Jun 21 2016

Aromatherapy

Adel Gabot

IMG_0787

7:31AM

Aromatherapy. I’m getting into it. God help me, I’m actually getting into it.

Although in a roundabout way, really. Let me tell you the story.

As I work on my computer at home, I’m constantly bothered by frigging mosquitoes. They bite my arms, my thighs, any exposed area through the course of a workday (which is anytime, really), and I find myself constantly scratching. Scratching, scratching. It’s irritating in a way that’s unrivalled by anything else I know. Dammit.

I can’t imagine how they get to me, there aren’t any stagnant sources of water around for them to breed in. It only started when the rainy season began, so I guess there must be at least one place near, although I haven’t discovered it yet.

So I went about seaching for mosquito-killing solutions, and trawled the net for them.

The cream-based repellants are out; they’re really a bother to put on and reapply during the day. So are the spray insecticides. Aside from being a health hazard, they don’t really last long, and pretty soon the pesky insects are there to feed again.

I researched the electrified traps, but quickly found out that was a scam. Those things are for other, bigger insects. The mosquitoes aren’t attracted to the UV light at all, so those that are caught are just statistical anomalies and are dead because of the luck of the draw: just 5% of those trapped and caught are mosquitoes. Even if they say “mosquito killer” on their ads don’t ever believe it.

There are those expensive ones that expel CO2 and a bit of heat that really attracts them, and even has a suction thing that pulls the mosquitoes in, but they’re expensive as hell if they’re even available at all. So that’s out.

But I also found out that citronella oil is a good insect repellant, particularly for mosquitoes, and if you burn some of that oil in an oil burner, that would do it. And it smells good too.

Which bring me to aromatherapy.

My wife is a firm believer, and she used to burn oil in our bedroom before, but she used those obscenely fragrant exotic oils that used to just give me fragrance headaches, so I never really got into it.

I went and reseached online a bit more, and found sources for citronella oil, and I even found an electronic oil burner that would simplify the process. But I wanted to try it out again first. Although I didn’t have the first idea where to buy the oil and the damn oil burners.

As luck would have it, I found a new and unused oil burner in the house (imagine that), plus a small bottle of sunflower oil. So I tried it out and lit a votive candle in there and mixed a small amount of water and sunflower oil to burn and put the whole thing in my room, and voila—I liked it!

I loved the subtle aroma, and it made me feel lighter and better about my work. Apparently I preferred the simpler scents; the more exotic, the bigger the headaches.

Putting aside the electronic burner for the meantime, I just ordered online a test bottle of citronella oil, and I’m waiting for it to arrive. While I’m waiting, I keep burning some of the sunflower oil and bathing myself in the comforting scent.

And that’s how I got into aromatherapy.

 


Jun 12 2016

Strange PS4 quirk

Adel Gabot

IMG_0781

5:32PM

My PS4 is weird.

If it’s just standing by, idling, waiting for me to get off my ass and start using it, it will somehow sense if I’m going to, and fully wake, raring to go. The screen, which had dimmed after ten minutes as it usually does to conserve power and save the screen from burn-in, will brighten and fully wake up—before I actually do anything!

My iMac workstation is right beside my entertainment center, and often, when bored, I just move from my work chair a couple of feet to the left to my La-Z-Boy and watch TV or play a game. It’s a constant battle, a major distraction from my work. I should actually move my damn workstation far and away to make sure these things don’t happen.

Sure, someday.

Often, I’m working and writing stuff and I get writer’s block (which is often) and I decide to have a change of pace by playing a game. Thing is, I’m still at my iMac‘s keyboard, and I’m just turning to grab the DS4 controller when the PS4 wakes up!

It’s as if it’s reading my mind. As if it had a life of its own.

And sometimes, I’m sitting in the lounge chair, reading off my Kindle, when I get tired of the novel I’m iand decide to play a game. I put the Kindle down and my hand reaches out to grab the DS4 when the PS4 suddenly blinks awake. Thing is, my hand hasn’t touched the dang controller yet, it was just about to.

Or sometimes I pass by my entertainment center on the way to doing something else, and the damn console wakes up, beckoning me to play, hoping to be used, and sometimes, if what I was doing wasn’t that important, I give in.

Oh, I know it’s just some motion sensor or something like that in the controller detecting my movements and waking the PS4 from its slumber, but it’s gotta be a damn sensitive one, if that’s the case. Really sensitive.

Or is my PS4 haunted? Hmm.


Jun 1 2016

No shows, dammit!

Adel Gabot

9:26AM

It’s the friggin’ dead zone as far as new TV shows are concerned, and I hate it!

I have software that automatically downloads these shows without any intervention from me, and I used to come home to at two or three new episodes of my favorite American television shows every day. Sometimes there are more than eight or nine of them, and I have to go to bed without seeing them all.

But now, there’s none, and it’s been that way for the past few days. Even The Late Show with Stephen Colbert is on a break, and I’ve lost even that this week.

