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PhilPost Rates as of January 2016 – Domestic and International

Happy 2016, everyone!

I’ve been sending and receiving snail mail for a few months now and when I was starting out and looking for information on the Philippine Postal Corporation’s (PhilPost) rates, I found the website less than useful. Now, it’s possible that I’m just a blind dweeb, but in case I’m not, I hope this information will prove helpful.

Unfortunately, PhilPost had a price hike as of 2 January 2016. I’m not sure why this is, but I hope it translates to better service. Some Christmas cards sent to me early December 2015 arrived just a few days ago, and I’m relatively certain that more are coming. I know Christmas is a busy season, but transit time of over a month seems a bit excessive. For reference, it typically takes 2-3 weeks for mail to arrive to me.

Anyway, enough babbling. Here are the (partial) PhilPost rates as of January 2016.

International zoning information can be found here.

I hope this information helps you! Happy sending!

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Review/Thoughts on “The Alchemyst” by Michael Scott (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel #1)

Alchemyst_Nicholas_Flamel

This was my 5th book for the 2015 Reading Challenge. A book recommended by a friend (my cousin). A super fast read. Reminiscent of Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief but with a lot less humor and way more whining. Then again, I haven’t read Percy in a while, so it may be as annoying.

Premise: The Codex, a super important magical book with lots of important things including but not limited to the Elixir of Immortality, has been stolen from its protectors, Nicholas and Perenelle Flamel by Dr. John Dee, a lackey of the Dark Elders (the “Big Bad”). Not everything is lost, however, as 15 1/2-year old Josh Newman, whose summer job is working for the Flamels in their bookshop, managed to rip and keep the last two, and of course, most important, pages of the Codex. He and his twin, Sophie, are revealed/assumed to be the twins of prophecy, possessing pure gold and silver auras, respectively, which is pretty rare, apparently. According to the Codex, which contains practically everything, they have the power to save or destroy the world. The prophecy goes, “The two that are one, and the one that is all,” and it seems to be a widely held belief that one twin will cause the world’s destruction, the other, its salvation. Or something.

Continue reading

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2015 Reading Challenge

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope the holidays have been kind to you and I hope we all have a wonderful year ahead.

I got myself a Kindle Paperwhite for Black Friday (which arrived only last week) and I’ve been enjoying it immensely. I haven’t been reading too often before the Kindle’s arrival, and to get myself back into the groove, and, as it is a new year, why not challenge myself with a New Year’s resolution? And here it is: Popsugar’s Reading Challenge (pdf) (plain text)! It’s made up of 50 items (including a trilogy, so a total of 52 books, if you check off each book uniquely), an average of 4-5 books per month. I like it because I’m almost exclusively a fantasy and chick lit girl, and this will force me to broaden my horizons and hopefully discover books/authors/genres I might not have taken a look at otherwise. That said, if you’re looking for something more genre-specific, I’m sure there are other avenues, an example of which is Goodreads.

2015 Reading Challenge

 

I’m actually a pretty slow reader – I just make an effort to spend a lot of time reading. For those who are doubtful they can finish 52 books, why not cross out everything applicable to the book you read in Popsugar’s list? Or, as an alternative, Random House has 2 Reading Bingo cards, with only 24 items each!

Reading Bingo

Reading Bingo – YA Edition

Whatever you decide, just remember (and this is something I should keep in mind as well), reading for leisure is just that – it should be fun! So if you don’t think you can finish the above lists, or you don’t want to, just use it for inspiration! Let’s all have a lovely, book-filled year!

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Random Nail Polish Swatches (of sort)

Hello! I haven’t posted anything here in forever and I keep meaning to, but find I have nothing to say. I recently got interested in nail polish (I know! Why did it take me so long?) and I took some crappy phone pictures and here they are, from the most recent to the oldest. I can’t for the life of me tell you what the undertones, etc. are; I just like the pretty colors. :3

Most of these I did myself so forgive the crappy application. I’ll note which ones I had done professionally.

Zoya Storm

Zoya Storm

Zoya Storm

This is my first Zoya polish. 3 coats, though 2 is fine. I got carried away because I found it quick to dry. Black with holo sparkles that show up in sunlight. I love the subtlety of the holo because I realized I don’t like holo that much. It’s so pretty and shimmery, but I was kinda surprised at its watery consistency, especially on the first coat. Evened out well after the second, though. It’s not bad with longevity, but not omgwtfbbq, either. I’m pretty rough on my nails, so most polishes usually don’t last more than a week. Right now (so a week later), my left nails are good except for some nail tipping and my right nails have more chips on them (pointer and middle), but overall not bad.

