Monday, December 28, 2009

Love Happens, and Christmas too

(pokes head out and sniffs the air)

“Is it over?”

Hi, folks. Guess we’re back online. If you care to know, yep, it was a particularly hard one this year. My self-taught headology explained to me that the 3rd year is a leave-don’t-go kind of phase, where memories are fading, and sometimes, even the pain recedes. But that just makes you fight harder to keep it here, right here, not letting go, because that’s one more thing to lose, and your heart will just break, or stop beating altogether if you lose one more thing that’s precious. Or at least that’s what Dr. Liv says. But don’t count it as an official prognosis; she’s 3 units short of a minor degree in Psychology. I can hear her quacking from a mile away.


How I Spent My Holidays



Anyhoo, my self-imposed hermitage did allow me to do super fantastic things such as wake up at 11 a.m., stress myself by playing Plants versus Zombies, forget to brush my teeth, cook food nobody in the house would touch with a ten-foot pole, and watch dvds one after the other.

I got all the gifts I wanted but none of those I actually desired: i.e. 320g external hardware drive versus halaya cooked by Daddy, Fundamentals of Drawing exercise book versus corny, useless, touching gift from Mummy, a book thumb ring versus 1 million pesos, and a beaded cellphone bag versus hunky, cerebral boyfriend. Kudos to my sister though for being the one bright spot during the entire wreckage that the holidays have become for me. We can’t get all we desire or want, but we get what we need. What I needed was family. She was there. Sniff, sniff.

Now enough of the Hallmark stuff.


Love Happens: The Movie



Let’s talk Aaron Eckhart and Jennifer Aniston. I haven’t the foggiest idea how their Christmas was, but I sure spent mine with them. Watched Love Happens on dvd (do you have to ask how?), and it was a spot of cure for me.

It is NOT an exceptional film, so don’t go waiting for it to be nominated in the Oscars or the Globe. It was even kind of slow going, and didn’t provide me enough full-belly laughter that would qualify it as the perfect romcom. But, and that starts with a big B, you know how some movies could just be so dreadful, but it came at the right time, and you finish the movie bringing something more with you than you did before you settled in? It was like that. Because, as lackluster as others may see it, the movie had something that reached out to me on 2 levels:

Being A-Okay


It talks about grief. Aaron Eckhart plays a motivational speaker who literally wrote the book on being A-Okay after the death of a loved one. He conducts workshops on how to move on, and the lingo he uses is familiar to me. Haven’t I been reading the same books, and telling family members the same thing? You become a sort of cheerleader and task master at the same time. But there’s a time when you just can’t be strong anymore, and you have to come to terms with the grieving still left undone. The difference between us is that, he didn’t allow other people to be strong for him, and he carries his burden alone. So even if he’s blabbering on about taking the first step, he hasn’t actually done any of it himself yet.


Meanwhile, I have been a very spoiled little girl, moaning and groaning, and the people around me ready to give me hugs and a hearty “Cheerios, girl!” greeting every time I tag along with my nimbo-cumulus cloud following my wake. Believe me, I can’t thank these people enough.

On Beng Fake for A Living


It shows the inside take on being a facilitator/ trainor. And no, my profession doesn’t get satirized in this one. In the movies today, there’s a lot of satire showing how “trainors” do all these bull to manipulate other people’s feelings so as to reach a “facipulated” goal. There’s also a lot of shit showing that self-help or capability builders are “fake” and a tad bit overdone. Maybe it’s because you have to be perky most of the time during sessions, and we all know nobody is that happy unless they’re high on something.

What very few people understand is it’s not an easy job, to switch your emotions on and off like a light bulb on meth. You have to have an energy level the same with or higher than the cumulative energies of the participants in the room; you have to diffuse positive, optimistic energy that affirms change can happen. And when it’s needed, you have to be the stern task master as well. Once inside a room, what you want takes a backseat to what the participants want and what they actually need. You walk on eggshells, radars and gears on full whirr trying to detect the slightest change in the human emotional temperature, putting out fires before they start, and other times, starting fires that you hope will keep burning for a long, long time.


So you see, you really have to believe your stuff before you conduct sessions because otherwise, you will drain your soul of optimism and life. I should know. My favorite scene was when Eckhart’s character was shown nervous and pensive outside the workshop room, waiting for his name to be called. And when it’s his cue, he walks in, flashes a great big smile, and shakes hands with everyone as if he’s Dubya on his way to claiming his Presidency.

It’s not fakery, believe me. It’s the business of change, so you need headology. They’re smiling not because they want you to believe they’re special. They’re smiling because they want you to understand you are.

Love Happens will show in theaters by January. It’s not a happy-joy-joy movie, and que-horror, Jennifer Aniston is in it, but she's not as irritating here as in her other movies and might be worth your time. If you have the chance, grab it. Relax and watch the movie.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Somewhere Else

I'm not here anymore. I'm somewhere else. I'm somewhere cold and downcast all day - the kind of weather that makes me happy. That kind of weather which makes me feel like I'm in a movie, and I'm the protagonist and something amazing is just waiting for me around the corner.

Between here and there, is there a contest? Can you blame me?

Consider me gone.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

gLeek!



I have just finished the first season of Glee (thanks to my vid dealer, Kini), and I just realized how hooked I've become on the show. Very few shows can incorporate comedy and musicals on TV without being hokey, but somehow this show manages to tread the very narrow line bordering Hokeyville. And I have to say the songs are quite fantastic as well. Some of their songs were my standard bathroom song these last few weeks. :D Sad news is, the show's going on hiatus and won't be back until April. And no doubt that they'll be back. Fox can't cancel this show if they value their money. :D Meanwhile, we gleekers will have to content ourselves in performing our own renditions of Defying Gravity within the safety of our tiled bathroom walls.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Roiben's Tale

Earlier this morning, I woke up with a story in my head. While brushing my teeth, I realized I've written a draft with a similar storyline and it's got to be around here somewhere. So I decided to look through my old notebooks --- but this isn't an easy task. I have got notebooks everywhere. And I can't stop buying them either. So what was supposed to be a 10-minute search turned into an hour of sifting through the pages of my hyperactive imagination.

Finally, I found the lines I was looking for. In my dream, a blondish gboy was talking to an older girl --- his first crush and he was bumbling through the scene. In my notebook, he has a name and his problem was he was being initiated into the first pangs of puppy love:

Roiben's first taste of irrefutable pain came as he watched a dark lock of hair fall across Sarah Asher's face. Pain in how it obstructs his view of her dark eyes. Pain in how this simple flaw emphasizes the otherworldliness of her pale face. He wanted to reach out, brush it off her face, tuck it behind her seashell ears, and run his thumb across her ripening cheeks. The need was so overwhelming that it was like falling through thin ice, like hitting your head on something sharp and deadly, or standing in the way of a runaway train. His limbs were not responding to his brain; his heart was not his. His pain was made more excruciating in the knowledge that he can only breathe once the feel of her skin liberates the air from his lungs. He suffocates slowly because he can not touch her. Could not. May not. Roiben realized then that this is the first of a thousand small deaths and the last of his childhood dreams.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Psychology of Love

My cousin is a huge fan of Pinoy Big Brother and never fails to tune in every night. Ako naman, it’s one more reason for me to retire to my room early. Tonight though, naabutan ko yung drama between Jason and Melissa. Si Ryan kinikilig. Ako, kinikilabutan sa ka-cornihan. Ang malaking tanong, tutoo kaya?

Ganito lang naman yan eh. Sabi ng prof ko sa Psych 101, falling in love is as easy as 1-2-3.

1. Proximity – gaano ba kayo kadalas magkita? Nakakabit na ba kayo sa tadyang at alak-alakan? The more you see each other and spend time with each other, the more opportunities for you to get to know each other. And unless you look like the spawn of Godzilla with the personality of the second coming of Hitler (and maybe even then), the other person will probably find something attractive in you.

2. Similarity – The more you get to know each other, lumalabas din yung mga bagay na pareho at magkaiba kayo. Although, opposites attract, there would have to be something you share in common. I know people who keep on seeking for similarities with their intended, up to the point of wanting their whole worlds to align with each other. This should be a caveat --- allow enough difference between the two of you so you could help each other expand your horizons. But the things you do share should be cemented, or you do it together if it needs to change. Other things to keep in mind: although we all pine for the beauties and the hunks, we would most probably marry/ end up with someone within the same rank of physical beauty as we do. Sabi ko nga, hindi ako pang Tom Cruise. Pang James McAvoy lang. Chos!

3. Biology – And finally, we go back to biology. Or bio-chemistry to be precise. It’s how we smell, how big are our bees (butt, balakang and boobs – womanly, maternal tools), how proportionate our face is, and how sometimes, you just plain spark with that person.

Lahat naman ito ay haka-haka lamang ng mga siyentipiko. I for one haven’t the foggiest idea, so I latch on to these gibberish because my observations do, sometimes, validate the theories. Kaya nga minsan, naniniwala ako, given enough time anyone can fall in love with anyone. Example, you two were the last people on earth, and you are so not each others’ type? Wala, PSB will get to you and you’ll be singing a different tune after, let’s say 3 years na kayo lang.

In the end, Love is Headology, but it consists of blurry edges and colors that does not always stay inside the drawn lines. What we humans know of love will fill the universe, but the words we know to use to describe love could only fill a thimble. So, really, nobody knows.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Genius!

I always cry at weddings because it's a big deal to me that when my turn comes (or should i say, if), I wouldn't have my Mum and Dad to walk me down the aisle. Somebody on post secret shared what she did.

