2010, a round-up

Or, alternatively, the yearender

You were one of the hardest, 2010, in terms of challenges. This year: a computerized national elections, a new president, a book spanning 25 years and 25 simultaneous read-along sessions. Dear 2010, you pushed me to my limits, shoved me up against a wall and encouraged me to fight back. Now I can look back and say, Well. That was one damned good fight, wasn't that. (And I still have all of my limbs.)

This year I am thankful for the people from whom I have steadily drawn my strength all these months. For the times you bore with me no matter how visibly I may have worn my stress on my sleeve - thank you. For sticking with me despite my temper - thank you.

This year I admit I must have been a difficult thing to love; for doing so anyway, thank you. After all these years, thank you.

Cut for a month-by-month rundown.

a series of brief letters to younger selves

i was here.

i. Dear 19,

Oh, I remember us -- we were like waking up in entirely new skin.

(Under cut: letters to 19, 20, 21, 22 and 23)



or, alternatively, The Birthday Post
Turned twenty-six on Tuesday! Thanks to all who remembered! =) Started off my seven-day holiday rest with a trip to La Mesa Eco-Park with the Ates:
Here be the riot! The gang around the lunch table.
Met the first contingent at Market! Market! where we picked up our Buddy's pancit lucban and roasted chicken, then we headed to Savemore Katipunan where we met the second contingent before heading to La Mesa Ecopark in a two-vehicle convoy. At La Mesa - picnic, plus a bit of sightseeing, camwhorage, some pseudo-guitar playing then Pinoy Henyo.

Then we headed to Gayuma ni Maria on V. Luna Extension for coffee and cake and more camwhorage:
A room full of ghosts
(Not really. I just liked this accident of a shot.)
Then we went to Rockwell to check newly opened Muji out, before heading to Ayala Triangle to watch the lights and have dinner plus dessert in Banapple, where they sprung their annual Birthday Surprise (where someone distracts me momentarily and then when I look back at them they're all wearing something ridiculous and birthday related -- a couple of years ago, they wore Panda masks. This year they wore birthday hats. AND I WAS THERE WITH THEM SA TABLE. How I always fall for these surprises/distractions is baffling haha. I am not-so-secretly nine.)

I love how this feels like a photo off my mother's old albums haha.
This is me with a fluffy scepter. It has lights!
Thanks guys for making the night before my birthday one to remember!
Thanks love, you're the bestest best EVER. I love you! :)


dear december's next 10 days-- (part 3)

December 21: Editorial Christmas Party

The mother of all parties. Brought Andrea's camera to set-up a guerrilla photobooth of sorts in the section. Started the day with the Research dept Christmas lunch. Bought ice cream and pancit and wine and cheese. It was all awesome. Scored some discounted Novellinos and promptly downed two bottles throughout the day with my research sibs. NO TEQUILA which meant I was able to go home in one, not-so-shattered piece. Hurray for self-control and ninja skills LOL. As usual, malas sa raffle. Haha but it's okay bawi na lang tayo sa videoke.


(Cut for massive picspam and one more party)

dear december's next 10 days-- (part 2)

December 20: Elaine's wedding in Caleruega

Tagged along with Andrea and Lilie to attend their college friend Elaine's wedding to longtime sweetheart Libert in famous wedding spot Caleruega in Nasugbu, Batangas. I was in a dress. It was chilly out and the scenery was breathtaking. I really think we should all get out of Metro Manila once in a while because man our countrysides are AWESOME. We took a lot of pictures of each other in dresses LOL. Lilie was a bridesmaid and Andrea was a reader. Hurray for friendships that span years and withstand the test of time, naks :) Best wishes and congratulations, Elaine and Libert! Ngl, naiyak ako sa vows niyo haha.

(Photos under cut!)

dear december's next 10 days-- (part 1)

Part 1: College block reunion + Research get-together + Angels Night + M and V birthday and welcome back for J


I haven't been in so many pictures/taken so many pictures FOR YEARS HAHA.

(cut for partying like i'm twenty it's the end of the world)


dear december's first ten days--

--man, you've been swell. I mean, two company parties AND 25 successful simultaneous Read-Along sessions? Man, you've got to be kidding me.

(cut for timeline and massive picspam yo)


From Batanes to Tawi-Tawi: A post-mortem

n.b. Ruth Navarra's note on Facebook about the Read-Along brought tears to my eyes. Wow, has it really been only three years? Sure feels damn longer.

