SHIPPING WITH JOHNNY AIR

I ordered stuff from eBay and Knitpicks.com recently, so am sort of celebrating an early Christmas.

Johnny Air Cargo played Santa this time, not Philpost. My previous eBay order of bamboo circular needles did arrive on time, via USPS-Philpost (30 days shipping). I paid PhP 35 processing fee, which is correct. I figured nobody there would be interested in what looked like barbecue sticks stuck together with a nylon cord. While I was relieved at receiving my items, I still can’t shake my mistrust of Philpost, and continue to dread missing items, having to deal with “creative taxation” or seeing “received partly torn” notices on my envelopes. I know current Postmaster General Hector R. R. Villanueva is trying to do something about public perception of Philpost’s service, but I am not about to tempt fate yet, seeing how close we are getting to Christmas, financial crisis and all. Desperation and corruption go hand in hand.

Several years ago Johnny Air came to my attention via Pinoydvd.com. They offered safe US-Philippines shipping for dvds. While I wasn’t that much of a big dvd buyer, I filed it away in my head. I came across them again this year, when I heard from my friend ECT that she had bought a Nikon D40 and had it shipped quickly and safely via Johnny Air. She picked it up in their Megamall branch.

Of course the cheapest way to send to the Philippines will always be the relatives’ balikbayan box — IF you have the patience to wait till December or January. For people who have a choice, Johnny Air’s “Shop Online Service” is great. It’s safe. It’s fast. It’s reliable.

I blog about this because I’m a satisfied customer, and you might need the information one day. (I also don’t want to impose upon my relatives too much, because I love them, and their plates are full in these trying times.)

Let’s say you want to buy something from eBay (vendor A) and something from Amazon.com (vendor B). Amazon.com offers free shipping for your item within the US. I mean, you wouldn’t want to waste the savings, right?

1) You write an email to Analyn Diego at analynd@aol.com / analynd@johnnyair.com to advise her that you plan to buy items from vendor A, B and C. You let her know to combine these packages into one shipment, which must fulfill the minimum 2-lb requirement.

2) You shop online. Under shipping info you write:

ATTN: Analyn Diego/Client’s Name (this means YOU)
Johnny Air SOL
6904 Roosevelt Avenue
Woodside, NY 11377
Tel. (718) 672-7080, (917) 332-7806

3) You email Analyn Diego again, with your shipping details.

Vendor
Order #
Tracking #
Item/s
Descriptions

Specify whether you want to claim it at JAC Makati or JAC Megamall. Provide your contact details so they can notify you when you can pick them up.

4) Shipping is by volume weight. As of my order it was USD 7.50 per lb + USD 5.00 handling fee. For further inquiries you can call JAC Customer Service at 631-7101, 638-8512 or 0917-8100306.

I see in the USPS international postage calculator that it would have cost me at least USD 29.93 for 6-10 days’ Priority Mail shipping.  Who would bother to combine packages for me? And even then, I wouldn’t even be sure whether I’d get it via Philpost or if I’d be charged extra fees.

In my case, I ordered my items on October 14, and received them October 24 from JAC Megamall. I paid USD 27.50 for 3 lbs. I showed the very nice folks my ID, and within a minute I got my box! And yes, they smile, too. Nowadays perhaps we don’t count on people to smile a lot, but when they do, it really makes my day.

Now remember, it only works if that price and service are acceptable to you. If you are able to find a similar service that is also as reliable, let’s hear about it!

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DOLL OF THE CTHULHU

Now I am a great H.P. Lovecraft fan.  (Like I am a great Dr. Who fan.  Science fiction and fantasy, I am your girl!)

Dark Roasted Blend
, one of my favorite “odd photo conglomeration” sites, gives us this entertaining view of how love of knitting and cult monstrosity mix. [You’ll love the different photo sets in their other blog posts too, I promise.]

