All I Want for Christmas...
Oh, dear Santa, I've been a good boy this year. When you pass by our house in Bulacan, can you please leave the following items?
1) a Tripod for my digicam (Canon PowerShot 850SD) - hands can sometimes get shaky ;oP
Philip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" Trilogy - hardbound so it will last a long time; I need a good book to read while I'm on the plane.
3) a ticket to "Wicked"- last time I canceled my ticket because of the writers' strike. Hopefully next year I get to watch this.
4) "Suriya" or "The Spa" gift certificate - I miss getting body massages. I want a day of pampering. From my head down to my toes.
5) a bottle of "Vidal Blanc", "White Zinfandel" or "Shiraz" - I wanna get wasted this Christmas!
-- not finished yet --
Grey's Anatomy is Back!
Remember the episode where Christina Ricci guested in "Grey's Anatomy"? That has got to be one of the most memorable episodes in Grey's land. Now, in last Thanksgiving episode, there's another big star who makes a cameo appearance. It's Seth Green. Nick, his character, has a tumor that left his artery exposed and could bleed any moment. If you've been a fan of the show, you'd know that it will deffo come gushing out soon.
We also got a peek into Bailey's personal life. I think it's the first time that they showed her house.
The ambulance scene was very touching so please prepare your tissues.
Can't wait to see the second part of this episode.
A Stitch in Time
Remember this photo from my Thanksgiving party in Jersey? This is our project for today. We'll do some photo stitching. This picture is actually composed of 8 pictures.
Now, the first thing you must remember when you wanna do sumpthin like this, is that, you need to have a tripod (or a very steady hand). If you don't have a tripod, stand on one spot and just do a mini-robotic turn for each shot. I tried capturing these photos from right to left and then I took another round from left to right. Make sure that you have overlaps for each picture so it would be easier to put them together. Choose a nice subject too. Mountains. Forests. Rivers.
Now the fun part. Collect your photos. In Photoshop CS3, place each photo on different layers.Select all the layers. Click on Layer 7 (topmost), hold down Shift key and then click on Background layer (bottommost). Then go to Edit menu, choose Auto-Align Layers. From the Projection options, just choose "Auto" then click OK. Now Photoshop will be doing its magic so be patient.You'll get sumpthin like this in the end:Notice that some parts have different lighting and all? Don't worry, we have a solution for that. Go back to Edit menu and choose Auto-Blend Layers. Once more, "magpapasikat si Photoshop!".
Now, do some cropping and presto! You have your own panoramic photo!
Four Songs Added
I've added four new mp3s in my cassette player:
"I Write Sins Not Tragedies" by Panic! at the Disco - catchy intro; cool music to drive with.
"Boston" by Augustana - nice melody; Reminds me of a Sprint commercial; Thanks, Tomas, for introducing me to this song again.
"With This Tear" by Celine Dion - first heard this song from Regine. Instantly loved it.
"Taking Chances" by Celine Dion - the first cut from the album of the same title.
Back in Virginia once again. Back to work. Back to less cold weather. I miss my apartment so much. I miss my bed.
JC approached me today and he informed me that I'd be doing some more professional services in the coming months. That's good news. More work for me. I enjoy working with the people here.
The leaves (what's left of it) from the trees turned rusty colored. Some trees need Rogaine. They look sad and lonely. In the weeks to come they'll be cuh-vered in white powder. I need to buy my thermal undies.
"Heroes" is on tonight. Good thing that Milo didn't flash his bare chest this time. It's Sylar's turn though. It's about time he eliminated one of the Wonder Twins. They are so USE-less. We all know that Sylar would get the girl's power eventually (through sex?). We had an appetizer of Claire & Elle upcoming battle. They said that 2 Heroes will fall next week. Hmmm, could be Adam Monroe and Maya (and Sylar would get her killing powers).
Shopping in New Jersey
Woke up in a Disney Princess-inspired bedroom. The walls are painted pink. There's a big Cinderella Castle sticker on one wall. Dolls & stuffed toys everywhere. I wonder how I got here. Oh, fuck! My head hurts. Must go back to sleep.Around 9ish, Ogz was already waking us up. I walked downstairs to the kitchen zombie like. They have Purefoods corned beef, hotdogs and eggs for brekky. They look good but I had zero appetite. Must go back to sleep.I took a sip of coffee and took 2 bites of a small hotdog. One more bite and I would've finished it but I couldn't. Must go back to sleep.I walked towards the living room and laid down on the couch while Mykaela and Marielle were playing nearby. Tita Lina gave me some Advil. I wasn't feeling well. After some minutes, I stood up and went back to the kitchen. I ate some more and drank lotsa water. That made me feel better.After my morning shower, I felt more alive. Tom, Ogz and I bid goodbye to our hosts. We checked out a nearby outlet mall called Jersey Gardens. Again, I found nuthin' to buy.
It's already 3 pm when we decided to have lunch. We went to another aunt of Ogz named Tita Amy. They own this Filipino resto/grocery store. There we ate longanisa, tinola, menudo, bicol express, galunggong, barbecue and fried chicken. We couldn't finish everything. We're so stuffed. Ogz chatted with his pretty Ate Lizette (she's in charge of the cash register). They gave us "pabaon".
We then went to a nearby mall in Short Hills. There Ogz found his other cousin named Shiela, who's managing an Au Bon Pain store. She gave us mocha lattes. Sweet! We also found this Apple store and we took some photos.It's already 6 pm so we headed back to Queens. Tom introduced me to this song, "Boston", by Augustana. The intro reminds me of a commercial jingle.
Boardwalk in Atlantic City
Got a call from Tomas that he'll be arriving around 11 am. The plan is to drive over to Atlantic City today. It's my first time so I'm excited. We'll meet Ogz's cousin, Ate Alet, along with her family, there.
