Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Sims 2 House Designs (Part 1)

Okay, I admit it. No Harry Potter movie marathon happened last weekend. I didn't watch any of the films in the franchise, not even a glimpse or a trailer. And yes, I am kind of ashamed of myself, having broadcasted that I would. But hey, I will get over it soon, and I'm sure that someday, I will see that movie maration through. For now, I'm gonna share to you the reason for all of this:

Yes, it was all because of The Sims 2. I am aware that there's already a third game in one of the most successful video game series of all time, but since I have already mastered the controls and gameplay of this version, I decided to stick with it until I get bored with it.

Some people enjoy playing The Sims because they get to control lives like a god. Others spend so much time building skills and gaining friends for their sim to reach the top of its career. Me, I forget about eating, bathing, and sleeping to do something else: build and design sim houses.

Yes, that's all I did last weekend, and I got three things done:

#1 - I slightly modified one of the built-in two-storey sim houses available and created a three-member family called the Michigans. With no plans of cheating, I moved them in and played a couple of sim days. After a few human hours, I moved on to...

#2 - I enrolled the child to college to be able to design the sim dormitory where the child will live. I got nostalgic about how I did the sim dormitories when I first played the game, so I took one of those I previously worked on and carried out the same things in a slightly different way. The next day, I concentrated on...

#3 - I created my cheat sims. I made an overly wealthy family with the intention of giving them the most luxurious life I've always wanted ever simulated. I purchased one of the biggest sim houses in the neighborhood and spent the whole day and night remodeling and designing everything. When I finished, I played a couple of sim days, and then wrapped things up.

I can't really say I'm a frustrated architect or interior designer. After realizing early in my life how awful my drawing skills are, I immediately crossed that one out of my list. Maybe I'm just really into it, like how we say we're into a particular cuisine or color.

And to end this brief post, I'm going to publish MS Paint screenshots of the sim house of my cheat family after the remodeling (no indoor furnitures yet). For the inside look of the completed sim house and the dormitory I did, wait for my next post. 'Til then!

Front overview
Full overview
Rear overview
Overview at night

Gazebo and walkway
First floor overview

Second floor overview
Third floor
P.S. I didn't build the sim house from the ground up. It was built-in and I just made tons of modifications. I think it was originally a two-storey house. Lol

Update: The Sims 2 House Designs (Part 2)

Note: All photos, except The Sims 2 logo, are mine.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

7 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Harry Potter

Once again, it's Harry Potter season. It's very much felt right now here in the Philippines, and I can't wait to see The Deathly Hallows Part 1 in cinemas. However, I decided that, since there are only two films left in the best movie franchise ever, I will watch the first six installments first before watching the latest one in theaters. This is to refresh my memory and drench my mind in HP glory.

Yes, I'm gonna try to engage in a Harry Potter movie marathon. Starting today. Ooh, I'm so excited! Let's see if I will make it up to the sixth film, which is my favorite. But first, I'm gonna share some trivia, things that you probably didn't know about the book series and its author. Plus, some photos that reflect how much the cast has evolved since 2001.

