A week(end) of everything…but work

 

This must be the longest week I ever had. This week felt like it was a 24 X 7 plus 1. I don’t exactly know if so many things have happened or it’s just so much time has slipped by. It must have been the latter but then again it could have been the former. Either way, it’s a shame that both of it have been mostly done in front of the IBM’s flat LCD and inside the cold gray cube.

That’s the problem when there is imbalance between time and tasks. It is during these conditions that nothing gets done productive. Condition 1: Having less (or the feeling of it) time but with multiple tasks is confusing or worse, panicking. Condition 2: While having more time but with little or no task on queue at all is just pathetic. If you ask me, I prefer Condition 1.

Since being idle nowadays is as predictable as sunset, this is when having an initiative and a bit of creativeness sets one person one step ahead of the other. It would also help to do at least a short time planning just to preserve self-worth on a daily basis. And that is just what I’ve done so far…so far.

The good thing is that in spite of lull in workloads, the resources at work still remains abundant – which is both a good and a bad thing. It’s like staring at an apple in the Garden of Eden while wondering if God will ever snooze – the temptation to cross the fine line is always there. For starters, the internet connection is always on (and to mention that it’s way faster than outside) and the printers are functional and readily full of papers. Now if that doesn’t get your mind immediately full of wild ideas, then something is wrong with you. I know that google-heads are green with envy by now.

It is during these times when good judgment and some work ethics come handy. In my case I try to kill time by taking online trainings that will contribute to my upskilling. I likewise try to be involved in activities that the company offers. But let me make it clear that I’m not saying that others aren’t doing the right thing or mine is better than theirs because each has its own definition of getting busy.

Skillsoft Books24X7

I have never appreciated the availability of this site more than now. Although I’ve used it years before for my researches and book references when I continued my schooling, since weeks ago I started using it again. And this week my usage got more frequent than ever.

My search for MBA tags brought me to results other than books. I find that there are online courses, learning guides and assessments available. What made it even more interesting was that I’ve read and learned about lots of good stuffs with regards to writing. I’m excited to share it soon as this was once my problem when I made my thesis – or I just didn’t have enough time to research then. Now I got what I wished for. Ti abi.

Financial readiness seminar

I can’t exactly remember when I attended this one but I was once again among those inside the packed training room. It was estimated that there were at least 300 attendees who listened to the Colayco foundation’s Executive Director Mr. Bengco speak about finances. He spoke a lot of things which half I dismissed and half I noted. Part of the things I got so interested and got me musing is when the foil about ways to get rich was shown. It contained only five. The crowd’s excitement of knowing what the five ways are immediately died down when most of us realized that the first four isn’t just possible.

  1. Inherit it
  2. Marry it
  3. Steal it
  4. Win it
  5. Earn it

So earn it will be.

A reminder of a bedtime story

The long week got longer than it should be after I was once again reminded of a bedtime story – The Rabbit and the Turtle. I’m assuming by now that anyone old enough and anyone reading this blog knew about this tale.

It happened during our company’s Smashing Couples badminton match. After I saw the line up where my partner and I were included, I had high hopes that we do have the chance to at least reach the finals. And what inspired me more was when I learned who will be our first match. “We’ve beaten these guys before, we can do it again”, I confidently said to my team mate.

The high ego was short lived. After piling up some points ahead on the first set our opponents consistently capitalized on our unforced errors and soon enough confidence was on their side. The first set reached deuce but the next set was crushing to the rabbits.

I came out of the badminton tournament with the line, “and the moral of the story is…” echoing in my mind. Damn turtles. Hahaha. Just kidding.

Congrats Richmond and Arlene.

Everything that flies and crashes

To enthusiasts, this is another anticipated week for the flying community. And even if I won’t be able to attend the 13th Philippine Hot Air Balloonfest – for several reasons – I know that hundreds of people are either already at Clark or just on their way while enjoying the SCTEX drive.

Unfortunately, while everyone at Clark enjoys the breathtaking sight of balloons, skydivers, airplane exhibitions and everything that flies, two places abroad experienced separate plane crashes. One was in Buffalo, New York that claimed 50 lives when a commuter plane went down, initially due to icing, to one of the houses. Another plane crash landed at a London airport which thankfully just had minor injuries to its passengers.

It’s a pity but it seems like Capt. Sully’s heroic Hudson River landing a couple of weeks ago was negated in a way by two succeeding crashes. It could really be disappointing if further investigation on these accidents will point to the root cause of poor maintenance. And it could even be more disappointing if it was due to recession. It’s a stretch, but hey, it’s not that unlikely.