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SMARTBRO RANT

I try not to write rants about customer service issues, etc. but I can’t help myself this time. I am so fed up with Sun Cellular/Smart Communication. My SmartBro experience is way shorter compared to my Sun experience, but I’ll share anyway.

I’m having connectivity issues with SmartBro so, not having any Smart numbers, I tried calling their landline hotline, instead. Several tries to no avail. I reached the automated announcement (Hello, welcome to Smart, etc), but when I was supposed to enter my account number or something, the automated machine would always say that I typed the incorrect number. Fine.

I got to borrow a Smart cellphone, FINALLY got through to their CS and explained that I hadn’t had internet for a while, etc. She asked if I was in front of the router so we could troubleshoot and I said no, I was just borrowing this cellphone from a friend. I explained all of the troubleshooting measures I tried, but no, apparently we had to do “real time” troubleshooting. I could’ve lied my way through it, but it’s difficult for me to lie, so I asked if there was another way to contact them not involving a Smart number. Having done so before, when I was in Manila, I figured they had to have other alternatives, and maybe I just dialed several wrong numbers when I tried to contact them before. Unfortunately, she said, I needed a Smart number to contact them.

I was flabbergasted. To clarify, I repeated my question: “There’s no way to contact you, AT MY OWN EXPENSE, an issue related to SMARTBRO (not a handset), so I can redo troubleshooting measures I already tried?” No, apparently not. Continue my shock and denial. What’s the point of ADVERTISING a “HOTLINE CONNECT Via Landline” IF IT DOESN’T WORK????? Assuming I don’t have anyone to borrow a Smart number from, does that mean I have to BUY a Smart number WHICH I HAVE NO USE FOR aside from calling customer service to fix my SmartBro issue? Ridiculous.

After my previous headaches with Sun Cellular, and now this… I just wish they’d be more considerate to non-Smart or non-Sun cellphone subscribers. Geez. It pisses me off that I have to go through hoops to fix an issue with their service.

Now, how the hell am I gonna fix this damned SmartBro……………………..

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My 1st Reddit Gift Exchange – Thoroughly Disappointing

When I started this blog, I told myself that I would write reviews about whatever, and not about my personal life, unless it’s relevant to the review. Unfortunately, this is a straight up rant because I don’t know where else to express these feelings.

So. I just finished (or am on the way to finishing) my first Reddit Gift Exchange. We’ve all seen super duper awesome, expensive gifts given like iPads, computers, and even something from Bill Gates (sadly not a Surface. Whether I think that’s awesome or not is neither here nor there). There are also super duper cool gifts (if not monetarily expensive) like artwork and other crafts. Most probably wish to receive something as awesome, and maybe even some sign up in the first place, specifically hoping to get a brand new NDS or what have you. I was one of the former, but not the latter. So, with shining eyes, I registered for a reddit and a redditgifts account, clicked the signup button for the Hockey gift exchange, painstakingly filled up all of the required info (and writing a very detailed Likes/Dislikes since I hadn’t posted anything in reddit, so my match had nothing to stalk me with), and patiently waited for Matching Day. /r/hockey (the sub-reddit/forum for duh hockey)  already had an unofficial gift exchange, and I think most participants received something, so I rested easy. I’ve always believed that hockey fans are the best, among the Top 4 sports, so the percentage of me being shafted was pretty small, I thought.

I’m just a new hockey fan, actively watching games live only a few months ago. I really wanted hockey swag to decorate my work with, so I WAS SO EXCITED for the exchange.

Unfortunately, in any, and all, exchanges, there will be scammers who join for free stuff. Reddit has a system that tries to lessen scammers, but I can’t comment on its efficacy. So if someone gets matched by a scammer, people can volunteer to be rematchers, giving the shafted person something, while receiving nothing in return. Of course rematchers can also shaft you.

So, hockey fans (best in the world) + Reddit system + Rematchers = WIN, right?

Well, yes, in theory. When Matching Day came, I excitedly checked who I was matched with, and saw he was a new member (ruh roh), so didn’t have any posts (ruh roh x 2), and when I messaged him, he didn’t reply (ruh roh x 3). As a good Santa, I still sent him something, though admittedly didn’t go all out. I’d like to say that I felt bad, but after he still didn’t reply to ANY of my messages and didn’t even post the gift he received, MEH. I can’t definitively say he was a scammer, but well……….. I thought to myself, I still have my Santa. Giving is just one part of the exchange, right?

