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In between watching my scripts run and obsessively refreshing the messages tab to check the errors, I heaved a sigh and figured life is only as interesting as I make it to be. In short, I'm bored and out of things to do to break the seemingly dragging routine that is my day to day (night to night to be exact) job.

Source: viki.com
After Descendants of the Sun, I didn't know what to do to keep the fleeting feeling the show has brought me, I figured it's mostly because I adore Joong-Ki so I watched Innocent Man, if only to satiate my craving to see him more.

Source: marnelfundales.wordpress.com
Then, just like any series, it ended, and again, I didn't know what to do. But here I realized it wasn't really Joong-Ki, but Song-Song's overall chemistry that I've come to admire, so I learned I was just really looking for kilig. Seeing that there's no other Song-Song series out there. I decided to ignore my feelings for Joong-Ki and watch another high-rated drama as suggested by KissAsian.

Source: dramafever.com
Cheese in the Trap definitely goes to my favorite KDrama list. The story is engaging, stressful at times, and I hated the lead guy so much 'cos he's manipulative, creepy, mysterious, and is borderline psychotic. That's why the second guy syndrome (when you prefer the other guy more than the lead guy) is so strong with this one! Anyway, when it ended, I didn't feel the need to watch anymore dramas cos work was getting more demanding.

Then my life suddenly went to a stall. When did I become so heavily glued to watching KDramas that my entire life literally stops when my mind isn't in anyeong mode? For a while I was even trying to learn to write in Korean. FTR, I learned to write Korea in Korean! That's as far as it goes haha.

Anyway, after a while (one week and counting) of not watching any drama, I've managed to put my mind to another diversion, my favorite of all... DRAWING! K. Will be posting an art dump soon (or not cos I may be tamad).

Happy weekend goyz!
One of the Skillshare classes I'm taking is Kate Bingaman-Burt's Drawing Collections: Illustrating Stories through Taxonomy. In her class we are to produce a collection of illustrations that tell a story about ourselves. We are to make two sets; this is the first I came up with just by watching the first couple of videos and browsing the completed projects.

Finished output
In terms of following instructions, this output is totally wrong, but nevertheless let me take you to the process hehe

The collection I decided to draw was the stuff on my office desk, you're supposed to draw each item on a big sheet, add labels, color it using whatever medium, scan it, and post process it using Photoshop. After doing all those, you can combine and layout all of the items in a single large canvas and marvel at the story you've made a bunch of things convey.

Sadly, here's what I did: I drew them all together on a postcard sized pad and colored the items using watercolor. Then I took a picture of it and edited using whatever app my tablet has. I forgot about the labels cos there isn't any space left.

Pencil outlines
Colored in using watercolor
Outlined digitally

I'm happy with the output, for one, it took me of out the creative slump I've always planned to escape from but never really got the motivation to. And also, I'm less afraid of watercolor now lol.

But then, I should have been more patient and watched all the videos before turning in an output.

Another thing,
There should be no shame in digital post processing, I know. But my finished work was more digital than traditional and sometimes I'm afraid of putting it out 'cos I would be ashamed to show the less stellar but original version. I don't know, but enhancing artworks using Photoshop feels like a stab to my creativity. Do models feel this way when their bodies are shopped for magazine covers?

I was very reluctant to apply filters and adjust brightness and contrast because I thought I will lose the integrity of the piece. But then I realized I was more afraid of screwing the piece by trying to enhance everything manually because there's no undo. :P

Case in point: I shouldn't care less
Ten minutes to go before we resume training. But this time, I'm not the one being trained. I'm posing as an understudy so I can take on tomorrow's class. Amazing. I never thought this day would come, not that I dream of it, that my role in the team is stepping up to not just minding my own business but teaching potential teammates too.

It's quite a deal for me, not big, but a deal nonetheless. If anything, I want to tick off bullet after bullet on that friggin' competency framework chuchu the management invented to make it harder (or easier, haven't checked) for us to get promoted. It's pretty stressful, but if I don't make myself cut out for the next step by next year, well, there's jobstreet and the end of my bond. If you know what I mean ;)

Virtual users is just one of the terms we're teaching on this class.
While waiting for my script to run long enough without throwing up errors, let me waste some time here. This week, I was busy struggling to balance my work and life. Work being my daily QA job, and life -- watching Song Joong-Ki. Hm.

Joong-Ki is pretty much what my life is about for a week now. If I'm not obsessing about the actresses he's been linked to, I'm actively waiting for the next episode of Descendants of the Sun -- by watching his other dramas (right now: Innocent Man).

