Saturday, February 28, 2009

Doodlers and Fidgeters in the House

When I was in college I had a close friend who was the editor in chief of one of our major university papers. In classes, especially boring ones, we'd always find ourselves seated beside each other in order to survive the temptations of sleep. We'd mostly joke around random stuff, finding stupid topics and making stupid stories out of it. We both provided our own creative inputs in between lectures of Advanced History and Chemistry.

In all those attempts of creative intimacy, I have greatly noticed one weird thing about him. He was, and I believe still is, a doodler-maniac. He would fill one leaf of yellow pad just doodling words in varying angles. He doodles his full name, which I always pointed out to be so narcissistic. Rarely he doodles shapes or something else. I'm not saying this using the point of distraction because I am a doodler myself. I doodle random things from words to shapes to names in my head, but I do pause once in a while and look around. This friend of mine doodles non-stop, not looking at anyone else. His head was always bent down practically like hiding from a coming bomb. I didn't mind this at first until another friend of ours pointed out that he was wasting paper.

From then on, we would always laugh about this habit of his, but looking back, as much as we doodled and talked, we never failed nor had a hard time passing those dull subjects. We were often relaxed and mentally active even.

According to TIME, there's a study now that justifies DOODLERS like me and MASSIVE DOODLERS like my friend.

Why does doodling aid memory? Andrade offers several theories, but the most persuasive is that when you doodle, you don't daydream. Daydreaming may seem absentminded and pointless, but it actually demands a lot of the brain's processing power. You start daydreaming about a vacation, which leads you to think about potential destinations, how you would pay for the trip, whether you could get the flight upgraded, how you might score a bigger hotel room. These cognitions require what psychologists call "executive functioning" — for example, planning for the future and comparing costs and benefits.

Doodling, in contrast, requires very few executive resources but just enough cognitive effort to keep you from daydreaming, which — if unchecked — will jump-start activity in cortical networks that will keep you from remembering what's going on. Doodling forces your brain to expend just enough energy to stop it from daydreaming but not so much that you don't pay attention. (

So for doodlers out there, keep it up.


Friday, February 27, 2009

I want (need) a vacation

I seriously need a vacation. A movie and a quick mall R&R just won't do this time. I can't even read Forever Amber straight and it will take me days, weeks, to get even to the climax of the story. To specify things, I'm suffering from a quick attention span right now. Since I've been moving around and tiring myself with lots of professional to non-professional things, I can't find the time to genuinely relax and not do anything. Dining out cannot help me relax anymore. Even the product of 5 hours of sleep and occasional trips to the bookstore in the middle of the work week have lost its great power on me. I may have gotten myself into overdrive, and it needs a bigger antidote.

A grand vacation, toss in some SPA that I only do once in a blue moon would be really nice. I really don't care if it's in a beach, in a cold place, in a hotel with a nice cafe. It just has to be something new and relaxing.

Find myself repeating the word "vacation." It's becoming freaky already.

Here are some pictures I've seen online which help me relax until the real vacation pushes through...

Weeklong challenge

Ideally Friday night is supposed to be a night to stay up and go party with friends, watch a movie or engage in a very long and time-consuming date. It perfectly warrants a certain reward for being able to gracefully survive the whole work week. But here in the comforts of my house, already freshened up, wearing my favorite aged pajamas and enjoying a microwave-heated chocolate cake beats any partying outside.

Mitch and I decided to kick in early after having a quick dinner at a nearby mall, which of course I initiated. I planned the whole thing because I had to pick up a dress that I am destined to wear tomorrow evening for my father's birthday party. Being a non-shopper, most of my clothes like the pajamas I am currently wearing, date back when I was still in college. Some even in highschool, don't be surprised when some key pieces are from grade school.

I'm not a shopper, and I really don't adhere to trends. It takes a lot of explaining to convince people that even considered as a woman, I don't like to shop for clothes. It involves too much effort. So whenever I shop, I either only go to trusted stores and I shop for a glaring reason. A couple of holes in my favorite shirt, an obviously visible dying fabric of a dress or pants, sizes that either too tight or loose are fair reasons enough. When my mother and father would notice that means it's gone to an alarming mode. Even in my age, when they practically give me all the independence I could muster, they still tend to remind me to buy new clothes as if they're embarrassed to be seen with me.

Hence, in special occasions where formality is at stake, I should be able to at least look presentable. I looked at my clothes this morning and it would torture me to go through the aimless pile again tomorrow without stressing myself out. It's either the clothes are already too tight for me or it completely lost its charms after all these years of usage. This morning, I decided to get something suitable to wear to save me the possible troubles for tomorrow.

So, I searched the internet at work and saw key pieces in one of my favorite stores. I took note of the collection and re-confirmed that they have it in stock. I finished my work, met Mitch and off we went to the mall for dinner and dress accomplishment.

In less than two hours, I was able to get a dress, pondered on its color, ate a chinese dinner, had a sugar free dessert and crossed the other building to buy some dog food for Rocky. Before 9:30, I was already freshened up, logged in and ready to hit steady mode. For the past couple of days, structure, schedules and transitions (literal and non-literal) kept me on my feet. I honestly felt my back is beginning to hurt from the psychological, physical and mental torture. As much as I want to relax this weekend, I still have one show to manage; and getting that dress tonight practically covered the majority of the grueling task. Work pressures are quite different from social ones. I need all the preparations and structure that I could muster.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Little Choices that Matter

Some things just don't turn out as expected. I've learned that in life early on, and life never fails to remind me of that. Little things to bigger things that really matter get haywire when you least expect it. As much as you try to solve the issue and turn it upside down, you end up exhausting way too much of yourself and eventually you start living like a fool. You result to clinging on to that last spark of hope that everything will be all right, but usually it's another series of disappointments upon disappointments.

There are still times that I hope that things will get better. Well, there's a difference between just hoping and choosing to make things better. I choose. I'm only human and I still reserve an ounce of optimism behind every sacrifice and action. But let's just say that some things are just not meant for me and it always veers away from my control to the point of confronting and letting go seem more productive and helpful. Am I any wiser to forge on and just swallow the pain? Do I wait for my heart and my mind to wage war at each other and eventually getting my spirits vaporized out of thin air?

From an insensitive person's point of view, I try my very best to counter myself for the benefit of others, people and relationships that really matter to me. I get numb of the pain and sacrifice it entails. I do things that in all my life I've never imagined myself doing. I sacrifice things, time and attention that I am very selfish of. I surprise myself constantly and I embrace failure and mediocre victories more gracefully now. I know I have changed. I know that behind this insensitive heart lies the desire to make things better and to constantly challenge myself to make certain sacrifices. If I get eventually drained, there is no one else to blame but myself.

That's why if there's a genuine choice to be happy and to stick it through, there is also that choice on which ones we are willing to sacrifice and treasure. We can't have everything. I can't have everything in this world. Some expectations naturally fall short in reality. Most of the times it's my fault, some times it's beyond my control and some times I have to make that choice to let go of some things that I thought mattered or stick it through with the ones that should really matter. All people have their own sets of expectations but not all people can have everything. It's just how the world tests us to sift through misery and happiness until we can decide on which ones to let go and which ones protect. The earlier we know of this, the better we can manage life.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Will You Watch Michael Jackson?

Speaking of intelligent songs, Michael Jackson is preparing for a comeback.

According to Manilatimes:

Pop megastar Michael Jackson is in advanced talks with concert organizers for a comeback series of up to 30 live shows at London’s O2 Arena this summer, British newspapers reported Saturday. (Manilatimes)

Well, disregard his level of eccentricity, his lawsuits and his superficial nature, I like him. His songs are intelligent, easily recognizable and it's part of my generation. I agree with him being a master entertainer, a few people could be compared to him actually. He's not even dead, but he is already a legend.

I hope the comeback pushes through and with that I hope he produces great new singles.

I'll watch.

An Intelligent Song

Have you heard of Broken Strings performed by James Morrison and Nelly Furtado? Well I wouldn't be surprised if it picks up pace and goes to top 1.

It must be the beat. It must be the interpretation. It must be that the message just makes sense.

This is an intelligent Song.

