Sunday, January 9, 2011

2010 Summary


That's all I can say.

Happy 2011!! Yes, yes I know I promised an update in December, but it got really busy really fast.

So. That's that. 2010 is done. I can't believe this blog is stale already.

Looking back at everything, that was, in my estimation, the quickest year of my life. Seriously. It seems like yesterday that I just decided to make a blog about resolutions. And now I'm finished.

I've learned a lot of thing from this blog. I learned how hard it is for me to make consistent updates. I get lazy a lot and lose that "fire". I also learned how effective it is to write down goals. It really is inspiring to see goals being chipped here and there until finally achieving it.

With 2011, I'm gonna do the same thing. Although this time, I won't be tracking it in a blog. Instead I'll track it internally. I'll post thoughts, hardships, and satisfactions relating to those goals. I'll need to make a new blog of course. It can be found here:

Now, let me summarize how I did for my goal list. Here they are!

  1. Make blog

  2. Learn Ilokano
    I learned 10 phrases! Definitely reached my goal! Here's a summary of them:
    - mai mai sah "by yourself"
    - awai "farm"
    - sing sing put "good/nice/kind person"
    - awan un "nothing"
    - awan pai "(person) not here"
    - gur ka "wait"
    - baam lat an "never mind"
    - basit la ing ti amok nga ilocano "I know a little Ilocano"
    - add napintas a dammag ditoy "There is beautiful/good news here"
    - nab sug "I'm full"

  3. Improve Tagalog
    Though I don't have a list or anything like that like the above, I still feel that I've improved my Tagalog quite a bit! Magaling na ako (I'm amazing) if I do so so myself!

  4. Learn to cook a new meal each month
    - January: Fried Rice
    - February: Yema Candies
    - March: Mac and Cheese
    - April: --
    - May: Flank Steak Pinwheels
    - June: --
    - July: Seared Steak with Caramelized Onions and Gorgonzola
    - August: --
    - September: --
    - October: Pork Adobo
    - November: Dinoguan
    - December: Pancit Bihon
    Went 8 of 12. Not bad!

  5. Find new hobby
    Well I did. It was ballroom dancing. Took it up for 9 months! Learned all kinds of cool dances and met cool people. But after then 10th month classes repeated, so I stopped. It's cool. I'm glad I did it. Great experience.

  6. Befriend someone new
    Well I'd say I made many new friends. Especially at Church. So I think I got this goal down!

  7. Consume an average of 1800 Calories per day
    It's gonna be hard to summarize ALL my Calories. Wish I had a spreadsheet in 2010 (I have one for 2011.) But the general feeling is, I ate around 1950 per day. It was 150 Calories over, but it has definitely made me aware of how much I eat and how much I just need to eat. Lost a couple of pounds too (about 15) so it's all good!

  8. Read 5 books
    I read waaaay more than 5 books here. I think I've read 5+ books from Lewis alone:
    - Mere Christianity
    - The Four Loves
    - The Problem with Pain
    - The Great Divorce
    - Screwtape Letters
    And others. It would definitely take up a lot of post room.

  9. Maintain $40 / month on video games
    I must confess, I went over. Way over. I was doing fine until December. Then the Kinect released and I caved and bought it. In the end I spent around $600 throughout the year.

  10. Make Facebook app
    Spectacular failure! Me and my friend just made a game design document. It's not quite done but it's nearly. Right now, as I type, I'm installing Adobe Flash Builder so hopefully I can redeem myself this year.

  11. Walk the dogs for 20 minutes each day
    Started off with a bang. But as the days progressed and the rain started coming, I got lazier and lazier. I probably only did about 10 minutes a day if I'm honest with myself.

  12. Don't curse for 300 days
    I stopped counting after a certain point. I'm pretty much golden here. I've been swear free since mid 2010 or so.

  13. Make money off investments
    Well I can't really control the stock market. But I did make a few dimes. I'd say about $2000 in investments were made (that's pre-tax, so who knows how much of that I get to take home.)

  14. Don't miss Church
    Amazingly, I did this without missing a single mass.

  15. Find new prospective job
    This one cannot be achieved. This is because I plan to go back to school 2011. Stay tuned for that.

  16. Buy own place
    Unfortunately I couldn't. I still have hope though. It was a tough year for my Dad, so I had to pick up the slack. No worries though; this goal was low priority anyhow.

  17. Learn five new piano songs
    I learned a lot. More than five I'd say. Just to sum up:
    - Don't Stop Believin'
    - Faithfully
    - Empire State of Mind part 2
    - 100 Years
    - Amazing Grace
    And still others. Gotta continue learning!

  18. Learn five new guitar songs
    I learned on and off, but I can't list any particular five. I think 2010 was more piano focused. My music's biased on the piano now I'd say.

