Friday, February 20, 2009

Bad English

Friday, February 20, 2009

I started the day reading an essay, Politics and the English Language, written by George Orwell. Halfway through the essay's second paragraph it dawned on me that although he wrote it in 1946, he could have been describing the present. What he wrote rings truer today than when he wrote it.

A man may take to drink because he feels himself to be a failure, and then fail all the more completely because he drinks. It is rather the same thing that is happening to the English language. It becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts. The point is that the process is reversible. Modern English, especially written English, is full of bad habits which spread by imitation and which can be avoided if one is willing to take the necessary trouble. If one gets rid of these habits one can think more clearly, and to think clearly is a necessary first step toward political regeneration: so that the fight against bad English is not frivolous and is not the exclusive concern of professional writers.

And I am guilty of those bad habits as well.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Tardiness

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

They have recently devised a new scheme to encourage punctuality at work. Before, each of us has to pay one peso every time we arrive beyond 830 am. The coins are accumulated and at the end of the month, the pooled money goes to the one (or the ones) who, for that 30-day period, was always on time. Unfortunately, it didn't work. Like the Philippine 6/49 SuperLotto jackpot that has reached 239,242,119.20 pesos and has yet to be won, the money collected from us latecomers, just keeps on accumulating. For several months now, not one has been rewarded. I guess for most of us, being one peso poorer every single day is no big deal. And what's worse, tardiness is still a problem.

Now, there's a new scheme. Employees who can maintain their punctuality for a month will be given an additional vacation leave credit. I hope it works this time. More vacation time will perhaps induce everyone to be more punctual.

For somebody who lives a stone's throw away from work, it is very embarrassing to admit that for several times I have also been late for work. I cannot say that I have been caught in traffic or that I missed my bus or that the train is too crowded. There is just no valid reason for my tardiness.

So I am now determined to go to work earlier than usual. And, earn that leave credit, too, of course!


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I can hardly wait

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

If not for the tons of work I still need to finish by Friday, I’d just be gazing through the window at the speeding vehicles and multicolored rooftops outside, daydreaming about our long-awaited vacation. It takes some great effort to contain my excitement and focus on my work. I can hardly wait for the week to end!

Just a few more days before D arrives. I can hardly wait!

Monday, February 16, 2009

phallocracy and regimentation

Monday, February 16, 2009

Where hierarchy and phallocracy are the order of the day and civilians must always bow down, dance for, and shine the patent leather shoes of his or her commanding officer, it is no wonder why I left my old work place. To say that I felt suffocated and stagnated in that excessively regimented fortress is an understatement. Whenever I listen to my friend who stayed behind and who persistently bitches about the kind of crap she had to take everyday, I can’t help but feel a perverse kind of schadenfreude. I know it’s awful of me to feel good about it but with how appalling the situation remains there, I am relieved I’m not a part of it anymore. Things haven’t changed. It’s sad, but I guess they never will.


Friday, February 13, 2009

All Else Follows

Friday, February 13, 2009

With that particular blend of irony and self-deprecation so typical of him, D constantly tells me, “I am too old for you.” I just roll my eyes, and answer, “So?” It’s not really an issue, is it?

I tell him that he fits how I thought--or hoped--my lifetime partner would be, like what I have written before:

He belongs to that dwindling band of intractable eccentrics; he shares my passion for learning, classical music and great literature; he understands that for me, books are sacred; he has the admirable ability to express himself in complete, fluid sentences, using precisely chosen words; he is absolutely secure of himself and totally into what he is doing; he knows more about culture than that rigidly circumscribed by television; he is one person I can count on and turn to for solace, comfort and strength; he is so into me that everything else is secondary and has no qualms telling me and the world about it; his intellect and maturity stand out amidst the brazen simplemindedness of youth; he is sensitive to my needs and handles my neurosis even better than I, myself, could; he gets tremendous happiness in making me happy; above all else, he loves me with every fiber of his being.

He unassumingly refutes all except for the last sentence. But when you think about it, that last sentence says it all. From it, all else follows.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

To Be In Love

Thursday, February 12, 2009

To be in love
Is to touch with a lighter hand.
In yourself you stretch, you are well.
You look at things
Through his eyes.
A cardinal is red.
A sky is blue.
Suddenly you know he knows too.
He is not there but
You know you are tasting together
The winter, or a light spring weather.
His hand to take your hand is overmuch.
Too much to bear.
You cannot look in his eyes
Because your pulse must not say
What must not be said.
When he
Shuts a door-
Is not there_
Your arms are water.
And you are free
With a ghastly freedom.
You are the beautiful half
Of a golden hurt.
You remember and covet his mouth
To touch, to whisper on.
Oh when to declare
Is certain Death!
Oh when to apprize
Is to mesmerize,
To see fall down, the Column of Gold,
Into the commonest ash.


By Gwendolyn Brooks

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Suddenly Flooded

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

When the department heads found out that I will be on vacation for two weeks, within hours I got flooded with work. Countless modules to review for the Academic Department, proposals to prepare for Sales, other pertinent documents for Human Resource. It's like I won't even have time left for my very own department. Giving me work that is almost too much to handle is probably their way of telling me that they'll miss me.

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Greater Depression

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Great Depression.


It was simply that abstract thing that was always mentioned in some of our classes in college. It was that thing so painfully yet beautifully depicted in John Steinbeck’s masterpiece, The Grapes of Wrath. But not anymore.

The Greater Depression.

When before it was merely a topic, a concept, an abstraction, some piece of history, now it is reality. It is here – ubiquitous and inexorable, even greater a depression than the one before. In different ways and in varying degrees, we all feel the staggering agony and devastation it has wreaked worldwide.

