Friday, September 29, 2006

Powerless Friday

I'm typing this blog entry in an Internet cafe because many, many homes in Metro Manila are without power at present--including mine. A super typhoon hit the Philippines yesterday, the worst one we've had since 1995. Powerful winds knocked down power lines, toppled billboards, caused flooding, and killed quite a few people.

First, I fervently hope that my Filipino blogger buddies, Houseband00, Irene, Migs, and Juancho, are safe and sound. And Irene, congratulations on being picked Bestest Blog of the Day today! I'm so glad for you!

Here's the
link to a short video clip I made when the storm was just starting:

Many houses and public structures were either heavily damaged or destroyed. Our house was unscathed, thank goodness, but our street looked like a disaster area this morning...the day after the storm. Behold:

Free Image Hosting at <a href=

Free Image Hosting at <a href=

Free Image Hosting at <a href=

Because of the extent of the damage caused by the typhoon, authorities are saying that power will be restored in two to three days. You read that right.
Two. To. Three. Days.


I'm counting my blessings, though. I and mine are safe and sound, our house was untouched. So what if I don't have Internet access for three days? I can't go to this Internet cafe at night, when I'm usually awake and everyone else is asleep. Besides, it's too damn far from where I live...the Internet cafes near my home don't have power too! :-(

Never mind. This, too, shall pass. But I sure hope it passes soon.

No Blogworld Saturday tomorrow, mes amis. I'll make up for it next week, or as soon as power at home is restored. In the meantime, I shall weep sorrowful tears at the thought of missing all your wonderful blogs in the coming days.

I hope all is well in your part of the world. Spare a happy thought or send some positive vibes towards the Philippines, will you?

Have a good weekend, everyone.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Of bloody ISPs and fun graffiti

I don't ♥ my Internet Service Provider anymore. Their service used to be excellent, but lately they've been screwing up a lot. I didn't have a connection most of last night and today. Me going through Internet withdrawal symptoms is NOT a pretty sight. Last night was especially terrible...I was all set to bloglurk, only to find that dreaded "Page cannot be found" message every time I opened my browser. I decided to sit back and hope against hope for everything to be okay again.

While waiting, I turned on some music and did the getting-to-know you thing with a new friend. At first I was listening to songs from Miss Saigon, but decided I was depressed enough already and that I didn't need to hear songs about a doomed love affair and the heroine's sacrifice. So I switched to something more upbeat, if you can call Nirvana and some dirty rap songs upbeat, haha (and I don't even like rap music all that much).

After an hour and still no Internet, I decided to call it a night. Besides, I was starting to get sloshed--and if my connection did by any chance start to work again, I didn't want to be accused of BUI (blogging under the influence). So I curled up in bed, intending to read a little, but was out like a light in about ten nanoseconds.

All seems well at present. I did a bit of blogsurfing earlier in the day (before I lost my connection...again!) and now I can finally put up the wall I did for Frank Sirianni's Foxxfyrre's Black and White Art Blog.

Free Image Hosting at

It ain't fine art, but what the heck. It was a fun thing to do. By the way, that thing that looks like a malformed H near my name, isn't. It's supposed to be the sign for Pisces. I originally wanted to do an image of two fishes in a numerically risqué position, but try as I might, I couldn't.

Try doing it; you can download blank walls from Frank's site. Then e-mail him your graffiti wall when you're done. It's that easy. Some blogger buddies have done it already: Rhys, Gale, Julie.

And now, I'm off to get some work and blogsurfing done.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Photo tag from H

I've been tagged by the intelligent and foxy H, who lives in India. This tag was begotten by H in cooperation with Houseband00 (those wily creatures).

So here ya go, H!

A big Thank You also to Billy Mac over at Critique My Blog! He reviewed my blog recently, as well as the blogs of a good number of my cyberpals. If you're a blog lurker like moi, his site is a good resource (in addition to Bobby's The Bestest Blog of All Time and Rhys' A World of Bloggers).

Now quit laughing at my picture already! Oh, what the heck, my Medusa/Dark Galadriel is in there somewhere...and she's probably the one laughing the loudest.

Who am I going to tag now? Hmmm...all of you reading this. :-) Just be sure to let me know via the comments section or the shout box so I can go to your blog and ogle.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Of death and laughter

The other night my friends and I went to visit a former colleague (CB) whose father had died. The wake was being held at a funeral parlor attached to a church. It was a typical scene: several parlors sitting side by side, with many of the visitors spilling out of the rooms to smoke while chatting. You can hear people laughing and talking about all sorts of things.

CB is a very pretty woman, but that night everyone could tell that she was plain exhausted. Not surprising, what with having to greet all the visitors while keeping an eye on her very energetic sons, too. I asked her if she cried the first time she saw her dad in the casket. She said she didn't. Her recounting of the events before, during, and after her father's death brought back a flood of memories.

I lost my dad many, many years ago. I don't remember if I actually cried in his hospital room at the moment of his death…but I must have. I do remember with startling clarity the up-down motion of his respirator in the final moments, and the way it stopped, its irrevocable stillness. After that, it was a haze of preparing for the wake, the funeral, informing the numerous friends and relatives of his passing, helping my siblings with taking care of our mother.

Wakes (or lamay, in the local parlance) are strange events here sometimes. If not for the presence of the casket, you would think that you were attending quite a convivial occasion because there's usually lots of laughter. First, the visitors would go up to the coffin and view the remains. Then there would be conversation with family members and/or other guests. My dad's wake was like a big family reunion...relatives from all over the country came over. My uncles and my cousins played Scrabble or cards all night, and conversation was nonstop. Food and beverage flowed. When my friends came to visit me, it was a riot. Sure, they tried to be somber at first...behave the "proper" way. But in no time at all, anecdotes about my dad as well as their own dads had us in stitches. And the fact that we knew we weren't supposed to be laughing made it all the more difficult to stop.

But on the day of my dad's funeral, as I watched the casket being lowered into the ground, it suddenly hit me hard. The finality of it all broke my heart.

I would never again see him finish the paper's crossword puzzle in record time on a daily basis.

I would never again laugh at his corny jokes.

I would never again experience his unique way of driving: super fast, yet ultra smooth.

I would never again see him relax over a snifter of brandy that my mother had poured for him.

