Sunday, January 28, 2007

Sale Alert
I usually receive SMS on my cellphone informing me of the latest sales in shops like Marks & Spencer, Top Shop or Debenhams. I promptly ignore them since I'm not a shopaholic. I couldn't care less if there was a 70% discount on all items. But I simply get giddy with excitement over this:

POWERBOOKS Outlet Store sale
30% off regular items and up to 90% off on bargain books.
Feb. 2 - 17, 2007
25 Brixton Street, Kapitolyo Subd. Pasig City

Yay! =)

Saturday, January 27, 2007

I saw this at My Soulful Thoughts (Hi! Rach) and it looks like fun!

Rules: Use the 1st letter of your name to answer each of the following …They must be REAL places, names, things… NOTHING made up! If you can’t think of anything, skip it. Try to use different answers if the person in front of you had the same 1st initial. You CAN’T use your name for the boy/girl name question.

Your Name: DAPHNE

1. Famous Athlete: Diego Maradona
2. 4 letter word: Dash
3. Street name: Dansalan Street
4. Color: Dilaw (yellow :D)
5. Gifts/presents: Darts Dashboard
6. Vehicles: Datsun
7. Tropical Locations: Denpasar, Indonesia (where Bali is located)
8. College Majors: Dentistry
9. Dairy Products: Dates based yogurt (mostly in the Middle East)
10. Things in a Souvenir Shop: Dolls dressed in native costumes
11. Boy Name: Daniel
12. Girl Name: Donna
13. Movie Titles: Dances with Wolves, Donnie Darko
14. Alcohol: Daquiri
15. Occupations: Dentist
16. Flowers: Daffodills
17. Celebrities: Donald Trump
18. Magazines: Jane's Defence Weekly
19. U.S. Cities: Daytona
20. Pro Sports Teams: Dortmund (Bundesliga, German soccer)
21. Something Found in a kitchen: Dishes
22. Reason for Being Late: Delayed flight
23. Something You Throw Away: Dynamite
24 Things You Shout: Darnit!
25. Cartoon Character: Donald Duck

Friday, January 19, 2007

Why it pays to have 2 TV sets in the house
Last night while my sister was watching freaks tone deaf contestants auditioning for the latest American Idol in her room, I was downstairs tuned in to the Amazing Race Asia. I'm sorry but I cannot stand people make a fool of themselves, it is heart breaking enough to make me cringe with horror. Besides I knew that the 4 remaining teams would be in Dubai for this leg of the race so I didn't want to miss it.

"Do-buy" (due to the numerous sales) as I fondly call this Arabian Gulf city was my home for 6 long years. So watching them race in the sweltering summer heat brought back fond memories.
W (my ex ex bf) and I had our first dinner date at the Dubai Creek Golf Club, one balmy Arabian summer night. The restaurant serves Continental cuisine, our table was located outside with a gorgeous view of the flood lit sprawling golf course. Never mind that I was practically melting from the humidity. DIMC or the Dubai International Marine Club at the corner of the Jumeirah Road has this elegant Thai restaurant (I forgot its name and I'm not sure it still exists) that serves authentic Thai food with prices worthy of a 5 star hotel. Unfortunately, the Emirates Mall wasn't built yet when I was living there or else I would probably satisfy my 'snow' craving by lounging at the Ski Dubai, every day.
Anyone who makes their way to Dubai must absolutely visit the Gold Souk. Even if you don't buy anything, it is one of the many attractions of this oil rich city. Rows and rows of jewelry shops which sell nothing but gold accessories. There is now an air conditioned mall but the Old Souk located in the open area is the main draw. You can sneak in and out of the shops with relative ease because there are alot of police officers manning the area.
My favorite activity though is the desert safaris in those SUVs. The same SUV the racers rode to take them to the pit stop. Usually the tour last for one hour. You are driven (some of the drivers were Filipinos) in a 4 four wheel drive vehicle and go rolling up and down the sand dunes. It is quite a scary bumpy ride and your knuckles will turn white as you grip the handles and scream like crazy! You might have a heart attack whenever the vehicle attempts a steep climb up the sands or come cascading down a hilly sand dune but it is quite a thrilling experience. The best part of the tour is the grilled buffet dinner at the camp site. A giant tented area set in the middle of nowhere. You enjoy your meal in the large majlis, a belly dancer gyrating to Arabian music entertains you while you eat. You can also take a stroll on a camel along the camp site. Believe me those humps can be quite uncomfortable as they poke against your lower back. Then you either choose to spend the night under the stars with sleeping bags (pay extra of course) or you can return back to the city. I am looking forward to next week's episode of the Amazing Race Asia as they further explore Dubai while competing against each other.

