Hodie, dies meus Vita-Donum

July 26, 2009

Well, here I am, a year older yet always feeling none the wiser, despite all the events that had transpired during the previous year.  I’m pretty much well past being a Christmas Cake at this point, but that doesn’t bother me as much as the fact that, with me being out of work again, I’ve found that I’m right where I started — wondering where exactly I want to go with my life.  It’s the type of existential musing that I’d rather not have, as it inevitably leaves me depressed and a strange urge to console myself with a gallon of ube-manga ice cream (mmm).

I guess I’ll just make the best of the day, like I’ve always done.  Despite the rain today, my sister and dad have managed to cook up some spaghetti (though as always, in quantities more than three people can consume in one sitting), and my sister’s boyfriend baked a cake, so it’s all good.  With the food part of the equation taken care of, I can just spend the rest of the afternoon snuggled in bed, my laptop running all those Studio Ghibli films I’ve archived over the past two years, but never gotten around to watching.  I think I’ll start with Kiki’s Delivery Service, and see where it goes from there.

Ah, watching Miyazaki movies…  A nice end to an otherwise normal, albeit rainy, birthday.


Watching it and Living it

July 23, 2009

It’s been nearly a week since I left work for what technically should be the last day of work, and while I found the little send off luncheon the rest of the team gave me touching, there’s just this small part of me that hasn’t come to terms with the fact that, well, I’m no longer gainfully employed.  I guess I took for granted the fact that my routine for the better part of two years was, wake up, go to work, then come home, in that order, that now I wasn’t working I had no idea what to do with all that extra time.

Common sense dictates that I should be catching up with my hobbies, since I actually have time for them now — something that I’d invariably lose once I find work again, or continue my Master’s Degree studies — but I haven’t.  Frankly speaking, I have far too many hobbies for my own good, to the point that I can’t decide which one I should spend my time on.

I mean, I could work on my drawing again, but with my exposure to Pixiv you’d understand how daunted I feel, as while I’ve managed to do just fine with simple lineart, coloring the said lineart has always been a problem.  I barely have a beginner’s level of understanding of Adobe Photoshop, so…  Well, I think it’s easy to understand why some people remain content to be passive viewers instead of willing participants in the activities they enjoy.

I’m not too sure if I can  take the leap yet, that’s for sure.

In the end though, I chose to indulge in some anime, reading and, surprise surprise, painting my Warhammer 40k figures.

While I haven’t built up a backlog of shows I needed to watch (at my age, I only go with three or four shows per cour/season), I did have some series on my hard drive that merited a watch.  I finished the JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure OVAs (both the 1997 and 2003 iterations), as well as the last few episodes of the Irresponsible Captain Tylor TV series (I’m passing on the OVAs for now), though I decided to watch the former using the Japanese language track instead of the English dub (as the English VAs were quite wooden in their presentation in what should have been great fight scenes, ESPECIALLY the one with Jotaro and Dio) while I did exactly the opposite for the  latter (Crispin Freeman as Kyon Tylor? Hilarious).

Oh, and to answer those wondering about the current shows I were following.  It’s Suzumiya Haruhi (no expectations, as having any with this show will just end in disappointment and rage), Valkyria Chronicles, and Shin Mazinger.

On the reading side, I’ve gone through the 40k books I’ve just (relatively) recently acquired from Amazon: Mechanicum by Graham McNeil, Titanicus by Dan Abnett, and Cain’s Last Stand by Sandy Mitchell.  I will freely admit that I enjoyed the last novel more than the first pair; though the previous two books were great on their own (Mechanicus in particular as a source of new 40k lore) I like reading about Ciaphas Cain’s latest comedic misadventures.

Finally, still related to 40k, I was able to give my Space Marile Whirlwind something more than its primer of matte black.  I really wish I could show a picture of it (I couldn’t find my camera anywhere in my room), but it’s just on this side of being tabletop ready.  Giving the red portions of the vehicle’s hull layers of glaze (which to the untrained means an admixture of 1 parts paint and 9 parts water) is annoying though, as it’s a time-consuming exercise, but at least it evens out the color on those areas (a constant problem, as I’m working with old and shallow pots of paint as of this point).  I’ll see if I can finish up on that, then I can work on maybe doing the same on the blue areas, before finishing up on the finer details, like decals and such.

While it does look like I’ve been busy, I really haven’t.  When I’m not reading, watching anime, or working on adding more layers of paint to my Whirlwind, my default ‘activity’ is really just sleeping off the rest of the day.  Oh sure, I try to go out for a brisk walk or a jog, but given how messed up my sleep schedule has become in the aftermath of my resignation, it’s actually hard for me to do so, at least on a regular basis as I go to bed way past the witching hour, meaning I wake up, at best, around lunchtime or early afternoon.  It’s definitely something that needs to be worked on.

Oh well, at least I’m not just sulking around in my room being depressed.

