The essence of the remote control

31 May 2006     •     2 Comments
Daily Dose

I have a feeling a lot of other people can relate to this one.

I woke up this afternoon (yeah, I’m a vampire) thinking that I needed a quick break before working: I had one of those rare urges to watch television. My sister, Joyce, apparently had the same idea. But when we got to the living room, there seemed to be a problem: we couldn’t find the remote control.

Joyce and I searched practically the entire house (and even considered stealing our mom’s remote control), looking under tables, sofas, couches, you name it. Our maid, Marlyn, and Dad even joined the searched. We looked for the damned remote control for at least 20 minutes, only to find out that my sister’s dog, Whitey, made it her chew toy and even peed on it. So Joyce just went back to sleep, Dad turned to his gardening, Marlyn back to her chores, and I went to my computer room to get started on work.

It took me about an hour to realize that we could have just pushed the “ON” button on the television itself πŸ˜› This is really one of those things people do that makes you to just want to scratch your head, “huh?”

Imagine that. We searched practically the entire house when we could have just turned on the t.v. by pressing the power button. And to think I wasn’t exactly born during the years of the remote controlled tv. I remember back in the very early 80’s when our television sets made use of dials or channel buttons on the tv itself. Cable TV for households was still unheard of (or at least here in PI). There were very few channels to choose from back then, so I guess there wasn’t really the “need” for a remote control.

Funny. The more technology tries to “enhance” our lives, the more we make it seem complicated. I could have just pushed the power button on the television set, but no, I had to search the entire house for a remote control.

If you’ve done (or been doing) the same thing, raise your hand and say “aye!” Let’s make each other feel better by learning that we are not alone. Come on now… Don’t be shy. You know deep down you’re one of us. hehehe πŸ™‚

The Da Vinci Hype

25 May 2006     •     6 Comments
Daily Dose

Oh, sorry. I meant “The Da Vinci Code,” but I did mean the sarcasm πŸ˜€

No offense to people who loved this movie, but I was severely disappointed with the film adaptation of Dan Brown’s famous novel. Marc and I saw it last Sunday (I’ve been meaning to blog it, really). We got to the theaters at around 8pm, and the only screening with available seats was at 11PM. So ok we waited three hours. Shit. Three hours of waiting for a movie like that? I think we should have seen MI3 instead.

Maybe it’s because Forrest Gump had left too much of an impression on me that I really can’t see Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon. Anyway, Tom Hanks is great actor, so he’s probably not the problem. It’s the movie itself that’s the problem. Ok, I’ll say it.

The movie was BORING. It so boring that even rhinoplasty photos or any of those medical stuff would have more interesting.

It’s so not as exciting as the book. The book version of the Da Vinci Code kept me awake for an entire night, I couldn’t put it down. Dan Brown told the story so well that I felt my adrenalin pumping almost until the very end. But the movie? I hate to admit it, but I almost fell asleep.

I really can’t point what’s wrong with the movie, honestly… (well, maybe except for the fact that movie Sophie was made to look like an idiot when in the book she was more adept at cryptology than Langdon was)… There’s just something totally wrong about it. I think the only time that I was “affected” was seeing the albino monk torture himself (man, it looked painful).

I don’t know. Maybe I was just expecting too much after all the hype it received. Or maybe I was just expecting to see another Harry-Potterish film adaptationÒ€”excellent movie based on an excellent book. The Harry Potter 4 adaption was as faithful to the book version as possible, but was still able to stand with its own right. The Da Vinci Code movie? Nope. I think I would just rather re-read the book.

Pre-wedding jitter: Surname change

20 May 2006     •     10 Comments
Family Stuff

I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately. What happens after I get married in November?

