31 May 2009

the chocolate game

I am currently obsessed with Chocolatier 3: Decadence By Design, the 3rd installment in this popular game series. For the past few days, I've been sleeping late, truly fixated on building my chocolate empire.

I wouldn't consider myself a gamer because there are basically only two games I really love: The Sims and Chocolatier. (Although I do like playing time management games sometimes--like the Diner Dash series and Burger Shop). The Sims lets me play God and play around with furniture--while Chocolatier is, well, all about chocolate.

I love chocolate. And I so love this game.

4-Miler: Microsoft IE8 Run (May 31)

It was drizzling at 5:30 am when i did my warm-ups at the assembly area of the Microsoft IE8 Run in between the NBC Tent and High Street.

The rain wasn't obviously going to stop any time soon, but that fact didn't deter the crowd of participants from running. I felt particularly happy in this event, because it was being held for the benefit of UNICEF's Child Protection program (on online child safety), and a good number of us from the fundraising, communication and child protection sections were there this morning. So it was indeed nice to stay at the UNICEF booth pre- and post-race (we were also selling products from our new line of gifts there) and have a laugh with good friends from work.

To make this entry short but sweet (as I am currently absorbed with a new, ahem, computer game--which is another story in itself), I'll do the lazy way out and do bullet points. Sort of what like The Bull Runner does, when she reviews races.

- new route, new distance (I've never run in the University Parkway area before)
- exciting route for the 8-mile runners (from Bonifacio Global City area, up the Kalayaan flyover, on Buendia up to the Makati Post Office, and then back. That is one hell of a route.)
- the light rain had a cooling effect and felt nice on the skin--and no sun to make the run tougher!
- ample water available to all runners (although I didn't have to stop at the water stations, because I carried in my pocket my own small bottle)
- race started on time
- good post-race program; the host had the crowd all riled up and excited for the raffle
- really amazing raffle prizes from Microsoft and sponsors like HP and Mizuno! (too bad I'm generally unlucky and I never win at raffles)
- inflatable playground for the kids, the same kind of playground that we had for UNICEF Walk on the Child's Side 2008
- UNICEF booth with our banners on anti-child pornography and our face-to-face fundraisers trying to get new pledge sign-ups. The booth showcased our gift items--and people were going to our booth and buying!
- ample food booths for the hungry ones
- yummy post-event breakfast at Pancake House sponsored by Microsoft

Low Points:
- not enough distance markers. There was only one marker: the half-way point. It was difficult tracking how I was doing on a per-mile basis. I didn't want to check my watch all the time because I wanted to concentrate on the road ahead of me.
- slippery portions. Upon gunstart for the 4-mile race, the guy right beside me slipped on this metal surface thing on the road! I felt panic for him and prayed he didn't get injured. And when I crossed the finish line, there was that blasted metal surface again! I almost slipped! Puddles on the rain were okay, though. It was fun sort of splashing around a bit, and my Nike Zooms did well in terms of traction.
- DEAD FROG IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD. Okay, this is obviously not Microsoft's fault, haha. I just loathe the sight of frogs so much. When I saw the dead 'un this morning, I let out a small scream. It was lying on its back, with its stiff legs raised up and its white underbelly clearly seen. It was so hideous. The advantage here was that the sight of the dead amphibian made me run faster. I kept praying that I wouldn't encounter live frogs the rest of the way.

My right knee was bothering me the whole time. I've been feeling a little pain since Thursday (when I did a practice 6.4 km run), and it didn't let up during today's race. But I think I've managed to bear the pain fairly well. Clocked in around 42-43 minutes (6.7 min/km). Still average. I always hope to do better. The good thing is, every time I run a race, I show some improvement naman, which is encouraging, of course!

Next race? Mizuno Infinity Run on June 7. 5 km, hopefully, if my knee stops acting up.


