We were in Malibu last Saturday with my mother-in-law, taking in the wonderful Getty Villa - a replica of a Roman villa housing Getty's collection of Roman and Greek artifacts. Below are some photos from the gardens and outside rooms of the villa. Enjoy!
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
This morning I was reading a manuscript that I had done over twice and am still only about a third of the way through. I'm not sure if it's me or if the story I started out with was really too flat to begin with.
I got an email from a site called Red Room this morning reminding me that November is National Novel Writing Month. I had gone to that website a year ago maybe - I remember learning about novel writing month and the 30-day novel writing project about mid-November last year. I think I will give it a try this year. Especially since I was reminded in time to start on November 1 instead of during its last days.
Monday, October 27, 2008
Personality: Firstborns are ambitious, assertive, dominant and disciplined compared to their younger siblings. They're determined to succeed yet fearful of losing position and rank, and are defensive about errors and mistakes, Dattner says.
Compensation: A recent survey by CareerBuilder.com found that workers who were the firstborn child in their families were more likely to earn $100,000 or more annually compared to their siblings.
Professions: The oldest tend to pursue vocations that require higher education, like medicine, engineering or law. Firstborns from the CareerBuilder.com survey reported working in jobs in government, engineering, pharmacy and science. Ohio State University researchers found firstborn children were more likely to pursue "intellectual" jobs.
Job level: Workers who are firstborn are more likely to report holding a vice president or senior management position, according to the survey.
Famous firstborns: Oprah, Hillary Clinton, Winston Churchill, Sylvester Stallone and Bill Clinton.
Monday, October 20, 2008
I've been debating on whether to complete my series and get Season 4 of my most anticipated TV show (I do try to stay awake to watch it, really I do). This was the season were they had a lot of reruns because of the writers' strike. So they didn't have that many episodes - and the episodes they did have, we saw a couple of times before the current season aired.
With my collections at times it's mostly about completing the set than if I actually still enjoy the show or liked the season. I actually bought the vhs of the first few seasons of X-Files just because I had started buying them. That's not practical I know so I'm holding off on getting this one.
I've been missing a lot of Numb3rs episodes this season, maybe that is a good reason to get the current season when it comes out in DVD. Although I did miss most of last season's finale episode when Charlie lost his security clearance, hmmmm...
Hey just in case you have not seen the show and are wondering what all the fuss is about, try watching the first two seasons. Those were the times when they really concentrated on the premise of using math everyday. It gets relationship and character development heavy after that - but the characters are interesting so that doesn't necessarily mean it gets boring after the first two seasons.
Have you ever bought something just because you wanted to complete a set? What was it and did you enjoy it when you finally completed the set?
Friday, October 17, 2008
While watching Food Network one weekend, I came across this show hosted by Ellie Krieger. I have never seen her before that day. She made this pizza on a spinach base, topped with garlic, olive oil, parmesan, prosciutto and eggs. It looked so yummy I just had to try making it myself. Guess what my husband and I had for breakfast this morning?
That pizza on a toasted wrap - I couldn't find a pizza crust without toppings in our local grocery. My husband thought it tasted good, it just needed more olive oil - and maybe an actual crust.
I think my husband secretly enjoys the fact that I'm experimenting with dishes. I don't usually cook Filipino dishes - I leave that up to him, plus I prefer baking to using the stove so he has his territory and I have mine.
But I digress! I went to the food network website and looked up the recipe. I found an ad for a free customized analysis for losing weight by Ellie Krieger - hmmm, I thought so I tried it out. After she gives you three generic tips of eat better, get active and I forgot the third point, you're directed to a preplanned meal for you for $4 per week.
Ok so it's cheaper than the plans that actually deliver food to your door and maybe it's cheaper than getting your own nutritionist to advise you, but $4 per week just to tell me what to buy in the store, what I can and cannot buy? Hmmmm... I'm not convinced.
Would you pay $4 a week for recipes and exercise routines? Note that there are a lot of free recipe websites out there and fitness resources like livestrong.com that give you fitness advise for free. Tell me what you think?
Thursday, October 16, 2008
My husband woke up to freshly baked cinnamon rolls this morning. All because he was so wonderful as to clear a space for a countertop convection oven in his kitchen and help me buy this eye candy from Costco. Yes, getting your wife that oven/cooktop she wants pays big time, guys!
After reading all the reviews, I concluded that this extra-large capacity Oster convection oven was a better choice than the last one I featured. Everyone was actually raving about the Hamilton Beach model with knobs, but it was out of stock and wouldn't be available until the end of October.
