My Experiences with Christmas from the last 10 years

Every Christmas was memorable. What usually happened here was that we were given a break from school, and we would stay at our grandparents’ house in Angeles City. On Christmas Eve, we would go to two parties; the first with the Yangs, who lived just across the street, and another one with my mother’s side of the family in Tita Mel’s house in Balibago. Then after that, we would hear mass somewhere, either at Bahay Pag-Ibig in San Fernando, or a public mass near the Angeles Electric Corporation’s head office. On Christmas Day itself, we would celebrate it in the family farm, also in San Fernando. There, I would usually collect some Am paw (red envelopes containing money) and earn some money in the lotto (all numbers were called, but usually the ones called last got the biggest prizes). After that, on December 31, we would hear mass again (at Bahay Pag-Ibig), and then we would rush home as the fireworks began, and on January 1, we would head out to the barrios in Sto. Tomas, Pampanga (where my maternal grandmother used to live)., have some games and general fun (which I found boring) and after I endured through some conversations, we would then go home.
Also, every December, the Kwoks would visit. My aunt Rowen married a Cantonese dentist (Edwin), the two of them migrated to Australia, and there they raised their two children. Unfortunately, the older son Jeremy had Neurofibromatosis type 2 , which left him blinded in one eye and stunted his growth, but thankfully, Ashley, the younger son was normal. The family was able to buy the latest gadgets due to Uncle Edwin’s job, and I could see that whenever they arrived. My two older siblings got to know them well and they talked a lot, and though I was often too busy playing games, I did enjoy their company.
This had been going on since the 1991 Pinatubo eruption, but back then, I was too young. Around 2003 or 2004, our hosts had aquired a new computer, complete with internet access and thus, everything got better. Back then, I used to share the computer with my cousin Joshua, and when I was not using it, I was playing pieces on the piano. I remember that we would take turns playing Warcraft 3 on it.
In 2004, I recall that there were two things scaring me – the Nibiru conspiracy that a planet known as Nibiru would be visible to the naked eye at that time and would cause panic, and a prophecy that 2005 would be the end of the world. I had tried out Age of Mythology on the PC at that time, and when the Kwoks came they installed Age of Empires III (which I found hard), Star Wars Battlefront 2 and Titan Quest (neither of which I played). I still had my old Game Boy Advance Unit, and we were into Pokemon, but no trading occured. We had a PS2 back then and played it when I was downed by some diarrhea and missed the Basilio reunion for the first time, In addition, we visited Subic for the second time (the first was when I was young) and went to the duty free stores, Ocean Adventure and Zoobic.
By 2005, I had been obsessed with the Yu-Gi-Oh craze, and I had bought all of those boosters. But I had nobody to play with, since I had spent my free time cooped up to the PC. We had reverted to playing DotA maps on WC3, and as far as I could remember, nothing notable happened on that day, except that we would go to Baguio at dawn at the start of the break and enjoy the cool air. In Baguio, we would usually stay in Camp John Hay, and there was plenty to do in the surrounding areas. First, we could ride horses there, and we also made visits to Burnham Park for some swan riding, bought stuff at Mines View Park and various foods (including peanuts and jams) at Mountain Maid. Even though snow didn’t fall there, it was still very cold for somewhere in the tropics. One time, I remember that we were eating in a Japanese restaurant and we were seated in a circular position that resembled newscasters. My older brother suddenly left and walked back to the Manor.
Next, in 2006, I had taken control of a broken laptop that was given to us back in 2001. Back then, my sister used it a lot, and then I installed old games on it using a CD (mostly shareware and shovelware products though once I had obtained Demonstar and Raiden games). When I had spilt water on it by accident, we had it repaired and I didn’t see it again for a long time. I ended up staying on an old Pentium 2 PC we got back in 1997 that was running on Windows 98. When that PC was running very slowly, I manually transferred all of the files to the laptop using diskettes, and by that time the P2 was on its last throughs and Win98 had ended support. By November, I had downloaded some old arcade games and put them on the laptop. Thus, I rarely used Joshua’s PC except for downloading stuff. I recall Angelo playing various Mr. Bean DVDs over and over again too, and the Kwoks had gotten DSes. In addition, we went to Baguio the following January (we left late night) after classes had started, and thus we missed out on some lessons.
In 2007, I had gotten my own DS and had started playing Pokemon Pearl. During the holiday, I had to continue studying on biotechnology because I had won a quizbee and had to represent PWU-JASMS for the national level of the contest. We stayed in Angeles for the holidays, and by that time I had started using Joshua’s computer more as the old laptop was on it’s last legs (the memory lagged a lot, and the lid was so weak I had to prop it up using books). I recall trying to Pal Park the Pokemon from Ashley’s GBA games but I couldn’t get much. Once again, I played DotA and other WC3 maps on Joshua’s PC.
In 2008, we went back to Baguio, but this time, instead of staying in the big Manor, we stayed in one of the smaller houses. The house that we stayed in had some magazines relating to elderly health, and I had brought a huge book on chemistry and read it. I recall that I had saved plenty of DS roms on an external hard drive, and I had transfered some of them to a flashcard. These helped me avoid getting bored, plus I could change them on the fly! Sadly however, I had lost my stylus and had to make do without it until we returned to Angeles. Not much on the return that I can remember other than by that time we stopped visiting the Yangs as the older members had died from cancer and that the younger ones decided that these days were over. But by then, we were moved the Christmas party to MarQuee Place’s clubhouse, which was built on the lot of the former Springside Farms.
