Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Lost Photos

Once again I was cleaning my files, and then I found these. A screenshot of my blog May 18, 2007.
LOL! I miss that biatch. I'll see you soon twinsis!
Mr. Crab inside a 1.5 Coke bottle.
Totoy Thad with braces. yikes!
My friend, fellow TM, Sex and the City addict, and iskolar ng bayan Chona- in a rare photo of the apartment I used to rent in Makati. (Notice my obsession with candles and lights)
Sniff. Here she is wearing a beautiful dress. She met the man of her dreams while we were working at Info, a year later they were married in his hometown in Texas. Aww. Miss ya Chona! Congratulations, soon-to-be Mom!!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Hala!

I just received this a while ago via e-mail. This is of course fictitious, though it might have striking resemblance to the deals made by our officials.. Hmm bato bato sa langit!
Three contractors are bidding to fix the White House fence. One from the Philippines , another from Mexico and the third an American.They go with a White House official to examine the fence.The American contractor takes out a tape measure and does some measuring, then works some figures with a pencil.
"Well," he says. "I figure the job will run about $900: $400 for materials, $400 for my crew and $100 profit for me."
The Mexican contractor also does some measuring and figuring, then says,"I can do $700: $300 for materials, $300 for my crew and $100 profit for me."
The Filipino contractor doesn't measure or figure, but leans over to the White House official and whispers: "$2,700."The official, incredulous, says, "What? You didn't even measure like the other guys! How did you come up with such a high figure? How do you expect me to consider your service with that bid?"
"Easy," the Pinoy explains, "$1,000 for you, $1,000 for me and we hire the guy from Mexico ".
The next day, the Pinoy and the Mexican are working on the fence . .

The Grinch

“It’s a kilt, you sicko!”

That was one of the laugh-out-loud moments in the movie The Grinch, when he grabs a mantle, wraps it around his waist like a skirt and parades in front of the mirror.

Christmas has always been my favorite holiday as a kid, because of the spirit of the season and my unfailing belief in Santa Claus up until I was eleven. As an adult, I still liked that season because of the 13th month pay, Holiday pay and Christmas bonus!

I might go to Manila for the a few days during the Christmas break to once again attempt to remove the tattoos (I already know the shop, it was just way out of budget the last time). If in case that pushes through, I do hope to meet more bloggers- fun! The last time, nag-inuman kami kasama si Josh at old friends ko pero di nakayanan ng powers ko at natulog ako in the middle of it! Tama ba yun?

BLOGWATCH: Cory's Dream


The blog’s header tells what it is all about:


Ski Racing with Cory
The story of an 18 year-old young man with autism, his love of skiing fast, and his dream of racing in the Special Olympics World Games in 2013.

Poignant and rousing, this blog opened my eyes to the plight of mentally challenged children and their families. It takes an amazing amount of determination to deal with the hardships, and it is simply inspiring to see the blog author Michael encourage his son Cory to achieve his dream.

New Sensibilities


“I think the purpose of life is to be useful,
to be responsible,
to be honorable,
to be compassionate.

It is, after all, to matter:
To count,
To stand for something,

To have made some difference that you lived at all.”

-Leo Rosten

A Draw

In the blue corner, we have a 90 pound, petite woman. A registered nurse with three kids. She has zero defeats and is currently the head of the matricentric household.

In the red corner, we have a thin boned, 9 year old kid with a 19 inch waist. This will be his first attempt to grab the championship.

Ding, ding ding! The bells signal the start.

Round 1

Thad had a really bad tooth decay on one of his temporary molars (due to his love of sweets), and his Mama notices him picking on the cavity with his fingers. She also noticed that Thad had been brushing his teeth quite often, which would never happen unless he was having a bad toothache.

Mama approaches tries to get a look at the rotting tooth. Thad knew what was coming so he tries to duck, unfortunately the opponent grabs his jaw and forces them open. She sees the decayed tooth and decides that they go to the dentist immediately.

Round 2

Thad retreats into his room and contemplates his next move. He has an irrational fear of dentists and their sharp metal instruments. He knew he must dodge this move by escaping right away.

Alas! His Mama blocks his path, and orders his older cousin to make sure he gets dressed so they could go to the dentist. The two women drag the poor kid to a jeep that would take them downtown.

Round 3

At the dentist’s office, a desperate Thad puts on a very brave fight. They hold him down the dentist’s chair (Mama on the right, my Ate on the left) while his legs kick this way and that.

The dentist approaches and rubs some topical anesthetic on the gum of the diseased tooth with a gloved had. Thad squirms harder, knowing that the syringe was next.

After minutes of struggling and threats from Mama, the dentist gives up. She tells the mother to come back when the kid is calm. Mama pays the dentist for the anesthetic and march outside the office. She finds a jeep, pays the fare and instructs the driver to drop Thad off at the house while she continues to run errands.

Round 4

A very angry Thad hops off the jeepney into their neighborhood. Instead of going home, he goes to the house across the street where his Tita lives as stays there. For two days. He was still mad and was determined not to speak to his Mama.

On the third day, his Tita persuades him to go home, because his Mama might think she was encouraging him to stay. By this time his anger had dissipated.

Stepping into their living room, he notices the floor is clean. His toys were displayed on the cabinet neatly, undisturbed by neither him nor his brothers. He sees his Mama in the kitchen and their eyes meet.

No apologies are exchanged, but they all sit and have lunch together. Later that night, Thad wakes up in the middle of the night feeling his decayed tooth move when he pushes it with his tongue. He sticks his fingers in his mouth, holds the tooth and twists as hard as he could.

The next morning he shows his Mama the rotten tooth he pulled all by himself.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Oh Diego..



Bored teenagers Julio (Gael Garcia Bernal) and Tenoch (Diego Luna) meets Luisa (Maribel Verdu) at a wedding. The boys try to impress the woman of their knowledge of a secret beach they know called Heaven’s Mouth. After a confession of infidelity from her lover Jano, a distraught Luisa calls Tenoch and bids to join their fictitious trip to Boca del Cielo.

The boys scramble with their preparations, and guided with a map and directions from their perpetually wasted friend Saba, they pick Luisa up. The journey is fraught with revelations and emotionally charged sexual encounters between Luisa and each boy. Yes, she does them both, so to speak.

Luisa calls Jano telling him where she had gone, while the boys themselves deal with their friendship issues. Apparently both of them slept with each other’s girlfriends- several times. At some point during the journey Luisa threatens to abandon the trip because of fights between Julio and Tenoch.

Seeing their prey walk away, the boys kiss and make up. Luisa makes them agree that from then on she’ll call the shots and there will be no more fighting between the two; she hops back in and the trip resumes again. A desperate Julio, worried that Luisa would soon find out that the secret beach was a hoax, swerves into a dirt road just as his friend had told him.

The car gets stuck in the sand, and the three spend the night. Luisa wakes up the next morning, and found that they were indeed at a beach. A family from a nearby island invites them on a tour around the islands for a fee, and the three agreed. In the distance, Luisa sees a white sand island with emerald waters, and asks the man what the name was. Lo and behold, it was indeed Boca del Cielo.

In her last phone call to Jano, Luisa breaks up with him. The three spend the night toasting over Tequila, all the screwed up things in their lives. This, of course, ends with a threesome, with a heated kiss between Julio and Tenoch. Boy, they really do know what the viewers want.

The morning after, the boys decide to go home, while Luisa stayed to explore the local coves. After the trip neither Julio nor Tenoch mentions to their families anything about the trip. They stop seeing each other.

