Do I Know You?

The following blog was originally posted from my old blog, The Geejay Journal:

I’m known in my family to possess a poor memory. It’s so bad sometimes that I totally forgot that I already made a comment about something. The funny thing about it is that I make the exact same comment, word for word. Raquel gets annoyed and/or amused when I do that. After doing it a few times (unintentionally, mind you) I think she’s more annoyed now than amused though.

One of my fears is that I encounter somebody along a busy street whom I’m supposed to have met before and I won’t remember his or her name. When that happens, the best I can do is avoid mentioning the person’s name so I greet him/her with “Hi.” That’s it. At least, I’m pretty good with remembering faces though. I know that I’ve met someone before even if I cannot remember that person’s name.

I just wonder though how people could mistake another person for someone else?

Yesterday on the way home while waiting for the Sandringham line train to arrive at the station, I decided to get something to eat. There was a food stall at the platform where I was waiting where they sell these 70 cent bathing-in-cooking-oil potato “cakes”. I don’t know why I like that bland greasy junk but I do so I went over to the stall to buy one.

There were two attendants at the stall and while the Indian fellow was serving me my potato cake, the mustached Caucasian, possibly Russian, had this look of sudden enlightement on his face. That wasn’t the first time I bought a potato cake at that particular stall and that wasn’t the first time I saw the Caucasian with his “I know who you are!” look on his face. He smiled and greeted me, “Hi. How’re you doing?”

“I’m good. Thanks,” I replied. I wanted to get out of there as soon as I could but like I said, these potato cakes are greasy so I had to ask the Indian, “Can I have serviettes (aka table napkins/tissues) please? Thanks.”

Before the Indian could hand me a folded tissue, the other fellow continued to talk to me. He said, “It’s been a long time. How’s your wife?”

“Do I know you?” I should’ve asked him but decided not to do so. I just want to get away and the quickest way to do that, I thought at the time, was to give him the answer he’s expecting. I replied, “She’s good.”

I took the serviette, wrapped it around my dripping potato cake and started to walk away when the mustached guy asked another question, “How are your kids?”

I stopped. Kids? I said, “I’m sorry?”

He repeated the question and added, “How is your little boy?”

That was when I knew for sure that I didn’t know the guy. I didn’t answer the question immediately. I was thinking of telling him that I in fact do not have kids yet but I was hesitant because that would mean talking to this person a while longer. And it would most likely embarass him. But I did not want to lie to him either.

When I didn’t answer, he asked, “How’s your family?”

Now that question I can answer truthfully. “We’re good. Thanks,” I said. Then I ended the conversation by walking away while saying to him, “see ya.”

Well, I wasn’t exactly being truthful because I did know that when he asked about my family he meant my wife and my kids. I told Raquel about the incident and also told her that I couldn’t buy anything from that stall again. I don’t know what to say to the mustached guy if I see him again. Do I tell him the truth and all the while tell him that I decieved him the other time we talked? Do I go on with the charade? Or do I just avoid him and spare both of us further embarassment?

Heh. Those greasy potato cakes can’t possibly be healthy for me anyway.

Published in: on November 19, 2004 at 10:59 am  Leave a Comment  

Got Connection Will Surf

The following blog was originally posted from my old blog, The Geejay Journal:

This weekend I could not connect to our $80 per month broadband connection. I did not have a connection from Friday to Monday. The aggravating part of it is that this wasn’t the first time we lost our broadband connection and could not get connected again.

Based on past experience, we usually just need to wait for a several minutes to a few hours and the connection would come back on. If not, then we try turning off/on the ADSL router modem and/or plug/unplug the phone line. Doing that fixed the problem usually. Not this weekend though.

So we weren’t able to enjoy downloading, watching streaming videos or playing network PC games online this weekend. It is a consolation that the ISP also provides its subscribers with a free dialup connection in cases of emergencies. Using the dialup, I was able to connect to the Internet at a measly 49kbps connection speed using only one computer (I can’t get the Windows 2000 Internet Connection Sharing / ICS to work on our two PCs). And the PC that has a dialup connected modem to it is the PC that can run Sims 2 properly.

That meant that if Raquel wants to play Sims 2, for example, she’d have to use my PC and I could not surf at the same time. It was very inconvenient to say the least. And to think that we’re paying the ISP $70 per month for this hassle.

By Monday, I got real tired of the lack of connection and I decided to phone the ISP to get this straightened out. Previous calls to them (in the past when this happened before) were fruitless wastes of time. They had this checklist of things I had to check and if those things are all ticked and I still have a problem, they do not know what to do next.

