The improvised grown-up birthday cake
Monday, July 24, 2006
My birthday has come and my countdown marker stopped at day #3. I started something and I didn't finish it. Pathetic.

I had prepared my marker for the last two days of the countdown. However, due to the forces stronger than my own and circumstances unforseen, I had no internet access over the weekend. Posting them now as markers would ulitmately defeat the purpose of the countdown.

Oh well, I'll just post them one of these days as regular entries.

In the meantime, look what Mr. Frost gave me five minutes into my birthday.

Yes, that's Kevin Matchstick on a blueberry muffin!

That's my improvised "grown-up" birthday cake, courtesy of Mr. Frost. It probably isn't much to look at for most of you, but for me who appreciates the thought and effort more than the present or material gift itself, it is something worth every recognition and acknowledgement I could give it.

Too early for a birthday kwento (story) right now, but thanks a bunch and lots of hugs to those who have sent their greetings in one way or the other.

#3 - Naming Baby Frost
Friday, July 21, 2006
Three days to countdown...

Today is Mommy Val's birthday. My tribute to her was kinda several days early. To those who doesn't have an idea what I'm talking about, read my post that began the countdown of all countdowns, 10-day countdown begins.

We mark day #3 of our countdown with one of the most imporant things Mr. Frost and I ever had to decide on.

Naming Baby Frost.

In my post Baby Frost's gender and my new addiction, I mentioned that we prepared for a girl's name. We were at a loss as to what name to give Baby Frost now that we found out he's a boy.

A month later, we haven't decided on a name yet, but we already have list of potential names. Actually, Mr. Frost has a list. Yesterday, I have set my heart on a particular name to go with his second name, "Keith."

I have suggested a different name to him previously, but it lost its appeal on me. Mr. Frost was pretty much certain that the name I thought of yesterday would lose its appeal on me again, so he's not really setting his heart on anything yet.

Anyway, I really think that this name is THE ONE. I feel so strongly about it, just the way I felt when I thought of "Cerise" for the girl's name. And this is the feeling I'm waiting for to decide on a name. Apparently, Mr. Frost doesn't share that feeling of certainty, so we'll have to wait.

I'm not mentioning the name here because that's how the other name lost its glamour. I'll announce the name when it's already on his birth certificate!

I really can't wait for Baby Frost to be with us. Oh well, 3 more months to go.

#4 - My game in life
Thursday, July 20, 2006
Four days to countdown...

Day #4 will be marked with my love for computer gaming.

I wrote this article for a job application about a year ago. I had so much fun writing this so I'm using it to describe my views in gaming. I inserted some comments to update some details and did some minor revisions. Of course, the emoticons have just been added on this post.

A Female Gamer's Point of View

I love computer games. I've been a computer gamer since the birth of Nintendo's Family Computer (Go Mario!). Now that may not be considered as a computer as we know it now, but I'm sure you'll agree that it was considered as one when personal computers were not widely available to the average Filipino kids in the early 80's.

Now that we have personal computers, the one with its own TV and typewriter (as I described it when I was 9 years old), I play a lot of computer games, and some console games as well. I can say that I'm pretty good at the ones that I play. I may not be considered an expert of the games I'm playing, but for an average 24-year-old female (Yes, I was only 24 when I wrote this. Stop making faces.), I am good. Yes, I am a woman. And this article, as the title suggests, is all about my being a woman and a gamer.

Why I chose this particular topic is a whole new story. What I really want to express here is what an average female gamer thinks about the computer games she plays and why she enjoys such games. Let me elaborate on this with a couple of my favourite old-school games.

BroodwarRight now, I'm trying to beat the computer as a Protoss on a 2-on-5 game in the Big Game Hunters map. Back in high school when I started playing StarCraft, I was a Terran. I’ve also played Zerg, but eventually, I felt more comfortable with the alien robot army.

My Protoss strategy is simple: build my defenses, and defend my base while building up a mean offense. Sometimes, when I’m feeling lucky, I gather up a dozen of those annoying, heavy-duty Zealots and surprise my opponents just as they are just starting to do their thing. I believe they call that "the crappy Zealot rush." My friends actually use a more obscene word than crappy, but hey, I'm trying hard to be wholesome here. Now, as much as I want to discuss my strategy in detail, I have to keep that to myself so as to keep my winning streak uninterrupted.

