Thursday, August 30, 2007

No car... for now

So we're not to get a car yet. We gave it some thought and decided that we really don't need a car that bad and could use the extra savings. Anyway, the main reason we moved downtown was for convenience and as a result, delay the need for a car. Also, we went into the dealership hoping to get the 2007 model which had 2.9% interest. They didn't have that so we settled on the 2008 which had 5.9% interest. After they rejected that, we would have to go to the banks where the interest rate would be even higher ($5000 down payment just isn't an option). So nevermind. I'm thinking we'll just try again when I've reached 1 year at my current job. That would be around March. By then we should have better credit. The 2009 Corolla might also be out then so the 2008 might be cheaper then (at least interest-wise). People will probably still try to convince us to go for the bank route. But I think we have to do things our own way.

I just hope that the car that was (not so) nearly ours ends up with a good and loving family :)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Credit is Crap

As it turns out, my HR manager is on vacation. So toyota credit still hasn't been able to contact her. That's probably a non-factor though, since Toyota credit now wants us to come up with a down payment of $5000. That's something we just don't have. The other option is to go to a bank instead. However, that will most likely mean higher interest rates that's gonna push up our monthly fees. Now I begin to wonder why people keep telling us to buy a car already as if it was a piece of cake. Even when I just started working some people were telling us to buy a car. I got the feeling that they thought I was weird for not doing so sooner. Others even seem really affected by my hesitation because of my perceived "good income". A few even seemed angry. It gets annoying sometimes. HELLO!!?? IT'S MY MONEY!!! I just don't get it. This has been a frustrating experience. Oh well, we'll see what the banks have for us.

On another note, it's starting to get cold. It's was 7 degrees C this morning. I had to wear a jacket. I guess we're in the fall season now.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Still no car

Toyota Credit called today. They needed our main office's number so I gave it to them. They need it to confirm my employment details. So that was that, and I thought I might be driving home tonight. Later in the afternoon though, Toyota McPhillips gave me a call saying Toyota credit was unable to contact OBS. I wonder what the problem is. Oh well, more waiting...

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Buying a Car.... ... ... ?

Today, we went to McPhillips Toyota to buy a car. We were hoping to get a 2007 Corolla. I initially was thinking of getting a smaller subcompact like the Toyota Yaris or Honda Fit. The Yaris didn't really get good reviews. Then I was surprised to find that the Corolla's fuel efficiency is just the same as the Fit. The Honda Civic definitely looked better that the Corolla (which hasn't received a facelift for several years) but fuel efficiency was more important to me. Hybrids like the Toyota Prius and Civic Hybrid were out of my price range. So we settled with the standard/manual 2007 Corolla which would also get us a rebate from the Government. As fate would have it the 2007 Corolla's were wiped out. So we had to look through the 2008 Corollas. We were still looking for a certain manual package which they also didn't have on site. We decided to take the available one for a test drive (this was a bit more expensive than the one we were looking for). It's been a long time since I've driven a manual so I started slow but quickly got accustomed to it. After the test drive I was slowly leaning toward getting the car (sucker?). So we went to check how much it would cost us. That all seemed to be a formality as we decided to get it. In this application, Mean would be be the principal purchaser(?) since she has the credit history while I would be supporting. However, after a bit of a wait, we weren't automatically approved. We would have to wait until Monday to find out if we could get the car. That was definitely a big letdown. I was expecting to drive out of there with a new car. I guess we have to cross our fingers for Monday. If we don't get it, then I guess it really isn't time yet. Was still sad though since my mind was in new car mode for the day.

Oh and thanks to Tito Randy and Tita Ana for accompanying and helping us out at the dealership.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Krispy Kremes

Before I left the Philippines, Krispy Kreme was just starting out operations there. I really like Go Nuts Donuts and I've heard about Krispy Kreme so I was quite curious. I thought I was going to be able to try it out in Canada but it turns out there aren't a lot in Canada and none in Winnipeg. This morning there was a fund raising going on near Mean's office and they were selling Krispy Kremes so Mean got a box. It was good. It was a long time since I've tried gonuts so I can't really compare them. But I haven't eaten good donuts in a while (I'm not really a big donut fan).

Winnipeg Buildings

On the way home from Folklorama, I snapped a few shots of some of the city's buildings.

Winnipeg Buildings

Folklorama 2007 - Cuba

Me, Mean and Paola (Mean's co-worker and training batchmate) went to the Cuban Pavilion today. The line was long but not as bad since it was a weekday. Naturally, the first thing we went for was the food. It was pretty good since it reminded me of home. They had a Cuban plate which had fried rice, ground beef, and "lechon". They even had some potato dish (I love potatoes). The performance was good. Nothing too acrobatic. Actually they did have some impressive physical feats too but it's hard to top the mexican performance. Anyway it was a good array of dances and it never got boring.

