PLDT = Stupid

A few months ago, my housemates and I received a billing statement from PLDT which included an international long distance call which we did not make. Of course we disputed the statement by sending a letter to PLDT. We didn’t hear anything about the issue until the other day when a letter from PLDT arrived. It says that according to their records, an international long distance call was indeed made. Now wait a minute! Aren’t we disputing exactly that record? Sheesh! X-(

UPDATE: PLDT has disconnected our line. Fine! POTS is so yesterday anyway :P

Leatherman Wave

One of the most useful tools you can carry around is a knife. But not too far in running would be pliers. And pliers are exactly the main selling point of the Leatherman Wave. This 100% stainless steel multi-tool has long-nose pliers that you can access by simply opening the handle. The grip edges are rounded for a comfortable grip which fixes a problem with earlier Leatherman models. In addition, it has 4 locking blades that are accessible without having to open the handle: A plain-edge clip-point blade, a serrated sheepsfoot blade, a wood saw, and a metal saw with nail and metal files on each side. These blades have liner locks to prevent inadvertent closing. Inside the handle you get a few more goodies: a Philips screwdriver, a can/bottle opener, scissors, and 4(!) flat screwdrivers of various sizes. My only complaint is that the Wave seems to have overly many flat screwdrivers. Replacing on of those with maybe a smaller Philips screwdriver would have been better. But I guess you can get the separately available tool adapter which gives you a few more screwdrivers. All in all, it’s a neat little package. It may be a bit heavy and big for pocket carry, so you will most probably be using the included belt-mountable sheath.

Rating: 5/5

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

I was curious about Charlie and the Chocolate Factory because Billie likes the original Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory very much. As expected from a kiddie and family movie, it was bright, wondrous, and feel goody. Several [mostly annoying] kids won trips to a tour of The Chocolate Factory. Somewhere in the middle of the movie there was a shade of darkness as they encountered the singing burning dolls (creepy), and meet the mysterious Willy Wonka who seemed to be hiding something (creepier). Then the kids started disappearing one by one, hinting of something sinister going on. If I didn’t know any better I’d have thought that the Oompa Loompa’s are cannibals (Wonka mentioned something about cannibalism before the first kid disappeared) or that the secret ingredients for Wonka’s yummy chocolates were kids (shades of Soylent Green). But then those dark twisted thoughts of mine would have come to naught as this is a kiddie and family movie after all. As expected, in the end the missing kids turned up more or less fine and things got brighter and happier. Great for a family outing.

Rating: 3/5

Thinkpad Rebirth

Selene, my trusty little IBM Thinkpad X22 died last wednesday. At first I thought it was Windows’ fault. It turned out later that it was the hard disk’s. I buy a new 40GB Seagate Momentus hard disk and what do I get? A catastrophic failure after just a few months’ use. Grrr. It’s a good thing I still have the original 20GB IBM Travelstar hard disk.

A hard disk failure is always a traumatic experience to me (and I’ve had quite a few). This is mainly because I don’t backup as diligently as others(?). I think about the gigabytes of data that can’t be recovered. Most of these is probably clutter and will probably be completely forgotten a few weeks later. But when you’re in the middle of the disaster you can’t help but feel this deep sense of loss :P But what has happened has happened and all you can really do is to pick up the pieces best you can and get things together and up again.

So I tried installing Linux Fedora Core 4. Wishing that this more robust operating system could save me from future grief. Although it was not Windows’ fault, I was thinking maybe it contributed >:) Besides, I’ve used Linux before. On my servers and, for one lengthy period, as a desktop OS. Unfortunately, things didn’t turn out the way I wanted them to. On my first attempt, a power management and hot-plugging wouldn’t work. I tried again with the same results. What’s a notebook without power management? I decided to give up on Linux (for the time being) and went back to Windows 2000.

After installing Windows 2000, I found out I didn’t have the drivers as the recovery partition was also trashed. Except one: for the Linksys WPC54G Wireless PCMCIA card. So I installed it and logged on to IBM/Lenovo to download the other drivers. I did a search and got a download link for a software installer which I promptly downloaded and ran. Lo and behold, it searched IBM/Lenovo for all the drivers and other software I need (and also those I don’t really need) and asked me which ones I want. I selected them all, started the download, and left it overnight. This morning the files were all waiting for me and with a click of a mouse button, they started installing. Pretty painless and quick. IBM/Lenovo rocks!

And thus my Thinkpad was reborn.

The Machinist

In The Machinist, Christian Bale plays Trevor Reznik, a machinist who hasn’t slept in a year. As a result he is gaunt and emaciated and prone to memory lapses and paranoia. Through the movie, he slowly unravels the mystery of his condition and, although at times a bit confusing, lets you experience his bewilderment and provides a reasonably satisfying realization phase. In the end, you sort of share his sense of final relief. The movie reminded me of Fight Club (chronic insomnia) and Memento (writing down information except Reznik writes his reminders on Post-Its). Aside from that, there is no other comparison with the aforementioned movies as this movie is darker, more morbid, and more gory. Pretty good if you’re into that kind of movie.

Rating: 4/5