Browsing Date

September 2009

Capturing my wonderful friends on the new lens

Photography By September 16, 2009 No Comments

Some of us work so hard and hardly get a so-called social life. (I am not referring to myself of course because I manage to have a so-called social life and I don’t work.*straight face goes here*) That’s what movies like Kimmy Dora do: bring friends together for a night of dinner, movie, coffee and hanging out til the wee hours of the morning.

Of course, I saw that as an opportunity to test the new lens more.

And here are my favorite shots of the night.

Nick and Kalai

Nick and Kalai

Taken at The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf in Gateway Mall, Araneta Center, Cubao right after the movie. Still testing the lens and what it can do. Love this photo. Pre-nup guyst? 😉

Kristelle and Jma

Telle and Jma

Kristelle whom we don’t get to see so much these days because of [hectic] work schedules and Janice. Fun and quirky these two are all the time!

Roma and Abet

Roma and Abet - just friends

Took a liking to this ceiling lamp Nick installed over their dining area…

Roma-g

Big eyes Roma

… which explains the barrage of photos taken under it. 🙂

Abet and Hash

Husband and wife Abet and Hash

… daddy and mommy too! 😛

Ktin, Roma-g and Abet

Nurse Ktin with these peeps from F.A., I mean, I.D...

Glad to have you back with us Ktin.. :*

Summer

Chef Summer

…and you too Sum.. Don’t get to see you a lot ever since you started culinary school. I miss you much, all the time and I love you forever and ever.

Kalai

Relaxed and happy Kalai

Ryan and I love this photo. Go Ananda Kanani model!

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Test shots with the Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 lens

Photography By September 12, 2009 No Comments

Weekend after weekend of nothing but heavy pouring rain, we finally made our way to Quiapo. We thought about getting the lens from some place else except that Ryan really wanted me to be able to go to Quiapo. Why?

So I could..

…go crazy over the ukay-ukay stores
…buy fruits-all-I-can at ridiculously cheap prices (a kilo of lanzones for P80 which is the same price as that in Camiguin, a kilo of mangosteen at P100 which is cheaper than in Davao, a kilo of deliciously huge mangoes that might as well have been from Guimaras at P50)
…ogle hangers at P25 a dozen (yes I have an obsession with hangers)
…buy cheap sheets and slippers
…hoard baby wipes
…buy hot hopia, smoked fish and broccoli

Oh right, those were not really the reasons why we made our way there though they might as well have been.

So I finally got my 50mm 1.8 lens. And here are the test shots:

Lia as unwilling subject..

Lia as unwilling subject.. grainy.. grainy...

Ok, so the first test shot was grainy, grainy, grainy. Was disappointed with myself there.

Click, click, click away. This was so far the best shot.

Pretty pretty

Pretty pretty

Quite proud of myself here. No, not because the shot is pretty good but because I made such a pretty baby. Hah-hah-hah-hah! (Kung Fu laugh there)

Since I’m done with the baby or more like the baby is done with me, move on to the other [furry] baby who was told to give her best and apparently she considers this as her best.

Is my best not good enough?

Is my best not good enough?

After being told repeatedly that her best was not good enough, she upped and walked away. What a snob.

Not to be easily discouraged, I haunt her and coax her into giving more than her best.

This is my bestest ever

This is my bestest ever

And more than her best is sticking out her tongue. Well, I say it’s good enough. She looks like she has gone to doggy heaven – which is what I actually hope for her in the long run. Hah-hah-hah-hah! (Another Kung Fu laugh)

Done with the babies in the house, I moved on to more interesting things such as…

The banister of the spiral staircase

The banister of the spiral staircase

And of course, if you know me, you should have expected this from me already. Hah-hah-hah-hah! (More Kung Fu laugh)

Obsession with lamps

Obsession with lamps

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MOMents on Net-25

MOMents By September 11, 2009 3 Comments
A mom's show!

Special Awardee for Promoting Family Values and Solidarity - 1st MTRCB TV Awards

MOMents is NET 25’s show for mothers and kids that feature the different bonding moments, child-rearing styles and the many facets of motherhood.

Moments every Saturday at 6:30pm/ 10pm at Net-25

We used to not have TV. No, it’s not that we did not own a television set. It was just that we did not have cable television or even a good old antenna reception signal in the old condo. A month or so after I had the baby, Ryan decided that it would be nice to have cable television so that I would not be so bored at home taking care of the baby or that I would be able to watch movies on HBO while the baby slept. Actually I think he just really wanted to watch basketball and UFC.

