Transferring and editing of previous blog posts is ongoing. I’m behind 10 years but I’ll finish it. In the meantime, you may still navigate through the mess.
Transferring and editing of previous blog posts is ongoing. I’m behind 10 years but I’ll finish it. In the meantime, you may still navigate through the mess.
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My Apple story started with an interesting chat. “Cris, I’d like someone who would appreciate the features of an Apple Watch. Would you use it?” It was a question that only merits a yes. Few moments later the offer went further and better. “I realize it needs to be paired with an iPhone. Are you willing to let go of your Android?” Some hesitation on my end but another big yes followed. An Apple for a Redmi? Go figure. I’d receive the package in a few days.
It was all excitement and anticipation until that fateful call from FedEx. “Sir, we have your package but it exceeds the allowed value and you don’t have an importation license. There would be Customs fees and duties. “
Customs. Fees. Sucks.
What could have been a week or less of delivery soon dragged. I had to accomplish an itemized list of the package contents that I don’t have any idea what were exactly packed. I waited while my package undergoes customs process. Physical inspection among them. It was uncertain if they’d open the box. Whatever they plan to do I was only interested in the two costly Apples—phone and watch. The process felt like an eternity. Like bad constipation.
Sender was bugging FedEx in the US for not setting clear expectations—blame fine prints? While I stay still and helpless, avoiding Philippine Customs from doing something that could be to my disadvantage. I was going with the flow.
Three weeks later I heard from FedEx Philippines. I was advised I’d be paying almost Php18,000 COD on top of what was paid in the US. I didn’t dispute, just wanting to be done and over with it. Besides, I wouldn’t get an iPhone XS and an Apple Watch, even pre-owned, with that price. Just an unexpected expense but still worth it. Been thinking of getting a new Garmin anyway.
The package arrived intact. Looks like it was never opened nor tampered. I was also surprised that sender actually had the Apple Watch and iPhone in their original packaging like it was brand new. I was Impressed. I won’t regret paying Php18K.
Remember how this all started? Well there’s more to it as eventually I got a refund. Not from FedEx, not for Customs either—never in our lifetime these guys will do that. Sender was so kind enough to make sure I don’t spend anything out of my shallow pocket. So I’m now here at a Honda dealership for a scheduled maintenance of our 11-year old City using the money I got back. Thanks again!
Mood: 3/10 Honks! (Under the mercy of mediocre Filipino film on TV)
For a couple of years already Marcus has maintained his own Youtube channel. Called 11 AM Guy, his channel houses videos he personally created which are mostly about his favorite games and lyrics videos of Taylor Swift songs. He’s a big fan.
Today, over lunch, he introduced to us his 100th video since he started the channel in 2018. With his recent rate of uploads, 100 videos was just bound to happen this year so what really surprised us was in this latest video, he talks. He recorded his voice for the very first time.
Like any other first times, the voice over could definitely be better, however, what’s remarkable here is that Marcus was able to control his stutter on the recording. In this past months Marcus has been stuttering more and more–one of the signs of DMD progression–so I was listening closely if it’s going to be evident. There were some wheezing but nothing very significant. Good job son! We are proud.
Coincidentally, today is the 7th day after I had Marcus’ Youtube channel logo tattooed on my left arm. As expected the scabs are starting to fall off and overall the tattoo is healing nicely. Only issue is that I had it placed to cover an area that itches and sheds skin a lot–I suspect it’s psoriasis, no thanks to Google self-examination. First couple of days my hopes are up that the head will hold but as the first week approaches the ink was obviously fading away. I can live with that but I need another tattoo design soon.
Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Long weekend is bliss)
There’s such thing as digital karma. Last weekend I jokingly posted on Facebook: “Good news: vaccines are here. Bad news: I got used to working at home.” It was half meant. Well, more like 90-10 in favor of working at home. But soon enough, karma reared its ugly head as it didn’t last long before I had to report to work after more than six months.
My HP laptop died on me while I was working, close to ending a Monday night shift. There was a click before the monitor went black, keyboard backlights out too, and never to be turned on again. All files worth most of my 2020 gone just like that. Joke was on me.
