Archive | May, 2009


Best Things in Life are in Zamboanga

Posted on 28 May 2009 by Flisha

If you were the type to do it, you would have to colon cleanse yourself maybe once a day at least if you lived here.

Some Facebook friend of mine once said that it’s impossible to diet in this city. Zamboanga, I mean.

And it’s completely true, too. Why?

1. Zamboanga dishes are just divine. My mother cooks wonderful, face-stuffing paella. And I love the taste of gently-seasoned sotanghon. And Gim swears by the oregano-smelling, entrails-filled dinuguan. And the lechon, migod, buy it on an early Sunday morning fresh from Greenfields! And don’t forget the gulucinas, now!

2. And there’s every kind of fruit available! If you come here, you must taste the mangoes. They are the sweetiest, tartiest, juiciest mangoes in the world. And have you heard of mangosteen, rambutan, marang, lansones or sineguelas? If not, come here and find out! 

3. And best of all, everything is affordable. Cangreho and curacha cost only Php300 per kilo (or less). Mollusks and seashells are sold by the bucket. In Manila, bananas are sold by the piece and in terribly expensive prices. Here, you can buy a sackful and it won’t break the bank. (Why you would, though, I would not know…)

I’m stuffing myself full of everything Zamboanga has to offer, because soon I will be far away again… :-(

But what about you? What do you love about your city? :-)


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The Cost of Getting a Driver’s License in the Philippines

Posted on 28 May 2009 by Flisha

Hey, I should start searching for free car insurance quotes! Because I might be able to drive one again! A car, I mean.

See, I lost my driver’s license card (along with my ATM, credit card and a wad of cash) a year ago when I stupidly placed my purse in the shallow pockets of a pair of red shorts and boarded a taxi in Cebu.

Minutes after Gim paid the taxi driver and we were walking to our destination, I suddenly realized my loss. Tried to run after the taxi, but by that time it was meters away and going faster and farther.

So careless of me. Fortunately, it only took a lengthy explanation to get a new ATM card and a phone call to have my credit card voided (it was gonna lead me to financial ruin anyway). But so not that easy to get a new driver’s license!

Gim and I started the process today. Because I’m nearing my renewal date, and if I had renewed it a year earlier, there would’ve been an extra fee of Php50. But the bureaucracy doesn’t stop there.

First we went to get a community tax certificate from the City Treasurer’s Office. Because if we didn’t, we couldn’t get an affidavit of loss. That cost me only Php5 because I said I was a student. (Well, technically I am!)

Then we went to get the affidavit, which, for a piece of paper saying I had lost my card, cost me Php150. And the lawyer wasn’t even there, so maybe his secretary forged his signature or something.

Thirdly, we went to the Land Transportation Office to get the form for a duplicate license. Filled it up and we were told to come back tomorrow. Oh and they don’t have any pens in there, so I had to buy a crappy pen outside. Why???

Checked for the cost of the renewal. Php472.63. What??? Here’s the breakdown.

Replacement Fee – 225 (For a little piece of laminated paper)
Duplicate Fee – 50 (Per year of unexpired portion, wtf?)
Certification Fee – 100 (Another piece of paper)
Clearance Fee – 30 (Another wtf?)
Computer Fee – 67.63 (For like, 5 minutes worth of computer usage.)

I think LTO just likes to make up these phantom fees so they could extract every single peso from our pockets. *Blood pressure shooting up*

Wait, we’re not yet done. Tomorrow, there’s still the matter of acquiring extra documents such as the Certificate of Good Health from a government physician (which apparently requires an xray worth around Php300 by itself) and a Drug Test from an LTO-accredited office. So all of that will probably cost me around Php1000.

Still with me? We’re racking up almost Php2000 worth of fees now. And I haven’t even gotten my card yet. Guess what they’ll say tomorrow when I finally pay ALL the fees and submit all the supporting documents? They’ll say, hush hush, that if I want my request to be processed immediately, I should hand them over around Php1000, under the table, if you know what I mean. Or even more, depending on how rich I look at that particular moment.

I should know, because that happened to me the first time around. And if I don’t pay this transaction fee, it will take me eons to get my license. And I only have a week before I’m returning to Manila.

So. Do other people pay half the monthly minimum wage to get a crummy plastic laminated card, or are the Filipinos just doomed to eternal governmental fail?

