Thursday, January 29, 2009

25 Random Things

Three friends sent me the chain for 25 Random Things.  I've contemplated about it and what I might list down and distribute publicly.  I've read their stuff and much as I respect their taste for such form of self-expression, it is not my piece of cake.  In the same way I throw praises to my friend Jill who so far has come up with the best list.  Actually, I was thinking it my list couldn't come second to hers then it just wasn't doing at all.

However I have a list! After watching Matt Lauer on Conan O'Brien's show (DVR'd from sometime this week...).

Top 5 men who looked better after age 40:

5.  Brad Pitt
4.  George Clooney
3.  George Clooney
2. Lauer, of course
1.  Georgie boy (Clooney, who else!)

Whatever.... LOL

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Never Hard of Loving

The city is in winter mode.  The beautiful pristine snow is great when you watch it from a window - snowflakes dancing in the wind veiling everything in white.  But up close it is icy and slippery.  The arctic winds cam burn your skin and make your eyes tear.  You have to bundle up in layers and when you get anywhere indoors you are breaking out in sweat because the heaters are set in sauna temps.  Then the snow melts and there is slush everywhere and you have no decent looking pair of leather boots that doesn't have a smear of sodium chloride (or any other salt variation) stain on it.

No wonder everyone is all set to escape the winter in the northeast.  Myself included. 

"I'm glad I left New York," someone IM'd me a few days ago and I did not know how to respond.  True, winter can be a pain but I have never thought about making THAT a reason to leave my most favorite city in the world.  A self-confessed Manhattan-centrist, I have always believed that despite and inspite of what makes New York City what it is, there is still so much to love about it.

The public transportation system that will take you anywhere and everywhere at the cost of a Metrocard; the fresh markets at Union Square and other locations that provide fresh fruits, vegs and flowers no matter what the weather; Central Park - beautiful in any weather; $1 dollar books at Strand and other bookstores; $5 hotdog meals at Grey's Papaya; that fruits you can get from the vendor at the streetcorner is fresher and cheaper than what you can get from the grocers; that you can sit in some random pizza place and realize that you are sitting next to some writer/actor/singer/model/politician;  that our mayor rides the subways to go to work every day.

And talk about fancy restaurants.  Althouogh those network chefs serve their wares here, next to the more preferred local favorites that have been around for many generations.  Do people still remember Katz's and the Second Avenue Deli that is no longer on 2nd Avenue?

This city is friendly to the wallet to those who know how to get the good deals.  There is TKTS for cheap Broadway shows, matinee movies before lunchtime that charge half the full ticket, year-round pre-fixed meals from high end restaurants, museums that charge "what you can", and then of course there are the many different parades color the city year round.

Winter is a tough time, as it is spring for the pollen sensitive and summer is for those who do not enjoy the humidity.  Autumn is a tough time for me because I've always thought of the falling leaves and the dying trees quite a melancholy sight.  True, there are times when loving New York is a tough call but this is and will always be the city where I come home to.  It is the city that after a long travel, when I look out the window and see the skyscapers from my window seat, makes my heart skip a beat.  This is the New York which I love - the same New York that is the city that I share with more than a million others, most of who may feel the same as I do.

written on:  11 January 2009, New York City

Friday, January 16, 2009

This Thing called FACEBOOK

My name is Victoria and I am an addict.

A Facebook addict, that is.  I have it on my Blackberry and check now to make sure I am able to update my status when something witty comes to mind (I do not really update based on what I am doing - that would be voluntary virtual stalking, or something like that).  I'd also want to see what my friends's updates are and if anyone emails me, then I'd like to be able to read and reply even when I am not in front of the PC.  I can take pictures ont he Blackberry and upload it ASAP. I love browsing pictures of their holidays, parties or new babies.  With some friends, it is just fun to upload ages old photographs to share and laugh together about it one more time.

The one thing I haven't done with Facebook yet: change my status to state if I am in a relationship and with who.  I have seen it over and over again - when a split up eventually happens, the status is changed and then you have to deal with not just coping with the emotional turmoil but having to have people write nonesensical stuff on your wall about what is now an immensely public break-up in the dimensions of Britney and whats-his-face.  Not only that - there are pictures of your previously happy times on your albums, he is most likely one your friends so - do you unfriend each other? Ahhh, too complicated.  M. has added me and I have yet to confirm.  I choose not to venture into a Facebok relationship.

One more thing I do not do is share all my pictures to the world.  There is a feature in your friend's lists that allows you to assign each friend to a category.  I have groups of my work friends, divided on which division we worked together.  I have a Family category for pictures strictly visible to those who I probably have nothing else to hide.  This way, each friends-group category has sole access to extremely embarrasing karaoke parties or endless daily soirees to the Irish bars in another.  Most important of all I have a Limited profile where I only allow access to my status updates and some Facebook features.  These I restrict to those who I have become friends with through Twitter or other social networks but with whom I have not really develop any semblance of a real friendship.

