Weekend Socialising

Although I appreciate having a lot of “me” time, I cannot go on for very long without socialising with friends. This is why Raquel calls me an extrovert despite my claims of being an introvert. Okay, maybe I’m somewhere in between — an Introverted Extrovert or an Extroverted Introvert, if there’s such a thing. This past weekend, at least I was able to appease the extrovert in me.

Friday night, our friend Chinita invited the group to join her and the “food-trippers” group for a 7pm dinner and a movie afterwards in the city. Due to another engagement, we couldn’t go and stay the whole night in the city. So, I declined the invitation.

After eating dinner in the city anyway that Friday night, I looked at my watch and saw that it was almost 7pm anyway so Raquel and I went to the restaurant where they were supposed to be having dinner and just greet Chinita personally a “Happy Birthday” and say hi to the others.

On the way to the restaurant, we saw RC, T and Lin crossing the street at Russel Street. We thought it would be funny to sneak up on them from behind. We snuck behind Lin, started walking beside her and then talked to her about her permanent residency application, much to her surprise.

We all stopped at the corner just before the restaurant and waited for Chinita who was running late (as usual, so I heard). They estimate Chinita to show up about 7.30pm. While waiting for her, we just stayed at that corner and talked up a storm about anything and everything.

Chinita arrived at 7.30 as predicted. We greeted her Happy Birthday and we should’ve been on our way then. Instead, Raquel and I accompanied them in the restaurant and had some drinks. Along with the drinks came more talking, of course. What was supposed to be just a short few minutes of catching-up conversation turned to be an hour-and-a-half story swapping.

The next day, just for kicks, I asked our neighbor friend M and Ira if they wanted to play a quick game of tenpin bowling in the afternoon at the nearby Werribee bowling centre. As Ira has driving lessons, she postponed it for 6.30pm which was just fine.

So while waiting for 6.30pm, M dropped by the house and we had a guitar jamming session. As I’m still quite the guitar newbie, these sessions usually turn out to be impromptu guitar lessons with M as the master and me as the grasshopper.

We were so preoccupied with our guitar playing that we didn’t realise that it was already past 6.30pm and Ira was texting us that she, Ej and Ej’s beau Tn were already at the Werribee train station waiting for us.

We had forgotten about the Weerama Festival held in and around Werribee. In fact, they had closed the street adjacent to the train station because it was the venue for the fair. When we got there to pick up Ira, Ej and Tn, there was this band playing on stage playing 80’s hits. It was great!

After eating some pancakes, watching the band and some chatting, we left for the bowling centre. We paid for two games. Fortunately, there was a Saturday night discount where adults only need to pay children prices. Cool.

M wore his now trademark bowling glove and bowled up quite a game. Not only that, he also caught the attention of the bowling attendant girl that invited him (and us) to join the league. We teased M that maybe all he needed to get the girls was to just show up at the bowling centre with the bowling glove on.

After the game, we tried looking for a place to play some billiards but to no avail. In the end, we just spent the remainder of the night singing karaoke on M’s Magic Mic. We finished at about half-past-midnight. Whoa.

When I woke up Sunday morning, my throat was slightly sore but it was okay as I had enjoyed myself singing to my heart out the night before. Man, that Magic Mic has a lot of songs! Makes me want to buy one myself. Either that or the Singstar game for the Playstation 2. Hmm.

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Published in: on March 21, 2006 at 12:00 pm  Comments (2)  

My Irregularly Reccuring Speech Impediment

Before migrating over to Australia from the Philippines, I prided myself of being fluent in English, in both its written and spoken forms.

But now, whenever I’m talking to an Australian, there’s always this off chance that I will start stuttering or just simply find it difficult to string together a coherent sentence in English. I always find that very embarassing. I absolutely hate it when that happens.

I could go on as to why I think it’s happening but I’ll try to keep this short. I have never had this problem when I’m talking to Americans, only Australians. Maybe I’m just intimidated by their fast talking ways coupled with their Australian accent.