I would never again hear those dratted sneezes that never failed to shake the whole house.

It was then that the tears started to fall.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Blogworld Saturday

Another great week is come and nearly gone (in this part of the world anyway); another satisfactory week of blog lurking. I've had the pleasure of learning some new things about my old blogger friends and I've discovered some great new blogs as well. To those who leave comments about my postings (and to those who used the shout box), thank you. I hope you drop in again.

  1. Kiyotoe's blog entry over at The Dragon 050376, about changes in standards of what seemingly defines "being a man" nowadays is a bit perturbing because there's more than a grain of truth in it. The line that separates the men from the boys is -- sadly -- becoming blurred to many.
  2. A superhero called Binoculo? An amusing idea that Michael C came up with because of a news report about a man in Brazil who can pop out his eyeballs.
  3. Doc has an unconventionally sweet post about how she and her French husband celebrated their fourth wedding anniversary. I enjoy her descriptions of the triumphs and tribulations of what it's like to live in France.
  4. I am a fashion retard. I do like to play dress up now and then, but most of the time I'm pretty much just a jeans-and-tee sort of woman. So it's a pleasure for me to visit the blogs of Jessica and Shopaholic D because I get ideas about outfits that I can wear only in my dreams.
  5. I admire people who are involved in the performing arts, such as theatre. It's a joy to read about their experiences. Julie's performance in the musical I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change got a great press review, yay! And Gumby modestly mentions his brilliant performance in rehearsals for the play Passion of Dracula.
  6. Gale's harangue on hypocrisy in some people's reactions to sex in beer marketing and advertising ploys is food for thought. Her blog entries are great to read--they're informative and funny at the same time!
  7. Art + good writing=Ela Zawrat's Journal. My attention was captured by Ela's heartfelt prose and art, which were shaped by memories of both good and bad experiences.
  8. Irene (a.k.a. Ophelia) writes about the "pregnant pauses" that she experiences in life. Mother, wife, quotation-phile, fun gal -- she's all of them. Cheers, mare. :-)
  9. Writing about being unromantic and being bitten by the love bug in the same post is something that Migs did recently. His writing is eloquent, sublimely so. It takes my breath away. Cheers, pare! :-)
  10. I have nothing but admiration for people who have the will and discipline to maintain multiple blogs at the same time. Morgen takes the cake with FIVE blogs (well, four technically, because one of them is Daphne the Kitty's). His blog's new template is looking spiffy, in my opinion. Don't forget to check out Writer's, Ink: a collaborative venture with Janna. They have a spooky short story competition for the month of October.
  11. Mimi has wonderful plans for her blog. I am so looking forward to more awesome blog entries from her. Her dating profile site is wonderfully funny, too! She's witty and articulate and (judging from her half-face) a lovely-looking woman as well.
  12. Lastly, many thanks to that funny and cool guy in England, Yaxlich, for the book meme he tagged me with. I got to know about quite a few great-sounding books from other people who did the meme, such as Ian, Gale, Ghostrose, Morgen, and Osman.

Bloggers on hiatus or in absentia (Prometheus, Mike, inamini, and Sony)...I miss your posts.

Wishing everyone a safe and cool weekend.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Tagged: Morgen's Movie Meme

Morgen of It's a Blog Eat Blog World tagged me and some of his other blogger buddies with his very own movie meme. Here are my answers to his questions.

1. The last movie you saw in a theatre, and current-release movie you still want to see.
I'm not much of a movie-goer. I prefer to watch movies on cable or DVD. The last one I saw in the movie theater was Superman Returns. And I saw it in the new IMAX theater here (they had some 3D scenes
in the movie, very cool!)

I also heard a rumor that the crotch area of Brandon Routh's Superman costume had to be retouched digitally because he bulged
just a little bit too much there. Superman, indeed!

Western films currently showing in movie theaters here are: Step Up, the Breed, DOA: Dead or Alive, and Kinky Boots. I have no
yearning to see any of them right now.

2. The last movie you rented/purchased for home viewing.
I don't rent, I usually buy when I venture out into the city (since
DVD's are soooo cheap here, haha!).

Elizabeth I. Borrowed the DVD from a friend. I like historical books and films, and I think the Elizabethan period is a fascinating era. Virgin queen, my ass. Lizza I (if she had existed) would have had a ball! (literally and figuratively speaking)

3. A movie that made you laugh out loud.
So many of them, but I'll name two:
Kung Fu Hustle. Man, this is one funny action/comedy. You don't have to be a fan of Chinese movies or martial arts to enjoy it, and you
don't have to know Chinese to appreciate the film's sublime aspects.

The Full Monty. Now who didn't laugh at this one? I thought it was
funny as hell. I like British humor. Errr, humour.

4. A movie that made you cry.
Good heavens, there have been so many. Okay, I'll be good and just name one. I Am Sam. I feel a lump in my throat just thinking about it.

5. A movie that was a darling of the critics, but you didn't think lived up to the hype.
Titanic. Some critics hated it, but quite a few wrote glowing reviews about it. I like a good love story, but I just thought this one was just cheesy. And special effects notwithstanding, all the hype about it just put me off. I've watched bits and pieces of it on HBO, but not the whole movie. I'm glad I didn't spend money to see it on the big screen.

6. A movie that you thought was better than the critics.
Dr. Seuss' Cat in the Hat. Sure, a talking cat with magical powers sounds mighty strange, but I had fun watching it. I think Mike Myers is funny. And I think the dynamics of the brother-sister relationship were explored in an engaging way in this movie.

7. Favorite animated movie.
Monsters, Inc. It was funny and heartwarming. If only all monsters were as adorable as the ones in this film.

8. Favorite Disney Villain.
Gaston, in Beauty and the Beast. He was such a loveable, pompous ass. Kind of like some men I know.

9. Favorite movie musical.
The songs in The King and I are fun, and I liked the Tuptim-Lun Tha love story.

Grease was also an enjoyable movie musical. I think I still know most of the songs.

10. Favorite movies of all-time (up to five).

5:Silence of the Lambs -- Anthony Hopkins was superb in this one, as was Jodie Foster.

4: Godfather I -- a classic. It has sex, murder, money, love; everything but the kitchen sink.

