Hurricane-strong winds

It’s not everyday we experience winds so strong that it brought trees down and roof tiles flying in Melbourne. Well, that was what we got last Wednesday (February 2). “Winds of up to 100km/h whipped across Victoria as the remnants of tropical Cyclone Pancho combined with an intense cold front in the Great Australian Bight and moved east,” according to an article on The Age titled Victoria’s killer weather causes chaos. I remember hearing on the radio that it was an event that only happens in one in fifty years.

That morning began like any other cloudy day. Then, I started hearing roaring noises that I couldn’t account for. To me, it sounded like the noise generated by a construction site. I thought that maybe a building was being demolished. However, the loud sound repeated every few minutes. The building-being-demolished theory was out the window then. My officemate thought there were jets flying around Melbourne. But that would mean that they were flying in circles for a long time as the noise spanned a few hours.

We looked out the window and realised that it was the winds that was causing all the ruckus. The glass windows of neighbouring buildings were wobbling from the force of the winds. The trees down on the streets were swaying wildly. Looking at the horizon, we saw that Melbourne was being surrounding by a brown foggy cloud. Apparently, the wind picked up a lot of dust as it went causing the sky to turn brownish from afar.

I didn’t mind the strong winds at first. After all, it reminded me of the youth when I used to wish that there was a typhoon so we didn’t have to go to school or to work. So, I’ve always associated storms with happy times rather than sad and scary times. However, nearing the end of the day, I discovered that the winds was causing major damage around Victoria. There were power outages in some parts of greater Melboourne. The West Gate bridge had to be closed (that’s the bridge I needed to use to get back home if I had taken the car to work that day). Trains got cancelled.

For a moment, I thought I’d be staying the night in the office. Some offices allowed their employees to go home early that day. Because of that, Raquel was able to get an earlier train home. It was a bit late but at least it wasn’t cancelled. I had to stay at work till 5.45pm because I had some work I need to finish before going home. The train I was trying to catch was 20 minutes late but apart from that, it was all easy going.

We were lucky. All we experienced were minor inconveniences. Others weren’t so lucky. Some people still don’t have power back as of this writing. Some people lost their homes. Some, even lost their lives.

My main worry is that this kind of storm will no longer be a one-in-fifty-years-type of event. Due to climate change, I’m afraid that we’ll be experiencing this kind of freak weather more frequently. I hope I’m wrong.

Published in: on April 4, 2008 at 1:53 am  Leave a Comment  

Christmas Eve

It’s one day from Christmas Day and I am pleasantly surprised as to how cool (literally) it has been lately. It’s an unbelievable 14 degrees Celsius at this very moment. Those of you not living in Australia may be wondering why this is so unusual. Well, it’s supposed to be Summer right now and my past Christmases here in Oz were mostly warm ones.

I shouldn’t complain. I always wished that my past Christmases were cooler because it doesn’t feel like Christmas at all if it is celebrated at 35 degrees Celsius. That’s one of the reason why we want to spend our Christmas elsewhere (somewhere in the Northern Hemisphere) if we could help it. However, this time, it’s far cooler here than when we were in the Philippines in December last year.

We just got back from the Christmas Eve Mass and now, we’re watching the traditional Carols by Candlelight extravaganza on Channel 9 all the way to midnight (well, nearly). All the while, we are changing channels to also while the annual Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

I’d also like to talk about the Mass earlier though. When we got to church, the half-hour pre-Mass kids’ caroling was still going on. And, sad to say, it was very appalling! I’m not bagging the kids here though. They were pretty good. However, there was this elderly lady singing the microphone who was easily overpowering the kids’ soft little voices with her out-of-tune high-pitch singing (to put it nicely). It was utterly an ear-shattering cringe-worthy performance. I’m not exaggerating. You should’ve seen the kids around us trying desperately to block out the lady’s high-pitch voice by covering their ears with their hands.

Speaking of kids, they were running uncontrollably around the back of the church the entire Mass. Makes me wonder where they get all their energy from. I’m only wondering where the parents of these kids were. Well, I’d rather have them running around than having them screaming or crying.

