Apart from my refrigerator, I have exactly one cooking device in my kitchen right now, i.e., my microwave. One of the things I’ve been discovering over the past few days is that there are actually a good number of things you can do with a microwave, including making a traditional sunny side-up egg. This morning I successfully extended this principle by mixing in bits of cooked ham I bought at the grocery to create my very first microwave-powered omelette. I unfortunately had neither cheese nor onions to add any proper flavor, but considering that it took me under a minute to prepare the whole thing, I figure the ROI on this meal was pretty darn high.
Moving Out: Fun with Microwaves30 Apr 2006
Moving Out: The Pool30 Apr 2006
I woke up at 7 this morning to go swimming. One of the big bonuses to living in a condo like Olympic Heights is the free swimming pool, and I was hoping to try it while the rest of the building was still sleeping off its Saturday night hangover.
Naturally, a whole family had already beaten me to it by the time I arrived. It could’ve been worse though; when I passed by the pool area the day before, there was what looked like a entire clan splashing around.
I did half-a-dozen laps* before I got sick of bumping into small screaming children or boisterous overweight adults. I tread water for maybe 10 more minutes, then got out and left. The whole thing took a little less than half an hour, which is (I think) just about right for a quick morning exercise. Unfortunately, the only way I can think of to do it regularly is if I keep waking up at 7 or earlier, and I’m not sure if I have that kind of discipline. It’s worth a shot though.
*I’m not actually sure if you can use this term for an irregularly-shaped pool; let’s just say I swam from end-to-end. And yes, my nicotine-laced lungs hated every minute of it.
Moving Out: The Bedroom29 Apr 2006
I had been meaning to post this yesterday, but I couldn’t get a decent enough connection over Coffee Bean’s wi-fi network to upload stuff. Anyways, this is the one of exactly three pieces of furniture currently taking up space in my apartment. Because of the French-windows, I had to have this thing custom-made; it doesn’t have a headboard and is only about a foot off the ground. As you can see, it’s simple as hell; about the only interesting detail is that there’re two drawers built into the foot area. The whole thing cost PhP8,000 to have built and delivered, which is just a little less than what you would pay for a similar queen-sized bed frame from your local department store. (I spent a good deal of time looking around and found that most of the decent ones started at PhP10,000.)
Once the bed had arrived, I started shopping for bedsheets and pillows. I have to say, the Rest & Relaxation industry is a pretty complicated place for a first-timer. The quality of a given bedsheet (and hence, its perceived value) was decided not only by its looks and its manufacturer, but by the ratio of cotton used, the average number of threads and (apparently) how generous the saleslady happened to be feeling that day. Being a semi-responsible shopper, I found that I could not simply decide to get a particular sheet without first benchmarking all the various factors involved in its cost. Eventually I settled on a 232-thread, Japanese-made, 100% cotton package for PhP1,900 (which included 2 pillowcases, a blanket and the fitted bedsheet). And it actually looked pretty cool too.
Meanwhile, the pillows themselves had their own unique attributes. I found that (apart from the size of the pillow) I had to choose between anti-mites, anti-dust, water-proof, moisture-proof or hypoallergenic properties; goose-feather, ball-fiber or alpaca-wool stuffing; whether I slept on my stomach or on my back; and whether I wished to retain memory of my dreams or not (seriously!). The pillow possibilities were apparently quite vast. After a good long time I went with one anti-mites, ball-fiber back-sleeper, and one moisture-proof, hypoallergenic goose-feather, which cost me PhP500 and PhP350, respectively. The decision-making process was aided considerably by the fact that they were both on sale at the time.
Freeware Bliss28 Apr 2006
I spent most of yesterday reformatting and reinstalling stuff on my TabletPC following a particularly virulent malware infestation (which I picked up at a public internet cafe in Manila … don’t ask). It’s been a lot of fun so far, because Windows XP is pretty snappy during the first few weeks of a fresh install and it makes the whole experience a lot less painful.
What’s great about all this is that I’ve finally had a chance to implement this little freeware/Web2.0 experiment that I’ve been thinking about doing since late last year. The experiment is pretty simple actually: all I want to do is figure out how long I can last without installing a payware application on my machine. This is probably gonna be a bit tricky due to my Adobe/Macromedia fetish, but hell, that’s why it’s an experiment.
So far I have a pretty decent array of freeware installed:
For file-transfers, I use FileZilla. For SSH and Telnet, I use PuTTY. For text editing, I use Notepad++, which works great with any of the open text formats. (For editing Word and/or Excel documents, I have to use either gOffice or AjaxWrite, which aren’t perfect solutions but are good enough for now.) For archive management, I use 7-ZIP. For virus protection, I use Free AVG.
For communicaton, I’m using for my YM contacts, and Meebo for everything else.
For image-editing, I’m currently experimenting with GIMPShop. It remains to be seen whether it’ll be a viable alternative to the dreaded Photoshop, but I should at least be able to do small web graphics on it regardless.