When 2009 came, that was my first year of college and with it came a great holiday. We went to Baguio once more with our cousins, and the house that we stayed in had a PC that was stronger than the old P4 that I had. I surfed the Web on it, and I used it to record some gameplay movies. I also tried using it to transfer some games to the DS, but the microSD card failed. After the usual visits, I left for the office with my father, and from there we went back to Angeles. We had to go back to Manila to have the R4 replaced, and I was able to salvage most of the games but one, transfer these to a DSTT flashcart (with 4GB) and add a few more games. I also copied most of Kuya Ian’s games, but one of them, Chrono Trigger, bricked the DSTT and I had to reformat it without the offending game. By this time, my cousin Joshua had gotten a new laptop, and I moved in full time to his old PC and started recording stuff there (mainly Genesis games that fore some reason couldn’t run on my PC) in addition to downloading some old games that ran on the old laptop.
By 2010, I was starting to have hentai attacks in Angeles and I had downloaded from multiple sites. In one of those sites, I had heard of an upcoming anime known as Puella Magi Madoka Magica and my plan was to rip out the various teasers and mash them up with a playthrough of Battle Squadron on the Genesis, which sadly backfired. In addition, I had been bitten by the 4X bug, and I tested out Stars and Master of Orion 3 on the PC (which had its RAM boosted from 256MB to 2GB(. The PC however was at its end of life as it bluescreened often wen surfing the net, probably due to the RAM upgrade. Meanwhile, we went around the area and checked out the lanterns, and on the last night of the Kwoks, Rowen grilled some Kobe beef steaks for us. In addition, I recall recording a playthrough of X-Dazedly Ray on New Year’s Day morning and commented that the music fit a cool Januray morning.
In 2011, our hosts had replaced their tower PC with a dual core PC, and I had switched to it. By then, we had switched to Windows 7, and though the hentai urges were still there, they were not as bad compared to before. I still enjoyed the company of the Kwoks, but since the PC was outside the rooms, it wasn’t as much compared to before. I noticed a Touhou music CD with a racy cover, so I downloaded the whole stuff, and I had this plan to put the music on a playthrough of Vimana (an arcade game without sound due to emulation problems), but I didn’t have FRAPS, so I had to do the editing in Manila. Also, I was playing Cityville and Galaxy Online II on Facebook often, and in the latter’s case, had been in the corps for some time. Other memorable things done in the 2011 break were a playthrough of Sonic the Hedgehog and the filming of Mortal Kombat Project (a MUGEN fangame) fatalities on Hisoutensoku characters.
2012 was the year of the Mayan Apocalypse, and I was afraid at first. Before we left for Angeles, I had just reawakened my GameAnyone account, and I was doing a playthrough of Batman and Robin on the Sega CD. I was quickly adding all of my YouTube playthroughs on GA since I eared something bad would happen and I wanted them backed up and I had plans of getting a new computer. On December 21, we went to RS farm for a visit, with the Kwoks, and then when we returned home, Kuya bought the parts. The following day, I backed up my files to an external hard drive (different from the one used in 2008), and then after we spent the night at Mall of Asia, returned home and assembled the new PC. By then, I was relieved that the apocalypse was just a hoax. We then went back to Baguio, but this time it was far more boring – there was no internet that I could connect to using my laptop, and we stayed in the small house to often. When we came back to Angeles, it was empty because the Kwoks left for Taipei, and thus it was the shortest time we spent with the Kwoks (Though there was Wi-Fi at the reunion in Sto. Tomas)
2013 was much better. I had just finished college, and we spent a lot more time with the Kwoks (though when they arrived a blackout was ongoing. We had Christmas parties at Tita Mel’s house and at MarQuee Place, we ate out in Jun Won to acclimatize ourselves to the Korean cuisine, and I succumbed to peer pressure when I used BlueStacks to start playing Hay Day. In addition, Sir John came over, played some Magic cards with Jeremy and talked to my father saying that I would be paid if I went to the farm and counted the pigs. I felt squeamish at first, but I got used to it. I also got to record a few playthrough as well. When January came, we went straight to Manila after the party, and then from there we flew to Seoul. It was quite cold there, even colder than in Baguio, and we had to wear thick jackets. We visited many places there, such as one of the palaces, as well as Nami island and Yangi Pine Resort (which looked like Camp John Hay but with snow) and even went shopping.
The year after that, however was way different. First, the Kwok’s didn’t come since Uncle Edwin had pastorial duties to do and Ashley had to stidy for some exams; we had plans of meeting them in Japan,but it sadly fell through. Second, I actually had to do some Christmas shopping for the first time, and surprisingly I was able to buy some gifts for others, as well as one for myself when I had the chance. Third, the Christmas party was held at Fortune restaurant, I did some work at the newly opened McDonalds in Mabalacat, and finally the Basilio reunion was held not at January 1 but at January 3. But some stuff remained the same such as the party in Balibago, hearing masses on December 24 and 31 in Bahay Pagibig and the recent visits of the giant lanterns in Marquee Mall (since 2010). Speaking of lanterns, the music played was a medly of Christmas music, recent hits (such as Iggy Azalea’s Work) and two of the lanterns even included the Voltes V theme! Finally, I was not only recording the playthroughs but also the commentary and uploading them too on-site, reducing my dependence on being bound to a tower PC for surfing. Have a fruitful and productive 2015!