I do not really watch television. I lost the habit when I moved to El Nido in 2005 and never really got it back when I moved back to Manila. I probably own five hundred DVDs though.

When we first got the cable television, I would just flip through channel after channel totally uninterested. Until one afternoon, I found myself watching Gladys Reyes Sommereux in some show I did not know about talking to mothers and talking about all kinds of mommyhood. I had so much fun. I did not really know the show or even the schedule. For a month I just found myself watching the show at odd hours and totally enjoying it. Until they announced they had a facebook page and only then did I get the actual sched.

MOMents has got to be my favorite show as of the moment. In fact, I love it so much that I named one of my blog categories after it.

Dawn Zulueta guests on MOMents

Dawn Zulueta guests on MOMents

I remember watching the episode with Dawn Zulueta and just laughing away and identifying with everything Dawn, as an experienced expectant mother was saying. She was just so OC about everything and she was just really cute! She had everything ready. She probably had like five hospital bags! One for her, another for the baby, another for her husband, another for the visitors and her own beddings too! She had plastic plates, cups, spoons and forks for the would-be visitors she said! It was all too cute. She showed us her baby scrapbooks and diaries too and I thought, “Now why didn’t I think of that?” and then Dawn said, “I didn’t have this too for when I had my son and I regret it..” or something to that effect. Oh, the benefits of being a non-first timer. You know what to expect.

Psychedelic Heart from Googoo&Gaga

Psychedelic Heart from Googoo&Gaga

And then she had to show us the baby stuff she had for her to be born-daughter and she had these! I remember being so enviousssss!! Hahaha. I was like, “Where did she get those?! I want to get some too!” I had wanted to scour the malls to get my baby her own funky onesies because they were just so hard to resist. Though I already did that before I had the baby and know for a fact that there are no such funky onesies in the mall. I did get to find out where such funky onesies can be bought – courtesy of Facebook. (I do love clicking on the Facebook ads.) Though I have yet to decide whether or not to get one of those uber-cute onesies or tees because they are quite expensive. If you want to see more of them super duper lovable onesies and tees, click here. I wish I can afford them though. 🙁

Lately, I have not been able to watch television much, not even my most favorite show as of the moment but I am glad that they won the award. They sure deserve it. Kudos to MOMents on Net-25. I hope there are more shows like this out there too. Congratulations for a fun, educational and award-winning show! You are and having been doing such a wonderful job for us mothers, first-timers or not, out there.  For that, thank you very much Gladys and the staff!

MOMents with host Gladys Reyes Sommereux

MOMents with host Gladys Reyes Sommereux

Click here to be a fan on Facebook.

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Dulaang U.P. Presents Von Kleist’s Amphitryon

Theater By September 10, 2009 No Comments
Dulaang U.P. Presents Heinrich von Kleist’s 'Amphitryon'

Dulaang U.P. Presents Heinrich von Kleist’s 'Amphitryon'

Dulaang UP’s fourth production for its 34th Theater Season is a Roman comedy by German playwright Heinrich von Kleist’s Amphitryon– a tale of love, godly games and mistaken identities. Filipino translation by Jerry Respeto, directed by José Estrella.

Amphitryon is a moral fable that challenges our deeply rooted beliefs about love, infidelity and identity. It presents a loving and faithful wife who is left alone by a husband-king engaged in battle. God–Jupiter falls in love with her, disguises and presents himself as the long-lost husband. After the disguise and deception the god-lover disappears, and the mortal husband, King Amphitryon, returns. Would she recognize the difference?

amphitryon

The cast includes Neil Sese, Lex Marcos, Diana Malahay, Gilleth Sandico, George de Jesus, Paolo O’Hara, Diana Alferez and Natasha Cabrera.

Amphitryon will run from September 9 to September 22, 2009 at the Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero Theater, 2nd floor Palma Hall, UP Diliman, Quezon City. For inquiries call the Dulaang UP office at 9261349; 4337840; 9818500 Local 2449 or 2451.

***

I am off to watch the gala on Friday, September 11. Excited much! Hahahaha. And then perhaps, will have dinner at Cocina Juan in Maginhawa St. in U.P. Village. Excited much!

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SuperFerry 9 sinking claims lives.. and the question is Why?

Musings, Travel By September 9, 2009 Tags: , , No Comments
Ferry sinks off Philippine coast 9 confirmed dead

Ferry sinks off Philippine coast 9 confirmed dead

It was a nice quiet Monday morning when I was told of the news. We read it online here. No, I did not know any of the passengers. My interest was only due to the fact that I had thought and wished it was not the one that went to Palawan.

