blog 2nd subtitle caption

- earnest, meaningful and slightly sarcastic -

Friday, July 24, 2020

Back to blogging

I'm tired of watching Youtube videos, so I'm back here.

Friday, June 9, 2017

The Hassles of Donating Blood in the Philippines

  It's almost as if they don't want your blood. I was looking for the blood bank at St. Luke's QC when I saw a poster at the blood bank's entrance saying that only 2% of the population are eligible to donate blood. Only 2% are eligible? I assumed that was a mistake and the poster maker meant only 2% donate, but I found out that the poster meant exactly what was printed.

  I was directed to wait in the little vestibule/foyer of the main blood drawing room without having even been given an information sheet to fill in. Slight waste of time there, but tolerable and unsurprising. When I was given the questionnaire, it contained the standard questions asking my medical history. Surprisingly unlike in the United States, the questionnaire didn't ask about travel to countries that have had outbreaks or donor's sexuality. I suppose the latter is very good because it doesn't make assumptions and discriminate a whole large group of already historically marginalized people. But then when the nurse took my form and discussed it with me, she asked additional questions like my menstruation, ear piercings and exact time of last meal. Apparently, I can have two ear piercings, one on each ear, but any more than that I'm not qualified to donate blood. That's such an arbitrary rule. Then the nurse asked when I had my last meal. I specifically had a large restaurant dinner as preparation and advanced reward for donating blood an hour before I arrived at the hospital. Turns out that I have to wait two hours after I eat to donate. I've looked up online and both the US and Philippine Red Cross don't say anything about this rule. Not only is it completely unfounded, but it's so specific that it becomes a very big deterrent to donating. Then lastly my menstruation: it must have been during my call beforehand to ask blood donation procedures when I learned about the hospital's policy of forbidding women on their periods to donate. "Aunt Flo" was  running late so it was important for me to donate before she makes her late arrival, but nope the nurse still refused because even though my period hasn't arrived it should've arrived so I have to wait a week after my period to donate. That is maddening! So women assuming they have exactly two ear piercings can't donate half the time. That's a quarter of the possible donors disqualified! And what's worse is that like the previous two rules, it's completely arbitrary and not based on facts. No wonder only 2% of the population is eligible when you have arbitrary unfounded criteria for donors. I was in a hospital where medicine is performed, whither fact-based science go?

  I rather enjoy donating blood (being a contributing member of society and burning 600 Calories are good motivations), so I'll call another hospital and see what it has to say.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Buffet Sunday Lunch at New World Makati Hotel's Cafe 1228

  Cafe 1228 ran a promotion with MetroDeal for half off its buffet, both lunch and dinner, so that was motivation enough to try it out for the occasion of my grandfather's memorial lunch. The dessert spread greets you upon entering the premises (smart move) and the rest of the medium-sized dining room was brightly-lit and busy without being noisy or too cramped.

  The carving station was a miss, the roast beef and lamb were dry and hard. I usually avoid buffet carving stations for this exact reason. My cousins said ordering them rare to medium made both the beef and lamb quite good, but I can't vouch for that myself. The seafood grill's blue marlin, two other fish steaks and mussels were also dry and tasteless. I wanted to try the oysters but they were looking deflated so best not attempt.

  The saving grace was the lechon for one. Come early when the lechon skin is still crispy and get a helping of skin, meat, white rice and lechon sauce. For a buffet lechon, it was pretty good. My cousin also praised the bulalo from the Filipino section which was flavorful without being salty in her opinion. The Japanese section was the highlight of the meal: silky egg tofu, spicy tuna sashimi and soba noodles served in adorable primitive wooden mini bowls. Cafe 1228 had a wide selection of sushi and sashimi of which I tried the tamago and inari sushi. Both were satisfyingly decent. The spicy pickled cucumber and seaweed noodles from the shared Korean and Chinese station were refreshingly sweet and spicy. Those two and the egg tofu share the spot for best of the best for me. Rounding out the meal were the desserts I saw at the entrance. It was a mixed bag of pretty good, mediocre and do not touch. The best of what I tasted was the ube cake which was delicate flavorful and moist. Red velvet cake was pretty good but I'm not too sure because my cousin ate into my half of the slice that we were sharing!

  If buffets are your thing, at 50% off this is a solid deal. As for myself, it was nice to try it, but the buffet Sunday lunch at Cafe 1228 is more of a "try once" deal.

Pros: Japanese station, cheese antipasti and mezze, ube cake, lechon, dining room decor and staff, fruit juice and soft drinks were included
Cons: Meat and seafood grill
Notes: BDO cardholders can also receive 50% discount. Full terms and conditions can be found here.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

I Voted in the Webby Awards!

