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Counting airplanes

Ernie used to count sheep, as suggested by Bert, when he couldn't sleep. Then The Count comes into the scene and he and Ernie start counting fire trucks, to Bert's dismay. 

I thought of this scene from Sesame Street while queued in the southbound clogged Southern Luzon Expressway (SLEX). I got stuck in the traffic jam right after passing the northbound toll gate. This was one of the afternoons that I regretted not bringing my camera with me. Not one, not two, but seven airplanes passed overhead on their landing approach at the international airport, which was just on one side of the expressway.
Thankfully, more than two hours later, I finally reached SM Sta Rosa. :)

Ingat sa pagmamaneho!

I visited my aunts and grandma in Sta Cruz this evening. The trip going there was uneventful, and I'm glad that the road repair being done in Pila was finished. The trip home, however, was a different story.
The first accident was in Brgy. Anos, Los Banos. Two motorcycles looked like they were involved in a head-on collision, and were left in the middle of the road. The accident must have happened just a few minutes before I drove past it because the crowd was just starting to grow, and people were picking items that were thrown off the motorbikes. I hope that no one was seriously hurt in this case because people are required to wear helmets, and this rule is being enforced quite strictly in Los Banos.
The second accident was located just before Brgy. Halang, Calamba City (northbound), right across the intersection going to Colegio de San Juan de Letran. A car and a motorbike were involved. Apparently, the car was negotiating a turn towards the gas station when it collided with the …

Time flies fast

My nephews and nieces (my cousins' children) are growing up. Lizzie turned seven on the 21st, and Jon-jon will be 14 in a few minutes. Julo has started pre-school this year, and Nisa is coming into her third year in engineering school (if I'm not mistaken). Justine is entering her third year of high school while Ara is on her fourth. The youngest, Miggy, turned one in April.
I am getting old...

Review: Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (2009)

Rating:★★★Category:MoviesGenre: Comedy
The Ben Stiller show had made the audience laugh again. This time, his team was reinforced by the presence of Amy Adams and Hank Azaria, who both have great comedic timing. It's such a pity, though, that Robin Williams did not have a bigger part in the sequel.

September 2, 2008

The day I submitted my thesis manuscript... I remember personally handing in the digital copy of manuscript at the Uni Printery after the toughest week of my life so far (stressful enough to make me look really haggard). And one of my supervisors, Bob, aptly described writing the PhD thesis manuscript as like contracting a terminal illness. :)
These comic strips are once again from www.phdcomics.com
http://www.phdcomics.com/comics/archive.php?comicid=838 http://www.phdcomics.com/comics/archive.php?comicid=840 http://www.phdcomics.com/comics/archive.php?comicid=842 http://www.phdcomics.com/comics/archive.php?comicid=844

Titles, titles...

Once again, comics from www.phdcomics.com. This set reminded me of the recent PSM convention, where all the prominent attendees with PhD's (the professors) were called by their titles. It was just weird for me because my supervisors in graduate school had insisted on me addressing them by their first names.

http://www.phdcomics.com/comics/archive/phd032509s.gif http://www.phdcomics.com/comics/archive.php?comicid=1152 http://www.phdcomics.com/comics/archive.php?comicid=1153

The life of a PhD student in a picture

This comic strip has made me smile tonight. 
http://www.phdcomics.com/comics/archive.php?comicid=882
The artist at www.phdcomics.com was able to sum up what is inside a PhD, or even MSc, student's head. In fact, I have felt exactly like the student in the picture. Life revolved around the laboratory... and how to finish the thesis manuscript was the top priority. All other activities were shunned, to give way to the write-ups and the additional lab work. 
Now that I'm done with it, I can look back at the fond memories of thesis-writing.

David Cook and David Archuleta Live in Manila

May 16, 2009
SM Mall of Asia concert grounds

Anna, Justine, and I had a blast. :) Before the concert, we had to make a stop in Makati because I had to visit my orthodontist. And at the venue, the seated patrons went ballistic, and stood on their chairs. Pity the poor silver and bronze ticket-holders... they had to rely on the big screens to get an idea of what's onstage.

David Cook and David Archuleta in Manila

I just got back from David Cook and David Archuleta's Live in Manila concert. The concert grounds at the SM Mall of Asia was filled to the brim with people who wanted to see the Top 2 of last season's American Idol. There were no front acts; David Archuleta started his set, and then followed by David Cook. The audience were thrilled during their performances. :)

People couldn't seem to get enough of the singers because they crowded at the gate where an SUV was about to enter, apparently to get people from backstage. Anna, Justine, and I left the crowd as soon as we could because a stampede was a real possibility (some people were angry, others were crying, as people jostled and squashed each other to get closer to the gate).
The concert was a huge success. It looked like the two Davids didn't know what they had signed up for until they started performing. :)
Click here to see the pictures (the acceptably clear ones... I didn't bother uploading the really blurry ones.

