Archive | April, 2008

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Hiragana and Katakana Done!

Posted on 30 April 2008 by Flisha

My gosh it’s been less than two weeks and I already know how to read Hiragana and Katakana! Wow! My head is bursting with all the new information, all the memorization!

I still find it a bit hard to read these characters. I can read, but slowly. It’s weird ‘coz I write faster than I can read hehehe. Reading is hard because I cannot (yet) see the word for the characters, not like in English. As I’m typing this, I can read an entire English phrase in one glance. But when I read Japanese, I read character by character, like a kid hehehe. I hope with practice I may soon read Hiragana and Katakana without having to mouth each character out loud to get to the word. Hehehe.

Today we started on Kanji. Ohmygod! Hanaji desu!!! (That’s Japanese for nosebleed hehehehe.)

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Let’s Count in Japanese!

Posted on 28 April 2008 by Flisha

Whenever I am in my Japanese class I feel like a child again.

Because literally we are treated like kindergartners going through their a, e, i, o, u’s. Or rather, a, i, u, e, o. Hehehe. That’s how they do it in Japan. ka, ki, ku, ke, ko. ra, ri, ru, re, ro (which sounds like la, li, lu, le, lo). Hehehe.

So let’s count! From one to ten, here we go…

Ich
Ni
San
Yon (or Shi)
Go
Roku
Nana (or Shichi)
Hachi
Kyu (or Ku)
Ju

Yey! Hehehehehe.

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Konnichiwa

Posted on 24 April 2008 by Flisha

Watashi wa Nihonggo no benkyoshimasu (I’m studying Japanese!).

…I think.

Hehehe. I’m so busy these days, my Japanese class takes my whole day. But let me fill you in on a few Jap sentences.

Ohayou gozaimasu! (Good morning)
Konnichiwa! (Good afternoon or Hello)
Konbanwa! (Good evening)

So desu. Hehehehe.

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Portable Firefox, KeePass and Flash

Posted on 18 April 2008 by Flisha

Like I said in my last blog post, I am out of a laptop. I am having it repaired by HP, thank goodness it’s still under warranty. But I have been advised that it might take up to 8 weeks before I can get it back. OMG, in my programming world, that is utter and complete disaster! That’s 3 weeks longer than my summer class! *cry*

But. I am trying to keep my head up, trying to think positive. I bought a 2GB flash drive from CDRKing for P380 ($10). Yes, I’m such a cheapie haha. They have 4GB (P700 or $18) 8GB (P1,280 or $32) drives but I’m so poor couldn’t afford the extra thousand pesos, hehehe. Oh but if you want to buy me a present, I’d love the 16gb flash disk at P2,480 or $62, hehe!

Anyways, 2GB is totally fine for me. It’ll hold my data fine and with room to spare. The next prob I encountered in my laptop-free state is finding a computer to start some surfing. The Rizal library is the best place, in my opinion, it’s cool (sometimes too cold!), comfortable (plushy seats) and free (and there are many desktops available)! There’s even a private lounge for graduate students. There’s wifi, too, but oh darn, why do I keep reminding myself I do NOT have a laptop?? Urgh.

So it’s free, the RL desktops. But security is tight. There are very few installed applications, the only available browser is an old copy of Internet Explorer, and flash isn’t even installed. And you can’t install anything else. Have I mentioned I hate IE?? I like the new tabbed version but I’m a Firefox fan!

Thank goodness I remembered about PortableApps.com, I once downloaded one of their suites, just because the installs were clean and small. But I forgot later on when I started using the normal installers again. Portable applications do what they say, they are meant to run on your USB flash drive, you can choose whichever computer you want to use, and you don’t have to install anything. That’s really useful for me, like right now, I’m using Firefox and everyone else is stuck using IE. Heheheh.