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Beijing Mapped in Hello Kitty Online

Posted on 27 May 2009 by Flisha

Finally! Some news about Hello Kitty Online! Here I thought we were destined to lose it to the recession, while I no longer had a convenient excuse to avoid the treadmill, but no, the HKO engineers are simply busy expanding Hello Kitty World! And now we have Beijing! Yay! A piece of Asia in HKO!

The image here is of the Bubble Dome. Other places in Beijing are the Forbidden Museum (orangy place with lots of breakable royal relics!), the Sports Stadium (five multicolored pastel stars instead of primary-color rings, natch!) and 8 new maps for Beijing City outskirts! Sweet!!

I am so excited!!!! When do we get to play HKO again???



What Do I Do With My Dark Elbows?

Posted on 22 May 2009 by Flisha

My desk is too cluttered at home. Books, papers, accessories, an obsolete desktop computer. Everything I don’t need in my life (but I can’t ever part with) gets demoted to the desk.

Which leaves me nowhere to work. So I work on the bed, facedown lying on my stomach, my upper torso supported by my elbows. You can imagine the strain on my elbows. But you don’t have to to. You can see it here:

Doesn’t it look like I am totally neglectful of skin care? It doesn’t look so in the picture, but aside from the dry and flaky skin, my elbows are colored darker than the rest of my body! Ugh! :(

I’m the last person you can ask for any creams or lotions or whatever – because I have nada. It’s not that I don’t care, I am just afraid to put anything on my skin for fear it will break out. (Chalk this up to a high school trauma regarding an aloe vera mix and my best friend’s face.)

So anyway, having nothing on my plate, I rummaged around my mother’s things. She had an assortment of little creams, and I just plucked this out, because I like the word “exfoliant”.

I think it’s supposed to go on the face, but I bet my elbow can benefit from that too! So I’ve been applying it every night. It feels a bit grainy. I don’t know if that’s how it supposed to feel or if it’s expired. But, eh, I don’t think my elbow will get worse either way.

Crossed fingers! And tell me if you have better advice because I am clueless!

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HP Pavilion Laptops Suck

Posted on 22 May 2009 by Flisha

So. My HP Pavilion DV2000 (DV2315nr to be exact) is finally unresponsive. Again. After a full year since its motherboard was fully replaced by HP after I brought it in for repair because the video display would freeze or my computer would hang or it would not boot up – a myriad of problems!

Last year they said my motherboard was the problem so it had to be replaced. They didn’t get into specifics. But I’d done my research and I knew exactly what the problem was. My laptop was overheating.

At the time I thought I could cure it by purchasing a laptop cooler. And for the past year, my HP Pavilion laptop has been used with utmost care. Never runs without the laptop cooler, never lies on my lap but always on a cool, flat desk. And still, after one year, it’s right back where it was in May of 2008. Overheating, freezing, and finally, not booting up.

It even introduced new problems this time around! My wifi no longer works, my CD/DVD drive won’t burn or read any discs, and it won’t read any of my compact flash memory cards!

Worst of all, it is out of warranty. So I am tearing my hair out. I am writing this blog post on my mom’s mini laptop. And by mini I mean the screen seems to be about only 5 inches in width and the keyboard is stressfully cramped. This sucks. Majorly sucks.

Last year, when I was researching about my HP problem, there were very few resources on the Internet. Very few people had the same problems as I did, and it was a good thing my laptop was still under warranty or else I would have had to buy a new one because replacing the motherboard of your laptop costs almost as much as buying a new laptop!

Now, though, do a search for “HP Pavilion problem” and no doubt you will find a whole lot of posts on video display and overheating problems – all the stuff I mentioned above! And it seems that it doesn’t even just cover the DV2000 line. It also affects DV6000 and DV9000 units.

Scouring for help on the web, it seems that there is a defective line of NVidia chips that are the reason for the overheating. Apparently they gave HP the wrong specs for the chip. So not only does HP suck, NVidia sucks too. (I have a GeForce 6150. If you do, you are in trouble too.) And Dell has the same chips, so they suck too.

This problem is so widespread that it seems HP is promising an extra year of warranty for the affected laptops. I will be taking my dead laptop to HP in June. It remains to be seen whether they will honor the warranty. But if they don’t, I have no idea what to do.

Commence despair.

P.S. Check here if your Dell is affected, here for your HP.