Months pass, and one day they run into each other and decide to have coffee. After catching up on each other’s lives (Tenoch got accepted at the university to study Economics, while Julio plans to study Biology at the community college), Tenoch tells Julio about Luisa. She had died of cancer a month after their trip. The boys bid goodbye, and they never saw each other again after that.

The movie Y Tu Mama Tambien is about the beauty and recklessness of youth- the days of inexperience, experimenting, and excitement. Of course, I hope Tenoch and Julio grew up into men eventually, but the trip certainly captures that wild abandon that the young are prone too. Luisa, in a way, had helped turn them into men- at least sexually. She tells them to do it “slowly and with finesse” (this tip she gave, after episodes of pre-ejaculation from both boys). The last thing she said to them was: “Life is like the surf, so give yourself up like the sea.”

The one thing I learned in this movie is to do it slowly- real slow, and with finesse. (Wink,wink.)

Ano Pa it Akon Masisiring? (What More Can I Say?)

Char! Hagi karisyu la. Happy talaga ako yana, una kay nag-promise ak ha akon kalugaringon nga maabot ko an 250 nga posts before magtikang an klase. Ika 250 ko ini yana so malipayon gud ako.

Ngatanan na siguro nga sentimiento na yakan ko na dinhi. Lima na kabulan ini, ngan damo na gihap an nanabo. Mayda nagusto han akon trabaho, mayda gihap nadire. An akon la pinakamaupay nga gin buhat- waray gud ako padara han mga nagtamay ha ak. Sireng pa man, “you can’t please everybody”. Dire mo gihap mapipirit an tawo nga karuyagon ka, so kun nadire hira Ok gad la. Hopefully, dire na makig-aragway hira. Blogging is supposed to be fun, and negativity from anyone sucks the fun out of it. Siguro respeto nala. Amo it problema ha net, kay mostly anonymous an mga tawo and they can get away with doing atrocities since they are not obliged to take responsibility for what they say or do. Hagi, bangin may kato ada. Joke!

An usa pa nga akon wish, nga ma-improve ko an akon skills pag surat. Waray man ak nakapag-iskwela hin Creative Writing or kun ano pa man nga arts nga gusto ko kunta, dinhe gud la it akon practice. Salit danay mayda mga typo, damo it sayop, dingani chaka gud an ak gin surat. It’s hard to train yourself to write well with no one to give you direction.

An last, narisyuhan la ak han mga tawo nga na meet ko thru blogging- a very interesting bunch (after all, not everyone can do this di’ba? Or dire la ada interesado. Pero for sure creative ine hira, amo nga may blog). Hi Josh pala an akon na kit-an in person. Hopefully mas damo pa in the future. Ngan hopefully mayda mga taga-tacloban nga bloggers! Naawa talaga ak hit ira mga kirigta. Marisyo.

So amo la, salamat han imo pagbisita dinhe = ) Despite all our struggles and all the hardships- it’s still quite a beautiful world (linya ada ito han Desiderata lol!). Maupay nga adlaw ha aton nga tanan. Charmos!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Story Behind the Headers

First try using black and white images. The red text box is for emphasis on the freedom of speech and self-expression statement.
These were photos from my trip to Babatngon. The falls to the left is Kandongos (in Marabut).
This was just a single photo duplicated several times.
Greek letters on an all-blue image. Just experimenting.
The image on the left side was done by a photographer friend of mine.
Doing the bondage thing.
An assortment of photos with some text in the background (one of my short stories).
This is the one I am using at present. This was inspired by the movie Pillowbook, where the human body was used as a canvas for calligraphy.


Answers from Analytics



I obviously had too much time on my hands, to have opened a free Google Analytics account. Stats wise, this is a great tool, if you really are serious in increasing the number of hits or visits to your website. Great if you are doing business, but this is also quite helpful if you are simply looking to improve your blog . It helps you figure things out- such as where your visitors are coming from and what articles they read.

Looking at the graphs can be quite intimidating at first- daily stats, hourly ratings, geographic locations to name a few. It can really make your head spin, but once you get the hang of it (or you figure out what you are looking for) you can start figuring out the trends.

The first step was to add a tracker to the existing template (I apologize for any errors in the technical lingo). After it was tested by Google Analytics, I simply had to wait while it gathered data. On another note, Yahoo’s MyBlogLog service also gives similar information albeit the one day delay (you can have real time stats if you upgrade to MyBlogLog Pro). Performance wise, I prefer Analytics for its comprehensive reports.

So far I got only a few days worth of stats, but here are some observations I’ve made:

1. New readers (readers who may have just chanced upon your blog via Blogger or perhaps by word of mouth) comprise the largest percentage of your visitors. I’m not sure if this is true with other blogs but this was certainly the first thing I observed. The advice? Promote, promote, promote! Give invites via chatrooms (just prepare yourself for responses like “Wanna mit up?” or “You suck!” nevertheless there are also good responses), invite old friends and complete strangers to read your blog, send everyone messages thru Friendster, scream in the middle of the plaza- whatever you do and how far you go depends on how determined you are. Good luck.

2. It pays to link up. Referrals are the next best thing- this comes in second place. When people browse blogs they inevitably check the blogroll so make sure you link with a lot of fellow bloggers. Everybody wins = ) And oh, try to come up with an outrageous blog title so it catches attention right away. Use your imagination.

3. The Preview Hack. It helps to just tease your readers with previews of your articles instead of the whole thing (also saves space for long articles). Lord knows I’ve had a hemorrhage trying to edit the html template, but after hours of looking through the font size 8 text I gave up. If I would have continued, I might have become cross-eyed by now. Thanks but, I like my eyes the way they are, screw the hack. For the fortunate ones able to correctly change the template, the rewards are more clicks. Your readers have no choice but click the Read more link to read the articles. For my blog, you can see full length the latest seven posts. Oh well.

4. Check which posts your readers click the most. Hot guys? Stories? Humor? Then probably you can build on that. There is, by the way another hack for the Top Ten Posts, which your css/html/xml illiterate friend here has yet to figure out- this is another widget that would help your readers.

5. Less updates=less views, and more updates=more views. I guess the equation explains itself well.

6. The most clicks would always be during the weekend (Thusday, Friday, and Saturday Pacific Standard Time, or Friday, Saturday, and Sunday Manila time). Better make sure to have your strongest, most interesting articles are posted- showtime!

Stats aside, the real essence of the blog lies of course, in the author’s purpose. In the end, that should never be compromised. The beauty of blogging is in the freedom that we get- we are able to say things we wouldn’t otherwise say out loud in real life (and this also explains the case of blog owners who wish to remain anonymous).

We all love our magnum opus. Hopefully we utilize the tools available online to further improve our work.

Back to School




Grrrr.

A Mother's Advice



In the movie Heartbreakers, Angela Conners (Sigourney Weaver) was giving her daughter Paige (Jennifer Love Hewitt) some advice on men.

“Cute is dangerous.” She declares.

“Cute leads to feelings, which leads to screwing, which leads to screwed.”
Left: Cute alert! Be Bench winner Carlo Guevarra.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Why Mahagnao is Haunted



There was once a tribe of ancient warriors in the forests in the town now known as Burauen. They were fierce people, and their men hunted wild animals in the mountains. Strangely enough, there were only few women in their tribe, and were mostly aged.

One day, a lone warrior named Guapo wandered into a fern-covered patch of the forest, where a clear spring was flowing from the rocks at the side of the mountain. He set his bow and arrow on the soft grass, and drunk water from the spring.

“Who are you?” A soft voice said.