I have taken the SuperFerry thrice. The first time was October 2007 and I was alone. In October 2007 I had a round trip ticket to Butuan. I had wanted to explore Camiguin and Siargao on my own. What was most unfortunate was that a Philippine Airlines plane crashed on the Butuan airstrip that morning and all succeeding flights were thus canceled until the mess had been cleared. The thing I hate most about traveling is unpacking. I did not want to go home, unpack my bags and pack them again for the next day for when my flight was rescheduled. Actually, I just wanted to go away, anywhere. It did not matter. I spent most of the day trying to get into other Cebu Pacific flights to other destinations to no avail.

And then I remembered it was a Friday. A SuperFerry departs for Palawan on a Friday afternoon. I thought that was a good time to go to Coron and I had always wanted to go to see what the fuss was all about. I took a cab from the airport to the port and made it. I made a friend whose name was Jeff and who was a local while waiting at the booking office and ended up spending a week in Coron hanging out with his friends. I booked myself in the cheapest accommodation available. I paid less than P900.

Though it was my first time to take the SuperFerry, it was not my first time to travel on a boat – a big boat. When I was still attending YFC leadership conferences, we took the Negros Navigation to Iloilo as well as to Bacolod. And I loved being in the top deck the most. In my experience, it was where the wind blew all day and all night long and where there was an almost 180-degree view.

I went back to Coron in April 2008 simply because the first time I was there, I did not get to see the beaches, the lakes or the islands. It rained most of the time the last time I was there and I spent my days just lounging around in my quaint little room in the main house of Darayonan Lodge reading magazines and having massages and manicures and pedicures. I took the SuperFerry again. Again, I was on the wait list at the booking office. Again, I took the top deck. Again I made a friend at the office while waiting and his name was Owen. He had a group of people and I wanted to come along with them so I could go see the islands, the lakes, the beaches and all that. This time though I paid more than P2,000. They told us the boat was full, that I was even lucky to get onboard. Didn’t matter whether I paid almost thrice for the same accommodation and that I along with the others on the wait list had to wait for almost three hours in the lobby for the receptionist to give us a bunk.

I went back to Coron in June 2008. I took the Super Ferry again. I was traveling with my husband and a lot of friends this time.  More than half of them took bunks in the tourist section because it was air-conditioned, it was cleaner and actually, so much nicer. I still took the top deck – the red deck.

Passengers at the Superferry railing

Passengers at the Superferry railing

On my first trip to Coron, I flew back to Manila via Asian Spirit. On the second trip, I took a boat called the Asian Fairy to El Nido and then from El Nido took the I.T.I. plane back to Manila. On my third trip, I took the Super Ferry back. I still took the red deck.

The red deck.

The red deck has metal bunks painted in red. It is open-air. It can get either really windy or really hot and stuffy. It is easy to get sea-sick as you can feel the movement of the ship the most in the top deck. It is also where animals like roosters, chickens and birds can be kept. Smoking is allowed in the red deck. That being said, it can get noisy and stinky in the red deck. But I always have and will always take the red deck no matter what anyone says.

Because…

In the red deck, you have a 180-degree view, it is easier to see what is going on. It is also easy open and wider.

Every time I took the boat I always thought about what I would do and what would happen if ever we had to abandon ship. I always checked out where the life vests and rafts were. I always checked out where the emergency exits where. I always thought the top deck was the safest. No cramped hallways. No stifling walls. It provided the easiest way of getting out.

“As dawn broke in waters off the Zamboanga peninsula on a clear day, the SuperFerry 9 had capsized, according to officials, leaving at least twelve people dead in the panic and scramble for the exits.”

Panic. In times like this, panic is everybody’s worst enemy. The ship took hours to sink. There was no need for panic. It was a clear day with calm seas, a generally good weather. There weren’t big waves or rain to make evacuation or rescue worse. I hate panic.

And the most appalling of all…

“Survivor Raffy Borro said it was his first time to see babies and children thrown out to the water as their mothers cried.”

I was, WTF?!

I spent the rest of the day thinking, trying to understand why these mothers thought it was best to throw their babies and children out to the waters. Did they think they were gonna float on their own? Did they think other people were gonna take pity on them and save them first? I was so angry.

If I were on a boat with my child and we were told to abandon the vessel, the last thing I would do is throw my child into the sea and spend the next hours wondering how or where she is. In fact, I would not let my child out of my sight or out of my reach. I will keep her safe and she is safest with me. A human’s natural tendency is to put himself or herself first and so in a time of such panic, one is not to depend on anybody else but himself. A human mother’s natural tendency is to put her child first – unless she is so freakin stupid. Yes I am still angry. In fact, I don’t think I will get over it.