She walked with her parents, still.


Stig!!!!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Weddings and Me

Yesterday, we went to Nueva Ecija to attend my cousin's wedding and was prepared for the worst inquisition. My cousin was 2 years younger than I was after all, and yet there she is, looking resplendent in her knock-out wedding gown. Now I know there are worse things than being pestered about getting married already, and that is NOT being pestered about it. :D But then, seeing how happy my cousin was, albeit a bit tired, I hardly cared.

This is probably the first wedding I enjoyed thoroughly. If only because I wasn't part of the entourage or the program. Don't get me wrong, I like doing those for my friends. But it just makes me a tad too nervous to really appreciate the moment. It's hard to think, "aw shucks, look at the groom he's tearing up," without thinking, "oh dang, the next speaker is a bit lush already," or "god, what's the next line again?" Hazel married a Baguio army man, and the celebrations included true-to-goodness Igorot wedding dances and even the long-narrative done by community elders. It was neat.

Seeing a nice ceremony will unavoidably lead you down to paths best not taken, like thinking of how you would like your own wedding to be. I seriously wasn't one of those girls who were dreaming of the perfect wedding ever since they got their hands on Barbie and Ken's Dream Wedding Play Set. And maybe even at a young age, I had an inkling I had a looooot fo time on my hands to plan it out, so need to rush at age six.

And now that the big 3-0 is staring me at like a were-cat ready to eat me alive, I still can't bring myself to dream of it. Every time I do try, I hit roadblocks. Like: 1) who, for crying out loud? Prince William has Kate and James McAvoy has Anne-Marie. And I can't think of another man I'm willing to endure for a lifetime other than those. 2) Who will walk me down the aisle? Would it be politic to have an aunt and an uncle represent my deceased parents, or like Korina Sanchez, I walk alone?

And at this point, I slightly go off-tangent, surely unhinged by the enormity of its impossibility, my walking down the aisle in a pretty white dress.

So as much as I'm happy for my family and friends who found their impossible dream coming true, I am taking stock of reality. What's very difficult for me to admit is this: I think I was built to be alone. I fall in love easy enough, but I have trouble trusting that anybody will ever be dependable enough to trust as much as I need to. By now I have learned to depend on no one but myself to get things done, and to have somebody else share that world with me is alien territory. I am the war veteran saving up on canned beef broth and mango preserves, reinforcing an underground shelter, prepping oneself up to a long life of self-solidarity and solitude. The future looks grey, but at least, its certain.

And someday, when someone asks how I can endure it, I will smile and say, "I am strong enough," and maybe even convince myself.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

holidays kill me

I just woke up from a dream where I was hugging my father about to ask them why they left us alone and how the house was so empty without them, when I was jolted awake by the pure horror that that's still my life, and my first lucid thought was "go back to the dream" and i can't. then the first wave of nausea hits me and I run to the bathroom and be sick.

I'm not stupid, I know I get more sick as the holidays draw near. I know what it implies. I'm sorry to everyone who I'm disappointing out there; I try, and I'll keep trying, but for now, the brain is willing but the heart is still sick.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Cooking Your Heart Out

Just finished reading Julie/Julia upon the recommendation of a workmate. I was already reading two books (her Fearful Symmetry and Flood) but was so taken in by Julie Powell’s melo-hysterics which sounded vaguely familiar, I had to put the first 2 down and finish the latter.
.
Julie’s representation of her “project” was so accessible that you feel like you’re reading your best friend’s cooking diary (if you move in the kind of circles that has people who actually keep cooking diaries). She’s no Nigella Lawson or Barefoot Contessa and definitely no Julia Child, and that’s why I like her. You don’t start feeling inept at the mention of words like aspic or gelee, because she’d be the first to say she doesn’t have a f***** idea what those are. She gets queasy about killing lobsters, have trouble recognizing what kidneys look like, bitches at her husband, snarks at her Mum… your over-all Anti-Domestic Goddess at work. And I love her.
.
But in the middle of the foggy haze that is her life, you get glimpses of truth that doesn’t just ring true for her alone. My favorite thoughts include (put in my own words):
.
1. Simple doesn’t mean it’s easy.
2. There are 2 kinds of friends: one who inspires you to be good and great, and one who will sit on her haunches with you and help you make mud pies.
3. We cook because we want to share joy.
.
She also wrote the words that perfectly describes how one could love cooking as a hobby: you get lost in it, you feel new limbs sprouting from your bones, your soul grows wings, and your heart takes flight. So, okay, those were my words. But I think we’re talking about the same things. Cooking is Art You Can Eat. I say that’s pretty hard to beat. J
.
P.S. Anybody out there who knows a good recipe that needs cooking Yogurt? I bought a whole tub yesterday belatedly remembering I have no idea what to use it for, and it expires in 7 days.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Clueless Powerful People

The worst injustice in the world is the fact that Power and Intelligence aren't inextricably linked. Some people have the smarts (let's say the textbook kind) but doesn't have what it takes to be powerful (money, chika attitude, connections, people smart). Some are in powerful positions, but are as clueless as my neighbour's pet gerbil. I can accept both kinds of smart, but could people at least have some more logic?

This morning, a member company asked us to make a training module for a one-day training for high school students on Environmental Awareness, Global Warming, Public Speaking and Written Expressions. Nanghihinayang lang ako kasi all four topics are great topics and sayang kung i-mash sa iisang araw. At the very least choose a focus diba?

Of course I can find a way to make it work. Discuss Global Warming, ask them to write an Essay and have them deliver it as a speech. Ang problema ko, nobody pays attention to the process of creation anymore. The learning process people! Before you start asking these kids to pull bunnies out of top hats, you have to provide inputs first. So shempre I have to give up on one process kasi para ka namang may ADHD if you discuss GW, then Essay Writing, tapos practicum, tapos inputs on public speaking, tapos practicum ulit. In one friggin' day.

hay, bahala na. Sa tutuusin kaya ko naman hanapan ng SLE ito. I guess im just being unreasonably irritated kasi hindi lang naman ito ang ginagawa ko. Paiba-iba kasi ng isip ang mga clueless people yan. bahala na si Lord sa inyo.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Today's Number: #4

The last 4 days have been loaded. The last 4 nights, I have overstuffed myself. I have 4 new books all of which I haven't touched yet. I have 4 ugly pimples on my face. I have 4 hours before midnight. 4 thousand in my bank account and I haven't bought groceries for the next 2 weeks yet. Let'sjust say, 4 is a bad number today.

Hay. Let's just cool it and stare at this:



Argh. 7 years younger than me. Kainis. At least 7 naman.

Monday, September 21, 2009

I Heart Leighton


I think I have a girl crush on Leighton Meester. Everytime I see pictures of her, I sigh. So it's either a girl-crush or it's-hopeless-you're-never-gonna-look-like-that-envy. An I don't even care if somebody leaked a supposed sex tape. That's like so Paris Hilton (read: an era ago). I just like looking at her. I'm not gunning to be just like her after all. As if I could. Here we go again: sigh.

What If What You Know Limits You

It's strange, when people try to encourage you to write by writing what you know. Always had a problem with that. I was never sure if I know enough about anything to write about it.

Once, when I was younger, a friend dared me to write a love scene. One with actual kissing and, uhm, groping, and stuff. Risque, especially if you were fourteen years old and educated in an all-girls private school since kindergarten. All the love scenes I know were culled from Judith McNaught novels and Johanna Lindsey prototypes of wham-bam-thank-you-mam. All I know is I hated those love scenes because it always felt impersonal, not to mention overtly romanticized. So when I wrote my story, I ended up with a scenario that put together these elements in some haphazard manner: depressed guy, concerned girl, lots of facial hair (on the guy, of course), a razor blade, soap and the girl's warm hands shaving off the gunk off his face (and no, they didn't get freaky). My friend thought it was superbly cheesy and I swore off love scenes ever since. I remember muttering to her (I might have been just a sore sport, cos I believed she was a better writer than I was), "Well, what do I Know of love scenes anyway?"

Since then, I stuck with "Write what you know". I decided to be as interested about everything I possibly could, cultivating my love for trivia, human psychology and forcing myself to read sociological treatises which are as exciting as watching an empty aquarium. And yet years later, when I asked myself if I know more than I did before, I realized I was still buggered if I know.

SO when somebody introduced me to surrealism and fantasy, I felt like I won the 500B Lotto. I realized some of the things, I CAN make up after all. And after a couple of years of practicing with the genre, I am ready to question my former decision about not writing about what I don't know yet. Because as it happens, writing what CAN BE is so much more exciting. And we don't have to limit it to fantasy. Because I seriously doubt Robert Parker kills people to write his murder mysteries more reastically.

I guess the take-home for this essay is this: Write what fascinates you, whether you know it or you are just about to learn more about it. Who knows? Maybe I could even re-write that bathroom love story and nail it this time around. (Absolutely no pun intended).

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Writing til You Bleed

I stayed up until 2 am last night finishing my draft for another short story. The point of all this hard work isn't just because NaNoWriMo is coming. I also plan to compile the stories and give them to special people come Christmas time. I can already see it: professionally bound (read Blessings:UP Shopping Center)dark blue booklet with the compilation's title (still haven't decided which one will get star billing)embossed in starry silver. It would look like my NatSci1 readings all over again... Haha!

