October 13, 2008

UNTITLED

I thought long and hard before I posted this entry, the reason for which will become obvious later on. I certainly did not want to offend anyone, especially those who are participating in activities I will mention below, and certainly not those people who I have only met for a relatively short period of time. But then again, this is my blog and I want to take this as a rant against something which probably also happened to you at one point in time.

Don't you just hate it when you feel you are forced to give money to a charity or a church fundraising? I'm not a big fan of giving money away, even though I know that it's fundamentally for a good cause. I just don't believe in giving money. Period. There's just something about giving money that turns me off. I feel that to support charity or support a fundraising by a church, people should be given an option on what kind of support they can give. It can be time, talent, doing chores, or some other thing. If some people choose to give money, then that's fine. It's their money anyway. But if someone makes me feel like I'm being forced to give money, then that's where the problem start. I will likely still end up giving money, like what happened to me recently, but I sure don't feel good about it. And in the end, I end up not liking that particular cause, charity, or church at all.

One day I was talking with a Filipino friend outside of our office. We were catching up on what's going on with each other's lives. Then another Filipino working in the same office approached us. She said that she's working on a fundraising for one of the Catholic organizations, and then she proceeded to hand us a newsletter produced by the organization. I took the newsletter, not knowing that a couple of minutes later, as I was about to leave for home, she said that the newsletter costs 10CHF and the money will go into a fund to buy a new laptop for the use of making the newsletter. 

I still ended up giving her the money a couple of days later, but I really felt bad. I felt tricked. I felt like I was one of those guys seated in a bus going from Makati to Fairview, stuck on Cubao Ibabaw, and then one guy comes up to you asking, "Ilan kayo?" Then you answer, "Isa lang." And then this guy suddenly gets a Zesto from his bag, sticks a straw into it, hands it over to you and demands 10 pesos as payment. You, on the other hand, thought the guy was referring to the number of ticket you will pay for the fare. Of course at this point, there's no way you can refuse the Zesto knowing that he can easily call on the rest of his gang and intimidate you into paying. 

I know that the comparison between the Zesto gang and the church fundraising is very much different from each other, but nevertheless, the feeling is still the same. I know I should've spoken up somehow, but that's not really how I am. I'm the kind of guy who would rather keep quiet about it.  I feel like I was tricked into doing something I really don't want to do. And it's not a good feeling. 

October 01, 2008

ARE YOU ONE OF THEM?

Today is INTERNATIONAL DISTURBED PEOPLE'S DAY!

Please find time to send an encouraging message to your disturbed friends, such as this one that I wrote for you today.



I really don't care if you feel like you're always being chased by other people. Hang in there. You're so f***in' special!

September 30, 2008

STOCK MARKET CRASHES... SO WHAT?

Last night, I sat in awe in front of the television. I was watching CNBC. They were showing two views: one was of the US Congress voting on the $700 billion bailout, and the other on the New York Stock Exchange. As it became clear that the bill wasn't going to pass, I saw all graphs of major stock indices plummet down. As trading on Wall Street came to a close, the US Markets lost more than $1 trillion. Wow. 

Looking back at commentaries made last night on why the US Congress didn't pass the bailout legislation, it became clear to me how politics of one country can affect the rest of the countries in the planet. Everywhere you go, politicians are actually after the same thing. What will keep them seated in power. That scene played out in Washington seems strikingly familiar as in Batasanwhen they voted for (one of many) impeachment proceedings against President Arroyo.

Fast forward now to 12 hours after. How will it affect me? How will it affect all of us? Should we start rushing to the bank and getting all our money out? What will we do with it then? Hide it under our pillows? And should we now start looking for another job? Are our current employers secure?

There's too many things going on now. Too many uncertainties. I've heard stories about what happened to this company several years ago, when they were faced with so many problems and that the people wonder every morning if they still had a job by the end of the day. But in the end, what can we do about it? Everything seems beyond our control now. 

At the rate the world economy is going, lahat tayo pupulutin na lang sa kangkungan.

September 29, 2008

SECRET LIFE

Last week, I stumbled into an interesting show on ITV. It's a television series called Secret Diary of a Call Girl. Basically, it's all about the life of, well, a call girl based in London. Billie the call girl finds herself in a variety of situations which I find familiar, but more of that later. She's doing tricks for an upscale clientele, she's acting as a mentor for a girl just starting into the business, she's best friends with a guy who knows about her job, and she's girlfriend to a doctor who doesn't know a clue about what she actually does for a living. I've only watched one episode so far, the one where she introduces her friend to her boyfriend, and her friend was acting like a real prick and was daring her to tell her boyfriend what her real job is.

