Jerome's incomprehensible but improving...
Saturday, December 27, 2003

Nothing much today. Just finished both Dune: House Corrino (quite good, but there is still a story gap with the original Dune book) and The Phantom Tollbooth (a wacky Willy Wonka-esque story with a good lesson for all ages); and helped Mark with the use case analysis for Imagine Cup.

[BACKLOG 2003/12/24-2003/12/25]

Last minute wrapping of gifts. I am a bit proud of my wrapping skills considering that I don't have much experience. It's a very common-sense activity though.

We went to mass at our parish church. Was quite uplifting, with the Christmas crowd, and the singing. Had a conversation with Lolo about faith and that added to the spiritual experience, especially after my realizations about faith over the past week. Noche Buena was great, with ham, quezo de bola and conversation. Though my sister Tricia wasn't able to make it on time to start with us.

Gifts! I got clothes, and interesting puzzle games (a Klotski-type board game!). And Mark got a copy of The Phantom Tollbooth, which ranks way up there with the Sword of the Samurai PC game as part of Things I've Long Wished I Had And Have Finally Gotten. Well technically not mine but I got to read it.

Christmas Day itself was mostly sleeping. I sent my gazillion Christmas greeting text messages, and thanked those who sent me text messages (falling into typical Christmas-time Globe demographic.) I helped my Dad with his email. I gave Lolo the written message from M.

My parents, Mark and I went out in the afternoon. We went to the Lights and Lanterns exhibit near Film Center. It was good but for what was inside, the P100 entrance fee was quite steep.


[BACKLOG 2003/12/23]

Had dinner with them at Yellow Cab. Talked about work, software, games, Ragnarok. I Also got a written message for Lolo from M. through Amil (I asked M. to give me a new message since I lost the old one.)

We then played at Timezone. Some games we played:
- Time Crisis 3
- Air Hockey
- A VR game where you shoot soldiers and planes from a bunker
- The Percussion Freak game
- Some kayaking game
- Some skateboard game
- A virtual ping pong game
(Ulk, am not really an arcade game person, can't remember the names.)

I like the song Spring (J-Pop song by Hysteric Blue).on the percussion game.


[BACKLOG 2003/12/23]

I bought a strange pair of books:
- Man for all Seasons -- about Thomas Moore, a stirring portrayal of an upright man
- The Rape of Nanking -- about the Nanking massacre, an objective narration of man's most evil deeds
Well, not actually strange since I had a subtle reason for buying them -- I felt that these 2 books would be good complementary reading.

[BACKLOG 2003/12/23]

Last minute shopping at SM Bicutan and at Glorietta. I got my shopping mostly from National and Goodwill. Probably because (a) I know what they sell relatively well, and (b) you don't have to worry about sizes.

I bought Dune: House Corrino, for Mark, actually also for myself. :-P

Actually the crowds and lines weren't so bad. Or it's just an attitude thing?

[BACKLOG 2003/12/22]

We had a tech spec review for VE-CMS. Mike will be helping out with the implementation. Also had some discussion on the future direction of BP and the strategy with regards to developing people.

[BACKLOG 2003/12/22]

Though Monday was really busy for me, since I had to do my year-ender performance review stuff and wrap up the tasks for Intranet for Mike and Maureen, I met up with Sanjay for lunch. I also invited Amil to join.

We met up at McDonalds, and had lunch at Macau. We talked about how Sanjay was doing, and about his application with Trend (have to follow it up with Mike) and the Canon Christmas party.


[BACKLOG 2003/12/21]

I had fun with my niece playing with a number of pencils. With a pillow in front of her as our stage, She'd play the Pencil family and walk them up slowly on the pillow, and I'd play an "eraser" and "erase" the pencils by shouting "Arararararar!!!" and fluttering her fingers all around the pencils, erasing them. Then we switched roles.

A conversation after erasing a pencil.
Tinsel: "Anong nangyari kay Pooh [pencil]?"
Me: "Ah nawala na siya eh."
Tinsel: "Anong nangyari sa mommy niya?"
Me: "Ah hinanap niya yung baby Pooh pencil. Nawawala kaya nalungkot siya."
And so on. Was quite a fun game.


