Saturday, January 31, 2009

Suicide's more tragic truth

"Ervin Antonio Lupoe, a recently unemployed X-ray technician, killed his wife, Ana, and their five children then took his own life in a grisly murder-suicide in Los Angeles Tuesday. Lupoe and his wife had both recently lost their jobs and the killings are said to have been part of a suicide pack by the couple.

Lupoe and his wife Ana were both employed by Kaiser Permanente at the West Los Angeles Medical Center. Their layoffs were not part of cost cutting measures in response to the economic downturn but rather due to allegations of misconduct.

Kaiser Permanente had no further comment on the details but confirmed that both Ervin Lupone and his wife Ana Lupone were fired and that the company is "deeply saddened" by the tragic events." -
I was first left speechless upon reading this news that has struck a global reach a couple of days ago. It is nerve wracking and heart wrenching to say the least, but you can't help but think and try to comprehend that there is a human capacity and logic that could make people result to suicide. It's a torn feeling of trying to understand and trying to condemn the act. At the end, this matter is still of personal choice. Desperation, frustration, anxiety, hurt, can affect us differently and some just made the personal decision to give up.

At first, I thought this was primarily caused by the Economic crisis. With all the layoffs happening especially in the Western Countries, people who have had a strong culture and comfort to easily earn and access money, were suddenly left in a situation that robs them of that financial power. Egos tarnished and their characters may not be used to this kind of hardship, might instantly leave them in a sordid state. But apparently, the Lupoe couple according to the report wasn't laid off because of the Economic crisis, but was fired due to misconduct. But regardless of the reason, any loss or source of income somehow led them to the same path of suicide.

This rising cause of suicides is now beginning to alarm the States and generally catch the attention of the global community. Money is a powerful aspect in everyone's lives and the lack and absence of it might push people to the brink. As I try to read various suicides and reports about investment bankers who kill themselves, fall into massive depression in this crisis, or adults who killed or even considered killing their own children before they can even think of poverty, really says a lot about ones strength and community. To end a life because of money greatly illustrates how the material things and pride outweigh priceless things such as good human relationships, alternatives and faith in self and community. To end ones life is to admit defeat. To end ones life is to generates a quick escape. To end ones life disregards the matter of hope, faith and even a chance to make things better.

Considering suicide because of los of security, sense of direction or loss of a loved one, just shows how emotions and twisted psychosis suddenly take reign in human lives. If humans were ultimately designed to immediately troubleshoot and be strategic, instead of surrendering to heightened emotions in getting over their fears in this world, then I believe suicides would be limited to heroic deeds and not of desperate acts of escape. But the fact remains that we are humans. We respond to fears with overwhelming emotions. Everyone has a different threshold and way of"keeping it together." We have different ways and capacities to rear our psychosis to the positive light. Others are stronger and more strategic, unfortunately others are not.

I also have different reactions to a man who kills himself versus a man who kills himself and others who were not capable enough to do it and go through the intricate process of deciding or accepting their fate. If Ervin Lupoe and his wife killed themselves due to their own desperate situations, then as adults they have decided to throw in the towel and escape. I may feel sorry for them that they chose that. I will see them as selfish for leaving their children without their proper guidance and support, which they should be providing in the first place. They may have deprived their children of material comfort, but at least if they left their children alive. They will give them a chance to survive "on their own"probably with the help of the government, of a good Samaritan or of a particular organization. Killing himself and his wife including all of their children, who are not capable enough to think things through and give up on a "jaded" life they did not create nor had a chance to fix for themselves, is unforgivable to me.

They might be parents of these kids and as long as they were staying in their roof, they may have had to make lots of decisions for them. But one thing they should never ever consider is taking their children's lives. Even if they agreed to it, there were lots of sugarcoating and coaxing involved. They are kids. They may have so many opportunities to survive this world and be successful in life. The couple robbed them of that chance. It may not be the ideal life that their parents planned for them, but it's certainly considered more humane and more acceptable to just leave them be and let other adults, who are willing and who are more capable, to provide them with that chance no matter how paltry it may be. Same goes for a banker in San Fernando Valley CA who killed himself, his wife, three children and mother in law.

I might have a harder time comprehending suicide. I might not agree with it, but at the end I am not the one who has to deal with the powerful emotions. I might try as hard as I can to inject sense and obstruct the act, but once a suicide is done, it all falls down to the person's own decision and capacity to do it. My heart will grow numb.

But to have someone commit suicide and to make that decision for other people, especially for kids who can't even properly decide, understand their emotions nor be given a chance to fight for their own lives, just make me sick. That for me is harder to understand and forgive. Suicide may be regretful, but to extend that act to selfless kids and to the unwilling are just plainly murder. Instead of me feeling numb and regret with the suicide, it's replaced with an honest feeling that I hope that those who initiated the suicide will not be able to escape after all that dramatic effort. I sincerely hope that they go to a place where suffering is doubled and tripled without any means of suicide, just like ATLAS, just like in limbo.

Suicide is always spurred by a decision pushed by intense emotions and negative perceptions in life. This is where the value of community and positive relationships come in. It is a call to build a strong support system in life besides the happiness and security that material things provide. It is then that we surround ourselves with positive people to influence us in building a stronger character to survive life's ongoing tragedies. Without any of this, our emotions will continue to overpower our senses and no one is there to fight it off with us.

Suicide may be unthinkable to some, and others might have thought about it. I'm not a hypocrite. In rough times when I cried like a baby and tried to punish myself for something bad that I did, the thought of suicide passed my mind. But the thing is, I know I couldn't muster enough decency to do it. Not adhering to suicide for me is not a lack of courage. It's a matter of showing off that I still have a choice, that I still have a chance to make things better.

If suicide for heartaches, desperation and minor human tragedies take a lot of courage and guts, well what do you think of people who still chose to continue life? Isn't that more courageous? And what of those people who were robbed of that choice? Isn't that more tragic than suicide?

There are five angels in Heaven and it is just a real tragedy.
Janice Hahn - Los Angeles City Council @ (pertaining to the the 5 children of Mr. and Mrs. Lupoe. TO Mr. and mrs. Lupoe, is heaven still applicable?)

Friday, January 30, 2009

Another way to Look at things

I just got home at what 11:30 pm? As if I have a new introduction prepared, as usual I have to start it off by ranting about how busy I was for the past couple of days. A couple of months ago I was fleeting gracefully and ranted how time moved so very slow to the point that I got bored. But I think my silent prayer lashed back at me. Attending night conference calls, coming up with various reports, answering to technical issues that completely leave my brain whacked and being faced with people stress really get my days rolling. Do I sound like I'm complaining? To clear it off, no. I'm merely stating facts.

The mornings usually start with downloading a hundred so emails. Some of which do not directly concern me, but warrant a quick look. Other emails just go down the trash bin. And other (least type) emails just seem to lighten up my day. There was one email that my colleague sent about how we find angles and ways to be thankful even if something "shitty" happens to us. Things like:

1. IF YOU'RE STRESSED WITH DEADLINES, REPORTS, YOUR BOSS, just be thankful because you know that you have a job.
3. IF YOU FIND YOURSELF FAT AND YOU CAN'T FIT INTO YOUR PANTS, be thankful because it means you have means to eat.
4. IF YOU FIND YOURSELF PARKED AT THE VERY END OF THE LOT, be thankful that you have a car.

Minor things that make our lives inconvenient and stressful still have some angles to thank for. We just don't automatically process in our heads because what we glaringly see are the bad sides of it. We're humans, that's what we do best, to complain and make everything convenient. Anything that falls short with that is a pain in the ass.

Things that will not kill you make you stronger. Things like Blessing in Disguise is such a cliche, but sometimes when you think about it, it's really true. If I do complain, it's just being human and most probably the inconvenience or hurt is still fresh. But rest assured that in retrospect, I would still be thankful for it.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Just a few of my priorities

Speaking of money. When we had enough financial capability to meet our basic needs and security, last Christmas Mitch was able to give me a NETBOOK for my birthday present. However, if there's such a thing that money can't's TIME and CREATIVITY.

As much as I want to use Harriet Priscilla all the time, I am not able to do so for the past couple of days because I just don't have enough time. I go home late and always end up focusing on more strenuous tasks in the morning. Just because I don't leave things unfinished, I have ended up sacrificing my creative time with Harriet.

Mitch senses it of course, and I know he feels bad about it. I try to find time, but everything else seems to fall short. I promise this weekend, I will maximize her. I know there are GAZILLION of things that I need to attend to. This may seem a little bit strange, but by not not considering the value of resources that brought Harriet would just irritate me. Concern over money brought by lack of time may be an issue. Shame on me.

This weekend, I promise, whatever it takes, I'll find time.