Speaking of Amazing Race - the All Stars edition is due to kick off next month. I checked the official website and noticed that Rob and Amber are among the teams to take part. Geez don't they have other things to do than join reality TV shows? I guess not!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

I woke up this morning with a sharp pain in my right shin.
I don't recall bumping into any furniture.
Neither am I a somnambulist (as far as I know) so I didn't bruise myself subconsciously by accident.
Then I suddenly realized the culprit.
It must be high uric acid level coupled by an increased intake of salt.
I have been popping nuts and buttered (salty) popcorn like candy.
Specifically this really big tin of Planters assortment of walnuts, almonds and cashews which my aunt gave as pasalubong and ever since we got a microwave for Christmas from my parents, not a day goes by without the sound of corn kernels popping away.
Take note I didn't say I was getting old because in my humble opinion, it has nothing to do with age but with lack of self control and discipline to know when to cease and desist. I'm guilty as charged. I will just hoard up on the Salonpas patches, because no way I'm going popcornless, any time soon. Thank God for Salonpas patches, I can limp my way around.

Monday, January 15, 2007

An entire lifetime
30 years is how long my aunt (my mother's sister) has been away from the Philippines. Her last visit to Manila was in 1976 when we were still assigned in India. The last time she saw me I was a bratty 3 year old toddler with curly hair and big eyes.
Yesterday after much hesitation (I'm not a big fan of family reunions) my sister and I (along with my parents) treated her and our uncle to native delicacies at Via Mare. So between acclamations of "ang sarap", the topic of our conversation ranged from their various travels around the world, the prices of real estate properties, which condo to buy, their kids (my cousins who I haven't seen since they were born in the US of A) to the usual banter of reminiscing over days of yore which are a very distant memory to my short attention span brain.
So even though the dreaded question was asked ("Do you have a boyfriend?" "No, I don't" followed by the usual "Why not?"), I merely shrugged it with a faint smile, it was all rather painless (I thought she would scrutinize every aspect of my boring existence) and we all had a nice time filled with laughter and delicious food.
Next weekend is the grand family reunion (with over 50 people expected to attend, yikes!) at the house of another uncle (who is also visiting town) somewhere in Rizal. One event I cannot back out from because it was decided that my contribution to the potluck affair would be cake and buckets of ice cream. The only items I could think of without having to spend hours in the kitchen (I don't want to poison them).

Now I have one week to come up with an appropriate reply to the 64 million dollar question "Why are you still single?".
I doubt it if they would accept my "I am a free spirit, independent minded woman who values my personal space to the point of obsession I don't need a guy to make me feel complete although surely it would be nice if I had someone to carry my groceries, lift heavy furniture, go watch foreign movies at film festivals and have heated discussions about any subject under the sun. But I think he is perhaps a figment of my imagination because such a person probably doesn't exist so I rather stay single until he barges into my life to make my head ache with his refusal to understand that I am very territorial so I need alone time even when I am in a relationship" answer to their question.

In short I am high maintenance! =)


Thursday, January 11, 2007

I figure it is easy to just blame the infuriatingly slow Internet connection for the lack of entries on my blog but the truth is all I have been up to lately is reading books and watching movies with microwave popcorn to boot, all within the confines of my comfort zone. Yes much to my kuripot (cheap) consternation, my parents gave my sister and me a microwave oven for Christmas. The fact that our electric bill would hit the roof this month doesn't deter me from popping those corn kernels. Heh

One of my unofficial New Year's resolutions is to read more books. I have decided to document them here on my blog so I will know for sure the total number of books I read for 2007.

Book # 1 - "In the Walled Gardens" by Anahita Firouz.
A fascinating novel about a privileged family living in Teheran during a crucial period in Iran's history. The setting is in the mid 70s when turmoil was festering in the back alleys. The Revolution which eventually toppled the Shah of Iran was slowly creeping through the disillusioned society.

The story of the Mosharraf family is narrated by their daughter Mahastee and also through the eyes of Reza, whose father worked as the family's household employee. This is the first time I came across a novel with two characters recounting the chapters alternately.

