Friday, May 8, 2015

The Real 'Heavyweight' Fight.

This is neither a boxing event nor an MMA fight. This is something more real and more scary than just watching 2 fighters going at it. 

Fact: Being overweight is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) exceeding 25, and obesity as having a BMI of 30 or more. And from a latest study, most Irish and British people will be overweight or obese in 2030.
Source: Time Magazine.

If not addressed properly, failing to have a fit and healthy lifestyle would prove to be costly to one's health in the long-run. I may not be having issues with weight (so far!), but having an unhealthy dietary intake and minimal exercise are two of the things I wanted to correct before I hit my 30th birthday this year. Working as a nurse for my career, I think I have seen enough ill-effects caused by unhealthy lifestyle. Its time for me to follow my own advise this time around.

I have tried to include more veggies and fruit into my diet, and cut down on the junk food. I still do have some crisps every now and then but it has been way down on the list of my cravings. Together with ze ladyboss, we have cut down on rice consumption as well. Being 'Rice-ivores', it's tough as Filipinos are known to eat 2-3 meals with rice in a day. So far, it is still an ongoing challenge for ourselves, and we're not too bad on our goal. 

Now, for the fun and the gritty part: exercise. 

I started to jog around town in my free time at least once a week. More of a light-jog actually, hopefully picking up the pace leading to summertime. I have taught the girlfriend how to ride a bicycle on one of my previous posts, in hopes of us riding together for purposes of exercise and fun travel. I have also re-trained myself to play some basketball in the nearby park form where we live. It doesn't matter if I don't have anybody to play with, as long as I get buckets and I sweat all my guilty-feels each time I down a choco bar.

It is also important for me to get the appropriate aids and accessories for my fight towards a healthy lifestyle. Rather than splurging my hard-earned money for gym memberships, it's best to do it as 'personal' as possible. There are millions of workout videos to choose from, with millions of songs to jog along with, and endless roads and sights yet to be conquered. But keeping in mind, I need to make sure I track and monitor the progress and results.

The Ozeri team sent me their latest WeightMaster II Digital Bathroom scale. [FWIW, I call the colour 'Darth Vader black.'] What's new and cool about this one is it does not only measure your weight, but once you enter your baseline height and weight, voila, BMI computed right away. Highly recommendable for it's sleek and modern design and of course its functionality and ease of use. [The price as of writing in Amazon is just slightly below £30, a very sweet deal.]

The other great feature is it can keep track of your weight/BMI record and tell you if you have gained or lost weight. I hope not to see much 'reds' in the coming weeks! 

So, I stepped up to the challenge and the results are shown in the next photo.

The magic BMI number for overweight is 25.0 and above, and I am at 24.3. Un-freakin-believable. All the junk food I have encountered has gone through my head like a blood-rush. This is my wake-up call.

Need to put up and start training for my 'heavyweight' fight. Now, who else is with me, please? ;)


Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. I received this product for free for trial and review. All expressed opinions are mine.
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Thursday, May 7, 2015


Free Comics.
In 2015.

You read that right.

Last year I had my first Comic-con, this year I broke my FCBD virginity last weekend. FCBD or Free Comic Book Day is held every 1st Saturday of May in most major cities across the globe. Especially due the recent major successes of comic-based movies/tv shows such as The Avengers, Daredevil, Flash, etc., the FCBD event adds more to the growing comic industry.

The aims of the FCBD event are to attract long-time fans of comics to new and upcoming independent titles, and to introduce everyone to comic-book reading. It is a win-win situation for the comic-book industry and the old and new fans. [And comics aren't just Marvel and DC, guys.]

I have been accompanied by the ladyboss to two of my favourite comic book stores in London: 

The Orbital Comics and Forbidden Planet. 

It's always a joy entering and buying from these shops. It transports me to my 8-year old self. 

Apart from the freebies, I also got additional titles from Marvel, DC, Image, Dark Horse and other independent comic titles. Here's just a sample of my haul from that fantastic day:

After fawning over my new babies, ze girlfriend have shown the world my 'organised chaos.' Not really sure how her FB post sounded like in real life, but I'm pretty sure she saw me giggle and jaw-drop with joy of my FCBD heist. But, 'Excelsior!'

I'm tidying up our lounge and look what I need to clean up. Obviously someone is so enthusiastically devoted and infatuated about comics.
Posted by Kristina Tolentino on Tuesday, May 5, 2015

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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

How to spot an Avenger in your Workplace

Marvel has released the sequel to the 2012's successful The Avengers this year which is titled Avengers: Age of Ultron. 

Still lost on who's who and who does what? Well, just look around, in your workplace in particular. There will be an Avenger or two that you'd be pretty familiar with. Here's a quick guide on How to spot an Avenger in your Workplace.

The Nick Fury - S.H.I.E.L.D. Commander

The Boss. 
The foul-mouthed, psychotic egotistical individual that everybody listens to. 
Whether he’s ready to give you an ass-whooping at a drop of the hat, 
you know he’ll move mountains to back you up. 
Unless you screw up your job.