 

Happy weekends, still, everyone.

 

 

Mood: 3/10 Honks!

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There’s a Word for It

Words don’t come easy

I’ve been one of the subscribers of wordsmith.org and last week’s theme has been quite interesting. Last week is about words that surprisingly refer to something you thought never existed. The words are so new that even MS Word 2007 does not recognize it; hence the red crooked line underneath it when typed. Here’s a couple:

hypergelast – noun: (hy-PUHR-ji-last) One who laughs excessively (like me?)

skeuomorph – noun: (SKYOO-uh-morf) A design feature copied from a similar artifact in another material, even when not functionally necessary. For example, the click sound of a shutter in an analog camera that is now reproduced in a digital camera by playing a sound clip.

serein – noun: (suh-RAN [the second syllable is nasal]) Fine rain falling from an apparently cloudless sky, typically observed after sunset.

This week’s theme is getting more interesting – Words about words, it’s like work about work, which reminds me…

Working for the unemployed

I learned some time last week that there are actually jobs that cater to the unemployed or soon-to-be unemployed. Now how cool is that job especially now that the U.S. economy is on a rapid decline. And out of my wild thoughts, I came up with some other jobs that may thrive during this economic slump:

1. Psychologists (or shrink) that help people recover from one career transition to another.

2. Lawyers who assist to employees’ case.

3. Plastic products manufacturer. They cater from cling wraps, bubble packs and other packing materials to safe keep machineries in warehouses. I believe they also make hard hats.

4. Paper manufacturers. Do termination papers and envelopes sound familiar? Yes they make those.

5. Paracetamol manufacturers. These days to come will surely be headache days.

6. Bloggers. I rest my case.

7. Hobby and Sports shops. With some severance pays coming in just like winning lotto, flocks of new-unemployed person will come in throngs to check what’s for them to kill time while on a job hunt. Hmmm…I think I need new badminton rackets this time…

Last Smashing Tournament

“Smashing”, huh!?…At least I’d like to believe so but it wasn’t the case though.

Also last week, we joined what seems to be the last badminton tournament for our company. No wonder most were smashing their way to victory. It was like seeing pent up energies turned into the form of whipping racket hits. Although I had my own reserved energies supposedly to be unleashed during the game, my partner and I fell short of expectations and got smashed instead.

We’ve been playing for quite some time but not as partners in men’s doubles game and to mention that we’re placed in level B (reasons, reasons). Additionally, I paid the price for my 3-week layoff from badminton. We just did not have the chemistry; we did not have the play; and we got in the zone too late to win a game. But don’t get me wrong, as surprisingly we enjoyed the later part of the matches despite losing twice in a row. Next time we will do better. We promised to play under the “BUM” team. Is 365 days of practice, enough?

The next day of the tournament was better. My partner played again, this time in mixed doubles game. They played well enough that they scored a couple of points higher than the other team by the middle of the first game. Unfortunately, the game pressure took its toll and both committed more errors as the game progressed. The other team eventually won. Good thing that the second game was another story. They soon found their coordination and that made them win it. Not bad. After all, I was their self-proclaimed coach. Hahaha.

 

Level A flight?

Level A flight? My colleagues in action.

Insider badminton player.
“Insider” badminton player.

Postscript:

Got the wordsmith.org subscription through our company’s former Toastmaster’s Club – sadly I wasn’t able to join one session. Lastly, I read somewhere that in order to get more blog traffic, it should come with good pics. Now, I’m thinking if I need a new racket or new camera? Hahahaha.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

F*** You

Be calm.No need to censor. But I’m trying not to say this dreaded F word – FATS; because right now I’m facing a tough problem. Tougher than the impending unemployment and tougher than facing an unending oil price hike. It has something to do with my weight. And the horrifying number is Seventy pounds. That’s how heavy I am right now. And that’s seven pounds more than my required weight.

In gym lingo I’ve reached the hated plateau. It’s no matter how much I do the tread mills, do weight training and perform hopeless crunch and abs work out, my body just got bored with these routines. And like an employer running out of manpower, my body has posted a vacancy sign outside its doorstep. It’s accepting fats and calories like Vietnam is accepting all the multinational companies.

I know I can’t do anything about Vietnam but I’m sure I can do something about this weight. A battle must take place though to achieve once again my ideal weight as I don’t find it amusing anymore seeing our bathroom scale displaying a value higher than the last time I stepped on it. So instead of crying over spilled beer…I mean milk, I’d like to write about this new weight goal so I can get back to it soon and feel good about losing – weight, that is.

