I Should Just Keep My Stupid Mouth Shut

This morning, I was supposed to be in a 10 am training for developers. Due to insufficient attendees, those of us present were asked to just join in the next training which was, I thought, for testers. I was concerned that by joining a training for testers, we developers might not be given enough developer-centric details in the training.

So I raised my concern. However, I felt that I was misunderstood. I was told that developers are required to know about testing anyway. I understand and believe that, too. My concern is that the testers may not be too keen to listen to developer-specific stuff in the training so we developers might get short-changed in the later training.

I dunno. It just seemed like when I raised the issue, I may have inadvertently projected myself as someone who isn’t interested in the testing phase of the development lifecycle. Quite untrue. I’m the type of person who doesn’t want to submit half-assed work if I could help it.

It could also be because in the past, I’ve joked about how developers “test” their work. Sort of like a sarcastic note that “real” developers don’t test. But I said it in jest. Anyway, by making that comment I might have irreversibly marked myself as somebody who isn’t serious about my work. Great.

There are also times I’d like to clarify some points in a meeting. I understood them well the first time but I wanted to voice out anyway to show that I was listening and to double check that I did understood what they were saying. But the problem is, whenever I make clarifying questions, I think I end up seeming like I wasn’t listening at all or that I was slow on the up-take. Great.

I think from now on, when there is a meeting and at the end of it somebody asks if there are any questions, I’d probably just keep my stupid mouth shut. Well, I’d still ask a question but only if I really really really didn’t understand something. But otherwise, feh, I’ll shut it.

Published in: on February 15, 2005 at 12:34 pm  Leave a Comment  

How we celebrated Valentine’s day

If you’ve read my previous blog entry, you may be thinking of how we spent the day of hearts. Well, er… hmmm… ahhhmmm… traditionally! Hehehe…

Well, you see, Gabriel planned the whole thing so I didn’t have anything to do with it (washing hands off it). He arranged flowers to be delivered and made dinner reservations last week without my knowledge – of course, otherwise it won’t be a surprise!

Hey, lookee what I got you! Click photo for more

He had a box of flowers with chocolates sent to the office. It arrived after lunc although his instructions were for it to be delivered in the morning. After work, we ate at a Chinese restaurant called Red Emperor located at Southgate. The food was generally good, except I thought the fried rice was too salty. The servings weren’t the usual big servings at Chinese restaurants although there was enough to go around. We had hot sour soup, chicken and corn soup, stir fried mixed vegetables, fried rice and Red Emperor Mandarin chicken; which we thought were good but we specially enjoyed the Banana Fritters and ice cream we had for desert.

Anyway, what can I say, he likes to be traditional and I like to be surprised so I guess in the end it worked for both of us. Let’s just pretend it’s an ordinary day, shall we?

Published in: on February 15, 2005 at 1:18 am  Leave a Comment  

A sweet, empty holiday

“Happy Valentine’s Day” is the greeting on everyone’s lips today. Unless you’re below the age of ten or just like a bit of child-like fun in celebrating this day, it’s not cute to get into all the hype.

If you’re a woman in a relationship, today would be the day (perhaps the only time in a year) when you’d receive flowers, chocolates and love notes/cards from your man. Perhaps there would be some movie watching involved with a dinner in a fancy restaurant to cap the evening. Tonight you’d have to pretty yourself up (even if you don’t feel like it) just so people won’t say that the guy you’re with made a mistake of getting stuck with ordinary little you.

For a guy in a relationship, it would mean some costly last-minute shopping for the obligatory candies and flowers and the aforementioned movie and dinner. You’d have to shell out major bucks so that your girl won’t feel like she got a raw deal by being with a cheapskate of a man. Hopefully, you’ll get lucky by the end of the evening to make everything worth your while (maybe even if it’s only a big heartfelt kiss).

If you’re single, this day is made worse by the reminders of being part of a couple. Everywhere you look you see couples holding hands, kissing and sharing chocolates. Everyone seem to be heading somewhere, off to have a romantic time together. They’re oblivious to you, poor single person unfortunate enough to be left alone in the gene pool on this special day.

What’s this hoopla about Valentine’s day anyway? So it’s a day dedicated to St. Valentine, big deal. According to an entry to Wikipedia, there are three different St. Valentines (a priest in Rome, a bishop in Interamna and a martyr in North Africa) and legend has it that Pope Gelasius I declared February 14 as the feast of St. Valentine (which one he was referring to is unclear, or perhaps all three) to supercede a pagan fertility festival called Lupercalia celebrated on February 15. The saint’s feast day was removed from the Church calendar in 1969.

