Sunday, 30 December 2007

The Blue Pensieve

In the fictional world of Harry Potter, there exists a device whose sole purpose is to contain information and allow others to literally see somebody else’s thoughts. It is called the pensieve, and it was first introduced in the fourth book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Albus Dumbledore, then headmaster of Hogwarts, told Harry that having so much thoughts could be tiresome and it is a relief to siphon them off (or something of the same sense). Dumbledore also said that the pensieve can be used to store some information that can be shared with everyone else.

And yes, this special device is exactly what first entered my mind when I was thinking of the theme for a year-ender entry for this blog. This is because a blog is basically what a pensieve is: it stores the thoughts of the writer at that specific time he is updating, and it allows other to gaze into the writer’s thoughts.

Along with this update, I’ll be posting several other posts to recapitulate the year that was.

The Great Recap

I believe that the best year-ender must concisely sum up everything, whether significant or not, that transpired in the past 12 months. Of course that criterion is a bit too high a standard even for my own means, but I’ll give it a shot anyway.

So, to ensure completeness and conciseness, I’ll just make it on a per-month summary. :P

January

I was on-duty during the past New Year’s Eve, and the first month truly reflects how much of myself I can dedicate to work. I first arrived on ACeS on the 15th, and the greater portion of this month was put entirely to adjusting to the new work environment.

February
The second month at team ACeS saw me slowly adjusting to life in that isolated office. At this time, most of my energies were directed to finding my own niche in the team’s work processes. It was also during this month that I began doing the graveyard shifts, which took me a while to get used to. Also during February were the regularization pay and recognition program for the cadetship. And then there was the Kropeck trip to Baguio for the Panagbenga Festival :p

March
It was during the third month that the Fun Familia outing were held. I spent the day with my mom and my aunt in what used to be the best theme park in the country. Sadly, it was just a shadow of what it used to be. Meanwhile at work, I began doing solo duty on the graveyard shifts.

April

This month marks the rebirth of my blog. I used to blog in the Friendster blogs, but I decided to switch to blogger since Friendster is not accessible in the office.

May
The colorful and merry month of May was one rich month for traditions and realizations. I realized just how much I love the summer season as well as the yearly traditions that make summer, summer. Amidst the hullabaloo over the elections and all the controversies that surround it, there was also the office training for which I’ve got myself a 3year contract bond with my company. And of course it was during the last days of this month that I crammed to finish my entry for the Animax Awards.

June
The whole month was spent in training for the operations of the new equipment that the company purchased. It was also during this month that I started thinking of my health. Hehe. >:3

Oh, yeah, there was also the Toy Convention in Megamall. Seeing the many cosplayers during the event made me determined to join the cosplay for the Level Up Live 2007.

July
The month of July was highlighted by the release of the last book of the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and the dinner dance event/alumni homecoming at WU-P. These two showcased my purchase power. nuff said :P LOLz.

August
The month of GM Tristan’s group writing contest saw me updating my blog quite often (because I had to update at least once a week) :P It was in this month when many of the old equipment in the ACeS facility went haywire. It was such a hectic month. :3

September
GM Tristan’s group writing contest continued until the most part of September, and the campaign period also began towards the end of this month. This month is special because of the midyear convention of the Philippine Orchid Society (in which I attended). The orchid show was not as good as the previous year, but I managed to buy Sandra, my waling-waling.

October
This month marked my 24th birthday, and as a form of early birthday present I won in GM Tristan’s contest :P (I’m yet to get my poring doll, though). I also bought my new PC a day before my birthday and had the Smart Bro connected for faster internet access.

And then there was the blog awareness day in which I participated. The theme of the one-day, millions of voices activity was environment awareness, and I took it as part of my responsibility as a blog writer to join in such worthwhile causes.

November
The much-awaited Level Up Live 2007 was held during the first few days of this month. This was the event that greatly drained me and left this blog gasping for breath. LOLz. It was also during this month that I tried out the first free-to-play server of pRO, Valkyrie.

December

The final month of 2007 is of course the most special. There was the HeroCon, or H3, wherein the fanfare tambays first had an official EB. A few days after that, I left Valkyrie behind together with Anna and made our new home in Valhalla wherein the Fanfare guild was officially created. And then there was the second EB/carnival day at Global Fun. (The carnival was over-hyped and was not so good, but it was an enjoyable day, nonetheless)

It was also a few days ago when the bonuses were doled out. Too bad I didn’t enjoy my Christmas much since I was at work, but in exchange I was able to buy myself a PSP Slim. :P

All in all, it was such a colorful year, and significantly better than last year. I hope the coming year brings more blessings and become even more fruitful and fun.

Meet Alicia

With the bonuses I received, I bought myself a Felicia blue PSP Slim :P

Guys, meet Alicia:

Naming Convention

SniperAngel commented that I have something regarding lady names. As a matter of fact, I do. :P

Of course, Alicia, my new PSP, was so named because it is Felicia blue. The name of my orchid, Sandra, on the other hand, is taken from the plant’s scientific name, Vanda Sanderiana.

I actually give out names to things I hold special. The plants which have names are mostly named after the person who gave it to me, except for Sandra’s case. Alicia and Sandra are so-named using a simple naming convention I devised.

First of all, I only name things that are non-necessities. If I don’t consider the thing I’ve bought as a complete necessity (such as cellphones), I may choose to give it a name.

The rules:

  1. The name should be a woman’s name that ends with an “a.” Why a? Why not? :P
  2. Names of any girl I’ve known in real life are not to be considered.
  3. As much as possible, the name should/could be associated easily with the object, unless it fulfills the special condition in rule 4.
  4. If a name that fulfills rules #1 and #2 suddenly pops out into mind when I first held the object, that name will be it.

Neat, huh? :P

Friday, 21 December 2007

Sudden and Random Breaks

Well, there are times when something suddenly disrupts the flow of one's activities. Be it welcome or not, sometimes such breaks are quite good in the long run. Or something like that.

Owkay, I was playing with fellow Fanfare guild members in Valhalla a while ago (something I was looking forward to all week while at work) when the server had to undergo a sudden maintenance. Of course we were frustrated, but I guess I'll just have to take it as a sign that I have to do something about this blog. I know this blog's very much inactive, so...

BLOG RESURRECTION!!

LOLz :p

Mind over Matter

They say the human mind is so powerful, and things are sometimes a matter of mind over matter. I can't say for certain if this is for real, but I guess I've got some share of stories about it. But I'm not telling them. :P

Anyway, the ordinary, common, and mundane notion about mind over matter is that people will get to accomplish things if they put their whole mind in it. I guess my heart's no exception. LOLz.

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Subtle Changes

Back when I started this blog, I love to travel just for traveling's sake. It was quite enjoyable for me to just sit inside the moving vehicle and let my throughts soar as the sceneries around pass me by. Lately, however, I no longer seem to find amusement with all the things I use to cherish back then.

I guess the culprit is my constant travel to and from teh ACeS every week. Travel time from home to Subic is more than 4 hours on public transportation, and the journey is fraught with several inconveniences (like constant bus transfers) that I'm starting to get wary everytime I had to get back to teh ACeS.

Yes, I only realized last weekend that I'm no longer the me I used to be a few months back. The changes had been too subtle that I didn't recognize them at once.

This realization made me think over and consider several things that I'm neglecting most of the time. And yeah, so many things have changed but I'm still hoping that these will be for the better.

Saturday, 8 December 2007

Comeback

I actually have a lot of topics in line and if I had the time to write them down, there'll be quite a flood of new posts around here. But of course, something came up. Yeah, yeah, you may say I'm palusot ka na naman Jherskie, eh, and I won't take it against you.

Actually, I was thinking of going back to writing provided that I couldn't connect to pRO's Valkyrie server. And yeah, I wasn't able to connect during the earlier parts of the evening so I decided to take a peek in Valhalla (pRO's SECOND, stress on the word second, not last) free to play server. What happened next is really life-changing.

Anna and I decided to party and test the server if it'll be a good server to migrate in, given the loads of technical problems in Valkyrie. An hour later, we were joined by Jet and we partied for almost 3 hours! :p This is quite a comeback, as Jet hasn't logged in-game since 2006, and I haven't partied like crazy since 2003!

I'm not really a party sort of player, but this experience brought joy and relived the delightful memories of the days when pRO was at it's peak. And yeah, I'm now an inch closer to fully deciding to leave everything in Valkyrie and go to Valhalla. And along with that decision, is the choice to actually go on playing this game, which had me in a love-hate relationship for the past 4 years.

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

H3 and EB

I went to H3, or HeroCon, last Saturday although I must say I didn't enjoy it as much. The only thing that made the trip very much worth it was the EB of fanfare tambays. I guess I'll have to make another blog entry to cover much of the stuff I want to blog about, something just came up here at the office :p

Anyway, here's one of the nice cosplay costumes during the event.


Hopefully, I can find a nice shot of the Chucky cosplayer among my photo stash. He/she/it has done a pretty good job of scaring the wits out of a lot of people during the H3.