Let me hold you
For the last time
It's the last chance to feel again
But you broke me
Now I can't feel anything

When I love you
It's so untrue
I can't even convince myself
When I'm speaking
It's the voice of someone else

Oh it tears me up
I tried to hold on but it hurts too much
I tried to forgive but it's not enough
To make it all okay

You can't play our broken strings
You can't feel anything
That your heart don't want to feel
I can't tell you something that aint real

Oh the truth hurts
And lies worse
I can't like it anymore
And I love you a little less than before

Oh what are we doing
We are turning into dust
Playing house in the ruins of us

Running back through the fire
When there's nothing left to say
It's like chasing the very last train
When it's too late

Oh it tears me up
I tried to hold on but it hurts too much
I tried to forgive but it's not enough
To make it all okay

You can't play our broken strings
You can't feel anything
That your heart don't want to feel
I can't tell you something that aint real

Oh the truth hurts
And lies worse
I can't like it anymore
And I love you a little less than before

But we're running through the fire
When there's nothing left to say
It's like chasing the very last train
When we both know it's too late

You can't play our broken strings
You can't feel anything
That your heart don't want to feel
I can't tell you something that aint real

Oh the truth hurts
And lies worse
I can't like it anymore
And I love you a little less than before
Oh and I love you a little less than before

Let me hold you for the last time
It's the last change to feel again

As expected, not quite.

I was at the office yesterday, but I had no work. System and migration issues were the culprits. And if I may borrow the line in Dangerous Liaisons, "It's beyond my control." But I did make myself productive still, but you can only do so much reports that thinking of something better to do, when there is in fact none and the place is limited, is tiring. So before lunch, I found myself trooping towards the pantry and saw Hugh Jackman performing a grand opening number at the 81st Oscars.

Usually comics host the show providing sniping jokes that may illicit giggles from the crowd, but Hugh Jackman is known as an actor, not a comic. But he is not your ordinary actor. He is very talented. He is a theater actor, knows his world on stage. He can brilliantly sing, dance and do a mild stand up stint. Plus unlike the past host, he's considered to be one of the most handsome and sexiest man alive. He has played various characters, from drama to action. Now he gave us a glimpse of his theatric and hosting world without losing his aura and face. From the start of the Oscars I can sense they have changed formats. And I'm feeling quite positive about it.

I couldn't stand in the pantry forever. I left as soon as Anne Hathaway was tasked to sing with him. I heard she was good. I logged on to the Oscars and got an updated list of winners. I would have to say that the winners are expected. Except for Best Actor in the Leading Role and Best Supporting Actress, I had probably no inkling as to who will win in those categories. The Screenplay, the Best Picture, Editing, Sounds, Actress and Best Supporting Actors did not surprise me one bit.

Since most of the awards were expected, I want to make a comment on the set and the format. Well, the set is gloomier, hence a representation of recession, still the actors and actresses looked radiant. It's unfortunate if this was their first attendance to the Oscars, it would take a lot longer time for them to experience the type of Oscars in the height of a blissful economy. It's like forcing yourself to enjoy a simpler version of it when all your life, you've been witnessing the grand, golden and excess festivities. Well, it makes it all better if you were nominated.

The method they used to introduce winners specifically for the actors and actress categories is something that I really like. After office, I stayed up late in my brother's room to watch the replay in Velvet Channel. It was there that I saw how past winners in each category welcomed another one to the "group." It was so eerie having all of them on stage, introducing each nominees and in the end, welcoming the new addition. It was very heartwarming and very elite.

And I couldn't help snicker at the tense air of having Jennifer Aniston and Angelina Jolie in one room, and to think that Jennifer Aniston presented an award which made her directly a few feet away from the blissful couple. I would've gulped an upper drug by that time. It would be my ideal prescription without hurling the Oscars at them. Well, they are actors by essence, they could easily squeal out of an awkward situation...but I squirm at the possibilities! That's what I love about Oscar, behind the glitz and glamor of prim and proper actors are nerves and tension all waiting to explode

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A matter of Relationship Importance

**Clearly a matter of utmost importance. Love the seriousness.

And so finally I watched He's Just Not That Into You. Well, if I essentially missed the enlightening rays of knowledge at least I was entertained by it. Thanks to the annoyingly sweet Ginnifer Goodwin who is a desperate woman we all have a tendency to be, to the bitchy character of the voluptuous Scarlett who plays THAT other woman. To Jennifer Aniston's relationship dilemma over the marriage that could and should happen. And to the strong, yet quirky control freak side of Jennifer Connelly. Oh, I forgot to mention Drew Barrymore who is quite forgettable in the movie and the "justifying" friend we all love to have when we enter a relationship mess.

These types of movies, you seldom go alone to. It's either you're with your significant other or with a bunch of friends you can helpfully hold on to while giggling whenever the sudden truth about relationships just represent themselves so graphically on screen. You either do check and balances of what you do or did in a relationship, that's why more than anything, you need a sort of support or anchor. Being independent, strong and fiery maybe ideal and what you have successfully incorporated in your life, but in matters of the heart we can all be screw ups.

But needless to say I went alone. After a day of being productive in the office (SATURDAY OT, people), in the groceries and milking the last cent of my ATM account for my summer cloothes, I met my two friends, who are a strong decade couple for our planned movie date. In short, I was the third wheel.

Not a very ideal position to be in. I was definitely gearing for awkward moments. No matter how I was highly aware of the possibilities, the intrigue and desire to watch a movie overpowered everything. If I can watch movies alone, most definitely I can watch it with a force field. But they are my good friends and it helps that they're not in a trying stage to impress each other. They're not that clingy also, which tends to be very third-wheeler friendly. My man was currently at work with his photography buddies and I had the heart to give him that Movie-Night off. After what I did with him in Milk, that was fairly acceptable.

But the movie wasn't exactly as enlightening as I wanted it to be. ProbablyI was slightly distracted and confused at some point. I might have picked up something useful along the way though, but it wasn't a EUREKA moment. At least the movie did for me was to present an aquarium of relationship situations women face that I might or might have not experienced yet. The whole situational story-telling tends to help us analyze our own "mess" and help deal with the numerous possibilities. To divorce, to be the one to call the guy, to get married, to WANT to get married, to handle "deepshits" that randomly plague every woman in every country in every culture. And that according to Javier, Janine's contractor in the movie,(Jennifer Connelly) that is a lot of prepositions.

While watching the movie, I can't help but do some internal check and balances. For a person who likes to observe and analyze strong signs, I am easily a slave to various interpretations plaguing in my head until I do something stupid. Even though I cannot relate to Jennifer Aniston's character in whining about marriage after 7 years of dating, I looked at my movie dates who have been dating for more than 10 years, and I ask myself if ever I would want to get married. My man and I would drop marriage jokes at each other just because we're in a stage wherein our own friends get married and usually we get asked a couple of times. Well, I may want to get married someday, a respectful move to my culture, to my womanhood and my beliefs in religion, but I fully agree that marriage is not something that could be rushed just because there's a need to provide a proof or for a false security that just end up easily tarnished. I'd rather NOT marry than get married and go through with the draining and embarrassing ANNULMENT possibilities. This marriage thing would be expounded in my future posts though.

I also believe that some women are just too great for their leading men that sometimes I feel cheated as well.

I also believe and have experienced that there there will be other girls out there with specific moral and psychological make-ups that could truly test the waters. We'd love to hate and kill them, sure. But even though they might be genetically similar to Scarlett Johannson's body, golden locks and oozing sex appeal, would I want to be in her position? Flirting with an attached man, my breasts being groped savagely in secrecy in all possible levels? I might be like Scarlett who has the capability to order every man at my disposal, but I doubt if ever I want to be like her.

Going thorugh the check and balances of your relationships or quasi relationships, while giggling and smiling along the way, are things that would eventually happen to you in this movie. It was entertaining and definitely an eye candy. Some of the situations there are exaggerated of course, but one can understand the exaggeration. It's either you want to slap yourself for being like that or pat yourself for being able to keep it together. I suggest watching it with a group though, but have the girls seated together and have their dates or significant others seated together that way support could be drawn at an interesting force from both camps.

This movie is an eye candy and can be very entertaining, but I'd rather read the book to draw wisdom from it. A 2 hour movie is fairly packed and tends to miss out salient points that need further probing on. But I wouldn't stop you from watching it.

