Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Waaaater!



By now you all know that my country received a large volumes of rainfall to the extent that 80% of Manila is submerge in water. In fact La Mesa dam had to open its flood gates to release excess water from the dam since it was feared that the water could end up damaging the reservoir if not released.

However, there is nary a drop of water running in our faucet for 6 days now. Probably pipe lines were damaged by the flood. So imagine a day without water. I end up brushing my teeth in the morning with toothpaste and saliva (No rinsing!). No shower, no bath, no washing my face. No flushing the toilet. No coffee or tea.

I even have to take a bathe at the office, and thankfully the plant has its own water purifier, therefore I was able to bring home drinking water everyday. You see the lack of running water meant bathing in “bucket baths” (sitting in a bathroom floor with a bucket of water and bathing oneself). Since classes are cancelled, my boys spend hours on end queuing for the precious liquid at places where it is available.

Of course, I am dismayed that we do not have immediate water coming out of our faucet. And when at the middle of the day you see dishes piling up in the sink, you just want to scream. We however understand that this is temporary and that this is but just a little inconvenience that we would have to learn to do or do without - running water among them.

After learning techniques of conserving the little water we have, we found out that it really isn't as difficult as we thought it would be.

I felt confident in our new skills — we learned and adapted, and could adapt again.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Thank you all.


I would like to thank everyone of you who had left a comment and even those who didn't, but I know had been concerned over my family and the tragedy that we Filipinos are facing right now.

You see, the scale of devastation here in Manila is still difficult to describe. Just imagine that almost 80 percent of Metro Manila was under water. And yet for most of us watching in horror, the typhoon tragedy will be remembered for some particular images - of desperate men and women balancing on electricity cables to avoid the chest-deep water below, of cars pulled every which way by raging floodwaters like mere toys, of celebreties stranded on there rooftop - fame and fortune providing no defense against the elements.

You see, the streets of Manila after the storm is like a war zone, with abandoned vehicles littering the streets and mud and debris lying everywhere. The very reason I told myself why my son could not come home yet. But it's very difficult when all I have is "maybe" because there was nary a word form him. I didn't realize that all the while he was also trying to call me or send messages, but then our communication lines are down. He and the rest of the students where holed up in their school. The school officials didn't allow anyone to leave. But the next day, Sunday, they were allowed to go home because the storm had passed. When my son finally reached home after three days, he was shaking and very hungry. He hadn't eaten for days! But as far as I am concerned, our family is complete.

At the moment, everything is right in my world.

However, radio and TV reports are filled with accounts of the flooding in different parts of the metropolis, with dramatic footage of rescues, frantic evacuations, and people spending long cold nights, wet, hungry and desperately wondering how soon relief would come.

There are also tales of heroism and courage, tragedy and loss. Even the plain survival will be told and re-told in the days to come. Yes, I know we have been tested by water and beleaguered by mud. But I have learned the really important lessons in life - my family are still alive and still together. There is gloom everywhere, but at least we faced a new morning together.

The picture above shows the sun rising over Manila.

In silence, I prayed for every family who is suffering, thanking them in part for teaching me how much I still have.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The aftermath.





This massive flooding in Manila has never happened before - not at this magnitude. Many of those people living in these areas have never experienced such floods previously despite the heavy rains.

I have seen images of flash floods too in other countries. Does that mean that the Earth is in imminent danger? Then we are in imminent danger! Our Earth is dying, To be more specific, it is being killed, done to death by us. Killed by the pursuit of money. We inherited the Earth, but the earth is dying on us.

I wouldn't be surprise if an ecological apocalypse loom in the future. Or is there still a solution to our problem? Can we possibly know what lies ahead?

I think we owe it to ourselves to find out...

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Another storm.


I just want to tell you all that this has been another dreary day. It has been a week stretch of non-stop hard driving rain that had me in awe - and in a state of misery.

You see, typhoon Ondoy is upon us here and the rain today poured down in buckets and the wind howled. Actually, prior to the typhoon's arrival, it has been day after day after day of wet, dark dreary atmosphere and the consistent intensity of the rain made me want to cry. I don't know, but it seems that after a while, the water that fell from the sky seemed to seep inside my brain!

Wooah, you might think that the rain would cleanse the city and perhaps make it clean for a day or two. But no! On the contrary, the rain and flood actually carry all the garbage into full view. And having to look at this pitiful ugly city rendered even uglier by the dreary weather, made me even more down. It also make you feel trapped, as any trip too far away from home could easily turn into a quagmire of traffic and gridlock. In Manila, the rains could literally keep you from getting home for days. And I am pretty worried because Cedric was at school and he hasn't called home yet nor answer my text messages. I couldn't get a call to his cellphone as well. I hope he is at his classmate's house.