How could such thing have happened again? How is our generation—so different from that of the 1930s) handling it? Is there a difference between they way the US government handled it before and how they are handling it now? I needed answers. I wanted to understand. And the best way to comprehend the complexities of what’s happening right now is to go back to the basics, I thought. So I dug up my tattered Samuelson and Nordhaus undergraduate Economics textbook and started reading. I revisited the a-bit-forgotten-but-still familiar concepts, trying to makes sense of each in the context of the present: Government control of the economy: the thunder of world history is heard in fiscal policy because taxing and spending are such powerful instruments for social change. The G in Y=C+I+G+X-M. The limits of the Invisible Hand. The warring schools of macroeconomics: the classical tradition, the Keynesian revolution, supply side economics, monetarism and the neoclassical approach. The impacts of a tax cut, an increase in the money supply, exports, transfer payments on the course of prices, output, and employment. And on and on and on.

After a few hours of this I’m-not-sure-if-it-even-helped compulsive reading, I came to this one conclusion: If they survived the Great Depression of the 1930s, then we will definitely survive this one, too.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Steals

Sunday, February 8, 2009


I had great luck shoppi
ng today. I went to my favorite haunts--several bookstores that sell used books--and luckily unearthed these treasures:

Terrorist by John Updike (Knopf,2006)

Paris Trout by Pete Dexter (Penguin Books, 1988)

Seize the Day by Saul Bellow (Penguin Books, 1974)

Dubliners by James Joyce (Viking, 1958)

The Cider House Rules by John Irving (Morrow, 1985)

All five books still in good condition and for only 250 pesos (roughly five dollars), what a steal, huh?


Friday, February 6, 2009

Travel Preparations

Friday, February 6, 2009

Things have been a bit hectic lately, with the preparations for my vacation with D. We decided not to use a travel agency and just do everything by ourselves. By not using an agency, we got to pick out what we really wanted and save money in the process. It’s tiring yet fun. We had to look for the best hotel – within our budget and away from the noisy tourist areas yet accessible through different means of transportation. We had to do read voluminous travel tips and hotel reviews before we decided on where to stay. It’s a good thing there are a lot of websites that offer detailed descriptions about where to eat, where to go, how to go there, what to do, and what to avoid. Having to familiarize myself with all those things is such a tedious process but I enjoy doing it.

Then came the harder part – booking our flight online. For some weird reason, when I tried purchasing our tickets, the airlines declined the transaction. Several times. I tried talking to customer support but both airlines and credit card company were not able to provide me with some valid reason for the unsuccessful transaction. And the same goes with D. He, too, cannot book our flight. With several phone exchanges and my irritation level tested to the fullest, we were able to book our flight. Finally.

Now I’m still drawing up some sort of an itinerary but I guess getting lost in a foreign place is the best way to discover its true beauty.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Photo Tagged

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

I got tagged by Jacqueline.

Here's how the tag works:


Go to your Picture Folder on your computer or wherever you store your pictures. Go to the 6th Folder, then pick the 6th picture in that folder. Post that picture on your blog and the story that goes along with the picture. Tag six other people that you know to do the same thing and leave a comment on their blog or an e-mail letting them know you chose them.

Here's the picture:


It was taken by a colleague in 2004 when I was still working at the Philippine Military Academy in Baguio City.


Several people commented how I resembled a certain Filipina movie actress in this picture.

Guess who?

(I am tagging Kayni, Fren, Artemis, Wits and Nuts, Moira and Nica.)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Lechon Manok

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

I spent last weekend at my mother’s place. Saturday at around lunchtime, Nico and Nica (my younger siblings) had a sudden craving for lechon manok (roast chicken). Nico had to go to town to buy us pre-roasted, ready-to-eat chicken. We yearned for it so much that we decided not to eat what our mother prepared for lunch and just wait until he arrives. It took him more than an hour to get back. We were so hungry that the three of us ate the whole chicken. It was lip-smacking, delicious-to-the-bone good.

After eating, our craving for chicken sated, we watched some TV. A few hours later, our mother arrived from work. And guess what her pasalubong for us is? Roasted chicken. Oh no! The three of us groaned in dismay when we saw it. Not another lechon manok! My sister told our mother what we had for lunch. Then we all started laughing out loud.

Monday, February 2, 2009

February

Monday, February 2, 2009

Winter. Time to eat fat
and watch hockey. In the pewter mornings, the cat,
a black fur sausage with yellow
Houdini eyes, jumps up on the bed and tries
to get onto my head. It's his
way of telling whether or not I'm dead.
If I'm not, he wants to be scratched; if I am
He'll think of something. He settles
on my chest, breathing his breath
of burped-up meat and musty sofas,
purring like a washboard. Some other tomcat,
not yet a capon, has been spraying our front door,
declaring war. It's all about sex and territory,
which are what will finish us off
in the long run. Some cat owners around here
should snip a few testicles. If we wise
hominids were sensible, we'd do that too,
or eat our young, like sharks.
But it's love that does us in. Over and over
Again, He shoots, he scores! and famine
crouches in the bedsheets, ambushing the pulsing
eiderdown, and the windchill factor hits
thirty below, and the pollution pours
out of our chimneys to keep us warm.
February, month of despair,
with a skewered heart in the centre.
I think dire thoughts, and lust for French fries
with a splash of vinegar.
Cat, enough of your greedy whining
and your small pink bumhole.
Off my face! You're the life principle,
more or less, so get going
on a little optimism around here.
Get rid of death. Celebrate increase. Make it be spring.

By Margaret Atwood, from Morning in the Burned House.


 
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