Guapo turned to where the voice was, and saw a beautiful nymph dressed in a moss-colored robe. He was stunned because she was the first young female he saw, not unlike the elder women in his tribe.

“My name is Guapo, from the tribe of Hagnao”. He said, standing up.

Jiga, the nymph fell in love with the broad-shouldered youth who had just entered her domain. She never wanted him to leave.

“I am hunting wild boar to bring back to my tribe.” He said.

“I know of a place where there are a lot of animals to hunt.” Jiga said. She had a plan. She picked up a basket of essences and in one of the bottles she collected the potion that could put any person to sleep.

“First you must eat some fruits from my forest and drink to keep up your strength.” She picks delicious red fruit from the trees and gives them to Guapo.

Guapo sat on one of the rocks, marveling ay Jiga’s beauty as she picks up a shiny goblet and dips it in the spring. The nymph secretly puts a few drops of potion on the goblet before she handed in to the young man.

“Which tribe do you belong to?” Guapo asks.

“I am alone here,” she answered, “this is my forest.”

The young warrior started to become drowsy, and he fell asleep on the soft arms of the nymph. Jiga smiled as she took him into the depths of the forest, never to return again.

Back in the village, there was a gathering. The elders thought Guapo had been captured by an enemy tribe, and therefore they must fight to get him back.

With their torches, swords and spears, the Hagnaos marched toward the forests of the mountain. When they came upon the clearing where a spring nearby flowed from a rock, they met a strange old woman.

“Go back to your village!” She said.

“The lady of the forest has taken the young man as her husband, and he will never return.”

Wasting no time, the elders struck with their spears. But their weapons only struck he garments. The old woman had disappeared.

Suddenly, radiance filled the forest. It was Jiga, the nymph, who appeared before them and she was angry. She struck the warriors with madness, and turned all the women blind.

The men slaughtered their own women, and went on searching madly for their lost comrade. To this day, they say, one can still hear the voices of the warriors as they roam the forests of what is presently known as Mahagnao.

Author's note:
This is not actually a "real" legend- I just made this up (I couldn't think of better names of characters, so I chose guapo and jiga- which is a waray slang for "hot" lol!). I was inspired though, by the stories of my classmates of their visit to the remote Mahagnao National Park during boyscouts, and how they experienced the supernatural. Apparently most of the children had convulsions and some had strange visions on their way home after visiting the craters and hot springs.
An American Journalist writes about her experience here.

On Blogging

There are no hard rules to blogging, and that’s the main reason for diversity. There is a blog out there with every imaginable theme, topic, tone, and whatnot. We blog for different reasons, and we also have a different set of criteria to measure our fulfillment.

I find it funny. I didn’t even know what a blog was five months ago, and now I’m hooked into the whole thing. Blog communities, widgets, links, templates, profiles, you name it. Of course, I got nosebleeds trying to figure out what html, csv, xml, rss mean. The best part however, aside from self-expression, is the interaction you get with fellow bloggers and virtually anyone who strays into your website.

Bored? You can find a humor blog or perhaps something that would cater to your interest. Confused? Now there are a lot of blogs discussing issues (gay issues mainly, at least in our side of blogosphere) and perhaps you can find clarity in their discussions. Blogging is a whole new way of connecting with people.

“I get what you are saying.” “That happened to me before.” “Thank you for posting this.” Through our articles, our minds are enclosed in the same single thought. That is just fantastic. Each blogger brings his own flavor, and so I say- bring it on! Long live bloggers!

10 Stupid Things People Do in Friendster (6-10)

SIX
Who really cares if I don't accept you as a friend?MOVE ON!!!Don't send me another request or message asking "what's up with you not adding me?"I don't want you as a friend, that's what's up Mister!!!

SEVEN
Little 12 year olds who have Friendster and look like sluts, and act like whores go somewhere else because nobody wants you here.

EIGHT
And if you open a bulletin and it says something like "repost this in 100 seconds or a ghost will rape your f*cking dog tonight, or some dead skinless girl is gonna rape your mom..."QUIT BEING A DUMBASS!!Yeah, no such things!!!!

NINE
To the people who have like 25,000 friends, are you serious?You're stupid. Go play in traffic.

TEN
Since when did testimonials become personal messages and love letters?As far as i know testimonial is what you know about your friends.Why all the lovey-dovey messages seems to pop up everywhere?like, "iii llluuuuuuuuurrrrrrvvvvvveeeeee you sooooooo much deeeeeaaariiiieeeeeeeee..."

Formica Blues

Life in mono.

My Cat



Sorry, I couldn’t resist the title. Looks like Impostor has competition- two of them, in fact. We had two stray kittens yesterday who showed up at our gate. They both had white fur, and were very tiny (a little emaciated I would say). My grandmother said it wouldn’t hurt to add more to the two tempestuous dogs, fifteen doves, and diva-cat we already have as pets, so we adopted them.

Both were promptly greeted by Dorshu, our resident askal who guards the front yard. Dorshu showed her affection by trying to bite the critters. After minutes of panicked meows, scratching, and our helper threatening Dorshu with a broom, our dog finally left them alone. Presently we keep the kittens at the second floor terrace (and close the door because Cindy, our indoor dog hates it when they stray into her territory- the upstairs living room).

I gave them names, much to Nanay’s annoyance: the yellow eyed one is Ming-Ming Sobieski, and the other one Madame Pompadour. Yeah, you heard me right. Nanay insists we should just give them two-syllable names, so the names are still under negotiation. Hmph!

Right Brain or Left Brain?



Curious as to which part of the brain you use the most? Click this link from the Herald Sun.
LEFT BRAIN FUNCTIONS uses logic, detail oriented, facts rule, words and language, present and past, math and science, acknowledges order/pattern perception, knows object name, reality based forms strategies, practical safe
RIGHT BRAIN FUNCTIONS uses feeling, "big picture" oriented, imagination rules, symbols and images, present and future, philosophy & religion, can "get it" (i.e. meaning),believes appreciates, spatial perception, knows object function, fantasy based, presents possibilities impetuous risk taking
Thanks Ian! By the way, this story might be of interest to you, too.

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Best Kept Beauty Secret

Our beauty standards have stepped into the area of perfection, where even goodlooking people need retouching. Remember the Preview Cover with the four statues named Gretchen, Dawn, Ruffa, and Angel? We'll see first hand a transformation done via Photoshop: Before: Baby fats & cellulite.
After: Vavavoom!! Alabaster skin and a smashing figure.

10 Stupid Things People Do in Friendster (1-5)

I know you most of you guys can relate. I just found this posted in the bulletin and it made me laugh...

ONE
There is NO SUCH THING as a Friendster tracker. It does NOT exist. so quit posting stupid bulletins like "who views your profile the most" or "OMG this works!!!" Sorry but NO, it doesn't work !

TWO
Those who owned a lot of accounts of friendster. WHATS THE POINT ADDING THE SAME FRIEND? Stop doing stupid things like sending lots of same repeated message on bulletin with the subject ADD ME!!

THREE
Don't ever post pictures and say"OMG, I'm so ugly""OMG, I'm so fat" because if you were, you wouldn't post them.

FOUR
Nobody cares about threats over the internet.

FIVE
Quit crying because you're not on someones top 8.who cares? ITS FRIENDSTER!!!Stop bitching!!!

My Turn to Babysit



On Aging

I’m getting old. I can’t see it yet, but I feel it. There’s this sort of lethargy creeping up and slowly draining my energy. You know the feeling when you’re young, and you are like that Energizer bunny? You work eight hours, travel, get drunk on a party, make out, stay up all night, and still have the energy to go snorkeling or hiking the next day. I’ve missed that, the past few months.

