Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Paint your palette blue and grey.

Totally calling it: the weather's got her period! The weather's been unpredictable this last few weeks (not being sexist here huhu but i think yes i'm being sexist lol) where one night it's cold, and the next day it's beach temp! There's no telling if summer's officially here now, but in my calendar, Feb. 22 already kicked it off. Beach rain or shine is just as attractive! <3
Friends and I went to Crystal Beach Resort in San Narciso, Zambales, initially to surf and island hop, but ended up just chillin' like some villain. I'm not sure if it was the vibe of the place that called for lounging and soaking in the beautiful serene views, or that we were tired from the 5 hour bus ride to the place. Either way, my mood was really to just keep still and have that getaway-to-the-beach finally happen.
Good Morning So Much!! Because ~Good Morning!~ isn't enough! 
I like this place. It's my first time here and although they're fully booked for that weekend (i think, we didn't get our preferred room/s), the beach was in no way crowded. There was a lot of personal space going on and each group had their own spot to do their thing. I don't usually go back to places i've already been to because i prefer exploring new ones, but i won't mind going back to Crystal Beach. It isn't expensive and i really like the vibe and the sand and the fact that it's also a surf spot. At least when i finally get the courage to try surfing, I can do so! But i really think i'm too un-fit and unhealthy for that. Helloooo just ~swimming~ by the waves got me bruises and a few scratches! Those waves ate me whole haha but 'twas fun!

The sunset was beautiful! It passed us quickly so wasn't able to take a lot of photos, but the orange sky was a pretty backdrop for my all-about-relaxing drama so i hit the hammock. If we weren't going to eat, i would've wanted to take a nap there. Maybe next time!

I expected the resort to have a band play Saturday night though, and was a little disappointed to learn that there'll be none. But we still went by the bonfire and lay down because we spotted a few shooting stars! It was a starry starry night and it felt sooo good to lie down outside, watch the stars, and listen to the sounds of burning wood and gusts of wind. My friend even played Enya on his phone as our background. Twas funny but it completed the mood.

We also woke up reaaally early, because we wanted to see the sunrise. We didn't exactly see it though because of all the pine trees. Haha! Still all good, the sound of the waves in the dark was a little scary but relaxing at the same time, so the ears had pleasure when the eyes didn't get that sunrise.

I hope I get to visit more beaches in the coming months. I don't know how to swim but i'm really at peace with that now, because am a beach person not really to do all the water adventures (but why not!), but more to savor the laid back lifestyle and calming, re-energizing magic that it gives.

Ghad i'm dreaming and re-living the views and sounds again. 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

February things.

February was short and sweet, gotta give. Save for the despedida of one of my closest friends, the month was pretty packed with happy feels. And because pictures speak a thousand words, aka i'm really good in finding excuses to photodump as opposed to actually share you my thoughts, here are a few of my instagram posts for the month.

Let's start with surprise gifts. Seriously guys, generosity is one of my favorite values (along with integrity and respect, top of the head), because giving gives a beautiful feeling! Yes? Yes. And I'm sure that to receive also feels as awezam, because I got reminded of the feeling almost weekly this month with the generous hearts of friends just randomly giving gifts! <3

This camera flash drive is a pasalubong from my officemate who went to HK for vacation. We both have an appreciation for taking ~nice~ photos, and when she saw this, she said she thought of me! Aside from this being cute, we can't skip the fact that it's practical and utilitarian. Finally, I have me a flash drive now! Am so up-to-date with technology amarite amarite. Getting a flash drive just now. Hah.

This fisheye camera is from another officemate, who decided to give me this one after finding out that i like cameras (thanks to my post of that flash drive camera!). The ripple effect demonstrated here. HAHA. Officemate says that it's just pretty much gathering dust at home, so I may have better use for it. Well you bet! Excited to take photos with this. But first, to get films. It's so old school I love it!

