Saturday, January 28, 2006

Another Road Trip

Book in Hand: Year's Best Fantasy 5 edited by David Hartwell
Song in Mind: Tom's Diner by Suzzane Vega

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I will be very honest with you.

I'm in love with traveling. If I can just stay on the road, all problems and issues eventually stays on hold. I am in transition and I can't be bothered by things so far away from me at the moment.

Tomorrow though, I would prefer to stay at home. Today hadn't been a forgiving day (had to help facilitate a super effort-intensive school building turnover ceremony) and I would rather sleep all day tomorrow. Or read. Unfortunately, I have to go on an eight-hour road trip to Naga City in Camarines Sur. The next day, I have to travel two and a half more hours to Tabaco City Albay. There's a computer laboratory turnover ceremony there I have to facilitate. Ah, ghastly. I can only imagine the pain it'll accost my behind. :) I won't be back in Manila until Wednesday. I plan to take Thursday easy, and then travel to Mindoro on Friday for another project.

But that also means I will be in transition for five days out of seven. It's a vacation for my soul even if it will take a hard toll on my body. That wouldn't be so bad then.

It won't be bad at all.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Bout of Narcissism

Book in Hand: Thomas the Rhymer by Ellen Kushner
Song in Mind: Everyday's A Winding Road by Sheryl Crow


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In a bout of unprecedented self-love (hehe), I investigated and compiled the following silly facts about my birthday, my name and the other people also bearing the same.

From the Birthday Generator:

You are 24 years old.
You are 8395 days old.
You were conceived around 05-06-1981.
You were not born on a leap year.
You were born 333 days from Christmas and 340 days from New Years.
Your Julian Calendar Birthdate is 2444996.5.

OLIVIA
Gender: Female
Origin: Latin
Meaning: Olive Tree / Peace and symbolizing the tree of life
Pinyin : Aòlìwéiyà
Diminutives: Livia, Lyvia , Olyvia


THE OTHER OLIVIAS

The One Who Ate A Bullet

The 31-year-old Olivia Chanes bought a hotdog at a food stand in a Costco store in an Irvine warehouse. While eating she felt something hard and thought it was part of her braces. When she noticed it was a 9mm bullet instead of a part of her braces she immediately called the police. After Olivia gave the bullet as evidence to the police, they cut several dozen Hebrew National hot dogs, the store's entire stock, into pieces looking for other possible contaminants. Nothing else was found and there where no other complaints of visitors.

When Olivia developed stomach pains she went to a local hospital where an X-ray revealed a second bullet. On a local televison station she showed the X-ray of her stomach with the bullet lodged in it. Olivia said: "I think it's the most secure way for a bullet to enter your body. If a bullet's going to be in your stomach, at least it didn't pierce the skin to get there". Let's give her a prize for the world's wittiest quote, huh? Bleh.

The One Who Died During Plastic Surgery

Olivia Goldsmith, the best-selling author of The First Wives Club and ten other pop-feminist novels, checked into the Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital on January 7, 2005 for what has been described as minor plastic surgery—a chin-tuck. Within four minutes, she was in a coma from which she’d never awake. All for a face-lift.

The One Who is Too Young to Die

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Olivia was born on January 6, 2001. She was four weeks early and showed no signs of being premature. Weighing in at 7.1 pounds, Olivia was healthy, happy and full of life. As an infant and even now, Olivia’s eyes are magical and her smile both heartwarming and infectious. She loves to sing and knows every word to every nursery rhyme known to mankind.
Olivia is the older of two girls. Her younger sister, Eva, is the apple of her eye. On November 16, 2004, Olivia was diagnosed with Sanfilippo Syndrome, type A. Though Olivia is impacted by MPS Sanfilippo, Sanfilippo does not differ much from other MPS disorders. As cells in our body die they are processed and digested by enzymes. Olivia is missing an enzyme essential to processing and digesting these dead cells. Because the dead cells cannot be processed the body stores the cells it would otherwise digest in soft tissue organs and muscles throughout the body. As enough cells are stored the impacted organs begin to slow down, and eventually shut down. Help me pray for her please.

