Friday, April 29, 2005

It wasn't the observation of a smart aleck
but that of a truth-lover or a statistics-lover*

Home alone, for some reasons.

First stop, kitchen. There must be bread, there must be bread. There is. It's my lucky day, for there's a dozen of eggs, and there's ham, still sealed. I said lucky, therefore there's Ovaltine, and milk, instant coffee.

The eggs must be fried, a bit toasted. Its edges must be crisp. The ham will be fried as well. On the bread will be mayonnaise. Bread ham egg bread into the oven. Four minutes. The time it takes to heat the water and prepare my drink. Five teaspoons of Ovaltine, half a teaspoon of milk and a quarter teaspoon of instant coffee. Every time I concoct this, the taste is different.

Done.

Two DVD's for me to watch: "The Notebook" (adaptation of Nicholas Sparks's novel) and "Closer" (adaptation of Patrick Marber's play.)

The Notebook. Who's that girl? She's sickly sweet, but charming. Well, she has a very pretty face that becomes prettier the longer you look. Great smile. I like this young lady. She's the only thing I like about this film. She is the character. Is that what you call "good casting?"

Closer. I'm an actor bigot. There are instances when I decide whether to watch a film or not depending on the actors in it. Don't like Julia Roberts. Not excited about Natalie Portman. There's no harm in trying, I can always press the stop button. In two scenes, the conflict's built. Good. There seems to be a promise of a sex scene. Good. (What am I talking about, there's always promise of sex in Hollywood films, and there's always Penthouse's Caligula upstairs if I want porn.) Do I like this film? Do I find it unable to reach its potential? How do I say something intelligent about this? I wish I could see, or read the original play.

My mother must be home by lunch time, or I'll have to order something and I hate spending money on things I could've not spent on.

A whole afternoon at home. There's the piano. After a year of practicing, I still can't play Fur Elise perfectly. And that should be an easy piece. I may not even be worth being called a hobbyist.

A helicopter crash. Mother's not yet home. What a shame. I should learn how to cook rice.

What a desperate day. I'm happy about my sandwich and hot chocolate. The films I've watched are entertaining. At least my fingers are complete and I can read notes. I have something to look forward to.

* J.D. Salinger, For Esmé--with Love and Squalor

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Theeling

For the third time, my family's personal computer has been reformatted. What does that mean? I've lost yet again a gajillion mp3 files. I haven't learned. I should've saved them in a CD. But as how I would usually console myself, I have listened to these, ok those, songs for how many times until I tire of them. I shouldn't be this sad.

How about my other files? They're fine. My Word documents (CV, theses, papers, creative writing) are saved in my Gmail account. (On a side note, I don't know about you other Gmail users, but that "2000 megabytes (and counting) of storage" is starting to get scary. It's like they're up for world domination. Oh well, that's tomorrow's problem.) My jpeg files and other pictures are stored in Flickr and PhotoBucket.

I always brag about how I can live without a cell phone. But my gulay, I have become slave to the internet instead of the other way around.

By the way, Merriam-Webster Asks: What's Your Favorite Word (That's Not in the Dictionary)? Here are some of the responses:
accordionated (adj): being able to drive and refold a road map at the same time

elbonics (n): the actions of two people maneuvering for one armrest in a movie theater

fendicle (n): junk that hangs from fenders in winter

helixophile (n): corkscrew collector

petrophobic (adj): one who is embarrassed to undress in front of a household pet

theeling (n) thinking and feeling blended state
That's one of the reasons why I love the internet. Oh, I still can't get over those music.

Monday, April 25, 2005

I'm Ready, Depression

This is not to say I'm depressed, or will soon be. It is just that.

If only this world is cartoon. One-dimensional, but of course, the discord. Adventure and fun's a given. You face trouble, but then just like that, there's the solution. You get swallowed by a sea monster and suddenly you get out by the door at its tail. Your entire community's been manipulated by a selfish plankton, so you become a rockstar wielding a powerful laser guitar and save the day. (Yes, I've recently seen The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie. This is not to say I'm a fan.)