Customer reviews said that the control panel was confusing, but it works almost the same as your microwave oven does just with some additional controls. Plus the instruction manual gives you step by step directions on which buttons to push first. Some customers have also said that the fan was noisy when you put it in fan bake mode - it's definitely not, my ceiling fan is noisier than this oven. Others have complained that it burned their food, they must realize that fan bake = convection. If you want to bake with this oven adjust your temperature and your baking time. It cooks about 33% faster than your regular oven. As for how long it will last, we have to wait and see. But so far it's looking pretty good to me!
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Steve Jobs and Apple just launched a whole new line of Macbooks and in our very expensive tech world that means more gadget cravings! I have been good though, I've raved about a lot of gadgets I didn't actually buy like the iPod Nano, which paled in comparison to the new iPod Touch - ok so I'm still fighting the impulse to buy that!
But with the economy where it is, it makes me wonder what skill I can turn into income just in case - you know. And my gadget cravings have turned to two not-so-techie gadgets I want to work with.
Food, clothing, shelter. The three basic needs. The three income streams I want to concentrate on when developing my rusty skills. And here are the two gadgets that will help me start.
The Euro Pro 0.75 cu. ft. Convection Oven makes my gadget wish list because our apartment's oven is not fit to bake in and I do enjoy baking. Especially with the holiday season just coming around the corner, I already have a number of gift ideas running through my head - all home-made and baked of course. My only reservation about this oven is it is quite small and I would need to look for bakeware to actually fit in it. Well when you have a small kitchen, you have to sacrifice a little...
This is a CE5000 PRW, a Project Runway Limited Edition computerized sewing machine with 50 built-in stitches and 87 stitch functions. A lot of people may not know this about me, but I've wanted to learn to sew for a long time now. My grandma had this old Singer sewing machine that she would use to make me clothes, yes I was a child barbie doll at one point in my life - and I thoroughly enjoyed it. We had home economics classes way back in elementary school where they taught us to sew, but not on a fully computerized sewing machine like this - I think electric machines were the most you could hope for back then. I remember we made a skirt and a blouse - I don't know if we made anything else after that.
But though sewing clothes is cool, I want to learn to sew things for the home like curtains, bed ensembles, decorative pillows, seat covers, etc. Although simple baby clothes would be nice to learn to make as well as gifts for friends.
So that about rounds up my gadget list - of course I did exclude the 6 Qt stand mixer, the 12-cup food processor, the 32 GB iPod Touch, and the 24-inch iMac for my living room office that I do try not to want because of how expensive they all are! Maybe if I am lucky I can just win the lottery and buy all the gadgets I want for Christmas. Just one more reason to buy that lottery ticket!
Monday, October 13, 2008
The princess and her lady-in-waiting, characters in a traditional Filipino dance
The bamboo and fan dance - pinoy style! (by the way, it's called Singkil)
Dancing with the golden fans
Waiting for the princess
Photos were taken during the rehearsals for the grand presentation on Saturday, October 18. The LA and San Fernando Chapters of my husband's church group kicks off the show with traditional native Igorot and Muslim dances. Most of the photos above are from the dance called, Singkil, which is a courting dance between a prince and princess. Wait until I take photos of this group in costumes!
The dedication of the people involved in the dances are amazing, practicing until two in the morning then having to go to work the next day. And most of those involved in the dance have kids! You must admire the kids for their patience in waiting for their parents as well. Go LA! Go SFV! You truly know how to make an offering to God!
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Photos of our pet parakeets, my mother-in-law (including an official one she needs to submit to the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office - yes, they do require proof of life pictures!), one of my husband's masks and one of my hand-painted plates. All taken in auto mode with the Nikon D90.
Friday, October 10, 2008
These are some starter photos I took in Huntington Beach while exploring what the D90 can do. These were all taken using the automatic setting. Contrary to how the photos look, these were all taken around the sunset hours.
I used Sliderocket to display my photos here. It's a pretty good online powerpoint-like tool. I haven't explored adding video and plugins to it, but it sure looks like a promising application. Great job!
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
I was looking for an LA Lakers graphic I could use for this post and found this widget on their site. Four or so months ago, the big Honda Center billboard on the 57 freeway advertised a preseason game between the LA Lakers and the Utah Jazz. My curiosity got the better of me and I looked for tickets online. Finding a price I was comfortable paying for it, I was surprised to find that our seats were actually on the floor!