But there are other points also which I cannot, for the life of me, relate to:

1. Never had blind dates and never went to a bar to stalk, pick up or get to know a guy. Heck, I never even go to bars. Adhering to blind dates and bar hopping would require a woman to be in a comfortable level of social aggressiveness, with remarkable charm powers, and with a good mentor or conscience. Girls who obviously don't possess these traits and support, wouldn't be able to relate to this and end up making a mess. Whoever told me that "you will never get your prospect husband or boyfriend in clubs and bars" is true to this day, but I accept that there are some exceptions...rare exceptions.

2. Flirting in powerful levels in unprecendented places like groceries, coffee shops and mundane establishments are so easy in the Western world. It's a way of how flirting could lead to date, could lead to sex, could lead to a relationship and could lead to marriage. The sequence in this country is not often true. Also, Flirting here has a thin line of either being "pyscho" or being just an "asshole." It is usually done in bars with a group of friends when one gets a glimpse of a person's background. It rarely happens without support, and the exception is if the person who is asking you out looks like Johnny Depp or Hugh Dancy...and they are really Johnny Depp and Hugh Dancy.

3. Women are equally powerful now. True. Women devote too much emotion and physical initiatives to make a relationship work. They are bound to understand the horrible sides of men and just be the stronger one to fix or get through with it. It's even acceptable for women now to draw the line and be clear about things. Gone were the days of hiding in the dark and enduring whatever crap guys give them. They get assertive and they make a move. But women are also known to over interpret and "stalk." They like challenging and torturing themselves, hence the drama. We also have dark and desperate sides too.

4. Certain rules and ideals of men and women apply in relationship. But there will always be exceptions.
5. I love Jennifer Connelly's character. Obviously, I hate Scarlett Johannson's character, who doesn't! Jennifer Aniston's character, I empathize with, but still has reservations for it. Ginnifer Goodwin's character is annoying and someone I cannot really relate to. Drew Barrymore, well, is a supporting cast and the film's producer.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Society Has Already Spoken

I believe in God. I have fear in him. I respect him tremendously. The church is a sacred group that molds people's lives towards the teachings of God. Hard teachings, but good ones.

No matter how "evil" I have become, I always make sure that in minor and major decisions in life, I do keep it real and I do consider my beliefs that are in lined with God's teachings. I'm not perfect. I'm human and I make lapses hundreds of times, but I do try.

One sensitive issue that we face today is a human dilemma against God's teachings.

Collectively, it's the state versus the church.

In matter of reproduction, a matter highly sensitive that it has become a social tug of war, Church believes we should all remain pure until we submit to the sacrament of matrimony. Sex is only there to procreate and not seen as a leisure. We procreate all right. We procreate, spread diseases and ruin lives more.

Seriously. In this day and age, humans are more attuned to themselves and SEX may not always be seen as a form of leisure, but it is a form of human expression as well. It's part of who we are. The decision to engage in it relies on our own human will incorporating our beliefs with God. We need to know both sides of the coin to completely balance out and decide for ourselves.

Contraceptives and education are not there to promote the "not so sacred" sex as leisure and as mere expression. It's already happening. And let's face it. In this category, humans are weak.

What contraception and alternatives do is to protect individuals' choices and to protect life, a respectable chance to life. If God is watching, he would be able to understand and only at the end we will be able to individually justify ourselves to him. Let everyone be accountable. All I'm asking is a fair choice.

The society has already spoken.

The majority of the residents of the City of Manila believe that there should be a law on reproductive health, a recent survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) showed.

The survey showed that 64 percent of, or about six in 10 Manilans, think that there should be a law that would require the government to provide artificial contraceptives. (Manila Times)

Incident with Harvey

Harvey, my JRT pup, recently invented a new game. He’s been playing it since last week and I’ve always indulged because I just would find him so cute, so smart and very endearing. Aside from his usual fetch game, wherein he finds his own ball and leans towards me as a signal, now he also likes to play TAG.

I find it very natural for dogs to like playing tag, but Harvey is quite different. Harvey PROVOKES the person to play tag with theatrics and attitude. He either gets something that he’s not supposed to, which usually pisses you off. He doesn’t settle for a ball or a rock or something of no value to you. His intelligence allows him to think which specific objects he'll snatch that would make the person run after him. It could be your slipper, your shoe, your sweater, your bag or even the maid’s cleaning aids. CLUE: Anything of value.

Last week he made me run after him because he cut off a particular stem of a plant my mother loves. I really didn’t care about the stem. I just didn’t want Harvey to be caught or else it's prison time for him. Containing the object of “desire” in his mouth, he lies down and projects he is at peace and is quite enjoying his new found treat, but he always keeps full attention to the chaser. I would stand at the corner, pretend not to care, and when I knew I had the perfect chance, he’ll dash away like a greased piglet only to repeat the cycle again. If I leave him alone, he follows me, but never allows to be caught. Recently that’s his favorite sport and I indulge him.

This morning though it backfired.

I was already ready to go to work, all clean and prepared. There was still some free time so I went to see Harvey and engaged in minor play with him. He was excited as ever and I followed him to the garden. I took off my black pumps and wore slippers. We were happily playing when I was called by the driver. I called him back and shouted “Bye, Harvey!” I was on my way to get my pair of shoes when I saw him looking at me and just like a conniving pooch, grabbed my shoe and ran off.

Naturally I chased him. Every nudge and turn, I fear for my shoe and I can’t wait to throw that little bugger in the canal. I tried every possible means of distracting him. I even threw my brother’s Havaiianas since Harvey is known to chew at expensive slippers. JD was infuriated, but I can deal with JD’s pissed attitude. But what I couldn’t deal with are my black shoe destroyed and looming tardiness. Throw in the fact that I sweated on my professional clothes and screamed profanities in the start of a glorious morning.

I eventually asked help from our two maids to corner him. I eventually got my shoe back full of his saliva and bite marks. My left shoe now is semi-battered. As I tried to wipe the visible damage, I wanted to curse him and put him in a fryer. I even told Mitch at the office how bad I feel. But Harvey's last face kept clogging my memory, softening me like a butter on a toaster. As usual he was sitting still looking oddly cute before I disappeared from his sight. He was sort of apologizing as he saw me off. At that time I couldn’t care less, but Harvey made me sort of a softie now. After what he did, I still miss the rascal.

Upcoming Weekend Movie: He's is just not that Into you

The Movie He is just not That Into You is probably one of the most educational movies that people would and could relate to. Guessing from my colleagues’ and friends’ experiences in the recent screening, they liked it. After they’ve watched it, it was obvious that they instantly wore that amusingly enlightened face of knowledge and renewed self-worth. They are now glowing with a new perspective, an awakening from false hope and sometimes stupidity. They think they have been smacked by the truth because it’s a documentary of relationship woes and technically non-relationship woes for that matter.

I haven’t read the book nor have I watched it. However, I will watch it this weekend with a friend, maybe with her boyfriend, but not with mine. Mitch is still recuperating from what I’ve put him through with Milk. We argued about it a couple of times and this is when he puts his foot down. He will be ultimately selective with movies because of what I did. He doesn’t want to get his mind twisted as it already is. Also, he’s busy with his upcoming photo shoots, a brilliant and acceptable reason for his movie absence.

But you won’t see me moping, a primary reason why the topic of dependent happiness on a man eludes me. Nevertheless, I am still watching. I am obviously intrigued with the possible pointers it might present. Although I hope the cast doesn’t overshadow or destroy it. I’ve seen movies with a formula of quantity over quality and it’s not often enlightening. Put all the possible stars just because they feel like doing a big bang movie will end up in a torturous explosion. But I’m reserving my judgment on this one.

I do hope after watching the movie, I would be able to get that similar glow of awakening. I hope I could pick up useful pointers too. And most importantly I hope I would squirm in my seat as the possible truth and realizations would drill me to pieces. Educate me for I am willing. But if I don’t get smacked or educated, at least the movie will be a definite eye candy.

Here are some He’s Just Not That Into You Wisdom.