It’s partly my fault, I guess. I haven’t had the chance to exercise like I did back then. Lift weights thrice a week, maybe swim during the weekend. Now it’s just school and home Mondays to Saturdays (and Sundays are spent preparing for Mondays); having a 31 unit workload surely leaves time for little else. Breaks should be spent doing a little exercise and perhaps gaining some muscle, but no, I spend it catching up on sleep.

Of course, there’s also the fact that we get a lot more responsibilities as we get older. One wrinkle per one major responsibility.

“Do we really need to grow up?” Asks Tatat, my bestfriend, the female Peter Pan.

“Of course, silly. We can’t be kids forever. Your tits will eventually sag.” I answer.

Such is the normal cycle of life. My motto when I was a teenager was right: make the most out of your youth. Lose yourself in the pursuit of fun, experience, and discovery. Go on a trip. Party with friends. Stay up late watching DVDs in your first apartment. Before you know it, things will be moving along, and everyone will be taking on their final direction that would take them to their destiny. People get married, have kids, and grow old.

I’ve always thought I’d be among the youngest TMs (at 23, I was), until younger people got in, and the older ones moved on. I’ve always thought Tatat and I would have so much fun getting a place together, but we went our separate ways. I’ve always thought I’d be that young cute guy you see at a party, until I see my nephews and nieces, who overnight turned into young men and women, at the same party.

Time to move on and take on new roles. They say age is nothing but a number, but I know it catches up with you eventually. Hello arthritis!

I was never the same person I was again. But now I don’t mind it that much. The discovery continues, only now I take on adventures of a different nature. And oh, those wrinkles? Just in case my face creams won’t work, I’ll just welcome them. The lines on our faces tell the stories of our lives, and I think I have a pretty interesting one to tell.

A Tough Call (Part 1)

Back in my TM days, I ran a tight ship. “Control freak” would probably be a popular nickname for me, nonetheless that strictness was elemental in keeping our team afloat. I considered training newbies as one of the most difficult tasks ever. The tenured CSRs who have endured at least a year in the team know the drill- and my policies.

I remember this particular guy who I received one fateful day from training. We will call him “Maverick”. Looking at his statistics from training, it was quite evident that he struggled, as his OJT was extended. I’m guessing they kept him for good behavior.

I started by orienting him.

“I’m Thad, and I have been the TM for Team 39 for two years now,” I began. “The first thing you need to learn is simply be familiar with how things go on the floor when taking live calls. You will be listening and doing searches side by side with tenured CSRs. I’ll make sure to spend time with you at least 30 minutes per shift, so I could train you.”

He listened to me attentively and nodded.

“Any questions?” He shook his head. So far so good.

I went back to my station. About an hour into the shift, I decided to listen to his calls, and perhaps record some of them for him to listen to them later while I critique them.

Toot toot!

Recording: “City and State, please?”

Caller: “Newark, New Jersey.”

Maverick: “I’m sorry Ma’am?” (He said, with a very thick accent)

I had a feeling this was not going to be a good call. First off, his accent made everything he said difficult to understand (even for me), second he was still inept with searching.

Caller: “What?”

Maverick: “What city and state?”

Caller: “I’m sorry, I can’t understand you.”

Unconsciously, I was tugging at my hair and biting my lip. I crossed and uncrossed my legs.

Maverick: “What city. C-i-t-y?”

Caller: (Silence)

Maverick: “Hello?”

Caller: “I just want Roscoes in Newark, New Jersey.”

Maverick: (Long pause) “I’m sorry Ma’am is this in the United States?”
By this time my chest had started to tighten. It was excruciating. Maverick thought the caller wanted “Moscow!” I crossed my legs so hard, I swear one of my nuts got squished.

Caller: “Yes! I said Roscoes! You (expletive)!!”

Maverick: “Let me transfer you for further assistance.”

I stood up, caught Maverick’s eye and signaled for him to transfer to a station near me.

Maverick: “Boss, I can’t understand the caller.”

Thad: “Just transfer.”

Thad: “This is Chris (my “stagename” lol!) the supervisor, and I understand you were looking for Roscoes in Newark, NJ?”

Caller: (Exasperated) “Yes! What’s wrong with the other person?”

Thad: “I apologize for the inconvenience, Ma’am. I do have that listing on Spruce St.”

Caller: “Thank you.”

Thad: “Have a great day.”

I coached him after the call, and devoted the rest of my shift looking after him, never mind my other responsibilities.

When I got the Quality scores for the week, I had a sinking feeling in my gut. His score? 40%. A record low for any one CSR in the entire history of the center. My first instinct was to term him right then and there, but I had other plans…

To be continued.

How my Sister Brought Home a Wife


Those words were actually uttered by Haidy, one of my most interesting classmates last semester. She was referring to her sister, who is a lesbian, whom I met when our group stayed at their place in Marabut. That’s not all, she also has a brother who is gay, and three more straight siblings. She is Catholic and some in her family are members of El Shaddai; her sister’s “wife” on the other hand, is Aglipay. A universal household, that’s what she called her family.

Kalog, sincere, and utterly humorous Haidy is a girl you’ll surely grow fond of. She refused to act as the patient in one of the return demos in RLE because she confessed she had “smelly feet”. How many girls would dare admit that in front of the entire class?”

Surprisingly sensitive when it came to her family, she wept a river of tears as she divulged the drama in her household during a recollection at school. In a heartbeat, she was all smiles and joking around again. There is a screw loose in her head, perhaps that’s why I relate so much with her.

She tries so hard in her studies, you would want her to succeed. I know she will. This semester is the final determinant on who’s going and who’s staying. “2.2” The dean simply says. I just remembered her SMS when we got our final grades in Anatomy, where she initially had a conditional standing during the midterms.

“Kuya, 2.6 akon final grade ha Ana! I’m so happy!”

Me too, Haids.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Bobby Caldwell's Heart of Mine

Officially my favorite song.

Shutterbug: Portraits in B & W

The Fate of Alex


“I’m going to be a beautiful butterfly.” Said Alex, a caterpillar, to his friends Rodney, a stag beetle, and Eric, a dragonfly.

They were always teasing Alex for being slow moving and fat. He did nothing but eat all day, and gaze up to the sky, counting the days when he would be mature enough to build his cocoon and thus begin his transformation.

Rodney snorted. He raised his pinchers proudly. “Fat chance you’ll be able to fly, with your size and all. I may not be able to fly, but I can defend myself well. I can snap my enemies in half.”

“You need to be light, lean and sinewy.” Eric chimed in, and then flew in circles around Alex before landing on a fig. “Otherwise, you’ll never fly.”

Alex felt bad, but he tried not to show it. “I know I will, one day.” He said as he crawled away. He was hungry again. He looked for a fresh branch to chew on.

His eyes wandered around the forest, and saw beautiful Monarch butterflies arriving.

“Why do you look so blue, my dear caterpillar?” The speaker was a gray moth.

“Oh I’m not sad.” Alex lied. “I’m just wondering when I’ll get to be like them.” He said, nodding in the direction of the bright-colored Monarchs.

“They are beautiful aren’t they?” The moth said. “Some things in this world are meant to be pleasing to look at, and some are not. There are a lot of things you can still enjoy. Look around you, the forest is full of wonderful things.”

Alex tried hard to understand what the moth said, as it flew away. He decided to crawl towards one of the branches where a Monarch was resting.