  • Harry Potter, J. K. Rowling and Daniel Radcliffe all share the same birthday — July 31.
  • The secret code that Mr. Weasley types to get into the Ministry of Magic is 62442, which spells out “magic” on standard phones
Harry Potter looking genuinely like a boy (HP 1)
    Little Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger (HP 1)
  • Hermione’s name was almost “Hermione Puckle.” It has a sour tone to it, doesn’t it? J.K. Rowling thought so, too, and changed to something that suited the character better. Rowling has said that Hermione has a healthy dose of herself in there, as she was quite the know-it-all herself as a child. Hermione was originally going to have a younger sister, but Rowling never found the right moment to stick her into the books.
Toddlers no more (HP 4)
  • “K” is not a legal part of J.K. Rowling’s real name. She changed it from Joanne Rowling to J.K. Rowling in order to appeal to her male readers. 
  • Gilderoy Lockhart, the insufferably vain professor and celebrity from The Chamber of Secrets, was based on someone Rowling knows in real life. The rumor is that she based him on her ex-husband, but she has been quite adamant about denying that. “He used to tell whopping great fibs about his past life, all of them designed to demonstrate what a wonderful, brave and brilliant person he was. Perhaps he didn’t really believe he was all that great and wanted to compensate, but I’m afraid I never dug that deep,” she has said. “He’s probably out there now telling everybody that he inspired the character of Albus Dumbledore. Or that he wrote the books and lets me take the credit out of kindness.”
      Draco Malfoy still a kid (HP 2)
    Tom Felton all grown-up
    •  As you probably know, King’s Cross station is where young wizards hop on the Hogwarts Express to get to school. What you might not know is that the station holds special meaning for J.K. Rowling: it’s where her parents met. They were coincidentally both headed to Arbroath in Scotland when they met on the train. King’s Cross was intentionally chosen as the gateway to Hogwarts in homage to Rowling’s parents.
    • In author J.K. Rowling’s mind, Dumbledore has always been gay and, in fact, had a crush on Grindelwald. This could explain why Dumbledore accepted Grindelwald’s actions, even though he knew they were wrong.

    The late Richard Harris (HP 1-2)

    Michael Gambon (HP 3 onwards)


    Tuesday, November 16, 2010

    Review: Megamind

    I was reluctant to see Megamind at first because I'm not a fan of animated movies. I always tend to look for complexity in their story and forget that they are largely produced to please kids. As a result, I get disappointed most of the time, since animated films aren't always made like that.

    That's why at this point, I'm not that eager to watch movies of that kind anymore. Blame it on the bar that was set so high by brilliant animated films such as Meet The Robinsons, Wall·E, and Horton Hears A Who (my current favorite). They weren't just fun and technically impressive, but they were very insightful as well. It may seem that I demand too much, but with those aforementioned movies that took the genre to new heights, it's only right for one to expect that things will keep moving forward from then on.

    So yeah, I ended up seeing it with my sister. It was my first time to watch a movie in 3D, actually (loser me). The whole thing was kind of accidental, but that doesn't matter. I'm gonna go straight to the movie review and why it's hanging on the disliked side.


    • Brilliant voice work. I have nothing but praises for Will Ferrell (whom I don't really like) and the rest of the voice cast. I went to see the film not having a clue as to who the talents were, so when the credits rolled, I was pleasantly surprised.
    • Superb animation. This met my expectations, and for me it's best redeeming quality of the film. There was never a dull moment, even during the "romantic" scenes. It's what kept me throughout the 96-minute run time.
    • I didn't pay much attention to the other details, like lighting, sounds, and editing, but I think they were good, too. The animation couldn't have worked if these aspects were unsuccessful. They went unnoticed (in a positive sense) anyway, so I guess there was no harm done.
    • As what I've said, there's not much depth in the story. Sure, it's a movie that kids will definitely dig. It has appealing characters, dazzling visuals, and amusing humor to keep them on their seats. However, it might not be the same for discerning adults, the part of the audience that's able to make criticisms.
    • Second major flaw: it's quite unoriginal. The material was something I've encountered before. They had the chance to beef it up and make it unique, but they failed to tap a different angle. The plot was predictable for me, and that let me down real bad.

    • I wasn't impressed by the 3D-ness of the film. I was like, that's it? They could've made it more exhilarating, but instead it just fell flat. I have nothing to compare it with since it's the first 3D film I've seen, so I guess that says something.
    • And they really had to mock Obama. Ugh, it completely upset me! I'm sorry if I don't know the whole story, but I think it was unnecessary. Most people call it smart, but for the film to use a political joke to be deemed smart doesn't make it smart. And funny. It could've been okay if the whole plot was meant to be a satire, but it wasn't. And don't tell me that the movie was entirely intended to be seen by kids, because that part, sir, was obviously for grown-ups.

