Life lately

✱ Reading

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue 
I'm 17% in and loving it so far. The writing is very captivating, poetic almost, and has an otherworldly charm to it. I'm excited it to know how Addie's life unfolds with everything she's been through in the first few chapters of the book.

✱ Watching

Jeckie and I are rewatching Naruto on Netflix and my is it such a good anime! I remember watching this when I was younger but I couldn't remember the story (as usual). Now that I'm older, mas na-enjoy ko sya in fairness. Maybe because I'm more engaged with the story now than I was when I was a kid who was more hooked on its entertainment value.

✱ Listening 

To some Rainy Jazz playlist on Spotify :)

✱ Thinking

About highschool and how much I hated it hahaha.

Once in a while I get reminded of how much I hated highschool. This is one of those times. A group chat was created, I don't know, maybe out of nostalgia, and slowly people started getting added to the room. Some went to say hi, some went to say where in the world they are (which is not the Philippines), some went to share what they do for a living, some uploaded their kid's photos, some left immediately (respect), some went to apologize (I'm curious if it matters to those they actually bullied), and some stayed in silence just to lurk, waiting for drama lol (me). Well it didn't come, not a week later and the group chat is already silent. Guess people really didn't have much to say beyond ~hi hello sorry if I've hurt anyone before blah blah blah~, at least to the whole batch. I mean for sure we continued gossiping within our own circle of friends. I'm sure some of us are still waiting for an apology. And I'm also sure there's no need to remember highschool. 

Wow this bitch is so angry, who hurt you? Hahaha

I never liked highschool for the most part. My best take away from that bloody phase would be knowing who my real friends are, other than that, there's really nothing to look back to. I know who to keep as friends and who to avoid forever, and I intend to keep it that way.

I don't even care much about reunions cos honestly, what the hell do you do there anyway? You're just gonna end up talking to your own friends. So why bother. We already have a group chat for that haha. It's not like we're up for some kind of rekindling. It's not like we're in need of reconciliation. I didn't think we're a tight-knit batch anyway.

It's not all bad though. And I know it feels unfair to pass judgment to the whole batch when it's really just just one person, and her group of friends, who made an entire year miserable for me. I have not forgiven her, and I doubt she even remembers terrorizing me, and many others for that matter. Half the girls in my batch are mean, and to have the meanest bunch on your back for a whole year is traumatizing. Urgh. 

Anyway. I'll forget about it. Til someone gets nostalgic again haha.  


✱ Smelling

Nothing much.

✱ Wishing

For a better office chair wow hahaha. I'm just learning to enjoy sitting properly while working and in my case it involves setting the seat height to the highest level (short people problems). And because my chair doesn't have adjustable armrests they keep bumping on the edge of the table huhu hassle. I'm looking at this chair from ErgoHome hehe but I would need to sell my O2 Midback first to give space for this haha



✱ Wearing

Sando and shorts hehe

✱ Loving

My time off from Twitter. I left Twitter a week ago to uhm detox cos it's become a very toxic place to lurk in haha. Everyone is too performative and I feel like it's a whole world filled with pseudo-intellectuals you can't argue with. I actually just logged out and hid the app from my home screen, but thankfully I haven't given in to the urge of launching the app every now and then, specially when I want to air out some micro thoughts once in a while. I've gotten better at suppressing my thoughts, specially when I know I can introspect some more and validate it further. Cos I know I'm not always right, and I'd rather have a few informed opinions than have an opinion on everything. Twitter has made it too easy to share stupid thoughts, I'm guilty of it too. So I wanna hold back. It's a good exercise. Thinking before posting, then eventually forgetting hehe.

✱ Wanting

A sleeping mask. Can't decide if I'll get Tempur again or try other weighted ones. I'm curious about weighted sleep masks but I also want to be able to open my eyes fully. I think right now I just want something blackout and comfy.

✱ Needing

To stop stress twirling my hair but I just can't? My mind is too weak for this. My scalp hurts, my arm hurts, and araw-araw para akong bagong gupit with all the bits of my hair getting cut off. Hay.

✱ Feeling

Hopeful about the things to come. We have a lot of new team members, coming from another department that's been merged with ours. Can't wait to get to know them, but somehow I also feel uneasy about the change lol. But whatever, I'm sure it can only be good.