Today, it’s nothing more than a commecial ploy to get your hard-earned dollars into the pockets of business owners. Why do we need a holiday to remind us that we’re lucky to have someone there for us through thick and thin? Why should we have to be obliged to buy flowers and chocolates on this day when we could do that everyday anyway? Why buy into all this fake fervor and think that it’s an expression of love?

To me, the holiday could be likened to the chocolates that are being exchanged around the globe on this day. It’s expensive, sweet, addictive and makes you feel good but in the end it’s just all empty calories with too much sugar in it.

If you’re in a relationship, how about arranging a day of the week for a special night-out (specially good for those already with kids), trying to surprise your mate with the odd chocolate, flower, love note (take your pick!) on a random day which would be better appreciated because it meant you weren’t just pressured to give it because of a silly holiday when everyone else is doing it.

For those who’re single and may be tired of hearing this over and over again, enjoy it while you can. This is the period in your life when you’re free to do anything and everything you wish. Why not try a new hobby, read more, exercise more, get out and enjoy life. Think of this as your preparation phase to finding the right one so that when you do finally find him/her, you’d be a more interesting, confident and well-rounded person than you were on your previous relationships.

Buying into the hype of Valentine’s day sometimes cheapens it, you don’t need a holiday to remind you to appreciate yourself (and your partner) everyday.

Published in: on February 14, 2005 at 12:40 am  Leave a Comment  

City scenes

Melbourne is a city of entertainers and artists. Or at least tourists may be forgiven for thinking that since its streets are filled of musicians (banjos, guitars, trumpet, fiddle, chinese harp, etc), performers (stand-up comics slash acrobats with juggling and rope walking as part of their acts) and those who draw on pieces of paper or on the sidewalk (nothing permanent though).

Sidewalk art may be where it all starts. Click photo for more.

Of course there are those who paint themselves white or gray, stand on a pedestal and refrain from moving for several minutes. People would walk past them thinking those are statues when suddenly these performers move! Aha, they’re alive! Then you’ll have a laugh and if you liked what you saw, put in a coin in their hat/can/box. After all, it isn’t easy to stand still with all that paint on you!

Statue or live human? Click photo for more

Published in: on February 13, 2005 at 1:14 am  Leave a Comment  

Chinese New Year Festival

Last Wednesday marked the beginning of the new lunar calendar and thus began the celebration for the Chinese New Year. Today, we went to Melbourne Chinatown to see what sort of celebration they’re having. Russell street was partially closed off and there were stalls dedicated to selling food, Chinese goods and services(massages), religion/philosophy and live entertainment. We had a great time browsing through the merchandise on sale and Gabriel even found a CD of Vivian Chow.

Gabriel found a bargain(not)! Click on photo to see more

He has been looking for a copy of a CD of this particular Chinese artist because he once had an album of hers on tape. He bought the CD for $15, thinking that it was a bargain for a double CD collection. His joy quickly evaporated though when he opened the packaging (which looked like an original) and saw the (dodgy) CD. The CD certainly doesn’t look like an original and the CD itself looks like it is a low-grade recordable.

Anyway, after having some dumplings washed down by Diet Coke, we decided to walk to Crown Casino to see the Hawker’s Bazaar which promised to be another major event to celebrate the Chinese New Year.

Chinese stilt walker at Crown’s riverside bazaar. Click photo to see more (different set from the one above).

Crown’s celebration was more like a multi-cultural festival with stalls selling Korean, Chinese, Japanese and even Dutch food! We had some Dutch poffertjes and went through the different stalls selling great products, watched the dragon boat race and finally went to the bonsai display.

After all the snacking and walking around, we went inside the Crown Casino foodcourt and rested for awhile and had some drinks. We then decided that perhaps it’s time to go home but on our way out, we saw the marionette ceiling display in the atrium, enjoyed the light show and took photos.

Overall, a very good festival indeed!

Published in: on February 12, 2005 at 11:24 pm  Leave a Comment  

Hostage to the public transport system

It has only been six months since we moved here in Melbourne but everytime I have to catch a train, it feels like it has been years. I already have numerous anecdotes to share about the unreliability of the public transport that it’s no longer funny.

One particularly frustrating experience happened last week. We woke up earlier than usual and thought we’d better report for work early so we could come home earlier (Our company allows flexi-time as long as you work 8 hours and stay in the office for the core hours of 10am-4pm). Anyway, we quickly dressed and ate breakfast and headed to the station to catch the 8:40 train to the city.