The Long Walk

July 17, 2009

It’s taken most of the week to build up the urge to actually post on the matter, but I think it needs to be said, if only to take off this huge weight off my shoulder.

I resigned from my work, though this wasn’t a sudden decision — rather it was the result of several months worth of declining QC scores and not providing enough fraud/risk account closures to keep the bosses at Arlington happy. 

The other alternative was possibly a month of damage control, under direct scrutiny by the top brass day in and day out, and honestly even if I had somehow managed to pass, the aforementioned scrutiny would continue for the rest of the year, with no promise of termination not being enacted immediately at the slightest screw-up.  That’s an incredible amount of pressure, and given what I knew of myself, I was sure I wouldn’t be able to measure up. 

So, I opted out.  Given the financial climate, it might seem stupid, especially since everyone else seemed to be trying their darndest to keep their work, but to be frank, I was weary of trying to meet nearly impossible expectations, and the stress wreaked havoc with my health as well.  And it would be remiss to say that I wasn’t at fault here; heck, it’s all my fault.

But what can one do?  I’ll just have to make do with what I can, and look at the bright side.  I mean, I finally get to get that long vacation I’ve always wanted.



July 14, 2009

Although I’d like to have said that my weekend was well-spent, in truth it was more of the usual, with me spending most of the day lying in bed, catatonic, or sitting in front of my computer, browsing sites of interest.  I know that I should be moving around more — a glance at the bathroom scale, and how dangerously close I am again to the obese mark for my height should have been a major wake-up call — but I couldn’t really muster the urge to get off my fat bum and do something

Okay, missing out on my weekend morning jogs are mostly my fault — been doing late-night reading on some books, which result in me falling asleep way past the witching hour, a situation that leaves me literally dead to the world for the succeeding hours, enough that even the loudest alarm in the neighborhood would be hard-pressed to arouse me from my slumber.  I mean, it’s not particularly gripping prose (for reference, I was reading Dan Abnett’s Titanicus), but given the amount of technical terms intersped among the chapters, it would be very very easy to forget about what the heck everyone was talking about.

*sigh* I really need to get my act back together.

Ragnarok and Gateway Drugs

July 11, 2009

I find it incredibly ironic that, despite not actually wanting to have anything to do with online gaming, I started playing online games anyway, particularly MMORPGs in particular.  Perrenial favorites are the casual-friendly Guild Wars and the not-so grindworthy World of Warcraft, but I have to say, I still enjoy logging back into Ragnarok Online.

Despite Level-Up Games’ gross mishandling of the game (for all their boasts of keeping bot programs out of the game during the early years, the servers are literally 80% bot infested), and their less-than-inspired updates (we’re not really getting balance updates, and instead get headgear and price discounts at the Kafra Mall), but there’s quite a bit of the gameworld still left to be actually seen that an enterprising player can explore.  Not to mention the quests that actually reward experience that a player tired of hours of mindless grinding can use as an alternative.

In fact, one of the most inspired decisions that LUG has ever made recently was the introduction of the Daily Quests at Alberta — first the Cargo Delivery Quest, and later the Lonely Knights Quest.  Essentially quests on a 20-hour timer to prevent abuse, they require a minimum of effort on the player’s part (mostly running around Alberta looking for mimics in the former, while finding a NPC in a specific map in the latter) for a substantial reward of experience (depending on the player’s level).  And by substantial, I do mean substantial: the Cargo Delivery Quest alone gives more than 1 million experience points, which is about 1% for a level-98 non-Transcendent character, and around .6% for a Transcendent character of the same level, while the Lonely Knight quest gives around 500,000 Base and Job experience for characters level 81 and higher.

Given how good the experience is, and the minimum time required to complete both quests (about five minutes for me), it’s pretty much a given that I do the quests on all my characters, and I owe a lot of my high character levels to it — heck, I even transcended my Crusader and Blacksmith on it.  Hilariously, it’s still possible to abuse the quests, though not in the designers intended; the experience gained can be modified by Experience-boosting manuals, unlike all the other quests in the game.  So, if you have an Advanced Field Manual (which gives x2 experience for 30 minutes) active when you do the quests, you gain twice the reward experience (2 million+ experience from the Delivery Quest, and 1 million+ base AND job experience — the latter more important for Transcendent characters — for the Lonely Knights quest). 

It still gets a tad lonely at times though, as most of my friends from the heady days of the start of Ragnarok Online (or at least the Philippine iteration) have either quit or moved on to newer games.  I miss my old friends Ilona Njis (one of the nicest priestesses ever and my best friend in-game), Kula (headstrong hunter-sniper, later dancer and gypsy), Myria (another priestess who like Ilona bemoaned her choice to focus on Agility instead of Vitality), and Ibis Douglas (the twin-tailed pure forger that could).  I miss the active sieging done by the Shadow Circle — whose boards at http://z4.invisionfree.com/shadowcircleonline  I still frequent, if only to ramble a bit to the few souls that linger there.  I miss the fact that you can click on anyone before on a random map field and get an actual person responding instead of an automated response of a macro program or a bot.

