Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Life has been treating me awfully well lately. I am so thankful.

Happy thanksgiving, everyone!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Delusion of Grandeur

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

How can I tell a friend who is so excited about her new teaching post that she will now be teaching students who will scoff at her behind her back for receiving a salary much lower than what they are getting as monthly allowance and who are so blessed by the powers that be that they hold such ‘delusions of grandeur’?

“It’s the soldier -- not the reporter -- who has given us the freedom of the press. It’s the soldier -- not the poet -- who has given us the freedom of speech. It’s the soldier -- not the politician -- who ensures that we live freely and peacefully. It’s the soldier who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is eventually draped by the flag.” (from a signboard posted on a wall at Fort Bonifacio)

Isn’t it ironic? With the unbridled greed and inveterate folly of some high ranking officers, the unrestrained despicable abuse of trust in the military nowadays, and the the countless individuals whose freedom to speak--let alone live--has been forever taken from them by the very same people who are supposed to ensure that they live freely and peacefully, it’s not only ironic. It’s maddening! And insulting to those who truly—not just out of training—salute the Philippine flag.

But I dare not burst my friend’s bubble. There are—or there must--still be plenty of men of character left in the profession of arms. Not at all of her students will delude themselves that they’re powerful gods and must be treated as such.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Application for a Night Out

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

This is so funny!



Monday, November 24, 2008

Eyelashes Permed

Monday, November 24, 2008

It was so amusing to see the beauty center teeming with men when I went there last Saturday afternoon. Like me, maybe they’re there to have their eyelashes permed, too! I wanted to laugh out loud. Apparently, those men (straight ones, at that!) were there to have a facial – to have their zits pierced to nonexistence, the white, black and multicolored heads professionally popped out and their faces lasered, vacuumed and massaged with all sorts of masks and creams to remove dead skin and let younger skin emerge. I even heard two fortyish guys discussing microdermabrasion like their lives depended on it.

And I thought only us girls are vain! Whatever happened to men just washing their faces with soap and water? Nowadays, we’re not only the ones who have kikay kits. An increasing number of men do, too. I guess having kikay kits is also one area where there must be gender equality. If us girls can be kikay, why can’t men be kikay, too? There really is nothing wrong with men wanting to have their lashes permed, is there? :)

Friday, November 21, 2008

So Many Books, Too Little Time

Friday, November 21, 2008

In 2006 The New York Times conducted a survey to identify the The Best Work of American Fiction of the Last 25 Years. The results, as selected by prominent writers, critics, editors and literary sages, are:

  1. Beloved, Toni Morrison (1987)
  2. Underworld, Don DeLillo (1997)
  3. Blood Meridian, Cormac McCarthy (1985)
  4. Rabbit Angstrom: The Four Novels, John Updike (1995)
  5. American Pastoral, Philip Roth (1997)
  6. A Confederacy of Dunces, John Kennedy Toole (1980)
  7. Housekeeping, Marilyn Robinson (1980)
  8. Winter’s Tale, Mark Helprin (1983)
  9. White Noise, Don DeLillo (1985)
  10. The Counterlife, Philip Roth (1986)
  11. Libra, Don DeLillo (1988)
  12. Where I’m Calling From, Raymond Carver (1988)
  13. The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien (1990)
  14. Mating, Norman Rush (1991)
  15. Jesus’ Son, Denis Johnson (1992)
  16. Operation Shylock, Philip Roth (1993)
  17. Independence Day, Richard Ford (1995)
  18. Sabbath’s Theater, Philip Roth (1995)
  19. Border Trilogy, Cormac McCarthy (1999)
  20. The Human Stain, Philip Roth (2000)
  21. The Known World, Edward Jones (2003)
  22. The Plot Against America, Philip Roth (2004)

However, the respondents worry that such inquiry, “by feeding the deplorable modern mania for ranking, list-making and fabricated competition, would not only distract from the serious business of literature but, worse, subject it to damaging trivialization. To consecrate one work as the best - or even to establish a short list of near-bests - would be to risk the implication that no one need bother with the rest, and thus betray the cause of reading. The determination of literary merit, it was suggested, should properly be a matter of reasoned judgment and persuasive argument, not mass opinionizing. Criticism should not cede its prickly, qualitative prerogatives to the quantifying urges of sociology or market research.”