Basically like so many other occasions, I also like the rain because it offers a relaxing change of mood. But not today when the images I saw on television is very upsetting - of families trapped in their houses, and had been driven to the roof to escape the waters below. They are in the mercy of Mother Nature.

Please, pray with me that those men women and children affected by the storm will be rescued and they will find shelter and food tonight.

And that perhaps one of those rain clouds bring with them a silver lining...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The real truth?


I’m back.

You’re probably wondering where I’ve been. Well, keep wondering because I’m not gonna tell you.

Okey, okey! I can almost hear Tracey protesting, so here is the reason...

The truth is, I was confined to a hospital bed the past days. I underwent a risky operation to surgically remove my twin sister who’s attached to my hip.

Wait a minute. I haven’t told you that, have I? Damn, I have been blabbering here a lot of things about me and I can't believe I have missed that! You see, I am one half of a Siamese twin. Probably now you know why you kept getting pics of just my upper torso. Yes, that was intentional as I tried to hide my twin sister from public eyes. No, I didn’t mean to keep it a secret. It just hasn’t come up in our conversations. (I mean no one has ever asked me: "Do you have a Siamese twin?")

Anyway, unfortunately, the surgery didn’t work. The doctors will try again in six months. And yes, my twin sister is still here attached to my side. ( OUCH! HEY, THAT HURTS! STOP POKING ON MY RIBS!!)

Lower those brows, please! Of course, I am merely joking. I have been sitting here in front of my pc with nothing to say. But I want you to know that I am okey and have been reading your blogs, except that of Fi because her main page won't open in my pc at the office. I am trying to read them here at home and leave comments on them.

Maybe tomorrow I will be able to think straight, hahaha!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Duh..!


I got nothing much to tell except that I was out the whole day yesterday, and came home real tired and sleepy. I very seldom eat out, much less go to malls because of the crowd. But then when a relative come to the city, me and the boys just can't pass up the chance to spend time with them.

I prefer to stay home and relax. I use to read a lot. Whenever I find myself with some spare time in hand, I will grab a book and find a cozy nook where I can read. I would read the book till it gets dark and continue reading when the lights are on.

But today I find it difficult to concentrate. When I read, I have to go through the words over and over again because a typical reading session for me would go: "It is not really possible to speak of characteristics peculiar to fiction by... hey, is that fried sausage I smell? Wow, I love sausage especially when..." peculiar to fiction by women except in..." too bad, this kitty isn't a male or I would love keeping it..."fiction by women in general terms."

So now, you know why watching a movie on DVD is a better choice, especially since i can just freeze it or replay it, if I miss a scene or a conversation. Then again, it might really just be a law of averages - we are born destined to spend a fixed amount of time doing something, at a certain age.

In fact right now I also noticed that when I converse with people, I tend to say things aloud for them to materialize, otherwise I just have a whole bunch of half-thoughts jostling in my head. A few lyrics here, a movie scene there, faces of people whose names I can not remember. Too much worthless information swimming in my head, like for some strange reason I can remember that Prue, Piper and Phoebe are the three Halliwell sisters, and its a piece of information that surfaces now and then although it has no bearing in my life whatsoever!

I am thankful though that at least I can still put words and sentences together, although I know that sometimes I don't make sense, hahaha. But at least I have some sort of skill I can present to the world. Thank God for variety.

If everybody placed the ultimate value on sewing, I'd be doomed!!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Sunday musings...


It's a Sunday again, and as usual the house is empty save for Cedric who chose to stay home. The other boys had gone out early and they won't be back till evening. Oh, I haven't ironed clothes today because I have hired a lady to do it, so I can concentrate on house cleaning as I plan to clean every nook and cranny of the bedroom, kitchen and living room. I was even able to clean out the boys and my own closet... Yay!

I was glad I still have much time left before lunch to fight off mobsters and I was very surprise to see my mafia family growing. I have 166 members at present from a measly 22 when I was starting. Now I won 90% of the fights and I am getting a sinful amount of money from my properties income, hahaha. But I am even happier to catch Sid still online and I am glad he is back to his jolly self. You should read his new post and see how his mind works, although I admit the antibiotics must have something to do with it. You should also read his previous post so you will understand him better and why his state of mind and mood mean a lot to me.

Its been clear to me that Sid live his life entirely as a compassion for others even when his own life was empty save for some dream he has for his future. He could have easily write people off but as he had said in his other post, he walks towards the challenge rather than running away from it. But for those not in the know, Sid is just one of so many who live alone and love being alone.

