29 January 2009

On Maternity Shoots...

I love taking photos of pregnant mommies.  I like conceptualizing the overall shoot, listing down the props and clothes that we need, and poses I want to take.  I think maternity poses are best taken at the mom's home so they are relaxed and props (baby stuff) are in abundance.  The mom and I also go through her closet to look for pieces that she can wear.  My favorite is taking the dad's white button down long sleeved polo shirt or a well-loved pashmina for semi-nude shots.   We also go through the baby stuff they've acquired and pick out which ones we'll need for the photos.  (I always make a beeline for booties and small teddy bears.)

Last Sunday, we spent a good part of the evening doing a maternity shoot.   We've been planning it for weeks, and because of our crazy schedules, we were only able to do it this week.  We were lucky that Gail and Jun's home had plain white walls and they had a bright red couch.  I worked around those two elements and most of the photos look like they were taken in a studio.  We also did a session in the bedroom next to theirs which they converted into a nursery.   We had a very productive shoot, and I hope to upload photos after our photobooth gigs over the weekend.

26 January 2009

Housewarming at the Empty Floor

We welcomed the year of the ox at Gang's new place in Ortigas which is luckily a few meters away from NU, and walking distance to galleria.  She had a housewarming party that served breakfast food all evening (steamed rice, platters of bacon and ham, a large pan of quiche, and brewed coffee) plus wine and coffee ice cream.  Although the party officially started at 3PM (Gang had to leave for an hour for the radio show), we got there late at 11PM because we came from a maternity shoot.   Most of team lestat and the other guests were gone by this time, and the only people we caught were Jay, PJ, Kidlat, Lisa, Nuch, Bahag and Paolo. We all shared the same experience: taking the elevator all the way up to her floor, getting out into a "rough" foyer, seriously doubting we got the wrong address, going around the still-in-construction-floor, hearing the music and laughter from one particular door, and hesitantly ringing the doorbell.

It turns out that her nearest neighbor was seven floors down.  She is the only one occupying her floor, and because she moved in, the building developers had to cover a good part of the ceiling in her floor, construct the wood panel in the elevator foyer, and white wash the other walls.  There were still cans of paints in some corners and doors that supposedly opened to other units, opened to a bare expanse of open-air area.  (Good place for a photoshoot, though. hehehe.)

The party was lots of fun, and it was a good lunar year salubong.  It's nice to catch up.  And Nuch gave us a piece of trivia: did you know that Ricky Gervais was the lead vocalist of Seona Dancing of the More To Lose fame?  (Googled and searched it on YouTube and it's true!!  He looked so androgynous when he was thin!)

20 January 2009

Joint Planners

On the first Saturday of this year, Nards and I went to Fully Booked at High Street with my sister to help her find the perfect planner.  She needs it badly given her work schedule, which is fraught with meetings and deadlines.  (I don't think there are enough hours in the day for her.)  She had her eye on a moleskin but, at that time, they didn't have the moleskin daily planner with specific time.  So she ditched that and opted for something that had black and white photos of London.

I haven't had a planner in two years.  The last one I had was the Procastinator's Planner that Rizal and I bought at Powerbooks.  And since I was always bent over my laptop anyway, I used One Note and Outlook to keep my schedule organized. Nards on the other hand, uses an excel template, prints it out, and tapes it on a wall where he can see it all the time. 

Last year, we started using a joint planner to keep track of our commitments.  Nothing fancy, I just downloaded a template for One Note.  This year, however, I bought one for the two of us.  It's better to see things in black and white rather than on a shared file on the computer.  I want to avoid double booking of events and shoots.  It's also a big help with our social calendar.  Just today, we realized we had different dates in mind for his cousin's wedding. 

Why am I blogging about this?  No particular reason, really.  It's just that I was looking over our schedule for today, and I'm grateful that we're swamped.

Work is a blessing.

18 January 2009

21 Jump Street

I just turned twelve, and I fell in love.  With Johnny Depp.  Every monday night, I would tune in to channel 7 at 7:30PM (after the news) to watch 21 Jump Street.  This arrangement was well and good during summer.  But when the academic year came in, my Mom enforced a no-nintendo-no-TV-during-school-days rule.  In hindsight, it's a very good rule.  But I was in love!  How can I miss that hour of watching TV to see Johnny Depp??    (Ang babaw talaga. Hahahaha!)