Like I said, it's a really interesting show, not just because of what it's all about, but more sobecause I can relate to one character in the show. I'm not talking about the boyfriend. I'm not sure if that's something I can talk about here. Rather, I have find myself not unlike Billy's best friend. Yes, I count several "call girls" as part of my circle of friends. A couple of them have became some of my close friends back in Manila and I really miss them so much. Each one has their own reason for getting into this kind of "business", and I don't really want to talk about that. What I do want to talk about is that except for what they do, they're really such ordinary people. I remember spending hours with them in coffee shops, talking about nothing and everything. Sometimes, they would talk about their clients, but only if they feel like talking about them. More often than not, we don't.

Of all my call girl friends, I really miss Freya the most. She's sweet, charming, and easy to get along with. She's loves watching DVD's and whenever we would meet, we would go off looking for movies to watch. For some reason, she loves watching those Korean and Japanese horror flicks, even though she's scared witless by them. She's a big fan of thick, hot chocolate, using it like a dip for a couple of churros. Sometimes I would cook sisig for her, the one that comes out of a can, and she says that she thinks I'm trying to seduce her because I would add slightly cooked onions into the sisig, and that onions make her horny. 

I really wonder what has happened to her now. Before I left Manila, she has started to seriously date someone already. She said she wanted to go back to school, get her life straight, and quit doing tricks. Maybe one day I'll get another of her text messages, asking me when I would cook sisig for her again.

September 23, 2008

A YEAR AGO

Time flies so fast and in a couple of days, I will celebrate my first year here in Switzerland. I have indeed changed! Hopefully, I have changed for the better and not the other way around. But a questions begs to be answered....

Pogi pa rin ba ako?

2007


2008


O-hah!

September 22, 2008

WE WANT Wii

Actually, my wife wants a Wii. Not me. I'd rather get a Playstation 3. But if I try to get a PS3 now, I'm quite sure we'll have this argument that about what happened to my PS2. Back when we were newly married, I really wanted to have a PS2. So on our anniversary, she allowed me to get one. It was put to good use for the first couple of months or so, but since I was the only one playing (she's not much of a gamer), I had soon gotted tired of it. By the time I left for Switzerland, the only time I turned it on was the time I found out that it was broken. I then gave it to my brother, unit and all 20 or so games. Haven't heard what happend to it since.

So I'm keeping my plans of getting a PS3 on the back seat for the meantime. I have to keep the wife happy, now that she's here. I think I found something which will surely be interesting for both of us: the Nintendo Wii Sports + Wii Fit + Yoga Mat bundle. Having had the chance to play the Wii when I was still in Manila, I know what Wii Sports is all about. But Wii Fit? And Yoga? People can actually practice Yoga with Wii? So I looked it up in Digg.com and saw this: Why every guy should buy his girlfriend a Wii Fit. One word. Wow.

September 19, 2008

FRIDAY MAGIC MADNESS

It has been a terrible week, work-wise, and I am just happy I survived all the way to Friday. Unlike in Manila, there's really nothing here to remind me it's a Friday. All the days are the same. I get up in the morning after a night of struggling to get some sleep. I try to shock my body into waking up with two cups of coffee, and if that doesn't work, then a cold shower. But getting cold showers now can be such a pain, figuratively and literally. Have you ever taken a cold shower in Baguio in January? Now try doing that here. It's now about 5 or 6C in the morning. 

Back in Manila, there are a lot of ways to remind me what day it is. While preparing to go to work, I can watch Magandang Umaga Bayan, or I can listen to the radio while driving to the office. But here, there's really nothing to tell me what day it is. I usually watch Swiss Meteo, but only to remind me to bring an umbrella or wear a jacket. On the train or bus ride to the office, I listen to my Ipod. That's fine, but I really miss the feel good mood that you get when you listen to DWTM 89.9 Magic during Fridays. They play mostly 70's, 80's, and early 90's music. Songs that are great, lyrically and melodically. They really put you into a weekend mood.  So I was really delighted when I found out that DWTM streams it's broadcast over the internet. Now I can listen to Friday music over DWTM!