Upon arriving at the platform, there was a hand-written sign informing us that the 8:40 train would not run because of the train was defective. We went to the platform to wait for the next train, which was supposed to arrive 10 minutes later. Eight minutes into waiting, a recorded voice boomed in the loudspeaker, “The 8:50 train has been delayed and is expected to arrive in 5 minutes!” Okay, what’s five more minutes, right? Two minutes after that annoucement, another one came, “The 8:50 train has been delayed and is now expected to arrive in 10 minutes!” What?!?! That train has been so delayed, it’s now running at the same time as the 9:00 one!

9:00 came and went and still no train. Meanwhile, the platform’s becoming crowded as more and more people arrived. At 9:02, the train finally arrived. However, as there has been no trains since 8:30, this one is packed like a can of sardines and we had to squeeze in to get on. Who knows when the next train would arrive? We’d rather not risk waiting for it.

Now, that’s just one instance. Over the past months, I’ve experienced the following as well:

  • Delayed or cancelled trains.
  • Trains that don’t have enough carriages so passengers are packed in tightly (bags, bikes, dogs and all).
  • Defective trains. There was this one instance when I had to change trains thrice in one trip. The first two trains I had would run for a couple of stations until the drivers announce that the train is defective and that we have to get off at the next station to wait for the next one.
  • Platform assignments changing at the last minute. For example, our train usually stops at platform 8 so most times we just check the board to confirm this before heading to the platform. However, depending on how early or late you got to the platform, you may or may not hear the announcement that the train would now be taking passengers on platform 13. If you heard the announcement with time to spare, you’d be lucky to catch the train waiting at platform 13 after rushing up a flight of stairs, running to the opening of the right platform, going down several steps and squeezing yourself in through the closing doors. If not, tough luck, you may just see the train pulling out of the station after all the rush and now have to go back to platform 8 to wait for the next one.
  • Wrong recordings being played inside the train. The voice recordings announcing the next stop may be more trouble than it’s worth when it is announcing stops that the train has already passed or worse, give you an instant panic attack when it start to announce unfamiliar stops that are in a different line altogether.

Despite the poor service, fares have been increased at the beginning of the year, adding to the woes of the ordinary commuter. In MX’s (free daily newspaper) Vent your spleen section, readers usually express their frustration on the lack of good train service. Guess who sent MX a SMS message to let out her frustration?

Page 14 of yesterday’s MX. See if you could read the second to the last entry in the Vent your spleen section.

Guess who vented her spleen?

Anyway, all this may lead you to think, what alternatives are there? Well, you could take the tram (which is just as bad with its delays and no-shows), bus (limited routes) or perhaps, drive your car to the city (too expensive parking rates at $8 per hour or $35 maximum per day). Until Connex improves its service, hapless commuters like me just have to grin and bear it and hope that next time Connex gets it right and finally delivers the service they’ve promised to give.

Published in: on February 11, 2005 at 11:25 pm  Leave a Comment  

Happy Chinese New Year!

When I was still a little girl, I remember waking up to the smell of food cooking the day before Chinese New Year. I would spend the day helping my mom prepare the ingredients for the dishes she had to cook and afterwards, clean up. Unfortunately for me, I would be in charge of washing the dishes (manually, no dishwashers!) at the end of the day as she would be too exhausted to do this herself.

There would be several round fruits and sumptious dishes by the end of the day that I would just be happy to have my fill before worrying about the chore of cleaning up. There’s also the usual tikoy (Chinese New Year pudding) and other Chinese delicacies bought from the bakeries in Ongpin the day before. It’s like there would be a food shortage and we’re stocking up!

Good thing Chinese New Year celebrations usually lasts for several days (15 days). My mom would usually cook simple dishes, like steamed chicken, on the day itself and then use left overs (like broth, chicken meat) to create other dishes. She would also make a big batch of lumpia (spring rolls) filling, cook some and refrigerate the rest.

On the day itself, we would feast on the food she prepared and head to Chinatown to watch the lion dance and fireworks before visiting our relatives. There, I would be given ang pao (red envelopes) with some cash in it. Others would give me toys or candies. Likewise, my mom would have her bag filled with gifts for the other children.

Those were good memories indeed. No, I didn’t prepare/cook anything special as there was no time nor inclination on my part to prepare a big meal after working for 8 hours. Besides, there would only be the two of us and I think it would just be impractical. However, I would still greet all of you good memories and good fortune today and everyday of this (Chinese) year!