The One Young Kids Read About

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(I remember seeing this book here in Manila, and I was half-mad barking with laughter and half-embarassed while thinking, "Oh great, people will now really relate me to a pig.")

In her hugely successful memoir, Olivia Saves the Circus, Olivia gives a virtuoso account to her school class of how she single-handedly rescued a circus performance (all the performers were sick with ear infections, she claims) by doing everything herself. The book is replete with astonishing but true accounts of Olivia the Lion Tamer, Olivia the Queen of the Trapeze and Olivia and her Amazing Trained Dogs. At the end, Olivia’s teacher suspects something and the following exchange takes place.
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The One People Live In
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There is a place in Minnesota, USA called Olivia. In Olivia a single half-husked cob towers over a roadside gazebo. It is 25 feet tall, made of fiberglass, and has been up since 1973. Olivia, Minnesota is located 90 miles west of the Twin Cities at the junction of U.S. Highways 71 & 212. Olivia received its name from Milwaukee Railroad Civil Engineer Albert B. Rogers. Rogers was responsible for deciding where towns and stations would be located and for the naming of the towns along the railroad line. It so happened that the first station agent to be placed in Ortonville, Minnesota was a woman named Olive. She was a particular friend of Chief Engineer Rogers, and it was for her the fledgling community was named.


The One They Named a Synthetic Material After

Did you know that "Nylon" name was derived from the initials of the wives names of Carother's researchers: Nancy, Yvonne, Lonella, Olivia and Nina. So, it's not from NYork to LONdon.


The One Who Is Actually Made Up of 4 Guys and Sings Alternative Music

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here's a band called Olivia the Band *shrug* And they're supposed to be quite quite good.


What a lot of useless information, huh? Well, it's my birthday and I'll do what i want to. :)
Surf's Up, gotta go.
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Sunday, January 22, 2006

Pinoy Dogfight

THE BETTER FIGHTER

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For more than a month, the whole country was focused on the Morales and Pacquiao fight. Of course, we were all rooting for the Pac-man. He's Filipino and I want a countryman to bag the award, the money and the glory.

But I hate boxing. I really, really do. It brings to mind dogfights, which it actually is. I hate the blood and the gore and the viciousness of the sport. I hate seeing broken noses as well as reddening and purpling bruises on faces. And what I hate most is that people are actually cheering while someone gets clobbered in the arena. It brings to mind the gladiator days and it leaves a foul taste in my mouth.

Don't get me wrong, I'm proud that Pacquiao won. But happy? No.

Besides, I have this huge crush on Erik Morales. Did you see his bloodied pulp of a face? Oh, sweetie, come here and I'll clean you right up. Hay.

THE BETTER PERFORMER

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Actually, this two aren't exactly fighting. It's just that at home, we're fighting about who's a better singer. My Mum and Dad likes Mark. My sister too. I like Christian, but only because out of sheer loyalty to our Alma Mater. Well, okay, I admit I had a sort of crush on this guy a couple of years ago. But I'm starting to dislike his smugness. Even his niceness has an edge now. You can see he's really suplado underneath. Meanwhile, Mark is getting the bulk of the family votes because he's so wholesome, pero hindi daw nakakasawa. And he can connect to the audience more (which I admit is true). And his voice is more versatile. Weird lang that they're both Bautistas. I think if I attended their concerts, I'd be leaving Christian's show thinking, "Wow, galing!" But after leaving Mark's, I'd probably go, "What a great guy!" And knowing Pinoys, likability weighs more than anything else.

