Archive of ‘try this’ category

green lamy safari 2012 limited edition

The Lamy Safari is a favorite collectible of fountain pen users, especially because the company comes out with limited edition colors from time to time.

For months I resisted buying this year’s special color because I am not particularly fond of it. But after thinking about it, I decided the chance to build a Lamy Safari rainbow doesn’t come often. So I succumbed to the lure of color.

I bought this pen at Scribe Writing Essentials, Eastwood Mall, Quezon City. The pen came inside this massive hinged charcoal gray plastic box placed inside a silver-gray cardboard sleeve.

Inside was the 2012 limited edition Lamy Safari in apple green, a converter, and a cartridge.

This is the old or alternate style of box made of gray cardboard that I used to get Lamys in when I ordered online (from pengallery.com).

Here’s a Lamy Al-Star in Coffee that I got online. The cardboard packaging is simple and eco-friendly. Lamy should phase out that plastic box and the extra cardboard sleeve. This one is much better for the environment.

A comparison shot of the Al-Star (top) and the Safari (green). The specs are the same, the only difference is the material – the Al-Stars are aluminum and the Safaris are of sturdy ABS plastic.

I did not provide a writing sample as I have already done so in previous Lamy Safari and Al-Star reviews, and because Lamys are reliable right off the bat and lay down a consistent neat line.

The ink window gives you an idea how much ink you have left, so you won’t run out in the middle of a sentence. The stainless steel nibs come in fine, medium, broad, and italic (extra charge).

You can’t go wrong with a Lamy – you should have one as part of your daily arsenal. The question is, how many will you get? If you can afford it, think of them as Pokemon –  ”collect them all!”

taste more:

revlon just bitten kissable balm stain

It’s not often that I write about cosmetics, but when I do, it’s because I’ve found a product that’s worth attention.

Check out Revlon’s new lipcolor line – Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain. It’s a gel formula in a chubby crayon shape that goes on creamy and light, but stays on for hours, through drinking, eating, and talking. For those of us who don’t want to have to reapply every so often, this is a great convenience.

It comes in 12 shades: Charm, Precious, Honey, Darling, Cherish, Sweetheart, Lovesick, Rendezvous, Romantic, Smitten, Crush, and Adore.

Here are six of the twelve shades: Honey (pinkish tan), Sweetheart (bright pink), Crush (dark raspberry), Smitten (dark fuschia), Darling (lavender pink), and Romantic (tomato red).

The crayon shape is great – it’s comfortable to hold and easy to apply. It makes drawing the liplines easy. However, it’s been done before, by Clinique with its Chubby Stick. But while it purports to be a “lip color balm,” the Chubby Stick’s color is too sheer for adequate coverage. But it does deliver on the moisturizer.

The difference between Revlon and Clinique’s products, on the outside, is that the Chubby Stick’s cap is silver while the Balm Stain’s is colored the same as the barrel. 

The shape of the product inside is the same.

Size comparison: the Revlon product is slightly longer and a wee bit fatter. 

Shade numbers and names are printed on circular stickers on the bottom of each Balm Stain. 

This is Smitten. It’s a dark fuschia that would be best suited for complexions with blue undertones.

 

 

Crush is a dark raspberry that goes well with golden undertones.

 

 

Honey, a pinkish tan, is a great nude hue and is the bestseller in the Philippines.

Balm Stain goes on smooth like any other lip balm, but dries to a matte finish and tends to emphasize lip cracks. On the plus side, it’s long-lasting and cost-effective: just a few swipes deliver intense color, going on light, but developing into a deeper hue after a minute or so. Experiment to find the degree of coverage you like.

In Manila, Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain is available wherever there is a Revlon counter – in department stores, drug stores, and beauty supply stores. They’re often sold out, though, because this product is fantastic. No affiliation, I just love it. It’s my new lipcolor staple.

taste more:

picture this

“A picture is worth a thousand words,” they say.

