Hala sya

What the heck, I forgot I was supposed to attend this Communicating with Impact workshop my boss signed me up for. To be honest, I really forgot about it. It didn't help that I may have accidentally ignored the calendar reminder because uhm, force of habit. Anyway, it's a frkn 4-hour class with lots of succeeding sessions and tons of pre-work. Sa totoo lang it's too much work for me right now cos I'm already drowning in work tapos may mga "extra-curricular" pa lol. Nahiya naman ako sa boss ko. I even uploaded a new profile pic on facebook and he frigging 👍 it tapos biglang hindi ako umattend sa meeting. Busy ba talaga ko.

Hay Lord, when the hell is this gonna end. Pwede bang magpa-demote na lang lol unless this is really how it's gonna be for the rest of the year so might as well get paid more for it lol. #ThisTooShallPass


Earlier this afternoon I went to LTO to have my driver's license updated to my current address. I've been postponing this for the longest time but I need a valid ID with my correct address asap so I could get vaccinated in my LGU. In fairness to LTO Pasig, it's my second time transacting with them this year and I really love how quick and easy it is to do my business there. Siguro kasi it was mostly online, from scheduling, to uploading of revelant docs, and to payment. I only had to go there to have my license reprinted. They were even expecting me while I was lost looking for the right window. Galing hehe.

After that errand, I went to get some new specs at Owndays. My current glasses are already 2 years old, not sure if it's already due for an update but it's become quite uncomfortable to wear recently. So yun. In fairness to Owndays, 20 mins and I'm out. I got a new frame with blue light filter, and it looks great.


Here's a selfie! It fits better and doesn't fall down, considering I got one without adjustable nose pads. It's cool. My eye grade increased a bit I think. And I'm having a really bad headache right now. Baka naga-adjust pa. Everything's clearer and mejo nakakahilo panning around. Hope I get used to it soon. I just worry cos I don't remember getting a headache with my first glasses but ganon huhu.

In other news, kuya Rey from TSP asked me if I'm still okay working for Super Labandera cos they're planning to reprint it next year under a different publisher. I'm all for it! Buti na lang the timeline isn't too tight so I still have time to improve my skills. Sana gumaling ako kasi nahihiya ako dun sa una kong gawa hehe. I'm pretty excited!

Also, I got my first sale from Redbubble. I already forgot I had some merch up in there haha. I got 10 cents from a sticker sale hahaha yeyy?

Hay Lord I want to rest. I don't know how to deal with my workload. It's too much. Kanina lang I got a call for two new projects, right when I haven't cleared up my to do list. Nakakalula na andaming kelangan gawin tapos ang sakit pa ng ulo ko huhu. Here's what's on my plate:

Robot for documents exclusion
Robot for CRM cleanup
Robot for proforma generation
Robot for new matters

And just now, a new task came along. I'm gonna be doing another Desktop Regression test using Eggplant na sobrang limot ko na juskopo tapos kelangan ko pa isetup yung license aaaarrgghh.

I'm so so so so tired. 

When will it get better.

Please pray for my sanity. 🙏

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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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My High 5 Test Results

I took a High 5 test just now and here are my uhm high 5's?



It's a free personality test by the way, an alternative to Clifton Strengths Online Talent Assessment which costs at least $20 to take. It's usually company sponsored but I got curious and didn't wanna pay so I sought out an alternative. Anyway... here's what the results mean:

Time Keeper


Your objective is to set timelines and deadlines. Because of your dislike of surprises, you love to plan. You don't necessarily need to control everything and everyone, but there must be order and predictability in the world around you. You unconsciously impose the structure onto everything by setting up routines, timelines and deadlines. If you set up plans, you make sure you follow them through thoroughly. Your need for structure becomes very useful in a team or a project since you can bring order and discipline to maintain progress and productivity.

