Out With The Old

December 31, 2011

As of this writing, there’s less than two and a half hours left until New Year arrives in the Philippines and, surprisingly, I was able to finish what I set out to do today.  That is, of course, to finish giving both Oriko Mikuni and Kirika Kure the lineart treatment, and adding them to the Puella Stampede.  As expected Oriko took some redrawing, but I’m still mostly happy with how things turned out.

Adding the two to the stampede makes it now look like this:

So with that last bit of fanart, I think I’m mostly prepared to face the New Year.  Hmm, well okay, I still need to take a bath, but that’s kind of expected right?

Let’s see, usually one has to say something prior to the turning of the calendar, so to speak.  Last year wasn’t perfect, but it’s still a sight better than what many other people had to experience.  Sure, I’m still single at my age, but at least everyone in my family is still alive and healthy, although nanay is as usual absent (though there’s nothing we can do about that one).  Definitely looking forward to the year ahead, ignoring the new semester (workshop, noooo) and the eventual Comprehensive Exam. 

Hmm, that’s pretty much it.  All that’s left to say is that I wish everyone as grace and blessings once it’s their turn to greet the New Year.  So long 2011, welcome 2012!


Rizal Day Afternoons

December 30, 2011

So apparently my sister had two tickets to Manila Ocean Park… Unfortunately, since she had work this evening, she wouldn’t be able to use them, and the tickets were only valid until tomorrow, December 31st.  Not wanting something like that to go to waste my father roped me into going with him to check the place out.  Well, not really; in truth I’ve wanted to  visit the place myself, but since it’s so out of the way from our house (it’s located just behind the Quirino Grand Stand) I never found the chance to do so.  

Incidentally the screenplay I wrote for my class this term involved a visit to something similar.  Had I the foresight, a trip to Oceanworld would have counted as much-needed research but, alas, it never happened.  Oh well…

Anyway after two jeepney rides and a bit of walking, we were there.  The first thing that we noticed upon arriving (aside from the merchant kiosks along the driveway) was the long line into the place, composed of adults and lots and lots of kids.  Apparently it was the line for tickets, and it was just a taste of the crowds that we would encounter once we got inside.

Since we already had tickets my father and I went straight in.  Compared to the seapark in Singapore, Oceanworld was relatively small, with everything packed in a two-floored and two-winged building, souvenir shops and restaurants included.  The large number of parents there with their little kids, if anything, made the place seem much smaller than it already was.  It was that crowded, at least to me.

Anyway my father and I made for the Oceanlife section, which took up a good part of the right wing of Oceanworld.  As its name suggests, it was filled with all sorts of marine life, starting with fish found in freshwater bodies like lakes and rivers (including a giant five-foot Amazonian piraruchu), before moving to actual sealife.    While the kiddies around me enjoyed watching all these colorful fishes swim around in their tanks, they seemed to get a kick out of the shark tank (which incidentally featured a diver cleaning the place with a vacuum pump).  As for the sharks themselves, most of them (a leopard shark, several whitetips, and nurse sharks) seemed to be content to just lie down at the bottom of the tank, though the top part of the tank featured a few active blacktips circling about.

After the Marinelife section, me and tatay headed over to the other wing where the Sea Jellies section was.  It’s pretty much as described, with a whole darkened section with tubular or large square tanks filled with all sorts of jellyfish, whose lights gradually shifted colors, while classical music played in the background.  While it was very pretty, that’s pretty much all it offered, and soon enough the both of us found our ways out to its exit.

With the jellies done, we still had three places available to visit, at least as far as our tickets were concerned: the Marine Habitat show, the Marine Life Show, and the Fish Spa.  We were supposed to drop by the Fish Spa right after the Oceanlife area, but the place was already filled with people, so we passed on that.  The Marine Habitat show was supposed to feature a show with sea lions as its centerpiece, but apparently we missed out on the show, so it was pretty much just the pair of sea lions swimming in their tank… which unfortunately because of the glare of the afternoon sun were all-but-invisible in the waters of the tank.  That left the Marine Life Show (and its attached Musical Fountain show), but we eventually had to pass on that as well, as it was so freaking hot in the stands, what with the afternoon sun directly hitting the people in the bleachers.