1. An Excuse is a Polite Rejection. Men are not afraid of “ruining the friendship.”
2. Don’t get tricked into Asking him out. If he gives you the number, don’t call. If he likes you that much, he’ll do the asking even if it takes some encouragement and time.
3. If you find him, then he can find you. If he wants to find you, he will.
4. Just because you like to lead doesn’t mean he wants to dance. Sometimes traditions are born of nature and last through time for a reason.
5. “Hey Let’s meet at so-and-so’s party/any bar/friend’s house” is not a date even if you live in New York.
6. Men don’t forget how much they like you. So put down the phone.
7. You are good enough to be asked out.
8. However perfect you are, an ultimate package for any guy, accept the fact that SOME GUYS will not be so into you. It’s just the way human nature works.
9. “We are all programmed to believe that if a guy acts like a total jerk that means he likes you.” (What a crap)
10. “If a guy treats you like he doesn’t give a shit. Take a hint. He doesn’t give a shit.”
11. “I need you to stop being nice to me unless you’re going to marry me.”
12. He’s just not that into you if he’s not dating you
13. He’s just not that into you if he’s not calling you
14. He’s just not that into you if he’s not having sex with you, or even showed a slight hint.
15. He’s just not that into you if he only wants to see you when he’s drunk. A constant beer gal pal doesn’t mean that he’s into you.
16. He’s just not into you if he doesn’t WANT to marry you.
17. He’s just not into you if he’s BREAKING up with you. Breaking up is not a request or open for discussion. It’s the end for one person and he’s just telling you that.
18. He’s just not that into you if he’s disappeared on you.
19. He’s just not that into you if he’s married (and other insane Variations of being Unavailable)
20. If you know what you want and you’re not getting it no matter how hard you try. Move on.
21. If he asks you for a date, and a serious one, he will SET a date. He will not be vague. When he says “let’s do lunch” and leaves without setting the specific time and day, well, he’s just not that into you.
22. If a guy likes a girl, he will ask her out. Period.
23. There is no excuse to being a jerk.
24. If you’re not introduced to his family or close childhoold/brother-friends then you are that “OTHER” girl.
25. Always be classy, never be crazy.

These I would have to counter check with Mitch after. I'm smelling an exciting and healthy debate.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Facebook Issue

Okay this slightly freaked me out.

As most of you may have known, I've just recently signed up in Facebook. After years of not being interested despite the numerous inquiries if I have an account, I finally joined the Facebook community. Last weekend, I decided to sign up because I'm simply bored with Friendster and I've been hearing from close friends that Facebook is better, more intereactive and more intelligent to the needs of social networking.

I signed up, explored on my own and found out that Facebook has a more expanded network. It's easier to search friends and there are lots of things you can do with it. You can blog, you can upload hundreds of pictures in organized albums easier and it upholds the very thought of being connected and updated with your various connections. In short, I immediately liked it.

Last weekend, I've been diligently managing my profile and began to upload pictures, invite friends and pour out some sentiments. I needed to catch up. Only to be bombarded by a news link I've read in about a certain privacy issue with Facebook. The large company, headed by Mark Zuckerberg, drafted a terms of service that "leaves an impression that the social network could keep and use copies of user content (e.g. photos, notes, and personal information) in perpetuity even if users removed the information and closed their accounts." (

He answered:

"One of the questions about our new terms of use is whether Facebook can use this information forever," Zuckerberg wrote. But, oddly, he did not answer that question. Instead he opted for a rather roundabout explanation: if you send a friend a message via Facebook's e-mail system, Facebook must create mutliple copies of that message -- one for your "sent" message box and one for your friend's inbox. That way, if you leave Facebook, the copy your friend has would not be deleted. Fair enough.

Also, according to Foxnews:

The long legal document all users must agree to before they can sign up — grants the company "an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to (a) use, copy, publish, stream, store, retain, publicly perform or display, transmit, scan, reformat, modify, edit, frame, translate, excerpt, adapt, create derivative works and distribute (through multiple tiers), any User Content you (i) Post on or in connection with the Facebook Service or ... (ii) enable a user to Post."

The thing that makes this whole issue stinks is that Facebook is licensed to copy and store whatever you share or post in your site even if you delete it. It might sound like a technical safety procedure, but in a business perspective, they also have a license to use whatever you post there for their benefit. When someone posts a picture in one's site he/she just expects people to stop by and look at it. As users, we feel safe that the photos and all the personal stuff stay in our own profiles where it's kept locked in passwords and stuff. But according to Facebook, they have as much every right of ownership for whatever stuff you share in Facebook. If one screws up the idea of privacy and ownership in these social networking sites then we are all screwed.

Also according to the terms and agreement, Facebook, compared to other social networking sites, has a much powerful and broader license to your content. Photos, notes and other stuff in the profile can be allegedly distributed and circulated without your knowledge.

As users, we don't want our information and photos used in any other way that we may not approve of. In terms of privacy, it is in my own personal control to distinguish what things I would like to share to the public. But if that information is misused to the degree that I am not aware of, then I might get pissed. Just like thousands of Facebook profile owners out there who are enraged and bothered by this sudden issue.

Facebook executives have reached out to the public on how Facebook upholds intense security and privacy measures. They re-assured that they would never use information that will violate their users. They would not go as much as grab contents, manipulate pictures and open up areas that are secured by the user.

Fair enough, but needs a little more explanation and transparency.

As a user, I'm not pretty much bothered on the privacy thing. It's a social network profile and I know that whatever I share there is backed up by honesty and integrity. I have no qualms of people viewing it and forming judgments about it. But if it is used for personal gains and in a manner that is far from the original purpose that I have designed (being distributed), then I would need to know. I'm trying to expand my world and not create additional complications by it.

It's a shame that I haven't read the terms and agreement (never do), but at least upon signing up Facebook needs to be more transparent on what the limitations and power they have over the contents. In public changes, they should let people be aware and safeguard Facebook's image as a secure social network site. I'm sure there are lots of legal loopholes there that I don't know. I might just be facing one of the most superficial issues in Facebook. But as a user, I know the basic implications of joining a social networking site and I do hope Facebook should know their responsibility to their users' welfare.

As a user I have fully decided that whatever I might share there, I can easily justify. People might view it and form judgments with it. I wouldn't care. That's just a clause that comes with exposing your expanded life. It's an underlying responsibility that we all face in social networking sites. I just hope that I won't find my thoughts, my pictures and my information outside my intended profile, used in a way that I have not approved of, or else it's a violation to my rights. And if it's true that Facebook upholds security, respect and would not do things that would violate its users, then I wouldn't have anything to worry about. Right?

Monday, February 16, 2009

Dad at 13

Read this in my email. I don't know if you've heard about this, but it came as a shock to me.

I couldn't even reconcile the face with the big responsibility. Personally, having a dog at 25 is already a big leap for me. It gives me anxiety attacks mentally, physically and financially. Much more of I have a kid right now. Probably I'll go mental.

But for some, it's an instant race to maturity.

INNOCENT-eyed Alfie Patten spent his first night acting as a 13-year-old dad and declared: “It was easier than I thought.”
The four-footer — who looks no more than eight — said: “I know I’m young, but I plan to be a good dad.”
As he went on the PlayStation with 15-year-old girlfriend Chantelle Steadman, he added: “I think we’ll be good parents. I’ll have to work extra hard at school.”

Chantelle looked up from 18-rated action game Saints Row II to admit her first night out of hospital since having 7lb 3oz daughter Maisie had been tough and had left her “in a daze”.

But she went on: “Alfie has been really good with her.
“He made the first bottle and then we took it in turns feeding her. He did the first bit with me.
“We didn’t need any help from Mum. I didn’t really get back to sleep. I just lay there in a daze.”
She added: “It feels better to be at home than it does in hospital. I prefer it now I am at home and it is just us and our family.”
Both Chantelle and Alfie change four-day-old daughter Maisie’s nappy and the baby sleeps in her mum’s bedroom in Eastbourne, East Sussex.

It is a typical teenage bolthole — packed tight with cuddly toys including a giant pink teddy. A school gymnastics certificate is proudly displayed on the wall.
Mickey and Minnie Mouse hold hands, surrounded by lovehearts, on the headboard of her bed — where Maisie was conceived when Alfie was just 12 and Chantelle 14.
Their story, revealed by The Sun yesterday, rocked Britain.
Even Prime Minister Gordon Brown spoke out, commenting: “I think all of us would want to avoid teenage pregnancies.”


But Chantelle insisted: “When I was pregnant the police and social workers came to interview us and they decided that we would make good parents to Maisie.
“Now we will prove to everyone that we can be, and give her a great future. When Alfie is 16 he can come and live here with me and my family.
“We don’t want to get a flat because we wouldn’t have enough money and I want us both to stay in school to make the best future for Maisie.”
(The Sun)

My mom gave birth to our youngest brother when I was 13. My main worry at that time was passing Algebra.