Monday, 3 December 2007

Too Many to Mention

Back in my elementary days when filling up slumbooks (er... is that the right term?) was quite the fad, you'd come across the phrase, "too many to mention." It's commonly found in the "Hobbies" field, and no one dares to ask for specifics because we all know that the only part everyone wants to read is the answer to the ever-controversial question, "Who is your crush?"

But no, I have no further desires for reminiscing my elementary days for today. I just want to bring up the aforementioned phrase because it succinctly describes all the happenings this weekend. As there are too many things to blog about, I guess I'll withhold my pen and wait 'til I get some free time in the office to share everything happened in my HeroCon a.k.a. Fanfare EB weekend.

I really need to sleep now 'coz I must go back to the forest in a few hours :p

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Shaky over Quake-y

I really hate earthquakes. These natural occurances fall under my most-unwanted list (which also includes tornadoes and hurricanes).

Anyway, a great part of Luzon was rocked by one around mid-day and although the tremor was not that strong (magnitude 4.2 on the Richter scale), the terror it caused is still justified to an extent. Yup, it was rather minor but if one will consider what a certain email that I received this afternoon implies, things may get more than a bit freaky.

I received an email at around 4PM saying that the quake that rocked the country today may be a part of a series of earthquakes that began last week. I don't know how accurate the facts in the said email are, but if they really are, the quakes seem to have originated in the Latin Americas last week and traversed eastward until it reached our country.

I won't deny that the possibility scares me.

TRIP: Tales of Graveyard Duty

So I now find myself (again) with nothing to do as there are no problems in the gateway. Yup, times like this are preferable over other scenarios. Good thing I don't feel sleepy now, lest I fall asleep here on in front of the PC.

When I started this blog, I decided that I would post as frequently as I could for two reasons: 1. Readers come back frequently if they know there are regular updates; 2. Writing regularly keeps the skill as sharp as possible.

A few months ago, I made an entry (or perhaps, two) under the Totally Random, Incidental Post (TRIP) category so as to keep myself writing. For the past few weeks I've gotten quite lazy updating this blog, so I only posted what I considered major updates regarding myself and totally decided against posting anything random.

But inactivity is not always good, right? I mean, if you've been sleeping (almost) the whole day, you'll be yearning to do something right?

Sunday, 25 November 2007

LATA: Schedule Shifting Powers

It's been quite a while since I posted something about life in teh ACeS and I suddenly find a bit of time to update my blog. Couple that with something I had been working on since yesterday, and you have this post. :p

Owkay, I'll try to minimize my tendency to beat around the bush and go right away into business. For those who still do not know, a gateway facility like ACeS should be manned 24/7 and to ensure that, we need to devise (and of course, follow) a shifting schedule amongst ourselves. Well, I've been making those schedules for the most part of 2007 (we used to take turns in devising the monthly schedules, actually) and the hardest month for which to make a schedule is of course the last month, December. Talk about grand finale, huh?

Who will be on duty? - the perpetual question here in ACeSThe reason for that is the fact that the team would want to celebrate the holidays with their family. As we have both Christmas and New Year coming within a week of each other, coupled with a few company activity, the question that lingers is of course, who will be on duty?

I've managed to create a shifting schedule that could quite comfortably suit us, but I expect it to go through the hardest deliberation that the ACeS team will ever witness. LOLz.

Of course, there's still the omnipotent, "Schedule Shifting Power" (SSP from hereon), which allows members of the team to adjust even the most un-adjust-able schedules. As everyone has shown year round just how powerful their SSP is, I won't be surprised if mayhem starts soon. Hehe.

o_o;

Friday, 23 November 2007

More stopovers

My renewed addiction to RO had taken much of the time I could have likewise spent in updating this blog. :p

Yeah, yeah, more stopovers. I just don't feel like writing these days.

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Teh adventures of Mantis-Man

I said in my previous post that I'd stop to smell the flowers coz I seem to be taking things at a rather speedy pace. Well, sad to say, there hadn't been many flowers to sniff back at home. Good thing that Dad gave me something else that I think may suffice. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Mantis-Man:


From Dad's back (wherein he first landed) he found his way into cyberspace. Yeah! Here's another pic:


To tell the truth, I hate these insects when I'm leveling my mage in the Louyang fields of pRO's Valkyrie server. They're aggressive and too much of a pest. But though they look so creepy in real life, I still find this rather old mantis kinda cute. So here are a few more pics:


Feeling a bit camera-shy...


And this, I presume, is their way of bidding their farewell.


Til next post! :p

Monday, 12 November 2007

To take things slowly

Random fact about me: I'm a slave driver :p

I always expect the best from anyone or anything. When it comes to gadgets and techie stuff, I become even more demanding. I always go for the fastest device my budget can afford, and my new PC is just that.

Frankly put, I'm yet to find a PC that can cope up with my multitasking skills, or my slave driving tendency. :p I subject every gadget I get my hands on to the worst stress I can think of the moment, and PCs are quite unlucky enough to be tasked to run graphics-intensive games while downloading stuff, surfing through the web, and blogging. And yes, my new PC gave up on me when I tried to have it run RF Online and Pangya simultaneously. >:3

And then there's my other heavily-burdened, overly-driven cellphone. It's loaded with the usual stuff I'd need in my daily grind, and it's no longer just a cellphone coz I use it mostly as an MP3 and movie player.

Owkay, enough with beating around the bush. These days, my cellphone is hellishly slow that even creating text messages is taking a bit of time. Nope, make it a great deal of time (which I don't have the luxury of). I've recently deleted several programs I'm no longer using, and I've lessened the number of videos and MP3s to free up memory (which is not even running low, as a matter of fact). And it's still slow.

As always, my optimistic side comes up with something despite the difficulties and inconvenience. I now take it as call (perhaps from up above) to take things slowly. Lately I've been in too much in a hurry to actually take time to smell the flowers.

And now I'm planning to do just that.

Update: I just remembered that I wasn't trying to run RF Online and Pangya simultaneously when the PC crashed. I was trying to run RF Online while still logged on one user, and I then switched to another user where I was planning to run either Pangya, Freestyle, RO or Perfect World (or perhaps all of them).

Saturday, 10 November 2007

Long overdues

My last updates have been posted more than a week ago. The inactivity is largely my fault, as I couldn't redirect my thoughts properly after what happened to LU! Live 2007. I have actually decided, when I put up this blog, that I will never focus on anything negative since I believe that life is too short to continuously dwell on one's problems. Yeah, I'm channelling all my optimism and positive life outlooks on these posts because I've decided that Blue Phoenix will be just that.

It took me quite a while to fully recover from a bit of disappointment over the aforementioned activity (I guess, we were all disappointed) and office responsibilities had not been cooperative with my blogging. But enough of that, I have some long overdue posts that I should have blogged about several days ago.

First things first. When I decided to actively participate in LU! Live 2007 way back a few months ago, it was because I wanted to end my ragnaddiction (or addiction to Ragnarok Online) with a bang. Yes, my love-hate relationship with this game had been going on for more than 4 years already and there had been a point, a few months back, when I decided to finally put things to an end.

Two things, however, had changed my mind over quitting: Valkyrie, the free-to-play server, and the on-going Ragnabattle in the Ragnaboards. Add the fact that I can't find any other game that appeals to my gamer's heart, and I now realize that I'm really not ready to give it all up.

In my honest opinion, LU! should have made Valkyrie a few years ago. If they did, perhaps they could have managed to retain many of their loyal players. But enough of the game talk at this point, coz I'm supposed to focus on what happened during the event.

To get the ball rolling, so they say, we started on the wrong foot. There'd been so much hassle before the event that there'd been a point in the midst of all troubles that I had been numb. I was so impervious to the grief as though I've been injected with strong doses of anesthesia (and the effects are still to wear off, even at this point of time). When I think about it, I did have a great time back then, but I was too numb to actually feel the enjoyment.

So, we didn't sell all our merchandize (which were only a hundred mugs and fifty slim potion replicas), we didn't win the best over-all, nor best RO booth which we were eyeing (but we did manage to get the best Pangya booth), and our cosplay was not so good (*cough* extreme understatement *cough*). Everything didn't work out as planned, and there'd been problems right from the start and up to the very end.

But now that I look back at what I thought had been a harrowing experience, and behold things with an objective point of view, I can see that it had been one of the best experience of my life. There'd been bickerings, but there was camaraderie. Problems sprouted in every corner, but we managed to gather all our strengths together to overcome them. We never had enough sleep, but who cares anyway?

Yes, only by looking at things objectively can one see the great picture. Only now that I finally calmed down and mulled things over with (a bit of) peace in my heart have I realized that I still want to go through the same experience next year. :p

Hayyz, next year, next time. Though I may not be so sure whether I could participate or not, there's still the possibility that I could. So, see you again next year guys! Let's try our best to win then.

UPDATE: Here's a picture of the tarpaulin wherein the guests of the booth signed.

Thursday, 1 November 2007

ACeS Survival Guide Part 1

This is one of those posts I've been meaning to put up ever since I started blogging. But it's only now that I find the urge to jot these down, hehe :p

Life in teh jungle is tough. Yeah, yeah, you're probably tired of hearing that from anything and everything about survival so I'll get direct to some major points. I'll introduce a few words that those who wander in this realm should know to be able to communicate properly with the creatures within (LOLz) as well as a some customs and traditions. Well, communication is of utmost significance so I'll tackle it first.

