that my father and my mother had done, I was wondering if I have accomplished what they had hoped for. Are they proud of me of what I have become? I'm no public figure, not a rich guy, not married and with no kid of my own. Well, I think I knew one thing that they were disappointed about me. They had hoped that I'd get married and have a family of my own. Well aside from that, I would wish there are no more things about me that disappointed them. I know I'm not a perfect son but how I wish that they are still proud of me, I've been trying to become one. One thing for sure, I'm so indebted to them that even my own life could not cover as payment for all that they have done for me. I'm just so thankful to God that He let me born out of my loving parents. I remember that in one of my birthdays in the past years, they gave me a birthday card that said something about being proud of their perfect son and they cant ask for more. I believed them so.
Happy Father's Day again, Papa Romeo.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A Lesson of Patience & Determination

Early this evening, my parents just arrived home from some game time in the casino. Since it was already late at night, they were preparing to go to bed. Some of my mom's personal ritual after changing her clothes, is to take off her jewelries, basically her ring and necklace and rinse them with water just to take out the saltiness from perspiration. Unfortunately, she accidentally dropped her necklace into the sink's drain. She was crying when she told us about it and tried to retrieve the jewelry. My dad's first reaction was getting mad at her and blamed her for the incident. I tried to calm them down and agreed to try to retrieve the valuable item which probably was just stucked at the bottom of the U-shaped pipe right below the drain. My dad got a wire that he fashioned the tip into a small hook and used it to retrieve the necklace. After several attempts, I tried doing it myself without success. I couldn't even feel anything down there. The next thing that I suggested was to call a plumber in the morning so that he could take out the U-shaped pipe as we were sure that the necklace was stucked in there. As long as the sink wont be used, there will be no possibility that the necklace will be flushed out by water. We tried to take out the pipe ourselves but we didn't have the proper tool to use and I was afraid that we might destroy the pipe causing a much bigger problem. I basically surrendered to the unsuccessful situation and strongly suggested that they should go to bed and call the plumber in the morning. One of my dad's good traits though is not to easily lose hope in a hopeless situation. He manipulated the wire that he used to retrieve the necklace into different angle to conform with the U-shape of the drain pipe. I discouraged him that he will be up until the morning trying to retrieve the item. My mom was again crying and started praying. I could not bear watching both of them so I went into my room and opened my computer. After an hour or so, my dad successfully retrieved the necklace from the drain. If he had surrendered like I did, my mom could have spend the whole evening worrying about the necklace and without sleep, and we could have spend some amount of money to pay the plumber in the morning.
Some lessons learned: Never attempt to take off jewelries next to a sink with open drain. Never surrender to find ways and means to solve the problem unless all resources were being used up. Lastly, as what my mom did....Pray!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Ways to Reduce Cell Phone Radiation

So much "bruhaha" were written about the so called radiation from cell phones. Studies came up with some "not-so-sure" conclusions that cell phone radiation could cause brain cancer. While talking with your cell phones, the device would emit some form of radiation and the heaviest is on the internal antenna portion. With prolonged use, specially with children having thinner skulls, this would pause danger to the brain. At least a latest study published in the February 23 Journal of the American Medical Association supported part of this theory. Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, found that a cell phone's electromagnetic field can indeed cause changes in brain activity, with the regions closest to the antenna showing higher rates of energy consumption. Again, there is still no conclusive evidence that cell phone radiation could cause brain cancer. If the latest study results means good, bad or neutral, we still don't know.
Nevertheless it is better to be cautious and practice preventive measures so that our brains will not be affected by this form of radiation during our long-term use of the cell phone. I have at least two practical and most common-sense ways in using cell phones without the risk of exposing our brains to these radiation.
The use of a wired headset is the most practical way to make calls on your cell phones as you can put the phone away from your skull. This is also the least expensive way since most of these headsets always comes with your new unit when you buy it. Its given to you, use it. The use of a bluetooth headset is not advisable either since it will still emit some kind of radiation.
Kid are into this already. Most people from other countries like the Philippines are more into sending text messages than making calls. It is much cheaper to send texts than making calls, and this will prevent your brain from being exposed to the cell phone radiation.
There are laws in the United States that bans the use of cell phones and sending text messages while driving cars, but this is another issue.