Why do I feel comfortable with my Protoss strategy? Because I can say that my strategy says a lot about how I think and deal with life as a person. Whenever I encounter challenges in life, I sit quietly, do something just to prevent from being beaten to a pulp, gather up all my strength, and give you a real hard knock on the head. Hard enough to put you out of the game. I take it that you're taking that figuratively. I have no intention of putting anybody out of the game of life. As for the "the crappy Zealot rush," sometimes I just throw caution to the wind and be as impulsive as I can get. I'll deal with life's blasted little spices with all that I have, very early in the game.

Now this game reflects my personality in dealing with long-term goals. I am a sorceress at heart. A sorceress has no physical strength to boast of, but beware, her expertise in the elemental magic. My Champion Clytie is now Level 79, in Hell level, has just gathered Khalim's scattered body parts, and on her way to sending Mephisto back under his mother’s skirt. (She is now known as Matriarch Clytie, having defeated Baal in Hell level. Ah yeah!) She has mastered the element of Ice, with a couple of Lightning and Fire spells, just in case she encounters minions with cold immunity, which, by the way, she meets at every corner of Hell level.

Unlike StarCraft, your gameplan is much more complicated in Diablo II. You have points to allocate in character statistics. You have points to allocate in skills. One point put to a skill or statistic can make the difference between defeating Baal and being eaten alive by Rakanishu. You have to plan where each point goes. You have to determine if your character needs more strength than vitality. This is one of the games that actually have an IQ pre-requisite. Drink Promil.

Although I also play Diablo alone, I enjoy it better when my friends and I do a multiplayer game. Our party is complete: a Paladin, a Barbarian, a Druid, a Necromancer, and my Sorceress. Since you can customize a character's strong points, we have different games for different parties. My Fire sorceress is in party with the shape-shifting Druid, a cursing Necromancer, and an offensive Paladin.

We even researched on how to acquire those brown-font unique items. You can't get through Nightmare just by using items and weapons dropped by Diablo's lame minions or given by Deckard Cain, Ormus, or Akara. We have this software, a muling application that allows us to store the socketed or unique items, runes, and gems that we get. Then we refer to our Diablo bible, a text file listing all the formulas in producing unique items by transmuting stuff in the Horadric Cube. That's how we got my Sorceress' Heart of the Oak (+3 to all skill levels!) and our party's uniform, our official armor, Chains of Honour (+2 to all skill levels and +200 to defense!) Career in Diablo? Hmmmmmnn.

As I mentioned in this section's first paragraph, my strategy in this game manifests my approach in long-term goals. Although I can do it alone, it's much better and more fun when I am part of a team. I don't plan to grow old alone, sagging and toothless, isolated in my sorry room playing solitaire all my life. I intend to keep my friends and do stuff with them until we all bite the dust. Of course, finding a lifetime-partner is part of the plan. He should be strong enough to deal with those cold-immune critters that we may encounter. Actually, I've found him, and he makes a mean elemental Druid. (We're married now!)

StarCraft and Diablo II are just two of my favourite games at the moment. I have also played Battle Realms, WarCraft, and a little of Neverwinter Nights. Recently, my friends and I have developed this liking to first-person shooter (FPS) games, like Painkiller, Counter Strike, and Half-life. We have played Unreal Tournament for a whole weekend, stopping only to go to the comfort room or mix the instant pancit canton we're having for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We also lost sleep over the cute old game Worms, which is very similar to today's GunBound. We practically lose sleep over any game we play during our weekly LAN parties.

As you may have noticed, I mentioned no online games here. I wasn't able to play online games that much for the simple reason that I'm more often offline than online during my free time, even when I was still in college.

Now, back to the question of the hour: how does my perception of computer games as a woman differ from that of a man's? Simple: My game is my life. I don't just play my games, I live them. The strategies in my games are my strategies in life. (Although a lot of gamers, regardless of gender, would probably say the same thing when asked of the same question. Thing is, you don't meet a lot of female hardcore gamers everyday.)

I'm not saying that men play games just to pass time or do something more wholesome than play with their little penal toys. I've met a few who actually live the games they play, just like me. But that's just it. They're few. If you're a man and you think you're one of the few, please do something for us to meet so I can dismiss my reason and make me think of something else that I can use as an excuse for gender equality in gaming.

#5 - The breakfast club
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Five days to countdown...