I was in despair for a good three days, until I talked to her and struck a deal.  I was going to get all my homework done by 6PM, get all my after-dinner-chores done immediately, and she would let me watch 21 Jump Street.  So every Monday, I would be furiously working on my homework, as soon as we got dismissed for the day, and  while I waited for the school bus.  Then doing the homework while I was still in school became a habit.  Which is why I was always in the top five of the Most Library Users (in the entire school) list.  What a nerd.  Johnny Depp was a direct contributor to my being a nerd.  But I digress.

There were times when I couldn't understand the grown up moments (I was twelve way back in the late 80s, so different from the twelve year olds these days, most of whom are very knowledgeable about worldy things).  But as long as I see Mr. Cutie, I really didn't care too much about the plot.

Until I got high school, and I got tired of the additional characters (Booker is so lame) and my interests turned to Star Trek (a nerd through and through) and a handful of sitcoms.

Still, I can always claim that I loved him (or at least my twelve-year-old's version of being in love) when he was still a nobody.  (hahahahaha!!)

16 January 2009

Across The Universe

It was a late Sunday afternoon sometime last year.  Kidlat and Nards were sitting beside me on the grassy steps of the ampitheater, resting after throwing a frisbee around, while Lisa was biking in circles a few meters away.

"Have you seen Juno, Kidlat?"  I asked.

"Yeah, that was a good film."

"It was well written, and that young actress really blew me away," Nards joined in.

"Have you guys seen Across The Universe?"  Kidlat countered.

"No.  Is it good?" Nards and I chorused.

"Are you a Beatles fan?"

"Since I was six and my Dad and Uncle let me listen to all their albums," I said.

"You'll love it.  It's a very well made film."

Coming from a filmmaker, that's always a good sign.  So I got a copy of the movie, and fell in love with it.

I don't think I've got anything bad to say about this movie.   For a solid Beatle fan like myself, I knew all the songs by heart, and it was amazing to see this fresh interpretation.   Also, to see characters named after significant names in the Beatles discography was delightful.  All scenes were well shot with great attention paid to each detail.  The lighting was fantastic and, and, and....  it's just so pretty.  Beautiful photography, great camera work, good actors (plus the wonderful cameos), and a marvelous, to-die-for soundtrack.  I can see why Kidlat was raving about this movie.

Here are a few of my favorite clips.  (I'm afraid this watered down version from the web doesn't do it justice.  It's WAY better on the real thing.)

My Dad used to sing this to me before I went to bed.

This is my favorite track from the White Album.

And this is T.V. Carpio, the half Filipina actress who portrayed Prudence.

14 January 2009

Why I Love Hemingway

For sale: baby shoes, never used.
 -- Ernest Hemingway
The story goes that Mr. Hemingway's friends bet him that he couldn't write a complete story using six words.

Boy, did they regret it.

13 January 2009

Lego Christmasland

Just a bunch of photos I took from the exhibit at High Street. 

Taken 4 January 2008

Click on photo to view full album.

11 January 2009

Rock For Bosch@Saguijo

For Anabel.

Thanks to everyone who used the booth to donate. (Special mention si Leslie, who contributed the most.)

(Click here for full album.)

9 January 2009

Edit: Anabel Bosch passed away on 11 January 2008, a few hours after this blog entry was posted.
May she rest in peace.

10 January 2009

Old School

Early friday morning, I woke to a text message from our accountant, saying she had some documents she needed to send me.  I asked if she could just email it, but she said she doesn't have an email, but that she could fax it instead.  So I shuffled downstairs, to our study area to turn on the fax machine.  (I always unplug everything, not only because I'm afraid of fire caused by faulty sockets, but also because of global warming.)

While waiting for her fax, I went to the kitchen to warm up croissants and to pour myself a glass of soy milk.   I was just in the act of getting out the butter dish and jar of orange marmalade, when the phone rang, and I heard the fax machine kick in.  I put the warm croissants, butter, marmalade and milk on a tray, and placed it on the table near the computer where the fax was hooked up.  (Whenever we got a fax, it went straight to the computer where it got stored as jpeg files.) The transmission ended while I was half-way through breakfast.   I clicked on the folder where the fax was stored and looked at what she sent.

