Life Lately

Wow we're halfway through the year wth.

Thinking about our parking situation
I've been contemplating a lot*** about renting a parking space at our condo so that my husband and I can enjoy having a car during the weekends. And also so we could invite our parents over when the slot is free. But the cost man. Here's a breakdown:
  • Parking fee is 5k to 6k a month. I'm lucky if I can haggle it down to 4k.
  • Fuel is currently at 55/liter on this side of the metro. Back when I used to drive daily to work, I spend 500/week on gas for a 24km ride per day. If I were to drive to work today I'd only have to ride 12km a day lol. Let's keep the higher estimate.
  • If I bring it to the office, that's gonna run me additional 50 to 200/day depends on where I park.
  • Add those to our monthly amortization and we get a monthly additional expense of...
12k if I drive to work daily (6k condo parking, 4k office parking, 2k gas)
7k if I use it only on weekends (6k condo parking, 1k gas) Is it worth it? I really wanna know but I don't want to risk it. Minimum parking lease is at least 6 months. I just want to try it for a month haha.

Argh. We'll see.

*** - by that I mean I've been literally dreaming about it. Ugh.

Lord of Merch, please approve!
I uploaded a couple of designs today and is still waiting for approval. I haven't been able to sell a single shirt since I uploaded my work lol. Didn't think it would be this hard! Sales today is really more on the marketing and less about the product , I notice. But anyway, still leaving these cuties here para may photo insert naman tong blog post na to haha. Bottom row is World Cup related if you notice. I'm enjoying the theme, it's like one template can make multiple entries. I just hope it's not too late yet. But first, they all need to get approved argh.

An ipis situation
Two nights ago I had one of the biggest scares of my life (charot). There was a cockroach lurking in the bedroom when I got home, and when I was about to spray it dead with Baygon, it fckn flew towards me! I instinctively shut the door to protect myself, then spent the next 4 hours miserably  waiting in the living room for my husband to come home so we could fight the damned thing together. So scary.

To add to my worries, my dad, who was supposed to land at LA that night hasn't communicated me with me yet. I specifically told him to let me know as soon as he's out of TSA and immigration check. It was 8 hours past his ETA and I was getting worried for him. My head is reeling in suspense, at a possible immigration issue, or an impending deportation, or a random check gone wrong... and this fkn cockroach who held me hostage in my own house is just making me feel worse.

Anyway. The break of dawn brought in good news. One is that my dad finally contacted me. He arrived safe! Second, my husband got home and we battled the cockroach together. It was hiding behind the curtains. We were so careful not to provoke it to fly. He lured it by tapping the floor with a stick, saying cockroaches navigate by vibration. True enough, the bastarded thing followed the sound! And once it's out of the room we sprayed it to death, flushed it in the toilet, and heaved a sigh of relief.

For better or for worse. A cockroach won't do us part.

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Die bitch.

So unproductive at work
I don't even know what to say about it. Uuuuurrgghh. What do I say to my boss when he's back?! T__T

What's up

Allow me to rejoice internally as I successfully accomplish all of my pending work today. Work being not my regular job, but my uhm, extra job. I need to decide what to call it, it's getting ridiculous having to explain every time.

I crammed writing 4 articles this weekend because they were so overdue. Then I had to deal with this project that's taking forever to finish because my client keeps asking to add more elements to it. More illustrations, more photos, more words! And because I only got paid to do a specific layout, naturally I had to charge some more for additional elements. Urgh. But you know what, it's starting to look really good. Once I get all the branding elements done, it's just a matter of laying them out to whatever paraphernalia they need. Right? Riiiiight.

Now for my third client. This one's new and exciting. It's for a new logo and I just submitted the proposals today. Hoping for the best.

That's for today. How were the other days for me? Friday last week Jeckie and I went to QC to play badminton and visit the parentals. We weren't able to invite other people because it was kinda biglaan and QC pa so malayo from the people we would've invited. We reserved a court at Kalayaan Badminton Court, and man I cried in nostalgia. Also because I missed playing there, and I missed QC rates! Imagine, for 1 hour of playtime we only paid 365, that's already including 2 bottles of gatorade. Now, it it were in Makati, we would've paid 75 each for entrance fee and 375 per hour or court use. We're too poor to get gatorade then.