I subscribe to BBC's "If you only read six things this week" newsletter (it used to be five things btw) and it was soliciting votes for its Webby nomination. But nope, I didn't vote, haha. A week or so later, I got another solicitation to vote from Zagat's Foodtripping video series, so well now there are two things to vote for, I suppose voting's worth the effort. I've always heard about the Webbys and had a generally positive idea of it, but aside from that, I really didn't know much about it. I definitely have never voted in it before. Big mistake! It's a really good resource to find the best of the web. There are so many categories and so many high quality nominees. Some are big names like the Buzz Feed and Refinery 29, whereas some are the smaller divisions of big names (like's individual non-current affairs sections). Since the Webbys were founded by the Academy of Design, some nominees are nominated not for their product but their design like Milk Makeup and the museum shop of the Rijksmuseum. Those two are in the same category of shopping wesbites! Buzzy millennial makeup brand and museum gift shop make for strange bedfellows but they are gorgeous websites! I've also been exploring the Jet Propulsion Lab's Cassini mission website. It has lots of in-depth articles mixed in with eye-catching pictures and interesting little trivia boxes. It reminds me a lot of my children's encyclopedia or science volumes. Anyway, voting for the Webby is on until April 20 at

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Remember Tinsley Mortimer?

I can't remember anymore why 30 minutes ago I searched for the year she and Topper Mortimer divorced (2013, but publicly separated in 2009) but now I've found out how badly things have turned for her. New York Post's Page Six told of how she was in a physically abusive relationship with a son of a sugar baron in Palm Beach and how she was so afraid to file charges even with all her bruises and staples to the head(!) because the family was so rich and powerful. Once upon a time, I'd wait for Socialite Rank to update every Sunday to look at pictures of her and her perfect life. She'd attended glittering New York parties with her perfect dresses and perfect hair particularly the ones by Dior of which she was the brand ambassador. She also had a line of bags with Samantha Thavasa, just like Victoria Beckham (and latterly Funassyi the pear fairy mascot, haha). She had it all plus the pedigree. But then she did Gossip Girl, then her own weird reality TV show, all the while getting a divorce and things went downhill for her and the rest of that kind of New York society with her. Socialite Rank shut down around the same time too. Ironically the same agent of her downfall is now her ticket away from her abusive relationship and back to New York society; she's now on Real Housewives of New York. Good luck to Tinsley

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Role Models: Corinne Bailey Rae

  Corinne Bailey Rae's music speaks to me. I find myself bopping my head to her tuneful songs, and her voice and lyrics leave the impression that she could be only a talented and insightful musician. She's not quite the big name celebrity, but she seems to possess a quiet confidence of a musician who lets her music speak for itself without any rabid desire for popular validation. I really admire that. It's more about expressing less about performing. But she's great performer too, I loved watching her live. For her latest album, she created six podcasts about her insights about being aware of ourselves, our surroundings and other deep meaningful things. Her approach is very feelings-oriented, as she is in the creative/artistic field, but for someone who prefers facts and is simply cynical like I am, the podcasts still resonated with me and I found them very valuable.

And here's her music video for Been to the Moon

Isn't it great?! The lyrics, the horns in the background and gold lasercut jumpsuit. Hello! She has an enviable fashion sense. even interviewed her and she revealed that she's friends with Garance Dore, thus confirming her fashion cred, among many interesting tidbits. This is my favorite quote from the interview: "The shapes are very classic… but it doesn’t take itself too seriously and has a sort of strangeness to it, a kind of surrealness, and an awareness of uniform." Sounds like something right up my alley!

There are so many other reasons to admire Corinne Bailey Rae and I hope you check out her work and life.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016


I'm hoping to revive my blog with a stylish design and cohesive content very soon!

Cheers, Tracy

Sunday, January 17, 2016

My Relationship with Food [Quick Take]

  Growing up, I've always been the piggy of the family. I can't say why I liked food growing up and why I ate so much, but nowadays the reason is it's soothing. Eating food--the biting, the chomping-- feels cathartic. When I am overwhelmed with life in general or a specific task one thing I know, and know how to do is eat.

  Funnily enough I don't really care for expensive meals. I always judge food relative to price. When something gets too expensive for me, I lose my appetite and no flavor can outshine the bill. Also, I'm not interested in the latest food trend. Maybe it's a defense mechanism for all the lonely lunches I continue to eat to this day. Like I don't want to join the crowd that I shunned or shunned me.