I suddenly realized what she truly meant when she said she doesn't have an email.  She really didn't have an email, in the truest sense of the word.  She sent me documents that were typewritten, using a machine that had a reusable ribbon.  The kind that my dad let me practice my touch typing way back in sixth grade.

Her small office that was annexed to her house should have clued me in.   There are tall piles of paper on every surface imaginable.  (It's a fireman's nightmare!)  Her desk is the wooden kind reminiscent of the 70s and her chairs are the old-fashioned leather swivel chairs.  No computer in sight, just calculators and a typewriter.  Whenever she needed to give us a receipt on the fly, she wrote it in her neat penmanship.   It's similar to my Mom's and my grandmothers, uniform and legible script with a discreet flourish.  (My penmanship doesn't have enough flourish, but it's the same old fashioned, uniform script that my Mom and the nuns at school impressed on me.)

She is very old school.

As I went through the documents she sent me, I was tickled pink as I read them.  How often does one receive typewritten (as opposed to encoded and printed) letters nowadays?


08 January 2009


This morning, at our monthly meeting, we had visitors. Our Managing Director brought them with him from Canada. He let us pick one for a partner, and we were to interact with them during the meeting. I'm sure they had fun along with the rest of us. (Our monthly meetings are fraught with laughter. One would wonder how we even manage to get any work done.) And they helped us welcome our temp staff who will replace regular support staff while she's on maternity leave.

They were a varied bunch, but one thing they've got in common: they're cute! I think it's safe to say they'll be attending our future meetings.

Meet Finch.

06 January 2009

A Word on Vampires

No offense to Twilighters, but True Blood kicked it's schmaltzy ass.  I persevered to finish all four Twilight books (even though I was ultimately bored), and the only one that entertained me was the last one. And from friends who are die-hard Cullen fans, I am told that this book was the least favorite because it tried too hard. 

The same friends who ambushed me during a luncheon party.

Cullen Fans:  Ags, have you finished reading the Twilight Saga.
Me:  Yes.  That was the longest time it took for me to finish reading four books.

Cullen Fans Why?  Didn't you like it?
Me: I got bored.  It draaaaaggeed on for me.

Cullen Fans: We loved it! 
Me: Ahhh.  (grabbed a glass of wine to keep myself occupied.)

Cullen Fans: Are Team Edward or Team Jacob?
Me: There are teams?  I have to be on one?

Cullen Fans: Of course!
Me: Uhm, Team Jacob.

Cullen Fans:  But why????
Me: Because he's fun.  And he and Bella talked.  Which is a sign of a healthy relationship.

Cullen Fans:  I'm on Team Edward. 
Me:  Cool.  (Taking another sip of wine.)

Cullen Fans:  How can you not love Edward???  He's reads, he knows so many languages, he plays the piano, and he has a beautiful penmanship!
Me:  I don't know, he kind of bores me.

Cullen Fans:  Oh I love Edward!!
Me: Huh. 

When my sister told me to get a hold of the complete first season of True Blood, I was really wary.  There's been too much vampire hoopla lately, and I'm not sure this will capture my interest.  But it did, big time. (Pretty much similar to the way I got hooked on Dexter and Pushing Daisies.)

The cast is really talented and the pace is fast.  It also helped that Sookie Stackhouse was a far cry from Bella Swan.  She's got a strong personality and has character; she's also well-grounded and not at all wishy-washy.  Besides, doesn't the name Sookie Stackhouse roll off one's tongue marvelously?  The plots are meaty and promises a solid hour of entertainment in each episode.  It also has a kick-ass soundtrack.  (Consider it loaded on my iPod.)

This morning, I was surfing through Amazon to check the Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlaine Harris on which Alan Ball based the series.  To date, the series has 8 books and starts with Dead Until Dark.  I can't wait til my order arrives.  I hope it's enough to keep me occupied until the second season airs.