After badminton I went to Fairview to visit my parents, and Jeckie stayed at his parents' in QC to sleep hehe. My sister and I drove to S&R, I drive to, she drives back and parked the car as well. I'M SO PROUD OF MY ATE! First time she drove for me! Looking forward to our roadtrips!

Saturday morning I went back to QC to visit a friend's wake. One of my college friends died this month due to a complication of diseases which started from ascites disease and then progressed to a possible cancer. I don't know the exact details. She was too young. She had a baby. She's the first of my friends (my age) to die. I didn't know what to feel. :(

After visiting the wake I came by my parent's place again. This time to celebrate father's day. We bonded and ate at a restaurant, then they drove me back to Mandaluyong. But not before dropping by at Shangri-la to shop. I was meaning to go home early because, like I said, my articles are overdue lol, but I couldn't resist it!

Oh, Jeckie wasn't with us because he had a wedding to attend to.

The next day, I woke up feeling super sick. Missed church but made habol to merienda with Jeckie's family at, guess where, Shang ulit lol.

Then we went home, tried to finish 2 articles, failed, watched Breaking Bad with Jeckie, slept.

Watched: A Korean Odyssey

Watched this over Netflix and had a hard time finishing the series because it became dragging for me (sorry!). It's really from TVN but it says it's a Netflix original? I don't know the difference hehe. If you're not familiar with it, go ahead and watch it! Otherwise, you may want to skip this one.

Photo from

TVN makes really golden fantasy series, the effects and CG aren't perfect but it's better than most networks' attempts at adding special effects to their segments haha. It does feel a bit like Goblin, which came from the same network, so my expectations were high. They have so many similar themes:

There's a chosen child who grows up to be the love interest of a supernatural being
A supernatural being who's trapped, cursed, or waiting for something
This chosen being has a monumental task she needs to carry out before she dies
Which would mean the death of his lover
So there goes their dilemma
And of course the chosen one has to die, as a sacrifice or something
Oh and there's this rich butler too who has served this powerful supernatural being for ages

It was pretty. The story was catchy. There are so many lovable characters. My favorite is Richie and Lucifer King Woo Hee! The love story though? I don't knooooow. There wasn't any chemistry between Jin Seon-mi and Son O-gong at the start.

I was too distracted with Son O-gong's hair too that I couldn't see him as super pogi or something. Hindi naman talaga sya pogi, he has charisma but his hair kinda killed half of it. I was hoping they'd leave his original unkempt hair back when he was locked at the Marble Mountains, but no. Whatever fashion statement they're trying to introduce with his hair, GOOD LUCK.

Anyway. I liked the development of the story, from the revelation of Jin Seon-mi being Samjang up to the point when she learned what she has to sacrifice in order to save the world. However, her death was so blah. She got stabbed, that's it. And she bled to death just in time for Son O-gong to banish the evil dragon to end it all. Which I also have a problem with. All throughout the series it was kindof established how the deities up there have been playing with their lives and manipulating them to further their cause. Two of the most powerful monsters, Lucifer King Woo Hee and Son O-gong himself were played all along by these scheming white-clad bitches. They needed someone powerful to banish this evil dragon that's set to be unleashed by a misunderstood Priestess. So they manipulated the most powerful ones they know, who also happen to be the most notorious, into doing their bidding. Both of them knew that they're being toyed. They wouldn't have cared if the world perished. They're frkn immortal. But these higher beings? I thought they needed to get punished too. I would've wanted Son O-gong to do his mission completely and still be able torment the higher ups. Actually I was expecting him not to kill the dragon completely but to subdue it enough to become its master, then seal it on the rocky cliffs of Pocheon Art Valley. That would've been awesome. After all,  it's the dieties' fault Jin Seon-mi was destined to die. That's a total revenge for these prying gods. They'd be scared of Son O-gong even more. And Lucifer King would be delighted to know they somehow got back to their awful overlords.

But then. Oh well.

Photo from Soompi

Aaaah Jung Se Ra and Ah San yeo! This zombie is too adorable! Even as an evil priestess I can't bring myself to hate her totally. I knowww, because she's not the real villain right? It was supposed to be Kang Dae Song, the greedy professor turned politician. But his participation in the entire series isn't really engaging. You know who the real villains are? The deities.