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Day off from work

Today, we just opened a new McDonalds store in Mabalacat. Originally, I didn’t want to miss out on work and have my salary cut but I was forced to go with the family and stay at the family home in Angeles.

What happened was that the day before, after I ate with my QA coworkers in Tong Yang Centris for our Christmas party (and where I finished around five bowls of tofu + beef + vegetable + mushroom noodle soup) we went straight to Angeles. Luckily, I had brought my laptop with me, or else I would have been bored there.

That night, I finished the recording of one of my playthroughs, but I couldn’t sleep until around due to drinking too much Coke Zero at the party.

On the day itself, I was sleepy. We went to the McDonalds, and when we arrived we went around the premises to bless it. After that, I became the first customer of the store when I ordered some chicken nuggets and fries, but I had to wait sometime before I could return home.

When I returned home, I one of the first things I did was to investigate what that “Dolls Fall” manga was about. I heard about it from a blog that stated that it was so NSFW that it was featured on CNN. It turned out to be the story of cute girls (who do not make love with each other šŸ˜¦ ) who end up experiencing horror after horror – once they make a contract with the dormitory that they’re staying, they can’t escape or else they’ll be killed. I browsed through the pages, but it wasĀ not finished yet after ten chapters. Uggh. Now I know. That Klax playthrough sadly desynched as well.

At least I didn’t fall to a hentai attack.

Those Corneal Attacks!