First word: Mutant. No, not X-men, of course. When team ACeS speaks of mutants, we are talking about any food that went through the, you know it, microwave oven. Likely, to mutate something means to cook it using the aforementioned device.

We use the microwave oven to cook anything from eggs, to instant noodles, to tocino. So yeah, we eat mutants for breakfast, and we're probably the X-Men's greatest fear. LOLz :p

Next word: The Chair. Actually, not really a word in a sense. When using the term, The Chair, the topic of the conversation is the sole conference chair in the control room that is pretty handy when you're too sleepy. Alam na. hehe :p

More words to enhance your vocabulary next time, as I'll move on to some important customs that visitors need to be familiar with. Foremost would be, visitors SHOULD have their birthday celebrations everyday. Harhar! (Actually, we're not imposing this one that much. C'mon, we could always celebrate your mom's birthday, or even your dog's. As long as there's ice cream) :p

And then there's the golden rule:

Anything that's on the table is free for all.
Harhar! Don't put it on the dining table if it ain't for everybody! ^_^ More survival tips when I've got 'em in mind.

Not just another planning session

The LU! Live 2007 event will take place a few days from now (quoting GM Tristan, konting tulog na lang!) and my co-organizers are very much looking forward to it. By the way, SniperAngel, Winter Angel, Jhoi Hize, Anna and yours truly will be having a booth for the LU City side event on November 3 to 4. We'll be selling souvenir items like mugs, pins and slimpotions.

Aside from taking advantage of the chance to make some bucks, we are joining the search for the best booths during the event. This is one of the reasons why we've been having regular planning sessions for the past month either on the Ragnaboards, through YM, or in Manila.

Last Saturday (October 27), we had a meeting in order to discuss the designs of our booths, The Twilight Alchemist Pharmacy and LevelUp Gamers' Pad. We are hoping the booths win the awards that are up for grabs (and get the prize money, hehe) :p

We met at SM North EDSA and we discussed everything we could over lunch and merienda (thanks for the sundae, Rainne!) before we went to the LU office in the Pacific Star Building in Makati for an organizers' meeting called by GM Anael. The meeting went fine, although right now nothing of the things brought up during the said meeting seems to be alright. But that'd be for another post which I'll upload later.

What I'd count as the highlight of my trip was a few hours after the meeting in the LevelUp office. I was eating in Greenwich in the 4th flr of SM Megamall when a small girl (about 7yrs old) quietly approached me (I was sitting alone on a rather inaccessible corner) and held out a note. As I don't have a photographic memory, I can only remember snippets of the supposed letter (it was written in Pilipino) and it goes something like this:


Please give me some money so I can buy some medicine for my mother who has asthma...

I was a mildly surprised at first, but I didn't give her any money. C'mon, it was obviously a ploy by one of those syndicates, who capitalize on charitable people for their nefarious means. The family sitting next to me seemed to have noticed her first, as they handed over a pizza slice to the girl, who left abruptly.

Now, you may ask how I'm so sure it was just a ploy? Well, when the little girl walked away (after being shoo'ed by one of Greenwich staff), I saw her join an older tomboy and another young kid. The tomboy (probably around 14 to 16yrs old) immediately took the pizza slice from the girl and placed it inside a plastic bag. The tomboy sent the young girl away again at once, and the poor kid was once again going from person to person, showing the note. I dunno if the family that gave the pizza slice noticed it too.

It's well-known that syndicates use these methods, and I've seen too much of it on TV so I was able to tell at once. But let me say this, seeing it in person will really affect you especially if you least expect it. I've grown to shrug off beggars in bus/jeepney terminals, but seeing a young girl being bullied to submission inside one of the ten biggest malls in the world is something you just don't see everyday.

I'll upload a picture when I update this post. I'm yet to attach the data cable on the PC for my cellphone.

Update: Here's a blurred picture of the three kids.



The one wearing a lilac dress was the one who approached me. Meanwhile, the one with a red shorts is the tomboy who acted as their guard.

Something I can't understand

I believe I'm not the only guy out in this planet who simply can't understand how girls' minds works. I've got girl friends who never tire of asking me about my lovelife, as though their existence depended on it.

I personally don't like to think that their existence does. SRSLY.

Now that I think about it, I'm not too much bothered with the absence (or practical non-existence) of my lovelife. If they'll just consider a few things, such as my being just the average guy, they'd have thought that I'm just not that eligible bachelor who ought to have tied the knot ages ago. Yes, ever since I can remember, I'm just the plain kid who only get the limelight when recognition day arrives. (So what if everyone says that only my brothers are good-looking? They never get to have medals during recognition days, hehe) :pwhy can't guys be sweet to all the girls they know without rousing rumors?

I also can't see why guys can't be sweet to all the girls they know. It seems that when a guy does sweet things to one girl, the other girls would think that there's something going on.

And girls seem to take it as their responsibility to continuously look around, sniffing for whatever they could. In almost every relationship I've heard of, the girls would never tire of suspecting a third party to the point that guys start to have a mindset that they ought to have a fling. Many times I've deduced that it is the girl's fault that the guy got fed up.

To wrap things up, I'll quote a friend of mine who once said, "Girls - can't live with them, can't live without them." Whether of not what he said is valid or not, I may only find out if I find that significant other I still haven't found. And yeah, I still haven't found a likely candidate, in case you still haven't figured it out. (And that is another thing you've got to keep in mind when talking to girls, be direct to the point)

Friday, 26 October 2007

No space for microwave

The microwave oven plays a big role in living at teh ACeS office. We use it to cook anything from instant noodles, omelette, even tocino :p (hopefully I can blog about what mutants are soon)

I really kinda miss that device everytime I'm here at home. It'll definitely be useful around here, especially since Mom's not cooking in the morning.

Problem is, there's no space for a microwave oven. Our house is really in dire need of renovation. Or maybe it's time to have a new house built? :p

Sunday, 21 October 2007

24

Nah, this post is not about the TV series. Let's just say this is a feeble attempt at search engine optimization :p (and that last bit is supposed to be a joke).

Owkay, enough with fooling around. It's just that since yesterday, I'm officially 24 years old! :D

So my birthday celebration went fine, even if we started the house preparations a bit late. Anyway, I had only three guests lng naman since not all the other six members of the Kropeck Gang are available. As expected, we had the usual catching-up chats over lunch and merienda.

Actually, the preparations were delayed since I had been busy the day before. I went to a PC retailer and had a new CPU assembled as my birthday gift to myself :p (will upload a pic of the PC when I get back to the office, since I have forgotten the drivers that'd allow me to transfer the pics from the phone to the PC) And now I'm using the new rig to write down this post. Hehe.

Where was I? Oh, yes. Now that I think of it, 3 members of the Kropecks are already 24yrs old! We're not getting any younger!! :p (pretty soon we'll be counting gray hairs, measuring how much our hairlines have receded, and stuff like that).

Oh well, it'll be another year from now before I add another digit to my age. I just hope this year will be a fruitful one. That, and I'd get to save up for my own house and car :p

Update: Here's my PC (and yes, that's an RO Juno tarp on the background).

Thursday, 18 October 2007

A Hidden Getaway

I really needed to do some workout. Hehe. Owkay, so I had been pigging out during my two weeks of training and I had not been to the gym for a long time now.

Anyway, my officemates also wanted to do a bit of jogging so we decided to use our spare time yesterday afternoon to do just that. So by 4:30PM we made our way towards one nice location in Subic Bay which is still rarely heard of around here. By the way, I think I have to stress that a bit of jogging is an understatement. More on that later.

This was our destination:



They say that this place is indeed named Tago (Hidden) beach, since it is rather inaccessible. Well, didn't I say that we went there just for a bit of jogging? I must say it had been a two-hour hike! Hehe :p From our office in Group 5 of the Naval Magazine, Tago beach is around 5kms away. We arrived at the beach after running/jogging/walking for an hour.

For those who are familiar with Subic Bay, Tago beach is quite near Kamayan beach and Ocean Adventure. To get there, one will have to take a left turn on a rather inconspicuous road shortly before arriving at Kamayan point. The road goes through a short forest trail (that got incredibly dark when we were on our way home, hehe) and opens towards a cliff. You'll have to take a path down the cliff's face to get to the actual beach.

I'd say the place is perfect for picnics and a bit of swimming. I haven't tried going to the waters, but my companion said that it doesn't get too deep until several meters beyond. Also, the site is good for pictorials, hehe. I'd put some pictures here if I had gotten more nice shots. Sadly, we stayed there for only 20 minutes or so as it was getting dark. *sad*

Furthermore, I wasted a few precious minutes trying to get a snapshot of the two mudskippers happily jumping from the water on to the rocks.

