Skulls and roses, the heart and the mind, Thoughts and emotions, butterflies and bones; each are alike, yet each seems to oppose. * Through rise and fall, of celestial orbs; Through the constant tick and tock of mechanical clocks; Through doubts and indecision, suddenly, a magical moment found. * Years passed, caged in an enchanted sleep; Yet in this magical night, and the splendor of words, ignites the sleeping beast
The notebook in the photo was what I once called as my perfect notebook the moment I laid my eyes on it. I can’t seem to find the courage to start writing on it since it was given to me as a gift. I hold it with so much reverie that I think that my thoughts and my emotions aren’t worthy enough for the blank pages it beholds. In fact, I even searched and bought for a new one. Yet, just only last night, this magical moment happened, and I was finally able to gather up the confidence that I need to start devouring the pages and fill it with my own wonder.
I stare at the keys, taunting me illuminating blue light, dark thoughts it’s crazy how these feelings do. Raw, unfiltered, unmasked letting it all go in heavy, little presses. Where to start, how to continue? Ten thousand more hours I need, to make little pieces that count. Trying times, jaded mind, the white canvas, blank lines my bunker underneath this mess. A scream of plea, a cry for help, created a world to keep me safe.
She stared at the mirror, familiarizing her every feature. Trying to hold on to her own identity, the one unstained, untouched by him. Her eyes – dark as her soul, outlined by a regal thin wall of blue as he said. Her nose – how often does he pinch it when in a playful mood. Her lips – how his brushed it softly, passionately, intensely. Her hair – he has always loved the wild, long curves of her hair. Has always admired how it falls gracefully right down her shoulders and chest. She stared at the mirror, she can only see traces of him. Traces he left behind when he shut the door. Traces of him all over her body. How badly does she want to take all of him out of her; out of her body, out of her mind, out of her life. She stared at the mirror. In her eyes, she see fire. A fire set on her soul. A fire that burns brightly, so bright he could not even touch the surface. A fire so pure, no remnants of him can be found. She stared at the mirror. Closed her eyes, took hold of her hair. Snip. Snip. Snip. The wild long curves falling recklessly on the ground. Snip. Snip. Snip.
By now you’ve probably seen tons of photos, articles and blog post that are all related to this pandemic. What can we do? This has been monumental for everyone of us – like it or not, we’re all affected by the rapid spread of this virus and it is such a game changer. We were all forced to take a pause from our daily routine, our sense of normalcy disrupted and have since been adapting to our new normal. But as social beings stuck in this world of capitalism, we still found ways to create new fads.
It started when Dalgona coffee took the internet by storm. This easy to make beverage is everywhere on the first few weeks of quarantine – you name it, it’s all over your face each day. The fact that it is easy to make, its ingredients readily available (for a fair price too), highly aesthetic and actually tastes good got the most of us whipping our hearts out. Then came the basque burnt cheesecakes and other pastries. By now, some of your friends have probably opened their own homemade bakeshops that you’ve already tried (#supportlocal). And let’s not forget the release of Animal Crossing: New Horizons that everyone (including the celebrities we follow. Hi Elijah Wood and Brie Larson ♥) jumped on the hype train and went gaga over the deserted island life simulation game that even Nintendo was surprised by the sales not just of the game, but the consoles too. But I think, one of the most common guilty pleasure we all share right now is online shopping. It’s convenient, it’s hassle-free, and yes, it’s plain old “retail therapy”.
Again, what can we do? We all have our own coping mechanisms and online shopping can boost our mood or at least gets us something to look forward to. Careful though, it’s a slippery slope to going broke. I myself am a culprit of spending some hard earned cash during this pandemic period to help me get by and let me share with you some of the stuff I loved:
Animal Crossing: New Horizons I am guilty of being completely crazy over this game for the first two months since its release. I was playing (more like grinding) this simulation like game which helped me escape from the clutches of reality during the first few weeks of the quarantine. Check out my thoughts on this game here.
Kindle Paperwhite Late last year, I broke my Kobo (another ebook reader) and has been meaning to replace it ever since but only got around to it during this quarantine period when I stayed with my grandmother. All my books were at home and it also didn’t help that I slept in the same room as to keep tabs on her and therefore could not continue with my late night reading. For those reasons and the sale on Lazada (the leading online shopping platform in Southeast Asia) got me eye-ing this new version of the Paperwhite, I haven’t been disappointed by this since I was able to get my hands on it!