On the 2nd of December, I noticed a dryness in my left eye, but I ignored it. By the following day, it seemed to persist, and when it was time for me to return home, that feeling of teariness came. This was not the first time that it had happened.
I remember that someone accidentally poked me in the left eye back in February 2009. It was so painful that I had to close my left eye, and I put my left hand along my forehead to ease away the pain. This lasted for three to four days, then it slowly went away. However, not only would there be “minor” episodes when I would wake up in tears and then the pain would subside hours later, but there would also be “major” episodes when the pain would persist for around four days. The next “major” came in on November of the same year, a week after I had just switched computers. I had pain again on my left eye when I woke up, I had to be absent from class, and it was no fun to be injured. I couldn’t see anything ahead of me, life was boring since I couldn’t use the computer, and I needed help. Another attack came on during June 2010, again upon waking up. I decided to go to class on that day, and after we heard mass, I complained that the pain was too great. It also took four days for the pain to subside.
The fourth attack came on February 17, 2011. In the morning, I was in chemistry lab as usual, and after we were preparing some hydrochloric acid I began to complain of eye pain. When I went to the library to browse during the break, my eyes were teary. When I got home after classes and the gym, my eyes got watery, and then when I was searching for something, the pain came on suddenly. This pain persisted for some time, and I can recall going to a party on Saturday. But I couldn’t enjoy it as I couldn’t see much at that time. By Sunday, the pain gradually subsided as I blinked less and less often. Eventually, by the ed of the day, I had recovered.
The fifth “major” broke out around May 21, 2013. That was a day after I had just finished my final exams in both Economics and Political Science, and I had been celebrating my victory. Unfortunately, the teariness and irritation came on during the night after dinner. I took a bath and applied ointment to try to prevent the attack, but it came again. Again I was clutching my head in pain, and it was terrible. This time however, there times where the pain temporarily subsided, and thus I was able to record a few playthroughs before the pain returned.
Going back, or rather forward, on the trip home, I felt that my left eye was irritated. As I surfed the Web, there were times when I flinched back in pain. I suspected that the attack was coming, and I told my mom to tell the boss that I would be absent for two days, as I predicted another four day downtime. This time, I stopped using the computer and kept my left eye closed; when I ate salad for dinner I couldn’t see what was going on and I needed my sister’s help. Then I went to bed early, bracing for the attack.
The following day, I went to work despite my parents warning me not to go. I anticipated working on packing the Baxidil, since I didn’t need my vision to check for tablet defects (they were inside opaque flaps). But I noticed something positive – there was no eye pain, but only teariness and photosensitivity. I decided to not do my assignment to type down the reagents since I was unsure of whether the attack would come or not, and as I started packing the Strongard, I noticed that I had recovered rapidly. Indeed, it was like I went straight from the “prodromal” teariness to the recovery without going through the “eye pain” phase, but I wasn’t sure.
On Friday, which was supposed to be the third day of the attack, I still didn’t report any pain, and so I went ahead to work. Nothing bad happened and I was able to finish work, and there was no pain on Saturday either, which meant one thing, the wound is recovering.

Bonifacio Day updates

It has been a long time since I posted. The main thing that happened was that I switched to Windows 10 Technical Preview. Back then, I did an Ubuntu-Win8.1 dual boot, and I used the Ubuntu half to test out virtual machines before the real battle (“jissen”) began.

When I first heard of Win10 I thought that M$ was crazy to skip number 9. But it turned out that the ISO did exist, so I downloaded it through a third party, and gave it a test.

This time, I used VMWare player (downloaded in a “bundle” that had to be extracted) instead of VirtualBox since the latter spazzed up lately. Installation went smoothly onto the virtual drive, and there was nothing notable; the setup looked identical to that of Windows 8.1. One time, the setup appeared to hang, so I thought of aborting it… then it completed on its own.

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The desktop looked normal… as I had logged in with my M$ account. But there were many new features. First, the File Explorer icon had changed, and the Start Menu had returned. Yeah, M$ had the stalwart Windows 7 users and brought back the old Start Menu. But this time, it can also search for WinRT apps too.Ā It’s like the best of both worlds, so no need to worry about not having to install a 3rd party Start MenuĀ orĀ not being able to run WinRT apps. I feel like this would help Win10 be the success that Win8 was supposed to be. One more thing here is that Charms are gone, no need to move mouse to upper-right corner, as in back to Windows 7-like behavior.