Regardless of my complaints above, I actually enjoyed the Mass. I just thought it would’ve been better if the microphone was nearer the kids than the lady who was in all probability these kids’ music teacher.

Back in the comfort of our home, watching TV, I’m just waiting for midnight to call up family and relatives in the Philippines to greet them all a Merry Christmas. We also have some leche flan and embotido (which Raquel made herself) in the fridge ready for our Noche Buena dinner.

In the meantime, I’ll probably be drawing something to pass the time. Again, Merry Christmas to all of you!

Published in: on December 24, 2007 at 8:46 pm  Comments (2)  

Art exhibition launch tonight

Tonight, my company will finally be launching the annual company art exhibition. In case you haven’t read my past posts, the company art exhibition will feature the entries for the annual company-wide Artist of the Year contest. My submission is called Geeky Pursuits.

What this means for me is that, tonight, I’ll finally find out if my entry will win any prize of not. I’m personally hoping for the first prize (an 80Gb iPod Classic plus extras) but I’m fearful that somebody submitted something that is more worthy than mine.

My work colleagues are all very supportive and excited. This actually makes me more nervous because failure to win will be much more embarassing, in my thinking.

As I was talking to one of my work buddies, I received an internal email from the chief organiser of the event. She informed me that I was “short-listed as one of the finalists to win the title of 2007 Melbourne Artist of the Year!” That means my chances of winning has greatly increased. My colleagues here all wished me good luck after finding out I was a finalist.

I sincerely thank them for all their support. I just wish I actually win this thing. I’ll find out in few hours whether or not I win. I’ll just cross my fingers till then.

Published in: on October 12, 2007 at 12:02 pm  Comments (1)  

Armageddon Expo this weekend

There will be a media convention this weekend called the Armageddon Expo. I’ve always wanted to go to a geek convention but have so far been disappointed with the ones I went to here in Australia. Makes me sometimes wish I live in the US so I can go to the different Comics and science-fiction conventions there.

Well, one day while at a comic book shop along Bourke St near the Parliament side (sorry I forgot the name of the shop), I saw these flyers about the upcoming Armageddon Expo. I looked at the events and guests and realised that it is a convention about a lot of things: science fiction, animation, comics and, uh, wrestling.

I went to their website to look at the list of guests who’ll be attending. I immediately saw the names of a few people that I really want to meet in person! Here they are in no particular order:

Alan Tudyk. I first knew about him in the movie A Knight’s Tale with Heath Ledger. I loved his character there and for a while I thought he was really British. But I like him best for his role as Wash in the Firefly TV series and the Serenity movie. If he is in a movie, I’ll probably watch it.

Joe Flanigan. I’m a big fan of Stargate SG-1 and its spin-off series, Stargate Atlantis. It’ll be great to see Lt. Col. John Sheppard in person.

Connor Trinneer. Trip (Cmdr. Charles Tucker III) must be my favourite Star Trek Enterprise character. I also like his Michael the mutated Wraith character in Stargate Atlantis. He is definitely another sci-fi celebrity I’d like to see.

Bruce Timm. He designed the style of the later Batman Animated series. I so want to emulate his style that I even bought a how-to-draw book he made for kids only a few years back. Check out samples of his art here.

Billy West. I couldn’t possibly miss the opportunity to meet the voice of Philip J Fry from the Futurama series, my favourite sci-fi animated comedy show. He also provides the voice for the Professor (Hubert Farnsworth), Dr Zoidberg and Zapp Brannigan.

There are other guests there that I might be cool to see in person (such as John Wesley Shipp who plays the Flash in the old TV series and Dawson’s dad in Dawson’s Creek) but the people in the list above are who I want to see the most if I do go there. For a complete list of guests, go here.

I wanted to go on Saturday but Joe Flanigan is only available on Sunday. I still have to think about it but I’m now more inclined to go on Sunday.

Here are some details of the event:

Armageddon Expo
Place: Exhibition Centre, Melbourne
Date: October 13 and 14, 2007
Time: 9am to 6pm

Published in: on October 11, 2007 at 12:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

Pixar at the ACMI

When we heard that there was a Pixar exhibition in town, Raquel and I rushed to the ACMI at the Federation Square in the CBD to see it. As a wanna-be artist/cartoonist, I found the exhibition itself very educational and inspirational. It was amazing to see the miniature figurines (called maquettes) and the various pastel-drawn work used as reference by the Pixar artists and animators.