Maybe my occasional speech impediment comes out from my subconsciously trying to adopt an Aussie accent (and failing, if may add) as well as the speed of how they speak. I don’t do it intentionally. I just couldn’t help it.

The end result, I usually attempt to speak faster than I could string words together in my head. And so, I start to stutter mid-sentence as I wait for my head to come up with the next word.

I should stop doing that, I know. I kept on telling myself that I should just stick to speaking English the way I always knew how but when I start speaking to an Aussie, this compulsion in me to imitate the way they speak becomes difficult to keep in check. When I talk to my non-Aussie friends in English, I have no trouble talking to them at all.

Anyway, you may ask what’s the point of this post? Well, it’s basically just me venting. I had to call up a lot of electricians to get a quote for some work we wanted for the house. On most of the calls, I stuttered my way through the conversation. That was, until I wrote down what I wanted to say on paper, in advance.

Ashamedly, the later calls I made were essentially scripted but at least I didn’t make a complete fool of myself talking to the person on the other end of the line. After the first two scripted sentences, I was able to keep up my confidence and talk to the electrician for the duration of the phone call relatively stutter-free.

Published in: on March 17, 2006 at 10:26 pm  Comments (2)  

Fold, fold, tuck!

I’ve found a great way to re-use the product catalogues walkers regularly jam into our mailbox and it’s enjoyable too! Check out the photo of my beginner foldings of 2 octagonal boxes, a lazy susan, 2 square boxes, a triangular box, a heart coaster and a swan napkin. Yup, I’ve started doing some origami while watching TV and listening to Gj practice his guitar-playing skills.

Aside from some basic paper foldings I did when I was a wee kid, I haven’t done any paper folding until about a week ago. After realising that creating wooden boxes on my own would require serious skill in doing accurate measurements, cutting and handling possibly dangerous machinery, I picked up a book from the library about making memory boxes for scrapbook enthusiasts. This book features several interesting projects but I thought it might be a good idea to start with something even simpler, something that would get my unartistic hands used to doing something craft-y with a minimal outlay of cash. And what better material than the ubiquitous paper?

Curious if there’s such a thing as an “origami box”, I entered it as a search criteria in Amazon. To my surprise, the search yielded quite a long list with Tomoko Fuse’s Fabulous Origami Boxes topping the list. Borrowing the book from the public library and trying out the first few projects, I found them challenging but enjoyable (even when I had to enlist hubby’s help in figuring out the more advanced folds). By the fifth project, I know I was hooked and I absolutely had to get a copy of this book (not as easy as I originally thought as I had to visit 3 Borders, a Dymocks store in the CBD and two Angus Robertson branches before finally finding it at Borders Highpoint).

I also bought Tomoko Fuse’s Quick & Easy Origami Boxes and Andrew Stoker’s Fantastic Folds. I browsed the online catalogues of the two public libraries I frequent as well and borrowed every book they have in practical origami. So far, I’m only interested in projects that have practical uses like table napkins, chopsticks rests, a multitude of containers, but most specially boxes. Maybe part of the attraction of this kind of paper folding is that I could use the finished projects around the house. In fact, I’ve already used several of my earlier paper boxes as containers for vegetable peelings and food scraps, making clean ups around the kitchen easier.

So if you have an abundance of paper around the house, you might want to try your hand at this hobby. If you’re interested in boxes, Tomoko Fuse is the undisputed expert (as I’ve learned from some origami sites around the web). The other books shown in the photo are also quite good although not all of them focus on origami.

Published in: on March 15, 2006 at 10:50 pm  Comments (2)  

Commonwealth games start tomorrow

The 2006 Commonwealth games would be starting tomorrow night at the MCG.

On the way home tonight, we had the opportunity to see the Queen’s baton relay with media personality Eddie McGuire holding the baton.

Too bad the photo was a bit blurry. Ah, well.