Monday, May 16, 2011

My Bro Is Coming

What makes me so excited these days? We got confirmation that my brother in the Philippines will visit us here again in Las Vegas. This will be his second time to travel to America. The first time he was here was in 2009 with his own family. They ran out of luck during their visit because he had some medical emergency and ended up in the hospital. Eventually they cut short their visit and went back to the Philippines after just a month of stay with us. As you all know and as in my previous postings, my brother just had his kidney transplant in 2010. He can now travel after a year of the transplant. He will be travelling alone this coming August to attend our mom's 80Th birthday. His son and wife will not be coming with him because of the kid's school. We promised my nephew that we will let him come over and spend his summer vacation in Las Vegas after his elementary graduation, which is two years from now.

I am planning a road trip to San Francisco this coming August and maybe celebrate my mom's birthday in there. San Francisco was one of our destinations to visit the last time my brother was here but since his stay was cut short, we did not have the chance to travel to that city. This time around I want to make it memorable for him. I started searching online what to do while in San Francisco. I came across 49 points of interests within the city and the Bay area alone. This must be interesting. I am planning to have at least 10 days off from work so that we could visit other interesting places along the way to San Francisco.

Any suggestions as to things & places to see in this famous city are welcome. Just drop a note or two in the comments section. Thanks in advance.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Bonding with Mom

Fortunately Mother's Day always falls on a Sunday which is my off day from work. I could spend time with my mom and make it a little special for her. My whole family is not here with us in America since my brother and his own family are still back in the Philippines. Nevertheless I always make it a point to spend time with my mom together with my dad of course. This year's Mother's Day, we had lunch at the Wicked Spoon Buffet inside The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. In my previous post, I have mentioned about my first visit to this restaurant. I was impressed with their food choices and their wide array of desserts. True enough, my parents were equally impressed with their food choices. This visit was quite expensive than my first try most likely because it was a special day. There was a long line at the entrance and we waited for our turn to be seated for almost an hour. It was not a good scenario if you were very hungry. well I was hungry at that time. I purposely did not eat much on my lunch break at work the night before because I knew that I need more space in my stomach to accommodate more food that day.

After lunch, we walked around the property because my parents did not have the chance to see the place when we were there last February on my birthday party. We were done almost 5pm and I did not feel sleepy at all, but when we reached home my body was already craving for the comfort of my bed.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Remembering the Typewriter

Today is one of my lazy days. I went to the gym in the morning and now just chilling at home. My only refuge is my laptop computer. Browsing through my Facebook pages as well as my Twitter account to check on what's happening with the people that I've been following. Gosh, I felt I'm a stalker now. Anyway, browsing though my Twitter, I found a link to a CBS News picture gallery about the ever reliable typewriter. Scanning though the pictures I did remember how the typewriter helped me through my student days specially in college and beyond.

It was my father who first introduced me to the typewriter. He borrowed a portable typewriter from his office and brought it home. I began playing with it but my father taught me the proper placement of my fingers on the keyboard or the key assignments on each finger. I never had a formal training in using the typewriter and I don't know what is my typing speed but my dad gave me the sentence that was being used to practice one's skills on the typewriter keyboard: "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog." This sentence is found in Wikipedia and defined as "an English-language pangram, that is, a phrase that contains all of the letters of the alphabet. It has been used to test typewriters and computer keyboards, and in other applications involving all of the letters in the English alphabet".

I owe a lot to the typewriter. I used it on my thesis as a requirement for graduation. I typed my first job application letter and several letters thereafter. I used it to update my bio-data as a supplement to my application letters. When I got my first job, I underwent a job training on how to basically use a computer keyboard and I easily passed through that. In the office I encountered the electric typewriter or commonly called the IBM golf ball electric typewriter. This time there was no changing of ribbons but you just have to replace the "golf ball" depending on the resulting font style of the characters or letters that you wanted. Eventually our office became more automated and each one of us were assigned to a desktop computer. This was where we wrote our reports, letters and memos instead of giving them to our secretaries or office clerks. Our secretaries' office were eventually transformed from the typewriters on their tables to computer keyboards and screens.