Read an interesting entry in Takbo.ph on why two or more pairs of running shoes are better than one. It does make a lot of sense, you know. Running is still relatively cheaper than other sports, and the least one can do is invest on good running shoes. My Nike Zooms are still in okay condition but I need to get a new pair (or two?) very soon.

26 May 2009

I have two battered hands: the left and the right

I was in such a bad mood yesterday evening. To let out my anger, I did two hours' worth of boxing. One hour working on the bags and another hour with Ryan and his mitts.

There I was, punching away angrily at the wall bag and delivering straight rights as forcefully as I could--that I barely noticed that my trainer was standing a few meters away from me, observing my punches. It didn't help that I was, quite visibly, looking teary-eyed and frustrated while I attacked the punching bag mounted on the wall.

I think he could tell right away that I was in an ugly mood because he said very quietly, "Okay, huwag ka nang umiyak, ha. Ilabas mo na lang ang galit mo sa suntok."

The fact that he could guess how shitty I was feeling made me want to cry out of sheer rage even more--and relief as well that at least someone understood me at that point.

By the time my trainer was ready to do some mitt/glove work with me, I was pretty fired up. Spent my energy on delivering the combinations he shouted, and I noticed that I was really lunging at him to strike the necessary blows on his mitts. Halatang nanggigigil ako.

My fists were really, really hurting, and again, Ryan could understand how I was feeling, because I was, I suppose, wearing this pained, tight-lipped expression on my face. So he said, after an hour, that we've had had enough for that session.

When he took out my hand wraps, he gingerly flexed and examined my beaten-up hands--and then announced that I should take a break from boxing for the rest of the week.

I was disappointed with his decision (because I really love cardio boxing) but also somewhat relieved. Because on taking a closer look at my hands later that night, I could see that I've abused them so much these past couple of weeks ever since I started working with my new trainer.

Basically, these are the "almost-injuries" that I'm sporting right now on my hands:

On the left corner: a very, very, very sore left wrist (from all those angry, reckless left hooks) and a strained pinky (because of an inaccurate execution of a left uppercut).

On the right corner: a small knuckle wound that hasn't totally dried up (because of the continuous punching and contact with mitts), and a noticeably swollen knuckle (from all those straight rights, which seem to get stronger every time I box). This middle knuckle is perpetually swollen, even in the day time; some officemates have already even noticed how much bad shape my right hand is in at the moment.

Ryan wasn't usually one to make me quit and rest, but I guess he was alarmed at the state of my hands (thank God there were no broken bones though) that he actually ordered me to have a breather from boxing.

That means I can only box again starting next Monday. (*sad face*) BUT, at least I can concentrate more on running this week, since the Microsoft IE8 run is taking place this coming Sunday. (*happy, tense-excited face*)


I am currently re-reading The Andromeda Strain. It seems like such an apt thing to read in these swine-flu-ridden times. And how I miss Michael Crichton. He wrote some pretty kitschy passages at times--but, overall, he was able to come up with some really damn fine, entertaining books as well.

23 May 2009

the right to play

I wish I were young again, so that I could play with these.

Actually, I can buy this UNICEF Transport Play Set (SRP: Php1,300) and keep it in my work area. So that when I'm feeling particularly stressed, I'll just whip it out from under my table and start playing. Haha.

Kidding aside, I think it's a great toy set. It's never too early to let children be familiar with UNICEF work. =)

Oh, and here's another really cool toy, for kids and adults alike:

official Adidas UNICEF match-size football (SRP: Php 1,000)

For some reason, I want this as well, even if I don't know how to play football.

We have an exciting line-up of new UNICEF gifts this year, so hope you can support UNICEF by purchasing these toys. Sales proceeds will go to UNICEF Philippines' education programs for children. We will be uploading the gift catalogue in our website soon (www.unicef.org/philippines) but in the meantime, please visit Hobbes and Landes (as they carry our gift line) or the UNICEF office at 31/F Yuchengco Tower, RCBC Plaza, Ayala Avenue cor Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue, Makati if you want to browse and purchase any of our gift items.