It's all about the Money

I know how important Money is. I'm not a hypocrite to just ignore the power and the conveniences of having lots of money. I sometimes find myself daydreaming about it on my way to work. I daydream about it at the office. Whenever I feel like it, I think about the pleasures of having lots of money once in a while.

I think there's nothing wrong with that. It doesn't go beyond greed. I just want to acquire enough money to purchase the things that I want for me and for my family. Above the luxuries it would bring, I want to give my loved ones security first and foremost.

I don't daydream about money to buy me diamonds, a car or a lavish party. Money is all about providing security for my family. Buying them a house, numerous insurance packages, treating them to a luxurious trip, things that would make my family relaxed and happy.

Some of us hit the jackpot early and are lucky enough to create their own version of financial empires. Some of us strive and succeed in the long run. Some of us continue to struggle just to make ends meet. And some of us are rich enough to be a fools for the conniving individuals. No matter what we do, we earn money to fulfill the basic needs as illustrated in Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.

Naturally we need mere sustenance to survive. We adhere to whatever biological demands we face. Basic things like food, sleep and water are our main concerns. Without this, forget about ever reaching the other tiers because it's either you are already dead or a vegetable. Second things that money can give is us SAFETY. This is where most of us grapple on.

We try to earn lots of money, not only to put food on the table, but to secure ourselves and our loved ones. Insurances, properties are not as cheap as food and water that's why some of us even find it a constant struggle to maintain and reach this. This is where our economic stability comes in. To be able to think about paying off your house, your car, your insurances would mean that basic necessities are already met and more demand for resources are earned.

Some are lucky enough to achieve their needs and securities and they move on to the intangible side of human life. Here they can manage to maintain friends and do other things besides earning resources because they already can afford to. But what if job security is taken out? What if a person is laid off from work or certain investments are flushed down the toilet. All that hard work and amount of security to pay off credit, house and insurances melt to thin air? The human relationships can get strained.

Without the stability of the 2nd tier, the other remaining tiers will falter which presses the need to go back. In this economic crisis, lay offs are experienced more than ever. It's a lurking fear to everyone who's ever been employed. Some are unfortunate enough to face the ax and give up their financial security. Without a steady income, people cannot maintain their lifestyle and in short, cannot pay the bills that secure their safety. House bills, electricity bills, car maintenance. It puts immense pressure on a person while his/her human relationships take the backseat. The demands of their human relationships would take a toll on them that it's best if they detach themselves first and focus on achieving Hierarchy Number 2 first. That's why don't be surprised if you see couples breaking up because they quarrel, blame each other and pressure each other for a security that is lost. The major strains in human relationships are greatly caused by pressure brought about by money and the lack of it.

A friend of mine said that only a few get to focus on the fourth Hierarchy which covers esteem, confidence and respect. This friend of mine even believes that no one (That he knows at least) has even reached the fifth tier. Not to sound too materialistic, but only with powerful amount of resources, are we to find ourselves relishing the fourth and fifth top tier. With lots of money, not only we can provide basic sustenance, but we can provide security as well. If we have provided enough security, then we can take time off to manage relationships better and focus our time to fulfilling the needs of others that do not involve "earning" and "working." Once we can achieve these things we can gain a sense of confidence and respect from others. Only then we can worry on the fifth tier.

Money is so powerful that it can help you achieve these tiers that are essential to human life. If one has too much, then we can all get philosophical and solve almost everything that we get ourselves into. We don't see money as an object and we may choose to use it at our own expense. How wonderful for one to reach that stage. We all have simple aspirations in life but all seek to meet at least the three tiers in human life. Screw your demands for respect and self actualization. As long as you can pay your house, your car and manage to keep your relationships thriving, then we can all consider ourselves lucky. But the main tiers are the more expensive ones and it needs the capital M. MOOLAH. MONEY. Let's not be hypocrites as long as we don't turn ourselves into greedy bastards. It's true that money can't buy you everything, but to actually want something that money can't buy, just means that you already have more than enough money to buy all the things that only money can buy. The classic dilemma of the filthy rich.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

In the Mood to Be Thankful

Yesterday, I left the office early and got to browse through SM Makati’s merchandise with the sun still up. The feeling was exquisite. I went to the grocery, bought sausages and sugar free juice, strolled at the center thoroughfare lined with Chinese New Year products such as TIKOY, Good luck charms and ham. I opted to go healthy instead and bought 2 packs of sliced Guava, took a seat at the metal chairs, read a new book I was carrying for the entire day and began to munch on the fruit’s brand of sweetness.

At around 5 pm – 6 pm I noticed that my dad was late. I would normally be infuriated, but somehow the book and the fruit became my instant calming agents. I also specifically got hooked observing the massive thoroughfare of people mostly on their way home. Dressed in uniforms or semi-casuals with focused facial expressions and steady strides resemble a more relaxed modern march of humanity. Others who are in deep thought and conversation still manage to catch a glimpse of what’s going on around them. Amidst various worries, prayers and triumphs in life’s human aspects of distractions, some may even had the time to ponder on buying tikoy or remembering the latest Year of the Ox fortune reports that are circulating all over broadsheets, blog sites and emails. Some would stop, look and observe, while others forge on.

Looking at the busyness of 5 pm – 6 pm, my mass takes part in the sea of professionals getting through life day by day. If I have the capability to read minds and listen to people’s thoughts involuntarily, I might have gone crazy on the spot. Walking in crowded commuting stations, main thoroughfare malls in the central business district, is witnessing man’s battle with life, self and the world. Seeing them in silence, but with mind in constant trail of thought makes me feel courageous, bold and forgiving to my kind.

I suddenly realized despite the anguish, hurt and uncertainties of life, there are still a lot of things to be thankful for. These are the times that I would count myself as part of the lucky ones despite the turbulent feelings of failure, fear and frustrations that at least I am familiar with. There are times that you just feel thankful that life’s been kinder to you or kinder to the people around you. It’s thanking the little things that would continue to overwhelm you. Thanking for health, for money to put on the table, for a job, for nursing a constant surge of creativity and for these main reasons we feel thankful. I may not be entirely proud of where I am right now, but pride is relative. I am still thankful nevertheless.

I may not know the thoughts, prayers and anguish of these people, but I believe all our thoughts fall under one umbrella. It might take different shapes, intensities and concerns, but it’s not something that is unrecognizable. It’s nice to step back and observe sometimes. Aside from the feelings of awe and deep connection, you feel humble. Be thankful for witnessing man’s constant struggle to life. In that aspect, be thankful that you’re never alone.

THe List Goes on and On

My dad and I were stuck in traffic and he would utter phrases of profanity every after the radio newscaster makes that significant pause. He is ashamed of what is happening in the economy and the effects that it brings in this country. He might not be equipped with facts and with the economic orchestrations of the world today, but the news tells it all. Broad sheets and primetime news channels might lose people’s interests in flashing numbers, percentage and financial ideologies. But they can never miss delivering the economic idea when something close and obvious gets hit. Loss of jobs.

These job losses started early last year, first on big financial companies where the monumental crisis was born. It took a lot of facts, goods inflations, merges and financial company closures to make us realize that we are in deep shit. We started to grope with what’s on the news and getting the facts at hand. Mere housewives were glued to ANC while trying to budget their family’s expenses. Everyone became their own economists, financial advisors and budget consultants. People thought that we’ve hit the bottom, with gas prices from PHP 30/liter to PHP 60/liter we were all facing the same pains of adjustments. We were shaken up as the whole world continues to suffer. Nothing became certain anymore, even the fresh new year.

They said we might have experienced the worst economic condition in 2008, but most analysts believe that we will continue to feel the aftershocks and more direct hits for 2009. Loss of jobs is one of them.

Aside from the usual financial companies like Morgan Stanley, UBS, HSBC and Citigroup, here are the companies that joined the bandwagon of slashing manpower. Both Local and Global.

Philips (Slashing 6,000 jobs worldwide)
ING (Slashing 13,000 jobs worldwide)
CORUS (3500 jobs worldwide)
SPRINT (8,000 Jobs)
TEXAS instruments (Will slash 12%)
MOTOROLA (10,000)
QWEST (1000)
DELL (9,000)
YAHOO (1000)
XEROX (3,000)
SONY JAPAN (5,000)
ERICSSON (5,000)
HOME DEPOT (7,000)

76,000 jobs from US and Europe corporations were slashed last Monday. 200,000 jobs are expected to be slashed in the Philippines mainly in the manufacturing and electronics industries. We’re talking about the first quarter only. We can never be more “uncertain” in the future. The list goes on and on, including my father’s creative phrases of profanities.

Monday, January 26, 2009

What the likes of them Prefer


If not for the guy's primary occupation and geographical location, I could've sworn this was Mitch.

A lot of people especially Tech-Savvy individuals have already tapped brilliant alternatives in a time when alternatives offer, if not the best, but most preferred consumer goods and services that do not murder our valued resources. Count the likes of Mr. Title and Mitch for primary examples.