Seeing as we didn’t have anything else to do (and pretty much exhausted the options left to us by the tickets), the two of us decided that it was time to head home.  Of course, we didn’t come home empty-handed (else we’d risk the wrath of my sister): using my credit card, I bought a green dolphin, yellow octopus, and clownfish plushie.  Oh, and for the curious, the octopus was mine.

We walked a bit to the UN LRT station, which meant we passed by Luneta and Rizal Park on the way there.  Although I had to suffer one of my father’s diatribes about how Rizal was nobody to him (he’s annoyed how someone like Rizal, who was part of a privileged illustrado family, meaning he’s as close to being filthy rich in modern terms, would be our National Hero), the walk through the park was pleasant in itself.  While nowhere near the number of people we saw at the Mall of Asia during Christmas Day, there were still a lot of people picnicking on the park grounds, families with their kids mostly.  I wanted to visit the Japanese Gardens and the Orchidarium, but apparently those were closed for the holiday (it was Rizal Day after all).  We took some pictures of some of the monuments (including the surprising Sentinel of Freedom, which wasn’t there when we last visited), before continuing on to the station.

It was just right that we didn’t linger at the park.  Judging from the news earlier this evening, the place would become absolutely packed with people, and apparently many are staying overnight so they can meet the New Year there.  Yeesh.

And then what did we do next? Ah, well I had to ask tatay to go on ahead, since I had to make a detour to SM Makati to pay off our Maynilad bill for the month.  With that done, it was straight home for me.

All in all, a pleasant way to spend my afternoon, I guess.

Not Quite Perfect, But Close Enough

December 29, 2011

What’s there to say about the end of my work week?  As the title to the post says, it was as close to perfect as things could come given my line of work: the calls came in at a really casual pace, almost none of the customer service calls I received (of which there were few) were even remotely aggravating, and the avail time in between calls was so large that at one point I had actually dozed off in the middle of the shift (only to be waken up by the beep on the phone when a call did come in).  A great end to an otherwise leisurely week at work.  And since I only report back  to the office on the first of January, well, it’s a nice way to cap off the year as well.

But no one wanted to believe... Believe that they exist. And when the truth dawned, it dawned in FIRE!

I’m just a little annoyed at myself that I wasn’t able to make the most of the day once I got back home.  Okay, I was able to finish the preliminary sketch to the parody of Alduin’s Wall (featured above), but I wanted to do more work on the Puella Stampede.  Oh well, tomorrow perhaps.

Incidentally, anyone spot what doesn’t belong in the pic above?  I think it’s fairly obvious myself…

Urges and the Lack Thereof

December 28, 2011

When I went to bed earlier this afternoon, I did so fully intending to actually do something once I woke up from my siesta.  Possibly something hobby-related like continuing the Alduin’s Wall parody sketch I did last night.  Well, that didn’t pan out exactly as I expected though.  Although by all accounts I’m fully-rested, I couldn’t muster the urge to do anything.  Anything except more sleep, I guess.  

Sleep debt striking again?  More likely than you’d expect.

Anyway, since I’m not feeling sleepy at all (ironic isn’t it?) I think I’ll try to do some sketching.  At least until I get sleepy again. 

Oh, and about my workshift today?  It was still relatively slower than average, so I suppose it’s still a good thing.  Hopefully this continues until at least after New Year’s.

Much Preferred

December 27, 2011

Now that was more like it.  With the holiday buying rush over, my shift today was almost… pleasant.  The calls arrived at a very casual pace which, coupled with the usual number of people who came in today, meant that there was an absurd avail time in between calls.  It came to the point where the folk manning the Workforce station was asking if anyone would want to take STOs (short time off) for the day.  It’s not surprising that no one did though, despite Workforce’s prodding, since taking an STO meant you’ll only be paid the hours you stayed at the office, and with out part-time salary as meager as it is, the choice was clear.

This meant though that we spend more time browsing the internet using our office’s connection than actually answering calls, but I prefer to think of it as a break well-earned after the craziness that typified all those Christmas Week shifts.  Some of my teammates were even dozing off, only rousing themselves whenever a call came in.  I’d have done that too, if not for the fact that I was jumped up and wide-awake due to the kopiko candies I’ve been melting in my mouth from my break onwards.

