Friday, October 31, 2008

Sosyal Kame Rito

Booh! It's Halloween!

Sosyal sa baranggay namin! May trick or treat para sa mga kids. Kaya kanina, nagkalat sa neighborhood namin ang mga superheroes at mumu—all were undaunted young spirits. Kasi kahit umaambot, sige pa rin ang mga kids sa pagparada.

Heto’t hiniram ko ang ilan sa mga shots ng kapatid ko to show ang mga kapitbahay naming hero at mumu.

busog si Batman

Darna with the queso de bola-like hair piece

Varga (hehe kilala ko ito!)

Sundalo and a Pirate

Alwina of Mulawin

White Lady

Impakto yata s1ya

Syempre na-miss ko na naman ang pinambato namin sa aming baranggay trick or treat 4 years ago. (Halloween 2004 lang sya sumali e.)

I’m sure na-cu-cute-an din si Nichi sa mga batang kagaya niya! Malamang humahagikhik yun ngayon. Hahaha! Yamot!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Sunny Sun Tzu Moment

Our LPG tank has run dry. It paved the way for a Sun Tzu moment. As the Art of War stated, one must learn to maneuver misfortune into gain. Hence instead of letting the empty gas tank get in the way of LUNCH, we seized the situation that resulted in a more special meal: Inihaw!

The pleasant weather was all for it, giving me some more opportunities to take pictures with the aid of natural light.

These I’d like to share:

The chefs. Seryoso.

Lunch. Yum!

Twas a fine day to dry some clothes. (Shh… di alam ng kapitbahay namin na ginawa kong subject ang mga simapay nila!)

I bet this ring is also missing its owner.

Pinoy na barriotic ang dating! But it’s nice. (This photo is take by my brother.)

Ma’s empty paint bucket

Cross-Section of a Wood

Lamp against a sunny day

Ma’s plants

Flowers for Nichi

Live lens cap

Kuko ko.

Kadiri daw. Wala akong magagawa. Unlady-like talaga nails ko. Domeng, my high school friend, once said I’d be charged extra if I get my nails polished in a salon dahil masyadong malapad ang kuko ko, malakas sa nail polish!

Three's a Crowd

Scar ko.

Mas kadiri sa kuko ko. But it’s been a part of me for about 16 years now.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Freelance Jobs

Whenever I try to imagine myself doing freelance jobs, I end up picturing myself dancing while wearing a free-flowing chiffon dress. I don’t know who implanted that to my brain but that’s how it’s been for the longest time.

Perhaps the idea of being “free” while working leads me to imagine myself without the shackles of office work; thus explaining my images of free movement which translates to dancing and comfy clothes.

I find freelance jobs tempting. So tempting, I signed up for one proven job provider called Odesk. I say “proven” because my good friend, Kate, who introduced me to Odesk, is living proof that jobs at Odesk really work. By “really work” I mean a job provider receives compensation for the job s/he delivers to “companies” affiliated to Odesk for real. As long as you do things right—the way you and your “boss” agreed on—then you are sure to earn what is due for you.

I have yet to land the perfect freelance gig at Odesk. Until then, I shall leave my freelance job numbers in my mind.

* * *

For more information on Odesk, simply click banner below:

The On Demand Global Workforce - oDesk

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Losing the Extra Weight

A couple of days ago, I got to catch an episode of Oprah. After all these years, Studio 23 finally decided to air Oprah at an earlier time. It used to be that Oprah episodes border on midnight; one can’t help but wonder, “who watches Oprah at this time?”

Anyway, in the said episode of Oprah, a family was being featured and “guided” into turning over a new leaf. With this I mean Oprah was hosting a house makeover for her selected family. To modify it from the usual house makeover shows, Oprah and her expert guest probe on how the family’s house affects their lifestyle, health and happiness.

Expert guest started raiding the family’s kitchen, throwing in a basket everything inside the kitchen drawers—cookie cutters, sushi makers, skewers for kebabs or satays. It was not long before the mother, whose domain was the kitchen, began to breakdown and freak out just by witnessing her stuff being thrown away by expert guest. And, I think, what pushed her button more was the spoon expert guest broke.

Expert guest stood firm. He said that these things represent what the mother was fancying herself to be: a baker, a sushi master, a kebab/satay guru. He doubted that the mother uses those things despite the mother saying that she does bake, prepare sushis, and make kebabs/satay anytime in the year. “Time to let go,” expert guest insisted.

The mother walked out of the kitchen, frustrated, and told the rest of her family to get expert guest out of her house for breaking her spoon. She was crying. The material things from which she draws power over had just been deemed rubbish by this guy who knew little about her—about her life as a mother who tries to keep her family together, who puts things in order, who seeks for herself amidst all the things she does.