So you see, the reason for my stellar mood today is not only because I'm writing again, but also because Christmas is near. Although, I did consider that giving a compilation of stuff I wrote might not be the best Christmas gift. I mean, it's one part parusa, and one part narcissistic, and two parts cheapskate. But I'm only giving it to friends who appreciate the fact that I love to write, or knows I'm quirky enough to give it to them not because I want them to suffer through my unbearable prose, but because I want to share my inner world with them.

Besides, Peloy offered to edit, and I trust he won't let me look like a fool to the people I love the most. :D

Oooh, I hope I finish this. I've been planning to do this thing for the last 3 Christmases. Maybe broadcasting it will guilt trip me into doing it. Or force me to save my face. :D

Wish me luck!

And to help me get this done, I call on today's Muse. Ta-da!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

My Tirade Against Small-time Gov't Officials

Don't read this if you're a government-lubbing sucker.

I have pure hatred for LGU officials. They are one-track mind puffins who likes to speak in Me-Great-Me-Wonderful language. Never once with those I have had the bad luck to work with have the mental capacity to open their minds. It's always I-know-best, I-am-superman, and I hope they could eat shit so they'd know what we have to deal with.

Okay, okay, so they're not ALL bad. I mean, for goodness sake, my sister works for a Senator. But the majority of them has this addictive need to praise themselves. And if they know that they were lacking, they act defensively by accusing the ineffectivity of other officials. Cannibals, those animals. Wait no, that's a great injustice to animals, and cannibals themselves. They're the dirt of the scum. They're the lowliest because they seek to be the highest. And they all pretend!

In a training yesterday, we had the "honour" of having the heads of departments in Antipolo. I'm sure they know a lot, and I even concede they have good points to share. But do they have to do it in such rabble-rousing, grandstanding way? The effect of it was, they were limiting/ influencing the barangay units to sway to their oh-so-greater-wisdom. And they keep insisting that the municipal data is the important data because it's the approved data. Ang problema, yung programs na sinasabi nila, hindi naman lahat ramdam ng barangays in attendance. Lalo na yang CSWD na yan. What daycare centers? May mga halfhouse pa silang nalalaman, wala namang may alam na meron pala. So what's the point. Pilit nilang pinapakain na yung information nila ang tama, eh I'm sure, kaduda-duda rin ang mga pinanggalingan sources nun. And true to form, pag-alis nila, nagreklamo yung barangays:

1. Wala kaming nakuhang daycare center
2. Puro livelihood trainings, wala namang after training support kaya sayang lang
3. Pampagulo lang naman sila eh.
4. Wala kayong ganyan? Sa dami ng programa ng CSWD? (said in sarcasm by a participant)

Ang gagaling ninyong mga municipal officers kayo. Goodluck sa election ng 2010 kasi mukhang nagpapalapad na kayo ng papel. malas ng Antipolo na nandyan kayo.

"I'm protecting my constituents" my ass. If you were any better doing your job, you would have done your research and not the mandatory pick-and-poke. Gusto nyo kasi, kayo ang hinahanap, you want to be fawned over. Himasin muna ego nyo, before anything happens. You are so used to being spoon-fed, you think those who have the courage to challenge you are irreverent goodfornothin's.

A**holes.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

This...

This wall ---
Fortified with gumption
And a thousand resolutions
That I will never
Simply ever
Fall for you.

This line ---
Drawn by hand
Etched fleetingly on sand
Is the boundary
I will never
Cross for you.

This stop ---
Is one of the infinite ways
I turn my head away
When you pass
I will never look at you.

But, frustratingly
When you hold my hand
And tuck my hair
Behind a blushing ear
And my lips turn up into a smile
Which I never meant to give…

The wall crumbles
The line blurs
The stop ends
And the world drowns
In the thunderous pounding
Of this traitorous heart.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Questions to Ask Oneself

“Judge a person by their questions, rather than their answers.” Voltaire.

Good, hell, good. ‘Cos I sure don’t know any answers this point in my life. I know I pretend I do, a lot. But the awful truth is, most of what I know are liquid as of yet. So if asking questions is the start to finding answers, I’ll take that challenge head on.

My first question is this: How much of childhood dreams should you hold on to?

When do you give up?

How do you know if you love what you do and you’re doing what you love?

How does “real interest in people” look like?

How long will people call you “promising” before they switch to “late-starter” and then finally, “failure?”

I call myself a people-person, but how can I be good with them if I actually don’t like people very much?

Much discussed as it is in books and movies, I still can’t imagine how people could fall in love, I mean, for real. How does one subsume oneself, how do you make space?

How can you measure a life lived fully?

How do I fit into God’s plan?

Now, that wasn’t as easy as I expected it to. Cos surely to start asking is to start thinking and thinking leads to searching and searching leads to finding and finding leads to doing and doing becomes being.

Still a long way to go, but at least, it's a start.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Brain that's Not Brain

Not so long ago, I watched an episode from Season 5 of House where a blind girl who had eye transplant hated what she saw of the world because when she finally could see, she realized the world wasn't pretty.

And in the end, House figured out that there's tissue formations in her brain that is like cancer but not cancer and does not know how to function yet. So all she needed as treatment was brain surgery and not cancer treatment. Afterwards, without the mass in her brain, she could see the world as it really is.

Amazing. I'm sure the chances of that happening is like 1 in 1 million. But what if, you were someone born centuries ago with the same affliction: you cannot see beauty in the world.

And to others, you were just evil, a monster, because surely, you have not inherited the better part of angels. To see the world as perpetually ugly, an affliction of a devil-child, surely?

It will definitely be a wild ride, since the inceptor of House wasn't even born yet. :D

Gears in my brain that is not brain are turning. I guess I have a writing weekend ahead of me. This is the best part of the writing process: when you just imagine it in your head, and you hold it there, right there, perfect, perfect, like a Faberge egg in fabled Anastacia Romanov's velvet gloved hand.

Possibilities are endless.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Gabe and the Hobyas

I read Gabe a short contemporized British folk tale about tiny monsters called Hobyas which eats --- well, many things. The story goes like this:

There was once a farmer, his wife and his daughter who lived in a house of turnips. They also have a loyal dog which keeps watch over the little farmhouse. One night, while all was asleep, the Hobyas came to the house and decided to eat the house, and to capture the little girl for eating later. But the dog heard them and he barked loudly. The hobyas scattered and ran away. The farmer though got irritated by the dog's barking. So the next day, he placed the dog inside a turnip basket. That night, the Hobyas came back, but the dog jumped from the basket and barked again. The Hobyas ran and the farmer got angry again. The next night, he placed the dog in the basket and tied it up and locked it(This was written before PETA, obviously). When the Hobyas came back, no dog scared them away this time so they managed to eat the house and take the little girl.

The farmer and his wife looked for the little girl for a long time, and finally they found her during the day (when the hobyas slept) still unharmed inside a sack. What the farmer did was to let his daughter out, and put the dog inside the sack in her stead. That night, when the Hobyas opened the sack, the dog jumped out, barked and ate 'em all up. The end of the Hobyas.

I told Gabe there's a moral to the story. I was gunning for : Be kind to Dogs like his pet Anid because they will protect you and be loyal. And I was planning to amp it up by introducing him to the concept of "some problems are blessings in disguise", as well as the well-loved but least-heeded "Observe before you act."

But he took the wind outta me by nodding his head sagely, like a small Magi-king, and answered, "Yes, I know."

"What did you learn?" I asked.

He rolled his eyes and replied as if speaking to a dum-dum:

"Ateeeee! DON'T BUILD A HOUSE MADE OF TURNIPS!"

Ah. Oo nga naman. Case closed.

Do You Read YA?

Book in Hand: Grendel by John Gardner
Song in Mind: "Somebody once told me the world was gonna blow me cos I ain't the sharpest tool in the shed...."

I do. Unabashedly.

I'm one of those 5'8" tall kiddos you find browsing through the Young Adult (YA) fiction aisles in Powerbooks. I admit I get self-conscious sometimes, bumping unto a 6th grader or so while skimming for titles. Once, a rich-kid midget (you know, those brave, extroverted, English-speaking ones) even asked me if I have some book in stock, clearly mistaking me for a salesperson. I bravely told the boy I'm not a salesgirl, but I would help him find one. He ended up asking me which book I would recommend for a twelve-year-old like him, though I think he isn't one hour above 10.

And there I was hoping I could pass for 19 years old.

After that incident, I decided to let myself out of the closet. So I enjoy YA Lit. So be it. Besides, my height gives me relative advantage over the other customers in the area. I could reach the top shelf, you know, nyah, nyah.

The thing about foreign YA Lit is that, they're supposed to be written for teeners in the US or Europe. But to me, it felt like the issues being discussed were things I became completely aware of at, maybe, age 21. And the words are always direct, and simple. I detest novels that overdescribes and hyperfalute (pollute, if you ask me). I like it when people sound like people, and inferences from the narrator are candid, not assuming. No sweat to read, often entertaining and sometimes, really, sometimes, you stumble upon gems and geniuses.

If you think you might want to give it a try, see if you can get your hands on these books:

1. The Goose Girl / Enna Burning by Shannon Hale
2. Howl's Moving Castle / Castle in the Air by Diana Wynne Jones
3. Tales of the Otori by Lian Hearn
4. The Mediator Series by Meg Cabot
5. 1-800-WhereRU Series by Meg Cabot
6. BlueBloods by Melissa dela Cruz
7. Any book by Patricia mcKillip
8. Any book by Roald Dahl
9. Any book by Robin McKinley
10. Percy Jackson books by Ricky Riordan
11. Kie'shara Series by Ameia Atwater-Rhodes
12. Books by Sarah Dessen

I also want to Highlight the book Forest of HAnds and Teeth by Carrie Ryan. I read it recently and it gave me the shivers. Really scary good. Another good novel taking on vampire lore is Evernight by Claudia Gray. Waaaaaay better than Twilight. The twist in the story made my eyes go round in surprise instead of roll with derision.