I know this'll die over time. See, I grew tired of thinking about Tom Wlaschiha after Season 2 of Game of Thrones. On his return to Season 5, I thought my obsession would come back but no. No sparks took off. Oh well, the man has brought good feelings and a girl is grateful.

My record of obsessions says a lot about me, I've learned. One is that absence makes my heart grow farther, and the other is that I'm not one to wait.

To be honest, I'm feeling bored and pathetic. 11 minutes and counting for the script I'm running. This needs to hold for at least 15 minutes before I can confidently march out of this frkn office and face the unbelievably scorching 8am sun. I hate the summer heat.

I don't even have the strength to think of happy thoughts for this week's Happy List. That's why I'm feeling pathetic. Didn't anything nice happen this week? Oh sure there are, but at the risk of oversharing I'll just keep them to myself and God. Oh God, aren't you tired of the mundane things I keep yapping about.

Not to be totally random, the script I'm running has something to do with creating bids, hence the title.

Yosh, 16 mins. Let's abort the script and go.
Since I hardly publish on a Friday let's just plain call this the happy list.


1. Got my copy of Reese Lansangan's album, Arigato, Internet
2. Got my hair colored (light golden brown) at L'Oreal's free hair color application at Landmark Trinoma (which is now permanently installed at the mall)
3. Mr. Kimbob's Gimbap
4. Coco Milk Tea's Salty Cream Milk Tea + Pudding <3
5. Daddy briefly taught me to drive atras abante while waiting for mommy to finish her appointment. ORAAAYT!
6. Bought a super long pillow for the bed, and a new pillow for the office (to cover my tummy lol)
7. SM Cubao is now my top 2 favorite SM. Makati comes first.
8. Earned another free ride from Uber!
9. Watching Descendants of the Sun because Song Joong-ki! Best thing about this week!
10. Getting inspired to take classes at Skillshare (cos my almost free premium account is expiring in 2 months!)
The challenging thing about this list is not abandoning it on a week when nothing extraordinarily positive happened. It's nice having to look back and kindof force yourself to consider the little things just to finish this post. Looks like I did have a happy week! :D Thank you Lord! :D
You know when you were way too excited about creating something, but for some reason ended up producing nothing, because you were too busy getting motivated and collecting inspirational material instead of working? That's the case of me and my Skillshare Premium account.

When I heard about Skillshare offering 3 months premium membership for just $0.99, I joined in agad and eagerly browsed at the many classes offered by outstanding artists. A month into it and I realized I haven't finished a class, let alone sat down and started drawing anything. So disappointing. I wasted an entire month jumping from one class introduction to another, adoring the trailers, the project galleries, but never enrolling.

Now, I want to make sulit the remaining months I have into actually finishing a class and producing something of creative value. Naks haha. Earlier I took the liberty to enroll in all the classes that interest me, particularly within the arts and design category, and grabe lang the joooooy of watching the video trailers showing snippets of the gurus' design processes and project outputs! Sobrang nakaka-inspire! Aaaaargh!

I'm calling this phase inspiration hoarding.

To the uninitiated, Skillshare is an online learning community where you can learn a skill or share your skills. In there you can take online classes about design, technology, business, film, photography, etc. and engage in a streamlined learning process in order to complete a class project.

Here are the top 5 visual arts classes I'm most excited to start (in no particular order), but will most likely ignore for the majority of the week (or month) cos that's just how I roll (unfortunately).

1. Mastering Inking: Basic and Pro Techniques
by Yuko Shimizu
http://skl.sh/1MQEysJ


2. Paint a Portrait in Photoshop: Blank Canvas to Finished Illustration
by Gabrielle DeCesaris
http://skl.sh/1RWNrjx


3. Drawing Collections: Illustrating Stories through Taxonomies
by Kate Bingaman-Burt
http://skl.sh/1MQzXGY


4. The First Steps of Hand-Lettering: Concept to Sketch (Lettering I) 
by Mary Kate McDevitt
http://skl.sh/1Wanq3j


5. Perspective Drawing: Creating Illustrations with Dimension
by Matt Laskowski
http://skl.sh/1MQEucq


To be honest, if I hadn't spent time working on this post I could've finished a class already but who cares! We all know my time's gonna be spent somewhere else like my Pinterest boards or, oh right, my job. :P

Join me!
Let me get you in the same offer and let's marvel at all of the classes together. The truth is if you join by being my referral, I'll get a free month! Yay! And you will too if you join and refer. :)

$0.99 is roughly ₱50 for 3 months access to premium classes. Most classes run for an hour which is divided into multiple segments per topic. If you take at least one class per week, you'll be able to finish 12 classes and produce 12 creative outputs! And your monetary investment? ₱50 lang, bongga.