The branch shook because of Alex’s weight, waking the Monarch as Alex approached.

“Hello.” Alex said pleasantly.

“Yes?” The Monarch said, stretching her wings lazily.

“I was just admiring your wings.” Alex said.

The Monarch fluttered them proudly. “I have traveled with my family from a far away place. We come in this rather dull forest to lay our eggs.”

“It’s not too bad here,” said Alex, “the trees are plenty and the insects are nice.”

“Yeah?” The Monarch said disinterestedly.

“Well, I have to rest. Please leave.” The Monarch said as she folded her wings gracefully.

“Goodbye.” Alex said. He wanted to ask the Monarch a question, but was too polite. He decided not too disturb her as she rested.

And so Alex crawled once more, looking for a fresh branch to rest on, and perhaps chew on some leaves. As he found a spot, he began to feel drowsy. He had an urge to wrap silk to cover his body like a soft blanket. “I must be turning into a chrysalis.” He thought happily.

Days went by and inside the cocoon Alex was changing. The leaves in the maple tree had turned into hues of orange and gold, and then slowly fall to the ground.

One day, a little child was walking through the forest. Clinging to a low branch of a maple tree, he saw something hanging and swaying in the breeze. He reached over and pulled on the object.

He slowly opened his small fingers. It was a cocoon! He called excitedly to his brother, “Get a jar!” He ran back into the clearing clutching the cocoon in his hand.

“Andrew, mom says we have to go home now.” His older brother called. Andrew held out his hand and carefully placed the cocoon in the small jar his brother brought.

In that moment, Alex awakened. As he tried to stretch his back, a wing emerged, piercing the cocoon. Slowly he made his way out of his blanket of warm silk. He had wings! Alex was overjoyed. He wanted to find his friends and show them off. But as he tried to fly he kept bumping into a hard wall. Alex felt sad. He could see what was outside, but he couldn’t get out.

He was flying in circles inside a glass jar.

Confessions of a Beauty Junkie

It all started when I happened upon Kevyn Aucoin’s glossy book The Art of Makeup, while I was browsing one day in Powerbooks. No, I didn’t buy it, instead I read it from cover to cover. Then I re-read it, paying close attention to the stunning photos. The next time I was at the mall, I picked up the book again, and I knew then it had turned into a fixation. I devoured his other books that followed: Face Forward, Making Faces, and finally A Beautiful Life, which was released shortly after the legendary makeup artist’s death in 2002.

Was it the star power of celebrities like Barbra Streisand, Cindy Crawford, Sharon Stone, and Audrey Hepburn that got me hooked? It was fascinating on some level to see their faces stand out in the photographs, but what struck a chord in me in those photos was the transforming power of makeup and how a simple photograph had the power to evoke emotions.

The transformations were amazing- re-creations of Hollywood icons, ethereal creatures like the “Explorer” (Mary J. Blige) and “Floralia” (Lucy Liu), and of course, makeovers of real people. Aucoin in his books explored the past, present, and future of beauty. It is truly a wonder how a few dabs of eyeshadow and gloss can remake a plain jane into a goddess.

In a way, Aucoin showed how you can indeed turn a “dream” into reality, however brief a period (well, up until the makeup fades). Don’t laugh at this part: I think seeing yourself at your best, in that millisecond captured by the shutter, there’s magic. Suddenly you are not the “regular you” you see in the mirror everyday; you are a nymph in the water and your eyes match the color of the sea, you are a futuristic astronaut, or a swashbuckling pirate. It is fun, let me tell you.

What followed was a manic practice of beauty routines, crazy experiments, and every possible ritual that Allure or Cosmo promised would work wonders. I have always wondered why we buy it, when we all know that character counts more than a pretty face. Maybe it’s because even if what we appreciate is what’s inside, we do have the tendency to reach for the most beautifully wrapped present first.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

UP Vandals

What better way to peer into the psyche of UP students than to read the writings on the walls…

AS chairs:"push button to eject seatmate"
"push button to eject urself"
"push button to kill teacher."
"push button to eject teacher"
....reply: "it's jammed! We're doomed!"
AS chair :"you know bobo? bobo is you!"
AS 1st floor CR:
AS 1st floor CR uli:" Im a simple gay "
tapos me sumagot"sira! Dapat 'Im simple and gay!' Tagapeyups ka ba? duh!
"tapos me sumagot ulit (with matching arrow pa na nakaturo dun sa reply)
"sira ka rin! yung simple is used as an adjective tapos yung gay is used as a noun. kaya ok langyung simple gay nya!"
CHEM:Chem chair:"push button to spray acid on prof'sface."
BIO:Bio chair:"Push cadaver to haunt teacher."
FO Santos:"SA MGA NAGTATAPON NG BASURA DITO...bawal."
ENG'G:Sa Men's CR, facing the urinal:"Hawak ko saking mga kamay angkinabukasan ng bayan!"
Reply:"the future you are holding is verysmall."
MATH:sa cr sa may math building:"SUMAPI SA NPA! "
may sumagot:"PAANO? "may sumagot pa:"MAGFILL UP NG COUPON AT IHULOG SAPINAKAMALAPIT NA DROPBOX SA SUKING TINDAHAN!"
sa math building, sa likod ng isang"teacher's chair" sa 3rd floor:"BABALA: asawa ni babalu"
sa math 3rd floor, sa isang upuan uli."you'll NEVER find what you're lookingfor"
May nag-reply:"find x."
sa math 3rd floor, sa isa pang upuanuli.nakasulat sa armchair:"F*CK DA WORLD! "
ta's may sumagot:"F*CK U TOO!--WORLD?"
UPISsa loob ng music room."maam _______(music prof) boses palaka! "
tas may sumagot"nakarinig ka na ba ng boses ngpalaka "
tas may sumagot uli"weh "
tas may nag-react uli"oo, sabi kokak!kokak! "
VINZONS:Wall ng vinzons"Do not steal. The government hates competition"
men's cr sa Vinzon's:"remember: the hands that clean this toilet are the same hands that cook your food."
men's cr waaaay above the urinal:"if you can reach this, the fire department wants you!"
NIGS:sa isang upuan:"f*ck nigs!"
may nagreply:"who's nigs?"
MAIN LIBSa isang lamesa ng main lib,filipinianasection:
"UP STUDENTS HAS BECOME PATETHIC"tapos may sumagot...
"mali pang grammar at spelling mo,halatang di ka taga UP"
KALAI:nietzsche-"god is dead"
God- "Nietzsche is dead!"
SC:sa labas ng PNB:"in case of emergency break ass and push butt"

Kamingaw

Kakulop la adto
Sapit ko ikaw, ngan nag-istorya kita.
Pagmata ko kanina
Waray ka na.

Kanina, nagbaktas ako
Dida han kalsada nga nagsasanga.
Pinanmiling ko ikaw,
Pero waray ko ikaw makit-i.

Siguro gin mingaw la ako,
Han imo mga intrimes,
Mag-urupod kita hadto,
Gasi ko man dire ka malakat.

Pag hiling ko ngadto ha kaharayuan
Waray ka na.
Dapat dire na ako maghulat,
Kay maaram ako dire ka na mabalik.

Kami nga mga Waray-waray

Nasiring hira nga an mga waray-waray mag-isug,
Nga pirme nakikipag-away bisan kan kanay.
“Taga Leyte-Samar ka?” nasiring hiya,
“Haguy ka isog mo nala.”