UVC Sterilizer Even before the virus outbreak, I already have a small bottle of alcohol with me inside my purse or my pocket. I bring it with me when stepping out for lunch or while drinking with friends. When traveling, I see to it that I buy some sanitary wipes and alcohol on the first or nearest convenience store that I could find. So when this pandemic hit the Philippines, I was one of those people who are a bit more careful – spraying alcohol everywhere, getting my hands clean all the time, wearing mask even inside the car, and now, carrying with me a UVC sterilizer too. I just had to up my disinfection game! The efficacy of this product is debatable especially when dealing with the corona virus, but I did my research on the dos and don’ts, and also looked for a reputable brand that I believe in.
Aside from these three and the local food businesses that I support, the best purchase during this period is actually this: yes, this blog. engrvwrites.com. I was a bit hesitant at first because this is my hard earned money that I’d be spending to fund this little passion project of mine but then I realized that if I’m not gonna believe that I’m worth it, then probably nobody else will. I took a bet on myself, and it has not been the same since then.
How about you? What are your favorite purchases this quarantine period? 🙂
How are you feeling today? What is the root of that emotion?
1 Page At A Time by Adam J. Kurtz
It’s the 125th day of the quarantine here in the Philippines. Since last March, I’ve been working from home and about two weeks ago it was announced that as a part of our organization’s business continuity plan, we’ll continue with this work from home arrangement until the end of the year. It gave me a sense of relief given that I won’t have to face the risk of going outside to carry on with my job unlike most Filipinos struggling in this situation.
Had someone told me that I’ll be working from home six months ago, I probably would have entertained that news with glee. But now, being holed up in in my room for more than four months, I feel the psychological impact of this set-up, and it doesn’t help with the burnout that’s been looming over me for quite some time now. You might be reading this and feeling the same way or maybe just stumbled upon this post without having been affected by this global pandemic, anyway, let me share with you a little tip I got from a self-help book: your feelings are valid, and when you get to the bottom of it, it gets easier to ride the wave.
To answer the question above, I’m actually feeling frustrated right now – I always look forward to the weekend, especially when the work from home arrangement started that when Sunday afternoon hits, I end up feeling well, yeah, frustrated. How come I haven’t made the most of my free time and WHY DOES IT HAVE TO BE MONDAY AGAIN?!
I sat down, grabbed my trusty notebook and the nearest pen I could get my hands on. As I scribble down my feelings, I realized that this strong negative emotion stems from the work related problems that I’ll be forced to face again tomorrow. It takes me back to the responsibilities that I am obliged to do, and the tedious tasks that I have to repeatedly do for another five days. If I’m honest with myself, hell, I may be feeling this way because of my fear of failure and that I still might not be able to provide the solutions that I’m responsible to come up with. It’s not about my weekend activities or lack thereof, because in reality, I was able to spend time with my family, watch the 2020 Hungarian Grand Prix and even the qualifying, play console games for a few hours and even see an anime film for the first time. In the end, it’s about this hard truth: my frustration stemmed from my fears.
Knowing and understanding this makes a great impact, because now I can address my feelings better and accept that there are things that I have no control of, and those that I do have, I can start working on. Instead of feeling miserable for the rest of the night, I now have the choice to refocus my thoughts on solving my problems or pushing them at bay to deal with tomorrow to take the rest of the night off peacefully reading blog posts and news.
one last time, I told myself look you in the eyes, feel the tenderness of your lips. one last bottle, as i empty another enough tears and such sad music, shut these mem’ries that linger. one last drag, huffed and puffed. the warm comfort of your touch, now part of my haunting past.
must’ve been kismet, or call it fate maybe just my own sinful measure. count the chug, the drag, all the tears i’ve shed in your arms, my walls could never deliver. again, staring at those deep dark eyes, forever – my undoing, i’ll surrender.
It was 9:52 on a Sunday morning, fair but a bit cloudy outside. I was feeling quite tired despite of having been able to sleep for eight hours. I reached for my Kindle and decided to go for some light novel instead of a heavy read, and let myself be carried into the world of extravagance by Kevin Kwan in his new book Sex and Vanity.
The first part of the story revolves around another crazy expensive wedding, but this time set in the beautiful island of Capri and an adventure of a nineteen year-old Lucie Tang Churchill, our protagonist with Eurasian beauty that she seemed to be completely unaware of and born of old American money, and her love interest George Zao from Hong Kong, also born from a ridiculously rich family who kept his mysterious character together in the first act. It centered on Lucie and finding herself being drawn to yet also appalled by the young lad in the cobbled streets, ancient mansions, upscale hotels and historical beauty of the island only to be separated by a heated and passionate albeit unfortunate incident on the wedding day itself.
Reading the first part of the book really made me search for the tourist and some historical spots mentioned. What more can I say? Kevin Kwan has the ability to captivate us in the world of the crazy rich and yearn to see or experience it someday. For me, the first part captured the youth of Lucie perfectly while setting up the foundation for the other characters too, who would be later seen or mentioned in the story. While reading about the wedding week in Capri, I could almost immediately picture this novel in the big screen. That’s how Kwan delivered his storytelling – another chic story waiting to be adapted.