I don't consider myself a loner, but I am comfortable being left alone once in a while. As I write this, I wonder what the lives of Sid, AA and the rest of those people who live alone are made of, why they sit in an armchair all alone every evening watching television, why they find it so hard to change their ways. For those who are depressed I understand why some, when they go to sleep at night have as their greatest wish not to wake up in the morning.

But is insight and understanding everything? What about entertainment, camaraderie, simple human friendship? Yes, those things too enrich a life. But as a practical rule of thumb I can only learn to apply what’s in front of me in the present moment, as long as I believe that they are real and know where this in front of me may lead to.

And who knows where it may lead? We may just achieve what we all want to achieve, with the rest of the desires lined up for fulfillment later. Despite Sid and AA’s times of disenchantment and loneliness, I know that they still get periodic hope trying to tell themselves that in the future, perhaps they will get more of what they want - the perfect soul mate love of their life, an exotic location to live and sufficient money not to have to forgo simple pleasures all the time.

Yet it’s all a matter of degree and time being the only obstacle, then sweet oblivion! Of course, it’s a bugger to plan. So we will just let it get on with itself and devote our energies solely to the moment.

Have done so for many years, will continue to do so...

Friday, September 18, 2009

Truly magical

This is just amazing. You need to listen to it as I am lost for words to describe it...



Have a nice weekend to all!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The wannabes.


Do you remember an episode from the Twilight Zone in which the lead character noticed that every time there was an accident, it was the same group of people that would gather and look?

I know exactly how he feels, because each time I have a car trouble, the same herd of men in denim shorts, loose t-shirts, and slippers would surround the vehicle. The amazing thing is that each of them would have an opinion. Everybody seems to know what’s wrong with the car just by looking at it. It would be rare that any two would have the same opinion, but everybody had one anyway.

Today, as I went up to Antipolo to deliver some items to our client, our car broke down. I have a driver, so I was leaning back with my eyes closed when I heard something that sounded like the engine falling off. The clutch cable snapped and there was no way to make the car run. The driver hopped out of the car and proceeded to push.

He pushed the car around the corner while I glanced apprehensively out of the window. I was in a completely unknown neighborhood. Then out of nowhere this heavily tattooed man headed straight to our stalled vehicle. As I watched him approach, I tried to figure out where his center of gravity was in case I’d have to tackle him if he tried to pull something. Of course, the whole notion was ridiculous. Had I actually tried to charge him, the most that would happen is I’d bounce off!

Some other men came out and join him. Fortunately they weren’t there to mug but to help. Or at least, appear like it. They asked a lot of questions which the driver answered in great detail. The big guy clicked his tongue when he heard about the noise and the pushing. He shook his head and grunted at all the right places. Finally, after 10 minutes of this, he admitted that he wasn’t a mechanic and didn’t have much of an idea how to solve things.

It was all I could do to stop myself from placing his hand in the car and slamming the door. Having some mechanic wannabe waste the time my driver could have spent looking for the genuine one did very little to make the whole experience more palatable. And yet it is infuriatingly common.

Have you experienced the same?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Being socially inept.


I don’t do parlor games, and to the best of my ability I employ every skill I have to avoid having to participate in them. I suppose that if everybody playing were really, really good close personal friends, then a game or two wouldn’t inflict much suffering. But playing parlor games as a way of knowing perfect strangers presents an experience second only to waking up next to a dead horse on the horror meter.

I remember this one time when a parlor game was introduced as “getting to know you” activity. The whole group, about 30 people or so, had to pick out a piece of paper from a bowl. These pieces of paper contained the names of farm animals – a cow, chicken, goat, duck and sheep. Once the participants had read what’s on the paper, they should close their eyes and find their group mates by making the appropriate barnyard noise.

I was able to convince the organizer that I will document the whole thing, and I spent the next minutes watching 30 grown men and women mooing and clucking and baaing all over the room. After many painful seconds witnessing this, everybody found their animal friends, except for the ducks. There were two groups of duck. Not everybody was quacking the same way!

Of course those who participated in the games seemed to enjoy it thoroughly. I was the odd person out. A non-quacking, non-bleating, non-parlor-game-playing party pooper.

In all honesty, I would much rather sit and stare at a blank wall than play a party game.

I guess this quirk, like most dysfunctions in a human being, is rooted in some childhood trauma or another. I wish I knew what. I tried going through the traumatic events that I remember almost drowning, being in a fast ferriswheel going downward with out holding, being the last kid eating lunch with classes already starting, and a few more.

But none seemed particularly related to social ineptitude.

Maybe it’s just me!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Yellow brick road.