I held off on buying for a month or so then my husband began asking me if we could watch the game. The fifth time he reminded me to buy tickets was when I finally did.
Ok, I was a little starstruck watching Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Derek Fisher, Lamar Odom, Jordan Farmar, Vladimir Radmanovic and Andrew Bynum just a few feet away - I have to admit. And because he is my sister's favorite, I looked for Sasha Vujacic too - but apparently he is still recovering from an injury although he was featured during breaks doing community service. The big men of the Lakers and Jazz teams made the basketball court look really small. I think Andrew Bynum is really becoming a great player. The new recruits are impressive too!
It was a fun evening even though the Lakers lost. Both teams played extremely well - without the pressure of the actual season on their shoulders. The Lakers production team really knows how to get the crowd excited with various gimiks like showing couples in the audience in a "Kiss Me" frame and having a "Dance Cam" that made you forget that you were there to watch a game. The Laker Girls danced around 5 or more routines - the crowds sure liked them.
Well, that's another thing I can check off my list - watching a Lakers game. All in all, I'd recommend it to my friends.
Monday, October 06, 2008
I was chatting with my very talented part-time photographer friend based in New York last Friday and realized that NYC has all the great photography stores! I was asking him where he got his camera bag and of course he gets most of his photography gear from B&H Photo.
I shop online all the time, but it would be nice to just go to the store and pick out what I want and buy it. I made him promise to take us to the store when we visit the big apple (when that is, I have no idea yet!)
So I went to Best Buy and looked at what they had in store. My friend said he has a Lowepro bag and it was of pretty good quality so I was happy to find the bag in the image above in store. It can fit two camera bodies several lenses, flashes and other gear - as well as a 15" laptop.
Now I wasn't looking for a laptop bag, but I realized that if we were going to do weddings, it would be easier to have one bag to carry everything. Great find, I think! It's easy to carry and weather-proof. I would recommend this bag to all my friends.
Photo credits to Lowepro.
Friday, October 03, 2008
My Nikon D90 was delivered today! I've followed the quick start guide and was able to take starter photos.
The first feature I tested was the Active D-Lighting. I had a problem with shooting pictures in dark areas this year and my D50's automatic setting did not quite cut it. I took a picture of my husband in the dark hallway where he was facing a mirror. The shot came out pretty good - it didn't look like he was in a dark hallway at all and the flash did not ruin the image in the mirror. As promised the D90 captured details even in dark areas.
One other difference I noticed is the focusing guides. When you looked through the viewfinder you had eleven points where you should frame the object you are focusing on. When you half-press the focus button the focusing mechanism smoothly adjusts the focus for you. The colors it captures is amazing, my birds looked almost ethereal when my husband and I took pictures of them (will post this soon!).
Even my husband acknowledged that my new toy was great! He certainly has fun with the camera too.
There was only so much I could play with over my lunch hour. I'm looking forward to taking more pictures over the weekend! Somehow... Somewhere...
I don't really go to the doctor often - preventive medicine doesn't really work on me. I only go to the doctor when I am sick.
Yesterday my husband had an asthma attack. He has not had one since we got married so he didn't really have any inhaler anymore. He didn't want to go to Urgent Care so we had to go to our new primary doctor.
Our new doctor had her office in the tall executive-looking building across the street from St. Joseph's and Children's Hospital of Orange County. The building was very different from our old doctors' offices in the three-story building in Monterey Park. They had a lobby that looked like an executive high rise's lobby. They had interior-designed waiting rooms. The offices looked more updated and a bit cleaner.
But when you go to the reception area, it was the same paper and clipboard that you signed up in. They still had paper forms.
The outpatient rooms looked the same as our Monterey Park doctors. The doctors were not Chinese, but they were kind and friendly. I set an appointment for a physical because it has been a long time since I had one, the earliest date I could get was December 18, but that's better than no date at all.
My husband was prescribed an inhaler and the pharmacists kindly gave us the first one free plus a coupon for $15 off on the second. My husband's asthma isn't bad enough to have to use the inhaler more than once a week - hopefully he improves this coming season when it's not as hot. I think the extreme heat was a challenge for him.
It feels easier to think of going to the doctor for preventive care when she is only five to ten minutes away from where you live and work. Although our old doctors were very kind and we were comfortable with them, they are 30 miles away and the hospital they were connected with didn't have great facilities the way we know St. Joseph does. So all in all the move to Orange County doctors was very satisfactory for us.