Deliverer

Your objective is to take responsibility. If there is a person who is emotionally bound to follow through on all promises - then it's you. Your strong ethical principles do not let you to simply write missteps off on excuses and rationalizations. It holds true no matter how small or large is the issue you are dealing with. Your name and reputation depend on you being responsible for your commitments. That's why people love to have you in their team. When assigning new responsibilities, they look at you first. They are 100% sure that what'll get on your desk - will get done no matter what.

Thinker

Your objective is to think. Some get excited by exercising their biceps or triceps, you - by stretching your 'brain muscles' through deep thinking. It does not necessarily mean you are a very focused person. It just means you enjoy the mental activity and meaningful conversations. For your mind journeys, you perceive yourself as the best companion. This introspection allows you to digest complex information and ideas before communicating about it with the surrounding world. Who wouldn't like to have a team member who can simplify even most sophisticated concepts in a way that a 3-year-old would understand?

Problem Solver

Your objective is to solve problems. Any breakdowns are normally demotivating to the majority of people, but not for you. At the contrary, when something does not work the way it should be, it provides you an opportunity to analyze symptoms of a problem, identify what's wrong and find the solution. In other words, you are a great problem solver. What makes you particularly special is that instead of abandoning - your goal is to restore something to its true glory. In a team, everyone knows you as a person who does not shy away from a problem, but actually fixes things to their normal functioning.

Empathizer

Your objective is to be empathetic to others' emotions. No one can step into the others' shoes better than you - it comes so naturally to you. You might not agree with every perspective and emotion, but most importantly you are able to understand what the person is going though. It allows you to have personalized approach to everyone, to see their differences and specialties, to include them and to treat fairly. Naturally, it draws others to you, as you know exactly how they feel. In a team, such a strength based on kindness can be essential for mitigating conflicts by making sure all team members are aware of each other's emotions and challenges.

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Hay

I've been compulsively twisting my hair ever since idunno when and it's becoming a problem (to the people around me at least). I want to stop but it doesn't always occur to me to stop lol. It just feels... relaxing, you know, twisting a lock until my scalp burns and tips of unlucky strands dry and fall out. Until my arm hurts from reaching my head and my neck stiffens from this chronic urge. It's the same spot on my head ever since the habit recurred. Fortunately it hasn't grown to a bald spot yet, that I'm only on the twisting phase, not pulling yet. But who knows. Yes, it recurred. It started when I was in college. I couldn't remember when, but most likely during thesis days haha. Then it stopped for a while, I'm not sure actually. Maybe it never stopped, I just didn't notice cos no one's constantly telling me off back then.

I'm twisting my hair as I write. No, I'm twisting my hair in between thinking what to write next. I should probably keep typing to keep me from reaching up. Damn.

It's most probably work. I mean, what else could it be. I've been stressed at work a lot lately. There's this project, this team, that I really want to stop dealing with altogether because the tasks are too complicated and impossible to implement properly. Urgh. That's it. That's my problem. I don't wanna deal with them anymore. But I also know I'm not gonna be free until I face this problem. There's no way to escape this feeling of dread. Huhu.

I'm also having some sort of social media identity crisis, if there's such a thing. If there's one thing I'm deathly afraid of overdoing on social media, it's promoting myself. I would hardly invite people from my own network to come visit my channel or come read my blog. Mostly because I'm afraid of being judged. That's why I made separate The Blahger accounts on Facebook and Instagram. Because I wanted to isolate myself from my content. Thing is, my content is drawn from my personal life so it's hard to keep them apart without being redundant. Anyway.

Yeah. Just want to let this out first thing this week. 

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On the lookout for a nice looking ergonomic chair

My aesthetic nordic chair totally unscrewed last night so I'm on the lookout for a real office chair. One that's ergonomic that could still be aesthetic (if it's not too much to ask). For reference here's my current workstation without a chair:


So see I don't really have much space for big chairs that has a lot of frills. I just want a simple, height adjustable chair that has nice legs haha.

By the way this is the chair that broke on me.


Remind me to avoid these type of chairs forever. The screws have a way of loosening over time until you fall on your ass.

So what are my prospects?