  19. Teach Charlie new tricks
    I actually DID teach him some tricks!
    - Sit
    - Stay
    - Lie down
    - Paw
    - Roll over
    Good job Charlie! I thought you were hopeless, but boy was I wrong!

  20. Read the Bible
    I managed to finish the Old Testament. I think just before the the year ended, I was on Luke (read the other 3 Gospels). I plan to finish and re-read it this year.

  21. Volunteer
    Well I'm glad I put this one down! And I'm glad I accomplished it too! I'm a proud member of St. Timothy's choir.

  22. Draw
    Only a few here and there, but I mostly failed this goal.

  23. Compose
    I composed exactly 0 songs.

That's it! That's a long list, but that was my 2010. And it was a year to remember.

Anyhoo, thanks readers for keeping up with this blog! I hope 2011 finds you well. Remember, as of now, I've moved! Visit my new blog here: See you there!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

November Wrap-up

And then there was one.

11 months have past. And I can't believe how quickly it has gone by.

I think that 2010 marks a turning point in my life. For 26 years I've wandered and coasted, not really wanting anything. But this year -- my 27th year -- things were different.

This blog has been a great tool. It has helped me focus in achieving goals and things I thought I'd never be able to do. What's more amazing is that I more or less stuck to those goals. I even stuck to this blog! Fancy that.

It's amazing really. At the beginning of 2010, I honestly thought I wouldn't achieve half my goals. In fact, I thought that I wouldn't continue this blog anymore! I think I'm overall more happy, healthier, and friendlier.


Thanksgiving past by like a twinkle of an eye. It was pure family fun and food. Lotsa turkey. Lotsa potatoes. Lotsa albacore fish. Lotsa desserts. I ate a ton of food on Thanksgiving. Almost all my cousins were there. We had a blast.

Didn't really get anything that Black Friday. I did shop for my exchange presents for my cousins. Having said that, I have spent a crap ton of money on December alone on bills and my plane ticket to Toronto (gonna go during New Years!)

Ah yes, I must confess something. I bought the Xbox Kinect + Dance Central. Yes I know. There goes $200. So that's $ 400 / 480 of my gaming budget. I dunno if I can afford any more. I have to buy Cataclysm, too so that's another $X amount of money. Damn games burning a hole through my pocket.

Welp the good news is that I've surprisingly controlled my eating the last 15 days of November! I ate about 29,600 Calories during that time, or about 1,973 Calories per day. Not bad for a month where food is the primary focus.

Unfortunately I didn't prepare any meals that month, unless helping stuff and cook the turkey counts. But I do plan to make pancit (Filipino noodle dish) for my company's potluck! It'll be great.

Just wanted to mention that December has been an awesome month so far. I got to carol to some old folks in retirement homes. They were super grateful for having the caroling group come over. It really gave me a real sense of Christmas. I can't wait to sing on Christmas mass with the Christmas choir. Should even be more awesome!

Welp that's it folks. Thanks for reading. 2011 is quickly approaching and this blog will probably need a new look and new name. Til next update, have a fun December!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

1.5 months to go

I just realized something scary. There are only a few weeks left in 2010. My blog name will be obsolete! So I'll have to think up of a new name for it soon.

"So Mark, what have you been up to these past days?" you may be wondering. A lot actually. And it's been a fun and busy 2 weeks so far.

First, I'd just like to mention what a blast it is to be participating in my church's choir. I'm not that good, but the rest of the singers are amazing! In fact, I enjoy singing so much, I even joined the Christmas choir! I am way WAAAY below their level. I'm just in for the ride, and I just wanna be around them to improve my singing.

I'm gonna head back to Canada and hang with my buddies for New Years'! I still haven't booked a flight yet. Better get on that pronto.

Lemme get on with the show. How is my progress report?

Calorie count. I've behaved these past 15 days and only ate about 27,880 Calories, or 1858 Calories per day. Which is where I want to be each day. I wonder what the total is for the year? Oh well I'll calculate that later.

My pastor mentor gave me a new book to read called, "The Gospel According to Rome" which compares the Catholic teachings to Biblical teachings. Fairly interesting stuff.

What about my Facebook game?? Damn, this is cutting it close. I think I just want to make a Hello World type of program on Flash by the end of the year, and then start fresh in 2011. I'll have to talk to my friend about it.

Anyhoo, I'm almost done the OT. Just need to finish up on the minor prophets, then I'll be reading the NT! Actually I've read a few books in it already (couldn't wait). Never has the Bible felt so alive. There are some really interesting insights that book offers.

And I guess that's it. I'll have to think about a lot of stuff for the rest of the year. Stuff like what to do with this blog, the Facebook game, where my career should be heading and all that jazz. But that's for next year. Until the end of the month/beginning of December, cya!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Alright, I've delayed long enough. Here is my October wrap up!