For me to be back on track, a re-assessment has to be done like anything that has gone awry or in this case what I’d call SNAFU – Situation Normal All Fat’s Up. Got to go back to monitoring what I eat and when I eat. I have to say goodbye to Jollibee breakfast, goodbye to Burger King Whopper, goodbye to heavy dinner, goodbye to beer…ooopps, let me recall the latter.

As part of my reflection, I’m wondering what I have done recently that made me accumulate such weight. So let me focus at least on this past week’s activity.

Monday. As scheduled, I played badminton with a couple of colleagues. Although known as the fastest game and tagged by some as a good cardiovascular workout, I find this game as a false sense of exercise to complement a diet.  Why? Normally, the heart-pounding and blood-pumping game for the whole day will bring us to a fast food restaurant to recover what we skipped during lunch. This last game, we found ourselves eating spaghetti and having a couple of beer in The Old Spaghetti House.

Fats – 1. Diet – 0.

Sunday. I was in Batangas with wifey to attend a birthday and a farewell party. The Red Ribbon chocolate cake and the predictable spaghetti were there and were looking mouth-watering as ever. I must have blacked out in front of the table but I found my stomach bulging and my lips colored brown and red.

Fats – 2. Diet – 0.

Saturday.  Finally, I attended my first TUP-V summer outing after several postponed dates with my batch mates. So right after a hard day’s work (at least I believe so), I find myself worthy of rewarding myself with good food and good company.  Without wasting time, I excitedly drove my way from Cavite to Sta. Rosa Laguna; and a hundred wrong turns  and a couple of hours later (thanks to the perfect map), I eventually located Dictado Resort where most of the attendees also got lost which is probably the reason why the program started late. Despite the exhausting drive it was fulfilling to meet long lost friends, schoolmates and other new alumni. It was also nice seeing some of the faces behind the aliases in the Tup-Vian’s yahoogroups. It was a “tagalog-free” night and it was like being home in Bacolod with everyone around speaking Ilonggo.  The feeling of nostalgia is of course never complete without guess what? Beer. Lots of it. Ti abi.

Fats – 3. Diet 0.

Friday. Coming from work, I picked my wife at home and went back to SM to watch the most anticipated movie of this year – Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. I don’t know if the peanuts we brought inside was responsible for my calorie pile up that night OR was it the film being the MOST boring (sorry, I can’t help but emphasize) Harrison Ford and Steven Spielberg film I’ve ever seen – it was so boring, my metabolism almost stopped working.  If I haven’t seen any of their previous works, I could have included them in my “never-to-watch-films” list. Watching Indiana Jones is like watching a chopsuey of films such as X-files, Tomb Raider, Alien vs. Predator, Armageddon all rolled into one. And that’s not a compliment either.  Anyway, peanuts or this B-movie film, Fats – 4. Diet – 0.

Thursday. Failing to bring home something to eat after my shift ended, I asked my wife for a dinner at the nearby David’s Tea House. Meal was picked to have the least calorie content that we can think of. I ended consuming the dumplings that my wife did not eat. By the way, did I mention I had beer that night? Well, I did.

Fats – 5. Diet – 0.

As much as I’d like to add more days in this list, it’s becoming more obvious that my Diet is losing the battle. I can imagine a fictional referee raising the Fats’ hands after winning the unanimous decision for the 5-rounder battle. But the fight is not yet over, my Diet is calling for a rematch and I’m making sure we will win next time.

Beer and Gym

Golf for Me?

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My 1st Badminton Tournament

“Clear your mind of can’t.” – Samuel Johnson

“…The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat…” – ABC Wide World of Sports

My wife and I started playing badminton almost four (4) years ago. And just on day one (the very day we bought the rackets & shuttlecocks), we already got hooked. Just like any other person we knew we started just for the fun of it (and with the hope of shedding some pounds). As we went along, we met others who also had the interest in this racket sport. Slowly we got more eager to learn the sport and so the number of sessions just got more frequent & intense than before. I now know why thy call it “baddicts”. The craving to play is always there.

Human nature as it may be, the thought of competing and matching up with someone on your field of interest eventually pushed me to test where I’m at in badminton right now. And it did happen.

March 24. Summer. Hot & humid. And my much-awaited day came. This will be my 1st badminton tournament. And so, with such anticipation, energy and excitement for this day I woke up early, packed my stuffs and had a full breakfast of coffee and oatmeal.

