Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Backlogged!

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Friday, April 23, 2010

Apologize


You may sing along if you wish. Anyway, the playback's instrumental. I prefer the original One Republic version, but the one with Timbaland's okay.

Enjoy!




More Free Music at MP3-Codes.com




Apologize
One Republic

I'm holding on your rope
Got me ten feet off the ground
And I'm hearing what you say
But I just can't make a sound

You tell me that you need me
Then you go and cut me down, but wait
You tell me that you're sorry
Didn't think I'd turn around and say

That it's too late to apologize, it's too late
I said it's too late to apologize, it's too late

I'd take another chance, take a fall
Take a shot for you
And I need you like a heart needs a beat
But that's nothing new, yeah yeah

I loved you with a fire red, now it's turning blue
And you say sorry like the angel
Heaven let me think was you
But I'm afraid

It's too late to apologize, it's too late
I said it's too late to apologize, it's too late, whoa whoa

It's too late to apologize, it's too late
I said it's too late to apologize, it's too late

I said it's too late to apologize, yeah
I said it's too late to apologize, yeah

I'm holding on your rope
Got me ten feet off the ground



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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Gibo's "new minions": the Jejemons

I just saw this from one of Gibo's tweets just for fun:



More about jejemons here.

Getting this from someone who's very particular and strict about grammar, punctuation, and spelling, you could just imagine Gilbert Teodoro's ears and eyes bleed when he encounters one. Hahaha! Nice one Mr. Cool! :D We definitely need to encourage these kids to straighten up!

This post actually made me smile, but if we could imagine a society of jejemons, it's not gonna be funny and cute anymore.

Jejemons out there, I hope you'll soon realize how irritating "e0wz p0H mUztahhhhH nah k3!0" is.



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Friday, April 16, 2010

TV (and Music) Just Got Excited




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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Status Update: US Petition (iv)



Meanwhile, I wait again.



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Monday, April 12, 2010

My Life Would Suck Without You

2 days till the gleeks are on! What's nice is that we get to watch the first episode also airing the same time in US (FTW). Pretty cool, eh?

This was the last song of the first season, where Will kissed Emma on the last scene. We will have to find out where these two lovebirds (or flingsters) will be taken for the next season!
My Life Would Suck Without You
Glee Cast


Glee Cast - My Life Would Suck Without You

Guess this means you're sorry
You're standing at my door
Guess this means you take back
What you said before
Like how much you wanted anyone but me
Said you'd never come back
But here you are again

'Cause we belong together now, yeah
Forever united here somehow, yeah
You got a piece of me and honestly
My life would suck without you

Maybe I was stupid for telling you goodbye
Maybe I was wrong for trying to pick a fight
I know that I've got issues
But you're pretty messed up too
Either way I found out I'm nothing without you

'Cause we belong together now, yeah
Forever united here somehow, yeah
You got a piece of me and honestly
My life would suck without you

Being with you is so dysfunctional
I really shouldn't miss you
But I can't let you go
Oh yeah

Lalalalala...

'Cause we belong together now, yeah yeah
Forever united here somehow, yeah
You got a piece of me and honestly
My life would suck without you

'Cause we belong together now, yeah
Forever united here somehow, yeah
You got a piece of me and honestly
My life would suck without you


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Behold! Le ePassport

An essential task for me to accomplish was to have my passport updated, name and status to be exact. To be able to complete the task at hand, I had to learn how to get my passport renewed on my own. At the same time, it was my time to get a hold of that ePassport and taste its technology (but the actual taste of it officially commences once there‘s an ACTUAL travel itinerary materializing before my very eyes).

The ePassport is essentially the same as a Machine Readable Passport (MRP), but with an added integrated circuit or “chip” embedded in one of its pages. This chip contains the passport holder’s biometrics and other data (i.e.: unique chip ID number, digital signature, passport number, etc), essential in verifying the authenticity of the owner. 



The Philippine ePassport allows information stored on the chip to be verified with the information visually displayed on the passport. The chip technology allows the information stored in the ePassport to be read by special chip readers at a close range.

The universal symbol embedded on international ePassports

It uses contactless microchip technology that allows the information stored on the chip to be read by special chip readers at a close distance.

It contains an integrated photograph of the holder, a digitized secondary photo, and an electronic print of the holder’s signature, and has invisible digital watermarks readable only under UV light. The passport photo is actually made up of microletters readable by a special decoding lens. Cool!

It contains overt and hidden security features such as Invisible Personal Information (IPI), letterscreen, microprinting, and UV reactive ink, among others.

Now take that, fraudsters!

Using the ePassport avoids passport reproduction and tampering as its database is enhanced with Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) that guard against multiple passport issuances to the same person and enhances imposter detection. This is why your photograph will be personally taken, and digital signature obtained at the consular services. 

