Category Archives: Random Thoughts

From the usual birthday celebration to random photos and videos to everything in between — loosely translated: simply anything :)

Political Circus 2013

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Had just performed my patriotic duty. Voted a communist, coup plotter, rebel, vigilante, crybaby, womanizer, and some others I have no clue why I shaded their number. Totally ignored that squeaky thing ‘henep behay’, tatak-LPG, political prostitutes, those with dynastic lineage and obvious nuisance personalities that are included just to make it appear we have a democratic country and can choose candidates.

God bless the Philippines.

The problem with political jokes is they get elected.
— Henry Cate VII

3 AM

It’s 3 AM. The problem with sleeping early (7PM) is waking up early too (12MN), and it is already 3AM, I still can not go back to sleep.

3AM
Matchbox Twenty

She says it’s cold outside and she hands me my raincoat
Shes always worried about things like that
She says it’s all gonna end and it might as well be my fault
And she only sleeps when it’s raining
And she screams and her voice is straining

(chorus)

She says baby
Its 3am I must be lonely
When she says baby
Well I can’t help but be scared of it all sometimes
Says the rains gonna wash away I believe it

Shes got a little bit of something, God it’s better than nothing
And in her color portrait world she believes that she’s got it all
She swears the moon don’t hang quite as high as it used to
And she only sleep when it’s raining
And she screams and her is straining

(chorus)

She believes that life is made up of all that you’re used to
And the clock on the wall has been stuck at three for days, and days
She thinks that happiness is a mat that sits on her doorway
But outside it’s stopped raining

(chorus)

Product Review: FedEx – Store2Door

Last October 2012, I purchased a Guy Fawkes on Ebay on which I only paid USD 7.99 (30 Saudi Riyals) as shipping cost. This March 2013, I tried to order at Amazon and have it delivered via FedEx’s Store2Door.

I had been googling FedEx Store2Door but not successful to retrieve review about this service from blogs and forums. Hence I would like to post a review about this service, based on my personal experience.

Promotional photos of Store2Door

Promotional photos of Store2Door

Federal Express Corporation (FedEx) in Saudi Arabia has introduced STORE2DOOR services to allow consumers in Saudi Arabia to buy goods from U.S retailers and we ship the goods to their preferred delivery address.

After registering for a SR 100 Silver account (lifetime membership), I was given an address in Florida. I purchased a couple of items at Amazon.com and got enticed with their free shipping offer (since I am not in a hurry, I chose the standard delivery). My products arrived at my designated US address per schedule.

The shipment arrived at Store2Door receiving facility on March 25, 4:45PM and was dispatched the following morning (March 26, 7:55AM). On Saturday (March 30) I received a call from FedEx past noon informing me that the shipment is ready for pickup.

Below is a visual guide that I made on how to calculate the weight for shipping (box not to scale).

The actual weight is measured by the dimension and not by the actual weight.

The actual weight is measured by the dimension and not by the actual weight.

Therefore, instead of the estimated shipping cost of SR 490 (which is already steep for a couple of toys), I was charged SR 1170 instead. Something I will not pay should I have known the cost in advance.

When my shipment arrived, I was surprised and never expected how big the box is (yet still not heavy).

Such a huge box, packed at Amazon.  The red packing tape is from Customs in Saudi Arabia, resealed after their inspection.

Such a huge box, packed at Amazon. The red packing tape is from Customs in Saudi Arabia, resealed after their inspection.

It is when I opened the box, when I realize how inefficient the packing is — there is a huge empty space — that I paid for.

Lots of "PAID" empty spaces  filled with paper wraps and bubble pads in between.

Lots of “PAID” empty spaces filled with paper wraps and bubble pads in between.

The shipment was marked "International Priority", not sure if this is the 'standard' shipping, if not, perhaps it the delivery mode could mean extra fees

The shipment was marked “International Priority”, not sure if this is the ‘standard’ shipping, if not, perhaps it the delivery mode could mean extra fees

Therefore, instead of the actual weight of 5.27 KGs, I was billed almost thrice as much at 13.63 KGs.

Now the question is, should I still use the service of Store2Door? Yes! But perhaps I will consider smaller items for individual shipment, or make sure my orders are consolidated in cost-efficient packaging — or perhaps stay with Ebay instead.

In fairness to Store2Door, there is a notice on their website which reads:

The billed weight will be the greater of the actual or dimensional weight for each shipment,

Dimensional Weight is calculated by multiplying the Length by Width by Height and dividing the total by a “DIM Factor.”
STORE2DOOR Factor is 9000. So, our formula is: Dimensional Weight (Kgs) = Length x Width x Height (centimeters) / 9000.

It is just they did not bother to open my package from Amazon (or perhaps they opened for inspection, but kept it that way) and forwarded to me in Saudi Arabia on its ridiculous dimensional weight. Unfortunately, I have no chance to compare the cost of shipping if I will let Amazon ship my merchandise in Saudi Arabia as this service is not yet being offered.

Lesson learned. A costly lesson though. I will just let myself enjoy the merchandise, and feel more wise (or at least more sane on my next purchase).

Ah, for the kids — enjoying the spoil with no trace of enjoyment spoiled.

Fish Be With You

For it is written:

Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for the rest of his life.

Heres hoping for less sardines but more fresh Red Sea fish.

Heres hoping for a bountiful harvest from the Red Sea fish.

Yet I say:

Learn how to fish by yourself and you can get rid of the middleman. And can eat less sardines too.

Happy Dog

Starting the first week of 2013, I decided to do some biking. The initial intent is to burn those calories from pasta, sweets and meat accumulated during Christmas and New Year celebrations, though I feel it is simply necessary to have a cardio-vascular workout and just about time to lose some weight.

I find this a opportunity too to listen back to my mp3 collection.

I find this an opportunity too to listen back to my mp3 collection.

After selecting among several (free and paid) mobile apps to accompany me during biking, I finally settled with MapMyRide. Even with it’s free version, I am satisfied with its rich features and reporting capability (including the cool fly-by video of the route).

Neat calendar to record my activity.  Though one week without biking activity (except to and from work).

Neat calendar to record my activity.

I have one week though, without biking activity (except to and from work), due to a cold wave which even brought freak snow in Saudi Arabia (and no I am not inventing an amazing story, yes it snowed in Saudi Arabia though not exactly on my location). To which I think my aching joints and muscles are thankful for the break (*cough*excuses*cough*).

“Happy Dog” is the name I gave to the route (which is about 13.45 kms) I frequent for the past few weeks, for the purpose of measuring my progress to which I have not reached below 30 minutes time for this route. I am thinking however to try new routes.

The 'happy dog' route.

My 13.45 km ‘happy dog’ route. I am thinking to increase my distance or do two laps, but when I am ready.

I promise to keep my interest in biking and continue with my workout, I just do not know how it would feel riding a bike during the hot summer season here in the desert.

I think I have to end this blog and saddle up for my workout for the day.