By 8am, I was already at Racquettaz Badminton Club – just a 15min drive from home. The place was already bustling with activity when I arrived. Organizers pacing back and forth making sure that every thing’s in place. Other players were checking their match schedules. While the rest are limbering up and doing some shadow lunges, smashes and footwork exercises. Almost everyone was so eager to “get it on”.

After a short opening remark, invocation and a pledge to sportsmanship, the Intel-Analog dual meet eventually took its course. The place have seven (7) courts. All of which was filled with players, umpires & supporters from both sides as the games begin.

As this is my first time to be in a match, I was classified as a Level C player. I will be playing mix doubles with Joan whom I had the chance to meet and play with just a couple of days ago. But since then I already got some hopes that we’ll do well then.

And we did well indeed.

We had five scheduled match that day. Once our names were called for match # 1 I was half-eager half-nervous as I approached court # 4. The first few rallies were like getting-to-know my partner and our opponent. After a couple of scores, I was beaming with confidence. We can win this! And we did. Our winning streak (or my beginners luck) went on until the fourth match.

“We can ace match five”. I was already telling myself. But this match was different. The first half was full of errors from our side, specifically from me. I was doing clears so strong that it would over shoot the farthest line; do low serves that the net became the frequent receiver and pushed drives right in front of our opponents racket, to their delight, and to my partner’s dismay.

On the second half though, hope came up. Joan’s skills and confidence remained and we got to recover some lost points until we reached a 20-20 tie score. We went on a race to score 3. Unfortunately, my beginner’s luck ran out. We had to face defeat in 1-3.

We left court # 6 feeling bitter & disappointed knowing that we could have done better. But it’s how competition goes – one wins, the other loses.

Despite the competitive atmosphere, the whole match levels from A to C went well, friendly and fun. The photo ops was even well participated as anyone from either company cueing a camera for a shot would have swarms of players from both teams in from of him in no time all in smiles and killer poses.

In the end, Intel grabbed the overall championship that day. I know for a fact that we always do. And so, I went home exhausted but proud, knowing that this time I was among those who contributed to that win.

My 1st Badminton Tournament

“Clear your mind of can’t.” – Samuel Johnson

“…The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat…” – ABC Wide World of Sports

My wife and I started playing this racket sport almost four years ago. On day one we already got hooked. Just like any other person we knew, we started just for the fun of it and with the hope of shedding some pounds. As we went along, we met others who also had the same interest. Slowly we got more eager to learn the badminton game and rules and so the number of sessions got more frequent and intense than before. We became “baddicts” in no time.

Then thought of being matched and compete with someone eventually pushed me to test myself.

March 24. Summer. Hot & humid. My much-awaited day, my first badminton tournament. With great anticipation, energy and excitement for this event, I woke up early, packed my stuffs and had a full breakfast of coffee and oatmeal.

By 8 a.m.  I was already at Racquettaz Badminton Club—a 15-minute drive from home. The place was already bustling with activity when I arrived. Organizers pacing back and forth are making sure that everything is in place. Other players were busy checking their match schedules while the rest are limbering up and doing shadow lunges, smashes and footwork exercises. Almost everyone was so eager to “get it on.”

After a short opening remark, invocation and a pledge to sportsmanship, the Intel-Analog dual meet eventually took place. The venue has seven courts. All of which were filled with players, umpires and supporters from both sides as the games begin.

Since it was my first time to be in a match, I was classified as a level C player. I would be playing mix doubles with Joan whom I met and played with just a couple of days ago but I already got high hopes that we’ll do well.

And we did well indeed.

We had five scheduled matches. Once we got called for the first match, I was half-eager half-nervous as I approached court number four. The first few rallies were like getting-to-know my partner and our opponent. After a couple of scores, I was beaming with confidence. Our winning streak (or my beginners luck) went on until the end of the fourth match.

“We can ace match five”, I was already telling myself. But this match was different. The first half was full of errors from our side, specifically from me. I hit clears so strong that it overshoots the farthest line; did low serves with the net as the frequent receiver; and pushed drives right in front of our opponents’ racket, to their delight, and to my partner’s dismay.

On the second half though, hope came up. Joan’s skills and confidence remained and we got to recover some lost points until we reached a 20-20 tie score. We went on a race to score 3. Unfortunately, my beginner’s luck ran out. We had to face defeat in 1-3. We left court number six feeling bitter and disappointed knowing that we could have done better. But it’s how competition goes – one wins, the other loses, one partner sucks.

