Sunday, April 29, 2007

Climbing & reaching

One of the many things I liked about Guimaras was its people. I can say unequivocally that they embodied Filipino hospitality at its best. Marnie and I were walking to one of the beaches early one morning, too early for the stores to be open. We both of us were craving a cuppa, but there was nowhere we could buy one. She approached one of the local folk and asked in the local dialect where we could buy some coffee.

[N.B.: The Philippines has more than 100 dialects. I can understand some of the languages spoken in certain regions, but I'm by no means fluent. In Guimaras, they speak Ilonggo, a caressing-sounding language. I can follow an Ilonggo conversation, but I can't speak it.]

The man Marnie spoke to informed us that there was no coffee to be bought in the immediate vicinity. So, since we couldn't buy any, we experienced an even better thing: we were given some. Well, we could've had as much as we wanted, but we didn't abuse their hospitality.

This man brought us to his household, introduced us to his family, and bade us to sit down. A minute later, his wife brought our coffee -- and breakfast besides. Complete strangers breaking bread with other strangers in the early morning, bathed in the new light and the sunshine of provincial camaraderie and hospitality -- with nothing expected in return from us. Man, what grace and dignity these simple folks imparted. Contrast that with the behavior of many city folk. Never mind their money, their educational achievements, their social status. Many times the "haves" are boorish and uncouth compared to the have-nots. If the "haves" lose their money, with which they believe they achieve better status than others, what happens? The poor folk in the provinces have nothing by way of material possessions. Their existence isn't measured in a major way by the size of their bank accounts. Their hospitality and goodwill aren't dependent on market fluctuations or the strength of the dollar. Many of us can learn a lesson or two from them. That a person needn't be rich to make a stranger feel welcome and at ease, that maybe a sense of humor, sincere interest, manners, and a listening ear go a long, long way -- and make a more memorable impression at that.

**********

New things can be daunting sometimes. What I perceive to be a mountain is but a molehill to some other people. In the event I want to climb that "mountain" (which in Guimaras was actually just a hellishly big rock) it's most reassuring to know that I have people around me who support me and are cheering for me all the way.



Sometimes I can't help but look with envy at how people seem to do certain things with a minimum of effort (my friend Marnie, for instance, navigated the rocks and ravines with the surefootedness of a mountain goat without breaking a sweat, while my city bones went through hell to try to do what she was doing). The road to my dreams may be hard, steep and uncertain. Sometimes I'm unsure about my foothold (getting to the top of that rock in that part of the beach entailed climbing up and down some sheer rock faces) but getting advice about where I should place my feet was helpful -- even when I ultimately decided just where I should step and which outcropping I should hold on to. It's just like many other aspects of life in a way: people can give you advice, but ultimately you're the one to decide the steps you'll take. And no one will be happier for you when you reach the spot you want to go to. It's either they'll be waiting there for you or cheering you endlessly on (although sometimes it may seem they're not).





These people aren't afraid to step back and let you move and grow on your own. They cheer you on, help you in every which way possible to enable you where you want/need to go, accepting of the fact that at the end of the day you're ultimately the only one who calls the shots. All they can do is lend you their support, their laughter/tears, their sympathy, their encouragement, silently providing a feeling of comfort in times of peril (like when the vehicle you're riding up a steep hill stalls and you're rolling towards a cliff, murmuring (calmly) in your mind "Fuck, I'm about to die" -- or something like that).



So, thank you. You know who you are. I appreciate your help, support, encouragement, and laughter (and your awesome good looks) more than words could ever say.

[As expected, my thighs and calves hurt something awful the morning after the climb]

Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Guimaras experience

I had never been to Guimaras (ghee-ma-ras) before, a province in the Visayas region of the Philippines. My friend Marnie spent large parts of her childhood there, about a gazillion years ago (har har! She rarely reads this blog, so I have no compunctions about poking a bit of fun at her). Her town in Guimaras was celebrating its annual fiesta, and I was glad to have been invited.

