Sunday, March 29, 2009

Hello Stranger!

For my friends and readers who had emailed me and inquired - thank you - all is well and wonderful!

Facebook is where I have been the past year - Twitter is also my short and quick way of keeping in touch, and yes I do Tweet!

Life and work are going as wonderful as ever; with my plate overflowing I can only keep up with one site. - so facebook it is!

You know my name - search me in facebook and if we indeed are friends, I'll accept the invitation to be facebook friends. Otherwise, one of these days I'll update this Blog.

Until later...

Sunday, January 04, 2009

"Just two living creatures who somehow managed to look past their immense differences"

What a lesson in life...

Source: Steve Hartman, CBS Evening News

Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Weekend with HighSchool Friends

Always a pleasure to meet up with the Old Girls (seriously, this is how alumnae of my school are referred to) and reconnect!

In front of the Gingerbread Christmas Castle near the hotel restaurant.

We stayed overnight at the Ritz Carlton in Laguna Niguel, had a sumptuous Seafood Buffet dinner, non-stop chika catching up on the latest with each other, dancing at nearby Brio's Club, and a nice brunch the next day!

The morning after - most of us still in our PJs!

The view looking out the sliding door and the balcony off the hotel room.

Me in my PJs with not a scrap of make up!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Christmas and a Hopeful 2009!

2008 has been fraught with changes on all levels -economic, financial, professional, family, and others.

Yes, the 401K has been hit hard by the stock market - but que sera sera, but I am confident it will recover - be it 5, 10, 15 + years it'll get there and more.

At the moment I am thankful not only for the continuing good health and good cheer of myself and my family. Health aside - I not only have a great paying job but thriving very well, thank you very much.

My family may be doing well but there are a lot of fellow Americans suffering and due to this I hope for a much better 2009. Americans may have had a reputation for consumerism but now that most Americans have held back on spending and saving more due to uncertain times, this same "new found" sense of thriftiness has global repercussions.

This one article [Trouble in Toyland: U.S. recession jolts China] reports on the number of Chinese factories shutting down and laying off Chinese workers by the thousands due to reduced American demand for consumer good it is an enlightening read.

I read a number of articles blaming the USA for the world's ill or at the least at the epicenter. I've wondered, a number of foreign financial centers have been negatively (an understatement?) affected by the economic downturn in the USA but when the going was good they didn't complain did they? They were making money hand over fists off the American economy and now that the tap has run dry - for now - the Americans are being blamed. But then again, am probably being illogical. Not.

Alright, I'm off my soap box. Back to consumerism... here's the loot for Christmas!

Panasonic 42" VIERA Plasma HDTV (Last year was the Sony 62" XBR LCD HDTV)

Archos 5 250GB Internet Media Tablet (this should work very well with the DirecTV DVR)

oh oh oh, let me not forget the girly gift Everybody Women's Tania Shootie

I've been buying the shoe brand Everybody this year - comfortable, nice looking, reasonable in price.

Cheers! Am off to Laguna Niguel in Southern Cal this weekend for an overnight stay with high-school classmates for a night of reunion!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Lazy Sunday

After partying (read: being inebriated :) hard during Thanksgiving, Sunday was a nice lazy day...watching football (NFL) and surfing the 'net.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Gobble, Gobble - still here...

Working hard and playing hard...just got done with Thanksgiving and it was party time...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Wall Street Woes

Obama blamed the crisis in the housing and financial markets on the failure of President George W. Bush's administration to monitor markets and push for more oversight...Obama said Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson was correct in calling for a streamlined regulatory system and that the Federal Reserve can't be expected to shoulder the whole load..."

Thought to ponder:

Federal Reserve = Monetary Policy

Government = Fiscal Policy

I agree that a streamlined MONETARY regulatory system is necessary but shouldn't the Federal Reserve Bank shoulder the whole load? That's their expertise... We have a separation of State and Church but we cannot arbitrarily change the degree of separation when it suits us. Same with the governance of Monetary Policy and Fiscal Policy.