THE BETTER POSTER-BOY

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This two aren't exactly fighting too. But the whole Pinoy congregation are still deciding who is prettier. Shux. I mean, sorry. I am not a fan of Pinoy Big Brother. I found the show totally hard to follow. And at some point, I couldn't care less who did what and who cried over what and who's underpants had poopoo. Good Lord, if I apply the basics of what could be learned in Psychology, they are all so predictable. BUT - - I did think Uma is gorgeous. And totally gay. It took a while for me to like Sam, although I unwittingly had a crush on him before he was even in Pinoy Big Brother (he was that guy in that toothpaste commercial, right?). Well, at home, they are all big Sam die-hards. Well, my Mum and sister is. And yet again, I find myself defending Uma although I absolutely believe he's too metrosexual at the very least. I haven't any idea what he'd done in PBB, except that he's got the most attitude and the show would probably be very dry without him. I mean hello, Nene, although she emerged the winner and using the same tactics as my favorite Survivor Ethan Zohn, did not have his charisma, his wit and personality. But everyones going ga-ga over Sam now, and they've got cause for it, sure. I wouldn't mind being this guy's girlfriend. But doesn't Uma feel more real? Isn't he more interesting? Gay as a peacock, but completely inscrutable, ain't he?

THE BETTER MANIPULATOR

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Ha. It never ends. I blush to say these three people are who our country call Leaders nowadays. Damned presidents all of them. I am starting to see proof that in the Philippines, it is the system which has gone corrupted. Toppling presidents after the other will not help us. Whoever makes it to the seat are all veritable puppets to the system which has created them. They choose to squabble and talk and delay things. They grandstand, they maneouver, they manipulate.

Jeeezes, what will be our redemption? Can we ever truly rise from this slump? I am starting to disbelieve. Everyday at work, I see the government's inefficiency. And worst, we have to play their game, we NGOs, those in the private sector to ever get anywhere near helping the people. They drag their butts, overly exemplifying themselves, as if they were rajahs and small datus we should pander to. But today, during the Morales-Pacman fight, didn't they look so peacable sitting together rooting for the same person? I wanted to run out, buy a VCR, and record the show - - not for the fighters but the politicians there actually agreeing on something. I forgot what it looked like, this national unity. I thought we wiped it out permanently with our foolishness.

Oh, I'm stopping now because I don't want my whole weekend ruined because I thought of them today. Besides, it's my birthday on Friday and I want that day to be as stress free as possible. I'm even skipping work. But until then, I may not be able to blog because this week is our foundation's anniversary and we have this whole shebang to celebrate it. At the expense of everybody's sanity, no less.

Til Friday then.

Geeks Guide to

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I have just finished reading my borrowed copy of Eragon written by Christopher Paolini. I'm going to be very honest, I am envious of this guy. He wrote the book when he was fifteen and published it at nineteen. He's twenty years old now, younger than I am by four years, and he's a published author of fantasy, no less. He's so well-praised that even his success is making waves here in the Philippines. My friend who let me borrow the book also just bought the second book entitled Eldest. My point is, this young guy is making some ultra-cool money by writing about something he loved!

I'm happy that he wrote this book whil he's still young. I think it was what helped him rise to fame. To see the kind of determination he showed in someone so young is exemplary. And the product of his efforts was impressive. But - -

Again, I would be honest. You can say I'm just jealous... but the book wasn't as great as I anticipated it to be. Let's just say, there were a few chinks in the armor of his great storytelling effort. I wasn't exactly pulled into his created world, Alagaesia. His descriptions, were fine, not to get me wrong. He richly evoked the scenery and the geography of his story. But when it's time for the people to talk, there's an amateurish flavor in it of wanting to impress rather than express. The dialogue didn't flow as naturally as I expected it to be. This was so pronounced in the beginning chapters of the novel that it was an effort to keep reading. Maybe it's just me, but I also think he can still improve on how to describe the physical features of his characters. Our first glimpse of the elven maiden, Arya, was a too conscious effort to describe her beauty.

And above all those things, reading the book feels like watching a movie. Paolini's ideas on his character's reactions, their movements as well as their speech felt acted out and predictable. Or rather, it was easy to imagine what he was describing because you've seen it already in some movie before. I think the word I'm looking for is stereotypical. I have heard that a movie is actually under production now, and at least the scriptwriter would have an easy time translating it to a script.