3: Rurouni Kenshin: Ishin Shishi No Requiem (anime) -- conflict between two men in 19th-century Japan, both standing up for what they believe is right. I'm enthralled with Kenshin's character. He's an ex-slasher who tries to find redemption for his sins by defending the helpless with his sword...which is kind of hard since he's sworn never to kill again.

2: Chocolat -- seems simplistic at first. But if you look deeper, you'll find some interesting yet universal conflicts: man against woman, sin and religion, daughter against mother, etc. Plus, Johnny Depp's in it. And chocolate.

1: Lord of the Rings trilogy -- not quite up to the books' excellence, but a superb adaptation nevertheless. I thoroughly enjoyed watching them on the big screen, and I watch them whenever they're shown on cable.

*** Tag five bloggers to answer the movie meme:

Yaxlich, Irene, Terra Shield, H, Kiyotoe

You guys are now IT. Everybody else is welcome to play too. Hey, it's a brand-new meme created by Morgen, and it's fun. Thanks again, Mo!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Rain, rain, DON'T go away

It's raining hard again here. We're in the middle of the rainy season here in the Philippines, but there are times when it doesn't just rain. Sometimes it really, really pours.

And when that happens, I am in heaven.

I love the rain. I live in a part of Metro Manila that's away from the traffic and where there are lots of trees. So it gets really nice and cool here when it's raining. Makes me to just want to stay in bed under the covers, with a good book. Or to play in the rain (only if there's no thunder and lightning, though). Someone I know likes to bake cookies when it's raining; she says they smell and taste better somehow. Another person I know hates the rain and bitches about it, because it causes all sorts of even worse than the usual traffic jams.

Not me, though. If only flooding wasn't a problem (which it is, not only in the Philippines but in neighboring countries as well), I'd be happy with rain every day. That doesn't mean I don't like the sun, because I do -- especially when I go to the beach! But there's just something about the sound of raindrops falling on the ceiling and against the window that's so relaxing. And the smell is heavenly too.

Work beckons, though (and blog lurking). So bed, see you later. Book, wait for me. Hmmm...maybe I'll toast to the rain later. Having a drink or two while listening to good music on a rainy night sounds good.

I hope everyone has a good day today.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Tagged! Book meme

Yaxlich, a very cool guy over there in the land of mentally mixed-up royalty (Wills is cute, though), tagged me with a meme. It's about books, and I do so love books!

1. One book that changed your life - the hardest question first.

Boy, this is hard. One book? Just one book? Well, I'll say that this book had me fall in love with reading and literature at an early age: 70 Favorite Stories for Young Readers. It features work by contributors such as Louisa May Alcott, O. Henry, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ray Bradbury, James Thurber, Walter de la Mare, and others whose significance in the literary world would dawn on me several years later.

2. One book that you've read more than once.
Another tough one. I've read so many books over and over. One of the most recent would be Gai-jin, by James Clavell. I enjoy historical fiction, and this one just grabbed me and swallowed me whole. It was like I was actually seeing and living life in mid-19th-century Japan, when honor and duty were the way of life there. I've also re-read Clavell's other historical books, notably Tai-Pan and Shogun.

3. One book that you'd want on a desert island.
Damn, I can't answer this! It's like asking me to choose only one food to eat for the rest of my life. Can I ask for broadband Internet connection instead so that I'd be able to download all the e-books I want to read? Oh, maybe Xaviera Hollander's Letters to the Happy Hooker (tee hee)

4. One book that made you laugh.
Seinlanguage, by Jerry Seinfeld. Also, Erma Bombeck's If Life Is a Bowl of Cherries, What Am I Doing in the Pits? And the classic English As She Is Spoke--this one is a must read.

5. One book that made you cry.
I cry even at commercials and funny movies. Okay. The Diary of Anne Frank. Milan Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Erich Segal's Love Story. (yeah, yeah, I read sappy love stories. Shoot me.) The Little Mermaid in an anthology of Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tales (one reason I never deigned to watch the Disney movie version. The bastards desecrated my favorite fairy tale).

6. One book that you wish you had written.
I wish I could have contributed to Songs of Ourselves: Writings by Filipino Women in English, edited by Edna Zapanta-Manlapaz. A wondrous collection of literature by Filipinas in and out of the Philippines.

Otherwise...hmmm. None, really. There are many that I've savored, but I've yet to find one that will make me wish I'd written it. Maybe one day I'll write one and somebody will say "Gee, I wish I'd written that book!" Dream on, girlie.

7. One book you wish had never been written.
Hmmm. None, really. There are many that I've disliked, but I've yet to find one that will make me wish it had never been written. Maybe one day I'll write one and somebody will say "Gee, I wish that book had never been written!" Bite your tongue, girlie.

8. One book that you are reading at the moment.
I have three. Points of View: An Anthology of Short Stories, edited by James Moffett and Kenneth R. McElheny; The 100 Best Poems of All Time, edited by Leslie Pockell, and the Reader's Digest Book of Facts. All of which I'm re-reading, by the way. I alternate them. One for before going to sleep, one for when I'm doing my thing in the bathroom, one for "just because."

9. One book that you've been meaning to read.
Jeff Bezos: Business Genius of, by Judy Garty. Never mind the tarmac-like forehead. He made a fortune out of selling books. He's awesome.

10. Five others that you’d like to do this.
I'm tagging other blatantly obvious bibliophiles. Mimi, Gale, H, Morgen, inamini, Irene, Ian, and Prometheus. Oh, that's eight. What the heck. I never did learn to deal with numbers. Of course, anyone who wants to do this, feel free. Leave a comment and I'll read your book list.

Thanks, Yaxlich! This was fun.

Monday, September 18, 2006


Cyanide and Happiness, a daily webcomic
Cyanide & Happiness @

Cyanide & Happiness, in addition to Ian's The Adventures of the S-Team and XKCD, is one of the webcomics that I enjoy. They make me laugh unexpectedly sometimes. The cartoon above, however, is funny and sad at the same time. Isn't it scary, the thought of not being able to touch someone?

Let's say for example, I come across a perverted genie who commands me to name a sense I could live without (and let's say I can't say no or run away because he'll blow up the world or something like that), which one among the human senses or abilities would I choose to give up? I can't choose common sense since I don't have that anyway, har har. But I sure as hell wouldn't want to go without any of the five senses.