It is true that it is part of human nature to want to feel in control—if not over the people around them, then at least over the circumstances they have to deal with. But when all else fails, people turn to the most convenient option: material things. I don’t think anyone enjoys feeling powerless. There really is no reward in it. (That’s why telenovela underdogs are only good for fiction.) No matter how superficial it may sound, people will eventually settle with whatever is available to them in their quest for power.

In the mother’s case, those were her kitchen tools—the things that affirm that although her life is being run by responsibilities here and there, she has her kitchen tools to turn to for temporary “me” moments, to remind her that some things are still possible albeit her status quo. Because she can deal with these things at her own terms.

Expert guest, on the other hand, being that he’s just doing his job, remained unfazed despite the mother’s sobs and underlying predicament. He remained clear with his mission which was to get rid of the family’s “trash.” It wasn’t hard to do since he was not emotionally involved with the mother nor with her kitchen tools. Expert guest was the sane party who sees things objectively.

He convinces the mother to continue “cleansing” the house, to throw what remains inside the other drawers. “It’s time lose the extra weight,” he says. “Only then will you be able to move forward.”

The mother hesitates some more but eventually gives in and helps in throwing away the things they barely use in the house. Still there is that dark shadow over her head because although the things she is ridding her house of are not useful for the household, she needs them to validate her power.

Right now I do not have the purchasing abilities to command that tempting things my eyes lay upon be mine which, although could be a spectacular showcase of my power, is trouble, especially if the abilities rely on credit cards. So I’m settling on the other end of the ordeal. I am basking in whatever power available to me by simply eliminating those little things that may be holding our house back. I take control by losing some of our house’ extra weight. (My extra weight, measured in pounds, I shall deal with later.)

I have to admit that there is a liberating force in getting rid of the things you’ve been attached to for years. This may justify my recent surging obsession to cleanse our house, to box whatever stuff we have which don’t serve their purpose, to let go of the non useful things that eat up space and collect dust. To date, I have packed one bag of clothes which haven’t been used for years and one box and three plastic bags of unused stuff. Some of them we’ll give away; some of them we might sell.

As for the expert guest and the mother—the voice which is so clear in saying that it’s time to let go of excess baggage and move ahead, and the other voice who, amidst being silenced by the daily grind, needs to find a venue to be in control and feel power—well perhaps it helps to marry them, to establish a compromise.

Expert guest got his way because the mother eventually allowed him to take out her family’s trash. He did his job and ended with a brilliant house makeover. On the other hand, the mother felt that she can still be in control because expert guest acknowledged her need for it and supported her in finding ways in which she can better use her power other than keeping her cookie cutters, sushi makers, skewers and spoons. She now has a picture perfect home with a sparkly new kitchen devoid of that extra weight that inadvertently dragged her down.

Everybody happy, including Oprah and her audience.

Friday, October 24, 2008

What Can Be Worse than Being a Boy?

I have begun reading Caramelo, a novel by Sandra Cisneros. I should have started it long ago especially because it’s been a year since I bought it at the Powerbooks sale for 1/3 its original price. I have postponed reading it because of the other books I have stuck in a queue: The Unbearable Lightness of Being by my favorite Milan Kundera, The Bronte Project by Jennifer Vandever (which sucked by the way), Pugad Baboy Nineteen by Pol Medina. Kiko Machine 3 & 4 by Manix Abrera (I count them as books), Twisted 9: The Night of the Living Twisted by Jessica Zafra, Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman—to name a few. Oh, let’s not forget how Caramelo’s 434 pages intimidate me, hence the dramatic procrastination.

Let me just say that, finally, I’m done with Smoke and Mirrors. It took me more than two years. Haha! So much for being a slow reader. Good thing Smoke and Mirrors is a compilation of short stories instead of being a full-length novel. Otherwise, I would have to re-read from the beginning every time I resume from long uncalled for pauses. (But then again, I intentionally stopped reading it because I had a “special plan” in finishing it; however the “special plan” was terminated due to unfortunate circumstances. Thus I ended up reading it on more normal occasions.)

Back to Caramelo which is very much reminiscent in terms of the style of Cisneros’ House on Mango Street, I am starting to enjoy it. The injected Mexican/Spanish expressions, however, tend distract me as I didn’t have any formal classes on the language. But they keep me on my toes. Common sense is stepping in just so I can translate those I can afford to translate, thanks to the Spanish influence on my own language and to the very handy context clues. Now I feel like a polyglot.

With the Filipino culture not too far away from the Mexican way of life, reading Caramelo elevates what could be a vicarious experience to a more real one. I can’t help but associate some of the scenes from my life’s early chapters with the first few pages of Caramelo.

Lala, the main character and narrator, has an observant and honest way about her; it is difficult not to think of her as you--well in my case, of me. One winning moment was when her family brought her to a parlor and had her braids cut off. Her six older brothers wouldn’t stop teasing her. They said she looked like a boy with her short hair.

I recall how I cried every time my mom would have my hair cut very short. She said I didn’t know how to comb my hair, so it was better to get rid of most of my hair. I hated having very short hair because I didn’t want to look like a boy. For a little girl like me, it was traumatic to look like a boy.

