Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Upgrade

Smoothly, successfully downloaded OS X Yosemite
Seize the moment, live to the point of tears, YOLO. And when it is time to let go, let go.

Because nothing lasts. Material things, particularly gadgets, teach me, remind me this.

Recently, my Nokia almost died and I resuscitated it with a hard reset. Meaning I lost all data: contacts, messages, notes, et cetera. I had no backup, since the Nokia suite is not available on Mac—well I researched and there are ways to back up but it was too much of a hassle.

The loss wasn't a big deal. There is only one phone number important to me. Information I need to survive are saved in my brain.

I love my MacBook, I love Blogger. In my wildest fears, my laptop simply refuses to boot and all my blog posts are wiped out. I am both ready and not ready for that.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Kids say

the darndest, most honest things.

So this little boy visited our office and invaded my cubicle.
First, he called one of my colleagues, "Taba!"

Then he asked, "Saan daddy niya?" referring to the pig in Angry Birds (which he was playing on my cell phone).

Finally, when he remarked, "Ang galing ko!" for cruising through a level in Angry Birds, I retorted, "Tsamba".

"Ano yung 'tsamba'?" he said in response, in all sincerity, with full attention and anticipation with the knowledge I was about to impart. Unfortunately, embarrassingly, I was lost for words.

Guys, how do you explain "tsamba"?

Monday, October 6, 2014

A few good things

Things have been happening at the same time in the past couple of months, thus excitement, anxiety, and photos overload.

1. Home. I shared about it last May and now I can slowly move in. As I've already said to a few friends, my invitation goes, Visit me and I'll serve you pressed coffee, ube hopia, and play piano for you.

Clockwise from left: Keys to my new place, construction phase, constructed phase
2. Driving. I've put this off for years and if all goes well, I'll get my license next week. Wish me luck! And because the universe ceaselessly teaches, I came across this poster on a Starbucks bulletin board:

You might learn a thing or two as well.
3. Work's kinda fun and I kinda look good doing it. One of the perks of my job is I don't need to take a selfie, I come with a photographer. Heh. Kidding aside, it's a challenge to be healthy and graceful when the office and everything associated with it (traffic, yes?) stress you out. You have to beat it and show your problems who's boss.

At the (clockwise from top left): Brill house, 28 Stories of Giving photo exhibit launch,
Spotify launch in the Philippines, Sophie Winners Night 2014, Wicked show,
Schwarzkopf 2014 Style-TEC fashion show

Saturday, September 6, 2014

To think, to care

David Foster Wallace's commencement speech addressed to Kenyon College 2005 graduates is the most profound and practical. And frankly the most important:

1) It zeroes in on what education is for: the system to develop critical thinking.
As I'm sure you guys know by now, it is extremely difficult to stay alert and attentive, instead of getting hypnotised by the constant monologue inside your own head (may be happening right now). Twenty years after my own graduation, I have come gradually to understand that the liberal arts cliché about teaching you how to think is actually shorthand for a much deeper, more serious idea: learning how to think really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience. Because if you cannot exercise this kind of choice in adult life, you will be totally hosed. Think of the old cliché about "the mind being an excellent servant but a terrible master". [my emphasis]
2) It shows how critical thinking helps us become decent human beings, creating a better world.
Here is just one example of the total wrongness of something I tend to be automatically sure of: everything in my own immediate experience supports my deep belief that I am the absolute centre of the universe; the realest, most vivid and important person in existence. We rarely think about this sort of natural, basic self-centredness because it's so socially repulsive. But it's pretty much the same for all of us. It is our default setting, hard-wired into our boards at birth. Think about it: there is no experience you have had that you are not the absolute centre of. The world as you experience it is there in front of YOU or behind YOU, to the left or right of YOU, on YOUR TV or YOUR monitor. And so on. Other people's thoughts and feelings have to be communicated to you somehow, but your own are so immediate, urgent, real.
3) It affirms my belief in intelligence and kindness as one value, and mind and heart as one machine.
The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad petty, unsexy ways every day.