As a writer, I know this to be true. There are things and experiences that make you gasp like a punch to the gut or a slap in the face or a hug of exceeding warmth and lovingkindness and in that moment of speechlessness words are inadequate to convey with full nuance or intensity of meaning what they made you think or feel.

So I take pictures.

“Pages”, uploaded to Instagram on 10 Aug. 2012.

“Wind-Tossed”, tree and sky in Bohol. 13 Aug. 2012

“Patchwork Tile”,  floor of Aristocrat Restaurant,  Manila. 28 Aug. 2012

“Pearl Sun”, at the Cultural Center complex, Pasay City. 31 Aug. 2012

“Blue Pen”, closeup of a Lamy Safari’s 1.1 italic nib. 11 Sep. 2o12.

Gasp.

Oooh.

Wow.

All photos taken with an iPhone 4S and edited with Snapseed.

Find me on Instagram: @jensdecember

taste more:

pop goes the world: sotto controllo

POP GOES THE WORLD  By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today,  6 September 2012, Thursday

Sotto Controllo

Senator Tito Sotto thought he had everything under control when he gave his turno en contra speeches against the reproductive health bill.

He didn’t reckon on the rest of the populace having a brain and not being afraid to use it. After being called out by professors, writers, and many other people on his plagiarism, falsehood, and a slew of other issues, he ramped up his arrogance quotient instead of admitting his mistakes, among other things claiming that he is being cyberbullied.

I don’t think the senator understands what “cyberbullying” means. It’s the sort of extremely mean behavior that can drive people to suicide, as in the cases of Megan Meier, Tyler Clementi, and Ryan Halligan, just to name a few. It’s a serious form of aggression, and the term should not be misused for its gravity to remain undiminished. Cyberbullying is not what the senator is undergoing, which is merely people pointing out his mistakes online.

“Sotto controllo” is Italian for “under control”. Too bad the senator let this issue get out of hand when an apology would have allowed everyone to move on. Remember when businessman Manny Pangilinan apologized when netizens pointed out lifted paragraphs in a speech he gave? That resulted in everyone moving on; that incident is nearly forgotten, and when recalled, what comes to mind is Pangilinan’s gracious behavior.

But how can you expect Sotto to apologize when in the first place he does not believe he did anything wrong?

As for lawmaker Rufus Rodriguez’s recent tantrum in Congress, he obviously does not have his temper sotto controllo. Ranting before that august body the other day, he raised the issue of “no quorum” claiming only 111 present when the secretariat declared there were 155, rather more than the quorum of 143. 

Rodriguez ranting in the Lower House on September 4. Image from Rappler.com here

The lawmaker raised a ruckus because he thought the RH Bill was on the agenda that day. Being against the RH Bill, his outburst was seen as a delaying tactic. But how transparently obvious and demeaning! Surely a more adroit politician could have come up with a more elegant ploy. Instead, by choosing to use blunt force rather than finesse, he’s shown the world his character.

I saw Congressman Rodriguez in action somewhere in the provinces, and he was also upset then, haranguing someone because he could not get immediate action from them on a certain matter. I was appalled to see someone of his stature behave that way. It was juvenile. Wait, I take that back – it’s an insult to juveniles. My daughters had ceased having tantrums by the time they were three years old.

No one is perfect, and stress and worry can certainly cause anyone to lose their temper. But a frequent and consistent lack of self-control, especially at work, is detrimental above all to the person who can’t keep his or her cool. How can anyone still respect a screamer? Why should their authority be recognized when they can’t even govern themselves?

Neither did broadcaster Korina Sanchez have her snark sotto controllo when on her DZMM radio show she mentioned “maiitim na mga maligno” aiming for the post of Interior Secretary, considered by many as alluding to Vice-President Jejomar Binay.

The Vice-President’s daughter, Nancy Binay, addressed the issue on Twitter thus: “Aminado naman po kami na maliit at maitim ang daddy ko pero hindi naman po ata tama na tawagin ni Korina na maligno siya.” Now that is having the situation under control. That’s class. That’s manners. Unfortunately, both are in short supply nowadays, along with restraint and delicadeza. If only we could order cases – no, container vans – of the stuff.