No worry, really, because I aim to read all 22 books in the list (of which, to my chagrin, I’ve read only 12 and ¼!) as well as all the winners of the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Award, the PEN/Faulkner Award and all the other outstanding pieces of literature that haven’t won a single award – even if takes an entire lifetime and even if it kills me.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Problem With Exes

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The problem with exes is that they keep on hounding you. Imagine getting a call from an ex in the middle of the night, ruining your sleep and eventually ruining your entire day for not getting enough rest. The words "stay ouf of my life" do not seem to register in his mind and you have to shut off your cell phone just to shut him up.

Why does he think he still enjoys the privilege to dial your number? He has lost the right to show that he still cares and, for that matter, to even ask how you are. And because of him who left you heartbroken, now you need to change your phone number! Who does he think he is? Why still give him that power over you? Why would you go through the trouble of moving to a new place—when in fact you like where you’re staying right now—just to avoid him? He is now just an ex, a caducous leaf who has irrevocably fallen out of your life, and there’s no reason why you would still let him influence where you want to live or what number you want to use.

The one thing that exes need to understand is this: what’s been finally disgorged can’t be taken in again.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Running

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I used to run regularly—chiefly to lose weight, but like Francis below, also for the sheer pleasure of it.

Francis began to run, and in doing so, reconstituted a condition that was as pleasurable to his being as it was natural: the running of bases after the crack of the bat, the running from accusation, the running from family, from bondage, from destitution of spirit through ritualistic straightenings, the running, finally, in a quest for pure flight as a fulfilling mannerism of the spirit. (William Kennedy, Ironweed, 1979)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Water of Life

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Jacqueline's Tweety Bird Project inspired me to take up once again
the cross stitch project I started two years ago but never got to finish. Only a few stitches more and it's ready for framing. It's called Water of Life.


Monday, November 17, 2008

Endurance

Monday, November 17, 2008

In the drugstore last Friday I heard the guy standing beside me place his order. In a apparently discomfited squeaky voice, he stammered, “E-e-en-en-e-en-endurance ba iyon?” I turned my head to look at him. He was blushing to the roots of his hair! Poor guy. I had to will myself not to laugh out loud. His awkwardness about buying the product—whatever it is—piqued my curiosity. Endurance must be really something interesting, I thought. Maybe it's a condom brand. Or judging from its name, it must be a sexual potency drug like Viagra? Or a sex toy like a penis ring vibrator? Why else would he be so mortified? (Or it can just be a brand of multi-vitamins! Drugstores simply make him nervous.)

Why are people so ashamed of making coitus-related purchases? The guilt factor is always at play, treating the entire thing—contraceptives, sex aides and the act itself—as sinful, ugly and repulsive. We now live in an age of accelerating waves of biotechnological advances that witnessed the mapping of the human genome and yet we still consider the natural origin of human life—the sexual act--as taboo.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Whatever

Friday, November 14, 2008

I ask, “Hey, what do you want for dinner?”
He answers, “Whatever.”

Doesn’t it drive you crazy when you ask a question and you get “whatever” for an answer? It’s just so annoying. It’s very dismissive – like the person you are talking to doesn’t care enough about the question to dignify it with an answer other than "whatever". As a pronoun, it means “anything and everything that” but what it really means is, “I don’t care.”

The Urban Dictionary listed 36 different usages for and definitions of the word “whatever”. Here are some of them:

1. Used in an argument to admit that you are wrong without admitting it so the argument is over.

Man, whatever.