Lately, I have become more cautious about what I put up on Facebook.  So although it is fun, I treat Facebook as a big party - you have to dress up and behave your best.  You mingle with your friends, leave messages as you come and go, share some pictures as though you carry a bragbook.  But you will not divulge too much that would eventually embarass you or your family or anyone else.

I love Facebook and it loves me back.  I love having all my friends coraled in a single web location and that we can exchange pictures, stories, videos and emails in one log-on location.

So when I invite you to a Facebook party, why not log on and see what is going on.  Usually, the music is suited to your taste and the fun is addictive.

written on:  5 January 2009, New York City

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Changing Face of UES

Somehow I forgot to bring my book this morning.  And so from the bus to and from work, I had the chance to see the changes in and around the neighborhood.  Apart from what had been obvious before the holidays - places to shop closing down, I have never realized that there had been so much changes in the span of 2 months since Nicole returned to Manila.  Tthe noodle house on 3rd and 88this no more.  Circuit City on 86th has closed as part of the bankruptcy filing of the company.  A series of stores along Second Avenue on 86th have also been bordered up: Cold Stone Creamery, Gothic Cabinets, Go Sushi.  The Laytner's Store on 86th has clearance sale and so does Pier 1 on Third Ave, making me wonder if they are also on the way to closing down.

The only good news:  the new high rise residential building on 86th and Lexington will  house a new branch of H&M which will open in Spring 2009.

A sign of the times?  Sadly, all financial forecasts state that things will not go on the uptrend until the end of the year and still, many businesses may not be able to sustain lack-luster operations til then.  And the repercussion of the negative crisis in the USA and Europe won't affect Asia's manufacturing income until the middle of the year when businesses start reducing order volumes due for fall/winter 2009 (spring and summer orders have already been placed by September 2008 when the Wall Street sh*t hit the fan). 

A grim forecast for 2009 but you have to be familiar with the old adage: hope for the best but expect the worst.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Twilight Series : Ending Spoiler

The last books I’ve read were the vampire series penned by Stephenie Meyer. It was my friend Renee who introduced me to the book when she offered me the first book, noting that it wouldn’t be my usual reading list but it was easy reading and that she enjoyed it. And that was how I got inducted into the lives of Bella Swan and her unusual love affair with Edward Cullen. I read the series of four books as though it was a single book and though did not find myself as consistently impressed as I was with the Harry Potter series, I leafed through each page eagerly to follow their adventures. By the time I reached the end of the fourth and final book (for now), I found myself at a lost. There was a vacuum in my bus ride routine. I missed Edward and Bella and even their creepy spawn Renesmee. I wouldn’t say they were great works of art but the books were, as Renee had said, simple reads. It did not require reflection which I think now and then was a good objective for a good read. Entertaining. Not necessarily educational or informative. Nothing I read I didn’t know already from previous Anne Rice reads but I found the affinity between Bella and the werewolves, specifically Jacob a bit hogwash. That Jacob would eventually be THAT close and protective towards Renesmee though was immensely disturbing on all levels.

So in case you haven’t read the Twilight series yet and have been contemplating about it, then I guess this entry is a major ending spoiler. But you ought have known that already when you read the title =).

Note: Image from

Friday, January 02, 2009

New Year's Day 2008

I guess you can say it was a bit cold today =)

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Out with the old; In with the New! YAY!

Oh cool! A New Year's Day entry!  =)  No great fete with Blogger's write-now-publish-later-feature! *wink*

I don't think there is ever a time when people have eagerly looked forward to shed an old year.  Whew! So many close calls and I know of some people who were right in the eye of the Wall Street maelstrom. But not everything was horrible about 2008. Always preferring to see the glass as half full, I look back to 2008 with much gratitude to:
  • The four months I got to spend with Nicole when she came to visit NY.  We lazed at the park, tested restaurants, shopped, laughed at SNL political skits with Palin, cooked and watched a lot of movies! 
  • Met some important people who will somehow stay a while to comfort me in my alone-ness and listen to my rantings.
  • A new work assignment, albeit temporary that teaches me a lot of new skills, has allowed me to meet a lot of great new people. 
  • A bunch of great friends who have been around for a long time and who have become my family away from the love of my own family.
  • And most of all, the great health of my parents who find joy and laughter in everything that they come across in life - the people who taught me how to see the world in its half full perspective.
And then of course, there were the inevitable negatives that brought temporary sadness or some permanent loss.  Bullet points that would not find itself on an a blog entry but would create a vacuum in my heart and my life.
But we all move on - as life is the journey that doesn't stop for anyone.  I'm grateful and hopeful for 2009 and there is so much to look forward to: a new US president who seems more able and capable than his predecessor, a trip to Europe being planned for the summer and the company of a new love who will journey with my in my many adventures planned for the next few months.  
Happy New Year to all!