I think I'd give up the ability to speak.

It would be no great loss, really. I don't sing and I don't talk much. It might be a tad difficult to believe because I spew all sorts of things here on my blog. But people who know me personally know that I'm pretty quiet. Sure, I can pitch in my two cents' worth in a conversation, but that doesn't happen too often...especially when I find myself among people I don't really know. I much prefer to listen to what others are saying. I'm never the life of the party. I like to remain in the background, unnoticed, listening to what others are saying. I'm just silent most of the time. So losing the ability to speak would probably be the one ability I'd give up (not that I'd want to, take note. Just in case I come across a crazy genie).

I wouldn't want to lose the sense of touch, though.

Not to say that I'm a touchy-feely person. I treasure my personal space. I hate it when strangers come within a foot of me. Touch me not! But people I love are not only welcome to enter my space, I've been known to drag them in against their will. Touching and being touched is a wondrous thing.

By the way, I've put up a shoutbox. It's at the left side of this blog, just scroll down a bit to see it. So if you feel like it, just shout, shout, let it all out. :-)

Sunday, September 17, 2006

The F word

Sure, I can type it. It's easy.

Fuck. See?

Readers of this blog will have noticed that I do use the F word from time to time (ignore the misspellings in the video). I think it's a great word, especially when you use it to make a point. There are many, many blogs I've read, which use the word fuck like there's no tomorrow. It's usually okay by me, I'm not offended by profanity. However, if profanity is used JUST to "look cool" or something like that, I think it's a turnoff.

But in my offline world (a phrase that's NOT interchangeable with real world, IMO, because offline can be very real in a sense--but that's the topic for another post altogether) I rarely use the F word. When I stub my toe or when I undergo an otherwise unexpected and painful experience, I can find myself saying "Oh FUCK! Man, oh fucking shit! Owww, FUCK!!!" Or variations thereof.

I should say this, though. To my offline pals (who prefer not to comment), do not get your knickers in a twist. Yes, I do say fuck when I'm with you guys. But when I find myself amongst a group of strangers (which doesn't happen a lot, thank heavens) I don't use the F word. Why? Because my use of the F word is something personal, something that reveals what I'm feeling or thinking at that very moment. So whenever I say fuck in my blog entries, you can be sure that it's something that I feel strongly about... something that gives a glimpse of the real me at that moment. I know, it's pathetic that I sometimes can't come up with a better word to describe my frustrations. But this four-letter-word is just so apt in certain cases.

The Tagalog equivalent of fuck sounds so rude, so profane. But in the same way that "Aww, fuck you, man" can be said lovingly and with affection to a friend, depending on the context and inflection, then one could say Putang ina mo kang bwakanabitch kang hayup ka to another person here, and he or she would probably hug you for it--or at the very least laugh at it (assuming that the person to whom it is being said is just as foul-mouthed). As long as you say it to a friend, who understands it's a cuss phrase that's said with the sincerest affection, then all is fine. Just remember that TONE is vital.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Blogworld Saturday

Once again, it's Sabado (Saturday) in my part of the world. Here are links to some of the posts and blogs I've enjoyed over the past week (by the way, there have been a LOT of them...and I couldn't possibly post them all now, so I'll try to share the others next week. But I will have read more great posts by that time. Good lord, when will the discovery of great blogs and blog postings end???)

Here's the rundown. It's a mix of old and new blogs that I've been reading.

1. Over at AussiesNan, nannan tells a chilling (haha) tale of a residential serial killer that's been victimizing cute furry creatures. A tale of carnage, so charmingly told.

2. I always enjoy MD's entries at Funky-Ass Randomness. She has a way with words that is so heart rending. Her post about falling in love (and the accompanying picture) is striking.

3. Mimi gives us a pretty thoughtful look at her take on the evolution of some of her favorite blogs. Her postings at Mimi Writes are always lovely and reader-friendly.

4. I'm ecstatic to learn about Shout, the blog of H. She's Indian, she's smart, she's funny. Don't use the acronym LOL in her presence, she gets Very Irritated. She also has a monster in her head. Prometheus, hear that? If we can find any more, our Medusas can have a damn tea party.

5. Osman is a young man who lives in Turkey. His blog posts at Estranged Love show mature sensitivity, I think. The one about how to love is bittersweet.

6. inamini has an interesting post about her plans for covert, nocturnal gardening. She also has many other wonderful blog entries that tie her life with history and her ancestry. I like her.

7. I was recently introduced to the blog My Life with D. And to the person who did this, thank you (you know who you are). :-) Houseband00's blog, which chronicles what it's like for a man to raise his child by himself, dealing with loss, getting back into the dating game, etc., are very touching. They are real, they are personal.

8. Sidney, who does My Sarisari Store, is currently showcasing a photo series about cockfighting, which is a very popular "sport" here in the Philippines. (And no, Gumby & Morgen, and to all other gay readers out there, it ain't THAT type of cock!) It's a cruel pasttime in my opinion, so animal lovers, be warned.

9. Bruno is a Hollywood actor. He has appeared in a number of TV shows, one of the most recent of which is House (very funny show!). He's asking for feedback about which proof he should use for auditions for detective roles. Go here to help him out!

10. ...The Other HNT is an adult-oriented site, but it ain't porn, okay? HNT stands for Half-Nekkid Thursdays, and it's very graphic. Some of the pictures there are actually quite good, I think (but I'm no professional photographer, so my opinion doesn't really pull a lot of weight). Go submit a picture of your own body part if you are so inclined (I'm not).

Blog stalking is so much fun! Right, Terra?

Uh-oh, time to get back to work, I think. Hark! Do I hear the sound of a whip cracking from the land of the cheerful Caridean crustaceans?

Have a great weekend everybody!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Eyes are damn wide open

Count sheep.
Count backwards from 100.
Soak feet in warm water.

They're not working! I still can't get to sleep.

Isn't it just the pits when you can't fall asleep even when you're bone tired? There are times when my body craves sleep, but my mind just won't cooperate. So I toss and turn, and toss and turn some more for a couple of hours until sleep finally claims me. Or worse, just when I'm falling asleep, something in my subconscious wriggles--and I'm wide awake again. So I toss and turn until I feel like some damned salad. *sigh*

I used to be a sleep champ. All I needed to do was to crawl into bed whenever I felt sleepy and presto! I was dead to the world. My sleeping hours used to be quite lengthy too. Nowadays, I get a lot less than the recommended eight hours.