This system’s been my go-to entertainment fix for a few years now, in place of watching cable or broadcast TV, or watching DVDs and blurays. Every day, there are at least a few episodes available: The Big Bang Theory. The Blacklist. Blindspot. The Flash. Supergirl. Suits. Arrow. NCIS. The Walking Dead. Family Guy. Stuff like that. (I realize most of these shows are mindless, American pop fodder, but hey, it’s my life, and I’ll watch what I want.)

They’ve all aired their series finales and gone on their breaks. The other shows who’ve been on breaks haven’t premiered their new seasons yet, so I’m effectively stuck in replay hell, save for the odd show on the odd TV cycle sked, like Inside Amy Schumer, or those debuting off the normal cycle, like Preacher.

But dammit. there’s virutally nothing to watch, and I’m forced to just go back to work on my backlog of stuff or watch, God forbid, regular cable and broadcast TV. Or just sleep.

Wala lang. Just ranting.


May 8 2016

Assorted random kuwento

Adel Gabot

7:34AM

We arranged for some people to haul out “dead” appliances from the house.

Ever since I can remember, we’ve kinda sorta been pack-rats at the old house, or hoarders, if you prefer that term. My mom, when she was alive, wasn’t too keen on throwing old things away, and the rest of us just followed her example. So, we ended up with piles of things we were never ever going to use again: clothes, crockery and cutlery, magazines and books, toys, gadgets, appliances and other assorted what-have-yous, even after she passed. I guess old habits die hard.

Since my brother came back last week to live at the house again, space has been at a premium, specially with all his damn stuff, and we decided to get rid of the junk appliances scattered around the house: stoves and ovens, a microwave, refrigerators and other stalled or broken gear.

So earlier in the week, we got some guys come to take the junk out.

My God, it was a chore! Some of those things were heavy. And you wouldn’t believe the detritus that collected under these appliances. Who’da thunk such an amount of flame-retardant padding could come out of an electric oven?

Anyway, most of it is gone now, and the house is sort of cleaner and roomier for all that. Some dead appliances are still around, notable a huge-ass airconditioner and a few kitchen gear, but we’ll get to those sometime in the future. For now, this is enough.

Sheesh.

*

Finally got a chance to catch up on my movie-and-TV-episode-viewing. I watched all the latest episodes of my favorite shows I’ve been collecting these past weeks, and I mean ALL of them.

And just yesterday, I watched two of my must-watch-but-never-got-around-to-it movies: Deadpool and 10 Cloverfield Lane. There are a ton of movies still, both old and new, to watch and I’m working my way to watch all of them. Slowly but surely.

*

My clean-shaven face is holding up nicely, and I’m coming around to preferring it to my old look—I look way younger, for one. But the downside is, I have to shave more often now. Trimming my beard, I could get away with three or four days of not touching it, but now that I’m clean-faced, I gotta shave literally every day, otherwise I’d sport a 5 o’clock shadow the whole time.

There’s gotta be a better way.

*

Damn this Overwatch beta on my PS4. It simply doesn’t want to launch—it keeps disconnecting me from the game servers from the very beginning; either that, or it simply doesn’t want to connect. Seeing as the beta is only for this weekend, I’m S.O.L. Even a big update this morning didn’t fix the situation.

So I decided to delete the damn beta from my system and download it again. All 9 GB of it. (Plus the update, 11 GB all in all.)

Hey, what can I lose? Apart from pausing all the downloads in the network and leaving my PS4 to have at it alone so it downloads faster, nothing much. Besides, I guess it’s the only chance I have to play the game; it’s not like I’m going to buy it. I suspect it’s a lot like Battleborn, another FPS it’s being compared to.

I played Battleborn in its beta test too, and while I liked it some, I’m not going to make it a habit to play the game. I deleted that with no regrets, and I think Overwatch will suffer the same fate. Although its pedigree is a lot better than Battleborn. Blizzard has always done good, as far as I’m concerned.

We’ll see later when it’s finished downloading.

*

While we’re on the subject, I’m pretty excited for Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End.

It’ll be released on Tuesday, and I’m going to be at DataBlitz when it opens to pick up my pre-order. Yes, I pre-ordered it some time ago, that’s how much I want it.

The embargo for reviews was lifted a couple of days ago, and the game websites are falling all over themselves praising it, and running out of platitudes to describe it. Top marks from literally everyone.

I don’t buy a lot of PS4 games these days, but I made an exception for Uncharted 4; I’d been playing the previous games on the PS3, and it’s an old favorite, and I’d be damned if I missed the latest one. And it’s on the PS4 no less.

I also made exceptions for purchasing Tom Clancy’s The Division—which I got last month and already played to death—and Doom, which I was going to get until the recent open beta disappointed me and turned me off to it. It was simply… too fast? I guess I got used to the relative realism of The Division to like another shooter that worked too well that you just zip through hallways. jump chasms and turn corners like you were on a roller coaster. Not for me.