DWTM is streaming music on a 31k music stream. It's not really topnotch quality, but over my laptop's speakers or earphones, it's fine. It brings memories of lazy Friday afternoons in the office in Manila, when everybody is just talking of nonsense, getting ready for Friday night, or weekend gimmicks. Sometimes, I really miss weekends back in Manila. But at least, now that I have Magic 89.9, I can just imagine I'm back home on a Friday afternoon.

September 16, 2008

RANDOM CONVERSATIONS: JOLLIBEE AND BIG BROTHER

After much prodding by my friend Ryan, and really, I don't want to see a good portion of Migros hackfleisch go to waste, I agreed to cook pasta bolognese for him last night. Jollibee style. Oh don't you just love that? For those who don't know, Jollibee style bolognese is simply spaghetti sauce with ground pork which tastes a little bit sweeter than what you would normally get in an Italian restaurant. Since it has started to get a little cold here in the evenings, I added some dried ground chili into the mix to heat things up a little. Ryan is currently on a diet and insisted we use pasta made out of corn flour. It actually doesn't taste differently from normal pasta except that you get this weird dark tan color. Needless to say, we ate well last night. Jollibee pasta, nacho chips, and a couple of bottles of Montepulciano.

I don't know how it happened, but we ended up talking about Big Brother conspiracy theories, about how everything we're doing and we're saying are monitored by someone. Just like in that movie Enemy of the State. I've read somewhere that there are supercomputers being run by USA's Defense Department that monitors all emails being sent all over the world, looking for trigger words such as Al Qaeda, terror plots, nuclear bomb, and other things. This is also true for all conversations transmitted electronically. Say something like "I had beer with Bin Laden" over your cellphone, then your call gets routed to some anti-terror group and you then get monitored and followed by secret agents everywhere you go. Hmm... Maybe I shouldn't be posting this here then? I really should stop now. Otherwise, Bin Laden might not buy me beer anymore.

September 15, 2008

WHAT'S UP?

Is summer over? For the past couple of days, I've been struggling to keep warm at night. We have started to hit below 10C temperatures in the evenings and outside, some of the trees are beginning to have those telltale signs that their leaves are about start turning into wonderful shades of yellow, brown, and red. Wifey has started her long trek home, "home" now being officially here in Switzerland. Her residence visa has been issued, she now has a job here, and finally (hopefully!) life will start being normal again for the two of us. 

Work has been terrible lately. I'm running several sourcing projects now, and sometimes, I feel like this is the most amount of work I've had, ever. It's still a struggle trying to juggle different cultures, and each of my project peers have their unique way of working. Nevertheless, I'm quite surprised that this has actually been a very fulfilling job. I can't believe I've survived my first year!

And even after a year here, I still can't believe how beautiful and diverse Europe is. Last weekend, I attended a wedding in Brno, Czech Republic, and spent a couple of days in Vienna. Quite an interesting opposites, those two cities. Brno amazes you with it's people, who I find to be surprisingly not different from Filipinos. They are open, so full of life, and so eager to share their culture with you. Vienna, on the other hand, is a typical West Europe city. It so full of history and there seems to be something happening at every corner. 

So as I celebrate my first year in Switzerland, I begin to reflect. What is up? Or should I start thinking, What is next?

June 04, 2008

WEIRDNESS

1. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was in grade school, I wanted to be a doctor. When I was in highschool, I wanted to be an airline pilot. When I was in college, I was taking up Metallurgical Engineering then, but at the back of my mind, I wanted to be an economist. Twelve years after graduating from college, I find myself wondering what if I pursued my dream of becoming a pilot.


2. Do you put ketchup on top of your french fries or on the side to dip in? If you don't use ketchup, what do you use? If you don't eat french fries, what's wrong with you?
I put ketchup on the side. I don't like my fries getting all soggy. I like them fried crispy on the outside, and somewhat moist on the inside.


3. When was the last time you had phone sex? If you've never done it, why?
I can't remember. Hahaha!


4. When was the last time you made someone cry? What did you do to make them cry?
I don't have any clue if I made someone cry lately.


5. How often do you sing in the shower?
Not as often now than before. I find myself waking up late the past couple of days, so I usually find myself rushing through my morning routine.


6. Have you ever cooked dinner or any other meal naked? If not, would you?
Sometimes. Hahaha!

May 10, 2008

NEW STAMPS



I wish someone from Manila would send me a letter and use these stamps. Please. Give me a reason to laugh.