Sometimes I think my insomnia is taking its toll on me. I'm starting to have memory lapses. I feel like I'm Dory, that blue fish in...what was the name of that Disney film again? The people here should thank their lucky stars that I don't drive.

I'm so up to my eyeballs in sleep debt. I really need to pay it off soon, because the interest rates could be deadly. Heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it's off to bed (again!) I go, yadda yadda.

Many things--such as loving, going to sleep, or behaving unaffectedly--are done worst when we try hardest to do them. --C.S. Lewis

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Balat the Tagalog word for skin (buh-LAHT).

Several days ago, I got a call from a telemarketer. It went something like this:

Ring, ring!
Me: Hello?
TM: Hello! I'm looking for Lizza.
Me: Speaking.
TM: Hi, Ms. Lizza! I'm so-and-so from XYZ Marketing.
Me: Okay, can I help you? (I know, I'm such a dumbass.)
TM: Oh, we can help YOU! Have you seen our latest ad?

One thing you should probably know about me, I'm not a big infomercial fan. There are probably 3-4 channels -- or more! -- on cable TV here in the Philippines that are devoted entirely to infomercials.

Me: Ummm, no.
TM: We have a new skin whitening cream that's very effective! It comes from (name of another Asian country), and it's very popular!!!
Me: Oh, really? Thanks, but I'm not interested in your product.
TM: But it's very, very popular, and it's EFFECTIVE! You'll have whiter skin in as LITTLE AS TWO WEEKS!!!!
To make a long story short, she finally got the message that I really was not interested.

Skin whitening creams are a big deal among many people here, especially among the females. Internationally-known brands carry them (Ponds, Nivea, etc.), as do local brands. I respect the decision of others to use these products. But I have never tried them and have no plans of doing so.

Philippine society is comprised of many sorts of ethnicities. The Chinese-Filipinos are perhaps the best known for their pearly, smooth skin. Kind of like white rose petals with a tinge of color. And unfair as it may seem, there's a pervading mentality that the fairer the color of your skin, the more well off you are -- the higher your place in society. You're more "desirable." More "marketable." More attractive to the opposite sex.

I don't really know if it's a question of how we as Filipinas are perceived internationally. I do know that it gets my goat when Asian women are lumped together as easy pieces of ass for the great white man (or any color foreigner, for that matter). I admit that prostitution is a thriving business here. But then, it isn't exclusive to the Philippines and other Asian countries. The world's oldest profession is thriving practically everywhere! Not all Filipinas are little brown fuck bunnies.


I don't question the decision of many women in my country to use whitening creams. But it's just not for me. I'm brown, okay? It's a color I like, I'm comfortable with it. I'm in my own skin in it. If I really wanted to change the way I look, I'd go for a total transformation, not skin color. Maybe something like this would be interesting. Whatcha think?

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Sometimes good is bad

One of my neighbors is kind of known as a pillar of the community. She goes to church every day and does voluntary church work. Around these parts, she's seen as a "good" person. But there's an air of aloofness about her, and when her neighbor was having water supply problems, she did nothing to help. In fact, she was quite vocal about how this neighbor's problems shouldn't be affecting her.

She puts a bad spin on the word "good." And it makes me believe that being "kind" is so much better than being this type of "good."

Acts of kindness by friends and family are always appreciated. It moves me to tears sometimes when they do this sort of thing when I least expect it. If you've ever experienced being in trouble, then finding out that they're helping you -- even in small ways -- without being asked to, you probably know what I mean.

But acts of kindness by strangers are especially heartwarming. I've been lucky to have been on the receiving end so many times over the years: when our car broke down on the highway and people stopped to ask if they could do anything to help; somebody paying anonymously for my drink; somebody offering to share their umbrella when I'm caught unawares in a downpour...the list goes on.

I read somewhere that the best way to repay an act of kindness is to pass it on. Great idea; I agree wholeheartedly. But if you're going to do it, then in the name of all that is kind and good, don't go about broadcasting what you did, okay? And don't make the recipient feel that he or she owes you a debt of gratitude because of the act of kindness you showed to him or her. That would not be "good."

Monday, September 11, 2006

Call me Midnight

"Do you have a Spanish pepper up your butt?" was the elegant question that a certain smartass asked me sometime last week while I was working somewhat hard. So now I am starting this week in a more relaxed checking out those useless but fun online quizzes!

What Your Soul Really Looks Like

You are very passionate and quite temperamental. While you can be moody, you always crave comfort.

You are a grounded person, but you also leave room for imagination and dreams. You feet may be on the ground, but you're head is in the clouds.

You believe that people see you as larger than life and important. While this is true, they also think you're a bit full of yourself.

Your near future is calm, relaxing, and pretty much what you want. And it's something you've been anticipating for a while now.

For you, love is all about caring and comfort. You couldn't fall in love with someone you didn't trust.

I don't think I'm a bit full of myself. I know I'm full of myself. And I certainly don't think love is just about caring and comfort. We all know that! (rolls eyes)


You Are Midnight

You are more than a little eccentric, and you're apt to keep very unusual habits.
Whether you're a nightowl, living in a commune, or taking a vow of silence - you like to experiment with your lifestyle.
Expressing your individuality is important to you, and you often lie awake in bed thinking about the world and your place in it.
You enjoy staying home, but that doesn't mean you're a hermit. You also appreciate quality time with family and close friends.

Parts of this one are kind of accurate. But instead of using the euphemism "more than a little eccentric," they should've called it like it is: downright crazy. And I do lie awake in bed sometimes, but you can bet your fanny that the last thing I'm thinking about is the world and my place in it! (wink, wink)


You Are 68% Feminine, 32% Masculine

You are in touch with your feminine side.
Sensitive, intuitive, and caring are all words that describe you.
And you're just masculine enough to relate to both men and women.

Being something of a mental and emotional hermaphrodite is interesting. But aren't we all?


Your Boobies' Names Are...


Elvis? ELVIS??? Why? As in hot and sexy like when Elvis was young, or as in dumpy-looking and pathetic when he was old? And why did it come up with only ONE name for the two of them?
Jeeeeezzzzzz. I would've liked Ernie and Bert better. Or Thelma and Louise.


