Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Happy New Year!

Then sing, young hearts that are full of cheer,
With never a thought of sorrow;
The old goes out, but the glad young year
Comes merrily in tomorrow.

Time flies, doesn’t it? It seems like it was just yesterday that we greeted a new millennium.

I hope you had a great Christmas and are ready and raring for battle in 2009.

I say battle because we all know it is going to be another tough year, in some instances, we may need to battle to survive.

However, let us always be filled wih hope. So raise your glass and lets toast the New Year.

May all of us experience the kindness in life, while being surprise with many moments of great joy through 2009!


Monday, December 29, 2008

It all start with laughter.

Still on the topic about my boys – they aren’t good looking. They don’t have the penetrating eyes, porcelain white teeth, and sun-kissed skin. They don’t even have the expertise to color coordinate their belts with their shoes, and they don’t have rock-hard abs that could crush chestnuts. But, they got sense of humor!

No wonder they bag girls who aren’t just beautiful and smart, but their girlfriends also come from good families.

I have read somewhere that single girls believe that they are most likely to fall in love with someone who makes them laugh. In fact, it is sense of humor that women cited as the No. 1 romantically attractive trait.

Now I know that God is just.

Of course I am happy that they get the girls they want, and maybe the answer to this groin-kicking phenomenon lies in the knowledge that my kids learned to activate or trigger the increase of their gilrfriend’s serotonin levels, serotonin being the brain chemical that put women in a light mood.

But the challenge then for my kids after breaking in the initial bouts of laughter, is to sustain the comedy.

As I said previously, times have changed. The girls of today desire to find boys who could increase her lineage intelligence level instead of having kids who will spend his days running into walls while picking his nose. And one indication that a man was moving up in the evolutionary ladder was his sense of humor as this indicates creative ability, which is also perceived as a sign of intelligence. For example: Boys who would scratch their butts then eat with their hands were not humorous. But boys who made fun of boys who scratched their butts then ate with their hands were humorous.

If some moron had resorted to a trite pick up line like “ Nice shoes, wanna have sex?”, then my son would probably showcase his creativity with line like “ Nice shoes. Do you want to have smart kids?”

Oh damn, I don’t want to be a grandmother yet. Maybe I should lock them up till the vacation is over.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

A boy's fear, no more?

I am still on vacation, but I was never been out of the house since the holiday started. Ok, I did go out once, but only to go to the office because a client was so insistent that she couldn’t wait till Monday to pick-up her product.

My sons though were having a blast going out with their girlfriends’ families. Oh yes, they are cozy with their girlfriends parent! My eldest son even had to sleep over at the girl’s house because her dad insist he stay for the night since it’s already late and he is concern that he may have difficulty finding a ride home.

Indeed, times have changed. Gone are the days when boys used to fear meeting their girlfriend’s parent or maybe my son just passed the dad’s scrutinizing eyes. Yaay!

Wait, did she show my son’s Friendster account to them which boast of glowing testimonials that my son painstakingly paid his friends for? Did my son also bribe her best friend to tell her parents what a decent guy he is?

Why do men fear meeting their girlfriend’s parent for the first time? Is this fear merely irrational? I have heard of some men whose testicle retracted to the pit of their stomach when they first meet their girlfriend’s parents.

You know, similar to circumcision, a requirement to Filipino courtship is the man’s responsibility to win not only the affection of his girlfriend, but also the affection of her parents, her brother who is twice his size and would like to eat him for protein, his other brother who had given him disturbing looks whenever he comes visiting, her sister and in-laws who are living in the States and will come home for Christmas, her grandma and grandpa, her surviving great grandfather on her mother side, her uncles and aunties, her 4th degree cousins, her mischievous god children who always ask him present, her 2nd cousin’s stepmom, her mom’s best friend who had been like a mother to her, her 5th cousin’s stepsister’s estranged and twice removed half brother, and, of course her dog.

Well the reason behind all this is that Filipina women value the relationship they have with their families and respect the opinions of their family members, their extended family and their domesticated animals regarding their boyfriends.

Me? Oh I am easy to win over. I won’t give any girl a hard time especially after she passed the first set of the lie-detector test.

Temperature check…yes, I still have the flu. Sorry!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

So here's the deal...

Christmas is over.

The frenzy had finally died down. No more horrendous traffic and most of all, no kids coming to my door singing “Ang Pasko ay Sumapit” every 3-minute intervals.

Those goody bags I have prepared to last till the 25th was two days short because I was not clever enough to put indelible marks to the fingers of those kids who had come to my door caroling. I am pretty certain some of them had gotten more than three goody bags a night.

So what gifts had I given to my loved ones? None. Well, circumstances did not allow me to spend for gifts. My kids just asked me for shopping money so they can buy presents for their friends. But did they even think of buying one for their mom? NO! Don’t get me wrong, I like giving gifts. And if money was not an issue, I would spend a fortune giving gifts to people I love.

Its amazing how being sick on Christmas day has its benefit especially if you have nothing to give to friends who calls asking you to come to their house or those who want to know if they can come to yours. My incessant coughing over the phone must have convinced them not to see me or they won’t be able to make their usual boundary of at least five houses on Christmas day.

What do I want for Christmas? Why does Mariah Carey’s “All I want for Christmas is You” kept humming in my mind? Do I feel sentimental over something or someone? Your guess is as good as mine. (blushes)

If I wanted something material, I would probably wish for a new laptop to replace this very slow one, and maybe a nice ear ring to add to my humble fake jewelry collection.

If I wanted something short of a miracle, I would wish for a smaller belly, rounder buttocks and great skin. But since they are close to being miracles, I will leave them to God. Maybe in His divine grace, He will grant my wish someday—or in my next life?

What do I really want for Christmas?

Ok, since I did not get any of those I wished for, I’ll just instead settle for the third one – that people will understand me. That when I am quite, it doesn’t mean I am cranky, it means I am ok. When I blow my top, it means I am having my PMS and is fed up with the pain. When I complain that it hurts, please don’t misinterpret it as whining, I am just letting you know.

I want my last wish to come true. And I hope it’s not too much to ask.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Just bad timing.

I have not been feeling well.

Why in God’s name do I have to be sick when Christmas Eve is just a day away?
I don’t know how I get the flu, but damn my whole body aches, my throat is sore, my eyes seem to want to jump from its socket, my nose already bleeds from too much blowing, and my voice croaks like a frog because of the cough.

Of course, I look like a mess as my hair had not been washed for three days, and my room is in disarray.

I don’t even know if I can muster the strength to cook my usual noche buena fare. If I cannot, then the boys had to do with ready-to-eat food from the restaurant.

Or maybe I will just ask them to cook the dish themselves! But that wouldn’t be fun as I may end up convalescing from too much anxiety.

Ok, I need to rest now and let the virus be done with its normal cycle. I hope I will be better tomorrow, or I will have to spend Christmas in bed.

Anyway I just want to wish you all a very merry Christmas and may we all look forward to the New Year with renewed hope.


Sunday, December 21, 2008

A wholesale date.

A very good friend asked me last week if it is possible to find a date in Manila with his age preference. My answer was a meek “yes, possibly.” which doesn’t seem encouraging. But what am I suppose to say to a subject that is equally alien to me?

So I did some research and found out that if one is willing to part with Php800 or an equivalent to $17 one can get 24 dates instead of just three ladies drink. Yeah,you read it right, twenty four.

I am talking about speed dating, where 24 men and women are in attendance. The rules of speed dating are fairly simple. Singles gather in a café or a similar venue, armed with nametags, a scorecards, maybe a well rehearsed answers to possible questions, pick up lines downloaded from the internet and a sparkling personality.

The couples will be paired off for their first date. They will be allowed to discuss anything except their fetishes and whether or not they have been intimate with domestic animals. Joke!

After three minutes of conversation, a bell is rung and the coordinator tells the participants to move to their next date. Yeah, this may seem like a fast-food dating, but unlike vasectomy, men can always rejoin speed dating events as many times as they want.