For the Twilight generation, no, don't expect your beloved Meyer to be on the list above, because she really belongs to the list below.

Books to Steer Clear from (or at least not take seriously):

5. Twilight / New Moon the whole caboodle by Stepehenie Meyer
4. The Immortals by Alyson Noel
3. Eragon by Christopher Paolini
2. Any Gossip Girl / Airhead / All American Girl novelization by Meg Cabot (how can she write good fantasy, but write jibberish for contemporary YA?)

And the new That Sucks Awardee is:

1. Marked / books by PC and whatsherface Cast


Go and try it once in a while. But just don't forego your Murakami, Barnes, Ruiz-Zafon, Ishiguro, Theroux, Roth, and Marquez just yet. You still need those to help your brain cells grow up, you see. :D

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Paranoid and Anachronistic... I'm Honored

Book in Hand: Turncoat by Jim Butcher
Song in Mind: Come Closer by Rico Blanco (Awoooooo... what you do to me...)


If you’re twenty-something like me, and feeling a little lost like me, and maybe just a tad bit paranoid like me… you would have noticed that without meaning to, you’re starting to sound like your parents.

Honestly, I thought it wouldn’t start until I was well into marriage with a kid of my own who I’d have to stay vigilant against grime, mayonnaise and boo-boos for. But the voices in my head, although undeniably mine, sounds like something I have heard before. Be it my father’s mantra about carelessness: “Ay, na lang ba ang kapalit?” to my mother’s colorful description of people such as “naka-isputing at namumukadkad ang kulay ng karsunsilyo” --- I find myself repeating their pet expressions even if I could handily and more fashionably replace it with OMGs and That’s Hot.

It could be that I’ve advanced to this stage because they both are not with me anymore, and I find some mean comfort in repeating their words, much like touchstones that could magically transform nonsense into full sensibility. But I think, aside from the early on-set, everyone would go through this stage of repetition. Why? Because it feels safe. Because we once believed it was true. We once used their worldview to create ours. No matter how sucky your parents were, they have molded a part of you to be like them. And no matter how gone they could be, the mere words itself bring you back to a time and place where people knew better than you and you trusted them. A place far removed from where you are right now. I would know.

So, all that means for me is I have a lifetime of surprising myself with paranoid and anachronistic expressions which sounds more suitable to a post-war fuddy-daddy. I don’t mind. When it comes to parents, I won the Super Lotto. They’re cream of the crop. Top banana with peaches on top. Extreme goodness and freshness guaranteed, as well as organic and pesticide free --- which probably contributed to the short shelf life. Ha.

Yet, turning to one of them would be an honor indeed.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Monday, May 25, 2009

EmPOWERed

If I could have any superpower, I always wanted it to be one of these: 1) teleportation, 2) super brain, or 3) flight. But I remember once, while playing with Gabe, I asked him what superpowers he would like to have, he said,

"I want to fly!" then changed it to "I want to be able to eat everything!" after which I asked him the wisdom of that. Then he finally said, "Okay, I want to love everyone."

When I asked why, he said, "because it's hard to play with them if I don't." Imagine that, my imagination was trumped by a 5-year-old kid. Love is a SUPERPOWER, isn't it?

It surprises me what the very young can teach us if we just try to listen.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Not the Only WEIRDO on the planet


*from Post Secret : www.postsecret.blogspot.com

After 3 years, I still text him.

After 2 years and then some, I still expect her to pick up the phone when I call home.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

This is Just WRONG!

Take Action against rape simulator gamesand the normalization of sexual violence in Japan
5/6/2009

Equality Now has just issued "Women’s Action 33.1 Japan: Rape simulator games and the normalization of sexual violence". The Action focuses on the rape simulator game RapeLay, which is produced and sold in Japan, including through Amazon Japan. The aim of RapeLay is for the player to manipulate the game in order to simulate raping a woman and her two school-aged daughters, one of whom appears to be a young child. Equality Now is calling for the withdrawal from sale in Japan of all games that involve rape, stalking or other forms of sexual violence against women and girls. The Action also urges the Japanese government to take effective measures to overcome negative stereotypical sex-discriminatory attitudes and practices that hinder women’s equality.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Crushing on this Kid MUST be Illegal



I know, I know. Watching 17 Again is like, so gay or grade-school-ish. But aaawwww, I love zac efron, gay hair and all!

He just makes me melt. And I don't mind if the whole world calls me a "cougar" as long as he's my cub. Or Chace Crawford. Although, they do look like they may have been split from the same string bean.

Oh, what? You mean what was the movie all about? Ehrm... something about this 37-year-old guy who got his life so wrong, and was given another chance to re-live his last year in high school to make things right again. There was talk of spirit guides and the right path, or something.

Don't get me wrong. There's a good message in that movie, though I think some people would be put off with the swirling vortexes and fantasy-mode of the whole thing. Me, I suspended all disbelief of course. I wasn't there to watch a good story. I went for eye-candy.

Actually, I think a lot of people did. On the same row as I am, were a bunch of gay high school kids who were audibly panting at some Efron-god-worship shots. Hey, who am I to judge, eh? I am obviously not in high school, very female, and watching the movie alone. The least they would think is that I never grew up, or at most, a perv.

Live and let live, I do declare.

I'd give anything to be 17 again, if it means Zac would be older than I am instead of him younger than my kid sister. Coz that's just sad.

:(

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Smarmy No More



Pudgy young boy Andrew Johnston sings Pie Jesu and managed to sound like an angel singing.

Marmy Susan Boyle courts mockery but pulls the rug from underneath our feet instead with her rendition of I dreamed a Dream.

George Sampson pulls Singing in the Rain and I bet even Justin Timberlake wouldn’t have anything on this un’s moves.

Don’t even let me get started on Paul Potts, Connie Talbot and Charlie Green.

Gosh. Maybe, Britain’s Got more Talent than just stiffening the upper lip! Amazing. I love BGT!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Prelude to the Final Frontier



I am going to say sorry in advance for the extreme geekiness of the forthcoming post. I read in the news this morning that scientists found an earth-like planet (Gliese 581 e) somewhere in the Libran constellation. It is the right size, although it is too near the sun-like star and most likely to be too hot to support life. But what caught my fascination is its neighboring planet, Gliese 581 d, which is larger but is in the habitable zone. Its distance from the star it orbits is just far enough for liquid to be water. Scientists even said that it is plausible that this planet has a big and deep ocean, and stating that it is the first serious candidate for a true-to-life water-world.
~
Now, the movie Waterworld sucked with a capital Y. But imagine! Just let those fantastic brain cells do the Imagineering for you!
~
If Earth finally reaches its last perilous leg, off-planet habitation may become a reality. Of course, we won’t see it in our life time. But maybe in the future, our kid’s kids will be placed in spacecrafts to make a travel a hundred thousand years long and they will live inside that spaceship and they will die in that spaceship until finally our kid’s kids’ kids’ kids’ kids’ kids’ kids’ kids’ kids’ kids’ (you get the idea) will finally reach the final destination. And they’d scuba all day long and wear shiny suits to protect skin from water. And maybe if they wander around, they’ll find land inhabited by strange creatures. It’ll be the Modern Paleozic era, if you can see the beauty in that.
~

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Something To Think About

A praise song I heard today spoke of this. :D
-=-=-=-
Love:

deeper hope
higher trust
stronger faith
and
greater peace.

Live Love.

Monday, April 20, 2009

A Life of Simple Things

When I fantasize about living large, I suppose I'm like most everyone else who initially thinks of large sums of personal money, fast cars, houses, exclusive vacation get-aways, etc. But come to think of it, I don't have it so bad right now. It's not perfect, but the simple life makes me want simple things. Due to its simplicity, its easier to reach --- it's easier to be happy.

Let's take a chunk out of history and catalogue today's simple blessings I enjoyed:

1. Aimless meanderings around the neighborhood - I don't live in an exclusive subdivision, but our area is as sub-urban as only I would like it. We still have trees here, and grass as tall as people, and even goats walking down the road with you. And because of it's "probinsiya-feel", everything is calm and laid-back.

2. Sitting still in the garden - I got a chance to sit awhile after my walk, and heard a cacophony of birds singing in our treetops. How often do you get serenaded by nature like that? Turns out for me, every single day.

3. Cooking with a spoon - I'll probably never make it as a sous-chef in a high-class French resto where you categorize ladles by length and scooping capacity. I like cooking with a spoon. I like cooking with my hands. I like throwing in spices not called for in the recipe. I like not using recipes. And best of all, I like licking the sauce off the spoon after the dish is done. Yum.

4. Doing the laundry - we have one of those automatic washing machines now, but today I decided to scrub the dirt off my whities by hand. I don't know how it is with you, but washing clothes induces a trance-like meditative state that makes me feel good for the remainder of the day.

5. Eating chocolate cake in front of the electric fan - Unorthodox, I know. But hey, look at the winning combination: blue skies, cool glasstop on the dining table, cold spoon (left in the freezer for 2 minutes), cold chocolate cake and a steady breeze coming from the fan. Perfection, ain't it?