These guys obviously work in a technology infused industry and are already knowledgeable with what they want. They somehow took advantage of the opportunity that affected as much as their cable subscriptions to choosing functional gifts for their girlfriends without ever considering the idea of "downgrading."

Mitch would always say, "How's Harriet, your NETBOOK?" I once found the term rather amusing. Nevertheless, it's the thought that counts and I wouldn't have it any other way.

To read More:

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Working Hard at Work is a Must

When you get employed and paid to work, they expect you to do just that. Work. Some even encourage you to go the extra mile as an inspiring tag line to do more than what is expected of you. Sometimes you get recognized immediately. You either have a promotion and a quick list of good references, but sometimes it's just a way of sizing you up and the rewards would arrive longer than expected. Naturally, you do your best to impress and make sure you are seen in a good light. Who wouldn't want to be promoted? Who wouldn't want to be praised? You might be the practical 21st century man with practical needs and natural desires to move up the ladder. But with the economy right now, there might be some people who do this, not expecting for a promotion, but to just to be able to keep their jobs.

Gone were the days of accommodating almost anything and anyone we can. If there's one season to be cutthroat and ruthless, it is now on a faltering economy. We have been a witness to waves of layoffs and closing of corporations. Unemployment in every country is on the rise. Businesses have started to be more competitive and stricter with finances. Organizations eliminate countless positions that could be done by one. Those who lost their jobs find it hard to squeeze themselves in a trimmed organization, while those who still have their jobs find it anxious to hold on to theirs.

People who were spared from layoffs know better than to appear complacent and relaxed. They should be able to project that they are doing the company a huge benefit by being spared from unemployment. They should appear indispensable and very proactive. They must appear busy and able to take on various responsibilities, not only one. Some take initiatives to keep them out of the radar, while others tend willingly absorb knowledge from various processes to be flexible enough to perform various services that organizations could take advantage of. You think you can never get that for pro-bono, but do you think it's not happening now?

In an outsourcing industry, this is highly magnified. In outsourcing, processes and departments are being shifted to other countries with low labor costs. Since global organizations need to cut down massive expenses, they have started to eliminate teams and people in their headquarters and transferred the work to cost efficient and equally capable professionals of "cheaper" countries that only reflect a minimum overhead cost compared to the usual paychecks of their headquarters manpower. It is a logical business move in every sense of the word, but I doubt if their previous employees and their current ones would highly appreciate. The ones who are left behind to explain and train people across the globe to do the job his laid off colleague once did, would experience a very painful transition. He will never forget that he may also be in danger and as much as possible he should either step up and make it "harder" for other people to match him or else he might also be replaced. Mistakes of off shore parties would be magnified to prove that no one could do the work better than the "original." Information sharing may be too inadequate for other teams to use and he would appear to be very proactive and solutions-oriented. In subtle threats such as this, no one should be too complacent. Systems might eliminate the tedious work. Offshore teams might prove to be cost efficient and effective. But now they know that doing a stress free job is a RED FLAG because it might give organizations reason to get rid of you. Usually in these cases employees must find every opportunity to work harder and smarter to avoid these threats. Now, it's not much of an issue in terms of jealousy and rewards. Now, it's all about work survival.

But there are cases when the work is already done and people have nothing left to do. This is where the art of appearing to work hard comes in. The once difficult, mundane and tedious tasks that you never thought of volunteering for, will be your best alternatives. As lousy the work may be, it's better than staring at the computer all day with the risk of getting caught by your supervisor. You don't want him to form a bad impression. Small things to pitiful things that make look one busy is a must to keep your job. Appear to be mind boggled with reports and produce something recommendable. Creativity is something that cannot be taught, so people should start developing that side of the brain. It's not always doing the day to day operations, it's thinking something of value and out of the box. The fight has never been this challenging. Make the organization feel that you highly deserve the position and every cent that they pay you for or else they would have a reason to just cut you out of the equation. Working hard is an understantement and now you know why for some people see it is a MUST.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Underworld: Rise of the Lycans

I needed to bounce back from Twilight. Despite having no outwardly violent comments about the movie. I like the book better, but what can the movie do to appease my taste? I'm not really into teenage, lovey-dovey materials no matter how they try to incorporate vampires and werewolves into the picture. A part of making them a legend will always be how Vampires and Werewolves are perceived. They shouldn't be lovey-dovey and hormonal, that's reserved for human stories. They have strict temperament and characteristics uniquely their own. They are mystical and powerful creatures that best display their traits in action, not in drama. So you can't imagine how I wanted to watch Underworld: The Rise of the Lycans.

I've seen the trailer late last year and I was so happy that this weekend was devoted for that. There were minimal "threats" of not making it into reality, but good thing my movie date knew it had to push through as an unspoken priority. We both needed to bounce back from Twilight. So after accomplishing the morning tasks and going to, would you believe, Quezon Avenue for lunch, we headed back to Makati to secure our seats for Underworld.

This underworld is a prequel to Underworld and Underworld Evolution which concentrated on descendants Selene and Michael Corvin played by Kate Beckinsale and Scott Speedman. I've seen both movies (in DVDs) and I like the concept. I like how they incorporated and represented vampires and werewolves into a modern gothic setting with easily acceptable plot. It was an action-suspense movie unlike any other, meshing reality without losing the essence of what these mystical creatures are all about. But this particular Underworld: Rise of the Lycans are set in the Dark Ages where they didn't have bullets and leather cat suits as costumes. This is their take on a medieval setting where vampires use swords and bows while Lycans, well...use their usual strength and metamorphosis in battle. This movie is a prequel to explain how such "passionate" animosity started between the barbaric Lycans and the aristocratic Vampires. Needless to say it was brought by the love of a lycan and a vampire that led to further mythological divide. It might echo the Romeo and Juliet drama, but it wouldn't drown you with kilig, it would drown you with passion and adult intensity. Also, the movie aims to rewind and provide more background and strength to the widely recognized Underworld installments. So if there's such a thing as enjoying history in a movie, this one is one of them.

But the movie is SHORT. If I have to put it in other words, it's BITIN. I don't know if Benjamin Button screwed my movie tolerance, but Underworld:The Rise of the Lycans was damn fast. I appreciate the fast paced movement of the story, but if not for the action scenes and itsy bitsy passion exhibits here and there, I believe I would've mistaken it as a daily soap opera. I understand that the plot may not be too rich, but there is exactly no reason to make it complicated either. It's a story about a powerful Lycan, Lucian, who was used by the Vampire's ruthless head Viktor. As Lycans increased their population, Lucian becomes caught in between saving his own kind and inconveniently loving Sonja, Viktor's only daughter. Secret lovers they became, which sprung complications for both races. Uncovering betrayal against struggling to find loyalty and freedom forced the two race to divide further.

Aside from the movie being fast paced and short, there are manageable fight scenes that just deserve a glance. There is nothing uniquely special . Action scenes in Underworld 1 and 2 are more elaborate but one must consider that it was set in the dark ages when Lycans at that time weren't that skillful in fighting yet. In this movie, Lycans just do the natural thing which are to transform, roar and attack. But do not expect Vampires to awe you either. Vampires depicted here may be aristocratic and regal, but they are complacent and very artillery dependent. There is nothing here that would make you want to leap and dance with delight. In fact, except for the Lycan transformations and focus, action scenes aren't something you'd highly look forward to. It was just essential and needed in the story.

But I must be happy with the cast. Bill Nighy as Viktor is superb. He just transforms effortlessly into this elder vampire and puts the capital C in the Chill. Michael Sheen as Lucian, well is not as buffed as I've imagined, but he has a certain appeal. He has an intense performance of displaying raw emotions, which I like. The two weren't much of a surprise since they've just reprised their roles from two previous Underworld movies. The introduction was focused on Rona Mitra's character Sonja who is the sensual, powerful and the only bridge that made the races clash to their respective wars that carried on to centuries until the modern era.

The movie may be short, but it is moderately enjoyable. Do not expect anything grand though lest you be disappointed. But for whatever reason that you need to watch this, I wouldn't stop you. The gore and fight scenes might be too much for Twilight die hard fanatics, but I believe that's what Vampires and Werewolves are all about. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Pix Sources:

Friday, January 23, 2009

A normal weekend rant


Weekend na pala! I can't believe it's already here?!

This week literally flew by, but I'm not liking the weather one freaking bit! From last year's ICY Cold to this year's impending SCORCH in...maybe a few weeks or a month's time to be experienced FULL BLAST.

Summer here we go again.

I know I've been ranting about weekends because it's either I never get to have one decent straight weekend or I was just worked out to the bone attending to various matters in my life. Excitement, office stress, relation stress, the works! Weekend gives me an excuse to sleep a couple of hours more, result to SIMS and to finally FINISH my Jeffrey Deaver's THE SLEEPING DOLL.