Dako kuno an amon mga boses,
Nagpapanlalabaw nga baga't dalugdog.
Tapos pag-tawa namon,
Mayor pa daw hit sim nga gin-gigisi.

“Hagi, pabay-i iton hira”, siring ko.
Basta malipayon kita nga mga tawo.
Oo, dako it aton boses, ngan
Magtig-a it panluwas.

Pero it aton gin yayakan
Dire man mara-ot.
Pwera nala han iba nga mga maglibak,
Kita nga mga waray-waray pirme la marisyo.

Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Early Signs

Age 6: first wore lipstick (my mom put it on me) for my speech.
Age 7: Very happy with my gift- a pad of paper and a pen.
Learning to pose to the camera LOL!
Playing my favorite "sport": Chinese garter.

Between Nowhere and Goodbye

I swear, this will be the last rant of my adult life.

I just got back from enrollment today and I’m clutching my grade sheet in my right hand. The lowest grade was 1.9 and the highest 1.0, overall GWA 1.58. I should be happy, really but somehow I feel just… lost. That’s the word I was looking for.

I’ve always felt it was like a step back to study again full time, but I promised myself last year I’d give it a chance and soon I’ll reap the fruits of my labor. No one promised a career change would be easy. Not that it’s hard; it’s just that I usually stop and ask myself… where is this going? And I honestly don’t have the answer.

If Tacloban is one big airport, I’m still in the pre-departure area and it’s been an eternity waiting in line. Where’s the plane to take me to my destination? Give me a telescope so I can at least see a glimpse. Nobody can give me answers, not even my parents- I know that. Only time will tell. I have never vocalized these thoughts and when someone asks I always have my I’m-happy-where-I-am speech on cue (complete with a beatific, serene smile).

What a whiner, you say. I know, I know. Not everyone is fortunate enough to be given a chance to study and I should be thankful. I know I should have faith and trust God with His plans for me but…

I just don’t see it. Give me a clue, a sign. Send me a moth, or some sort of omen. Another grueling 31 unit-semester is about to start, complete with Biochem and Microbiology and I want to just pull my hair. Where is this going? I’ve read the Purposeful Life and all that stuff, I love my family, and I know I’m doing this for them as well as for myself but right now I’m just lost. I feel like I’m on a standstill.

My friends have all gone off and got married. Had kids. Finished medicine or have gone to live abroad. The million dollar question is where did I go wrong?
Postscript:
I published this 9 hours ago, went to sleep, woke up and removed it. After opening my mail, I got a note from someone I asked to read the post to get his opinion. This the note he sent (I hope he doesn’t mind that I shared it).

“so u removed it. so your blog is just a showcase of "what i think will be liked by my reading public? so the blog is nothing but a facade anyway?i am disappointed.the write up you deleted showed your beautiful and honest human side. you just unmasked yourself there and you are afraid of what people might say.. what is wrong with being honest and true with yourself and show that with others? you saw it as a weakness instead of strength.the write up you deleted reflects the real you. thats how i perceive u to be even before.. you have put on a facade to please others but not urself..i can only say so much, but please u have to realize things urself.when we write a blog we open different cans. sometimes cans of worms.its disppointing u wld rather share how you sucked a guy in the expressway when there are matters worth sharing. not everything has to be let out in public. the more u share taboo things, like things we do in bed, the more people wont take people like us seriously.”

I removed the post because it still felt a bit raw. Being disappointed is not one of my favorite feelings, and for a while there I just wanted to pretend it never happened. But it did happen, and reflecting on it now there’s nothing more I can do than move on and learn from it. You are right when you said there are matters worth sharing. Thanks for raising the point.

Quiet Moments




Listening to Gary V's ballads (my favorite is Fool 'Til the End), haaaay. This is the first time I'm going to do this- posting lyrics of the song. I just found the words so beautiful. Senti!!
Before you go away
To the one you do belong
So glad we met and you stayed
Though it wasn't very long
Was it only just a dream
Its over now it seems
If there were no goodbyes
Would you say that you still care
I won't believe my eyes
When I see you won't be there
'Cause this love so hard to find
Now you're leavin' me behind
Oh please
Show me and tell me
How do you put this love aside
(And) Put it away for another time
With no guarantee that you'll be mine
A fool I am it seems
'Cause I'll been lovin' you in my dreams
Until I wake up and I find out
That time ain't our friend
I'll just stay a fool till the end
(Till the end, I'll be a fool)
(Till I find its me and you)
If it only was game
Why'd you have to fool my heart
Oh girl ain't it a shame
That we promised from the start
That our love was here to stay
For each and everydayIf I had only known
And if I didn't have to care
Then being all alone
It wouln't be so hard to bear
This love so hard to find
That we're leavin' here behind
Oh please
I maybe over acting
I know I must stay strong
But you pulled the string too hard
And now we're going on our own
Till the end
You know I just stay a fool

Monday, October 22, 2007

Ms. Teacher ng Mataas na Paaralan ng Pilipinas

Overworked and underpaid. That would describe the situation our public elementary and high school teachers are in, here in our country, and especially in the provinces. No wonder some (emphasis on some) of them come up with a lot of "creative" solutions to cope with the financial hardships. These are some of them:

1. Selling ice-candy and puto during recess.
“Class you make take your break. Who wants to buy ice candy? You can pay me later.” Said Mrs. Grade three teacher.

2. School supplies, anyone?
“Get one whole intermediate paper. For those who don’t have, you may buy from me. I also have bond paper, ballpens…”

3. You will automatically get a grade of 90% for your project if you contribute______ for ______.
Fill in the blanks. A friend once remarked, they contributed money supposedly to buy electric fans for the classroom but up until they graduated high school, they failed to materialize.

4. Delegating tasks not meant for students.
Pulling grass, sweeping the streets, applying floor wax was part of our curriculum. And because our teachers were handling a lot of classes, the checking of papers would usually be delegated to the top students of the class.

5. The dreaded PTA (Patay, Tatay Aragmot na naman- aragmot in waray means contribution).
“Ask your parents to come tomorrow for the PTA meeting.” To students, that only meant one thing- another round of contribution.

The result is poor quality of education. How can public school teachers focus on giving the best training when their needs are not met?

Because of the large student population, public school teachers are usually given more load than they can handle. In a class, there would also be around 45-50+ students. With those numbers, the teacher will not be able to function effectively, let alone monitor each student’s progress.

There are, of course, great shining examples that stand out from the bunch- noble, dedicated educators who take their job seriously in molding the minds of young people. But low salaries and delayed pay are realities they have to deal with and it would be so easy for them to turn to these “solutions”.

In my years studying in a public school, it’s a little sad to see the real situation in our public educational system- the lack of classrooms, lack of adequate facilities (we lacked chairs in our dilapidated classrooms), lack of books, and most of all, the people in high places just sit and watch these things happen.

Our students are not wanting in talent or in brains and we need motivated and well-trained public school teachers to help students maximize their potential. Correct me if I’m wrong, but more than 70% of youngsters in the Philippines study in public schools. It would be a shame to see our greatest resources go to waste, just because our government failed to invest in our public school system.

Perhaps it is time for our public school teachers to be given due compensation for their efforts.

Roland Icban Photography

These photos are taken by one of the most talented emerging photographers I know. Click on the image for a larger view. Enjoy! "kisame nga samin"
"disturbado"
verge gamotan for rip'd


Sunday, October 21, 2007

Top Booba Moments

Ring ring!

CSR: “Pizza hut, how can I help you?”

Thad: “Mag-oorder po ng pizza.”
CSR: “Anong variety, Sir?”