04 January 2009

A Long Walk

Didn't I mention that Nards said we were going out today to take a walk?  Well, it was a long walk.  From Serendra all the way to ROX at High Street.   Despite a slight headache (which disappeared at the Echo Store) and fever, I was just too keen on going out to mind what I was feeling.  Beng accompanied us and graciously drove from our place to Makati, because she wanted to go to Fully Booked to buy a planner.  (She took a long time, I tell you, see-sawing between a Moleskin to the artsy ones featuring works of famous painters.)   I, on the other hand, wanted to visit The Echo Store to see what kind of goodies they had.

It shares space with Kape Isla on that side of Serendra opposite Market! Market! 

They have nice literature about the origins of some of their products and about healthy sustainable living. 

Their shelves are crammed with environmentally-safe and organic products, such as soaps, body scrubs, therapeutic massage oils, eco bags, notebooks, calendars, post-its, baskets, laundry detergent, fruit and vegetable wash, tile cleaners and furniture polishers.  They also have some items from Ilog Maria.  I was delighted to see CP's hand sanitizer on the shelf.  (He gave us samples when we visited him at his lab at NIGS.)


I bought two lavander linen sprays (Php150 each, cheaper than the Green Tea linen spray from Scoop): one for me and one a gift for my Aunt. They wrapped it nicely in recycled paper, free of charge.  While I was at the counter, paying for this, a few customers came in and was asking for Lyf Saver.

I was curious because it was in demand, so I asked about it.  It turned out to be a bottle of oil that's supposed to give immediate relief to nausea, headache, fatigue and depression.   Which is how I lost my headache.  One of the staff put a few drops on my palms, instructed me to rub it quickly until it got really warm, cup my hands over my nose and mouth and inhale.  Voila!  Headache gone.   I bought a bottle for Php250.

We walked down High Street, checked the Lego exhibit; but because I was still recovering and still coughing, I was exhausted soon afterwards.  The three of us trooped to Hobbes & Landes (my second favorite toy store) to rest.

We ordered a bratwurst sandwich and a hungarian sausage sandwich.  It took a while for them to process our order because of the long queu.  Nards got a Barrel of Monkeys near the counter to amuse ourselves.


Beng, who wasn't born yet when this game was all the rage in schools, thought it was boring (and stupid -- yes, I heard you muttering Beng!), so she loitered around the store.  But she eventually came back to bury herself behind a magazine.  (And looking for more books to buy.)

Our food soon arrived.  The staff was nice enough to put one third of each sandwich on a plate with a handful of unsalted potato chips. 


I also ordered yogurt for Nards, topped with almond slivers, M&Ms and chocolate chips.  (Code for: Aggie wants yogurt but can't because she still has a cough, so she bought one for Nards but ate like 40% of it.  She would have eaten it all, if she hadn't started coughing violently and Nards snatched it away.) 

Not bad for a walk, eh?

03 January 2009

Highlights From The Couch

Seven days.  That's how long I've been a fixture on the couch.  I've been here so long, I feel like I'm epoxied to the cushions.   I have a husband who's been so attentive I'm wondering if he got a nursing degree somewhere that I don't know about.   (Read: feeding me on time, nagging me to take meds, keeping my mug filled with hot tea all the time, and helping me to walk to and fro.)   Now, poor thing got a cold all thanks to me.

I'm thankful that I have a rather tall stack of unread books and several gigs of entertainment loaded on my iPod.  Nards also put my laptop on our breakfast tray so that I can go online while confined on the sofa.  Hence, my steady stream of plurks and twitters.

I have a cough that's loud and incessant enough to keep our entire building awake throughout the night, but it has abated somewhat, meaning Nards and I get about five hours of sleep now, as opposed to three and a half.  Although it has given me a semi permanent muscle pain in my midsection (think muscle pains due to yoga) and a rather unpleasant sensation on my forehead.  

Cabin fever has settled in.  I.  Want.  To. Go. Out. Of.  The. House.  I don't care if it's going to be a nasty trip to a hospital or even if it's just to go down to the lobby.  Just get me out.  Nards said we can will go out tomorrow and take a walk.  Yey!  Can't wait. 

01 January 2009

Happy New Year!


Just a few snaps that Nards and I took from our balcony, as we welcomed 2009.

Hope everyone had a fun new year, with all digits still intact. :)


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