It's a shame. Even when I go home super late at around 12ish, I still force myself to read at least 1 chapter, but a total of 5 chapters each day won't get me that far. Am I that busy nowadays?

My creative juices have been dried up. My brain cells are not yet fried, but are not receiving additional nourishment either. Silent deadly stress is making me feel numb (dumb) sometimes. Yuck. Is this me?

Weekends maybe aren't enough. Maybe what I need is a total grand vacation.

Soon. I might as well relish the weekend.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

"He's too good to be true"

Nope, it's not about BONO.

While I was discussing something with my dad last night, I was again distracted on what he was watching. Well but of course. It's Obama's inauguration moment. But I didn't see the exact "swearing over the bible" thing. What I saw was U2 being ecstatic for a new "day" and paying homage to Obama, while the cool, glorious president watched in peace.

It was a two mile party in the DC, not counting the tons of people glued to their TV screens. It was a joyous and a historical event, which is already an understatement. The glitz, amount of emotions and support is an overwhelming start to pump everyone to make that "great change." What a better way to start this year to pull up their economic slump and sustainably preserve the nation that the world recognizes as one of the most powerful nations of all time. True that while the inauguration takes place, business woes still mount and hopelessness still lurk. Stocks of big banks slumped double digits, there are middle east war matters to attend to, there are big economic, socio-political promises that need to materialize fast, and demand for strong diplomatic ties are abound. The inauguration may be emotional, peaceful and encouraging, but Obama has a lot on his plate.

It's true that he displayed intense charisma, level-headedness and wisdom all throughout his campaign. He made a steady and fast transition that bested some of his predecessors. He continued to pull up positive rankings, and in these days, faith is an essential part to make responsible changes. He has all the right people with him, his best law and senatorial experiences, his immense support from America and the World. He should take advantage and magnify all the overwhelming and positive things working for him right now. He needs all the help he could get.

Since he is very well liked for his steadfast nature and glorious visions, it is expected that a lot of people will look up to him and a lot of people will EXPECT something big from him. He may be one of the best and courageous leaders to step up in a time when just reading the news can be so depressing. But he is Barack Obama. He is the 44th President of the United States. He may project that he's destined to lead and that he had made his first moves with ease and great authority. A lot of people have been impressed in a short span of time and more will expect. In a time when pressure and rising catastrophy in all levels might make anyone give up, he is not the type who would do that. Despite Madame Auring's usually "INCREDIBLE" predictions that he wouldn't last. I would wager her on that. I know it seems scary and strange that Barack Obama is just too good to be true. But what's the point of being a pessimist? This is where FAITH and BELIEF come in handy.
Seriousness aside, for those who are still sourgraping...please, learn how to suck it and just cooperate. You're not helping.

Pic sources:

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A clearly distracted and excited post

I can't think straight today. I'm temporarily distracted about something very SERIOUS. But this is a good type of distraction. Never thought that I would like it until someone presented the idea to me. My father has the knack of making spontaneous surprises and suggestions, although when I think about it, the practical and more sensible side of me would easily turn away from the opportunity.

I've gone through the familiar tunnel of need and want. Right now, this object of excitement is a need for me, although not a drastic one. Second, the voice of want is kicking in big time. As long as I know it would make me happy and I won't let anyone or myself end up in the gutter as I enjoy it, then I think I have the right and privilege to get it.

That's the thing about me. Clear possibilities without added baggage just excite me. And it's really hard for me to get EXCITED over something historic in my life because at this point, there might be no going back.

When I get to finalize things, maybe I'll tell. But for now, I'll relish the moment of "it being just a possibility."

Monday, January 19, 2009

Bitter Bribery

Bribing pisses me off especially if the bribe is so sensational that the matter turns into a state affair. Most of us have read and heard about the “Alabang Boys” and frankly I’m close to forming bile in the pit of my stomach. Apparently these alleged drug pushers and users that come from well-to-do and affluent families were caught red handed with supplies of different kinds of drugs. Witnesses have pointed their fingers at them that even their respective relatives do not deny. Naturally, to avoid further scandals and looming imprisonment, their camp resulted to the quickest and most effective way to “ask" officials for a “favor.” An illegal favor that is.

Bribe them with money, glittering sums of it, and there’s an expected immoral miracle waiting to happen. They’re lucky if the people they bribe would say yes and shut up forever. They wouldn't have cared less if they exhibited the weakness of human nature. Don't feel sorry for the bribers too. Forget about the financial damage, bribers will get to feel the solid power they possess. That in itself is priceless. But unlucky fools they will become if they happen to bribe people who simply refuse. It’s going to cause a low blow to their tainted egos, which makes them boil in their own tar pit of corruption. It’s also best if those they’ve bribed sing to the tune of revelation. Nothing beats the hatred song of denial and counter allegations. It’s the worst soap opera in the world. Corrupt individuals act out as educated and sophisticated adults who are not capable of bribing in their entire life. Sometimes it's so badly acted that it reeks.

There are hundreds of reasons to bribe. It could float in between desperation for survival or it could just be fulfilling one’s self interests. Bribe is a form of human corruption that seeks out ordinary favors and services in exchange for money, possession or something that the object of bribery can't say no to. Money seems to be the best choice for bribes although some people prefer other material things that tend to be cheaper or actual people that tend to be quite impossible to obtain.

Bribing I believe is developed in the early years. We just fail to notice we’re being ‘bribed’ or we’re actually bribing someone because it doesn’t ever feel scandalous. As kids our parents started bribe us to do things without exerting much effort. A candy here, a meal there, a toy here, a promise there. I believe most kids have experienced this one way or the other. But most of their bribes are for our own good. Going to the doctor, to the barber, shopping with them, getting good grades at school, staying at home and to the extent of showing them affection adults think they deserve. These minor things are overlooked as bribe, until we realize that we have elevated it in how we deal life as an adult.

As much as I hate and publicly disapprove of bribes, I admit I am guilty too. Simple things like making my dog do tricks that I want him to do by showing off rewards first is already a form of bribe. The fact that I sometimes get swayed by my powerful relatives and friends to just pay off the hawk-eyed traffic enforcer in exchange for not going through the hassles of retrieving my license is a classic bribe. I go through lengths of feeling guilty and not being too proud of myself.

Hating bribers is easy and expected. But we often forget that as long as weak souls, who are easily bribed, still walk in this earth, the cycle will never stop. If everyone just developed a higher sense of honor and everyone harbors enough courage to reveal the corrupt individuals, then I don’t think bribing could easily exist or thrive in a society. If all people are like Major F. Marcelino, I don’t think bribing would’ve made a great effect.

Bribery is always a question of what we value in this life. Money, no matter how ultimately important, is not the only thing that we value. Thinking about it, I could even be easily bribed by a deadly Banana Cream Pie. How cheap. But whatever the reason is, no matter how personal, nonsensical and absurd, all bribes fall under one cluster, for which I’m ashamed to admit is a constant struggle in everyone’s lives. I just hope I have all the strength in the world to refuse and give “the finger” to those who bribe so expertly until they end up in the spotlight. Serves them right. And to those who accepted different kinds of bribes, it made me realize how cheap their pride could be. I'm trying my hardest to avoid being one of them.

A lucky night of good company and free dinner

Rely on me to be ultra confident in job interviews or any other interview for that matter. I don’t produce physiological, gruesome body fluids and my mind is as clear as a bright blue sky effortlessly stringing sentences together. But put me on an awkward social spot, specifically for an intimate dinner with my boyfriend’s most favorite aunt from the States, then rely on me to effortlessly make a fool out of myself. Everything that I’m supposed to feel at interviews happens in these types of situations. My hands get sweaty, my tongue feels dry and short, and my thoughts go on overload that basic rules of conversation elude me. There are a couple of bad social experiences I’ve had so far where I exhibit extremes. It's either I successfully imitate a rock or say tactless things that make silence unbearable that I could just dig a hole somewhere and die. I know that I’d rather be talking to a high ranking official about non-personal things than talk with someone’s relative or a personal hero talking about me and my personal thoughts.

When my boyfriend invited me last week to have dinner with his favorite aunt, the sort of iron hand of their whole clan, I knew it was something I should consider and psychologically prepare for. Her aunt seems to be his favorite and I believe he is also one of her most treasured nephews. She resides in the States and from what I’ve heard from him all these years was that she is the type who speaks her mind, who’s frank and effortlessly commands respect. After her blessed upbringing and achievements, one of which is Mitch’s success right now, I would just easily be an insignificant fern that fell in love with her nephew.