19 May 2009

a lesson in hydration

Last Monday, May 11, my trainer Ryan had something in store for me. We boxed for an hour straight and he didn't allow me to have water in between. But he wanted me to take a conservative amount of water before the 1-hour session to prep me.

No water within that 1-hour period. No water during breaks. Actually, what breaks?

He only spent like a total of 60 seconds stretching my arms and then back to the never-ending series of 3-minute rounds. No punching bags or speed ball. Just one straight hour of punching his mitts as he screamed out all the combos he wanted me to execute. It was crazy. His rationale was that I could learn to endure better by not depending so much on the water during breaks. Yeah, I did endure, but I had cracked lips, a dry throat and a wild look on my face by the time the one hour was up.

Before that Monday's session, my wound was still raw and very, very sore, so to protect it, Ryan had to put a Band-Aid, layers of plaster tape, a foam-like knuckle padding, tightly bandaged hand wraps and finally the gloves. I was beaming seconds before we started boxing, because I figured the wound would be safe from extra harm. Right?


Because he made me box for an hour, all that continuous punching battered my knuckles again, and I could sense that the wound was opening up once more. And I knew there would be blood. Argh. The pain, coupled with the fact that I was so damned thirsty, made me glare at him as I punched endlessly. And all that my highly sympathetic trainer could do was grin in amusement and shout, for everyone in the gym to hear, "A, so galit ka? Kung galit ka, lakasan mo yung suntok mo!"

And I complied, because I was angry. I also felt like a sissy; my eyes were getting teary-eyed because of the knuckle pain and because it was so unfair that I didn't get to have any water, while the other trainers made their girl trainees drink every now and then. Threw some really angry left hooks at Ryan. Man, when you're sweaty, thirsty and dealing with a constantly smarting knuckle wound on your straight right punching hand, and you know that there are people in the gym watching you and Ryan train, you can't NOT be angry for being forced into the spotlight.

I knew I ended up doing okay anyway, and Ryan still insisted afterwards that I punch unusually hard for a girl my size (I didn't know if that was a compliment on my punching or a sexist remark on my built), but I couldn't help feeling disgruntled that he ordered me not to have water during breaks. Jeez, even Manny Pacquiao gets to have water in between rounds.

This Monday's session (May 18), I came prepared. Made sure I drank a lot of water before getting to the gym, and then I drank a bit more as Ryan was putting hand wraps on me. I had this defiant look on my face as I sipped water from my jug, and Ryan laughed and said I could drink all the water I wanted and he wasn't going to stop me. But he said I was to box for a little over an hour and then do 250 ab crunches.

I was so delighted, like I had been given a reprieve. So we started to box. Learned some new combos, and kept on boxing as the minutes ticked away. Ryan's eyes were red (because he had been punched in the face this morning during a sparring session in preparation for his May 30 competition), and he looked tired but serious, so I wanted to do well. Although my body felt slightly sluggish due to all that water, I was punching okay. The wound wasn't bothering me that much anymore.

Suddenly, Cris from the reception area had the bright idea of playing "Careless Whisper" on the gym's sound system, and right on cue, Ryan drops his mitts on the wooden floor, whips off his shirt, and starts his gigolo dance--all in one fluid movement. Right in front of me. (He's done this before, actually, the whole topless, gigolo "Careless Whisper" act, while I do my crunches, and it's not exactly the kind of thing that keeps me concentrated on my ab work because I, and the entire gym, are just laughing our heads off.) So anyway, there I was, inches from his gyrating body, trying not to die from too much laughter, as the others cheer and laugh at Ryan's antics as well. Obviously, he loves being in the spotlight. And this "Careless Whisper" performance of his is getting so popular, I'm afraid someone will video it and put in on YouTube someday.