The introduction of the computers basically brought the demise of the old typewriter and also to mention other office equipments that were eventually phased out to give way to the development of a modern office.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Lazy Days

Years back, I thought I cannot live by just staying in the house during my days off. I always see to it that I would go out of the house just for the heck of it, no specific direction where to go or what to do. I usually end up watching movies and eat in a restaurant by myself. Sometimes I did some impromptu shopping or just plain "window shopping" in the mall. Nowadays, I realize that staying in the house can be a fun and relaxing time. You can catch-up with your favorite TV shows, catch-up with your reading and most of all browse on social networks online. The last three (3) days were not an exemption for me. Last Sunday, being Palm Sunday, I went to church with my parents. After that, I stayed home and just watch old movies in my computer. I did not realize I still have some bunch of them that I wasn't able to watch. The following day, a Monday, I went to my Zumba class and since it was still my second day off, I lingered longer in the gym and completed my weight training routine. The third day came and went by with not much activities. I did went to the gym and then to lunch afterwards. I spent the afternoons watching TV, playing with my DJ Mixer, the Internet and completed three courses online assigned to me for my CE (continuous education).

I cant believe that I survived the last three days basically staying in the house and doing nothing. In one of my "pointless" online searches, I stumble across a music video by Bruno Mars called The Lazy Song. I've been listening that song on my iPod Touch but never got the chance to see the music video. I immediately declared it as my theme song whenever I'm on day off. Here is the nice and funny video: that I posted on Facebook last Sunday:

Friday, April 15, 2011

Tips in Using a Phone Camera

Everyone uses cellular phones nowadays and the most common feature of these gadgets is their capability to take pictures. Phone cameras or phone cams are probably the most widely used camera in the world. Depending on the technology embedded in your mobile phones, phone cameras always used auto focus lenses. Just like your non-SLR digital cameras, these are point and shoot cameras.

Avid photographers would agree with me that one doesn't need an expensive digital SLR camera in order to take beautiful, dramatic and artistic photographs. One should have the passion and the "eye" in taking good pictures. First thing to do is "know your equipment, in this case your phone camera". You must know how to use the special features that comes with your camera. Please remember that since your phone cam is auto-focus, you must press the shutter button half-way first while pointing your subject to activate the auto focusing feature. You will know that the auto focus is activated when you hear a beep, and that's the time to press the shutter button all the way to take the picture. This is also true with your other non-SLR digital cameras.

I have come across some handy tips from the National Geographic website in taking a good photo using your phone camera and I re-posted them here in its entirety:

Photo Tip 1: Avoid direct sunlight. Your subjects will be cooler, happier, and more attractively lit if they don't have a sunbeam hitting them in the face. If it's an overcast day, you're in luck. This is one of the best outdoor lighting situations for photographing people. If it's a sunny day, have your subjects stand in the brightest patch of shade you can find.

Photo Tip 2: Choose the highest quality setting available so you lose less detail and don't get a muddy photo. If you have to choose between resolution and a quality setting to save space—and it's unlikely you'll make prints—reduce the resolution.

Photo Tip 3: Wait for the "magic hour." During the times of sunrise and sunset, the sky is colorful enough for even a camera phone to capture land and sky with fairly good exposure.

Photo Tip 4: Stabilize your camera phone. In low light, camera phones slow the shutter speed to let in more light and have a longer opportunity to capture movement. Hold the camera phone with both hands and brace your upper arms against your body when you shoot.

Photo Tip 5: Use the rule of thirds. When composing a picture, imagine two horizontal lines and two vertical lines crossing like a tic-tac-toe grid on top of it. Place strong lines and divisions like the horizon on the gridlines and let elements of interest fall on the intersections.

Photo Tip 6: When the background of your picture is cluttered and the lighting is questionable, fill the frame of your camera phone by moving in closer to your subject.

Photo Tip 7: By mastering the technique of panning, you can create some very cool images. To do this, hold the camera phone with both hands—for steadiness—and frame the approaching subject on the LCD. Move the camera at the same speed as the subject, thus freezing the subject while the background is blurred through motion.

Photo Tip 8: Shoot a panorama. If your camera phone doesn't include a dedicated panorama mode, you can use third-party stitching software on your computer to create panoramas from several frames. A cell phone tripod will help you line up the shots.

Photo Tip 9: Anticipate shutter lag. Get used to your camera phone's timing so when something interesting happens, you'll have a good feel for the point when you need to press the shutter release to capture the most interesting moment.

