Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Just Because You Don’t See It Doesn’t Mean It’s Not There

I am not proud of my gift, or curse, however you may want to look at it. You see, I may crack jokes or appear happy or growl and call you names, but I SEE DEAD PEOPLE.

I didn’t know I had it, I thought people can see what I can. When I realized that what I was seeing were beyond the ken of the average third eye blind person, it got a little weirder for me. It all started when we moved to the province to live there for a while. Here in the city, there’s no time for reflection – everybody’s busy, there’s always noise, several things are competing for your time and attention.

In the province, you can see the stars more brightly. There’s more time for conversation, and even though there’s TV, it’s more fun to hang out with friends at the seawall. There’s also less noise and no streetlights, and therefore, it’s darker and quieter. And you notice more things. Like ghosts.

The house we lived in was a nipa-roofed bamboo-floored affair, and back then it was the only house in the block full of talahib. One night, while we slept inside a mosquito net, I dreamt that a woman with red eyes was outside the window playing peek-a-boo with me, while I was being dragged feet-first towards the window. When I woke up I was indeed outside the mosquito net with my feet near the open window, and I know it was closed before we went to bed because my grandmother would pull my hair if it wasn’t.

I also got to spend a night inside a very old church, during my great-grandfather’s wake. You know what they say about sleep in a cemetery but not inside a church? It’s true. It seemed like 300 people were milling around, dragging their slippered feet. Sometimes I felt like I was being poked, but I’m not sure because I kept eating candies three at a time and trying very hard to focus on my Sweet Valley High.

There are a lot of ghost stories I can tell you but it I’m sure you’ve heard similar stories before. Like the one where I took a nap inside a meeting room then woke up when I felt something heavy pressing on my shoulder. I could even feel her breath, she was begging me to take her away from there. Imagine waking up to something like “Isama mo na ko, ayoko na dito, hirap na hirap na ko.” I swear, it would make your heart stop and beat a hundred miles per hour at the same time.

There were also those episodes in our previous apartment, right after my father died. Suddenly a lot of strange things are happening, and we kept seeing people - three, to be exact - appearing to members of the household separately. From our different stories we concluded that there's a little girl, an old man, and a young-ish man doing the rounds. But nobody can prove anything because no two people experience things at the same time. Then one day, we were having a late lunch and I dared the ghosts to appear in front of all of us. I know, I was just being crazy. Then I lifted up my glass to drink and the next moment I was wet. The bottom of the glass was still at the table, very neatly sliced, like a machine would. The next day we were house-hunting.

To make use of my talents I even joined the Spirit Questors at one time, we were made to "tour" a partially-abandoned office building. Afterwards they tried to talk with the entities, and I wasn't able to sleep for three days after that. But when things in my life are all too frequently present, I get desensitized. I don't care anymore.

When we're together and I see one, I'm not going to tell you, don't worry. It will be my little secret. Unless it starts poking you.


Monday, October 30, 2006

A Fork in the Road

Suddenly life is offering me options again. I am not at a dead end anymore, and the sky is blue once more.

If Plan A works, I will be given a fresh start. But it would be No more classes, no more books, no more teacher's dirty looks. I won't be able to finish my degree. I won't know whether my project would see implementation. But I would have ten thousand things in exchange for that. It's scary exciting, and I'm keeping my fingers and toes crossed.

If it doesn't, well, there's Plan B. It used to be the default Plan but now that I was given a choice, it was demoted to back up. I really want Plan A to happen, but if it's not meant to be, then I'll just review for the Compre, finish writing my project and finally graduate. Hopefully it will open doors, but it was never a guarantee.

There's a Plan C, sitting here for all eternity until I reach retirement and join my fellow retirees in founding a Strip Chess Club.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Friday's Feast 117

Create a new candle scent.
Beef brisket. What? Fine, freshly baked bread.

Name one way you show affection to others.
I growl at them, or call them pet names.

What is your favorite writing instrument?
Mongol #1, sharpened to a murderous point.

Main Course
If you were given $25 to spend anywhere online, from which site would you buy?
Amazon. Books on sale, free shipping.

Are you dressing up for Halloween? If so, what are you going to be?
I'll be wearing my vintage (2002) spider headband.