Well, my Santa checked my info twice (once during the start/middle and once at the end), but never sent me a message or a gift. Sigh. Well, fine. I received an email saying I was a rematcher for someone, promptly sent them a message and a gift (2 shirts and a pair of earrings), and all/most was well. Actually, when she posted her gift, she didn’t include the earrings, and when I asked her about it, she didn’t reply. Meh. Honestly, I AM annoyed. I mean, c’mon, this random person gave you something without expecting anything in return and you can’t even reply to her question. Well, whatever, her post seemed positive, at least. While looking around, I also noticed that I was rematched to someone and said person checked my info a couple of times. Woo-hoo!

I had cancelled my participation as a hockey rematcher because of funds but felt bad and signed up again. Again, promptly sent the guy a message and ordered the gift (signed puck).

A couple of days later, my rematch santa sent me a message saying that he didn’t have much money anymore and so gave me a 3-month Elf subscription. I said thanks and posted in the gallery.

Sigh. I thought to myself, why be a rematcher if you know you can’t give anything? zzzzzzzzz

I know a lot of people say that the happiness is in the giving. Well, I gave and gave and gave, and sure, I’m happy, but I’d still like to receive something more in turn. This is a gift EXCHANGE, after all. I mean, I am thankful to my rematcher coz at least s/he gave me something, but sigh. I spent, what, $100 and I got $10 in return? Not even something I can physically hold. I wasn’t even expecting a computer, for crying out loud. A shirt would’ve been fine, and I also asked for a puck coz I’ve never seen one irl. Good thing I ordered one on Amazon coz my Santas didn’t even give me that. Sigh.

So here comes Arbitrary Day and I signed up for it, but, I don’t want to get my hopes up again, just to be thoroughly disappointed. I don’t think I’ll be a rematcher, either, for this round.

 

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Looks like I’m a sad giftee for this Reddit exchange.

As some of you may know, Reddit is pretty much an online geek community/forum. They have a gift exchange every month, I think, with various themes, although the three main themes are Arbitrary Day in June, Halloween and Christmas.

Anyway, I’ve been getting into hockey recently and coincidentally, there’s a hockey gift exchange this month in time for the Stanley Cup playoffs! Signups were from March 31 to April 14. I actually got my match on April 15, local time, though. I was so excited! I saw so many awesome past gifts and actually r/hockey had an unofficial gift exchange last December and I think it went well. Only a few people got shafted and those who did got at least small care packages c/o /u/Patrick_Kane, the organizer.

So, to recap: recently got into hockey + (official) hockey gift exchange + hockey fans are the best ever and I think/thought less scammers = WIN. Sign me up! Unfortunately, things haven’t worked out for me. I mean, I know it’s early since gifters have until May 2 to ship, but my info hasn’t even been pulled! Meaning, whoever I was assigned to doesn’t even know s/he is assigned to me. Balls. And really, my heart died a little more each time I refreshed the page and saw more and more people getting picked and fewer and fewer people gifters. There are always scammers every gift exchange and I estimated less than 10% would be shafted in the hockey exchange and I did the math. There are – okay, the redditgifts site just crashed so I’ll just put estimates. There are ~1440 participants so if 10% will be scammed, that would be ~140. So far, as far as I remember, only ~110 people haven’t been picked, me being one of them. It’s looking like that won’t change anytime soon. Sigh. I signed up to be a rematcher for the hockey exchange and the t-shirt exchange. Rematchers give gifts to people who weren’t given gifts by their original santas, expecting nothing in return, but hockey only has 23 rematchers, again, including me. So 22 rematchers for potentially 110 scammed (probably more) would be a ~`20% chance so yeah, I’m not even gonna hope. So yes. My heart has pretty much broken. Sigh. And I was so excited, too. Sigh.

Anyway, to add crappiness to the crapf*ck of my gift exchange experience, the person I was matched with sucks. No posting history (scammer?) and said he likes everything. ‘Kay. He did specify a thing or two but he still seems lame. I was so excited to stalk someone with a lot of post history to give them a super thoughtful and awesome gift and I was also ready to splurge. As it is, with my match, I stayed around the suggested budget. I probably would have been more in the mood to splurge if someone had picked me, but, well, yeah. Actually, I’m a new member, too, so no post history, but I was super duper detailed with my background and likes and dislikes. I wouldn’t have minded if he were like that. As it is, I’m looking at giving away 3 gifts and getting nothing in return. Can you hear my heart smashing into pieces? Haha.

I ranted to my friend and he said something like I should have expected that to happen and the point of the gift exchange is the giving. I would like to think that signing up for 1 exchange and 2 rematches is in the spirit of giving, but the whole thing is still an EXCHANGE, not charity.

Sigh. Next up is Arbitrary Day which has more participants and more scammers so I don’t know if I’m going to join. I probably will give it a chance, but it just sucks if I get nothing for my first exchange after being relatively generous (IMO).

 

………… now, which other exchanges should I volunteer to be rematch santa again………..