On Tuesday night, against my will, I was back at the office with the hope to get a replacement. Bummer our IT can only give me a desktop and cannot commit if I could get another laptop again. Next day though I returned to find out I’m getting a small form CPU which I actually liked. (Also learned that I have free shirts, a jacket, and a Timex watch from Christmas so I called it even. I’m easily pleased you know.)
Then today I discovered something that I should have had a year back. While inside my idling car, waiting for my turn at the veterinary clinic (with my ever whining dog, Shadow, in the backseat) I played around with my phone to kill boredom. For a change, I switched back to the phone’s default SMS app instead of Messenger, then gave my BDO bank app another try, anticipating disappointment. But guess what, I was in for a surprise that a simple switch fixed a year long issue.
So if there is anyone out there with the same issue adding their device to their BDO app, here’s a solution: Do not use your Messenger as your SMS app. You can thank me later.
Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Survived the week of lost Excel files.)
Another year is about to end in four hours and counting. Most, if not all, will surely agree that 2020 wasn’t an easy year. A year we all want to forget. Or so it seems.
But not all is lost in 2020. For one, mine started with a trip to the US. My second business trip which lasted for a week like one I had in Wisconsin back in 2001. Kansas was colder though in January.
On my return flight was when things started to get freaky. While onboard the plane I learned Taal volcano spewed large volume of ashes. Flight was diverted to Cebu but I eventually got home on the same day. Weeks that followed we had to wear masks and little did we know that it was an introduction to the what will happen in the next months.
The ashes soon disappeared, the roads were no longer dusty. But 2020 had more bad tricks up its sleeve. COVID-19. This time it’s not just people within the 15-20 km radius of Taal who are affected and had to wear masks. This time the whole country went on panic mode to stock up on surgical masks–and alcohol. March was the beginning of what everyone would soon realize as the new norm.
Isolation became the name of the survival game. We soon got used to hearing and talking about social distancing and working from home started to be popular. Thanks to our company’s business continuity efforts, we soon saw ourselves among those who’d be doing our jobs in the confines of our own home. Have I mentioned I got promoted?
Beating boredom and so called cabin fever–which I’m sure is a term most of us only heard in the movies before COVID-19–internet challenges trended. People were baking, concocting Dalgona coffee, doing TikToks, and some took on physical challenges.
Having started working at home since years ago, I took on the #25pushupchallenge immediately after I got tagged. It wasn’t easy, to be honest, but it was fun. I completed the required 25 days and learned other pushup varieties along the way.
Like finishing a Netflix series, the end of the pushup challenge left some sort of void. Many times I pondered running again, maybe early mornings will do, but the thought of picking up and bringing home the virus had me cancel all plans of hitting the road again. But then comes online shopping and the mysterious relevant Facebook ads. I soon found one that sells treadmills.
To cut the story short, wifey approved and pitched in to purchase a NordicTrack S20. The treadmill alone initially costs Php72K but I got it for just about Php62K (AVR included). It was bang for the buck. I was soon back to running after more than seven months hiatus.
Routines at home also changed. A lot. Our bedroom also soon functioned as my office on weekdays. I had to relocate to avoid crowing roosters from joining my meetings. Thankfully, wifey willingly gave up her freelance job station to me in exchange for a simple chair and desk setup.
Our son’s schedule altered as well. Few weeks after I started working at home his sleeping time changed significantly. From the usual 2 AM it extended until 5 AM–almost a full night shift. It took me some months to adjust to his recreation time yet I somehow managed to adapt to it. It is now common for me to stay up around past 3 AM on weekends for Xbox games with him.
All things considered, 2020 wasn’t bad at all. There’s no point caving in to fear of the ongoing uncertainties of the lingering pandemic. Like most things, the sooner we accept change, the faster we transition to the new norm. We all hope of course that we get the COVID-19 vaccine so we can face 2021 with more sense of security and confidence. Fingers crossed.
Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Happy New Year!!!)
Day 2 of being 47 and I don’t feel like it. Goal this year is to stay healthy for and with wifey and Marcus. Simple as that.
Mood: 1/10 Honks! (Couldn’t ask for more.)
The house has been free of bullets zipping past from left to right and grenades exploding like they were nearby. We played one Call of Duty Zombies last weekend but that was it.