It’s just too bad we weren’t allowed to take photos of the actual exhibit so the best we could do was take photos of the replica of Pixar movies’ characters such as Sulley and Mike from Monsters, Inc., Sally from Cars and Luxo Jr., Pixar’s mascot.

By the time we were finished at the exhibit, it was already dark outside but not too dark. So, we figured we might as well take a few more photos of Melbourne just as the light in the horizon was fading. I’ve added a few of those photos with the Pixar album if you are interested.

Pixar at the ACMI

Anyway, for those of you interested in seeing the Pixar exhibition, the event is officially called Pixar: 20 Years of Animation and will end on October 14. Here are some pertinent details of the exhibit from the ACMI website:

Until Sunday 14 October 2007
Full $15 Concession $10
Book your exhibition tickets online

Family tickets available from $44 (2 adults, 2 children).
Phone 03 8663 2583

Published in: on August 13, 2007 at 10:33 pm  Leave a Comment  

Harry Potter Launch Event Tomorrow

The long-awaited day has finally arrived. The final book of the Harry Potter series titled Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows will be made available for sale tomorrow nationwide.

To celebrate the event, Borders will even be having a Melbourne Launch Event tomorrow at Federation Square in the CBD from 8am to 1pm.

Raquel and I are planning to head over to the CBD tomorrow to join the fun and excitement of the launch. We’ll of course be taking photos of the fanfare and the people who may turn up dressed as wizards and witches. I need to head off to the city to pick up my pre-ordered copy of the seventh book anyway.

Unfortunately for me, I pre-ordered my copy at Dymocks. I can’t complain about the pricing though as both Borders and Dymocks have priced the book at $29.95 if pre-ordered. However, a pre-order of the book from Borders included a bonus Hedwig beanie owl toy! Meanwhile, Dymocks is only giving away a lousy bookmark and maybe a bag (I’m not sure of this one). I definitely prefer a toy Hedwig. It’s too late at any case.

Dymocks will be having a launch event tomorrow as well. Still, we’ll probably head on over to Federation Square first as that may be a bigger event. Once we got tired of what’s happening there, we can then go to Dymocks, see what’s up there and pick up my book. I just cannot wait.

Published in: on July 20, 2007 at 11:47 pm  Leave a Comment  

ASX sharemarket game on

Do you have what it takes to make $50,000 virtual dollars grow within 14 weeks? Or perhaps you just want to learn the basics of going into the sharemarket without plonking down your own hard-earned dollars?

The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) is hosting another one of its sharemarket games wherein each registered player would be given a hypothetical $50,000 to invest in shares. Its free to register and play so if you’re interested, registration is now open. Westpac, the game’s sponsor, would be offering a $5,000 share portfolio to the national winner at the end of the game. Learn more about the game here and here. The game would run from March 29 until July 5.

I joined the previous share investing game and made a respectable $5,000 for my virtual $50,000. Sure, there were heaps of other people who made their money grow more than I did but I thought it was good for my first try and was an okay outcome for someone who didn’t trade all that much during the game. I basically just bought some virtual shares at the start of the game and just held on to most of them until the end of the game. I plan to get more involved in the game this time around and see if my imaginary portfolio fares better this time around.

Published in: on March 6, 2007 at 12:26 pm  Comments (2)  

GDS Comics Launch

Remember last month when I mentioned that Prey, the short comics I submitted to a publisher got accepted? Well, the Going Down Swinging (GDS) publication that includes my submitted comics will be released this coming December and there’ll be an official launch party here in Melbourne at 7 pm on Thursday December 14 at Fad Gallery, 14 Corrs Lane, Chinatown.