Kayo, what's your list of simple things you love?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Religious vs. Spiritual

A couple of days ago, Ella asked me if I consider myself religious.

Well, I had to be honest, right? I don't think I am. If religion is an unerring love for verbalized prayer, consistent rituals, and spouting off the name of a saint a minute. No, not like that.

Faith to me is living life and appreciating that everyday is an experience of faith. I pray, I go to Church, I honor rituals, I share, I care, or to sum it up, try to be the good Christian girl my parents raised me up to be.

But I don't pray the rosary every day, I even forget the 3 o'clock prayer and the Angelus a lot. I know I can improve my faith by observing them, but I keep forgetting. Do I feel like God is angry at me for forgetting these things though? No. Because when I pray, I don't use formulae prayers. When I pray, I speak my heart, I talk to God as I would a father. And I think my faith is enriched because of it.

I like to think that God is a little like my own father, who enjoys listening to my stories and prefers I talk to him frankly about my problems. Simple, straight-forward. No incantation-like spells to make Him listen, no arcane ritual to make Him hear me. All I have to do is speak and He'll know.

It's really more like a childish kind of Faith. You just trust. You just bare your heart and soul. Sometimes, you don't even have to speak, you just send up the desire to Him. And I know it when he responds. I don't need to be slain, or profess the stigmata. When He gives me the answer, sooner or later (and sometimes, much later), I sense it.

Is that religious? Or is that more spiritual?

I don't know. But that's my faith. That's my mustard seed. And God increases it as He wills.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Napasulat Tuloy Ako ng Kanta

I haven't blogged in two weeks, and don't I know it! Nothing of the Caramoan trip, of Holy Week, of recent developments amongst friendships almost lost and recovered. I owe this blog a lot of updates; maybe I'll get around to it in a while.

Today though,I woke up with the urge to write a song about a recent sad story I heard. It's deliberately not a poem; I imagine it having some kind of slow RnB beat to it. Something Jordin Sparks would sing. Kahit ka-cornihan minsan, pero I tried to use the simplest words kasi. Maiba naman sa usual kong drama.

Tina, if you're reading this, maybe you can forward it to your musician friend and ask if he'd deem it worthwhile to arrange. :) :D At tsaka, by the way, hindi ko pa naririnig yung arrangement nya dun sa isa ko pang song. Parinig naman! Wala lang. Para masaya. :D

-=-=-=-=-=

Harder Standing By

I did not know
Saying I’m sorry I have to go
Or, baby, this is goodbye
Is easier than standing by
As you give her your heart
As you give her your all
When to get her love
You’d give your body and soul…
Believe me,
It’s harder standing by.


Chorus:

Have you ever stood aside
While love passed you by
When you know that it’s right
But you know you’re losing the fight,
So I have to say goodbye
Cos it’s harder standing by.


It's hard to leave
Have always been a little naïve
I have to struggle sometimes
To remember you’re not mine.
Y’know I gave you my heart
I gave it my all
You didn’t ask for my love
Still I gave my body, my soul
Don’t want to be
Just always standing here…

*Chorus*

Coda:

I can’t watch you break your heart
But you won’t let me in that far
You know that I just can’t stand here
I would run to you if I can,
If you just reach out your hand….

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Goodbye to the Gilmore Girls

I know, I know. The last season of the Gilmore Girls has come and gone. But I lost touch for a while there, and I never really got to see the whole of Season 7.

For those of you who’ve been reading my blog since 2004, you would know how insane I was for the show. I adored Lorelei and Rory, and have always imagined myself as the third Gilmore Girl. I even tried to guzzle up coffee because I figured their caffeine-soaked tizziness is the reason why they’re so witty and snarky and gorgeous. It was one of the more intelligent TV shows in its time, and I loved everything about the show. I went through all of the girls’ phases --- Rory’s Dean and Jess ( who I wanted for my own) and that guy who’s now on OC and Marty and finally, hunky Logan, as well as Lorelei’s Christopher, Rory’s English Teacher guy, Luke and Christopher again til she ended with Luke again.

Truth be told, I’m coming from Team Christopher. I mean, Luke’s nice and all, and it ain’t bad to marry the guy who makes the greatest coffee in the world, but Christopher… (make swoony moaning sounds)… c’mon! In the end, he really grew up, and was all about commitment, and was all about doing anything for Lore AND looks good in tight pants and never wears flannel shirts like it was some sort of uniform. Luke is a good friend, and I know Lorelei not ending up with Luke would have defeated the show’s whole purpose --- which is to prove that these girls do life as it comes and are not afraid to be quirky and different. But God, save me from choosing between gruffy, backward-cap man and golden-smile-man who would do anything for me because I know, am 99.9% certain, really positively probably gonna choose the latter. I know a lot of people were relieved that Luke and Lore hooked up in the end and their hearts were warmed and their cups runneth over, but I am not one of them. Poor, poor Chris.

And Lorelei, sheesh.

Seriously. Midway into the season, I found myself being… gasp… irritated by the choices Lorelei were making. She just has a lot of… issues, and she is uncompromising about her choices. How self-centered can one person get? I’m sure some of my friends who also adored her would defend that she’s just being the strong woman by making the right choice, any other year I might’ve agreed. But not anymore. It’s just that she makes a stand for being strong at all the inappropriate times. When Chris asked her to marry him in Paris, but she was still feeling something for Luke, that’s when she should’ve been strong. Not after the fact of marriage where she has to go through divorce and putting Rory through losing her dad… again. There’s strong and there’s self-centered. Sure, they hid it well, but I recognize it for what it was. People keep making mistakes about what strength is: it’s not about being snarky, and demanding and aggressive and confrontational. Some people would like to call it that, because hell knows it makes for a better show. But it isn’t. It’s just bells and whistles, but it doesn’t make the car run.

And OMG. All that talking. I used to love that, but this time around, I got soooo tired listening to the repartee. All the analyzing and yakking just drained me out.

I don’t know what changed. Or maybe I do know. A couple of years added to my age, a couple more incidents that completely shattered my pretty picture of how life should go, a couple of heartbreaks, a couple of real-life reasons not to believe in happily, and snarkily, ever after. I think I may have outgrown the Gilmore Girls.

But here’s to a great show. I admit half of who I am and who I imagined I want to be was influenced by this show. Things change though. Quirky, still good. Uncompromising, na-uh. Strong, Aces. Self-absorbed, Thumbs down.

Goodbye to the Gilmore Girls. It was good while it lasted. It really was.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Summer Movie Reviews


Everybody thought Fight Club was pretty down, right? Chuck Palahniuk has got to be one of the most irreverent contemporary writers I have encountered. He makes me laugh, albeit uncomfortably. You know, like when you find yourself laughing while his characters make a**es of themselves? You shouldn't laugh, but like an itch you can't scratch, everything is futile.

Choke is a funny book. Not as great as Fight Club, but y'know, amusing. The story is about Victor who pretends to choke as a part-time job. I think I made a review about the book already. Interestingly, it is now on film with Sam Rockwell in the lead role. I know I should be bored with most of it, but Sam Rockwell is good. He makes the unlikeable character actually like-able. Score that one point down for the anti-hero. I don't remember laughing out loud during the film, there were parts which were quite explicit and crude. But it was really more of the tongue-in-cheek humor variety. But Victor wasn't meant to be protrayed so sweet. The story lost some of its edginess because they toned Palahniuk down a bit. But well, it made it watch-able, at least in my opinion.

Watch if you want to find a life more miserable than yours.



Well, what do you know? Hollywood managed to make me watch a Nicolas Cage film voluntarily.

Obviously, I'm not a Cage-r. When people say he is one of the most intense actors around, I agree. But I also make clear that his is a type of intensity I don't care to watch. I know he can act, but his voice and his stare feels all so very wooden to me. He was okay in City of Angels because he is supposed to look and feel strange, but when he's playing real people, it just don't cut it.

But Knowing i did watch. I like the premise of the story. It asks one of the greater effing “What if?” I could ever imagine. So, what if, your son gets a kind of numerical listing of all the dates and locations of the world’s biggest tragedies for the last 50 years AND the very short future? Well, that’s what John got. An astrophysicist by profession, in effing MIT no less, and yet he keeps making stupid choices with the gift / curse that somehow made its way to him.

Cases in point:


  1. Somehow you knew an accident will happen in New York tomorrow, so you go and notify the police. Understandable. But you also have to consider that people might not understand how you got the information; some might even think you’re a terrorist. So why would you go to New York and start haranguing the police why the place you indicated still hasn’t been cordoned off? Of course they’ll want to get their hands on you.

  2. Somehow, you figured out that the world is about to end because it lies directly in the path of one huge solar flare. Astrophysicists may not be geologists, but even fifth graders know that hiding inside caves will not save you. So why would a professor in MIT even suggest it?

There was also another character in the story why just made my bristles stand up on end. She’s the daughter of the first psychic, and now she’s also got a daughter of her own to protect. She works with Cage to figure out how to save themselves but turns ballistic in the end. She couldn’t wait five effing minutes for Cage to finish what he is doing, and she makes off with the children in an effort to go to the caves. Stupid. Moronic. I’m glad she died in the film. Whoever wrote the script has a very mean view of our intelligence as humans. I felt like I was being patronized and led on at the same time.

So when they got to the out of this world ending, I just didn’t care anymore. I just wanted it to end so my brain cells may live again. They’ve stretched my suspension of disbelief to the breaking point and beyond.