April 29, 2008

TOP 10 SEXUALLY SUGGESTIVE LINES IN THE ORIGINAL STAR WARS TRILOGY

I haven't had time to get anything posted in this blog for some time now so I might as well get back with a bang. So this confirms what I've suspected all along. GEEK IS SEXY!

Star Wars / A New Hope
10. "Get in there you big furry oaf, I don't care what you smell!"
9. "Luke, at that speed do you think you'll be able to pull out in time?"
8. "Put that thing away before you get us all killed."
7. "You've got something jammed in here real good."
6. "Aren't you a little short for a stormtrooper?"
5. "You came in that thing? You're braver than I thought."
4. "Sorry about the mess..."
3. "Look at the size of that thing!"
2. "Curse my metal body, I wasn't fast enough!"
1. "She may not look like much, but she's got it where it counts, kid."

The Empire Strikes Back
10. "I thought that hairy beast would be the end of me."
9. "Size matters not. Judge me by my size, do you?"
8. "There's an awful lot of moisture in here."
7. "But now we must eat. Cum, good food, cumm..."
6. "That's okay, I'd like to keep it on manual control for a while."
5. "Hurry up, golden-rod..."
4. "I must've hit it pretty close to the mark to get her all riled up like that, huh kid?"
3. "Possible he came in through the south entrance."
2. "And I thought they smelled bad on the outside!"
1. "Control, control! You must learn control!"

Return of the Jedi
10. "Hey, point that thing someplace else."
9. "I look forward to completing your training. In time you will call me master."
8. "I never knew I had it in me."
7. "There is good in him, I've felt it."
6. "Grab me, Chewie. I'm slipping -- hold on. Grab it, almost... you almost got it. Gently now, all right, easy, easy, hold me Chewie."
5. "Hey, Luke, thanks for coming after me -- now I owe you one."
4. "Back door, huh? Good idea!"
3. "She's gonna blow!"
2. "I think you'll fit in nicely."
1. "Rise, my friend."

March 03, 2008

EXPECTINGLY UNEXPECTED

We always get something bad on Mondays. It's almost like an unwritten law. It never fails. Whether it's a report that has to be handed in before lunchtime, or hot coffee spilling all over your lap in the drive-thru, it always happens on Monday. There's no point in trying to escape from it.

I got mine about an hour ago, and although I already know what it will mean for me in the next couple of months, it's only now that it's beginning to sink in. I'm thankful I still have some semblance of coherent thought in me to be able to talk about it in my blog.

So, as what I have been expecting for the past couple of weeks, my wife has finally told me that she's not yet ready to settle down in Switzerland. Not in a couple of weeks, at least; but I can safely surmise that I shouldn't be expecting her in the next half year. With so many things to take care of back in Manila, like selling some properties and tying some loose ends in our finances, it would be impossible for her to leave in a month's time when her residence permit arrives. And there's also the fact that right now, she's still happy with her job and couldn't think of a reason why she should leave it. Also, she hasn't received any good news yet on her job applications here in Switzerland. Well, she haven't really sent out a significant number of applications anyway, but that's another story.

So in a two-liner YM message, I was left hanging. I don't know whether I should feel happy or sad. Right now, I'm still numb. I'm hoping I won't get depressed, but I know it will come. What a crappy way to start the week.

February 29, 2008

FRIDAY'S FEAST

Appetizer

Who was the last person you hugged?


The last person I hugged is this Filipina friend I met recently. We went out clubbing last Saturday night and I think she had too much to drink. Actually, it was my fault because I wanted her to try Long Island Iced Tea. I guess it was her first time to try the bastard concoction. She ended up dazed when we got home and was struggling to keep coherent. She managed to make it to the toilet to throw up but then she called out to me because she was really feeling weak. At that point I hugged her and apologized for letting her drink too much that night.

Soup

Share a beauty or grooming trick or tip with us.


Whenever using gel or hair wax, always make sure to rub the stuff between your palms as briskly as you can, especially if it's a particularly cold day. The stuff that makes gel and hair wax work is heat activated, meaning it must be heated up first for it to work. Otherwise, when you just slather the stuff on your hair, it ends up just like that, slather on your hair. Rubbing it thoroughly between your palms also ensures consistent application on the hair.

Salad

What does the color yellow make you think of?


Uhm... People Power? Cory Aquino? LABAN? Di Ka Nag-Iisa? Sorry, I can't help but feel so "political" lately. I guess I can't understand why people have grown tired of people power. If the Filipino people was able to overthrow two corrupt regimes before, why can't we now, now when we need it more than ever?

