Friday, October 31, 2008

Sort of Attempt in Halloween

Last night my sister picked me up from a dinner in Makati. We went home listening to 89.9 Halloween special where DJs invite callers to tell their scary stories on air. Half were definitely not scary at all and some callers even failed to tell the scarier or original version of the tales. My sister and I were trying to dial in because we know that we have much scarier stories to tell. Gosh, we both came from St. Scholastica’s Manila didn’t we? And our stories have an original pang to it. We are sort of an expert in hearing and delivering stories already.

Anyways, my sister reached our house and parked in front of our gate. We decided to wait for the last caller to finish his story so that we could possibly get the Magic Hotline number. We were listening intently. Our engines dead. In a quiet deserted street at around 11 pm when there was a loud….. BANG at my sister’s window, like a body being thrashed or mugged.

My sister, naturally, released her piercing scream of a freaking BANSHEE and tried to cross over my space. I was startled for the heck of it and realized that the NITWIT who courageously banged himself in the driver’s window was holding a SNOOPY HOTDOG pillow. There is only one unmistakably stained, droopy and faded SNOOPY HOTDOG pillow owner in town. It happens to be one of my brother’s most priced possessions.

By the time my sister got out and tried to strangle him he was already on guard and laughing at that. My sister apparently had the fright of her life and I’m sure my left ear drum trembled to pieces. Amongst us three, JD is the most wuss in scary movies, stories or situations. Karla and I are more of the horror genre experts, we manage, yet admittedly in extreme cases, I have more tolerance and higher expectations. I think that’s why ghosts do not attempt to make themselves known to me. I might ruin their repertoire. But my brother’s timing was masterful. The fact that he made my heart thump slightly faster is already a plus. But next time, I advised him not to do any scaring attempts with a SNOOPY HOTDOG pillow on hand.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

For more positive outcome, give me hot choco

People who have had the opportunity and the entertainment to assess me (whether they know me or not) would instantly think that I’m a “Cold” person rather than “Warm.” I won’t even contest that. I’m far from being Ms. Congeniality. I don’t establish relationships easily and even if I do establish a deep relationship, I can’t stand being too sentimental or too mushy. My threshold is unimpressive. Also include facts that I like cool colors and I’m not a fan of heat and sun. But I think there's a work-around for this.

According to an Article in Time written by Hilary Hylton, 2 Yale educated psychologists published a study in Science Magazine that “encountering warmth or cold lights up insula, a walnut-sized section of the brain-engaged when we evaluate who we want to trust in economic transactions.” So it means to say that for example when you’re dealing with a high-end financial tax expert, you offer him coffee to make himself warmer towards you. And if you are on a sale, make sure to drink cold beverage to sharpen senses while keeping impulsivity at bay. How you react, decide or even perceive a person depends on your encounter with current temperature.

Your drink may hold instant assessments of people to develop any social interactions. A Frap may want you to be sharp, swift and straight to the point compared to drinking a Macchiatto that might want you to stay a little bit longer and fully enjoy a certain company. Drinking Iced Tea might make you consider yourself first compared to drinking a hot chocolate where you think for a friend or a loved one. Physical temperature, according to the scientists, affects behavior. “Physical warmth can make us see others as warmer people, but also cause to be warmer-more generous and trusting – as well.” So if you want to do extra preparations in social gatherings or transactions, this might be a helpful tip.

So if anyone wants to drop a bomb on me, make sure that I’m drinking coffee or hot chocolate, specifically Café Vanilla or Swiss miss with added marshmallows. Also make sure that it’s air conditioned lest my Urticaria breaks out. We need to do all necessary precautions in order to achieve possible results. Although certain levels of abuse may allow me to lend more money than intended, which I would highly discourage.

Fear of a Future Gone Wrong or Nothing at all

I believe one of the hardest points for a person in a relationship is realizing that he or she doesn’t see any bright future with their respective partners. This matter is quite ambiguous compared to simply blaming the intended separation to loss of love, loss of trust or even physical death. In this premise, the love and trust are still present, yet the practicality of staying together for a vision of a secure future does not seem to trickle down to their senses. It is either one person has traversed a different path that one cannot be able to support or follow. It may also be caused by the fact that they both already want different things. It is so different that the demands could be so glaring. The other person might also feel restricted, hindered or worried with security thinking that their partners would not be able to support their emotional and financial needs in the future. The person might either use a point of comparison against his/her partner or might be entertaining a certain itch that they can always do better. There are lots of advices for partners to cut their relationships due to lack of trust, lack of respect and lack of love, but to be able to address the need for a separation just because the other person feels that there is no FUTURE, needs a little more explanation.



This situation is true especially in the Eyes of WOMEN. I think in every invisible relationship manual do’s and don’ts, it’s simply a NO-NO to argue about money. Constant money matters efficiently erode relationships. The couple should have an understated approach to dealing with money lest they would want it to take over their relationship. Money is a powerful tool to make or break relations.

In this culture that we have, men are expected to earn more and “support” the family. Let’s face it. Even though there’s women empowerment and financial breakthroughs, men are more seen to SPEND for women either by demand or by their own desires. Women nowadays are seen to spend for their own whims and lifestyles, but taking consideration of building a family or spending for a couple, the man is always seen to take lead. It doesn’t necessarily mean that women do not contribute at all, but in a couple, it’s the men’s kingdom and utmost courtesy to provide. That is how the culture has brought us and even a modern woman would still think of the act, not entirely the end of all, but just as important.

Imagine. A smart woman, who earns a living and supports her own lifestyle, may wish to settle with a man who could AT LEAST match her resources or even go higher than her own. I might understand this perception in a way that women would want to feel secure in every sense of the word. In truth, most career women do not hold their insecurities against how their partners are doing professionally and financially. Women’s insecurities go against other women, and not with men. Also, the way we are brought up, women are expected to manage the household more therefore dividing our time and priorities from career to family. We take careers to feel independent and gain self-fulfillment, but we are not expected to burn all our efforts to the point of losing touch with the home or the vital needs of the family. That is why there are dual roles and multiple expectations that befall on women.

To put this in context, imagine this average yet independent woman being attached to a certified slacker or a freeloader who does not even shed any effort to support himself even if the woman already puts the opportunity in a golden plate. There is definitely something wrong with the picture. IN their dates, the woman pays. The woman drives the man to work. The woman buys him clothes and goods apart from being a mother and a financier, the woman fulfills her part as a loving girlfriend. In this case, the woman might not mind at all since she is happy in love and she could still support him. But what if there comes a time when she feels abused or tired and incidentally finds a better version of a slacker, the one who really has a good job? What if this slacker does not envision himself getting married, and even if he does, cannot visualize himself getting a reputable job to support their future? Even if the woman loves the partner tremendously, she cannot bring herself to nurture a future made of false promises, looming poverty and desperation. Being smart and independent that she is, she will not try so hard to achieve certain things she has achieved on her own to end up in a drag of a future. She simply realizes that there is no future with her partner even if she perfectly knows that she still loves him and couldn’t bear to leave him. But the vague vision of a positive future is gnawing her to the core. The tune goes “We cannot live on love alone.” Practicality over emotions.

A more complicated and more hurtful version is that a person, let’s say, a woman for a example is so competitive, ambitious and tends to target higher goals or resources, while her partner is NOT AS ambitious and competitive. The ambitious partner might feel slighted or annoyed that she is the only one building a much brighter future. The ambitious partner might view the complacency of his/her significant other as a sign of weakness and uncertainty. She cannot accept herself being satisfied with the simplicity and the kind of future her partner holds for them. For the ambitious, it simply won’t ever be enough and they need a partner in every sense of the word. Even though there’s love and familiarity, their visions of a secure, financially capable and promising future are not at par with each other.

For men, it’s quite different since it’s in their genetic make-up to provide. But men who constantly succumb to financial slavery with women is also not something worth considering for a brighter future.


In life the only thing constant is change. Even in a relationship, the status of couples in the beginning will not be the same in the future. Let me name the possible changes that might affect couples: Interest, Principles, Wants, Desires, Career, Goals, Future, Physical attributes and attitude. One of the optimum tests if the relationship is indeed strong is to be able to withstand all changes of your partner. It makes sense. You decide to love the person, all points in consideration, from the time you have assessed what was then present to be assessed. In future, these might fall irrelevant. The change could either turn for the better or for the worse. It could be a form of benefit or it could produce a certain rift in a relationship.