PS: I didn't do the last Friday's Feast because the questions were boring.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Going Back to the Basics

My new post over at TM - Our Definition:

"I was never an early adapter when it comes to new technology, specifically with cellular phones. My first phone back in 1998 was an analog Motorola, I can’t even remember the model. It served the purpose, I can make calls when I needed to. Eventually it got phased out when the GSM technology proliferated, i.e., the advent of SIM cards and text messaging and free caller ID. Yes, people used to pay for Caller ID. Ask your mom, I’m not lying."

Read the rest of this entry.

The 500 People You Meet in Hell

I got Jessica Zafra's latest book, The 500 People You Meet in Hell. At the end of the book she invited people to send in their versions. Well, I'm posting mine before I send it in. Here's some of my 500 people.

1. Testimonial whores in Friendster. Because really, what's the worst thing than not having one? Begging people in your Friends list to go write you a testimonial. In hell, people will do write something, only it's the opposite. They will be given a list of what their friends hate most about them, the vilest, darkest sides of their personality.

2. People who converse loudly in public places. You know those people who shout at their phone because "I CAN'T HEAR YOU!" Didn't it ever occur to them that even though they can't hear the other person, the other person probably can hear them back perfectly? In hell, the demons are going to shout "CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW? HOW ABOUT NOW?" directly into their ears for all eternity.

3. People who hold entire conversations inside moviehouses while movies like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is playing. They will be watching the most boring movies in Hell with devils, and every time they open their mouths they will be struck by bolts of fire from the devils' pitchforks.

4. Mothers who make their little daughters wear tube tops and ankle boots then pile heavy gold jewelry on them, making them look like little skanks. These mothers will then be dressed as little girls, complete with ruffles and bows and sugar and spice and everything nice, then let loose in a room full of devil pedophiles.

5. The boss who made you feel stupid. In Hell he gets an assistant that is so incredibly stupid, she has an ass for a head. See if he likes it.

6. The TV producers who churn out garbage like Hokus Pokus and Daisy Siyete. They will be made to watch their creations over and over again for the next few billion years, they will wish they were dead except that they already are.

7. The ex who treated you like crap then declare undying love years later. (Fuck you.) For people like this, there is no need for Hell. Being themselves is enough of a curse. They will be given a life of cycles. The same shitload of crapola for the rest of their lives and all their succeeding ones.

8. The officemate who pretended to be your friend then ratted out your secrets. Her tongue would be pulled out for miles while the devils run ten-wheeler trucks over it.

9. The boy/girl who stole your girlfriend/boyfriend. In Hell, each limb will be tied to the horses of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse then off they go in different directions. Then ugly evil trolls will piece him/her back together using barbed wires as surgical threads. And it all goes on forever and ever and ever.

10. The taxi driver who wouldn't take you just because you live outside his 50-feet radius. In Hell he will walk for all eternity. No rest.

Who are your 500 people in hell?

Friday, October 20, 2006

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

My Life is Sucky

Sometimes it's easier to just not care. I don't care what happens tomorrow, or next week, not ever. But I know this sucky feeling will pass and I will once more make decisions for people within a 50-mile radius.

If I had a car, I might drive into a truck tonight, but fortunately I don't and it's pathetic really to drive into a truck when your life is like mine. This day just sucked monumentally, and I know I'm rambling but you know what, I don't care.

I'm just tired. So tired.

There are things to be happy for though. I served as a panel for some business class defense thing. I won't mention the school anymore, but it's a prestigious one and I must say I'm sort of disappointed. I was expecting more, so much more from those kids. Oh well, they're rich anyway, they probably don't need to do business models that much.

And also, I now have a topic for my thesis! Thank you, Nomad, for suggesting I use it. I'm actually excited to do the outline and data gathering for that. It is a feasible project and I hope that with the help of our Fairy Godfather we can implement it in the not-so-far future.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Friday's Feast 115

Approximately how many hours per week do you spend reading other blogs?
Do you really want to get into that? Not as much as I spent before.

Your community wants everyone to give one thing to put into a time capsule. What item would you choose to include?
My iPod. Or CDs that contains the songs in my iPod. I didn't really mean to give out my iPod.

What is the most interesting tourist attraction you've ever visited?
This is a tough one, every place has its charms. I've already been to a lot of places, but I'm still looking forward to Angkor Wat.

