Sunday, October 30, 2011

new old license plates

Have you noticed that the new Manila license plates have resurrected the letters N and P as starting letters? Are you wondering if we are re-using old plate numbers?

Since I sit in traffic for a long time to and from work, I have mulled over this plate number thing a number of times:

No, we aren't re-using old plate numbers. I used to play the alphabet license plate game with my brother when I was a kid. We would look for the letters A to Z on license plates. So I am absolutely sure that old license plates did NOT use the letters I, O and Q.

So when N and P are resurrected, the letters I, O or Q are also used in the combination to ensure the new plates are unique.

Like I said, I have pondered about this a lot in traffic. So I've gone to the extent of calculating how many cars each resurrected letter is equivalent to. Now, please excuse the nerdiness because Permutations and Combinations is the only Math topic I enjoyed in school. 

1 (to represent each resurrected letter) x 3 (I, O, Q) x 26 (all letters in the alphabet) x 10 (0 to 9) x 10 x 10 = 76,000 license plates.

So everytime a letter is resurrected, that means an additional 76,000 cars were given license plates! So when N, P, T, U, W, X and Z have all been resurrected, there will be a total of 624,000 additional cars on the road! Aaagggghhhh! I cannot imagine how long I will be stuck in traffic when that time comes! But I wonder what other mundane things I will end up thinking about with all the more time in traffic?

Photos from i'mjustsaying and fromainsley.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Today, I am un-loving...

Today, I am un-loving... the effect of barcode scanners on the length of grocery receipts these days. Don't get me wrong, I am aware of the many benefits of barcodes. But the barcode scanners have led to cashiers scanning every single product in your grocery cart. Even if you have say, 14 tetra-packs of chocolate milk. So your receipt has 14 lines of chocolate milk when pressing the buttons 1, 4 and x on the cash register before scanning would have resulted in just 2 lines on your receipt.

I checked. 14 lines is about 2 unnecessary inches of paper. Imagine how many unnecessary inches are added to your grocery receipt -- especially if you're doing the grocery for a whole month's supply!

Today, I am un-loving... the unnecessary environmental harm our ultra-long grocery receipts these days are causing.

Photo from here.

Click here for previous posts from the Today, I am un-loving... series.

Friday, October 28, 2011

halloween costume

For a change, I didn't want a store-bought costume this year. The workload at the office is heavy as usual so making one from scratch was out of the question. Luckily, Noah wanted to be Wally from his Where's Wally books. I figured it would be easy to put the costume together...

A striped red & white long-sleeved shirt, a striped red & white bobble hat and glasses. The jeans & brown shoes - Noah already had! Should be easy!

Wrong! There is no striped red & white shirt available anywhere in Manila! J.Crew, where are you when I need you???

Photos from here and here.

Click here for a previous post on Where's Wally. Click here for previous posts about Noah.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Isabella used to go to a progressive school called Keys. The learning in Keys was exceedingly rich. I remember being so amazed during their culminating program and exhibit in Museo Pambata. Their Social Studies lesson was on pre-colonial Philippines. They were asked to write a monologue on a fictitious pre-colonial character. They had to develop their persona, author their monologue and design their costume. Isabella made up a character named Amihan, the Binokot Princess of a pre-colonial tribe in the Philippines. She told an emotional story about Amihan within the authentic backdrop of pre-colonial Philippines that made Amihan seem so real. Then walking around the exhibit, I was in awe at how Keys integrated learning across subjects. The highlight of the exhibit was a diorama made out of clay, sticks & straw that represented the life and culture of a Baranggay. And since the class was learning scale and measurement in Math, the kids were asked to apply their Math learning and develop a Floor Plan and Elevation Plan of a Timawa house. Then they used these plans to build the diorama of this particular pre-colonial tribe's house. Further down the exhibit, there was a display of the atomic structure of gold, which they had been studying in Science class. This was amid the exhibit of gold jewelry that signified a person's status during the pre-colonial times. The learning was so rich and was taught in the most interesting and in-depth manner that Isabella knew everything by heart. Imagine knowing all the phyla (remember phylum chordata and phylum porifera?) by heart - without having to memorize them!