A major advantage of using ePassport is that it facilitates fast clearance of travelers at immigration checks. Among the benefits gain of an ePassport are the use of automated border clearance or ‘eGates,’ automated issuance of boarding passes, and faster travel arrangements with airlines.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) started issuance in mid 2009 on a limited quantity. But now, it's in full swing! Do note though, that you have make a reservation or appointment first before marching to their new location. You will just have to be EXTRA patient when renewing your passport as it may take weeks to have the entire process done due to the summer peak season for traveling, and there could be intermittent technical failures along the way. You can actually read my semi-detailed account here.

Can’t wait for my first use! 






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Friday, April 9, 2010

DFA’s New Passport Hub

For those who were used to having their passports processed at Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in Roxas Boulevard, no need to waste a trip going there. The DFA Consular Services now houses its passport applications and document authentications at the Aseana Business Park in Paranaque, which started just this March of 2010.


I tried the appointment system from their website last March 4th, got a response the same day, but my appointment date was set for March 15th! I had to go through that website because the new system hasn’t taken effect during that time.

I just recently learned that you can do now do this via http://www.passport.com.ph.

So knowing that I’ll be waiting for 11 more days before I could show up for my appointment, I went straight to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) the following afternoon to see if I could actually walk-in.

Turns out, I can‘t and they won‘t process walk in applications, and that people have to set their appointments there personally. At that time, March 20th were the available slots. Since I already had an appointment set for the 15th, there’s really no other choice for me but to wait for the 15th.

Passport applicants who used to have appointments at the DFA office are requested to go to the new site starting March 15. So in my case, since I made the appointment using the old system (from www.dfa.gov.ph), I would simply have to bring my appointment letter, plus all the requirements needed for renewal.

But in the new system, EVERYONE would be asked to make an appointment either online, or through telephone. I tried ringing their customer service hotline, but it was busy all throughout my attempts. Thus, I recommend that you try to do it online instead, and you will just have to wait for your confirmation email. Just follow instructions, and you’re all set.

All you need to do then is to use the reference number to “claim” your application form at the appointment system counter, just within the complex. Before you could even get inside the premises to go to that counter they’re saying, you will still have to go through these in my semi-detailed account of my passport renewal.

Some notes:
  1. No walk-ins will be entertained. Only those with appointments are allowed to enter. If you do not have an appointment, you will be requested to call the hotline, or set the appointment online.
  2. Only applicants are allowed to enter the offices. Companions are requested to wait outside the building.
  3. Make sure to PRINT OUT the appointment letter or prepare the reference number given by the customer service associate.
  4. Arrive an hour (or at least 30 mins) before your appointment. Due to the voluminous number of applicants per day, it may take you more than an hour to complete the entire process.
  5. Once you are inside DFA premises, proceed to the appointment system counter to receive your printed application form.
  6. Make sure all requirements complete. It’s not a bad thing to bring other extra valid IDs along.
  7. Photocopying services are PHP3/page. Bring photocopies of documents you will need to save a little cash.  
  8. You can bring drinks inside (but be discreet!), as this is not encouraged. After a long queue, you would really need a drink to survive from dehydration!
  9. Wear proper attire. Even if you may see others in flipflops or what not, bear in mind that you are still entering an office. Dress appropriately.
  10. PAY ATTENTION. A lot of people miss their numbers when already queued.
  11. BE ALERT. Same as number 10, since there are also a lot of people just walking around, make sure to attend to your things (and yourself).
  12. PATIENCE. PATIENCE. PATIENCE. Expect a lot of blunders along the way.
  13. If possible, plan your passport renewal on off-peak seasons. Off peak seasons are months that may fall between August-October, or maybe November, when people do not find the urgency to travel.
I was able to finally get my ePassport, thanks to a lot of patience.





The DFA Appointment System is also available via the hotline (02) 737-1000.

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Could getting the ePassport be any tedious?

OMG! Summer is so not the time to apply or renew for a passport!

Aside from the scorching heat, summer is the season where a lot of travelers and wannabes emerge as warriors at the DFA to have this very piece of travel ID at hand in order for most to finally fulfill their fantasies on their would-be dream destinations.

But in my case, I only felt it was time for me to renew my passport (which is, by the way, to expire a year later) since I have already attended the CFO seminar (more on this later) and I wanted to make sure that I have the amended name, as now happily married.  Aside from which, I am already waiting for my appointment letter for my IR1 visa, and I wanted to make sure that all documents are ready before my scheduled interview.

Much to my excitement of getting a passport, what I thought I could do for about a week at most, had turned into mere frustration because never would I have imagined the tediousness and the long wait that I had to bear. This was due to A LOT of obedient citizens doing the process correctly, as instructed, but having a consular office that could not keep up with these obedient citizens’ demand for a better and much more comfortable way of getting a passport (I can still feel the frustration).


ePassport Milestones

Day 1. Setting the appointment.
I knew I just had to do it online. I went online and did it. No problem.