Main Course
If you could give an award to anyone for anything, who would it be and what would the award be titled?
And the 2006 award for The Most Unfeeling, Callous, and... I'd really rather not.

What do you think your favorite color reveals about your personality?
My favorite color is red. It stands for strength, life, passion, courage.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Benefits of Having Multiple Personalities

All these, the things you read here, that's not all of me. It barely makes up a tiny, tiny, tiny percentage of who I am. I may be showing different sides of myself as I write, but there's still more from where it came from.

One of them is the academic side of me, that desire to learn new and good things, and to learn it well. It's that side that got me good grades in school, and when I got out of college and entered the real world it helped me bluff my way out of many conversations.

One of the reasons I resigned from a previous employer was that I felt my brain was rotting from stagnation. I can't live doing the same things over and over again, day after day, and not learning anything new. I got out and experienced new things, and it was like a breath of fresh air. It saved me from drowning in mediocrity and ignorance.

It was also that side that got me back in school. I know I wanted to pursue a higher degree, and I did. What I didn't know was that it will change a lot in my life -- there was so much I don't know. I never knew I could actually use big words like competitive strategy and using it in a comprehensible sentence that my professor would actually read.

Apparently, I wasn't alone.

Recently, a group of people from different backgrounds and various industries have come together to help explain what is Technology Management. There are representatives from the IT industry, entrepreneurship, business economics, international organization, and the aesthetic industry. Technology is the common denominator of what we stand for -- we invite you to come visit the site and leave comments to help us improve it (it's still in Beta).

I did the first post.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Drinking from a Dirty Glass Causes Insanity

Bakit ang hirap maging masaya?


{long pause.}

Ilang beses ko na ba tong pinagdaanan? Bakit hindi pa ko madala?


{a teardrop falls.}

{look at nowhere in particular.}

Hirap na hirap na ko.

{tears flow freely.}

Ayoko na. Kailangang matuto na ko.

{fall on knees while sobbing.}

Kailangan kong maging matatag.

{stops crying. looks at the heavens. takes a deep breath.}


Kailangan ko na talagang mag-file.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Very Scary Indeed

Last night, Banana, her eight-year old and I were watching TV and the trailer for Robin and Regine's movie, Till I Met You, came on.

Regine: Gustong ituloy ni Don Manuel ang kasal namin.
Robin: Natutuwa ako.
{cut to next scene}
Robin: Ikaw lang ang babaeng minahal ko ng ganito.

Eight-year old (in a very matter-of-fact, deadpan voice): Bakit di na lang nila patayin si Don Manuel?

We wanted to play the role of responsible adults and tell the kid something about where-did-you-get-that-idea-that's-bad and when-you-have-people-problems-you-don't-kill-the-people but we couldn't stop laughing.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Ashley Beatriz, Brand New

On September 25, 2006, this little squeak toy of a baby came out. I didn't see her until two weeks after she was born, but when I first looked at her pictures, I can't imagine I could love a human being so unconditionally without having to meet her.

Ashley Beatriz or Abbey (I wanted to call her Pokwang but nobody would let me) is the firstborn of my brother; and yeah, this same brother. She is the first grandchild, the first niece. Therefore it would be safe to say that she will have the most pictures, the most toys, and the most attention of all other grandchildren to follow.

When I first held her I got a little teary eyed, I can't believe my dingbat of a brother made something as amazing as her. She's so small and fragile, like she could break in my arms. She's a human being, and how my brother and his wife thought that they're ready to raise another person in this screwed-up world, I will never know. I applaud them for their bravery, and while it's their job to ensure that Abbey grows up to be a kind, good person and a responsible citizen, it's our (the aunts) job to spoil her silly.

You know the type, when I was a kid of course there were rules at home. We can't stay up late, no sweets before meals, no comic books, no chocolate cake for breakfast. When Abbey is big enough to have sleepovers, she can stay up as late as she would like to, read my books if she wants, and she can very damn well have chocolate cake for breakfast. As a parent I guess you have to draw a line, but as an aunt that line can be an ambiguous one.

When I think about how one day I might have an Abbey, I get very very scared. A baby is brand new, a blank canvas. How the child will turn out will very heavily depend upon a lot of things -- the values I will impart, the environment I will raise her in, and the people she will associate with. The first two a parent can have control over, but the last one the child will have to decide for himself. (You can always yell, but it doesn't work all the time. Sometimes you have to eliminate the wrong friends.)