A friend of mine just graduated from college. She was very excited about what's next. I didn't tell her this: Are you sure you have enjoyed every moment of your life as a student?

There we stood: the twenty-something idealist who was eager to ride the real world, join the Palanca, hunt for scholarships and the other idealist who did not believe in such reality and grants with conviction.

Whenever someone younger begins to dream out loud, especially in front of me, I want to turn away. I see the student debaters, speaking with confidence, flair and a sense of urgency, and I want to say, in all plainness, No.

In keeping quiet, I betray friends who solicit an honest response from me and not a generic encouragement. In defense, who am I to tell? They can always surprise themselves and the world with their well-earned and carefully understood happiness.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Still, Spontaneity

I never fantasize about having my own family. Don't like getting married. Don't like children. But of course I've thought about these things.

Batibot ChairSee, you have this space, or I have this space I've grown so accustomed to for how many years. I cannot imagine having this space shared, compromised--for all eternity, that is. In the simplest sense, I don't want to bother about somebody else who might not like a curtain I intend to put on the window.

But I like sharing, I like relationships. I like them so much I want a lot of them. It is just that I love solitude. And I want to spare myself the worry. I worry too much about myself already. If I have a child, I will go crazy thinking how s/he fits in her/his environment, that s/he might get into an accident, and the list goes on.

Great GrandmotherBatangas will always be my favorite place. Lolo and Lola Lipa will always be my favorite couple. Theirs is the energy I desire.

Every time we have a reunion, I appreciate what a family is (supposed to be.) You know it's not about the reunion itself, but what it elicits from you. Curiosity, care. You catch up, not just on each other's lives, but on how each other look like. Of course the stories. Tita Ning cries to Lola while talking about being cheated in her business.

Lolo Lipa, at 94, is a bit quiet. He can no longer walk on his own. He can't hear well, he can't see well. He can't see me. If he sees me, he doesn't remember who I was.

I feel lucky enough to have had a great grandmother in Lola Abe. She had reached more than a century. I want to reach more than that age.

Whenever we're at my grandparents' house at Lipa, we'd always eat mangoes fresh from the tree at their backyard. That Mango tree is older than me or any of my cousins. The new park just across the house is getting better and better every time we visit and my brother and I loves having coffee there. We've yet to try flying a kite in that well-contrived nature. And then there's Tito Joel's motorbike, well, him and his motorbike. My father used to have one, but I was so young then, I didn't have the chance to ride it. Now I can and I always do when I go to Lipa.

Mango TreeA Contrived Nature
Wild RideLittle Temple

My parents say that when my grandparents die, their home will be turned into a rest house. There was once a tree house in the backyard and a small bahay kubo. The bahay kubo was meant for us, the young ones, when we were still children. It was destroyed a couple of years ago. This time the two houses in the lot will be completely destroyed. I don't know if that means they'll also demolish the little village fixture in the backyard, which used to amuse me as a child. I would imagine a whole story set in it.

Lolo speaks up. He wants to go to their old house at San Juan where my father was born. Lola tells us that Lolo loves that place so much, because he loves the people in it. Without hesitation, Lola calls her brother at San Juan. A few more minutes, my father tells us to get ready and get in the car.

The house at San Juan is small, but tidy. The furnishings are color coordinated, the tablewares match.

San JuanAt the dining table, while having merienda, Lolo animatedly recalls the time he went to Mindoro in search for anting (of all the things he can remember...) He says he found it. The story must be cut short. It's almost four o'clock, which is the hour for the last mass. If we don't hurry, we might suffer the heavy traffic.

Lolo takes the front seat of the revo van, all to himself. He needs that space. Lola sits at the back with my mother. My brother and I are in the middle. Lola tells my mother that she recently brought a monoblock chair with armrests for Lolo.

"Para mas madali kapag pinapaliguan ko siya. 330 ang bili ko. Mabuti iyong matibay," Lola explains to my mother. "Daddy, okay ka lang diyan?" Lola shouts to Lolo. Traffic's getting bad. "Masaya ka ba?"

