Thursday, January 29, 2009

Justifications

Janelle's Beautiful Conscience: Janelle, you don't need a laptop bag because you don't have a laptop.

Janelle: MG has a laptop.

Janelle's Beautiful Conscience:
Yes, but you never bring it anywhere. And it's not yours.

Janelle:
...So I need a laptop too???


Janelle's Confusing Conscience: No!! What do you need another one for? You already have one!

Janelle: But you just said it's not mine?

Janelle's Frustrating Conscience: You know what I mean!

Janelle: Ok, so I need to buy a laptop for my future laptop bag.

Janelle's Really-Annoying Conscience: YOU DON'T NEED BOTH!

Janelle: Just the bag then?

Janelle's Conscience: What?!? Just... just get the bag...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Going Green

Last week, Trend Micro sent us this mailer and a survey to get the employees' take on a possible green initiative:

*Computations were made based on a 1,400 headcount.

I never realized we had 1,400 employees here. Side effect of not wandering too far from my cube.

Plastic
888,000 plastic cups? Ouch! And 634 cups were possibly from me!! Add this to my carbon footprint and I am in so much carbon debt. O, the guilt! I made a resolution to use only 1 plastic cup per week but it wasn't working out very well due to the cleaning diligence of the kuya's and ate's here at Trendlabs (they keep throwing away the plastic cups I keep on my desk that I plan to reuse). And now I realize that 1 plastic cup per week is still too many. So I brought my own mug.

Mug courtesy of Roy last December 2007 :) Just in case you see this, o ayan Roy, ginagamit ko!

Paper
Regarding paper usage, I am glad to say I have very minimal contribution to that one. I hardly ever print and when I do find the need to do so, I print on scratch paper. I don't know why people here need that much paper... almost all documents are shared via email or thru the team portals.

Electricity
I do leave my computer on when I go home... so guilty on that one. Because starting my computer in the morning takes too long! Leaving the computer on will generate approx 1.5Kw in one year... I can live with that. I'll just add that to my carbon footprint debt.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

What is your carbon footprint?

As I mentioned in a previous blog entry at the start of the year, I plan to start thinking about my carbon footprint. So yesterday, I tried to compute the carbon footprint for my household (meaning me and MG) for 2008.


I nearly fell off my chair when I saw the result. That is one big footprint!

Average footprint for a Filipino is only 0.97 tonnes per year? Just 0.97?!? What's that attributed to, breathing for one year? (I don't get this part, really.)

The amount of CO2 emission attributed to our trip to the US last year is about 6 tonnes. And that's just for MG and me, two people. Imagine how many people are in the plane so how much CO2 emission is attributed to the entire plane? It appears to be a crime against nature to fly :( This trip was a big contributor to our huge footprint last year. Removing it from the equation brings our household's carbon footprint down to about 8 tonnes per year. That means 4 tonnes each for MG and me... just about the the world average.

So how do I reduce my impact to the environment? I don't recycle personally BUT I do give my recyclable materials (PET bottles, newspapers, plastics) to some kids who collect them on weekends. I assume they sell those to people who recycle them. I mean, what else do they do with those? So I am recycling indirectly and helping people earn a living as well. That should count right?! There are also organizations who offer to offset your carbon emissions for you for a fee (about $20 per tonne offset based on a few websites I've visited) but they are overseas and I want to perform the offset here in my country. I thought about planting trees. Based on my annual average carbon footprint (4 tonnes), I need to plant 4 trees per year. That's 8 trees every year for MG and me.

Wow... where am I going to plant 8 trees per year? No matter, I will do something about this before the end of the year.

To calculate your carbon footprint, visit http://www.carbonfootprint.com.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Blessings

Last Saturday, I received a card in the mail that made me realize truly how blessed I have been. I saw the envelope lying on the table at my mom's house when I visited them. It had my maiden name on it and it was mailed to my lola's address, where we used to live when I was in college.

It was a Christmas card from Kuya Caloy.

I opened the card with a mixture of surprised happiness (that he still remembers me given I was never even an active member of DCF) and guilt. Because I remembered that he used to send birthday or Christmas cards every year since I left Molave. I always meant to reply but I never got around to it. The cards stopped coming a few years ago. I'm not sure if he stopped sending them or maybe I just never received them.