2. Uttered in a derisive and dismissive tone, in response to a confrontation or accusation which has been judged to be unimpressive, obnoxious, or disingenuous. Often used to dismiss someone when it is clear that rational discussion would be a waste of time and energy.

Don't tell me you believe in that "evolution" stuff! The Bible clearly states that the Earth is 6,000 years old!

Whatever, dude. Can you go bother someone else now please?

3. A polite and less vulgar alternative to "F*CK YOU".

Jack: "Wow, what happened to you? You look like hell today!"

Jill: "Whatever"

4. I don't care.

As in:
Boy: I am exhausted today. Looking forward to going home and doing nothing, hopefully you're up for the same?

Girl: Yeah, whatever.

5. Word all too often used to connote a feeling of apathy.

"They bombed a foreign nation without cable TV. Millions died."

"Whatever. They're making another Temptation Island." "Sweet."

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Then and Now

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

After almost ten years, I am going back to my beloved campus to attend the Alumni Homecoming. Looking forward to the event and feeling a bit nostalgic, I rummaged through my things to look for my old college graduation picture. When I found it, I couldn’t help but cringe.

Oh boy.. Did I really look like this before?

Then and Now

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Choices

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Between two evils, I always pick the one I never tried before. - Mae West

Faced with two equally objectionable alternatives, we can’t say that we don’t have a choice, can we? We still do. And even without any options left, we still have a choice. We can always choose not to choose.

We always complain that we don’t have any choice. But when we think about it, sometimes, having a lot of options just makes life complicated. It’s like when we go to a grocery store and we’re faced with too many choices--three aisles of different brands, mixes, flavors, calorie counts-- for a single item that we cannot decide what to choose anymore. Bombarded with all sorts of stuff from every corner, shelf and counter across the room, all intended to entice our senses, we sometimes forget what we went there for. And at times the thing we have in mind and are looking for--seemingly hidden among all those others options that we don’t really need—we just can’t find anymore. There are just too many choices!

The sprawl of options, supposed to be liberating and enabling, becomes claustrophobic. And because of it, we not only fail to make the right or the best decision. We simply do not make any decision at all until each of our options trickle away and we are left with nothing. Not making a decision for fear of making the wrong one can turn out to be the worst mistake of all.

Picking between two evils is oftentimes easy. It is when we’re faced with two equally attractive alternatives when we find it more difficult to decide. Is it because we want all and the best of everything? Or is it because we are afraid of the risks that accompany and the consequences that result from the choice that we ultimately make? Or is it because we plainly do not know what we want?

Not knowing what we want. Isn’t that the story behind the interior epic of our ambivalence?

Why do you make the things I have chosen seem hateful to me,
if you have nothing to give me instead?
- Edith Wharton,
The House of Mirth

Beaches


It's strange but I'm not as fascinated with beaches as some (or most) people probably are. Maybe it's because I grew up surrounded with mountain
s or because I can't swim or because I don't really look that good in a two-piece bikini.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Six Random Things that Make me Happy

Sunday, November 9, 2008
  • Knowing and feeling that I am loved
  • D's arrival (soon!)
  • Opening my dashboard and seeing that somebody has commented on my posts
  • Buco juice
  • Getting an SMS, a call, a misscall, an email, a poke, a buzz, an IM, or a snail mail from my friends
  • Seeing and knowing that my loved ones are happy, too.
I was tagged by Jacqueline and I'm tagging whoever reads this and wants to share what makes him or her happy.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Full Disclosure

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Things just come into your mind on their own and aren't your fault. So I learned this all those years ago--that you don't need to be held responsible for what you think, and that by and large you don't have any business knowing what other people think. Full disclosure never does anybody any favors, and in any event there are few enough people in the world who are sufficiently within themselves to make such disclosure pretty unreliable right from the start. All added to the fact that this constitutes intrusion where you least need to be intruded upon, and where telling can actually do harm to everyone involved.