    Coming from a country where films are sometimes made without much thought, I think I can say if a movie made it in the list. Well, for me, Megamind almost did. Why? Because I realized that to pinpoint the flaws of the story is to overlook the main purpose of making animated films, which is to entertain people. So I guess, the positive points outweigh the negative.

    Sooooo, do I recommend it? Should people watch it? Sure, if we don't look at movies in the same way.

    Rating: 3/5 stars

    Sunday, November 14, 2010

    Social Media Statistics

    I was doing research on social media statistics one day at work when I came across this video on YouTube. It's from SocialMediaEnergy, and it presents a number of interesting and amazing stats on the current status of social media. Here are some of them:

    1. Adults spend 15+ hours a week on the internet. (I'm guilty because it's part of my job.)
    2. 2-3 new Twitter accounts are activated every second.
    3. Twitter averages 50 million tweets per day. (Around 3 of those come from me.)
    4. Wikipedia has more than 14 million articles written by 75,000 contributors in 260 languages. (I've read like 13 million already. Lol)
    5. The average online viewer watches 12.2 hours of online video each month. (Not me! *wink*)
    6. Facebook has over 350 million active users on a global basis -- a 40% increase in 6 months.
    7. 50% of active users log onto the site [Facebook] every day. (Just recently, this includes my mom.)
    8. The average user spends more than 55 minutes a day on Facebook. (Don't look at me.)
    9. 83% of all companies use Facebook.
    10. Social media has taken over pornography as the #1 activity on the web. (*whistling*)
    Undoubtedly, social media is taking over the world, and it excites me to think that it hasn't come to its peak yet. It's continually expanding, and I can't wait to become a part of the next big thing.

    They ended the video with a this bold statement: "Still think social media is a fad? Think again." Ditto.

    Saturday, November 13, 2010

    The Impacted Tooth Surgery

    (Warning for the squeamish: graphic images ahead)

    Woohoo! The bastard is now gone. Forevah! Muahahaha. The little demonic impacted tooth in my mouth that took over my life for weeks has finally been extracted, so I am now emancipated from potential complications like osteosarcoma and rheumatic heart disease (apparently, impacted teeth can cause those if left unremoved). Hurrah hurrah!

    My mouth is still affected by the anesthesia as I'm typing this, so half of it is stiff and numb. It's slowly fading away now, but I don't feel the shackles of post-surgery pain yet. So I took the opportunity to blog as a free man. Here's what happened:


    I ate two fried empanadas, half a plate of palabok, two Kenny Rogers muffins, half a plate of spaghetti, a putopao, some gelatin, a chocolate bar, some cookies, and a banana for breakfast. A very small meal, yes? Hahaha!

    Hey, before you judge me, hear out my legit excuse: I ate a lot because I was advised that my next meal might take a while. I just obeyed, okay? Hahaha. I took a bath and brushed my teeth right after to calm my tense mind and appear clean to Dr. Renoir Amba. Then, we took off.


    The clinic wasn't hard to find at all. As soon as we got inside, I signed the patient consent form and got oriented. Dr. Renoir then told me and my parents about the impacted tooth. Here were the details:
    • It was a case of mesial impaction and I needed an odontectomy. He showed us photos to scare me illustrate things. He even used a dental camera. So cool.
    • The whole procedure costs P10,000. So not cool.
    • He explained that the human diet (in general, not just mine) is the one to blame for all teeth impactions. There was some history involved, so I shut my ears for a while.
    • Abscess was already present and it had to be drained. (Eeww, pus!)
    • He said some things about nerves and why the impaction hurt so bad. Since it was kind of technical, he compared it to wires and stuff to make it more "understandable". Well, that didn't do. His words just passed right through my ears.
    • The tooth should have been extracted when I was 17 years old. I'm now 22, so it's considered long overdue. To embarrass me further, my mom told the dentist that my negligence was due to my fear of dentists. Bleh.
    • I actually have TWO impacted teeth (WTF?!), but he was going to take only one out. Whew.
    Not my x-ray

    I got really scared when the details were laid out, but I was also glad at the same time because something was going to be done about it. As the assistant drove my parents away from the scene, Dr. Renoir started.