Here's the sign-up link: http://skl.sh/1R0xxpl
Or you can also comment your email address so I can invite you another way. :)

:)
Blogger has gone really bonkers lately. All of my uploaded images hosted under https://2.bp.blogspot.com cannot be displayed.

When I tried updating the images by using the same photo I uploaded, I noticed some of them have changed URLs. From 2.bp, I see some with 1.bp or 4.bp. I have no idea what happened since my photos were never moved. :/

I read around and was relieved to know this isn't an isolated case. It seems like blogger's image host 2.bp.blogspot.com is really down.

It's quite a bummer really.

ETA: False alarm goys, apparently, http://2.bp.blogspot.com was blocked by the company (for some reason). So much for my silly rants. Props to the Blogger Forum for helping me discover the real issue and to those who responded to my twitter rage charot haha.

I posted this topic on the forum and an expert answered me about how blogger images have multiple mirrors you can access just by changing the first digit.

Look, all of these URLs point to the same image

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-n7dnynRIdYk/VmUnlD3annI/AAAAAAAAG14/knijlWwYngQ/s1600/DSC_1111.JPG
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-n7dnynRIdYk/VmUnlD3annI/AAAAAAAAG14/knijlWwYngQ/s1600/DSC_1111.JPG
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-n7dnynRIdYk/VmUnlD3annI/AAAAAAAAG14/knijlWwYngQ/s1600/DSC_1111.JPG
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-n7dnynRIdYk/VmUnlD3annI/AAAAAAAAG14/knijlWwYngQ/s1600/DSC_1111.JPG

Amaaaaazing thing I learned today! :D

So I bought a fitness tracker (my first) in response to my rotting motivation to live actively and limit my attachment to my office chair. And so far, here's what I have to say with my first two weeks with the Alta...

Previously, I shared about how to setup your Fitbit Alta for the first time. In this post, I'm sharing an unboxing (of sorts) and a review (kindof) having been using the fancy bracelet for two weeks (and counting).

UNBOXING

The box contains four major items:

1. Fitbit Alta fitness tracker (small)
2. Rubber strap (attached to the tracker) -- or is it silicone?
3. Charging cable
4. USB wireless dongle

Detachable straps
Back view lol
Just another shot haha
Other items include paper stuff and warranty notes in multiple languages that nobody really reads. Instead of a comprehensive setup guide, a note in the box suggests you go to ww.fitbit.com/setup to get your gadget up and running. I did just that and had quite a few hiccups but I eventually got over the initial setup hullabaloo. So don't follow the note, read my setup guide instead haha.

Related: Setting up Fitbit Alta for the first time

REVIEW (pros and cons)
Pros (you know, features I like):


Aaaah love the size
1. The form - It's functional and stylish at the same time. I got the small black version which I found perfect for my wrists. There's also a larger version available. The main reason I decided to go for the Alta is the form factor. The band isn't too wide and the straps can be swapped, though for now only Fitbit sells them and they're horribly expensive. Don't worry, I'm sure eventually 3rd party sellers will come out with better bands and more colors to choose from.

10k steps orayt + my sensored belly lol
2. It tracks steps quite accurately - I tried walking 10 steps while watching the step counter on the Fitbit app and holey moley it's perfect haha. I'm thinking it has something to do with the observer effect (naks very quantum physics) which changes the behavior of the activity being observed (in this case, the tracking) just by the mere act of observation. Don't we all try to act perfectly under close watch? Joke lang lol. It tracks well enough for me not to doubt my activity for the day.

3. Silent alarm - before you call it stupid, here's the magic word: vibration!

4. Move reminders - 10 mins before every hour (within your designated time range) it reminds you to walk 250 steps para cool. On the first day of using my Fitbit, I was so amused by this feature that I really took it to heart to walk 250 steps every time it reminds me to. Anyway, it will only remind you to walk if you haven't met the 250 steps/hour goal.

5. Call and text alerts -  as long as my bluetooth is on, the phone with push call and text alerts to my fitbit. It shows the sender name and message in a marquee which I find very useful specially when I'm out on commute and my phone is buried in my bag.

6. Good battery life - I was able to use it for a good 4 days before I received a notification (vibe and email) that my Alta's running low on juice. At my current settings (no silent alarms, no all-day sync), I only need to charge once a week.