Throwback: Happy 6 years in the workforce!

I caaaaan't believe it! I'm getting old. :O

This deserves a throwback so bear with me as I try to recount my entire work history, its ups and downs, and how I got where I am today... which is the present, not like I'm at a certain peak yknow hehe. If there's a peak I've reached today that's certainly my weight.

Story time (also, long post ahead):

Photo from Pixabay

6 years ago I worked as a Software Development Analyst at one of the biggest telcos in the country. It was crazy. The work was mostly stressful, but the compensation is good. As a fresh grad I knew I was earning more than what most entry-level IT practitioners are getting, and thanks to their HR's high flyer incentive, my basic pay was even upped by 2k/mo because I graduated with honors. I was so proud of myself. Just carrying their ID feels ecstatic. Everybody knows this company, and I was there working as a programmer. I felt badass. The benefits are amazing too. Every Christmas they would give a Megabox full of groceries (one that required me to be fetched by car because I can't possibly commute with it), that's on top of 2 fiesta hams, and a 10k incentive. Each. And then there's the guaranteed 15th month pay. And the not-guaranteed performance bonuses that reached 18 months, at least during my stay. Too bad I wasn't there yet when they gave out 22 months worth of bonuses. Needless to say, we were showered with incentives. There's always something going on in the company. Parties, freebies, promos, celebrities, blah.

But the work? Oh damn. I would've stayed longer if I lived nearer, for real. But the stress levels of the work and the super long commute took a toll on my health. Physically and mentally. I felt so incompetent, working there. My kryptonite was Java, something we barely touched in college. Most of our applications are Java-based and it's frustrating how I can't learn it on the fly, no matter how hard I try. Everyday I would feel depressed that I couldn't freaking get this framework to work, that I don't get how beans, objects, and OOP work. The only thing I'm confident in doing is clearing our linux servers of temp files. 

I once spent my birthday in the office overnight because we had to rush an update for a fraud management tool. We would spend weekends developing a revenue system because our timeline was so bad. I always had to answer a call in the wee hours of the night because our systems are always flooding with alerts. Looking back I could've blamed the leadership for not properly estimating our timelines. Because it happened all the time. But back then I had no one to blame but me and my incompetent self. I was so sure I was the cause of delay. So I resigned. I wasn't getting the right motivation I needed to continue further. I concluded that I wasn't ready for the real world, and that I needed relevant training before doing anything.

And so I applied as a trainee at an IT consulting firm. The benefits are the exact opposite from my previous company. I wasn't proud carrying its name because it doesn't ring a bell in anyone's ear aside from having a "hard" qualifying exam. They call it The Hardvard Exam. I think it's just a really long IQ test. I remember applying to this same company when I was a fresh grad. I got in and they gave me an offer, but I had to decline because I got a better one. Who would've thought I'd be taking the same damned exam again. It was scary, taking the exam for the 2nd time. I was afraid I'd fail, that my mental state has deteriorated so bad because of stress haha. But thank God I got in. The first time I took it, I was the only one who passed in a batch of ~30 applicants. The second time I took it, 2 of us passed. The offer is so much smaller than what I used to earn in my previous company, and the benefits are basic and drab. But factoring in the shorter commute and the 3 months training pre-requisite, I figured it's about okay. 

Training was awesome. I almost failed on the first part because I suck at Mainframe/COBOL, but our Java Web Apps module was a frkn big help. I learned a lot. After our training I was deployed to a Java development team, servicing one of US' biggest airlines. It was crazy. It was at this point that I realized I'm not developer material. I don't like this track, it's eating me alive. Thankfully there was an internal opening with our QA team. I never considered software testing but at that time I was willing to try anything not programming. I requested to get transferred. My manager helped me out and signed me up in one of their trainings. This training was supposed to help the client pick 2 people to let in his team. I was one them. 

So I got on-boarded on my new team and got to the learn about my new function. From Software Engineer to Software Test Engineer. Eventually we got invited to visit onsite to meet and greet our other team members in the US, and to get better exposed to the airline applications we're testing. It was amazing. A month into my new team and I was working on my US Visa, getting excited at the prospect of staying 3 months in a foreign country. What a dream.