Then there was the Christmas card he sent last December, which took a month to reach me but I'm glad it did reach me.

"...you are still remembered in prayers."

I stared at the card for a few seconds, reading those words, still not believing that he really meant what he told me more than 10 years ago that he will be praying for me. I have often wondered why I have been so blessed all these years even as my relationship with God grows more distant. At the back of my mind, I have been waiting for God to punish me for straying so many times. But the blessings continue to come. And now I realized maybe it's because there were still people who never got tired of praying for me, even when I stopped praying for myself.

I plan to send a reply to Kuya Caloy this time. To tell him I'm doing well, and to thank him for always praying for me.

Friday, January 23, 2009

LPG Shortage: True or False

The first time that news of the LPG shortage broke out, I didn't pay much attention. Our household (i.e. me and MG) consumes only about 1 - 2 tanks per year.


Seriously.

We hardly cook.

Ok fine!! I hardly cook.

I was thinking our tank won't run out until after this crisis is over but of course it did. And I'm beginning to really feel it's effect.

I called 2 different dealers. No one was answering at the first dealer so I tried the second dealer. No answer... but I was persistent. I was finally able to get through last Sunday but this was the answer I got: "Wala lahat, walang stock, wala lahat, as in wala, walang stock, lahat..." (None whatsoever, no stock, everything, none, really, no stock...). I initially thought it was a recorded message but then the speaker paused and I was able to get in a meek "Excuse me po..."

"Walang stock." (No stock.) Wow... so... final!


"Ok po, pero kelan po magkakaron?" (Ok, but when will you have stock?)

"Paki-try sa Monday." (Please try on Monday).

Well, Monday came and went and I'm still using an electric stove (which, by the way, is so so sooooo inconvenient to use! )

Which brings me back to my topic. Is there really an LPG shortage? Because someone told me they probably just don't want to sell to the public because of the low price. They're probably waiting for the prices to go up before they start selling. In the news, they are also suspecting dealers of hoarding. I just don't know how true this is.

But if this were true... here's my message to you hoarding dealers: If I can survive on one tank for one year, I can definitely survive without one! I don't like cooking anyway! Who needs you?!?

But that's just me .

Google Image Labeler

Another Google feature I stumbled upon while I was searching for images .

How does it work?

Google image labeler allows you to label images to help improve the quality of Google's image search results.

When playing, you will be randomly paired with a partner who is also playing at the same time. Within 2 minutes, you will both be shown the same images and you will type keywords you associate with that image. You will receive points when the keyword or label you assign, matches the label provided by your partner. The number of points will depend on how specific your label is. After you match labels, you will be shown another image until the time runs out.

It's like a game (you don't even have to be signed in to play).

Enjoy!!


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Ox Outlook for 2009

MG was born during the Year of the Ox...

*computing*

*computing*

Kidding!



Ox Overview

The Ox can do well this year through steady progress. There may be a number of experiences that will provide great joy for the Ox. One area, in particular, is the Ox's personal life. You may see an addition to the family. You will be surrounded by those who care. Look for the early summer months to attend many social occasions, providing many new faces in your social circle. One area of focus is to be open to the advice of others (Janelle: yes, yes... particularly your wife *wink*), as you tend to keep your issues to yourself. Overall, your own year can be one that you will look back on with pride and a genuine sense of achievement.

Ox Rating

52% (3 favorable 5 neutral and 4 unfavorable months) (Janelle: What??? I get 7 and he only gets 4 unfavorable months???)

Ox Career

In 2009, the Oxen will be given many opportunities to further your plans and goals, as well as consolidate your position. Steady progress is the position where the Ox is most comfortable and that is where you will find yourself this year. You will also have a chance to impress and gain support from those around you. This is a good year to enhance your skills and add to your repertoire with added training or study. You will be satisfied in knowing that anything you do this year will repay you in this year and the years to come. The months of May, late August and September may mark a change in your career.

Ox Relationships

2009 will be a year of personal happiness. For the single Ox, there may be a chance to engage in new and meaningful friendships, romance, and possibly even marriage. Others will take comfort in their domestic and social lives. Being an Ox year, this is one that will provide enjoyment for you as long as you allow it. Beware of your strong will and do not allow any minor disagreements (Janelle: yeah yeah... so just always say yes to me to avoid minor disagreements) to escalate and put a damper on a fine year. May is a month that will highly favor a chance meeting or a heightened level in a relationship.