- Richard Ford, The Sportswriter, 1986

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Perils of Caring Too Much

Friday, November 7, 2008

How do I tell a friend about the perils of caring too much when I, too, was once afflicted with its curse? How do I tell her about the perils of caring too much when I, too, was once riveted and intoxicated by the numbing torment it brings? How do I tell her that caring too much about a person can mean caring too little about herself? How do I tell her that the future, surely uncertain as it is, can be doubly wobbly when built on a mere string of Faustian moments? How do I tell her these things when I know that she is not without a lucid understanding of her wretched state? How do I tell her when we both know that she already knows?

8,521 miles, a year after


What is 8,521 miles when, in spite of it, we love each other more than ever?


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Last Weekend's Food Trip Road Trip

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Chicken mami, siopao an
d pineapple pie in Baguio; sotanghon in Manaoag


Adidas and isaw in San Fabian



Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Taming Demons

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I am a snob. Or so says my boyfriend. And several people of less significance, too. I remember one time when I was still working in the Academy, I heard a group of civilian employees blathering on how I’m so full of myself that I don’t find the time to mingle with them. They were even mimicking how I walk – with the exaggerated upturned chin, the pursed lips, the raised left eyebrow, the chest-out-shoulders-back posture and the always-in-a-hurry-I’m-too-busy-for-you gait. For them my keeping to myself most of the time is tantamount to snobbery. Knowing that there’s some truth to it, a male friend half jestingly accused me of being a hyperliterate cognitive elitist.

By majority opinion and standards, I guess I really am a snob. And it’s something I grapple with everyday. Though I believe—or I delude myself in believing—that I’m not a snob, I still try my damnedest to kill the snob in me, or falling short, to tame it somehow.

It’s like our lives are spent grappling with and trying to tame—in varying degrees and in different ways—the demons inside of us. They come in all sorts of colors, flavors, texture, shapes and sizes. Some days they appear bare naked; other days, in full battle gear; once in a while even in disguise. With inexorable vigilance and meticulously designed tactical maneuver, we win the fight. We are able to whack those devils into submission. But throughout the course of the battle, we sometimes lose. And when we lose, those supposedly tamed frolicking devils are also let loose.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A Day at the Cemetery

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Like almost everyone else, we went to the Baguio cemetery last Saturday. Since it was my first time to go to a cemetery, I was a bit astonished. So it’s like this, I kept on thinking. It wasn’t spooky, bleak or depressing as I expected it to be. It’s almost like going to Burnham Park where a family or a group of friends can spread a blanket on the ground, pitch a tent, bring a picnic, and just enjoy the day, the scenery and each other’s company. The only difference is that at the cemetery, one’s not just having fun but also paying respects to the dead.




It was such a fun day. There were vendors all around selling e-load, candles, fish balls, sweet corn, peanuts and all of the other street food you can imagine. We even got to splurge on dirty ice cream!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Entrenched and In Flux

Monday, November 3, 2008

I met with a few of my classmates in high school last Friday night. As we were gossiping about the latest batch headlines and laughing over the same old jokes and the familiar anecdotes, I cannot help but marvel at how simultaneously entrenched and in flux we all are. We haven’t changed. But we also did.

Mariflor came with her husband, Basil came without his ever famous mustache, and Jennifer and I came with our curls. There’s Avegail, a classmate from grade school to college, who leads a life of heroic endurance. How she struggles--and gracefully survives--as a single mother to her three kids humbles me. There’s Anne Marie who amazed me with how warm she really is. The air of distance that used to keep her closeted from the rest of us is gone. Vona, the batch’s beauty title holder, is as beautiful as ever. I wonder how she does it.

Here are our pictures (left picture, from left to right: Avegail, Mariflor, Jennifer, Anne Marie, Basil Oscar, me, and Vona).


















And with Aileen two days after:










Curls


 
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