My 3 months stay in Minnesota was extended to 5 and that was, so far, the happiest point of my career. I was earning in dollars and I felt rich haha. Even though I was just on a per diem allowance,  the fact that my transportation and lodging is free, plus my peso account is still earning... I've no words to say. I even got promoted while I was there, so there goes more peso savings.

The 5 months came by so fast and I wish I could've stayed longer but oh well, not this time. I returned to the Philippines, 12lbs heavier, and came back to the grave (yard) reality that our country is in a seriously wretched state. There's something about going back from abroad that makes you despise your own country even more. I have zero nationalism in me.

Then things started to get awry for our company. One of our major healthcare clients terminated their contract with us, so that left us with waves of redundancies. Being in a different market circle, we weren't affected... yet. But the thought is slowly creeping in. I waited for my 3 year bond to end before actively pursuing other opportunities. There weren't a lot, but they were all so promising.

Then I got engaged. I forgot about job hunting and focused on saving for our wedding. But bad news came in, my fiance got redundiated from his company. And with our wedding all set and half our suppliers paid, his losing his job came totally unexpected. So I started job hunting again, hopeful that I'll get something that pays more so we could get on track with our wedding savings again. I trusted that my fiance would be able to get a new job quick, but I thought this was also a good opportunity for me to look out. I also wasn't feeling so secure about my current job anymore. So you know, jump ship before you sink with it. Thankfully, my fiance got a new job almost immediately after his last day on his previous and we were so grateful about it.

Also around that time, I found out about this company that has an open position that fits my skill set almost perfectly. I was a couple of years under-experienced but there were just so many checks on the position brief that I had to try my luck. I wrote about it here. It's super long and boring just like this one hahaha. So yon. That's pretty much how I ended up here. I'm sorry about this super long post. Hindi na uso yung ganito e no? Haha. I have a problem shortening my stories lol.

Funny that on this exact day last year, I was worrying about the results of my job interview with my current company. And now I'm a regular employee of theirs! Yehey!

Unpopular Opinion: Graphic design pricing edition

Oh my gosh I'm so fed up with all these artists saying you should price your shit higher because

don't you have bills to pay?
have some self worth naman
you don't deserve that
you're dragging the industry down
they'll think all Pinoy artists are cheap
blah blah blah

... especially to young people who are obviously just starting out. I personally have nothing against those who charge less than 1k for their design services, if they're okay with it. It's not like they were forced right. I made 4 people their computer projects for 700 + snacks and I was happy that time. I was a student, their project was easy, so I made easy money, and snacks... and bonus points from my crush. But seriously, let's stop dictating other people's prices. That's not our business, literally. Cos honestly? There's a negligible chance of them stealing your market, unless you personally referred them. So why are you so damn affected by these bargain prices?

If you're really gonna insist these bills you so proudly factor in, you better make sure they're paying for them. Entirely. Not living under their parents' roof. Paying for their own internet. Computer. Legit software. Ha. I bet most of these really talented and "underpaid" artists are basking in the privilege of their parents' fortress. So what's left to factor in? Labor. Which is all up to the artist. So keep your noses out unless they specifically asked for pricing advice.

I'm not gonna say to anyone that heyyy your work is so good, that can't be just 500. Maybe if you made it, it's not gonna be worth 500 only, but that's you, so don't force your pricing matrix onto other people. If they're happy with it, the hell you care? Time will come they'll increase their prices on their own. So let them be mfs. If Paul Rand and I made the same exact logo, with the same rationale and process, you think the world would allow me to charge a million dollars for my work? Hell no.

This industry can't be standardized, at least from the pricing perspective.

My very first art commission was priced at 30 frkn pesos. That was 2006. I was a freshman. I made laminated playing card sized doodles. Metallic pen on black paper. How much does lamination cost then? 11 frkn pesos. Paper? Pen? I don't know, they're stock. Never mind that I never really profited from those. The fact that they appreciated my work made me so damn happy.

Fast forward to 8 years later, I illustrated a children's book. Pro bono. That's 30+ pages of digital illustration I spent sleepless nights to finish. Was it worth it? Definitely. Because it launched me. It was after the book launch that I gained confidence to set up shop.

And now I run a graphic design business on the sides, no pressure. I made sure to charge what my time and effort is worth. My baseline being my daily rate at my regular job lol.

I think what I really want to say is that it's okay to start small. Whatever that means to you.

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