That’s it for PS4 games for 2016, with the possible exception of the new Tomb Raider game towards the end of the year when the Xbox One exclusivity deal runs out and they finally release it for the PS4. At least I think I’m buying it.

Dang, I can’t wait for Uncharted.

 


Mar 20 2016

Just the hosts and the ghosts

Adel Gabot

tw-para-lockdown-title-generic

9:42AM

Here I go again with my weird and senseless obsession: paranormal investigation shows. I know these shows have absolutely no point to them, no logic, no truth. They’re obviously fake, or the hosts are really crazy for believing in them.

I am too, for watching. Yet I watch them anyway. Rabidly.

I love to scoff and mock them for their trumped-up, self-fulfilling nonsense with their EVPs and electromagnetic spike detectors and digital voice recorders and all that stuff. One of them, Ghost Asylum, even constructs “traps” to capture these ghosts. Geez Louise.

The granddaddy of them all (for me, at least) is Ghost Hunters, and the TAPS guys meander through haunted houses like buffoons with gear and scare themselves silly, usually with “strange” audio glitches on their recorders that they imagine to be voices of the dearly departed.

But I obsessively watch them every week, and other shows of their ilk. And I hate myself every time I finish every ridiculous episode.

But I’m currently watching a new one called Paranormal Lockdown, which features a couple of investigators who lock themselves in a “haunted” location for 72 hours straight and try to uncover evidence that way, and I find I’m liking it a lot, and starting to …well, believe is a strong word. Maybe become less mocking?

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Nick Groff and Katrina Weidman

It stars Nick Groff, who until most recently was a co-host of the very popular show Ghost Adventures with Zak Bagans (he was actually a co-founder of the show, and was treated with equal respect as Bagans) until he had a falling out with them and dropped out of the show sometime two years ago. I have mixed feelings about Ghost Adventures. While I like the show’s creative excesses (they recreate and dramatize a lot of the happenings), I feel the show has a nasty, sinister bent most of the time.

Groff’s co-conspirator/investigator in the show is Katrina Weidman, who I’ve never heard of before but I assume she’s just as experienced and knowledgeable in the field as Groff, at least. The two lock themselves in the location with the same sort of equipment as the other shows, and they’ve come with interesting bits of nonsense. The key word there is “interesting”.

They’ve come up, so far, with interesting voice phenomena that actually sound like understandable speech, and they’ve even gone so far as to conduct actual conversations with these entities where they sort of reply in real time. That kind of convenient nonsense. No actual recorded apparitions yet, though.

I like Paranormal Lockdown because there are only two investigators, and just those two throughout the entire show. and you get to know them on a more intimate, personal level. The style of the program is also much nicer because they come off as staunch skeptics first, and reluctant believers a far second.

The other thing I really like is that they spend three whole days locked in there. Three days. 72 hours. I’ve always said that the other shows never spend any real time in their locations, like Ghost Hunters, who just stay for a night. You’re never going to get any good evidence (if there is any evidence to really get, that is) if you just drop in for a quick visit. Groff and Weidman really burn the oil when they investigate.

The show is also recorded in a more in-your-face style that is new to the genre, unlike the crowded multi-host mess of other shows that makes for an impersonal approach, and they’re not afraid to show the crew in their shots; heck, they even participate in the fun often. And the other programs show us numerous camera feeds and endless replays of dubious footage and doubtful audio that we’re treated to ad nauseam, just in case we miss the “phenomena”. Here it’s just the hosts and the ghosts.

I was watching Paranormal Lockdown’s third episode this morning, fresh off the pipes, detailing their time spent in a place called Franklin Castle, which is a grand and fancy name but in reality is just this big old abandoned mansion in Cleveland, Ohio. I actually got the chills early on in the episode where they think they see a little girl slinking off in the hallway, and I believed they saw something, just for that instant. That’s never happened to me watching one of these shows before.

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John Tenney

Dropping into the episode for a quick visit was John E.L. Tenney, a former host of one of the other paranormal shows I also watch but has since been cancelled, Ghost Stalkers. I’ve always liked Tenney. He comes off as a no-nonsense guy who’s like some businessman who just happened across this paranormal investigation schtick and went along with it. It’s weird seeing him in Paranormal Lockdown; it’s like my different worlds are getting mixed up, but in a nice way.

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Amy Bruni and Adam Berry

In fact, in last week’s episode, Lockdown also had a couple of other guests visit: two of my erstwhile favorites from Ghost Hunters (who also had a falling out with their show and quit last year, like Groff did with his old show): investigators Amy Bruni and Adam Berry, who I hadn’t seen in a while and missed quite a bit. It’s like Lockdown’s become a melting pot for former paranormal investigators. Anyway, that was nice too.

Oh well. Wala lang. Just wanted to make kwento.