SHIELD Agent, Costume-made Uniform

Of the geeks, I'm probably the one who's the least bit interested in costuming. I'm very selective with the costumes I have so far worn. I declined the Star Trek uniform because I didn't like the fit.
I'd probably wear a costume that was lent or given to me, but I'm not the type to assemble or spend for it. Why?
a. For something I'd wear once, it takes too much effort (sewing, painting, etc.)
b. For something I'd wear once, it's costly especially since I'd have to defile the materials for the costume

The last time I actually assembled my own costume was in 2007.
Since then, I decided that by principle, any costume I'd put on should be:
a. Striking in its simplicity (Plus the fact I hardly ever wear a costume)
b. Made of clothes and accessories I can wear everyday

When I found out I'd be hosting this year's Marvel/DC hero-and-villain-themed Hard Rock Halloween party, I knew it was time to put on a costume again.It only hit me last Wednesday night what I wanted to do: A SHIELD agent.
It was unpredictable because:
a. It was neither hero nor villain but belonged in the universe
b. Not many people dress up as SHIELD agents
c. People anticipated that I'd go as a member of the Avengers

I thought of it Wednesday night and that's when I started foraging for the materials. I couldn't find what I needed at the mall, so I hit a nearby ukay-ukay and found the perfect shirt.
Then I decided I'd hit Divisoria Saturday morning because I bought a couple of belt packs there before that would be perfect for the waist. The rest just fell into place.

Here is a break down of the costume.

a. Black zip-up turtle neck shirt (P230) - It fit my neck, shoulders and chest just sexily but it was loose towards the waist, so it was problematic to tuck in.

b. Belt pack (P150) - It's actually a bit beige in color but it was closer to white than the gray one.

c. High-rise shoes (P650) - I stumbled upon this at one of the street vendors lining up Recto Ave. going to 168 Mall. There was one in pure white, which was perfect, except that the only pair they had was a size 9 (I'm a size 8). Looking back, I should've gotten that 'cause the one I got squeezed my toes painfully.

d. Two white belts (P80 each) and suspender (P80)- I found one street vendor selling these, though I only worked out how to make the legs and upper body straps when I got home.

e. Cargo jeans (P470) - I was just going to wear a pair of slacks but when I saw this from a street vendor, I thought it was perfect. It had a 29-inch waistline (I wear 30-inchers) but it fit me nicely, even with the shirt tucked in. I just had to rip out a couple of patches sewn into the pockets.

f. Two white leather armbands (P50 each) - I saw these at the mall and thought I can get it cheaper at Recto Ave. near where the schools are.

g. White cotton gloves (P29) - The first thing I saw when I was looking for materials at the mall but the last thing I bought after my trip to Divi.

h. Sticker paper (P35/10 sheets) and printing (P5) - For the SHIELD insignia. First I thought I'd print it on regular bond paper and use double-sided tape. The idea of using sticker paper instead dawned on me just a few hours before the event.

Total: P1,909. The best part is I can reuse and abuse everything. And I looked hella awesome!

Posted by Picasa


Me, the Trigger Happy Shutter Bug

As part of my overall rehabilitation, I finally took a more serious interest in photography again.
The thing is I've always loved taking pictures. I remember in high school, I was always the undeclared yet designated documentalist of parties and other events.
In college, I took great photos for our plates in photography class. Except my photos with my partner Krystal as my subject came out blurred while her photos of me came out great. That was our final plate and I got a 70+ and she got 90+. But all of those ideas and concepts -  including the ones she shot me with, were all mine! I was just under student-leader-related stress when we were shooting them.
Krystal took this photo. Concept: MINE!

Anyway, I wanted to get a DSLR but I realized I didn't want the bulk just yet plus I had other things I really wanted to spend that budget on. Besides, while I know my way around a camera, I'm still not a pro. So I settled for a semi-pro, training camera instead. A bridge or zoom camera, if you will.

My ideal model just had to meet the following criteria:
1. Must have a viewfinder
2. Must run on non-proprietary AA batteries
3. Must write to SD cards
The only models that fit were the Kodak Z981 (my first choice but I couldn't find anywhere in the country), the Fuji Fine Pix S1800 (which received some unfavorable reviews) and the GE X5 - my new baby!