I cannot begin to list the things I hope Abbey will become, but like the fairies on Princess Aurora's baptism, here's a bit of my fairy dust -- Abbey, may you grow up intelligent and compassionate, kind and generous, and trusting yet street-smart. I don't have to wish you beauty, you're my niece.

Our first portrait together.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Friday's Feast 114

Name a song you know by heart.
Beauty and the Beast from the Disney movie. When he was three, my cousin Andrew and I used to duet in the bathroom whenever I give him a bath. He's 18 now, but I bet he still remembers it.

What will you absolutely not do in front of another person?
A lot of things. Pick my nose, cry about not having ice cream, and wax lyrical about the pros and cons of being in love with a statue that pretends to have 46 chromosomes.

How often do you use mouthwash and what kind do you like?
Everytime I brush my teeth. I like the non-sting ones, I hate it when they make my eyes water from over-mintiness.

Main Course
Finish this sentence: I am embarrassed when...
I am embarrassed when I fall flat on my face in front of a crowd because I can't be bothered to lift up my feet while walking. Or I am embarrassed when the bike I'm riding with my cousin suddenly falls over near a basketball court with lotsa guys playing, with us splayed on the road for all of them to gawk at. Also, I am embarrassed everytime I'm being me, which means saying things I shouldn't say to people I shouldn't be talking to at all. My mouth is big enough to fit both of my feet sometimes.

What was the last food you craved?
Oishi, Pepperidge Farm Chocolate Chunk Cookie, vanilla ice cream, and lechon kawali. None of those were satisfied, fuckit.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Of Bedmates and Season Enders

I'm not in a very chatty mood these past few days, because aside from hauling my ass off from one filing room to another, my life has been dull recently. But but but, I could always post pictures.

The End of Mutilation

Remember I was complaining about always cutting myself (accidentally) when I found those freaking plaster strips? Well, the streak has ended fortunately, but with a bang. Or a crack. I twisted my wrist, and came out of the doctor's office with my hand looking like this. The doctor told me I had weak hands, I'm not cut out for doing manual labor. See, that's why I don't do laundry or dishes or heaven forbid, gardening. So much for going kickboxing though.

My Current Bedmates

Everybody have their own rituals before going to bed. Mine is not so complicated as rituals go, no sacrificing of living things etc., but they have to follow a certain order. If I miss one I have to go back and repeat steps if necessary. Mild OC behavior, I guess. I also can't sleep without one of these beside me: books, remote controls for the TV and DVD, cellphones, cream for my ginger feet, and vapor rub.

The New Light of my (Bedroom) Life

We have been frequenting the Divisoria night market recently and found this lamp, among other cheap great finds. I've always wanted something like this but the ones I like are too expensive, and besides, someone promised to buy me a lamp for like a year now. So far, that someone hasn't got around to actually buying it so I went ahead and bought it myself. It's taller than me and it only cost five hundred bucks. My room looks like a beach resort guest room now, except that I sleep on a mattress on the floor. Sometimes my floor has sand, does that count?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Friday's Feast 113

What is your favorite herb or spice?
Pepper and basil.

Name a song you like but haven't heard in a long time.
Closest Thing to Heaven by Carl Anderson, it was included in the original Crossover 105.1 CD.
"You're the closest thing that I've been to heaven, and I'm the farthest thing on your mind..."

If you were to take just one minute to write down as many things as you can think of that you need (not want) to do, approximately how many things would there be?
Four Hundred and Fifty Two. Are you happy now?

Main Course
Tell something interesting about one of your family members (nothing scandalous, please, just something unique).
Everybody in my family is interesting. I have this aunt on my father's side, her family was raised in a not so good environment, and they didn't have much education. She had 11 children, all of whom were grown up and have families of their own by the time I was born. What's interesting about them was that every one of the 11 children had a unique nickname. There was Palaka, Jun Kabayo, Rodang Bakla, Pekpek (not kidding), Akang, Tiwa...the ugliest names you could think of was bestowed upon them, I don't know why. I don't see them very much, nor talk to them at all -- we don't have that much in common except that we're related.

What's the latest you've ever stayed awake?
Try 48 hours of no sleep, back in college. Haven't broken that record since. If I did that now I would certainly die. I'm old, you know.