Despite the competitive atmosphere, the whole match levels from A to C went well, friendly and fun. The photo ops were even well participated by everyone from either company. In the end, Intel grabbed the overall championship and I know for a fact that we always do. And so, I went home exhausted but proud, knowing that this time I was among those who contributed to that win.

Born in 1974?

Life is full of ups and downs. The trick is to enjoy the ups and have courage during the downs – Author Unknown

November 30, 2006 was one of the most exciting times of my life. And the week prior was just as eventful.

I have been writing my birthday as Nov 30, 1973. I just know the date. Lately, though, while processing my Transcript of Records from where I got my Bachelor’s Degree, I had a frustrating and confusing time at the registrar’s office. I learned that they’re reading—or rather interpreting—my birth year on the photocopy as 1972 instead of 1973.

Ti abi. How could this happen? I’ve been using 1973 in my passports, government issued IDs, and licenses, gun license included (I don’t know if it would have helped convincing them if I brought this one along). But it all fell on deaf ears. I was short of choking someone’s neck that day. Good thing, my good side prevailed (play Psycho movie music here).

I left school that day wondering if I would be turning 33 or 34 this year. So yesterday, I anxiously went to claim my birth certificate from our local NSO (National Statistics Office). And there it was, legibly typed written on my birth date space, is nineteen seventy-three. 1, 9, 7, and 3. I’m indeed a certified 33-year-old man.  Never before have I appreciated my age.

***

November 29th

Driving from Starbucks Shangri-La Makati, by the wee hours of the morning, I was made to decide which way would take me home. Going right of the intersection leads to the Skyway ramp while left is a road that looks a lot faster via Coastal Road. So left road it is.

It was wrong decision—I entered a one way street. Upon exiting the lane, I was apprehended by a policeman. His back-up also arrived and both implied that I could get an easier way out of my traffic violation. “Birthday mo na pala bukas…ang layo mo pa,” the apprehending officer said as he takes a look at my driver’s license. He obviously wants me to bribe.

I was in another dilemma. Part of me was anxious to get over it and be home but I’ve been a firm believer that bribing makes one become part of the problem rather than the solution. So I got my ticket and left the policemen with nothing but my driver’s license. I drove away disappointed but proud of what I did. It will cost me more, but at least I made my stand.

***

November 28th

This day was unique for the T3 folks—my wife’s group. Instead of the usual Japanese buffet at Saisaki, this time they turned Chinese. We had dinner at Tong Yang Hot Pot in SM Megamall and surprisingly, majority of the guys are newbie to this sort of dining.

Nevertheless, they enjoyed preparing their own hotpot and grilled foods. There were oysters, dimsums, tuna, salmon, chicken innards, and veggies just to name a few. The men’s favorite was of course present—free flowing San Miguel beer for only P50 ($1). (And if you’re wondering, yes I followed the one bottle per hour rule for drivers like me.)

My wife went creative too. She got me a cake delivered by the waiter right to our table as a repertoire of birthday songs played over the whole restaurant. And it was all for me, for my advanced birthday party.

After the belly busting dinner, a bowling match followed and to cap the night we went to Nipa Hut bar in Pasig where we met up with a couple of ex-Intellites. We also had a couple of sisigs and gambas. And what could be more perfect match to those killers than beers. Yes. Beers. One bottle per hour again. Hik.

***

November 27th

The longest day. Wifey and I together with friends played at Lotus Badminton Center Inc. for almost six hours with rest and lunch included. (If I remember it right, we started playing badminton three years ago and fairly enough, we have improved our game.)

We left the court by past 3 p.m. On our way to SM Dasmarinas I was pondering on pampering ourselves with much needed body massage and hot oil treatment and that’s when our car broke down.

Luckily I was able to park it at the mall and did the troubleshooting right there. It was a busted alternator again (I replaced it approximately six months ago). I had no other choice but to buy a 2nd hand part that cost the same as the painting my wife was planning to buy. Ti abi.

I went home tired and dirty instead of refreshed and shiny.

***

November 26th

As a Sunday routine, I bought my copy of the Philstar (www.philstar.com). I was surprised upon reading that one of my favorite writer Max Soliven (also this paper’s Publisher) passed away last Friday, November 24th, while on his way home from Japan. Sanamagan.

I’ve admired him for his articles in By the Way. He wrote with courage and charisma and his style of writing almost never fails to amaze me. Well, that’s life I guess. Although I know that the list of writers with such caliber as Max are now dwindling in numbers, I just do hope that someone will come at par with the way he does. Wherever you are, may you rest in peace.