Yes Mr. Obama, blame it all on Mr. Bush - it looks like you need a refresher on Monetary Policy & Federal Policy. Gosh, maybe you were absent when the subjects were taught at Harvard and Columbia, your alma maters.

Oh I forgot, more goverment oversight = bigger government which is exactly what you want. Got it.

Instead of blaming Mr. Bush (I know, I know you are just playing politics after all it's election time) - let's do something about the FOMC and the Federal Reserve Bank's disastrous policymaking that caused this meltdown.

And oh, as far as regulation? I agree with more regulatory oversight - let's make sure those millions of dollars of bonuses to these Investment Bankers are put to a halt - better still, let's have them give it back so those wives of theirs can stop buying those $10,000 Hermes bags.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Who's meddling now?

Various countries at various times have accused the United States of meddling in their internal affairs. Well who's meddling now?

Whether McCain or Obama, (US) American citizens will decide who will lead the country! Not the world.

World wants Obama as president: poll

France: 86% Obama approval

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Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Media Bias? US Weekly Magazine Votes

But then again this is a tabloid magazine so why expect anything other than low brow coverage?

I could have sworn I first saw these two covers side-by-side today at the Drudge Report but it's gone now. The link title was "US Magazine votes early" or something...

I wonder why the Drudge Report pulled it?

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Anna Nicole Smith and How not to create an estate plan

I was reading my investment companies newsletter and a couple of articles caught my attention. (Click the post header above to read the article.)

Vickie Lynn Smith aka Anna Nicole Smith & Howard Marshall's case was used as a business case in the article linked above and it is interesting to read. It makes the education and process of learning the importance of estate planning easy to understand for the average joe and jane.

"Estate Planning" conjures images of someone with millions of net worth but that is not the case. But this is not so. An average working person who leaves anything above zero can benefit from estate planning.

Another interesting article to read is Three steps toward financial security.

Happy savings!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Stonehenge: De-Mystified?

Having been long fascinated by Stonehenge this latest pronouncement of Stone as a burial ground is fascinating but at the same time deflating. Why deflating? Being very much into the science fiction genre, particularly the time travel series, the thought that Stonehenge could be a time travel portal has always been at the back of my mind.

From Star Trek Episode 28 (The City On the Edge Of Forever) that uses a time portal that very much reminded me of Stonehenge to Arthur Pendragon (King Arthur)-related books to historical fiction books about England, Stonehenge featured prominently on books and stories.

Sample news articles about the latest on Stonehenge can be read at:

A couple of the books I have read that prominently featured Stonehenge:

A picture of Stonehenge I took in 2004

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Thank You Google Earth

Past Perfect - for looking back at old haunts, childhood home, former schools

the old homestead - childhood home

former school - grade school to senior high-school (all girls)

Present Subjunctive - for viewing how today's city/village/town/house etc... looks...if I were living there I would walking along that pathway and taking a hike in that forest...

Future Imperfect - for finding those out of the way village and telling myself I am going to that treasure of a village and I will be going to walk around the village green...

Thank you Google Earth, am looking forward to more street views (but please do not tresspass on private properties when taking pictures...)

P.S.: the link above is for Google Map, you need to download a plug-in for Google Earth.

P.P.S: To Google, Microsoft's Live Search Map has more updated satellite pictures, what gives?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Centaur: Not a Thing of the Past but of the Future

Centaurs are from Greek Mythology but it makes me wonder sometimes if mythology has a basis of truth.

After reading about the UK Government allowing scientists to create hybrid animal-human embryos it made me wonder how soon before Centaurs become this century's reality.

How soon?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Astronomy not Astrology

Microsoft released the WorldWide Telescope online; absolutely a must see for amateur astronomers.

There are other online astronomy sites such as Google Sky and Stellarium.

I remember the time when I was very much into Astrology (I am an Aries!) but has since moved away from it and even thinks it's nothing more than entertainment.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Save Darfur

The ethnic violence in Darfur has been on mainstream news for sometime now with celebrities doing documentaries and visiting Darfur to bring awareness of the atrocities

Googling Darfur returned 11,500,000 sites for Darfur. I'll let you do honor of googling, no spoon-feeding.