  At home, I like mindfully composed meals. Food, the preparation and partaking, is more habit than anything else for me. Possibly because growing up my mother slapped everything together in a mad whirl. Cooking the best meals at home follows a simple checklist of elements: a salad with lots of lettuce, a veggie-ish main with a carb, protein and green leafy veg, and a dessert.

  I'm kind of getting tired of sweets, but hey, they're always cool stored in the fridge, have no bones, shells or skins to discard except for plastic wrap that easily slides off and into the trash it easily goes.

  I like hot and spicy food which is surprising considering that I didn't really grow up eating that.

  Hmm... I've noticed a lot of things about my "relationship with food." I'll add to and fix this up once I have more. I'm quite proud of myself for being self-aware. This post was inspired by Emily Schumer's My Relationship with Food on Cupcakes and Cashmere.

Topics to include:
Conspicuous consumption
Food as reward... food as soothing
creative outlet
domain for likely pursuit of perfection - composing the perfect meal, controlled environment, has beginning and end
social aspect of food

I love the shopping part. I love the abundance and choice and variety. I wish I could spend as much as I could and stock my cupboards with all the oils and spices and tinned fish my heart desires.
my lack of Money is an impt factor too.

Avoid using the kitchen because it's kinda crappy.

tepid because of mom and her attitude
food isn't a passion of mine - it's a quick shallow pleasure hit

Monday, December 7, 2015

iZombie The Hurt Stalker S02E08: Show Inconsistencies & My Questions SPOILERS

It's a cute show with many bromance in-jokes, but...

1. Babineaux's Stolen Gun
Babineaux seemed unfazed that his gun was stolen, only revealing that information at the murder scene. Don't gun laws require some sort of reporting when your gun is stolen? Especially when you're a cop? It's kind of a big deal when your gun goes missing. Or just report a theft in general?

2. Fingerprints on Gun
That should have exculpated Babineaux from the get go.

3, Timeline of Regina's Badge Bunny Relationships
Ravi concluded that Regina's fantasy wedding album version Matthew Voss was thrown off the bridge only a few days ago because it was still dry when a few days ago it rained.

Dale Bassio confirmed that the package Regina left in the last episode cliff hanger ending was Regina's album for Clive.

I assume that Captain Walt Price also received his album recently like the other two.

Kinda weird that she'd send them their albums all at once. I mean, sure recycling the design is fine (ain't nobody got no time for that and all), but I don't really understand Regina's perspective. Did she date them sequentially or concurrently? If she dated them the way nice girls do (one at a time) why did she wait to end 3 relationships before giving the first guy her album? If she multi-tasked and dated them at the same time, wellll OK then.

4. Capt. Walt Price's phone conversation with Det. Cavanaugh
Not so clear why Capt. Price was worked up over Clive's album. Did he think that his affair could be found out based on the picture of him (his body actually) that Regina photoshopped?

5. What did Happen to Clive's Album?
Who stole it from Cavanaugh's desk? No seriously, who stole it? But is it significant?

6. Did Babineaux meet Regina in Matthew & Uma Voss's wedding???
Clive said he met Regina at a wedding and hit it off. Matthew Voss is in the police like Babineaux, so maybe Clive got invited to Matthew's wedding as a colleague? That's kind of incriminating on Clive considering according to Uma Regina showed up drunk and puked all over Uma's dress (and tried to kiss Matthew if I recall correctly).

7. Uma's Stolen Wedding Ring
If Regina stole Clive's gun, why would she steal Uma's engagement ring? Wouldn't Regina prefer to steal something that belonged to Matthew?

8. Gilda/Rita Discovery
Like everyone else I don't memorize phone numbers anymore, but wasn't there a possibility that Liv would have recognized Gilda's number?

So many questions... and that's just the mystery of the week and doesn't include points about Liv & Major's relationship, Max Rager, Gilda/Rita issue, etc!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Value of Fame

Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck announced the end of their marriage a day after their 10-year anniversary.

If beautiful rich famous people can't make it, what about us mere mortals?

While I was whipping up this super snappy comment, I had trouble with producing the third adjective. Famous. Why is being famous so desirable? Beautiful is a no-brainer because the whole point of beauty is to attract; rich makes life more fun or at least removes banal stressful everyday life things like worrying about money or doing banal stressful everyday things (personal assistant).