From Manila, we flew south to Iloilo City at 5:30 AM, getting there about an hour or so later. We then had to take a 20-minute ride on a ferry to reach Guimaras.

En route to Guimaras from Iloilo. That's me sticking my tongue out, haha

Once there, we rode a van that took us to Marnie's town. Many modern-day technologies we take for granted were missing on that island, but man, it sure abounded in Mother Nature's gifts. Everyone is glad that the island has recovered nicely from last year's terrible oil spill.

The beaches we went to were once again in pristine condition.





The beach in the pictures above is on an island called Yato, which isn't attached to the town proper. It's still located within the province of Guimaras. To get there, we had to ride a kind of outrigger canoe for about 5-8 minutes. The canoe didn't have any shade and it was damn hot, that's why we're looking like refugees under our towels.



On our way to Yato Island under the blistering sun

There were hardly any tourists, and absolutely next-to-nonexistent commercial establishments (if you don't count the tiny sari-sari stores, or convenience stores). Just Mother Nature at her best. We hiked to some big rocks situated out in the ocean (during low tide) and we could see and feel the fishes swimming between our legs. Sitting on the rocks under the shade of some trees, looking out on the seemingly endless blues and greens, reveling in the salty wind...ahh, indescribable.



Marnie taking a breather

Now I'm hungry for some Guimaras mangoes. I'm also
remembering how bright and clear the stars seemed to be -- and oh so close. It was like I could almost touch them. They were almost within arm's reach; all one had to do was to extend her hand to the heavens and presto! Stardust at your fingertips. Magical. No need to pull up one's skirt.

Pics and stories about the fiesta and some rock-climbing in Guimaras in my next post.


Thursday, April 26, 2007

So...

I'm back.

(That's me in the blue shirt. The other girl is my dear, dear friend Marnie)

After spending a few days with friends here:



and here:



Beautiful locations, memorable experiences. I had a very good time. Made some new, good acquaintances -- thanks to them I revised my initial opinion of a certain place, after looking at it through their eyes.

More later, people. Evidently the white, ultra-fine, powdery sand I shook off from between my toes is still with me -- coating my mind.


(first, third and fourth photos courtesy of my friend LAR)

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Once more, unto the breach, dear friends

Had I not seen the Sun
I could have borne the shade

But Light a newer Wilderness

My Wilderness has made --
-Emily Dickinson


It's strange, isn't it, how sometimes something that's supposed to illuminate casts a shadow instead, veiling by the very act of exposing, engendering confusion instead of clarity. How is it that light can sometimes seem to conceal the truth? Damn Bless all poets; they make us delve into the depths of our minds and souls.

The girlfriends and I are flying down south a few hours from now. I will thus be missing in action for a few days. We'll be taking part in a fiesta, stuffing our faces (because fiestas in Philippine provinces are gastronomic orgies, you see). Going to a couple of islands, soaking up the sun's rays, bathing in the sea, generally just lazing around -- these are pretty much the items on our agenda. I'll post pictures when I get back.

Pictures. All of us have them in our minds, playing in a mad slideshow that refuses to stop. It can be fun, it can be exasperating. Depends on your mood and the images, really. Aarrrgghh, stop me. I'm just so looking forward to basking in the sun on islands I've never been to.



I am ♥ing this song so much, and not just because it was covered by Coldplay and REM's Michael Stipe. I think it rocks. It's for you. And for me.

Have a great weekend, everyone! Stay safe. Don't do anything I wouldn't do (which is plenty since I'm probably the biggest wuss there is, was, and will be this side of the world). I'll be back online around Thursday (my time) next week. Ciao!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

I'm feeling pretty

...pretty sick, that is.