And now that my brother will turn 13 next year, I cannot for the life of me imagine him as a father. He might know a lot of things that we don't want him to know yet, but fathering a child is definitely not one of them.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Oscars for Writers

I just finished Jackdaws by Ken Follett and as usual he delivers. He writes thrillers as if he's like writing a book report. His ability to tackle various subjects while incorporating his own flair for writing suspense really should be recognized. It's amazing that he was able to reach through readers all over the globe. I am his fan and I'm forever encouraged and inspired. But writers like him who nest upon massive book sales may be an appropriate reward already, but what they are sharing to the world is an old brand of art, which demands a lot of time, attention, concentration, wit and emotions. I'm sure money and immortality may be more than enough for some, but it doesn't hurt if the appreciating world would like to take it into the next level.

Like Oscars for example. We get dazzled by the extravagance of the event that most people across the globe, who have televisions, are annual witnesses to. Actors that we see portray realistic to fictional characters are forever given immortality in our memories and in films. They are recognized for their ability to efficiently bring their characters to life and generate entertainment and escape to millions of viewers worldwide. Actors and Actresses together with Film Makers and Editors represent one brand of art that is by far the most popular form in our time.

How is it that Books have no "oscars" of their own. Surely the screenplay category is mentioned, but it's not quite the same as recognizing writers and literary pieces. One reason is that the volume might be more challenging in literature compared to films. It's quite staggering to think of how one could possibly screen published works from famous authors to non-famous authors all over the world. And unlike movies, literature has far less glitz and fan base. It has no need for advertisements either.

I'm sure in each country or region they there's an award giving body for literature. We have the Palanca award and other smaller pool of literature critics willing to give recognition to the deserving few, known or not. But I'm not quite certain if it stirs enough souls to be intrigued and engage in reading, much less encourage writing until the end of that dark artistic tunnel to be able to give birth to their own masterpiece. It takes courage, skill, ambition and a certain amount of encouragement to give birth to literary masterpieces. A literary Oscar might prove to intrigue and encourage people to read, as well as give a most proper recognition to genius artists for giving honor to one of the oldest art forms in history.

Before stages and movies, there is the imagination of the writer that drafts stories upon stories to give people entertainment and unending ideas. But artists or writers, all deserved to be recognized. Writers should be given no less credit compared to their artistic counterparts.

Writers like Follett really amaze me, actually all writers are, aspiring or veterans in that regard. I firmly believe they hold a golden skill of their own. They deserve the high recognition like what we would usually give to scientists, movie makers, visual artists and heroes.

The Guardian after A Bend in the Road

One of my goals this year is to read as much books as possible. Last year started off fine, but ended up to be pathetic as there were months that I didn't get to read anything. Never again. Good thing that I've saved enough disposable income and I've successfully cut back some unnecessary food tripping and shopping for health and finance purposes. Now I see to it that at least I buy one book a month to replenish my remaining stocks. Thanks to some few good people, who gave me their books as charity. For the end of January until now, I'm still reading wonderful stories of Reader's Digest Condensed Books that Mitch's mom gave me. I didn't mean to notice that she keeps a stock in her house, when embarrassingly, she gave it all to me. Thanks to that I've got a couple of titles to go and a couple of books to close before I actually start reading my own books that I've lined up for the start of the year.

Last December, before heading off to a friendly dinner, I stopped over at Fully Booked Bonifacio High Street to check out some few titles. The book store was bustling of people and I felt at home. I noticed a new stock line up of The Guardian by Nicholas Sparks. I remembered during August of the same year, attending Leslie Buena's wedding, I noticed my friend Caan was reading it. Knowing her, she never reads a book unless it's recommendable. Therefore I was intrigued. I managed to read a chapter and examine the summary that doesn't fall into the hopelessly love-sick categories. I just have this impression of Nicholas Sparks because of his books' film adaptations.

I saw A Walk to Remember, didn't like it. I saw the Notebook once and wouldn't go the extra mile to watch it again. I believe his material is not my cup of tea, hence it would take a lot of coincidence and interest to get me hooked to his works.

After that weekend, I went back to Fully Booked and asked for a copy, but there was none. It must be that sold out. Hence it must be that good. I decided to wait. The opportunity was ignited in me when I got my "baby" at our company Kris Kringle. The person I picked asked for Nicholas Sparks books she hasn't read yet. I went to Power Books Greenbelt and looked for specific titles, but all that's in her list weren't there. As usual, sold out. I ended up giving her a Powerbooks gift card instead.

The following weekend was the dinner night I went to Fully Booked. I saw familiar faces there and even saw Dez, a friend, whom I'll be going to dinner with. She was holding a copy of The Night Watch and was actively recommending it to me. Although interested, I presented to her my catch, The Guardian by Nicholas Sparks. Finally I said, I will get to read my first Nicholas Sparks book. Being an avid eclectic reader, she must have thought that it was weird for me to have never read a single Nicholas Sparks book when his books' film adaptations caused a general stir especially to women. I tried to explain I wasn't your mainstream reader and your typical woman. I observe and explore books at my own style and at my own pace and time.

I believe at that time I was still reading The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, so I just put The Guardian with the rest of my "must-to-read" pile of books. After that weekend, I wanted to jump from modern literature to classic literature and tried to read Howard's End. Until the time I switched to murder-mystery of Jeffrey Deaver and Mitch's mom gave me copies of her various Reader's Digest Condensed book.

At the end of the whole waiting and anticipating it didn't turn out exactly as I planned. The Guardian will not ever be the first book that I will read by Nicholas Sparks. At that time my mood was just right to read a laid back relationship story. Nicholas Sparks' The Guardian will be perfect for that moment, but unfortunately, I completely forgot that I didn't even manage to cover the book with plastic cover, and knowing me, I never read fresh books without any protection at all. (Sounds weird and the idea seems kinky) I decided to settle for the hard bound Reader's Digest books and lo and behold, a title page of one Nicholas Sparks's works covered the first page. It was A Bend in the Road.

If one would ask me, the story is laid back. Nothing quite special about it, but it didn't hurt reading it either. I believe these stories are what he does best. It's just not my cup of tea, but I'm still pushing through with The Guardian, it might turn my impression upside down.

How did your Valentine's go?

Last Friday night Mitch and I had a dinner date at Chili's Greenbelt 5 after our meeting with some friends. It's not technically a Valentine's date. We just had to eat and had the mood for a good talk and good food. But with the bill and the entire wait, we felt that it was good enough for a Valentine's date already.

Yesterday, Mitch and I did some precautionary measures at home. I wanted to squeeze out whatever romantic juice that's left on me, therefore I volunteered to cook our dinner. Well, let me rephrase. I shopped. I enjoyed shopping at the newly opened Robinson's Supermarket, which (for me) is way better that SM Hypermarket, because I found everything that I needed there. The stocks are obviously fresh. There are lots of people to assist you and the mood is not rushed. It's chill shopping. Although due to its location and circumstance, the crowd is only minimal, which is exactly the thing that I like and which is exactly the reason why establishments close up. I hope not. The grocery is perfect already. It just needs a little support group of other stores to cheer it up otherwise people would still go to bigger malls where they can find an excuse and the need to just do about everything.

So after I enjoyed my shopping moment, my heart instantly plummeted after I found out about my bill. Goodbye, credit card payment. I hurried home, gave the rest of my cash to my mom for safekeeping and called on my sister to cook. Don't get me wrong. I do cook, but if the mood really calls for it. I mostly create sandwiches, desserts and traditional red sauce pasta only if there's an intense mood and there's an occasion. My sister, out of her stronger interest and habit to watch the Barefoot Contessa, know more pasta recipes than we could imagine. Never thought eggs will be an essential ingredient in a pasta dish, but she did it. She likes to experiment and cooks spontaneously.

After fooling around with JD while Karla cooked, I went off to make my Fruit Salad cake. I intended to use Mangoes, but I just couldn't find riper ones at the market so I ended up using a canned Fruit Cocktail. Good thing it came out edible.

