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Showing posts from December, 2014


What better way to end a year than spending time with good food, good friends, and a good show, right?
In mid- December, I watched Chicago: The Musical with Claire, Trina, Renee, and Sara at the Solaire Theatre. The trip started off with some creative thinking. See, I totally forgot the my car wasn't allowed to traverse the city that day (due to a traffic reduction scheme). I, luckily, chose a city route that was exempted from the traffic scheme purely because I had wanted to avoid the traffic jams on the main route. The pitstop was the hotel where the three girls were sleeping over so I parked my car there. I didn't press my luck anymore by driving to Solaire because I might get flagged down on the road sections where the traffic scheme was enforced. 
At Solaire, we were met by posters about Chicago, such as this one:

It appeared that we were all dressed for the show's color motif, black and white! Unfortunately, Sara wasn't seated near us and wasn't in the pictur…

2014 in a nutshell

2014 has proved to have a hectic start. For one thing, January barely ended when I had to face three trips and I wasn't home alone for most of February. I realize, however, that I am such a small part in the overall scheme of things. So now, I list events and activities that make 2014 a unique year. Dr Achim Dobermann, IRRI's deputy director general for research, bid farewell (for the second time) as he gears for a life back in Europe. Dr Matthew Morell takes over his post.Ukraine faces political turmoil as Russian military troops enter in response to a crisis.  Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 disappeared into thin air shortly after it took off. Investigations, search and rescue operations, and hypotheses about this fateful flight have been flooding news channels daily. Some say the plane crashed somewhere along its original path while some say there is evidence pointing to a change in course. I am hopeful that the plane is found and the passengers are all accounted for soon.Se…

finding chocolate at Ghirardelli Square

After burning the calories we put in at Gira Polli by walking around Muir Woods and freezing while looking at the Golden Gate Bridge, Ate Maddie and I sought refuge at Ghirardelli Square... knowing that it must have some of the best hot chocolate in San Francisco. Once we were inside the restaurant, I felt like I entered the souvenir shop of Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory! We got distracted by the lollies on display and the chocolate samplers while we waited for our drinks.
And when our drinks finally came? My chocolate milkshake, topped with mini chocolate kisses, was so delicious! It's definitely more decadent than my signature order at Starbucks: choco chip cream frappuccino with soy milk and (pepper)mint syrup. I'll drink it again even with the cold weather. I just hope my throat doesn't get sore.

RIP, Patches. :(

Patches, one of the cats which call my home their home too, died yesterday sometime after I left the house. 
He's been seriously ill for a few weeks already. First, his appetite decreased and he increased his water intake. And then he showed signs of a skin condition and a big reduction in weight. Anna had a vet check him out and I've been giving the cat a medicated bath daily plus medication, as per doctor's orders. Patches began to appear as if he was recovering a few days into the medication... but that was only until I noticed that he started becoming constantly disorientated and losing his balance while walking to his food and to his water bowls. It was all downhill from there.  
Yesterday morning, I observed that Patches was struggling to walk for his daily morning greeting. He was so quiet, sun-bathing. He came to the food bowl but didn't touch his food. I realised that the end was near, alarmingly near. That made me worried and sad but I thought I'd still …

Space, the next frontier

One, I still can't stop thinking about the awesome visuals and the genius juxtaposition of the musical score in Interstellar
Two, I believe that space exploration is ready to go into leaps and bounds again. After all, probes were shot and successfully landed on a comet... yes, ala Armageddon; but without the end-of-the-world premise. And NASA has launched the Orion spaceship a few days ago. It looks like someone's going to Mars!!
Three, astronauts and cosmonauts who currently fly on space missions have caught the attention (albeit maybe not as much as during the Apollo programs) of many people, particularly because of the stunning images of Earth they transmit back to us from miles up in the atmosphere.
Thus, when I stumbled upon two videos about space exploration, I thought it's a good idea to share them. The first video is about what astronauts captured while in the International Space Station. It shows stunning images of the clouds, lightning, city lights, and aurora…

Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (2014)

Back in 2006, two French post-docs introduced me to Australian culture by projecting "The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" on their terrace house's wall. It was an opportunity for me to see the Australian outback (which I knew I wouldn't see as a student) and alternative lifestyles (blown up to extravagant proportions). It was fitting that I'd see it that time, while residing in the very cosmopolitan suburb of Newtown, Sydney: lots of members of the LGBT community, students from the University of Sydney (where I first enrolled for graduate school), and artistic individuals with brightly coloured hair. Definitely a lot of things to bewilder a sheltered provincial girl from the Philippines who went to live in a city far away from home and family for the first time in her life. Culture shock!
So, when I heard that an adaptation of the movie, entitled Priscilla, Queen of the Desert The Musical, was being staged in Manila, I decided to watch it, for nost…

Rush (2013)

Music is one factor that draws me to keep watching a movie on cable tv; particularly a movie that I've never watched before. In this case, it was the sense of urgency evoked by the score of Rush (directed by Ron Howard) that got me hooked. No; the music was not like the typical soundtrack associated with race car movies. Definitely very distinct from the themes of Gran Turismo (the video game) or of The Fast and The Furious movie series. And it was surely different from the music I've listened to when I wandered accidentally into a car show in UPLB. However, the feel and the visuals of the movie showed what it's like to be amid the frenzy of a race track.
Anyway, the story is about two rival race car drivers vying for the championship in the 1976 Formula One Grand Prix, Niki Lauda and James Hunt. Their attitudes towards racing contrasted the other; Lauda was calculating the risk of each of the races he participated in while Hunt raced as if that day was the last. Their ri…

When the going gets rough, whip out the camera!

"Just when the conditions get difficult, that's when adventure photographers get their cameras out."

– Cory Richards, Masters of Photography course (National Geographic)
My adventures tend to be tame, if we compare them to National Geographic standards. However, I particularly like what Cory Richards said in his photography course because there are times when the conditions are suboptimal for photography so I miss good photo ops. And by suboptimal, I only mean that the conditions are too dark, too bright, too windy, too dusty, too slippery, too salty, or dangerously close to the water... any condition that could damage my gear (what gear??? the only add-on to my camera is my trusty tripod). 
There are times too when my stubborn self decides to go take pictures anyway despite the risks to my camera. And the resulting pictures, though not at par with professional shots, are pretty amazing to me. If you find them to be bleh, it's okay. I'm just happy with how they turn…