From what I’ve read, I understand that speed dating is safe dating because there are standards that must be upheld. Women for instance can demand that the men participating in the speed dating event are certifiably single, have no criminal records, and not a politician. Men on the other hand can demand that the women should have pulse. Ok, again I am just trying to be cute.

Secondly, speed dating is good for the health as men can bail out of dating chitchat in three minutes, which is a lifetime for men to converse before they collapse of heart attack. Oh we know that women can talk and talk and they don’t even have to make a point, while men try to talk but they don’t even know what to say.

It is also secure dating, as the three minute conversation is not wiretapped and will not be use as blackmail when one goes out on future dates.

After each date (3 minutes long), the participant mark on their scorecard whether they might be interested in meeting their date again. If a participant mark yes in his/her tally sheet after meeting a certain person and that person also mark yes on the said participant, then, it’s a match. And for those who get “matched,” the organizers provide each party with the other’s number. It is then up to the matched singles to contact or stalk each other.

However what truly bothers me about speed dating is the ability to generate that ‘spark” within three minutes, especially when there is no medication involved. Are they simply taking a strong whiff of the person in front of them?

Maybe I should tell my friend to hone his olfactory senses and sniff out his prospective mate instead...

Saturday, December 20, 2008

PMS - permissible manslaughter

My sons call me Kali whenever I get angry, and I admit that I do succumb to fit of divine feminine anger whenever I have my PMS.

But I would disagree entirely to a picture of me sporting a hideous countenance, like the Indian goddess in the picture. That’s extremely exaggerated! I don’t have a lolling tongue, or a pendulous breast, but I admit I seem like ready to devour the world when I am mad, hahaha.

So ok, for the woefully ignorant male population, premenstrual syndrome refers to a mood disorder which occurs during the second half of a woman’s cycle which eventually resolves itself with our period. I have also come to personally know PMS as “God’s wrath to man.”

Now, for those men who do not want to become a fashion accessory (glance at the picture), there are certain rules that apply when you are confronted by female anger.

The first rule is that, women have the divine right to get angry at you about anything because it is your entire fault. Our problem at work, our lack of sleep, our constipation, the slow internet connection, the wrong shade of lipstick, our PMS – all these can and will be traced back to you.

The second rule is that you don’t have the luxury of getting angry back at us (glances at the picture the second time, and think of a necklace of human skulls dangling in front of your face).

The third rule is that we can say the most scornful, scandalous, hurtful, and venomous things to you, but you must ignore what we said because apparently we don’t mean them.
Besides, whatever we say in a bout of anger is forgotten fifteen minutes later.

The fourth rule compliments the third, which mean if we send you scornful, scandalous, hurtful text messages, you’re suppose to delete them IMMEDIATELY. Unless you want your cell phone lodge up your large intestine, do not keep a record of these messages and show them to us next argument.

And the last rule, never ever try to get physical with us if you don’t want us to pull out an ACME hammer from thin air and get Bugs Bunny on your ass, literally. Of course you may have noticed that angry women in cartoons could summon a mallet from nowhere and mercilessly clobber a man who gets her ire.

The key thing is, you may respond to our anger but we don’t want you to be angry with us in return. Just don’t pay attention to what we say as to how we say it, and this may just save you from kissing face with an ACME hammer.

And yes, I am writing this while I am PMSing.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A lethal dose of negativity.

I used to watch local news on television every night.
And in the morning while I prepare for work, the tv in my room is tuned in to BBC or CNN, thus, even when my eyes aren’t glued to the screen I can still hear the news from the bath room door.

For the past days though, I had opted to watch DVD and followed more prime-time series than I would like to admit.
Yeah, I know that it is not healthy to invest so much time and energy on things that, in the end, really have no weight or bearing on what happens in the real world. But there is nothing wrong with wanting to get away sometimes.

Of course, I still watch the news. That is important, in my opinion, since everyone needs to see the world for what it is and to get the right perspective. But this is becoming more and more a tiring exercise. Somehow, I find it disappointing to read the newspapers and watch the news programs, because I only encounter so much misplaced negativity.

Don’t get me wrong, as it is the media’s prerogative to publish or air these things, and they have a journalistic duty to tell the truth, however ugly or disheartening it might be. But I think, a lot of what is being reported nowadays is done in the spirit of pandering.

However, journalists don’t have total control over how their reports affect the landscape. Because ultimately, people will make their own conclusions, no matter how many sides of a story are presented. We are by nature selective and will take in and retain information as we pleased. Just like when I buy a newspaper, I don’t normally read it from cover to cover, instead, I read what I want, and skip the stuff I don’t want to read.

But I also believe, that not everything that happens in the world is bad. Good things happen, and good values are alive and well. So, can they maybe help increase awareness of the good?

Then possibly, I might be more inclined to stop playing online games, or discard following the mushy tv series, or better yet, put off that movie marathon for another day.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Food galore, Filipino style.

I am a Filipino and I am cursed…

Ha ha. I just want to get your attention, you goof!

Well actually there is a bitter truth to it, as it takes so much more time and so much more money to be a Filipino. You see, when Americans host a party, they only serve one or two main dishes and a lot of crackers and cheese, but for Filipinos, we are somehow always expected to serve six, eight or more main dishes.

Perhaps, it is due to Filipinos penchant for fiestas where the poor are forced by culture and tradition to borrow money they don’t have just to feed and entertain their guests during the affair. Then they would spend the next year paying off their loans only to borrow money again for the next fiesta.

This Christmas season is no exception. Rich Filipino families and maybe some middle class families who can afford this extravagance will have lavish foods in their Noche Buena table. Unfortunately, even those who cannot will still, bend over backwards to try to put more food in their table, because tradition dictates it.

What then drives Filipino to carelessly spend so much on gastronomic festivities?

Is it the combination of climate, geography and history of occupation by foreign powers that has fostered in our culture a unique attitude to life?

Yes, we Filipinos have developed a love to partying along with that sense of fatalism that aspires for living big in the present. In fact, delayed gratification seemed to be a foreign concept to most of us. But instead, “Bahala na ang Diyos”, roughly translated “ the Lord will provide” is the mantra of the religious.

And unlike our Asian neighbors which have four seasons, like Japan, China and Korea, we Filipinos don’t have to struggle to gather food for storage during the spring, summer and fall to have enough food during the winter. Our complacency was brought about by the fact that the sun always shines in our country, thus, people do not need to save for a future contingency. In fact, farmers would lament of what's the point of saving for a rainy day when that rainy day typhoon will wipe out their home and everything they worked so hard to save for anyway.

Now, don’t ask me what dish will be on my table on Christmas Eve as it will stretch this blog to another page.


Sunday, December 14, 2008

When shoes get the headlines.

I had a good laugh when I watched the news early today.
Imagine my delight astonishment to see that a pair of shoe landed at the headline everywhere.
The picture shows President Bush ducking as a shoe barely missed him, when an irate journalist, threw it at him during a news conference in Iraq.

Oh well, maybe the guy just realized that shoes are bad and he wants to get rid of it.
And he just didn’t mean the stiletto heels, or cowboy boots, or tottering espadrilles, or any other foot-torture devices into which we wincingly jam our feet.
He means ALL shoes!
If you dont know yet, shoes hurt our feet. In fact our poor maligned, misunderstood feet are getting trounced in a war that dates back thousands of years ago – the battle of "Shoes versus Feet".
Actually, there was a study done between a modern human feet and a 2,000 year old feet skeleton and the researcher had concluded that prior to the invention of shoes, people then had healthier feet.
They say walking barefoot has its benefit.
It makes us walk better and protect our feet from too much pressure.

I am sure you would counter that if we walk or run with out pads in our feet, it will be murder on our heels.
But didn’t you know that wrapping your heels in padding so they don’t hurt is like stuffing a gag in someone’s mouth so they’ll stop screaming? Yes, we are basically telling our heels to shut up!

I know what you’re thinking: If shoes are so bad for me, what’s my alternative?