Nevertheless, the book is still good. Acceptable. For someone so young, it's amazing. It might not sound flattering now, but he's got a lot of time to improve. The important thing is he wrote something, pursued a dream and published the book. He's got two feathers on his cap, and there might be dozen more in his future. That's more than middle-aged wannabe writers out there can ever say.

Even if I think the book Eragon was just a passable attempt, I still congratulate this guy. He got published, even if he was turned down so many times. Hehe, I guess it's no small thing that they own a publishing company (haha! lucky him, ain't he?) and he had the means to self-publish. But after getting the book out, he also promoted it for years until the novel was noticed by a bigger publishing house and here he is. Probably earning dollars by the thousands.

Others (like me) aren't so lucky to have parents who own a publishing suit, but even more wouldn't have his determination. And it's mostly what defines success. It's what will get you from finishing a novel to that elusive dream of signing books at a jam-packed Barnes and Nobles.
Or Powerbooks, in my case.

Thanks, Christopher. You've just given me fodder for that dream I still hold on to (although more feebly every passing year) - - that I will be the first successful female fantasy author from the Philippines. But hey, if Eragon can handle a dragon and save Tronjheim, I can probably face up to the beasts that'll stop me from doing what i want to do as well.

Friday, January 20, 2006

All the Love Songs That I'll Never Know

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The Backstreet Boys are performing somewhere in Cubao, right about now.

Aah... remember those days, then? When boy bands were the craze and I was half-prepared to be bethrothed to a boy band member in my dreams and he turned out to be gay? (memory shall self-destruct in 5...4...3...2...)

My sister loved the Backstreet Boys. Good Lord, I can remember another high school classmate who actually sent gifts (expensive ones like watches, chocolates, framed artist-drawn scketches... really!) to Nick Carter for three consecutive birthdays.

Now there the boys are, probably singing their lungs out ---a lot of girls (oooops, they're women now, I suppose) would still be watching just for old times' sake.

And now here I am. Listening to one of their old songs (All That I Have) and I just freaking don't believe in it anymore. And that sort of reminds me, I don't believe in love songs anymore except for the sad ones.

In my high school yearbook, I wrote there that I'd (dance like nobody's watching and) I'd love like I've never been hurt. Naive little girl. Sweet little girl who grew up cloistered in a stone house. Where'd she go, i wonder?

RIDDUKULUS!!!

Time to change the topic. Do you want to see something absolutely ridiculous? Aside from this blog, I mean. :) Well, then check this out:

www.eastsidemall.com/bulliesforhire/bullies.html

I'd hate to be the therapist of the children whose parents actually hire bullies for them .... thank god it's all just satire. But what if?

Also check this one out...

www.subbrilliant.com

for stuff you will never hear from the news but you should know about anyway.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

On Books

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art by sharon hudson

William Lyon Phelps speaks
From a radio broadcast on April 6, 1933
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The habit of reading is one of the greatest resources of mankind; and we enjoy reading books that belong to us much more than if they are borrowed. A borrowed book is like a guest in the house; it must be treated with punctiliousness, with a certain considerate formality. You must see that it sustains no damage; it must not suffer while under your roof. You cannot leave it carelessly, you cannot mark it, you cannot turn down the pages, you cannot use it familiarly. And then, some day, although this is seldom done, you really ought to return it.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com But your own books belong to you; you treat them with that affectionate intimacy that annihilates formality. Books are for use, not for show; you should own no book that you are afraid to mark up, or afraid to place on the table, wide open and face down. A good reason for marking favorite passages in books is that this practice enables you to remember more easily the significant sayings, to refer to them quickly, and then in later years, it is like visiting a forest where you once blazed a trail. You have the pleasure of going over the old ground, and recalling both the intellectual scenery and your own earlier self.