Our country director has announced that they'll be allowing people to come to the office starting September but no definite guidelines have been rolled out yet. I think the firm is hesitant to put out a rule not allowing unvaccinated people in the office because it could come off as discriminatory (well, it is) but I think it's perfectly fair to do so, specially in these times. It's for the good of everyone. I wouldn't want to report to work unvaccinated. And if not everyone in the office gets vaccinated, what's the point in risking exposure. I'm much safer at home. Hay.

Well, best case scenario for me is to be allowed remote work forever haha but that's reaching for the stars so nevermind.
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Claiming my confiscated driver's license at Manila City Hall

June 18 (Friday) - I got caught entering the PUV lane at Taft ave. entering Lagusnilad. It was our first time in this part of Manila, it was night time as well, and Waze told us to keep left on the road. It was an honest mistake, I didn't notice the sign, so yeah my bad.


I learned that if you talked nicely enough to the enforcer they can bring down your penalty to 500 (or zero if you kotong). But since #NoToKotong tayo lol and I really have no qualms with getting a ticket (cos, uhm, justice) we accepted the situation. There's about three violations he could write me up for - wrong turn, disregarding lane markings, or disobeying traffic signs - and he gave me the one with the cheapest penalty, at least according to him, so we went with that. I don't really know much about these violations and how to assert what's right in this situation but at least I know we did right by not bribing him.

So. The enforcer told me to go back for my license after 5 days just to be sure that my license has already been turned over to the MTPB office. The ticket is only good for 5 working days too and if you claim beyond that you'll incur a daily penalty.

June 28 (Monday) - Came to Manila City Hall to retrieve my license. It's 6 working days past the day I was apprehended so I was expecting a late penalty.

7:30AM - arrived at the City Hall to line up. My husband came with me and we took a GrabTaxi to the place. We alighted at the back of the City Hall (along Antonio Villegas st.) across SM Manila. We asked one of the officers there where to line up for DL claiming and he pointed us to the other side of the building, but not before commenting on us WEARING SLIPPERS, asking if SAKIN DAW BA TONG TICKET, and remarking that KUNG GUSTO NYO PATULONG BALIK KAYO SAKIN. 

Aga aga bulok agad sasalubong sayo.

The line for claiming DL is by the gate facing Taft Ave, near Lagusnilad underpass, and it stretches aaaall around the block. It's only 7:30AM ha. We first went to the gate to confirm where the line is and also to ask if I'm gonna be allowed in since I'm wearing slippers. The guard says OO NAMAN DITO LANG NAMAN KAYO SA BUNGAD. Thank you!


Here's the situation when we arrived. Tbh, we didn't expect there'd be so much people with this business.


07:50 AM - An officer gives us queue numbers. I'm 132nd in line.


He doesn't take our tickets yet. He just marks them with a number and crosses that number on his list. They say it's just a headcount cos they have a cutoff of 300 people per day. The number doesn't necessarily mean I'll be the 132nd person to get accommodated cos the papers still get "jumbled" inside. Uhuh, we all know why.

Segue: The lamp posts here are so cute they're designed to look like the city hall clock tower.



07:58 AM - line starts moving!

09:00 AM - around this time, the officer comes back to get our tickets. He takes them by batch of I don't know how many and we're told to wait for our names to be called.

10:02 AM - my name was called and I was handed my SOA (Statement of Account) and was told to get into another line, this time to enter the compound for payment processing.



10:45 AM - I'm finally inside. 


I presented my SOA and ticket to one of the counters and paid 500 pesos for the violation. I was charged 500 pesos only with no late penalty. Apparently, they recorded my apprehension date as June 21 instead of June 18, so I'm still on time. Must've been the day they received the report. Oh well, works for me but it bothers me that the apprehension date in their system is now inaccurate.

He then gave me the Official Receipt in return, told me to have it photocopied, and return the copy to him. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?! They can't just photocopy the OR on their side, they'll tell you to go to this hallway where there's a photocopier by the restroom, pay 2 pesos for the xerox, and go back to the same window to give the copy. Sobrang hassle.

Siguro they made the process extremely troublesome so we'd be more careful on the road next time. Or para mangotong ka na lang next time para di ka mahassle. That and they want to get loads of kickback from the photocopier too (I wonder which executive owns it). And most importantly, they wanna keep the city hall thriving with inefficiencies cos that's how they make bank. Our taxes are not enough, they have to extort us too. There's no point complaining about the rotten system because it was built that way. And the fact that people are complaining means they're succeeding. Kaching kaching. I hate Manila.

Figure this, let's say on average they can accommodate 150 people in line (I'm #132 that day and the line didn't end with me). And each of them pays at least 500 in fine + 2 pesos for xerox, that easily gives you at least 75k per day.