Simple. Walk barefoot.

Okay, now I know what you’re thinking: What’s my other alternative?

Oh , you can always throw your shoes at your president.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The long wait is over.

I am very ecstatic as my eldest son comes home today. He had been away from us since May and now he is here to spend the holiday season with us.
This will be our first Christmas, in this new house and new neighborhood.
Sure, people here are warm and friendly but like most other close knit neighborhood they tend to be nosey too, as if it's their right to know everything that goes inside each family unit.

But thats not what I want to talk about, rather, it's the seemingly endless wait i have to put up with at the airport today.
Maybe I should blame it on the frenzy of the holiday season when most people are travelling. Imagine, nearly 60% of the flights today were delayed! Or perhaps too, it's due to my excitement, hence I arrived at the airport an hour early.

I sat there at the waiting area, shivering because its very cold inside the new terminal.
Add to my agony is the clock flashing in front of me. Why do I need to see it, and feel like time stood still? Damn, it would have been easy to lose track of time when you’re not constantly face-to-face with a clock.
So to divert my attention I dig into my bag to get my celphone so I can just play games on it, only to discover that I left my reading glass, without which, I wont be able to see those tiny majong bricks in my celphone screen.
So I thought of engaging someone to a conversation. But how do I start it? I wish I had a candy in my purse that I can offer to the person sitting beside me. But then again, I came up empty. There isnt a piece of item I can use as an ice-breaker necessary to get some good conversation going.

But wait, do I really want that? What if by doing so, I opened a Pandora's box and will have to sit through half hour listening to the litany of how she meticulousy stitches the bright orange scarf she is wearing?

Ok, maybe I should count the ceiling vents, or check if there are spots in the newly painted walls. Do these walls has a story to tell?
Do they hold the secret to this very controversial airport terminal?
Well at least looking at the wall and not directly into other people's face seemed less rude.

Oh how I wished I had a pad and a pen to write on, to keep myself busy...
Finally, I heard this announcement - "Cebu Pacific flight number 466 from Bacolod had just arrived". Gosh, I never felt so much relief!

It took me a lot of strentgh to keep myself from clapping.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Muchas gracias.

Phew, what a year!
When it seems there isn't much to be thankful for, I realized that there are still a lot of things I can be grateful about. As usual, when each time a year closes its page, I couldn’t help but look back and reflect and surprisingly, it always made me stop complaining of what’s wrong with my life. Instead it made me count my blessing about what is right.

So, here are the things I am thankful for:

Time – I know that being old and broke has its drawbacks. But what the heck, I am alive and will be here much longer, hence, I know that I still have a chance in the next lotto draws.

Television – The best way to ignore my kids and pretend that we love each other is to sit in the glowing warmth of a television. If only they will wash the dishes first before they camp in my bedroom and spoil my crisp and newly ironed linen.

Memories – Good or bad, they are the accumulation of things totally off-base. Well sometimes they can be unreliable, but a lot of times full of wonder.

Economy – I am thankful that prices on gas and food are going down. I have not seen these prices on gas this low in about three years. If only I still have a car, then maybe this will be on top of my list.

Family – For parents who didn’t indulge me because basically money was tight and financial decision weren’t made on a whim. Yet, I don’t remember feeling deprived. But why the heck do my kids insist that not having a Play station 3 is not a way to live!

Internet – It’s odd to be thankful for a technology that was originally invented as a tool of warfare, but today the internet has evolved to be so much more. It’s also extremely important for a long distance relationship. Did I just saw a raised eyebrow?

Caffeine – I can’t seem to function without the lovely little addictive pick-me-up I get from a good cup of coffee a day. Nothing gets rid of my lethargy faster than a steaming hot cup of my 3in1 yet teeth-stainer of a swig.

Belly – Yes, I am referring to the belly I talked about in my previous blog. I am thankful for this impossible-to-get-rid-of fat around my stomach because they keep me from wearing low slung jeans that went out years ago with Britney Spears. Believe it or not, my oh-so-sweet belly is making me more stylish.

You - I'm also thankful that there are people who read this blog. Really, there are people who read this blog?. Anyway, without you guys reading my very silly posts, I'd be sitting in front of my pc with nothing to do but bite my fingers till they bleed.

Now, your turn. What are those things you are thankful for?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

For better or for worst.

Gays are in the news again as they continue to protest against the ban on same-sex marriages in some cities in the US.

Oh well, homosexuality is as old as history - assuming, of course, you take the scholarly view that true history began with Herodotus, and not the conservative Christian view that history began with Adam and Eve.

But that’s actually where the problem lies!

The differences of opinion in this dispute is so deep that it is almost as if same-sex marriage is a secondary issue to these beliefs.

If you believe that God created the universe some six-thousand years ago, and laid down His absolute moral law in the pages of the Holy Bible, then you are probably pretty boring, and you regard marriage by definition as a sacred union between a man and a woman for the purpose of procreation.

If, on the other hand, you believe the universe is billions of years old and that human beings have an extremely intimate genetic relationship with chimpanzees, and that moral laws are constructed socially rather than supernaturally, then you probably smoked dope in college, and you don't care much what marriage is or who does it.

Either way, both doesn't give a pretty picture of you, hahaha.

Well picture this: The combatants in the same-sex marriage controversy are - in the left corner (in rainbow-striped boxers), gay and lesbian activists, and, in the right corner(mouthing a quick prayer), Christian right-wingers.
Now add to each side the supports they get from their respective end of the political spectrum.
Also toss in a few lawyers fascinated by the constitutional issues, and you have the makings of a tabloid fare.

Meanwhile the battle continues, and the future remain uncertain...

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

An ode to a song.

We Filipinos had the distinction although self-awarded, not surprisingly, of being a people who will, at the drop of a hat, or even for no reason at all, break into songs.
Music thus, for those who equate national identity with something innate, is in our blood.
But so does murder or homicide.

“And what?” you might add.

Ok, ok! Let me tell you about Filipinos penchant for our second national anthem - “My Way”.
You see, the Philippines has earned the distinction – this time confirmed in what is developing into a world authority on almost all matters, the Wikipedia, as being the country where “...it has been reported to cause numerous incidents of violence and homicides among drunkards in bars...”
A recent example of which is the news about the killing of an irate security guard who couldn’t stand the off-key singing of the song My Way, and the way the singer wouldn’t listen to him who wanted it HIS way.
I have even read about a group of film students from Denmark who were in the country to do a documentary of those who had fallen to the murderous charms or compulsions of this song.

I think little of you know that the song "My Way" starts as a French song’s melody, whose publishing rights were bought, altered, restructured and given English lyrics.
The person to do this was singer Paul Anka, who is a Canadian from Ottawa and has a street named after him there. He is among those Canadians who make it big outside Canada and so does Celine Dion, Michael Buble, and others – before Canadians would hear of them.
Paul Anka then gave the rewritten song to Frank Sinatra, who, as Paul Anka relates, was planning to quit show business at that time. Sinatra recorded it in 1969 on an album with the same title and, as they say, the rest is history.

Still, thinking about it, “My Way” is somewhat an appropriate Philippine anthem.
And why don't we give it some thought as we shuffle towards the exit door of 2008 and stumble into 2009?
Perhaps, just possibly, alternately laugh and cry as we do so.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Chaos in a little nook.