I just got an email from the publisher yesterday regarding the event. According to the email, there’d be “a few drinks, a few performances and a whole lot of fun.” Sounds good to me. There would also be a presentation and a montage of all the comics included in the book. For the artists, there would be a comic jam. What is it? Basically, we artists go and draw there while people look over our shoulders to see what we’re drawing. Sounds fun but am I brave enough? Lastly, there will be a comic art auction for those of us interested in selling our art (just as long as it is properly framed) and attendees interested in buying art from us.

Admission for me is free but any guests I bring along, including Raquel, needs to pay a $5 entry fee (or $10 if you want the book too which would retail at $19.95 in stores). I can’t wait to be there.

Now the downside of all this. Our flight for Manila is at midnight the same night! Actually, it’s more like 1 AM the next day but it’s basically the same night. So, we won’t be able to stay at the launch party for too long if we don’t want to miss our plane.

So, we’ll actually still be coming to work on Thursday. We’ll just bring our luggage along and probably store it in a locker here in the CBD at lunch time (we’re still not sure if there’s a cheaper way to store our luggage away before we leave for the airport). Then after the party (or at around 9:30 pm, whichever comes first), we’ll just pickup our luggage from the locker, hop on the next SkyBus to the airport and catch the plane for the Philippines.

It’s going to be a very hectic day but I wouldn’t miss this launch party for anything!

Published in: on November 30, 2006 at 12:24 pm  Comments (8)  

DFO Spencer Street

A new Direct Factory Outlet (DFO) opens today at Spencer street. Their website still doesn’t have a list of stores but expect the usual mix of fashion, footwear, bags, jewellery, sporting goods and homeware shops. Trading hours are from 10 am till 6pm, except on Fridays (till 9pm). Certainly worth checking out if you’re in the vicinity!

Published in: on November 30, 2006 at 12:08 am  Leave a Comment  

Weekend Events in the Western Suburbs

Just letting everybody who might be interested know that this year’s Philippine Fiesta in Melbourne will be held in the Philippine Community Centre at Laverton tomorrow and Sunday (November 25-26). So, if you’re a Pinoy expat missing the Philippines, here’s your chance to go to a fiesta here in Melbourne. Just go to their website for more information.

If you are Roman Catholic and live in the West area (well, even if you aren’t), there is a Filipino Mass at the St Peter Apostle Mission Parish located at 31-33 Guinane Ave., Hoppers Crossing (Melway 206 F1) this coming Sunday at 12 noon. Actually, according to Mass schedule, there is a Filipino Mass every fourth Sunday of the month at noon. But this coming Sunday though, according to a friend of mine, there is also a free lunch made up of Filipino dishes after the Mass.

So, some friends of ours intend to hear Mass at St Peter this coming Sunday and have lunch there before going to the Philippine Fiesta at Laverton (which is just a few minutes car ride from Hoppers Crossing).

Although we’ll be attending Mass at Hoppers, Raquel and I might not go on to the fiesta with our friends. We decided that we’ll just give this year’s fiesta a miss since we’ll be flying home to the Philippines in December for Christmas anyway.

Instead, we’re heading off to the 2006 Spring Harvest Picnic at Werribee Park at K Road, Werribee (Melway 201B4) for something different. It’s from 9 am to 5 pm this coming Sunday only. Here’s a description of the event from their website:

Food and wine producers from all over Victoria will gather in the grounds of Werribee Park to sample, showcase and sell their tasty products. This is a wonderful day for the family and will feature music and dance on stage throughout the day, cooking demonstrations by well known chefs and lots of activities for kids.

Bring a picnic blanket and basket, and create a picnic from the delicious array of goods on offer. Stock the pantry in time for Christmas, or buy Christmas presents for all your food-loving friends. Ticket covers admission to the Spring Harvest Picnic, Werribee Mansion, the Victoria State Rose Garden and access to the Winemaker’s Cup polo tournament.

So, although we don’t really care much for wine, we care a lot about food. Also, we haven’t seen the Werribee Mansion yet (which is one of Werribee’s tourist attractions), so this is a good excuse to go visit it since the admission for it is also included in the admission for the picnic.

Anyway, this weekend is looking to be a busy and fun-filled couple of days for us. Thank God. I’m so looking forward to doing something leisurely after all the work I’m doing.

Published in: on November 24, 2006 at 12:21 pm  Leave a Comment