MTPB is earning at least 75k a day from violators alone.
In a week that's 375k.
In a month that's around 1.5 million. 
AT LEAST 1.5 million.
And yet traffic keeps getting worse.

11:30 AM - finally got my license back. After 4 freaking hours.



It's a good learning experience, being subjected to this kind of suffering hahaha. I have so many takeaways from this horrible experience, the most blaring one being how hopelessly corrupted this city is. And the rest of the country actually. While waiting in line, I witnessed someone get escorted to a "backdoor" because of his connection. As in he was approached in line and made chika pa...

"BAT KA KASI NAGPAHULI" tawa tawa pa sila,
"OSYA, SAMA KA SAKIN" and off they went ahead all of us.
One person in line asked the officer "SIR, START NA PO BA?" just to get his attention but of course he was blatantly ignored.
Imagine the chismisan in line, sobrang walang hiya no haha

And that's not the first time it happened while waiting in line. Makes you wonder how deeply rooted the network of perversion is within the city hall. Just one connection, one rotten soul who would agree to be your fixer reveals a lot about the gravity of corruption inside. Cos it doesn't take just one person to grant you special privileges. It takes someone who knows someone who knows someone... who can move your paper along to the top of the pile. And God knows how many people allowed for that paper to slip by, who turned a blind eye, right with this poster plastered at every wall in the hall.


They're all full of campaigns but not a lot of shame.

It's a sickening reality we live in. People who are willing to comply are slapped with such obvious disregard for integrity and it just leaves you hopeless, kills your spirit. No wonder the city hall is shaped like a coffin.



And thaaaaat's how it went for me. 4 hours on a Monday. Not sure about other days, maybe I just came at the wrong day of the week and the lines are shorter when it's another weekday.

To thank you for reaching this part, let me summarize the process for you and give you some tips:

The process:
  • Line up and wait for an officer to give you a queue number, he'll write a number on the upper portion of your ticket.
  • Wait for an officer to collect your tickets. Once it's in, position yourself near the announcer so you can hear your name clearly.
  • Wait for your name to be called, you will be given your ticket back plus your SOA which says how much you have to pay.
  • You'll be asked to line up for payment
  • Present your ticket + SOA to the payment window and settle your payment
  • You'll be given an official receipt
  • Have this receipt photocopied (for 2 pesos) at the photocopier by the restrooms
  • Go back to the window and give the copy. Keep the original receipt with you.
  • Wait for your name to be called, you'll finally be handed your driver's license.
  • Get out of the city hall quick
  • Walk to SM Manila to freshen up or eat, but only briefly cos it's not really fresh in there.
  • Go home, take a shower, and vow to leave this country cos it sucks here char
  • Do what is right, don't get swayed by devils in uniform.
  • If you know someone - forget it. This is not the right time to use your "network" you shameless prick. 
  • Finally, be more careful and mindful of the road next time :)

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Timeout

My goodness this week was so frkn mentally exhausting. I can't remember the last time I did focused work for five weekdays straight. I CAN'T. Hopefully this is all temporary. I didn't work so hard to still work hard at this point in my career haha. You know what I mean??? I worked my way to get to a point where I can slack off when I want to and still be able to deliver wahahaha. But yeah sometimes our team gets inundated with testing projects here and there and the thing about testing is that... it takes a lot of time! Haaay. I'm so tired.

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Give me a break


I'm so frkn stressed out with work I don't even know what to do now.

By the way, I made small changes to this blog to remove clutter and hopefully speed it up. I limited the number of posts on the homepage to five (previously 13 - can you believe the omen i've put on this thing lol), removed the Contact page and Work with Me page, because finally i'm letting go of identifying myself as a blogger (also bec no one really visits those pages). Cos I'm not a blogger anymore. I'm just someone who blogs. Ha? Let's pretend there's a profound difference there somewhere. I mean I just wanna stop advertising my blogging services and just focus on writing whatnots like I used to. I so missed the days when I would just whip up the post editor and rant about nonsensical things. For a while I got conscious of putting up streamlined content for content's sake but heck I'm the least cohesive person out there and it's kindof a task having to narrate my day properly when it's not even a proper day to begin with.