I wondered why a writer’s desk, almost always comes with a messy surrounding as if chaos is inherent in their minds.
I can always see piles of old news papers and magazines, stacks of box files containing folders and maybe memos about the necessity to buy more folders and box files.
Not to mention books uselessly hidden behind other books.
Little of the desk surface is visible through piled notebooks and shuffled papers.
Then there’s that small statue of a Sumo wrestler, or else a life size statue of a small Sumo wrestler.
Not to be outdone is the vertically striped glazed earthen mug full of ball-point pens. I reached for one of those pens and finds that it does not work, as does the fifteen others.
Aha, I can even see VHS tapes. Damn, at this age of DVD’s this writer’s VHS tapes didn’t even moved out. There are several of them stacked on the floor.
Judging from what I am seeing from my vantage point, this writer only gets things under control by striving mightily against a force of nature that wants things to be disorganized rather than not.
But who cares when such desk could give one a Nobel Prize?
Wait, do this award come with a prize money delivered in the suitcase the next day? Does it bear a mark, “ Nobel Prize money: bank immediately or it will burst into flame.”?
Sitting in the center of the table is the computer, on whose keyboard the writer typed “damp” but actually wrote “dump”.
She is face to face with an item of technology that Ferdinand M. would not have known how to switch on. The writer barely know how to switch it on either, and she always wondered why does it ask her, "do you wish to report the error" when she don't now what the error is!
Oh maybe, through this miracle of a machine order can emerge from chaos after all.
Well, yes, it can, but only against heavy odds.
Because chaos is inherent even in the minds of those who writes, and even as she typed the last words of her sprict, scirpt, script.
Ahh... finally she reaches for the mug of coffee only to get a mouthful of ball point pens.

Does your desk look insanely the same, or very orderly? Do tell me because I would love to know.

When the sky smiles on us.

It was on a dark midnight ages and ages ago...
Three wise and learned men, the Magi, looked up to the skies, as did shepherds watching their flocks in the fields.
They saw a bright star and followed it which led them to Bethlehem where they pay homage to the Babe in the Manger as angels choir sang.
The Magi came with their regal gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, and the shepherds with their humble flocks.

And then last Monday, we in the Philippines also looked up to the night sky to see a rare planetary conjunction with Venus and Jupiter shining so bright.
Add to the wonder is the waning crescent moon forming a smiling face in the sky.
It was a rare sight indeed.
But could this be a sign for our dark and difficult times - to look to the stars as a reminder that, with the Advent of Christmas, we should turn/return to prayer with hope and thanksgiving for God’s gift of Christmas?

Yeah, let us not allow the compulsive frenzy of the Yultide season to distracts us from the spiritual and essential aspects of life - love, hope and goodwill to mankind.

It’s odd how what first loomed to be an epic challenge as scaling a personal Everest ended up as trouble free as uprooting a rusty monument for our boxer Manny Pacquiao.
The stormy demolition of the great De La Hoya, a future Hall of Famer, winner of 10 world crowns in six weight classifications, was also totally unexpected.
Of course, we rejoice over Manny's win and took pity on Oscar as he was rushed to the nearby hospital.

Manny, mabuhay ka!

Friday, December 5, 2008

The future looks edgy.

There is a new security scare at India's airport. Maybe airports everywhere have been on heightened alert after that shooting spree in Mumbai.
But how secure are airports around the globe?
Is it possible today to hijack an aircraft using only five able-bodied passengers who are well trained in Kung Fu fighting?
Yes, highly probable, as there is no technology in place in airports to detect a threat like that.
Wait, not anymore...
I just stumble in the internet that a new Israeli-based technology company has developed detection systems that will pick up signs of emotional strain.
They say it's like a psychological red flag that can detect when a passenger has an intention to commit an act of terror.
(Gasping..., machines can read minds now!?)
They claim too that it is speedier and less intrusive than metal detectors. And that these systems may eventually restore some efficiency to the airplane boarding process.
How does it work?
Oh simple. They say that once these technologies are in place, a passenger may pass through a security screening without realizing it. For example, passengers could use an automated check-in system or gaze at a screen with departures information without realizing they've just been exposed.
Another option could be a "smart seat," or cushion full of hidden biometric sensors that could provide a more detailed read on someone sitting in an airport waiting area.
(Writing on post-it note: should learn how to hold gas, while sitting in an airport lounge).
While the technology sound like something from a James Bond flick the security people who invented it says that passengers will not find the techniques intrusive.

Guys, anything that pokes into our minds and more than sniff our gases is always perceived intrusive, duh!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Shooter vs. bomber

No, the title doesn’t speak about terrorism nor war.
It was meant to describe a different battle and the site is the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Every Filipino boxing aficionado is waiting with bated breathe for the “Dream Match” between Oscar De La Hoya and Manny Pacquiao.
When the Dream Match was first announced, the two combatants were separated by no less than 20 pounds.
It’s a bit odd, but the smaller Pacquiao, who signed up for the big fight and still a certified lightweight, has suddenly broken the 147-lb limit for his rich welterweight battle with De La Hoya.
Actually, there were taunts that Oscar would need a miracle in order to normally scale down to 147 from at least 160 lb.
How the Golden Boy trimmed splendidly, with no reported artificial agents, has stunned experts.
Anyway, gone is the dreaded size disparity, which had at first threatened to turn the Dream Match into an oddity.
At least, there’s the happy promise of the Pacquiao-De La Hoya now being decided through pure athletic prowess, not on bigness or the lack of it.
Of course, there are bigger questions waiting for urgent answers.
Will it be ruthless power over craft and composure, or will it be the other way around?
Will it be the sharpshooter, who prepared and trimmed down naturally, or the dangerous bomber whose new size and might were carved through strange means?
Some observer says, size won’t matter in this fight, but skill does.
A De La hoya fanatic will tell you that “ Oscar’s edge in talent and skill will beat Manny Pacquiao.”
But this promises to be very tough.
So what will be the ultimate factor?
What will determine the fight I think is who among the two will be the better fighter overall, not necessarily who’s bigger or faster.

Stand by for some unmasking at the end of the Dream Match on Saturday night.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Boundless filipinos.

I was traveling in the countryside yesterday and the expanse of space and the traditional way of living there caught my eyes. It reminds me of the Filipino concept of time and space which is infinite. It is neither numerical or measurable. When I asked direction, the person who answered me didn't express the distance by kilometers but with subjective words "malapit" (near) or " malayo (far).
I also noticed the traditional culture of Filipinos not to divide their land into private parcels but instead held a communal property where each villager could share in its agricultural or forest abundance.

Even the Filipino dwelling has no physical boundaries that separate one room from another.

The interior of the "bahay-kubo" (nipa hut) is truly multipurpose. It is a single space that transforms into a receiving room, sleeping room, kitchen, dining room or chapel, constantly adapting to allow whatever activity the room needs to accommodate at any particular moment during the day.

Meanwhile in the "bahay na bato" (stone house), spaces effortlessly flows from the living room, to the dining area and to the kitchen with arched entrances use to define one from the other. However in the multipurpose nature of Filipino homes, mats are laid out on the living room at night for the family and household to sleep in.

As a matter of fact, for Filipinos, space is not confined within one’s house. A party might temporarily take over the street, or a family business like a small store, or a repair shop. We would use the space for other activity that requires a larger area which isn't available in the house. Many instances we occupy the sidewalk, or a major part of the street especially during a wake or weddings.

Overlapping layers of space in the Filipino house respond to the cultural value. No Filipino want to live in isolation. It also responds to the tropical environment and we always allow air to circulate freely from one area to the next. We just love the open space and we also keep the natural environment surrounding the house in full view.

The spacelessness of a Filipino house is beguiling and seductive, like the sheer, filmy layers of the traditional baro’t saya or the barong tagalog where layers of gauze-like piña cover the Filipino body but allows air to circulate between the layers of almost transparent fabric.

And like the traditional Filipino house, the best is kept veiled from full view.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Utter savagery.

Last week, the world turned solemn and could not find the words to express their shock and revulsion at what had just happened.
Mumbai was under attack by mere “kids” or “boys,” no one possibly older than 25, who went about their business without thought or compunction.
Words fail to describe the horror of the event.
And even more the kinds of emotions it brings to us.
I am certain that anyone who saw the news that day, particularly those who have Indian friends or kin in India, would have been speechless at the savageness of it. Some things are simply alien to human conduct, and despite India’s often bloody history a monstrous thing like this happening to it in this day and age boggles the mind.
Particularly when India, like China, is well on its way to becoming an economic power.
Truly you have to wonder how people can be so lacking in human empathy that they can gun down men and women while they go about their daily lives, laughing, loving, wondering what meal they would prepare for their families when they get home. Many of those who died were in the platform of a station waiting for their trains to arrive.
Horror in the midst of normality, extraordinary mayhem amid ordinary life, the sudden visitation of death amid the fullness of life — all these have been known to happen.
But for human beings to do that, willfully, deliberately, and methodically, that is truly horrific. The lack of passion or emotion with which the killers killed, makes you stand in absolute disbelief in the face of it.
I am still loss for words to condemn it.
But more so at a loss for words to grasp it...