Published in: on March 14, 2006 at 11:55 pm  Leave a Comment  

Aussie Omelet

With half a dozen eggs in the fridge set to expire in a couple of days, I trolled around Allrecipes.com over the weekend to find fritata and omelette recipes. I’ve already been considering trying out a couple of recipes when I came upon this one, titled Aussie Omelet. I’m not sure if it was really submitted by an Aussie or if the originator of the recipe is Australian but it sure caught my eye.

The recipe got a perfect 5-star rating from members and I got most of the ingredients in the pantry. The other stuff like fresh mushrooms and capsicum (bell pepper), I could easily get when we do our weekly grocery shopping. I double-checked the ingredients list, making sure that there would be no objectionable component to it (hubby could be quite picky). Nope, looks like it would be hubby-safe.

Except I wouldn’t dream of mixing eggs, milk and curry. Sounds more like a recipe for a stomach ache. However, upon reading the reviews section, one reader commented that she wasn’t too sure of it either but that the end result came out delicious.

I tried the recipe last night and it was great! I decided to dice the mushrooms and prawns in the hopes of getting the eggs to fold over easily (someone commented that it could be difficult). No such luck, I couldn’t fold it anyway! It ended up like scrambled eggs with diced bits but it sure tasted yummy. One bite and hubby delivered the verdict, “Hmmm… this one’s a keeper!”

Published in: on March 14, 2006 at 12:11 pm  Comments (2)  

Jammin’ Night

Ever since I bought a guitar and sold my old guitar to my friend, M, I’ve been kidding him that we could do a bit of guitar jamming some time. I hadn’t counted on jamming with anybody so soon as I have yet to improve my feeble guitar playing skills.

Anyway, just this Saturday, M had some CDs he wanted to return to me so he dropped by. Of course, since he was coming over anyway, he brought the guitar with him so we could jam, too.

It was great! Sure, I wasn’t in the same league as he was (even though he claimed he only knew a few songs), it was fun to learn from somebody who knew more than I did.

We spent an hour with him trying to teach me how to play The Hurt by Kalapana. I got what chords I needed to play. Actually playing the song properly was more difficult though. I just think the song is still beyond my abilities at this moment in time. Still, it was great fun.

Now, whenever I have some spare time with my guitar, I try to play the Kalapana song (hoping one day I get to play it smoothly) in between actually going through my guitar learning books. So far, everything is slow going but I’m hoping all my efforts will pay off eventually.

Published in: on March 13, 2006 at 8:12 pm  Comments (2)  

Walk the Ladder

We should really get a ute (Australian for pickup truck). Or at the very least, get a roof rack for the car.

Our roof gutters needed cleaning with all the stupid dry leaves from the nearby Aussie gum trees clogging up the down pipes. However, our old ladder couldn’t reach the roof. This meant we needed a longer (or is it “taller”?) ladder.

The only problem was that the ladder we needed for the job would never fit inside our little hatchback car. Fortunately for us, there is a hardware shop a few minutes’ walk away from our house. We could just buy the new ladder there and walk home with it on hand.

It seemed like an easy task when I first suggested it to Raquel. After three minutes walking and carrying the ladder, we started to regret the idea. The ladder got heavier the longer we carried it.

It was a great relief when we finally got home. I just hope we don’t need to bring it back.

Published in: on March 12, 2006 at 8:40 pm  Leave a Comment  

Werribee Racecourse Market

Check out the craft markets at the Werribee Racecourse in Ballan Rd (Melways map: 205 F8) tomorrow. Trading hours would be from 8 in the morning till 1 PM so go early. A parking fee of $3 applies.

Published in: on March 10, 2006 at 10:35 am  Leave a Comment  

Hakuna Matata?