I love reading fairy tales when I was a kid. I like the fact that these stories always end with " and they lived happily ever after." In fact, long after I had closed the book, the story would continue to haunt me and I would start creating my own story where I am the main character. I think my readings had encourages me to day dream, haha!

I particularly like Dorothy's adventure in Wizard of Oz. Her journey through the Emerald City where she followed the yellow brick road had lead to various events as she goes on her quest to find the Wizard. She met the Tin Man, the Lion and the Scarecrow, and while she encountered a lot of difficulties, she is able to overcome them with the help of her new found friends.

I feel that my journey through life is not unlike Dorothy’s journey. Each and every experience I have, became an ingredient in the recipe of my life. All my struggles, toils and hardships had formed me into who I am today. Everything I had been through, everything that life had thrown my way, are the things that make up what I am today, and these are the things that changed and developed as I walk down my yellow brick road.

In the same way, my whole existence is defined by people and things I have encountered or experienced. The places I’ve been to, the people I’ve met and even those friends I haven't met yet, but have continue to inspired me and made the journey worthwhile. I just wish I have also contributed to their life one way or the other.

Dorothy had it easy. She didn’t have to experience the sufferings and distress I have gone through. No flying monkeys or munchkins can compare to the torment I have endured. But while things seem to look bleak, there remain a flicker of light in my life. It is a light that, though small and vulnerable now, can grow to become as bright as the color of the road Dorothy took. At least, that's what I want to think.

As I continue on this journey through my yellow brick road, I would like to thank all of you who had traveled with me, you Sid, in particular. Thank you for sharing with me your life, your time , your treasures. My journey began when I was born and I intend to finish it, even if it will not end "happily ever after".

Please, stay with me as my journey continue...

Friday, September 11, 2009

Humming on my keypad.


I was sitting in my desk, tinkering on my PC when suddenly I heard a very familiar song. The music put a halt on what I was doing and I just sat here, listening to it. It’s an old song - Killing Me Softly, although sang by a male. Suddenly, I am embraced by a soothing, relaxing strains. Now, I'm humming, and the stress is easing, as I close my eyes and lay my head at the back of the chair.

Hmmmm! It's just what the doctor ordered.

Wow, another one! This time it’s Wild World by Cat Steven. See, hearing these old familiar songs does so much more than simply entertain me with rhythm and beat, but also magically elevates my spirit. I have been feeling depressed myself and I just felt invigorated just now, listening to it. I felt one again with the universe, haha!

Music is incredibly powerful in so many ways!.

They can tell stories of our lives and explain a lifetime in less than 3 minutes. It can change a mood in a matter of one minute, and it can bring us to far away places by just closing our eyes. Music can also bring me to tears in just a few beats and capture the heart and soul in a few seconds.

Why, it can even make me fall in love and it can break my heart.

How music can control me and give me a calming effect is something which I am not even conscious.

What does music do for you?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

What Am I doing?


Ok folks, if you were thinking why I have not been blogging lately, it’s because I am again addicted to another game in FB – Mafia Wars. It was my boys who introduced this game to me, and when I finally got the hang of it, I just can’t stop. That, and farming!

This strategy game is fairly straightforward and is played in real time. Zynga, the creator of this game and Farmville had really caught my eyes not to mention a couple of hours of my time each day. The key to this game is having a powerful family – the bigger the better.

Now, that’s where my disadvantage lies because I have but a few member and when attacked by much bigger group, they could iced me and take my money as well. Of course I don’t want to be attacked and being beaten by other families!

So, if you find an invite from me, do accept it, even if you don’t intend to play the game, ok? I just want more gang members and I can arm you to the teeth so when we go to battle we cannot be over-powered by our opponent. Having a stronger mob can repel attack from others mafia and also help me take on more jobs to make extra money and create multiple income streams.

Are you ready to become a mobster? To join me, click here.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Xmas in September.


September ... and I can already see all the Christmas d├ęcor going up in malls. I don’t understand how mall people think that one “ber” month is just as good as another. Radio already started playing yuletide songs. Yes in this part of the world, Christmas starts early.

But it’s really hard to get into the Christmas spirit, what with all the pressure. There’s almost some sort of performance anxiety to be just in the right note of jolliness in this special season. I feel like I HAVE to be cheery and bubbly and merry and all those Christmassy emotion. It’s some weird invigorating thing as everything around me seemed so bright and joyful and yet my feelings just refuse to participate!

Do you also notice that the world’s suicide rate goes up around Christmas? Well, I am not surprised. Some experts say that it’s because of the loneliness factor that hits around this time. I think there is a lot of basis for that. But I guess the real reason people get lonelier around Christmas is because everybody pesters them to be happy!