The other thing that I loved about Keys was that Isabella LOOOVED going to school. She would feel really sad during the sembreak because she preferred to be in school -- not only to be with her friends, but also because she missed the fun learning activities. After all, field trips were scheduled very often in Keys - as part of enriching their experience of the lesson. 

But when she started high school this year, I moved her to a traditional school.

I had been so used to her being sad about sembreaks that, for a second, I was alarmed when she was so incredibly happy on the first day of her sembreak this year! The worry-wart mother in me was terrified that this meant she didn't really like her new school or her new friends (even if she has assured me of this a zillion times).

Then I remembered that being happy about a vacation is the more  common thing. After all, when I was a kid, I also looked forward to vacations and school-cancellations! Even all the way to College, I was crossing my fingers for free-cuts!

So while I miss how Isabella loved to go to school so much in Keys, I am glad that she is now experiencing the normalcy of traditional school.
Photos from J.Crew via jcrewing.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

how to not go clink

Am loving this trend of piling on the bangles.

My office is kind of laidback so I have tried this trend at work.

Problem is, they clink during meetings and presentations. :(

Should I resort to braided scarves like this to keep the same look without the clink?

Hmmm... It's actually not bad-looking. In fact, I love the idea of being able to pile it on with my watch (since I can't bring myself to wear my bangles on the same wrist as my watch because am so afraid they will scratch my precious watch)... Except I'm in love with the animal-print and gold bangles! Gee, I wonder if animal-print scarves will work?

Photos from everythingfab and possibly (sorry, previously posted photo. can't recall source anymore.) 101gramsofeyecandy.

Monday, October 24, 2011

when yellow turns to red at your turn

Crossing three intersections yesterday, the light turned from yellow to red on me so I had no choice but to pull to a stop. It would be natural to feel a little miffed because you just got left behind by the fleet of cars you had been driving with and now, you will get to your destination at least 96 seconds (there was a digital timer at the stoplight) later  than if you had gotten through.

But the three stops made me realize there is more to be miffed about...

The dutiful driver that I am stopped before the pedestrian lane. But motorcycles aren't as obedient. Within seconds, the pedestrian lane in front of me was filled with at least ten motorcycles that eventually took away the only fun thing about catching a red light: being the first to go on green and getting to drive as fast as you can - within the speed limit of course, since I am, as I said, a dutiful driver.

The digital timer reads 4. 3. 2. 1. The light turns green and the ten or so motorcycles in front of me might as well be that woman lying down on the pedestrian lane. It takes about five seconds before maybe four of them start moving. Two seconds later, three start to inch forward. Eventually, all ten cross the intersection but when I finally cross as well, I find myself trying to dodge a fleet of motorcycles at different slow speeds spread across three lanes -- all in the effort to overtake all of them and reclaim the only fun thing about catching a red light.

My Sunday stops at the traffic light were certainly unpleasant. I hope Monday morning traffic will be better!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

unreachable cheeses

Epoisses, a runny cow's milk cheese, has been named the world's smelliest cheese. It is so smelly that it has been banned from French public transportation! And since I am a believer that when it comes to cheese - the stinkier, the better, I am dying to try this cheese!

More and more these days, I seem to be getting tempted by unattainable cheeses...

It started when I watched the judges on Masterchef US gush over cheese souffles. Isabella and I were craving for cheese souffles for two whole weeks until I decided to trot to Chef Jessie in Rockwell. We ordered the Bacon & Cheese and Four Cheese souffles which I felt tasted more like quiche than souffle. Then again, my expectations might have skyrocketed from the good production values of Masterchef US and a two-week-long unsatisfied craving.

Then I discovered that Starbucks had phased out my favorite Grilled Ham & Three Cheese on Italian Country Bread (see related post here). The barista suggested the Ultimate Grilled Cheese sandwich but it couldn't be any further away from the cheesy goodness of my old Three Cheese breakfast.

Then a friend of mine, who was flying off to L.A. for a vacation, told me that Porto's Bakery was going to be his neighbor for a week! Porto's cheese roll!!! It is seriously the best cheese roll on the planet! With its flaky crust... Oooohhh, yuuummmm!!!

Sigh... so many unreachable cheeses these days...

Photo from acupofjo.

Click here for a previous post on cheese.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

the calorie elves

Seriously... am starting to believe these creatures exist!

If only... they would make like those elves from that children's book and instead make me new shoes! :) I certainly won't mind waking up to red-soled ones.