No, no, not the puking-up-my-intestines kind of sick, not even the burning-up-with-fever-and-hallucinating kind of sick (although it sure is damn hot here -- 36.5 degrees Celsius yesterday, that's 97.7 degrees Fahrenheit to you Americans). No, it's more like the dispirited, blech, down in the dumps kind of sick. Which is even worse. It's because of some crappy things that I can't explain (or don't really want to). So be a pal, won't you? Just hold my hand, or give me a reassuring pat on the back, or hug me tight. Chocolate would be nice, too. Thanks. *sniff*

Reading you guys somehow helps lift me out of the doldrums. So many of you make me laugh, and you will never know just how much I appreciate it. So give yourselves a round of applause for your ability to calm the raging madwoman seething just beneath the surface, spewing venomous froth, and stopping her from embarking on a maniacal, murderous castration spree.

[Special moment of appreciation now for my newest source of lightheartedness: Daddy Papersurfer, witty progenitor of Papersurfer and Tiggz, enthralled and willing captive of the magnificently Terrible Goddess. Man, that family is so cool. Their online interactions make me laugh. Go show DaddyP some love and support; he's taking his baby steps in the blogging world. Look, isn't he adorable?]

Another thing that helps to cheer me up when the Fates conspire to use my head for a toilet bowl cleaner or my heart for toilet paper is to imagine myself in an out-of-this-world situation, doing something totally out of character for me, something really outlandish.

Like maybe being a terra cotta statue model. You know, something like those thousands of life-size figures a certain Chinese emperor had with him in his tomb to guard his remains. This guy, for example.


We make quite the couple, don't we? Maybe the ladies thought he was ultra hot back in his day. He's not my type, though. Too stiff. But I'm not totally without fault; the least I could've done was to dress appropriately. What the heck, I have practically no sartorial sense when it comes to tomb attire.

Maybe I could sell plaster casts of myself, to be made into statues, the kind you see watching benevolently over graves in the cemetery.

But imagine a conversation between two archaeologists digging at a gravesite a millennium from now:

Archaeologist 1: Those 21st century people sure had some quaint customs, didn't they? They perpetuated their ancestors' practice of making lifelike sculptures to watch over their tombs and graves.

Archaeologist 2: Yes. They had statues of all sorts of creatures built to watch over them in the afterlife: cats, birds, angels, even figures of children!

A1: Oh, look! [brushes centuries-old dirt off the head of a rather statuesque statue...ha ha ha!] I wonder who this one was?

A2: [squints to read inscription on the statue's ass] It says here that this one was Woman. She blogged.

A1 and A2: Oohhhh. [respectful silence.] Fancy a beer?

[Note to self: erase life-size statue from list of what else I could be aside from what I am right now.]

Monday, April 16, 2007

Manic Monday #10: Tax

Tax is this week's theme word for Morgen's Manic Monday. If you're playing, you can use the theme word (or any of its variations) any way you want to. It's all in the name of fun and creativity.

**********

People who earn money honestly, through their own hard work, are understandably grumpy whenever the tax season arrives. One can practically hear the collective mental scream of anguish almost everywhere: "No, no! Don't take my money!" To add insult to injury, doing the paperwork can be boring as hell.

Here in the Philippines, personal income tax can range from five to thirty-two percent. That's really, really low when you compare it to personal income tax rates in certain developed countries. According to the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) Taxing Wages report, the top three countries where the average worker (single and childless) takes home less than half his salary or cost of employment in 2006 were Belgium (55.4%), Germany (52.5%) and Hungary (51%). Turkey, Poland, and France were the countries imposing the highest taxes on single-earner, dual-child married couples with average incomes. It isn't only income tax that's depressing. You also have to factor in everyday things like value-added tax, sales tax, service tax, etc. The good thing is that citizens of such countries can avail themselves of benefits and services like state-sponsored education and health care, which are funded from taxation.

Still, everyone moans and groans at the prospect of filing taxes. It's a fact of life for many people and it seems it will stay that way even if we all went riding naked on horseback in the streets (like legend says Lady Godiva did to protest against the heavy taxes levied on her husband's workers).


Hmmm. But that would be one hell of a street party, wouldn't it?




Saturday, April 14, 2007

And on the 13th of April She Rose...

Friday the 13th has always brought me good luck. Yesterday was no exception.