Folklorama 2007 - Cuba

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Folklorama 2007 - Mexico

Last night we tried out the Mexican Pavilion "Faces of Mexico". We decided to arrive early (5:30) for the 6:45pm show. Even then, there already was a long line. They started letting people in at 6:00. The site was much bigger than the Argentina one. They also had bleachers in case everyone won't fit at the main area with chairs and tables. They had a lot of Mexican goods and souvenirs for sale and the booths were even designed with a Mexican feel. Since there was a lot of time we decided to get some food. They had the expected tacos, tortilla wraps, chips and dessert. I wasn't raving about the food. I guess I've grown used to restaurant Mexican food and that's what I was expecting.

Just like the Argentina pavilion, they started off with a performance by the kids. After which they had a medley of group dances. In one instance, 3 pairs seemed to be adjusting something on the floor with their feet (they were standing). It turns out they were tying ribbons.

The highlight of the night though was the finale. I'll let the video speak for itself:

Full photo album

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Folklorama 2007 - Argentina

First an intro on Folklorama. It's an annual event in Winnipeg where several pavilions representing different countries are scattered around the city. In these pavilions, they have cultural performances, booths and sell native food, drinks and other products.

Last night, I went to my first Folklorama pavilion - the Argentina "Tango" Pavilion We were supposed to go to the kick-off but my back interfered with our plans. The site was just a 20 minute walk from the office. There was a bit of a drizzle though. When I got there it was getting close to capacity with over an hour before the show. We'd probably have to settle for the 8:15 show since Mean was still several minutes away. It was fine though since we were told we could enter the pavilion and try out the food and check out the booths while waiting. They had a tent where people could eat and wait. They had a guy with a guitar and a singer singing Argentinian tunes to keep us entertained too. The food was ok. It was actually quite like what we have in the Philippines. They had emapanadas which aren't as sweet as ours. And their version of our leche flan. It looks exactly the same but tastes a bit different. It has a more of a gelo feel to it.

The time for the show finally came. The first performance was a dance number by (probably) Argentinian kids. There was a traditional dance by a pair complete with costume. Then a song number by a local duo. They then had a lengthy Tango performance by a pair they flew in straight from Argentina. The guy even played an accordion (or accordion-like instrument). Since this was the Tango pavilion, I thought that was the finale, but it wasn't. It was another traditional dance performed by the other pair that performed earlier. They started off dancing while playing the drums, sometimes one of them just drumming and the other dancing. But the most impressive part of it was when they started using these rope like instruments with hard ends. They swing the rope around occasionally letting it strike the ground. Sort of like a drum. It's hard to describe but it was impressive as he sped up while keeping his rhythm. It's a pity I forgot my camera. Had to settle with my phone's camera. Unfortunately, it's not really worth posting here. We'll try to visit other pavilions before the festival ends this coming Saturday.

I think this is a good festival for the city to have since Winnipeg (actually the whole of Canada) has such a large and growing immigrant population. It's a way for everyone to be introduced to all these cultures. It's also a good way for children to be exposed to the culture/heritage of their parents and not be totally "westernized".

More info:
Official Site

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Lower Back Pain Update

My lower back pain is less now than on Friday (back then, I hated walking). But I went through with my doctor's appointment anyway. As expected it was a long wait. Anyway, he didn't seem to worried about it. He was thinking that it was a side effect of my job where I'm seated all day. He says the body isn't designed to sit all day. He advised me to stand up and walk around periodically at work. Anyway, he wants to meet me again in a month. If the pain isn't totally gone, then he'll run some tests. So for all those with desk jobs, get up every now and then. You should also probably look at ergonomics. The company where I'm assigned had a program about office ergonomics. What this website shows is probably close to what they covered. Anyway, I'm getting better now. Have to be more conscious about posture now. I'm not even 30 yet...

Monday, August 6, 2007

Simpsonized me

I just got myself Simpsonized.

Try it out at Simpsonize Me. This is actually a promotion for The Simpsons Movie and Burger King.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Lower Back Pain

This morning at work, my back started to hurt. I'm not entirely sure what started it since it wasn't bad in the start. It got progressively worse during the day. It hurts when I bend and do some other movements at the waist. It hurts for the first few seconds walking then subsides. It also hurts a bit when I go up or down stairs. I was thinking of delaying going to the doctor until tomorrow since it all seemed bearable. Until a few minutes ago, that is. I was having dinner and was sitting for a while. I also was pretty full. When I was done, it was very hard to stand up. It also hurt a lot more when taking steps. It was then I decided that maybe I should go to the doctor or hospital tonight. Mean tried calling the number of Health Links Manitoba since she saw their ad on TV. They could probably advise us on what to do since the waits at hospitals are extremely long unless it's a huge emergency (our doctor was gone for the day and the waits are pretty long there too). Lee, the nurse, asked me a bunch of the usual questions when trying to see what's wrong. She advised me to see how it if it subsides in the next 2-3 days and go to the doctor if it doesn't subside. Of course she said I should see a doctor soon if it gets much worse. In any case, I'm going tomorrow. By now, the pain decreased and it wasn't so hard to walk but it was still worse than the rest of the day. I would imagine it's pretty hard to diagnose lower back pain since there are a lot of probable causes and a lot of the symptoms are the same. I just hope this isn't anything serious. I'd be pretty depressed if Mean had to do even the heavy lifting here.