When we got back into the boxing routine (with "Careless Whisper" still blaring from the speakers AND on repeat mode, would you believe), Ryan let me have frequent water breaks, and I drank greedily. But then, after some time, I could really feel that my stomach was getting heavy from the drinking, and I felt like I overhydrated this time. Ryan could sense it, because I was breathing heavily and although my punches were okay strong, I wasn't as quick and as driven. I. FELT. HEAAAVY.

He looked at me knowingly and sadistically, and I groaned in realization that he was giving me a lesson. On water, for cryin' out loud. I should never drink too much during breaks. No wonder he was against the idea of letting me have those frequent water breaks.

So how come the other girls training in the gym get to drink all the water they want, I asked.

He shrugged and simply said I had very good endurance. Hence, I should be learning to use it to my advantage. Besides, he added, he had higher expectations of me. So no water for me while boxing. Or at least, not that much.

I felt so mollified by his explanation that I went for my 250 ab crunches without complaining.

18 May 2009

armchair traveling

Because I had nothing to do this Sunday (and because I was still reeling from the mini trauma of having my possessions stolen from me in broad daylight last Saturday), I stayed at home. Spent the first half of my day Facebooking and downloading Mac software updates and torrent files.

Then I saw my younger sister Karla's copy of The Time Traveler's Wife lying around the house, and out of idle curiousity, I picked it up. I was bored, it was a book I haven't read yet, and I knew that Hollywood had just made a movie adaptation. So I figured, might as well read it before the movie came out.

The book is 518 pages long, and I read it in one sitting. Specifically within a 4-hour period. Not because it was captivatingly good, but because it was an easy read. I'm not a big fan of flowery romance books, and although Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife isn't as silly as other romance books out there (coughtwilightcough and ahemnicholassparksahem), it was, in my opinion, close to being romantic drivel. I suppose that some people who share my opinion may have given up halfway through the book, but I don't quit on a book altogether, whether it's trashy bad or boring. I suppose it's a discipline that most readers have, the will to finish a book. The only novel that I've totally given up on was Marcel Proust's Remembrance Of Things Past but that was because it was too cerebrally exhausting, and I was humble enough to admit to myself that I wasn't ready to read him yet. Will probably read Proust when I'm in my patient 60's or 70's. As for Hitler's Mein Kampf, I am still reading it in small doses, because one can't simply take in all that frenzied fanaticism in one sitting.

I am digressing. Anyway, people will always have different definitions of what a good book is like. The Time Traveler's Wife, in my opinion, is just one of those bland reads. I found the whole time travel / switching from one period to another exhausting, as it was happening every, say, 3 pages or so. The whole thing gave me a headache. I think the story could have been told in a more condensed manner, even if the sequencing was non-linear. There were just too many unnecessary demonstrations of "I-love-you-regardless-of-whatever-time-and-age-we're-in"--which is basically the theme of the novel.

Maybe I'm just being cynical about love. Although come to think of it, I totally love Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Love In The Time Of Cholera, and that was an unabashedly romantic story.

I admire though Niffenegger's efforts to tell the story in such a radical, rapid time-switching fashion and still manage to establish a solid element of linearity in her novel; as a reader, I am still taken through the usual plot conventions of exposition, conflict, etc., but the novel's climactic scenes take place not in the present but as flashbacks in time--flashbacks which have now become clearer and more explained to the reader since the pieces of the puzzle have fallen mostly into place.

The good part about spending the whole afternoon reading is finding out that I still haven't lost that ability to read fast. I used to finish one novel (average of 500-700 pages?) in less than a day when I had more time and work was less demanding. So even if The Time Traveler's Wife isn't something I'd read again ever, at least I was able to spend some time reading. No pun intended, haha.


Can't wait to box later this evening. I hope my trainer isn't sick anymore, so that I can pretend he's The-Good-For-Nothing-Who-Stole-My-Stuff. Now that'll make me punch away for an hour or so.

16 May 2009

lost and found

My bag--and all of its contents--got stolen today. I am so pissed off.