Ox Health

Health matters don't seem to be too much of a concern for the Ox this year, as you are good at implementing some sort of physical activity into your routine. The Ox's discipline does well to carry over into your health. It never hurts to find ways to improve in this area, so don't discount anything that will improve the quality of your life. Even though there may not be any large issues, stress can be a surmounting factor to be aware.

Ox Wealth

The Ox could enjoy an improvement financially, but you may face a number of large expenses over the year (mainly your wife who will be coming up short on her budget this year ) . To maneuver your budget through the year of the Ox, exercise care and sensible spending. It would be wise to seek professional advice when it comes to any speculative ventures or risky investments that create some sense of doubt.


Source: http://astrology.yahoo.com/astrology/chinese/ox/yearly-overview/

Goat Outlook for 2009

WARNING: If you were born during the Year of the Goat, you're feeling a bit depressed right now, and you believe in these things, STOP READING right here.


I say stop!!!

Ok, you're still reading so I assume you don't meet all 3 of the conditions stated above. Read away!

Goat Overview

This may not be as favorable as a year that you desire. Coming off the year of the Rat, you may be seeking relief from the difficult year. Don't let up now. The Goat is artistic in nature and you may have difficulties finding a way to express your creative passions. It will take an extra effort to rely on the help of others to make it through these times, but if you keep a steady focus on your goals and display painstaking efforts, you will be pleased to see the fruits of your labor arrive next year (Janelle: next year pa???). Don't fret, as you may learn a lot about yourself in the process. You may learn that you are more versatile, as well as resourceful, than you ever imagined.

Goat Rating

32% (5 neutral and 7 unfavorable months) (Janelle: 7 unfavorable months???? And I only get neutral months? I don't even get favorable months???)

Goat Career

Career prospects are fair this year for the Goat. It is wise to take a conservative approach to your work this year. Stay focused on what you are accomplishing, the end result. Projects and goals may not mature until the early part of next year and this could create a sense of frustration and pessimism if you allow it (Janelle: Not really, it just means I won't be doing anything much at work this year). Break your year down to short term goals and focusing on accomplishing them. This will detract from the patience it will take from your long term situation. Have faith in your skills and don't let anyone deter you from your path.

Goat Relationships

The Goat may find solace in your family relations this year, as they will offer you the support you need to see through challenging situations. You may also see a lot of new faces in your life, as you are prone to meet new people this year. Relationships fare well for you, but you may have to be a little more outgoing than you are used to being, in order to see your relationship progress to a higher level. The single Goat may be blessed to have several suitors this year.

Goat Health

If you don't make some changes in your routine, you may experience health issues this year. Watch what you eat (Janelle: Aaarrrgghh!!), as this will go a long way towards living a healthier life. Be patient, as you may experience an illness in the winter months that zaps your energy for a longer period of time than you desire. Make sure that you get plenty of rest to counter these possibilities.

Goat Wealth

Finances could be an issue this year. You may find that even with your conservative efforts, you are coming up short on your budget (Janelle: ). If you manage your spending and plan your finances, you will make it through the year. You may have to wait until next year to see the fruits of your labor, as it promises to be more profitable than this year (Janelle: YEH!!).


Source: http://astrology.yahoo.com/astrology/chinese/goat/yearly-overview/

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

My Country 'Tis of Thee'

Earlier this morning, like millions probably did, I stayed up late to watch Obama be inaugurated as the 44th President of the US. He was sworn in a little past 1AM, Philippine time.

I won't go into the inauguration details. I was too sleepy to remember everything. But what I do remember, because it really caught and held my attention, was Aretha Franklin's song number.



I won't even go into the big bow on her head... let's just focus on the song number.

She sang My Country 'Tis of Thee'. The entire time she was singing, I was imagining her auditioning for American Idol. Close your eyes, and imagine for a while that she is not Aretha Franklin, Queen of Soul. It was like listening to a bad audition... the kind where you see pain or shock etched on the faces of the judges.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

What just happened?