It’s good if the change is something that the other could support or adjust to. But if not, it would inevitably widen the gap and cause an inevitable separation. If a person wants to work abroad for mere interest or self fulfillment, the other person would have to learn how to adjust and make the relationship work. If not, they would just add up to the statistics of failed relationships due to long distance. If a person changes lifestyles due to career or interest, no matter how hard or unfamiliar, the other person should learn to adjust and understand. If the other person does not want to get married or have a family how would a brighter future transpire if his/her partner would wish to have a family? Failure to address different wants might further contradict and jeopardize their future.

Since it’s a given that people grow and develop and it’s a human factor to change and explore other things, relationships are not immune to any of this. Couples constantly argue and undergo tests if the wants are not any more aligned compared to the time they first decided to embark in a relationship. Since at that time, they find all things in common and familiar, they find attraction and comfort with each other. Take it away might mean endangering the relationship to further instability.


Anyone who has ever been in a serious relationship, do not just go involve themselves in a relationship by means of comfort and fulfilling an adult requirement. You go into a serious relationship to grow with the person and face bigger things like marriage, family and the whole growing old together-drama. You enter in a relationship with the premise that you want it to last. Sometimes, we tend to see the façade more and hope for people to change their perceptions that would complement our own. We invest in more time and trials, yet at the end, our own high expectations for the person will never be fulfilled in the future. Once we realize the fact, our future simply goes down the drain.


Some people stay with their partners for as long as 10 years till they find out that they’re not made for each other at all. They are better of as friends or as business partners. They think they are serious and they do everything gracefully, yet both are scared to face or recognize the future. They are either stuck in the moment, so familiar with each other that they treat themselves as comfort zones. They don’t want to face the future in terms of hindering themselves to grow. They are both satisfied with where they are until they don’t know what they would want in the future.

I’ve seen relationships fall and enter into danger zones simply because they missed a turn and can no longer journey forward. Some couples have already lost the map that it’s an agony for them to stay together figuring out the right turns. Or by the time they decide to forge on, they’re so different that they don’t know which road to take or which one to sacrifice.

Relationships involve people shedding time, effort and emotions. It’s not a joke. If done with the wrong pretense, it could drain the person of almost everything. Therefore people treat it as investment; and an investment is something that grows and inevitably has a much bigger purpose. If a person is not sure of the future his/her partner holds with for him/her, then it’s a time to reconsider if it’s beneficial for both parties still move on together. There must be something wrong with loving a person that you do not envision a future with. Is pure blissful love enough to disregard the possibility of a future? What’s the worst fear? Fear of isolation or Fear of a drastic future? Everything is always wielded by choices, no matter how ambiguous and fearful those choices may be.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Satisfaction as Disappointment

I went to the canteen to quickly buy something that would cheer me up. I saw this really Fudgy custard decadent chocolate some-whatcha-macallit cake in the freezer area. I scrutinized it and tried to assess the glossy appearance it gives off. I took my purse and bought a slice. I went back to my office, guarding myself from giving high expectations, but it still damn failed me!

The chocolate was far too digustingly sweet that it already tasted artificial. The custard tastes like a badly cooked, watery yema (literally looked like a pus). The appearance really didn’t look enticing and I just wasted resources and suffered yet another feeling of disappointment so early in the morning.

Ugh. This chocolate cake is the last straw. I'm beginning to notice that SMIPLE to MAJOR things/people/situation disappoint me nowadays. Are my expectations really that high? I know i’m not perfect. I still consider myself bearable. I always go for self-fulfillment rather than flowery words of comfort or status. I’m still a person who values thought and gestures than words or objects. I think I'm fairly generous. I even sacrifice to the extent of not knowing it, and I am FREAKING open-minded. Why is it that for the past few days in simple things like conversations, food or people I either get a homerun of disaster in every sense of the word that I’ve forgotten what it’s like to feel satisfied? I don't think I deserve that bad karma.

And to think that I'm SATISFIED? SATISFACTION is so not a complement. I cannot even believe I’m finding enough reason to use the word. That word as far as I’m concerned didn’t exist in my vocabulary until now. Being satisfied is the lowest of the low of being happy. Being just satisfied is an insult. It's same as “I think it’s okay, life goes on and better to have this than nothing at all.”


You see, being disappointed is clearly not the best condition to find me in. I’m giving this a week at the most. I just hate the thought that comes with the series of grave disappointments. The worst part of it is that I tend to over analyze situations and piece things together until I inflate that huge balloon of reserve that I wish I would never have to pop.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Dreams yet to Interpret

My dreams recently bother me. I know it’s stupid to allow dreams get the best of you, but for the past few days I’ve been having vivid ones. I see and still remember people’s faces, words and actions when I wake up. That seldom happens. At least for three consecutive days, I’ve been seeing similar people, but in different settings and situations. There were a couple of scenes in those dreams that I know I was ultimately upset. Even in my sleep I knew that my heart sank.

My questions are:

Why am I dreaming of the same cast of characters always? Is that even possible?

Why am I remembering particular settings like landscapes of a beach in sepia, a vintage with white walls, a red London bus crossing the river and even particular streets in my village?

Why do I remember upsetting scenes and images done by THESE SAME people all the time? Bickering? Stealing? Philandering? Annihilation? Death?

Is it because I had hefty dinners for three consecutive days that my mind has gone haywire in compartmentalizing? Am I psychologically upset or unstable? I seldom remember my dreams. 99% I don’t remember them when I wake up. So far this is the longest series of bothersome dreams in my whole unprecedented life. Is there a certain message, premonition or at least a precaution I should be looking in to?

Thinking about it now, there is no outward sense in those dreams. Where’s the sense in these?


Those are the few lines that I remember and it doesn’t make any sense to me. The more I try to understand the more I get bothered. Until someone concludes that dreams like these mean something, as far as I’m concerned these are just products of wild imagination, stress and indulgence to Halloween. Scaring myself is what I apparently do best.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Holloween, Hollow Me

While putting on the Grim Ripper costume this afternoon, I realized how much I love Halloween more than Christmas. It also goes with the same conclusion that I'm not a "Christmasy" person. I am veering towards the Scrooge line of the fence, which is perfect to thrive on Halloween. Halloween's best purpose is to officially give leeway for people to randomly develop bulging pot bellies and allowing people, with already bulging pot bellies, an excuse to defend themselves.

Halloween for me is trick or treating. Candies, chocolates, Nanay's Valenciana and my anniversary with Mr. Consistent. It also officially marks the beginning of Christmas Eve, which makes it fun because it's the BEGINNING. Not the middle and not the ending either. Every December 25 I get depressed, not because of freaking loneliness it brings, but because the days will move faster and the next thing I would be seeing are pending issues at work. Talk about constantly cleaning the house and receiving random guests that do not even bother to advise their arrivals.

Also, Halloween is funner and more friends oriented. Not that Christmas spent with families and friends aren't fun, but Halloween has an edgier and has a more reckless side to it. It gives children and adults time to dress up and indulge themselves in fantasies. Halloween is for fun Costume parties, dinners, a moment to fool around and not be overly sentimental about the year. Sentimentality and Reminiscing are reserved during Christmas.

My Childhood Halloween was eating Nanay's sumptuous Valenciana while watching MGB, which has gone sour over the past years. They should've changed props and stories if they still wanted to be effective. Melting Jello looking high-school masks, background smoke which was similarly used in That's Entertainment number special and the same old actress playing White lady will never ever cut to Playstation playing kids. No wait. There's no Magandang Gabi Bayan now, right? Well, I'm not attuned to other magazine show versions either.

Halloween for me was the perfect time to read RL Stine novels I'd carefully bought over weekends before sembreak. Trick or Treating was fun, except for the walking part and wearing insulating costumes while sweating over caked make-up. But still, pretty much, my Halloween childhood memories were safe. As I got older, I still do trick or treating sometimes, but I was slowly introduced to adult Halloween Parties. Not that I really like it, but I find it exhilarating seeing adults go on full production with their costumes. I always feel I could goof around and no one would really notice. Maybe that's it, Halloween gives me the impression of having a license to get sick, twisted and ultimately scare people. Not that I don't do it in normal days, but I've noticed that in Halloween, people have more humor and they always turn out to be more forgiving.

Halloween will always have a special place in my heart. Mind you, even though I enjoy whatever that comes with it, I do sincerely pray for all those souls to go heaven (with exceptions to those dreaded bastards of course, a couple of more years in limbo should do the trick). I even thank familiar Saints that I sometimes ask help from, even though their specialties get mixed up. They know that I meant well. I sincerely believe that once a person is ordained a Saint, he or she has at least basic powers that come from being a Saint.