I can't say much has happened in those last 16 days. Well there was Halloween. It's the definitely one of my most fun times I had. I had a blast just making pumpkin carvings and dispensing treats. In total, I'd say about 80 kids came to my house to ask for candy. We just had enough.

Oh and pictured below is one of my pumpkin carvings. Took all of my soul to carve this thing!

I'll talk about happenings in November next update. But for now, let me run through my progress report:

My language development goals are pretty much stagnant. I haven't picked up any new words or phrases in Ilokano, nor have I been trying to use new phrases in Tagalog. I've been pretty awful at this.

To make up for that, I have been cooking more Filipino food! Pictured below is Dinoguan (dee-no-goo-an), aka "Blood pudding". It's definitely an acquired taste. It's one of my favorite meals!

Speaking of food, I haven't been doing too well on my Caloric intake these past 16 days. I've consumed about 32,950 Calories or 2059 Calories per day. Ouch. That was a bad month for me. This month may not be good either cuz of Thanksgiving and all. Gotta try to watch how much I eat even more now.

Now from food to hobbies. My ballroom dancing, I think, is finished. Last month and even this month has been repeats of what I've already done. As long as this keeps up, there's no more incentive to go to ballroom dancing anymore. But hey, I enjoyed myself for these past 9 months though!

Games. Well not much spent at all in games all year. Which is really surprising. The only new games I've bought are Civilization 5 ($50), Battlefield: Bad Company 2 ($30) and Minecraft ($15), which totals to $ 95. That brings my total up to $295 (out of $480) for the year.

What about my Facebook game? Well I'm having problems with it. I'm still trying to figure out an algorithm to account for movement. Also trying to set up my developer environment for Flash. Neither are working for me right now, so I'm taking a little break from them.

Books. Ah my newest hobby. I hated reading. Now I don't hate it as much. I've been reading all kinds of books. mostly C.S.Lewis ones. Just finished Screwtape Letters and it was a very entertaining and informative read! Onto G.K.Chesterton's Orthodoxy.

Music. I've been learning a new Alicia Keys song called Empire State of Mind (part 2). But my guitar's still in its case. I want to play it, but the piano's draw is too strong right now.

Pet Training. Charlie now knows how to sit, shake, lie down, and rollover. I want to teach him a new trick "play dead" but I'm not sure how I'd even approach this. Suggestions?

Bible Reading. Well, what can I say? I'm liking what I read. The more I read, the more Christianity makes sense. I'm on the book of Jonah now. I'm also reading some of the New Testament Gospels and Epistles too.

Volunteer. Mwahahaha. I've joined my local church's choir. Yes I sing (not well). And it is fun!

So that's that folks. Not much else I can write. It's definitely been an interesting October. It is my month after all. october 16th is my day. Always is, was, and is to come. Thanksgiving I'm looking forward to you. Chow.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

October 1 to 15

Hey everyone.

It’s the middle of the month, already. There’s been a bunch of things happening to me and in the world. I praise God that He was there with the Chilean miners. Much credit goes to the people who worked on the rescue effort. Without their efforts, we wouldn’t have this amazing story of survival and of hope.

With that said, what have I been up to? Well let’s begin with my weekend. On the 16th of October I celebrated my birthday! Most of my cousins came by and just had a blast. Good food. Good games. Good fellowship. We played Taboo. We sang Journey songs. We entertained CJ (my cousin’s kid, i.e. my “nephew”!) It was a blast.

Next morning, I go to church. Not the regular church I usually go to. I went to an Evangelical church somewhere in Garden Grove.

So how did this come to be? Well my company’s CFO walks into my office and issues a bet with me and my coworker. The loser of the bet takes the other two out for lunch. So I lose. During the lunch I find out he’s an elder pastor at a non-denominational church and he invites me over! I was curious so I took up his offer.

I was expecting a chapel and pews, but what I got was a regular building with metallic fold out chairs. There was nothing fancy about it, but it was full of people hungry for the Word. They started off with a welcoming prayer, then praise and worship. Followed by an offering, sermon, and then communion. The sermon was a great message about Truth and Freedon in Christianity (Galatians 2:1-5 was the reading.) Communion was interesting; they called the body, “elements” and we ate it together rather than immediately. It was a very interesting experience; one that I won’t forget.

That’s that. Now on to my progress report!

My Tagalog has been a little dull lately. I still say a few phrases here and there, but not as often as I should be. But, I have learned a new phrase in Ilokano! Adda napintas a dammag ditoy which literally means “there is beautiful news here.” Many useful words in that one phrase. Nice.