It’s different with close relatives. They hold a different degree of power and advantages. There are lots of opportunities to get to know the parents. Usually parents offer a much forgiving judge or state. The love for their own children is at its highest that there are more rooms to understand and accept whatever (whoever) comes in their children's life. However, close relatives in general, are the unspoken jurors that observe and form thoughts in a raw level. Sometimes they only need that first encounter to make a lasting impression and they are under no obligations to go out of their way to get to know relations that do not directly concern them.

And for that, meeting Mitch’s clan is always a nerve wracking experience, even though I am too lucky to find out that they’re very gracious, funny and engaging. All of them emanate the sense of aristocracy, high respect and subtle power, but they’re very accommodating, gregarious and lovely that writing this now make me feel so guilty. I would always have high praises for all of them, but I think it’s already a part of my personality to buckle up my knees when I’m with them. It’s just the way I am, I’m afraid. And last weekend was a special challenge unlike any other.

While attending an earlier afternoon mass with Mitch, I found out that the dinner would only involve me, him and his aunt. All the while I thought I was to dine with his family, plus the girlfriend of his younger brother. My nervousness and silence will not be so obviously highlighted if that was the case. Mitch found my apprehensions kind of stupid, but he just nudged me to just be real and to enjoy the night. I sighed. Well, there goes enjoying my sumptuous dinner.

We drove to his grandmother’s house in Makati where his aunt temporarily resides and asked me to just chill a couple of minutes because he had to fix his aunt’s computer network. As I entered the house I already thought of a couple of topics to talk about.

After meeting some of his regular nephews, a slim woman appeared and greeted me graciously. I couldn’t remember what I said, but I hope my smile wasn’t that scary. She and my boyfriend excused themselves as I watched an NGC show about people in desperate emergencies. I learned how the body inevitably grows stronger when the issue of survival is at hand. Endorphins and adrenalin make ordinary humans seem superhumans that made them get out of life threatening situations. I figured I might have had the same adrenalin pumped at my bloodstreams at that moment.

After a couple of minutes, they were done with the computer stuff and we went to Serendra to have dinner. It was awkward at first, getting in the car and finding ourselves together while Mitch went away randomly to get things or talk to someone. I’d rather let him entertain her aunt more and forget about me. I’d rather like that than personally giving her aunt a horrible time by sharing the night with a nervous and socially awkward person. ON the way, I had a couple of scenes playing in my mind. I prayed for ideas and words to fall through and I hoped not to disappoint anyone lest I be a laughing stock of their whole clan.

We settled for a very crowded Italianni’s at Serendra and started to do the normal shift of conversation. Naturally, it should be a dinner for Mitch and his aunt to catch up, holding no boundaries in discussing family matters, but since I was there I might hold a banner of limitations. I figured might as well get rid of my inhibitions and just enjoy the company of her aunt. I let go and enjoyed I did because once I got past the normal description of my work and my family. Her Aunt and I kept talking about my experiences in the States and her love for the States. We listened to each others’ stories intently and I even made a couple of wacky facial expressions while I would comment, but I was still stuttering nevertheless. I might have jumbled my words and messed up my sentences, but that was just my “pessimistic control freak me” reminding myself that “I should still be nervous” because there were times that I felt like I was talking to just one of Mitch’s random friends. I talked about my experiences like how I get to talk to his mother now, which took me months to get comfortable to.

While his aunt and I talked, Mitch was the one who fell into silence and just focused on Italianni’s bad service. Her aunt and I just occasionally stop whenever he mumbled how long the Lasagna’s going to be served and realized we’ve been waiting already for an hour for that infamous dish. While Mitch went to talk to the manager, I realized one thing. I truly like this particular aunt. If I didn’t quite relate with her I would’ve realized the lull times of waiting for that lasagna. I would’ve thought of how I ate and I wouldn’t remember much of her stories. I wouldn’t have laughed, made facial expressions nor shared any of my humiliating professional experiences.

As time passed by and the crowd was thinning, Mitch got the bill, and the night ended extremely lucky when the Manager told us that everything we ate was FOR FREE. The news apparently excited us too much that all of us immediately began to stand up and leave. Mitch was still drinking his soda while his aunt and I were already on our heels. While on our way to the parking lot we were laughing our heads off for not leaving any tip and how we turned out to be such a bunch of “escapists” for leaving the scene immediately as if scared that the manager will change her mind.

On the way home, Mitch’s aunt told him that he was extremely lucky to not pay the pricey bill. The two of them were trying to recompute, but I just laughingly said that “we will never know, since we haven’t seen the bill especially paid for it.” I was astonished with the generous act, seriously. I would’ve expected that they would scratch off LASAGNA from the bill, but not the ENTIRE BILL. We are pretty honest and capable people. We would’ve understood, but slashing off the entire bill was just too much luck for the night. Also we ended up talking about snakes, salamanders and his aunt’s love for the city.

After dropping her off, Mitch and I had coffee somewhere and I applauded his luck. I also told him that I really liked his aunt. I never expected that I would be so candid with her and I sincerely hope his aunt didn’t think of me as a nutcase or a blabbering idiot. I even told him that I admire her aggressiveness, her straightforward thinking and modern mind. With how she speaks, her stories and how she relates with people, she is truly a person that from day one knows what she wants and is unafraid to meet anyone. She will never be a slave to her own fears or apprehensions. She is like Mitch in a way that she is assertive, street smart and very opinionated. I understand now why Mitch loves her and respects her so much. She is a tough and independent force to be reckoned with, although I doubt if anyone ever tried and came out alive with only with their limping egos. Based from her stories, I believe nobody ever did, as she is still living the life that she enjoys and loves. She sends out a message of hope that as young and single Mitch and I are, we should always find the courage to seize opportunities and enjoy life to the fullest.

Glad I faced my fears last night and got to enjoy her fabulous company. It was a shame we didn't so much order food for take out, we could've gotten it for free also. There are only few practical "strangers" whom I've spent time with and genuinely enjoyed it. It was a good decision on my part. Aside from the free Italianni’s dinner, I can say luck has a big part of it.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

So far So good Weekend

Awhile ago I made a blog about relishing a schedule-free weekend.

Well, it happened. I didn't do anything substantial today. Not that I'm bragging about it, but I sincerely feel recharged. It's nice to let time slip away while you stare at the afternoon sun, having a personal debate whether to phone for a pizza or sleep. No paranoia about the future. No financial computations. All my previous worries seem to have taken a vacation.

But I did accomplish a few surprising activities for today.

Well, I nearly cried watching Marley and Me. I never thought that a simple and predictable movie could move me. Ergo, I never thought having a dog will create a HUGE effect on my personality. Sure, I do love dogs in general, but to almost cry over a movie about dogs was something I did not foresee. Having Harvey made me feel more human and responsible. If there's one thing I realized today, is that I completely love that dog and I could never imagine know...dead.

The dog my mother loves to hate: Harvey and Me

Second, I happily got to catch up on my reading. I'm currently reading Jeffrey Deaver's modern serial thriller The Sleeping Doll. I bought it last year in the Manila Book Fair at SMX. I didn't hesitate to buy it. Jeffrey Deaver might not be that famous like the late Michael Crichton or John Grisham, but he's proven to be a good, crafty suspense writer. My first Jeffrey Deaver book experience was reading The Blue Nowhere. The copy was part of one of my Reader's Digest condensed books, which are convenient compilations of different titles for eclectic readers like me. The Reader's digest Condensed books are vintage books that bind an average of four stories from different classic or modern authors. It showcases different literary genres from thriller to romance to historical that's why it's so recommendable for adventurous readers.

My first impression of the Blue Nowhere is that it's a plain thriller that revolves around the world of IT, Engineers and networks. It was like reading a more detailed and tech-version of the movie The Net. At the first parts, I didn't force myself to actually like the book. Tech thrillers are really not my cup of tea. Maybe because I get easily bored with tech jargons and I have a hard time incorporating the nitty gritty aspects of engineering, networking and technology in my life. As long as I can surf, read my emails, download stuff, play computer games, do occasional photo shop works, then I don't need to bother about packets and rams or whatever you officially call them. I thought the book was highly ambitious to please someone like me, and the fact that I've never heard of the author made the book a solid 'underdog.' But surprisingly I was hooked on how he managed to create an intricate, fast paced and solid thriller that revolves around the lives of network engineers and the whole gamut of cyberspace. Just like how Robin Cook tries to inject medical knowledge in me, Jeffrey Deaver's The Blue Nowhere made me appreciate engineers even more. The funny and amazing thing was, even as an ignoramus tech user like me, reading the whole story complete with terminologies didn't make my nose bleed. He has a way of developing a story so intricate and detailed, yet gracefully shifts at some point to reach and grasp his general readers. I quickly researched his profile and little did I know, he was the author behind the movie The Bone Collector, which I didn't get to watch.