Everyone should begin collecting a private library in youth; the instinct of private property, which is fundamental in human beings, can here be cultivated with every advantage and no evils. One should have one's own bookshelves, which should not have doors, glass windows, or keys; they should be free and accessible to the hand as well as to the eye. The best of mural decorations is books; they are more varied in color and appearance than any wallpaper, they are more attractive in design, and they have the prime advantage of being separate personalities, so that if you sit alone in the room in the firelight, you are surrounded with intimate friends. The knowledge that they are there in plain view is both stimulating and refreshing. You do not have to read them all. Most of my indoor life is spent in a room containing six thousand books; and I have a stock answer to the invariable question that comes from strangers. "Have you read all of these books?""Some of them twice." This reply is both true and unexpected.


There are of course no friends like living, breathing, corporeal men and women; my devotion to reading has never made me a recluse. How could it? Books are of the people, by the people, for the people. Literature is the immortal part of history; it is the best and most enduring part of personality. But book-friends have this advantage over living friends; you can enjoy the most truly aristocratic society in the world whenever you want it. The great dead are beyond our physical reach, and the great living are usually almost as inaccessible; as for our personal friends and acquaintances, we cannot always see them. Perchance they are asleep, or away on a journey.

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But in a private library, you can at any moment converse with Socrates or Shakespeare or Carlyle or Dumas or Dickens or Shaw or Barrie or Galsworthy. And there is no doubt that in these books you see these men at their best. They wrote for you. They "laid themselves out," they did their ultimate best to entertain you, to make a favorable impression. You are necessary to them as an audience is to an actor; only instead of seeing them masked, you look into their innermost heart of heart."

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William Lyon Phelps - 1933

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Sound Track

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If my life had a soundtrack...

1. Pure Shores by All Saints

2. Tom's Diner by Suzanne Vega

3. A Sorta Fairytale by Tori Amos

4. Sleep All Day by Jason Mraz

5. Angel by Sarah McLachlan

6. Insensitive by Jann Arden

7. I'll Never Get Over You (Getting Over Me) by Bellefire

8. Come Away With Me by Norah Jones

9. Sleeps With Butterflies by Tori Amos

10. Don't Know Why by Norah Jones

11. When I'm Thinking About You by The Sundays

12. Everyday's A Winding Road by Sheryl Crow

13. Ordinary People by Conner Reeves

14. Strong Enough by Sheryl Crow

15. Earthbound by Conner Reeves

15. Steep by Lauren Christy

16. Half-Life by Duncan Sheik

17. As I Lay Me Down to Sleep by Sophie B. Hawkins

18. Never Saw Blue Like That by Shawn Colvin

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Getting Over Myself

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sketch by john bolland

Book in Hand: Extraordinary Origins of Everyday Things by Charles Panati
Song in Mind: ** it's nice to remember, december**

Oh, didn't I just sound as the most self-centered, narrow-minded, obliquous doofus during my last entry? I was just really angry. Mostly at myself.

But you know what's new? I refuse to say sorry about it. I needed the fire of anger and self-loathing to purify the desire fueling it. It's a process - - one where taking shortcuts will never harvest the effective results. Life's a process. I guess we all have those days when we're just so *pundido* and the light just keps flashing on and off - - sane, insane, reasonable, outrageous. The thing is, the important thing is, to get over it. Which almost always means getting over yourself and getting on with life. Well, let's just say, I'm over it.

I'm not promising the world a full-fledge overhaul to the Olivia it knows. I'm just proposing little changes which I think will help me get to that place I've always known I could reach. I was just too damned lazy to pursue it. That's not my blogging piece today though. I'd rather not jinx it by talking about it.

It's interesting to note that my post-holidays depression hasn't gone full-blown. It was nipped at the bud and I hope it would not resurrect itself anytime soon. I've been taking pretty good medicine for it... which funny enough is praying the Holy Rosary on my way to work. Oh yes, I have always avoided it, thinking it was too repetitive almost rendering it a meaningless tradition. But now I realize that actually praying it takes some concentration. It's almost like meditation. And the prayers you say over and over is like a chant that helps you center yourself.