Sunday, November 30, 2008

A reason for coffee.

Its Monday, but I am not in a hurry to go anywhere. I stayed in bed feeling the soft mattress on my back and stared at the empty ceiling. I know my brain craves for caffeine, but I am yet too lazy to get up. My mind drifted to the movie I watched last night - Apocalypto.

There is a scene of cannibalism in the movie...
Hmmm, humans have come a long way, evolving from man-eaters to man-lovers, and I feel like a lower life-form because I can neither eat nor love any man. Ha ha, just kidding on the love part. But can't we just split firewood, make furniture and harvest grains?

The movie directed by Mel Gibson also show lush virgin forest.
Oh yeah, I wish there will be forest left in my country.
However contrary to the idea of tree huggers who can't see through the bark, the Philippine government is the most successful eco - group. Yes the are! They give away permits for logging, mining, plus the operation of coal-fired power plants is part of the plan.

Here's how the plan works: logging, mining and power-plant operation make some people rich; rich people think they should be at golf courses; golf courses have trees and greens and emission-free golf carts. Clean and green indeed...

The movie is action packed.There's the tribes war..damn its too gory to watch, with all those blood splattered on the screen...
I remember someone once says "Everlasting peace is a dream, and not even a pleasant one. War is a necessary part of God's order."

Probably the same reason why the military wants all able-bodied male in college to undergo compulsory ROTC training. However, letting cadets march in formation for five hours, carrying wooden rifles, only prepares them for the kind of war fought ages ago. I suggest that Counterstrike be included in the high school curriculum and 12 units of Airsoft adventures be required for a baccalaureate degree.

Damn, I do need to get my caffeine before my mind gets haywire.

Get up, and dash!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

A blast from the past.

What? vinyl is still alive?

For those who are having senior moments and can’t remember them, or those who are having junior moments and haven’t heard of them, vinyl is the thing you spin on a turntable, a needle running through its grooves, producing the scratchy sound you hear in loudspeakers. Its last incarnation was the LP, or long playing record, which contained about a dozen songs in them, six to a side. I guess, that's where "flipside" originates.

I have read on the Internet that some labels in the United States and Europe have resumed producing vinyl records for new artists, though they’re a lot pricier now than they once were. The keeping of vinyl alive has a completely practical value. Which is that vinyl is superior in sound to the CD. That is at least the consensus among experts.

It’s nice to know that not all that is new represents an improvement on the old. I am not averse to change and newness. I certainly prefer the PC to the typewriter, manual or electric. But it’s nice to know that analog still has its virtues, or indeed its superiorities.

Using vinyl entails (re)entering a fairly unhurried world, where you invest some time listening to music, treating it as a real object of attention rather than collateral sound. But as always, there is a rub to it.

To play vinyl, you have to physically raise the lid of the turntable, slip the record into place, carefully lift the tone arm and lower the needle down to the edge of the spinning disc. At the end of five or six songs, you have to stand up, a not very easy thing to do if you’re plunked down on the sofa, tiredness beginning to ooze off you like the ebbing of the tide, to flip the disc over. And you can’t skip a song, unless you’re prepared to stand up before the whole side is done. There’s no “Next” on the player, or on the ultimate source of household wars, the remote control, to get past the unwanted track.

But vinyl has no end of joys to reward those willing to be initiated into its world. At the very least, it doesn’t give you a sense of life flitting by.
Looking back, the reason the old songs seem so memorable to us, quite apart from the mnemonic powers of nostalgia, was that we couldn’t just click the annoying tracks away, unless you were willing to go through the motions described above.

Listening to vinyl is not unlike preparing tea Zen-style. It is a ritual all its own.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Americans are going hungry - too.

”The young man, wearing a shirt and a tie, turned up just as the pantry operated by an Iowa food bank was closing for the night. He knew it was after-hours. That’s why he was there. He kept his gaze downward as he told the woman from the food bank that he had lost his job, had a wife and kids and was too embarrassed and ashamed to stand in line to receive a bag of groceries that hopefully would feed his family for a week. “I have a master’s degree. I shouldn’t have to do this, he said.”

That’s the stark reality that America is facing today, as more and more new faces were standing in line in food banks. Some of them, not looking anyone else in the eye, hoping not to be recognized by friends or neighbors.

The bitter irony for some of them was that, once, they had contributed to their local food bank. Now its them who needed its help.

Sure, these people do not fit the stereotype of those who would likely come to a pantry, a shelter or a kitchen. But a lost job, an unexpected medical expense, a utility bill or difficulty paying the rent or mortgage - especially during this period of high food prices can push people into that line.

Right now, an estimated 36.2 million people struggled with some form of hunger in the US alone or, to use the government term, “food insecurity.”

We always viewed Americans to be self sufficient. But now more and more people with jobs, with educations, but with diminished opportunities, resources and hope – were struggling.

Many of them never thought in their life that they have to come to a food pantry. Yet sadly the line grows steadily each day.

Guys, if its any consolation to you, we also have so many hungry people here. But in contrast, we don’t have a food bank. We don’t have a pantry to run to. We are left to fend for ourselves.

That, is even more pitiful.

Over forty and loving it.

I am over 40 and I'm on top of the hill! But wait, will it be downhill from here on?

Oh, the ride up the hill included more that 18 years of formal education, innumerable physical, emotional and intellectual growing pains. I have my first kiss, first date, first love, first pimple, first rejection letter, first break-up, and first failure, not necessarily in that order.

While many of these firsts are memorable and endearingly sweet, for the most part my firsts are what give me a taste of something. From there, I decide if I want to continue or move on to the next first. I know that to really enjoy and master something it will require time and multiple attempts at it. I'm grateful that not all of my dates turned out like the first and that after the first break-up I didn't just give up on love.

Now that I'm here, I guess it doesn't matter how I got here. I'm glad I'm beginning to let go of the pressures. I'm pleased that I got to live in the simpler times when I was a kid. But I'm also thrilled to arrive in the new millennium. To have grown as an adult into all the new technologies of today. The amazing new developments which improve exponentially.

Yes, the world has become more virtual, as I stay in constant contact with people through the World-Wide-Web, no matter where I live. This makes me feel less isolated, even if I choose to stay home and raise a family. I have more rights and privileges too, which is a wonderful thing.

But don't get the idea that I jump from my bed each morning and do fifty push-ups. I have aches and pains that come with age. But I don't examine my face for new wrinkles or count the new gray hairs.

The world is still the same, I work, eat, play and sleep. I just know myself better and I am way more tolerant. Being over forty, I now have this deep sense of who I am and what I want from life.

Now if I could just find where it is...

Monday, November 24, 2008

Love and sex in cyberspace.

The question on whether it can be called cheating for a married person to enjoy online relationships with people other than their partners has been tossed around the internet airwaves nearly every day.

Some would argue, that one crosses the line the moment one begin sneaking around to share intimate thoughts with someone other than their partner. In cybersex you have secrecy - intimacy and sex are all the same elements as an affair.

Most of these relationships grew organically, sprouting from the seeds of mutual fascination, sexual curiosity, and palpable attraction to the way that person made one feel about oneself.

Of course some would say that they didn’t embark on these journeys with the intent to meet and marry their next man or woman.
So what then is the destination of adult men and women when they jump on this train to tryst town? Just where do they expect to get off?

Interestingly though most online friends I know don’t realistically aspire to meet their online lovers in real life, given the myriad constraints that exist. This is especially true of those who foster flames from afar.