I failed. T-T

Anyway, it was already dark when we were halfway back to our office. Walking in the dark ain't that bad, as you know you're INSIDE Subic Bay (it's safe) and there are lots of fireflies! ^_^ Several trees looked as though they were donned with Christmas lights. The fireflies are nice to look at, but of course you can't take a picture of them in all their pristine beauty. Well, you can't have everything, right?

So there goes one more of my travels. Stay tuned for more of Jherskie's journeys. ^_^

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

In our own personal ways

Perhaps the best way to deal with our current environment problems is for everyone to get involved. The personal contribution of each member of society is necessary if we are to move forward in our battle for a healthier environment.

What can we do? Yes, that's a good question which, I think, many others have provided an answer to. I personally believe that whatever we do for the environment need not be in gigantic proportions. Rather, it is sufficient that we take the battle for a greener environment into our daily routines.

Simple actions like conservation of energy in our homes, as well as paper and other materials in our offices and the constantly-called for "reduce, re-use, recycle" of various matter are what everyone should do. Not only do these help the environment, it also helps that particular person, too, to save on unnecessary costs such as on electricity, among others.

While it might be true that the combined "little" efforts of the common people will not actually compensate for all the waste coming from big-time pollutants such as factories, I say that the collective effort can stimulate something else: environmental awareness. Thinking green, if done by everyone in a community, can serve as a vital safeguard to ensure that the succeeding generations will pick up from where the current leaves behind. In other words, planting the seeds of environmental awareness now will yield a new breed of people who will strive to continue what we started in the future.

Furthermore, if everyone thinks green and patronize only the companies and commercial establishments that do not bring harm to the environment, I believe that those "huge" corporations will sooner or later yield to their calls. It's just best to start acting now, in our own personal ways.

Monday, 15 October 2007

Let's start now

There is, indeed, an evident need for everyone to start thinking of the future and work hand-in-hand to take care of our environment. The best time to start is now.

Environment problems, such as pollution and rapid deforestation, will most likely destroy the planet if left undeterred. The ill-effects of these menace are now being felt everywhere; climatic changes and aggravated natural disasters have already claimed, and are still taking, lives.

The catastrophic flooding in Luzon a few years back and the infamous Ormoc tragedy have presented how serious the problems of deforestation are. These also showcased how many innocent souls will have to perish to pay for the greed of a few.

The numerous environment risks raised by pollution are now affecting a great number of people. Health problems are becoming more and more serious because of the contaminants in the air, and the waters around the archipelago are slowly being defiled.

With dark clouds ever looming in the horizon, the right time to do our part in taking care of the earth is never tomorrow nor the day after. We must start acting now.

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Maraming Salamat po!

This is one of those bit-overdue posts, but several circumstances had prevented me from expressing my gratitude properly. Anyway...

THANKS GUYS!

As much as I would want it, I'd write down the names of all the people from whom my 205 votes came from. Well, that is quite impractical to say the least (and rather impossible, too) :P

Nonetheless, I'm grateful to all those who answered my plea and helped me win in GM Tristan's group writing contest. So I say this:

To all Sikatorse's (I'm always proud to be one of the 57 Sikats)...
To all the CDS people and my Smart family...
To all Sysnet and Ericsson employees...
To all my comrades at Ragnaboards Fanfare...
To my Genre buddies...
To my co-WUPians...
To my co-Paulininans...
To my group, Team ACeS...
And to my family...

MARAMING SALAMAT PO!

Sunday, 30 September 2007

Plant Lessons

My interest in gardening had been recently rekindled, and the picture that comes with this post is an interesting trunk I saw in the garden.

That trunk lying on the ground was one of the camachile trees that used to grow very near the power line on the lot in front of our house. The power company decided to cut down the tree as a security measure, and my dad took the trunk to be used as driftwood :P

Owkay, there's nothing peculiar about the tree, but as you may see, the old trunk had sprouted new leaves. This phenomenon displays one basic concept you've got to keep in mind when you're gardening: plants want to live as much as you want them to.
There used to be so much hype about plants being so maselan or something, especially orchids. I still remember that many would say that growing this plant would require these tools, these environment, and the likes (hope you get my drift) such that many used to regard the plants as some sort of divinities that need to be revered.

For me, anyway, I just take advantage of the fact that plants are also doing their best to survive. In other words, both the gardener and the plant only want the plant's survival and the best way to ensure that is to allow the plants to live in the way they would want to.

And yes, that very thing is also applicable to parent-child relationships.

:P

Rampage

My campaigning activities for the poll that will determine the winner in GM Tristan's Group Writing Contest is, shall I say, getting a bit serious. A friend had commented that I'm getting desperate.

I AM.

Hehe :p

Before going home for the weekends, I sent emails to everyone I know in the company. I've also advertised in the Ragnaboards, as well as in here.

When I got home, I flooded my Yahoo! messenger contacts with vote-requests. I've also posted a bulletin on Friendster. AND, I've texted all the contacts in my phonebook.

The last time I checked, I'm still lagging by about 26votes. If the figure remains that way, I'll be getting even more desperate, hehe. I still have a few contacts I've yet to ask for support. Been reserving the efforts (and gathering enough courage) to ask them.

At least all these have allowed me to get in touch with some of my friends whom I haven't been texting for a while. It feels good to know that my friends are doing fine in their current professions.

Anyway, I still managed to squeeze in a few hours to re-pot the orchids at home that needs transplanting.

Ah, the life.

EDIT: yesh!! I'm even more desperate now. I've already asked some of my superiors to vote :3

EDIT (again): Managed to get to the top after asking all the contractors here in the office (the ones who sold us the equipment we're using in the gateway) to cast a vote. ^_^

I'm still pestering asking my former colleagues in the college publication to vote :P

I do hope I get to stay on the lead especially since I won't be able to campaign as aggressively tomorrow and the day after that (which, btw, is the final voting day).

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Voting Time!

Voting for GM Tristan's Group Writing Contest has began. Please vote for me here:

Vote Now!

I really like the RPC 07 jacket that will go to the winner, so now I'm campaigning like crazy :p

The voting process will be until October 4, 2007 so please drop by GM Tristan's blog and vote for me (jherskie). Thanks!

Sunday, 23 September 2007

Traveler's Advisory: New Banner

I've recently added a new banner, and I thought I'd blog about it coz it deserves an entry, in my point of view. First of all, all those pictures are mine (as I've said in an earlier post, I want to post only my own pictures here).

Mustering all I could remember about using Photoshop, I made the banner based on a filmstrip-concept since I wanted to highlight the pictures I've taken during my travels. So what are these pix, you may ask?

The first one is a cattleya I've seen during the Philippine Orchid Society's Mid-Year Orchid Show last year. As of now, that orchid is in my plants-to-buy-as-soon-as-I've-spotted-one-being-sold list :p

The second is a view of the man-made lake in Burnham Park, Baguio city, taken during the Panagbenga festival last February '07 (went there with the Kropeck gang). Third is a telecomms tower of Smart somewhere in Bataan. If there is something memorable about that particular time, it would be that we were en route to ACeS for the first time. We had a little stopover at a cellsite in Bataan and I decided to take a snapshot.

Fourth picture is my old banner, and it shows one of the flowers that never fail to remind me of summer - Cassia Fistula, or Golden Shower. The trees bloom at around May, and I generally associate the flowers with some nice summer vacation some time in the past. The fifth pic is the Jaen bridge (or San Isidro bridge, I don't know actually) that connects the towns of Jaen (my home town) and San Isidro in Nueva Ecija.

The sixth picture shows the two cats at home when they were still kittens (I never get tired of looking at that pic). Next one is also taken during the Panagbenga at a garden show in Burnham Park. The full pic makes a nice wallpaper, and I'd gladly give the pic to anyone who'd ask nicely. ^_^

I've posted the next picture in a former post - it is a rather nice view of the Space Shuttle ride in the Enchanted Kingdom in Sta. Rosa, Laguna. I went there during the Fun Familia (a company outing) some time last June. The ninth picture is that of the 13-meter antenna utilized by our I-4 network to connect to the I-4 satellite.

The last one is a rustic view of the Gen. Nakar, Quezon landscape. It was taken last year during our community service in the Smart Village for the Gawad Kalinga (a rather memorable trip).

There you go folks - the stories behind the images, the souls behind the shots. These pictures are memoirs of the tales that comprise the journal of my existence - everlasting souvenirs in the daily joyride I call my life.

Hiatus

I've noticed that I haven't been regularly posting here in my blog. For the months of June, July and August, I was able to make 12 entries each. But for September, this is my 5th post.

Anyway, I've been keeping myself busy either with work or sleep :P

I've also gone on a 7-day self-imposed posting leave from the Ragnaboards (currently on day5) so I'm pretty much on a hiatus on my online life. Well, at least I've gotten some life back in the real world (and resumed my interest in gardening) :P

By the way, say hello to Sandra.

Yeah, yeah. Plants are not usually named as pets are. But I do have names for some of the orchids at home. Most of those plants that have names are named after the person who gave it to me. For Sandra's case, however, it's from the plant's scientific name, Vanda Sanderiana (which, in turn, is from Sanders, an orchid authority who I really don't know much as Wikipedia doesn't have an entry about him/her).

