Boo!

Whoa, do I see cobwebs? If this site was a house, it would look like some abandoned shack in the middle of nowhere – dilapidated, unlived and unloved. What a pity. I didn’t mean get busy with actually living and forgetting to write about the stuff I get up to, it’s just sometimes I wonder what the point of it all is. Like, who cares where I’ve been and what hotels I’d booked myself in? What movies had I seen? Which new restaurants had I tried? What gifts had I given out? Would I ever recommend to anybody to make your own ringtones? (Ok, that last one was joke.)

I have had an amazing year. I feel so blessed to have been able to do the things I had done and it’s a pity that my 2011 is going to end in a fizzle. But never mind, 2012 promises to be a bit more exciting – and by exciting, I meant HARD WORK. I have had enough fun for one year, I think, and now I believe it’s time to get to the nitty gritty and work on my life plan (Honestly, I’m still working on that, so that’s also part of the hard work bit).

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World's Shortest Train

I know this is a poor excuse of a post, but a post is a post is a post! :P

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Still Half-Blind

I had a niggly feeling that my already poor eyesight is getting worse and that deciding to go to the optometrists over the weekend made me nervous.  But as my eyeglass frame is already battered and very unpresentable, I've decided I should have my specs updated.

When the optometrist asked me to read the letters on the wall, they might as well have looked like this --



I can't read a thing!!  Going for eye check-ups never fail to distress me. 

The doctor tells me that my nearsightedness had gone down but my astigmatism had gone up a notch.  I didn't know how to react -- should I be happy or disappointed?  It seems like things are the same. Still, I'm thankful the readings aren't as bad as I thought they would be.

Sometimes, I feel like I want to see a lot of the world, read a lot of books and watch tons of films because I'm trying to cram everything in before I go completely blind.  Right now, that is my worst fear.  I'm not afraid that I may end up being a childless spinster or destitute, but losing my sight completely is what I feel would be the most tragic thing that could ever happen to me.

I may just be paranoid, but at least this fear is driving me to make the most out of my life.
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Absinthe Salon, Sydney

Note:  The Australia trip happened a looooong time ago. Thankfully, though, this is the last post about it -- now I can start with the Euro ones soon! Yeah, I'm not a very effective real-time travel blogger. Things will always be ultra-retrospective here. 


In this last installment, I'm going to tell you about absinthe.  Before coming to Sydney, all I ever knew about it is that it's a kind of alcohol and that a club (now closed) in Makati was named after it.  All my previous knowledge of absinthe came from this scene from the Jude Law version of the movie Alfie--



 I've learned considerably more about the drink when I visited Absinthe Salon.  Watch out, I'm going on lecture mode in a bit!  




Absinthe Salon is a quirky little place tucked away on Albion St in Surry Hills and quite easy to miss if you don't know what you're looking for (happens to me all the time).  It serves all kinds of absinthe and only absinthe.




Absinthe is a highly alcoholic spirit that became popular in Europe during the late 1800's.  Unfortunately, it became so popular that it was claimed that drinking too much of it will lead to hallucinations and general madness.  They say it will make you do unspeakable things, i.e. murder and other violent crimes.  That's why absinthe is also known as The Green Fairy.  It was, therefore, banned in many countries such as France and The Netherlands in the late 19th century.

Absinthe regained its popularity during the 1990's and the bans on the drink have been reviewed.  Although still restricted, the policies regarding production and sale of absinthe are now more lenient.



There is definitely a quaint and gothic feel to Absinthe Salon and is run by a nice couple named Joop Van Heusden & Gaye Valttila (yes, I've done my research).



I want to wear a corset to work someday, too.  So jealous!



Sitting in the salon is like being in a time warp.  Was this how people like Aleister Crowley, Oscar Wilde & Vincent Van Gogh drank absinthe?  I feel sophisticated and creative already!

In the clip above, Susan Sarandon's character poured absinthe into glasses and burned sugar for it.  Gaye said that's not the right way to do it and that the absinthe is probably Czech, which is not authentic absinthe.


So how do you drink absinthe?



You will need a fountain or carafe of iced water, a small glass and a slotted spoon for the sugar cubes.



A dose of absinthe is poured into the glass.  The liquid starts out clear or green depending on the kind of absinthe.



As the water drips onto the sugar and on towards the absinthe, some kind of reaction happens between the herbs and the water.  The liquid turns cloudy and this process is called louching.  When there is enough water in the glass (about 3-5 parts), the absinthe is ready to drink... slowly.  No burning sugar here.




There are now various kinds of absinthes from all over the world to choose from.  Absinthes contain between 42-74% alcohol -- that higher end of the bracket is a LOT of alcohol.  It is widely considered that you're only allowed to drink between 2-3 doses of absinthe each time.  It is not proven that drinking too much causes hallucinations, but of course, too much of anything is bad for you and absinthe is still alcohol.  So just assume you'll get the same effects as binge-drinking.