Babies in Dead and Gone

Posted on 10 May 2009 by Flisha

Did you guys notice that there were a whole lot of baby announcements in Dead and Gone, the Sookie Book #10? Let’s do a count of all the pregnancies in DAG:

  1. Jason and Crystal’s unborn child, of course (who died along with Crystal on the crucifix)
  2. Claudine’s surprise fairy child with random fairy father (saddest death of them all, don’t you think?)
  3. Halleigh’s baby with Andy (the only one that survived DAG?)
  4. Tara’s child with Hoyt (oh right, another survivor)

Did I miss anyone?

If you noticed, all the supernatural babies got killed. By fairies. Because, apparently, fairies like to kill two birds with one stone. (Bad joke?) Eric mentioned that for fairies, killing pregnant women was doubly significant. (Er, well, of course, since there are two people involved.) So I suppose that’s why we saw a lot of unborn children in DAG. It was the fairy war, after all.

I just wish Claudine didn’t have to go and get pregnant. Maybe then she would have survived?


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Dead and Gone: A Messy Review

Posted on 07 May 2009 by Flisha

So, I got myself a copy of the latest Sookie Stackhouse novel, Dead and Gone. (We are on Book 9 now). I’d been waiting, so avidly, for this book ever since December 2008, when I discovered the Southern Vampire Mysteries and gorged through Books 1-8 in less than two weeks! (Treadmills, stretches and diets forgotten, natch.)

First, let me just say I absolutely loved the Sookie books, especially Book 4, the part where Eric got amnesia and Sookie took care of him and where the Sookie-Eric saga began. The pairing was very unexpected, since Sookie and Eric were always love/hate. But perhaps predictable, also, since women always fall for the wrong guy who turns out to be the right one. Think Joey/Pacey. Is it wrong that I am comparing Sookie/Eric to Joey/Pacey?! LOL.

Book 4 to Book 8 was like Dawson’s Creek Season 3! Yes, where we sit and watch Joey and Pacey bicker and fight and we despair, because, omigod why can’t they see they’re perfect for one another?? Just do it already!! Well Book 9 was supposed to be like the culmination of that wonderful season (where Joey and Pacey literally sail off into the ocean), except, Sookie and Eric had a fuck, and then, nada. No resolutions.

* * * * * Dead and Gone Spoilers Below * * * * *

So, the verdict is: I am truly very disappointed with Dead and Gone. So many things happened during this book, there were so many characters involved, but not a single character was given depth. Here’s a list of some “What’s the point???” or otherwise WTF moments from the book:

  1. Octavia Fant (the older witch staying with Sookie) gets a boyfriend from out of nowhere and leaves the Sookie house in about two pages (Okay maybe the point was so Sookie could have sex with Eric, but heller, couldn’t she just have gone to town for a bit?)
  2. Quinn the tiger comes to visit his ex-paramour and rehash their lost love but gets headbutted by Bill instead and then we don’t hear from him ever again. (Was it even necessary for him to show up in Book 9? Thought that was over and done with. What a waste of pages.)
  3. Sookie’s telepathic baby cousin’s father gives her a call only to be brushed aside by Sookie saying “Call me in a month, am busy.” (Okayyy.)
  4. Claudine the fairy gets pregnant, then nothing for pages and pages, then at the end of the book, she is suddenly dead. We don’t even see any action. It only comes from Niall’s mouth, as though it was the author’s afterthought to kill off some major characters in Book 9 so Book 10 wouldn’t be so messy. 
  5. Pam and Amelia who? (Where were they??)

So, yeah, am really bummed out. Aside from the crazy stuff I mentioned above, the biggest question from Book 8 was never answered. What question, you say? Well look at the DAG cover. It’s Sookie in between Eric and Bill. Yeah that sandwich hasn’t been eaten in four books, so it’s just about rotting by now. You wanna know how Book 9 ends? Here it is:

“The vampire is not a bad man, and he loves you,” Niall said. He rose. “Good-bye.” He bent and kissed my cheek. There was power in his touch, and I suddenly felt better. Before Jason could gather himself to object, Niall kissed his forehead, and Jason’s tense muscles relaxed.
Then my great-grandfather was gone before I could ask him which vampire he meant.