I posted the link to the LIFE photo archive site earlier. About 10 minutes within posting, my site counter spiked to around 70 hits.

Weird.

My site averages only around 2-3 hits per day, mostly from my friends. I use both Sitemeter and Google Analytics to track traffic here and both tools confirm the spike. The increase in hits happened within a span of 10 minutes only and then stopped.

LIFE photo archive hosted by Google

I stumbled upon this feature while googling the other day and was only able to try it today. Very interesting. They have photos from as early as the 1860's.

Click here to visit LIFE photo archive.

Photo: 1880's two girls sitting on a rock.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Michael Vs. Jason



Ok, so they're not really competing against each other. Jason Castro placed 4th on American Idol last season and younger brother Michael Castro just recently got the golden ticket to go to Hollywood for this season.

Michael Castro's audition:



I started watching American Idol last season (season 7) after hearing Jason Castro's soothing voice singing Somewhere Over the Rainbow. I was very disappointed when didn't even make the top 3.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

PETA Attempts To Make Fish More Adorable

This story caught my attention this morning (read article below).

Though I found the story a bit "uhhhhhh...", I scooted over to PETA's website and created my own... um... sea kitten.

Meet Cleopatra (first name I could think of since I've been reading something about Cleopatra recently.)



-----
by Anne Hilman

"Sea kittens" is the new term being used by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, for the creatures they believe are in dire need of an image makeover: fish.

"PETA thought that by renaming fish sea kittens, compassionate people who would never dream of hurting a dog or a cat might extend that sympathy to fish, or sea kittens," PETA campaign coordinator Ashley Byrne says.

Byrne says that rebranding fish as sea kittens was obvious.

"Fish not only have the same ability to feel pain as a dog or a cat, but they also communicate with one another," she says. "They have complex social interactions; they form bonds; they express affection by gently rubbing against one another."

The PETA campaign boasts a colorful, interactive Web site aimed at children and their parents. It offers sea kitten bedtime stories and a design-your-own sea kitten in hopes it will build compassion in families.

"Most parents would never dream of spending a weekend torturing kittens for fun with their families, but hooking a sea kitten through the mouth and dragging her through the water is the same as hooking a kitten through the mouth and dragging her behind your car," Byrne says.

Alaskan Resistance

PETA has so far only promoted the campaign in North Carolina but plans to take it nationwide, even to Alaska — a state where fishing is both a source of recreation and many families' livelihoods.

In the small fishing town of Unalaska, population just under 4,000, some people see the campaign differently.

"I don't see fish as sea kittens; I see them as food," says 12-year-old Chastity Haskins.

Haskins is looking at the PETA site with her friend, Harmony Wayner, 11.

"It just doesn't look right," Harmony says. Harmony, the fourth generation of a commercial fishing family, looks at the cartoon fish and reads through the information on the site. "They say that they're intelligent, but they're not really," Harmony says. "They have tiny, tiny little brains. Very miniature."

The girls also take issue with the claims that sea kittens are unhealthy to eat.

"They only talk about farm fish — it's not wild Alaskan, which is very good for you," Harmony says.

Sea-Kitten-Friendly Environments

"I don't understand how it makes sense," says fisheries observer Mary Powers, who works on fishing boats to collect data on the catches. She thinks the campaign, which encourages people to petition the Fish and Wildlife Service to stop the hunting of sea kittens, is misguided. "It seems like it's discouraging Americans to buy our product, which I think is unpatriotic."

But Byrne says that even if people lose jobs in the fishing industry through the success of the campaign, they could find work in more sea-kitten-friendly environments.

"So as there is less of a demand for foods like fish, there is more of a demand for other foods, and jobs open up in those industries," Byrne says.

National Marine Fisheries Service management biologist Brian Dixon doesn't see the change coming anytime soon.

"Well, it may raise some money for PETA, but I don't think it'll change the way we manage the fisheries," Dixon says. "I think I may eat some sea kittens tonight."

Anne Hillman reports for member station KUCB in Unalaska, Alaska.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Puzzles

I wanted to buy a painting for our living room but MG and I can't agree on which one we want.* As a temporary solution, MG suggested we look at puzzles... those crazy thousands-pieces puzzles that will probably make your nose bleed, but which comes in nice prints. When finished, you can have them framed as a testament to your patience and perseverance and hang them in your living room.