Whatever. Let Halloween Come in full blast.

About Girls and a Side post abt Zoey and Katy

Girls can easily get away with anything. Seriously.

If there's one thing that didn't change is that women are more put on a pedestal, admired and be taken as muses. But beyond the glitz, glamor and socio-political changes or improvements that we have, in the simplest to obvious things, we can easily justify ourselves. We have the power to turn ourselves as cute, cunning and innocent.

Men cannot bend and manipulate their own principles, no matter how twisted they seem to be. They're stuck at role so boxed and so high in expectations that sometimes they get persecuted if they go beyond the line. Women are more flexible. We hold the power to charm, to argue and to find hundreds of justifications that really make sense. Throw in that we are more emotional, but that gives us a great power in return, intuition. Even non-maternal types like me, have that.

In connection, I'm listening to Katy Perry's hit song "I Kissed a Girl." I know I'm again soooo delayed with my music discoveries, half of the world might be sick of this single already. But I find the song so liberating. The premise gos that A girl can kiss a boy out of experimentation, out of curiosity and it ends up to be NOTHING. Girls are still girls and that amount of bending the "Societal Role" will never persecute us. It's kind of twisted that men actually find it entertaining.

We hold hands with our girl friends and nothing will change. We wear jeans. We may talk like men and act "un-dainty- like" but there's a sort of ambiguity to it before anyone could actually conclude that we've gone homosexual. We may take on higher positions and be business minded like men, but we may carry a double role in our house and in our emotions. We have so many switches that MEN even find us crazy creatures. It's just the way we are.

I asked my boyfriend if he minds me kissing a girl, NOT OUT OF HABIT, but out of curiosity of course. He smiled and said he wouldn't mind. Frankly, I'm not even surprised with his reaction, and I'm equally pleased on my level of flexibility compared to his. If I see him kissing a guy even out of CURIOSITY. I might barf.


Speaking of Flexibility, I have to slightly contradict myself when I first saw the video "I KISSED A GIRL" in MTV. I honestly thought the singer was ZOEY DESCHANEL (The Happening, Almost Famous,Failure to Launch). I'm a Zoey Deschanel Fan. I think she and I could get along...personality wise. But I'm not a fan enough to distinguish, I guess. My sister ended up EDUCATING me that the one who sang it was KATY PERRY. I thought maybe it was her singer name? Aren't they the same person?





They both have the same looks, same frames, colors, same styles, fashion sense (as you can see) and they both have the NO-Care aura, plus they both PERFORM as an actress and as a singer, but of course each dominates only 1 genre. Nevertheless, in the world of entertainment, one could easily go from acting to singing or vice versa. Talk about major identity crisis. I love Zoey Deschanel acting (I have yet to see her perform musically) and I'm digging Katy Perry (I Have yet to see her act). It's good to see them both live to figure and settle my personal dispute. I'll consider it as a treat, well as long as I get the names right, that's good enough for now. Won't mind kissing them too. :P

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Harvey, are you there?

I can't be fully excited...not yet until I see him.

I just received a call 10 minutes ago here in the office (in the middle of painting a well for Halloween...don't ask)

He called to ask if I'd treat him with a Lasagna dinner at Italianni's. His request didn't fully register as I was trying to get red paint smudges out of my fingers. Then the opportune moment came...

"HUH???!! Why??!"

Until he told me how much strings he pulled to eventually get very own Harvey.

Harvey playing with Rocky, Timmy and Didi.

Can't scream yet, probably later.

Pix source:

To Tell or Not to Tell: An Amanda or A Britney

A chic waiter guides a professional, straight, suave and cheerful looking guy holding hands with a gorgeous, giggly and sophisticated girl to the end corner table for two. The waiter takes their orders and leaves them to wallow on each other. The guy and the girl resumes talking, shoulder to shoulder, smiling and obviously (even from a far) so in love with each other.

After a few minutes, the same chic waiter guides two girl friends on a clearly friendly lunch to the other side of the hall. Girl A (Amanda) asks the waiter to set up for one more friend who will be joining them shortly. Girl B (Britney) sits beside Amanda as they begin to settle down. The waiter takes their order and leaves.

Upon leaving, the waiter clears the frontal view of Britney. Upon Britney’s straight gaze, she is now directly looking at the table of the professional guy and his gorgeous date. Britney, wearing glasses, immediately thought that it was David, their other friend’s boyfriend. But she wasn’t sure of herself since distance with her impaired vision might be playing tricks with her. She asked Amanda to verify if it was indeed David. Amanda turned her head to the right and indeed saw the man and the girl kissing each other cheek to cheek. If it was just an ordinary couple, it would ultimately look extremely affectionate, romantic and playful. But it wasn’t. Amanda tried to push David’s image aside and internally hoped that it wasn’t him. She was in denial.

Britney, looking worried, went to the bathroom. Amanda, with a better eyesight, tried to look at the couple again. She is looking to her right and looks at the mirror in front of her that reflects the couple’s images. She studies the man’s mannerisms and his angular profile. Slowly, Amanda realizes that it was indeed DAVID, their other friend’s boyfriend.

Amanda takes out her cellular phone to text him. She wants to confirm and in event inform him that she and Britney are seated at the opposite corner of the same restaurant. She wants him to know and hopefully explain what's going on. She sent the text.

Through the mirror, Amanda sees David pull out a cellphone from his jacket as she grows weak with affirmation that it was indeed him. David read the text with disbelief rather than remorse. The date asks him what was wrong. David then looks in front of him and sees Amanda looking through the mirror. He is aghast and shakes his head with disappointment. With this whole repertoire, Amanda is intimately watching.

Britney comes back from the comfort room and asks for more details. Amanda tells her that from the mirror, she was watching him all along. He has the same mannerisms and just to make sure she sent a text message to him. Britney looks at the pair again with disbelief. Amanda looks at the table. She couldn’t bear anymore to watch the charade.

David leans towards the girl and whispers something. They stand up and proceed to the exit, inevitably passing Amanda and Britney’s table. Amanda is furious and couldn’t manage to look up. She focuses her stare on her glass, although in peripheral vision, she sees the couple slowly pass them by as if Amanda and Britney were complete strangers.

Amanda is furious and cursing. Britney tried to calm her friend down. Amanda is cursing David as she gets her bag and pulls a bottle of anti-anxiety pills. She gobbles a couple, snatches her phone and goes out.

After a couple of minutes, Amanda goes back and Britney asks if she called Lisa already. Amanda said no. She called her mom to ask for advice. As soon as she finished her sentence the cheerful Lisa entered, smiling and saying her apologies for being stuck in traffic. She sits opposite Amanda and beside Britney. Britney smiles back and pretends that she didn’t experience anything upsetting. Britney also tries to be cheerful as possible and asks Lisa about work and anything under the sun. While Amanda looks worried and preoccupied. But Lisa somehow notices the difference among friends.

Amanda then looks Lisa straight in the eyes and tells her that she just saw David with a girl. She tells her how she confirmed that it was David. Lisa, still smiling, dismisses the narration because David as far as she was concerned is on an "Out of Town Business Trip". Lisa keeps on asking if it was really David whom they saw. Amanda tries to explain to her about the evidence, the text message, the mannerisms and even to the extent of reenacting David’s intimacy with the girl. Lisa slowly accepts the information. Britney just looks upset and wouldn't say anything to contest nor affirm. Amanda despite knowing the possibility of straining her friendship with Lisa insisted that it was no mistake.. Lisa who is too shocked to react just looks at Amanda who is currently fumbling for some anxiety pills to give to her.

Then, in a matter of seconds, two celebrity looking males, with cameras and lights, approached their table and told Amanda that she just participated in a Social Experiment initiated by Oprah Winfrey. It was staged complete with actors. Lisa knew, David knew and the gorgeous date knew. Britney knew of course and acted as the “passive” friend, while Amanda was completely clueless.

Oprah wanted to stage this social experiment to be curious on how a person would react if confronted by a cheating incident taken into a relationship context. People experience it. People have seen and read it, but how does one react to it? How would one react as a friend? To tell or not to tell? Are you an Amanda or a Britney?

Cause I am definitely an Amanda. An Amanda who would definitely love to decapitate David together with his cherry tart...anyhow, anytime.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Random Thoughts

After reading a couple of twistedly sensual chapters of Sarah Dunant's novel, I'm itching to watch the move The Big Easy, which the author also mentioned in one of the book's chapters.