I'm looking at FlexiSpot TaskChair OMEGA but it's currently out of stock:



I'm also looking at Stance Philippine's BetterWork Lite but the armrests aren't adjustable haha

Fursys is a good brand according to this ergonomic chair Facebook group I'm in (gosh yes there's a group for every WFH essential now haha) but it's hella expensive. this Fursys Around chair is one of their cheapest and I like all the features! Adjustable height, armrest, lumbar support, and seat depth.




If you notice I'm partial with nylon legs hehe since it looks better and less clunky than the aluminum ones that are curved and bulky haha.

Anyway. Hope to get a good office chair soon (that I can afford!). 

Back to work!

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Life Lately and why did I stop learning

Heya.

I'm feeling very anxious right now

I fear that one day, someone really close to me will get severely infected and I wouldn't be able to do anything because I don't have enough strings to pull to save a life. Cos that's what it comes down to right? Every hospital is full and you don't stand a chance if you're not well connected. You need connections to get a hospital bed. Connections to loan money for treatments. Connections to charter you to the nearest hospital. Life is especially unfair in this godawful corrupted motherland. God help us. 

On another note, I just checked out a Kindle

I've been contemplating on getting a Kindle for a long time but I was worried it'll be put to waste. I remember getting an ipad mini because I wanted to draw more and read more, but it's been a year and I'm not proud of my progress.

Speaking of progress (here's a small one)

View video progress on my IG: https://www.instagram.com/p/CNKFSZvHBFf/

I'm back on Skillshare and is slowly learning my way through Procreate. The class I joined is: How to paint food in Japanese watercolor style and create digital sticker pack in Procreate. The original project was to create watercolor style sticker packs, but I did another to show what's in my bag. I really like how it turned out! It's both exhausting and rewarding. I learned a lot!

If you're interested in joining, you can sign up using my link to get free Skillshare Premium trial. And if you happen to like the premium classes you can join for as low as ₱1,190/year. Yup, that's the annual fee I got for signing up using the mobile app. It's usually $99/year or almost ₱5k which is too hefty for me so I was surprised there exists a lower rate!

Anyway, if you don't wanna spend money there are still tons of free classes you can join at Skillshare, in fact the class I shared above is a free one! :)

Work-wise I still feel the same...

You know, stuck. I always feel stuck. Like I'm only good enough for this company and not anywhere else. I'm kinda plagued by the lack of options I have should I decide to leave. What am I gonna do? Everything is outdated in my armory. From web development, software QA, performance testing, and UiPath development... I'm a restaurant with quite a menu but no specialty. If only I could focus on just one thing and be incredibly good at it. Hay. When did I stop learning. Why.

The good news (aside from God's saving grace) is...

I'm still young and capable, in other words I have time and energy. It's bad enough that we're stuck in just one place (our home). Fortunately the home is a great place to start. Lol I just felt encouraged with my own post haha.


Hope you're all feeling well and healthy.
Trust God. Keep moving.
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5 tips on choosing the best shapewear this 2021

Shapewear works by improving your figure to make it look more presentable. They're undergarments that compresses, firms, and lifts certain body parts so they appear seamless. With a variety of options, it could be challenging to choose one.  Luckily, you're at the right place. Here are five important tips you should know in getting the best waist trainer belt, body shaper, or undergarment that is suitable for you.


1. Know your size and stick to it


Shapewear comes in different sizes. If you're ordering online. it's important to note what your waist, bust, and hip sizes are to get the perfect shapewear.  If you have time, try on some pieces from a physical store to identify your size. That way you have reference for future purchase.

Once you know your size, by all means stick to it. While it's tempting to size down to get a firmer, perhaps slimmer look, you only risk appearing bigger because of unwanted bulges. It's also generally uncomfortable wearing something smaller. So yes, identify what size you're comfortable with and let the shapewear do its magic.

2. Know your body shape
The key to enhancing your shape is to identify what your body figure is. There are several ways to identify your shape just by looking at your figure in front of a mirror. There are shapes based on fruits: apple, pear, cherry, banana. There are also shapes based on geometry like rectangle, triangle, inverted triangle, and hourglass. Knowing your shape will help you choose the correct structure for your slimming bodysuit.