Marcus had his sight back on Minecraft and that’s a good thing. I’m an eager block builder on his command. Creative games are good breaks from shooting games.
I sensed he got bored winning over me in Call of Duty as there was a day when he was just hunched over his phone longer than other days. I soon discovered he was sketching a plan. Something he will soon build on Minecraft.
I was impressed when I saw the sketch thru a drawing app which he soon tested how it would appear on Minecraft Xbox One by building it on his Minecraft phone app.
Next step was more challenging. He finalized his concept by doing it on survival mode. Minecraft players know how tough it is to build while on this mode. The resources are limited, the health degrades, you can’t fly, and there are creepers and other annoying creatures to deal with. And the character has to sleep (this I like).
The colored blocks are the hardest. Unlike in creative mode wherein these are readily available, on survival mode each colored block must be crafted using different materials depending on the color. His build has several colors and I can’t imagine myself doing it. I can’t even craft in the first place after all these years of playing with him.
While Marcus has been out of school for years already, he still continues to surprise me given his lack in mobility. Despite lack of books he learns from his games and online. He is smart and that is good enough for me.
Drafted this weeks ago and I just got time to publish this. I’m on long weekend and it’s my birthday, that’s why. And by the way, we started playing Call of Duty again and yes,I’m still settling for second place on a good day.
Mood: 1/10 Honks! (No cakes, no big celebration but still happy to be with Marcus and wifey.)
Give me a treadmill and I’m good. That was a lie. Weeks after running on the NordicTrack S20 I feel like had this urge to check my gait, like I know how to do it. Thanks to YouTube I had some tips what to look for. Spoiler: shoes talk next.
I am flat-footed and by definition is an overpronator. In shoes terms, I need stability running shoes. I knew this for a fact long time ago which is why I’ve been looking for a shoe that would fit me best. Commonly known shoes are Nikes but for serious runners not all Nike running shoes are equal. Nike’s Structure is what I need but far in several visits to shoe shops and Nike factory outlets, Structure isn’t always available.
Two years ago I bought a Skechers Go and on the same month I received a Nike Free Rn. I liked both and started to love the minimalist Free Run. Long term use, however, cushioning and support seem to matter. The Skechers Go has more cushion but support is a question.
Back to result of my own gait self-test, video of me running reveals that I actual don’t over pronate. My amateur eyes say so. Wear patterns show the same thing though. My soles have even wear.
Last Monday I braved traffic and chances of getting COVID-19 just to confirm my gait analysis. Runnr stores are known to offer this test so I purposely went to their Ayala Town Center branch. It was a disappointment. Their equipment was under repair and their staff lack empathy (oops, work stuff).
Good that ATC has options. I moved around and found stores with accommodating sales persons. Mizuno had tempting offers. Buy a pair of Inspire 13 and get other models for P500-P1500 only. Inspire 13 is their stability running shoe that cost around P6K. It looks solid but felt heavy.
Next store was it for me. Asics was selling their pricey Gel Kayano 26 for just P5.5K but only for their gray pairs. It didn’t take long for me to swipe my card as Gel Kayano always appears among the top recommended stability shoes.
I have racked up 15Km with the Gel Kayano 26 and the forefoot cushioning is obvious. Heel seems stiff until now but I’m not complaining. Few more break-in runs and that should improve. Besides I land heel first on my slow paces. Yesterday I hit 6.8 min/km using the Gel Kayano 26. Today I did 6.6 using the old Skechers Go. Hmm. Maybe I need to try a Hoka. Whatever, I’m Nike-free.
Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Can’t believe November is almost over.)
I spoke too soon, gave up on running again too soon. This week (despite a day after suffering an upset stomach and nausea) the product I ordered online from Chris Sports store finally arrived. My most costly expense, the NordicTrack S20 treadmill.
Yes, believe it or not, I purchased a treadmill online. Almost foolishly, I didn’t even verify if the website was legit. Haha. And I once thought my wife was too compulsive online. But after 14 days of anxiously waiting, I was looking at the heaviest package ever delivered at home so far (Props to husband and wife tandem who brought this via their Transportify).