If you look through my archives, you’ll see that I’ve been blogging on and off since February 2004. Most of my entries then had the typical “Tagalog-English” lingo (if you don’t speak Filipino by nature, I would really suggest you to not attempt to read them hehe). I’m quite embarrassed to admit that most of those entries had no substance, just random daily ramblings. Oh, well. Everyone needs to start somewhere right? I wouldn’t say my entries are fantastic now, but at least they now make some sense πŸ˜€

It’s nice to look at the “evolution” of one’s writing style sometimes. It’s self-serving, yes, but quite entertaining. And me, I know my blogging style has changed quite a lot. Heck, Kutitots started as a Flash personal site, an online playground, and now has evolved to mainly a blog. Frankly, I’ve gotten tired of having to update stuff manually in Flash. There’s a way to automate that, but I didn’t want to burden myself with it.

Anyway, looking back like this made me realize that it really takes time to establish a “self-brand” on the Net. It took me almost three years to have “Gail Dela Cruz” equate to “Kutitots,” at least in the local community. In the WordPress world, people know me as the author behind the Filipino-titled themes I’ve released so far (Dapit Hapon, Kurtina, and Isla). It took me a while to actually get the top spot on the Google search for “Gail Dela Cruz.”

Which brings me back to the surname issue.

It’s a culture thing. Women take the surname of their husbands when they get married and abandon their father’s name. I guess our ancestors never anticipated that women will get careers too in the future. πŸ˜›

By the end of November this year, I’ll no longer be “Gail Dela Cruz,” but “Gail Villanueva.”

Marc and I have actually discussed this already. We both know that I can’t just change my surname, since it’s basically my “brand name” on the Net. That’s why I’ll be using “Gail Dela Cruz-Villanueva” instead. It’s kinda long, but it’s best compromise to keep the “brand name” and at the same time acknowledge my change in marital status. I’ll also still keep my domain name… As for my credit line on my WordPress themes… That, I still don’t know. What do you guys think? Marc and I haven’t really talked about that yet. And I myself don’t know if it’s better to just keep it “Gail Dela Cruz” on my themes’ credit line. Ideas? I’m open for suggestions.

I know some people may think I’m making such a big deal about this, but the “Kutitots-Gail Dela Cruz” thing is how I have gotten most of my clients. It’s a big deal for me. If my work wasn’t tied to it, I probably wouldn’t have cared. But it is. Changing my name is like having a rebrand for a business.

Ah well. I’ll just cross the bridge when I get there πŸ˜›

Oh. My. God.

17 May 2006     •     8 Comments
Tech Things

I want to blog this on The Filipino Web Designer but I don’t have any intelligible words to say. Omigod. Omigod. OMIGOD!!!!

I think I’ve said OMIGOD so often today that my dad is already threatening to enter me in a convent.

So what’s freaking me out? I’ll tell you…

It’s really my habit to load Thunderbird as soon as I turn on my pc. And the first email that I saw was a notification of Dana’s comment on Filipino Web Designer. I was like… “what the f…?!” I checked ArenaWP and that’s when I started with my OMIGODs!

I was so freaking (and I’m still freaking) that Marc’s sister thought I’m losing my mind.

I’m sorry, but I really can’t help it. Seeing my name on that list was the last thing I’ve thought possible. I mean, come on… Although there are quite some people in the Philippine blogosphere who know me (mostly because of the first IBlog Summit where I gave a talk on blog design), I’m a nobody in the international WordPress community. I’ve honestly given up any hope of winning whatever in that contest after Terry released the official list of participants. So I just got myself distracted with work (which isn’t hard to do, since my weekend was practically all on work, work, work). You can just imagine the surprise I felt when I saw Dana’s comment. After spending practically the entire week in self-pity for being a work-slave, seeing my name on that list was simply unbelievable. Even my family thought my abrupt mood change was alarming hehehe πŸ˜€

My mind is still a bit incoherent right now. I’m blabbing. I’ll probably just blog about this properly once my mind’s stable again πŸ˜†

Those days

16 May 2006     •     2 Comments
Tech Things

Maybe it’s because I’m nearing my period… But I am so not feeling this layout anymore. I know it’s not done yet, but somehow I’ve just gotten tired of it. Still thinking of whether or not to release this theme for free… I already have quite a lot of themes (ok, just three) on my plate for release right now. Manuel has kindly provided photos for my use (I’ll credit him on the them of course), and I’ve been having quite a lot of fun playing around with them on my free time.