PDI's December 5 Page One


I remember in December 2008 when the Read-Along was barely two years old and we were already swamped with offers from partners who wanted to host the sessions in their own venues outside of the Inquirer. I think that week before Christmas we had four or five of them, and two of them in a single day -- the morning in the office, and the afternoon somewhere else. I remember the consensus then was, 'Never Again' -- the stress levels were ridiculous.

Fast forward to early this year. We were in the middle of the elections and in one session graced by the Inquirer president, she told me: Why not have 25 simultaneous sessions for our 25th anniversary? I think I laughed. I laughed very nervously. At the back of my head, I was thinking about how impossible it all sounded.

Months later, here we are. Long story short -- we've managed to pull the whole thing off.

Yes, all 25 of them.

(See this for reference. Haha.)

(Cut for more gloating sentimental shi'. LOL.)


from batanes to tawi-tawi

Tomorrow, December 4, the Inquirer Read-Along team will hold not one, not two, but twenty-five simultaneous read-along sessions in twenty-five cities and provinces across the Philippines at 10 a.m. -- from Batanes to Tawi-Tawi, literally.

Five venues in Northern Luzon (Batanes, SM Baguio, SM San Fernando, SM Tarlac, Pangasinan), five in Greater Manila Area (PDI Makati, SM Mall of Asia, The Podium, SM North, SM Marilao), five in Southern Luzon (Marinduque, Legazpi, SM Lucena, SM Naga, SM Sta. Rosa), five in the Visayas (SM Iloilo, SM Bacolod, SM Cebu, Dumaguete City, Ormoc City) and five in Mindanao (Davao, Cotabato, Lanao del Norte, Cagayan de Oro City, Tawi-Tawi) -- more than 2,000 kids, over 70 volunteer readers, more than a hundred volunteers in four Inquirer bureaus and Metro Manila, one program.

Many hands have kept us afloat. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I am so excited to pull this off with you guys. ♥


eleven twenty-seven

Okay, so this day could have gone better. I'm actually in the middle of something that feels like a hangover, only it isn't because I'm not drunk. Hence, only half the fun.

Oh, fuck it. Let's ogle some hot girls:

(cut for lesbians. and lip service.)

dear murphy's law--

--we can reach a truce now. Please, can we reach a truce now?

(cut for a timeline of things going wrong. LOL.)


ever swiftly moving

Sarah McLachlan - Do What You Have To Do (Live, Mirrorball)

(here be a sarah mclachlan post. cut for music)



end game. n. people who should end up together. like a couple. despite all odds.

Remember that new lesbian show we began watching a few months back, the one set in Glasgow with all these fine, accented lesbians in very attractive coats? Well, it ended its six-episode first season last week. And yes, as with all lesbian shows with attractive people, I have feelings.

(cut for spoilers through lipservice season1. and lesbians. and anger.)


now reading

"It was an effort for me now to recall the details of my grief -- the exact forms it had taken - although at will I could summon up an echo of it, like a small whining dog locked in the cellar. What had I done on the day Mother died? I could hardly remember that, or what she'd really looked like: now she looked only like her photographs. I did remember the wrongness of her bed when she was suddenly no longer in it: how empty it had seemed. The way the afternoon light came slantwise in through the window and fell so silently across the hardwood floor, the dust motes floating in it like mist. The smell of beeswax furniture polish, and of wilted chrysanthemums, and the lingering aroma of bedpan and disinfectant. I could remember her absence, now, much better than her presence."
--Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin

Dear Ms Atwood: How are you so good? Oh my God.

nanowrimo 2010

37,090 / 50,000 words. 74% done!

On other news: Just reached 37k in my Nano attempt, and for the first time in 22 days I felt I'd actually be sad if I lost this file to Word runtime errors. (Backups)


On other, other news: MONTH 38 TODAYYYYY. ♥


eleven nineteen

So today's just one of those impossibly tight days, working with all sorts of deadlines -- a somewhat-longterm deadline (for the anniversary), a medium-term deadline (tomorrow, for someone else's work for the anniversary) and all sorts of immediate deadlines (various - PSE tables, weather bulletins, peso figures, phone calls) and then Big Lady Boss drops us a line at 7 p.m.:

(cut for suspense--dun dun dun)


dear lipservice--

I am currently busy right now, but I'd just like you to know that after watching all six episodes of season 1, I therefore conclude:

You give me so many feelings. NGH. Or, basically: Dear Lip Service 1x06, WHAT. JUST, WHAT.

(This is obviously a placeholder).


dear mom--

Today is my mother's 13th death anniversary. On this day last year, I was at home, reading a book about writing and playing Plants vs Zombies. Hehe.

Today I am 25 turning 26. My mother was 25 turning 26 when she had me. It strikes me as strange -- one day you wake up still a kid, and the next thing you know you're the same age as your mother when she had you. Haha. Time flies, and how fast, huh.