The media had made sure that the Darfur atrocities are brought into my living room via television (and print). So I do have an idea that fundraisers of all kinds for Darfur do exist.

I was invited to one of these fundraisers the other day and as much as I wanted to help I felt uncomfortable.

I know these type of fundraisers. I’ve been to one of these and we would walk around with a wine glass in hand and nibbled on cheese and crackers with caviar and espousing to the room at large how horrible these atrocities are and how we should give, give, give to stop these atrocities. "Horrible really, my dear. What were they thinking? The poor children!"

I laud the host of the fundraiser for trying by providing the venue and attaching her name to the fundraiser. The deal was the boutique hosting the fundraiser would donate 20% of her sales and the artists of the Hope jewelries and paintings likewise would donate 20% of sales toward the Darfur fund.

The fundraiser occurred between 4:00-8:00 PM but I went at around 3 PM and gave my support by buying a very understated and nice summer sandal and the Hope necklace of which the pendant is 99.9% silver. I am sure part of my money went to a good cause.

Why did I go early and not hob-nob with wine glass in hand? I felt uncomfortable. In my mind this is the downside of “celebritizing” (is this a word?) a cause. I want to help because it is the right thing to do, not because it is trendy or that so-and-so actor/celebrity lent their name to the cause - George Clooney, hello? Never been a fan of his was I supposed to give money because of him?

Another thing, America may be considered the land of milk and honey (what crock!) but there are a lot of suffering and poverty in parts of the country; the
Appalachian poverty is appalling, the Hurricane Katrina recovery is agonizingly slow, and let’s not forget urban blight and decay in our local cities.

I don’t want to make light of what is happening in Darfur. It is a no brainer to help stop the genocide. But I’ll give my support in the background. No muss, no fuss, thank-you-very-much.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

No habla Ingles

Two of my best friends are of Asian descent. One of Japanese descent (let’s call her S1) and other Dutch-Indonesian (let’s call her S2). Both are US-born, S1 a 4th generation American speaks only a few Japanese words while S2 is a 2nd generation American and speaks Dutch.

Once in a while when I’m around S2’s family I hear them speak Dutch when they think I’m not within earshot. But they switch to English as soon as they see me even at the periphery of their vision. S2’s family speaks English in public and if you didn’t know they speak Dutch you’ll think they only speak English.

When I’m around S1’s family the older generation speaks English; come to think of it even if I’m around their US-born and US-raised Japanese friends they all speak English even though I know the older generation speaks Japanese (Nippongo) and the younger generation wishes the former taught them the language.

I have my own guess as to why this is – something to do with World War II, Relocation, Internment Camps, and assimilation. But this is a topic for another day.

When in public I most often observed that Filipino-Americans tend to speak their own
Philippine native languages in clear hearing of others. You even hear them yell to their friends across the store in their native language. Just an observation, I am myself a Filipino-American and am an immigrant having been in the US since 1980.

Herein lays the question, why? I have been raised to think that it is rude to converse in a language within earshot of a third party who does not understand that language. Why do most Filipinos do this rude action? I try to speak English when there is a non-Tagalog speaking third party and would receive snide comments from some Filipino-Americans, even nasty comments such as “Ang yabang mo naman, bakit ka Ingles nang Ingles?” (You’re so snobbish, why do you keep speaking English?) for my effort.

Even my housekeeper who is from Mexico speaks in her broken English while in my house while talking to her kids on the phone. As soon as she’s out the door I hear her switch to Spanish. (Even though I do understand Castillian Spanish, I don't let on. Naughty, I know.)

Come to think of it, this is such a common occurrence on manicure/pedicure places run by Vietnamese or Thai nail professionals. I understand it could be a language barrier but they could minimize it by not talking to the next manicurist for the next half-hour in just their language. I’ve always felt like they were talking about me, “Oh you should see her feet, she’s got bunions!” “My, what big feet she’s got” or worse “What an ugly, smelly person.”

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Shoes, Shoes, Shoes

It takes money to look like a hooker nowadays...