The Capt. America - The soldier 

Ever the reliable soldier, he will do what it takes to be the most effective leader. 
He’s a boy scout and will do everything in the right way. 
His ageless, old-school goodness can be too much for the rest of the team.

The Iron Man - Genius

The rock star of the group. He drinks, he parties, he’s a douche. 
But when the chips are down, his brains finally kick in and able to get the job in completion. 
Wealth is optional, but ego is worth billions.

The Thor - god of thunder

The buffed guy who’d care more about his hair and goatee than the papers on his desk. 
He carefully moves around so his clothing don’t wrinkle the wrong way. 
He likes to have his presence felt in the room like a greek god would. 

The Hawkeye - Exceptional marksman

Always hits the target. Satisfies the quota set and given to him. 
Deadlines are nothing to him. 
His eye for details are similar to a highly trained tactician. 
Not necessarily hits well with romantic conquests.

The Black Widow - Highly trained spy and combatant

Whoever who’d look hot and great in a black leather suit. 
But watch out, she’d snap your neck just because it’s fun.

The Quicksilver - Superhuman speed

Way too quick for anyone to catch up with. 
First to leave the work area. 
First to go for that yosi break. 
First to run away from bills...

The Scarlet Witch - Reality Warping

She can manipulate minds with ease. 
The chismosa of the group. 
She eats rumours for breakfast. 
She usually causes teams to destroy one another.

The Hulk - Superhuman strength and Immortality

Trust me, you won’t like it when he/she is angry.

Those are just some of them. If you find some more, please spread the word and warn the others!

Note: It won't be surprising to know you have more than 1 Hulk in the area at any given time.

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Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Zen of the Bicycle

'I want to learn how to ride a bike!'

It started with that idea. It was like a line from a Queen song. This is not as momentous as learning to drive a car or climbing the Mt. Everest. We are not talking about a Harley motorcycle. We are talking about a bicycle. 2 wheels, pedals, no engine, just an ol' bike. 'Boris bike' to be precise.

The afternoon is just right, sunny yet with a gentle wind. The park is filled with school children coming out of the building in front of the park to stay for a while. A number of bikers zooming in and out the field. And there we were, successfully rented a bike for £2 and ready to try out our patience on one another. We had a pathway almost secured for ourselves, aside from the people who would pass by every now and then. 

 I learned how to ride a bike from my late father when I was around 5 or 6 years old. I could still recall upgrading from a bike with two small wheels supporting the back wheel to just one. And then the day came when my dad said he'll let me ride a proper bike on my own. I could not count how many times I fell, stumbled and almost ended up crying. Probably I did cry. 

He kept pushing me, literally and figuratively.

We were running too fast and I was telling my dad not to let me go as he was holding at the back of my seat. Apparently he did let go of me metres away from where I was with my bike, on my own. 

Teaching a family member how to ride a bike at a young age is quite normal. Teaching your girlfriend at a proper adult age is almost always not the best idea. She obviously had doubts, and fears. I did not deviate from her fears. I did tell her I earned my scars and bumps and pains. It's alright to recognise that. 

On that afternoon, I believe we have reached The Zen of the Bicycle.

Reality vs Expectations

'I won't give you cliches like: 'Great job' or 'if I can do it, you can too' or 'it's okay'. We want results at the end of the day, you'll be riding that bike on your own.' 

If I told her she did a good job despite her numerous attempts and not learning how to ride a bike at the end of the day, then I just lied.


I asked, 'Are you sure? Are you ready?'

She said, 'As long as you are patient with me.'

'No, I can have all the patience. I will tell and teach you the same things over and over again. You have to be patient with yourself' I replied. And she was.


Her hands on the handlebars were not steady. I was standing on her left side as she always tend to lose her balance on that side. I was holding the bike seat with my right hand, and the handlebar with my left hand.

'You are not adjusting your balance. Your bike will go as where you will take it. If you're going left, shift to right.' It confused her at first, and told her to feel it herself.


I emphasised on how to properly press on the brakes with both hands and to land and stop with one foot on the ground. She was initially stopping with both feet and jumping on to one side of the bike. She was able to bump into metal rails and posts before pressing on the brake.

'The metal post can't move' I told her with a dash of sarcasm. I wanted her to understand what would happen if she didn't practice safety at first.

'I'm not expecting you to ride a bike in a real road today, but you must be able to avoid a running kid on the path for example.'

I told her even the best bikers in the world can crash, it's best to be safer than not.


'Get on position, let's do it again' as we were gearing up for another run to practice her balance.
'Wait, there's  a little boy on the way' she feared.
'Do you trust me not to let you run over that boy?'
'Okay then, let's go' as she placed her feet on the pedals and I got ready for another push.

It was not about if she trusted me, it was about building her trust in herself and her ability to keep pedalling despite the risk of running over a toddler.


