Wednesday, October 29, 2008

For Minrose: To Down Under With Love

I tried posting entries by sending an MMS to my mail-to-blog address but to no avail. And the last time I tried again, the subject was the only thing posted and not the body of the MMS. Anyhow's, here's a first of the write-ups I made on my peculiar visit to the City of Golden Friendship.

Post-CDO entries #1

7:00 pm Minrose had just called me asking how I was.

I've just entered the hotel room after a ciggie and at first, I thought my sister was just playing Rent's Season of Love from the phone's songlist. My mother was watching the tube so she asked my sis to tone it down when my sis wondered out loud why it was playing in the first place. I suddenly realized that I've changed my ringtone to that song. Silly amnesiac me!; so I rushed to the phone thinking it was 'him' who I'm to meet up later in Divisoria, calling me when to my surprise and greater pleasure, it was Minrose.

We talked about things both mundane and important at the same time, and all of them personal. We talked about her complicated lovelife and the lack in mine. She told me about regularly eating a dinner of homemade bread late and I told her about this blog and again, the lack of my lovelife.

There were moments of confusion about what we were talking about but these get dismissed by spontaneous laughters for no reason at all.

Minrose told me she called simply because she misses me.

Mins, I also miss you and Anchit. Someday, when I can really really really and justifiably afford it (I know you understand), I will return the favor and will call you whenever and wherever part of the world you are. For now, I'll happily settle with the memories you left when you were back here in Davao a month ago and that time when Anchit, Tarit, Janus, you and I felt the itch to visit Cagayan de Oro City and tried to find for ourselves our pots of gold.

On hindsight, did it ever crossed your mind how much things would have changed after 3 years. Who would have thought? But we'll still have the circle, right? No matter what.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Posting on the Go!

(This space here is supposed to show something like "testing mail-to-blog posting using MMS" but nothing came up. The title is the subject of my MMS and it's the only thing that came up. Wonder what in banana's name is wrong with this?)

Top 10 Fave Books

In no particular order:
Unfortunately, I haven't made any reviews of these books yet because I find the task daunting. And technically, it's not just ten because some of these are trilogies and sets of series. I made one for Lord of the Flies before, for an English subject, but that was when Win98 wasn't out yet and the popular mode of storing files was in those 5¼inch double-density floppy disks.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Back Home From Cagayan de Oro City

Just got home from Cagayan de Oro City. Again, to a dinner of chicken (been eating lots of this in Cagayan, I'm afraid I'll start flapping my wings and crowing like a rooster later), this time from Patok sa Manok. I took lots of pictures from the trip and I made drafts of blog posts to be posted here as soon as I can transfer the files from the phone to the computer.

After dinner, I'll be off to Sharon's to taste her new recipe of Tapioca. In her words, it's like sago that's masarap! Uhmm.. ok. I guess I'll be pigging out at her place some more.

I won't be sleeping at all and will go to work at 3:30 am. Good thing it's our rest day after my shift later. :)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Plurk Around and Keep on Plurking!

I'm so addicted at Plurk right now. When my friend, Ria, told me to join the site to expand my social network, I didn't realize how great it is. Now I know why aside from me, a lot of people are addicted at Plurking, as usual users call the activity.

I have already browsed through the site after registering to it (which was very fast). At first, it was a bit confusing how it actually works but after about 10 minutes, I got the hang of it and confirmed that it was pretty much an upgraded chat system.

One nifty thing about Plurking is that it has a Karma System which actually increases the more you make and reply to messages, add more friends and get more fans. So aside from having fun just voicing out your opinion and interacting with people, you actually have something to look forward to on your own, which is to increase your Karma.

On top of the functionality of Plurk, the layout is very accessible and is also visually stunning. While one cannot mess with the layout of the whole program, one can still customize the background of his timeline, which practically dominates the whole page. By accessible, I mean it works very smoothly, going from one friend's message to another and pulling up notices and what-nots. To make my point, I made a screenshot of my page:

Right now, I'm in the middle of randomly inviting posters or reply-ers in my existing friend's Plurks. I am also actively posting my own Plurks and butting in on other people's as well. So to anyone who is already in Plurk or wants to join Plurk, just add me as HoboNeil. Let's you and I walk hand in hand towards Plurk Nirvana!