I don’t really understand why I’m not liking this design anymore… Maybe it’s also because the designs I made for my wedding blog and Marc’s blog are better. Hehe. Well, my opinion at least. I think they’re nicer.

I hope your mothers all had a great Mothers’ Day celebration. Mine did. We took her shopping. Hehe.

Random things…

12 May 2006     •     4 Comments
Daily Dose

This is probably one of the most boring titles I’ve ever come up with for a post. I just have varied stuff to talk about that I can’t seem to find the most appropriate title. Anyway, so you won’t get lost, I separated topics into subheads.

Wedding Update

We’re nearly done with my invitations, misallettes, and souvenirs. They look expensive. Haha. My second business, Filipino Artisans (the one I’m putting up with my sister, cousins, and auntie), is focused mainly on those wedding novelties, so I should be ashamed of myself if my invitations and misallettes looked like crap. Jalaine and Jasfer, my cousins who’re also in the Artisans “group” with me and my sister, made those souvenirs as their wedding giftÒ€”they’re really very pretty. Marc and I were shocked how pretty they made those deformed teddy bear figurines we bought ahehehehe (yeah, yeah, we’re stingy). If only I can show one here… But Dad said it’s not a good idea.

Marc and I have been working our arse off for this wedding. Since we’re kind of in a tight budget, our guestlist will mostly be composed of relatives. Marc and I have been thinking of just throwing a huge party for our friends after our honeymoon (we’d have at least something to spend then hehe). I am honestly skeptical in using the RSVP card with the “We have reserved ___ seats for you” thing. But as my dad’s cousin said, our relatives should be more understanding about it due to the hard times. Ah well. Dad and I are doing the easier way out: send over all the RSVP cards and guest list to his cousin so the “senior citizens” will be the ones who will decide how many seats to allot for whom πŸ˜€

Arts and Crafts
I remember a comment posted here in Kutitots asking me where I get my inspiration. Honestly, I don’t know, but I’ve just notice that I haven’t had a designer’s block ever since my sister and I started Filipino Artisans. There’s just something about doing arts and crafts that keeps this part of my brain creative. Hard to explain, but after a few minutes doing arts and crafts, my brain gets relaxed enough to produce something decent.

It’s been doing my sister a lot of good too. If you’ve read through the old version of my site, you’ll know that my sister is schizophrenic. Her medication is really good (you’d never think she was sick) albiet expensive, but her psychiatrist had advised to encourage her to do something productive other than EATING πŸ˜€ It would be nice if she could take up something like San Diego Jiu Jitsu, she’s lazy. We’ve tried to get her to exercise a thousand times already, but it just doesn’t work for her.

Making handmade invitations and misallettes is also helping her, not just me. She now has a sense of responsibility, and the arts and crafts sessions we have are a great help in improving her attention span.

Charity Work
To be honest, I’m quite swamped with work right now. Designing a yearbook, websites, and personal projects all at the same time aren’t a piece of cake. But hey, we need money. And to have money, you have to work. I’ve actually been losing some weight lately… That I don’t mind, as long as I don’t get so thin that my wedding gown will slip off me. Hehe.

Anyway, I’ve been doing some charity work in my free time. I’m almost done, and I’ll post them here soon. One is for our family’s doctor and another for my friend. It’s hard, but charity work is rewarding in some other way… Even if it’s not monetary. I’d be lying if I say I don’t need money. But if everything revolves around money… It just doesn’t seem right. I don’t really know why I do this, but I do. I guess I’ve just seen so many different sectors of people who don’t have the privelege that I have now (I’m not rich, but hey, I know I’m better off that those in the urban poor sector), that there’s something in me that makes me want to do at least something. My sched doesn’t permit me to do area work anymore, but helping out even in little ways is a good feeling by itself already.