Well what do we have here. A surprise package! I got this a few days after Valentine's, delivered at my office. I had NO idea who this was from, because at the "Sender" space of Xend's waybill said Carbon Digital Inc. And i have no relationship with them, and I honestly haven't heard of the company prior to this (I am not familiar with the marketing industry, forgive me!). Turns out my orgmate in college gave my name to his PR friend who was asking for names of pretty single ladies! (OF COURSE i inserted the adjective pretty, because, I can. Hahaha.) It's a box of goodies from Avon! To be fair, the items sent were all useful and pretty! Gave some to my mother to share the love!

Speaking of Valentine's, our company has been thoughtful recently, having tokens for a couple of occasions. First was something similar to the one pictured above, for the Chinese New Year. And now for Valentine's another set of notes were handed out (with lollipops!), and the message I got was darn cheesy it needed to be shared! Haha! My photocaption actually called this one as a "laslas emo quote." Haha love vibes everywhere! <3

This one's not an instagram post, but this is us celebrating Valentine's! Just like last year, the day was again spent with officemates. Dinner and coffee and stories to pass the night!

And of course you know about my trip to the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant!

And to Zambales! Will write about this next time. But that weekend was soooo relaxing it was a great way to kickoff the summer. Can't wait for more beaches in the coming months! I hope soooo!

And here's me with my closest high school friend, with our default wacky faces that I didn't realize til I was looking for photos to collage! Haha! Yna decided to work at Singapore now, so the barkada got together for some dinner tambay last week. Yna's my Caramoan buddy if you remember one of my posts from last year, and she's my very first business partner circa 2000! Our business name then was CYRG (for Cruz Yna Rodriguez Ghoent), but for a time we also used GRYC (just the other way around). Acronyms for kids are everything, you guys should know! Haha. We used to sell rubber erasers as keychains (she's the creative one, I'm the support lol), and even got our hands into copper wire twisting and hand bag stitching. All were a mess but the experience was soooo much fun with her! She's the friend who's always had Halloween parties for her birthday, and experimented with crazy food ingredients whenever possible. Anything goes with this girl!

I'd have to say that my taste for the weird and quirky can all be traced to Yna. Ever since high school, she's had her own way with paintings and sketches, and while i didn't get nor appreciate it before, I eventually saw the beauty of it. I really like the messages that I get when i look at her works and try to interpret them. I appreciate how much her art doesn't try to please anybody nor limit itself to the constraints of the usual. "She's one-of-a-kind" is such an understatement! A true artist. And because I'm in the mood, I'll insert some of her works below!

All weird and twisted and original riiiiightttt! That's her sketchbook art that I took a few photos of during one of our tambays last year. I love all of them! If i could just snap and post everything here! She actually has a shop that you may want to visit. Right here! All the love and best of luck for my very talented friend! I'll miss you Yna!! We shall visit you in SG. :)

Feb was pretty awesome, for some more other reasons that need not be posted. Hope you all had a great Feb as well! Let's go, March! :)

A beach and a plant. A nuclear power plant.

Perks of having friends taking up their Masters is getting invited to activities that just remind you of school. Sometimes that means hanging out in UP, or in Trinoma/SM North where the UP kids burn long break hours (at least then, I don't know for today's students), and sometimes it means getting invited to school related activities such as field trips. I got to experience all of that, with the last point being crossed out just last Feb. 8.

Field trip's destination: the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant!

If the trip wasn't so educational, or the seminar wasn't data-centric, or the trip didn't stop by the beach for a buffet lunch/meryenda, or if didn't also serve us buffet breakfast, then I'd say the best part of the trip was that it was sponsored, aka all expense paid. BUT no. All of those happened, so picking my favorite part of the trip's a hard call. Shout out to my friends Kim and Nevin, of course, for inviting me!

I am all for renewable energies because, let's just say, I really appreciate ze gift of earth. This blog's a testament to how I just won't shut up about beaches, and continuously look forward to trips that are close to nature. Plus, Al Gore's campaign in An Inconvenient Truth made me think about a lot of things. Aside from renewable energies, I also was for Nuclear plants. That vote from me was put on hold though when Fukushima happened. Who wouldn't be alarmed with the news, and touched by articles saying that the older folks are volunteering to clean up the nuclear power station in order to spare the young? I honestly didn't get to research more of what happened there so the lazy me had BNPP in the "i don't know" zone.