I've come to realize that the moment I start monetizing my hobbies is the moment it stops being fun. I loved writing, I'm not good at it, but when I got a writing job, I realized I didn't want to write for a living. I loved drawing and designing, again I'm not the best I just know enough, and yes eventually it became taxing and troublesome dealing with clients and it stopped being a creative outlet for me. I sold out on the things that made me happy and got enslaved by money. And so, I'm not doing that again. But not entirely haha. Adsense works for me cos it doesn't tell me what to do. 

Which is why I appreciate having a job that's not aligned with my hobbies. I don't love it, but I'm good enough at it. I won't do it for fun, so I can take a break by doing the things I love and come back to work recharged. I care just enough to deliver what needs to be done in the most efficient way I can. It's also mentally stimulating and financially rewarding at the same time. 

That's said, let's start anew. I'm back to being more personal and spontaneous so expect more entries like this where I just take a break from scripting goddamn tests and vent about how I stressed I am at work.

But wait, I just got promoted! Thank you Lord!!! My manager called me the other day to tell me the good news and the amount of increase. Finally, I'm at my dream salary range can you believe iiiiiit? Uhm, I actually do. I've been offered the same amount before, but I turned it down. And now it took me 3 years to earn that here hahaha. But hey, no regrets.



I wonder if it came with more perks. Like, is it just the increase? I would love to have parking privileges in our new office or maybe even some Grab allowance haha. 

I'm very happy about the promotion but I also wonder about what it entails. I don't want more resposibilities cos I feel like I already earned this from what I'm currently doing for the company so I just wanna keep at it. I want to maintain where I am today because I feel like this is my peak and I'm already comfortable here. Pwede ba yon. Hanggang dito na lang ako kasi pagod na ko umeffort pa.

Alright gotta go.

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[Unboxing + Review] All-new Kindle 10th Generation (2019)

Finally! I got the Kindle Basic 10th Generation 2019 or the All-new Kindle 10th Gen (2019), I'm not really sure what's it called officially aside from "Kindle" so to be more specific I call it the Kindle Basic.
 



In this blog post I'm gonna share a review of the product, its specs and features, why I chose it (over the Paperwhite), where and how I download ebooks, how I removed ads (special offers), and finally its price and availability.

You may also watch my Youtube review here:



Unboxing



The box contains a paper sleeve containing the Kindle, some paperworks, and a USB charging cable (micro USB end). That's it! There's not much to the package.

If you notice, the Kindle shows a static screen where it tells you where the Power On button is. I thought it was just some product pamphlet but that's actually the screen already. And for some reason it came active?

Interesting. I got curious about why it came with an active screen, even more curious when I powered it on and found the factory charge at 42%. I was expecting it to be drained.

Then I learned that the Kindle doesn't actually eat battery life when the page is still because e-ink display only consumes power when you're turning pages. Amaaaazing! 

Specs and features

  • Model no.: J9G29R
  • 6" glare-free screen
  • 167 ppi resolution
  • Dimensions (LxWxH) - 16 x 11.3 x 0.87 cm (6.3 x 4.5 x 0.3 in)
  • Weighs 174g
  • 8GB storage
  • Adjustable front light
  • Audible support
  • Wi-fi connectivity
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Comes in black and white

How to remove special offers (ads)
The Kindle I got is an ad supported version so there are special offers and sponsored screensavers like these...


The ads aren't really annoying, they're not that instrusive. At least they don't pop-up while you're reading. Though you can still have it removed if you want, just simply chat with an Amazon Customer Service agent online. How?

Login to your Amazon account and chat to a CS rep here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/contact-us/ref=csl_contactus

Mention that you would like to have special offers removed because you're from this and that country and the ads are irrelevant to you (which is weird cos the ads are actually tailored to your behavior on Kindle).

You could also lie and say it's inapproriate for the (non-existent) minors in your household to see book suggestions with topless men with v-cut abs on the cover lol. I'm not really sure what the right reason would be but it's just a matter of trying and trying until you get an agent who will agree to remove the ads for you for FREE as an exception. I tried a total of 3 times before I was able to have them removed, here's my experience:

Attempt #1: I chatted with an agent, told him I'm from the Philippines and would like to have ads removed because blah blah blah. He took my serial # and said that upon checking, my Kindle is registered at Amazon Japan so I should take my business there instead. I didn't bother taking it to Amazon JP beause it would mean I had to create an account there and it's too troublesome navigating a Japanese website. So I let it go.

Attempt #2: This time the agent referred my concern to Amazon JP by creating a ticket for it. So I just waited through email for the result of my appeal. It was denied. They explained that they couldn't remove the ads because the device was bought that way. Bummer.