My big problem is that I currently have no replacements for InDesign, Illustrator or Flash, which are all apps that I use really regularly. If I find decent alternatives for these three, I just might be able to keep my tablet free of payware for a good long time.
Moving Out: Air and Light27 Apr 2006
My previously unliveable condo unit is slowly, slowly turning into something resembling a home. Two days ago I got an electrician to turn on the electricity and install lighting fixtures, and yesterday I got a ceiling fan and an airconditioner installed as well. The unit itself is still pretty bare, but at least I’ve got two of the major necessities –air and light– out of the way.
One of the biggest gotcha’s I’ve come across is just how important curtains are. I was hoping I could survive for a few days without them, but it doesn’t look like it’s possible. The unit is on the 18th floor facing sunwards, so it can get rice-cooker-hot during the day. Initially I had wanted to have roman shades added, but it turns out that those might be outside of my budget (the rough estimate was in the PhP15,000 peso range for both windows … hrmm, that’s more than i spent for my friggin’ bed …)
Anyway, I’m off to go and wait for my couch to be delivered. I picked out a fairly shocking color because the rest of my stuff is rather on the bland side, and I’m excited to see just how badly it’ll stick out from its surroundings :)
27 Apr 2006
I (in)formally joined the Pandora Squared development team yesterday (informally, because I haven’t signed the contract yet; it’s sitting in my backpack beside my desk). Pandora Squared specializes in Web 2.0 software and consulting, which is a field I’ve been really interested in for the past 2 years. I’m fairly excited about it, as it’s a chance to work on a different class of projects altogether for me.
At the moment, I’m the n00b on the team, as I don’t have any work experience in the language Pandora uses, Ruby (along with its celebrity framework Rails). I spent the past two days reading up on it as much as I could, but I’ve a feeling I’m gonna need to get my feet wet with an actual project before I can really grasp all the various conceptual and syntactic differences between PHP and Ruby.
Man, You Think You Know Some People …27 Apr 2006
Deranged Pinoy Game Developer Poisons High School Student! I’ve always thought Paul was a bit … uh, "fucked in the head" I believe is the clinical term … but to go and poison some poor high school student is just going WAY too far. Bad, Paul! Bad!
(Read the source of this rollicking piece of news here.)
Silent Hill Reviews24 Apr 2006
I was really looking forward to watching last Friday but apparently its Philippine premiere got pushed back to a more traditional mid-week opening. So I did the next best thing, i.e., looked for reviews and spoilers online to totally ruin the movie before I even got to see it. And boy, did I get an ear-(or rather, eye-)full.
Silent Hill is the first film in recent memory to get 0% on RottenTomatoes’ Featured Critics list, which is quite an achievement considering that Resident Evil: Apocalypse, which was a terrible crapshoot of a movie, at least got 8% on this list. (Alone in the Dark also received a rating of 0%, in case you were wondering.)
Some of the really biting reviews:
"Not only can I not describe the plot of this movie, but I have afeeling the last scene reverses half of what I thought I knew (ordidn’t know)."
"Christophe Gans’ convoluted, overlong adaptation of the video game Silent Hill is the worst kind of horror movie: trash that takes itself seriously."
"The literary equivalent of Java script."
And here’s the real killer:
"Uwe Boll had nothing to do with this movie, but it has his general feeling of murkiness and poor plot structure."
(Of course, all these bad reviews just make me want to watch it even more. I’m just a big sucker for shite movies I guess.)
21 Apr 2006
I wrote a bit of fanmail to my second favorite podcast last night, CNET’s Buzz Out Loud, which they read on today’s show. Most of the email was just your average fanboy stuff, except for this bit here:
One of the things Molly said some time ago inspired me to create the community sites Filmcrowd.com and Gibbity.com, which are Web2.0-style review sites, the former for movies, and the latter for video games. She said something to the effect of "the only honest review is the user review," which set off a light bulb in my head the instant I heard it. The two sites are the result of that light bulb, and I just wanted to say thanks for the inspiration :)
Tom actually says, "Salamat, Luis," which was pretty funny, I have to say.
Hey, Version 3.21 Apr 2006
I took some time off from uh, redesigning various clients’ websites to redesign my own website this afternoon. I think I may be approaching a weird kind of blog zen, because each version of guttervomit is leaner than the last. Eventually I hope to end up with a plain-white page, a logo, and a single sentence, but that’s probably still a few versions away.
Most of the changes are pretty obvious (unless you happen to be accessing this site via a screen-reader), but there are a few interface enhancements that may not be quite as obvious at first glance. Clicking the ABOUT, ENTRIES, FRIENDS and MP3S links up at the top will now slide out their contents, instead of loading up a new page. Everything is bigger and hopefully easier to read, with the trade-off being that there’s quite a bit more scrolling to do now.
That said, I do promise to be more brief with my entries, as a lot of my stuff tends to border on self-indulgence (… on the other hand, isn’t that the very definition of a personal blog?), so hopefully there’ll be a bit more bang for your buck from now on.