Main Course

If you were to make your living as a photographer, what subject would your pictures revolve around?


Anything! I love photography so much and I can't think of anything I wouldn't photograph. Particular scenes that really strike me are those which I can render as old/sepia/monochrome photos for that "antique" look. I'm not exactly sure if there's a market for it but if were to have a different career and it happens to be photography, I would enjoy taking "old" photos. Here's a sample of a photo that I took when I acted as tour guide for some friends. We went to Lucerne.




Dessert

What was the longest book you ever read?


For casual reading, it's a toss up between James Clavell's Shogun and Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind. I haven't had the chance to put the two side by side and compare how thick they are, but I think they're pretty thick. For non-casual reading, even though we weren't required to read everything, I was able to read Reza Abbaschian's Physical Metallurgy Principles from cover to cover. I'm now glad that I did because my current job is now so much related to physical metallurgy, especially steelmaking manufacturing methods. If I weren't as interested at all at this subject, I would've probably acted like a complete idiot here in the office.

February 28, 2008

TERRORIST BOMB PLOT IN MANILA

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, tell us, the Filipino people, how low can you go? Really? Why is it that whenever a sizeable political rally organized against you is scheduled, your people in the Armed Forces and Philippine National Police are falling over themselves in announcing supposed bomb threats all over the Metro? What are you so afraid of that you have to resort to lies just to keep people from expressing their views?

So please tell us... How low can you go?

February 25, 2008

SOMETHING NEW FOR 2008

As a project manager, my job requires me to very good in planning. Good projects are ones that involved very thoughtful planning, so that when it's time to execute, you have everything considered, even the contingencies in case anything goes awry.

I cannot say the same for my personal life. I've stopped planning how I will live out my life the day I buried my father. My dad has this tendency to plan everything. He had everything laid out for us: how many kids he will have, where they will go to school, where the family will have vacations every year, at what age he will retire, where he will retire. All that. But he didn't plan on being told he had cancer and he had only four months to live. Hell, he didn't even know he had four months to live. He just sort of knew it would be coming soon from looking in our eyes everytime he can manage to stay coherent after bouts of chemotherapy. I don't want to go that path.

But somehow, being Switzerland means you have to do some sort of "planning". The whole country is obsessed by it! In a country where the trains arrive and leave on the dot, your daily life depends on good planning. Sometimes, it gets to a point where it is outrageous. We had sort of discussed over lunch about going out one Friday for after-work drinks. Before the day was over, the Swiss guy already had it all planned out: what time we will leave for the office, who's riding with who, where we will go, the bar's drinklist, who the designated drivers are, and the train schedule in case the designated driver forget that they're the designated driver.

So here's a list of something new that I want to do for 2008. I know I've already lost two months, but I think these are makeable, given that we have ten more months to go:

1. Learn a new sport - Switzerland = Swiss Alps = Snow. I have to learn either skiing or snowboarding. Everybody in the office tells me my European experience will not be complete without learning how to ski. Should I ask them if that will include getting the broken ankle as well?

2. A European car - When in Rome... And this may be the only chance I will ever afford a BMW or a Benz.

3. A new language - I have to learn High German. This is the universally accepted German language in this part of Europe. There's also such a thing as Swiss German, but the Germans tell me that even they would take years to be able to decipher it. Besides, it would be nice to go to a coiffure not worrying if I will end up looking like a poodle rather than Pitt.

4. Playstation 3 - Not really high on the list, considering that my wife and I plan to spend more time outside of the house and doing some travelling, rather than staying in for the weekend.

5. A baby - We'll see... Hahaha!

February 22, 2008

FRIDAY'S FEAST

Appetizer

Have you ever played a practical joke on anyone? If so, what did you do and who was your victim?


That would be a yes. There were four of us who were really good friends way back from highschool. Glenn is in Manila, working as a Project Manager for a top tech company; Oliver is a doctor who's now practicing in Australia; and Eusebio is also a doctor but he's now living in Chicago. Anyway, back when we were still studying in Pisay, we went to this Science Fair sponsored by the French Embassy. All four of us, for one reason or another, decided to go to the restroom together. Being the shy one (back then), Glenn used the cubicle instead of the urinals. The remaining three of us locked Glenn inside the cubicle and we pressed against the door preventing him from going out. We didn't know Glenn was claustrophobic! So he was really struggling to get out and finally he kicked the door and the hinges came off. We ended up running away from the restroom as fast as we could fearing if we got caught, we would have to pay for the damages and the school will find out and we'd all end up in trouble. Had we known Glenn was claustrophobic, we wouldn't have probably done that.