7. Auto sleep tracking - which is super cool. Fitbit logs your 'restless' and 'awake' minutes and takes all that into account to calculate your sleep quality based on your #sleepgoals lol. I set mine at 7hrs a day and so far I'm averaging at 8. It's not really something I would check myself so it's good know a gadget is tracking all this for me.

9. Clock faces - with various display options

10. Water resistant - it doesn't mind me washing the dishes with it, but I take it off in the shower to be sure.

Cons:



1. Short charging cable - it's awkwardly short and a hassle to use. I hope the cable can be detached from the cradle. Good thing I only have to charge the Alta every 4 days or so. yey for long battery life.

2. No HR monitor - This doesn't monitor your heart rate. No biggie cos I'm not particularly looking for this feature, but I thought I'd tag it as a con so you'd know. I'm thinking Fitbit has plans to release a HR version of the Alta sometime in the future I'M NOT SURE. But given that it could compromise the size, who knows.

3. Move reminder - the move reminder is limited to 5-14 consecutive hours WITHIN THE SAME DAY. Working the graveyard, I wanted to be reminded from 9pm to 5am, but it won't let me cos it's crossing the next day and I figured it'd mess Fitbit's daily reporting chorvabels. I wish they'd enhance this feature to allow adding multiple move reminders instead.

4. Screen isn't scratch proof - I plan to buy screen protectors but I'm not sure if it will affect the tap efficiency haha. The face of my Alta has a tiny hairline already huhu.

5. Limited 3rd party app integration - Fitbit has partnered with quite a number of health monitoring apps (see here) but I don't see Nike+ Running yet which is weird cos it's too popular haha. It's where all my runs are logged and I would love to be able to integrate that with my fitbit data. Counts for better estimate of calories burned.

6. No GPS - I would love the Alta to have GPS without sacrificing its already perfect form factor. I've read about super small GPS modules, I hope they could find a way to get a small receiver that wouldn't compromise Alta's size.

7. I developed rashes - Taray! And it's not because I have sensitive dugong bughaw skin, but because I'm dugyot most of the time and the strap has turned into a cozy abode for bacteria. Now, I keep it a point to clean the watch every once in a while specially when I sweat a lot haha. It's really just a matter of sanitizing haha.

8. Hard to put on - Amazon reviews contain a lot of griping about how hard it is to put on. If you see the image on Con #1 you'll see how it's supposed to be strapped on. Unlike the Charge HR or the Blaze, it doesn't have a buckle strap, you have to push the two pins to the holes to set it in place. I have to agree that it's hard to put on, but that's only at the beginning. Eventually the holes will loosen up and make it easier to lock in the pins.

In summary:


This Fitbit is really not for the active type, if you're already familiar with the range of Fitbit trackers, the Alta offers literally nothing new except for the form factor. The older Fitbits have sported the same set of features, step counter, silent alarm, sleep tracking, fitness goals, etc. so if you're looking for something new minus the form factor, you can check out other trackers instead. Seriously though, this is (IMO) the best looking and most functional fitness tracker there is for people like me who is mostly sedentary.

Has it helped me in my seemingly eternal weight loss journey? As with any tracker, like a fitness trainer, it's a good motivator. Looking at my wrist sporting a fitness tracker kindof pushes me to live up to my fitbit goals naaaaks. But of course, a gadget can only be as effective as the one who wears it. I really need to be more disciplined haha.

:)

Pricing and availability
I bought the Fitbit Alta Fitness Tracker, Silver/Black, Small at Amazon for $129 when I was still in the US. I'm not sure if it will be available locally.


1. Xend has added more 7-Eleven drop off points, including the one nearest to the office. Yeyy!
2. Getting better sleep because of my blackout curtains <3
3. Found Abbey Sy's postcard set at Ministop and immediately bought it. Such inspiration


4. Filling up my box at halpu.com with Amazon stuff
5. Earned two free rides from UBER this week yeyyy.
6. Breakfast with college buddies

Beef tapa bowl @ Breakfast Bin
7. Potato Corner's wasabi fries
8. Revlon and L'Oreal's free hair color application at Landmark Trinoma is now PERMANENT. Rejoice! They're beside Counter 3 of Landmark department store.
9. Finishing a doodle piece
A photo posted by Yan Birog (@yanbirog) on

10. Pretty lax work week

Thaaaank you Father! <3 <3 Happy April fools day and thankfully, this list isn't a joke. :P