Just the other night I was watching downloaded beloved reruns of the 80’s seasons of The [New] Twilight Zone (Harlan Ellison era, 1985-89) and there was one episode about a little boy whose nigh-on-dying grandma turns out to be a creepy Cthulhu thrall!  Now this!
Amber’s crocheted Cthulhu is absolutely, uh, adorable. I wish I could post the photo here, but do visit the link to see Amber’s celebration of creativity. The amigurumi (knitted toy Japanese style) pattern is free. Unfortunately I’m not that much of a crocheter. Joy is, and amigurumi gives her a bit of carpal tunnel.

One of the knitters on the monsters page, Kimberly Chapman, did her Dalek from EntropyHouse’s “ExtermiKNIT” Kit! Previously I wrote in Knittipina about the Knitted Dalek photographed in a UK convention by Yarn Harlot Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. I did not know there were more in that army *amusement*

Yes, the Dalek pattern is FREE. I might make it one day. I’ll probably have better luck finishing it than meeting David Tennant in person. But hey, I met Neil Gaiman in person, so you never know. And then shall come… a Knitted Sandman?

RIDATA 8G USB FLASH DRIVE

CDR-King‘s got a great new product out, very good value for your money: the Ridata Flick EZ Drive 8G USB Flash Drive for PhP880. I was in Megamall for the Oct. 17 three-day sale opening, and dropped by store first thing. I was actually looking for a cheap-but-reliable 4G flash drive like the one I bought for TDM recently (he had lost his in Cebu), but was glad to find this much better one!

Mine is matte black, as in the picture. I like the thumb-slide protection of the drive case, as other models have removable caps that can get lost. There’s a hole in the other end so that you can attach it to your keychain. It also comes in white.

Inside there’s a user manual in pdf format, but it’s practically useless for English speakers as it’s written in Chinese. Anyhow, if you use flash drives a lot, you won’t really need it.

The speed is “Lightning Class”, which would be the equivalent of a Class 6 for Transcend. I made a file benchmark test using Flash Memory Toolkit, and it gave me the ff. very good results (click on image to enlarge):

I also have a “stormtrooper white” Ridata Mini Brick EZ Drive 4G flash drive bought earlier this year for PhP700. Also “Lightning Class”, also very good, and very reliable.

The price difference is to definitely to our advantage! If I were you, I’d get this instead of PQI. Once this is out of stock you’ll have to wait to get a new one. Get one soon, world global financial crisis notwithstanding.

(Now waiting for a good price on a 16G…)

NANAY, THE MEDICAL TOURIST


Nanay just had her gall bladder removed because of a 1.2cm gall stone the size of a kiamoy (red champoy) seed. She was confined at the new Medical City for 5 days last week, because apart from the pain we also had to manage her hypertension levels. I stayed with her all week as she was confined, bringing my knitting and my Asus EEE with me to the hospital so I could both work and knit off the interminable waiting that’s par for the course at hospitals. Turns out Nanay took it like a trouper.

The procedure is called laparoscopic cholecystectomy, which has been done successfully in the country for the last 7 years. The surgeon who operated on Nanay is one of the top professionals with this expertise, so we weren’t too worried. Our other option was standard surgical removal, however we were informed that big incisions take a while longer to heal. The “lap-chole” involves making 4 holes in the abdominal area, and the surgery is performed with a tiny camera monitoring the actions of tiny robotic surgical implements. Yes, the sort of thing you see on Discovery Channel! (And yes, we have a dvd from the doctor, but nobody’s yet in the mood to watch it.) They told us that the entire gall bladder was removed, and that small titanium clamps were left inside to hold the rest of her in place. Nanay joked that after the removal of her appendix, her uterus and the gall bladder, her abdomen ought to get smaller. Several of her friends called us to commiserate and admit they also had their gall bladders removed.

Which leads us to the low-salt, low-fat diet. Before the operation she was served regular hospital food, which — surprise, surprise! — actually tasted good and fresh. (I know, I ate half her food. I think they have real chefs for this, because it’s FAR from carinderia food although quite simple.) The day before the operation she had the low-salt, low-fat food, which was rejuvenated by the fantastic new product Pan Salt, which has 43% less sodium than regular salt. This ought to be available at your neighborhood supermarket, in a blue box with orange letters. (Please take note that it is a TABLE SEASONING and NOT a cooking salt, because you might be adding a bigger quantity to whatever you’re cooking just so it tastes the way you remember.)