Highway don't need to spend this much for shoes to go with a costume.
What Captain Hook's wife would wear
Reminds me of an Ofuro (Japanese wooden tub)
Now available at your nearest Payless Shoe Store
Why would you intentionally wear something with warts?
Nice, but how comfy is that middle link digging on top of your feet?
Now we're talkin'...
Source of pictures:

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

What countries have the largest economies?

Largest economies:
US 23%
China 9%
Japan 7%
Germany 6%
India 4%
these 5 account for nearly half of the world’s GDP as measured by PPPs

Which countries are the most expensive?
Iceland, Denmark, Switzerland, Norway, and Ireland
(but then think again of citizens' cradle-to-grave social benefits for 4 of these countries)

Measured by GDP per capita five richest economies are Luxembourg, Qatar, Norway, Brunei Darussalam, and Kuwait (think small population)

Per capita measures of individual consumption the five richest economies are Luxembourg, United States, Iceland, United Kingdom, and Norway (yes, Americans do like to shop!)

For more expansive explanation of the stats go to the World Bank article:
2005 International Comparison Program Preliminary Global Report Compares Size of Economies

Yahoo News teaser article : China's economy smaller in new measure, still number two: study

Monday, October 08, 2007

A Walk In The Park


Today is Columbus Day in the USA. Though this is a holiday for government entities (local, state, federal) it is not for most private & publicly-held companies.

So for someone like me who falls in the latter it would still be a waste of a beautiful day not to be outside enjoying the mediterranean climate of my locale.

I took a long lunch and took a walk in the park, a State Park called Montana De Oro. This State Park is located in San Luis Obispo County. ("State" for the State of California.) Late lunch after the short hike at Morro Bay capped the lovely day.

Hope you had just as beautiful a day!

Friday, August 31, 2007

"I am woman, hear me roar!"

By Elizabeth MacDonald and Chana R. Schoenberger 08.30.07, 6:00 PM ET

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Did Victoria Beckham copy David Bowie's hairstyle?

You decide!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Today's Links

Voracious Jumbo Squid Invade California
This is going to make one heck of a Calamari dish.

Initial iPhone Excitement Is Put on Hold
IPhone Flaw Lets Hackers Take Over, Security Firm Says
Should I say “I told you so?” I never did buy into iPhone hype.

Wisconsin To Provide Universal Healthcare
Wonder how this is going to affect the bottom-line for Anthem Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Wisconsin? WellPoint, Inc. stock is currently trading at $82.17/share

WSJ: Cheese Headcases Wisconsin reveals the cost of "universal" health care
You know the other US States will be watching how this works out.

In less than 2 seconds download a full-length movie on home computer
Wow! I want this!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Pinoy Prisoners Doing "Thriller"

It's not like they have a lot of things to do, isn't it?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Whirlwind Trip

Having lived in Germany for 3 years in the 1980’s it was wonderful to be back after all these years.

[Rather than regurgitate available well written articles on various subjects below, please click on the link to read up on them.]

FrankfurtMainz – Oppenheim were all former haunts and it was nice to see old friends and acquaintances.

Mainz Gutenberg's Church

Oppenheim PlatzOppenheim Medieval Gate

Berlin Swastika Door

Berlin Cathedral (1905?)

Something new for me was going to Berlin – it was still East/West Germany in the 1980’s and the Berlin Wall was still dividing the city.

Big difference between the two – lots of construction all over the former eastern Berlin as Germany try to rebuild its infrastructure.

Some observations:
- Lots of scooters and bicycles in the former East Berlin
- Low cost of rents – avgs 250-300 Euros/month
- Average income = 30K Euros/year (not month)
- Narrow cobbled streets – quaint – not as “westernized” as the former West Berlin
- Berlin 63Billion Euros in debt
- Buildings and monuments not as ancient as other European cities – lots of buildings built late 19th and early 20th century but built to look “old”

Having written a doctoral paper on Comparative Government, specifically on the German political structure, it was interesting to see the current Reichstag/Bundestag building in the nation's capital.