Those of you who have nothing better to do regularly read the stuff I post here know that I do something called Blogworld Saturday. Not this week, though (nor next week). Sorry about that. For the benefit of those who don't know, Saturdays I usually write a blog entry about posts written by other bloggers over the past week or two, posts that I especially like for some reason. I think it's a nice way to share some really good posts, and several of you have agreed with me.

I found myself on the receiving end of this yesterday when New Yorker Judd Corizan (who works in the publishing industry) and creator of The Rising Blogger, let me know that the post below this one was chosen to receive his site's first award. His site recognizes individual posts, not whole blogs:

"
We award your “POSTS” not your blogs."

Also:


"The Rising Blogger will award blog authors with potential...awarding blogs that are insightful, creative, interesting and original."





It sort of felt like having a stranger approach you on a busy street and hear him tell you that out of the multitude of smiles he saw that day, he thought yours was the best. It was an unexpected but most encouraging experience. Yet humbling too, in a way.

So many thanks, Judd, for the uplifting review and for choosing one of my posts to be The Rising Blogger's first awardee. You certainly raised this blogger's self-esteem a few notches (though she can't quite get over a feeling of bashfulness and is resisting the urge to veil her face once again).

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Where's My Life Jacket?

I know the ocean.

I can hardly help it, living as I am in a country made up of more than 7,000 islands. Beaches have been a fixture in my life, as they have been and are for so many Filipinos. So I know the ocean.

Wait, I take that back. Perhaps it would be more appropriate to say that it's a familiar presence, one whose moods and appearance change on a regular basis.

The same ocean can look and feel different in any given location at any given time. Variations in the water's azures and aquamarines; waves that either roar tumultuously or lap playfully at one's feet on the shore. It's full of strange creatures, its depth in certain areas is unfathomable. It's full of both beauty and tragedy.

I've swum in it, but never too far out and never when I'm uncertain of my footing. And I've never gone too far out alone. So no, though the sea is a familiar presence, I'm afraid I must admit I don't know it as intimately as I would want to.

What I'm trying to say (and failing dismally) is that I'll be attempting to swim out to a different part of the ocean that I've been swimming in all my life. To explore the unfamiliar places within the familiar. To improve my swimming technique or heck, even learn new styles. To examine the patterns of the waves and learn from them, though I'm sure to inadvertently swallow a mouthful or two of seawater when I least expect it. I'm apprehensive yet excited.

Since I'm going to be Out There you might not find me that often Over Here or over at Your Place in the coming weeks. My apologies.

It's just that I should stop being too comfortable in the shallows. Time to stop just gazing at the horizon. Time to get up, brush the sand off this fat ass and get more than just my feet wet. Time to take a deep breath and venture farther out.


Smart alecks (you know who you are) shouldn't take everything in this post literally. Just saying. :-)

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Literary sextuplets

This is being pegged as a meme, but it's so much more damned seductive than your regular meme. I first read it on one of Turnbaby's posts last week (she got it from Miss Nancy Pants) and lots of other people have done it since then.

This is the nitty-gritty of the whole thing:

A writer's meme.

Ernest Hemingway said the best thing he ever wrote was a six-word story. It is this:

For sale--
Baby shoes.
Never used.

My challenge to you, Dear Readers and Writers, is to come up with your own six-word story. That's all. Six words. How hard could that be? It'll only take a minute.


Remember that the six words are supposed to make up a whole story. I think Hemingway was nuts; a genius, but nuts all the same. This is a lot harder than it seems to be. A story usually has to have a beginning, a middle, and an end.

I think what's fun about this writer's meme is the implied beginning, middle, and end. It isn't mental spoon-feeding; you know there's a story in there somewhere, and it's up to you to find out what it is. As with many short stories, remember that what's written is just the tip of the iceberg, that there are usually layers upon layers of meaning underneath it all. Meaning that is subject to each reader's thinking processes. The provocative, evocative parts lie dormant beneath the surface...to be kissed to a glorious awakening by a vibrant imagination.

So, here are the six-word "stories" I came up with:

I can still drive, okay? Cheers!

Need you ask? I'm all yours.

No, don't ask.
Just do it.

It wasn't funny, I know. Sorry.

Hi! How are you?
Oh.
Goodbye.

Game over.
Did I win?
Or lose?

I'm dream-weaving.
You're not in it.

Lipstick and blood -- which is which?

Karma chameleon time.
Dance, you bastard.

Ouch! You promised it wouldn't hurt.

Slowly, gently, please?
I'm still sore

Dawn's here.
Sleep, love.
You're exhausted.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Manic Monday #9: Snap

Snap is this week's theme word for Morgen's Manic Monday. Other forms of the word can also be used, hokay?

**********

Carl Jung once said something about how great talents are like fruits, dangling from the thinnest of twigs that are easily snapped off. What he meant by that exactly, I'm not sure. One thing I do know is that everybody has a talent, and that no talent is too small to be dismissed or too big to be feared.

Talent reminds me of an excellent book by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry: The Little Prince. This little prince lived on a small planet all by himself, performing several activities to keep his days and nights busy. One of these was to care for a rose, which he watered and protected from animals by placing it under a glass globe. He loved it very much.

One day he came to Earth and, wandering here and there, came upon a rose garden. The sight of this garden broke his heart for it was full of roses. All along he'd believed that his rose was unique in the whole universe, yet here he looking at hundreds of others. His own wouldn't have stood out from the others if he had happened to bring it along. But, after the initial shock and dismay (and because he was such a wise little prince), he realized something: his rose was unique after all! Throughout the years he had loved it and nurtured it. It was his and his alone. That set it apart from the others.

So it is, I think, with people and their talents. Take, for instance, a painter. It's almost a certainty that there are more critically acclaimed painters than painters who perform their craft in obscurity. But does that mean the unacclaimed painters' work is mediocre? Perhaps to professional critics and such others, it is. Perhaps having their art being labeled "mediocre" is one of the blows that snaps the twig, felling the talent.

Or maybe this scenario. A glass blower is critically acclaimed, his work is popular among many people. He knows he does a good job, but when he sees his glass pieces displayed among many others, he gets this feeling of inadequacy, of mediocrity. I think most people go through this glass blower's predicament at least once; it doesn't matter whether they're writers, composers, athletes, web designers, sculptors, tattoo artists, teachers, etc. A person pours his heart and soul into something, sweats blood and sheds tears over it. After the rush of exhilaration of a job passionately and excellently done, he takes a breath to enjoy the fruits of his labor.

Until one day, the composer hears (what he thinks) is a better song; the teacher comes across a fellow educator who makes teaching seem effortless; the writer reads something so well written his stomach clenches in envy. The first flush of achievement is replaced by uncertainty. This niggling demon in the back of his mind shakes his confidence and has him questioning his abilities.

I won't claim that what other people say and think is unimportant because it is, especially if the other people in question are authorities in their fields or if they're people whose opinions matter to you. Validation and approval are flattering and encouraging, but your fulfillment (and mine) shouldn't hinge solely on those.

Ultimately, fulfillment should come from within; self-acknowledgment and self-validation are achieved when you are able to say truthfully that you truly gave it your best, that you couldn't have done any better. Knowing that another person does it better shouldn't deter you from what you love to do. There will always be better -- and worse -- writers, athletes, web designers, musicians, glass blowers. What you do, if you are impassioned, should never be mediocre for you because you love it, you nurture it.

Though there are countless others with similar talents, yours is unique. Because it is yours and yours alone, and nobody else can do it quite the way you do.




Saturday, April 07, 2007

Blogworld Saturday

Week's end again
So, Blogworld Saturday.

[Okay, I know that sucked the big one for your six-word story-writing initiative, Turnbaby. I'll try to do better next time.]

Here's a round-up for just some of the many blog posts that I've enjoyed the past couple of weeks. I hope you guys like 'em too.

-Never regret anything that made you smile. This was part of Odat's most recent post. Short, simple, sweet, and true.

-Condescension is such a bitch. I just hate it when people say with utmost authority and conviction what you should or shouldn't be feeling or thinking. Sure, the intention might be good, but it still leaves a bad taste in my mouth. CS described it in a post much more effectively and eloquently than I could ever do.

-Sher acknowledged what it's like to live with a monster known as OCD. Through her stories and her humor, she hopes to bring a measure of comfort to readers who might be in the same boat.

-Migs' otherwise healthy sister sometimes suffers epileptic seizures. Here he gives a touching, touching account (and poignantly written, as always) of just being there for her in one of her darkest hours.

-Wendz admitted that she isn't the most motherly of mothers. But that doesn't mean she doesn't adore her two boys to bits and pieces. I agree with her, it sure is puzzling how some parents seem to have absolutely no love for their kids. Some of Wendz's posts can shock, some can be hilarious. But you can be sure that there's almost always a raw and honest passion running through them.

-Marlayna recently took a road trip with her children to a small town to scout for somewhere to move to. All I can say is that the town she stumbled open seemed to come straight out of a creepy novel...or the unpleasant part of the Twilight Zone.

-Laurzei has such a sweet, heartwarming way with words, as this post shows. I could practically feel what she was feeling when she was writing this; the emotions just reached out and grabbed me.

-I just feel all happy inside when things come to fruition for people I like. For instance, Gale Martin. This talented writer has always been very supportive; she's been a much-appreciated presence in my blog world for so many months now. I'm so glad that good things have been happening both in her professional and personal life.


I'll see you again next week, people. Have a great weekend and a Happy Easter! Don't do anything this weekend that you'll regret next week. :-D

Friday, April 06, 2007

Bang(ed)!

This video of a banned commercial got me laughing, and not just because I play video games.



It brought up quite a few memories of some high school days as well. When I was a freshman or a sophomore in the mid-80s, I remember two upperclassmen groups bringing toy guns to school. Toy armalites, toy Uzis, toy grenades, stuff like that. I don't think they were even pellet guns; they'd make these cheesy-sounding rat-a-tat-a-tat sounds. The even cheesier ones would make laser gun-like sound effects. Come recess or lunch hour or immediately after the last bell had rung, and bang! Guns were drawn and woe to those who were caught in the crossfire. Bearing firearms that made videogame-like sound effects, these two groups of teenage boys and girls sneaked along the stairwells, barged into toilets, and tiptoed around corners to take down the greatest number of casualties that they could.

It seemed like everybody else joined in by not joining in. That is, any non-armed person was fair game, to be brought down as casualties. So the rest of us, once we realized the game was afoot, would lurk behind doors and corners to avoid being "shot." Remember, there was no ammo; the only sounds of gunfire we'd hear were the toy guns' sound effects. And if the guns weren't battery-operated, we'd hear the shooter shout something like "Bang!" or "Boom!" to indicate they had pulled the trigger. Once in a while they'd "shoot" a teacher, who would gamely clutch his or her chest and emit a dying groan. Such fun!

One of my girlfriends had a big crush on a certain shooter. One day, we had just finished our snack when we saw people running past us, screaming in a giggly sort of way. Woo hoo, game time! We snuck under the table, waiting for the shooter to go by. A few seconds later, we spied a pair of feet in tasseled leather shoes amble past us. "Oh, my God!" my friend whispered. "It's X!" (X being her crush.) She started to scramble out from under the table. "What are you doing?" I hissed. "He'll see you!"

The silly fool shrugged my hand off and actually giggled. I didn't really see her do it, but knowing her, I bet she smoothed back her hair and the skirt of her school uniform before taking a few loud steps ostensibly to go somewhere. Sure enough, a second later I heard a male voice shout "bang!" before seeing my friend sink gracefully to the floor like a falling leaf in autumn, an idiotic smile on her face. She died with that rapturous expression almost every day for the next two weeks. I don't know about you, but if someone had just shot me to death, you can bet your ass I wouldn't be grinning as if I had just won the lottery.

These memories make me smile a bittersweet smile. About 20 years ago, no one batted an eyelash at high school kids bringing toy guns to school, holding make-believe shoot-outs (at least here in my country). Heck, even some of the teachers shared in the fun. Innocent fun that brought gales of laughter. Innocent games (with weapons that stood for violence notwithstanding) where the casualties would get up a few seconds after being shot to resume their business or to advise shooters on strategy. But most of all, there was the feeling of fun, of camaraderie, during and after each game.

Kids can't play this game anymore these days -- at least not in their schools, because of real-life school tragedies that we've all heard about. Appalling tragedies. Kids shooting other kids for real...it boggles the mind. Sure, there are other games to play, other games perhaps waiting to be discovered. But the loss of innocence, the narrowing of its parameters, the fact that make-believe now has limitations, is saddening somehow. What the hell went wrong?

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Blech

That's my current mood. Blech. Not bad, not good, just...blech. Picture me with my tongue sticking out, nose scrunched up, brow furrowed, and you've got a pretty good idea of what I'm looking like as I type this post.

Blech.

Wishing I was in sunny Boracay or idyllic Palawan or serene Pagudpud or even hard-to-reach Catanduanes.

But since I'm not and I don't want to write a blue post (did I mention that I'm feeling all blech-y?), let's have some fun stuff instead. Such as:





You'll die from a Drug or Alcohol accident.

Let's face it - when you get drunk/high you lose all control and do stupid stuff. Unfortunately in your case those propaganda anti-escapism commercials prove true.








'How will you die?' at QuizGalaxy.com


Barring the fact that I don't do drugs (I've tried some, okay? But I don't do them) why am I not surprised at these results? Damn beer.

What's that you say? Death quizzes aren't fun? Oh, alrighty.

[Good heavens, the radio station is playing Nobody Wants to Be Lonely, by Ricky Martin and Christina Aguilera. Apart from the fact that they're veddy pretty specimens of the male and female species, I don't really like them.]

Let's try another fun thingy, shall we?


Lizza --

[adjective]:

Full of bees



'How will you be defined in the dictionary?' at QuizGalaxy.com


Hmmm...

This could mean that I can sting something really awful or that I'm full of honey. Awwwwww.

Unless what it's really saying is that I'm full of B's...BS...bullshit. Hey, that isn't nice!

[Oh, Spandau Ballet's Gold is playing on the radio now. An omen? I'm full of honey! Woo hoo.(note the lack of enthusiasm)]

Isn't it pathetic when you find yourself somewhat believing what these online quizzes say?

P.S. Celine Dion singing that godawful Titanic tune just came on. Kill me now! [and I'm half meaning it]

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Bus-ted

I spent the past few hours with my firstborn watching an old movie on HBO: Heart and Souls. I remember laughing and crying when I first saw this film almost 15 years ago, and I wanted to see if I'd still enjoy it.

You probably know how the movie went, I won't rehash it here. (If you haven't seen it, you can get the synopsis over at IMDB.) So it got me thinking, if I died suddenly but was given the chance to finish one last thing before I had to ride the spiritual bus that would take me to my final destination up there or down there, what would that thing be? What particular thing would make my life complete, as it were, at this point in the journey?

For the life of me, I can't name just one. There are so many things that I still want to do. The thing is, I know that doing these things will take time...and how many of us are sure about how much time we have left? The logical thing to do, then, would be to bust our asses in order to get things done, to achieve our goals. But doing so would mean an increased risk of missing out on the small but meaningful things in life, things that we're already wont to take for granted sometimes.

Achieving that balance between being driven to achieve one's dreams and yet being laid back enough to enjoy life's sweet moments takes patience, concentration, and determination -- virtues that I sorely lack. I am so screwed.

Oh, I did laugh and cry again watching that movie tonight. I knew my man-boy was probably rolling his eyes at me, but that's okay. I have the satisfaction of knowing that he's a lot more like me than he will ever care to admit.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Manic Monday #8: Branch (and Gumby's song meme)

Before anything, let me thank Gumby for calling me his favorite Filipina blogger (maybe because I'm his only Filipina blog pal). This sweet guy was my first gay blog buddy, and he remains a good buddy to this day. So I'm passing Gumby's meme on to Marc (but Daddy Papersurfer can do this too, if he wants), Houseband00, Odat, Ian, Mimi, Ghostrose, and ZeroImpact. If you guys are doing this, remember that you're supposed to cite seven songs/CDs you've listened to recently and to tag seven others to do the meme. Oh, and mad, mad applause and a virtual ticker tape parade for the first one who can figure out how this post relates to Morgen's Manic Monday theme this week: the word "branch" (or any other form of the word, e.g. branched, branching, etc.).

Random musings of mine come from poetry sometimes, from poets such as Pablo Neruda. Poetry readings from the CD Il Postino give me the shivers, such as Ralph Fiennes' narration of Neruda's Ode to the Sea. Give us this day our daily fish. If I can't have the sea every day, let me have my poetry fix.

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Almost everyone can probably relate to this song's title: Life is Short, by Butterfly Boucher. Well, it is, isn't it? Except when you're standing in line for something.

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Now it just occurred to me that James Blunt and I share the same birthday, although he's about a gazillion years younger (and inestimably more famous) than I am. I like most of the songs in his album Back to Bedlam, including Tears and Rain. Because I'm just a big crybaby who also happens to love the rain.

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Cry, by Alex Parks, sure hits the spot when I'm in an emo mood (which is often). Now I'm getting all teary-eyed listening to this song again. I cry at almost everything -- including this song -- even when I don't have my period.

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Here is another clip from the Il Postino CD: this time it's Madonna reading Neruda's poem If You Forget Me. I think this is a poignant poem, beautiful yet perhaps full of false bravado. But... maybe Madonna should forget oral interpretation of poetry and stick to singing and dancing. :-)

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Every once in a while I learn about a musician whose songs I'd never heard before. But when I hear the song(s) I feel a connection. Case in point: a dear friend introduced me recently to an utterly beautiful but sad song by Maria Mena. I loved it, so I looked up some of her other songs. I found myself very much liking quite a few of them, including Just Hold Me. I think this one's a simple song that nevertheless has a level of thought-provoking complexity. Or maybe that's just me.

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So... last but not the least, we come to the song that ends my version of this meme. I like Coldplay's Yellow because prior to hearing this song, I had never before associated the color yellow with love and courage. I had always thought that yellow denoted cowardice. But maybe this song, when taken in the yellow-is-for-coward context, suits me, because I can be so chickenshit even when I'm double-, triple-, or quadruple-dared.

*****end of post*****




Sunday, April 01, 2007

Palm Talk

I live right in front of a big church, so it isn't any surprise that the area becomes quite busy on Sundays and church holidays -- especially Holy Week. I don't go to this church because it's a Catholic church and I'm not Catholic. Also, I'm not a churchgoer.

Anyway...

Every year, on the eve of Palm Sunday, weavers come from the provinces and stake their spots near churches big and small in Manila. They spend the day weaving and decorating palm fronds to sell on Palm Sunday. Here in the Philippines, it's mostly coconut tree leaves that are used for this purpose (I'm not sure whether the people during Jesus Christ's time used the same kind to welcome his entry into Jerusalem, but what the heck. It's the 21st century and we're nowhere near Jerusalem).

Here's a short clip of a conversation I had yesterday afternoon with two local palm weavers: Nelda Villanueva and her son, Jaymar. They're from the province of Laguna. You can follow the conversation because I translate what's being said. (Well, sometimes. When I remember to.) There's quite a bit of background noise because of traffic. And my camera ran out of space, so the clip ends abruptly.

Give me a pat on the back, will ya, because I went out of the house and *gasp* actually crossed the street. (I'm pretty much of a homebody, in case you didn't know.) And I'm not kidding, even though it's April Fool's Day. Or am I? :-D