Photo Tip 10: Get the right color tone. Shooting in black-and-white in any light can help develop your photographer's eye by letting you concentrate on the relationship between light and shadow without the distraction of color.

Photo Tip 11: Put horizons in the right place. Sometimes, putting the horizon down low to emphasize a dramatic sky is preferable.

Photo Tip 12: When photographing adults, experiment with both the angle of your composition and the angle of light to see what's most flattering.

Photo Tip 13: Try using a black background to make a subject stand out. Black velvet material works great because it absorbs any light hitting it. As a result, no shadows or reflections appear in the picture.

One last thing, taking good photos consistently takes a lot of practice. Keep on practicing; anyway you can always delete the pictures you took that you don't like. With your digital camera, you can take as many pictures as you want.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Wicked Spoon Buffet - Wacky & Crazy Food Trip

When I stayed at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas for my birthday celebration last February, one thing I did not try in that hotel was their buffet. Aptly called Wicked Spoon Buffet, indeed the food that they were serving were all wickedly gorgeous.

I've been planning to try their buffet and see if it was at par with other "good" buffet around town. Last Saturday was my chance to go there with my friends. Since I work on Saturday evenings, we decided to try their lunch offering. We were not disappointed. Majority of the food are not found in other local buffet in Las Vegas. We can consider this as gourmet food choices. Aside from the whole array of assorted salad and main courses, what was also impressive was their elaborate dessert choices.

I could not cover everything in pictures so you have to try and see or should I say taste for yourself. The Wicked Spoon Buffet is at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas along the Vegas Strip within City Center.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

My Honeymoon with Cars

I was just browsing around the Internet and an idea came to mind. I typed on the Google search field: top 10 most expensive production cars in the world. Indeed there was a list and the number 1 on the list is the Bugatti Veyron. The list is full of super cars mostly sporty versions. The list is very impressive costwise and their looks but these are just dream cars, that's all. I might as well make my own list of favorite cars that possibly I could own at least one of them in the near future.

If I would own a huge garage and have five (5) cars in it, I would like to have the following:

  1. Camaro ZL1

  2. Lexus LFA

  3. Corvette Z06

  4. Infiniti Cabrio

  5. Nissan 370Z

The list is not arranged according to how much the car costs but based on how much I want to own it. It probably was the overall appeal of the car and it's X-factor. What's the X-factor? I just don't know. You probably have attended a car show in the past and looking at all the cars on display, I'm pretty sure that you had fallen in love to at least one car in that show. Just like me, I love the Camaro ever since I laid my eyes on it in the Transformers movie. I saw the "bumblebee" in a car show and took the driver's seat, I felt it.

I have to stop dreaming and start working on getting my first Camaro. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Party Animal Getting Sloppy

Actually the title does not really describe me. Well I could say that I love to party and go out to have fun with friends and family. Ever since I started earning for myself back in the Philippines, I was very fond of spending happy times with my friends. Back in the Philippines where I first worked, I have my own circle of friends to spend happy and good times. I didn't see any wrong with it because I know my limitations. I drink on parties but never an alcoholic. I don't smoke and most importantly I don't do drugs at all. My activities were just simple, going to movies and go club dancing as well as going to bars with friends.

When I arrived here in America, I found a new set of friends so I felt at home and never been feeling homesick at all. I spent a lot of time with these friends, who all came from my hometown in the Philippines.

Lately though I felt something has changed, a major change. I found out that being a home bound person can be very relaxing and at the same time cost saving. Am I getting old? I just recently celebrated my 50th birthday and yes I'm getting old but my perspective in life is still very young at heart. I just love to enjoy life but at this stage, with caution. I can only think of a few factors or reasons why I mellowed down in partying. Number one reason, I can say is my health status. My readers already knew through my previous blog entries that I have kidney issues. Because of this, I have to significantly cut down my alcohol intake and be more watchful on what I eat and drink. Another reason can by my relationship with my friends. I already found out who my real friends were and these "real" friends were quite busy with their own personal and family affairs, that cuts down the frequency of my going out on weekends. Another reason which I could not resist to mention here, is the economic situation. It just came naturally to me recently that I can control my urges to go out and spend more time at home instead.