Thursday, 20 September 2007

The Proper Mix

Life itself is but a great blend of homogenous and heterogeneous mixtures, which bring about the colors of, and spice up, the world we live in. The essence of existence is a delectable concoction of the various elements of joy and gladness, of sadness and bitterness, of excitement and glory.

There is a proper balance for everything – and happiness maybe found in that exact formula wherein the equilibrium resides.

Balance: Both Lock and Key
Even one of my hobbies, online gaming (MMORPGs in particular), is very much dependent on an appropriate fusion and subtle balance, which is between real life and the virtual world in this case. It might sound a bit too philosophical, but I’m sure every online gamer would understand what that means. :)

The greatest challenge in MMORPGs is this: to find your true happiness in a virtual world while at the same time enjoying real lifeTo put it simply, the best way to enjoy online gaming is to do so while enjoying the real world for, indeed, the greatest challenge in MMORPGs is this: to find your true happiness in a virtual world while at the same time enjoying real life. Putting it succinctly may make it sound too easy, but striking the balance between cyber life and real life is a tad difficult feat that those who gain mastery of which are the epitome of gamers in general.

Virtual in Reality
First of all, the virtual world is there to make up for the boredom of living in a rather monotonous world – but it exists in a dimension wherein it is nothing but a figment of imagination. This virtuality, or the so called cyber world, caters to the people’s need to reach beyond the limits of their physical boundaries, to interact with others as much as they can, and touch (figuratively) as many lives as they could.

The cyber world provides a rendezvous where crossroads meet crossroads, and new horizons are born. It exists though it is practically inexistent, in a place wherein it resides but cannot really be found. An enigmatic puzzle, it may surely be, but a beautiful picture it is to those who chance upon it.

In other words, the virtual world isn’t real, but it exists. As such, it entails several characteristics to extract the essence, and to get the most fun out of it.

Mixing Seven Components
My life as a gamer is but a colorful story love story filled with the usual pangs of resentment and failures and the joy and tribulations of beating the odds and making it through the strongest of downpours. There had been ups and downs, and some of the ordeals I went through contributed largely to who I am today.

Seven key factors had helped me grow more into this hobby of mine, and made me realize how online games such as Ragnarok Online can play a central part in preparing an individual for the real world ahead of him. These are: commitment, dedication, integrity, a deep sense of vision, maturity, efficient management of resources, and maintaining the proper balance between work and play.

In the game of Ragnarok Online, choosing the path to wizardhood entails great dedication and a true sense of commitment for the grueling task of leveling is but long and tedious. I remember the endless waves upon waves of Alarms (clock-like monsters), Stings (slow-moving lumps of mud with a glove on top), Geographers (sunflower monsters who heal each other), Enchanted Soils (bouncing clump of sand, anyone?), Argiopes (giant worms) and whatnots who I engaged in kill or be-killed battles. Reaching the needed job level of 50 for my mage certainly tested my dedication to this game, and it surely made my sense of commitment as strong as steel.

Furthermore, I can tell off anyone from saying that online games are a waste of time and resources. It is because the game imbibed upon me the value of integrity, and it made me develop a deep sense of vision. True, one’s identity is anonymous while online, but I believe (again, after through all the in-game experience) that whatever people do anonymously speaks more for themselves than for what they are publicly acknowledged for doing. Integrity and vision are but very personal characteristics by which one can gauge himself; for my part, I can say that I value my integrity and I stand up for everything I believe in.

To participate in an online game where events transpire in real-time, a player needs to be more mature and he also needs to manage his resources efficiently. I remember the time when I was deeply engrossed with RO – it was during my college days. Being in college means that resources (particularly financial resources) are sparse, and responsibilities are mountain-high. But through it all, I managed to keep my grades up, maintain my scholarship, run the student publication, participate in inter-collegiate and regional quiz bees, and bring honor to my school while my character in the game was also leveling and maturing as I am in real life.

I matured to keep up with the times – I micromanaged my time and made efficient use of my resources to ensure that my gaming life and my student life are not pulling each other down. Piece of cake? No. But it was truly FUN now that I look back upon it.

Studying was of course top priority then, but I sneak some time in-between research just to let my mage catch up, especially when there are experience modifications (for faster leveling). There were times, too, when I went online more than I studied just because the latter drains me more (gaming lets me recharge, as a matter of fact).