[BACKLOG 2003/12/20]

I met up with Ranulf at National Bookstore in Greenbelt. Had a small frantic session coaching Eric's taxi to go straight to Ranulf's place (in front of a big Metro Manila map -- being in National is quite convenient.) We settled on meeting at Broadway Centrum. I bought ice cream. Got to take home the iPaq since Mark had no bag, so we played about it

I got to see FF X-2 (pretty catchy song and dance intro), along with Jill's lengthy ritual for appeasing her PS2's copy protection schemes. I also got to watch some Queen music videos (surreal!) and a great.1960's samurai film (the title escapes me at the moment.) whose style (even the trailer) reminds me of Spartacus, though it was Japanese-made. Which means elaborate sets, solid action sans contemporary special effects, a love angle, orchestra music, and dim, rather fake-looking background sky. Great fun trying to find the DVD box cover scene. :-) I wonder how Filipino movies of the 1960's would compare.

Then we all took turns playing Soul Caliber 2. An exercise in button mashing! I got really sleepy though after a while so Ranulf helped me catch a cab home.

[BACKLOG 2003/12/20]

My parents celebrated their wedding anniversary with breakfast at Country Waffles with the whole family. Was OK, though I'd recommend Pancake House the next time around. We had lots of photos, especially it was Tonner's first "pasyal".

I stayed in the office to finish wrapping up my gifts, and got to distribute them to all the cubicles.

Met Mark and others at Fazoli's. We weren't progressing much on the idea discussion since our last setback, and were getting kind of desperate, so had lunch first. Then Mark and I hit on a relatively good idea. We discussed it with the rest for the remainder of the meeting. We were momentarily distracted with playing round with the iPaq, but we got to settle the new direction of the project.

Had some time to while around at a table outside, while LJ was waiting for her ride. Mark and I told her about how we would just lie awake and talk about random ideas, regarding programming, elementary particles, our books, etc.

I also came up with a funny name for the project, continuing a great tradition from college days with Eric and Amil.

Is great to be part of Mark and LJ's group, and be able to help out. It's also exposure to new tech they've been working on, in the mobile applications dev area.


[BACKLOG 2003/12/20]

The party was at 4PM. Got to leave office about 3PM. Really bad traffic this day. I got to the party at Kids' Play Place in Moonville around 4:30PM. It was all right since the 1st dance had just started. The different kids represented different countries. They danced to M.J.'s "Feel the World, Make It a Better Place" (ok so I forgot the title.)

My sister was very proud of my niece's dress. It was specially made for her Italy stint -- sleeveless dress made of horizontal green, white and red bands. The flag she carried was made of the same cloth. She wowed the crowd when she entered her school!

The kids also had to greet "Merry Christmas" in different languages. Tinsel managed to say "Buon Natale" (?) pretty well.

They had some more dance numbers. One highlight was when Tinsel was blocked by the other dancers, she moved to the end of the line and resumed dancing. :-)

Food was overflowing. I got to see her play area, complete with alphabet rubber mat, shelves of toys, and other kids. Brought back memories of nursery school for me.

[BACKLOG 2003/12/15-2003/12/19]

I got to brief Michael on the Intranet project. He's a pretty good learner. After the self-study on ASP.NET and MSCMS, I got to give him a minor SCR in the Tracker, and he was able to promptly solve it. We even had a minor pair-programming-like deliberation on how to improve the design on the spot! (BasePage.GetPageTitle()). I got to teach him Starteam, and the build process and I'm glad that he thought that our dev process was organized. Though I think we can still improve, it's at least an affirmation that we've got some things right.

Watched the Trend Basketball finals. Was a good show though we didn't win by quite a margin. We had a lot of key players absent -- Jason, Romel, etc. Jackie from Sun was there, was recording the game on video, and quietly praying for the team. We were pretty good in cheering. Is a good sign of how BP is close as a team! Was an exciting game and worth every peso I paid for it (even though it was free. :-P)

On Thursday (?), Ina went to my cubicle asked me if I was really, really busy. I said no. I was promptly given a black long sleeved polo and asked to go to the 23rd floor for a video shoot. Got to meet Tracy Wong, the former TW model now part of Trend marketing exec, who also orchestrated a series of photo shoots a couple of months back.

Played a bit of ping-pong with Orson while waiting, then got made up in makeup. Jamez invited me to partake some of the Tokyo-Tokyo takeout they had. Wasn't too keen on eating.

Was with Orson and another person from AV. We had several takes and we were pretty successful in acting, considering our career backgrounds. :-)

We played a little "action scene", where we're supposed to be 3 guys.solving an IT problem. The audio didn't count, only our lip movement did, so they didn't mind that our dialogue revolved around troubleshooting an FPS game. I was the player, Orson the gamer expert, and the 3rd guy as the level designer -- classic support escalation process!

Quote from Tracy: Don't smile!!! (Not that she's mean but she just think the smiling IT professional isn't being serious, or sane. Well she's hasn't tried much programming I bet. :-P)

Sunday, December 21, 2003

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