Photo from thatswhatthatmeans.

Click here for a previous post on getting fat. Click here for a previous post on those red-soled shoes.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

dear bangko sentral ng pilipinas

I really wish you would bring back the ten-peso bill. It just doesn't feel right to tip salon people with coins. It doesn't help that one trip to a salon these days is equal to a battalion of people attending to you. There's the shampoo girl. And the guy who gives you a 5-minute backrub while you wait for the stylist to finish cutting another customer's hair. Then the girl who blow-dries your hair after the haircut.

And the lady that gives you a footspa. Then the one who does your nails.

And that's assuming you don't get a hair treatment on that particular salon visit!

Plus, sometimes, their service is not quite worth an additional P20.

So dear BSP, I really wish you would print ten-peso bills again... because P20 is just too small a tip for the shampoo girl, but sometimes, P40 is way too much.

Photos from terrierandlobster.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Today, I am un-loving...

A couple of days ago, after dropping off the kids at school, I decided not to go straight to the office. I stopped at Starbucks for some me-time. My plan was to have grilled cheese and ground coffee beans to prepare me for the grilling at the grind that day. I even had a funny book, Ellen's latest, Seriously... I'm Kidding so I wouldn't take the work day ahead so seriously.

But at the counter, I discovered that Starbucks had phased out my favorite Grilled Ham & Three Cheese on Italian Country Bread (see related post here). The barista said they replaced it with the more delicious Ultimate Grilled Cheese sandwich so I tried that with my coffee.

It was NOT. It didn't have the cheesy goodness of my old favorite Starbucks sandwich. Today, I am un-loving... Starbucks' Ultimate Grilled Cheese sandwich because it just doesn't measure up to its old Three Cheese counterpart.

I did enjoy my me-time though. I guess next time, I am keeping my order to just coffee.

Today, I am un-loving... Starbucks' not-so-Ulimate Grilled Cheese sandwich.

Photo from sparklesandpretending.

Click here for previous posts from the Today, I am un-loving series.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

i want to scream

Noah just destroyed my camera. He borrowed it to make a video of his Lego man. And even though I deliberately instructed him to use the wrist-strap - I even put it around his wrist myself, he let go of it. So he dropped my Canon S-90 and it fell from the sofa and landed lens-down on the floor.

The photo above captures exactly how I feel. I want to scream so much!

And my headache has traveled to my forehead.

I just really want to scream.

Photo from heritage.

Click here for much better moments of Noah.


I have had a splitting headache all day (which is why I am post-less this Saturday on my main blog, The pain is mostly where my head and nape meet. Around the back of my head, exactly the part she's clutching.

And no, I don't look this good when I have a headache... But isn't this the most perfect headache-look, if there ever was one?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

the perfect cake server for me

As I've told you here, I am quite challenged in the area of kitchen skills. Nothing in the kitchen is a piece of cake for me. Not even slicing and serving a piece of cake.

If I am lucky enough to get the slice on your plate (instead of the dining table), it would look more like mush than a slice of cake. Best-case, it would be in 2 pieces rather 1, with a lump of icing scraped on the edge of your plate, and neither of the 2 pieces would be upright at that!

Based on these photos, it seems like this cake slicer is perfect for me! No need for the pitiful attempt to hold the slice together with a fork and the cake-slicer until it lands in a mess on the plate (and the whole time, I'm holding my breath!). This 2010 Red Dot Awardee, Magisso Cake Server, not only slices the cake perfectly, but also allows you to get it onto your dessert plate effortlessly. A squeeze of the handle will allow you to transfer the slice to a plate without having to hold your breath. Carefully letting go of the handle allows you to set the slice down on the plate -- right side up!

I have got to get myself one of these! So that serving a piece of cake will really be a piece of cake! :)

Photos from here.

Monday, October 10, 2011

libreng belt

I am not very adept at sales. I have a huge personal space (as I talked about here) so the customary crowd at a sale doesn't help. The O.C. in me (see related posts here) also finds it difficult to rummage through piles of clothes like they dig for the immunity idol on Survivor. I also easily get weak in the knees when I fall in love with a particular item so the fear of it getting sold out almost always wins over the regret of a further discount if I could just hold out til Zara goes from 30%-off to 50%-off to 70%-off.