At that particular moment when the virtual meets the real in perfect harmony, there you should be to have the best of both worldsThat’s the greatest part of it – maintaining the proper balance between the virtual and the real. In the end, whatever virtual will only be real in its own context, but the real as of the moment might just be virtual, in a sense. Both are temporary, and are also affected by the wave of change that shapes the face of the earth. But at that particular moment when the virtual meets the real in perfect harmony, there you should be to have the best of both worlds.

~~~~~~~
This is my entry to the final week of GM Tristan's Group Writing Contest. Good luck to all who joined! (Wohoo! finished six weeks at last) ^_^

Friday, 14 September 2007

I R Wizzie

As it had been for the past 5 weeks already, GM Tristan's Group Writing Project, which is nearing it's final week, had me racking up my brains for memorable moments and comic antics related to one of my passions: online gaming. For this week, GM T gave this topic: "REALITY OFFLINE: If Online Games Were Real, I would… "

So what will jherskie be if online games are real? A Ragnarok Online WIZARD, of course. There'd be nothing else ^_^

Well, if i'll be a wizard, things in this country will change. And I do mean MAJOR CHANGES, to put it succinctly. So how will teh Filipinos know if jherskie had become a true-blue wizard? Read teh signs... Read teh signs...



First Sign: The SM Skating Rink will close down business...


Of course, the SM malls' pride will lose all their patrons after I use STORM GUST!! and freeze the Pasig River. This is actually a two-pronged approach to address a few problems I see in the metro. As the river is frozen, no one will (hopefully) dump their wastes in it, and the squatters living by the river banks will have a new hobby (figure skating) that will likely supplant their current past times (ie, pollulating and drug addiction). Hey, we'll produce more figure skaters for international competitions, address the pollution problem, and curb the runaway and ballooning growth rate! WIN-WIN-WIN!!

(Oh, nevermind Henry Sy's business. I bet he'll come up with something to replace lost revenues)



Second Sign: Agriculture will boom once more...


With my WATERBALL!! skill, cloud seeding will be a thing of the past. Need water for the crops? Who do you call? (Not GHOSTBUSTERS, demmit!) Again, who do you call? Tadadadadaaaaa.... jherskie! I'll be taking all the excess water in flooded areas and use it to refresh dried up streams and agricultural lands. Another two-hit combo, I might say. (Hmmm... I seem to be getting more useful for the country... Note to self: ask for some tax discounts for all the services I'm rendering)



Third Sign: Byebye Corruption!


Oh come on, I know you thought, "No more kurakot in teh government? impossible!," and just admit it coz I've got teh remedy with the aid of my SIGHT!! Nothing hidden can't be revealed to me, and I bet there'd be much ill-gotten wealth I could give back to the public treasury. Another one-two punch delivered by yours truly; no more corrupt government officials, and more money for proper use on government projects.

WOOT! Scalawag days over, boys! I'mma watching j00. (Another note to self: make sure to write a book containing teh secrets of top personalities. It'll be bestseller. RLY)



Fourth Sign: No more brownouts!


Pick your choice among my electric attacks: Lord of Vermillion!!, Jupitel Thunder!!, Thunderstorm!!, Lightning Bolt!! I've got more charge at the tips of my fingertips than the electricity output of all coal-fired power plants in the country. No more need to import coal, and no more harmful by-products released to the atmosphere. Add the cost for importing fuel, and I can say that I'm teh saviour of teh Philippine Islands!

Shame that I wouldn't be able to hand out autographs for fear of electrocuting someone. Oh! that's right, instant electric chair, table, couch or whatnots for executing criminals!

-^*0*^-


There you have it folks, the things I'd do if online games were real and I'm blessed with the chance to be a wizard (or to put it into other words, how jherskie will save the Philippines). A very pretty picture, isn't that right? LOLz :P

Thursday, 13 September 2007

Childhood's end

A few days ago, I got to meet up an old friend who I rarely see these days. Such moments, of course, entail much catching up even if you get to email one another occasionally. Tales of office activities amidst chats of personal lives, unending comments on various mundane issues and talks of current career plans - they won't run dry if you haven't seen each other for a while.

Even if it were mostly just for exchanging pleasantries, our conversations made me notice that my friends and I have changed. We are no longer the brats we used to be, no longer caring about how our professors will grade our report, nor how we will be able to cheat in the next exam (owkay, we never did discuss how to cheat in exams, it's just an exaggeration) :P

Little did I realize that while the days since we parted ways after the board exams pass by slowly, each of us has matured in our own special ways. Perhaps these changes are so subtle, or they may be plainly visible. Nonetheless, the fact remains: we are no longer kids.

Immediately after our meeting (and with the fact that we are no longer kids in mind), I journeyed on for I was supposed to be on-duty a few hours later. So there I was aboard a bus en route to teh ACeS, that I got to ruminate on that special aspect of human existence: CHILDHOOD. As the bus was slowly passing by villages after villages, towns after towns, the sight of kids of various ages was endless.Childhood's end doesn't really entail, nor does it require, the loss of innocence

Looking upon the kids' faces, reading their soul's tales through their eyes, I realized that childhood's end doesn't really entail, nor does it require, the loss of innocence. Kids grow up and become adults even while you keep your eyes on them. And no, I'm not really talking about age here, coz some of the major essences of adulthood are not usually a function of time.

To put it succinctly, kids rely on adults for their needs, adults rely on God and themselves for their daily bread. The moment young ones start to think for themselves and behave like real adults, they are already young adults. Conversely, if old people still do not know how to fend for themselves, they're nothing but overgrown children.

Anyway, I do believe that childhood's end should never be accelerated, nor should it come in the wrong time. Kids deserve a happy childhood, and the adults are the ones who should make sure they do.

Friday, 7 September 2007

Loner No Longer

Perhaps one of the things that people don’t know about me is the fact that I used to be a total loner. I love going places on my own, and I readily take sole responsibility on activities that normally would take collective efforts from group members. But no man is an island, so they say, and it is quite something that it took a game to make me fully realize how truthful that adage is. How did gaming make me a better person? Here’s how.

The massively multiplayer online RPG, Ragnarok, is but a loner’s haven, so to speak. There are lots of things to do that would require one to take on challenges alone. But of course it wouldn’t be massively multiplayer for nothing; like all games, Ragnarok advocates camaraderie, teamplay, and endless interpersonal interaction among the gamers.People need to come out of their shells and work together for the betterment of the world...

While games are basically virtual, they still reflect the real world to a great degree. In the case of MMORPGs, gamers are expected to build communities and foster an environment of fair play and unadulterated fun. This is very true of real life, wherein people need to come out of their shells and work together for the betterment of the world.

I still remember how I, a total loner since I could remember, learned to gradually step out of the boundaries of my lonely comfort zone and reach out to others. While I was beginning to become more sociable in-game, I started to let the people around me to know who I really am.

Yup, at first I appeared aloof, conceited, vain and proud. I need not say that I enjoyed how people used to shy away from me. There was a time when I even downright reject my parent’s advice that I need to have friends (I really didn’t have close friends until late in highschool). Back then, I was glad to carry things out alone just because I could get away with it.

It’s quite amusing that I was drawn to play Ragnarok because it fits into my then lonesome world – I could freely wander without the hassles of tugging others. At that point of time, I believe I could create a nice little nook for myself, wherein there’d be no disturbances, no troubles, no worries. Just plain me, myself, and I.

But lo! I soon learned, and I’m grateful I didn’t have to learn through the hard way, that to do certain tasks requires the efforts of another. I believe most games, in general, at one point in their gameplay, would need the player to actually associate with others.

One in-game event after another slowly made me realize that asking others for help doesn’t lower one’s dignity. It is the other way around. Giving and receiving some form of assistance is never derogatory, and they instead make an individual a better member of society and boosts his morale.

At that certain point of time, I began reaching out to the very first persons who I could call my true friends. They were never ashamed to ask for my efforts, and they showed me that they would love to help as much as they could. I am indeed grateful, that I learned the proper lessons at the right time, and it was brought to me by a game.

The more I got engrossed in the game, I got to know how bad my attitude was. I soon left behind the old, totally lonely, me, and began to open up to others. I found a true sense of happiness with how people would approach me out of nothing at all, perhaps just to have some little conversation that, although may be about worthless and mundane topics, made me feel better nonetheless.

Thanks to the game, I learned a life lesson that my parents were never fully able to imbibe upon me because I resented it: No man is an island.

So when the time comes, I’d gladly allow my future kids to become gamers. I learned how to be a better person because of a game, perhaps they may learn a few lessons that I may fail to teach them.

Maybe they, just like me, will become more adept at touch typing (a very, very handy skill for writers and bloggers), or become well-versed with trading (and become future successful entrepreneurs), or they may integrate into their characters the nobility of swordsmen, the steadfast faith and patience of acolytes, and the mages’ love for wisdom.

Special thanks to Level Up for this great game, and to GM Tristan for continuously seeking to improve MMORPGS through events such as the Group writing contest. I made this entry for the fourth week of that particular challenge.

So to all game developers, particularly those behind Ragnarok, ROK ON!

Friday, 31 August 2007

Learning from one's mistakes

If you’ll be a bit more attentive to that quotable down there at the bottom part of my blog, you’ll see that I regard the scars from past mistakes only as reminders of the errors I have done. As much as possible, I try to learn from my mistakes coz that’s how experience teaches (in other words, tests first and lessons later).

Of course everyone makes mistakes, but what one does after committing the error is what really matters.

In my life as a gamer, personal and professional lapses have become so numerous that I no longer keep a tab on each and every one of them, or I’d be having a sky-high list by now. Owkay, so there are times that we need to relive the past and try to see some humorous incidents among those mistakes. I’m a serious type of person, so I can’t really say that these are bloopers, but what the heck. Read on.


Mistake 1: Ignorance is excusable only for a short period of time


Back in the beta days of Philippine Ragnarok Online (pRO), most of the players have not much knowledge of proper builds, good skill trees, nor optimum hunting grounds. At that time that many are optimizing and honing their knowledge to the best they could, I stepped into a public chatroom at Geffen hoping to make a good deal.

So, what’s really laughable at me was that the item I wanted to trade was an Antler. For those who do not know pRO, the Antler is a headgear (an equipment put on the character’s head) that gives STR +1 (well, at that time… I’m not so sure if it’s the same these days) and weighs a great deal. What’s wrong with that? Oh, I have to say this part: I only have a mage back then.

Mage what? Oh well, for the uninformed. Mages, or magicians, DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT need strength as they rely on INT for magical damages. Also, mages have a very limited carrying capacity. If by now you don’t think a mage using an Antler is a laughing matter, sue me. I’d welcome the charges :P