I hate panic but I hate stupid selfish parents more.

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Hanging out at Mogwai

Cubao X By September 5, 2009 Tags: , , , 1 Comment

Some days you just miss your friends and the good old days. Though in the old days, when we all were students, it was Sarah’s at Krus na Ligas. Or Lime Post in Maginhawa St. in U.P. Village. In the not-so old days when we were students no more, when Cubao X was still the Marikina Shoe Expo, we hung out at Starbucks or The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf over at Gateway.

I suppose what is nice about Facebook, aside from all those applications like Farmville and Mafia Wars, is that you get to hang out with your friends, even if virtually. But there just isn’t any substitute for simply hanging out at some cozy place with your friends talking about everything and nothing all at the same time.

These days we can be found hanging out at Mogwai at Cubao X because we all live relatively close by. Though I miss hanging out at Bonifacio High Street, I have never hung out in there with my friends. Taguig was just so far away for them. Now we live at the border of Pasig and Quezon City, and Taguig is now so far away for me too.

Stairs to the second floor where screenings are held

Stairs to the second floor where screenings are held

I don’t drink. Most people do not or are unable to believe that about me. It is not that I have never. In fact, there was a time when my alcohol tolerance was high. That was a long time ago too. So, when we hang out at Mogwai, all I ever get to have is iced tea… and the reason I keep coming back there, dark molten lava cake. Yummm! I love desserts. 😉

Saw Marcus there and I dare say he has not changed a bit. It’s been five years since we last saw each other though, come to think of it. It’s been five years since I hung out with the indie movie people, since we hung out at Joel Torre’s place at San Juan, since I was at Mowelfund a lot, since we did Roxlee’s Juana in Antipolo with Joie, Ray, Marcus and all the others. There was a time when I went out a lot and hung out with a lot of different people. When the hours went by fast and things were always fun, fun, fun. Those I think was when I was still quite young. These days I am just all about sitting quietly in relatively obscure places like that little place in New York St. inside the village.. or Bonjour cafe at the Total gas station along Calle Industria.. or maybe just the hammock in our garage. Or making official dates to hang out with friends.

Sipping coffee quietly at a birthday party

Sipping coffee quietly at a birthday party

…Or hanging out at some friend’s house for another friend’s birthday party. By the way, Happy birthday Rex Literato. Hope you love spending your birthdays with us. It’s been two years.. Cheers to more birthdays and more years of travel and friendship. Yes, we love you. 😉

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How I Did the Watermark in Photoshop

Photography By September 3, 2009 No Comments

It took me a long time to figure out how to add a watermark or more importantly, add a watermark by batch, in Photoshop. A long time meaning years. Up until now I still do not know how to use the Photoshop. Sometimes I am able to do something, but as with every other skill, if you don’t practice, you eventually forget.

So one day, I finally decided to sit down and figure it out, all in the hopes of being able to make my life easier somehow in some not-so distant future. Google always works of course. Where would we all be without it? But then, much to my frustration, not a single one of the helpful sites on how to do watermark batch processing wrote it all down completely.

For my own future reference, as of course, I might forget; and for everyone else there who might be even slightly interested, here is how I did my watermark in Photoshop. For those who are experts, ignore me. Thank you very much. 😀

***

This is how I added a transparent watermark and copyright info to a whole folder of photos.

Some prep work…
Use a transparent watermark for protecting IP rights yet showing off pictures. Try to make all images looked consistent when viewed as a collection, for example in terms of size, effect, position etc. So first, resize all images to a certain size (use Photoshop Actions and batch command to resize images.) then group landscape and portrait photos in two source folder (i.e. Source_landscape, Source_portrait) Then, create two actions: e.g. ‘watermark Landscape’ ‘watermark portrait’.
Create an ‘output’ folder as well.

Copy the copyright sign from Start>All Programs>Accessories>System Tools>Character Map

Watermark…

Step 1) Open a landscape image, go to your actions palette and create a new action.  For example, “Watermark Landscape”. Press record.

Action Record

Step 2) Add new layer. Choose Horizontal Type Tool from your Tool Palette. Paste your copyright sign then write your name or your company or your site, whatever it is you want to be in the watermark.
Step 3) Layer menu: Rasterize > Type
Step 4) Filter menu: Stylize > Gaussian Blur
Step 5) Filter menu: Stylize > Emboss, angle 135

Embossing

Step 6) Set the layer blending mode to “Hard Light” to let the image show through.