I currently have no plans of having kids -- it's just not in the plan. I think to a degree it is kind of a pity, because it means I'll miss the chance of having a kid like ME now when I'm, oh, 50. HAHA.

(Also not in the plan: Dying of blood disease when I'm 38. Yep.)

Dear mom, in my head I can see you are laughing at how disorganized my office desk is RIGHT NOW, but I also know you know I'll find something in this mess when I need it. So, yeah, you can stop laughing now. Hehe.


a brief letter to my nineteen-year-old self

Wow, old closed down blogs are FUN.

Here's a good one from January 2004 (Cannot link to this anymore, it's from that closed blog - it's fascinating how much I wrote back then, and Christ, I did close that down for A LOT of good reasons, hahaha. hmm.)

i remember cleng sharing a fantasy once - the barkada seated around a table in a Makati hang-out, perhaps some posh coffee shop, talking over coffee and cigarettes and cinnamon rolls *yum* about our latest businesses, investments, houses, families, stories, assignments, sex partners *cough* and you know.. erm, that kind of stuff.

LOL SEX PARTNERS. \o/ This strikes me as very funny because this is EXACTLY what we do these days. It's funny, a bit creepy, but YES more funny than anything else. ILU GUYS.

(Cut for old things)


say hi to mom

Said hi to mom today. She's all right.
All Saints' weekend at my parents' home. This afternoon, Auntie and I bought flowers for mom in Alabang -- a basket of leafy things for P30 and a bunch of yellow flowers for P100. Auntie's arrangement powers know no boundaries. Jaraaan -- parang P500 bouquet pero hindi singmahal haha.

Not too many people yet in the memorial park today -- could be that they're coming in full force later tonight and leaving tomorrow morning. In any case, we'll drop by again tomorrow before heading back north to avoid tomorrow's deluge.


Also: I didn't know I could connect flat screen monitors to Panda until TODAY. This information makes me very happy since I could use a 15-in screen with these eyes. YAY.

(cut for things I did with this flatscreen a.k.a. watching old videos of The Corrs)


new lesbians on my tv!

And by that I mean, on my computer.

We're two episodes into new British lesbian drama Lip Service, which was basically sold to me by Andrea as "The L Word but British." LOL, have I ever mentioned anywhere that one of the things I loved best about L Word was Helena's accent? And we all remember that the last British show she sold to me was SKINS (and well, we all know how that turned out -- emotional investment of the oh god these children give me lots of feelings, etc. and then bam season 4 = BASEBALL BAT WTF ANYWAY--)

So British L Word? Meaning, lesbians with accents in always rainy weather? In summary: SOLD.

(cut for lesbians.)


seaside nights and the maginhawa-UP food trip

We've been hearing some good things about the Maginhawa food strip so we decided to try out a few haunts last Saturday before the typhoon blew in -- had lunch at Cocina Juan near Ministop, then dessert at I Heart Froyo (whose owners were two UP law students who were batchmates of Journ friends - hello there, small world!).

(Note: I stole all these photos from Andrea, whose accounts of this weekend are right here and here on her LJ. YEHEY ATTRIBUTION WIN. Anyway...)

Cocina Juan at 100 Maginhawa St.
I heart their quirky water bombs!


weekend roundup

Last week has been one of the most tiring to date hah what with all those preps we had to undergo in order to bring correspondents from all over Luzon and Visayas to Makati for the weekend's Read-Along 101 workshop - yes, similar to that one in Marinduque earlier this year, but without the, uh, beach. Heh.

(cut for real-life rambling and shop talk)



I guess I was most interesting in high school. As a student, I meant. Older I was more interesting as a friend, while in grade school, I assume I was basically a non-entity -- well, after having to transfer schools because of some wise-ass comment in a math class that led to a bitter falling out between me and my math teacher that cost me a valuable award that caused my mother's rage against the school system etc -- I guess, I had to lay low a bit, hmm? Heh. So, yeah, I was most interesting as a student in high school.

Of course, by 'interesting' I meant I was this horrible, difficult, moody, indecipherable blob of angry mass. I may have been thirteen, fourteen, fifteen and in the middle of a crisis also known as my mother passing away. It was 1998, 1999, 2000. I did not know what to do with myself.

(Cut for long-winded, direction-less ramble)


something has to be said

Suicides put light on pressures on gay teens via The New York Times -- something has to be said about the unnecessary violence and hate that has spawned too many suicides among LGBT youth in the US these past few weeks. Most of these kids caved in to the pressure of bullies who preyed on them for being gay.