Acts of hatred and violence will never end, will they? Whether they're done in the name of religion or power, or simply as extreme manifestations of ego, they continue to be with us.

After everything has been said and done, the rhetoric doesn't really matter. Eloquently empty speeches are about as lovely as the taste of grass in one's dry mouth after a hard and lonely night. The victims of these terrible, grandiose schemes concocted by megalomaniacs are for the most part just ordinary people: they're someone's mother, father, sibling, child, spouse, lover, neighbor, friend. They just went off to work one ordinary morning, and never came home again.

Whether such violence occurs in New York City or in the Middle East or in Asia or wherever, the result is the same: grieving family and friends who cannot understand the why, only that they are suffering a loss that is almost too terrible to bear. To these people, my heart goes out to you.

The following sad -- yet somehow hopeful -- poems come to mind. The first one is a 19th-century poem, and it was part of an article in a 2001 issue of Reader's Digest. The second one is something I wrote a few years back.

Death Is Nothing at All
by Canon Henry Scott-Holland

Death is nothing at all
I have only slipped away into the next room
I am I and you are you
Whatever we were to each other
That we are still
Call me by my old familiar name
Speak to me in the easy way you always used
Put no difference into your tone
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow
Laugh as we always laughed
At the little jokes we always enjoyed together
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was
Let it be spoken without effort
Without the ghost of a shadow in it
Life means all that it ever meant
It is the same as it ever was
There is absolute unbroken continuity
What is death but a negligible accident?
Why should I be out of mind
Because I am out of sight?
I am waiting for you for an interval
Somewhere very near
Just around the corner
All is well.
Nothing is past; nothing is lost
One brief moment and all will be as it was before
How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!



Listening to the rain
Watching several drops hit and fall
Down my window pane
Faster than the tears rolling down my face

Wondering, marvelling at the quicksilver nature of life
One life, here one day, gone the same day
Like the raindrop that fell down my window pane
Like the tear that fell down my face

Refusing to let go
Would be like refusing to let the raindrops fall
To nourish something else

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Sticks and stones

...may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.


Is anyone really ever truly immune to being bad-mouthed, being the subject of foul criticism, hurtful gossip and the like? If you're the type of person who's constantly in the public eye -- a movie star or a politician or some other type of celebrity -- then you'd have to develop a thick skin, because whether you like it or not, people are going to say less than favorable things about you.

But what if you're the type of person who's the ordinary guy or gal next door, someone who's just minding their own business, and you hear something bad that's being said about you from a friend of a friend of a friend? That can suck the big one. But my personal philosophy when it comes to this sort of issue is this: if such words or comments come from people who mean absolutely nothing to me, if their opinions do not matter to me, then they can yadda yadda until they're blue in the face. I do not give a flying fuck.

But if criticism or other "negative" comments do come from someone whose opinion I value, from someone I care deeply about and trust, then that's another story altogether. Trust is such a hard commodity to come by these days. And knowing that, I'm immeasurably grateful for the people I can talk to, people I trust, people with whom I can be myself in all my glorious craziness -- and who still love and accept me in spite of everything. Their advice and well-placed concern are deeply appreciated, more than words can ever say. One such beloved friend is MG, who celebrates her birthday today.

Words are funny things sometimes, especially in a cultural context. Salvage is one such word. According to the dictionary, it means to save something or someone from loss or destruction. But here in the Philippines, salvage is also a word commonly used for the act of ambushing and killing someone. So if you hear of someone who's a salvage victim, that is NOT good news. Oh no, not good news at all. But if I salvage someone to salvage my pride, is that a good thing? Depends on the who's, why's, and wherefore's maybe.

Eh, probably not.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Blogworld Saturday

For many of you, it's still Friday in your part of the world. But according to the clock ticking there <---, it's early Saturday morning where I am. And once again, it's time for me to share some of the entries I've enjoyed the past week, from blogs I've been stalking for a long time and from those that I've recently discovered.

1. I can't say I'm enjoying Doc's predicament right now, but I do enjoy the way she describes things. She makes me laugh. I do hope things sort themselves out soon, Doc.

2. Did you know that weightlifting has a biblical background? I sure as hell didn't until I read Tony's take on it. Pretty interesting stuff. He also kindly gave me some pointers on how to self-reference my fist to someone else's face, lol!

3. Gale started a campaign against brunettes. Thankfully, it was short lived. Or else she and Mimi would've started to mud wrestle.

4. Justin's cheesecake entry got me thinking desirous thoughts about cheesecake...yummy!

5. Michael C has a fantastic post about a possible traffic deterrent in California. Here in the Philippines, we have "humps"; over in the Golden State, they might have "goat bumps." LOL!

6. I do so love poetry, and Bazza's entry about a raunchy poem by Andrew Marvell is lovely. :-) Plus, there are great entries about life in the UK in general.

7. When I was playing the follow-the-link game, I came across a fellow Filipina blogger, Redjeulle. I'm enjoying her blog postings very much.

8. Yaxlich has been having some memory lapses, making me worry a little bit about him. He's been having some problems with mutant hairs, among other things.

9. Terra Shield is a fellow blog stalker, and she has a post about weird dreams. I'm no stranger to that phenomenon. Hah!

10. Juancho is another Filipino blogger, a man of diverse talents and interests. He has an interesting post about martial arts, a topic that interests me.

To bloggers in absentia, or those who haven't been updating in a while, I hope all is well with you people.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Friday, September 08, 2006

Get thee behind me

Have you ever wanted someone or something so badly that it fills your every waking thought -- even your dreams sometimes -- and that every song you hear, every movie you see, virtually everything that crosses your line of sight becomes connected to that desire, no matter how farfetched? And that this desire that occupies every fiber of your being with such intensity is almost always bad for you, physically and/or mentally? (And I'm not talking about beer, smartass. So stop laughing already.)

It's like the game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. Only most of the time, the connection is as close as two or three degrees. For instance: my night light-->dark-->dark and bitter Belgian chocolate.

See, I'm a pathetic basket case.