Published in: on February 9, 2005 at 11:07 pm  Leave a Comment  

Comics Again?

Around June last year, I moved from Canberra to Melbourne. With all the time and effort I exerted during the move, I decided to stop drawing my webcomic. At the time, I was feeling tired of it anyway. The move only gave me an immediate excuse to quit drawing.

Fast-forward to the present.

My webcomic is now under the Graphic Smash banner and I believe I’m going to get some bucks off my hobby now because of it. I’m not exactly sure how much (probably not a lot compared to what I’m earning at my day job) but it’s still a big incentive to continue drawing the comic.

I just didn’t realise how big an incentive it was going to be. Right now, I’m so excited about the whole thing that I’m even thinking of shelling out three pages per week as compared to one page per week in the past. The more frequent the pages update on my site, the bigger the chance I’m going to hook new people into reading. It would also translate to a bigger archive which would mean a potentialy bigger share, I reckon.

And of course, that’ll also mean the the story will be told at a much faster pace now. I mean, it’s been three odd years now and the time that has passed in the story is only roughly a week.

Another advantage of being part of Graphic Smash is that of belonging to an influential group in the webcomics world. It’s like the print-comic equivalent of being part of the team at Marvel or DC. Hopefully, associating with my fellow group members and being associated with them will open up some opportunities for myself.

I’m excited about it all. Now I’ve started to look into the Australian print comic scene again. The first and last time I was part of it was when I wrote and drew the 8-page comic called “I Believe” for issue #1 of The Ink in August 2003.

I still feel some pride whenever I see that issue (it’s still out there!) in a comicbook shop here in Melbourne. For that brief moment, I was part of the Australian comics scene. Makes me think I should be part of it again. So right now, I’m looking into it.

I’m just afraid that I would overcommit myself to projects I couldn’t feasibly do. Ah well. Time will tell.

Published in: on February 9, 2005 at 10:21 pm  Leave a Comment  

Philippines of Yore

There was a time when I wanted to draw a graphic novel based on the Philippines of the late 1800s. I’d go to my university’s library to search for books that may hopefully contain pictures of what it was like back then. I’d also visit the Filipinas Heritage Library in Makati (Philippines) for any images of the past I could photocopy for art reference.

When I was still in the Philippines, new expensive illustrated books about the era also came out and I bought a couple of them. Unfortunately, I left them behind when I moved to Australia. Maybe I’ll bring those along with me back to Australia the next time I visit my home country.

In the meantime, I’m very happy to discover a site (an online gallery actually) that stores a lot of photos taken in the Philippines from long ago!

Pandacan 1896

See more vintage Philippines pics at the Philippine Photographs Digital Archive. Ah, the treasures you’d find on the Internet!

Published in: on February 8, 2005 at 2:13 am  Leave a Comment  

Lovarian Adventures Now on Graphic Smash

I just want to announce that as of this moment, my fantasy adventure webcomic Lovarian Adventures will be exclusively featured in the online adventure/action webcomics subscription service Graphic Smash.

This means that although readers can still read the latest page installment of my comic for free, they’ll need to subscribe to Graphic Smash to be able to read or re-read my archived pages. I’ll tell you now that it isn’t really too expensive to subscribe. It’s only $2.95 a month (or $29.95 a year) to have access to all the archives of all the webcomics available on Graphic Smash. It’s cheaper than buying one print comic issue per month.

Anyway, enough of the sales talk. I just wanted to say I’m stoked to be involved in this project. I’ve suddenly have a renewed interest in continuing my webcomic which at one point in time I almost wanted to quit from for good.

So for long time readers, I guess in a way, this is good news because you’ll now be able to continue reading the webcomic. The bad news is that if you aren’t a Graphic Smash subscriber, you better not miss any new installment.

As to anybody reading this who aren’t into webcomics, you may wonder why joining Graphic Smash renewed my interest on my webcomic. I guess the honest truth is that this time round, I’ll get paid out of drawing the webcomic. Sounds very materialistic, I know. But What can I do? Being offered money to continue drawing the comic is a good incentive. This is almost as good as getting a gig at print comics, I imagine.


On other news, my right temporomandibular joint (TMJ) which hurt for a couple of days is now pain free. I’m now extra careful when I yawn so as to avoid the clicking. I don’t want the pain to return. And I also don’t want to end up getting surgery done there like this other Filipino in the US (thanks to Kiwi Pinay for the link).

Published in: on February 6, 2005 at 1:08 am  Leave a Comment