Gj and I have been wanting to see the Lion King musical even when they were still showing it in Sydney. We thought we could fly to Sydney one weekend, see the show and come back. When they brought the production here in Melbourne, we said we’d definitely watch it while it’s still in town. Of course, we got distracted with everyday things and other activities and have put it off. Early this year, they’ve announced that the show would end by June 4 and with merely 13 weeks to go, we finally picked a date on when we want to see it.

We’ve booked some time off from work around Easter and thought that it would be a good time to go. To our dismay, tickets in the Stalls A section from now till the end of April are either all booked out or only have single seats available. After almost an hour of anxious anticipation, we were finally able to book seats on May 3 through Ticketek. We would have preferred seeing the show on a Friday or during the weekends but those were also sold out or only have single seats. I told hubby maybe we could probably buy two separate seats and just meet during intermission, but he won’t have any of it (and I was just kidding anyway).

So if you’re considering watching the show, better get your tickets now before it’s too late!

Published in: on March 8, 2006 at 11:42 pm  Leave a Comment  

Awards for Writing

The 56th Palanca Awards is now open to entries. For the longest time, I wanted to submit something — anything — to this prestigious Philippine literary competition but I always fail to send over a submission.

During my years in university, I entered a phase where I wanted to be a writer, even though I was actually there studying to be an engineer. And so, I joined the Writers’ Guild and wrote for Ang Pahayagang Plaridel, the university’s Filipino-language newspaper. I also befriended the staff of the university’s Malate literary folio whom we, the Plaridel staff, shared our office space with. It was through my association with these organisations that I learned about the Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature or simply known as the Palanca Awards.

Winning an award in that competition will not only make the writer a few thousand pesos richer, but it will also gain the writer the much sought after recognition of being part of the Philippine literary elite. However, before I could ever hope to win such an award, I first needed to work on my writing.

Since I’m not really a Liberal Arts major in university, I had to read various books on writing just to get a better handle on this whole writing business. But I can only learn so much from reading. I had to actually write.

Back then, I was more comfortable writing in American English than in Tagalog. I saw it as a tremendous challenge to write in my own native language. So I was very pleased when I won an Efren Abueg Award for my Tagalog news writing for Ang Pahayagang Plaridel, and an award for third best short story in Filipino in the De La Salle University Annual Awards for Literature.

The awards should have encouraged me to ultimately write something — a poem, a short story, a children’s story, or an essay — to the Palanca Awards competition, but twelve years later, I have yet to write anything in English or Tagalog worthy of a submission. The biggest problem was that by the time I remember submitting something for the Palanca Awards, there’s only a month left. Not a lot of time to produce quality work in my opinion.

So now, like then, I remembered about the awards with only over a month left to write something to submit to the competition. Should I even try?

Then Raquel reminded me of something. Back in university, she also won something like a total of four awards in the DLSU Annual Awards for Literature for two years running. Her achievement was awesome, I thought then. But she told me that the only reason she probably won was because she had at least submitted something and not a lot of others did. “Half of it is writing and passing the work,” she said.

Or to put it another way, I couldn’t win a game if I never was in the game. Maybe I should just write what first comes to mind and submit that. Who knows? I might win something without even trying too hard. And if not, then there’s another whole year to prepare for the next annual Palanca Awards.

And in between that, maybe I could also write something for the writing competitions right here in Australia. I remembered missing out on last year’s The Age Short Story Competition mainly because I found out about it too late. I also thought that I couldn’t convincingly write a short story that has an Australian feel to it. In retrospect, maybe I didn’t have to. Maybe I could’ve written something in a way most natural to me and then afterwards I should’ve just replaced the Z’s with S’s in words like realize and authorize, and added a U in words color and favor.

And if I submitted something to The Age competition, I should probably also try writing something for the annual national The Australian / Vogel Literary Award.

Of course, to be able to submit something for any competition, I should actually be writing. We’ll see. Maybe I could squeeze that activity in between my household chores, my guitar practice and my other artistic pursuits.

Published in: on March 7, 2006 at 12:01 pm  Comments (4)