Korina may have been defending her man [her husband is newly-appointed Interior Secretary Mar Roxas], but does he need defending? From what? All her comment sounded like was unmitigated spite.

Filipino culture frowns upon losing temper. Not only is it considered rude, vulgar, and ill-mannered, it also leads to loss of face as it causes embarrassment to the person on the receiving end of the outburst, who will then tend to refuse to cooperate or do so only with resentment.

Self-control is necessary for anyone to earn others’ respect. True leaders speak softly and mildly, because it is their trustworthiness and ethical rectitude, their gravitas, that will ensure that they will be obeyed.

Those who cannot admit their mistakes, those who yell and fling unwarranted insults, those who cannot rein in their faults, are not true leaders.  They’re certainly not the kind the Philippines needs. ***  

Tito Sotto meme image here. Korina Sanchez and Mar Roxas image here.

taste more:

corner tree cafe

For those who have adopted a vegetarian diet, or are looking to try something new, Corner Tree Cafe offers vegetarian fine dining with a taste of Morocco and the Mediterranean.

The interiors are comfortably dim, with tealights at every table. Perfect for quiet tete-a-tetes.

A young author writes her novel by candlelight.

The Spanakopita is creamy inside and crunchy outside.

corner street cafe camote fries

Camote fries – not your usual.

corner street cafe vegetarian meat loaf

 Vegetarian meat loaf entree.

It’s interesting enough to try out. Corner Tree Cafe is at Miladay Building, 150 Jupiter Street, Makati.

taste more:

pop goes the world: paradise in mindanao

POP GOES THE WORLD  By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today,  14 June 2012, Thursday

Paradise in Mindanao

Maayong buntag ka ninyong tanan. (Good day to all of you.)

I’m practicing my Visayan because I have fallen in love with Mindanao, after visiting Cagayan de Oro City, Iligan City, and Davao City last week.

In Cagayan de Oro City last Friday, I witnessed the turnover of an integrated health facility by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office Employees Union (PCSO-SEU) to the residents of a typhoon Sendong settlement area built by Habitat for Humanity in Barangay Canitoan.

It was my second visit to the city; the first time was in January, a few weeks after Sendong devastated the area. We spent less than a day in both Cagayan de Oro and Iligan, not enough time to get to know the place.

This time around, I got to stay a couple of days.

The PCSO-SEU project is an advocacy of the PCSO employees, who have internalized the agency’s mission of charity. By contributing a portion of their bonuses to the SEU fund, they were able to put up a 54 square meter clinic on a 100 square meter lot donated by the city government under Mayor Vicente Emano, through a linkage of the SEU with Mater et Puer (Mother and Child) Foundation, a non-government organization whose members are women professionals, most of them from Davao City.

The PCSO-SEU Integrated Health Facility at Bgy. Canitoan, Cagayan de Oro. At the left are personnel from PCSO-Manila and Misamis Oriental who attended the inauguration.

The clinic includes a reception area, treatment room, birthing room, recovery room, and standby water tank, all donated by the SEU. The rest of the land will be planted with vegetables and herbs.

Mayor Emano attended the ceremony, along with personnel from the PCSO: physician Jose Bernardo Gochoco, special projects department manager, and SEU officers Chris Bautista, president; Andreo Nualda, first vice-president; Andrew Barcelona, second VP; Soledad Rasing, third VP; Jerusa Corpuz, secretary; Estela Divina, treasurer; Alex Asuit, auditor; Teddy Tomas, budget and accounting department representative; Archie Sopenasky, PR department representative; and lawyer Ravena Joy Rama, VisMin cluster representative.

PCSO will be donating medical supplies and equipment for the clinic, while the Cagayan de Oro government will provide the people to run it – doctors, nurses, dentists, and maintenance workers.

