Friday, May 30, 2008

the earth did move!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Collective Amnesia

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Watching the news everyday, it’s like the country is just going from one issue to another – from the stinky ZTE-NBN deal to the heart wrenching rice crisis to skyrocketing food prices and power rates to the Meralco tug-of-war – without anything being resolved. An old issue rolls out and a new one rolls in, we stand before it riveted with fleeting indignation shortly replaced by reluctant resignation and apathy; then a fresh issue rolls in again stealing the spotlight from the previous one, and we respond with collective amnesia. This vicious cycle, otherwise known as the normal Filipino way of life, continues unabated.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Uncircumscribed Life

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose,” crooned Janis Joplin. The song, Me and Bobby McGee, kept on playing inside my head long after it stopped playing on the iPod. Turning the phrase in my mind, I thought that it’s like going for something you desperately want despite the risk of losing everything; or living life uncircumscribed by fears, doubts and possible failure; or D’s guiding principles: “Fail often to succeed faster” and “Mabuti nang magsisi dahil ginawa kaysa magsisi dahil hindi ginawa.” And then I thought, I’m overanalyzing a song, for heaven’s sake!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Silence

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Yesterday a youngish Account Executive I’m interviewing, to show how he challenged conventional thinking in the past, relayed to me one of his experiences in college. He said that during an oral exam in his Philosophy class, he was asked by his professor how God can just sit back in silence amidst all the pain and suffering in the world. Instead of citing a certain philosophy, he just answered, “Silence is not inaction.” I liked how he came up with his answer but belief in God – and a silent one at that – doesn’t really manifest defiance against conventional thinking, does it?

His answer made me think of my kid sister’s favorite song, Simon and Garfunkel’s Sound of Silence (why a kid like her loves it so much is beyond me) and the myriad tones of silence. Silence, to some people, is like a void that needs to be filled. Most has this tendency to come up with small talk, inane filler speech to not endure the discomfort of silence. Silence indicates tact, (when you cannot say anything good, don’t say anything at all) respect (like when we devote a moment of silence for a person’s demise) meditation (which is usually accomplished in silent solitude) and mystery (like a person who doesn’t talk much is considered an enigma). “Ang daldal mo talaga,” my boyfriend at times kiddingly complains when we talk on the phone. He doesn’t know that I haven’t said more than five words the whole day. Silence is usually there when there is nothing to say or when enough has been said.

In relationships, silence is intimate. Just enjoying each other’s presence without having the need to speak is a sign of true deep intimacy. However, just as it conveys warmth, silence can also signify coldness – the cold war of silence. The silent treatment is a weapon that romantically linked individuals sometimes use on each other.

An outpouring of emotion is usually what is behind the different qualities of silence - we fall silent because we’re angry, sad, happy, or even terrified. The lack of any particular emotion – indifference – can also lead to silence. When we feel that we don’t have anything to say to a certain person anymore, we just let silence say what we mean.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Critical Point

Monday, May 26, 2008

Beyond an indistinct but critical point in life, most of your latter-day resolves fall apart and you end up either doing whatever’s damn well easiest or else whatever you feel strongest about. (These two in fact can get mixed up and cause plenty of mischief.) At the same time it also gets harder and harder to believe you can control anything via principle or discipline, though we all talk as if we can, and actually try like hell.

- Richard Ford, Independence Day, 1995

Thursday, May 22, 2008

We are all dying to give our lives away to something

Thursday, May 22, 2008

"It now lately sometimes seemed a kind of black miracle to me that people could actually care deeply about a subject or a pursuit, and could go on caring this way for years on end. It seemed admirable and at the same time pathetic. We are all dying to give our lives away to something, maybe."

David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

caffeine-free day

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

It’s a quarter past one in the afternoon and I feel so freaking listless. I don’t think I can survive this day without coffee. Attempting to make this day caffeine-free is a bad decision touching on self-mortification.

This agony has got to end. I’ll just go get myself a mugful.

Monday, May 19, 2008

some random thoughts

Monday, May 19, 2008

Even the PDI is blocked. They sure know how to kill me..
Several times, I saw my high school crush on TV. Boy, does he look old..
Is the rice crisis over? It’s not getting that much media mileage anymore..
I miss D so much that all else is blah..
Why can’t Miss Calamba tell her alleged boyfriend to quit calling me?
I really need to work on that passport thing..

faults, fussiness and fragility


Talking with my childhood friends never fails to gladden my soul. It’s like having a permanent link with who we were before and a vivid mirror of what we’ve become. Growing up together and being present in each one’s lives for more than two decades now, each one’s faults, fussiness and fragility are never questioned but embraced as a mere fact of life.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

lessening of excitement

Sunday, May 18, 2008

“So many emergencies, Harry thinks, so much canned laughter, so many actors’ tears, all this effort to be happy, to be brave, to be loved, all this wasted effort. Television’s tireless energy gnaws at him. He sighs and laboriously rises. His body sags around his heart like a tent around a pole. He tells Judy, “Better pack it in sweetie. Another big day tomorrow: we’re going to go to the beach and sailing.” But his voice comes out listless, and perhaps that is the saddest loss time brings, the lessening of excitement about anything.”

- John Updike, Rabbit at Rest, 1990

Friday, May 16, 2008

answering phone calls

Friday, May 16, 2008

Good morning / afternoon. Thank you for calling Ascent. This is Angeli from Research. How may I help you?