But fame? I had never understood it. For a long time I thought it was just something that extroverts wanted, like if you're famous you go to a lot of parties with a lot of people screaming and dancing with music loud in the background and light bulbs flashing everywhere. But I think I finally kind of understand it now. Fame isn't about having your name in lights. It's about being loved and wanted. People love you so much that they want to know what you think, what you wear, what you feel, what you eat. Fame is when people value you whether for your big achievements, banal everyday life things, or both. I think it took the social media age for me to understand fame. It feels great to get so many likes. It feels validating.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides

The words were capitalized and black against the book's white spine. I spotted them from the threshold and like how a straight line is the shortest distance between two points, I closed in on the space between the entrance of the bookstore and the back wall. This trip to the bookstore was a quick happy easy success.
(clockwise from top left) my copy of The Marriage Plot; a sweet line from the book; the back cover of my copy; the former owner's marginalia

    The Marriage Plot chronicles the college and post-graduate lives of the protagonists told in alternating perspectives: the books they read ; their romantic partners; and their progress through the marriage plot of their lives. In the novel, Mitchell Grammaticus is a thoughtful all-Greek-American student at Brown. He is sincerely searching for wisdom "with a capital W" in majoring in religious studies. He's a masterly student, basically guaranteed by his professor admission to his choice from Harvard, Yale or Princeton's divinity schools, but he's still the kid from the Midwest, rhapsodizing over exotic ice cream flavors like rum raisin.

  On the other hand, Leonard Bankhead's lousy childhood and mental health set a cynical edge to his confidence, but just like Mitchell he too ponders the big questions in life, though instead of religious studies philosophy is his method of inquiry, which leads him to semiotics class and to Madeleine Hanna for whom he falls in love, also just like Mitchell does.

  In Mitchell’s case, not only is he in love with Madeleine, he is convinced he will marry her. This bit of information completely detoured my reading and evaluation of the entire novel.

  See, in a spell of post-holiday blues, I reread Curtis Sittenfeld’s Man of My Dreams to revive any feeling left inside of me. The central premise of Man of My Dreams is that Hannah Gavener is in love with Henry, her cousin Fig’s college boyfriend, and is convinced that one day, she will in fact marry him—just like Mitchell with Madeleine. There are other similarities between the two novels: two coming of age novels; two campus and post-grad settings, and importantly, two protagonists who believe themselves destined for persons who don’t quite share their views. The comparison to me is inescapable. Early in both novels, Mitchell and Hannah envisioned being married to and having a family with their respective romantic interests: Mitchell while playing Scrabble with Madeleine and her parents, while Hannah during a long drive to Cape Cod with Henry. This feeling directs both the novels.

The very idea behind The Marriage Plot to me is just a more literary refinement of Man of My Dreams. As opposed to celebrity gossip and Hannah’s family members’ love lives, The Marriage Plot uses Austen, Eliot and the Brontes as a template for romantic relationships for Mitchell, Madeleine and Leonard to follow, or not to follow. Even characters’ names are similar: Hannah Gavener and Madeleine Hanna.

  More substantially, both Hannah and Mitchell go through their pursuit of love as a wholly transformative process. Hannah has to overcome the effect of her parents’ bad marriage, her own less than satisfactory relationships with them and quite a bunch of other people and her very understanding and beliefs about human relationships if she wants to be in love. Mitchell has more of a religious quest alongside his romantic pursuit. He goes to catechism, reads books by saints and volunteers at Mother Teresa’s home for the sick in India. Even though Mitchell’s appears more serious, he actually gets to have fun. He travels the world with his best friend Larry, whereas Hannah’s life is eventless except for a lot of painful moments. Hannah seemed alone in the world except maybe for Fig her cousin who does love her but could treat her more carefully. Basically, Hannah comes across tortured whereas Mitchell had a degree of youthful euphoria that comes from love even when unreturned.

  In both cases, youth was portrayed honestly. There’s a lot of self-doubt and insecurity wondering where we stand in relationships, but at the same time the young (including me?) can be so unquestionably sure about their feelings. There’s the moodiness, a kind of receptivity to every emotional stimuli. There are also the great friendships. There’s a part where Mitchell in spite of his anger at Larry for duping him and ruining their party quickly forgives him because “Larry was his best friend, they were going to India together and Mitchell had no choice.” Fig could put more effort in making Hannah comfortable but Fig accepts Hannah and doesn’t judge her (even though Hannah might believe otherwise). The petty and significant are all jumbled up and thrown at the young all together and teasing out what matters—be it your pride, the love of your life or long-held beliefs—and what to throw out makes a great coming of age novel. There are many ways to read The Marriage Plot, there are after all two more major characters and the thesis of the marriage plot. In the end, I loved how both novels ended and I loved how both authors treated their characters with so evident care. Being young is painful and exhausting and I’m glad the characters got their due.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Movie Report: Mockingjay

  It's refreshing to be in a movie theatre after all these years. Yes, that's right, I haven't watched a movie in a movie theatre in years. I haven't even watched a new movie from start to finish in a long time either. The last new movie I watched was on business class mid-haul Singapore Airlines (ahhh). It was a Star Trek movie. Not bad. But that's for another entry.