It is a profound glimpse into a social divide which existed in Teheran but it could have been set anywhere in the world and it would still resonate well among the readers. A tale of contemporary history set in a vibrant country beset by a rich cultural past with an ill fated love story brewing within its pages.

Book # 2 - "Among the Heroes" by Jere Longman.
I am currently reading this harrowing account of the last moments of the passengers & crew of United 93 who fought back against the hijackers.

It is interesting to note that the author posted the pictures of the passengers and crew so I can put a face to the person as Jere Longman wrote about the details of their life. He gave well researched background information about each of them. Describing their professions, their relationship with their families and the reason why they were on that specific flight on that fateful day. Needless to say it sends shivers down my spine when I come across the chapters where the passengers started calling their loved ones to say farewell.

I cannot recall the number of times I had to put the book down and compose myself because it was just too much to read about people coming to terms with the fact that they would never see their parents, wives, husbands and kids again. The harrowing transcripts of their recorded phone conversations is heartbreaking and painful to absorb.

The author is a New York Times reporter who covered the story of Flight 93 from the ground in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. His book is the culmination of hundreds of interviews and months of investigative journalism.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Recycled Meme
I was tagged by Snglguy with a meme I remember doing some time back.
I checked my archives, it was sometime in October 2005.
Here is the updated version

20 random things about me
01. I love strawberries and cherries.

02. I don't have an iPod. I don't really need one.

03. I like watching award shows like the Oscars, the Golden Globe and the Grammys. I even wake up early to catch them live.

04. I don't eat asparagus and ampalaya.

05. My bra size is 34 B.

06. I take vitamin E and vitamin C, daily.

07. I am a Queen Flower balm junkie. I use it for headaches, mosquito bites, tummy aches and menstrual cramps.

08. I plan to read more books, this year.

09. I am proud to be kayumanggi! (tanned skin)

10. I once vomited at the backseat of a cab because I drank too much.

11. I inspect my food before I eat it so I prefer not to dine in dimly lit restaurants.

12. I have a scar located on my upper cheek bone quite near to my left eye.
I tell people it is a birthmark. The truth is my mother accidentally scraped my face when I was a baby with a brooch she was wearing on her dress. I barely notice it until people ask me what happened to my face.

13. I almost became a mother, twice.

14. My weight is 110 lbs.

15. I was bitten by a puppy when I was 5 years old. Now I am terrified of dogs.

16. The tallest guy I dated was 6'2. Me, I'm barely 5 ft.

17. I am short that even if i tiptoe I still can't see through the peephole in the doors at hotel rooms or apartment buildings for that matter.

18. I am blind as a bat so when I shower without my glasses on (of course, duh) everything is out of focus and very blurry.

19. I have this crazy tendency to read about indie flicks which make the rounds of the film festivals circuit (Sundance, Cannes, Toronto, Berlin etc). Even if I realize I would never get the chance to watch most of them.

20. There are many things I like to blog about, but I don't. If I did, people would see how feverishly twisted I really am. Teehee! =)

Thursday, January 04, 2007

My Aquatic Date(s)
Despite the slight drizzle, I was on time (4pm) at the appropriate place (SM Mall of Asia) for my rendezvous with these guys :D

Jello (sea lion)

Jumbo (sea lion)
I told you it was raining so he had an umbrella

These bottlenosed dolphins if I heard correctly
are named Tutti and Frutti

They regaled me with their fancy tricks

Their acrobatic moves

They played ball

Awww look they even waved goodbye with their tails
at the end of the hour long show.

They were so cute, I felt like a kid again. I was so happy to see them.
I had (still do) this fascination with dolphins. I went through a phase where I collected dolphin stuff like keychains, magnets, posters and ornaments. You can still catch them at the SM Mall of Asia till the 7th of January. Ticket prices are P300 for regular and P400 for patron seats. You can bring cameras and video cams but they enforce a strict policy of no flashes allowed while you take the pictures. These mammals are very sensitive to sudden burst of light. It causes them to spasm and in the process they get disoriented and they might hurt their trainers. So refrain from using the flash feature on your cameras. But this being the Philippines and Filipinos being so hard headed some "parents" still didn't listen. Tsk tsk tsk!

But everyone had a jolly fun time! =)

Monday, January 01, 2007

"Many people look forward to the new year for a new start on old habits" - anonymous

Ist picture I took for 2007 from the window of my loft at the stroke of midnight, Jan. 1, 2007

Happy 2007! =)