We looked at puzzles at Heavenly Stitchin' Things at SM North (basement level) and we found something we both liked. What clinched the decision was that the store has ready made frames for the 1000-piece puzzles and it comes in wood-tone that closely matches the finish of our shelves and tables at home. Talk about signs. So we bought the 1000-piece puzzle. This is the design we selected:



It's also glow-in-the-dark (it actually looks nicer in the dark... more serene).

We started working on the puzzle Saturday night around 10PM and we were done by Sunday night. I was expecting it to last longer. Next thing to do is to apply the glue varnish to keep the pieces in place, put it in the frame, and hang it in the living room.

You can check out more puzzles at http://www.puzzledazzle.net

*NOTE: I still want that painting that I saw! I first saw it in November but was put off by the price (too much to pay for a piece of decor) but it was still there last weekend and I really feel I should have it. If it's still there by the end of January...

Monday Morning Tidbits

My mind was wandering on my way to work this morning

1. New Year's resolution, broken during the first week: I used 3 plastic cups from the pantry last week... Aaargh! I'm going to have to try harder this week. Or better yet, I think I need to bring my own mug

2. Heard on the radio this morning:

Mr. De la Paz: I think we are given one year to file an appeal.
Korina: You are one year to appeal...

(I think she meant, "You have one year to appeal...")

3. Sa wakas! They finally re-opened the first U-Turn sa C5. The sign says it's open from 9AM - 4PM only.

4. I was being attacked my Monday sickness and I was fighting the urge to tell the cab driver to turn back. I swore to myself 2 years ago that I will refrain from not going to work on Mondays, even when I'm really sick, because it gives a bad impression. So here I am.

Have a great week!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Begin with the End in Mind

...according to the 2009 calendar on my desk. That got me thinking (since I have nothing better to do today until people start answering the emails I sent them yesterday)... how do I see my 2009? Truthfully, I'm not one for planning. My 2008 was all about spur-of-the-moment decisions that left MG all tied up in pretzel knots most of the time.

So for the sake of passing time this morning, I'm making a list of things I want to accomplish this year.

1. Consume only 1 plastic cup from the office pantry per week.
Disclaimer: This does not include the plastic cups they will probably serve me at fast food joints. This is the first thing that came to mind since I noticed that I've been using the same plastic cup since Monday (I wash it ok?). Must have been the guilt instilled by MG after he showed me the commercial on Discovery channel (I think) about how many plastic bottles are consumed every hour. But baby steps... let's start with the plastic cups from the pantry for now.

2. Start thinking about carbon footprints.
I just said start ok? Baby steps.

3. Have shelves installed and cabinets repaired downstairs.
This is actually part of my house repairs list from a previous blog entry last year.

4. Visit 2 Asian countries.
Candidates: Thailand (Paging... Shine!!), and either Singapore or Hongkong.

5. Get flu vaccine.
I actually appreciated the shot I had last year. I didn't get sick (and that says something for someone who gets sick with every rainy spell).

6. Visit at least one Philippine destination that I've never been to before.
There are still a lot of places I haven't seen. Bohol and Palawan top my list.

7. Limit purchases for the year to 5 pairs of shoes, and 2 bags.
Gifts do not count. So... *ehem*... mommy, I'm counting on you...

8. Make sure that ALL books and magazines in the house are in bookshelves.
All books and magazines that do not fit in existing bookshelves will have to be disposed of. I can do this! I know I can!

9. Participate in at least one volunteer activity/Support a charitable activity.
Preferably, volunteer activity involves a beach. If I can't do that, then my fallback will be to offer support to a charitable activity.

Ok, that's all I can think of and that took all morning. There are others that I'm thinking about but I'm not sure if I can do them this year and I want to stick with achievable targets.

Happy new year everyone!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Recycling Project

I saw this at the WWF office when I attended their Christmas party last December 17. It was pretty and I initially thought it was made of glass.



Upon closer inspection however...

Does that look familiar?

An empty Sprite plastic bottle! MG told me that it was made by someone who's in prison. Pretty creative huh? Too bad I wasn't able to take clearer photos to show more detail. I only used my phone's camera.