3. Identify your target areas


What do you want to hide or enhance? Is it your waist, your buttocks, your legs, or your overall body? Whatever your target area is, there is a specific shapewear for that. Check out this FeelinGirl Review to know your options. If you want smooth lines on the upper body, you can go for a torso shapewear. If you want to lift your buttocks or abdomen, you can go for shaper panties. If you want to shape your waist, you can opt for active shapewear like a waist trainer that you can use during workout.

4. Consider your outer wear
Shapewears are designed to complement specific sets of clothing. For instance you don't want to wear a waist trainer underneath a body fitting gown because it's thick and hot. For daily use, go for something seamless and comfortable so you can go about your day with ease. Always take into account what you're wearing outside of your shapewear so you can plan your outfit better.

5. Choose the right fabric


Comfort is very important when donning a shapewear. Most bodysuits are made of nylon and spandex material, which tend to be hot and uncomfortable. It's good for cold weather to keep you warm, but it's not exactly comfortable to wear for long periods of time. Fortunately, modern clothing technology has allowed manufacturers to create shapewear that are thin, light, and breathable. For a more comfortable experience, feel the garment and choose shapewears made of cotton-blend and lighter materials.

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[Review] My Wink Laser Studio underarm whitening experience

Note: This is an in-progress post, I'm updating this as I go along. :)


So! Remember I shared my experience about SkinSation's underarm diode laser hair removal? I got the 8+1 promo package and it was great. It's been over a year and there's barely any hair growth in my ua now. Unfortunately, I'm still struggling with whitening my underarms. After getting my skin cleared of hair, I went to try several products to see if anything would work but to no avail. Napagod lang ako kaka-try.

I tried using Amira whitening cream for a while. It's very mild and it worked for me when I was younger, but now I barely see any visible effects. Either they reformulated or di nya na kaya underarms ko haha.

Then I also tried Fresh Formula's Sgt at Arms, which is all the rave online but still it didn't work. I find it too strong my ua always ends up getting itchy. So pag kumati, di ko mapigilan magkamot, so lalong nangitim ua ko. If you're familiar with Lily's Touch Miracle Cream, sobrang pareho sila ng effect and even the consistency, magkaiba lang amoy hehe. Both hindi ko bet.

So I stopped. I quit trying whitening products and just settled on using Deonat aloe vera tawas deodorant instead. It definitely helped repair my darkened ua, but it doesn't whiten completely.



That's when I decided to go for laser treatments. I was eyeing SkinStation's Axilight procedure for my next step but people online said Wink Laser Studio is better, albeit more expensive. After some deliberation and computations, I decided to get their Laser hair Removal/Laser Whitening package. 

Pricing

Underarm area falls under medium size. I thought it was super expensive at ₱2,500/session but actually one session covers both underarms naman pala. So not bad! And if you get the package price of 12 sessions for ₱22,500 the price per session comes down to ₱1,875 only. Good deal!

If you use BDO or Metrobank credit card pa, you can stretch the payment for up to 6 months with 0% interest.


I only have BPI credit card with me though and it's not eligible for 0% interest installment. 
So with interest and at 6 months term, my total installment amounts to ₱23,849.51. 
That's ₱1,987.46/session. Still not bad considering it's originally ₱2,500/session.

What you need to know about the package

  • Package prices are always available, it's not a limited promo thing.
  • You can use the 12 sessions for either hair removal or whitening, or both, whatever the nurse suggests after assessing your skin
  • You can use the package in any branch
  • Observe 4-6 weeks gap between sessions
  • You can share it with a friend as long as its under the same category (medium areas)
  • As mentioned above, 0% interest for up to 6 months installment is available only for BDO and Metrobank credit cards, but you may still use other cards for installment pero with interest na
  • Discounted packages normally have a 5-year validity, but they're flexible naman just talk to them

Sessions and progress
✱ 1st session: January 30, 2021 (Podium branch)

The nurse inspected my underarms first to see whether I could proceed to whitening already or do hair removal first. Since my last underarm treatment is more than a year already, there are still some small and thin hair growth that needs to be addressed. She recommended to do laser hair removal first to make sure no hair growth would get in the way of my whitening. So that's what we did, my first session is a laser hair removal one.