Soup

What do your salt and pepper shakers look like?


The salt shaker I have at home is the one I stole off from the temporary apartment I lived in two months ago. It looks suspiciously like the salt shaker we use in the company cafeteria. Hahaha... The pepper shaker, on the other hand, is the I buy from the supermarket everytime I run out of pepper. For some reason, the groceries here don't sell cracked pepper in pouches that you can use to refill the glass shakers. Sometimes, their concept of recycling and waste management here in Switzerland baffles me.

Salad

Where is the next place you plan to visit (on vacation or business)?


I will be travelling to Thionville, France next week. I'm joining a three day audit of one of our steel forging suppliers who's been having some quality issues lately. Thionville is right smack in that area of France where it borders Germany, Luxembourg, and Belgium.

Main Course

What kind of lotion or cream do you use to keep your hands from getting too dry?


Actually I don't use lotion or cream to keep my skin from drying out. I really should, considering how easily the cold and dry winter air is making my skin so dry that I shed off skin. Eww....

Dessert

Make up a dessert, tell us its ingredients, and give it a name


Swiss Bora - a warm, rich chocolate cake with moist, almost runny, pure chocolate in the middle, generously topped with diced mango and swirled with cold mango puree/sauce all over.

February 15, 2008

THIRTY UNFINISHED SENTENCES

It's another boring Friday afternoon in the office and I'm just waiting until it's time to go home. Let's jumpstart the weekend by answering thirty nonsense questions...

1. Today is:
Friday.

2. I should be:
working.

3. The last text message I received
was from:
my mom.

4. And it said:
thank you for the Valentine flowers.

5. I am currently pissed off because:
my officemate is making unsolicited actions on my project.

6. My cellphone rings and the song that's playing is:
one of the those boring, system-installed ringtones.

7. I would love to see:
GMA thrown off from Malacanang.

8. If I could change my last name, it would be:
Gates.

9. After class, I love to:
smoke and get pissed.

10. My favorite subject is:
Chemistry.

11. I liked yesterday because:
it was Valentine's day.

12. But I still sort of didn't because:
I didn't have anyone to celebrate it with.

13. My favorite song/s right now would have to be:
Chemical Romance's I'm Not Okay.

14. I sometimes forget to:
zip my pants after peeing.

15. I currently have a crush on:
Katherine Heigl

16. My favorite number/s would have to be:
28

17. When I'm in a bad mood, it's better to just:
give me a pint of ice cream.

18. I really can't stand:
liars and backstabbers.

19. I'd break up with my boyfriend/girl friend right away if?
she's a liar and a backstabber.

20. If I were to get stuck in an elevator with someone, it would have to be:
Lindsay Lohan.

21. I'd really like to improve my grades on:
Skiing 101.

22 . The last thing that wasn't good that I bought with my own money is:
stinky cheese.

23. The name of the street where I live is:
Zimmermannstrasse.

24. I have never rode on:
a horse.

25. If I won the lottery, the first thing I would buy is/are:
a plane ticket back to Manila.

26. One bad habit of mine is:
smoking.

27. I go to school in:
Quezon City.

28. I study there because:
they felt I was good enough to get a full scholarship.

29. my friend/s who is/are not from my college/school is/are:
all of my friends are not from my school.

30. I am currently stressed because:
I had lousy sex last night.

February 13, 2008

FRANCE AND RANTS

As it turned out, I didn't just go to France yesterday, but I was also in Germany! It's just too bad that I was inside a moving car all that time and that the total time spent in Germany amounts to a grand total of 30 minutes. Hahaha. I love the way the countries in Europe are connected to each other. In the scope of eight hours, I was able to go from one country to another and another, and back to my "home country" in time for dinner.

So I finally experienced first hand how driving in the German Autobahn is like. I didn't really drive, it was my manager driving, but I was seated in the back. The minute we entered Germany, he just pushed the throttle and we were gone. 180kph. Whew. I can't wait to get my driver's licence and start being a road maniac around Germany. We travelled through the Schwarzwalder (Black Forest) and went on to France using the highway that goes all the way from Belfort to France. That part of France we were in was beautiful, with its rolling hills and low hills. Belfort, as I had learned from a French colleague, gets its name from the fact that the city is surrounded by the walls of a fortress that was put up during one of the wars with Germany. The region is not really known for its cuisine, owning to the fact that its an industrial region by nature, but he did say something about the fine sausages that they have. I really should stay in Belfort for a couple of nights sometime soon, so I can get a taste of those sausages!