"Ay hindi pa 'ko natatawa," he answers.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

For _____

WHAT I LIKE
by Alice Fulton

Friend--the face I wallow toward
through a scrimmage of shut faces.
Arms like towropes to haul me home, aide-
memoire, my lost childhood docks, a bottled ark
in harbor. Friend--I can't forget
how even the word contains an end.
We circle each other in a scared bolero,
imagining stratagems: postures and imposters.
Cold convictions keep us solo. I ahem
and hedge my affections. Who'll blow the first kiss,
land it like the lifeforces we feel
tickling at each wrist? It should be easy
easy to take your hand, whisper down this distance
labeled hers or his: what I like about you is
I am reminded of this poem after watching "Kung Ako Na Lang Sana," starring Sharon Cuneta and Aga Muhlach.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Collage Of The Day

MY COMPUTER, MY EXECUTIONER

Via Larawan:
Image hosted by Photobucket.com


THE BLAH IN "BLAH BLAH BLAH"

From a phone conversation with my high school friend, Marie:
MARIE: Sa August ako due--second week.
ME: Alam mo na kung girl o boy?
MARIE: Hindi pa. Huli kasing nagfoform ang genitals.
ME: Talaga? Hindi ko alam yun, ah.
MARIE: Miss na kita, sobra. Kita tayo bukas, sa Festival.
ME: Oo naman, malapit lang naman ako dun.
MARIE: Ay, hindi, 'wag na lang. Makikita kita, ang sexy mo,
maiinsecure lang ako.
ME: Haha.
. . . .
MARIE: Buti na lang inisip kong ituloy 'to.
ME IN MY HEAD: I knew it. It's unwanted.
MARIE: Pero sabi nila kapag nakita mo na raw yung anak mo, it's all worth it.
ME IN MY HEAD: Naniwala ka naman.
MARIE: Besides, after college, labas ako nang labas--I've had my fun. Tsaka papalakihin lang naman namin 'to ni M, tapos puwede na kami bumalik sa dati.
ME IN MY HEAD: As if ganun kadali yun.
. . . .
MARIE: Matino na si M ngayon, hindi gaya nung magsyota pa lang kami, laging nangangaliwa. Dalawang beses ko siya nahuli. Buti na lang yung isa inamin niya.
ME: So... paano ka niya napapayag magpakasal?
MARIE: Alam mo, wala ka nang magagawa e...
Sad.


PISCES

From Rob Brezsny:
"What I give form to in daylight is only one percent of what I have seen in darkness," wrote the artist M.C. Escher. Though he wasn't a Pisces, he could have been speaking for you and your tribe when he said that....Now here's some really good news: In the coming weeks, you could raise that to a whopping 10 percent.

CONFESSION

I like Coelho's "By the River Piedra, I Sat Down and Wept."

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

The Act

Sohee was the first Korean I formally tutored. She was 9 years old. She had this rule: on Mondays, I had to call her Sandy; on Tuesdays, Candy; Wednesdays, Winny; Thursdays, Annie; then she'd be back to being Sandy (her English name) on Fridays. That's how cute she was.

Imagine the horror I felt when I was assigned to tutor her for 3 hours every day, from 8 to 11 am. I had to teach her 2 books. She was naughty, playful, proud, smart. After a week, we learned to fall in love with each other. But this is about the first time we met, and something else.

We drew and played games for an hour and a half, as she didn't like to study. When I started feeling too irresponsible for not doing my job, I thought of being strict and forced her to read with me. After a few minutes, she acted as if she was choking. I just looked at her, thinking, What do I do with this kid... Since she got no response from me, she stopped her act, sat on her chair, then read with me.

It came to my mind all those times I acted myself, cheated my way with things. I first remembered my parents, when I would tell them about fictive school projects, so as to get some money to buy cassette tapes. Then there was high school when I would fake headaches and sleep in the clinic so as to skip unwanted classes.

And then now. Somehow I am amazed at our ability--or our choice--to let people we care about act like fools around us. I know now that my parents all along knew about those lies. It's embarrassing.

I recently found this Robert Walser statement: "No one has the right to act as though he knows me." Ouch. The very thing I love and fear most about people is their intelligence.