For the past weeks, I have been religiously waking up earlier than what my body was used to and cooking breakfast for Mr. Frost.

You must be saying, "You're his wife, what's the big deal?"

The thing is, I am not a morning person. My body demands that I get up at 11am in the morning, at the earliest. I have never prepared breakfast for anybody, even for myself, in my entire life before Mr. Frost and I got together. "Breakfast" wasn't even in my vocabulary before Mr. Frost and I met.

I got used to waking up to the breakfast Mr. Frost prepared for me. I have gotten used to being pampered and cared for by Mr. Frost when we wake up. I have gotten used to being his princess in the mornings. Not that Mr. Frost doesn't take care me anymore nor am I his princess no more. Because I still am the luckiest woman alive to have him as my devoted, loving husband.

Don't get me wrong, because I am definitely NOT complaining. I realize that I enjoy doing it. In fact, I love doing it that I actually look forward to waking up early in the morning. I have been "turned."

When we went grocery-shopping last weekend, I was excited picking up stuff to munch on at the office. But that excitement lasted only a couple of aisles.

I was giddy like a horny cat on a hot tin roof when I thought about the stuff I would need in preparing breakfast for Mr. Frost. And I can't wait for Monday to come so I can start doing my "magic." So I can see the look of appreciation on Mr. Frost's face upon tasting what simple meal I have prepared for him. And that look makes me realize that waking up early doesn't sound so bad at all.

I'm sure this is just the start. A lot changes will still come, and as long as they make the Frost family happy, I will welcome them with open arms.

(I have to indulge myself in the happiness I'm feeling right now because I'm sure that there will be changes in my life that I wouldn't be happy about, then I have the memory of this moment to look back on. )

#6 - Our precious JEWEL
*I'm sorry I wasn't able to post our countdown marker yesterday, day #6. I wasn't feeling very good and there was too much stuff on my hands. So here's the post I made yesterday.

July 18, 2006

Six days to countdown...

To mark day #6 of our countdown, I acknowledge the existence of one fo the sweetest persons I ever knew.


Jewel is Mr. Frost's baby sister. Here she is as my Maid of Honor during our wedding.

I have grown to consider Jewel as more than just a sister-in-law; to me, she IS my sister.

Devoted sister...
Affectionate aunt...
Fellow F.R.I.E.N.D.S. addict...
My basis of perfection when it comes to cooking and taking care of Mr. Frost...
Clever businesswoman...
Cooking mistress ...
Scholar extraordinaire...

The Frost family loves you so much, Jewel!

#7 - Beautiful things come in three's...
Monday, July 17, 2006
Seven days to countdown...

Day #7 on our countdown will be marked by one of things I treasure most in my life: FRIENDSHIP.

One of the things people should know about me is that I am more comfortable with guy friends than girl friends. It's probably because I grew up with four brothers that I find guys more fun than girls.

But I do have girl friends. And the few of them I cherish so much.

While growing up with my four insane brothers, I also grew up with these two wonderful ladies:

Jeng, Pie, and the Goddess

Pie is busy digging up oil in the Middle East. She's a nurse, actually. Jeng is migrating to Las Vegas soon, to be with her husband.

These are the sisters I never had. We shared so much memories our bond is as thick as that of sisters. We knew each other way before we understood the meaning of FRIENDSHIP.

The picture, by the way, was taken last year, when Pie went home for a short break, just before my wedding. Unfortunately she wasn't able to attend the wedding because she had to go back dig for oil about two weeks before my big day.

I miss them so much...

Fast forward to college...

The three dynamic forces, Roselle "Shala", "Ambush", and Agnes "Tisay"

Agnes is in a provincial assignment by her company. Roselle has been living in California for several years now.

These two women showed me, in my young, innocent age of 18, how fucked up life can be and helped me grow up into a strong woman who can face life's cracks like a man.

One thing that I will never forget about the three of us is our month-long roadtrip. For one whole month, we were together 24/7, along with a couple of guys, and hopped from Cavite to Pampanga, from Quezon City to Subic. The story of our adventure with what we called the Batmobile is something we would be telling our grandchildren come our white-hair days.

I miss them so much...

This next group is composed of more than three people, but this will complete this post's theme of three.

The controversial, star-studded Wednesday Group
Standing L-R: O'neil, Toto, Taryn, Yayie, Don, Crystal, and Alex.