On another note, it was not a good day in the office. I'm pissed off at three people. First is a colleague from Poland. Instead of referring to me, he called my officemate to discuss some problems regarding a project I'm managing. We recently rolled out a new database in Lotus Notes and it so happens that it only works on Release 6 of Lotus Notes. Unfortunately for some officemates in Poland, they still haven't received the upgrades, so that means the database encounters some errors when they try to access it. So this guy in Poland decided to call my colleague to discuss the problem. Second person I'm pissed at is my officemate. He proposed to the Polish guy to just sit back on the problem for a while until the Lotus Notes upgrades get rolled out and until the office in Poland gets trained on the details of the new database. I know he means well but still, it's my project and I feel I should be the one making decisions. I don't know about you but it borders on being unprofessional when you dip into someone's work affairs, make decisions, and then tell the affected person about it after-the-fact. Lastly, I'm pissed off at myself. I suppose the base reason why the Polish guy talked to my officemate was that he's uncomfortable talking to me in English and he's better at using German. I really should get German lessons and at least try to have some German conversation skills. I hope things start to get better in the office tomorrow. I can feel burnout beginning to set in.

February 11, 2008

France, Here I Come



A couple of weeks ago, I was finally able to receive my Schengen visa. Actually, this is my second one. For some unexplainable reason, the French Consulate in Zurich doesn't want to give me a long term visa. One that will last me until Switzerland joins the Schengen Treaty this coming October. This even after I have given them a letter from the HR Director from my company that I need a long term visa, not these one month visas that they keep giving me. And yes, I am complaining, because the lack of a proper Schengen visa is keeping me from doing my job properly.

Anyway, I will finally get to visit our factory in Belfort tomorrow. It's about 135 kilometers away from my apartment, a 1 hour and 30 minute drive by car. Fortunately, the whole group is coming with me and I will be riding with my manager. Unlike our factory in Switzerland, which only produces the rotor part of a generator, the factory in Belfort produces some of the biggest turbogenerators manufactured in the world, including those that goes into the biggest nuclear power plants. I can't wait. I actually want to see how these things really look like. Too bad I can't take pictures. Too bad as well that this is only going to be an in and out thing and that my first time in France will take a glorious ten hours in all.

January 29, 2008

I HATE MY PASSPORT




Actually, what I really wanted to say is that sometimes I hate being a Filipino. I hate the fact that, except when going to South East Asia or Hong Kong, being a Filipino means having to get a visa for just about any other country in the world. It has gotten to be such a nuisance that I think its preventing me from getting more exposure and more plum projects in the office. This week, I was supposed to go to France for a kickoff meeting for a big project and I wasn't able to join because my Schengen visa is still in processing. And to think that this is already my second Schengen visa in four months. I can't figure out why the folks in the French Embassy keep giving me three month valid visas when I had very clearly stated in the application form that I need a one year visa. I can only guess that it has something to do with what's boldly emblazoned across the cover of my passport.

And last Friday, my boss told me that I'll also take the lead in supplier selection for the big nuclear plant project in the US. No problems there, I already have a US visa and it won't be expiring until 2010. But the thing is, the major suppliers for this project are based in the UK. And the UK is not part of Schengen. So that means another visa application, another day getting interviewed for a UK visa, and another round of explaining why I need one. This is getting so very frustrating.

I know that nationality is an accident by birth. I hope that in a couple of years, I can finally undo this accident.

January 27, 2008

IF YOU WANT IT SO BADLY...

This post is for a very good friend. I wasn't able to say goodbye to her properly when I left Manila, but she knows how much I miss her. Even though we're both too busy with our own lives, I know we both make it a point to check each other's blogs and see what's going on. Xy, I know I've been bad and I haven't made any effort at all to update my blog with anything relevant about what's happening in my life here, but you know how it is sometimes. And speaking of effort, here's my take on your last post.

When you want something so bad, you don't leave things to fate and hope that it, whatever it is, will swing your way. Anything, be it work, relationship, a new hobby, these require a certain amount of effort to make it successful. Your "project", if you don't mind me calling it that, requires both of you to make it work. Although we have never talked about it (and now I'm wondering why we never had the chance to talk about it), I can see how happy you are with him. He's a very lucky guy to have you as a partner, and I hope it will still turn out to be a happy ever after story for the two of you.