Needless to say, it isn't often that I score big bargains (except maybe at U.S. outlet malls, at the Target $1 aisles or online sales). I do find great satisfaction though from buying clothes that come with a belt. I would survey the cost of a belt in that store and since they're usually priced the same as the clothes, I find myself giddy with joy at the counter because I feel I scored a free belt! (Shhh... Don't remind me how cheap belts cost in SM department store!)

Now, going back to the photo above - of my baby-shower gift for OCmominmanila... While I really did fall in love with the knotted leather-looking belt on such an itsy-bitsy dress (I mean, how stylish is this baby?!), it helped that I felt I was scoring a free belt!

And in case you're wondering... I, of course, wrapped my gift in polka dots!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

dear PAL

During my Philippine Airlines flights last weekend (see related post here), you acted like a typical macho man who had just gotten married and laid down his rules for his new bride: "I'll be home when I want, if I want, and at what time I want, and I don't expect any hassle from you... Those are my rules."

My 640pm flight was delayed to 730pm when I checked in. By 730pm (yes, my supposed boarding time), my boarding gate was still filled with the mob who had not boarded the supposed flight before ours. So even the floor space was not enough to accommodate the passengers of the 2 flights. I expected to hear from you then - to tell me the new ETD (which none of the airport folks knew), or to apologize for the delay, or to - at the very least - tell me boarding time was delayed. But I did not hear from you.

Eventually, I boarded via a different gate at 830pm after a matter-of-factly announcement to board. Again, I did not hear even a hint of an apology. You made it seem like boarding an hour later (2 hours, if I counted back to the original flight time) was perfectly natural.

On board, while the aircraft was still parked at the gate, the flight attendants surprisingly served us snacks. Again, I did not hear from you. Not a peep to tell me why - or even that - we were in very unusual circumstances. You didn't need to tell me why. Just acknowledging that it was unorthodox would have made me feel you understood me, that you got me.

Still parked at the gate, the cabin crew started serving dinner! And when I asked when we were taking off, the answer was "Soon." It was obviously an empty "Soon." since I had time to finish my snack box AND dinner before the plane even started taxiing down the tarmac. Even then, I did not hear from you. You were being your usual quiet self, like you always are when you're watching the game on TV and absent-mindedly nodding when I would ask you open-ended (not yes-or-no) questions. And even though you were feeding me, it didn't really feel like you were wining and dining me. I needed you to support me, to cry with me. (Maybe if you gave me jewelry, this would have been a different story post.)  

We finally took off a few minutes past 10pm. I made it to Hongkong and did not think of you until I waited almost an hour at baggage claim after my flight back to Manila, with absolutely no one at the Baggage Assistance counter to ask about the ETD of my bag. Even then, I did not hear from you. You were not even around to lend an ear or a shoulder to 'cry' on (a lap to sit on would have helped too). This time, you were not only absent-minded, but completely absent.

I pity the foreigners on my flights that weekend. Like me, they couldn't read your mind. I imagine they were clueless about the strike and were appalled as they got to know the kind of man airline you were.

I really didn't need for you to tell me exactly when we were boarding, or taking off, or when you would deliver my baggage. A range, a mere idea, would have been acceptable since I understood you were in a bind (with the strike and all). If a range was not even possible, I would have understood. If only you were more apologetic... Or if you empathized more - if you made it seem like you understood my predicament, that you were causing major inconvenience... I just really needed you to talk to me.

Have you not heard that the key to a loving relationship is communication, communication, communication?
If you had talked to me, I would have been able to tell you that I did appreciate that my flight was not canceled, that you served dinner on board unlike my friends who just got snacks on their Cathay Pacific flight, that you eventually got me to HK and back safely.

If only you talked to me that weekend, I would have accepted and understood and sympathized with you.

But sadly, you didn't.

Photo from frommetoyou.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

i worry.

I worry that my kids did not experience having to rewind a casette tape before re-playing their favorite song on the tape. I worry that they did not experience having to wait for the rewinder to finish winding back their VHS or Betamax tape before they could watch a movie again.

I worry that they don't need to sit through songs they don't like in order to hear the ones they love.

I worry that the casette and VHS tapes of my time were the sole teachers of patience, acceptance and self-control. I worry.

Photo from lushlee.