My mobile phone was an old unit, so I could basically afford to lose that (I was planning to buy a new phone anyway), and I was able to have my SIM and ATM cards blocked, so those were taken care of. Thankfully, my wallet then just a bit of cash (Php 300 to 400, maybe) and that I had not withdrawn any large amounts of money.

It's a bit of a nuisance to lose small items like an office ID, lotion, hand sanitizer and a thumb drive--but what makes me so sad is to lose my iPod touch and my old bag, both of which have sentimental value to me.

The ironic thing was, I was in a rather depressed mood this morning because I couldn't find my favorite pair of earrings. I searched everywhere and even called the gym to check if I had left the earrings there, but no good came out of my frantic search around the house. They weren't the expensive type, just simple, dangly silver earrings. But I've had them for more than 3 years now, and I hated to lose the small, everyday things that were special to me.

And then when my bag got stolen today, I temporarily forgot the lost earrings and had to deal with the stress and inconvenience of losing my bag and all its contents.

When I got home tonight, empty-handed and loads unhappy (although a very good friend did keep me happy and distracted from my loss for a few hours today), I rummaged through my drawer--and found my earrings. I stared at them for a moment, and then said a quick thank-you out loud.

I think the Lord is trying to tell me that not all things are lost. And that when you've given up looking for something, it just shows up when you least expect it.

I also have to be thankful about the fact that my laptop was safe at home when this incident happened. And I'm grateful for friends who feel bad for you (and stay with you!) when you're feeling down over this material loss.

I have to say that even seeing Dr. Rien looking concerned and sympathetic in my behalf cheered me up a bit.

10 May 2009

Friday. Ran 5km in 29:53 minutes (5.9 min/km pace). Good enough, although I still need to improve. Checked my time when I hit the 3k-mark and I was at 16-something minutes. I notice that every time I run, my speed dwindles after 5km and I end up with an average pace of 6 min/km or more. Must learn to sustain a sub-6 pace in my 5km runs at least.

After my run, hurried to meet up with Bun in Greenbelt 3 to watch the midnight screening of Star Trek. I've never been a Trekkie, but I thought the movie was just plain awesome. To my surprise, I found myself crushing on Spock. And Bun, who's usually picky when it comes to men's looks, had to agree that he was smokin' hot in spite of the pointy ears and his cold, stand-offish attitude. Complicated men are so sexy.

Of course, being in love with a Vulcan is right up there in the weird crush category, along with my crush on the animated character of Simba (yes, The Lion King himself) back in high school.

Saturday. Woke up early morning, still in giddy, happy, post-Spock/Star Trek mode. However, I wasn't smiling anymore when I went over to my boxing gym that same afternoon and I landed my first straight right punch for the day on Ryan's mitt.

Fuckin' shit. I didn't realize that the small wound on my knuckle, which I got from last Wednesday's session, would hurt that much. Well, it did effing hurt, and I needed more bandaging to cushion my knuckles from further pain. At first, Ryan didn't take me seriously and wanted me to continue punching. But the pinched look of pain never left my face as I obligingly punched--and my right-hand punches got noticeably weaker during that first round--so he finally took off my gloves and handwraps for a look at my right hand.

The wound was sore and red, and he had to clean it and put layers of plaster tape. I doubted that the tape would cushion the blows, but I wasn't wimpy enough to quit boxing for the day. Boxers get all bloodied up most of the time, and even if I'm eons away from being a professional boxer, I didn't want to quit because of some small, silly wound.

It helped that my trainer was as bullheaded as me. When we resumed the boxing drills, the wound was still smarting and bothering me like hell, but I continued punching. I kept swearing and groaning over the pain, and there were many times when I felt like stopping, but it was clear to me that Ryan would never allow me to quit.