The Big Easy, starring Dennis Quaid and Ellen Barkin, finds ways in Entertainment features (Top Love Scenes of all Times). I've seen posters of it, but in my whole HBO expsoure, it wasn't once shown in Asia coverage. Probably the material is TOO HOT to handle, which makes it more intriguing. I remember looking for laser discs copy of it when I was a child whenever I go with my father to one of his Laser Disc Rental expeditions in Makati. I guess I simply just got distracted and totally forgot about it with all the Tom Hanks, Phoebe Cates, Al Pacino, Tim Burton movies. Geez. Of all the titles I've seen how come I haven't seen this one thing that I knew I've been itching to get my hands on. The last time I had this dilemma was the time I looked for DVD copies of Gone With The Wind to finally end my curiousity with the masterpiece...and Clark Gable of course.

Now, I'm having the DVD conundrum again. Despite HBO's Greatness, there are just some international, independent and classic movies that slip. Not anyone's fault though. It just means one thing, time to go to my DVD SUKI. Oh, by the way, consider this a double goal. I'm also itching for a copy of the movie THE WAY WE WERE.

Revival of the Last Few Moments

Last Sunday my significant other and I did something we haven’t done for a very long time that I’ve totally forgotten why we even like it in the first place. Well, we watched and finished an HBO movie in front in our living room, in a comfy blue couch, with toasted bagel, Dulong (spread for the week) and Chiz Whiz (He prefers Chiz Whiz more), with good sounds and visual system as the cool night breeze of December nestled us. Sorry to burst anyone’s imaginations.

I cannot remember the last movie Mitch and I watched in our living room. If my memory serves me right, I think it was a bad DVD copy of the movie The Bank Job, half of which I slept in. Usually, Sundays or Saturday nights were always spent in our living room while I serve something hopefully edible enough to last us the night without emergency bathroom trips. We would watch 2 DVDs or switch to Jack TV after each movie. There we would just sit comfortably in our dressed down clothes, sometimes talk and banter, and just be at ease with each other without the added expenses. I think we preferred it this way except of course watching the most-anticipated movies in theaters. But if we’re just anticipating one of those lazy usual nights with just spending time together as our main goal, we’d usually stay at home, phone for a pizza, watch any DVDs or sometimes play poker with village friends.

But for the past couple of months we find ourselves always out because a lot of changes have been going on, we just had to adjust our “lifestyle.” Since Mitch took his photography into a higher level, most of his Sundays and weekends are devoted to photo shoots in between dinners and movie dates with me. And since we’re already on transition to our new home, our old house is always busy with people. Tension amongst family members is in constant spark. Until we get fully settled within this year, going away from the house for now, for me, is a breather.

Last Sunday after mass, I found myself at home lazy like a pig from the full Racks dinner, and ended up inviting Mitch to come over instead. We intended to watch Max Payne in the nearby mall, but since my friend TIM told me that it was highly forgettable, my interest automatically fizzled out. Mitch got at my house just in time whereas I fixed him some toasted bagel, dulong spread, chiz whiz and coke. We had no particular movie in mind and I tried to fidget for the possible DVD titles we could watch. Conveniently, we chanced upon an HBO Premiere which would start at around 10 minutes. Too lazy to search and think, we surrendered to GEORGIA RULE, a Lindsay Lohan movie.

The movie, despite my apprehensions, just managed to sail through the night. It wasn’t that artistic and it wasn’t that brain wracking. It’s like watching an obviously racy, promiscuous and fashionable girl (perfectly Lindsay Lohan) go through puberty being promiscuous and reckless with three generations of women who couldn’t get along. It was a series of isolated laughs from Mitch directed at those kinky moments as I tried to notice the various white dresses and outfits Lindsay wore. I have to admit, I liked her outfits more than the movie. Not to mention Dermot Mulroney whom I find extremely sexy and the guy who played Harlan, I could've sworn who also played the Centaur in Narnia. That I would have to check.

We actually finished it gracefully with the thought that I was eager to persecute Lindsay Lohan. Before parting ways, Mitch pointed out how wonderful it is to revive the old times. This was where it hit me that it would be less than a week before we totally move to our new house where the environment and viewing set up would be different. We are having the last remaining experiences of our soon to be old house. We would surely miss the couch, the spot and the familiarity of it all. But just like other things, we humans tend to adapt and adjust, treasure memories and move onto new beginnings. The old house will surely mean a lot to us, a structure and a nook that was once a witness to our growths. I just hope that the new house would also serve us well because I’d really hate to see our steady, home-based movie moments tread to history. I don’t want the thought to add more pain to leaving our old house. Last Sunday was all about positive thinking. We just agreed to maximize our last remaining days in its structure, and by this time watching last sets of movies that hopefully aren’t forgettable.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Just a Cell phone Thought

I think we can’t live anymore without a cell phone above other things like email and telephone. It’s an understated fact. There’s always this need to feel connected no matter how introvert or isolated someone has become. It’s so powerful that it makes transactions faster, people more accessible and contacts more selective, owning a certain level of privacy of the vast possibilities of networking.

According to the USATODAY, “Most families say technology has either helped their communication with other family members or made no difference. Very few say it has made communication worse.”

About 89% of married (or partnered) parents with children own multiple cellphones.
• 66% have high-speed broadband Internet connections in their homes (compared with a national average of 52%).
• 70% of couples in which both partners have cellphones contact each other daily just to say hello, 64% contact each other to coordinate schedules, and 42% of parents contact their children daily using a cellphone. (USA TODAY)

It brings families and friends closer.

Even though it’s totally convenient and helpful in communication, I can’t help it if sometimes I get irritated. I am one of those few people who would welcome the opportunity to go to an island and at least turn my cell phone off, cutting all connections to the rest of the world. I hate it when parents call or check up on me. Boyfriends hate it too when their girlfriends randomly check on them, always feeling being snooped around. When you are trying to consider a job offer, try assessing if the company would give you laptops or cell phones. It would be a gauge on how your work would consume your personal life. I was once offered a laptop and a cell phone, and basing it on the toxicity of the job, looming overtimes and entertaining calls in private hours, is far worse than being a fulfilled, busy doctor in Pediatrics. Needless to say, I declined.

Text and cellphones are helpful, duh. I can’t imagine living without it, but I sometimes I can’t stand them too. Tough schizo love it all brings.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The day I missed Sustagen

For today's breakfast, I'm feasting on Wheat Melba Toast dipping it in authentic Balsamic Caper Vinaigrette and Authentic Dulong spread on the side. Not your ordinary breakfast though. These are just some of the products I got from Rockwell Dessert Bazaar for the nth time, I know.

I've been to Rockwell Dessert Bazaar practically for around five times already and I usually get myself in financial shambles from buying desserts that range from 50 pesos to 500. But yesterday since my regular Food Buddie is back, Mitch agreed to take me to Rockwell for this PINK KITCHEN affair. It's an affair that supports Women battling Breast Cancer by putting up an event where they house wonderful chefs to showcase their personal or commercial dishes to the public. The entrance is 200 bucks and the event is attended by top bloggers, press people, certified foodies, celebrities, Rockwell crowd and those who are just plain curious of what's it all about.

My mind is geared for this specific event despite that most people were only aware of the Rockwell Mega Sale and the Dessert Bazaar in Powerplant mall. Unfortunately something a mood-altering incident happened, which I will not discuss here, and I arrived there late and only faced the 'merienda' selections of Pink Kitchen. Since Mitch couldn't come in, I decided to just venture this out on my own, probably today, but I got a sneak peek of what's inside. It's interesting, the place is cozily lit and I am seeing desserts, tables and chic waiters. Just imagine a grand restaurant offering different kinds of cuisines with full blast chic entertainment.

So due to the heat of it all, we decided to just go inside Powerplant and look around. It took Mitch and I three rounds of going back and forth to the Dessert Bazaar, found my usual favorites and insisted I get something sugarfree for Mitch. Surprisingly, I was more inclined to buy spreads this time, for a change I said. So I went to Joy's Stall and bought three Dulongs in a Jar (250 each) with a package of Wheat Melba toast (90). I transfered to Saltine's stall and bought a bottle of Balsamic Caper Vinaigrette (220). I spent a thousand bucks on jars and spreads that I felt giddy about. As a reward, I went to Crepes and Creme and treated Mitch and myself with some crepe dessert with ice cream. His is sugarfree of course, he reminds me of my kid brother I find happy feeding all the time...well not all the time...most with quality not quantity.