Using Firefox from my flash drive is very convenient. I can move from one computer to the other without losing my settings or cookies. I can also save my passwords in Firefox so I don’t have to keep typing in my passwords. I am paranoid about keyloggers, hehe, we’ve already had a few instances where students got to infiltrate our professors’ account through keylogging. But actually I don’t save passwords in Firefox (though I can, that’s the point) because I am also paranoid about losing my USB drive and having somebody pick it up and see all my passwords in Firefox (I hope you know that saving your passwords in Firefox is very risky because anyone who uses Firefox next will be able to view it). So I use another portable app, KeePass. I’ve got one master password to log in to KeePass, and then I have there all my encrypted entries of all my passwords from my different accounts. All I have to do is copy the password to the clipboard and paste it onto the password field. No typing involved. :-) Of course, that’s *still* not hacker-proof, someone who REALLY REALLY wants your password can sniff it off the network using many freely available programs, but I’m not *that* paranoid, hehehe.

Yesterday I was happily browsing with Firefox but I encountered another problem. No flash! I tried to get the flash plugin, but alas, it asks to be installed, and the desktop I was using would not let me. Grr. Today I searched for a solution, and yay, I found one!

Following a commenter’s advice on AcidLabs, I downloaded the Adobe Flash installer, then downloaded the Universal Extractor, then extracted the files from the Adobe Flash installer. I got two files from there: flashplayer.xpt and NPSWF32.dll, and copied them to this directory: F:\FirefoxPortable\Data\plugins and restarted my browser.

Voila! Now I can happily browse flash-based websites in my lovely Firefox browser! Hehehehe. Hopefully this will help some of you out there who might be experiencing the same problems, I know a lot of my fellow (financially-challenged) graduate students are. Hehe. Happy (safe) browsing!

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A Laptop Realization

Posted on 17 April 2008 by Flisha

My hot tip: Do not place your laptop on your lap.

The word “laptop” is a misnomer. O.M.G.

How and when did I realize this?? Just recently, yep… Just when my laptop died on me!!!!!!! And then I researched. Frantically. For two weeks. And now I know. I am learned.

A laptop is not really meant to be put on the lap. No, no, no. Nor on any other body part. Not that I am experimental or anything. The laptop is meant to be placed on a flat solid surface. Why? So it can breathe! Underneath the laptop are many vents and fans that push hot air out and suck cold air in. I think. Mainly there is the fan that fans your laptop. It’s like airconditioning for your laptop. And then are those little tabs, or itsybitsy laptop feet I like to think, that I once thought were just for cuteness. They’re actually also serve a purpose.

What happens when you put it on a not-so-solid-or-flat surface? Like your lap? Which I always thought was its rightful place. Or my bed, which is also one of favorite places to place my laptop. What happens is that your lap (or the soft mounds of your bed, does yours have mounds??) blocks the air vents so it’s like you’re suffocating your laptop. It can’t breathe! It becomes hot! The hot air can’t get out! It’s like you locked your laptop in a box and tried to burn it! That’s what! So you must put it on a flat surface so those little laptop feet will actually be useful and take care of your laptop in that little cute way of theirs. Or your laptop will die!!

I know! I know!! This is important info!!! Yes. And that’s why I’m trying to save you the agony of seeing your laptop overheat and no longer have a will to live. Like my baby. That I just delivered to HP Service Center. *sob* Pray. Pray for us, my lappy and me.

So from now on, I will not call my laptop (if I still have one) laptop a laptop. It is a notebook. And no, you are not to prop it like the notebook you use in class. No.

We should really make a new name for these things. *Rolls eyes*

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Dreaming of Japan

Posted on 13 April 2008 by Flisha

Detox Tip #9: Dream, and dream big.

Ever since I’ve come back from Japan, I’ve been thinking of ways to get back there. I really did fall in love with the country and its people, in such a short time. I guess you could call it love at first sight. ;-)

It’s weird because I’ve never really dreamt of going to Japan before. It was always my anime-freak of a sister who kept yapping over and over about Japan ever since… hmm, Sailor Moon, probably. Hehe. She collected everything Japanese, actively participated in anime fanclubs, watched anime channels 24/7 and formally enrolled herself in Japanese studies. I just could not relate.