Of course, it is certainly possible that some people just can’t stand all the expectations that surround Christmas. We think that during this time of the year, one has to feel peaceful and bathe in brotherly love towards all mankind. Oh, c’mon! Surely, only 0.05% of the world’s population actually feels this way during the 300 something other days of the year. For the rest of us, it’s an impossible emotional adjustment.

You remember that cheerful Xmas song “ Santa Claus is Coming to Town”? I think it has inflicted a lot more psychological damage than we realize. What kind of person would spy on us from the North Pole and keep track of when you’re sleeping and awake… and then reward us according to behavioral patterns? If any of us grew up paranoid, we got the guy in the red suit and beard to thank for.

Well, it's just September. I'm crossing my fingers that come December, things will turn to a festive mood and I will join the rest of humanity in celebrating Christmas with a bang.

Yay!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Life, imitating art.


There was one time, fairly recently, when I pretty much decided to just stay in bed for the rest of my life. Nothing seemed urgent enough for me to have to get up and dress for.

Thinking about it, this didn’t happen because nothing was urgent enough. No, quite the opposite, actually. I think too many things were too urgent so that my system just upped and decided to go AWOL. I know this is a bit weird, because I am just a lowly plant employee. It’s not like the fate of the Philippine economy depends on me or anything. I know there shouldn’t be that much pressure on me who’s main duty in life consists of formulating lubricants for diesel and gasoline engines.

And yet, there I was. And I think it’s not an experience unique to me. I admit to having thought that I am living life in anticipation of going from one heart-stopping moment to another. After about four decades of being here, I have realized that it generally doesn’t work that way.

I blame Hollywood for that expectation or my habit of watching a movie marathon on weekends. Why shouldn’t I, when in the span of a feature film, people are born and they die. They get married and have kids, get into gangs wars and in and out of jail. I’ve seen movies where, within the film, a whole novel is finished in two hours tops, while it takes me a day just to write a blog – and that’s when I’m on a roll!

So here I am now waiting for the big cheesy Hollywood moment.

The big drama.

The great bow with an auditorium full of people cheering me on, or at the very least, somebody looking adoringly at me for saving their lives. I sometimes wish I get theme music as I walk down the streets of Manila. And, why don’t I randomly run into some stranger with a striking resemblance to Hugh Jackman who’ll magically fall in love with me?

I don’t get the big moments often and maybe this makes me sometimes decide to stay in bed for the rest of my life.

Not healthy.

I know things don’t always follow Hollywood logic, although sometimes they strangely do, and I certainly don’t look like a Hollywood personality. I am aware though that every now and then my sense of reality should be screwed off, vacuumed, and screwed back on.

Stop laughing, will you?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Smorgasbord.


Every morning I check out the day's headline. There's never anything good. Nothing good, but nothing shocking either. After the death of MJ, very few things actually really get to me. Generally, the front page talks about some politician or another who is accused of being in a scam involving millions. The news is full of corruption stories as if these were actual news - or maybe, I have gotten use to it by now(Sigh!).

Last night I was watching a movie where soldiers and a whole lot of refugees had to flee Nigeria into Cameroon. They spent days crossing the jungle while being chased by brutal soldiers. Everywhere in the jungle was carnage. I was watching this with one gripping thought in my head. Where does everyone go to take crap?

When I was younger I did think that living in the woods would be exciting. Even the guerilla life seemed romantic. I'm sure, all those pictures of Che Guevarra didn't hurt that impression. Why, learning how to use firearms, survival techniques, camouflage and boots - they all lent a moth-to-the-lamp appeal! But the appeal is gone now. Sid had been telling me about his life in the jungle where the army pitch tents, and build fires to cook their food, peed on the bushes, that sort of thing. I was mortified.

Hmmm... I think I have a mild form of ADHD - Attention Deficit, Hyperactivity Disorder. It is very difficult for me to focus on things. For example, as I write this sentence, I am very much aware of the annoying tweeting of birds outside my window and the low hum of the fan. The bigger part of me is listening to these sounds and thinking of how to eradicate the birds (perhaps, using the fan).

Hey, did you notice how personal relationship have gotten more complicated? back then there were the following relationships: family, classmates, random acquaintances, peers, and couple hood. Now there are those, plus the potentially very complicated best friend of the opposite gender, text mates, chat mates, farm buddies, the person you kinda like, the person you go out with but not seriously, the person you go out with that's potentially serious... I know I'm missing something...

Yes, my mind is warped after the long weekend, yesterday was a holiday here, plus I don't have internet connection at the office. So imagine how frustrating this could be and how one's mind could go wacked when feeling isolated from the cyber world - it's smorgasboard all the way.

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