So here’s my mixed review: Not disgusting, but not good. Worth renting the video, but probably not paying for the theater experience.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Flunking Students

I don't have any pretensions that I'm teaching an all-mighty subject; I have no disillusions about how important I am to be facilitating CWTS. I KNOW that most, if not all students who take the subject are just choosing it because they think it's marginally less evil than ROTC, though both are seen as unnecessary, a waste of time and effort. It's just a roadblock, a minor discomfort to ensure they will graduate on time.

I have been teaching for almost 5 years now, and I am so close to giving up on it because it seems every year, the students get worse. This year I had to flunk 3 kids. Oh, now, make it 2. One of them doubled efforts and was given another chance. But I really think it's the height of irresponsibility to flunk something like CWTS. It is not part of your calculated grade, but you will still be rendered an irregular student for flunking out. And what i can't figure out is, even if they are forced to take CWTS, why can't they just put their hearts into it once they're there? Might as well, diba? And it's not like we don't go out of the way to present the touchy-feely part and the scientific part. We give them reasonable freedom to exercise in the community, to imagine up things that they could come up with to help.

Baka nga community service isn't for everyone. All I know is that, when my friends and I were in college, we would've ... we won't... we just will do it. Comparing UP to DLSU may be unwise, but responsibilities are responsibilities. Wherever you might be studying.

I like being with young people, it keeps my perspective fresh. But sometimes, it can also be the most frustrating thing.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Say Herbalife One More Time...

I swear, if I hear the word Herbalife one more time I will scream and start cutting people’s heads off.

Okay, maybe… more realistically, I’ll just change the topic.

But I am friggin’ fed up with people who talk non-stop about it. In the office, all I hear is, “diet ako eh” or “pahingi ako pills” or “shake lang ako ngayon eh.” What’s worse is, some people are so FIXATED about it that no matter what manner conversation you try to hold, it always somewhat veers towards dieting.

I’m all for other people’s healthy living, but not to the point of infringement on my own psychological health.

For once, I’d just like to have a healthy conversation inside the office, not necessarily about work, but something a little more substantial than the treacle-y stuff they drink to replace actual healthy eating. Everybody’s starting to sound like the therapists of the Bergdorf Blondes and Fabio.

It’s all fabulous, and all, but it’s really getting to be such a bore.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Inspiration Hits

From out of nowhere, I stumbled upon Luivico (yes, not Ludovico) and Alissa and Pater Silvestri. Who are they? All I know is Lui is a boy who cannot see beauty, Alissa is a child feared to be fae-touched, and Pater Silvestri is the Superiore of the Monasterio of San Fabrizo.

Don't you get it yet?

It's a story! While trying to amuse myself by typing whatever, I stumbled on a tale (all puns intended!).

I hope I get to the end. Wish me luck!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Alternate Teenage Universes

I know the world is a much harsher place than my cosseted upbringing allowed me to understand. But I can’t help but wonder if I wasn’t mollycoddled, would I have been led to walk thornier paths as a teenager?

Point in case, the 3 teenage girls who I encountered during a jeepney ride to the supermarket this morning. The first one looked about 15 years old and she was wearing an ensemble that Madonna during her younger years would have envied. A green spaghetti strap mini-dress which flutters dangerously close to revealing what color undies she was wearing with the steady whipping air that was buffeting the interior of the jeep. The dress also had rhinestones set around the neckline so low, barely covering her generous breasts out of place with her reed thin body. The full bust would have disconcerted me if it wasn’t painfully obvious that the girl was also around 6 months pregnant. A few yards from where she hailed the jeep, another 2 teenagers of the same age (one was wearing ridiculously large white plastic earrings, while the other carried a gold link bag that doesn’t match her green pants) joined us and turned out to be her acquaintances. I think it would be easier for me to just chronicle their discussion rather than explain it in my own words, so here goes:

Earrings Girl (EG): Oi! Puta! Tagal mong nawala ah!
Madonna Girl (MG): Ah, oo. (looks ashamed, surreptitiously glances at her stomach)
Bag Girl (BG): Sino ba may kagagawan nyan? Sino dyowa mo?
MG: Si Winston.
EG: Puta! Kaya pala di na rin pumapasok yung gago na yun. San kayo nakatira, dyan pa rin?
MG: Sa lola ko, sa __________.
BG: San ka papunta?
MG: Dyan sa SM.
BG: Manglalandi ka noh? (giggles from all 3)
MG: Tang ina, may papatol pa ba, tingnan mo nga, para kong lumunok ng basketbol.
EG: Marami naming sporty na mga gago dyan eh. (giggles again)
MG: Kayo ba? San lakad nyo?
BG: Sa libing nung klasmeyt namin.
MG: Sino?
BG: Si Edwin, yung nagigitara?
MG: Ay oo, bakit, ano nangyari?
EG: Nasaksak dyan sa may ________. Kabilang kosa.
MG: Puta! Nahuli yung sumaksak?
BG: Hindi pa, pero ang alam ko reresbakan nina Gerald yun. Humanda sila.

At this point, everyone inside the vehicle were already listening to the conversation. They regaled us with their assumptions how their Gerald will undertake the revenge plot, each one growing more violent than the other. Some of the more memorable ones were:

“Baka tulad nung dati, susunugin yung bahay.”
“Salpukan lang yan, sasabog na lang yan bigla sa kalye.”
“Mas okay nga kung ipa-capture tapos putulan ng b*yag. Tapos patayin.”

Thankfully, I had to go down and heard no more.

Inside my ivory tower, I felt… spared. But I also felt bothered and heavy-hearted. No wonder the world is so screwed up. Our children are growing in insipid and cruel neighborhoods, trying to find love from adolescent sex, and respect in ruthless gangs. More so, I feel very hypocritical worrying about it because haven’t done anything to arrest the devolution myself. I was horrified to realize that I almost don’t care about what I just heard, and if I didn’t write about it, I’ll even forget about it cum dinnertime.

Except maybe, some increasingly small part of me hasn’t been tainted by disillusionment yet and is fighting to remind me not to go the jaded way. I just needed to write this down because I need to remember this is not, at all, ideal. And if someday, after I have dealt with most of my personal muck, I can find a way to do something about it.

P.s. On a more confessional note:

I can’t help but feel a tiny part envious of them though. These girls, with the crap they’re dealing with so early in life, would be far much stronger than I ever would be. I was overprotected in youth, and what do I get now? An almost debilitating paralysis brought about by amazed disbelief that life can really suck in a world where princesses can lose their ivory towers, geniuses can be stumped for answers, heroes can lose to losers and people can feel alone even in the midst of a crowd.

Friday, March 20, 2009

F.D. (Friendship Downgraded)

Today, I caught myself laughing too hard and acting too silly. I know I laugh and am silly most of the time, but my recent actions feel too... incongruent with how I feel at the moment.

Laughter ought to come from deep in the belly, I remember the feeling. But the one this afternoon was just like coming from a tin can. So instead of jolly, it sounded closer to hilarity. And I tried and tried to dissect what the freck is wrong with me AGAIN, and I realized it was a survival instinct brought about by one comment from a supposed really good friend.

He told me he was avoiding me because he was avoiding drama, and he's got some of his own at that time. It really pissed me off good. And to think I was already tampo because he chose to share his problems with, it seems, everyone else but me. Well, at least now I know the adage "Sorrows divided" won't work with him. If he didn't think I could listen, and he thought I'd be a further damper, then what's the use of friendship right?

I think I'm still angry about it. And I think it's making me force down my true emotions and replace it with, well, whatever that was.

I speak cheerfully, in loud volumes, as if I'm pushing it out hard and I can't control the decibel. I pull practical jokes so I can laugh hard about it. I laugh.. loud... and to think true mirth to me before meant I can't even produce a sound cos Im laughing to hard. And everytime I think of saying something less than cheerful, I change my mind and replace it with inanities. Happy inanities.

Why? Because if one "friend" decided to move away because of the drama, I can't afford to lose all of them. So my idea of lightening up is to act frivolous.

But I'm not okay with that.

Here's the deal:

I will probably always will be melodramatic. I will always be melancholic. It's in my constitution. I am a positivist, but it doesn't mean I ignore the difficulties and the b-side of life. I have to embrace it because if I don't it will swallow me whole. I write a blog so I have an outlet for this. I talk to selected friends because I thought they can handle it. I can't always be happy all the time. I have changed. A few years ago, I was always happy-looking, regardless of how I feel. Somewhere along the way, I have decided not to be false to myself and I began to wear my heart on my sleeve. I don't regret it. And I am NOT going to start being false again.

But I can restrain showing it to people who cannot handle it.

I am not using my orphan-state as my card for pity. But I think it's a little too obvious that I have little too much on my plate. My life IS a fuckin' telenovela. And the motto is, if you don't like it, don't watch it. And if you can' t handle it, I won't show it to ya.

But it wouldn't be much of a friendship either. You're free now, you're not my crutch anymore. I'll figure out a way to do this without you.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Usaping American Idol Season 8

THE WAY-TO-GO LIST:


Danny Gokey

No surprises here. Geeky-looking guy who can sing his soul out? I’ve always been a sucker for it. And given the fact that he’s probably operating on grief as he just lost his wife last month gives him an aww-shucks thing going for him. So sue me. I like this guy. He can sing. He had me when I heard him belting out “Kiss from a Rose” a capella style and really doing it well. My jaw literally fell. He probably won’t win (though I hope he does), but he’s good nonetheless.