The Monday afternoon call wasn’t any different. The support person suspects that it is Telstra’s fault. These broadband ISPs all use Telstra’s telecommunication infrastructure so it makes some sense but I thought that the ISPs should be informed if there are any outages at Telstra’s side. The support guy suggested that I could file a complaint with Telstra regarding this problem. But before that, he said, he wanted me to call the tech support again when I get home so I can go through the motions and their checklist.

Well, looking back now, it was good that I did call them back when I got home. I was able to talk to a real technical support person and he was able to provide me with real troubleshoots in an effort to find out what was going wrong. And after fiddling with the ADSL modem’s settings, I finally got my broadband connection back!

It was the modem all along. But the funny thing was that I knew I set it properly before and according to the tech person, the settings shouldn’t have been erased from the Flash memory. He thought that maybe the modem could be faulty in some way.

So now, the modem is under observation. If it fails again, according to the tech guy, I can return the modem and get a replacement. And now at least, if it fails again, I know which settings to tweak to get my broadband connection going again. I’d probably only return the modem if it only becomes a real hassle.

For now, I have broadband connection again and timing couldn’t be better as Half-Life 2 just hit the game stores! I’ll be able to enjoy Counterstrike: Source online gaming this weekend! It’s all good.

Published in: on November 17, 2004 at 2:57 pm  Leave a Comment  

I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself

The following blog was originally posted from my old blog, The Geejay Journal:

That was my thought last night before going to bed. I was feeling depressed and Raquel noticed this so she asked me what is wrong. I couldn’t put into words what I was really feeling but I this statement comes close: There are a lot of things I’d like to do in this lifetime but there just doesn’t seem to be enough time for them.

As some of you know, I am writing/drawing this fantasy webcomic (which hasn’t updated for a few weeks now by the way). I do like telling the story but I find drawing the story too much of a hassle nowadays. Although I may have some free time to spare to draw the comic pages, I’d always do something else like play PC games or read Stephen King’s Gunslinger or study Visual Basic .NET or watch TV/DVDs.

I think I’ve grown tired of the comic creation biz. Since my art isn’t really that good (compared to awesome artists I admire), the acknowledgement of that fact only serves to discourage me from drawing.

And yet, I still want to continue telling stories. I suppose I could just move on to writing instead. I find it quicker to just type in the words than to decide how a comic panel should be drawn (what camera angle to use, what panel to draw next, should it be a close-up or a long shot, etc).

However, I’m not the best writer around neither. I’m sure there are people who would find my writing “style” quite boring and unengaging (if there is such a word). And as you’ll notice, I tend to write passive sentences (boring) more than active sentences (not-so-boring). My mediocrity in this field serves to discourage me from writing seriously.

Although, I suppose that with continuous writing practice, I’d eventually get better with it. But I fear there is this one big roadblock that I will find difficult to overcome if I intend to write for an Australian audience. That is, I’m more proficient in writing in American English than in Australian English.

Though there shouldn’t be too much of a difference between American and Australian English, my writing style would betray my non-Australian upbringing. I’m more comfortable using American colloquialisms than Australian. Like right now, I cannot get myself to call anybody “mate”. I’ll still call them “man” or “sir” or “buddy”. So instead of “Hey, mate, do you reckon she’ll be right?” I’d say “Hey, buddy, do you think it’ll be all right?”

Using Australian colloquialism is not too difficult to use/imitate but would my written works sound to locals as genuine or as they say, fair dinkum? There was a short story writing contest for the local newspaper recently but I shied from participating because of that “fear” of sounding like a foreigner.

I suppose that I shouldn’t care because, well, I *am* a foreigner here. Also, I do realise that I probably had a chance at winning in that contest whether I wrote it in American or Australian if the story was really good. Too late for that now.

If not writing a story, writing a series of essays regarding my Filipino heritage, culture and history appeal to me as well. There are a lot of Filipinos noweadays who have no idea of their cultural heritage or at least have no appreciation for it. I’m hoping to make a website that can attract people to read more about my culture.

Would people read it? Perhaps not. The thought of pouring all that effort into that endeavor with nobody to appreciate it is another deterrent for me to even start work on this idea. Some of you may say that I should do something out of love rather than out of want for fame. I used to think that way, too, but I’ve since admitted to myself that I need to know that what I’m making makes a difference to others otherwise I will lose interest in the endeavour.