She was having trouble which to do first, whether to pedal harder or to maintain balance. I showed her as I rode the bike on what she was doing and what could happen. I knew she was overthinking. I came up with the simplest that I could come up with: Power and Balance. Power, which shortens my phrases which pertains to pedal harder. Balance, which stands for her handlebars. 

Passers by were looking around us. I was shouting 'Powerbalancebalancepower' like a crazy man. I was supporting her bike not with two hands, but with just two fingers under her bike seat. 


We were going faster, I was now half-running with her by her left side.

Then I raised my arms forward to show her: 'Look, no hands!'

'Are you still holding me?!' knowing she could not believe she's riding it by herself.

I ran faster than her and answered: 'Nope!'

It was a great exercise for us both. Physically and mentally.

Her being a student and I being the teacher. But even more so, I was glad we managed to get through as we felt happier that we did it together. We survived the day without frustration or disappointments. Her joy brought the inner child in me as I felt I also just achieved something for the first time. We are great as a team. It was when she gave me a huge hug that I realised it was all worth it.

When was the last time you did something for the first time? 
When was the last time you taught someone for the first time?

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Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Matrix for a Tenner.

Neo: 'Am I dead?'
Morpheus: 'Far from it.'
- The Matrix.

No one knows what the 'Matrix' is, but basing on the film, the virtual world is in fact a pretty cool place to check and visit every once in a while. Minus Agent Smith of course. We may be a few years to have a VR world like the Matrix, but it'll be pretty cool to learn how to fly or kung fu in a few minutes in the comforts of your sofa.

The VR Headset war is currently bannered by the popular Oculus Rift wherein you could feel yourself immersed into a computer-generated world. If you are a big fan of first-person games, or amazed with 3D/4D entertainment technology, VR is waaay bigger than that.

The pricetag for the Oculus? Plays around $500. Pretty reasonable for such an advanced immersive tech gadget. But what if there is a way to experience VR for a pocket change?

Google Cardboard VR headset entered the VR wars with a very unique asset given in its name: cardboard. Yup, seriously. 

You are using CARDBOARD.

 If you ever purchased something from Amazon, think of that box with a few things attached to it like lenses, magnets and velcro straps and voila: instaVR.

I was skeptical at first having seen the review videos of VR gadgets. But then I joined the fold. (pun intended.)

It is easier to assemble than origami. I downloaded the Google cardboard app demo and I popped in my Samsung S4 in the now VR headset. I initially had difficulty fitting them in since I am wearing glasses, so I have to use without them. On the links, I have seen more models and shapes of the VR from Briztech's shop in which could please us glass-wearers. That's the same with smartphones. Not all smartphones are created equal. I am not referring to Apple fanboys v Android wars, but the screen sizes are not the same. There are available headset models that fit larger screens than a regular-sized one.

For the demo app I used, you could see the menu and scroll through it by either looking to the left or the right with selections such as Tutorial, Tour guide, Exhibit, Windy Day, Earth, Videos, and Photosphere. The Tour Guide placed me in the Palace of Versailles, where I could feel like I am in the palace itself as I would feel in a museum. There was a voice-over tour guide as I 'walk-through' the rooms inside. I looked down and I was standing on shiny wooden parquets, above me was a ceiling full of fantastic paintings and massive chandeliers. 

I also liked the Videos, wherein it pulled my video files from the phone. I could see the video files 360 degrees around me, and I selected them as I 'point' my vision at them. To click and select an item, I pulled down the metal ring on the left side of the headset.

Check and get your headset here -> Briztech Google Cardboard VR Headset

Apart from games, here are some of my ideas for the vast use and potential of this VR Headset:

1. Educational purposes. 
 Imagine having a headset per student and 'send' them to a 'virtual museum.' Yes ideally the museum experience is still a priceless must-do, must-see. But realistically and economically, with just an app and a cheap device the wonders start and all happens in a class room. 

2. Fitness/training video.
 Ok this would sound really beyond the depths of actual training, but if Neo can learn Kung-fu, why can't we?

3. Video streaming
 It can make you feel seated in front of a big-screened cinema. No need to buy a 278" tv. Just pop it in, sit on the sofa, prop your legs up and munch your snack away. No noisy banters by kids in the front, no sticky floors from spilled-drinks. Even Netflix can pick up on these ideas. 

4. Virtual Travel
 Travel services or tourist agencies can provide tourists and hardcore travellers give more than just a glimpse of the travel destinations. Yesterday: photos and brochures and videos; tomorrow: VR-based ads!

5. Advertisers
 Pop-up Ads could be annoying, and seeing them on youtube videos make you make 'Skip the ad' in less than 5 seconds. But, they're there for a reason. But what if ads were clever and cooler in VR? Let's see if skipping is still an option in the future.

Google Cardboard's tagline: Experience virtual reality in a simple, fun. and affordable way.
Check, check and major check. The potential for this device is endless. Be it for the regular mass consumer for entertainment or games, or for the developers.


notes: Google Cardboard VR Headset images from here.

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