    Sorry, no photos of the actual procedure. Bummer.

    Anyway, my dentist kicked things off by putting some numbing cream in my mouth and injecting anesthesia around the bastard tooth. Yeah, it killed the soul out of the little demon. I was asked to close my eyes, but I got to see the metal syringe and the laser thingy and the suction tube and the other tools first before I did.

    Errr, I don't exactly remember what happened next. The minute I closed my eyes, I got so relaxed that my mind almost dozed off. I also tried to get rid of my nervousness by finding my happy place (which wasn't really a place but a person ♥). It was successful, so I got comfortable from then on. I just fought the sleepiness enough to keep my mouth wide open.

    Then, the action began. Dr. Renoir grabbed my jaw and struggled to yank the tooth out. I also heard something like my jaw was being power sawed. Of course, there was no pain, so I was just lying there, swallowing my overly produced saliva, quietly humming to the tune of the instrumental songs coming out of the speakers. My head even tilted and turned side to side as he did whatever he was doing, but since my mind was in a happy "place", it was all cool.

    After half an hour, he said he was already wrapping things up. I was like, huh? Hahaha. I didn't feel anything at all! I partly opened my eyes to see what's up, and I saw my dentist pulling a black thread in and out of my mouth. He was stitching! But, I still felt nothing, so... whatever.

    When it was all finished (12 stitches), he asked me to gargle. It was the funniest thing ever! Since my mouth was on anesthesia, I didn't have full control of my muscles. So I was like an archerfish shooting out jets of water! HAHAHA! And it happened twice, so the floor got all wet. After a few tries, I was finally able to spit right into sink.


    This was the hardest part. Why? Because it was payment time! Goodbye, 10,000 pesos.

    Dr. Renoir's soft-spoken assistant issued the receipts. I was also given a medical certificate and prescription notes for amoxicillin and mefenamic acid. After giving me his final piece of advice, Dr. Renoir bid us farewell and called his next patient.

    On our way home, my parents discussed how good Dr. Renoir was and compared him to the nearby dentist. They said that his services were more expensive, but he sounded like he really knew what he was doing. They also got impressed by how fast the surgery was and even planned to refer him to my sister and our neighbors. So there's no bitterness there, I'm sure.

    As soon as I got home, I took pictures of my mouth...

    The stitches
    Scary facial hair

    ...and the extracted impacted tooth:

    Little demon photo #1
    Little demon photo #2

    For lunch, I just had mushroom soup. SOUP! There was lechong paksiw and kare-kare, but nooooo, I just had soup. Hmpf. But then, I suddenly remembered Dr. Renoir telling me to eat something cold. So, I bought ice cream right away. Oyeah!

    Right now, I can say that 80% of the anesthesia has worn off. I'm starting to feel something in my mouth, like the Queen of Pain is already fastening the ball and chain. So, before it goes full blast, I'm gonna sleep and let the healing take its natural course.

    P.S. Heads up! I don't think I'll be able to blog for the next 48 hours. My mouth will be so swollen that it's gonna block my sight of the keyboard and the monitor. Loljk

    Note: The clinic photo and all actual teeth photos are mine.

    Wednesday, November 10, 2010

    Updates (Or Lack Thereof)

    Sooooo. Not a single post for 3 days. So much for telling Pen that I want to be a famous blogger. Hahaha! Dreams. Yeah, they're free.

    Anyway, so why wasn't I able to write? It's because of my impacted tooth. (See? I told you it's taking over my life.) For the past few days, it has become so insufferably painful that I failed to concentrate on thinking about a good topic for a post. Heck, about anything!