With regards to my general health: I had a sinus infection earlier this month, so I went to the doctor. It turns out that I have high blood pressure and asked me to cut back on the salty foods. Also asked me to have blood work done. In light of that, I don’t think I’ve been following doctor’s orders quite well this month. So the first 15 days of October, I’ve eaten about 28,650 Calories or 1,910 Calories per day. Ouch. That’s 110 Calories above my goal. Gotta fix that.

I know I’m done reading my “book list” but I continue to read in my spare time. So what have I been reading? Right now I’m reading a biography of St. Thomas Aquinas by G.K. Chesterton. So far so good. The “Dumb Ox” is what he was referred to. He played a huge role in the intellectual revival of the church of his time.

My Facebook app’s in a stagnant state right now. I’m done documentation, but I’ve been so lazy to develop it. Right now I develop software for a living. I just see implementing (coding) this app as very work-like an unenjoyable. But it will get done by the end of the year.

I finished up the book of Jeremiah. I’m onto the next prophet Ezekiel. These past books have been pretty difficult to understand, so I’ve constantly gone back to aides to help me out.

And finally, I signed up for my church’s music ministry! I just got an email regarding that. Apparently there are tryouts. Haha. I don’t think I’m gonna cut it but I’ll try out anyway!

So that’s it! That’s what’s been happening. Hope you like what you read. Keep this blog bookmark and I’ll see you next time!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

September Wrap-up

Hello readers!

It's been two weeks, but I'm back!

September went by fast. Faster than milk ('cuz it's pasteurized before you know it; get it?!).

"So when are you gonna tell us about your one month hiatus?" you may be wondering. All in due time.

But I've made some excellent progress with the Facebook game I'm making with my friend. The design is complete. I just now need to implement everything so I can get a prototype to test it out.

Regarding my Calorie count: the last 15 days of September it's been about 28,430 or 1895 Calories per day. My swearing (or no-swearing, really) I've lost track of because I've gone completely clean for ages.

And of course, monthly meals! I didn't skimp out on September. I cooked Filipino Pork Adobo. And it was easy and tasted amazing:

You can check out how I made it here:

As far as my other goals, they're still being chipped at. I don't think I'll finish the entire Bible by the end of the year (slow reader). I'm trying to "get out there" more by enrolling with some of my local parish's ministry (like music). Still trying to learn new Ilokano words; still trying to improve my Tagalog. A lot of things getting done bit by bit on my list.

But the biggest "goal" that's missing in my list, if I'm honest with myself, would be to "find my call." More than anything right now, I'd like to know what the meaning of my life is: my purpose.

And to help me find my purpose I've been reading Os Guinness's book The Call and it's been a great guide for this internal longing I have.

"So Mark, what're you gonna end up being? A priest?" you may be wondering. Probably not. I have a lot of problems with Catholicism (read: the Catholic teachings) before I even consider becoming a priest. I have a lot more "Soul Searching" to do (and here I thought I was done when I moved from Canada to the USA!)

Til next update, keep hitting F5 for me!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Midway September

These two weeks have been really interesting for me.

First of all, I've decided to take a break from Ballroom dancing. I plan to continue, but not this month, and maybe not next month.

Secondly, I got to see my parish priest again. I asked him some pretty tough questions regarding Catholicism. Especially the dogma surrounding Mary. Still, he stood his ground and gave honest answers. Mad respect to him. He's definitely not an intellectual lightweight.

More than that though, that follow up meeting was very important to me. I'm struggling with what I should be doing with my life right now. I've lately been wondering what I really am meant to do in my life. Talking to my priest, he's suggested a few things (pray, discern) and I'm more than likely gonna have another follow-up meeting with him again.

With that out of the way, how did I fare in my last two weeks? Well here's my progress:

I've learned a new phrase in Ilokano! Adda napintas a dammag ditoy which literally means "There is good news here."

As far as my Calorie counting? Well these past 14 days I've eaten about 25,600 Calories worth of food, or around 1,828 Calories a day. I'm surprised because on September 4th my cousins and I went out to the LA County Fair and gorged on deep-fried everything.

Speaking of food, I'm gonna be cooking Pork Adobo by the end of this month!

And another thing I'll be doing by the end of the month will be finishing up that Game Design Document. It's been a while since I've touched that, but I plan to finish at least a proof of concept by the end of the year.

Books. Ah books. I never thought I'd be reading so much. I used to hate books. But I'm finding more and more that I really don't hate it so much. I finished Mere Christianity (brilliant book) and am onto The Everlasting Man by G.K. Chesterton, who is another Christian Apologist. I love how these guys use rational, coherent thought and logic to explain the Christian faith.

And that's it! How's my swearing? Well I feel weird now if I ever say a vulgar word. I'm pretty sure I haven't used any swear words these past 2 weeks. So I give myself a pat on the back for that one.

Until next time, keep hitting F5 on your browser!