Related: [Review] SkinStation Underarm Diode Laser Hair Removal

After 4-6 weeks I'm to come back for my next session, which is still subject to the nurse's assessment. I can't wait to start with the whitening procedure lol.

Unlike diode laser, the machine they used (Gentle YAG Pro-U) didn't require a cooling gel. It also targets much deeper into the skin so there's less chance of regrowth. There's pain but nothing too much. It's like being pricked repeatedly but the pain doesn't linger and quickly subsides. My underarms were very red immediately after, which is normal daw hehe.

Before the session, to show you the amount of damage they're working with hehe:
Right and left


✱ 2nd session: March 13, 2021 (6 weeks later - Podium branch)

Nurse Lhett checked my underarms and decided we can proceed to laser whitening already, yehey! The machine used was Revlite. There's still some growth although onti na lang like 3 very thin strands on each underarm.

Before the session:

Right and left

I'm showing before pics because it's basically the result of the previous session. No lightness of course since the last session was a hair removal one. The Revlite procedure doesn't show instant results, mga after 1-2 weeks pa daw, so I'm not showing the after pics anymore. The only difference is some redness.

I find this less painful than the hair removal procedure but the pain is different. With the YAG, it felt like I'm being continuously pricked. With Revlite naman it felt like my skin is being rapidly heated one small area at a time. Kakati then hahapdi at times but it's tolerable. :)

✱ 3rd session: May 18, 2021 (9 weeks later - Podium branch)

My 3rd session was 3 weeks overdue because NCR went back to EQC and Wink had to close for some time. The recommended interval between sessions is 4-6 weeks only so I was worried na baka mawalan ng kwenta yung previous session 'cos it's been so long.

Before the session:

Right and left

Not much difference no? This 3rd session was a laser whitening one and it's a bit more painful as they increased the intensity. Baka dahil overdue na nga ako. The nurse assured me that it's okay na medyo late pero I doubt kasi tinaasan nila yung intensity haha baka pambawi? Honestly kung pwede nga iforfeit yung previous session and ulitin yung laser whitening that's good for me, but I'm nore sure if it's good for the business lol. Looking foward to my next sesh. Sana wag na magsara ulit lecheng gobyerno to now they're getting in the way of my vanity?!?! Hahahaa


4th session: June 16, 2021 (4 weeks later - Podium branch)

Before my laser whitening session. I think there's some progress already? It's not so obvious in the photo but there are areas that are whitening already but it's still pretty uneven so we'll see!
Right and left

✱ 5th session: July 14, 2021 (4 weeks later - Podium branch)

There's definitely some progress here but I had to adjust the lighting to actually see it. It looks darker under warm light. Still not convinced with the progress though, comparing to my very first session but still not losing hope haha.



Right and left


6th session (tbc)
7th session (tbc)
8th session (tbc)
9th session (tbc)
10th session (tbc)
11th session (tbc)
✱ 12th session (tbc)
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[Review] New normal staycation at Shangri-La hotel at the Fort


Heya! We recently stayed at Shangri-La hotel at the Fort, BGC and here's what I think of it! I also uploaded a tour on YouTube so feel free to check it out.


Rapid Antigen Test
Protocol says we are to present a negative COVID test before we're allowed to check in so that's what we did. Shangri-la has an onsite testing facility that offers RT-PCR and Rapid Antigen tests. 


My husband and I took the Rapid Antigen test for ₱1,800 each and waited 10 minutes for the results. It's our first swab test, thankfully it wasn't painful!


We both came out negative, thank God! The results are emailed to us and a copy is also sent to the front desk.