The GE X5 might be touted as the poor man's DSLR and it would be very flattering. I got mine for only P9,878 and it already came with a couple of 2gb SD cards (KingCom didn't have one 4gb card) and a couple of recheargeable batteries with charger (They give out four pieces in other branches. Was I shortchanged here?)
I actually thought I was gonna have to spend further for these additional items so when I found out the package already comes with them, I knew that unit was mine. Oh, and it's also glorious in black! (I didn't really care for the white version).
Despite not having a detachable lens and hot shoe, its manual controls are very impressive. I can actually compose my shots with adjustments to the aperture, shutter speed, ISO and even exposure compensation! The DSLR-lite form factor is a major plus too!
Of course, the X5 prides itself for its 15x optical zoom and 5x digital zoom. I have yet to fully appreciate its immense zoom capabilities but it already makes for an interesting feature.
Very cute icons illustrating the X5's features

I've been having a lot fun with the X5 these past weeks. Mostly training my eyes to compose and getting the hang of photography again. I hardly ever shoot in automatic mode unless I actually mean for it to act like a basic point-and-shoot.

What's also great about my experience is that there is a local group of enthusiasts on Facebook.
 So we can chat about the camera and offer each other tips. I've given out a couple myself already.

Also, since my unit didn't come with its own carrying case, I've been looking around for one that isn't too expensive as most camera bags are wont to be because that would just defeat the purpose of getting the X5 at a steal. Thankfully, I dropped by Hidalgo today and discovered this from Fans Digital.

Its padded and fits the X5 just snugly. There are compartments for batteries and cards plus I can sling it over my shoulder or strap it to my belt. As luck would have it, it was also on sale: P420 from P840! Score two for me!
My mistake. I thought the 512mb was the 2gb one.
Someday I will be worthy of a DSLR. Right now, I just gotta go back to basics and evolve from there. May I just say that my skills and the camera both aren't too shabby either. Just check out these test photos I took these past few weeks!


Starting Over at 29

525,600 minutes.
How do you measure a year in the life?

Mine would be in ups, downs and reflections, I guess. Last year, I celebrated my birthday by leaving/losing my job mostly because I hated it. The reason why I left my previous advertising job for the one I had also just left was because I was entering my late 20s and I needed to explore what else was out there. I did not want to be trapped with no more options left for me. Plus: I thought I needed a job that would help me mature as a professional and offered me benefits and security. I thought a BPO was gonna give that to me.

The thing is: I was already trapped. I really had nothing else to show of my professional life but my advertising career. Mostly because I spent much of my mid-20s thinking about doing stuff but never got around to doing them. Then I remembered why. Sometime after turning 24 when nothing was working out, I stopped planning my life and just went with the flow.
The thing is when I stopped planning, I also stopped having goals. In college, I was a superstar because I knew who I wanted to be when I graduated. In the real world, I was a smoking, scattered brain mess!

When I realized this, I promised myself that the moment I get a steady income going, I was gonna start doing everything that I've always wanted to do:
1. Quit smoking so I can sing and dance again.
2. Learn to play the piano.
3. Draw again.
4. Write stories again.
5. Practice ice skating.
6. Swim more.
7. Learn to ride a bike.
8. Play billiards more.
9. Take up photography again.
10. Learn videography.

Then it hit me that I also wanted to do some of these things when I was much younger and that I lost a lot of my teenage years because I was angry, depressed and in limbo when I could've been more productive. I imagine if I had just focused back then, I would be in theater right now - one of the passions I left behind as I entered my 20s.

Fortunately, I was given a third chance this year. It may be too late to make a career out of them, but that doesn't matter now. With me back in advertising, I realized that maybe being a better professional does not mean working for a big corporation where the standard and therefore the challenge and subsequent reward are all really high. Maybe it's about being the best at what you do wherever you are. There is so much more in advertising that I have yet to explore and I do believe I'm on the right track at being the best if I just applied myself. I imagine that as soon as I can play keyboard better, I can compose my own jingle and sing it! As soon as I can draw better, I can provide artwork. Maybe shoot the photos and videos or maybe even choreograph! I just get excited thinking about the possibilities!

I don't know if I should regret that these realizations came to me at the tail-end of my 20s, but I guess it just means that there would be something more for me to look forward to. I mean, if I had everything, what else would be out there?
So I'm picking up the pieces and starting over. I have a lot of time to make up for and part of that is also catching up on games, movies, books and comics that I missed growing up, as well as taking better care of myself. Not only have I accomplished those in the last few months but I have also gotten started on a lot of items on the list (including quitting smoking). Now I can look forward to getting frustrated and angry, as well as appreciating the little victories along the way.

I'm in a much better place this year than where I was last year and even the years before not just because of my new job but because of my new "lease on life". Now I have something to live for and work on. Goals.

Right now, I'm working on figuring out if confidence and certainty leads to cynicism. I find that the more I know myself and assert my place in the world, the more I become impatient and judgmental with other people. I guess I've become more protective of my interests now.
No, I have an entire year to figure that matter out. For now, I just want to appreciate what I have.