Taft Avenue as a playground

Two dingy children goes up a bus in front of the Philippine General Hospital. They distribute empty envelopes without explaining why. The bus conductor doesn't seem to mind their presence, as long as passengers get seats and they don't scare the commuters off. Clearly, these kids are oblivious of the dangers of playing tag inside and outside the bus. One day, they may fall off a bus and get squashed by another vehicle. If they are lucky and grow into their teens, they would start depending on induced highs to get by the lack of food.
Taft Avenue is their playground; their home. What does the future hold for them? I sure hope it is not as grimy as the pylons of the Light Railway Transit, and not as dark as the puddles after the rain along Pedro Gil Street.

Eighth year of driving :D

Today, I celebrate the eighth year since I was allowed to drive my dad's car to school. Every year, I get to eat ice cream on May 15th; this year, my ice cream came as a side dish with the cheesecake during lunch at the second day of the Philippine Society for Microbiology Annual Convention. It's quite ironic that today (and yesterday) I didn't drive to Manila, but that's because driving to Manila is stressful, the toll fee and the parking fee at the hotel is expensive, and I don't know my way around the one-way streets in the area. 




Quotable quotes at the PSM Convention (May 14, 2009)

Normally, I doze off when I get lost in translation. This time, though, there was enough humour going around the ballroom to keep me awake. Here are some lines that made my day... 

Dr Espie Cabrera on her experience as a Microbiology instructor
"After you've written on the board, you have to erase it."   - on why lecturing using board and chalk is slower than using slide presentations
"I allow students to answer in any language... that I can understand."  - on how students are supposed to answer exams, handle recitations, etc.
"They may speak in English and I don't mind if they start with 'actually' or even with 'in fairness,' as long as they speak only in English..."  - still on how to communicate in class (emphasis on using only one language, and not a mixture of two)
"Thank you microorganisms for our profession."  - in acknowledging everyone who contributes to the growth of the profession
Dr Wang June Kim on lengthening the she…

Fish out of water at the PSM Annual Convention

After five long years, I had the opportunity (and the boss' permission) to attend the Philippine Society for Microbiology 38th Annual Convention at the Hyatt Casino and Hotel in Manila. In the membership update form, there was a portion where members had to justify their absence in the conventions that they've missed; so I listed my reasons down...
2005, I attended the American Association of Cereal Chemists Intl (AACC) annual meeting 2006, I was in Uni 2007, I attended the International Network for Quality Rice workshop 2008, I attended the STARCH conference and the AACC annual meeting
After writing all these down, I realised how long I've been absent; the last microbiology meeting I had attended was the symposium held at the De La Salle University in 2007. Back then, I was starting to feel out of place in the midst of all the microbiologists because I couldn't understand the terminologies anymore. Since getting immersed into my post-grad research topic, my scientific voca…

Flood in 15 minutes

A six-inch flood can form in 15 minutes. That's what I've learned tonight as I rushed from Los Banos to Calamba late at night to retrieve my house keys that I accidentally left inside the office. I unfortunately realised that my keys weren't with me when I was parking the car in the garage at home.

So I drove back to work to get my keys. The highway was absolutely drenched; but there was no evidence of flooding, except near the bridge between barangays Parian and Paciano Rizal (in Calamba). The way back was a different matter, though. Water had started overpouring onto the road in Junction and in Lalakay (both in Los Banos), and only 15 minutes had passed since I passed by Junction. But traffic slowed down dramatically in Bucal, Calamba because the water on the road rose up to about six inches. People with houses close to the highway were on the street because of the flood.
I hope that tomorrow the road to Los Banos would not be flooded anymore.

Cheering squad practice... again

A few weeks after the IRRI cheering competition, we were back to rehearsals for Saturday's IRRI-UPLB dual meet. The great thing: people from other groups joined us! Yey! :D





Lost in Batangas

I brought Lola Bats (my 93-yr old grandma, my dad's mom) to Padre Garcia, Batangas to visit the old house and her friends. As with every Lola's-day-out trip to Padre Garcia, we just had to visit her hometown of Cuenca and visit my cousin and his family in Alitagtag (still in Batangas). However, the bridge at one barangay (Pinagtung-ulan, San Jose), which links Cuenca to Lipa City, was not passable to traffic. We went through an alternate route, one which starts at Palanca, San Jose and ends at the heart of Cuenca town. The road was far from flat; the narrow road led us up the mountain and then down a ravine to a stream, then up again, and across four bridges... all in a lush forest. We reached our destination, barangay San Felipe in Cuenca after an hour.
It was night when we left Alitagtag; I decided to follow my cousin's advice and use the same route to get to the Southern Tagalog Arterial Road (STAR) Tollway (which is a 20-km drive straight to Sto Tomas town). The dark ma…