The only explanation they can give is that, they want to find someone they will never physically feel, love online partners they will never pursue, and make virtual marriages they will never consummate.

It’s just that the adventure in itself feels so damn good. Maybe because they all know in the backs of their minds that these relationships rarely have a chance at surviving beyond a certain point.

But I argue, it’s not their survival they strive for. It’s just the joyous journey that they seek. And, when that trip is over, they will be first in line to take the next tour.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A necessary twist to an old story.

With the economic difficulties we all face right now, I'm guessing there are a lot more nervous, stressed out parents out there than there were last year. As I post this, many could already be unemployed. And maybe like me, they also worry that they may not be able to send their kids to college.

Yet some may still be wondering whether they are getting the axe before Christmas or after it. All I am certain is that there’s a lot of fear out there. And scared parents mean scared kids.

This, I think, is inevitable even if you are the best parent on the planet - and most of us aren’t. I too grew up in a household where the economic cycles undermined our stability and where my father’s actions and mood were dictated by our economic situation. I therefore, have a good memory of how hard this can be on children. And I want nothing but to isolate my kids from all these.

However, this is easier said than done, of course, since I’m just as prone (maybe more, as i am a single parent) to becoming grumpy and irritable when I’m worried as anyone else.

But, should my kids know about this bad stuff? Should I let them know about the darker scenario ahead of us? Is it necessary that they understand that we’re spending less money on the holidays, and that we might be facing hard times that will last a while?

Economics notwithstanding, I cannot tell my kids to eat less, dream less, want less. As a mother I know in a way that I help create my children's expectations - expectations that I will no longer be able to fulfill.

I plead guilty of telling them that a normal existence means new clothes every Christmas and birthdays, a cell phone, shopping as a hobby, buying what you want at the grocery store. But now, I'm going to need not just to tell them that those things have to shift, but to work on making sure that they understand that these shifts aren’t necessarily bad.

My kids live by the stories they were told. Yeah sure, they have learned that affluence is incredibly important, that their future was about money, and that security comes in the form of wealth. I can’t prevent them from all the hardships that are probably coming their way, but what I can do is shift the stories they learn - they should learn that being poor is normal, and that it doesn’t have to prevent people from being happy.

They can learn that their family unit, extended or nuclear is working together in the face of difficulties. That they should understand that their participation in this project is part of what is holding our family together and to enable them to keep going.

I hope they can draw strength and pride from these experiences, from their sacrifices and their participation, even if they are scared and angry, even if they are sometimes.

But I know I have to start telling them different story. I am thinking up new roles for my kids right now, or the old ones will drag them down.

Friday, November 21, 2008

A masquerade.

How do you keep real love alive with the onset of the virtual stage?
Yesterday, I read an article of yet another woman who had decided to dissolve her real life marriage in pursuit of the promise of illusive paradise she feels she’ll find with her online lover.

So what’s the big deal, you say? Why can’t she toss out the old and trade it in for a newer model if she’s convinced it will bring joy to her real life?

Well, I certainly wouldn’t want to deny anyone the opportunity to pursue happiness. But I do have trouble reconciling the knowledge that, when we meet someone in the net, we are only exposed to the person they choose to share with us at any given moment. It’s like he or she wears a metaphoric mask to hide characteristics he or she desires to keep hidden.

We don’t realize this because perhaps subconsciously, we all too often fill in the gaps with images of a lover we project onto them. In essence, we mistake the idea of our lover for the real person themselves and become captivated by this new hybrid of who they are and who we want them to be.

Sadly, many of these married people who pursue cyber relationships are merely groping for a happiness that does not exist in their real life marriages.
And their real life partner has no chance in this unfair fight, since she live with him day in and out. She experience first hand the good and bad attributes that her partner exude every day. From farts and fevers to pimples and sagging belly, their real life partners are just that - real. Complete with unsavory idiosyncrasies and all.

If only she would just at least construct a foundation of a life with her real life partner, and do it with the full knowledge that the grass, however green, will not always be a bed of roses...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

World's sexiest.

I was watching news on tv from my bed early this morning, when the entertainment news flashed that Hugh Jackman was voted "The Sexiest Man Alive" for the year. Damn, there was an annual award like that? But then again, I’m not much of a connoisseur of male beauty, or so I think.

Obviously, it’s the tacky People Magazine in the US that hands out this rather tacky honor. So far they have named the likes of Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Sean Connery, Harrison Ford, Johnny Depp, Matt Damon, bla, bla. What a boring and predictable list! And are there so few sexy men in the world that some have to be nominated twice?

And while it is true that some of them are very sexy it is also true that the majority were far from sexy outside of the glitz and glamour of hollywood. But what makes them so irresistible? Is it because thay are being stalked by the paparazzi, or is it their washboard abs which could cut glass?

Aside from their celebrity status, these men were lots of things - unhappy, embarrassed, unwell, unattractive - but by and large they are far from the sex symbols we gaze at on the big screen, as a snatched paparazzi shot is from a Vanity Fair cover.

Besides, can it really be that the world’s sexiest men are all English-speaking and predominantly American? Although of course, Jackman is Australian.

Just as a matter of population statistics, an American should appear on the list no more than once in 20 years and Brits and Australian for that matter only once in 100 years. Meanwhile an Asian man should appear every five years.

Indians, Chinese, Filipinos, do you hear me?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Men are from where, again?

There seems a common belief that women are more complicated than men. And women tend to assume that men are so easy to understand that there is no need to even try to understand them better. So when it comes to better understanding the opposite sex, it’s often the case that men feel defeated before they start and women barely see a need to start.

Or maybe because in our quest to understand men, we simply give up trying, having discovered that most men tend to have a vague outline of an idea on what they really want or need from their women. They always seem to say one thing, but end up doing something else. Now, that's so damn confusing, isn't it?

Well the little I know about men is that they are adventurers. They like to explore the unknown. Yet they also love to be given attention. But be warned ladies, too much attention can scare a man off in a heartbeat.

It is a fact too that men get bored easily with long conversations. They have the tendency to eventually "tune us out" and only pick up the following words -
sex, (just the mere mention of the word will make a man turn his head) food, money, free beer, sports, plasma screen, car, to name some.

Ask any man how his day was, and he will tell it to you in less than three minutes. Ask a woman, and you get a play-by-play walk through, that even an ESPN commentators would be jealous of, haha.

Men for the most part do not like exaggerations, they love highlights. And we women tend to be offended easily when men act as if they don’t care. Oh sure, maybe they do, but perhaps we just need to use small words and if the man is looking like he is tuning out, then end your next sentence with the word ‘sex’ and you will once again regain his full attention. (Just Kidding!) Ok, sorry for my silliness.

Well, I don't understand too why men seems to "selectively" listen, and why women has this deep desire to tell their men EXACTLY how they feel. When it comes to communicating, men and women differs in style. This is not their fault, it’s just their nature.

One more striking thing I noticed from men, is that they generally go on first impressions. They look at the exterior before they look “under the hood” so to speak. Dating is considered test driving and purchasing is considered a commitment.

Want to take a guess what repossession is considered?

Monday, November 17, 2008

A second life to none.

Has this ever happened to you? Finding your free time gobbled up by the daily routine that your once smoldering "virtual life" screeches to a shocking halt?

I admit I have stopped coming to my favorite chatroom, and even my beautiful loft stands vacant in IMVU. I could almost see my curtains gently bouncing off my empty walls. I’m not there to enjoy the fabulous furnitures I tried to acquire over the months. I have even stopped tweaking on my Hp, nor read the important group announcements for events I can’t attend.

Ok, perhaps my schedule hasn’t changed all that much. Maybe I’ve just noticed that chatrooms and IMVU has lost a bit of its luster. It seems that the little dings of chats that once poured in by the bucketful have dwindled. The mediocrity of some of the roomies has me clutching my ears begging to make it stop. Is it because some people cause trouble when they can't tell one from the other and some because they can't handle real people in real life so they hide behind a keyboard running their mouths?