To burn everything off we decided to roam around shops looking for good Sale items. Since my mood wasn't there and I nearly spent my entire budget for the day, I was just happy to go with him from store to store, totally oblivious of the good finds. Since he "window shopped" with me in Food sections now it's my turn to Window Shop with him for retail goods. All's fair in shopping, I guess.

So after Rockwell, we went to Shakey's Magallanes and ordered our usual treat. Party Thin crust of Friday's special and Mojos. We talked about his Malaysian trip and lots of "past and personal" stuff that are just downright funny that it's already bordering to being pathetic. We discussed future plans and felt ecstatic on foreseen trips. Good thing Mitch is beginning to be a "traveler." I won't have a hard time nudging him to go somewhere that requires driving, a plane or a boat ride.

After dinner, he dropped me off my house and bade goodbye for his night out to "rub elbows" with friends in the industry. I don't really know about "rubbing elbows" but from day one, I've never been comfortable with that. Rubbing elbows incorporates a lot of things that I most probably will not like. Ho well, not letting it get it the best of me, I focused on reading Sarah Dunant's Transgressions (Not a happy relationship book, I tell you, but damn interesting. This is something you'd avoid if are on paranoia attack. But if you want to torture yourself, go ahead) when Bags texted me if I'm in a mood to go to Central. Since I've had too many crowd exposures for the day, I invited Bags instead to share some Dulong spread with me and some red wine at home. She obliged.

She arrived at 11 pm, had a rough time pulling out the cork (She did the work of course while I was there completely useless as usual) and we ended the night around 2:30 am, finishing the bottle of red wine of course with Dulong on the side. Again, a couple of meaningful conversations and analysis of past issues of our lives that we've been witnesses to. It's funny how things turned out as she said. Sometimes every shitty thing has a profound reason for happening. Her life turned out very nice and she deserves it for keeping it together. We talked about issues we women face and she made me remember of my Sustagen moments. I think we were talking about childhood memories, from school bus experience to the whole routine before going to school. I think that's when Sustagen popped out.

We ended the night slightly boozed, yet steady, receiving a couple of calls from our significant others' with how their own respective "Boys' night outs" were doing. While the boys were out there dressed for the event, spending for gas, drink and good vibes, us girls were just steady at my soon to be ex-front garage, sipping wine no less. I'd pick this steady night any day.

I'm still having a slight hangover from last night, but there's one thing I think I won't get tired of. Dulong, and for that we're making a Dulong Pasta later. Another a weekend of sorts for me.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Free Friday

I had a free time yesterday and I had so many activities to choose from, although morning started really slow with a doughnut and a hot chocolate. But free time started at work. I was craving for a lunch out, and I mean outside the perimeters of Valero and Ayala. So, I urged my officemates to go to SOMS at Rockwell Gilid for lunch, then after, we went to Baker's Bazaar at Powerplant mall. We left the office at around 11:30 and we got back....Um...I'd rather leave this blank lest someone thinks we're actually encouraging free time at work to be able to extend lunch till around 3. Oops.

At the Bazaar I bought brownies of course, had free tastes of a couple of things. Correction, everything. I treated an officemate with a cupcake and had fun! After work, without anything productive to do, I took the bank car and decided to pass by Landmark for the sale. Buying shoes has more of a positive outcome here. They mark down prices 50-70% off. Super sulit compared to the clothes, which long lines in the dressing rooms you have to endure. If I had to shop, I'd rather go shop for shoes. That's the only thing that I can endure whatever sale I bump into. Shoes have so many different selections and your weight is not an issue. If you have big feet, they're expected to have a size for that, unless someone already bought the size. The point is, in shoes, there's no discrimination.

For less than an hour of scrutinizing and passing by racks, I bought two shoes, really good pairs. Both black, one is a funky vintage pair that could be worn in the office and one could be worn with a dress or jeans. Perfect. Since both are 50% off, with classic and undeniably good designs I bought two shoes for around 750 pesos. Not bad at all.

My sister know my very predictable taste. Shoes are classic, that's what she said, equals boring for her. I'm not that risque when it comes to shopping. My sister has the outwardly party, violet, geometrical and head-turning shoes, while I prefer the vintage and the classic ones.

Since my sister picked me up yesterday, I treated both ourselves to a Luk Yuen dinner, a Chinese restaurant we can both agree upon. We ordered Fish Bento, lots of dimsum and talked about stuff, not too personal though, that would've been too icky.

So a slice of freedom isn't bad. I never realized that I missed it. For today, it's back to regular programming in every sense of the word. My regular food buddy is back plus another trip to Rockwell to visit the PINK Kitchen Bazaar! Can't wait.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Wiser Shopper Edition

"Mrs. Ciullo watched nervously as the total rose from $120.77 to $128.33 and finally $130.32, then brightened as the coupons brought the bill back down, from $128.75 to $106.11 and finally $96.11. “Go. Betty, go,” she whooped, and did a little coupon dance to celebrate."-NY TIMES

I applaud women who find means and ways to uplift ones standards of living without the added costs and financial burden. Streetmarts that count more in the end. Diskarte, kumbaga.

Some of us may have resources, degrees and reputable jobs, but do we maximize it and get even? Before thinking about anything negative, stop. Coupons are not morally degrading. It's an opportunity to take a breather from the commercial empires of retail. I just hope this scheme applies to my country. Unless of course you're filthy rich or relying on your parents support forever, then you would find this information and inspiration useless.

This woman deserves an applaud, and a PHD is consumer budgeting.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Another Affordable Fish Fillet in Town

And since I just love every fish dish, except those with peanut sauce and gata, I am really happy to broadcast that Chowking has two new dishes available in the market. The Breaded Pork and the CRISPY FISH FILLET Rice Meals! Go for FISH!

I went to Chowking this lunch to try out those Fish Fillet thingies with garlic mayo sauce. I tried it, and I like it. What makes this a better example is that the fish fillets are tender and crispy without drowning in too much in oil. (I mean, yes, it's fried we know, but we don't need the added oily visual).

I hope CHOWKING doesn't pull this out just like what TOKYO TOKYO did with their CREAMY FISH DORY! I’m finding it difficult to forgive them, but thanks to Chowking, I was greatly appeased.

The Chowking website is not yet updated and I totally forgot to take a snapshot of the dish. Anyways, the meal costs 65 pesos. Check it out for yourselves.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Hungry for a Hobby...and a dog

I need to get focused. Now, it’s a must. I feel that there’s a lot of goals and at the same time distractions for me that I need to just focus on something and channel my energy there. I need a hobby, something kind of serious this time.

When I was in high school I was obsessed by anime. I started collecting texts, I started to collect and record videos. It was insane. I took notes. I analyzed episodes and people think I’ve gone crazy. The next thing I found out was I was locking myself in my music room, putting on soundtracks of anime cartoons, and tried to draw my own anime creations. I would get locked up in that room for 5 hours straight. My maid will just come in to bring me food and my parents knew better not to disturb me. They’re used to feeling I’m not at home when I’m just there in that small room, playing loud Japanese music and drawing like there’s no tomorrow. I bought professional pencils, drawing book and coloring equipment. It’s funny thinking back because I knew I suck at drawing. Well, I suck at art in general. I knew my creations aren’t worthy, but I can say that at least I’ve improved over time and for me, it doesn’t matter if it’s good or not. The point is it made me happy, productive and creative.

I miss that moment. As far as I can remember that was the first time I was engulfed in something I knew I couldn’t perfectly do, like drawing, but enjoyed and NEEDED tremendously. It made me more appreciative, focused and calm. I need that now, not because of something negative, but I need it to manage my energy and repressed emotions.

But it must come as a surprise to you that I am still searching for one. I blog, which is clearly considered a hobby, but for me it has already transcended beyond that. Blogging or writing is like oxygen for me. I approach it similarly as a person needs to eat or drink or go to the bathroom. It’s already a part of my existence that it has been a part of my unending chaos. I need something different, but something that I know I would really productively enjoy doing. In connection, taking up writing lessons is always something I would consider, but right now, I don’t want to box myself in the same activities over and over again lest I be drained. I need something fresher.

I’ve thought about cooking lessons also, especially that we will have a new kitchen. It’s probable, but I’m not that ticklish and passionate to consider paying for lessons. Basing it on my mood and on my random attempts of pursuing this craft, I’ve learned that my passion in cooking is fleeting. It’s a mood based hobby and for me and it’s always going to be experimental unless you devote most of your time creating dishes or catering to a certain food business. I firmly believe I can perfectly manage with Lifestyle Channel, a couple of cookbooks and some googled information. And besides, I’ve had cooking classes for four years straight in high school. I know what I’m missing and what I’m not.