I’m rambling.. Hehe. Bad pun. I think my brain is shutting off now πŸ˜€

Have a nice weekend everyone!

A mistaken potato identity

9 May 2006     •     3 Comments
Daily Dose

Marc and I went to Eastwood yesterday with his youngest sister, Diane, to watch Silent Hill (Mission Impossible will have to come later, waiting in the ticket line is IMPOSSIBLE), but we had to wait two hours for the showing. So we decided to eat first at Fuzion.Fuzion Smoothie Cafe is… a smoothie cafe. They usually serve finger food, but I was so starved I could eat a cow so I ordered a rice meal. Marc got a smoothie for the reason that we’re in a SMOOTHIE cafe, and Diane got this Potato Platter thingie. My Asian Barbecue was ok, but Diane’s potatoes were a bit weird.

We thought that the sour taste was part of the seasoning. At first we thought it was the sauce, but then I tried the potato alone, and it’s still tangy. So there’s the culprit: the potato! Well, since that was the first time we ever ate at Fuzion, we assumed that it really tastes that way.

Marc and I helped Diane finish her order, and when there were about 5 potato pieces left to eat, our waitress approached us and asked for feedback. I commented off-hand (and forever being tackless), “your food is good, but the potato is a bit sour. Kind of weird combination of herbs is it?” Then the waitress thanked me and left for the kitchen.

There was about 1 potato left when she approached us again. But this time, she was carrying a platter of twister fries. “Ma’am, compliments of the house for the sour potato you ate.”

What the f**k?!!!

So it wasn’t a “unique blend of herbs.” It was friggin’ bad!

Well, they were very apologetic about it. And they admitted it without me pointing it out intentionally. That’s a rare thing these days. There are very few restaurants or cafes that will do the same thing, and would probably even deny giving you bad food. Honest people in business is becoming a rarity these days. Most are just concerned with profit, and it’s a refreshing change to know that there still exists business people who value customer satisfaction.

If I get diarrhea out of this, well, at least I’m no longer constipated. πŸ˜† Kidding.

Seriously though. I like their food. And their honestly made me like them even better. Regardless of my mistake in the potato’s identity (I ate a friggin’ bad potato and actually ENJOYED it!), I can honestly say that I’d eat at Fuzion again. I’d even recommend them to you guys… But just keep in mind that the potatoes in the Potato Platter SHOULDN’T be sour. If it is, ask for free twister fries! πŸ˜€

New WP Themes: Isla and Kurtina

3 May 2006     •     7 Comments
Tech Things

In case you don’t visit my blog project on WordPress regularly… I will be releasing two new themes soon: Isla theme and Kurtina theme.

The reason for the hold up is because I haven’t submitted those two themes to the Theme Browser and WordPress Theme Park yet. I honestly don’t want SheeroMedia’s server to handle all download requests. At least when people get to download it on those sites first, I’ll only have to provide an alternate download locations. But primarily the downloads will be made there on those sites.

Just to give you a brief on those themes…

Isla is one of the first fluid layouts I’ve ever made since the ’90s. I don’t know, I guess I just never really liked them… I am quite particular when it comes to paragraph width, considering that I’m also a print graphic designer. Fluid layouts usually make text span across the screen with a ridiculously wide width that I find the text hard to read. Well, that’s my opinion at least. I know some people like them, that’s why I made the Isla theme that way. πŸ™‚ Maybe when I have time I’ll release a fixed width alternative for those people too lazy to modify it themselves πŸ˜€

If you’ve seen my photoblog you’ll know where Kurtina comes from πŸ™‚ Let’s just say Pixeliera version 2 is in the works that’s why I released the theme to the public. I just thought that it would be a waste to just junkÒ€”it there might be some people who’d like to use it for their WordPress blogs.

Anyway, just check out The Filipino Web Designer to see the themes in action. To switch themes, just use your eyes and brains hehe. There’s a section on the sidebar that says, “Switch Theme.”

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