That's what wholeness is about anyway, isn't it? Centering yourself? To position the density of your soul at the right place so that the peripherals will gravitate into the ideal order. Our heart, our thoughts, our limbs - - those are all peripherals. While the center of our soul is that point where the warm ooze of joy, the little earthquakes, the wrenching and the unsundering radiates from. The gods we pray to (for me it's the God I worship, the Virgin I revere, the Saints I turn to, the Angels I believe in) are original versions of that core of the soul. And the most amazing thing that remains is it's all there inside us. A seed left by the Creator for us to cultivate, to nurture, and evetually, to reap.

Oh well, it doesn't matter what i think. Probably half the people who started to read this blog lost interest after reading the words holy and rosary, anyway. I know because sometimes, I do. But I wouldn't mention things I didn't believe, so please understand my lack of levity.

These are the things I know as true.

Friday, January 06, 2006

insecure

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To-ta-lly Unfair.

Why do it? Why expose every fear, every trepidation and every god damned insecurity of every fat girl in this world? Why lure them into a seemingly sympathetic and understanding plot and then dash our already fragile egos by turning into the very enemy - - - those patronizing perfect people who just mean you well.

F**k Jemima Jones. You, Jane Green, you freaking genius. You manipulator of every one of these fat girls most secret dream - - - to be perfect. No, not god damned gorgeous, some of us would actually be content to be just pretty or cute. But perfection is often times mistaken for beauty and oh, so far from our grasps.

Why tell the world that every time we ride the bus, we face quandary because a lot of buses have f**king small seats and everytime we sit down we have to pull ourselves in, to compress our thighs, our bodies, our esteem and hope to God who ever sits down beside us won't bitch about not having enough space to sit on. If you know, really know that something as trivial as riding a bus could kill a fraction of our soul, why mention it - - - and then turn patronizing?

Why mention the urges which shames us - - the war that rages on inside us everytime we pass a doughnut stand - - and turn traitor by shunning this shame and making it even more pathetic as it already is?

Why describe our secret lives and then in the end try, the operative word is try, to make it up to all the fat girls reading your book by seemingly presenting a fat girl one-upping the by-then-beautiful Jemima Jones. But it isn't funny. It isn't funny. You see the world laughing, even all the fat girls are. We're laughing because - - we have just turned ourselves funny, amiable, game, hohoho, just so to endure being who we are. But if you really knew who we were, then you would know it's actually the bitterest kind of sad.

Oh, I hate you. And I love you. But I hate you.

How can you show - - an image of me - - - by holding up a mirror crafted through words and then leave me in the cold, silent, sharp cutting truth that anyone of us could be so achingly beautiful if only we could find the determination, nay, the obsession (and not to mention the moolah) to exercise, to join clubs, to cut back our gorging. Just wanting it doesn't make it happen. Nope, nada. I walk with the air of someone content in the bubble, but I have wanted perfection too. Wanted it so much that I could fuel seven nuclear plants with the burning it creates in my soul.

You pretended to be like us but you had always been one of them - - those pretty ones, those f**king concerned ones, so sympathetic to the pathetic and yet not knowing anything. Not one thing about us. About them. About me.

You are nothing but Fr**king Chick Lit. I cried over a god damned Chick Lit. Hemmingway couldn't move the mountains inside of me, but you f**king made me cry.

F**k off. Leave me alone.

My bubble's burst and I am vulnerable. Tender.

Just let me Be.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Never Surrender the Day

Book in Hand: Waifs and Strays by Charles de Lint
Song in Mind: Someone to Watch Over Me

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I'm in a bit of a dramatic mood today, it being my last day of freedom for the year 2006. Ha! I'm just so tetchy about having to go through another year. I'm a bit put off by the fact that about this time last year, I was enthusiastic! I was excited, I was looking forward to the year 2005...

And look where it got me.