Thanks to my parents for letting us use the house as our "date" scene no matter how cheesy it sounds. I prepared the food, got some candles and asked JD to light it. If not for my siblings, I wouldn't have gone through this date. That's why when Mitch was astonished to see the blue lights, dishes and the end product, I reminded him to thank my siblings for it because they did most of the work. What I did was to finance and get the dessert, but labor rests with them.


Eeew....sweetness stops now.

We may be in a recession and people have been whacked to be more practical and realistic, but Valentine's offer a discreet way to be sweet without the fanciness and outlandish tradition. This time, it's the thought that really counts.

Long-stemmed roses are being replaced by homemade cards. Theater tickets are being replaced by Netflix. Personal jewelry is beingreplaced by personal poems.

And even some preparing to propose on Saturday are seeking a bargain approach: on Yahoo, searches for “cheap engagement rings” are “off the charts” compared with a year ago, according to Vera Chan, a trend analyst for the company. Other searches that are up over last year include “cheap lingerie,” “free
Valentine’s Day cards” and “homemade Valentine’s Day gifts.”(

Friday, February 13, 2009

Before I sign for facebook

I maintain my share of profiles in several networking sites, for some this might be laborious. Maintaing several profiles demand integrity, time and maturity. If users don't have those, I think don't think social networkings sites will do us any favor. Instead of bridging communication gaps, it will lead to global extinction and social wars.

But good thing that majority can manage social networking sites that its level of popularity is constantly growing. Aside from my personal blog (this one), I maintain one group blog (which I have to update) and two social networking sites that have transformed into my virtual hard drives. I'm not even counting the "less popular" online organizations I've signed up for.

The world has gone smaller and virtual indeed. More avenues of interactions and "keeping in touch" has never been this better. Email has become the underdog now. Sites like Myspace, Friendster, Facebook, Multiply and a couple of professional networking sites, offer what one would have in a regular interaction. Unlike human interactions, these sites are organized and comforting in such a way that you get to choose what you want to divulge without holding anymore explanations and unnecessary expectations. These virtual sites provide an avenue to reach out and explain oneself in a systematic, organized and customized fashion. Not all people can manage to interact flawlessly and regularly in the flesh, but it only takes a click to get connected and informed. Social networking sites have gone beyond just providing organized information about a person, it offers an entirely different package of interaction that makes the world smaller day by day.

For a non-techie person like me, one would think that these sites are a bore. Initially I felt that way as I've never been the type to go on chatrooms unless I need to. But I realized that I'm the type who expresses better in a virtual world, I think. I've maximized some advantages that these sites have. I can express myself in an organized way without forcing the information on someone through blogs. I can always get in touch with people and share some proud and not-so-proud lessons and events that have happened in my life. And at least they would know several ways to reach me. Most importantly I find it fun, useful (as hard drives) and therapeutic.

As convenient and as accessible as these sites are, they can also hold the pretty nasty end of the bargain. It's a devil in itself when people get consumed by it. Some may have been so consumed that they forget the hierarchy of life over virtual city. They depend their sole interactions on the net; and information fed on this basis might not always be reliable. These sites only serve as the representations of a person, chosen in a degree that depends on the owner. Others are not aware that these sites are mere slices of a person's real life. Concern of this nasty effects keeps growing day by day and printed in the news. There are countless reports of individuals being harassed, killed and hurt because of solely depending on the information given in these sites.

A social networking site is also powerful in an evil perspective. As powerful as it is to reach out to people, to get people connected and strengthen relationships across the globe, it is also seen as a powerful tool to do the opposite. It could as easily destroy relationships, destroy reputations and physically, emotionally and psychologically harm a person. These social networking sites may be the new breakthroughs that have created an entire world of "social technology," but like any other world, this is not perfect. Ironically it's so powerful that it's not foolproof. I'm not fooling around when I say that one day we may have come to terms to creating a "social networking task force."

Others aren't forgiving to themselves either. A level of control and a degree of privacy should always be considered when one is mature enough to enter this social tech world. It's not quite appealing for people to open all their guts freely when they could just have been "enjoyed" privately. Some even people amuse me on how candid and open their lives are since they have no qualms of sharing every little bit of that's happening in their lives in Facebook and in Myspace. Some want to keep people informed and some have developed goals to keep their profiles as stellar as they can possibly be (if they can't be a celebrity in the real world, might as well try the virtual one) . I have no problems with that as long as they can justify and stand by it when certain positive and negative effects spill over the real world.

As I add another particular (delayed) site under my belt, I always maintain a specific rule to be truthful and always use integrity as a base of whatever I would willingly share in the public. I also know how to keep certain things to myself and know the degree of when to "shut up." My sites may be so intense that it seems I pour all my time, heart and soul into it. That is true to some extent, but my life is so big and ever changing that even these numerous sites cannot accommodate. These sites are true and may represent me the best way that they can, but it doesn't change the fact that they only cover a bigger slice of my real life.

Valentines' Bulls not our cup of tea

I just got home from canned gimmick places in Makati. The long human queues in hot restaurants, couples on the loose, flowers, single and date groups, heart drawn banners, promo cards and a couple of late night bands seem to have united for one specific weekend purpose. Yes, it's officially Valentine's.

My friend and I met at a school in Makati where her nephew, niece and my brother are currently studying. After reminiscing our childhood memories when cotton candies and squid balls made us happy, we went to Greenbelt and drowned the afternoon away. After a couple of meaningful conversations over coffee, our significant others showed up from their respective work places, as we prepared for our dinner engagements. At that time I can already smell Valentines in the air.

I saw girls exquisitely dressed, rushing to various spots to meet their dates. I saw a couple of men with packages, flowers and balloons. Women, who are obviously single, were grouped like school of fishes preparing for a date of their own. Almost everyone seems to have worn their calm and smiling faces. That is good though, people are obviously emanating love. But there are a couple of bulls about Valentines that I cannot deny for myself. For one, I am an anti-thesis and sometimes Valentines do test me.

Bull # 1: Valentines are for couples only.

People have started to cope and in these modern times being single is not such a bad idea. There are a lot of things going on, a lot of responsibilities, demands and increased networks can keep a single's hands full. Independence and self-fulfillment are signs of strength nowadays and it's not surprising to see women in groups going out and having fun providing another brand of "dating" amongst sea of couples. They don't force the issue of dating just because it's Valentines.

Valentines are experienced first and special with family and friends.

Bull # 2: People should go with the tide.

It's funny when couples force the issue. Suffering from deathly traffic, going out of their way to impress one another, and expecting something grand are signs and symptoms that you've surrendered to the bad side of Valentines. Valentines may be a special day to express your love and appreciation to the person, but it doesn't follow that you have to commit "public suicide" when some undesired factors are concerned. I don't necessarily find it impressive when a guy goes all out as a mere obligation to this day. Valentines isn't supposed to make any difference with any other days anyways. As a couple it should be felt year round.

People shouldn't expect something that isn't realistic just to conform with what Valentines is all about. Valentines may force the issue of extravagance just to prove ones love for each other. The tide of expecting and conformity isn't sweet at all when the morning after, you're back in a gloomy place wishing that Valentine's is still around the corner. Valentine's should celebrate the love we already have, and not to conform with dates, flowers and surprises just to prove that the love you thought was missing is still there.

Bull # 3: Men give and Women Receive

By tradition, Valentines are for girls. Girls should be made special and woed on this day the second time around. Well, not in my book. If one has to celebrate this day, there is nothing wrong with Women taking the lead, especially if the woman wants and demands specifications. It's not also funny when women expect what other women may have. Flowers, chocolates and expensive dinners are so passe. Women can also do their share. He pays for dinner, she pays for the movies. She pays the gas, he pays the lunch out of town. He does the action, she does the research. It's a mutual celebration. It's a party made by two people and it feels right and truthful when it turns out to be like that.

But there is nothing wrong when guys want to surprise and take the lead though. It always sweeps admiration from girls, but they must do it for the right reasons. Sometimes its uplifting for few women to give them an opportunity to show their appreciation to their significant others. It's liberating and it's fair. So, I'm not the one to chide away women who do that. In fact I'm impressed by it. I think it's just right and most heartfelt.

Bull # 4: Valentines is depressing.

Let's face it, some people, particularly singles and attached to non-conformist valentinos might feel slighted and depressed because they are not getting what traditional people are getting. Their significant others may not be able to take them on dates, specific dates that they want, because their dates aren't natural planners or they do not have the right means and time. Some may feel too depressed because they don't have any "significant other" to celebrate it with and they're clogged onto the notion that Valentines is for couples only.