  My company was a sponsor for a local premier night, thus free tickets. The local premier night was was interesting in itself. A new events company organized it; I had always assumed organizers were either the movie theatre chain or the local distributor of the movie. I'm interested in the business of it, especially since anomalously, this premier night was not actually premier at all. The movie was released the day before, November 20. Anyway, other sponsors besides the company I work for gave out samples including a coupon from a food ordering website which I might actually use; another coupon for studio photography (I wonder how business is); a bar of Cadbury chocolate, unfortunately regionally produced in Malaysia I think. It was crap like all other licensed made in Malaysia chocolate. It was soft, waxy, chewy, not snappy, not glossy, but I still ate it after being proud of my restraint and  eating only around half of the popcorn. There were raffles with prizes from other sponsors. My ticket almost won a prize from a spa. Too bad; it was only 5 numbers up from the winning ticket number.

Some of my co-workers fell asleep. Overworked and underpaid. Haha. Also getting old.

Oh, the movie itself wasn't bad at all, but wasn't so great. It started off with some corny jokes, kind of cheap shots that people in the theatre nonetheless lapped up. For someone who has a rudimentary understanding of the story, having never watched the first two movies let alone read the books, I was able to follow it and was interested and entertained. I was surprised to see Philip Seymour Hoffman, may the man and brilliant artist rest in peace, as well as Julianne Moore. To me, the presence of two actors hinted that this is a decent production and I should sit up and pay attention. It was also surprising to recognize actors like Anne Boleyn from The Tudors, lately of Game of Thrones. This just shows how out of the loop I am.  The actual story wasn't very interesting; in three parts they were convincing Katniss to be the Mockingjay; filming videos of Katniss and lastly; suddenly saving Peeta and the other Hunger Games players when the opportunity arose.

  The striking thing about this movie that I can't decide whether it makes the movie bad or good is that I spent the first half of the movie wondering why there was such a huge emphasis on filming propoganda, how Katniss has to wear a special costume, how she's bad on a filming set and has to be on the ground. Does this movie, YA and dystopian society stories in general reflect contemporary society? Is it supposed to be an oblique reference to our self-obsessed society of image, Kardashians,  selfies, Youtube videos and all that jazz? Is it genius or inadvertent mimicry?

  Additionally, the indirect conflict between Peeta and Katniss essentially fought through TV reminds me of petty middle school quarrels. Perfect immaculately white teacher's pet Peeta against underground righteous rebel Katniss. Is this supposed to be a reflection of that?

  District 13 was beautiful. I loved the set design especially the dining hall lights with its table lights. It created a beautiful atmosphere, almost contemporary modern. The old Everdeen house and the Capitol were also beautiful, in an English manor kind of way.

  Where the movie people decided to end this part was a good decision. It was enough to give finality to this segment but still be curious about what will happen next. I will be looking for a copy of the books and maybe even the first two movies, though I wouldn't recommend paying for the movie ;-)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Words Banned from 2015

  Oh god, the year is winding down. I hate this time of year for multiple reasons. But trying to keep positive, this is the time of year that heavily features one of my favorite things: lists. Mostly Christmas gift guides, but also retrospective "The Best of..." lists are a favorite. Being a little naughty and cynical, I'm compiling my own version of "Worst words of 2014". But being proactive and forward looking, I'm doing the honors of banning them. :)

  Words Banned from 2015
1. bucket list
So rampant is this compound word, though I can't remember a single time I've heard the originating idiom used here in Manila. I fully believe that most people who use it in Manila do not know what bucket they're talking about, let alone why kicking this particular container has come to mean death.
It's a completely meaningless word in this context, you might as well use 0199480ia list.

Please let's revert back to "life goals"

2. peg
Same as above. One chooses words for clarity and accuracy. Do not strip a word of its original meaning and slap one on it. How can peg be a shorthand for inspiration or model when in this country we pin rather than peg pictures to cork boards to begin with? Unquestioning wholesale import of slang is an uncomfortable reminder of colonial mentality.

3. disrupt, also disruptive innovation & disruptive technology
Stop self-aggrandizing.

More to come once I think of them...