By the way, I was trying to trade the Antler with an unripe apple. Pretty dumb, right? I guess the creator of the pub thought so, as she kicked me out at once.

More on the NO STRENGTH FOR MAGES bit. At that time, I knew that STR increases physical attack and carrying capacity… so what do you expect? My level 30 mage had about 20 STR, and battle sages are not even conceptualized then!


Mistake 2: Bad Joke


For the sake of experience, as well as the in-game prizes, I joined the cosplay competition during the Ragnarally back in ’05. For those who might be able to recall, I did the Baphomet monster though the costume almost rendered the impersonator almost indiscernible (but I did make it to the top 20!).

FYI, Baphomet is a boss-type monster that is a half-goat, half-human demon. So basically, I had the goat horns to match the outfit. After the event, of course I don’t have any other use for the costume, so I decided (out of boredom one time) to make a public chatroom with the topic: “Selling Majestic Goat iRL”

Whoa! The joke seemed to be on me, as several people immediately thought I was trading the real in-game item, and thus they heaped their offers. I had to log off for several hours :P


Mistake 3: “Is it a pumpkin?” NOT!

I also tried playing Philippine ROSE Online (Rush On Seven Episodes) when the game was just launched. I was able to roam freely for a few hours while doing the quests that were required of my character.

I still remember that the quests were like, “Kill 20 Choroppies,” or something. Then after that, 20 big choroppies, and so on. I remember that next to the choroppies are the pumpkins.

So there was I, with my visitor (er, I seem to have forgotten the proper term for novice charaters) roaming freely and exploring. I remember that I chanced upon pumpkin-like monsters at a particular map, and given my rather-photographic memory that can easily remember (only) map coordinates, I led a fellow-newbie to the map. Poor visitors only lasted a single punch each, as the monster we attack was not a pumpkin.

After that incident, nobody was asking me for directions again. I’m not wondering why.


Oh well, there goes a short list of some of in-game irregularities. I might update this post if I do recall a REALLY humorous blooper, should I chance to remember one. This is in response to GM Tristan's challenge for week 3 of his Group Writing Contest.

Sunday, 26 August 2007

Traveler's Advisory: Phase 2 Complete

If there is something good that came up with that troubling dream I had the other day, it is the fact that I was able to tweak the template and re-arrange the layout of this blog since I couldn't write anything. I feel better now since the dream never had recursions and because I was able to add another sidebar thanks to Hans and his nifty tips in his blog, Beautiful Beta.

With this, I now resume to posting my thoughts in this daily joyride I call my life.

Saturday, 25 August 2007

Troubled by a dream

Can't write anything right now. I had a bad dream and I woke up with a troublesome migraine headache.

I dunno, I just can't take my thoughts away from that dream. It is greatly troubling me. I think I've read before that dreams are in black-and-white but I really think I saw blood red in my gory dream.

>_<

Blogging on hold 'til I get a grip of myself, and after the medicine takes effect. This migraine's killing me.

Monday, 20 August 2007

Top 5: From In-Game to IRL

So the Group Writing Contest of GM Tristan enters the second week. I admit that when I first read this week's topic, I thought that I don't have any top 5 list as a gamer. But taking GM T's theme as a challenge, I scoured every corner of my memory to think of a worthwhile list.

And then I remember one of my favorite threads in the Philippine Ragnarok Online Messageboards, or Ragnaboards, which gave me an idea on what to jot down. The thread was about the Ragnarok online skills (in-game) that players would LOVE to have IN REAL LIFE. As a regular SPAMmer poster there, I was able to keep track of the top five skills that players want to take with them into real life. By the way, here's my personal list:



  1. Uno: Hide/Cloaking


    • Effects: Need I emphasize that most of the posters in that thread are boys? (^_^) In-game, the skill Hide is readily accessible by the thief class, while Cloaking is available to the assassins. Other job classes also have access to the skills provided they have Smokie (Hide) or Frilldora (Cloaking) cards. Hiding or cloaking allows the players to become invisible, lurk undetected, and sneak up on their target.

    • Real life applications: Now, do I have to explicitly state how useful the skill will be for the boys? Nah, I'm pretty sure you've enough imagination to come up with whatever practical uses for these.

    • Words of caution: Make sure no one uses Sight or Ruwach when hiding or cloaking. Also stay away from insects; after all, in-game insect-type monsters can detect hiding players. And it's a damn giveaway if somebody sees a floating fly if its wings are stationary.




  2. Dos: Teleport/Warp


    • Effects: Teleport brings the player to a random area on a map while Warp takes one to a fixed, predetermined location. These are among the skills that make the acolyte class desirable; teleport takes away the costs for flywings or butterflywings while warp allows a player to come back to a specific map over and over again. Creamy cards allow other job classes to use Teleport, but no card can mimic the Warp skill, which may also be used as a punishment (rarely done nowadays but was once popular) or as part of an unfair strategy during guild sieges.

    • Real life applications: Everyone hates being late for work or class. Climbing the stairs, especially if the destination is the fifth floor, also takes away precious time that could have been spent happily sitting inside the classroom or office. Imagine doing away with all those inconvenience of traveling. And pollution! Gone with the need to use motorized vehicles! And it might be a good business, too, offering tour packages to those who can't teleport themselves. Now, if only Harry Potter or Hermione Granger can teach us how to apparate...

    • Words of caution: Teleportation can go bad; as in randomnly bad especially when you're repeatedly being brought back to your starting point. And for warpers, be sure never to run out of blue gemstones; the journey to Geffen from EDSA is an awfully cumbersome travel. Don't expect merchants to sell stones cheap; mark-ups will likely be sky-high. So this brings us to our next most-wanted skill...




  3. Tres: Discount


    • Effects: Gives the player, a merchant class specifically, a discount when buying items from non-playable characters (NPCs) in-game. The percentage of discount is dependent on skill level; at level 10 it is at 24%. Back in the beta days, merchants usually gave discount services for a nominal fee.

    • Real life applications: Now, who doesn't want a discount when purchasing stuff?

    • Words of caution: Be sure to suppress the urge to splurge! Discounts can only get you so far, you know.




  4. Cuatro: Blessing


    • Effects: Increases the target player's intelligence, strength, and dexterity for a duration of time, this skill is the reason why the acolyte class (skill is exclusive for them) is a must-include in a party. The added int, str and dex is the second reason why acolytes are persistently pestered in-game (healing skills being the foremost).

    • Real life applications: Students will greatly benefit with the boost in their brain power (byebye brain stimulants!); fighters and acrobats will likely welcome the added strength and dexterity (steroids? nah!).

    • Words of caution: Lasts shorter than the available stimulants on the market, be sure to keep the acolyte close at hand. Surely, you don't want to lose your uber wit while in the middle of the exam, right?




  5. Cinco: Lex Divina


    • Effects: Exclusive to the priest job, Lex Divina silences its target for a certain duration. While silenced, target cannot cast any spell nor use several skills. Being silenced is a big problem for job classes that are heavily-dependent on spells.

    • Real life applications: You've got to love that Level Up! Games, Inc. commercial way back when Ragnarok online was quite new - the one where a girl, very much bored by her date's droning on mundane stuff such as his dog, used Lex Divina to silence the him. Of course it didn't work like it would have in-game, but the boy (and practically everyone else) was stunned by the girl's boldness. Or ragnaddiction. Or imminent mental degradation due to the addiction. Whatever. She's so cute ^_^

    • Words of caution: Well, we're talking here about the skills actually working in real life, right? So, provided that the skill does work, be sure not to use it on your mom. Yeah, mom's constant nagging about the amount of time you play Ragnarok online is giving you a headache. But silencing her would likely mean byebye to your headache, and hello to pocket-ache (and RO, too, most probably) when she cuts down your allowance :P


Alrighty, there goes my first list of top 5. I think I'll make another list within the week, I have other things in line. By the way, if you like my posts, please vote for me, owkay?

Traveler's Advisory: Revisions

I plan to make some renovations in the coming days, that is, after I managed to master tweaking up the templates here on blogger. As much as I would have wanted, I'd make an all new template of my own. But I think I'll stick to improvising in the mean time.

First phase have been set into action; I've shifted into this Harbor template from the former Scribe and I find it more appealing. I may change the fonts soon, but I think the banner image will have to wait until I get a nice picture to put in there (as much as possible, I want to post only my own pictures in this blog).

If you can give me some tips to hasten the migration, I'll greatly appreciate it. Oh, one thing more, I don't have necessary allocations to seek the help of a professional :P

Sunday, 19 August 2007

LATA: Weekend Duty

As it is in almost everywhere else over the country, a strong downpour is drenching the whole of the Ilanin forest where teh ACeS building is. Several posts before, I may perhaps have said that rain makes me a bit nostalgic - I believe many others are as I am.

So here I am, on a single duty on a rather silent weekend (and I hope it stays this way the whole day ^_^) contemplating on a few thoughts I'm saving for such moments that calls out the emotional kid in me. What I'm currently thinking, I don't think I'll blog at the moment (perhaps some other time).

Anyway, weekend duty on ACeS is almost perpetually single-shifting. In my honest opinion, it never should be the case since most of the greatest traffic carried by the network is always seen over the weekends (only the Christmas holidays beat it). But the omnipresent company-wide shortage of manpower is forcing teh ACeS team to make do with whatever we can. Add to that the fact that we have a long weekend today and next week, well I do hope that no equipment breaks down on me :P

Saturday, 18 August 2007

LATA: Occasional Spotlight

Last August 2, 2007, Smart Communications, Inc. formally launched the I-4 network with an official inauguration of the facility and a press conference. Yeah, this post is a bit overdue and I should have posted it ages ago. Well, better late than never as I always say.

The I-4 network (team ACeS refers to it as the IN network, though it seems a bit erroneous since IN stands for Intelligent Network) uses Inmarsat's I-4 satellites and it also links the ACeS network to Inmarsat. Basically, this means that our subscribers now enjoy worldwide coverage and they can communicate with their loved ones practically anywhere (as long as they have line-of-sight with the satellites).

For the average Filipino seafarer subscribed to SmartLink, this is good news as they would no longer have to wait until their ship docks to shore for them to talk to their families. Furthermore, the new network will enable them to send and receive SMS in the near future. This is the main concept behind the Smartlink commercial ads now seen on TV regarding why the sea is salty (the commercial says that this is due to the accumulated tears of all the seafarers who are missing their families whom they cannot contact for lack of telecommunication facilities).

Anyway, the inauguration brought a truckload of people to the almost perpetually empty ACeS building, and the spotlight were on us for that day. Frankly, we were more happy on that day because of the food :P



Present during the inauguration are (L to R) Tina Mariano of Smart's PAD, Don Rae, Napoleon Nazareno (President and CEO of Smart Communications) and Michael Butler (President and COO of Inmarsat)

Friday, 17 August 2007

MMORPGs: More than a mirror

