Archive for February, 2013

My Achilles Heel In Writing

Writing Tools

Image source:  Blog.Hubspot.Com

What is your Achilles heel in writing? In an article I wrote last month (Ambivalence Towards Writing), I included a quote from Ernest Hemingway which somehow describes the irony of writing and how it can be easy and difficult.

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”

After one month and fifty articles here, I have noticed a pattern with the level of difficulty I’ve encountered when tackling various topics. Some articles took longer for me to write while some took less than an hour for me to finish, that is, if I don’t count the minutes I spent on editing or making a collage of the images I attached to some.

Although a picture is worth a thousand words, it doesn’t always equate to creative flow in writing once we start to squeeze out from our brains those thousand words. On the other hand, I could get a quick insight and put it on my to-do list. Two or three days after I could still come up with a satisfactorily descriptive post. From my self-observation, my Achilles heel in writing has to do with food-related topics. I remember spending three to four hours in writing “Have Your Cake and Eat It Too” much to my dismay. Distraction took away my productivity because I just wasn’t good at writing about food.

It’s not that I don’t know what I would write about. It’s just that we find the flow easier with some topics compared to others. Since my mind has an analytical bent, I find my flow easily when writing about technology and app reviews. Not that I cannot write on tackling emotionally-laden topics, in fact I can and if I do it would run the whole gamut of reasons behind the emotions.

Do you know what is your Achilles heel in writing? Examining what topics we are not good at is a useful way to assess ourselves.


Google Password Change Security


It’s so pathetic of me to be advised by Google that my “password was changed 10 days ago”. I have been getting that reminder in red for 10 days. It would jolt me out of a state resembling a narcoleptic lethargy. So foolish of me to forget a recently changed password but short term memory recall is so persistent.

I had to change my GMail account password because two weeks ago some kind of virus sent a spam link to 14 contacts in my list, including my other two GMail accounts. I ignored it and didn’t know how serious it was until a few days after when I received this notification from Google:

Someone recently tried to use an application to sign in to your Google Account -****** We prevented the sign-in attempt in case this was a hijacker trying to access your account. Please review the details of the sign-in attempt:

Tuesday, February 12, 2013 6:06:08 PM UTC
IP Address:
Location: Alvarado, TX, USA

One thing I noticed is that only my three GMail accounts received that spam link. I don’t know any entity from Alvarado, TX. I didn’t want to risk getting my account compromised again by some third party application so I had to change my password. Yet every day I try to log in via a laptop, my fingers would automatically type the old password. I thought that I kept forgetting it because it was so entirely different from the old one. I attempted a second password modification by appending 3 new characters to the old password but 45 hours after my stubborn fingers were at it again.

Google comes to the rescue by alerting me with another verification feature via a mobile phone verification code.


I hope the above image will be the first and last verification from Google I will encounter this year.

Poetry: Time


By: Catherine de Voughn

Thought I knew how fast time flew
Thought I’d die while no one knew
Thought I’d love the person for me
Thought I’d say “Just let it be.”

Thinking will make your head spin
Success takes a lot of effort to win
Waiting for that someone needs a sign
Thinking, success, waiting consume a lot of time

Something tells me to love that somebody
Something tells me I should when I’m ready
Something tells me to wait for the day
But time travels and says, “Come what may.”

There were a few pen names I would use for poetry writing but I used Catherine de Voughn the most which I later changed to Catherine DeVouhn.

Back in high school my friends and I would write each other copies of song lyrics and poems on scented stationeries. I wrote poems a lot but growing up my standards for writing had been raised a bit and I had to admit eighteen years after I was a bit ashamed of my old poetry.

On the other hand, I realized that despite the changes I’ve gone through this poem wasn’t so bad after all.

For two consecutive days I’ve noticed two disconcerting notifications on my RedGage and Bubblews accounts.

The first one involves a prompt on my RedGage Dashboard to confirm my e-mail address, something which I already did the day I signed up a month ago. Clicking on the “Click here to activate” takes me to a box asking for the Activation Code which was sent to my e-mail.

photo 1 (1)

24 hours after there isn’t any RedGage Activation Code e-mail. I could still upload photos and links but due to that ghost activation code I could not approve 4 new friend requests. The next day that notification was gone and I was able to add new friends. That disconcerting notification comes and goes.

As for the Bubblews Like notification, what I observed is that when I click on each notification and open many tabs of those, two things can happen: I either get the “You successfully liked this news” prompt in the correct window or it shows up in another open tab (usually the adjacent tab, usually but not exclusively) which I didn’t actually click Like on.