Lil Rounds

This girl ain’t Fantasia, but she has them big pipes to belt music out. I just hope she wouldn’t try to be Fantasia, because that’ll be her death toll ringing.



Adam Lambert

Judge Kara probably hit the nail right on the head when she said Adam’s performance is strange. He IS weird. But I think that’s what he has got going for him. Nobody can compare him to anybody else because he’s always raring to be original. And listen to his voice. When he reached the high notes on that Garth Brooks number, I was just d-u-m-b-f-o-u-n-d-e-d. Amazing. I hope he just doesn’t end up doing all, as Simon put it, indulgent song choices, because strange can be scary in no time at all.


Megan Corkrey

Corkrey is Quirk-ey. I like her a lot. She’s also very pretty. Her voice sounds like… well, the kinda voice I’d like to have. Fun, quirky, different. She entertains me. But unfortunately, I don’t think it’ll be enough to bring her an Idol win. Sayang. If she makes an album, I’ll buy it, swear.

Kris Allen

I am kinda underwhelmed by Kris. Muy guapo, si. But at first, I thought, kinda bland. Too cute, too pop-sy, and hello, married to a blonde. (What can be more dime a dozen?) But thing is, he grows on you. It’s hard to dislike him. And his voice, which can sound like any boy band lead singer when your eyes are closed, is radio-friendly. Not the best singer, but quite bankable because hundreds of good-looking pipers came before him and proved the formula works every friggin’ time.

THE I’M SORRY LIST:

Anoop Desai

I read a description somewhere who described Anoop as talented and humble. Aherm? Wha? Talented, maybe. Humble? Well, compared to Simon Cowell, yes, I suppose. But there’s something about this guy that gets on my nerves. His answers are real, not pandering to anyone, not solicitous. That’s good, true. But it grates my ears. Good thing his voice doesn’t. Have you heard his rendition of “You Were Always On My Mind?” It was out of here. Unfortunately, he took away any chances of my reconsidering him when one of his answers yet again made my ears explode. Ryan Seacrest asked him if he was surprised by the praises heaped on him, he answered “I’m gonna say No.” I appreciate his honesty, but there’s a better way of saying it without coming off as an a-hole. I’d like him better if he said something to the tune, “I hoped.” Or “Yes, because I wasn’t 100% sure I’ll get the thumbs up, and yet NO because I gave my best.” Longer, but more human and accessible, y’know?


Scott McIntyre

He’s an excellent pianist, but his voice is, well, plain serviceable. It will do, but it’s not fire and magic. And this is a singing competition. Some say he wouldn’t even get into the Top 13, if he weren’t handicapped, but I disagree. I think he deserves his spot in the Top 10; but talent-wise, he could only hope to reach The Top 5, and that’s it. But if the general discomfort for letting a blind guy lose grips America, it may take him as far as Top 3. I'm not trying to be mean here. Just truthful.


Alexis Grace

OMFG. This girl thinks she’s something wow, dun’t she? It would’ve been okay, if she was. But she isn’t. She’s a pretty face, channeling Christina Aguilera, using the word dirty as her coin for success. Sorry, no-can-do. You don’t know what sound-alike mean? Then you’re either pretending, or proving the stereotype that intelligent blondes everywhere have tried very hard to debase for centuries. Probably thought she was being precocious, but all it proves is that not all her dingdongs inside that pretty head are in working order.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Crying About Boys


.
On a night out with my girl friends, the topic ostensibly and quite unavoidably steered towards lost loves and almost fairytale stories. I was a little dense that day and I just regained my orientation right smack in the middle of M’s diatribe about how stupid it is to cry about boys. I really have no idea what the premise was; I was busy thinking if I should order the four cheese risotto at Marciano’s. But as it happened, she was looking at my side of the table, although I’m sure the question was aimed at the group. Maybe, I was just guilty and felt like she was asking Me.
.
Well, first, let’s define crying. Crying is a steady flow of tears as opposed to just Tearing Up where your eyes get watery but only a few tears actually fall. Crying though, is much sober than Weeping where you cry and you moan. Rant though is a whole new level of moaning and flailing and tearing hair and banging head against walls. I can safely say, I never ranted about boys and probably never will. But I’ve done more than got teary-eyed with frustration. I cried, okay? And maybe semi-wept out of self-pity. Blame the sobs. Who knew the more you swallow down the sobs, the harder it is to breathe? So you have to gasp, and the breeze aerates your vocal cords, and you can do the science. Huh.
.
So for a millisecond, I felt utterly pathetic. Eeeewww. Then some self-preservation instinct took over and it told me that I shouldn’t be ashamed because:
.
You learned from it.
You can now cry about bigger things.
.
Good thing A also can relate with me. So we ended up No-Commenting the question. Because really, how do you explain why? Crying about boys is something you have to find out for yourself, because it’s different every friggin’ time. It doesn’t happen often, I don’t cry for every Dick, Joe and Harry that strikes my fancy. I don’t think I’m a hopeless romantic, just a dreamer – always have been, always will be. And in some level, I don’t regret opening myself to a couple of persons to the point where they could hurt me, and they did (unwittingly, of course, I hope). That takes some kind of stupid courage. Bravado is after all just a couple of letters away from the real thing.
.
I’ll get to brave, don’t worry. And I might even have a motley collection of battle scars to show for it. Messy, true, but interesting nonetheless.

Monday, March 09, 2009

The Great Debaters

You know what I hate most?

Getting all riled up. I hate competitive sports. I hate contests. Because I'm not good with losing. I don't join any contests I am not sure I have a good chance of winning. So I always win. My attitude takes the flavor away some though. But you'd never know that if you read my conquests on paper. It reads like win to yet another win. But its just really a cowards' conquest list because I just won things I already knew I'll win. But in fairness, if you look at it another way, it's like I choose my battles wisely. I do not enter anything I am not ready for. I do work for my achievements, but just not so much as I would if I was not so selective.

Yeah, its true, I appear jolly and nice, most of the time. I think its a self-preservation trick because it hides a temper that can mutilate and searing competition brings it out. Seriously.

That's why I had such a short career in debating. I got to be captain of our high school debate team, in its short career. But much as I was good at it, I hated it. It was just a lot of talk. And sometimes its angry talk, albeit logical. Only when debating can I feel a fire billowing inside my chest and I couldn't control it. So I quit. I don't want to play with fire. It made me feel awful. Like I wouldn't be satisfied until my opponent is decimated and hurting and bleeding, and I'll achieve it any way I can.
I have it in me to be wily and manipulative and mean. I so know this. But I don't want to be that person, so I live a half-life of sorts.

I avoid anger, and act silly and nonsensical because I found that its the easiest way to make people underestimate me. Mellow because I'm yellow. If they think I'm the sober counterpart of Bridget Jones, they wouldn't bother fighting me. And I wouldn't be forced to reduce them to ashes, even if I neutralize myself in the process.

While watching the movie Denzel Washington's The Great Debaters, I felt the heat in my chest again. You know how it is when you recognize something that should be yours, but isn't? That's how I felt. I keep thinking I can have that. But... I'm out of practice. Out of shape. I'm soft all over. I believe I even forgot to speak logically as well. Oh well. Back to the film. It's a good film. It's the story of a small all-black college in Texas which became a great debate team, great enough to beat the Harvard national all-champs. It is an underdog story, the type people usually like. And the debates within are good... I mean it. I would even recommend that people watch it, if they can stand it. All I know is that, it was torture for me, for all the right reasons.

Note:
I'm not saying debating is bad, and you should be mean and manipulative to excel at it. I'm saying this is what surfaces in ME when I debate. And I stopped before I can harness and control it. I quit. For myself. For my sanity, and perhaps, just maybe, world peace. :D

Ninoy Triggerman

Dearest Kris,

I know who killed your father. Just as commonly believed, they were soldiers, following the edict of a powerful general in cohorts with the Marcoses. But the actual triggerman was never jailed. He was in too deep with a high-ranking official, and those the president freed yesterday were just fall guys.

I don't know if it will help you any. But the triggerman, last I heard has died already. He lived a sad, violent life and had it worse than whatever jail had in store for him originally. God takes care of His own, and he has exacted vengeance for you and your family already.

I hope you try to be at peace.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Vicky Christina Barcelona



Whew!

Watching the film felt like an ordeal. Its like going to the dentist and being shown the thousand and one apparatus one can use to inflict pain. I found myself thanking God I haven't fallen in love that bad yet, not enough to drive me insane or scar me for life.

Between Vicky and Christina, I relate better to Vicky (played by Rebecca Hall) because of her traditional, safe views. I think that's how I view how love's supposed to go as well. But the real characters to watch out for in the film would be Christina (Scarlett Johansson) and Maria Elena (Penelope Cruz). They go insane as insane can go. And the funny thing is, you don't think they're whacked out while they're doing it. Honestly, mas nairita ako with Vicky. Her delusions with Juan something (played by Javier Bardem) is just irrirtating. I mean, I commsierate with her, but, its clear the thing with Juan-what's-his-name isn't going anywhere. she's just too scared. I would know. I WOULD BE.

Watch it,if only because Barcelona is wonderful. And watch it if you want to stay off falling in love for the next few months. I find it as a fairly decent therapy. >:)

Mall Bench

A lot of people I know hate waiting. I hate waiting too, usually. I can get very impatient for the slow service behind the McDonald’s counter, or the fruit guy in the supermarket who takes forever to weigh your three pieces of mangoes.