That whole time, he kept shouting, "Keep punching!! Napakaliit ng sugat mo. Wala yan!! Punch harder! Wag magpaka-totoy!" And he took sadistic pleasure in making me do repeated straight right punches: "Harder! Punch harder! Magmamanhid rin yan at di mo na mararamdaman yung sugat!"

Of course, I felt the total opposite. Every time I punched with my right hand, I had the urge to puke because the feeling of pain was quite intense and I could just imagine blood oozing out of the wound in spite of the plaster tape and the hand wraps. But my right punches were still solid and strong, and I took satisfaction in seeing the approving look on my trainer's face as I boxed continuously for over 30 minutes, with only two 30-second water breaks.

(Pain is awful, but you have to be a little masochistic in order to put up with it and still enjoy what you're doing. That thought totally applies to boxing and running.)

When I couldn't take it anymore, Ryan obliged and we sat on the edge of the boxing ring so he could take off my wraps. True to his sadistic self, he peeled off the plaster tape in one swift movement and I groaned at the sight of blood on my raw wound and on the tape. It wasn't a lot of blood, but still. (I hate seeing blood. It makes me want to hurl. I can never be a nurse or medic, that's for sure. Once, I vomited right after a nurse stuck a needle on my arm for a blood test.)

Ryan was laughing at me and said, "Sus, wala yan. Tiisin mo. Parang hindi ka lalaki!" I shot him a dirty look to remind him that I was, quite obviously, not a man. But I couldn't stay mad for long and I started laughing--and he took the opportunity during my distracted state to rapidly douse, like, half a bottle of isopropyl alcohol on my open wound.

Wtf. My trainer's really something.

And I'm supposed to box with him again on Monday. Jesus.

After that session of pain, met up with Randy in Starbucks for a quick chat and a drink. I was craving for milk, and milk alone, and I had to pay a hundred bucks for a grande-sized order of chilled non-fat milk. Pretty steep for milk that doesn't taste like anything, but my exhausted, pained self was just happy to sit there and sip my milk while watching Randy edit some photos on his Mac.

Had poker with the usual suspects that same night until the early hours of the morning. The same good old college friends and the same brand of mayhem that comes with playing poker with these people. It felt good to sit back and watch Marie and the boys yell, and to reminisce with them about Sputnik (and make plans to reclaim our space there, haha), and to talk about Star Trek, Dollhouse, and other stuff while playing long, drawn-out poker games. My playing was awful that night, although I managed to win one round with pocket aces.

Two or three years from now, we'd probably still be the same, resolutely unmarried bunch of people at the same poker table.

Sunday. Mother's Day today! Wasn't able to run and instead, binged with the family over pizza, pasta, roasted chicken and two kinds of ice cream. My mom ought to check her BP tomorrow morning.

I also watched the last two episodes of Dollhouse Season 1 today. Because Joss Whedon is so damn good, he left me and the rest of the global Dollhouse audience hungry for more. Here's hoping Season 2 pushes through.

07 May 2009

I have a prankster of a trainer.

Ryan seems hell bent on making me laugh during boxing sessions so that I'd lose concentration and give him an excuse to holler out quasi-insults about my punches. He puts on this mischievous expression on his face and then keeps on saying things like, "Punch harder! Hindi yan suntok ng isang taong madalas mag-10k!" And while he shouts this out, he maintains this complicated footwork sequence (he looks, to me, like some sadistic court jester) that forces me to keep up with him and stay nimble on my feet as well.

Of course, I am part-exasperated, part-amused, and part-scared of him. Haha.

I always have to remind my trainer, while gasping for breath in between punches, that I do not run 10ks all the time. Just an average of 5-6km every other day if the weather permits. He knows I'm telling the truth, but I think he wants to annoy me to a certain level that would motivate me to punch harder. I have to admit though that his strategy works. Every time he cracks a joke at my expense, I make a face and punch the darned mitts so hard that I can hear some very satisfying, solid thuds.