A bitbefore Christmas last year, a mass email was sent to my department promoting a two-week internship over at NAIST, Japan. I was very interested — anything free appeals to me greatly, hehe. The next mass email was an application form, but in the excitement and rush of the season, I kinda forgot about it, until a day before the deadline, my professor sent me an email asking if I was still interested.

I briefly thought not to apply anymore, as I didn’t feel good enough to be accepted. Me? An intern in Japan? It was better for my heart not to hope. But Flishi-sense won over, the part of me that has always insisted on never ever EVER submitting an exam sheet with even just one blank answer, because even if my grow-up-get-over-it brain told me the answer was uselessly wrong, my hopeful joyful heart always believed there was an off chance it was right, or maybe an intsy bitsy part of it. I never let a chance pass me by. :-) So I hurriedly composed my application form and emailed it off within the hour.

I mailed it shushing my squealing heart to forget, and I really tried my best for almost two months. In February, the results came in. I was in!! I was in!! I was gonna go to Japan! For two weeks! For free! OMG!! OMFG!!! I actually jumped in joy for about two minutes, shrieking and laughing and at the same feeling oh-so-scared it wouldn’t actually come to pass. Good thing I was alone. I’d have freaked out anyone who saw me. I called up Gim immediately and told him, and we both jumped up and down a bit more. I told my mom, too, and my sister. But nobody else yet. I didn’t want to tell, just yet, because maybe it wouldn’t come true, ‘coz I had so many documents to process in such a short time – my passport, my Visa, the lifting of my travel ban (I’m a government scholar) , my final exams and requirements…

Long story short, I actually got to finish up everything just in time. I was even able to squeeze a weekend trip to Baguio with my friends (but that’s another story), hehe, to the distraught of my laboratory partner Chris, hehe, because we were on a deadline to pass our mobile application. He was chosen to come to NAIST, too. But we did it, and got a perfect grade, too. Hehe. Go team!

Anyways, we left for Japan on March 9, thoroughly enjoyed our two-week Japanese immersion (more of that on later posts) and came back on March 22. During our time there, we met a lot of really nice people. Topping my list are organizers and tourguides Edison, Albert and CC. Hehe. I also got to know our fellow interns Clare, Emarc, Ma’am No and Ma’am Cathy, all from the Engineering Department.

One exciting thing accomplished during our trip was an agreement between ADMU and NAIST to have a student-exchange program for the next few years. It was such uplifting news to me, because it means I could have another chance at going back to Japan to study as an exchange student. I’m not setting my heart on this, though, because it’s a university-wide program, so there will be many students vying for the chance, and only 3 slots open. Also, financial assistance will not be given by either universities, so that kinda rules out any chance of me going there. I can’t even afford a one-way ticket to Japan, let alone a whole year of board and lodging. So *sigh* there.

But one thing I can do is hope, hehe. I’m full of that. And try to do everything in my power to inch myself closer to my dream. I’ve been scouring for possible scholarships, but so far, no luck. It seems I should have done that a long time ago, all the scholarships for the next school year have far passed their deadlines. I’m trying to make a bit of money, who knows, maybe blog ads could actually work for me heheh (sorry for the eyesores). Anyways, even if I don’t get in this year, maybe in a few years I will.

For now, I’m setting my sights on learning the Japanese language.

Ateneo de Manila University currently offers a Japanese language course, Nihongo for Everyone. It’s from April 19 – June 21, 9:00 – 4:00 PM every Saturday and costs P5,000 (P4,500 for Ateneo students and employees). At the end of the course, the student is expected to be able to express and understand simple Japanese as well as recogize basic Japanese characters.

The University of the Philippines Diliman also offers Japanese courses. I recently browsed their site and found a PDF stating their special summer courses. They have the Beginner’s Regular 1, 2, 3 and 4 from April 5 to June 14, each costing P7,200. They also offer a short course, much like Ateneo’s, with 3 schedules: April 21- May 3, May 5-May 16, or May 19-30. The course lasts 40 hours and costs P4,000.