I’m also considering just doing what a most people do with their spare time and that is, in a way, do nothing. I could just spend the rest of my evening doing more of what I do already: watch TV/DVDs, play PC games and read books. Just input, no output at all. Admittedly, it is the effortless thing to do in my free time. Relatively stress free (with the exception of the times I may be losing on a network PC game of course).

But the thought of a life like that triggered a discontent feeling in me that just cannot bear the idea of not creating anything. Well, there’s still this blog, right?

Well, other than my indecision with what to do with my free time, there’s also the issue of not having a lot of friends here in Melbourne. Hm. Like that line in the song says, I just don’t know what to do with myself.

Published in: on November 9, 2004 at 5:54 pm  Leave a Comment  

Our Sims 2 Avatars

The following blog was originally posted from my old blog, The Geejay Journal:

Lately, Raquel and I’ve been addicted to playing the people simulation game called The Sims 2. Here is a short description of the game from their website:

In the The Simsâ„¢ 2, you direct your Sims over a lifetime and mix their genes from one generation to the next. You set your Sims’ goals in life; popularity, fortune, family, romance or knowledge. Give them a long, successful existence or leave their lives in shambles. Take them to extremes, from getting busted to seeing a ghost, from marrying an alien to writing a great novel. Unleash your creativity with the all-new Create-A-Sim, new building options, and the new in-game movie camera. Get ready to mix their genes, fulfill their dreams, and push them to extremes. What do you want to do with your Sims’ lives?

And recently, like I’ve posted previously, I’ve created “Sims” that represent my Lovarian Adventures webcomic characters (Nadine, Helix, Lili, Sephriel and Mendoran). I didn’t have too much fun playing them though. For one, there were too many of them with just $20k starting money. Also, I played it all wrong right from the start. In the end, I abandoned playing them.

The problem I have with playing Sims characters based on known characters of fiction is that I tend to roleplay the Sims close to how the original characters would be like. In the end though, I found that that limited me somehow.

Later on, I tried creating more original Sims so that I won’t have any preconceived ideas of how I should play the characters. Heh. Didn’t happen though. I ended up creating these families:

  • Halliwel: Piper, Phoebe, Paige and Leo – Based on the Charmed main characters.
  • Washington: Josh and Donna – Based on the West Wing characters Joshua Lyman and Donna Moss.
  • Spengler: Egon and Janine – Based on the Ghostbuster Egon Spengler and his secretary Janine. I ended playing this family the most though.

However, one day, I suggested to Raquel, what if I create Sims based on our likeness? The original purpose of doing this was to take screenshots of the finished Sims and use them in our website. After creating them, we ended up playing them anyway.
So now, I’ve been playing this Sims family the whole weekend. I’ve stopped playing Counterstrike and reading my Visual Basic .NET books and just sat for long hours in front of the PC playing Sims 2.

The nice thing about Sims 2 though is that the characters can produce offspring and the appearance of the child will be based on the “genetics” of the two parents. I thought it would be a fun way of predicting what our real child will look like.

Published in: on November 7, 2004 at 10:51 pm  Comments (1)  

Stupid Mobile

The following blog was originally posted from my old blog, The Geejay Journal:

For several weeks now, my Sony Erricson Z1010 mobile phone (“cellphone” to my Filipino and American friends) has been acting up real bad. It started out as an odd thing: my mobile randomly turns off by itself. I’ll just be surprised to find it turned off!

I had no idea then what could be causing the problem. As time passed by though, the problem started to occur more frequently. It was then that I started to really monitor my mobile’s on/off state.

One day I found out that closing the clam shell after a phone call would turn off the mobile. Apparently, the snap that happens when I close the clam shell is the culprit. Yet, I was too lazy to have the mobile serviced by 3 (the mobile phone company I’m subscribed with). I figured that I can live with the problem. I just have to gently close the clam shell from then on and I should be right (you don’t need to say “all right” here as just saying “right” is all right or, rather, right, all right?).

As it turned out, the condition got worse. I no longer have to just worry about closing the clam shell hard but I have to be wary of jerking the mobile hard. And accidental hard bump would turn it off as well.

Finally I got tired of the problem so yesterday I went to the Sony Erricson certified service centre to have it fixed. However, it will take three to four working days to fix they said. So at the moment, I’m mobile-less! I’ll be mobile-less until Tuesday!

I didn’t realise how much I’m used to the convenience of having a mobile phone until now. Raquel and I have to arrange our meeting time and place after work even before leaving the office. I cannot just call her to change venues and such. Yesterday I forgot my umbrella up in the office and since the elevators lock up after 6 pm, there is no way for me to come back up to the office to retreive it. And since I do not have my mobile, I have no way of calling them to at least bring my umbrella down to me. And since I didn’t have a mobile phone, there was no easy way for me to tell Raquel I would be late.