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As this was a test build, there was the usual watermark on the lower right system stating that the build was 9841. In addition, I found out that I could send reports to M$, but I needed to join it. Since I took the backdoor, better sign up now, which is what I did!

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As the test was successful, I decided to install it as my main OS. Midway through installation, I had to restart the system,Ā but, the resolution shrank. I tried many ways, including editing GRUB, but this ended up hosing the UbuntuĀ half. I was forced to use the Win10 Technical preview as my lone OS.

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As a throwback, I switched my wallpaper to the default Win7 wallpaper, and so far, performance is great. I did encounter a few problems, such as whenever I dumped an AVI there would be stutters, as well as Red Alert 1, Europa Universalis IV and Plague Inc. Evolved refusing to run. The first case was unsalvageable, but the latter two could be run using compatibility mode set to Win7.

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A bigger problem came when I tried to record Yuri’s Revenge gameplay using Camtasia. In Windows 7, not only would there be a black screen, but occasionally Windows would throw up a BSOD. While the black screen problem was fixed using a modified ddraw.dll + libwine.dll combination (and thus the game could be recorded again), unfortunately the BSOD still persisted whenever Camtasia was used. It took three attempts to record, and I thought that the data could be salvaged after the second BSOD. Alas! It could not be salvaged, and to add insult to injury, I witnessed another lengthy installation sequence that saw the build number raised to 9879.

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This was the first time I saw Windows update itself to a later build. While Ubuntu used to have that happen with the many packages, Windows would normally only beĀ installing updates, but not updating the kernel.

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In other news, RWBY, the ME!Me!Me! meme and such tried to entice me to view porn, but I dodged it happily. The last time I downloaded porn was as of this moment still September 21, more than two months ago. October only had SFW downloads from Safebooru (mostly Kantai Collection stuff). And then McLaren-Mercedes changed its name to McLaren-Honda. Finally, it’s about time they breakup with Mercedes GP, who had taken overĀ Honda’s facilities in Brackley and then poached Lewis Hamilton away from Woking.

Work Begins

After I graduated, I imagined myself slacking off as my stock market investments (and my parents’ business) would be able to sustain my expenses. I already had tried several summer jobs and wanted to return there to work part-time, but if I earned so little, how could I be able to grow my investments? I then realized that having a full-time job was the means to earning an income that would be invested in stocks.
But was I ready for it? While I was happy being cooped up at home as I had plenty of time for myself, I realized that I needed to experience the real world. I tried odd jobs such as staying at the farm and freelancing, but they petered out quickly. Finally, my parents found me a job, and I was excited to work. Indeed, I couldn’t wait for the day to come.
My parents and my coaches expected that I would behave poorly, so I was prescribed on Abilify, which was supposed to calm me down, but after trying it and being sleepless, I refused to take it. Nevertheless, by the time I finished my first week of work, I had quickly adjusted, and though I would feel a bit sleepy in the morning, I was able to last until I could eat lunch at 11 and have a quick nap at noon, enabling me to stay awake throughout the afternoon. Had I taken Abilify, my sleep would have been broken up several times, and I would have been even more sleepless because of this.
Work itself consisted of me going around the various departments and checking on the pills and their packagings for defects. This was not stressful for me, for I did not have any deadlines except to have done the work by the time the day ends, which was a lot of time considering that I would have been bored easily if I did not do that. I was also trained on how to conduct a few experiments on the various tablets, and overall, I am content with what I am doing.
When the day ended and I returned home, I would feel a bit sad, since I had less time for myself. This transition from a bum to a worker was a departure from Pleasure Island which was required for me, and I opted to do it now rather than to delay it. I also suddenly became aware that time was scarce, and that the initial downbeat feeling is something that can be gotten rid of by taking a bath (in the short run) and by the first paycheck (in the long run). When the latter happens, the work will start having a purpose, and as I grow my stock portfolio, the happier I will be.