The treadmill requires assembly. Wifey said it was my Lego. Fighting lightheadedness, I got the pieces all together in more than three hours. The instructions are easy to follow but I discovered it requires a 3/8 ratchet socket wrench which thankfully I have at home. The treadmill’s kit only includes an allen key.
It was only today, three days later, when I finally tested the treadmill (Day one was wifey). I was slow for so many reasons and one of which is this is my first run after almost seven months. No thanks to this pandemic. I was only able to peak at 10 speed setting. The NordicTrack S20 has 20 max speed and I am quite sure is more than enough than I can handle. This treadmill is bang for the buck at Php65K or approximately $1300 (including the 3000W AVR) which is intially priced at Php73K without the AVR.
So there, story of my life. Broke but happy. More running days ahead.
Just when we thought life is starting to get back to normal, the new norm at least, news all over tell us that this ain’t over yet.
Whenever I drive I can see that traffic is getting denser than it was in the past five months. Living close to the highway I observe that the road is beginning to show some activity. On my weekly trips to the market to get Marcus his broccoli and cauliflower, more recreational cyclists, weekend motorcycle riders, and motorists can be seen heading down south where the routes leading to scenic vacation spots are.
Personally, I too have been planning my own activities which I realized are all attempts to get me out of the house for a change. Not to mention break routine and boredom. To start, I have designed– with consent and support of Marcus and wifey, FYI–my tattoo. I want a half sleeve tattoo of Marcus’ games. I also have contacted a skydiving drop zone in Cebu and a scuba diving club in Anilao. Fly or dive, whatever. I just feel like I can do any of these anytime soon.
There is also the supposedly doable running that I stopped doing in March when the quarantine period started. This past weekend and today I was getting ready to go out and run to finally complete the Star Wars virtual run I registered early part of this year. The virtual run has been pushed back a couple of times already from its initial May deadline to October 31 this time. I was so raring to log 40K on my Garmin.
Fresh news however remind us that the pandemic is still here. The most striking is about the POTUS getting tested positive for COVID-19. American Pres. Donald Trump who has been downplaying the severity of the virus is now part of the statistics of people who got infected with it. Then close to home, our local cable TV provider announced that several of its staff are under quarantine after getting exposed to COVID-19.
So there goes my plans. The risk of getting infected or being an asymptomatic carrier of COVID-19 is still high and I can’t afford Marcus getting sick just because of me doing something that isn’t really considered essential. These will have to wait until the vaccine becomes available. And the big question now is when. Big WHEN.
Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Back to home workouts.)
We kept our house (or try to) minimalist so we’d have enough space for Marcus’ wheelchair and there is benefit to doing it. As I progress along my home workout routines I discovered I have room to do skip ropes indoors and I have been doing this for years now.
Once I thought I’d be happy to do crossover jumps but it got boring soon. Then I was able to achieve double unders though only sparingly and just in between fast skips. Nowhere to run, literally, this quarantine period I upped the skip rope difficulty.
Thanks to YouTube, I saw a video that got me interested. It was a CrossFit challenge featuring 45 double unders done in succession. One after the other. Next day I attempted it and found out I can do it. I have improved my double unders count since then but not yet halfway close to 45.
Like anything else, there’s a technique to double unders. It’s not just all about jumping high but rather it involves coordination of movements. The flick of the wrist to make the rope go around faster is key.
A lighter and smaller rope also presents a good challenge than using a heavier rope. Unable to just go back to my favorite sports store, Decathlon, whenever I want to, I found Jump Manila on Facebook. The page promotes jumping rope activities and also sells skipping ropes.
I was happy with Jump Manila’s skip rope but two months later it revealed its weak spot.
Jump Manila’s very simple and lightweight design has an Achilles heel. Without a bearing like Decathlon’s Domyos skip rope, the constant motion of the rope results to friction at the area close to the tip of the handle and over time a nick formed until the rope snapped.
Now I’m left using my trusty old Domyos skip rope. It’s slightly harder to flick but I’m good with it until I find another. I have my eyes set on buying from Decathlon ‘s online store as Ive seen on Facebook they have a weight adjustable skip rope. We’ll see how this goes.
Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Weekend again.)