Hard Light

Step 7) To embed a copyright note go to file.
File > File Info
This brings up the file info dialog. This is where you enter information that you want embedded into the file itself.

Copyrighting

Step 8) Layer menu: Flatten image
Step 9 ) Click on the stop icon at the bottom of the Actions Palette to stop recording. Close working image.

watermark-9

Step 10) Open the original image. Test “Watermark landscape” action or re-record to satisfaction.

Batch process all images
1) In Photoshop, go to File > Automate > Batch
2) In the Play section pull down “Action” and select “Watermark Landscape” action you created earlier.
3) The “Source” Section:
Since we did not create an “Open” Command in our Action, we need to make sure the “Override Action “Open” Commands” is NOT checked.
“Suppress file Open Options Dialog” should be checked.
“Suppress Color Profile Warnings” should be checked.
4) Click the “Choose” button and select the folder “source_landscape” you created in prep-work.
5) “Destination” Section:
The “Destination” should be set to “Folder”. Click on the “Choose” button and select the folder you created called “output”.
Make sure the “Override Action “Save As” command” is checked. Otherwise batch will create two identical files for each image – one named after original name (this is what action records in ‘save for web’) and the other name after the following pattern.
6) “File Naming” Section.
I prefer to prefix original image file name with something like ‘forWeb_’ just to differential it from original file. To do this:
Set the first box to ‘forWeb_’
Set the second box to “Document Name”
Set the third box to “Extension”.
7) Uncheck ‘Override Action “Save as” commands’
8) Now, to process your images, just click “Ok”.

And that’s it. (Repeat this for portrait images)

Credits to this site for the images used in this blog.

Also credits to this site for most of the text or instructions used in this blog. Thank you very much.

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Who is Banksy?

Design By September 2, 2009 Tags: , , No Comments

I never cared for Banksy much, although I know someone who loves the works, until one night while waiting for the time to feed the baby a bottle while she slept, I decided to click on one inconspicuous ad in some website and found Banksy, and more Banksy, and more more Banksy… and was hooked.

Girl with Balloon, originally uploaded by Onzin; taken on May 21, 2004

Girl with Balloon, originally uploaded by Onzin; taken on May 21, 2004

Maybe because at that precise moment I was mushy and I appreciated the red heart. I have seen a Banksy sighting photo before and did not really think much of it.

Kids on Guns, originally uploaded by eddiedangerous; taken on February 27, 2008

Kids on Guns, originally uploaded by eddiedangerous; taken on February 27, 2008

Reading more on Banksy changed me in some ways. I love Banksy’s sense of humor. I love his art. As a supposedly (or better yet, perhaps, a wanna-be) artist, I am continually looking for inspiration, whether it be in the plays I watch, photos I see or even those that my friends take, movies or even series, books, music, all kinds of what we call art these days or just random things you see out there.

Last year a friend, an arguably good professional photographer and a friend all the way back from first year high school, took the time to criticize my work while we were hanging out at a rock cafe that a friend of ours owned. He asked me, “What is it really that you want to express in your work?” I always think about my role in theatre and the role of theatre in my life but I never think about my work in photos. He said, “All you take photos of are beaches and sunsets.” He wanted to see growth. He wanted to see an evolution as an artist. A year has passed and I am still thinking about his question. Sadly, I still do not have an answer.

Bethlehem, 2005. Banksy imagines digging through the security fence and finding paradise.

Bethlehem, 2005. Banksy imagines digging through the security fence and finding paradise.

Who is Banksy anyway?

“Banksy is a quasi-anonymous English grafitti artist. His artworks are often satirical pieces of art on topics such as politics, culture, and ethics. His street art combines graffiti writing with a distinctive stencilling technique. His stencils feature striking and humorous images occasionally combined with slogans. The message is usually anti-war, anti-capitalist or anti-establishment. Subjects include rats, monkeys, policemen, soldiers, children, and the elderly.” (Lifted off the wikipedia entry on Banksy but if you want to know more, there are hundreds of pages about him if you google.)

I found this nice slide show of his works too here.

I do love Banksy’s sense of humor. These days when I am bored, I can’t help but think about the message he left at the Bristol Zoo’s elephant enclosure, “I want out. This place is too cold. Keeper smells. Boring, boring, boring.”

And who can resist this?

Originally uploaded by artofthestate; taken on February 8, 2007 in London

This is Not A Photo Opportunity, originally uploaded by artofthestate; taken on February 8, 2007 in London

Banksy has sprayed “This is not a photo opportunity” on certain photograph spots. It is now to be found all over the world (Paris, Sydney and Havana at least) according tho this website (which also has a nice body of Banksy works.)

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