Thad: “Ano po yung pinaka-mura?”

CSR: (snickers)
-----------------------------------

Applying at Leyte National High School:

“Ma’am, i-confirm ko lang po yung requirements. Report card, Long brown envelope, at one times one ID picture?”

----------------------------------

In my nervousness at meeting a very good looking, intelligent guy, he said something but it just slipped by. I realized he was waiting for a response because he was looking at me intently.

I turned to the person beside me and asked in a loud voice, “Ano daw?”

Boy, that was the last I saw of him.
----------------------------------

CSR Thad, looking for sympathy from a Team Manager.
Thad: “Mother, na-suspend ako!”

TM: “Maldita ka kasi!”
---------------------------------

Grade 3, Science and Technology recitation, I was asked to define science.

“Science is a large body of knowledge…” (Forgets the rest) …“found in the dictionary.”
---------------------------------

Director: “Why should we promote you to ACCM over the rest of the candidates?”

“Uhhh. Umm.” I blacked out. Totally.

I felt like a beauty contestant who was just asked, “Which would you rather be, very beautiful, or very intelligent.” And then she freezes and her silence already gave the obvious answer.

I could have answered because of my strong performance as a TM. Because of my team statistics. Because of my projects implemented company-wide. Because I can handle the job better than most TMs. Because I can multi-task. Because I got my team of 27 pasaways to get 99.7% attendance for the past quarter, damn it!

“Because I’m creative.” I stammered. (Art contest ba ito?)

Director: (Ano daw???)

Saturday, October 20, 2007

8 Random Things

I was tagged by John of Adventures of an Exiled Aristocrat, so here are eight random things about me.
1. Too much Anima.

I’ll never have any attraction for women. That’s for sure; I’ve got too much feminine energy in me. Same polar sides of magnets repel and opposites attract, hence I am naturally attracted to guys who possess my much-needed masculine energy.

This is not to say I despise women. I love my girl friends, but of course, never in a romantic way.
2. Oral fixation: I like to eat.. a lot.

Let’s see, I love seafood and anything ginataan. I like sweets, exotic flavors like preserved fruits and berries, and ice cream. I love junk food. I’m inclined to think I’m predisposed to gain weight when I’m older, in case my metabolism decreases.

Hmm.. something fat free, tangy, and low calorie? Oh yeah, I like that flavor too. You know what it is (wink,wink).
3. I’m a Scorpio.

Enough said.
4. I am really reserved in person (charot!), until we become friends.

It’s true. Ask any person in school or at the office. At first, they thought I was this ruler-straight, dean’s lister goody-goody. Till we become friends, and you get to know “the real me” (refer to me photo).

5. Ex-drama queen.

Let me first define the subspecies of this order. First, there are those who bitch and whine, and are likely to throw a hissy fit in public. And those that are a little sensitive, yet still act in a logical, rational manner.

I belong to the second group. I have a hyper-active hypothalamus, and the emotions I feel can be overwhelming sometimes. But I usually write them down or translate those in a photograph or some piece of collage. In a way, I think its part of having a developed right brain (emotions and other creative processes), nonetheless leftie (the part that deals with logic and math) helps by regulating the response.
6. I like kids.

I want to have one someday. How that’s possible, we don’t know. Haha! IVF? Adoption? For now I’m content with my 9month old nephew who just learned how to crawl. (Go Gavin!)

When you get home from a tough day, the little angel is always happy and that takes away all your troubles. = )
7. I like the smell of musk.

It’s very close to the natural scent of a man. Sometimes, early in the morning, you smell traces of it on your pillow and it’s like your S.O. is beside you.
8. The beach is my favorite place.

‘Di ba obvious? Hehe There’s something about the ocean that’s relaxing. Plus, you know that it’s full of riches (my favorite seafoods!) just within your reach.

Lying on the sand in your favorite bathing suit (you can’t do that in a forest!), worry free, the sun shining, and the breeze cooling your skin. An oh, your kebab is about to be served with a fruit shake. Can it get any better?

Yup. A guy in skimpy trunks walking past.

Road to Salvacion (fiction)


It is dawn, and the sheets feel warm and cozy on my skin, but I know I have to get up. The bus bound for Salvacion leaves very early at the terminal, so I must be there by six. I had already packed my things the night before, and so I just take a quick breakfast and a cup of coffee before I leave. I stuff a Tupperware full of puto for the trip, and filled my water bottle.

I sat on a wooden seat next to the window, as the bus starts its four hour journey to Samar. The events of the last few years flashed in my mind. I was a wreck.

Yesterday, I learned I was pregnant with Ronnie’s baby. I was so excited to tell him, thinking he’d leave his wife like he promised. That day only ended with a heated argument and Ronnie hitting me on the face before he stormed out of the small apartment. He had wanted an abortion.

As I gazed at the bruise on my cheek in the mirror, my face stained with black tears from the mascara, I tried to pick up the pieces of my life. The relationship was over, and so was his financial support. I would have to move out before the month is over.

The floor of the bus creaked loudly, and the passengers filled in at every stop. I look out the window to the winding path ahead. The road climbs steeply and into the heart of Samar’s mountains. The winds still had a cold tinge.

I first met him during a seminar at the university, and he was among the group of speakers. Charming and boyish, he went out of his way to be kind to me. I saw the ring on his finger, but I paid no heed. I was smitten.

He was the kind of man a girl would be proud to bring home to her family, that is, if she still had a family who would accept her. I smiled sarcastically. It’s been two years since I last saw my parents. They wanted me to stop schooling for a while because of financial crisis. I was sick of it, so I left. Ronnie was my hero, he got me an apartment and paid the bills. I was his mistress.

“Some hero.” I muttered under my breath. I felt nauseous again. I felt vomit starting to rise.

“Ummph.” I covered my mouth with my hand and stuck my head out the window, as the contents of my stomach emptied through my mouth. There was vomit on my hands, my dress, and the side of the window.

The bus had stopped, and the passengers looked at me curiously. The old lady beside me took pity and handed me a cloth to wipe myself. I washed my face and hands with the water from my bottle.

I was nervous as it is to go home like this. And now I reeked of vomit. The bus started again. The wilderness was giving way to rice fields, and I saw the vast flat lands ahead. We were two towns away from Salvacion.

My stomach knotted. I was tired. The bus slowed down as it reached Balangiga, and stopped in front of the cathedral made of stone.

Below, I see passengers scramble and make their way to the bus. A young woman with an infant in her arms was carrying a large carton too heavy for her to lift. As the conductor went to help her, our eyes met for a brief moment. She smiled.

In the last hour of my trip, I finally saw the familiar fields and unpaved roads of my hometown. I got off on the dusty road, holding the bag close to my chest. In the distance, I saw my parent’s house. I walked the final steps towards the green rice fields.

Do Not Try This at Work


“City and State, please?” I mumbled into the headset.

I was about six hours into my shift, it was 4am, and I was really cold. I couldn’t understand the caller. The woman on the other line was so impatient she was practically screaming.

“One moment please, while I search that for you.” I lied.

I wasn’t typing. I was gazing lethargically at the incandescent bulbs they formed as a rosary at Makati Med’s fa├žade. My eyes were drawn to the cross. I felt so weary; I threw my competitive nature out the window. Screw statistics, I thought. Goodbye Employee of the Month.

Larry passed by my aisle, throwing a glance at me as he made his way to the washroom. I would have jumped at the opportunity at any other time, but I was too sleepy to care about playing games with my crush. The call ended.

Toot toot! Another call comes in.