Despite the relaxing atmosphere at the office, this didn’t mean that I didn’t jump immediately into bed once I got home.  I  did sleep rather late yesterday, and the siesta was just the thing to give me the energy I needed to do… whatever it was that struck my fancy when I woke up.

Speaking of which, today’s time-sink was this:

Basically it’s exactly what it seems like: a sketch parody of Alduin’s Wall, but with characters from the Madoka Magica universe in it.  It’s 2/3rds done as of now, and if I push it I might (stress on might) get it finished tonight, but as to getting the actual line-art done… Well, that’s up in the air.  I’d really like to finish the stampede first before moving on to another fanart project, but there’s an issue of timeliness in this… Ah, decisions.

Anyway, here’s to hoping that tomorrow’s call queue is as casual as it was today.

Empty Spaces

December 26, 2011

You know it’s been a boring day when it’s a struggle to find something to write.  Literally nothing to share today, nothing noteworthy to put into the journal, unless one wants to know about my rapidly-diminishing finances yet again (not too surprising, given the holiday season), so I’ll just skip that.  Okay, I did watch the new Mission Impossible, but it’s your typical holiday-timed big-budget Hollywood action movie.  What can I say about that, aside from the fact that I turned off my critical faculties and just enjoyed the big explosions?  Eh.

Mmph.  I’ll just continue to do some line-art then it’s bed I suppose.  It’s back to work tomorrow, after all.  I hope that the queue isn’t as brutal tomorrow, but with my luck it might turn into a forlorn hope…

Lazy Christmas Day

December 25, 2011

Would it surprise anyone if I said that the only real thing of note for my day today was an evening trip by our family (me, my father, my sister and her boyfriend) to SM Mall of Asia, ostensibly to take night pictures of the decorations that are expected to be found in the mall proper as well as the thoroughfares and the seaside area, but to go to mass at the church that sat just beside it.  While the latter seems a little strange, it’s a compromise everyone agreed on, since our current parish priest has an awful habit of over-extending his masses beyond what’s normally merited (specifically one-hour masses disturbingly turn into two-hour affairs nine times out of ten).

While the plan was to leave at around five-thirty, we had to move it down to around six-twenty or so, since my sister’s boyfriend Aaron was stuck in traffic.  When he finally arrived, and after having a bit of an early dinner, our quartet headed off.  As expected it was slow going, but we were able to get to the Mall of Asia just a bit before seven.  After a little walk we got to the church, where we quickly got found ourselves a good place to sit.  

Let me tell you, wearing a jacket for our trip was a bad idea, as the evening was warmer than expected.  Still it wasn’t that uncomfortable, and we spent the rest of the seven-o-clock (actually seven-fifteen, but that’s just nitpicking) mass relatively sweat-free.  I admit to not paying as much attention as I should have though, since I was nodding off due to lack of sleep (I didn’t have my usual siesta earlier), but at least I didn’t completely doze off.  Once it was over, we walked over to the seafront, since my father wanted to take a picture of the expected giant Christmas Tree standing there.

Boy, while I was expecting a crowd of people there tonight, I did not expect the sheer mass of humanity that seemed to have seen fit to occupy much of the odd-kilometer or two’s worth of seafront that sat in front of the Mall of Asia.  Aside from the people walking around, there were also those who were sitting around on the seawall, on the pavement, on the grass…  It was like a massive communal picnic (which in a way, it was), with all the expected noise and scents… and litter.  My father mused that it was something that he used to remember old Luneta play host to, then added that while there was likely still a good amount of people at Rizal Park, the fact that there was a huge mall nearby also added to the reason why all of these people were there on Christmas Evening.

After a few awkward shots (due to the people weaving in and out of our cameras’ photo areas, we decided to call it a night and head home.  The mass of people at the Mall though made any attempt of catching a ride there laughable, so we decided to walk at least part of the way to Baclaran to catch a bus home.

Really, not that noteworthy at all.

Hmm, there’s still a good half hour to go until midnight.  I think I’ll use that time to catch up on my unfinished lineart yesterday.  It’s not like I have to worry about going to work tomorrow, since I’ve been pretty much forced by my company to take the day off.   I kind of worry about our single batchmate stuck on the phones for tomorrow, but eh, it’s not like there’s going to be any calls?  Right?  Right?

Or maybe I should just finish off the last bit of red wine we had from last night. Hmm, decisions.