With the trip, however, a few things got cleared up. I won't be enumerating everything, and I am not here to convince you of anything. I will merely share what I learned, and I trust that all of us here are smart enough to make our own research and make a judgement for ourselves. These are my top 4 learnings:

1. Fukushima, Chernobyl.

Always the first question is about safety. Nobody gives a damn about the cost savings, the efficiency, the benefits of pretty much anything as long as it poses some kind of health or safety hazard. The risks will always overshadow the benefits. And I agree with that.

So in a nutshell, the Fukushima plant's reactor cooling systems were damaged by a tsunami caused by a 9.0 earthquake. It's located about 10 meters above sea level, and designed to withstand a seismic load of 0.18g. BNPP on the other hand is located 18m above sea level, and designed to withstand a seismic load of 0.4g.

And then there's Chernobyl. I remember having seen a documentary about it in high school for a subject. Looking back, I don't really remember the objective of our teacher then, but most likely it's to let us know about the hazards of nuclear power plants. Maybe. I don't remember really, except that the effects of the damaged plant were hideous and unacceptable. But I also remember clearly that the Chernobyl was not designed as a nuclear power plant to begin with, and it was at the field trip that i learned that it was originally a weapons plant, converted into a nuclear power plant. It did not follow the standards of a nuclear power plant.

I'm still iffy about the safety, to be honest, even if according to the talk, nuclear power plants have caused zero deaths for the past 50++ years if we exclude Chernobyl (where 31 died, but it was not built to standard), and that nuclear power plants are built with "overkill safety factors". The fact that the BNPP is 30 years old is a big hump to get past to.

2. 30 years old.

Well, almost. BNPP will be turning 30 on May, and like I said, 30 years is such a long time. It's a generation already, maybe even 2 if we're talking about people generations (well gen gap's a little closer now but you get my point). The talk though says that the BNPP is actually one of the younger plants, being created and built at the tailend of the nuclear power plant boom in the 80s. And that for the past 30 years (almost 30, i mean), the plant has been maintained by our chemists (or chem engineers, i forget), including the daily use of Hydrazine, a rocket fuel used as an oxygen scavenger. This is to keep the pipes from corroding, and we use Hydrazine despite the fact that the pipes are made of Inconel - a corrosion resistant nickel alloy.

3. Radiation

This radiation perspective-setting was pointed out during the seminar. I don't speak the language but to put it bluntly, eating a banana gives you more radiation than standing for a year in front of a running nuclear power plant. IKR. Apparently, organic materials, like a banana, naturally contain radioactive isotopes. The numbers are: 0.01millirem for eating a banana, and 0.009millirem per year for standing in front of a nuclear power plant. And the talk says that nuclear power plants are much safer and healthier compared to other conventional power sources, aka fossil fuels, that are attributed to diseases of the lungs, some cases of cancer, and the immune system.

4. Coal and Solar

Oh ghad. This one involved computations on the whiteboard, and forgive me if i wasn't able to take notes. But the computations say 2 things: first, is that nuclear is pretty cheapass when you compare it to coal, because (among other reasons that i forget) with coal you'll have a lot of freight cost, where in nuclear only an extremely small amount is needed. And second, you'll need more than 4 times of solar capacity to generate the same amount of power as nuclear. And that's zero at night, during rain, and cloudy days, making it inconsistent and unpredictable.

There were more things there, but those 4 made most impact to my personal doubts. The group had interesting questions raised, but I can't remember them now cause what's clear was the surprise of being by the beach for our late lunch/meryenda!! HAHA beach and food how can you go wrong with that. Oh i know, by wearing chuck taylors? Lol. Oh if i only knew we'd be spending some time by the beach, at least my slippers would've definitely made it in my back pack. Summer vibes kicking in early!

Mini-tour (aka some photos), coming up!

Gandy doing some computations! UP reprezent!

Would be nice to sit-in at a seminar that believes otherwise. Knowledge iz power ya know!
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