Friday, January 28, 2005

Turbo Charge Your Firefox

Read from Batjay's blog about some tips on making your Firefox browser run faster. Have a look in the above link or go straight to Chin Wong's Digital Life article. I did follow all the instructions in it and there was a noticeable increase in the performance of my Firefox. Super! My browser now is like a chipmunk on fastforward. Folks, I highly recommend it.

From that article I also noticed all those extension goodies that you can add such as Adblock or Click2Tab or Bandwidth Tester. The latter was very helpful for me to gauge how well my broadband ISP performs. Well, well, well, if that bandwidth tester is telling the truth then BT Internet is not delivering 512kB to my wire's end as they have promised. It was only tipping in at around 410-425kB. Hmmm, something's not right here. Time to move to Wannadoo? Anyone out there have any experience with them (good or bad)?

Big thanks to Batjay and Chin Wong for their tips and making us bloghop faster. ;)

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

In This Corner, Weighing In At ...

My weight loss program starts today, as a prerequisite of course I have to weigh myself to find out if my efforts are going anywhere. I went to the nearby mall this lunchtime and weighed in at one of those ginormous scales where you put in 20p in a slot. I tipped at … tan-ta-ran-ta-ran ... 15 stones and 3 pounds! (It’s your problem to convert it to kilos and pounds. ;) Numbers in stones just look smaller). God, I hope nobody reads this. (Gagah! Ini-blog mo sa mundo tapos ayaw mong may makaalam?! My yin-yang angels are arguing.) This is sooo embarassing, it's the most I have weighed in my whole life.

According to my Body Mass Index
calculations, since I am 5’6” my ideal weight is around 11 stones. So that means I have to lose at least 4 ½ stones! Wooo, that’s a lot. I don’t expect to lose a lot fast because first, I have slow metabolism due to my hypothyrodism and steroid intake, second, I am in this for a long term not for short bursts of weight loss. I would rather lose it slowly and keep it off rather than shed it fast and furious then put it back on again.

I will post my weight weekly for about 2 months. Then after that, fortnightly for a few months then monthly. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Happy Happy Joy Joy !!

The Royal Mail postmen were my harbringer of treasures today. A day when I had to take the day off because of flu - aching muscles, tummy, plus a little fever. I was just lying around staring up the plastering on our ceiling when we heard the familiar drop of letters from our mail slot. My youngest daughter as always ran to get them. There was this yellow padded envelope from America addressed to me. Who could've sent this?? Well whaddaya know, my dear friend from Boston sent me a CD with a compilation of 70s and 80s music. Wow! A lot of them are my old favourites that me and hubby haven't heard for a very loooong time. Even those very familiar RJ FM regulars before - The Hurt and Tuloy Pa Rin Ako were included there. Incidentally, I didn't know that the latter was sang by Side A. And I thought that that group is 'bagets' (young bloods). So now I'm swanning around enjoying my Georgy Porgy, Midnight At The Oasis, Of All The Things, etc. No doubt this will help in my recovery. Thank you thank you very much my dahling friend !!

The second treasure came almost at the same time as my CD. A Parcel Force man rang the doorbell to deliver a big box. But I didn't order anything?! It turned out it was from one of those book clubs that gives huge discounts on books upon signing up with them. I sent my application form long long time ago that I totally forgot about it. I was expecting this around early December but since none came I thought my form got lost in the mail. And what's made me clapping with delight was the delivery included this (click on it for a bigger picture):

It's the complete unabridged collection of all of Jane Austen's novels. Wheeee! They're small hardbound and even got classy gold leafed edges. I've always wanted to collect her novels but this is just so convenient, in a good hard case and very good value, too - I got it for £1 !
Jane Austen is one of my favourite authors. I remember the very first time I read her Pride & Prejudice. I was about 14-15 years old at that time, and was getting tired of the Mills & Boons' and Barbara Cartland's sickeningly sweet love novels that my aunt was passing to me. When she saw that I had my fill of them, she pressed her paperback copy of P&P into my young hands. She highly recommended it and insisted I read it. I was intrigued but soon was getting exasperated with the Victorian dialogue. Imagine reading a whole big paragraph of flowery words only to realise that what the character meant to say was - "No." Anak ng kamote naman! (Son of a sweet potato!) But I soon got used to it and cannot possibly put the book down. I lost sleep and braved the wrath of my mother nagging me about homeworks only so that I can find out if Mr. Darcy did end up with Lizzie. I'm not a book critic and not much of an articulate person, but just like watching movies, finding out if a book is good is if it entertained me. And Ms. Austen always does. I love all the characters she puts in her books, the plots, the twists and turns that makes her so readable and hard to put down.