Chocolate is lovely. The Aztecs and the Mayas, I'm grateful to 'em, God bless 'em. But if I as much as even look at a bar of chocolate, I gain ten pounds. And I have absolutely no self-control when it comes to chocolate, especially the dark kind. Snap off a few squares to nibble on and put the rest away for later? Fat chance. Before you can say "Holy Guy Lian, Batman!" the whole bar is in my tummy already. And we're talking about a chocolate bar that's practically as big as a ping pong table. And if it's Guy Lian, it's usually a box of seashell-shaped lovely chocolate that's as good to look at as it is to eat. Gobble, gobble.

But these burning needs that we feel sometimes for something or for someone, which we know are NOT good for us, which we know will only result in heartbreak or self-destruction, how do you deal with those? Will the few moments of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower, be worth the seemingly interminable hours of guilt and self-recrimination that are sure to come after?

Self-discipline is the key. So are the ability and willpower to say "NO!" and the strength in your arms to push that Bad Thing or Feeling away. Humans are a higher species of animal who can reason, who can tell wrong from right. Right?

Because it won't do to dream of caramel and to think of cinnamon.

I want. I think I even need. But I can do this. I am Woman! Hear me roar! (Okay, I don't really roar. But you get the idea. And belated apologies to Helen Reddy.)

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Hair color & breakfast talk

I spent some time last night talking to some people, including a wonderful married couple I'll call JW and AW. They're both in their early thirties. JW is an actor, and he's crazy. AW is a singer, and she's crazy as well. They're my kind of crazy...and they're good folks as well.

Anyhow, JW told me a story that had me wondering why people talk about the craziest things during meals -- not just over breakfast -- especially people who have been living together for quite some time. Sometimes the topics can be gross, but they can be riotously fun as well. :-)

This was one of the stories that JW told last night. According to him, it started one morning when he was sitting at the table, about to have breakfast. Then AW came and joined him, and he noticed she had tears in her eyes.

JW: What's wrong?
AW: I was in the bathroom doing my thing, and I saw a white pubic hair.
JW: Eeewwwww!
AW: I plucked it. Wanna see?

I have no idea whether JW did get to see the offending hair; I was too busy laughing at his facial expressions as he told the story and from seeing AW laughing at the memory of that conversation with her husband.

I myself have been seeing a few white hairs on my head recently. But unlike AW, I have no plans of looking south to check if the carpeting is starting to change its color.


Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Saying goodbye... never all that easy.

Other bloggers have written about the adieus some of us have had to bid recently.

Jessie recently informed us that her mother had passed away.

Steve Irwin, the popular "Crocodile Guy," who has entertained and educated millions across the world with his TV shows on Animal Planet and his films, died after being struck by a stingray while doing a documentary called Ocean's Deadliest.

Whether a person's leave-taking is expected or unexpected, having to say goodbye hurts.

And it's no less painful whether we're the ones to say it, or whether we're the ones to whom it is being said.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Repost: Of left feet and vicarious feelings

I'm reposting something from the archives because:
1) I happen to like this piece
2) It's too damn hot to write something new
3) I'm feeling too lazy to move (ahh, the truth is finally out!)

For those of you who haven't come across this one, I hope it tells you a little more of something about lil ol' me.


I've pretty much accepted the fact that I won't win any awards for dancing the way that Daniel Day-Lewis won an Oscar for his role in "My Left Foot." There are some things I can do passably well, but they're pretty much eclipsed by the myriad things I do horribly -- such as dancing. Sure, I can do the slow cheek-to-cheek thing. (But that really doesn't require any talent, does it?) I can also do a fair imitation of Beyonce and shake this fat, sorry excuse for a booty, but that's not the kind of dancing that I'm referring to. (And please note that I am not in any way trying to imply that Beyonce's tush movements don't belong in the realm of dance!)

I don't have much experience in this area of the performing arts. I can't even recall being asked by any guy to dance at parties in high school (but maybe this was because I was taller than most of them). I've always been in awe of people who do it well (like my first bf; he wasn't only intelligent, he was a killer on the dance floor too). Then there are people like Michael Jackson. He very well could be what they accuse him of being when it comes to his... ummm... choice of bedroom companions, but that doesn't take away from the fact that thr guy sure knows how to move! Still, this isn't the kind of dancing that enthralls me.

The tango scene in the film "Scent of a Woman"; the final scene in "Dirty Dancing"; and especially, the man and the woman in the video of Josh Groban's song "Per Te":

These are examples of the kind of dancing that makes me want to weep -- not because I envy their grace (and I do) -- but because it seems like they're doing something so intimately and so passionately together. It's like for the duration of the dance, the rest of the world doesn't exist -- nothing and no one else does, only the two of them. Each one is the other's whole world; focused only on expressing what's in one's heart and soul to the other, immersed only in what the other is feeling. The intensity of emotions projected by their movements is what captivates me (especially since I know it's a snowball's chance in hell that I'll be able to dance that way).

Through this wonderful medium, these dancers express the same powerful, raw emotions that an actor would with his lines, a poet would with her words, a singer would with her music, or an artist would with his paints. To me, this kind of dancing has a spiritual and emotional dimension, something that connects two people in more ways than just the physical. Not only are they moving together, they're dancing together. Which is just like saying, "they're not having sex, they're making love."

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Thank you...I think?

"Don't be're not that great"
-Golda Meir

Accepting compliments graciously can be hard sometimes. Accept one too readily and people will think you're overconfident. They might even resent you if they think you take compliments too nonchalantly. At the other end of the spectrum, there are people who can't seem to deal with a compliment at all.
A: Oh, what nice cuticles you have!
B: What, you mean these? No, not really. I just chewed on them a lot today; that's why they look all neat and even.
A: I was referring to the cuticles on your toes.
B. Oh. (long silence) Thank you.
I think the best way to accept a compliment is to smile and say a sincere "thank you." Period. If you have something good to say about the person you're talking to at the moment, by all means say it. But don't pay someone a compliment if you don't mean it, if you're just going to do it for the sake of returning the "favor."

What does one do, however, when dealt with a left-handed compliment? You know, when somebody tells you something good and then follows up quickly (usually within the next breath) with a related comment that either makes you feel bad, or at least makes you stop feeling good about the compliment paid a nanosecond earlier. Should you say "thank you" anyway? Should you indulge in a fit of petty spite, lower yourself to that person's level, and pay him/her a left-handed compliment of your own? Did that person intend for the compliment to be left-handed in the first place? Ahh, the complexities of interpersonal communication sometimes.