Attempt #3: The agent said that there's a $20 fee for the ads to be removed. I asked how come some people were able to have it removed for free? Blah blah blah. Eventually he agreed to remove it for me for free, as an exception. I wasn't angry okay hehe, just trying my luck, if there's any, and there's some! So yeah, during the session he removed the ads on my Kindle and asked me to restart the device. Et voila!



Don't forget to be nice and thank them for their effort hehe. They're not really obligated to remove it and you're just asking for a favor so yeah, be nice and grateful that no unsolicited torrid cover shall ever grace your Kindle screensaver ever again.

Why Kindle Basic (over Paperwhite)?
Here's a comparison table among the three popular Kindles. 


On paper, the Paperwhite (pun intended) is the clear winner with most of its features being an upgrade from the Kindle Basic. It has an option for bigger storage, has higher screen resolution, more light options, has an IPX8 rating (waterproof), and option for wifi + cellular connectivity. 
 
The thing is, for $40 more I didn't need that much features, so I stuck with the basic.

On storage: I wouldn't need 32GB of storage since I only read books in text. I also don't listen to audible, and if I want to, I would rather use the Kindle app on my phone for that. I don't read image heavy files like comic books or magazines. So yeah, I wouldn't need that much storage. In fact, 8GB can very well store over a thousand books already and that's more than enough to last me my lifetime.

Resolution: Depends on the type of media you consume, Kindle Basic's 167ppi resolution is actually good enough. I mean they wouldn't come up with an e-reader you can barely read from. You're welcome to read comic books too. But if that's your main cup of tea I suggest you go for the PPW instead cos that's where the 300ppi would matter more.

Battery life: Amazon was never specific about how much battery its Kinde devices can hold, all we know is that it lasts for weeks, thanks mostly to e-ink technology which only consumes power when you're flipping the pages.

What I like about the Kindle Basic


Product design! The Kindle basic has a sunken screen compared to Paperwhite's flush surface, they both look good to me but I just prefer how the Kindle Basic is built. The body has a matte plastic finish and the Kindle logo at the front is etched unobtrusively in a spot gloss. I also love how the logo at the back doesn't contain the wordmark "Amazon" haha.


Reading progress! You can set the footer to show your reading progress. You can see time left in book, time left in chapter, location in book, page in book, and your overall % progress. This feature actually encourages me to read more!

Page layout! You can customize your reading experience according to your preference. You can choose the font family, font size, orientation (portrait or landscape), margins, spacing, etc.

Display cover! There's an option in the settings that allows you to turn the cover of the book you're reading as a screensaver. I disabled this feature cos it doesn't always work in sideloaded books but it's a nice feature still hehe.

Dictionary and vocabulary builder! One of my favorite features. You can press and hold an unfamiliar word and the dictionary will pull up with its definition. Also, that word will be added to your Vocabulary Builder, which is a list of all the words you looked up. You can check it out and see flashcards of its usage, and you can also mark it as mastered if you're good with the word. Awesome!

Highlights and notes! Very handy for quotable quotes!

So! If there's one thing I want improved with the user experience, that would be the accesibility of the brightness settings. Right now it takes 2 clicks to get there. I would appreciate it if there's a shortcut to it just like how you can pinch the screen and the font will automatically zoom in or out. Other than that I'm good! :)

Sideloading ebooks
There are so many ways to load books on your Kindle but I can only share one way cos this is the only way I know haha. I get my books from Z-Library at https://z-lib.org and I only use my phone to transfer it.

How? First make sure you have the Kindle app on your phone, it's free to download and everything you got in your library will sync to your Kindle device, so this is a key step.

Go the the z-lib website, look for a book you want, and download a MOBI version of it.

Once it's downloaded, open the file, choose the app where you want to launch it, and look for Kindle, it should be there. You'll be prompted with the Send to Kindle dialog where you enter the author's name and hit send. Make sure to toggle "Save in Kindle Library" on.



The book will appear in your Kindle library shortly, and on to your Kindle device as well. That's it, no need for cables!

Finally
Got the item from Lazada Philippines for ₱4,620.00

Reading on the Kindle is a whole new experience for me. It's super light and easy to hold. It's even lighter than my phone. The e-ink display is remarkable, it's easy on the eyes, you don't even need to turn on the front light if you're reading in a bright environment. It's as if you're reading straight from the book. Navigation is very different from a smart phone, mind you, specially when it comes to flipping the pages. But that's expected with e-ink display. I'm happy with my purchase and can't wait to read more books! :D

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