It’s a Friday and most of the people in the office are absent, unavailable or inaccessible. I was relegated to answering the phone for the day. I told myself, “Hmm, I’ll make this fun.” Business etiquette books always say that in making a good phone impression, there are two things to keep in mind: smile and enunciate. So that’s what I did. I smiled my way through the calls and gave my voice all the oomph it needs.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Backpackers

Thursday, May 15, 2008

We are a couple of backpackers who left our extra baggage behind determined to start our journey together. Knowing our intended destination but having no idea how to get there, we just took the bus with our fingers crossed. Did the possibility of getting lost daunt us? We did lose our way, but it made things more fun. We were still together so it really didn’t matter. Did we think about what it would cost us? Never. We thought only about the cost of not doing it.

We are a couple of backpackers with limited means to continue our journey; we may lose our way, encounter roadblocks, or miss our rides but we will get there. And it will be worth risking everything.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Is it now time to leave?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Is it now time to leave? A friend is urging me to try my luck in Singapore. She seems to have settled there comfortably. Another friend is about to follow her. Will it be a more promising situation for me? Probably.

Or I’ll probably hate it.

Reluctant to join the Filipino diaspora to other countries, the idea of seeking greener pastures in a foreign land makes me cringe. But is it now time to leave?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Two Women

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

“But you must understand, there are two women; one insists only on her rights, and those rights are your love, which you can't give her; and the other sacrifices everything for you and asks for nothing. What are you to do? How are you to act? There's a fearful tragedy in it.”

-Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

New Things Learned

I usually ask our applicants, “What important things – new skills, knowledge and experience – have you learned in the last three months?” Most of the time, I get generic answers bordering on the cliché that do not really say anything. If someone asks me the same question, I’d tell him or her that for the last three months I learned:

  • New words like agmusiig, panagtuok, nutnotek, pinagdenna, naisalsalumi, nalapsat, napateg and nagpinki
  • How to reset my iPod
  • How to write, eat, apply make-up, and virtually everything else using just my left hand
  • That lowering expectations works all the time
  • How to prepare tiramisu and seared beef with mushrooms
  • That some things - like books, men, music and movies – must be left within the de gustibus non est disputandum territory

Monday, May 12, 2008

What spring does with the cherry trees

Monday, May 12, 2008

While the sad wind goes slaughtering butterflies

I love you, and my happiness bites the plum of your mouth

How you must have suffered getting accustomed to me,
my savage, solitary soul, my name that sends them all running.
So many times we have seen the morning star burn,
kissing our eyes,
and over our heads the grey light unwind in turning fans.
My words rained over you, stroking you.
A long time I have loved the mother-of-pearl of your body.
I go so far as to think that you own the universe.
I will bring you happy flowers from the mountains,
bluebells, dark hazels, and rustic baskets of kisses.

I want to do with you
what spring does with the cherry trees.

From Every Day You Play by Pablo Neruda

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Summer's Over

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Gloomy skies, thunderstorms and rain showers everyday. Summer, I’m afraid, is over. The time is up for itty-bitty skirts, floral sundresses, strappy sandals, open-toed pumps and bumblebee sunglasses – all to be replaced by rain boots, rain coats, dreary clothes, and sturdy shoes. Flood, puddles, mud, everything musty and wet. How I hate rainy days.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Surprise Visit

Thursday, May 8, 2008

I got a surprise visit from my mother and my nieces, Moira and Mariel, yesterday. Being cooped up in my own world most of the time and with only my thoughts to keep me company, like a breath of fresh air, it felt so good to be surrounded with cheerful chatter and vibrant banter. Looking at my sister and my nieces - aged 13, 14 and 15 - I can’t help but admire how they’ve grown into beautiful, confident, intelligent young girls.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Quotidian

Tuesday, May 6, 2008
“Everyday things represent the most overlooked knowledge. These names are vital to your progress. Quotidian things. If they weren’t important, we wouldn’t use such a gorgeous Latinate word. Quotidian. An extraordinary word that suggests the depth and reach of the commonplace.”

- Don DeLillo, Underworld, 1997

ripping out the remaining pages


He said that the weather was great, just perfect for watching a baseball game. Oh, what I’d give to have been there sitting beside him, happily rooting for our team. It is sometimes so wearying to stay patient and cheerful when all I want is to rip out all the remaining pages of the calendar and jump to January 2009.

Monday, May 5, 2008

the trick to living alone

Monday, May 5, 2008

“The trick to living alone up here, away from all agitating entanglements, allurements, and expectations, apart especially from one’s own intensity, is to organize the silence, to think of its mountaintop plenitude as capital, silence as wealth exponentially increasing. The encircling silence as your chosen source of advantage and your only intimate. The trick is to find sustenance in (Hawthorne again) ‘the communications of a solitary mind with itself.’ The secret is to find sustenance in
people like Hawthorne, in the wisdom of the brilliant deceased.”

- Philip Roth, The Human Stain, 2000

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Mother's Day will never be my day

Sunday, May 4, 2008

As the designated day for honoring mothers draws nearer, the conviction that it will never be my day grows stronger. It is something that others may not fully comprehend but to me makes perfect sense.

Friday, May 2, 2008

I hated waiting

Friday, May 2, 2008

“I hated waiting. If I had one particular complaint, it was that my life seemed composed entirely of expectation. I expected – an arrival, an explanation, an apology. There had never been one, a fact I could have accepted, were it not true, that just when I had got used to the limits and dimension of one moment, I was expelled into the next and made to wonder again if any shapes hid in its shadows. That most moments are substantially the same did not detract at all from the possibility that the next moment might be utterly different. And so the ordinary demanded unblinking attention. Any tedious hour might be the last of its kind.”

- Marilynne Robinson, Housekeeping, 1980

 
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