    The super mega hyper intense pain came about a couple of days ago. It was just so severe that the 500 mg tablet of mefenamic acid didn't even take effect! I was able to accomplish things at work, but I came home overly uncomfortable because of the toothache, wanting to be slammed in the face by a sledgehammer instead.

    Yesterday, I felt a lot better. The mefenamic acid finally worked, but I decided not to report to the office. I thought I really had to do something about it immediately, so I called a few dentists as soon as I woke up, including Michelle's brother, to solicit opinion.

    Following Dr. Renoir's (le brother) advice, I went to SM Southmall to have an x-ray of my teeth taken, which cost P800. (Huhuhu, this is making me bankrupt!) Then, I went to Michelle's house to drop off the x-ray. Soon after, JC showed up, and we eventually went to Alabang Town Center to meet up with Pao. We ate, hung out, ate, did videoke at Timezone, and ate some more. So there, I was busy yesterday, and I got too tired and, at the same time, overjoyed to write a post.

    How about today? Less pain than yesterday, but it's still there. And the surgery has been scheduled! The bastard tooth will FINALLY be extracted on Saturday. Yey! How much? Around P8000. Ye... awww. AWWW.

    What? You smell something? Something stinks? Yeah. It's my imminent bankruptcy. Huhuhu..... Goodbye Christmas. Goodbye planned trips. No gifts for loved ones. Boo, dentists.

    So, any update? Ugh. You're reading it. (Thank you.)

    Sunday, November 07, 2010

    Loving Country Music, Loving Lady Antebellum

    Before, I thought country music was too American and western and that it couldn't possibly appeal to Asians like me. But nooooo.....

    After hearing this song, I instantly became a fan. And after hearing their two albums, I completely embraced country music. I just love it so much now!

    Since American Idol is soon to begin with it's 10th season, I included the band's performance of my favorite song in last year's show. Enjoy!

    Saturday, November 06, 2010

    Breaking Up With My Braided Anklet

    I wore this braided anklet for 7 straight years without ever taking it off. EVER.

    It was only last night that I accidentally ripped it off when I scratched my right ankle. I was talking to a friend of mine over the phone when it happened, so the sadness didn't kick in yet.

    Well, it has now.

    Isn't it amazing how you can actually hold on to wear something without ever taking it off? That anklet hung on to me with every fiber of its being, not letting anything come between us. Not jeans, not socks, not sandy beaches, not typhoons, not soap, nothing.

    But, I don't know, it just gave up last night. It came off easily with just a scratch of an itch I couldn't ignore. For 7 years, it stayed there, wrapped around my ankle, but it only took one unpremeditated act to throw all that out. I guess it just had to happen.

    My braided anklet had several siblings, but they didn't last long. It doesn't have a name, and I don't think it needs one. The moments, the secrets, those are the things I'll remember it by. But I'm sure, it won't be forgotten right away. For the next few weeks or so, it will be like having a phantom leg: I'll feel it's there but it's not.

    Okay fine, yes. I do have a choice, and it's not too late. I can tie it back up and pretend that nothing happened. But now, I'm having second thoughts. Realizing that it has so much meaning to me, it all suddenly seemed so tough.

    But, I think it's about time to finally let it go, let things go. I don't think we should hold on to our past that long, anyway. It can mess up our present and future, and when that happens it's excruciatingly hard to iron things out.

    I guess this is goodbye, then. I hope you become fashionable again.

    Note: The photo is mine.

    Review: Battle of the Facial Washes

    I've been into facial washes for several years now, and I've only used 3 brands faithfully: Master, Gatsby, and Human Nature.