Absinthe Salon promotes the 2-3 dose advice and they actually close at 10pm (this shocked me).  I don't recommend going there for a night cap.  Rather, pay a visit when you want to get in the mood to hit the town.



I already started to get that fuzzy feeling after the first dose.  After one more, I was definitely drunk  Apparently, you should start drinking low alcohol absinthe first, then work your way up.  There's method to the madness, after all!

Interestingly, the effect absinthe gave me is that I'm drunk, but more aware of my surroundings.  It's strange, when I'm used to alcohol clouding my head and I usually can't see straight.  I haven't decided yet if lucid drunkennes is for me, but I'm definitely going to buy myself the whole fountain-glasses-spoons set one day and maybe do my own absinthe salon at home!

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How to stay sexy while wading in floodwaters

It's been raining buckets since last night and lots of people had to wade through floodwaters to get to work or (if you're lucky enough to be sent home early) to get home.

Image is everything, so be sure to stay sexy during a flood by donning these very wholesome pieces--


Let's cause a scandal.
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It's a matter of relativity

I absolutely love, love, love this strip from Calm Blue Oceans --



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Lost in all that makeup

Say you put makeup on every morning and never bothered to take it off at the end of the day for a year, what do you think you'd look like? 

Never mind what you'd look like, but how do you think would it  feel??  Talk about slapping stuff into your face. 

If you're really curious, two Dutch filmmakers have decided to show us how it may look like.



Lernert & Sander: Natural Beauty on Nowness.com.

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Amy Winehouse Didn't Want to Sign Up For This

Amy Winehouse.  What a character, eh?

Although the cause of her death last Saturday is still unconfirmed, I doubt that anybody was surprised by the news.  She had been on self-destruct mode for goodness knows how long.  People weren't shocked... they were saddened. 

She's a very talented woman and like many other people who've got immense musical talent, she didn't have the strength to wrestle her demons.  Instead, she tried to escape them.  I'm certain it wasn't her intention, but by the time Amy Winehouse' body gave up, she unknowingly signed up for the infamous 27 Club -- the group of musicians who died at the very young age of 27.  The member list includes Jimi Hendrix, Janice Joplin, Kurt Cobain and many other high-profile names in music. 


 What a shame she had to die so young.  Was your life really so bad, Amy? I hope your tears really do dry on their own where you are now. 
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Darling Harbour, Sydney

Note: The Australia trip happened several months ago.  This is the second to the last post in this series.


You know how some people attach stories to a particular place?  That's what I try to do now that I've started to get around so much.  I have realised that if I don't have any photos or anything to remind of where I've been, I seem to forget them.  I usually use happy stories, but I've given Darling Harbour a sad one.

If you know Paulo Coelho's book By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept , my story reminded me of that.  I'm not going to go into details, because it's too personal.  However, the lessons are  universal.



By Darling Harbour, I sat down and wept... after I took noisy nightscape photos that I didn't know how to shoot in the first place.



Life is like a river.  No matter how hard you try to keep things from changing, they will.  And life will change you -- in little ways that you'd hardly notice or in such a big way that you'd hardly recognise yourself.  Darling Harbour is definitely not a river, but any body of water is ever-changing, and this reminds me of that.




Hold on to your insecurities and wallow in your miseries, but only for a short while.  There is always something to be thankful for, no matter how small.  Cherish them and let them inspire you.




If you're lonely, you can find love anywhere -- you just have know where to look.  <3




Nothing is certain in life.  Know that what you have now may be taken away from you at any given time.  Make the most of them.



Have dreams -- at least one.  That is the beacon of light that you will need to guide you through this crazy world.

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Megan Fox's Battle With Wrinkles

There's no denying that Megan Fox is beautiful.  Anyone who says otherwise needs to go have his or her eyes (or mind) checked.  Of course, some would say that her beauty is too good to be true, so the rumour mills have been busy and there are claim that the actress had used plastic surgery.  In an effort to disprove these accusations, she posted some photos via her Facebook page.




Very pretty, but also very made up for just a stinking webcam photo op.  Does she put all that make up on everyday? 





 
Oh, I see... She apparently doesn't use Botox, which explains those wrinkles that you get from brow furrowing.




 
Now, this is just HILARIOUS.  I have never seen forehead wrinkles like that!!  It looks like she pushed her forehead up with a finger... except the finger is missing!

Doctors claim those wrinkles are anatomically impossible and that the last image was photoshopped.  

What do you guys think?
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Bagelhead Headache

I've read an article about Bagelheads' popularity rising in Japan and I seriously get migraines just by looking at the photos.  These guys apparently sit down for 2 hours while a medical saline solution is pumped into their foreheads to get this alien look.

I could think of at least a dozen better things to do in those 2 hours, if you ask me.


 
I will never understand extreme body modification.  My guess is doing this is also a means of escape for these people, maybe a bit like drug addiction or alcoholism.

Of course, I could be wrong.



Good Lord, here come the Brides of Chucky.
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Circular Quay and Sydney Harbour

Note:  The Australia trip happened several months ago.