In a world of make-believe, everyone can be a star in their own right. When exists a world where people can willingly shape their own fates, there individuals shall be seeking their own patch under the sun.

An exhillirating four-year journey, Philippine Ragnarok Online had been. From it's humble beginnings at the time that it relied on the cutesy factor and the chance to TRULY have choices, the game had progressed into a legend that forever etched a mark upon the face of the country's gaming community. Now Ragnarok Online, or RO, had gone even further in providing gamers a haven where they can truly co-exist with the fantasies of an alternate world and realities of life.

Such is the experience that RO and other Massively Multi-player Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs) provide - a virtual existence that is entwined with real life drama, humor, and fun.

The moment players log on to their favorite MMORPGs, they assume a new persona - whether it be a wielder of mystic arcana, a full-support party-saver, or a materialistic money-maker ekking out a fortune - and they leave behind the unnecessary clutter of real life that prevents them from becoming the legends they desire to be. Nonetheless, the new persona is still but an extension, a deeply-longing portion of an individual that seeks to break free from the binding chains of the physically mundane. Whoever they become in the MMORPG's fantastic realm is yet the person trapped within them, living in a place reflective of the real world.MMORPGs have evolved, through the addition of each players' idiosyncracies, into a place that is more than a mirror of the real world...

Nonetheless, the reality in which they consciously immerse themselves is a totally new world in itself. Virtual as any a game could be, MMORPGs have evolved, through the addition of each players' idiosyncracies, into a place that is more than a mirror of the real world.

Like many of the several worlds of MMORPGs, PRO's Rune-Midgard is no longer just a reflection of the Philippine community. As a matter of fact, in a completely turn-around fashion, Rune-Midgard had effected great changes into the Filipino society.

How many booming computer shops owe their success to MMORPGs? How many searching soulmates found their completion online? And how many among the Filipinos can supress the desire to sing along to Kamikazee's "Chicksilog" ?

The list goes on and on. So, are online games and MMORPGs mirrors of the real world?

Yes and no.

Yes, because they showcase the realities that reality cannot truly realize. And no, because the virtuality had ceased being just a mirror - it is a real world in its own right.

Kudos to Level Up! Games for introducing that world to us. For more direct facts about LU!'s games, please visit the blog of GM Tristan. Various articles are in there about RO and other games (there are contests there, too). Oh, before I forget, this post is an entry to one of GM T's contests, the Group Writing Project. More posts about the contest in the next 6 weeks (please vote for me owkay?) :P

Thursday, 16 August 2007

It Must Be...

My duty at the office is eight hours long - I think I already mentioned that before. Anyway, since I just got back from my rest days, my duty was the graveyard shift (10PM to 6AM).

As I travelled the whole afternoon just to get here in the middle of the forest, I was rather exhausted so I took a short nap before starting my duty (I normally do so to gain enough energy to last the night). I went down to the office at the 2nd floor at exactly 10PM after being doused back to conciousness by my trusty celfone's alarm.

Before I began doing the O&M routine check of the equipment, I noticed that one of my officemates, Mon, was talking cheesily on the phone by our supervisor's desk. I just shrugged it off since most of my officemates do the same thing (and yes, even the supervisor is talking sweet nothings on the phone) :P

However, after finishing my daily round (which is about 2 hours long) I saw Mon on the phone still. Owkay, maybe 2 hours is not that long when you're talking to someone special, right?

WRONG!

Because another two hours later he was still on the phone. How'd I notice, you may wonder? Well, at around 2AM he excused himself from whomever he was talking to for a short CR break (there were several of us eating at the pantry at the time and we were discussing how Mon's ears were coping). He resumed his conversation after dropping by the pantry for a quick drink.

At 3AM, I was all alone at the office generating the reports that I have to submit before my shift ends. And guess what? I wasn't alone pala. ^_^

Thirty minutes before my duty ended, Mon was finally able to bid his farewells. We ran into each other at the pantry (again, I was looking for something to eat ^_^) and it was only then he realized that he was talking to the same person for close to 8 hours! Whoa!

If he was talking to a call center agent, I'd say the agent was perhaps killing time until his/her work ends. But since I know Mon was talking to a girl for whom he has been nursing a soft spot... Well, what can I say?

It must be love. ^_^

-------
Update: Mon revealed that the girl was using a cellphone at the time. He is now worried how much the 8-hour exposure to radiation could affect her. Hala! Lagot!

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Tour du Paseo

Nevermind the post title, I just ran out of ideas and running out of time. I decided to blog my trip yesterday, and there's nothing much about it anyway.

Initial plans for the trip include enrolling my account for mobile banking and getting my cousin a new cellphone (using my credit card). The agenda were carried out as planned, and though the time schedule wasn't followed to the letter, things were a breeze.

To start off, the trip started late; instead of the supposed time of arrival (ToA) of 10AM, I arrived at around 11:30AM in our main office. So I had an early lunch before heading for the bank (and I was also able to meet some batchmates from the cadetship program at the cafeteria).

First destination: Paseo de Roxas (where the bank is located, and I won't specify which bank) :P

From Smart Tower, I walked through Valero St, then turned to Sedeno (er, I might be confused with the street names) and viola! I was at Paseo de Roxas. Owkay, that's nothing much. I'm merely contemplating on how I used to get so lost in the business district before I started working there. Actually, I got a bit lost at first because none of my friends knew the exact location of the bank, and I ended at Makati Avenue before I had to go back. Guess what? I passed it pala earlier! Oh well, nothing to worry about since I was whiling the time away.

After the bank trip, I decided to visit the Level Up! Games office to try my luck in procurring an installer of Philippine Ragnarok Online (I actually collect the CDs). I marvelled at the fact that two years ago, I got so lost looking for the Pacific Star building, and today I was able to walk to that building all the way from Rufino St. (and without breaking a sweat since, thankfully, it was cloudy at the time).

No CD!

Empty-handed, I went around Landmark, Glorietta, Park Square 1 and SM Makati before making my way to SM Megamall, our rendezvous. We (my cousin, Ate Dana, and I) met about an hour after I arrived at Megamall so I was able to navigate through and visit the shops I frequent there.

For about an hour or so, Ate Dana and I went around to find which store sells that particular cellphone model the cheapest. Cellphone bought, validated by a call from the credit card company, I grabbed some grapes by the supermarket (not literally grabbed and ran off, mind) and went home.

All in all, it took about 14 hours. So that's it. I call that Tour du Paseo for lack of bright ideas for trip names.

Friday, 10 August 2007

Occupational Hazard (Could that be me?!)

Just a few days ago, I've decided to finally think about the future and let go of the things that'd probably not be that much useful in the years to come.

Right now, I'm all "if there are no long-term benefits to be derived from it, just drop it." So, naturally, I'm putting more efforts in my job and the career that goes with it.

I dunno if I'd count it a blessing or something, but life in teh ACeS (for me, at least) had seemed to become more stressful. For the past week during my duty, equipments would take turns going haywire and the transmission facilities we are dependent on would go kaput.

I'd just totally let it pass off as mere coincidences, but every single shift? C'mon!

This is primarily the reason why I haven't been updating this blog for the past few days. It's a good thing that I've managed to push this one through, at least I know I'm still not giving up on writing.

I hope my presence per se isn't the cause, and that I'm just putting too much on mere coincidences, when these network problems occur. I'm betting that my co-Junior engrs. are hoping not to share shifts with me to avoid extra work :P

Oh well, at least I'd welcome all the opportunity for the experience. Pretty much soon I'd have enough knowledge to take on greater heights.

Thursday, 2 August 2007

Little Hints

If my life is a journey, I'd say that more than once I had been just wandering around, drifting casually without a destination in mind.

Several times I had just followed where the flow may take me, not thinking about the direction I was going. And there are times even when I had some clear objective at hand, that I was but at loss in the hustle and bustle of the joy ride.

At times like these, I'd take a break, pause for a moment, and look around me. Always there'd be some hints, though mostly vaguely shrouded, that would point me in the right direction. These may be slight prod to take a path I'd rather not take, a gentle push to get me started on my way, or a strong blow on the head when I'm going all wrong.

Just a few days ago, I had been so lost, again. But after some quiet ruminations, I discovered that there are a few hints that were telling me where to go next. These directions had almost always led me to great destinations, so I hope this time I'd be going somewhere.

Saturday, 28 July 2007

The Traveler's PoV

Much of my life has been spent in traveling, whether it be the daily routines of going to school/work or the once in a while journey to other places for vacation, conferences, functions or other matters. Whatever the purpose, the voyage will always be made of at least three parts: departure, journey, and then arrival.

The actual travel begins after departure and ends with an imminent arrival. For a constant traveler such as me, the fun begins after leaving the starting point; of course, the destination, for which the travel serves a purpose, will only come after the journey.

One of my idiosyncracies include reveling on the adventure that accompanies each voyage. I always try to find some fun while in transit even if actual physical movement is limited within the moving vehicle. Generally, I'd take the chance to reflect whenever I'm traveling alone; after all, there is no better way to while the time away than to let your thoughts soar. Many times I've gotten some inspiration for my short stories while I'm pondering on some mundane thoughts during my travels.

Because of this, I always regard the journey as important as the destination. For me, there is but a golden rule to traveling: "At least either the journey or the destination is worth the trip."

For several times, I'd find that the destination doesn't live up to its promise of fun. Nonetheless, I find contentment during transit especially if I'd have the chance to collect my thoughts and savor the moments while I was journeying.

It is with this point of view that held in my hands my copy of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows." After all, I've read the epilogue a few days before I bought the book (I'm a spoiler-addict :P) so I know where the story will lead to, unlike during the time when I first read Order of the Phoenix and Half Blood Prince. So for one, the magic with which JK Rowling wraps her books' endings is broken; there wasn't much thrill about how the story will end.

So I pored through the pages of Deathly Hallows knowing that all I was reading will lead to the expected ending. But as I've said, "the journey must be worth the trip." I just couldn't help but be moved by the words of the book and the plot with which the story unfolded. All I could say, the book is worth the read even if you know how it will end.

Sure, there's no more thrill. But the thrill aspect is easily overcome with the savory plot that left me wanting to read through and through. I finished the book in about 12hours; I stopped and rested for two hours after 6hours of reading, and then I went on again for another 6hours until I finished it. Unlike the former books, I just couldn't stop until I finished it.

Even now, a week after I've read it, I'm still going back to the chapters I love. Such is the passion ignited by a good read that can only be the Deathly Hallows.