Listen up. The only one making you feel depressed is yourself. Do not blame the occasion. There are lots of things to do as a couple, as a group and as a single person. Do not be bogged by false traditions and commercialism. No one is demanding you to adhere to this occasion anyways. If the love is already present and randomly celebrated, then Valentines doesn't make any difference. If the person is unattached then Valentines shouldn't make it any harder. Spending it with your family, your friends and even your pet is true to the essence itself. Do not be a slave to Valentines' commercialism and expectations because that will make you feel depressed. If you can't grasp the real meaning of the Valentines, then the only one to blame for your depression is yourself.

Valentines for me is just another day in the calendar. I don't specifically need it nor adhere to it. I find it cheesy to be overdoing something I should have the means to enjoy all year round. If I have lots of demands, I go for it myself and I don't depend on the other person to satiate my desires. It's not fair and I believe it's not heartfelt. I let my man do his own way of celebrating and I suggest my way of doing it, in that case we are not slaves to the Valentines formula. We don't want to kid ourselves with the illusion of grand shows and surprises. What for when the one we are celebrating is right here with us? We enjoy a dinner like we always do, celebrate the love that we always have and leave the metropolis to head off to the suburbs where we can escape the traffic. Valentines, done in the traditional way of dates, flowers and surprises, is not a formula that we usually follow. There's nothing wrong with it, but sometimes we get trapped in this seasons' bulls, and frankly that's not our cup of tea.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Sleep Paralysis or something like that

I’m not yet comfortable being called an “expert” to this because the first time it happened to me, I can still freshly remember how I literally freaked out and vowed I won’t ever go back to sleep again without installing some medical interventions. Having a person beside me just won’t do because they wouldn’t really know the difference if you’re “awake” or not. I’m talking about Sleep Paralysis.

The first time this happened to me was when I was sick, sometime in grade school. I seldom get high fever and if I did it would mean immediately mean bed rest for me. When I’m sick, I move whenever I can, have a weak appetite and have naps in between cartoons. In one of those sick afternoons, I was watching Tiger Sharks in Channel 9 and the next thing I knew was I drifted into sleep. I slept and wasn’t aware of the time until I already knew I’ve already stepped out of dreamland because I heard and SAW that the maid entered my room and turned off the TV. I was ready to tell her not to and leave it open, when I couldn’t find my voice. In my head I was screaming and talking, but there was no sound. I tried to move and stand up, but I can’t. My mind was actively awake, but my body was paralyzed. I could see how our maid picked up some stuff and cleaned random things in my room, while I was trying to catch her attention, screaming frightening insanities in my head. I thought I was going to die.

After a minute or two, I tried to stop screaming and began imagining my life as paralyzed. Since I haven’t experienced it before, I didn’t know what to do. I thought, so this is what paralysis feels like. If I’m awake and I hear and see things perfectly, how come my maid didn’t think of me as a nutcase if she could actually see my eyes open and wild? Was my spirit the one who saw and heard everything and just hadn’t gotten the chance to enter my body? Or were my senses already awake, but I just couldn’t command my body to speak and move? Too much thinking, coupled with fear made me close my eyes and relax. After a few minutes, I could already move my feet, my fingers and just like a captive in ropes, I jumped out of the bed, went after our maid and told her everything.

Naturally my maid told me that I was possessed. In fairness to her, I did think of that too, but there must be a medical explanation to this. When my mom came home from the office, I told her the whole story eliminating all possible suggestion of possession. My mother just told me that I was too fat and I needed to exercise.

I was afraid to sleep without someone beside me, but I was trying my best to figure out what went wrong. For a couple of days, I prayed before I sleep and slightly exercised while I’m at it.

It didn’t happen to me again. I thought it was a one time thing, until it happened again in high school and more instances in college. At that time I already knew what to do. When I found out that I couldn’t move, I just tried to sleep again and make fun of the whole situation. I eventually came out safe and refreshed. There were times that I really had to get up because I was suffering from a major desire to pee, and I’d hate to explain it to everyone in the house if ever I did pee in my bed. In times like that I move my extremities. I move my fingers, my feet until I influence my whole body to wake up. It usually needs utmost concentration.

This is also confirmed by one of my psychology professors in college. She even mentioned about an invisible string of spirit and body through the navel. When we sleep our souls go up, but still tied down to our bodies through our navel or something like that. The point is it’s veering from a natural to a symptomatic neuron internal issue that one just has to manage. So now that every time this happens, I am an “expert” enough not to panic and do what I have to do, either to sleep or move my extremities really hard. The many instances also made me realize that this “sleep paralysis” happens usually on stressful times. Times when didn’t get enough sleep, or if I’m sick, if I’m anxious about something or if I’m upset. It figures.

Last night, I stayed late at the office and had a slightly stressful occasion on some wrong process that we’ve made. As a result, some people were stressed by it and inefficiency is something we do not take lightly here. We were stressed enough to find ways in covering the issue and consulting with people. I went home extremely late, upset somebody who was waiting for me and in short had a very upsetting late night drama. I wasn’t able to sleep on time, my mind and heart are tired, my eyes are tired and I woke up at 5:30 in the morning. I lack sleep. I was stressed and I was upset. Three major whammies that will contribute to the double whammy sleep paralysis I’ve encountered this morning.

After a creamy breakfast of toasted bagel with Cream Cheese and Pulpy orange at 7, I went to my office, logged on my computer and started reading online news when I felt my body crashing to sleep. I turned off my computer, went at a secluded area and slept. A couple of minutes while listening to Robbie Williams’ Angel, I finally drifted to Lala Land. Until I heard someone near me, opened his computer, tinkered with his key and opened his drawers. Damn it. I was already awake. But suddenly I couldn’t move. I did what I had to do and slept again. The next consecutive instance was when I woke up again and heard two colleagues of mine talking about an upcoming basketball game. The voices are clear and I could easily jump into their conversation (If I know anything about basketball), but then I found myself paralyzed again. A consecutive instance happens rarely. I waited a couple of minutes and I still couldn’t move. I began to shift my foot. I concentrated moving my foot in whatever way and tried to shake my fingers. My jaws were chattering and I knew my body was already picking up. In a few seconds I was awake with loud bang of headache. People around me were surprised to see me in a sordid state, like a vegetable with unruly hair and pale disposition. I shared with them my experience this morning and some were bothered when I really wasn’t because it’s been happening ever since.

This is called Sleep Paralysis or Hypnopompic or Postdormital form to be scientific. The sufferers usually feel that they are awake, but have difficulty moving. The experience can produce great anxiety and fear, as the sufferer will struggle to wake up.

Sleep Paralysis, according to, is a normal condition. The body secretes hormones which relax certain muscles and prevent you from acting out your dreams. If it goes on reverse (in my case), the hormone doesn’t wear off fast enough as you wake up. Thus, sufferer would remain paralyzed though conscious.

It isn’t harmful in vast majority of cases. The after effects may include a period of fright followed by a period of restlessness. Regular sufferers will find it easier to cope with episodes of Sleep Paralysis, as deep down they know that it causes no lasting effects and does not pass in time.

If you want to break an episode of sleep paralysis, move your eyelids, extremities or whatever small body parts first. You can change your sleeping partner if they’re useless in waking you up whenever they hear muffled cries. Changing sleeping positions is also advised.

So if this thing happens, trust me and just sleep. I may not be an expert in sleep disorders, but I’m still here aren’t I?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

TMX Experience

So, look what was delivered to me this morning...

Pictures of the wonderful TMX experience.

It was worth it. Thank you, Marlboro. Will post some more soon.

** BLUE TEAM (Won 2 categories)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Craving For Cake

I’m craving for sweets. When I use the word crave, I do not mean it to be a passing want. It’s a desire on a much higher level of like and want.

I was in Glorietta and SM Makati earlier and I could not stop craning my neck at various stalls that sell enticingly adorned cupcakes, whole rich cakes, pies and glamorized doughnuts. I fought so hard to buying a healthier lunch meal instead of tripping to a stall and getting a slice of one of each.

Maybe because it’s Valentines and it’s the proven season for desserts. For this month, anything sweet ranging from chocolates, candies, cakes, cupcakes and pies are sought after as forms of commemoration for the sweetness to be shared and enjoyed by couples, friends and families.