I have to say, this is the most posh place we've stayed in. Everything looks so elegant and high-end. The location is perfect as well. They're facing high street, there are tons of food options around, malls here and there. It's an urban paradise, if you dig that kind of scene. 

Deluxe King Room
Here's our room, a Deluxe King Room at the 26th floor.


I thought it was gonna be small because it's their cheapest accommodation. But at 45sqm, it's really spacious! Heck it's bigger than our entire home haha.


I love everything in this room. The 49 inch TV, king sized bed, the desk and sofa, and most specially the wide windows with the sheer drapes and blackout curtains.


Hotel rooms are pretty much my dream master layout. There's storage everywhere, and switches and outlets are positioned conveniently. Oh to live in a room like this.

There's a care kit for guests too, containing alcohol, wet wipes, and surgical masks. Surprisingly there's no branding here. I thought Shang would be conscious about that. When we transferred to a different room the tissue is from Sanicare and the alcohol is Watsons hehe. No biggie.


Oh right. We requested to be moved to a different room because our toilet didn't have a bidet. I actually just learned about it now. Meron naman palang rooms na may bidet. Ask ka lang. Unfortunately, it's the type that's attached to the toilet seat, not the handheld one. I wouldn't have bothered you know but I have my period and I'm wearing a cup and a handheld bidet is just more convenient to work it. Anyway, since that didn't work out I just used empty water bottles as my tabo hehe.

Oh yeah, knowing it's my husband's birthday, they welcomed us with fruits and cake!


If I had to pick one feature of this room to magically appear in our house, that would be the shower system. Oh my goodness, the pressure, the heat, the spotless Grohe chrome fixtures, aaargh. I could spend a whole day in the bathroom.

Breakfast at Samba
Breakfast was good. Complimentary set breakfasts are served at Samba restaurant daily. No buffet. For day one I got the Filipino plate. Not a fan of their coffee hehe. The fruits and pastries are good though!


Samba actually reminds us of Balesin Islander restaurant at The Alpha Suites Makati. Especially the outdoor area with the pool view. Maybe it's because of the Filipino theme!


The next day I got a traditional breakfast and I super loved it even though the crust of the rye bread was so tough hehe. I could look forward to this everyday hehe. Sausage, bacon, eggs, potatoes, fresh fruits, hot cafe latte, aaaahhh.



Jeckie got avocado toast one morning, it's the healthy option. It's our first time tasting this, after all the hype! haha Masarap naman pero ang healthy haha. Their greek yogurt is delicious!!


Kerry Sports Manila
Finally, Kerry Sports Manila.


We took a look around. It's super spacious and has a looooot of exercise equipment. It has a ton of space for you to do drills. I especially liked this buddy over here. Such a unique punching bag. Every part is numbered so you can make your own sets. Looks so fun! Unfortunately I got too lazy to hit the gym during our stay.


Kerry Sports has a lot of amenities. There's a basketball court (indoor and outdoor), tennis court, swimming pool, squash courts, and dance studio. The place is 2 floors big and all the equipment are spaced far enough for you not to worry about social distancing. I mean there aren't a lot of people in anyway. You can watch our tour of Kerry Sports Manila here.

Finally


We really enjoyed our stay at Shangri-La hotel at the Fort. The customer service is superb. The amenities are great. The room is super clean, spacious, and functional. A couple of notes:

  • Yup they accept leisure bookings now
  • We stayed during quarantine season so expect the rules/prices to change
  • Deluxe King Room costs  ₱6,950/night that time, not including taxes and service fees
  • Negative Rapid Antigen Test is required before check in and it costs ₱1,800/person
  • The contact tracing app they use is Stay Safe PH so make sure to download beforehand
  • No buffet breakfast. Set breakfast is served at Samba every morning.
  • Use of pool and gym is by reservation only. You can book via QR or at the front desk.
  • To limit contact you can download the Shangri-la app to manage your bookings there. You can check-in and check-out from the app itself. Just collect your key cards at the front desk.

That's it! Hope to be back! :)

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