The German Reichstag_Bundestag building, the equivalent of the US Capitol

I was last in Italy in 1984 – quite the same (of course) except more crowded – or is this just my impression? It was exhausting; not orderly and clean as Germany.

And yes, Italian men had no qualms about staring, admiring, and letting you know they think you’re “bellisima” – at least German men had the grace to be a bit subtle and look away when you catch them staring.

Rome observations:
- Saw the Pope – he held mass for the religious pilgrims who came from all over the world for the canonizations of 4 Saints
- Mother Marie Eugenie, Foundress of my convent school was canonized as a Saint. She was French – mother house is in France
- Everybody and their cousins were there – so crowded
- Saw all the tourist traps – St Peter’s Basilica, Cupola, St John Lateran Church, Santa Maggiore, Sacre Crux, Colosseum, Spanish Steps, Holy Steps, San Callisto Catacombs, Pantheon, etc…
- Everybody and their cousins were there – so crowded
- Even Philippine President Gloria Macapagal was there – she was a graduate of my convent school in the Philippines
- An American who graduated in the USA branch of the school was Princess Grace of Monaco
- As the hubby said, "I've never seen a roomful of more stuck-up women in my life than these women!"
- What can I say? He looked at me and said "I guess you've mellowed out over the years and more Americanized, thank goodness!"
- But if the alumnae were mostly wives/daughters/sisters of Secretary of this-and-that and whose families owned this-and-that banks - what did you expect?
- Got a “Papal Blessing” certificate – or rather I bought one
- Rome sits on its past laurels – tourism is the life blood of the city
- Everybody and their cousins were there – so crowded – did I say this enough?
- Saving grace: got me some Hermes goodies
- Vendors hawked fake purses in full light of day – I thought this is illegal? Even NYC vendors try to do this discreetly but Italian vendors were blatant

Rome from high atop the Vatican Cupola (a 400+ steps hike)

Naples – Pompei observations:
- Naples is nothing more than a seaport town with ancient buildings
- Historical importance for sea-faring ancient Italians
- Used to be riddled and encumbered by so called Italian mafia – or so I heard
- Naples has been cleaned up as far as graft and corruption – or so I heard
- A number of huge cruise ships were docked in Naples – must be a popular stop for Mediterranean cruises
- Pompei was my favorite
- Town buried in 79 AD after eruption of Mt Vesuvius
- I love history so to actually touch and feel and see where ancient chariots used to traverse was awesome
- Original marble floors, stone “streets” and mosaics intact – how awesome - Pompei had a brothel area
- They used a phallus symbol as a directional arrow to point the location of the brothel :)
- They had mosaics & murals showing various sexual positions – must preceed the kama sutra I would think
- Having lunch and good a bottle of wine with a light breeze and birds chirping was the way to go


For those morbidly curious - a plaster cast of the Mt Vesuvius eruption - actual skeletons inside the plaster cast

Naples ocean view

Florence observations:
- Another tourist trap of a city but not as badly crowded as Rome
- Limit on tourist buses that can go into the city
- Easier to shop for Italian leather
- Yes, the old Firenze (Florence) was interesting and loving history, it was well, interesting
- After all Michaelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci are buried here
- Museum of Academy has great works – caveat: Michaelangelo’s David you see there is not, I repeat not, the original David – this is a copy
- Go to Florence just for bragging rights
- Bought a jar of hot & spicy olive oil and a jar of truffles but were confiscated at the airport! I forgot I can't hand carry liquid over 3ml! (But the truffle jar was not liquid! grrr)
- Tuscany countryside – now that is something different.
- Next time I go to Italy I think I’ll spend a week just chilling out and enjoy the Tuscan countryside – after all it has my favorite architecture – Tuscan farm houses!

Simple house for a simple life - bliss!
Florence skyline

P.S. Layover at Heathrow Int'l Airport was good - Duty Free at Terminal 3 had Hermes, Chanel, Fendi, Burberry, etc... and Mulberry! Got me this goodie from Mulberry... Mulberry is my favorite du jour...