Things change, but I’ve adapted a bit.  Laia Illyia, one of the old hands from Shadow Circle, was nice enough to invite me to her friends’ guild Conclave.  They’re casual players rather than hardcore, and the conversations we have make the hours of boring leveling more tolerable.

When things go ‘Ploin-shaped’

July 8, 2009

And to think my week was starting out incredibly well.  Against all odds, I somehow managed to get a 100% rating for last week, and while it’s not enough to save my QC Average for the month, at least I’ve proven that I could get a perfect rating if I focused.  Of course, that little bit of good news was dampened a bit when I noted, while I was going through the cases I created at the start of the week, that I got two QC failures.  By Haruhi…

The irony of those failures were not lost on me, especially since they seemed incredibly situational.  You bet that I was quick to send in my rebuttals on why I shouldn’t have been marked down, but it still begs to be seen if my arguing actually bears fruit.  I hope that at least one of them gets overturned, as it seriously hurts my efforts to look good in front of the senior management.  Urgh.

You bet it ruined the rest of my afternoon, and I had the beginnings of a major migraine just before my shift ended.  Good thing I was able to get some relief via paracetamol tablet, but still…  That’s an awful, awful start to an otherwise okay week.

Anxieties and Morning Walks

July 7, 2009

Maybe it was due to a confluence of good conditions, but I was able to wake up early enough yesterday to take a jog.  Of course, I followed the route I normally took, which was a straight run from EDSA straight to SM Mall of Asia, around its perimeter, behind the block of office buildings where Teletech was based, and back home.  It was more or less a 4-kilometer trek, but it was nothing I haven’t experienced before, right?

With my iPOD Classic tucked underneath my windbreaker, I set out, and it became immediately apparent how out of shape I was.  While I wasn’t out of breath, my legs, in particular the areas around my ankles, were aching terribly by the time Hatsune Miku’s Like A Rolling Star ended (yes, I use VOCALOID music to keep pace).  I forced down to a brisk walk just two intersections from the SAVERS minimall, and stayed that way for the duration of the second song on my iPOD’s album track (Miku and Megurine Luka’s Magnet).

That was disappointing to say the least, as normally I didn’t slow down at all until I hit Roxas Boulevard, and at my peak I only actually stopped at the front of the Mall of Asia.  How the mighty have fallen.

Given my physical condition, I was forced to alternate my pacing, jogging during one song, then briskly walking on the next, just to keep the ache in my joints bearable.  It worked, but I wasn’t able to enjoy the songs on my playlist as much as I’d liked (which is kind of sad, as I always looked forward to MELT and World Is Mine, and I wasn’t able to get as much exercise too.

I went home a little despondent, and aching in places that shouldn’t had, but I took comfort in the fact that I was able to get some exercise.  Which is more than what I could say for my sister, who was accumulating flab as fast as I was accumulating bad QC scores at work; at least I put some effort into it, uphill climb it might be to get back into shape.

I checked my PC as soon as I was able to take a bath and get changed into something less sweaty, and checked the torrents I was running on my uTorrent client.  Surprise surprise, the iSO for Odin Sphere, which I had been looking forward to for a long time, was finished, though the Blu-Ray rip of Rebuild of EVA ver 1.11 still was a day or so off.  I started PowerISO, took out one of the blank DVDs I had, and readied it to accept Odin Sphere.

And to think it was going so well… For some reason, my PS2 wasn’t accepting the burned copy of Odin Sphere.  Which is odd, since it was able to play a burned copy of Original Generations before.  I tried another copy, but with the same result, but instead of being frustrated, I decided to take another tack; I downloaded another version of Odin Sphere, NTSC this time instead of the PAL copy I had.  Let’s see how that’ll turn out.

Since the Odin Sphere download-burn-play plan didn’t exactly go through as expected, I had to do something else to take my mind off the fact that, well, I was in trouble at work.  Kind of hard to enjoy what was left of my weekend with the spectre of a performance downgrade looming over me, but I was determined to get as much relaxation as possible, even if it meant sleeping away the rest of the day (with some Ragnarok Online on the side — the daily Alberta Cargo Delivery quest is a must for a casual player like myself), but thankfully it didn’t have to come to that.

Why?  Well, my order from Amazon apparently came in.  A little snafu with the customs aside, I really looked forward to the package, which included Dan Abnett’s Titanicus, McNiel’s Mechanicus, and Mitchell’s Cain’s Last Stand.  The previous two titles are supposed to tie together despite a ten-millenia gap between the stories, but I’m leaving those for later, and decided instead to start on the Good Commissar Ciaphas Cain’s latest misadventures.  Given my state of mind, I figured that Mitchell’s easy to digest prose and black humor was just what I needed.