Ohmaygahd doesn’t she know yet?? *Rolls eyes*

Sigh. I still love Sookie. She’s my girl. I’ll take her over Bella any day. But just like sometimes I want to tear the ends of my hair out because I just cannot see why Bella loves/wants/needs Edward so much to the point that she wastes her life away when he leaves (which is really why I cannot stand the Twilight books, Bella just rubs the feminist in me the wrong way), I am getting incensed with Sookie for being so on the fence with Eric!

Obviously the vampire loves her. Book 9 is all about Eric telling Sookie he loves her. (He risked his life, and those of his underlings, to save Sookie.) And all she can think about is whether or not her feelings are real or blood bound! (They swapped blood a LOT of times already. Makes their relationship complicated.) And she’ll have sex with Eric but she won’t cement the status of her relationship because she can’t make a decision. Ugh! So Bella-like! (You know, where she was pining for Edward the whole time leading Jacob on?) Wanting a man to make the decision for her! Get your spine back, Sookie!!

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed DAG. Just. Just not as much as the other books. It just feels like Charlaine Harris didn’t put much thought to this book. Like she knew it wasn’t perfect but she had a deadline to meet so she shrugged and rushed it off to the presses. That’s really how I feel.

I’ll still be here for Book 10. But maybe now, a little less avid.



The Product of Being Alone

Posted on 07 May 2009 by Flisha

Since I got my own hosting, I’ve been having a lot of fun creating PHP scripts to make my life easier. I’ve been modifying/testing my scripts nonstop for 3 days now. Yes, yes, us programmers work like crazy so we can be lazy. Ironic, no?

Gim, by the way, is on hospital duty so he pretty much has no time for me AT ALL. He is there 24/7. So I am being productive on the web front. If I were to receive some sports gifts, maybe I could be productive on the physical front too. But I digress.

It wasn’t the easiest thing, either, scripting. Have I mentioned I have no PHP experience? (Only AHK.) LOL. It’s a good thing PLs (or SLs) are pretty much the same once you get the hang of one. So I didn’t really have any problems, syntax-wise. And, so many tutorials on the webs, it’ll make your head spin!

The only part that got me going, Huh?, was regular expressions. Due to the nature of a script I was making, I needed to parse and remove certain parts of HTML code. In order to do that, I needed to tell my script what patterns it should be looking for. It wasn’t that easy.

I got it working, though, even with a limited understanding of how regular expressions work. My saving grace was this RegEx checker. Today, I checked Smashing Magazine and they had a tutorial on how to create regular expressions! A few days late, but very enlightening. (And a little creepy too, how’d they know I needed it?) Following that, I found a great website with cheat sheets for a lot of popular programming and scripting languages like CSS, HTML, PHP, Python, Ruby and MySQL. How useful!

So, a productive few days for me all in all. :-)

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Dead and Gone is Here!

Posted on 05 May 2009 by Flisha

For fans of Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse series (who have been avidly awaiting the 9th installment for aaages), well wait no further, Dead and Gone is here!!!! Aiiiii! (Girlish scream.)

Commence madness!!!

You can order the book from Amazon.

Gahd! Somebody send me a copy!!! And no spoilers!!!


Somebody, Spare Me From This Misery!

Posted on 03 May 2009 by Flisha

If you’ve been watching my Twitpic updates lately, you most probably have inferred that I am sick, and have been, for over a week now. Wishing I’m on vacation instead of letting my virus incubate in this little room of mine.

I’m suffering terribly. I’d call for room service, but my mother’s not gonna like that.

My bad, I didn’t listen to my own doctor.

It started out as a sore throat. I tried to ignore it, and took calamansi (citrus fruit) to ease the discomfort. Dr Gim wanted to give me meds, but I told him I didn’t want any. (I’m anti-drugs like that.) I insisted my immunity would win over the virus, or bacteria, or whatever it was inside me that put angry red welts at the back of my throat. He was frustrated, but was wary enough of my temper not to force pills down my throat. (I can be very violent sometimes.)

In the next few days the flu worsened. My nose started clogging up, and my lungs are probably filled with phlegm as well. I have headaches too. So. I finally let the doctor prescribe me some meds.

He gave me biogesic for my headache, erithromycin to stave off bacteria and delcogen for my cough. My temp is back to normal, no more headaches, feeling a little bit better but still sniffing and coughing like crazy.

He, on the other hand, took meds as soon as he started showing flu symptoms. And while I am still very sick, he is already recuperating.

Serves me right for not listening!



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