“Shit!” I screamed in my thoughts. Here we go again.

“And in what city would that be?” I asked, trying to sound pleasant.

“Massapequa, NY” The voice on the other line said.

He had an accent. I liked his voice, he sounded gentle, and he enunciated really well. I wonder how he looks like. He’s probably educated, goes to a nice office, has a lovely house in the suburbs…



Silence. Around me, it was gray. Was it about to rain?

“Hello…” I heard a voice say.

I looked around. No one was there.

“Hello?”

I frowned. Where could that voice come from? Suddenly, someone taps me sharply on the shoulder.

“Ahh!” I exclaimed as I woke up with a start. Shit, shit, shit! I had fallen asleep midcall!

The screen blinked 4:05 in the call. A search that would have lasted less than 30 seconds have extended into minutes.

“Hello? Just another moment, while I transfer you for further assistance.” I said.


Uh oh, I was in trouble. If the caller tells the sup, I’d be dead. Andrenaline, no, coffee pumped though my veins as I make the transfer.

“Hi, in Massapequa, NY…” I fill in the sup the details of the call.

It takes her twenty seconds to find it. Then she approaches.

Shit! Please, please, please don’t give me any corrective action. I was just so tired, I moved apartments yesterday. I pleaded silently.

“Log out.” She says.

I log out and face her. She hands me a piece of paper and smiles.

“You should have used your captions. The listing was just inside. Good thing the caller was not irate.”

Whew! I exhaled. I live another day. It was past dawn, and the sun was peeking in the horizon. It bathed the streetscape below casting an ethereal glow. I had to smile, it was a beautiful morning.

Paolo Coelho's Closing Cycles

Paolo Coelho’s The Alchemist has been one of my inspirations in following my “personal legend”. I went as far as e-mailing him (he has a blog, by the way) and telling him how his stories inspired me to make changes in my life. He gave a very short, polite note (or perhaps his secretary did, as Mr. Coelho probably gets a lot of fan mail) that kept me in high spirits for days.

This is an except from one of his essays which I find very moving. It is entitled “Closing Cycles”. Let’s hear it from the master:

“One always has to know when a stage comes to an end. If we insist on staying longer than the necessary time, we lose the happiness and the meaning of the other stages we have to go through.

Closing cycles, shutting doors, ending chapters whatever name we give it, what matters is to leave in the past the moments in life that have finished. Did you lose your job? Has a loving relationship come to an end? Did you leave your parent’s house? Gone to live abroad? Has a long-lasting friendship ended all of a sudden?

You can spend a long time wondering why this has happened. You can tell yourself you won’t take another step until you find out why certain things that were so important and so solid in your life have turned to dust, just like that. But such an attitude will be awfully stressing for everyone involved... everyone will be finishing chapters, turning over new leaves, getting on with life, and they will feel bad at seeing you at a standstill.

None of us can be in the present and past at the same time… What has passed will not return: we cannot be forever be children, late adolescents, sons that feel guilt or rancor towards our parents, lovers who day and night relive an affair with someone who has gone away and has not the least intention of coming back…

…Closing cycles. Not because of pride, incapacity or arrogance, but simply because that no longer fits your life. Shut the door, change the record, clean the house, shake off the dust. Stop being who you were, and change into who you are.”

Tales

next post!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Just Taking Time to Say...

Five months. That’s how old this blog is. I never thought I could continue through the semester and blog at the same time, and so many times I’ve decided to quit blogging, but lo and behold: the bitch is still around. I guess partly because this is so much fun to do, and partly because of people who have been part of this blogging experience.

A big wet kiss, and a huge thank you to:

Chase
Josh
Mark Xander
Pageant buff
Anonymous (dami nyo!)
Jackass
Stephy
Runaway cat
Mink
Pepe, Rye Bautista, Beejing, Jan, The Ilocano Blogger, Sofia for Bisean, Pisanu for Bisean, Travel Philippines, John Halcyon von Rothschild, Misterhubs, Pao Pielago, Mcvie , Rocky, Dazedblu, The Spy in the Sandwich, Richard Lionheart, Wentle, Eon, Milandra, Kai Santorino, Kodi, Jay, Riki the dark, Reyville, Self-sufficient parasite

Kung meron man akong nakalimutan, hala ipa kulam nyo na lang ako. Lol! Huy joke lang. Pati na rin yung mga nanlait at nangalipusta sa akin, forgive and forget hehe. Peace guys!

Some of the nicest comments:

Jackass said..
Ever since I started viewing your blog I never missed a single day in a weekend that I will never browse it. I am always tempted to see what’s in store on your entries now and then, maybe because I can relate from it but I think the enthusiasm of your write-up hooked me to the extent that I will sacrifice my whole day reading all your entries. Hahah, sound crazy!? But yes, it’s true.Anyway, I really love to comments all your entries as much as I’ll spend my time here, but I can’t because I’m busy nowadays. I think you read my comments in return of your reply already but this will be a general one. Heheh… I actually download your page if I’m at a cafe and read it after whenever I want to.=) so, thats what I'm doing now!
Ciao…

Anonymous said...
hi thad,this is nat, currently working here in Dubai. I chanced upon your blogs through Misterhubs and all I can say is that you just keep me hooked. I admire you so much, your views, your life, your work philosophy and your dedication to your crafts. I wish I can be like you. LOL!Hope we can meet sumday so that I can get more inspiration from you. Keep it up! You're doin' an excellent job!

jimg29 said...
As a full pledge Waray Waray your Tagalog is conveyed much clearer than most of the people I know. My son and nephew cannot even utter a single word. No wonder your mind is not languid. Could it be that a diet of ocean food brought out the best in you as high level of iodine must be running thru your bloodstream by now! LOL

Anonymous said...
Thaddeus,I read your post while taking my ten minute coffee break. Have been in the office since 6am this morning,and it's already--anung petsa na? huhu. I was working on one pleading after another, was catching on one deadline after another.these past few days, i have been a work whore. and have thought of quitting. (like you did on your first day as tm).but i won't.i just hope though, that when i look back ten, twenty, thirty years down the lane, i could confidently say that all these were worth it. sigh.

Jay said…
I totally understand how you feel!!!I'm part of a new program at the company I work at, and this is my first job ever. We had new TSR's coming in left and right every week. It was a huge ramp up. I was also promoted to Team Lead in about a month and a half of being on the production floor. It was overwhelming...but I agree with you! Right now, even though I'm swamped with work and there seems to be no appreciation nor any recognition for the extra effort one puts into their job, it's the people that you work with that keep s you sane. They're the ones that keep you motivated to do the extra little things that you do. If it weren't for these people I don't think I would still be doing what I do now. Thad I love your blog..it's like you've experienced things that I feel as though I'm bound to experience sooner or later. It's so relatable that it's become addictive. :)-Jay

scholasas said...
Ei, thad!=) got my own blog already!heheh Lastnight,I was envious (aw-a-non in short) enough to have my own as well.heheh Balit, I intend to showcase my not-so-good artworks of mine and practicing my not-so-bad-but-crazy grammar (just feel free to critique my work thad, I'll appreciate it, eventhough it's negative, much better!).hahah So out of curiousity of this blogging world our yours, I ended up registering myself as well >sigh<. anyway, It's still underconstruction. nyahahaha=)

Sana tumagal pa na parang masamang damo (LOL!) at marami ang ma-publish na articles sa Emancipation slash Metamorphosis slash Pillowbook ng lola nyo. Balitaw, from the bottom of my Hypothalamus, the seat of my emotions, a huge THANK YOU.

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