Our group bonded when we were all officemates in my previous company. Remember my post Nostalgic? These were the guys I shared those geeky leisure time with. Except for the girls, although Yayie and Crystal joined us a couple of times for some movies.

Thank God for my friends, whom I have considered as my brothers and sisters, my family.

I miss them so much...

I wish I could celebrate my birthday with all of them. That way, they can chip in for the drinks and food. And we'll all get drunk and bloated. And they'd bring me lots of gifts.

I could already hear Simon Woo, Nocturnal Sun, and SkyClad shouting in unison:

"ASA!" (Dream on!)

#8 - Definitely a new look
Sunday, July 16, 2006
Eight days to countdown...

For the longest time, I wore my hair long. Yes, wore, in the past tense.

I've been planning to have my haircut for months and it is only now that I found the time and gathered enough courage to finally do it.

I hereby declare that day #8 on our countdown be marked with my new look. Take a look at the new me!

The background reveals our "barriotic" abode.

Mr. Frost goes crazy when I do this pose for him.

I used my camera phone so pardon the low quality images.

To compare it with how I looked with my hair long, check out these pics that I posted recently.

I'm not sure yet if I like how I look, although Mr. Frost said he loves it, but I definitely love how I feel! I've never felt this light and refreshed for a long time. It's wonderful!

I still have to wait a couple of days to find out if I like the look, though.

Let's see how people would react. Especially those from work. Can't wait!

#9 - The corporate playground
Saturday, July 15, 2006
Nine days to countdown...

Okay, okay.

I'm practically cramming here (again... so what's new?) because the day is almost over and I still don't have an idea what to mark day #9 with.

Thank God I remembered Nocturnal Sun's description of our workplace in his Friendster profile.

Under Companies, he said:
"some office where you can wear anything, play games and get payed (sic) for it and most of all, drinking beer is the norm"

And every word is true.

Our uniform is our own fashion sense. Our dress code is our imagination.

And yes, when your boss sees you playing computer games on your workstation during office hours, he would probably watch you play and pester you with endless questions on how you got so good on your game. Or just press your PC's power button out of spite. Or brag about his own character being in this high level, equipped with so-and-so rare items.

That is considering, of course, you have no pending deliverables. For those who are so addicted to computer games like me, this place is heaven.

The thing about the beer is, believe it or not, correct.

Our COO (child of owner ) once said, "A (insert company name here) employee should be able to hold his alcohol." And he said that during one of our weekly Beer Cart Fridays, where a keg of beer is brought in our Marketing Area and everyone gathers for some company updates and lots of beer. During office hours, may I add.

But hey, don't get me wrong. We are seriously working. It may sound that we're having too much fun, but we don't forget the reason why we are in the company in the first place. We may have lots of fun but that doesn't mean we don't understand the concept of the commonly abused word "JOB".

Another thing that I love about our company is the people I work with. Yes, I know, there would always be idiots and jerks in a company, but hey, don't forget that they are the only ones who can make our work life difficult yet interesting and more fun at the same time. Don't you just love how they drive your humdrum life crazy? But generally, the people I work with are incredible.

No one forgets to enjoy whatever it is they're doing. They always find reasons to laugh and have fun while working, even during stressful days and when pressured with deadlines.

Likewise, everybody practically takes care of me in my pregnancy. When they see me eating something I shouldn't be eating, like chocolate or chips, people tell me off. Every single time. It's a friendly scolding, really, so I don't get offended. Why should I? They're right, I should be careful of what I eat.

When somebody sees me still at the office after 8PM, the usual line is, "Why are you still here? You're supposed to be home already, sleeping!" Then he or she would take a pice of whatever it is I'm eating because I'd most probably be offering them something just so they'd leave me in peace.

And that's just a couple of things to give you an idea how my officemates care for me and my baby. Some are so involved that they feel they should be with me inside the delivery room come birthing day. And I'm not complaining. I love it that my officemates are concerned of my well-being. Really, I am grateful that I work with the most wonderful people.

I could go on and on about things that I love about working (or should I say, hanging out) in this company. But the fact remains: I am enjoying my stay with the company.

I guess my present work is one of the things that I've been taking for granted. I go to work everyday and don't think of how lucky I am to be going some place where I'll have eight solid hours of fun.

And I'm getting paid for it.

So there goes another reason for me to be grateful and happy come my birthday. And there's me completing my day #9 countdown marker in the nick of time.