What I’ve learned lately is that my engagements in my "virtual life" grow and fade like the monthly metamorphosis of the moon. Of course, I am aware that my real life needs work. And if I engaged in a fantasy–life too deeply, then I am most certainly depriving the roots of my real existence of the most essential nutrients needed for me to grow and flourish.

I realize there are many of us whose lives are so painful that we sometimes retreat into our virtual lives and virtual friends to give us some room to breathe. I get that. But then we can also take steps to make real changes in the lives we hide from.

So in the spirit of finding a balance, I think of five other things I could do besides sit in front of my computer staring at my avatar as she travels around the galaxy. If I don’t like what's showing in the TV, I find some new books to read, or watch a movie, call an old friend I haven’t spoken to in awhile, or make a cup of hot tea and just sit calmly.

Sure, virtual life can be fun when played in moderation. But it can also be dangerously all-consuming. And when that happens, we run the risk of losing what’s most important to us - our real selves.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Unlikely everafter.

Nobody has a fair idea of how and when we are going to die. Accident, disease, homicide, terrorism, war, suicide—these are just some of the circumstances under which our earthly life is taken away. One wrong move, one wrong decision, being at the wrong place at the wrong time could demand that we pay the ultimate price.
No one has been able to survive for very long. No one has achieved immortality.

Everyone dies.

But if given the choice, would you really like to stay in this world until its very end? Would you want to witness all technological evolutions over time? Would you want to meet every one of your grandchildren, their grandchildren, etc.? Honestly, the mere thought terrifies me.

A life without end would lose meaning. One would have to work his ass off until eternity. One would have a very difficult time loving another forever. You would see your enemies come and go, and you could not laugh about it.

It would be a life of sadness. You would have to attend every funeral of the persons you love, and the procession will never end. The people you love would just grow in number over time, and they would all be gone at some point.

Being immortal would probably make you feel like you’re walking around aimlessly. No one likes to begin reading a story knowing that it would never end.

So I say death is a creepy gift which you do not have the power to reject. Party hard before you receive it. And watch out for its arrival.

Most likely you won’t like it.

Friday, November 14, 2008

At gun point.

Hmmm.., it seems folks in the US have been buying up guns in record numbers since the election. And Obama winning it, has triggered a gun sales boom nationwide.
An article I have read in the New York Times says, that a general manager of Federal Firearms Company had been fielding about 30 calls a day from people interested in buying assault-type rifles, especially semi-automatic weapons, often with magazines that could hold lots of ammunition.

Why? Is there a growing fear of an increase in crime rates? Or are they just stacking on it as investment - like it's a better buy than gold?

Or simply because, the human race hasn't changed over the millennium. There are still good people and bad people, kind people and cruel people. There are still predators who will prey on people they think are too weak to defend themselves.
We all know that criminals are by definition lawbreakers and don't obey gun-control laws. Why? Will it be a consolation to you that police may later charge the man who murdered you with the additional crime of "possession of a firearm by a felon"?
That won't buy you a ticket out of the cemetery, you're history!

Unless we're super heroes, we cannot hit a man beyond the distance of our outstretched arm, nor can we kick a man beyond the length of our leg. But a man with a gun can stand 15 yards away and shoot us. And unlike Jackie Chan or Jet Li, we don't have a scriptwriter who will determine how the fight will end.

But owning a firearm for self-defense is a serious business. A gun is an inanimate object. If it's loaded, cocked and the trigger is pulled, the gun will kill or maim anybody who happens to be in front of the barrel. Responsible ownership is still the key, folks....


Thursday, November 13, 2008

A cold truth.

Yeah, yeah, most people love a hot shower in the morning - even those who don’t live in cold climates. For many, they just can’t seem to get started on their daily routine without that hot shower.

Ugh, no wonder many were appalled to know that I don't have a water heater at home when they have read my previous blog. I really didn't expect that it would seem strange to many of you.

Well maybe you are among those who get up in the morning in your centrally heated homes, switch on the kettle for your coffee, turn up the heating system in your house if it's too cold, and run a hot bath or shower without a thought since hot water is readily available on tap and in constant supply.

So here's the thing and don't be shock. You won’t find a heating system in houses here in my country. We live in the tropics and we bathe in cold tap water( we aren't called third world for nothing, folks!). Neither, will you see bathtub or even a shower handle in most of the houses in this part of the globe.

A bath tub is considered a luxury, or excessive vanity in a typical Filipino bath room. We use "batya" instead. It is a large basin where a toddler could dabble in soap and water. We also use a dipper (tabo) which we would use to scoop the water from the basin and pour over our head.

There is a secret though to taking a cold bath. You have to first pour water on your head. If you wet your head first while taking a bath the heat from the head travels down the body and escapes through the feet.

Of course, freezing cold bath may sound like pure torture to many of you - because it is! But that's exactly how I get by with a couple of hour less sleep each night, mainly because I was practically electrocuting myself in the morning with freezing showers.

Oh its a very good way to get rid of the lethargic feeling. And after the initial shock wore off, I feel more awake and in a good mood. It definitely got my day going, much better than coffee I think.

Wonder why you shiver soon after a hot bath?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Worth a popcorn.

I love watching movies, although I have not been to a movie house in ages. Ages, I mean about a couple of years ago. Not that there isn't one near where I live, but with the prices of ticket in theaters now, going to movie houses has landed among my whim's list. Besides, with the proliferation of cheap DVDs, watching a movie at the comfort of my home has become a better choice.

Do I miss going to theaters, and what are the relative merit of both?
Well maybe for one, movie houses have the advantage of the big screen. But that advantage however has been overshadowed by the onset of plasmas and LCDs which in small rooms can loom just as hugely and just as immersive.

And yes, movie houses also have the advantage of the sharper image and the louder sound, notably Dolbys and THXs. But that too has been offset by the newer digital TV sets that offer 1080p, the high-definition standard that can give movie houses a run for their money.

But if one can't afford to have a reasonably state-of-the-art home theater, like most everyone of us, or if you have a neighbor who objects violently to loud noises from your 5.1 surround system, even as he inflicts his own karaoke on you, the movie house is still the best way to go.

Also, movies are current, while DVDs are not. But the greatest considerable charm and magic in movie theaters I think is the added suspension of disbelief - you can't click a movie into pause to go to the john or to make a sandwich.

Not being able to pause a movie gives you a sense of something beyond your control, of something having a life of its own. That's what make movies magical and a little less so when watching them in videotape and discs. The remote control somehow made movies smaller than life rather than larger. But that may just be me.

No, I don't have a state-of-the-art equipment at home, in fact I have but only a state-of-the-trash pirated discs which are dirt cheap. Of course, this one is bound to raise the hackles of the intellectual-property police.

But what the heck, I still get to watch those movies released a few months ago. Hopefully too, I will be able to see "Quantum of Solace" before the year ends.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A cause of alarm.

Should I be alarmed and feel creeped out that my kids school teacher and college professors are using Freindster and MySpace to interact with them online?

Maybe it's just me, but I honestly cannot agree with teachers and kids friending each other in social networks. Why does a teacher need to understand the outside lives of their students in a personal sense?

There is nothing wrong with an adult going into a social network site for their own personal life - with their adult friends and family. I believe that an adult individual should be able to go into Facebook/Myspace/Freindster, etc… but as a person of their own identity and right.

However, students and impressionable youth who spend their days looking up to their teachers as a role model, idealist-educator shouldn’t be invited to feel like they belong in their personal life as a peer and friend. At least, that’s my opinion. And even if the teacher is trying to “save” one of their wayward students by invading the net by being friendly to that child, being a maverick is dangerous.
What the heck, my youngest is only 15 and even if he is 22 he still do not have the development and growth necessary to be able to fully understand and judge situations!

A student between 15 - 22 year old doesn’t necessarily see what’s wrong with forming relationships with older people because they believe themselves to be MATURE, on the brink of adulthood.