I’m craving so hard that I randomly search for images of succulent cakes in between working. In a matter of minutes, I have transacted with my special dessert supplier for a confirmed dessert fix on the weekend. But I doubt if I can still wait till then. I have to answer to this because I know that I’d just be cranky and unfulfilled no matter what I eat or do. A slice of Goldilocks’ choco slice is more than enough to satiate me at this point, but the orgasmic experience is yet to be achieved for this entire week:

What I’m craving for:

1. Creamy, Luscious Red Velvet Cake at Karen’s Kitchen
2. Creamy, fruity and sweet Mango Bene of Mary Grace
3. Chocolate Fudge Souffle of Max Brenner
4. Polly’s Chocolate Cake
5. Banana Cream Pie of Starbucks
6. New York Cheesecake of Postrio
7. Marta’s Cupcakes
8. Smores Cupcakes / Smores Cake of Red Ribbon
9. Banana Slice of Starbucks
10. Caramel Cake of Costa Brava
11. GAYUMA’S chocolate cake…….lava….

And the list goes on and on and on…

It Starts with Dogs

Deciding to take care of a dog is probably a mature step into practicing your parental skills for the future. It’s not necessary to say that owning a dog automatically notes that you want kids and you’re on the road to starting a family. Not so obvious reasons for having dogs are because of your strong interests for the breed, in deep search of a productive goal or sometimes to feed the missing hole that you might account for as loneliness. A dog is always an honorable and good recipient of ones love and time.

Once a person has decided that he/she wants a dog. It is understood that aside from the psychological and physical demands it would entail, the person should also be prepared financially. It is not a one time purchase like a cellphone that only requires a couple of hours to recharge after three days.

Buying a dog, whichever breed, involves cash. After the said purchase, one has to buy dog food which is not always cheap. It costs a couple of hundred bucks. As an owner, one is expected to get the best he could give for his/her own pet. Different brands would test one’s budgeting skills and sleeping maternal instincts.

After pet food, one has to buy a dog dish, shampoo and other necessary accessories. A dog bed and a suitable cage are most required especially if the dog is still in its sensitive stage.

It doesn’t stop there. For a couple of months, one has to pay for a series of veterinary services which include check-ups and a variety of periodic shots to ensure that the puppy is immune from all possible diseases, each visit easily summing up to a thousand pesos. One can easily overlook this, but based from horror pet stories, it’s better to bank on immunizations that only cost a bit comparing to the expensive vet bills due to specialized treatments when the dog has contacted an illness or disease.

When you think you've done enough from proper care to medical attention and sustenance, of course there are still the undying demands of time, grooming, love and proper training. If all goes well, the dog’s company could be enjoyed for years.

But that is not often the case. Along the way a pet owner must prepare for minor to major glitches in their dog’s health. Since they are creatures equally susceptible to threats and germs just like us humans, there is no reason to that are perceived as invincible. They do not have hypochondriacs in their species either. It may be varying to accidents, to illnesses and special cases that might need specialized medical attention. And this means cash and resources.

Some heartless fools who unfortunately have managed to take "feed" a dog might just leave them to die. Other things are prioritized and before the owner knows it, the complications have gone worse that could even lead to death. But as pet owners, we should do whatever we can to ensure that our pets receive the best care they deserve especially in much needed times. Otherwise, we are murderers of a lesser kind. In this case, priorities should be revisited and resources should be timely spent.

Rainy days also provide a great example for pet lovers to save.

Yesterday, Mitch and I hurried home and brought Rocky to Harvey’s vet after office hours. Rocky is suffering intense itching that affected a part of his skin, which resulted to lesions and scaling. The doctor treated it immediately and gave Mitch some prescriptions for antibiotics, ointment and an anti-itch tabs. Aside from the towering medicine fees, Mitch also paid for the doctor’s fee, which would drive anyone to slight irritation.

It’s true that it was an unexpected expense. Anyone would have the right to feel slighted and angry paying for so much on a dog. But no one chose to be in that position and I’m just so proud of Mitch owning up to the responsibility. There is no question that he loves his dog so much, and he knows his responsibilities. It is not the first time Rocky has been hospitalized though. That's why Mitch is the one to perfectly remind me on how I should prepare for taking care of Harvey, my dog. Owning up to the responsibility and saving up for the rainy days are indeed best lessons you could derive from owning a pet.

I might have the knack various accessories for Harvey whenever I want. I might have the capability to spend on unnecessary things that I think would uplift us both, but in the end, having a pet gives me the time to save and prioritize for bigger things like health, sustenance and emergencies.

I know now what pets could instill in us besides its obvious source of joy to humans. Aside from the love and practice of caring, having a pet or owning a dog is one of the best trainings for saving up, to be financially flexible and ready if unfortunate things do come up. There's more to owning a pet just by mere joy and appreciation. It comes with a whole bag of responsibilities.

Monday, February 9, 2009

I was just not that into..

Like Confessions of a Shopaholic, I am not a reader of “He’s just not that into you.” I had nothing against it, but when it entered the literary scene, I felt I could not relate.

My first encounter with “He’s just not that into you” was in ATC. Slightly fresh from college, anyone would think I had a fair share of romantic angst. These books would be a "bible" to target markets like me, clueless on how to deal with possible romantic involvement with the opposite sex. But I belonged to the strict minority that has different set of problems and none of it involved getting involved with the opposite sex.

I was out shopping with my dad, which meant I had to wait long hours in Powerbooks. It's been a random habit of mine to go to different aisles, read chapters of books with different genres like going on a book hopping adventure just to kill time. I would read some books that belonged to categories one would never find in my humble library, like those self-help relationship books. To cut the story short, I happened to find myself in a self-help section, which I rarely ever go to. I was faced with various dating books of all kinds. Those were like chemistry books to me. At that time I wasn’t dating yet. Even though I seldom have crushes, I refuse to think that I'm inept for a simple social tete a tete of a special kind. It may have been that I've developed a force field of extreme density to blocking the possibility of having my world mixed up with another. I felt that the couple world was alien to me and like a fish out of the water, I would never survive.

I got this book, “He’s just not that into you” out of mere curiosity. I was interested in whatever possible wisdom it may offer without promises or without any hope. I also particularly picked it because I’m always attracted to books with straight-to-the-point, convincing titles that tread towards the tone of bitchiness.

I began to scan through the pages and it was not your ordinary book, at least the format isn’t. It’s like reading a column with compilation of letters from females seeking advice on how to know if the guy is really interested with you in love, in sex, in activities, in life. The author answers it in a no-nonsense point of view and she/he drives the message hard even if it hurts.

Naturally I couldn’t care less what the problems were. At that time I thought it was pathetic. I wouldn’t really know how it could affect me personally, but that’s steaming from naivety. I felt I just couldn’t relate. It was the arrogant and clueless me talking there.

With that natural intervention before my father arrived, I was able to read a few excerpts of the book. I read it unknowing of its growing fan base. Even though I couldn’t actually make enough sense of it, the book is not that hard to read. It’s veering from informative to downright funny and honest that could be easily written by my tough, fun psychiatrist, if I ever have one. But now I understand how it shows the power of shaking women from the dating and emotion faux pas. It's a literary slap in the face, although the difference is that you enjoy reading it.

When my father immediately found out where I was, I immediately put down the book and never again spared a moment of thought into it until the movie adaptation is being marketed.

A couple of years after, I saw the trailers and I finally saw the new print editions of the book. I went to the newly Fully Booked shop in Greenbelt 5, and there I saw new printed editions of books positioned at very strategic places alongside other movie adaptations. This book, like Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella, was a hit before and now has again the opportunity to widen its still clueless fan base. Movie adaptations and Book sales help each other out. It intrigues readers to dive into literature first before enjoying movies or it could entice those who want a more detailed version of its movies.

At this rate, I am even more interested and I shouldn’t worry if I could actually relate to it. At least I believe I could appreciate the dating wisdom and philosophies more compared to before when I had to figure it out on my own. Since I have experienced the whole rollercoaster ride of love and emotional maturity, might as well listen to experts. Maybe they could provide sense and analysis of some past mess I've made. Probably now I am more than ready. Like Confessions of a Shopaholic, which I haven’t even bothered to read ever, this might be one of those books that I should only care to read at the right place and at the right time.

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