Armed with GPS, Tom navigated through the streets of New York and Jersey. He let me choose the songs to play in his iPod for our entertainment.
Around 2:30, we reached Atlantic City. Ogz informed us that once you've seen Vegas, AC won't be able to measure up. He was right. It lacks the grandeur of Las Vegas. They have their own version of Caesars Palace though. And then there's the Taj Mahal of Donald Trump. This is where we parked close to.Ogz called his cousin and Ate Alet informed us that Hilton hotel offers their buffet for only 9.99. She told us that they will meet us there too. We asked for directions and started walking. 'twas like 2.5 miles worth of walking in a cold weather. Lotsa birds flying which reminded me of Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds" which we just watched the night before. We met the whole family, Ate Alet, Kuya Manny, their two daughters and Tita Lina (Alet's mother). The kids got some teeth extracted and were proud to show the gaps. Ate Alet paid for our meals. Wow! We're so happy. I had soup first 'cause I was really, really hungry and tired. Got some shrimps and barbecued pork and steamed mussels. For dessert, I had a cake.
Afterwards, we met with the family and started enjoying the Boardwalk. So many stores with "Closing Out Sales" signs. We found Asian shops offering tempting but dubious massages. I bought an Atlantic City magnet at a shop called "Magnetism". We also visited the Rainforest Cafe. There were a handful of street entertainers. There's this guy who beats his drum minus any sort of rhythm. I wonder how he could get money for that.We took some photos inside the Caesars. They have a nice Christmas tree setup and all their statues are wearing the Santa's hat.They have a Ripley's Believe It or Not museum and I like their building facade. Looks like the wall is falling down.We finally reached Taj Mahal after some good 30 minutes of walking. It's better this time 'cause we're not hungry anymore. It was still tiring though. Kuya Manny, Tom and Ogz agreed to just pick us up in front of the hotel.Before we headed to the house of Ate Alet, where we're staying for the night 'cause the heater at Tita Letty & Mel's house broke down, we checked out the latest hotel in Atlantic City called "Borgata". Fergie is gonna perform here soon.At Ate Alet's house, we had some palabok, pancit bihon and chicken for dinner. Oh my god, I miss pancit! Had two servings ;oP
Kuya Manny bought a Black Label and we downed it in less than an hour while watching TFC soap marathon. Too bad they don't have GMA network though. I had an overdose of Sarah "Varicose Veins" Geronimo, Rica "Retokada" Peraleho, Rio "Daga" Locsin and Cherry Pie Picachu.
Then I blacked out.
Shopping on Black Friday
Our goal is to visit the "Ed Hardy" shop in New York. Tita Mel and Letty accompanied us. We took the subway and bus to reach the old meat packing district. It was hard to locate this shop. Tita Letty called them and asked for directions. Found their flagship shop finally on W 13th street.The shop is rather small. When you enter, you'll see the DJ on your right playing loud music. And to your left is a wall filled with pictures of celebrities wearing Ed Hardy shirts or caps. The place is not crowded with people though (thank gawd!). They are selling jeans, t-shirts, caps, jackets, to bottled water.We came here for the shoes so Ogz and I went directly to the shoe area. I found the Kamikaze design and tried it on. It's an 8 but it's kinda small. A big black associate was folding shirts so I asked him if he's got a 9. He opened his shoe closet but informed me that they don't have it. Crap! I chose a different design and found a nice shoelace-less highcut shoe. I asked for the other pair. He looked around again and informed me later that the other pair is missing 'cause there's this one time that somebody gave an 8 and a 9 to a customer. What?! Oh well, I gave up. After a few minoots, Ogz was holding a pair of sized-9 Kamikaze design shoes. Ugh! I'll just shop online instead of dealing with nincompoop associates.
Tita Letty & Mel brought us to Chinatown for lunch. We went to Hop Kee and ordered crabs, fried noodles, fried flounder and porkchops. I was so stuffed. I heard that they also took Raz here. Lotsa Pinoys eat here apparently.
On the way back to the subway, we found lotsa branded stuff being sold for cheap prices. This will remind you so much of Greenhills back home. Yep, they are imitations.
Ogz and I parted ways with the Titas in front of Macy's. It's Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, so there are a lot of people shopping for discounted items. But when we saw the long lines, we got discouraged to buy. It's better to shop in Virginia with less people and with clearance sections too ;oPWe visited shops like H&M (Ogz's fave), Gap (their multi-colored scarf is 98 bucks!), Victoria's Secret, MTV, etc. I didn't find anything that suits my fancy.
The weather wasn't cooperating too. It's freaking cold outside. I need to get a thermal underwear soon. We bought some coffee at Starbucks to warm our balls.
We had fun watching the holiday window designs of "Lord & Taylor" and "Saks Fifth Avenue". It's like having a smaller (but way better) version of our local "C.O.D" in Cubao. Lotsa mechanical dolls. So pretty.Dinner at Friday's was not a good idea. The food was expensive. I had Mahi-Mahi but the price turned me off so I didn't enjoy the food. And I was still cold. When it's cold, I pee more often. I must have taken more than 15 trips to the restrooms in New York. Dammit!We found people ice skating at Bryant Park. We wanted to try it but there was a freakin' long line too. It's free, y'see. Anyhoo, we decided to just do some ice skating back in Ashburn.The Christmas tree at the Rockefeller Center hasn't been lit yet so it looks kinda sad.We wanted to visit Abercrombie & Fitch at Fifth Ave but it was already closed. Ogz found another H&M store and got some long-sleeves shirts there. I was already tired so I just waited for him to finish his shopping. Since most of the stores were already closed, we decided to go back home.