The second part of the book takes five years later from the incident involving drones and on to Lucie’s life back in New York where she says yes to the exorbitant wedding proposal of New York’s most eligible bachelor, Cecil Pike. Most of the chapters take place in the Hamptons but also takes us to an even more elite circle in the Upper East Side than Gossip Girl did. The extravagance of these characters quipped with satirizing them was what made me stick to finishing the whole book in a day despite (for me, at least ) the story not being able to pull off the romance part, at all. I simply find the young “love” of Lucie and George in the wedding week a little too weak to practically make that of an impact on the later part of the story, and Lucie and Cecil’s relationship doesn’t make sense to me (or to anyone probably, I mean really, how did these two even got together??)
I’d hand it to Kwan still for not only delivering a romcom but throughout the story, topics such as racism, the feeling and experiences of being multi-racial, and even the new vs. old money issue (probably being a problem only for the upper 10 percent of the world’s population) are being tackled. However, these were not deeply dealt with but was just a recurring theme and can be easily shied away from. Given these shortcomings, I would still recommend reading this booknow. Why? Because I’d rather be transported to the enchanting landscape and dramatic scenery of Capri than be cooped up in front of my T.V. againfor a whole new day in this quarantined life.
A week from now, I will be conducting a training on a Power BI for a private firm in the Philippines. As our organization’s technology specialist in Data Analytics, talking about Power BI should pose as an as easy task given my familiarity with the tool. However, as days pass, I find myself a bit nervous. So I decided to finally write about something data related in this blog. After all, there’s a whole page dedicated to this.
I was first exposed to the world of business intelligence in my first job – I was hired as an Associate Software Engineer for a known multinational outsourcing company just right after I passed my board exam. It was not in direct relation to my degree (Electronics and Communication Engineering), however I find myself pleased and doing well during the bootcamp. That’s when I find myself deeply interested in the field of business intelligence and data analytics. Needless to say, I was taught various tools to be used in this field, which includes Power BI.
Power BI is a Microsoft’s business analytics service consisting of apps, services, and connectors that turns data into reports and dashboards. It is composed of an application called the Power BI Desktop wherein reports are curated and made from various compatible data sources and connectors using immersive and interactive visuals, a Software as a Service (SaaS) called as Power BI service where dashboards can be seen and made online, and the Power BI mobile application which is available for both Android and IOS devices.
Being another Microsoft product, Power BI Desktop shares the ease of use and UI most people are familiar with. It helps that it follows and shares functions used in Power Query in Excel, which makes formulating your calculations easier. It also has intellisense enabled when creating your calculations or queries, which helps beginners and professionals alike when using built-in functions. The Power BI Desktop is pretty straightforward and can be used by beginners and hobbyists to create their own reports. Of course, complexity of the measures or data transformation may vary, but generally speaking, it is easy enough to learn and use even for people without much data science or math background.
In addition to it being dubbed as self-service BI tool, it also has a lots of supported data sources both on cloud and on premise such as Azure SQL Database, local Excel files, flat files on One Drive, SharePoint lists, Salesforce, Dynamics 365, and OData feed to name a few. Once published to its SaaS Power BI Service, a refresh schedule can be arranged so that your report always have the freshest data available to your use.
These data sources can be easily prepped, manipulated and transformed to create visually immersive reports with interactive visuals by simply using the old but reliable drag and drop function into the report canvas. Published reports can be shared to the organization with secure features such as row level security or can easily be embedded to websites and applications.
As for its benefits, Power BI when used to show insights on data can provide data driven decisions for an organization. Business intelligence is an emerging trend in the industry now, and as we move further along with technology, a bit of knowledge on this fields can benefit us in the long run. Here are some reasons why you should consider learning this easy to learn but powerful tool.
If you have questions or need some tips, kindly let me know by commenting on this post. I’ll be glad to help! 🙂
Dripping ink on parchment, the quill – the only thing I have left; Family in brisk danger, beloved betrothed to another; A piece of paper – it all started, tempted to rip it, tattered. Though each breath numbered, Blossoming freedom is all that matters.
Lines of verticals, all I see, Each wall domineering o’er me. A loaf of bread, I had to take, In return, soul and body encaged.
Politics, greed in every turn, sins, injustice and stronghold – let’s watch it burn. Thoughts voiced and acted no longer numbered. How does one use this privilege, this fought and died for – power?
Inspired by what’s happening in the Philippines now, where our freedom seems to be at stake with the new anti-terror law that has been signed just today. Channeling my anxiety, disappointment, and fear through art.