Well, I just hope the phone actually gets fixed by Tuesday. I just hope I won’t have any future problems with the mobile, too.

Published in: on November 5, 2004 at 11:50 am  Leave a Comment  

Todos los Santos

The following blog was originally posted from my old blog, The Geejay Journal:

In the Philippines, we do not really celebrate Halloween like they do in the US but around the same time, we have a holiday called Todos los Santos (All Saints Day) on the first day of November.

Although the Spanish and Latin American people surely have Todos los Santos, too, I am not that informed about Spanish and Latin American religious traditions to know if we celebrate the feast day the same way.

Anyway, although November 1 is the only offically delegated national holiday, the President (of the Republic of the Philippines) usually declare the days before and after November 1 as holidays anyway to give everybody a chance to go home to their home provinces (on the day before) and return to where they currently live (on the day after the 1st).

I’m sure Todos los Santos began as a very solemn occasion where every Filipino (at least the Christian/Catholic ones) go to cemeteries where their relatives are buried and conduct a vigil there.

They would visit the cemetery the day before to clean up the burial site (repaint the tombstones, mow the grass around the grave, etc) so that on the day itself, the grave would look respectable.

And on the day itself, people are probably in a somber mood while they pray for the souls of their departed relatives in the hopes of getting them out of purgatory.

Nowadays though, it’s a more pleasant and merry occassion. It becomes a chance for relatives to have a get-together. Of course there is still the prayers but there is also the catching up with family and relatives afterwards. It is also a chance to talk with neighbors who may happen to have relatives in the same cemetary.

And since we love to eat, enterprising Filipinos would put up food stalls around and in the cemeteries. I recall it has a carnival-like atmosphere.

I say “recall” because I’m here in Australia and wasn’t able to visit the grave of my grandma and my departed cousin Paulo on Todos los Santos. Wish I was there to pray for them and to be with family and relatives.

It is just unfortunate too that at the moment, going home to the Philippines for a visit is out of the question as we don’t have the financial resources to do so. It is times like this where there is a traditional occassion in the Philippines and I’m missing out when I feel more home sick. Maybe some time in the future, we would be able to visit home again.

At least, I was able to talk to my family and relatives over the phone while they were at the cemetary. It made me feel like I was actually there, if even for a short moment. Thank God for mobile phones.

Published in: on November 2, 2004 at 3:37 pm  Leave a Comment  

Our (Leather) Couch Potato Weekend

The following blog was originally posted from my old blog, The Geejay Journal:

Friday night, Raquel and I just decided to head home early to watch the second half of the second season of The West Wing DVDs she borrowed from the Melbourne City Library. We also watched the recording we made of The Apprentice. It is shown at the same time as Stargate SG-1 on Thursdays so we had to record one to watch later.

The furniture company called me Friday telling me that our new leather sofa would be delivered between 8 to 10 am Saturday. So while watching the DVDs and the Apprentice, I can’t get over the fact that by tomorrow (well, the tomorrow of that day Friday), we would no longer be sitting in foldable picnic chairs.

I was pleasantly surprised that the furniture deliverers were at our door at 8:30! At last, we thought, we have a decent sofa!

Here is a pic of the new sofa. Pardon the quality as I used my phone’s low-res digital camera here:

Needless to say, Raquel and I are both stoked. We spent the rest of Saturday just watching DVDs while enjoying the new furniture. What a bunch of couch potatoes, no?

But Sunday, I decided to get off my butt and worked on moving my Lovarian Adventures webcomic site to its new home at our new host at I had to convert the PHP code into Classic ASP/VBScript. Originally, though, I planned to convert the PHP code to ASP.NET but that would take longer to do as I’m not that proficient with VB.Net nor C# (ASP.NET languages).

Since we need to budget our continually growing expenses, we wanted to stop paying for two websites. With this in mind, I had to fast track the move of the webcomic site to the new host so that I can discontinue the former site.

Anyway, I do not want to get into a lot of detail so I’ll just make a long story short. I was able to finish a working version of the Lovarian Adventures webcomic site (minus the bells and whistles of the old site) and ready to upload on the new host. It should be up and working by the time you read this.

We ended the weekend watching Australian Idol and the remaining top four contestants. I’m no longer excited by the remaining contestants though. I dunno why. Well, we were enjoying the new sofa more than the TV at the time anyway.

Published in: on November 1, 2004 at 5:08 pm  Leave a Comment