January 13, 2008

MORE OF VINCENT BUENO

Apparently, Vincent has experienced performing in public before. Here he is, giving it up for a Vienna audience as front singer for Sarah Geronimo during her concert there.



I'm pretty sure talent managers in the Philippines are lining up to fly Vincent over to the Philippines for concerts and shows. So what do you think? Magiging Kapuso o Kapamilya si Vincent? Hahaha!

January 11, 2008

PINOY WINS AUSTRIA SINGING CONTEST

Vincent Bueno, a 22 year old son of Filipino immigrants in Austria, has just won Austria's premiere singing talent contest. Vincent competed against nine other contestants and in a very thrilling two hour show, came out triumphant after besting two other finalists.

The weekly show, called Musical: Die Show, is the Austrian version of USA's American Idol with a twist. Instead of normal pop music, the contestants are required to sing their favorite songs from Broadway musicals. Vincent's repertoire included songs from Mary Poppins, Singing in the Rain, Phantom of the Opera, and Miss Saigon.

In winning the contest, Vincent not only brings home with him €50000, but pride for the Philippines as well. Herzlichen Gl├╝ckwunsch, Vincent!

January 10, 2008

BUT I JUST GOT HERE

One of the things I hate about horoscopes is reading something which totally goes against what you want to happen to you. Like this Chinese horoscope I got off from the web. Sure, I love to travel. But do I really want to move to some other place again? I'm just beginning to get my seat warm here!

Overview

Your sign is Tiger.

It’s a year of mobility for the tiger. This means you will be doing a lot of moving this year. It could be either by way of traveling, moving to another home or office or experiencing some kind of life-change. You can look forward to traveling more a lot more than usual, whether it is for business or pleasure.

Fmaous Tiger: Leonardo Dicaprio, Stephen Chow, Debbie Allen, Kofi Annan, Sir David Attenborough, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands,Victoria Beckham, Beethoven, Tony Bennett, Tom Berenger, Chuck Berry, Jon Bon Jovi, Sir Richard Branson, Emily Bronte, Mel Brooks, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Agatha Christie.

Your reading:It’s a year of mobility for the tiger, which means you will be doing a lot of moving around this year. It could be either by way of traveling to far off places, moving to another home or office or experiencing some kind of life-change. You can definitely look forward to traveling more a lot more than usual, whether it is for business or pleasure.

If you are accustomed to constant changes in your life, you will find you are better able to deal with these upcoming changes. If however, you have gotten used to living a more staid and placid life where everything is pretty much constant, you may find it a bit more difficult to handle these disruptions. Do not start worrying about it unnecessarily; not all change is bad after all. You may just get a promotion and move to a bigger office or you may get lucky and find a larger house that is within your budget that could move into.

If you were born during spring or summer, you are in real luck. All the changes that take place are likely to be good ones. If you were born during autumn or winter on the other hand, you may want to brace yourself for some unpleasant changes. While it may not be all that bad, you certainly won’t have it as good as those lucky Tigers born during spring and summer.

Try and refrain from acting impulsively when it comes to career decisions. Even if the going seems tough, even if you seem to be traveling a lot but are not getting an adequate traveling allowance, even if you’ve started taking a dislike to your job; hang in there. This is not the ideal time to make career changes as the more changes you initiate, the more likely you are to jump from the frying pan into the fire. Dig your heels in and rough it out; the tough times will not last forever.

This is a profitable year for Tigers who are self-employed and for those who belong to certain professions such as doctors, lawyers and accountants, where you get paid for the amount of work you do. But you will have to work hard to earn your money. If you are an insurance salesperson, a financial consultant or a real estate agent you should concentrate on expanding your client base as more clients means more money earned.

Your lucky star, Yi Ma, which means traveling, changes and movement, signifies your improved odds of getting a new and better job. Go ahead and make career changes if you were born in spring or summer. If you were born in autumn or winter, you may want to resist exploring new opportunities and prefer to stay on in the old job, no matter how much you may want to change.

Gu Chen, which means loneliness, refers to the loneliness you are likely to feel when you are travel on business trips by yourself.


Si Sang and Sang Men, two other stars in your constellation, signify that you should tend to the health of the elderly family members. These two stars have a mild influence and do not do too much harm.

Your Palace of Parents is fine too so no need to worry about that either.