This evening, I was a bit late getting to the gym, and Ryan gave me a hard time about it. So, as a form of punishment, I didn't get to have breather rounds (like working on the punch bags) and instead had to go through several 3-minute boxing drills with him without hardly any breaks in between. I forgot how many rounds, but I certainly boxed for more than 15 minutes straight. He was introducing me to some new combinations, and I struggled to keep up.

I thought I was doing so badly and that my performance was disappointing, because he barely let me breathe in between rounds. I finally had to stop when I could feel the skin of the knuckles of my right hand peeling and chafing. I could already sense a small surface wound on the middle knuckle.

As Ryan was stretching my muscles, I asked him worriedly if I had weak punches. He laughed and said that I obviously took his jokes too seriously. Then he said something that made my tiring, stressful day less tiring and stressful: "Ano ka ba, malakas naman ang mga suntok mo. Kailangan mo lang mag-improve on speed in throwing punches. At malakas kaya ang stamina mo! Nakakagulat nga eh. Pero di ko naman i-i-increase yung level of intensity ng workout mo kung hindi ako confident na kaya mo. Alam kong kaya mo. Regular ang takbo mo kaya maganda endurance mo."

Wheee! At least when it comes to positive reinforcement, my trainer isn't miserly in his praises.


Now that rainy season's making a premature entrance, it's difficult to schedule my runs in the evenings. I think I need to rely more on my boxing workouts these days to stay fit. Wish I could run on the treadmill though on some nights.

03 May 2009

UNICEF Philippines website

UNICEF Philippines' website (www.unicef.org/philippines) has great, updated info and stories on children. Please check it out! And don't forget to donate! Go to the Support UNICEF page and click on the links on the right sidebar to donate either via credit card or cash/cheque.

You can also donate by calling the UNICEF Philippines hotline: + 632 758 1000. Hope you can support us! =)

02 May 2009

the post about nothing much

I know I'm being awfully boring here, but my life these days basically consists of work-box-work-run-work-box-work-work-lots more work-box-run (and some reading in between).

My regional supervisor, Y, was in Manila just last Tuesday to Thursday to see our team's Q1 fundraising campaign results and to work out our budget and income from 2009 to 2012. Lord.

I mean, it was a very fruitful exercise but it was just too painful to project all the way up to 2012. And with Y being the Father of Workaholism, we were in the office until 9:30 pm on those days (without any dinner, as Y seems to be always on some strange diet), knee-deep in cost charging ratios and ridiculously high income targets.

My training sked was pretty much gone; I had managed to run 6.4km last Tuesday in 41:20 minutes (slightly longer than Sunday's run)--but Wednesday's boxing and Thursday's running were sadly replaced by the strenuous activity of tweaking some very scintillating Excel worksheets projected onto a wall.

I managed to box today, although my trainer Ryan wasn't there. So I worked with another trainer, Christian, who wasn't as hard on me as Ryan--but at least C helped me a lot in strengthening my left uppercut.


I finally visited the IKEA outlet in Makati yesterday with Randy. He was moving units within the same condominium building and he needed my, er, moral support and aesthetic layout advice. We spent time moving and rearranging his stuff, and man, I just have to say that he has more bags and shoes than I have, haha.

Anyway, he needed some new furniture stuff, so we decided to check out the IKEA outlet, the location of which isn't pretty much known by most people (thanks to Neva for the tip!), and Randy and I still got lost looking for it. And even when we were standing in front of the warehouse gate, it was, to us, a very nondescript place that didn't look like it was containing the furniture of our dreams.

It was a far cry from the Malaysia warehouse branch that I've been to, but the small Makati store still had some pretty drool-inducing stuff. And if you wanted something from the IKEA catalogue that wasn't there, you could always order it, and it would arrive in 2-3 weeks' time, according to the sales assistants. Am thinking of investing someday on IKEA's Billy bookcase system (the ceiling-to-floor kind), and browsing the store items and furniture kept me inspired and focused on my dream library look.

Someday, my library of books will look like this:
Or this: