Sunday, August 31, 2008

Nasaan ako nang sumikat ang Eraserheads?

Yesterday, the Eraserheads , the famous alternative Pinoy band of the 90s, the predecessor of other alternative bands like Yano, Parokya ni Edgar, Rivermaya, etc., reunited six years after it disbanded. It was a nostalgic moment for all of its loyal fans.

I somehow feel out of place where the Eraserheads hype is concerned. I know them, well, er, I know Ely Buendia but that’s nearly it. I am familiar with E-heads songs but I don’t know them by heart; I am sure to lose if it were the final song I have to sing in any The Singing Bee-like contest.

Gee, where the hell was I when the Eraserheads were at their prime?

I was in an all-girls Catholic school living my sheltered life as a sixth grader. Although the E-heads songs penetrated the holy walls of my school, I didn’t develop any outright fanaticism over them or their music. (I have to say, though, that Andrew E’s songs are yet another story. I could sing nearly the entire Humanap Ka ng Pangit album when I was in grade four. Yuck!)

But it was not the Eraserheads’ fault that they didn’t win me. It’s not them. It was me. (Nyak!) I have always been a passive kind of music lover. I am not in the habit of turning on the radio. The people around me were the ones who did that. Only when I hear certain songs do I realize that I love them.

We did, however, own Eraserheads cassette tapes. My dad happens to be adventurous when it comes to music so I wasn’t entirely ignorant of E-heads songs. However I am not sure if we have the Ultraelectromagneticpop! album. I seem to remember the songs Pare Ko, Toyang and Ligaya (all coming from the said album) being played in our component at home but I don’t recall seeing the Ultraelectromagneticpop! cover in our mini music libarary.

I am certain, though, that there is a Cutterpillow album at home. The album cover is more than familiar to me. Also, Ang Huling El Bimbo, one track in the Cutterpillow album, happened to be a favorite at home mainly because my then two-year-old brother, Mic, who enthusiastically sang along with it. He says “Aluman!” after he hears the intro “Kamukha mo si…” then exclaims “sumayaw” after “at ang galing galing mong…” (And so on and so forth.)

During my early years in college, I found myself in the company of one of the many Eraserheads fanatics in the person of my blocmate, Aloha. She often raved about the band and almost always swooned whenever she hears the name, “Ely Buendia.” Aloha filled me in with some juicy E-heads scoops which I deemed reliable, given that Aloha actually followed the band wherever their gig was.

Then again, I wouldn’t know Ely Buendia even if I bumped unto him at Megamall. And what do you know? I bumped unto him at Megamall, maybe not literally but you get what I mean.

It was the 2003 Octoberfest, my berks and I just punched out from our respective internship “shows.” We decided to check out the Octoberfest being held at the Megamall. I know, I know. Attending the October fest is not really in my character—one, I don’t drink and, two, I am not crazy over crowds. Thus explaining why I backed out of the “adventure.” That is, after allegedly bumping unto Ely Buendia.

My berks and I were lost in the ocean of Octoberfest attendees. We were stuck in something that resembled a queue in front of Megamall. Nikka, eager to get us out of oblivion, hoisted herself up on a trash can to get an eagle’s eye-view of the venue’s messy floor plan. She was talking to another berk, I think it was Luna, on her cellphone when she suddenly went nuts.

“T*ng ina!” She let out a stifled shriek. In between trickles of tears, she managed to explain, still in a stifled shock, that Ely Buendia, the guy she has loved since she was nearly a kid, was standing behind us.

I peeked, of course inconspicuously, and I thought, “Ay, sya pala si Ely. Gwapo pala siya sa personal!”

Meanwhile, Sarif, another berk was not contented on simply looking. She approached Ely. No effort was required really. All she had to do was to turn around. If she took one step, she’d be invading Ely’s personal space.

“Excuse me, ikaw ba si Ely Buendia?” She asked in the least annoying way she could muster.

The good-looking guy said no. (Aba, suplado!)

Sarif was persistent, “Papicture na lang po kami with you.”

Good-looking guy looked around as if checking on something. After hesitating for a second, he gave in, “Sige pero walang flash, ha.”

I went home with “Ely Buendia” saved on the digital camera inside my bag. And like any other star-struck non-celebrity, I boasted the picture to my family who were one in saying, “Bakit iba ang itsura? Hindi si Ely Buendia yan.”

Later, my friends who stayed until the end of the Octoberfest, told me that our “Ely Buendia” was the real thing. He even performed that night along with his new band, The Mongols. It was only a few weeks after when the Sunday Inquirer Magazine featured Ely and rest of The Mongols that my family believed that our “Ely” was the true Ely.

In another incident, I found myself as oblivious to an Eraserhead as I was to Ely.

It was past midnight. Sarif, my intern partner, and I were up and about in a small production company in Quezon City which was based inside a condo unit, turned office. We were completing a 24-hour shift by assisting the staff of the show in which we were assigned. The door bell went off, so Sarif and I, the two perky, young interns headed to the door to let the visitor in.

While leading the visitor to our Production Manager , Sarif whispered to me, “Hindi ba sya si Buddy?”

I thought, “Buddy who?”

As it turned out, the visitor we welcomed was Buddy Zabala, Eraserheads’ bassist. He wasn’t nearly as good-looking as Ely but from what I recently heard, he is one hell of a bassist.

My last E-heads encounter was less personal than the previous two I shared. In one of my National Bookstore sprees, I found an old copy of the book supposedly authored by the Eraserheads. I bought it for three reasons: It was edited by Jessica Zafra, the star on the cover looked cool, and it was on sale. After reading it, I realized that, man, sabog could pass as deep! I let Mic read it. I’m not sure if he did.

I believe that it’s never too late for me to hop on the E-heads bandwagon. After all, half of the Beatles were dead when I finally learned to appreciate and love them. But I’m alright where I, in relation to the Eraserheads' music, stand.

Then again, I felt bad upon hearing that Ely was rushed to the hospital after performing 15 songs last night. There was actually a slight pang of worry. Like we were close. Closer than our blurred picture taken five years ago.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Kapag Tumibok Ang Puso (Or maybe I can call it, "Be Still My Heart")

It’s not love. It’s palpitation.

It happens when a non-regular coffee drinker gulps a glass of strong ice-cold brewed coffee in one sitting, carries and swings a baby around, takes a stroll, and then goes down and up and down again to a series of steep flights of stairs (that is, minus the baby).

Of course the non-regular coffee drinker I am talking about is me. And the rest is part of today’s story.

Back to the palpitation, I felt every vein (or artery) in my body beat like crazy, my fingers where even trembling because of it. It was scary. I’m just lucky nothing burst. But I have to say the unflushed caffeine in my blood made me want to jump all around and it is keeping me alert up until now.

As a kid, I wasn’t allowed to drink coffee. It’s for adults, my parents would say. And I didn’t mind, anyway I’d rather have Ovaltine or Milo. It was only in college that I took flavored coffee—toffee, java, hazel nut, cappuccino, chocolate. But it was reserved for special occasions, all-nighters to be exact. It resulted in accomplished papers good enough to beat my deadlines. Coffee shops were starting to bloom in the small town of Los Baños then but since I was no coffee addict, I didn’t really visit those places. I did get one invite at KA (Kofiholics Anonymous) but I ordered juice.

At work, I drank coffee to save my extremely sleepy days. But I usually limited myself to half a mug of flavored instant coffee in those extremely sleepy days. (For the normal sleepy days, I just chat with my seatmates to stay awake.) I have never gotten over the bitterness of plain coffee so I remained loyal to the flavored ones. Plus plain coffee, including the instant kind, gave me headaches.

I am not a frequenter of commercial coffee shops populated by customers who, more often than not, may think of themselves as cool. It really isn’t easy for me to dish out P150 for a tall glass of frappe—one, because I am perennially on a tight budget, and two, because I’d rather spend that much money on regular food. I occasionally hang out at those shala coffee joints because they were secured establishments that kept me and my friends in even when it was past midnight.

Given my preferences, I never had the opportunity to become a coffee connoisseur. I don’t even think I will ever get mixing instant coffee, cream and sugar right. Therefore, memorizing those coffee jargons that flow smoothly out of some people’s mouth is close to impossible for me. For those instances when I seem to crave for “coffee,” I really am craving for sugar and whipped cream; the coffee itself may not be there and I wouldn’t even know it.

But today, I downed a glass of strong ice-cold brewed coffee in one sitting. It was probably one of the most bitter servings of coffee I’ve had in my life. Obviously it didn’t have the amount of sugar I normally prefer and there were no whipped cream on top either. But amazingly I liked that glass of Kopi-C mainly because of the ice. I didn’t lay it to rest until I finished the darn thing.

Of course it came with a price. My heart went palpitating as if I’ve found my true love. Lesson learned.

Note to self: Lie low from Kopi-C’s to avoid scary palpitations. Reserve the crazy heart throb for love.

Friday, August 29, 2008

A Day in the Life of a Blogger

My blog entries usually come in their titles first. I find myself in a certain situation, if not imagine it, then poof! A title is born.

I would know if that title will develop a body when it wouldn’t leave me in peace. When it bugs me like a persistent kid asking its mommy for a cone of ice cream. Just like how this post wouldn’t allow me to go to sleep.

But today, my title did not come solo. For every segment of the day, a title came popping inside my head.

The first one was “What if they kill each other?” It was supposed to contain my thoughts on how people, who never get along and are most likely to bring their feud to their graves, may kill each other when deprived of a “referee.”

Then I thought, I might sound too morbid and people may once again forget that I tend to exaggerate thus leading to trouble. So I modified my title to, “What if all hell breaks loose?” This would have explored the same “story” but will definitely be attacked on a more general and vague manner.

The third title was “Stuck on Sad.” These two S-words frighten the wits out of me. I don’t want to feel stuck or sad. Being “stuck on sad” will most definitely be a whole new tragic story.

“Smells like PCMC” was the fourth title in mind. Obviously it had a lot to do with me smelling the signature sterilized stench of PCMC today whereas I am a plane ride away from it. More than a year after Nichi left, I still find it a bit difficult to get the thought of a regular overnight stay in his hospital out of my system. After all, PCMC had become a second home not only to Nichi but also to the rest of our family. And even harder than that, I still find it odd how life nowadays have become more complicated and somehow less rewarding.

The fifth title would be, “First was the Vendo.” I am not entirely sure how many people out there are like me, one who strongly distrust vending machines. I have never bought anything from a vending machine before, not until recently when I risked 10 cents for a cup of Milo. I’ve wrestled with the ticket machine at the LRT2 because that was the only way to purchase a card. Next to Vendos I find online purchasing eternally suspicious, thereby explaining why I haven’t done such transactions before, not until tonight only to suffer a serious wave of panic and paranoia a few clicks after. (This may partly be the reason why I can hardly sleep right now. Screw the involved company's system!)

“Why does it have to happen to me?” would be my sixth title. Simple explanation: It’s something I muttered out of exasperation more than once today. And the glitch in my (hopefully) failed online purchase is one stimulus for such frustrated sigh.

But the title that covered them all is the one you see on top. “A Day in the Life of a Blogger.” Instead of recounting how my day went by, I chose to relate how this post came to be. Because this is my day’s story as THE blogger.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Cleaner Slate—Did you notice?

Yesterday, Kate called my attention regarding my super slow blog site. My blog is normally slow but it isn’t SUPER slow. Well, not until yesterday.

I attribute the normal slowness of my blog to my backgrounds and banners. I may have also overdone the widgets at my side bar. It’s just that I wanted my blog to feature fun widgets, show off badges, record guests and their comments, enlist a blog roll, and display buttons that would potentially bring in money to my site.

But then a bug or perhaps a megabyte overload is screwing up with my blog’s system, hence the problem.

I can only do so much with my beginner’s understanding of HTML and its magic. So the immediate solution I could come up with was to reduce the size of all design elements on my blog and, although I hated to do it, make do with a static welcome banner as compared to the formerly animated one. But since that was not enough, I had to let go of some widgets, too. I did keep my “tools for the workshop” though for my own “consumption.” I benefit from the word-of-the-day feed. I replaced with a linked photo the embedded video of Project: Brave Kids, the cause I would have liked to support as much as I can. Eventually I also had to discard several of my “business” buttons, including the Firefox download button from Google Adsense. I was really tempted to remove my Adsense box altogether since I barely earned anything from it. I decided to eliminate the ads in between my posts instead. I’ll reserve my Adsense’ fate for later.

My blog seems to be loading faster now. By “faster” I mean, not SUPER slow, but slow nonetheless. If an expert is reading this now, I will appreciate any troubleshooting advice from you.

Three good things that came out of it though are as follows: One, my torn sheet of paper for my background is cleaner than it was before (I cleaned up most of the water stains); two, my side bar is less cluttered; and three, I don’t feel much like a sell out now that the non-earning “business” buttons are gone.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Little Miss Workin'

It is not easy to admit that I miss work, working and having to work.

I miss dragging myself to the office, fussing over the pile of things to do, stressing over work-related problems, feeling trapped behind my desk.

I miss worrying about things that don’t concern me, carrying out responsibilities I can live without, eluding labor monotony by taking the day off, counting hours and checks on my list of things to do.

I miss work-related discussions which sometimes sounds geeky, in the office sense. Moreover, I miss chatting with officemates about whatnots not nearly related to the things we do. I miss the laughing and snickering that ultimately break the ennui.

I guess, what I am saying is, I miss having a reason to go about my day, other than personal ones. I miss the things that, in their own subtle way, take my mind off “me”. I miss the thrill of hurdling challenges no matter how trivial they may be to my life. I miss looking forward to more exciting things up ahead of me.

I miss discovering that I can be less self-absorbed than I usually am. I miss accomplishing tasks expected from me. I miss having a reason for a satisfying, well-deserved break. I miss celebrating “freedom” after a productive day.

I miss talks that stimulate my brain. I miss conversations that nurture the social being in me. I miss the company of new-found friends at work that makes my day less labor-like than it really is.

It is hard to believe now, but I’d say it again. I miss work, working and having to work.

I don’t feel complete being a bum.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

How do we waste Thee? Let me count the Ways

Sometimes we catch ourselves in situations that ultimately waste our lives. Be it our own fault or not, there are certain events that trap us which lead us to being unproductive, we might as well have not lived at all.

Hence eight months ago, I came out with this list I called,

Mga bagay, sitwasyon at pangyayaring nakakapagpasayang sa buhay at panahon:

1. Trapik! Bad traffic. Imagine how many things you would have been able to do if you were not trapped in impossible traffic. I strongly abhor paralyzed traffic! The time hard-working Filipinos waste stuck in little and big streets of Manila is better off spent in their respective workplaces, thereby resulting in remarkable progress for our country’s economy.

2. Mabagal na PC at internet connection. Slow PC and even slower internet connection. How can anyone get plenty of work done if it is faster to enumerate the regions in our country along with their provinces than to boot one’s computer? And, boy, does slow internet connection kill momentum!

3. Ang tumutok lang sa TV (or Youtube) maghapon. Staying glued in front of the television for hours. I plea guilty to this. Unfortunately, I often indulge first and be eaten by remorse later. But just the same, being addicted to TV or computer games or being overly indulged in a book deprives us of the life we should be living for real instead of being reduced to experiencing vicariously.

4. Ang maging negative sa buhay. Minsan sayang din ang OA sa pagiging positive. Living in a self-inflicted miserable world as well as in a blindingly positive planet. Bitterness, sadness, negative thoughts, and misery in general impede us from moving on with our lives. They give us a tainted view of the world and we end up cringing, if not cursing. On the other hand, optimism to a fault leaves us hanging and hoping forever, we end up eternally waiting instead of making things happen. Feeling sorry for ourselves and passively awaiting salvation are such a waste of life!

5. Ang magpakatanga sa mga taong never ka namang mamahalin. *Naks!* Unrequited love. Yes, emotional investments that clearly promise no returns, let alone interests. It is wise to find a different worthy love if the one you’re pinning for is an obvious lost cause. Battered wives may be severely guilty of this fault.

6. Ang matulog lang. Oversleeping. It is one of the proven ways to miss out on life. We might as well do whatever we can now that we are able than wonder what we should have done when we are stuck in our death bed. A famous workaholic once said something like, “I’ll work my ass off now; anyway, I’ll have plenty of time to sleep when I’m dead.” True!

7. Ang makipag-usap sa mga taong kahit hukayin mo ng six feet ang sinasabi ay talagang walang sense. Talking to someone who seriously makes no sense. At that point, plan an escape. Terminate the conversation and do other things. Chances are, those “other things” will make more sense than talking to the empty vessel.

Gossiping, taking drugs and drinking are fixed givens where wasting life is concerned. And although I have taken the time to list seven, I know that there are more ways to waste our waking hours. But to enumerate is not really the point of my entry.

Carpe diem is.

Life is too precious to waste. Live!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Sa Pula, Sa Putik!

Aha! Sa wakas, nakahanap ako ng specific na maookray dito.

Gagawa si Ate ng puto. I offered her a hand. In-assign niya sa akin ang pag-slice ng cheese and slated egg na pang topping sa puto.

Cheese? Check!

Salted egg? Wait bakit siya black?

Putik! As in nakabalot siya sa plastic na may putik. Kadiri talaga. All the time I was saying, wish ko lang hindi tae ito. Kasi may brown parts ang black putik. Hassle sya. Para kang sort of nagbubungkal ng itlog ng dinosaur. Hahawiin mo yung putik to get to the egg. And when I got the egg almost clean, syempre hinugasan ko pa sya to make sure putik-free na, what surprise did I get? Hilaw ang itlog. Hindi pa pala ready for consumption ang salted egg nila dito. Ironic for a country which is always in a hurry. Mega boil tuloy si Ate nung itlog.

Ang sarap talagang sabihin nito kaya heto at sasabihin ko ulit, “Anubayun? Samantalang sa Pilipinas, sa halagang Php 9.00, luto na yung itlog na maalat mo tapos may pinta pang pula!”


Friday, August 22, 2008

The 45-Minute Grill

What better way to start Friday than to be grilled by two English speaking ladies, one Chinese, the other Indian.

They were probing on my past and were peeking at my future.

I can’t help but wonder, would it help if I tell them that I am a repressed OC? Then again, it wouldn’t be repressed if admit to it, right?

I was pinned on a posture chair but a conference table protected me from them. The slowly ticking clock and their endless questions are enough to drive me to instant paralysis. However a part of me, maybe the sadistic part, enjoys the talk show-like torture. And so I survived.

But even then, I have to wait for the day when they’d say I am done.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

My Little Phony

I don’t feel like fighting today. So I am allowing myself to be weak. And sad.

Yesterday, I’ve come to a conclusion that I really am more of a lover than a fighter. I’d care more than I’d compete.

I am thinking I’d be better off if I were a cut-throat bitch who sails through life’s challenges very swiftly. It seems easier for them bitches to survive. They do their thing and care less whom they trip along the way. They move forward. They reach their goals.

I grew a heart. As consequence, I have to tend to it whenever it feels pain. And it eats up time. I could suppress my drama but what for? To pretend I am a cold, cut-throat bitch?

I have a long way to travel but at the moment, I’m admitting that I’m tired. While I’m at it, allow me to confess that my spirit is beaten up. It ain’t easy proving oneself to hostile parties all the time. It makes me feel like a phony, like I am not who I claim to be. Which is pretty much an impossible thing to do by an overly self-aware entity.

So think of this as a quick break.

I’d pack up and get on my feet again later. I just need this breather.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Mind Over Bladder

My bladder is shrinking. I don’t know why, I don’t know how but I think it is shrinking. I seem to feel the need to pee all the time. These days my bladder can only handle so much.

In the Philippines, men can pee wherever they like, whenever they feel like it. It is something I never understood and I probably won’t. Are they making the most out of their ability to relieve themselves while standing up? Or are they who pee at random spots just typical slobs?

So God created man, and if I didn’t know any better, a man invented the toilette. But why is it that the Pinoy variety can very easily take a step back from being civilized and take a leak on places other than the toilette bowl? Vacant lots, MERALCO posts, bus wheels—you name it and one Pinoy male had certainly peed on it.

On the other hand, some of us have to run to designated pee spots to take a piss, we who bother putting our minds over our bladders albeit the persistent call of nature.

After 45 minutes of traveling this afternoon, I badly needed to go. Go where, that is the question. It is not like I am in Megamall where I can go wherever I wish even with my eyes closed. Thank heavens for the Mc Donalds branch I saw. I was able to pee even before I burst which would not have been pretty especially since I was on my way to a really nice company.

Of course I felt the need to pee again after a panel interview and a test. But I was able to contain myself. And I peed where I was supposed to pee. Hello? I am no slob.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Desperate How's-Why's

How desperate can one get?

When the economy is fluctuating, the government is reeking with the stench of corruption, and the future looks murky, staying calm isn’t easy.

But are these reasons enough to be rash? To jump into cloudy promises of salvation? To bet whatever little you have without thinking things over?

The world is not kind. Especially to people in need. And even worse to those who are obviously desperate. So even if you have nothing, there is no room for mistakes. Because with the nothing you have, you may still lose.

Rich people can screw up any time. They have fat bank accounts so they can afford to screw up. They have the luxury of screwing up.

These days when everything is ridiculously tight for most of us residing at the bottom of the economic food chain, it pays to be smart. To take calculated risks and stay smart.

A fact of life: he who allows himself to be fooled is the foolish fool of all.

So you’ve been desperate. Would you be a fool next?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Are you Going to Scarborough Fair?

Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme.


The only fairs I know are school fairs and job fairs. I’m done with school so I went to the job-one.

I have never been to a real job fair before. We had a mock job fair during my senior year in high school and I didn’t enjoy it a bit. There was too much pretending going on, making the experience an almost unpleasant one.

But I have to get over my childhood traumas, right? Plus this job fair is manna from heaven. I’d be a dummy if I didn’t go. So I went.

They say that no man is an island. Not true. Some people are. But me? Around here I am a planet—no, make that Pluto. I am Pluto out to prove that I am a planet, capable of blending in and delivering the planet traits I claim to possess. Who knows if I really am a satellite of sorts? The thing is, satellite or planet, I know that whatever I am, whoever I am, I am good at the things I can do. If only I get a break, then I wouldn’t feel too alien.

It would be redundant if I say I went alone. Me and alone are synonyms by now. But then again, why would I attend a job fair with someone? Where is independence in that?

For all its worth, I had a good time at the fair. The competition is fierce, given that the contenders are global. And unlike before, I not only represent the schools I come from, the institutions that shaped me, the home that made me be, and the experiences that led me to become me. This time, I carried the flag of my country for every hi-hello I initiated and for every resume I passed. A bit of a pressure but it’s fine. I’m up for the challenge. It’s not like I’d allow anyone to think that Pinoys are lousy despite some Pinoys thinking that they are lousy.

I set my eyes on the prize. And even if in the ideal world luck should have nothing to do with it, I need luck in order to get the prize I was eyeing for. Good luck to me.

If there’s anything, at least I got some nice freebies!

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Couch Potato turned Mouse Potato Still Digs THE Potato

So I am an ultimate couch potato. I can do movie marathons and even TV series marathons in one long sitting. As I often say, I have the tendency to obsess.

But these days, I’ve become a “netizen”—a denizen of the net. Moreover, I’ve become a mouse potato. Although technically, I am not using any mouse as I am reduced to a touch pad and my pointer finger, but you get the idea.

The computer has become my constant companion. Using it has been elevated from being a habit to being life.

However, this afternoon, I was able to go out and explore another side of life. The non-cyber kind. And although I’ve already killed time in a toy store two days ago, I didn’t mind going to the same toy store today.

As always, I tried to find Mr. Potato Head among the shelves. Mr. Potato Head is in my list of favorite toys. (Looking back, I forgot to include the Magic 8 Ball in that list!) He’s not worth the money but he’s cute. I once “stalked” him at Toy Kingdom and took a photo as discretely as I could.

A quick Mr. Potato Head history: A guy named George Learner invented the toy in the 1950s. Learner used to make toys out of real potatoes for his younger sisters to play with. Later, Learner sold the potato head idea to the Hassenfeld Brothers (Hasbro) who became the distributors of the toy.

Mr. Potato Head’s original look was patterned after George Learner’s dad. The early “Potato Head toy” sold consists only of eyes, ears, nose and mouth. It is up to the customer to get his own real potato to dress up. Someone must have noticed how absurd it was selling a set of face when there is no potato to make the head, and so a plastic potato head was added to the kit. Still in the 1950s, the first complete Mr. Potato Head came out with a body and other small parts.

In 1973, the toy was redefined. The potato part was doubled in size while the other parts were made bigger to pass child safety standards. The accessories that came with the set were also increased. Soon the potato head was once again modified. You can now stick the accessories and facial parts wherever you want unlike the 70s version of the toy where the holes on the potato would only hold the correct body parts. Then in 2006, Hasbro thought of selling separate accessories that will dress up the Mr. Potato Heads already owned by their fans. These days, Hasbro has become more commercial and has been doing tie-ups with movies thus ensuring that their toy does not lose it popularity and cuteness.

If you are not convinced on how cute Mr. Potato Head is, check out some of its versions which I managed to gather from the net:

Potatoes for all seasons: Easter, Halloween and Christmas.

Working potatoes: Fireman and Red Sox Player

Potatoes for the couch potatoes:

Darth Tater, Spud Trooper, and R2D2

Spider Spud and the New Spider Spud with Venom

Optimash Prime

Indiana Jones: Taters of the Lost Ark

I also found photos of some custom-made potatoes:

Luigi Mario , Flash Spud

Iron Man , Hellboy

Perhaps if I had extra cash, I’d have my own real Mr. Potato Head collection. One that looks almost like this:

Ohh, I just love potatoes!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

I am My Own GPS

Well here I thought I was one of the world’s geographic dummies. But as it turns out, I am not as bad in locating places, completely alien places. Sure it takes a few glitches before my intuition gets the direction right but it leads me where I should be. Somehow, it eventually does.

In this advance world, a free access to GPS will be handy. Some cellphones even have their mobile Google map features to boot. But since I cannot afford that technology just yet, I’m doing things the old fashioned way.

With a map in my purse, I will have to settle at being my own GPS for now.

* * *
Extra: It feels good to be able to find my way. I am proud of myself for going places without getting lost…much.

Here’s my way of documenting in picture one of my successful quests.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Ako si Kim Sam Soon

O mai gas! Ako si Kim Samsoon, the overweight, middle-aged (?), wa-poise, single female whom everybody wishes to find a boyfriend soon.

Kinailangan kong makita ang aking sarili sa isang shalang restaurant at makausap ang isang Cyrus, mayamang negotianteng singkit na in fairness ay, in his own right, papable (although di ko siya type), para maramdaman ko na, siyet, ako si Kim Samsoon!

* * *

Salamat sa GMA PinoyTV, nasubukan ko ring makapanood ang “Ako si Kim Samsoon” ni Regine Velasquez.

Not that fan ako. Pointless para sa akin ang mag-remake ng mga Koreanovela or nobelang nanggaling sa kung saan pa mang bansa. Insulto iyon sa mga writers natin. Para namang ang hirap mag-conceptualize ng plotline ng isang TV show. Malayo na ang narating ng creativity ng mga Pinoy writers. OK ang mga basic ideas for a show. Yung follow through na lang ng sumusunod na mga episodes ang madalas sumasablay. Wala yata kasi silang strict outline. That said, I still don’t think na posible silang maubusan ng idea for a new show. Masyado lang naniniguro ang mga producers sa investment nila kaya nagfa-franchise na lang sila ng imported plotlines na may sure na followers.

In any case, nakakatawa rin naman ang Pinoy Kim Samsoon. Mainly because of Eugene Domingo. Genius ang babaeng yon sa comedy. She can do one hell of a non-slapstick joke at matatawa ka talaga ng malakas. Patok siya sa akin.

About doon sa side story on Samsoon’s sister na ginaganapan nung anak ni Jean Garcia, di ko ma-gets where that is headed. I just hope ma-punctuate nila ang point nila na di cool ang magpaka-social climber to the extend na nangungunchaba ka na nga mga taong eextra sa make-believe lifestyle mo. The girl is pretty, though. Kaya lang kamukha niya si Angel Locsin so been-seen na ang look nya.

And then there’s Regine. Somehow naiisip nating lahat na ang show na ito ang pansuyo ng GMA sa star nila na muntikan nang tumalon sa kabilang bakod para sa isa ring re-make. Since hindi nga lumipat si Regine, she gets a show of her own. But GMA has its way of planting its revenge. Hindi glamorous ang role na binigay nila sa star. In fact, chaka siya dito. The fat body suit and unflattering camera angles make fun of the songbird in inconspicuous ways. Or is it inconspicuous? Sa aspetong iyon, natatawa na rin ako. At dahil nakikisakay naman si Regine, OKs na rin. At least nalaman natin na di naman siya pa-cute all the time. Willing din siyang magmukhang nyor-e on national TV paminsan minsan.

Perhaps the key to enjoying this show is to NOT take it too seriously. Yung mga rubbish parts e deadmahin na lang. Tapos deadma na rin sa mga artistang di ko ma-gets kung bakit tinawag na artista. Dapat wallpaper na lang ang tawag sa kanila. Hello? Wendell Ramos and Nadine Samonte? Anubayun!

* * *

Parang patok nga ngayon ang mga kwentong pangit sa Pinas. Sabi nga ng daddy ko, favorite ng mga tao ang make-over. I think sign yon na di natin ma-outgrow ang fairytales natin. In this case, ang Cinderella-complex. Yung babaeng gusgusin, konting ligo lang at kumpas ng magic wand ng fairy-god ninang, pwede nang pumarty with the prince. Panalo! Parang everything is possible na!

Kitang-kita tuloy ang weight ng ibinibigay natin sa panlabas na kaanyuhan ng mga tao. Pero hindi naman exclusive sa Pinas ang "facial discrimination" (Uy, I'm coining this phrase!). Nangunguna ngayon ang mga Chekwa sa department na iyan. And it had the whole world to bear witness to how far one gigantic nation would go just to display cuteness.

Kate sent me this link. It speaks of how the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials commissioned a “cuter” kid to lip-synch for a talented young singer who didn’t pass CCP’s idea of cute. Nakakalungkot. Kinorrupt nila ang dalawang bata para lang sa isang show. Now the “cuter” girl will have to live with the fact na phony siya while the talented other girl will have a deep dent on her self-image. Lagi na niyang maiisip na chaka siya. Both girls will have to live with this for the rest of their lives. Ang China naman, nagmukhang shunga and, for lack of a better term, hypocrite. Everybody loses.

*******************Who is cuter?
Chinese Communist Party officials think the girl on top is a better picture of a typical cute Chinese girl so much so that they had her "represent" the voice of the the girl at the bottom who unfortunately did not pass their idea of cute.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Conspiracy Theory

The last thing one gloomy person needs to cheer her up is rain, heavy rain.

But no worries, I just broke a personal record, having sent out 32 resumes in one day. I should be up and bouncing. But something is definitely off.

For the first time, I was asked to look after my niece who was peacefully dreaming away in her room. Once I got inside, the scene became too familiar to me: a kid sleeping, an incandescent light bulb for a lamp, the isolating effect of an air-conditioned room, the deafening silence. The last time I saw myself in such setting was the last evening I spent with my youngest brother.

I was instantly zapped to that place where nothing was easy. And my why’s and if-only’s came flooding back to my head. Soon, the tears welled-up.

Losing a loved one is not easy. And it never gets easy. As one “veteran” once told me, you don’t really get over the pain. You just learn to deal with it.

A year after the incident, I was compelled to deal with the pain of Nichi’s death. And I dealt with it alright. I went about it the way I know how. I allowed myself to cry, for a minute or so, in secret.

But something more powerful wouldn’t leave me hanging just like that.

My sister who is fond of one celebrity blogger, delivered her next celebrity-blogger news shortly after my secret mini-drama episode. For some reason, I searched for the blog to check how interesting it was. Two clicks after, I found a video like the one below re-posted at the celebrity’s site. It was called, “Logan, the Sky Angel cowboy.”

Logan, a 13-year-old boy, was talking about his “special pet” that died, his pain, and how he asked God his “why?” The message of the recorded audio couldn’t have been more subtle at talking to me.

I don’t think things like this happen at random. There must be a greater force conspiring to make sure I was where I was supposed to be.

I found that video/audio of a 13-year-old boy a few hours after I re-mourned for my brother who died at 13. The video/audio was posted in the personal site of a celebrity whom Nichi once met and in a certain sense “worked” with. The celebrity calls her kid “Nic.” I am assuming the kid’s name is Nichole, the same as Nichi. The video was a re-post. The celebrity mentioned that she chanced upon it and then she thanked a friend named “Gigi” for it. Sometimes I call Nichi “Gigi” (pronounced with a hard G as in “good”). I checked my past post on Nichi and that certain celebrity. In that old post, I used my pet name for Nichi. Proof that I am not making these coincidences up.

I appreciate how my pain was soothed tonight. I’ve seen the signs, read the signs, and got the message.

I feel somewhat better now.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Olympian in Me

I used to write “sack race” opposite “favorite sport” back in the days when signing autograph books was one of the coolest things in school. Although it had been so long ago, my autograph book answer still says something about my perception of sports: good, clean, competitive fun.

I am thinking that both nature and nurture didn’t help much in getting me into sports. I wasn’t born with the most flexible body in world, and my torso and extremities are not especially structured to allow me to excel in any sport. My family isn’t much into sports, either. We do attempt to get our limbs moving every so often but we were never absorbed by any sporty habit.

It seems that even the Fates have thrown in their efforts to keep me away from sports. The Olympian in me was hardly given the opportunity to be set fee.

Sack race, piko, tumbang preso and Chinese garter (ten-twenty, Chinese jump and limbo rock) aside, I soon had my share of serious sports, thanks to my Physical Education (PE) classes.

Perhaps the first more structured sport I ever got to play was kickball. The rules are similar to softball/baseball, minus the bat and hard flying ball. I loved kickball. For a 10-year-old, it was really easy to play. There was a special thrill when the pitcher starts rolling the ball towards you. And once you kick the ball, you are suddenly liberated from all the anticipation of the game.

We used to play kickball during lunch breaks, thus explaining why we spent our afternoon classes all stinky and sweaty. I was so into the game I never realized I was all stinky and sweaty. But then, I had to see a schoolmate twist her ankle during a game. I can vividly remember how tormented her face looked because of the pain. She was then being transported on a stretcher from the field to the school clinic. At that point, I retreated and abandoned whatever career I might have had in that sport.

If some girls pine away for the loveliest doll they see in a toy store, I gravitated towards a colorful (and relatively cheap) badminton set. I later got the pair of white rackets with colorful strings and shuttlecocks as a Christmas gift. And the way I was “instructed to find it” will go down in history as one of the best surprises I ever received in my life (complete story is reserved for another topic).

With the new badminton set, my siblings and I, as well as our neighbors had a new game at our hands. Quite frankly, I never thought of it as a sport back then. Maybe because we never really followed a strict point system while playing it. I was in it for fun. My main goal was to whack the shuttlecock and let my opponent eat it.

Finding a badminton court in the early 90s isn’t as easy as it is these days when anyone and everyone play badminton. The long driveway in font of the row of apartments where we lived made a good court. And the 11-year-old me always found a good badminton opponent in our next-to-the-next-door neighbor who was, I think, no less than 12 years older than I was. Our games weren’t the pros but we were no beginners either. If not for the shuttlecocks getting stuck at another neighbor’s roof, my badminton momentum wouldn’t have taken an eventual halt.

In school, I was introduced to volleyball. I didn’t like it that much because it hurt my forearms but I had no choice but to play. My grades depended on it. Come the ball control and volleying practical tests, I exhausted all possible means to do well. You see, I have the tendency to obsess. And so at night, after I’m done with my homework, I would go outside and play some ball. It partly paid off because, believe it or not, I was among the selected possible players for our class’ volleyball team.

Incidentally, I underwent a minor surgery during that school year. With a bandaged wrist, I was reduced to sitting in the sidelines while my classmates played. I never made it to the compulsory try-outs.

My freshman year in high school would have been a sure hell for me because of that whole quarter of our PE class devoted to gymnastics. Unlike others, I cannot be bent or stretched the way our PE books say people can be bent or stretched. I have an awful track record of physical fitness test scores—especially those related to flexibility and endurance. I cannot bend and reach for my toes (although at one point I did pull off the knee bending thing). But the activity that never failed to tack me against the wall of shame was good old sit-ups. I never learned how to do any of those darn sit-ups. And I make sloppy crunches even up to this day. I don’t know if it’s my back I have problems with but I honestly have a limited way of hoisting myself up. I cannot imagine how I would pass gymnastics class—what with the head/hand stand, splits, and cartwheels?

So how did I get away with not doing head/hand stand, splits and cartwheels? One word: chickenpox. (Oh, I loved the timing of my pox! Haha!) I submitted a special project instead. I think the most apt title for that chapter in my life is “How chickenpox saved my life.”

Apart from memorizing the multiplication table, swimming is the other thing I thank my dad for forcing me to learn. If not for the swimming summer program in his office, I would have probably prayed for another ailment to save me from PE classes. But I knew the basic floats and the correct way of bobbing so learning freestyle, backstroke and breaststroke wasn’t so difficult for me. Sure, I wouldn’t win any swimming relay but I did complete my laps. I didn’t need any special project to pass, this time.

Being able to play softball was really fun. I particularly loved catching and batting—that is, if I hit the ball. I have to admit, though, that it terrified me. The whole time, I prayed that the ball would not hit me. The ball in softball is nowhere near soft. I am just glad it never caused me any bruise. I had no chance to fancy myself being a softball savant. At our game, I, the batter, struck out at the most inopportune time. Two of my teammates who were trapped at different bases never made it home. Needless to say, we lost because I wasn’t nearly a talented batter.

Since I do not possess the most powerful set of bones and muscles, I steered clear of those self-defense classes while in college. I ended up completing two units of Tai Chi class. Not really a competitive “sport” but I am glad to have tried it. Allowing the ball of energy circulate inside my body, submitting to peace, picturing the mountains in my mind, painting the rainbow, stroking the peacock’s tail, etc. are just some of those priceless experiences I had which was sugarcoated with a grade of 1.0. Plus I can always do the correct Tai Chi walk anytime I feel like avoiding arthritis and rheumatism.

Perhaps the only edge I have over Jessica Zafra which I can think of is doing well in a table tennis class. It was a risk taking that sport for PE. I had zero knowledge and experience prior to enrolling in that class. But I was able to pull it off and nearly aced it. However, my “career” in table tennis ended the day our class ended. I couldn’t very well play without a darn table now, can I?

I am guessing that bowling is the easiest sport to love. It would take a lot to be good at it but playing it is not a problem. How hard could rolling a ball be, right? I took the bowling challenge and enrolled in a bowling class one summer. I never made a strike unlike in softball where I made more than four. (Bummer!) I settled for a few spares though. As I always say, I am not good at bowling but I love it so much, I wouldn’t mind playing all by myself. All I need is cash and I’m off to this sport.

* * *

It’s been two days since the Beijing Olympics commenced. I have no idea how many countries have joined to vie for the gold medals. But I do know this, no matter how diverse cultures may be, there really are intersecting interests among us. And sports is one prominent point.

The Olympian in me may be passive, if not dormant, but I have it somewhere shoved at one corner of my person. And at this time of year when the Olympic torch is a-flaming, that almost forgotten part of me is silently celebrating and cheering on for all of the world’s athletes.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Speaking of Online Social Networking—A WARNING

Just as I had two consecutive posts related to social networking comes a third one. But don’t worry, this one will be quick.

Yahoo! News just posted a wake-up call to all online social networking addicts (special mention to Facebook and MySpace account owners). Posting private data about yourself at your social networking site can make you an easy target for hackers.

Hackers often use widgets as their bait. From what I understand, widgets are special third-party applications one can freely add to one’s site. (If you will check the left vertical panel of my blog page you will see several examples of widgets like: Shoutbox, Recent Visitors/Viewers boxes, the orange clock, my “tools for the workshop”—a widget featuring a word for the day, and, of course, my favorite Feedjit. But I maybe vague. You can visit wikipedia or click here to know more about web widgets.)

Adding widgets is something you do at your own risk so it will be wise to ALWAYS BE CAREFUL. Never divulge your passwords or other private information especially to suspicious sites.

To read the whole Yahoo! News article, “Online social networking sites are hacker playgrounds,” click here.

Friday, August 8, 2008

More on Social Networking

Let’s just say, I was inspired by hopping from one Friendster to another last night, thus explaining this second post on social networking (and the previous one was a few hours ago!).

Granting that people’s intentions on keeping a social networking account are clean, I’ve come up with a list of their probable objectives for becoming part of the hype. Note that by “clean intentions” I am bluntly excluding accounts opened by terrorists to spy on their preys or hackers to wait for their next victim to come by, and accounts maintained by perverts to buy and/or sell illegal drugs or human meat.

So here it goes:

1. The most obvious of all reasons: To nurture healthy bonds with friends and even family. Given the fast-paced life we are living, communicating to those who are, in one way or another, dear to us becomes pretty much difficult. It helps to have a venue where we can update each other of the goings-on in our lives and where we can “talk” via personal messaging (PM).

2. The most nostalgic of all reasons: To re-connect with people who were once close to us but lost out of touch. I mean, doesn’t it feel good to find or be found by a classmate in preschool, a cousin you haven’t seen in years, or a neighbor you used to pick on several years ago?

3. The most sentimental of all reasons: To find one’s place in the lives of the people whom s/he knows. If you are in their list, they consider you as their friend. If they gave you a testimonial, they think you are special that they even took the time to compose a piece that partly venerates you. If they sent you a comment, a smile or a PM, they somehow thought about you. If they left a comment on your pictures/album, it means they are interested in knowing what’s been going in your life and were involved enough to say something about it. You get the drift.

4. The most obnoxious of all reasons: To boast one’s achievements by dropping names (and pictures) of the places they’ve been to, of schools and companies they have been affiliated with, or of books and movies their level of intelligence allowed them to comprehend. If not overdone, there is nothing wrong with this objective. Personally, I would be glad to find out that my soft-spoken seatmate way back is going places, living the life, and fulfilling dreams I never thought she had.

5. The most sneaky of all reasons: To stalk on someone whom one is secretly interested in. Now I’m speaking in the more innocent light—that is, versus stalking preys. I mean come on, who isn’t tempted to check on some of the people whose lives we are curious about? A friendly warning, though, some social networking host does not allow anonymous viewing of profiles. Chances are your stalk-ee would know you peeped into his/her life. I have a friend who discovered this a little too late. (Hehe)

6. The most entrepreneurial of all reasons: To promote one’s business or possible venture, and, sometimes, skills. Yes, some open sites for their bag, or shoes, or food businesses which is, honestly not a bad idea. Resourcefulness is key, right? And somehow I am guilty of this reason in that I am promoting my blog in my social network sites in the hopes of upping my page rank. Haha! Nothing discrete there.

7. The most self-affirming of all reasons: To have a head count of our friends, or at least people whom we have something in common with. I mean doesn’t it feel good to confirm how normal we can be sometimes? Besides it is fulfilling to see in vague figures how much relationships we were able to establish through the years. It somehow says something about how we are as persons.

8. The most practical of all reasons: To have something substantial to do in one’s free time. Instead of meandering aimlessly in the World Wide Web, it is better to head somewhere that means something and at the same time gets something done.

9. The most getting-to-know-you-getting-to-know-all-about-you of all reasons: To meet new people by randomly selecting profiles, introducing oneself, and adding the new acquaintance to one’s list. Personally, I don’t do this. I just add people whom I’ve met or have clear connections with. But I do randomly blog hop and leave comments out of courtesy.

10. The most existential of all reasons: To let others know of one’s existence in a general light. Think of it this way, “I logged in, therefore I am.”

The list ends here for now. Maybe I'll come up with a part two if more reasons pop out of my brain which may happen right after I click "publish post."

Do you Friendster?

I’ve been a member of Friendster since November 2003. And just when I thought that my account has gone stale, I was proven wrong. Yesterday I added a cousin to my friends list and today, a classmate from grade six. Now I have a total of 252 friends in my network, not a lot but plenty nonetheless.

Among the 252, around four may vaguely remember me. A little over that number are people I don’t think I know because they changed their names to hide their identities (which I don’t get much). Perhaps nearly half of my friends are grade school and high school classmates while the other big bulk is composed of my college classmates. A very small number comprises the people I’ve met during my practicum days. Some are people I’ve worked with who eventually became my friends. Of course some are family (That includes my dad who has finally uploaded pictures! Way to go!) and relatives (I’m glad the number of relatives is growing) while some are friends of the family. And then few are boyfriends or children of friends and/or family. It’s that diverse!

To tell the truth, I was clueless about this social networking thing when everyone where I spent a few months of internship were going crazy over Friendster. I was like, “Frriend-what?”

But eventually, I jumped into the hype. I think it was Jill who first added me as her friend but it was Leng’s invitation that I accepted first simply because she was seated next to me in the internet shop and she talked me into going about opening my own Friendster account and approving her in the process. I am the ultimate cyberbobo, didn’t you know?

The fun part is gathering as much friends as you possibly can. That’s how how berks and I got addicted early on. At one point, we made a pact not to visit any internet shop during the day to minimize our addiction but what do you know? We ended up catching each other sneaking in the Coop internet shop in between classes! Haha! (If I remember it correctly, computer rental at Coop was around Php 15/hr. That’s Php 7.50/half hour. Pretty cheap! Incidentally, when I left the Philippines the minimum jeepney fare was equivalent to 30 minutes on the net during my college days. I don’t know how much jeepney rides go these days but I heard, in the news, that text messaging has dropped to Php 0.50 per message sent. Wow, makakagaan talaga sa buhay ng mga Pinoy! Nakakabusog!)

The fun-er part is composing and receiving testimonials, where you make something like a public palanca* letter for your friend to, I guess, “strengthen” your friendship, and where, in return, you receive testimonials that ultimately make you feel special and loved. [*Palanca letter is the letter you give each of your classmates during your class retreat which enumerates their good and bad traits—I wonder if kids in school still practice this. Can someone enlighten me, please?]

My first testimonial was from Faith. I recall that I compose really good testimonials, I could have probably made a career out of it. (And yeah, I still owe Diane a testimonial in Cebuano.) But not too long ago the Friendster people merged the testimonials with the comments box and as trends would show, no one posts the old-school type of testimonials anymore.

Posting pictures you are proud of was also a thrill. It’s a subtle way of saying, “look, I’ve been there and I’ve done that!” Or then again, it is a simple way of hollering to those whom you know, “Hey, I’m still alive and I do have a life!”

Some would say that Friendster is overrated. I think it has ceased to be. (May Multiply na kasi—haha!) Well, maybe at least to people my age, the hype has slowed down. Comments like, “add mo ako sa Friendster,” “pahingi ng testi,” or “papicture tayo na pang-Friendster,” are no longer heard as frequently as before. Yet every now and then, someone somewhere updates his/her Friendster account, receives a comment or adds a friend.

Unlike its other social networking counterparts like Mutiply, Facebook, MySpace, etc., Friendster seems to never outgrow its bugs and is rather slow in offering new features. Creating blogs, albums and groups came a bit late to Friendster. (But then, my second blog flourished in Friendster. However, I was forced to move out because of how my posts’ formats are messed up every time they are published. These days, I use my Friendster blog to promote my active blog. So if you found this site from my Friendster blog, then my strategy worked!)

Customizing one’s Friendster site is also tedious compared to other social networking hosts. You should be a master of CSS in order to do an overhaul of your site, where as with others, there are readily available unique CSS’s you can further "personalize" just by dragging portions of your site to the desired spot on your page.

But since it is a pioneer to its kind, I don't suppose Friendster will be faced out anytime soon. After connecting and re-connecting with their “Friendsters,” account owners wouldn’t turn their backs that easily to the host that has tapped into their sentimental side.

Am I right or am I right? Friendster has somehow become a household name especially to us, Pinoys. Why else do you think I used it as a verb in my title?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

A Trip to Pati’s Point

I’ve noticed that there are plenty of schools around Singapore and students are everywhere! Aside from being mall rats, these students leave another lasting impression on me: they dress sloppy.

Last week, an article on how slack Singaporeans dress up came out in a local newspaper. It lambasted their penchant in dressing down—sporting T-shirts, shorts and flip flops everywhere including theaters and art museums. The article also pointed out that Singaporeans seem to have forgotten how to dress appropriately such that some locals even appear at job interviews wearing sandals or go to work wearing midriff tops.

Locals use the hot weather as an excuse for their manner of dressing. But the way I see, the heat is no excuse to break dress codes, even the unspoken ones. I mean, don’t wear a coat to work if it will cause you heatstroke but at least wear something decent!

I suddenly remembered how, four years ago, an HR manager my mom forced me to see scolded me for not wearing a blazer when she interviewed me for a “job.” If she weren’t friends with my mom, I could have told her right then, “Are you kidding me? It’s blazing hot outside. This long-sleeved-and-collared blouse is killing me as it is! How do you propose I zap myself from home to here without melting in that weather?”

I wonder what that HR manager will say to the less than formal Singaporeans. But don’t ever think I’d wear my “wais” T-shirt for a formal gig in sizzling Pinas. I am one who honors dress codes. But then there are impractical fashion rules which I try to get away from just by dressing smart and tidy. (Unfortunately for me, the HR manager didn’t appreciate my strategy.)

Looking at the kids here and how they carry their uniforms, I guess the issue on dressing up—or down—in this country has a long way to go before it finds a resolution because apparently, its people begin dressing sloppy at an early age.

At this point, I am seeing Miss Patiño in a new light.

Miss Patiño, is our high school’s version of a fashion police. If she catches you wearing colored hair clips, bracelets or bangles, a dangling pair of earrings or an extra, colored thing pinned on your tie, then you're toast! Get ready for an impending C in deportment. And when you are wearing a skirt longer than two inches below the knees (long skirts were a fad then unlike in my mom’s time when girls loved to wear obscenely short skirts), it will be wise to steer clear of Miss Patiño. I literally had to lock myself inside a washroom cubicle once just to avoid her.

Looking back, having an authority like Miss Patiño around while growing up instilled discipline in me. Yes, I think it did. Despite the hide and seek incident, I managed to realize my responsibility to dress accordingly which somehow I generally did back then. And so did most of my schoolmates. Our blouses were white and well-ironed, our socks weren’t so low they were sinking inside our heels, and our shoes were black leather which wentwell with our uniforms unlike a pair of rubber shoes which obviously is a mismatch. If you line us all up, it’ll be pretty much difficult to point out who’s smart and whose grades are on the rocks.

But the kids around here—with messy hair, crumpled tops, varied lengths of skirts, confused tucking of shirt (do they go in or out?), too short socks, and rubbershoes? I just have to wonder how the smart ones look like.

And if Miss Patiño were here, she’d have a hell of a lot of visitors in her L-shaped table we otherwise refer to as Pati’s Point!


NOTE: For all its worth, Miss Patiño is nice lady. I even found her sweet for remembering that I was once her minion when I bumped into her last year during my short stint in my former school. And Miss Patiño love to make chikka. Just make sure you greet her once you see her, even if you are no longer inside you uniform and even if you are nine years older than when she last saw you.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Roderick Paulate and Rick Astley...Never Gonna Give You Up!

I'm thinking that this is one of the hottest videos on Youtube these days: Roderick Paulate rocking at Rick Astley's recent concert in the Philippines.