PCSO-SEU water tank in Bgy. Canitoan, Cagayan de Oro. A similar tank will be installed at a PCSO-SEU clinic in Iligan City.

The PCSO-SEU plans to put up a similar health facility in a settlement in nearby Iligan City, which we also visited. Details on its construction are being worked out with the project partners.

Among the other places we got to see were the Agus 4 and Agus 6/7 hydroelectric facilities in Iligan City, the City of Waterfalls. Unbeknownst to many are the vast catchment basin of Agus 4, covered with water plants on the surface, while underground tunnels honeycomb the earth beneath. Three giant turbines of shiny steel there are among those driving power to the region.

Underground tunnel at Agus 4 hydroelectric plant, Iligan City.

The cascading waters of Maria Cristina Falls power Agus 6/7. The foliage around the falls are lush and exotic; its waters rush down to a nature park which welcomes visitors who take pictures under the spray of the falls.

Maria Cristina Falls, Iligan City. It had rained the night before our visit, hence the muddy waters. Usually the waters are clear, say the locals. 

There’s a nature park in Davao, too. Nestled in the pine-covered hills of Toril is Eden Nature Park, which has a zipline facility, buffet dining hall, and activities for visitors such as hiking.

Cagayan de Oro, Iligan, and Davao have highly urbanized centers with malls and shops. The ambiance is Quezon City or Las Piñas, but with more trees. Everything is so clean. The roads are well-paved. Many of the cars tooling about on the roads are late models. The area looks prosperous and developed, but still closer to nature than Manila.

So close, in fact, that the beaches on Samal Island are a mere half-hour away from Davao city proper, including a banca ride across a stretch of sea. At Chema’s by the Sea, a private garden resort on the island, a pocket white sand beach and saltwater infinity pool invite relaxation, as the wide-spreading branches of talisay trees provide shade.

Saltwater infinity pool at Chema’s By the Sea resort, Samal Island. 

SMART’s 3G signal is fairly strong; I can imagine myself filing my MST columns from there, toes in the sand and drink in hand, cackling evilly while my editors hunch over their keyboards in their cramped windowless offices in Makati.

I now know where I’m going to build my retirement cottage.

A cup of brewed mountain arabica coffee at Chema’s By the Sea.

Mag-amping kamo. (Take care.)  *** 

All photos taken with an iPhone 4S. Check out my Instagram feed: @jennydecember

taste more:

how i spent my u.s. vacation (short story)

Heartfelt thanks to Palanca Award-winning writer Ichi Batacan for encouraging me to write this story, and Kenneth Yu for publishing it last April on his Philippine Genre Stories website.

Much of this is based on true stories. Truth, after all, is always stranger than fiction, precisely because it really happened.

Excerpt:

So. The girl, I was told, was not Silva’s but another man’s – the woman’s husband. She had left him because he was beating her. Late one night she crept out of their shack carrying only a duffel bag of clothes and her young daughter; hitching up the skirt of her duster, she got astride Silva’s Yamaha motorcycle and off they sped into the night and a new life. Only for him to disappear mysteriously five years later.

Ray said, but that’s not what really happened.

You mean Silva didn’t run off with another woman?

No, said Ray. Tatay’s friend told me this:

A Spyderco Endura knife like this one features in the story

Boyong Silva was a neighbor of theirs. He was a drunkard. He spent the days getting soused with cronies, who, like him, relied on their wives to keep them fed and sheltered in the barong-barongs, the shacks of scrounged wood and galvanized iron that littered their community like rat’s nests.

He’d come home late. The wife would be asleep. She took in laundry and would be tired to death after a day bent over a washtub, scrubbing clothes by hand, the chemicals in the harsh detergent bareta eating into her hands, pitting the rough brown skin with red wounds that stung when she immersed her hands in water. After that she’d iron the dry clothes. The damp, the heat, the hard labor, they take a toll.

Read the entire story here.

taste more:

the shop of strange (flash fiction)

The strange shop sold only balls of all colors, sizes, materials.