Don't get me wrong here. I'm not saying I no longer go out and spend some time with friends. I still go out but to more important and legitimate appointments only. If there are invitations for parties, of course I would attend if time permits. Going out of town? I'm ready for it but I have to manage my time well. I have plans for a major vacation and I have to save up on money and my vacation days.

I'm still a party animal, but this time I am very cautious and choosy on my prey.

Network Wars – Are Customers to Suffer?

It's part of business strategy. Communications networks are fighting each other to get a big share of the market and most of the time, at the expense of their subscribers.

When I first arrive here in America, I spent my first pay check on a cell phone using Cingular network. I subscribed to it because this was one of the two networks that used the GSM (Global Systems for Mobile communications) platform which is the same thing used in my home country, the Philippines. I did my homework at that time, researching online about reviews on their services and I found it appropriate for my needs. I had my mobile phone for several years until another giant network AT&T bought Cingular. We instantly became AT&T customers and eventually my phone service became poor and erratic. I couldn't get a signal inside my room and in any other parts of our house. Even outside and surrounding our house signal was very low. Then I decided to change my network to T-Mobile, another network that uses GSM platform. I didn't have any problems at all with my signal and I even observed that the signal inside our house was much better than my previous Cingular service. I can make and receive calls even when I'm lying on my bed. Then with the rise of smart phones and the popularity of social networking, the need for unlimited internet data connection was undeniable. I upgraded my subscription plan that will cater to unlimited internet data connection with T-Mobile.

Introducing the iPhone: exclusive only at AT&T. Then came the android phones together with Google powered phones and Windows phones. But most of the customers were attracted more to the iPhone and its apps and features. There were several reports and is now a known fact that iPhone users always suffered problems on connectivity like dropped calls. I have a number of friends that complained about this problem with their iPhones. Still reports came out that a big percentage of T-Mobile costumers switched to AT&T because of the iPhone. Verizon Wireless, a network that uses CDMA platform now offers iPhone so customers wanting this phone have another choice. This scenario brings T-Mobile's market share into jeopardy and just yesterday, reports came out that AT&T is going to buy T-Mobile. This would leave AT&T as the main GSM network in the USA. It was known that T-Mobile had been working on expanding their latest technology to 4G, and with this merger, I just hope that AT&T will use this to improve their sloppy service.

Millions of dollars will be paid out to T-Mobile and for sure AT&T customers, now including me, will carry the brunt through our phone bills. Maybe we may not feel the effects now pending the approval of the merger but nowadays prices have nowhere to go but up.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Loss And Hope

Five days after the devastating 9.0 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, there are still about 8,000 people missing and more than 4,300 dead. Adding to this is the threat of a nuclear meltdown which may bring a long term devastation. In the midst of chaos and hopelessness, miracles still happen. I can't forget the one that I just read online about a Japanese student studying here in America. A friend informed her that they spotted her family member on a YouTube video. She searched for the video and saw her older sister in there making a shout out to her through the news people to inform her little sister in America that the family survived the devastation. Stories like this helped the survivors as well as the rescue workers to still hope that they can still find survivors amidst the rubble. There was this international rescue worker who still keeping hope alive to find more survivors if they keep on searching.

Check this video: "California student from Japan finds family alive on YouTube"

Since we are not in Japan, all we can do is to pray for them and try to help in anyway we can. There are so many ways to help and donate money for Japan. Just go online and search for your legitimate charitable institutions that set up some fund raising for Japan's relief and recovery efforts. Japan has often donated when other countries have experienced disasters, such as when Hurricane Katrina impacted the United States.

Below are organizations that I found online that are working on relief and recovery in the region.
American Red Cross
Global Giving
Save The Children
Salvation Army
Convoy of Hope
International Medical Corps
Shelter Box

There are still more institutions and organizations in your communities that set up some programs and activities to send monetary help to the devastated nation.

As one children of God, let us all help our Japanese brothers and sisters.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Clan

I'm quite excited nowadays because I am starting to make connections with the rest of my clan. Under the family name of Lumen, a group was created in the social network Facebook by one of my cousins. It was amazing because the membership grew exponentially. We started communicating with the other members of the Lumen clan from all over. It opened the chances to possibly trace back our roots. With the help of my father, I was able to trace part of our family tree. In fact a member happened to be our second degree cousin. She mentioned that she came from my dad's original hometown and further mentioned the name of her father and her grand father. It turns out that her grand father was a half-brother of my grand father. It was such a nice feeling to be in touch with a close relative whom I never met.