I was watching a quiz show many, many years ago (I forget if it was Jeopardy! or Family Feud) with a schoolmate. Like Inamini, my mind holds a lot of useless fluff (read: trivia), which is only good for being an armchair contestant and imagining the money I might have won if I'd joined those damn quiz shows.


The quiz host asked the contestant to name at least three of Henry VIII's wives. And I, being a bit of a history buff, named all six of them (okay, okay, I was showing off a bit, I admit). And this schoolmate of mine says something like "Wow, you're a smart cookie." And then, faster than the speed of light, follows up with "But this show is a rerun." The implication, of course, being that I knew the answer only because I must've seen that particular episode before.

I don't remember what I said to that, or even if I said anything at all. I do know that the next person who pays me a left-handed compliment will get left- and right-hand-slapped back.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Blogworld Saturday

First of all, a big YAY! for Yaxlich, whose blog was Bestest Blog of the Day yesterday. His is one of the sites I've been enjoying regularly for quite some time now, and I'm so pleased he got the award. Congratulations, Yaxlich!

Wow, there have been quite a few blogs I've had the pleasure of coming across for the first time during the past week. Here are the things I've learned from some of them:

1. I learned several things from Michael C this week. One is that some people will give crazy names to their restaurants. Another is that commuters in the USA now have some extra time on their hands because their travel time is shorter by a whopping 48 seconds!

2. I like Gale's description of the kinds of blogs that she visits or stays away from. And I love her smart sense of humor. :-)

3. Inamini has formidable driving skills (and also many skills that she calls "non-marketable"). I also learned from her that when you have animals in the house, you shouldn't leave your alcoholic drinks unattended. Inamini, I know this is going to sound a bit mean, but I'm kind of pleased to know that there's someone out there who's even more technically-challenged than me! :-D

4. I learned that a wonderful young lady, who calls herself Terra Shield, had fun joining a firefighting competition that her company held. And that she used to have a sartorially-challenged teacher many years ago. Terra Shield is only one of the names that she was considering for her pseudonym, btw.

5. I enjoy Natalie's blog very much. She writes about her usual, everyday (mis)adventures in Chicago. The music choices she lists at the end of her blog posts are cool too! And she recently established a cool club for nerds. How cool is that?

(Which reminds me, I'm also in the August Fellowship of one of my all-time fave bloggers, Prometheus, who also cites Yaxlich, Terra, Gale, and Tainted as his friends in the blogworld.)

6. Pawlie confessed to doing something in the shower, something he might've thought was too weird to tell even his therapist. But it doesn't sound strange to me at all! LOL

7. I've also found some new webcomics. In addition to XKCD (which I visit regularly), I think Ian's Adventures of the S-Team, msquared's The Ordinary Adventures of Tomas, and Irish's Cartoons by Mr. Irish are very funny -- but in different ways.

For those of you in the United States, I hope you have a wonderful Labor Day weekend! For the rest of us, having just a wonderful weekend will probably suffice. :-)

Friday, September 01, 2006

I'd like to kick HER hump

I spent the morning at my littlest one's school to watch student performances for "Pre-School Day." I didn't expect to have the fun that I did, and it wasn't just because of all those cute preschool kids dancing and singing.

Maybe it was because of lack of sleep or failure to eat breakfast that made me think of some funny things during two dance presentations. I found myself chewing my lip and making little mewling noises to keep myself from laughing out loud, because I was sitting beside a dignified-looking older lady, and the laughter that was threatening to spill out from me wasn't the "oh-aren't-they-cute" kind. It was more like the "bwahahaha-this-is-so-fucking-idiotic" kind -- the kind I don't think she would have appreciated at the moment. Take note, my laughter was not aimed at the children.

It's like this. The kids are on stage, dancing. A teacher is positioned a few feet away, just below the front of the stage. She's acting as a guide for the kids who are performing, so she's doing the dance moves they're supposed to be doing. This teacher, for all intents and purposes, should have been inconspicuous, but since all the dancing kids were staring at her, and because she was in full view of everyone, it was kind of hard to miss her. To say that she was a distraction is an understatement.

Second thing that almost made me chew my lip to shreds. One of the songs that a class of kids danced to was the Black Eyed Peas' My Humps. Sure, it's a catchy tune and it has a great beat. But a song with lyrics that say
My hump, my hump, my hump, my hump,
My hump, my hump, my hump, my hump, my hump, my hump.
My lovely lady lumps (lumps)
My lovely lady lumps (lumps)
My lovely lady lumps (lumps)
In the back and in the front (lumps)
My lovin' got you
probably isn't the best song for a group of five-year-olds to dance to in public. At least that's my opinion anyway. The idea of getting a hold of the idiot responsible for choosing that song and thinking up a suitable punishment for him/her nearly made me crack up again. And the fact that the teacher in front was shaking all that junk, all that junk inside her trunk, didn't help at all.

I'm going out with the girlfriends tonight, yippee! (Well, the person in the center of the photo is technically a guy, but at heart, he's all woman, lol.) In any case, he's a lovely person.

Happy weekend everyone!

On My Own

I'm sleepy as hell right now and should be in bed, but I couldn't get this song out of my mind. If you have four minutes or so to spare, and if you like love songs (especially those of the unrequited love ilk), watch the video in its entirety.

I blame this woman, Lea Salonga, for my total lack of ability to sing. She and I have the exact same birth date, and I have a sneaking suspicion she did something underhanded on that day to make me not pay attention when God was handing out singing voices.

Frances Ruffelle did an admirable job as Eponine in the musical Les Miserables, but Lea didn't do too badly either. I think she has a wonderful voice, and she's a talented actress too. Lea achieved international fame when she won a Tony Award and a Laurence Olivier Award for best actress -- among numerous other awards -- for her portrayal of Kim (a young Vietnamese prostitute who falls in love with an American GI) in the musical Miss Saigon, a tragic love story that didn't please a lot of theatrical critics. But I love some of the songs in that production. Les Miz, in which Lea played Eponine, is a musical that's more critically acclaimed than Miss Saigon, and her performance in it only enhanced her reputation even further.

I, along with the rest of my countrymen, am fiercely proud of Lea.
I love this song.
I love