But when forced to do it, I often do something to occupy my time. This morning is a good example. I did some grocery shopping and was waiting for my sister to finish her workout in the gym. I haven’t paid my membership yet so I dare not show my face there; I decided to buy an inexpensive second hand book and wait on one of the benches littering the mall.

Ikaw ba? What do you think of those people who actually sit around in mall benches? Ako, I always have had a serious mistrust of them. I am aware that they could be husbands waiting for their wives to finish their retail therapy (and a lot of them are), or aged people who needs to sit down every five steps or so. But my perception is that, they are often abused by holduppers and snatchers who sit there and prey on their next victims. And if they don’t look married, old, or dingy, then they must be people who do not have anything better to do with their time. Would you seriously plan to spend your day sitting at a mall bench and watch people pass by? No, I don’t think it’ the kind of thing you write down on your Blackberry or Filofax.

But there I was, with time to kill, with only a 20-peso-book by the faker James Frey for company. The book was painful to read (have you read it? Brrr… it makes my teeth hurt). After a while, I decided I am not masochistic enough to read it and put the book down. This simple relinquishing of pretension of doing something while sitting opened up a whole new world to me.

Watching people shop is kind of… Zen. You see the whole world abuzz, but you’re apart from it. You see people in different states of agitation, celebration, agony and bliss. And you perceive it because you took the time to stop and observe. And it both confuses (why is he just standing in front of that shop staring at the guitar? Why not go inside and check the price? Why would you bring your pet Spitz with you while shopping for clothes? Does it bark when it approves of the skirt? Is the man with the sunglasses seated across me nodding off? Or just nodding at me?) and amuses ( she did not just squeeze her boyfriends tits, did she? That man needs to be told that fly fishing hats with actual feathered baits in them are only fashionable while fly fishing! Oh, look at that old couple holding hands while walking, how many years have they been married, I wonder?)

At first, the thoughts are ridiculous and shallow. But after a while (mine took about 15 minutes), you start inferring about the stories behind their movements, way of dressing and talking and walking. I realized I was stuck in a rushing river of stories where the river is really never the same way twice. Amazing. Mall benching (for that’s what I decided to call it) is not as bad as I thought it was.

At about this time, the old married couple I saw earlier sat down at an adjacent bench. The old man started fumbling with the packages he was carrying and took out a small bibingka and offered it to his wife. The wife took it, and ate with him, in that slow, munching-with-dentures way that senior citizens tend to do. They did not speak, they savored their food. When they were done, the man turned to his wife, smiled and nodded. The wife nodded and smiled back. And they sat contented for a while.

All that time, I was observing them. Only of course, I wasn’t staring directly at them, or else I would’ve made people uncomfortable. I just fixed my gaze at the plant beside their bench and let my peripheral vision do the observing. (So for a while there, I must’ve looked like I just broke up with my boyfriend or maybe, possibly, high on something)

Then the old man took his wife’s hand and they gingerly stood up, and wobbled away. I finally recognized the source of my fixation. They look and acted like my parents would’ve. For all I know, if I had no face recognition abilities at all and could only identify through movement and other-sensing, they could’ve been my parents.

That put an end to my impromptu social laboratory observations. It’s all and well if you’re seated at a bench watching non-specific people milling around. But it’s entirely something else to be following the slow progress of 2 elderly people out of the mall while tears are streaming down your eyes. No, I’m not ready for that kind of intimacy with the whole wide world yet. So I grabbed my book, opened it at a random page and stared as the paragraphs started to swim.

The words danced before me in their black and white glory, in movements that only grief can interpret.

Well. It was good while it lasted.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Silence

It's high noon, I'm working at home and I just found I needed a break. I'm working on a draft of a would-be booklet for a program I have little... I want to say love, but it might be more accurate to say, i have little appreciation of instead. So I blog for a while, hoping I will find inspiration in movement of thought and fingers.

The momentary silence just makes me appreciate how silent my neighbourhood is. You can't expect to hear this sounds in the big city. Sabi nga nila, only in the suburbs.

This is what I hear:

The postman's motorbike just passed and stopped in front of our neighbour's house, two lots away. He's calling out "Tao Po, sulat!" and was answered by a loud, "Para kanino?" You see there are 2 families living in that sprawling lot, relatives but with different surnames.

A dog padded by. Seriously. You can hear the "tik, tik, tik" of its steps as it made its way down our street.

I hear roosters crowing for noon. I hear a mother and a daughter chatting while walking home from school. Their actual topic is indiscernible, of course. But it's quiet enough for me to hear the laughter in their voices. Oh, lunch. They're talking about lunch. The girl just asked "Anong ulam natin?"

I hear birds chirping. I almost didn't because you get used to it; they sing all the time around the house. They perch on our trees, and chatter amongst themselves. On more than one occassion, I've wondered what they're so busy talking about. I hope they're telling each other they love our trees. Or how pretty the flowers in the garden are.

A blue car passed by. Unusual for this time of day. Most of our neighbours work in the surrounding cities, and usually arrives late in the afternoon or way into the evening. Maybe he's a newlywed man who misses his pretty wife. Maybe it's a father who wants to surprise his daughters in the middle of their lunch of Maggi chicken noodles and rice. Well, that's how I would want to imagine it. That used to make me so happy.

The silence of our street makes me feel both full and empty, strange isn't it? There's enough silence for me to engage all of my senses and make me feel alive. But empty because, inside the house, I don't feel like I'm participating in the world. I should be at work right now. But that same knowledge of where I should be gives me a feeling of reprieve. Makes me think it is a wonderful gift to be able to have this silence, when I should be surrounded by chattering workmates right now, or humming computers. I search for silence in my work, and I can't, so you can often find me with earphones stuck in my ears. My theory is, if you're not gonna have silence, might as well have control over what soundtrack your day plays to.

Oh, empty. The house is so empty. And I miss my parents in this silence. Quiet always brings them back to me. If it's quiet enough, I can imagine the two of them talking in the dining room. I can almost hear Mummy cooking lunch. Daddy would climb the stairs soon enough, and ask me what I'm doing. He'd tell me what our lunch is. Probably fried fish and sinangag. I wish...

I wish I did this more often, back then. The last few months when they were both off work. I wish I stayed home more often as well. Why was I so busy? What was I so frenetic about? Why didn't I embrace this silence when I could still share it with them?

Then silence wouldn't be this empty. No, silence would be lovely.

And after lunch, they'll have a short nap inside the downstairs bedroom. They'll both be snoring. I would be smiling, watching them sleep. Until finally, I feel drowsy myself and I lie beside them, hearing their heartbeats, feeling their breaths on my cheek, smelling Vicks vaporub, and fried fish, and the smell of the afternoon sun on our pillows, the bedsheets. I would close my eyes, and be silent and still.

And sleep.

Amazing Things I Learned Today

Crayola is a French word which means "oily chalk."

Ants never sleep.

Before toilet paper was invented, French royals use fine linen to wipe their butts.

In 1998, Sony accidentally sold 700,000 camcorders that can see through people's clothes.

The word "byte" is a contraction of the word "by eight."

Two feel comfortable wearing really high heels, buy a pair half a shoe size higher and reinforce with Dr. Scholl's pad. In no time, you'd be looking and feeling like JLo.

The search engine Google, take its name from the word egoogooli which means a one followed by a hundred zeroes.

Donald Duck comic were banned in FInland because he doesn't wear pants.

ISN'T THE WORLD SO INTERESTING?

Monday, March 02, 2009

The Reader



For a Best Actress win, my first impression was that Kate Winslet is underwhelming in The Reader.

Then I remember that when I read the book in college, I was also underwhelmed by the story. Not to say that I didn't like it though. The best that you could get from reading, and now, watching, The Reader is the niggling bothersome feeling which is very hard to shake off. At the very core of the story lies the question: What is immoral? What is evil?

Kate Winslet plays Hannah Schmidt, who had an affair with 15-year-old Michael at the onset of the Hitler years. At the end of the affair, she went on to become a guard at Auschwitz and was later imprisoned for 300 counts of murder (the Jews they were guarding). Michael became a lawyer, and at one point, had critical information that could lessen Hannah's term. He knew Hannah was illiterate, which explains why she is so keen on having Michael read to her before they make love. But Hannah's shame about her illiteracy is so deep that she'd rather rot in jail than admit she couldn't read or write. They both kept quiet, and the secret niggered at them until their advanced years.

It is actually a quiet story. One without too much vulgarity or blood in it. I think it is meant to lull you so that you would have a silent space to reflect at what line do YOU draw morality.

Case in point, while watching Hannah approach the bathing Michael, both of them nude as babes, Ella (my sister)made a disappointed screech, "Ay, pedophile!" And from there on, she kept commenting she feels bothered by the film.

Whereas her sister (moi), only felt sadness. Hannah was lonely. Michael also seemed like a ray of light to me. Would I have done what she did? Clarifying that I was living during a depressing time, alone in a house as big as a cupboard, without the solace of books because I couldn't read, ashamed and afraid that people will find out, then someone comes to read words that makes me feel alive, another person I can touch, a boy eager to learn and worships me, body and soul... Yes.

Yes.

I would've.

I didn't tell my sister this. I don't think she'll understand.

I'm just happy I can murmur assent when she also commented she'd have killed herself or at the very least escaped my post if she was a guardian at Auschwitz, or in any of the godforsaken wars. Murder, we agree on.

I hope she never understands the kind of loneliness I am afraid I am also fated to live. Because once you are touched by it, you become privy to secrets such as that Hannah hid. And the world will always have tragedy in it, in your eyes.