Hopefully, the other members would also try to trace their respective roots in order to know the origins of the Lumens. I'm so happy that one of the main purpose of this social network became a reality for us, the Lumens. We are hoping to hold a virtual clan reunion for all the members.

Monday, February 21, 2011

American Holiday - President's Day

President's Day is a United States Federal Holiday that falls on every 3rd Monday of February. This was originally called Washington's Birthday in honor of George Washington, the first President of the United States of America.

This day is no special day for me, that is in my case. I started today, a Monday & my second day being off from work, by attending my Zumba class. On my way to the gym, the only thing I have noticed was the deserted roads and then I remembered that it was indeed a holiday with no work and no school. I'm sure my dad would just be wasting his gas when he goes to the bank to pay the house's mortgage without calling the bank first if they are open. Talking about my Zumba class, our teacher is preggy and personally I'm getting worried who will take over her schedule. I just hope that the substitute teacher will be as good or even better as her. Anyway, after Zumba, I went straight to home. Had lunch with my parents and after which I helped my mom sort out the picture files taken during their Golden Wedding anniversary last July 2010. After sorting out the photo files in my computer, we went to Walmart to print those selected pictures for her album. It turned out that we actually selected 242 pictures. This time, my mom will have a grand time arranging and re-arranging these pictures on her photo album. We proceeded to Food4Less to do some groceries. We headed to home around 5:30pm and it was getting dark and chilly. I originally planned to watch a movie today, but I guess it was late already and besides I felt lazy to rush to the shower and a quick change and go out from the house. I was already comfortable on the lounge chair in our living room watching some updates on what's happening in the world. I decided to stay instead and just surf online.

That's how I spent the President's Day. I felt it was just another off day, working on some errands and chores.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Big V-Day

What's so big and special about this day? Well, aside from being off today, it's "the" Valentine's Day. In the Philippines, or at least from the province where I came from, we have a joke for those singles out there that doesn't have a partner for today. All singles will be subjected to death by firing squad at the town's plaza. That's gross. I don't want to die just because I don't have a "valentina"?

I dont have a "velentina" but I do have special people that I love. My family first and foremost and my very special and close friends. They are always my valentine. On the romantic side, I guess I really have to be killed by firing squad. I can probably kill myself in some other "special" way. I might make a list of things that I will do today..."to kill myself".

Number one (1) - Go to the gym and kill some extra pounds by doing the Zumba.

Number two (2) - Eat lunch with my parents, most likely at the buffet to kill my hunger pangs after exercise.

Number three (3) - Watch movies in the afternoon, to kill my boredom.

Number four (4) - This is an altenate to #3 plan, to chill out in my favorite hangout place. Hint: where burgers and free internet abound

Number five (5) - Another alternate of #3, just stay home and practice how to be a monk.

Based on this list, I really dont have much to do today. I'd better drive to Hoover Dam and jump off from there...hahahahaha....


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Over The Hill

This expression actually means one is past his youthful vigor. This usually applies to those who reached their forties but I would like to apply it to myself, too. I already celebrated my big "Five-Oh" earlier this week and I could say that I am now in the middle of my life span. I would like to think that age is only a number, not being defensive here but it greatly helped maintaining my youthful perspective. I was quite flattered to read some birthday greetings on my Facebook page and mostly would say that I don't look like 50 years old. Well, that's what I am feeling most of the time. I want to always feel young and with vigor and it is a known fact that to maintain this is to stick to a healthy lifestyle. A healthy lifestyle means a healthy perspective in every aspect of your life. Living and enjoying life to the fullest in a good way. Surrounded by the love of your family and friends and guided by a spiritual love. A best buddy of mine once posted on his Facebook page something like this: If it rains money on one side and happiness on the other, which one you would choose? I would choose happiness as it brings on contentment on everything and money doesn't but everything.