Again, Add Me!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Insomnia and Being a Call Center Agent

I am a call center agent, which means I have to work weird hours since I am 12 hours away from my customers. I work for a company which supports an antivirus program so basically I'm technical support with occassional moments of purely customer service support.

Lately, my hours have been from 3:30 am to 12:30 noon. I like it for the fact that it's cool and there's virtually no traffic going to the office but I hate it for the going-home part which exactly has the exact opposite weather: too hot and too humid. I hate bringing an umbrella so the jacket which kept me warm inside our freezing office becomes something i put over my head to provide me shade.

Anyway, one MAJOR problem I've been having with this schedule is that I really don't know when the best time to sleep is. The humidity isn't really a problem because there's always the A/C but I don't know, I never get tired enough to sleep in the afternoon and no matter how much I try to force myself to get one, it never happens. That's why I'm afraid that this might be insomnia already. However, around 8 o'clock, I do get sleepy and I don't have any problems going to sleep immediately. Then the issue becomes not being able to sleep enough to endure an 8-hour shift of handling frustrated and irate customers. I've been trying to make my body clock adjust to my schedule but so far, I've had no success in that area. I've also tried a lot of tricks already, like counting sheep and whatever until my head swims with all the numbers it went through.

The point of this post is that I've found that working in the call center industry isn't such a stretch for me, my stats actually show that I am one of the 'performing' agents; that I'm actually very good at it. However, if my body's reaction to the very weird hours continues, which I think would eventually get me sick, then this might mean this work is really not meant for me.

Ampalaya with Scrambled Eggs

I came back from work at around 6am and I was a bit hungry. Looking around at the fridge, I saw thinly-sliced ampalayas in a bowl. I heard my mom ask my younger brother Louie yesterday about buying an egg. Supposedly, father was gonna cook them but was missing the eggs. I checked and sure enough, there were now a couple of eggs in the tray.

Now, ampalaya has NEVER been my favorite thing in the whole wide world. In fact, I'd rather starve than eat it. It just tastes bitter, not to mention the fact that I have a natural abhorrence against eating something either so green or so leafy.

But mix ampalaya with pieces of meat and eggs and now that makes it totally different. Sure, the bitter taste would still be there but I've always loved eggs and with them, ampalaya suddenly becomes tolerable. It's even suprisingly nice how the bitterness of the veggie comes in sporadic burst whenever I bite down on to the carefully picked-on meats and eggs (yes, you've read that right: I still won't dare chomp down on an ampalaya, no matter how thin they are sliced and no matter if my life depended on it).

So I did just that: cooked ampalaya with eggs. I even experimented a bit. I remembered my grandma once said that to eat ampalaya and get all its nutrients because apparently it IS very nutritional, one needs to rub salt with the sliced pieces, let it settle for 5 minutes and just rinse it with water. Of course, I did just that, even religiously patted the pieces dry and hoped it didn't become too salty.

Then with 2 tbsps of oil, I sauteed 4 gloves of garlic (I love 'em and ever since I've read that garlic lowers down highblood, I've always been generously cooking with it), half a bulb of that local purplish onion, diced cherry tomato and strips of meat. After all of them went golden-ish, I added a bit of water and the slices of ampalaya. I let it simmer for a while until only oil was left and then added the battered eggs which were sprinkled with a dash of salt and magic seasoning.

I swear I NEVER saw a vegetable dish as inviting when I'M the one cooking. Haha! I served it in a small glass platter to my father who said it tasted quite good. I also tried it, even dared to nibble a bit of the veggie but unfortunately, grandma wasn't right--it still tasted bitter. My father told me I should try the thinner ones because he said eating and enjoying ampalaya is actually an acquired taste. But instead of pushing my luck, I settled with the yellow bits and pieces of meat and egg.

Ahhh, yum-yum!.~~

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Blogging 101

This is not a post about how to become an expert blogger or how to generate traffic to your blog but just a list of the things I've done to set-up the tools I think I need for this blog.