Day 4 of Europe Trip

On the fourth day, I had two Spam sandwiches. We got dressed up, and then we took a taxi cab going to Buckingham Palace, where we watched the changing of the guard. However, as there were way too many people,
we couldn’t get a good view of the place though we were able to have a good look at the approaching soldiers. Next, we went inside the Royal Mews, wherein we were able to get a look at the carriagies and vehicles stored within. I
thought that mews were a housing, but these were still in use as there were live horses. I also found out more about the royal carriages, and I remember whiling the time trying to design a carriage on a sheet of paper. Here’s what I
did. On the first paper, I turned the carriage into a battle-vehicle by adding a tank gun, missile launchers and a few more decorations such as the Ukrainian tryzub, the inscriptions “Tokiyo tomare” and “nie pozwalam” (“The time is
stopped” and “I do not allow!” respectively) and plans stating for it to be pulled by twenty humans while on the second portion, I turned the already-drawn carriage wheels into cheecks and drew a frog doing the Nazi salite.
I colred a chariot for the third activity, and then I was called by moy mother to go on. We looked at a golden chariot, then we exited. After that, we took another taxi to Kensington, and there, we had lunch in a supermarket. I
ate a combination of vegetables and noodles that was filling despite the lack of meath, and then we bought some more supplies. After that, we went inside the gardens, and though we couldn’t find Peter Pan, we did go inside the
palace. Inside, there were four sections that we all visited. The first focused on the Georgian era, the second involved the late Stuart period of Mary II (but included an anachronistic globe built in the DDR, implying mid-20 century in
an otherwise 17th century setting, while the third focused on Queen Victoria’s life and the fourth involved the fashions of the monarchs. I took my time in all four and read the labels involved, and whenwe were done (not withstanding
an incident where I entered a pribate room accidentally), we exited the area just as it was about to close.
We capped the day off by boarding a third taxi to go to the London Eye, and it was a giant quasi-Ferris wheel. After a short 4D presentation, we lined up and boarded the structure. There were 32 capsules, and each of
them could fit a small hatchback inside, and thus were spacious enough for a group, and the ride consisted of a single rotation which took a long time due to the sheer circumference of the area and the slowness of rotation. We
could divide the trip into four 90-degree quadrants – in the first quadrant, we went forward and upwards, while for the second, we went upward but the upper cab disappeared, then at the third, we descended and went backward, and
finally in the last quadrant, we descended and went forward. This trip was a bit scary, but the closed chambers helped alleviate it, and we took plenty of pictures inside. We then took a bus heading for Marble Hill, walked the
remaining distance and then called it a day. I ate one of the popsicles since I was aware that we couldn’t bring them to our next destination.

Day 3 of Europe Trip

On the second day of our trip, it took a long time to realize that jet lag would be a minor issue. I still couldn’t accept the fact that my sister and my younger brother were with us, so I still made some negative comments. First, after we ate breakfast, our plan was to get some passes, so we walked towards Baker Street. Before we took the train, we first ate at a nearby pizzeria, which luckily had a gluten-free base so I could eat there. I noted that the waitress was a butch lesbian, but that didn’t bother me as my mother was able to ask for instructions from her. We then went to a Baskin-Robbins, and I had some sorbet there, Imissed those since the last one pulled out from the Philippines. After that, we visited a larger supermarket that had more stuff, and then we went to the Underground for the first time.
It was quite comfortable there due to ventilation even in the lower levels, and we were able to make it to Charing Cross. When we stepped out, we went to this place that sold tickets, and I recall going down to the lower floor in which many memorabilia was sold. After we got our passes, we went out and took some photos at a nearby statue, then we walked a long time down Oxford Street. Along the way, we passed by an even bigger suppermarket, then we stopped over outside a toy store. By this time, we took move pictures, but I was so tired that by the time we went to the nearby Longchamp, I collapsed in exhaustion. When I had regained my senses, I found out that my father lost his phone. He found it eventually.
Again, it was another tiring walk going home. Although the air was slightly chilly, it would be a long one. After turning right at Great Cumberland, I noticed that it would be suddenly quiet as there were far less people than before, and we made a few turns before returning to the apartment. Man, that was a day!