Some of the other books I got are the following:

They're all fiction. I've been always been a non-fiction kind of girl. I am sometimes reluctant to read fictions because it involves some emotional investment on me (if it's drama). I am a bit emotional (mababaw ang luha) that in watching drama TV shows my kids are sure my tears would be falling soon enough. If the book character is getting in a bind (they always do especially in thriller ones) I find my stomach knotting up and me getting really anxious. I know, it's pathetic! :groan: There are a few exceptions to this, besides Jane Austen's, the Harry Potter series has got me hooked. For the last installment, me and my older kids were fighting over who's turn it is to read it. Haha! I had to devise a reading rota schedule for us to have a civil family life. ;)

Friday, January 14, 2005

Be Careful What You Blog

It is the first time that I have come across a blogger in the UK sacked from his company because of what he blogged. The Guardian reports:

Joe Gordon, 37, worked for Waterstone's in Edinburgh for 11 years but says he was dismissed without warning for "gross misconduct" and "bringing the company into disrepute" through the comments he posted on his weblog.
See the full article here.

Bloggers beware! Do not post things that may be libellous or at least offending to your workplace unless you and your blog are well hidden by the anonymity you created. All this the more highlight the responsibillity brought upon by the freedom of speech that we enjoy greatly in cyberspace. We may express anything we want as long as it does not infringe on anyone's or any entity's rights.

Although the average blogger would ask - what if I just want to rant? Surely most of your ire would at least one time be poured on the people at work where you spend a sizeable part of your adult life. How to do it? A solution would be to just borrow the ear of one of your unfortunate friends and go about your tirade. Or write it on a piece of paper then tear it to tiny itsy bitsy pieces burn it or eat it. Burp! ... Hell no! you say, that's the reason why you blog - you want an audience to read your rage and see how you humiliate your objects of fury. Things that you are too chicken to say in their face. Well, I think the best option would be create a separate username and blog which will be your alter ego that will keep your vilest bile. Your negative side. So you will have a positive and a negative, yin and yang, alternating current ... just as long as you don't post anything that would a give a clue on who you are like pictures, specific names, etc. Be as vague as possible then you can have your rant and eat it, too. ;)

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Joss Stone

I often write about music that I love during my youth (oh my, matanda na talaga ako! I'm really getting old!). I love old music but that doesn't mean I don't listen to the music of the now. My taste is eclectic so I can listen to pop, soul, R&B, rock, dance, garage, even hip hop (although not much of the latters). As early as last year my ears have been alerted of a major talent in the making. Joss Stone is a 17-year-old (imagine that young!) from Devon, UK, who's been wowing people with her great set of pipes ever since the release of her first album (the Soul Sessions) late last 2003. She has been dubbed the white Aretha Franklin. Well I don't think she can belt as high or as intense (there's only one Aretha!) but she certainly impressed me with her soulful and smoky voice, great singing - all these in the body of a teenager! I am definitely a fan now. She reminds me of Camille Velasco who was one of the Fil-Am contestant of the last American Idol reality TV show. Camille has a similar smoky, husky tone in her voice. I wonder if it would suit her to sing soul and R&B rather than her favoured hip hop?

Back to Joss, she has a new album called Mind Body & Soul which was released late last year. I have yet to hear the whole of it but judging from the bits that I heared on the radio it is a cracker. It's not often that a new singing talent comes out without much of the 'packaging' that is prevalent in the business. I hope Joss' career will continue to sky rocket; continue to grow as a person, singer, and musician; her singing and repertoire to improve; and her feet kept firmly on the ground.

P.S. I forgot to give the link to her official website, click here. Go to 'Download' and hear her sing.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Toy Menagerie

Meet 'Pellet' my youngest daughter's (J3) favourite beanie baby. They are inseparable from morning til bedtime. She says Pellet's her baby and would often talk to it. Many a night we have to scour the whole house because the fake hamster was missing. J3 would not sleep without it beside her.

And here's part of the rest of her toy menagerie. The camera frame was too smal to fit them all in.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Popularity Contests and Reminiscing

The recent web “squabble” in the current popularity awardfest in a medical blog caused me reminisce about the last time I was involved in a popularity contest. Think think think. (I’m beginning to feel like Pooh Bear). Well whaddaya know, it was in my 2nd year high school circa mid-70s! It was one of those beauty contest between class sections wherein each section chooses its “muse” and pits her against the others’. Unlike previous years it was not judged by a parade of bored teachers but by the amount of old printed matters (newpapers, magazines, phone directories, etc.) that each section can gather for recycling. Of course the one with the most will win, with the proceeds of the sale of the recyclables going to good causes in school. That was all well and good.

Our muse was very very pretty. She was Marivic Arguelles (Vicky wherever you are pls. contact me), with brains to boot, too. If it were just by those measures, she would have surely won. But still we all have to work for it and work hard the whole class did. Our high school building was along Buendia Ave. in Makati almost right beside the railroad tracks and the Southsuper highway overpass. Fortunately, we were in the midst of an office district so there were no shortage of office receptionists to harrass to ask for old yellow pages. We trudged thru Ayala Ave., Buendia, Paseo de Roxas, even as far as Pasong Tamo. We had to move fast because other class sections were trawling thru the same strips as we were. Imagine that skinny 13 year olds (yes I have been skinny before) walking with enormous heavy bags of yellow pages and old papers. We didn’t have any chaffeured cars or protective parents to help us, we were too skint to take buses besides there were no buses in the ‘village’ areas of Makati, so we walked for miles while lugging these heavy stuff.