A couple of depressions and an official hatred for work later, I am tired... so tired of this daily grind. So tired of this neverending struggle. BUT -- -- --

I am not the type to give up in the middle of things. Seeing I'm just about to turn 24 and so far from retiring... I have conjured up my own motto for the year

>> Hope is born of valiant hearts, unafraid of brand new starts. Change is wrought by the blessed few, and one of them might as well be you <<

Just so God will know I haven't given up on the whole destiny thing I was wont to believe in when I was a kiddo.

Ha. Never surrender the day.


TIL NEXT YEAR

Though at an end already, I can't help but love the Holidays.

Everything about it. From the fact that one doesn't have to work, the craziness of shopping for gifts, the endless parade of food you can stuff yourself with, nicer, happier people around you, the Christmas Mass... everything.

Over righteous people will say, "Oh, but the feeling shouldn't just be there during Christmas.. Christmas should be everyday."

But it isn't, is it? It never happens that way. Christmas still is the only time of year when every one of my dreams come true.

*****

CHURCH OF THE HOLY ANCIENT MEMORIES

My family and I go to a good Church every Sunday. It's called the San Lorenzo Ruiz Church in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan and it's probably about five minutes away from our place. As much as I would want to hate stuffy traditional rituals... I couldn't bring myself to hate the traditions of the Church. This Parish helped me realize that I still find so much meaning in the Mass, that I love every somber, ancient movement of the altar boys up to the priest. There's so much majesty in it, and yet at the same time, so much simplicity.

During the New Year's Eve Mass, We were kneeling in front of the Holy Host during Benediction. I love every curve and sinew of the simborium, the chalice, the candle holders. I love the warm glow of the candles, the low murmur of the kneeling mass of humanity giving thanks and asking for wishes from the deepest recesses of their hearts. I love the glorious voices of the choir, their music sombering up the ageless procession of the Cross and the Bible up to the pulpit. I love it when the whole church sings together, voices raised. How could God not hear us? He could, it is my conviction, He could.

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For all that is holy, and all that we hold dear, Lord, let it be a good year. Strengthen us, assist us, enfold us in your mercy... let it be good.

*****

THEY COULD'VE BEEN ME
(THAT'S ASSUMING A LOT, BUT WHAT THE HECK)

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I have been writing again. Albeit a bit hesitantly, since I know I won't be able to keep it up once the daily working grind starts all over again. But there it was. A story unfolding from my fingers as I type. I do not stop to think; I do not stop to plot. I just write and it flows. Much of it might prove to be rubbish, but I will not exchange that feeling for anything in this world - - that feeling of potency, of ability, of writing.

It was of old imagineering which I had stored up in my brains for three years. It was there, hibernating until I came across the first few pages I placed aside so long ago. It woke up a dragon inside me... write it!

It is when I write when I become more ingrained in the belief that words are magic. They create a flow and a shimmering of their own; there is something ancient and holy in the very utterance of it. In my work where I have to create project proposals and reports, I was taught to supress the words, to bend it and fashion it so that it will sound business-like, polite and sanitary. But real words, powerful ones, aren't always clean and crisp. Sometimes, they have to bleed or to get dirty for it to reveal their meaning.

But in writing, I become more conscious of the fact that I cannot wield powerful words yet. I need more knowledge, more experience, more authority to wield the magic. Although the words flow out, it is not without effort. I get so tired afterwards -- a feeling which might be akin to feeling all used up. As if I was a vessel not yet yielding sufficient stamina nor skill to play with it too much.

Maybe that's why a lot of the writers I encounter -- the good ones -- are already advanced in years. I have heard of Paolini, yes, who wrote Eragon. And that fifteen year old girl who wrote Prophecy of the Stones. I was even told they were good books. Their progeny is genius, one which I hoped I was. A genius which I have accepted now, I am not. But the books which moved worlds inside the readers, those who created new frontiers for those who knew them -- they have gone through a lot first before becoming the revered authors they are now.

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I like to believe that - - - Gaiman, Le Guin, Coelho, Pratchett, Wodehouse, even Tolkien - - maybe, just maybe, they were me once. A long time ago, in dimensions known and unknown, pasts remembered and forgotten.

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