Ironically, I am more than willing to shave my hair off these days. I’ve been thinking how much convenient it will be if I were rich and could afford not to go out of the house for a month or afford to buy the most effective hair grower in case I get embarrassed or tired of being bald. But I will be bald someday. After all, all it takes is a sharp shaver on my hand and I’d rid of my hair in no time. Wouldn’t that be cool?

So one of Lala’s brothers goes, “what can be worse than being a boy?”

“Being a girl!” The other says.

Not! A lot can be worse.

Like looking like a boy when you’re a girl.

Or postponing being bald.

Or maybe not finishing the books you read. (Note to self: I should get to page 434 before the year ends.)

Well, a lot can definitely be worse. And I mean A LOT.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The One with the Dozen Krispy Kremes

People, barter trade is alive!

Last Sunday, I received a dozen Original Glazed Krispy Kreme doughnuts for rendering my services and whatever artistic touch I could pull within me. And although monetary compensation would have helped the “starving” me, the doughnuts were sweeter! Especially when minutes before the loops arrived, I was craving for at least a couple of their kind.

I refused to charge who might have been my first paying client. After all she is a family friend. But with her, as well as of the baby’s parents’, satisfied remarks on the “job” I delivered plus the unexpected Krispy Kremes, I am quite convinced that I just might have a future in the invitation-making business.

I may take designing invitations seriously from hereon forward. A good friend advised me to start charging especially since it’s no secret that I need cash, lots of them.

Feel free to commission me for invitation projects. I may specialize on children’s parties: baptisms and birthdays. Weddings and debuts? Well, let’s just see if I’ll develop the aptitude for them.

For now, here is a showcase of my latest venture:

Cover of the two-sheet invite

Second page printed on parchment paper

Cover design for the CD souvenir

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

An Ode to Ysh

Yesterday, I found myself in a more quiet part of Makati. It was definitely more shala, populated by the rich, thus explaining why I had to walk several blocks in order to avail of public transport that’ll eventually bring me home. I could not very well afford a cab.

At the heart of the place was a park which closely resembled the park my niece visited every afternoon where I, too, occasionally hang out to let a few hours of my days in Singapore pass.

And then I remembered the article I should have written last October 4 which I never got to write. Eighteen days is a bit late but I’ll go on with it still. Today.

It is so easy to feel home sick when all it takes is to step out of the house to feel like the odd person out. So I find it a blessing to have had my niece around to entertain me in what-could-have-been my empty moments in a foreign country.

My three months of playing with Yzee, my niece, in itself is a blessing. I’ve already missed 8 months of her and as it is, I will continue to miss her growing up years. I consider the three months I’ve spent with her precious, priceless. From the moment she waived “hi” at me, showed me her latest tricks when I arrived to the time she spoke “mamamama”, “tee-tah!”, etc. and took her wobbly first steps while I was packing my stuff, I will keep them all in a special place in my heart.

I’m taking this time to share some of what I’d consider prized moments little Yzee. I’m displaying them here like any proud Tita.

She had me at Hello!

Actually, she had me at “Hi.” I’d like to believe I taught her to say “hello” on her toy phone which I called her “cordless phone” to distinguish it from her toy cellphone and the phone attached to her playpen which I called her “landline”.

Minnie Yzee

When I arrived, Yzee was sort of crib-bound. Here she seemed to understand that I was taking her photo with the Minnie Mouse toy given by her other Tita.

Little Buddhas with no Hair

I don’t think Yzee found the little stiff Buddhas with no hair in the Chinese Garden charming.

Maybe I’ll teach her how to bowl

If I become good at bowling and if I get a chance to spend time with my niece in the future, well then, I just might be able to teach her how to bowl.

Channeling Richard Simmons

She loves her headbands and although her look may seem to resemble that of the annoying Richard Simmons, I think Yzee is way cuter. And not Annoying at all!

Little Yzee wants to play

We were on our way to the park when the rain got in the way. We instead stayed at a covered space near the house where incidentally Yzee’s playmates were also stuck. Even the Singaporean kids thought Yzee looked cute in the dress Mamu picked for her.

Love it!

Before heading to a baptism, Yzee and I took some time to exercise her new trick. Her “Love it!” trick where she raises her arms upon hearing “Love it!” The TV ad for has taken it toll on my niece’s young brain.


We were both bored. I started swinging Yzee up and down, left and right. She enjoyed it! Apparently she has no motion sickness.

Super V

I got no objections from Yzee when I attached a foam V on her head. She even stayed still for this photo.

Yzee at the Park

Yes, she loves to slide!

Look, Mum, No Hands!

By the time I left, Yzee knew how to stand and walk on her own. Then she turned one.

Pretty Face

Another one of her tricks: flashing her pretty face.

In Pink

Here’s probably one of our last photos together. At this time I was teaching her to say, “rrrr.”