Side note: While going up and down the tall buildings of Makati we obviously have to take the lift (elevator) and since I was a promdi – I actually got motion sickness from it! Hahaha! Nahilo ako!

After a day we thought we were doing well until we caught a glimpse of the other section’s haul. Man, their mountain of newspapers were really something. Either they have parents working in a printing press or they were really that good in sniffing out big stacks ready for the taking. One look at that and we became depressed knowing that no matter how hard we try we were not going to win. :sigh: But we were not a poor people’s school for nothing, all of us were street smart and someone had a brilliant idea. ::Ting!:: This time we were more zealous than before. We dragged everything we collected to a “bote dyaryo” (recycling) dealer. Sold everything at a good price. We then went to the Quad (do you still remember ?) and the whole class saw a movie! Hahaha! When we realised it was a lost cause we thought we might as well benefit from our own sweat. How’s that for ‘gulang’ (smarts)? Of course our class adviser (tutor) was furious when she found out our collection was zero, nada, buta! Worse came when she found out the truth. We got a right dressing down, the mother of all sermons which made us all feel guilty but well at least we had a good time. ;) And I didn’t even remember what movie we saw … Hahaha!
Let's have a little song now:

[Little River Band]

Friday night, it was late, I was walking you home
We got down to the gate and I was dreaming of the night
Would it turn out right
How to tell you girlI wanna build my world around you
Tell you that it's true
I wanna make you understand I'm talkin' about a lifetime plan

That's the way it began, we were hand in hand
Glenn Miller's Band was better than before
We yelled and screamed for more
And the Porter tunes (Night and Day)
Made us dance across the room
It ended all too soon
And on the way back home I promised you'd never be alone

Hurry, don't be late,I can hardly wait
I said to myself when we're old
We'll go dancing in the dark
Walking through the park and reminiscing

Friday night, it was late, I was walking you home
We got down to the gate, and I was dreaming of the night.
Would it turn out right.
Now as the years roll on,
Each time we hear our favorite song,
The memories come along.
Older times we're missing
Spending the hours reminiscing

Hurry, don't be late. I can hardly wait
I said to myself when we're old
We'll go dancing in the dark
Walking through the park and reminiscing

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

New Year Cliche

I haven’t done a New Year’s resolutions list since I was in high school. I thought it’s a complete waste of time. Thinking, if you really want to change you can start any time of the year. But the advent of 2005 gave me this feeling that I have to start on a ‘clean slate’ and do something about 'issues' I want to change in myself starting with:

  1. Lose weight! – It is not only for aesthetic reasons but more importantly for health reasons. My steroid dosage is decreasing so I might have better chances of taking off unwanted pounds this time around. My family has a history of hypertension (high blood pressure) and my father had a stroke 2 years ago. This does not bode well for me if I keep my current weight. Since I intend to live a longer life to enjoy the company of my family, I have to do ... to rally myself to act … to liberate myself from excess weight and to steer away from the ‘Plus’ section of women’s wear. Let the battle of the bulge begin!! The main reason I am declaring this to the whole universe in this blog is to shame myself into really putting this into action. Otherwise I will constantly slip with various excuses on why so. Kakahiya if a month or two later I still haven’t lost anything. So I will post weekly weight reports. Sorry to inflict this on you people but I need an audience to really embarass me for motivation. That is my strategy … God help me if this still doesn’t work!

  2. Come to work on time – Hee hee! I’ve been coming to work a bit late (so do a lot of people around me) but we have flexitime therefore, I do go home late so I definitely make up for my lateness. We really don't have much enthusiasm to come to work since we will be all chucked out of the company by the end of the year but we're still employees here we're still getting paid and I feel like I’m really slacking off if I am constantly one of the last one in. Besides I want to go home earlier so I could have more time with my kids before they go to bed. I have always been a night owl. Always sleeping late, more in gear in the evenings. Now I have to check in bed early (as in between 11 and 12) and get up early. Early to bed early to rise make Celia healthy, wealthy (buy lotto tix) and wise!

  3. Less time bloghopping – This is probably one of the hardest one to do since I have internet access almost everywhere I go. I do enjoy blogging and do enjoy reading other people’s blogs but it is bordering on obession and it’s eating up on my time with my family. I have met great people through my blog trawling (made good friends, too) and read lots of brilliant posts and do enjoy it immensely. It broadened up my horizon, honed up my writing skills (if you may call it that) and have rekindled my long lost love on literature and poetry. However, I do have to put brakes on it if I still want to not miss my kids’ developments. I think I will just go on quality rather than quantity.

How’s that for a list? It’s short but at least the intention is there. And now for my prayer:

God please grant me the discipline to stick to my above list of resolutions for the whole year and please make sure to whoop my ass everytime I get out of line. Amen.