I stayed up late with that book and I even tried to ignite Mitch's reading habits. SO far he only reads tech forums and photography reviews, butobjects reading anything beyond that. But I know that if there's anyone who could appreciate the story better, without having to worry if he'll die out of boredom, it's Mitch reading The Blue Nowhere. I just know it. But sadly Mitch, although interested, cannot for the life of him squeeze the thought of reading a book and just let minutes trickle by. He wanted me to just tell him the story instead. I don't think I would be giving Jeffrey Deaver any justice though. Can't say I didn't try.

So, now I'm hooked with The Sleeping Doll, another crime investigative thriller, he created. Reading only a few chapters is like a fuel that dissolves time. Free days will always seem priceless compared to a paid weekend overtime.

So in between the chill hours of today, I played with Harvey, chose new themes for my social networking sites and stole a few minutes of winks. Far from work, wearing my pajamas and eating in front of the computer. I haven't seen my phones since lunch, and I'm not so eager to search any time soon.

I live for the Weekends - Garfield

Been busy the entire week and I was surprised to see I've even managed to squeeze in a few entries. I've been working late almost everyday and felt like charity mode for the past few weekends. Even if it's just for a quick 4 hours stay in the office, I would always feel that my whole day is wasted. Instead of filling in the hours with pleasure, maybe have a dinner out and watch a movie (just to feel it's a weekend), I would just end up driving home in a cold night and rest. I'm a ghost on weekends and I'm close to my draining point.

After celebrating my friends' birthday at a nearby bar last night, actually engaged in senseless conversations, had alcohol and ate hotdogs with potato wedges, I felt I was human again. I'm reminded on how a weekend is supposed to be like. I went home late, read a few chapters of Jeffrey Deaver's book and had a wonderful dream that I can still manage to continue for this afternoon's siesta. Until my cellphone rang at 6 in the morning.

As expected there's a work issue that I need to address this weekend as my countepart across the globe apologetically confirmed. But good thing I already had a plan, with the help of a charitable colleague who offered to vouch in for me. I made a few text messages and lifted up all my weekend worries to the wind. I slept again till 10 in the morning.

I woke up. I played with Harvey for an hour. Tired him out and ended up finding myself here on the net just surfing. Most people I know have plans for today and I can easily make one now and hitch with them. But no thanks, I'm maintaining a schedule free day. I want this to be a day of doing things whenever I feel like it. I can sleep after lunch. Play Sims the whole afternoon. Go to the mall and watch a good movie. Hook up with some friends and have coffee on my favorite afternoon spot. Read and watch DVDs or just be practically useless like a pebble. I believe weekends are also created for moments like this to make everyone feel just as they are, human with limits.

I'm not guilty or anything. In fact I embrace it. If not for the sun, heat and sand, I'd like to fast forward to Boracay now. Screw the work mode. Accessible food, dressed down clothing, nature and most especially hotel rooms and service. Actually, anywhere outside Makati is fine with me.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Insecurity has got nothing to do with it

Before I went to the States for the very first time, I thought I'd be experiencing the first catastrophic slice of insecurity of my entire life. Even as a child, I never minded my weight. As far as I'm concerned I'm happy with my less than ideal built; and the fact that I could still play Chinese Garter up to level six or seven (armpit level) was enough for me to conclude that I'm still A-OK. Call me over confident but I never did indulge in an adolescent weight drama.

But thanks to my over exposure to Baywatch and HBO, I had an impression that for Westerners, I might be a planet, a meteorite that they would like to hurl back to space where I belong, isolated, far away from the baywatch world. It's true that my theory has no proof except cafeteria scenes in HBO 80's teen movie. I had to consider that they are artists that are required to eat celery sticks with low fat blue cheese dip for lunch and celery sticks with no dip for dinner. I had rehearsed speeches in front of the mirror lashing out on Hollywood's 0-size image, that is if I were an A-list star like Kate Winslet for example, whom I once vehemently hated in HS because I was a total fan of Claire Danes. Claire was supposed to be cast as Rose in Titanic and I just hated Kate Winslet's guts. But little did I know now that my body frame now is more of Kate Winslet's and would never be like Claire Danes' Broad shouldered-thin frame...ever! I love Kate Winslet now (acting wise and personality wise) and her move to accept her own curvaceous body. As for Claire Danes, well there is still a small proportion of like left.

The point is I thought my first step in LAX would be excruciating. I prepared myself from eyes darting towards me and calculating how many doughnuts and happy meals I ate. It didn't help that I'm with my father at that time, also a big fellow, and they might think of us relatives of Big Bertha in a circus enjoying their day offs. But curiousity and hunger for knowledge repressed my slight fears of ridicule. I finally stepped into the land where Baywatch is created and where the likes of me might probably be frowned upon.

But it was anything but Baywatch moment there. It was my pair of eyes oggling at the sensation that...I belong?! A few days made me realize and experience the joys of eating bigger version of food servings, to actually find my size easily on the department store racks, not having to ask for any assistance. I sincerely felt I was J. LO.

But there are a couple of lessons that I've learned and reflected from that experience. One is that don't generalize the things that you see on TV. TV makes everyone beautiful to ignite fantasies and attraction. What's outside is real and not all people have the personality and capacity to fit in celebrity lifestyles. Some of us just have to work, came from a healthy-buffed gene family, and just love food. Second, despite my 'private' acceptance and convenience that "fat" is part of society, it's still not an excuse to continuously increase weight. Health-wise, we can only go so far. Third, being fat is quite acceptable and sometimes even unavoidable, but being obese is an obvious addiction that requires more effort to control. It takes acceptance to avert from denial to be able to eradicate society's most common dilemma with a mixture of physical and mental strength. I don't need to take a trip somewhere to uplift myself and push back thoughts of change. Anyone could do it. Do the BMI math and accept. As a person, I hardly feel insecure, and I thought possible issues that might just erupt would eventually cause my death. True it might hurt one's ego at some point. There's no denying that. But I figured that there are a lot of more powerful and less dramatic ways to deterioriate life than by mere insecurities. Obesity is a big pandora's box of health issues. Sometimes, insecurities may have nothing to do with a call to a much healthier lifestyle.

"Obesity doubles the risk of death and reduces life expectancy by six to seven years. This is according to a study entitled “Obesity in Adulthood and Its Consequences for Life Expectancy: A Life-Table Analysis” by Anna Peeters, Ph.D; Jan Barendregt, Ph.D; Frans Willekens, Ph.D; Johan Mackenbach, MD, Ph.D; Abdullah Al Mamun, BSc(Hons), MSc; and Luc Bonneux, MD, PhD.

Living with obesity is debilitating. Dangers include cardiovascular disease, stroke, high-blood pressure, high-blood cholesterol, diabetes, cancer, fatty liver disease, gout, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, back pain, migraines, dementia and depression to name just a few."- Maniltimes* I still adore you Peter Griffin.

Gen Y

"Baby boomers (that means us: Born 1980's-2000's) are entering the international workforce and do not believe in long term employer-employee relationships that are an essential part of life. They constantly keep their eyes open on the next best thing and immediately move elsewhere. They go for more flexible or leisure time, where the boss is approachable and continually interacts with them, and there is a modern and fashionable culture of team work and sharing. Instant gratification is needed. They want their questions answered, but they don't listen, and experience is seen as very little value."

Western model and culture value fresh thinkers and have the capacity to accommodate anyone who is willing and bold enough to contribute to the table. With the global interactions fueled by outsourcing, we Filipinos, at least in my generation, have experienced and seen the effects of these Western culture. Priorities and expectations of new Gen Y employees have shifted. What we value is irrelevant to the past. The restless and achievement-hungry professionals go for the gold and stop for no one. Don't be surprised to see managers at 24, VPs before 30 working in such a flexible and flat model that would leave seniors filing for early retirement. Not all people could cope up in a much dynamic atmosphere and have their old grown wisdom valued to a minimum.

It has its risks though in this country. Filipinos hug seniority like an immunity token. Egos go higher with age brackets. Been a witness and guilty.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Credit Card Boo-Boo

The first thing I did when I got to the office this lunch was to call the credit card companies, that I'm sure are very happy with my balooning last month's purchases. The call was a need for them to finally change some pertinent details. Since the past month has been so hectic and joyful, I've forgotten to change some minor, boring details of my traceable life.

Late last week, I received a decent whiplash from my father who found out that I was scrambling to get one of my credit card bills paid only to find out that it was already due three days ago. That particular information was something my father shouldn't have heard because he is very fond of making general presumptions. He would think that after all his financial "seminars" and "threats" I still ended up to be in a muck of debt. Apparently he doesn't know that I also have that kind of thinking that I would never swipe for something I know I cannot pay in the future. But still he didn't spare me from the passionate homily.