I’ve thought of taking up music lessons, like violin classes, which I have been proclaiming forever. Although the interest is there, I can’t guarantee that I would be following through on it. Besides, I think I just fancy it. I honestly feel that I’m too old for that already, unless of course it’s a cello. Somehow I need my hobby to be also useful in the future.

In terms of drawing, it is something I already did on my own. I think I’ve already saturated that part and it’s not what I feel right now. Painting didn’t quite interest me even if my best friend does it as a hobby. The time she seriously started taking up painting lessons, I chose to self-study guitar. Painting, as far as I can see it, is not what I’d be doing anytime sooner.

What else?

What about Photography? Again, I may appreciate pictures, but the PASSION is, as of now, MIA(missing in Action). I know Mitch has been encouraging me ever since. I already have good exposure, connections and support groups, but it’s worthless without the passion and interest. I’ve been to numerous shoots and I am a witness to photographers blooming from hobbyists to professionals, but apparently I’m still stuck at a place where I only appreciate the work. The farthest photography I can do is in my imagination. If I have to participate in anyway, it would be on conceptualization and making story boards. And if ever I would delve into photography, it wouldn't be the norm. I would have to invent my own subjects of interests to set me apart. But again that is quite far from happening.

Sports like swimming, archery and tennis, they would always be like cooking to me, random points of interests that I’ve managed to do at some point already. I think it would always be an option. Also I have to consider the venues, which would always prove to be quite stressful.

I’ve thought about almost every hobby there is and ultimately stopped at Pottery.

I’ve always been vocal about my interest to do Pottery. I was about to enroll two years ago in a pottery school in Makati, but due to timing issues and my desire to do blogging first, it was put on hold. But the fascination didn’t waver. I really think that it’s something therapeutic, something you do with loud music, like drawing. It’s a hobby that demands too much artsy efforts from me, which I’m not really good at producing. But I believe this is definitely the type of art that I have a chance in improving on. Also, the challenge of the activity is done through the mastery of the artist’s hands while achieving utmost concentration to bring out a tangible creation. It’s clay, it’s something earthy which is honestly my element. There’s always this interest for me to feel the dirt and clay in my hands. It’s a hobby that packs enough creativity and imagination, but doesn’t require much mental activity, which makes it therapeutic. Lastly, it’s affordable and accessible...I think? I just need to buy a wheel, clay and do eventually do it in my backyard. I could produce something artistic, yet functional. I believe this hobby is just waiting for me for that opportune time, which is probably now.

I think I’ve singled this out already. I’m just doing necessary preparations and research. So far, I have the need. I have the feeling of neophyte passion, sensation and interest brewing up. I have also assessed its standards of accessibility and level of productivity. If all preparation goes well, I might be wearing that pottery apron after all.

Then again…I also want a dog. I’m targeting for a Harvey a JRT or nothing at all. Now, I need get at least one thing accomplished no matter what happens.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Life of a Dignified Klutz

Get this. I slipped on an elevated ramp of a major building, along the city’s major thoroughfare, during a rush hour time, in front of possibly educated and sophisticated individuals…while I was wearing a skirt. The slip wasn’t instantaneous. It’s not one of those scandalous KA-BLAG moments. Of all the slips and klutz moments I have had, that most recent stunt (recent like...this morning) was the most gradual and artistic of all stunts I involuntarily made. Imagine a dancer slowly gaging for a half split.

I’m even sure I wasn’t moving at that time. I was just standing on an elevated ramp fumbling for my phone, when my left foot started to slide like being pulled by gravity; and my hands fully trying to find my balance. But all efforts were too late. I slowly found my eye level descending as I performed the most calculated, muscle-cramping half-split of my entire life. It was so calculated that my right thigh muscle was painfully stretched.

A couple of seconds made me internalize what happened as I grabbed the railings and pulled myself up. I heard a couple of giggles at the back. I was sure I wasn’t hallucinating, but I was more concerned about my right thigh. It was so painful I thought I needed a wheelchair. Eventually I was able to cross the street, went inside my building and got my pineapple juice like nothing happened.

I’m sure I’ve provided entertainment for some folks out there. Well, I believe I always have because I’m just a natural klutz just like close people say about me. Rely on me to provide you with some humiliating show. I talk, imagine and walk too much that my surroundings melt with my imagination. I suck at geometry and space coordination that one slip would suddenly distract my innate concept of physics. I’ve already stepped unto a hole and had my underwear exposed in an all-girl’s school. I have had a department store experience of finding my cheek attached to the transparent cabinet with me in a kneeling position. I’ve tumbled massively at badminton courts. I’ve slipped on ramps and waxed floors. I’ve even had my knees lacerated when I missed a step. I constantly fall from chairs, tied to one, get randomly stuck on a gate. Almost all done publicly. I think I might have experienced almost everything, except falling in pools, fountains and actually rolling over a ravine. God, I don’t ever want to experience falling on a manhole, although there’s a tendency since I’ve already had experience on stepping on wet paint and wet cement in high school.

Nothing to brag about. Also nothing to be surprised about. But it is still humiliating after all. Nevertheless, I am built to handle bruised and scarred skin. I may even handle stares and laughs graciously. It doesn’t matter, just as long as I don’t end up anywhere serious like hospitals, I'll willingly accept my fate.

BTW my left thigh still hurts like hell

India's religion cleansing

India, one of the most populous democratic, supposedly “global” countries, is on a rampage against Christians, forcing them to convert or else be killed, tortured, abused or forced to evict the lands. Neighbors become Hindu spies, Christian businesses and welfares are compromised. It's not surprising that some Christians in rural parts of India are forced to shave their heads as a sign of sacrifice and drink diluted cow dung as a sign of purification. Doing these acts apparently converts Christians to Hinduism, and they live in peace as part of a blissful Hindu community. In India’s lands there is religion cleansing.“Indians should convert or else.”

Not people could agree on their beliefs and most especially not all people could agree on religion. Coercion and brainwashing are not acceptable. It’s even a no-no in democratic nations. Not to mention, it’s so blasé. Persecution against religion is so outdated. It’s not even acceptable by any standards. The nation should realize they need to change perspectives and re-think their efforts. The Pope is reacting, the nations are listening, the world is watching. Maybe they should already rethink the whole “democratic thing." I thought they’re paced to conquer the world. How come they can't even tolerate difference in religion?

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Thing called Reputation

"If you don't think of your reputation, you can do whatever you want." - Chinese Proverb

Everyone has a reputation, I believe. It just depends on what kind. Reputation initially earns us respect, good nature and comfort. It ultimately makes or breaks our lives. That is why people exert all efforts to guard it, maintain it and some revive it. The wonderful years it takes to build a strong reputation, just takes a second and a foolish act to break.

Money, resources, visuals, beauty, words, intelligence, clan, relations, they will all eventually fall short if the reputation is tainted. The power of positive attributes may be regained slowly, but it requires effort, overseeing and timing.

It's also different if this reputation is tainted by something unverified. A strong reputation can at some point rescue itself. But if the person is caught, especially not only by one witness, then consider the reputation to be destroyed.

However there are those who are willing to adjust and blind themselves from the tainted truth. These are friends and families who are willing to accept whatever damage the reputation imposes. That is why they are created in the first place, but remember that they too have limits before they only submit to the facade of the person's once pristine past.

Even though others are put to the wire, in the midst of all powerful bliss and emotion or are forced to face unfortunate circumstances, they don't give in. It just depends on how they value it. They may sacrifice all efforts and strength required from them as humans, but they will never surrender their reputation. It is like a rope that ties sanity and faith together. It is a currency that never fades.

Some have slipped and lost their reputation to temporary bliss. In the end, they hurt themselves and they also hurt others. It doesn't matter what poem and lyric they say, they could never erase the damages. It would go down in history that they, for quite some time, didn't seem to care. After the aftermath, even if they care to repair it, it only takes time. Especially that reputation's demise travel to many ears and tongues. For some of us, to realize its greater power, one has to go to the extent of losing it and it's never going to be a pretty picture.