Reaching your 50th birthday is quite an accomplishment and therefore a milestone. I wanted to celebrate it with a big bang and I did it. I wanted to do it by myself and that's what I did. Although I seek some help from some of my closest friends but the bottom line most came from my pocket. I booked the place way ahead, before the new Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas actually opened their doors for business. As the date was fast approaching, more preparations have to be done to the minute details. It was my first time to hold a party in a hotel suite so I was both excited and nervous. Excited to see who will actually come from the invitations that I sent out through mails and Facebook invites. I was nervous about every detail of the party; the food, the drinks, and the venue itself. My strategy of specifying in my invitations to bring a bottle of wine instead of gifts actually worked. I had more booze than my guest could consume. Food-wise, I was on the safe side. I purposely set the party to start at 7pm, meaning most of the guests have had their dinner already. I hired a DJ to provide party music throughout the evening. The venue was the best part. I got one of the hotel's attractions, the wraparound terrace suite that usually cost a fortune but thankfully got a good deal on it. I thought I need more chairs for the guests to settle down but with the assurance of my close friends, everybody was doing fine. It was actually a party where guests were expected to interact with each other and not just sit around. We had the best view from our suite and that was worth everything for everybody.

I held my birthday party on February 5th, 2 days earlier than my actual birth date to make sure that most of my guests were free on that day. What made my birthday celebration special was that my family back in the Philippines, spearheaded by my brother also held a birthday party for my honor on the same day. It was my first time to have a synchronized party globally. I am so blessed to have the love of my family. I can't ask for more.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

What’s Your Favorite Mobile Apps?

Almost all of us own a smart phone or any latest hi-tech mobile phone like iPhone, BlackBerry, a Windows phone, Android powered phones and some latest Nokia models. These are the latest gadgets where we can connect with our friends, families and business associates with much ease and unbelievable speeds. Gone are the days where cell phones or mobile phones are only for placing phone calls; it evolves into a tool where text messages can be sent and received. It further advanced its capability of accessing the internet and therefore emails and multi-media messages can be easily exchanged.

Lately though, coupled with the existing network war as to who among them is the fastest, more powerful phones are in the market. Aside from making voice calls, text and multi-media messaging as well as emails, more cool features came up. These applications or "Apps" can easily be downloaded right on the mobile device either for free or with a fee.

I'm using a Nokia e71 smart phone and a Nokia C6 both powered with Symbian OS. I can download all the Apps to my heart's content from Nokia's OVI store where you can find a huge collection of Apps, music, games and videos. Other phone brands can also get their own applications from iTunes, Google Android Market or BlackBerry's AppWorld. Aside from my favorite social network Apps (yes, I'm addicted to Facebook and Twitter, I think), I have other useful applications like Wikipedia, Dictionary, Flight Info, Flashlight, Here and Now, Location & GPS among others. I do have some games but I'm not really into video games so I just maintained my favorite Solitaire, LOL!

My favorite application right now is called Shazam! It is an application where you can discover, buy and share any music from any sources. Just run the application, let it "listen" to the music say from radio, TV or a live performance. The program will match the music it heard against the database from their server and provide all the information about that music and the option to buy and share it with your friends. By the way, your device must always be connected online so having an unlimited internet connection is favorable.

I remember the catch phrase from an iPhone advertisement that says something like "there is an App for everything". Apps are here supposedly to make our lives easier…oh well if you want your life becomes easier, there's an App for that.

So how about you? What's your favorite App?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Preparation

This week is my last chance to complete my preparations for my own big Five Oh birthday bash this coming Saturday.
I requested off for the whole week as I foresee that I may have more things to accomplish. The venue has been booked since early December 2010. I have bought myself a new pair of black pants ang a yellow-checkered shirt to compliment my golden anniversary. The plastic wine glasses as well as the disposable cutleries were all packed in a box. A DJ has been booked to provide the party music and set the mood for the aoccassion. Invitations were also sent out since last month of January so what I need to do is to cross my fingers and hope that majority if not all of my invited friends will attend.
One thing that I will be missing though is my own brother. Initially, he planned to come over to attend my celebration but I guess he is not yet fit to undergo a long travel after his kidney transplant. I will definitely miss him. Since he could not come to attend, we planned that my close relatives back in my hometown will also have their own version of my birthday celebration. They will hold it also this coming Saturday. Although my actual birth date is still on February 7th, a Monday for this year, I planned to hold the party much earlier specifically Febuary 5th, a Saturday, in oder to maximize the attedance. This coming Thursday, I will start ordering food for the party. I probably come up with a list of things to do so that I wont be missing anything.
I pray to God in heaven that my celebration will run smoothly and with no hassles at all.