Roderick must be one who leapt for joy once the news that Rick Astley will be gracing the Philippine shores hit the public. He obviously is a fan.

Who doesn't associate Roderick with the 80's English singer? Roderick had been singing Together Forever, Never Gonna Give You Up, Whenever You Need Somebody and other Rick Astley songs since Tonight With Dick And Carmie. For every number, Roderick does his infamous Astley moves.

Astley should, at the very least, thank Roderick for making him extra famous in the Philippines.

I am happy for Roderick. It must have been awesome performing with his idol.

And you know what, he did great. I never thought he is that good. I mean, hey, I'm used to seeing him do lip synchs all the time. Who would have thought Roderick can pull off a live Astley impersonation/performance in front of the (Astley) man himself?

I am genuinely entertained. The cloud hovering over my head suddenly dissipated.

The Bitchin’ Ensues

August 13 will mark the second month since I left my job. That means, it’ll be two months since I haven’t received my back pay. People in poverty such as myself, could afford not earning anything for a limited time only, and right now, when the payment for my eyeglasses are due, I could use that forsaken sum of money to settle my bill. For all I know it’ll be no greater than Php * * but heck, I have to wait forever, for a miracle that may take forever.

Now the bank through which my “salary/backpay” should be wired for some annoying reason, deactivated my phone banking privileges. I could manage my finances by myself if only the phone banking works. To hell if I have to use my phonecard which I am better off using to call my family! Without any warning the bank—the bank I hate the most which I may name as soon as I hear their explanation—joined the conspiracy in pissing me off.

Given no other choice, I was reduced to asking favors to which I received an awful bitching. Grrr! It’s frustrating!

But wait there’s more! One of my credit cards, the one I am keen on keeping, screwed up its online abilities. I enrolled it long before—you know for convenience, when I’m away I could just log in elsewhere to manage it. But what do I discover? The online banking ceased working! I had to email certain managers and later use my precious call card to contact their customer service who’d hopefully attend to my concern.

Then there’s this other credit card, which had to have a problem. The savings account which I am maintaining wouldn’t accept that other credit card. Meaning, I couldn’t well transfer payments from my savings account to that other credit card from here because the card and the savings account are not in good relations with each other. How about that?

And to begin with, I ran out of funds to transfer thanks to the impossible backpay.

I am caught in this web of financial misfortunes I could have used extra understanding. But I guess I have to kneel for asking favors and swallow the uncalled for bitching.

I hate bitches. Given a chance, I’d slap them. Just to wake them up and put them in their proper place.

It’s morning, I shouldn’t be this negative. But I have to let it out, especially after my false hope has just been popped after discovering that the phonecall from a headhunter I received a few minutes ago was for another Mary living in this house. Obviously the "Mary" the headhunter is looking for is not me.

The sadist who finds entertainment in this should die laughing right about now.

Monday, August 4, 2008

The Story of My Life

If I start telling the story of my life, my blog will face its death in a minute or less.

Yes, I write stories of me in here lots of times but that’s just the “me” I remember or the “me” I want to be remembered. The truth is, what you see in my blog is just a cross-section of me—the part of me that makes me “me” but it’s not really the whole “me.”

I am aware that I am, by this time, starting to lose sense.

Forgive me. I am just not in the best of moods. Twenty minutes ago, I lost the sunny disposition I’ve been trying my darn best to sport albeit my frustration in making a career here. It’s a struggle to stay positive. But my effort to keep that smile was wiped away after being slapped on the face by a cold email.

I am over reacting. The email wasn’t all that harsh but it will surely go down in history as one of the worst emails I have ever received in my entire web life.

God, I am the most naïve pessimistic in the world! What was I thinking in making myself believe that someone out there would do for me what I did for others? Now I need to scold myself for being so stupid.

If I have a set of the so-called “hang-ups” it’ll be comprised of my disappointments from finding out that the people whom I silently expect to go an extra mile to do not-necessarily-special things for me will just disappoint. In the most recent case, I asked for a favor. I am grateful that the favor had been granted but to hear negative comments which came free with it is sooo, frustrating I just want to cry!

The thing is, I am one who has a flair for making people feel special. I grant (possible) favors, and throw in my suggestions and a couple of initiative here and there to make the favor well-covered. I whine sometimes but I deliver, often times more than expected. My conscience wouldn’t let me sleep once I realize that I made someone feel awfully unimportant because I was too self-absorbed to do what was asked of me to the best of my abilities. I feel bad whenever I notice how I’ve made someone feel “unspecial."

But why the hell do some people afford to make me feel like a total pushover, a loser, a creature they could hurt just like that?

While I’m in this foul mood, I wish to say, if only to get it out of my system once and for all, that receiving an ostentatious-display-of-whatever through text messaging some month ago made me feel just as bad. I’ve become Kevin Federline. It’s not funny at all. I honestly felt insulted. I still get the urge to punch someone whenever I remember how I was brought down to that moron’s level.

I am generally a good person but crappy things happen to me.

I feel like being mocked in a cosmic conspiracy proportions.

I wonder why the cosmos goes through the trouble of making me feel bad when its ultimate message is “you are not our favorite.”

If this will make it stop, I’d say, “I get it. I get it! No need to rub it in any further.”

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Only at 28

At 28, I’ve decided to grow up.

To handle more responsibilities. To be less selfish. To build dreams and work in order to achieve them. To be less lazy. To try new things I normally am afraid to try. To be more confident about myself and what I can do. To be less of a wuss.

At 28, I decided to leave Neverland.

And now it is up to circumstances, if it will allow me to fit in elsewhere.

At 28, I am praying that it does.

At 28, I shake my head for missing on some recklessness I could have done in my youth: drinking, partying, drugs (?), superficial relationships.

At 28, I realize, despite the things I missed, I have tons of reasons to live for, tons of reasons to stay awake.

A more sophisticated world is unfolding before me, and if the Fates work on my side, more fun are yet to come only at 28.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Keep Holy The Sabbath Day

It was probably through the third of the Ten Commandments that God invented “day-off.”

Some are lucky enough to get not only one day off a week, but two. Whether it falls on the Sabbath day or not, an off is an off. One can only be thankful for a quick vacation from a stressful, hardworking week.

Not having a job is like spending your day off which runs for 168 hours a week, 4 times a month.

Take it from me, it isn’t much fun, especially when you realize how unproductive you have been and how you’ve ran out of things to do.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Not Bad For the First

First thought for the day: By heavens, it’s August! (English talaga!)

I left the Philippines in June. July was a breeze and now it’s August!

That means, I haven’t been making money for that long. Haha.

* * *

To mark the first day of the month, destiny set this day for me to have my first job interview, thus explaining my previous post.

How did it turn out?

Good news: First, I didn’t get lost on my way to the correct building. Second, I understood the interviewer although it was pretty much challenging to decipher her English given the local accent she had.

Bad news: First, I am over-qualified for the first two job openings they had. Second, I am—I wouldn’t say under-qualified, I could learn what they wanted me to know if I take classes on it for at least three days—I guess, I am just not quite the perfect person for the third position they are keen on filling in.

Good news: The HR lady saw potentials in me and said I should find work in journalism. She also said she’d try to coordinate in one department of their company and see if they might be needing me.

Bad news: I still don’t have a job.

Good news: My ego is still intact!

Not bad at all!

* * *

Post Script

Before she ended my interview, the HR lady told me, "You're skin is fair for a Filipina."

I didn't know what to make out of her statement but two thoughts came to mind: 1) You should see my sister! and 2) Ano'ng akala mo sa aming mga Pinoy, puros maiitim?