Golden Gate Bridge's many features

“After decades of debate, the Golden Gate Bridge board of directors voted 14-to-1 on Friday to install safety netting 20 feet below the bridge’s deck. The net, made of metal wiring coated with plastic, will catch any jumpers and allow rescue teams to easily untangle them due to its design, which makes it partially collapse around anyone who jumped into it, according to Denis Mulligan, chief engineer for the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District, the authority which oversees the structure.” – Eric Blair

The first time I’ve seen the Golden Gate Bridge was courtesy of my 20 dollar bus tour thanks to the generosity and lack of touring spirit of my dad. Sadly I don't have any pictures of it, I went there alone and I bought a disposal camera which I left at my dad’s friend’s house in San Francisco. But I remember the structure’s beauty, vastness and novelty. It’s not just a bridge, it’s a masterpiece. I’ve seen too many shots of it on TV and viewed postcards to last me a lifetime, just as an actual image is properly stored in my mind. But in some cases, it’s also comically viewed as the “most convenient” suicidal structure for those who might be nursing intense problems they chose not to manage anymore. If they’re going to pick a bridge, might as well pick the grandest. But I don’t think they instantly die from the dive, unless they don’t know how to swim or have actually chained heavy balls in their ankles. Putting a safety net in this tourist attraction is very timely. You don’t want to add those negative suicidal numbers as a “matter of fact” on tours, right? Especially now that entertaining suicidal thoughts is in season.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Documenting the first Skype Experience

This is just fresh.

Just before I decided to call it a night, tried to end my chat conversations and bid Mitch goodbye, he suddenly remembered that I have installed Skype earlier this afternoon. I completely forgot all about it. He urgently convinced me to use it before we say goodnight. I was hesitant at first. Suddenly I smelled unwanted stress. Well, I don't know the exact mechanics of using it, that's one. My cousin was the one who installed the program, that's second; and I think I need a functioning headset, third.

But I won't let it get the best of me. I'm not that tech savvy but I'll make this work. How hard could this be? I clicked on Skype and found out that I was already registered. That saved me from task number 2. I gave him my username as I tried to look for a working headset. The only thing I could find near the computer was an el-cheapo brand of my sister's. I had no choice. Might as well try it.

And voila! It worked! I was so happy I got to see Mitch and actually heard his voice well..surprisingly clearer than expected. I'm ecstatic about the convenience this program brings. Now I can understand what this Skype is all about. But I know that I'm terribly delayed.

All along he was on speaker, so good thing I warned him not to say anything nasty lest someone hears him. I just had an inkling to magnify his voice. Can't wait to do this again tomorrow!

This picture makes me want to smile. Ahem, enough of the mushiness. Now, signing off.

Good Persian Experience

Finishing the whole story reminded me why I liked Kite Runner in the first place. It's done in masterful storytelling. At some point, it moved me to tears (okay, I'm exaggerating), but knowing me, this is one of the few novels that deeply and seriously moved me. For someone to say to you:

"for you, a thousand times over."
..would be enough to make me a softy. I also do have the potential to melt.

It's a story of true redemption without the added fuss. It's a mirror of the clear and unfortunate reality of Afghanistan. The situations maybe really morbid at times, but I knew that somewhere in this world it is happening.

After reading the entire book this morning, I craved for kabob or anything Persian. That's how much the book influenced me. I encouraged my cousin Den to drive us at some Persian "eatery" near our village.

This Persian Kabob place is not really legitimate in a sense. The place is not really a full blown restaurant, it's a house. The owner just has sustainable tables in his garage where people could dine..if they want to. Although, for the four times I've been there, my friends and I were the only ones eating. We hardly see people dine in. The Kabob place mostly caters to take outs and bulk orders to go, but in terms of the place, do not even hoist any grand expectations.

*Kewl! Den's war car!

But the place really wouldn't matter now would it? Just as long as the food remains authentic and the price is so reasonable, then it's enough to keep people like me coming back with an intense Persian craving on a budget. A kabob stick marinated in 2 days costs 30 bucks, for 120 pesos you could get a combo meal of 2 long kabob sticks, rice, soup, tomatoes and calamansi cooler.

**My tour guide. Fine, I put her up to it.

***Feeling toursists...we're imagining ourselves touring in Iran.

Upon arriving there via Den's "war car," we ordered 5 kabobs and some pita bread to go. At first, we didn't know if the restaurant was open. There weren't any signs. We just went inside only to be faced by tiles on the garage and some packs of cement. I guess they are in a middle of some renovation. The owner, the usual tall Persian guy, met us and greeted us warmly. Although he was smiling I knew he was very apologetic with the place and the disorganized setup. He said he was in a hurry to go to the airport. I quickly understood and told him that I should come back another time, but being courteous that he is, he insisted that I stay. He insisted to take my orders and told me to wait for a few minutes for the kabob.

**Yes Karla??

While we were waiting for him, my cousin and I were talking about the Middle Eastern people. Since she spent half of her adult life in Jeddah, and her family is based there, she is pretty much an expert. In fact, every year she goes to Saudi to join her family. We kept talking about the funny customs and the not-so comfortable customs of the Arabs. I noticed while we were talking, posters of Iran are pasted on the wall. I instantly felt that I'm in a chapter of Khaled Hosseini's novel. I'm still suffering from the Kite Runner residue.

He gave us the order just in time and my total bill was 220 bucks for the 5 long kabobs and 2 pita breads. I gave him 2 2oo bills. He smiled and told me he didn't have any change with him. I frantically asked Den to get some change in the car. He even insisted not to pay him the 20 bucks. He just told me to come back next time and pay him. He was that generous. Well, I guess he recognized me as his regular customer already.

I was trying to fumble for some coins in my purse since I'd be too guilty to leave his simple restaurant, taking so much of his time and paying him 20 bucks short. Luckily, I fished some coins and able to produce him with the additional 20. He extended my thanks and told me that he put some cheese on the side just in case we'd want to eat it with our kabob. He even mentioned a trivia that in their country, they never liked putting sauce in the kabobs. Kabobs should be eaten as is to really enjoy the flavor. It's only in the Philippines that the market insists to put a garlic cream sauce.

We left his store and felt really grateful that the gracious Persian accommodated us. We went to buy some coke and hot pandesal on the way home. I was itching to ask him if he has read The Kite Runner. I know it's a silly question just because he's Persian. He looks too busy to suggests that he reads, much more be interested to know the unfortunate circumstances of his race in fiction. I just made a silly assumption and reconciliation of the book with an actual Persian in front of me. In the book it has taught me two things, which I proved just now. Some Persians' customs are not so easy to understand and appreciate. Some of their characteristics are even condemnable like the character Assef in the book. Persians are often seen to be too opportunistic, discriminatory, closed-minded, brutal and extreme individuals. But there are some, like Hassan and Baba, who represent the best of their kind, who have golden hearts that transcend beyond the conformity of their race. They are kind. They are generous, courageous and respectable. They give high importance to their race, yet more importance to the needs of others. Lucky are those who got a chance to meet the best of their kind, meeting a potential Baba. And I think I just met one today.

Best Brand of Missing

I am chatting with my boyfriend who is currently in Malaysia for an entire week. For the past few days, we've only resulted to chatting since I didn't reply to the CHKKA text that he sent me the other day. This completely blocks him from sending any text messages to me. If he's online and I'm not, he asks our common friends, who are online, to text me to go online. I just relay messages to them if I'm mobile. Now, I'm currently waiting for SKYPE to finish downloading.

Probably this is the longest time we have been apart from each other. He bested me with this trip against 2006 when I flew to Bali with Je for a quick vacation. Considering that we see each other almost everyday, people might think that this trip would leave me in shambles. Actually it's the other way around. I get to live being "single" for almost a week, doing what needs to be done without the need to be "flexible." It's a good recharging phase for the both of us I'm sure.

Do I miss him? Of course. I miss him. I really do, but it's a good "brand" of longing. I don't wallow at some area and mope around. I make use of the day as productively as possible, which I'm sure he is also doing in a foreign country. I want him to enjoy and focus on his tasks while I do what needs to be done. It's good to be apart from each other once in a while, done in a very good context that is.

There are times that I dine out to restaurants that Mitch and I frequently visit. I order the usual food that we order, and I think about him. It's not a depressing kind of mood though. It's happy and often trivial. It's no big deal probably because of the knowledge that I'll see him after a week. I also don't necessarily see this week as especially long, just normal. Thinking that he's enjoying there doing what he loves best is good enough for me.

Bags also mentioned last Friday night that I'm comfortable with human relationship adjustments because of my nature to quickly get preoccupied and focused with something else. I reflect it in my jobs. If I don't like the job anymore, I would weigh the alternatives and consequences, make my decision and forge on. For human relationships, these I can easily manipulate. I am real with relationships and transparent, but I always save something for myself. I must say that of course the strength of it comes in the type of relationship I have with someone. I might miss and hurt if the separation is abrupt and negative, but I know that I would bounce back to my natural roots. With Mitch, which I share special relations with, is very different from the rest. It's a thousand times harder to be apart, but definitely manageable for me.