Knowing my father, I just kept to myself and didn't bother to debate any further. His accusations might not be exactly correct, but the whole thing was my fault anyways. I forgot to call the credit card companies to change my billing address and my bills ended up being rerouted back to the main office since no one was at the old house to claim them. The messengers were knocking at an empty house for the past month, which is the reason why I received my bills with expired dues glaring on print. Interest rates are foreign to me until now. Of course, I didn't tell him the real story because it would be another set of homily on responsibility. I explained to my mother. He will be told eventually.

If only my father knew how I'm very clean with my credit card transactions no matter how it would hurt me after. He doesn't know that he and I are one in terms of using credit cards. The moment I swipe, I know I had money tucked in and I am just too lazy and weary to carry cash. I am not a slave of credit cards, no matter how they suck all my financial marrow every after pay day. It doesn't matter. As long as I get paid in full, on or before the cut off date, then I'm happy.

So, after paying one of my credit cards that was due last week, I prioritized this task once and for all. I got to talk to a couple of agents, making sure my balance remains zero and made sure they updated my full profile. Credit cards for now and other change of documents later. Only if BIR and NBI have automated service via phone, then I'd be happy.

2009 Horoscopes for You

I have an on-off relationship with Horoscopes and predictions. I'm not the type to squeeze in a few minutes reading the daily tidbits on how my day would likely turn out nor do I base my decisions on them. I am very observant on the repetitive usage of words and paraphrasing. "You are in luck." "An opportunity is coming your way" do not translate to me. These predictions and horoscopes do not outwardly affect me and how I carry on with my life. On the contrary, I prefer to read horoscopes when my day is about to end. I do check and balances for fun, but I do tend to over connect.

Perhaps I'm not taking this thing seriously or maturely. I never have, and I think I never will. Whenever I read a particular positive horoscope of mine that I like, I would privately wish that it would really materialize. But if I read a horoscope that irks me or is just outwardly negative, I tend to bash it and remind myself why I DON'T believe in this crap in the first place.

But I admit, it is interesting to get another point of view. It's a whole science of its own. The fact that Astrology is still here is enough proof that people are somehow keeping this alive. It might not have an impressive following and overflowing respect compared to any Science or Religion, but it must stand for something else. An alternative to see and explain things.

Here are a couple of predictions I've scooped up on the net: ( I picked this post because it has specific "astrology jargons," which makes all seem so scientific. This is for everyone's reading responsibility:


GOATS: 1943,1955,1967,1979,1991,2003

Goats can look forward to better luck in LOVE in 2009 - both male adn female. A single Goat will be luckier than the previous ear when it comes to dating, in fact being single and free could have contributed to this change of fate. While those who are already in a relationship would be looking forward to a more harmonious relationship, although the year could also bring them more time off from each other.

However, Goats should watch out for LOVE TRIANGLES that can destroy the otherwise harmonious relationship with their partner. And with two stars of gossip shining upon them, the Goats should learn to stay quiet and just work harder, remembering to mind his own business and not sticking his nose on others, otherwise it could only lead him to trouble.

But despite this, Goats can expect to have better interpersonal relationships. And with the star of GRACE guiding him, he will be able to acquire help from people with influence. Promotions, which could include salary raise, and personal developments are also waiting for the Goats in 2009. Indeed everything seems to look better.

One thing that Goats should also watch out is the physical condition of his/her partners, and with the star GUA SU shining on him, he is likely to feel lonely along with other emotional problems. While everything really seems to look better, there are still quite a number of negative or unlucky stars shining on the Goat, threatening his health and interpersonal relationships that is he should always be conscious and pay attention to these departments so as not to hinder his career development.

MONKEYS (1944,1956,1968,1980,1992,2004)

Monkey has two LUCKY stars shining on him, and these are YI MA and WEN CHANG which an bring him better luck in career and learning. YI MA, which is a star of Mobility, is the reason why Monkeys can have better fortune traveling. He can actually look to a better career in distant places. Earning income through traveling is very much possible, in foreign currency even. And the more traveling the Monkey makes, the more income he is likely to earn.

WEN CHANG is a star that represents Intellectual Achievements. For the monkey who is an academic researcher of whose job is clerical in nature, this star can bring good luck to them. The same goes true to students and those who are in the creative and design industries, they also stand to benefit as long as they have clear thinking, are energetic and inspired.

2009 is a good year for the Monkey to take further education as he would have luck, excellent luck to be exact, in taking examinations. Promotions that require taking examination will see the Monkey succeeding in getting it.

ROOSTERS (1933,1945,1957,1969,1981,1993,2005)

Roosters should brace themselves and be prepared for oncoming pressures in the year of the OX. But just like the Dragon, the saying "one joyful event can offset three possible mishaps" is applicable to the Rooster. This means that the Rooster should work extra hard to make these joyful events happen, like getting married, getting pregnant or buying a new house. This way, any negative vibrations waiting for him could be offset and he will be having a more favorable fortune in 2009.

Fortunately, the Rooster has still one lucky star shining on him. TIAN YI star represents a superior, a supervisor or someone influential who will be taking care of the Rooster. This could also mean getting support from family members and friends.

But the Rooster should not be complacent, things may look bright and promising, but problems and unfavorable circumstances could be hiding around the corner. These may not all be too serious or fatal for the Rooster's success, but still he needs to be careful and work harder to avoid them. By working harder, be very extra cautious he will be having better luck as far as wealth, health and career are concerned. Always be prepared.

DOGS (1946,1958,1970,1982,1994,2006)

Dogs should brace themselves for changes in 2009. These changes which could go to extremes are either good or bad. Then again, having many happy and joyful events can help the Dog avoid the bad and negative events from happening. Getting a baby, getting a new house or getting married can offset any mishaps and redirect negative energy towards positive direction.

Dogs are also advised to stay on the move or be mobile. By being always on teh move and consciously introducting changes to his life, the Dog can turn negative energy to good ones. It would be a good year to pursue plans of working abroad or going overseas, same goes true in renovating the house.

There are 2 lucky stars on the dog. These are HUA GAI and SUI JIA. HUA GAI represents artistic ability, intelligence and inspiration. This means that Dogs in the creative and design businesses would be more productive as they get lots of inspiration and at the same time enjoy more appreciation and recognition in this year. SUI JIA which represents progress and career promotion, the DOG can really look forward to a brighter year with a good chance of getting a good career luck.

The stars that the Dog should watch out for are the unlucky stars JIAN FENG, FU SHI, HUANG FAN and SAN XING. SAN XING connotes poor human relationships while JIAN FENG means injuries brought about my metal objects. By donating blood or getting the teeth cleaned by dentist, the Dog can avoid these injuries. He is also advised to attend more joyful occasions as this could boost his luck. If it is necessary for Dogs to handle metal objects, they should be careful and always wear protection.

FU SHI is a star that can bring poor communication between family members that could lead to arguments. This star can also affects the Dog's health adversely which an be offset by doing more good deeds. HUANG FAN would in turn be bringing immense mental pressure that is associated in the Dog's career success. This can cause the Dog to work harder in order to achieve success. He is also advised to take extra caution and make sure he has enough time to rest, in spite of his busy work schedule.

PIGS (1947,1959,1971,1983,1995)

Pigs who are already in a relationship might suddenly get married in the year of the OX, married Pigs on the other hand might get pregnant. The are quite a number of powerful stars shining on the Pig in 2009, which will favorably influence love luck and career luck. However, there are also some unlucky stars like GU CHEN, HUI QI and JIE SHA, that will make the Pig feel restless with mood swings and he will get easily frustrated. He should also be prepared all the time for this year.

TAI YANG, one of the lucky stars, implies that the Pig will be able to get help from powerful male people, and those having a business with a male partner will also enjoy better luck this year. For teh single female Pig, TAI YANG would bring good luck to her in terms of love relationship. She is encouraged to travel to distant places to find better love luck and career luck since the star TAI YANG also signifies outbound energy. The female Pig will also be successful in developing a long-term relationship.

Other lucky stars,like YUE TANG which implies realization of the potential and clear logical thinking could bring a good year for those in strategic planning and creative industries, also for those engaged in clerical jobs. With the star TAI TANG, together with YUE TANG which symbolizes recognition and appreciation, the year of the Ox would definitely bring good luck in career for the Pig, as he can also expect many joyful events with the help of another lucky star TIAN XI.

Unfortunately, the loneliness star GU CHEN can make the Pig feel emotionally distressed. Together with another unlucky star HUA QI, the Pig could feel more alienated. This could mean that he might not get along well with everyone as he will be having trouble with poor communication. JIE SHA, the star of frustrations and difficulties, signifies the Pig would encounter trials and difficulties before succeeding. This in spite of influential males in his or her career. It is therefore advised that the Pig should persevere.

RATS (1948,1960,1972,1984,1996)

Rats will encounter major problems in terms of romantic relationships. He might discover that his partner is not really the one he wants and he might end up with a change of heart if he does not take care of his relationship.