Her Medical City room was expensive and new, and had a panoramic view. If we had a choice we’d have chosen a less expensive room, but there was no other room available at all, and both her internal medicine specialist and cardiologist practice here. There was a sofa where I slept, and cable tv, daily newspapers and free wifi. The best thing about it was the bathroom, which was huge and had well-thought-of emergency access options (push-button assistance calls, arm rail and non-slip surface for the shower). It was cleaned twice a day by cheerful and efficient staff, who DO NOT use anything with the trauma-inducing smell of pine cleanser. (The cleanser smelled of flowers and citrus, like at a hotel. Which is definitely the point.)

I can see they’re really promoting Medical Tourism. I was astounded by the kind, competent, efficient, well-spoken and very attractive nurses. Even the male nurse assigned to Nanay looked like he could star in a local version of “Grey’s Anatomy”. I kid you not. Tatay was impressed. He didn’t mind the cost of the room if it meant it was a sort of forced spa vacation for Nanay (who multitasks so much she gets guilty if she’s idle). Her birthday’s coming up at the end of the month, and he wanted her to be in a good frame of mind. He appointed me as her, uh, spa attendant-cum-jail warden. It was actually pleasant for the entire family to visit her daily. Joy and Tristan brought Lilo to see her Lola Nanay every night after dinner. Lilo actually said, “Nanay, come home na.” How cute is that! What a way to cheer her grandma up. Then Lilo would gaze down at the cityscape of lights and marvel how high up she was in the air, munching on whatever she liked from the fruit basket.

There was cable tv at the hospital, but one couldn’t just sit and watch all day. I had to be productive. Unfortunately, the free wifi signal in the room was pathetic. So I used my Nokia 6120 and the Globe PhP5/15mins connection, and was able to work and send out an ad for a November convention. There’s 3G signal in the area, I got the ff. speed last Oct. 9:

I also brought some knitting, which kept me calm and relaxed all throughout the hospital stay. I started casting on stitches for Lilo’s hoodie cardigan that Saturday morning, and as the days went on, I went from this:

to this:

and by the time we checked out, I had finished the second sleeve and only had the hood to do. Talk about single-minded knitting! This project actually had a few fans among the nurses , who’d been coming in every 3 or 4 hours to check my mom’s — and the project’s — vital signs, hahaha!

Nanay was also in the mood for a little art, in keeping with her “spa” mood. Click on the image for a clearer view:

She has more sketches of me watching tv and taking a nap on the sofa, as well as the view from her hospital window… I love this particular one. It really looks like me.

So yes, Nanay is home and doing fine. I just make sure she doesn’t tire herself unnecessarily. We brought home her souvenir in a little bottle, and joke about having it set in resin and made into a pendant.

Thanks to everyone who sent prayers and get-well messages, and to Ta Ann who sent a fruit basket 🙂

WHICH TAROT CARD ARE YOU?

You are The Lovers

Motive, power, and action, arising from Inspiration and Impulse.

The Lovers represents intuition and inspiration. Very often a choice needs to be made.

Originally, this card was called just LOVE. And that’s actually more apt than “Lovers.” Love follows in this sequence of growth and maturity. And, coming after the Emperor, who is about control, it is a radical change in perspective. LOVE is a force that makes you choose and decide for reasons you often can’t understand; it makes you surrender control to a higher power. And that is what this card is all about. Finding something or someone who is so much a part of yourself, so perfectly attuned to you and you to them, that you cannot, dare not resist. This card indicates that the you have or will come across a person, career, challenge or thing that you will fall in love with. You will know instinctively that you must have this, even if it means diverging from your chosen path. No matter the difficulties, without it you will never be complete.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

TDM, *wink!* *wink!*