In one corner he saw a crystal one with a watch within it.

“What does this do?” he asked the old woman behind the counter.

“It is the ball of time,” she whispered.

“Break it and you will go back as many years as you wind the watch’s hands to.

But choose wisely. Not all times are good, and you can never return to this time.” ***

Photo: “Timesphere”, original digital art by Jenny Ortuoste, 26 May 2012. 

Story and photo also posted on Instagram (follow me @jennydecember)

taste more:

“father, forgive them”

Photographer Karlos Manlupig was taking photos inside San Pedro Cathedral, Davao City, today, Good Friday (6 April 2012), when he chanced upon this incident and took a shot which he posted on his Facebook page.

Here’s his caption for the photo:

FILTHY HYPOCRITES. As I was shooting in Davao City’s San Pedro Cathedral during the observance of Good Friday, I noticed a Tagalog speaking man instructing this security guard to throw out a half-naked man who is silently kneeling and praying inside the church, saying that the churches in Manila prohibit persons with mental disabilities and vagrants to enter its premises.

The security guard then assaulted the poor man without any warning poking him in the ribs several times using a “ratan” truncheon…I immediately took several burst shots of the detestable incident.

Suddenly, an old man with a Bible in his hand tapped me on my shoulder and told me that it is improper to take photos of the incident and that it is also improper to take photos inside their heavenly church.

WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE??? Tama si [redacted]. Banal na aso, santong kabayo.

NOTE: I opted to post this blurry picture to preserve the identity of the victim.

Within less than three hours of posting, the image has been shared on FB 1,967 times.

Photo by Karlos Manlupig at his Facebook page here. The image is tagged “Public”.

I have sent Karlos a message on FB asking for more details, and am waiting on his reply. Meanwhile, I am posting this here, as a reminder for all of us what NOT to do.

I am reminded of Jesus’ own words (KJV):

“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.” Matt. 23:27

“And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Matt. 25:40 KJV

“Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34 KJV

taste more:

midsomer murders mayhem

After finishing all the episodes so far of Downton Abbey, I remained enamored of Britain and looked for another series to immerse in.

Enter Midsomer Murders. Perfect. I’d loved it on TV during the ’90s, the few episodes I caught of it, and enjoyed settling down to follow the sleuthing activities of Detective Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby (played by John Nettles) and  his various DI (detective inspectors) around Midsomer County.

The area in which the action takes place is a fictional county of 66 villages with quaint names like Midsomer Mallow and Eleverton-cum-Latterley. Based on the real county of Somerset and the town of Midsomer Norton, the absurdly high number of murders that occur in what seems a sleepy country location adds a sense of surrealness to the series and gives DCI Barnaby a chance to show off his skills while teaching his DIs a thing or three.

A cottage garden from season 3. Look at the vines and the lovely white wood trim on that cottage.

I loved the first four seasons, with settings ranging from lovely emerald villages to cozy cottage or imposing castle interiors and warm glowing pubs. The characters were always eating or drinking. The detectives seemed to have the perfect job of going around town interviewing people in their parlors and being offered countless cups of coffee and tea and plates of home-baked scones and biscuits.

The gardens are lovely, with lush wildflowers carefully tended. The furnishings are antiques. Everyone is polite. DCI Barnaby loves his wife Joyce and daughter Cully to bits. Now where can I find a man like that? He seems too good to be true – intelligent, resourceful, responsible, and an upright family man.

Barnaby walks with his aunt under the rose arbor at her nursing home (s3).

Well, this is fiction, after all. Sink into this world of rose arbors and crumbling church towers and meandering bike rides through picturesque woods and, at the end, always – puzzles solved.

A young Orlando Bloom plays a burglar who meets a grisly end in this 1999 episode (season 3, epi 3).

Image of John Nettles and Daniel Casey (who plays the first DI, Gavin Troy), here. Screenshots by me with an iPhone 4S, Instagram effects.

taste more:

1 2 3 15