But that is only on the love luck, otherwise, 2009 looks promising form the Rat in terms of career. TANG FU star, which represents leadership and authority, which could benefit those working on the management level and positions of authority as they can expect to have good performance. Another area benefiting from this star are those working in the outdoors such as field jobs.

However, this will not be handed to Rat on a silver platter, because the star TIAN JIE, the star of Marginal Nature. This could bring Frustrations and difficulties to the Rat. Another star TIAN CHU, which represents food and beverage, could bring good luck to rats who are engaged in the hotels and restaurant business. This star could also bring gastronomic pleasure to Rats, however it is advised not to indulge too much in food no matter how good it is, or else they might suffer from gastroenteritis. Personal hygiene should also be given special attention to.

SANG MEN, an unlucky star, can cause health problems to elderly family member, that is why he should pay special attention to them. Rats are also discouraged from rock climbing, scuba diving, parachuting and other adventurous and risky activities because of another unlucky star ZAI SHA.

Lastly, XIE YIN, which is an unlucky star represents injuries especially on the face or surgical operations. This could be preempted by the Rat getting his teeth cleaned or through blood donation.

OX (1949,1961,1973,1985,2009)

Male Ox can look forward to a better year in 2009 compared to their female counterpart as far as romantic department is concerned. The female Ox can only expect for short term romances, and she eve have to take initiatives sometimes. On the other hand, TAI YIN star is shining on them, which represents females with influence to help them out. The Male Ox expect to have better luck on love, and is likely to meet someone he likes.

Aside from the love factor, TAI YIN is also known as the Star of Wealth which means it can influence his luck on wealth positively. If the Male Ox is working under a female supervisor, he can expect more support and recognition, with a better chance of progress and development in his career. TAIY YIN signifies progress, it is slow yet steady. This means that the OX should not be pushy or rush his way, if he does his luck might go the other way.

Another lucky star shining on the Ox (1913, 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 2009) in 2009 is Guo Yin, which is an authority star is also known as the seal of the General. This can be interpreted that his progress and developments will be recognized and achieved with much authority.

TIGER (1938 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998)

A Tiger should learn to hold his temper in the year of the Ox because of the unlucky stars shining in his constellation. These unlucky stars are Wu Gui, Di Sha, Zhi Bei and Guan Fu who all connotes poor human relationships. The advice “don’t make any decision when you are angry” suits the Tiger very well as he should avoid acting on impulse, otherwise he might hurt himself or get more into trouble. It is always better to stay calm amidst the crisis.

Guan Fu is a star that represents lawsuits and court cases. This means that the Tiger should be wary of any documents that he signs whenever he gets into a contract or an agreement. He should read every detail of the documents, specially the “fine prints” in order to avoid legal problems in the future.

And since unlucky stars of poor human relationships are shining upon him, the Tiger should be extra cautious with his colleagues and should beware of backstabbers. There is also a possibility of his lover getting suspicious of him and doubts that he is having an affair. The star Zhi Bei literally means backstabbing while Wu Gui represents backstabbers.

Gossips and rumors being spread by these backstabbers could ruin the Rooster’s relationships, he should be extra cautious of these people. But as long he keeps himself clean and does his part, the Rooster really has nothing to worry about these gossips.

In the Year of the Ox 2009, the star Wu Gui represents suspiciousness, which means that the Rooster himself might become suspicious that can make him paranoid and nervous. This could be avoided by having enough sleep, staying calm and always try to relax. Another unlucky star Di Sha means frustrations and difficulties. It may not be smooth ride for the Tiger, as he needs to overcome many hurdles before he can enjoy the fruits of his success.

But it is really not a bad year for the Tiger after all with the lucky star San Tai shining upon him. This star represents steady progress and career promotion. Tigers who are working with a clerical job can expect this star to work for them. Employees working in large companies and civil servants can also benefit from this star and make some progress.

DRAGONS (1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000)

OX year would be bringing in some major changes in the life of the Dragon (1916, 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000). However, these changes could either be good or bad, but they are crucial and there would be lots of them. Fortunately, there is a clue, as per an astrological theory. Joyful events could help minimize or offset the occurrence of possible mishaps. That means if the Dragon gets married, got pregnant or was able to buy a new house, it would offset the negative energy, preventing any mishap to happen. The more joyful events that would happen to the Snake, then the changes that he will encounter could be good. Be prepared.

Without any lucky key stars shining on the Ox in 2009, there wouldn’t be any much accomplishments for him. In fact, he should avoid being involved in any forms of investment or gambling as he likely to be on the losing end. The unlucky star Lan Gan can set obstacles on his career path, which is why the Dragon should really be prepared for anything in the coming year.

Being around influential people is not also advisable as the star Sui Po might cause him to offend them, and the star Yue Sha might bright him troubles caused by females. One way to avoid these is by constant traveling. Being constantly on the move can help minimize the effects of the negative energies.

HORSE ( 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990)

Horse should be prepared as his luck would go to both extremes in the year of the Ox. Lucky stars shining on him in 2009 would be able to help him achieve success in his career, however some unlucky stars are also shining that could bring him tragedies and difficulties. These difficulties he should all pass before he will be able to taste the fruits of his hard work.

One lucky star that has influence on his work and career is the lucky star Jiang Xing. This star represents bravery, stamina and persistence in achieving success. This star also signifies better social status and leadership skills, which would benefit the Horse who is involved in the upper management, disciplinary teams and key positions in large corporations. They can expect satisfactory performance this year.

The star Di Lie could bring the Horse major problems, but with the help of influential people he would be able to face all the problems and solve them. Another star, Di Jie signifies moving. This could mean a new house for the Horse, a new real estate or new furniture.

Bai Fu is a star that signifies animal bites, Horses who have pets or who are working closely with animals are advised to take extra caution. Another interpretation for the star Bai Fu is a woman without sense who might bring great annoyance to the Horse.

One star that means good luck in wealth and career is the star Jin Gui. However the Horse and his family members might suffer poor health and injury on limbs and some teeth problems. Overall, the Horse can expect to make progress in the year of the Ox, as he can also look to have some changes in his environment. However, special attention should be given to his own physical and mental health and he also need to take care of his family members.

SNAKE (1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001)

First the unlucky stars – Tian E, Bao Bai and Wang Shen. Tian E and Wang Shen could influence your family and cause elderly members to be sick, that is why they should be given more time and special attention. Bao Bai, on the other hand, signifies drastic fluctuations. In the relationships department, this can cause the Snake to be on an emotional roller coaster. As for financial investments and businesses, the Snake should be ready for sudden ups and downs of your sales performances as well as the money market. This is where “saving for the rainy days” would help the Snake in making it through future financial difficulties ahead.

With the unlucky stars out of the way, let us now focus on the lucky stars shining on the Snake in the year of the Ox, and there are many of them which can influence career development and love luck positively. One is the Hong Luan which is a powerful star of Relationships, Snakes who have been in a relationship for quite some time would finally be able to get married. However, the Snake should watch out and be aware of love triangles so he can avoid getting involved in them.

The star Zhi Wei could cause the Snake to have an improved leadership skill, as well as getting assistance from influential people, which can result to promotion and other career developments. And leading him to meet these influential people is the star Long De. Lastly, with the star Lu Xun shining on him, the Snake can expect more promotion and salary raise. This works both for wage earners as well as entrepreneurs, as they will both make progress in career and wealth.

Indeed, the coming year looks promising to the Snake, compared to previous years wherein he is lacking in key stars shining on him. Now, he can look forward for things to run smoothly that would eventually lead him to a happy life.

RABBIT (1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999)

Rabbits can look forward to a better in 2009 because of the number of stars of relationships shining on him in the year of the Ox. After going through many changes like reunions, separations, heated arguments and changing jobs, things will be more stable and favorable for him.

The star of Harmony Yue De symbolizes excellent human relationships and it can turn dangers into opportunities. This means that the Rabbit will be having people around him taking good care of him and supporting all his needs. The star Sui He is a star that represents harmony between spouses. This star can also help the Rabbit get support from his supervisors and/or superiors as well as from elderly family members.

Two stars, Tao Hua and Xian Chi, which are stars of Love Luck are working together to make the Rabbit be more attractive and charming than ever before. For married Rabbits however, it is advised that they practice extreme caution and try hard to resist temptations. Because with the two stars shining on them, they might be overwhelmed by people who will show interest in them, no matter what their gender maybe, or else they might become involved in love triangles. These people will do anything just to please them. For Single Rabbits, it is a good year to pursue that love interest because there is a good chance that they will be accepted.

Lastly, the stars Xiao Hao and Si Fu are two stars that the Rabbit should be aware of and take extra caution with. Because Xia Hao represents minor financial loss, which could be brought about by the money spent in entertaining more friends and lovers. Si Fu on the other hand represents an elderly male family member who might suffer from health which should be given special attention to.

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