Day 2. Received email notification.
The earliest possible date for my appointment would be 11 days after. Now that sucked! But hey, could I blame them for the bandwidth? So I tried to accomplish other IDs that need to be updated!


Day 13. Appointment day
I was set for the 2PM appointment. I was actually pleased to have this in the afternoon, only to find out that there was a very long queue on the front gates. This only means that MORE people are actually lined up inside. Man, it sucked! It also wasn’t the perfect day to forget to put sunblock on! 


It was already almost 3PM or maybe past 3 when I finally got INSIDE the building. Since I already had my appointment letter, I went inside and took a number. For others, they need to get their already printed application form before entering the building itself.


There are plenty of seats inside while waiting for your name to be called, but there were still a lot of people standing, due to the effects of “peak” season. An hour later (despite 20 counters already serving), my number was called, my requirements were checked, and was advised to go to the 2nd floor for the ePassport payment and picture taking.

I had to get another number to be served.
My application form, number and receipt in yellow

I was told that I could claim the passport on the 24th of March (7 business days after, see above pic). I waited for my turn and had my picture taken and finished by 5pm already. Imagine the exhaustion after the whole ordeal. 

 The wait here wasn't as bad as the first wait. But still, waiting really sucks

This is practically the last step! 
Though you are in a hurry, it's best to slow down here as all of your information needs to be encoded in the "microchip". Better safe than sorry.

Day 22. Claiming of passport
I was excited to get my passport that afternoon, only to find out that they WON’T be releasing March 24 passports that day! It was effin ridiculous for the security guard to refuse entry in the premises when in fact, there’s really no concrete reason for doing so. Thus, more and more people got upset and pissed, because no one could really comprehend the essence of making people wait under the scorching, unforgiving heat. 



After about 30 minutes, I finally tried my way through the exit gate, since the guard from exit was letting people enter (weird right?).

So in the releasing area (actually, it was another office), we were asked to line up for an explanation for not being able to get the passport. I mean, wtf do they mean that we had to line up? Couldn’t they have announced it anywhere and make people waste their time waiting for nothing? Since I was one of those willing to wait, I had to wait for another 3 hours until this person in charge told us that there was some sort of “mechanical error” on their end. I mean seriously, are we REALLY ready for this ePassport thing? Spare us too! Not everyone could afford a week off just to get the passport renewed (or updated, in my case). 

 Lining up to "hear" the explanation as to why the passport will not be released. But in all fairness, they prepared water for the tired applicants.

But as there was nothing else that they could do, I was asked to leave my cell number to be contacted once they have my passport ready. As for the others who URGENTLY needed the passport due to already confirmed flights that night or the following day, they were asked to stay and opt for a solution like the older passport (I think, but I wasn’t sure on this so don’t quote me). 

Day 24 Claiming of passport (part 2)

I received a missed call from a local number. I tried calling back, but all I got was a fax tone. I tried calling back several times, but to no avail. I was afraid that I might not get the chance to get my passport, so I kept waiting until 10am -- where a lady informed me that they already have my passport. I was instructed to proceed to AFIS at the 3rd floor to personally claim the passport, and look for another person (name will not be disclosed).

Expecting the same fate as my first encounter, I went straight ahead to the 3rd floor. I was practically walking back and forth before I finally found the AFIS office. The great news was, I got my passport in less than 5 minutes. I was so happy that I didn’t mind walking from DFA to the Mall of Asia!


Here's the product of my almost month-long undertaking:





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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Seriously, this is cute :)


D is about to leave the Ryukyu Islands (Okinawa) on Saturday, and says that he will miss everything about it (his basketball team, included). 

I just recently found a picture from one of his FB friends that revealed their team name -- a name that would symbolize what they are truly made of as athletes and enthusiasts, a team name that revolves on their vision and direction.....for the love of the game, and their all-driven passion towards the sport......












Seriously?!

Really now! I find this cute and somewhat appealing. Don't you think? It's like an unspoken kind of trash talk to me. :P



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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Status Update: US Petition (iii)

Here's our updated timeline:




D received an email from US Embassy Manila, which stated that they have already received the approved form I-130. In addition, they have also sent the instruction package for immigrant visa applicants (aka "packet 3").

I am so itching to get packet 3 already. They sent the email at around Holy Wednesday, so I am expecting delays because of the long holiday we had (holy week).

Still hoping for the best!  


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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Effectively Burn Calories


Presidential Web A-wars













Which among the websites would be your favorite? Is it good enough for you to decide on who to pick?

For information on overseas absentee voters, you may wanna check out this site.


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