I noticed this happens a lot when the adjacent tab’s page hasn’t completely loaded. Now it’s possible that I may like two Bubblews posts after reading them and that’s why both “You successfully liked this news” and “You already liked this news” overlaps in one window – the system mistakes it as double Likes especially when the page the post you just hit Like on hasn’t finished loading.

photo 2 (1)

No, I didn’t accidentally click Like on the same Bubblews news. I was observing this closely and noticed the pattern which I explained above occurs when opening many tabs at once for viewing each of my Connections’ new Bubblews post right from the Notifications page.

Between the two disconcerting notifications, Bubblews’ was an understandable issue and RedGage’s was one I’m sure the RedGage Support Team can maybe clarify and fix.

I wonder what is the most effective way of severing ties with someone whom you’ve had an unfortunate and disgraced friendship/relationship with. Will desensitization lead us to forgive and forget quickly? Or does it stagnate the internal healing process? Will it be easier to burn your bridges then once and for all? The answer is not a one-size-fits-all remedy and my mind was clearly pondering on several specific scenarios that’s why I was able to formulate those questions.

In my observation desensitization works better for resilient, adaptable personalities than easily agitated neurotic personalities. The neurotic tends to obsess over thoughts of days gone by or moments shared with a lost relative or friend and ex-girlfriend/boyfriend. Constant exposure to an ex at work or neighborhood can aggravate the nerves into a passive-aggressive kind of stupor. Writing or keeping a journal can help clear out obsessive thoughts. We hear of musically-inclined neurotics who can write a song about a loss or a heartbreak.

It’s not that resilient personalities don’t feel emotions of anger and hate nor mourn. They do, but they adapt to life changes quicker by being proactive instead of sulking and let grievance affect their work performance and relationships with others longer than it should. They know it’s best not to burn bridges – a divorcée and a divorcé fighting for equal child custody would be wise not to do that.

However, both resilient and neurotic personalities can vacillate between being flexible and showing anxiety-ridden vulnerability. Some life-altering situations demand more from us while some demand less adjustments. Ultimately, we cope more healthily when we realize that suffering, like everything in this world, is temporary.


An hour ago I got a prompt on my iPhone for a new iPhone over-the-air software update, iOS 6.1.2. Two days ago, on February 19th, I got a prompt for an iOS 6.1.1 update. Two updates within 2 days. What is up, Apple?


Looking at the image above, it says the iOS 6.1.1 update will “fix an issue that could impact cellular performance and reliability for iPhone 4S”. No further information was provided to explain the aforementioned “issue” but I reckon it has something to do with the 3G connection problem with the iPhone 4S units.

I have not even noticed any 3G-related problem at all. Maybe it’s just something that I don’t really pay attention to as battery drain is not something new with the iPhones. My first iPhone was a 3GS model and it got so battered by numerous jailbreak (my fault as my tinkering curiosity killed my that I had to recharge my phone three to four times a day. When I got the 4S I swore I would never do any jailbreak to it to optimize its battery life.


The iOS 6.1.2 over-the-air update which I got today supposedly “fixes an Exchange calendar bug that could result in increased network activity and reduced battery life”. This directly addresses the bugs the iOS 6 has on Microsoft Exchange meeting invitations. As I have no experience with Exchange calendar, I cannot comment further.

I was browsing my old pictures when I recalled that I have been to a few countries where the famous tallest buildings in the world are. Being a petite girl coming from a country where short people live (no, not The Shire), I would feel awe and at the same time a bit intimidated by the so-called world’s tallest structures.

Back in elementary school, short girls had the most disadvantages compared to tall girls. Everyone seems to be competing for the superlatives. Even though I couldn’t help but think of how superficial we can get sometimes to be able to hold world records, these man-made edifices have undeniably captivated me.


The Petronas Twin Towers

I had lived in Malaysia for two years and could get a tiny view of this beauty from my bedroom window. The Petronas Twin Towers is breathtaking to behold during the daytime and much more so during the nighttime when it’s all lit up. It was only in 2010 when I entered the building and took the tour to that middle bridge together with mom and her friends.


Taipei 101

I visited Taiwan with my former colleagues during a company trip. It’s called Taipei 101 because it has 101 floors. In 2003, it surpassed the Petronas Twin Towers for the world’s tallest building record. The last time I went there in 2008, the entrance fee to go up the Taipei 101 Observatory was $400 NT. The Observatory was located at the 89th floor. Because the building is too high, it needs a wind damper.


The Statue of Liberty

At first glance, I was like, “Wow! She’s so BIG!” We weren’t able to go up to the Observatory though as we mainly stayed in the park below. There was a long line to get tickets for the Staten Island ferry ride. Nonetheless seeing the iconic Lady Liberty in person left us breathless and we didn’t want to leave so early.

I sure hope to visit more of the world’s tallest structures next time.