But what I’m most interested in is UP’s Beginner’s Short Intensive, lasting 180 hours from April 21-May 30, 5 days a week, 7 hours per day, with the objective of passing the Japanese Language Profienciency Test 4. It costs P16,000. Hopefully I’ll be able to afford it, haha.

I don’t know if I’ll really make it back to Japan. I hope I will. But if I won’t, at least I can tell myself it was not for lack of trying. :-)

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Return to Cawa-Cawa

Posted on 09 April 2008 by Flisha

Detox Tip #8: Have your fill of the sun, the sky and the sea.

After three lonely months in Manila, I am finally reunited with my beloved Zamboanga. In Zamboanga, food does not (often) have to be a luxury — you can partake of it anytime you like, and in great big amounts. I’m not a fan of street food, but I looove punta. You might be grossed out to learn what it is, so I’ll just say it’s a chicken innard. And I love it. Hehe. There are many street vendors along Cawa-Cawa Boulevard, and they sell many things — softdrinks, green mango, balut, penoy, tempura, squid balls, barbecue, chicken skin, punta… It’s such a nice spot for relaxing and reveling in the beauty of my city. Gim took these pics of me, I was too busy enjoying my food to pay him much attention, heheh.

Finished my punta in five minutes! One minute per stick! Heheh. Color me embarrassed. But Gim just finds me cute and takes more pictures. Hehehe. Gim is the apple of my eye. My eyes are the windows to my soul. Can you see it?

Rocks below, sea ahead and sky above. In Zamboanga, we get used it, ignore it, take it for granted, forget it. But if you leave Zamboanga, you cannot forget.

The wonderful sky of Zamboanga… This you cannot find in the big city.


A fishing boat rests in the sunset. Lovers find a secluded place to talk.

Children from the nearby Sta. Cruz Islands? Sons of street vendors? Orphans who live underneath the concrete roads? Could be one, could be all… They seemed not to speak Chavacano much, but they sure liked to have their pictures taken. This engaging photo was taken by Gim.

A woman contemplates life on sea. She mans this banca alone, traverses dangerous currents with it. She lives in the islands nearby, the pink Sta. Cruz Islands. It is necessary to come to the city, her family needs the supplies. There is no commerce in the islands. I wonder how often she goes back and forth the islands throughout the day?

One more image of the weary boater, and from where she came.

Another lonely boat. Debris on the water.

And a stunning sunset (image courtesy of Gim) to cap off this post.

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Melisse’s Graduation

Posted on 09 April 2008 by Flisha

Time flies so fast. Can’t quite believe it’s been 9 years since I graduated from Ateneo High. 9 is the number of years I am older than my youngest sister Melisse. And that means she is now on her way to college. It feels so weird to be 25 when most days I feel like I’ve not matured past the age of 16. Hehe.

The graduation rites took place on March 28, the day I came home from Manila. I had time for a bit of rest and recreation with my boyfriend Gim before heading on to the Ateneo de Zamboanga University main campus. The MPCC was full and uncomfortably warm when I got there, and I was reminded of why I hated attending graduation ceremonies, even my own. Thankfully I was neither in toga nor the Filipino formal wear barong tagalog, but a comfy pair of jeans.

I missed seeing my sister claim her diploma on stage, but I did catch her the second time she took the stage, for the loyalty award. Too bad the thing is no longer worth than a piece of paper (a certificate). During my time, loyalty earned you a gold medal. Does AdZU High no longer value loyalty as much these days??

My sister walked so fast on stage I never a got a good shot, but here she is.

Melisse with my mom and me. My sister Patricia could not attend, she’s working in Manila. And of course my dad is nowhere, somewhere and everywhere. Gim took the pics. Hmm.. we don’t look very much alike.

Melisse with her classmates. Would she kill me if I outed her special friend online?? ;-)

Teachers in their colorful barongs.

The new grad herself.

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