See, I've been busy the whole day signing up on different websites that my dear friend and pro-blogger, Ria, had taught me would supplement my blog and also based on what I've shored up from Google.

After putting this one out in Blogspot (my other option is Wordpress but I heard they don't support AdSense which I am planning to put up later), I immediately subscribed my blog feeds to Feedburner. Supposedly, it will allow me to "see where your content goes once you publish it and generally add a lot more value to your feed." I don't really understand how it does that but let's see.

After Feedburder, I signed up for Technorati which indexes and searches blogs. Basically, it helps to put out your contect out there. I was required to put in tags and keywords for my blog. Admittedly, this got me a bit stumped because after all, this is a personal blog and does not limit to a certain topic or a niche. Anyway, I entered in the categories that I will be using to sort out the entries in this blog (hmmm... I find being organized a bit unfamiliar as I'm usually not).

After Technorati, I signed for a couple of networking sites that will help me expand the network I have. These would also supplement the advertising that I would need to attract visitors to my site. I already have Friendster and Multiply, and I suppose I should sign up for MySpace but didn't really think about it (or maybe I already have one? dunno...) Anyway, I made an account at Plurk and Facebook as recommended by Ria.

Facebook is the same old style as Friendster and MySpace but I had a bit trouble navigating the site as it has a slightly different layout that the others. Now with Plurk, I was surprised and somehow excited about their take on social networking. Their main page is actually a timeline, which is more like the bulletin boards in Friendster but in here are posted real time like a chat system and is now the main focus of the site. Hopefully, I'll be able to add more friends and acquaintances in those sites but for now, I have to settle on having Ria. Of course, the first thing I did was announce I now have a blog. I even posted my newly-made logo which was uploaded at Photobucket.

According to Ria, there are also lots of other networking opportunities to be found at microblogging websites but I have yet to clarify what they are and which ones are populated by the most number of people (of course, it makes sense to go to the more popular sites and have more number of people to advertise to).

Last but the least, I went to sign up for Google Analytics. This Google tool actually allows the user to track where visitors come from, gives the statistics and generally enables you to increase your traffic based on the reports. After I signed in, it gives a code to paste in your blog template (normally, the code is inserted in every page but since this is a blog and it is very dynamic, one has to put it in the template instead). To do that, I had to edit the template options in my Blogspot dashboard, clicked on the 'edit html' tab and inserted the code directly before the '/body' tag. I went back to search for my report but last I checked, it was able to see that I've added the code but is still awaiting for the report.

Since I'm planning to put AdSense inside my blog and to know more about how it works, I actually already signed up for it but as advised, it would be a lot better to put it up once I can see traffic coming by my blog, even if it's just a trickle, which will be probably a week from now or two.

So that's it. It's a bit of work but it was generally easy and everytime I get confused, there's always Google for some explanations (don't we just ALL love Google and the internet?!). So there you go, Blogging 101 as experienced by me today. This is just the start and I'm not sure where it goes but at least now I can say, I know HOW to START a blog. :)

My First Post

I HAD a blog before in Friendster but it got a bit boring and the site got sluggish so that whenever I go to the site, I'd just browse people's profiles instead to know what they have been up to and just send them a message than write about my own life.

The last time I posted something there was the 23rd of October 2006 so it's almost TWO years ago and I kinda missed keeping a journal for myself. So I asked for help from a pro-blogger friend of mine about starting a blog. She gave me some tips about how to start and how to invite visitors, generate site stats (which I'm very interested at) and things like that. Perhaps someday I'll post what worked and what didn't to help newbie bloggers like me as well.

Anyway, I hope this keeps up, at least I hope I could publish a couple of posts a week. Hopefully also, I'll be able to find a whole new network of friends and acquaintances here. I'm really keeping my fingers crossed considering I am me and me has the attention span of a five-year old, probably one with ADHD at that.

P.S. The friend I was talking about is currently single. Maybe I could make it one of my web networking goal: find her a decent boyfriend. As early as now, any takers?