Believe it or not, I can be slightly hard some times when it comes to my kids. Oh sure my kids rock, but they can become attached, they can form friendship expectations and may push for special treatment, or demand acknowledgment. Worst, they may identify with an adult, and see how different he is from other peer, then build personality around him, and help stroke fire of “drama”.
Time to raise the flag.

Gotta talk to my kids tonight.

Monday, November 10, 2008

A furry of joy.

It has been four weeks now since our cat gave birth to six lovely kittens. For the first week of their life the kittens were confined to a box. Then on the 2nd week Stray decided to move them in the boy’s room, under the bed, and there they nest, mainly sleeping and suckling.

On the third week the mother moved them to my bedroom. Maybe, because there is less chaos there. By this time the kittens eyes had opened and they had started to crawl although they still confine themselves under my bed.

Then suddenly one of them decided to go farther out, and within minutes the rest of the kittens had discovered that the world was slightly bigger and more interesting than the dark corner at the far end of my bed. This fourth week are wonderful days with six kittens causing mayhem and laughter throughout the house.

But we know we have to let go of our kittens save maybe for one or two, because we cannot allow then to take over our little abode. They will be jumping and crawling all over, and leave scratch marks in my couch, curtains and rag, and leave stinking pee anywhere they pleased. I won't allow them to become adorable kitties of mass destruction.

Of course, it wouldn't be easy, but at least we had the chance to witness the magic of birth, to endless laughter and entertainment right down to letting go of the kittens.

I have seen how helpless kittens were dumped from vehicles, Stray being among them, and I heard stories of kittens put in a sack and thrown in a river to drown. That won't happen to my kitties, as they will be moving to loving homes that will take care and nurture them. And as for the mother, she will be spayed to avoid her having endless kittens that would become more and more difficult to home.

Only few days left till we bid them fond farewell, yet until now I am undecided which kitten we let go and which will stay behind. Darn...

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Fancy a date?

Last night I was at my neighbor's birthday party. Being the only single woman there I was showered with more attention than I can take. They say I should start dating again and they came up with several names, all of whom I am not familiar with.

Hey guys, I didn't ask to be in my 40s and single, but reality being what it is I live with it. I have my kids, I have my work, I can cook and clean, I have a plan for myself that is better done without a man messing it up. Nah, I don't hate men, I just know what is worth my time and what isn't.

Ok, ok, if I do date I think I would put up a rule. I think I ought to come up with what works for me, keeping the reality of my particular situation in mind.

So here it is...

1. I won't date fat men. If he is walking around looking like he has a beer keg stuffed in his pants, then he don't give a damn about himself, so I really don't expect him to give a damn about me in the long run. If he and I had fallen in love twenty years ago, gotten married and had a family and he had put on the weight, I would still be with him, but we didn't and so I see no need to accommodate his lack of discipline.

2. I don't like a man who would boast about his independence. Being able to take care of himself doesn't make him special, it makes him an adult. Second, if he is that independent, why is he looking for a relationship in the first place? Independence is the opposite of dependence and being able to depend on others is why we get into relationships of any kind in the first place.

3. I wont date a man who is a full time father to his kids.( Of course, I am not optimistic enough to be asked by someone young and was never married.) But I see no need to be a full time mother to someone else's children and a part time mother to my own. Mine have been through enough already, I'm both Mom and Dad to my kids and I feel I am doing what is best for my children, they were here first.

There you go. I know it's short, but that's all I can think of for now.
I have not been dating and maybe never will. But even 40 somethings get lonely at times, some more than others. Well, there are all sorts of reasons people over 40 are single.

Just keep breathing and you might find yourself there some day.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

A belly take over.

As a woman, I know how easy it is to gain weight around the stomach. God only knows why it has to go there, but it does, and once you have a little bit, it seems to attract more. Sometimes I just wonder what is this thing that’s been growing around my mid-section since I started college. And now that I am older, it has become a permanent fixture. I am not a voracious eater, I don't even eat breakfast, and I love to skip meal. Yet despite of this, fat builds up around my stomach area, and I can't seem to get rid of it.

No, I am not fat or big. I am not someone who shops at the plus-size department. I never weigh more than 110 lbs, take note that my waistline and my age aren't the same. But my lame attempts to exercise doesn't seem to work at all. .

Then, I stumble upon an article in the news. It says that tummy fat can be use to grow breasts. Say it again.?! Ok, continue reading... "Scientists say they can create a fat mixture with concentrated stem cells, which, when injected into the breast, apparently encourages tissue to grow. And if licensed, it may rival silicone for those seeking bigger breasts."

Wow, so can I just assume that my breast had been misplaced? That instead of growing a little bit up there, it landed in my mid section? Then my mind prickle toward a practical scenario - When I sleep, and if I want to turn or shift, most of the time, I sort of have to double-shift and bring the "stomach boobs" with me, making sure they're not being smooshed or squeezed. Damn, this is funnier than it sounds.

I don't play god. Who will?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Just chillin'.

Phew! so ok... I am stressed from too much thinking, I feel sluggish because I lack sleep and on top of that I feel lousy because things didn't turn out the way I expect them to be. So, how can I chill out so I would feel a lot better and not vent it on the kids when I get home? There are many ways I could think of...

1. Hit the gym. Yeah, I would love to spin and kick and even go to yoga classes to ease the stresses of the day. I love to feel my heart pounding hard and be out of breath till my lungs hurt.
But I don't have a membership in any fitness studio, so scratch that out.

2. Crank up the stereo in the car and belt along with the music as I commute back home.
Nice, except that I don't have a car anymore. I don't drive and going home from the office only takes me 10 minutes on a tricycle.

3. Take a walk on the beach to relax. Feeling the sand between my toes and smelling the salty ocean air would definitely work magic on my sagging mood.
Pretty good. However, I don't live near an ocean. The only sand I see is the sand box where my cat poops.

4. Unwind by taking a hot shower, put on my pajamas, wrap myself up in a cozy blanket with a cup of tea and put on a good movie.
Hmmm... too bad, I don't have a water heater at home, and my cat and her kittens had invaded my bedroom big time, that it has turned into a nursery of sorts.

5. Fix dinner slowly and concentrate on what I'm doing. It feels good to make a homemade, healthy dish. Plus, all the chopping I have to do helps relieve tension.
Yeah, yeah...I always tell that to myself, sometimes it help but most of the time it didn't. Besides, that's what I do every night, so that's nothing new.

6. Write a blog. It helps me unwind and vent my frustrations without looking immature in front of other people. When I read what I've written, it helps me determine if I'm truly upset or if I'm just being silly.

Most times I'm glad I've kept my stresses to myself. Now you know why you are reading this.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The lesser of two evil.

The smoke has cleared, the dust has settled, and now we see the last man standing.
Barack Obama is now officially the president of the United State.
Are Americans pleased and happy with the result? Here is one reaction I got from my friend Juni...

"the election? it's another one of those hold your nose and vote elections. we've just been handed the lesser of two evils every election cycle. i wonder, will we get what we want? or get what we deserve? either way it's scary with the economy the way it is. i seriously thought about voting for spongebob squarepants like my grandson kaleb asked me to. lol"

Does this mean that Americans have rejected the party of Bush (the bigger evil) and embraced a candidate who, in many ways, is his exact opposite? That the election was a negative referendum on Bush rather than a positive mandate for Obama?

So maybe, Bush and the economy were the fundamental dynamics of this election, huh? Of course, we are aware that the Bush administration has given the US two recessions during his term, and two unfinished wars. America is in a recession the likes of which we haven't seen since the early 1980s. The country is already 10 months into this recession and the country don't see any end in sight.

On the other hand, Obama ( the lesser evil) is not only youthful and black, articulate and cosmopolitan, he's also well to the left of Bush on many key issues. The man has been in politics for only four years and has never held any executive office. Obama's qualification was that he offered hope for a better America, or, as he put it, "change you can believe in".

Yet embracing a man so youthful and inexperienced, is a leap of faith.
America has hoped, voted, and taken the leap...


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