At Some points I long for him to come home, of course eventually I'll get tired of pestering my brother. It's not the same without Mitch if we're talking months. But in truth, I want his happiness above all, it's the most important thing for me even from the start. I miss him, but it doesn't matter. I know we'll see each other pretty soon, and that is already good enough for me. This is the best brand of "missing" that I know.

PS: I'm sure HENRIETTA misses him:D

Result to the Alternative

Unfortunate fool. Addressed to me, of course.

Much to my excitement and failed preparation, I commanded my sister and cousin to Greenbelt at around 5:30 to buy tickets for El Orfanato showing at 9:30 as part of the Instituto Cervantes Pelicula showcase. I thought that was enough preparation already; and with a couple of more expensive and mainstream movies shown for this week, I was pretty confident that there would be three seats at least waiting for El Orfanato. This was where I slipped.

Waiting patiently in a long queue I was more excited for my cousin and sister for this International movie experience. They are mainstream leisure watchers and picking El Orfanato wouldn't be something that they'd do, but they were pretty optimistic about the plot that I gave them. If there's one thing that we don't shy away from, it's horror movies in any culture and in any language (with subtitles of course).

But I remembered last Thursday night my officemate was a bit relieved that El Orfanato had sold out tickets. She was supposed to watch it with friends , but she doesn't really like horror movies that much. I figured that it must have a good reception here. It's a famed 2007 Spanish movie after all. So I felt I just had to do some last minute preparation in the hope that I wouldn't be forced to use it. I asked my sister, just in case that El Orfanato is sold out, to pick out the possible alternative. She and my cousin bellowed "TROPIC THUNDER" and then my turn came up.

Much to my dismay El Orfanato was already sold out. A 9:30 pm , 65 bucks, Spanish movie is already sold out. I was in complete shock. My sister glanced at my petrified and distraught attitude and took over purchasing the tickets. My cousin pulled me from the line and tried to console me. She said that Tropic Thunder is a good choice. It's a Ben Stiller film with Jack Black and Robert Downey. I nearly screamed when I said "I know that, but I want El Orfanato. My freaking mistake! I should've reserved tickets online. Stupid me!" I realized when we reached at Glorietta that I was cursing myself the whole time.

By the time we were having dinner at Cafe Bola, I fully accepted my fate. I would just result to DVD just like the alternative I was talking about on my previous post. I drowned my sorrows on Bangus mousse and the regular meatball sandwich as the scene was flocked by celebrities. Michelle Madrigal was there, Jessica Zafra, Carlene Aguilar and Charmel (I have no idea who Charmel is, but my cousin told me she's a part of the Deal or No Deal Girls) . I forced myself not to ask for a picture with Jessica Zafra. I know she wouldn't like it at all. She was just having dinner with two friends, eating Bangus mousse pate and most probably will watch El Orfanato, if she hasn't seen it yet, which I have every reason to doubt due to her movie-buff persona.

After dinner and another round of toasted bread for the remaining Bangus Mousse, we went to Coffee Bean for some dessert and killed time.

Going to the theater, I wasn't expecting much from Tropic Thunder. I figured it's another Ben Stiller brand of comedy just more Star Studded than usual. I was right. The movie's strength was building comedy out of it's pointlessness. I laughed at some slapstick parts mostly care of Jack Black and his heroine-diva character. Ben Stiller delivered his usual and Robert Downey Jr. is a convincing for a confused Australian who turned into African American. I tell you the plot is crazy and insane, which accounts for the fun part. It's not that deep either. It's not supposed to make sense, and the plot could easily be done by a person who has watched too many Tito Vic and Joey movies.

The story being that there are diva actors making a highly budgeted movie of Tropic Thunder based from a fake Vietnam veteran's book. They are being funded by the money hungry producer, Les, and the actors are Jack Black, Robert Downey, Ben Stiller and two others who couldn't really get along. They make it hard for the inferior Director, played by the British Steve Coogan, to meet deadlines and present a good output. Les, played by the prosthetic infused Tom Cruise, scolded the director (in a slapstick way), to manage his actors. The Director out of desperation turned to the Writer of the book, with the help of the Explosives expert, to stage an on the spot shooting method where they would just install hidden cameras in a secluded location, give the directions to the actors, and shoot from somewhere afar. Their aim is to make real for the actors as much as possible.

Upon reaching location, the five actors were oriented by the director of the new shooting method. No more harnesses, no more crew, just explosives and making it look real. The actors, being just trained actors, were hesitant and wimpy at first, but later on found themselves in a real life plot against Vietnamese Guerillas who are not part of the whole cast and crew. They accidentally stumbled against Heroine smugglers after all.

Most of the strength of the movie comes from slapstick jokes, lines and the whole comedic effect that infused a bald and dancing Tom Cruise, the usual Ben Stiller, the Surprising African-American Robert Downey and a Diva-like blondie, Jack Black. This movie has a license not to make sense at all. Some jokes are disgusting. Some are slaptick, but I wouldn't be surprised if you utter a hearty laugh every now and then.

At the end of the movie, I realized that maybe these actors were just bored at some point in their lives and wanted to enjoy themselves. Maybe some acts were even pro-bono, but who cares? In this movie, no one has to really care about the details. In the end, it looked like they were just actors having fun and making complete fools out of themselves.

So those were my alternatives, to just result to the DVD version and to watch Tropic Thunder against the much anticipated El Orfanato. But it's damn hard to shift movie moods though, from one serious horror to a senseless slapstick comedy. Might as well maximize my choices even if it's an alternative.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Get away Food-Booze Spirits, I must Go Here

I am still presently "gearing" myself to watch Spanish Movies showcased at Greenbelt today, but it seems when I woke up my body felt so weird and tired from that Chami, Booze and Hotdog experience last night. After having dinner with Den, I went to a newly opened coffee shop near our Village, read a few chapters of Kite Runner, and met my good friend Bags for some drinks at Central. Now all my food and drink intake are spiraling like crazy in my inards.

But I really don't want to miss these international films though. I mean, yeah, I could get it in DVDs, but it's still a different experience in theaters. DVDs are always an alternative, and with international movies you want to experience it the best way. When I was in college, when movies for me were not necessarily considered date activities, I save my allowance to watch different kinds of movies in Robinsons Galleria or Greenbelt on a weekend. Tim usually accompanies me, but there are still times that I don't mind going alone. I'm really the person not to mind. My friend Che who is very into everything Japanese gave me a list of movies shown at Robinsons Galleria this year. I wanted to watch those, but I didn't have time. Hence, the DVDs. Now, that Spanish movies are showing I didn't actually dwell on the part of "making a decision." I instantly know that I'M GOING with or without a movie buddy. Tim is currently in a dentist emergency, as I think I should be too, but heck his absence will not alter my activities.

I must go, it's just that I have to fix this physiological chaos. My stomach is freaking me out and I feel bloated more than ever, so I think I would have to lie down for a bit, but gosh, I wouldn't want to miss Guillermo del Toro's creation. It's also timely that I'm craving for a good horror movie; and subtitles do not bother me at all. This is my ultimate pick and something tells me I have to experience it on the BIG SCREEN.

My current Food Buddy

Let's see.

For two consecutive nights (Thursday and Friday), I met my cousin Den after work and we always ended up having dinner somewhere. The first night I was in a deep Bad Food Day and I was so hungry that we went to a reliable place where I can just have Miso, Tempura and their garlicky Misono dishes. Dishes that could never go wrong. We went to Tokyo Tokyo.

*Guffaw 2 rice servings, my dear

Last night however, we initially decided to head home and to have dinner somewhere near Sun Valley. But we found out that we both craved for something Chinese. So, I immediately took her to Man Yann where we ordered Siomai and the famed CHAMI.

*Visit Man Yann (Glorietta) and do not miss this dish. It's their bestseller, you'll know why.

Den didn't know what Chami was and she's notably a rice person. I told her that Mitch was the first one who introduced me this and I was equally apprehensive because I'm not really a fan of lomi-type of noodles. But I gave it a shot and I've loved it ever since. Since she trusts me and practically she has no other choice, we ordered. When it arrived, I waited for Den's reaction first.

She liked it. She loved it. She went on eating.
I told her we shouldn't do this often though, especially before Christmas. But who am I fooling?

We ended up finishing the whole dish.