That is real freedom. That is being educated, and understanding how to think. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default setting, the rat race, the constant gnawing sense of having had, and lost, some infinite thing.
I just think that this speech will appeal more to those who already had a taste of the so-called real world instead of fresh grads. To my fellow adults, I invite—no urge you to (re)read.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Attention

'Absolute attention is prayer.'

Over lunch I was reading Alan Bradley's 'A red herring without mustard' and the main character, Flavia, said something similar:
Thinking and prayer are much the same thing… Prayer goes up and thought comes down—or so it seems. As far as I can tell, that’s the only difference.
My own thoughts switched between the food, the book, and the window. It was a nice meal of chicken roulade I was having while outside the skies were drab for two o’clock. It didn't take long before rain fell.

Back to the book, now dessert. A few bites and pages after, my head turned again to the window. The rain stopped, but I squinted at the grounds, checking for traces of water.

There appeared to be none and before I could even spot a mirage, my view gradually shone yellow.

It was the first time nature made me smile the way a human being does—slowly, unexpectedly.

It was the first time I caught myself smiling.

Update (September 2, 2014):

I came across Phillip Lopate's Against Joie de Vivre wherein he also remarked on the relationship between attention and prayer and living in the moment. He wrote:
The argument of both the hedonist and the guru is that if we were but to open ourselves to the richness of the moment, to concentrate on the feast before us, we would be filled with bliss. I have lived in the present from time to time, and I can tell you that it is much over-rated.
. . . .
The present has a way of intruding whether you like it or not; why should I go out of my way to meet it? Let it splash on me from time to time, like a car going through a puddle, and I, on the sidewalk of my solitude, will salute it grimly like any other modern inconvenience.
. . . .
Even for survival, it's not necessary to focus one's full attention on the present. The instincts of a pedestrian crossing the street in a reverie will usually suffice. Alertness is alright as long as it is not treated as a promissory note on happiness. Anyone who recommends attention to the moment as a prescription for grateful wonder is only telling half the truth. To be happy one must pay attention, but to be unhappy one must also have paid attention.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Yellow and blue

Feeling yellow and blue
Feeling like a failure for, at 31, am already taking pain relievers.

Took the day off to drop by the hospital and have my back checked. Because of bad habits, I over-stressed my muscles, which resulted into nasty spasms the last couple of days.

Spent the rest of the afternoon at a nearby cafe, reading. Literature, after all, is my preferred drug. Coincidentally, the colors of the cup and saucer matched the colors of my jacket matched the colors of my mood.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Glenda's visit

Many might begin their story the way I will: Glenda woke me up with her winds. But perhaps only I would continue it this way.

*

My fortress's two sources of power:
a fully-charged MacBook and a scented candle
While nervous curiosity and fright were felt, I knew I was safe from where I was, at home—or as a friend joked, in my fortress.

And I returned to the safety of sleep.

When I woke again, it was past noon. The rain was no more and so was Glenda's singing. Taking their place was sadness.

For in my world and for who I am, this typhoon was a brief respite from normalcy.

*

When I was in grade school, already slothful at a young age, I was too anxious of homework, projects, recitations, and imagined death as a way out. ‘What if I died? Then I’d be free from all this (I didn’t have a name for it then, but the word that best signifies the signified is) responsibility.’ But at that age I already understood as well that reality is disappointing and even death would not come to save the day.

So I would be smiling a sweet, happy smile when, very early in the morning, my father would come to my bed and say, ‘Sleep some more, classes were suspended’.

The difference between then and now is back then, I would completely enjoy the rainy day.

Yes I get to savour brewing coffee, reading essays and chapters of a book, but these sweet pauses are now interrupted by thoughts of tasks—tomorrow, within the week, in the following months and years that death will allow me to live.

*

Again, I am a lucky girl. This calamity, just like previous calamities, is but an inconvenience. Truth is I found a new appreciation for blackouts, because concern floats and of course, the quiet—in color and tone.

Because, really, what do you go back to when the power is back? —The same routine, the same excesses, the same noises.

*

This storm is going to be memorable for its winds and for its kindness. I used to work in a BPO company and during Typhoon Milenyo, we were expected to report for duty. Today, two of my superiors called to say, ‘Stay home’ the way a father would whisper, ‘Go back to sleep’ to a child who was never ready to grow up.