    Master Facial Scrub - Oil Control
    Gastby - Refreshing Wash Scrub
    Human Nature Organic Facial Wash - Calendula & Seaweed Gel

    From what I remember, it's one of the first local facial care products that's marketed to men. I was in high school when it became popular, and their ads easily convinced me that men's faces need more than soap and water too. So, I made sure that my parents included it in their groceries. With that, I became a loyal consumer for many years. I even told people that it's my secret to an acne-free skin (actually, it's due to my genes). Here's what I think:
    • Product quality/reputation: Made by Sara Lee. 'Nuff said.
    • Effectivity: Highly effective against acne. Whenever I had pimples, I just covered it with a glob, and it dried up.
    • Consistency (1 - fluid, 5 - thick): 3. Makes me squeeze out more than what I need.
    • Affordability: 100 mL bottle costs around... P120? Not the cheapest around.
    • Features: Zeroil, anti-bacterial agent, microscrubs. Not too catchy, but they're there.
    • Remarks: Really cleanses and smoothens skin. Cooling sensation provides relief. Smells manly but too strong. Removes oil well, but doesn't lessen the production much.
    • Strongest point: effectivity

    It was during college when Master lost me. I'm still using it at present, but only as a shaving aid. Actually, I'm just emptying the bottle up. So, what happened? What made me change? The answer: Gatsby.


    When Gastby came into play, I just had to try it. It had charcoal for Pete's sake! I couldn't resist knowing what it would feel to clean my face with a "dirty" ingredient. So I bought one, and after my first wash, it made me switch instantly. Here's why:
    • Product quality/reputation: Imported by Mandom, which makes Gatsby. Impressive "resume".
    • Effectivity: Pretty much effective. The charcoal does clean.
    • Consistency: 4. Makes me squeeze out the right amount. Lasts longer.
    • Affordability: 120g costs less than P100. Much more affordable.
    • Features: Charcoal, scrub, witch hazel extract, menthol. Got me real good.
    • Remarks: Also cleanses and smoothens skin. With cooling sensation, but not as cool. Citrus smell is pleasant. Doesn't lessen oil production either (I think it's my sebaceous glands, not the products).
    • Strongest point:  longevity, affordability

    If you're not really after effectivity, Gatsby is the practical choice. If you want a potent facial wash, go for Master.

    Human Nature

    It was my good friend Raica who introduced me to Human Nature a few months ago. Upon trying their stock at home, I got convinced right away that I had to buy one for myself. What got me? It's purely organic. Plus, I thought that it was about time for me to go green, so I made an order as soon as I got home. (I just ran out of supply, so I don't have photos.) Here's my verdict:

    • Product quality/reputation: Made by Gandang Kalikasan. Legit organic ingredients.
    • Effectivity: Cleans well.
    • Consistency: 2/3. Fluid but as stable as gel. Either you squeeze out little or too much. Since a small amount is enough, it lasts surprisingly long.
    • Affordability: 100mL costs around P130 plus shipping. Expensive, but the ingredients justify the price.
    • Features: Calendula, seaweed gel. May cause allergic reactions, but not harsh on skin because it's organic.
    • Remarks: Cleans and smoothens skin as well, but makes your face too slippery for you to feel the cleanliness with your hands. No cooling sensation, but the candy-like smell is great. Made my skin a bit more oily. Caused pimples (not too bad).
    • Strongest point:  all-organic

    I think it caused pimples because my face wasn't used to an organic facial wash. They thought it was the seaweed, but I dismissed that because I'm not allergic to it. But there was one thing that really impressed me: the customer service. They responded to my every e-mail, and they even offered to replace the one I bought with a different variant. Well, I ended up using it all anyway, so I guess that's faithful enough, but I'm not gonna buy again from them anytime soon. It's too expensive, and ordering online is a hassle (you have to deposit your payment to their bank account if you want to avoid the more expensive shipping fee).

    Sooooo, I'm back to Gatsby. At this point, I'm open to trying other facial care products. There are so many new brands out there, and they're too interesting to be ignored. So stick around for my next facial wash review. If you want to suggest a brand, please leave a comment. Better if you give me a free sample. =)

    Note: All photos related to Master and Gatsby are mine.
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