I signed up for a site under a random stranger who promoted a link about an online program. We exchanged e-mails because I was interested in more details about the program. He said he was earning around $2-$10 a day so I got curious.

He provided the first step and said that the second step would be provided once I completed the first step. I only have access to a laptop starting 7pm and the site doesn’t load completely when I view it on a smartphone during the day. It took me a few days to complete the second step which could have easily been accomplished in a day.

However I encountered a problem completing the second step. I told him I would not continue with the program anymore and that the points I supposedly earned on the first step got claimed for something that got deleted anyway. He volunteered to take a look at my account if I could provide my username and password.


Seriously? How difficult can troubleshooting be when there’s the option to do the screenshots to show him what the problem is. This wasn’t my first time to encounter a situation where I would be asked for my username and password so they could check into my account for troubleshooting.

Whatever reliable-sounding department name they are from, I just don’t feel good about anyone logging into my account to try to “fix” something.

Blogging With WordPress

Blogging with WordPress used to be a far-fetched idea to me. I was comfortable with Blogger (and still am) and I had wondered then what set it apart from other blogs but was held back by the impression that blogging with WordPress was more thorough and specific.

What we are not familiar it, we always find reasons to get intimidated by it. As an oDesker one of my sister’s tasks given to her by her employer is to work with WordPress e-commerce blogs. I thought if she had learned it, why couldn’t I?

It was December 2012 when I found a reason to create a WordPress blog. I signed up for an article writing site and found WordPress to be a good blogging site for republishing my articles. After a month I learned of another writing site from an online friend and republished those articles here.

It’s flattering to get 3 or 4 Like or Follow notifications for two consecutive days here. These kinds of notifications weren’t something I’d get from Blogger. The only type of e-mail notifications I would get from Blogger are of comments made on my Blogger posts.

In my opinion the Dashboard in Blogger is much easier to navigate. The difficulty I found in WordPress is arranging the uploaded photos and locating them specifically in which part of the post. Also, I only have a free WordPress account so part of my difficulty may have something to do with it. I have no pressing need to upgrade for now though.

Three months’ republishing and I’m liking it here so far. I would recommend WordPress yet Blogger has its own merits, too.

Have Your Cake and Eat It Too

I always preferred the hushed and relaxing atmosphere of the coffee shop albeit my Sunday routine has changed since November last year. For the past 4 years I would spend most of my Sunday afternoons in a coffee shop to do my weekly report usually due the next day.

As L with the sweet tooth in Death Note once affirmed, the brain needs glucose to function. Here goes my Sunday afternoon cake list:

Mocha Cake & Oreo Cookie Cream Cake

Vienna Kaffeehaus in my hometown, Cagayan de Oro, is a restaurant famous for its delectable mini-cakes and Austrian-inspired dishes. My personal favorite here is the Mocha flavored cake.

Mocha Cake & Oreo Cookie Cream Cake @ Vienna Kaffeehaus

Purple Yam Cake

This Purple Yam Cake really stood out among the usual Starbucks menu offerings of brown chocolate cakes. Its taste is new and refreshing as its color.

Purple Yam Cake @ Starbucks

Rocky Road Cake

Ever tasted a Rocky Road ice cream flavor? If it’s one of your favorite flavors, you shouldn’t miss this Rocky Road cake from Starbucks.

Rocky Road Cake @ Starbucks

Blueberry Cheesecake

I get weak for Blueberry Cheesecake. Honest. The artsy plating from Cheesecake, Etc. makes me want to stare at it and delay gratification.

Blueberry Cheesecake from Cheesecake, Etc. @ SM MoA

Cookies & Mango Caramel Cheesecake

This is the most expensive cake on this list but it’s so worth it. As if cookie crumbs and mango aren’t sweet enough, you can still pour the caramel over it and it still won’t change the fact that it’ll be the best cake experience you’ll have in Bigby’s.

Cookies & Mango Caramel Cheesecake @ Bigby's

Mango Cheesecake

This Starbucks Mango Cheesecake pales in comparison to the  Cookies & Mango Caramel Cheesecake from Bigby’s. Available at half the price of the latter. Not bad.

Mango Cheesecake @ Starbucks

Guilt-Free Indulgence Chocolate Cake

Starbucks weren’t kidding when they named this Guilt-Free Indulgence. It’s chocolate sweetness is not as fatal to your molars compared to the ubiquitous Starbucks chocolate cake.

Guilt-Free Indulgence Chocolate Cake @ Starbucks

Blueberry Cheesecake

Another Blueberry Cheesecake! No, it’s not a duplicate picture, this time it’s from Bo’s Coffee. You can ignore other cakes on their menu, just not this one.

Blueberry Cheesecake @ Bo's Coffee


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