If I'm going to be perfectly honest, I'd say that I really had no idea why I decided to go on a trip to Sydney.  It seemed like a very expensive spur-of-the-moment decision (although wanting to see U2 so badly convinced me to make that foolish decision).  A friend asked if I wanted to see the place and I said yes after a U2 concert was dangled in front of my face, like a carrot to a horse.  Sheesh. 

If there ever was an award for Lost Soul of 2010, I would have won it hands down.  

Does one ever need a better reason for traveling other than just simply wanting to be in that particular place?  I say, yes and no.  If it involves visas and a large chunk of one's savings, then I guess the answer should be "yes."

For most of the year, I was all over the place -- literally!  If someone asked me if I wanted to go anywhere, I was already there loooong before they'd even finished the sentence.  I felt as if I was flailing about, not knowing where exactly I wanted to be, like some kind of homeless person.







Walking towards the Sydney Opera House along Circular Quay   









Walking towards the sea-facing end of the opera house



You can see the Botanic Gardens from this side



Harbour Bridge






I'd taken moody photos, haven't I? hahahaha


When night has fallen...





 






Looking at the Harbour Bridge and Opera House photos now, they seem very sad to me...






And when I noticed that all three of us were facing the sea, it's given me a profound revelation.  The sea symbolises an unknown future, which is a predicament I had suddenly found myself in.  The thought was overwhelmingly daunting and scary.  I had been traveling to literally escape thinking about it... 

... Or maybe I was simply heartbroken.

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Romantic Relationships: The Odds Against Us




I've come across some statistics about how people handle romantic relationships.  I'm not going to talk about all of them (there are a lot of them), but there are quite a few numbers there that have caught my eye. 


A large number of women want to marry  for money.  Now, guys may think that we're all gold-diggers, but seriously -- how many women actually do it??  Most women "want" to marry rich, but they really end up marrying for love most of the time.  Now, if the guy they're marrying is rich, that's a bonus.



So men fall in love faster than women... but don't guys usually pull back when the girls start falling too? Getting serious may cause some guys to run for the hills!  They want the passion, but not the commitment.  Therefore, men falling in love doesn't equal wanting to be in a relationship with the women they fall for.



 

I, therefore, need to curb my cougaristic tendencies,  should I want to live longer.

But as guys my age are mostly married or in a serious relationship, the other option becomes unlikely.  So I must be destined for spinsterhood.  Now, where are the statistics for the life expectancy of single women compared to married ones??

Meanwhile....




There is simply no justice.


So a warning to those women who want to marry rich, dirty, old men in the hopes of becoming a wealthy young widow -- THE BASTARD WILL LIVE LONGER, so don't get your hopes up.
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Taxi Chronicles: Frustrated Sosyalera Talaga




One of my ex-colleagues got hitched a few weeks ago after nearly 10 years of being together -- a very long engagement, indeed!  It's so nice to finally see them walk down that aisle, as I thought that the engagement would never end. Hahaha!  Never mind, they got there in the end.



Seeing this photo, I do declare that I'd gained quite a bit of weight while I was in the UK (I'm the one on the far right, in case you're wondering).  It's quite hard to refuse rich food, really.  *sigh*

It was great to catch up with the old office mates and finding out what everybody's been up to after leaving the company and all that general stuff.  People keep taking the mickey out of my lack of lovelife, to which I said I'll be booking my wedding next year and will just hope that a groom turns up for the occasion!

I hailed a taxi on the way home and the driver kept telling me

Ma'am, di kayo mukhang taga-(Manila suburb), mukha kayong taga-DasmariƱas Village!


Naman!! Ako na'ng shushal!! Hahahaha!

I never would've thought that I looked like a resident of a posh village in my outfit, but then again, maybe the damn driver just wanted a bigger tip -- do I really look like an idiot??

At least it seems I really live up to the nickname I gave myself.
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Lady Gaga and Her Green Armpits

So Lady Gaga's armpits are green.. It's hilarious!!!



They look stuck-on, but at least they match the hair on her head.  Colour-coordination to the highest level!! XD
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Jeffrey Campbell Shoes For Free!

As if I don't have enough pairs of shoes that I don't wear, I want to get more!  And because it's not bloody likely that I'd get my credit card out for a a pair of Jeffrey Campbells, I thought I might as well try winning a pair.  If you want to do the same, here's how --

1. Join AVA -- an invitation-only shopping community where you can shop designer brands (i.e. Rajo Laurel, Aranaz, Jeffrey Campbell, Victoria Beckham, etc.) at up to 70% off the retail prices.  Click here to sign up.

2. Invite your friends.  Whoever invites the most friends to join AVA by 8th July (that's this Friday, in case you forget) will win a pair of Jeffrey Campbell shoes of their choice.  This should be easy enough, right?

Whoever wins gets to choose a pair from any of the following styles --



Foxy  
(not sure if this is the exact one, ok?haha!)


So Crazy


So Much


 Lita  Woven

 Be Well


Whatchudoin' oglin' them shoes, for?? Get crackin' and get invitin'! 
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