Ellen DeGeneres said it best: "People's minds will change, and you should be alive to see it." And so we continuously live in hope. On YouTube, there's the It Gets Better Project, where people submit their own videos and testimonials to encourage LGBT victims of bullying to hang on because it will get better. Columnist Dan Savage, who launched the project, posted a video of him and his husband Terry relating how they survived bullying in their respective schools and communities when they were younger. I think the effort is inspiring. In a comment left on the Youtube channel, a mental health professional lauded the effort, saying it will "literally save lives." I will be praying for that, as well.

Dan and Terry's video -- ngl, this made me teary.

I'm uncertain if this is something we can relate to the Filipino LGBT experience -- I can't rememember something similar making it to the news (and maybe that in itself shows how this country's media views LGBT issues?), and I was fortunate enough to have come out as lesbian to a very supportive circle in college (who would have protected me from bullying the same way they protected me from heartbreak -- ah, I love you guys.) Not to mention that Andrea's family and mine have been accepting and supportive of us as well. However, I have heard of stories though, of friends getting disowned by their own families for being who they were and loving who they did and choosing to stand up for that love -- I guess to a degree the message of the whole movement does apply here too.

Some people we meet in life will give us a hard time -- they will make us cry, break our hearts, disappoint us, hurt us -- but that doesn't mean they are all life has to offer, and you have to stay alive and keep living so you could meet all the other wonderful people life still has in store for you. This applies to bullies, to oppressive families, to abusive ex-partners, to rubbish friends. They are meant to make us stronger, not to break our spirit.

I think it's important for people who have succeeded in overcoming such obstacles speak out and say it: Things get better, it's what they do.

(PS: Oh you should check out these vids once your connection allows YouTube. I'm crying and laughing at the same time, and for all the good reasons.)


we were both young when

Amanda Seyfried is Sophie in "Letters to Juliet"
(Also: Damn girl, why so PRETTY?)
Unexpected delight is unexpected -- this movie makes me inappropriately squee-y. Cut for spoilers! (LOL IKR!)



Generally, it's what we do as a people -- remember. Martial law declaration '72, 38 years hence. People power '86, 24 years hence. People power 2, nine years hence.

And today -- Tropical Storm Ondoy, a year later.

The paper ran a series of Page One stories commemorating the incident starting September 23rd. One story was mine -- it was about school children in Pasig coping with the tragedy one year later through art.

Another runs today in the inside pages -- it's actually a wrap of two Ondoy-focused read-along sessions, but really it's about a young friend of mine's Ondoy experience.



Love makes you soft. It's the first thing it does. One moment you're steeling yourself against the harshness of the world, ready to face it with little else apart from your own limbs; the next thing you know, you're looking up from a book you're reading and then, there's a girl.


twenty-two forever

Anniversary weekend spent mostly at the 31st Manila International Book Fair at the SMX Convention Center in Mall of Asia scouting for cheap books and walking around this country's second biggest mall, which probably contained about a third of Metro Manila's population on Sunday -- incidentally also the last day of a three-day mall-wide sale.

In summary: It was crazy/fun! National Book Store had fantastic selections on sale today, and the one I'm most excited about is a book about Post-Its and projects (LOL) which cost us P30 ONLY. YEHEY! Lunch was at Yakimix (Japanese buffet for ~P600? YOU GUYS BETTER LINE UP FOR THIS ONE) and dinner was in Yellow Cab and then we had a bit of dessert in between (iskrambooool) and A LOT OF FACETIME WITH PRINTED MATTER. Is all I'm saying. Oh god, so little time, so much to READ. Can we just stay in bed and READ FOREVER? Just a question.


Also, if you haven't seen it, this was Andrea's anniversary gift for me: A stop-motion animated short she made with our trusty digicam and Panda:


and i thought i was over this

The girlfriend wouldn't be so thrilled about this, but... damn, ~Loveless. Why so pretty?
P.S. If you have my name on that hoodie, I will likely die.

Anyway. I am feeling so accomplished today -- bank duties, and then some interesting finds. (smirk, secret muna ;)) Hee. I'm in the middle of Elizabeth Berg's "Say When" which I got via the bookswap (thanks Kat!) and then a bit of Collins' The Hunger Games (I'm getting there, you guys, wait for me!) aaaaand BTW I'm STILL ON A HIGH BECAUSE UP WON CDC YESTERDAY! Here, Riki Flo says the future is SO BRIGHT, and well, you know how the rest of it goes, eh?


domain redesign update

That time of the month again -- when I tinker with CSS and everything else. Netvibes' graphic and webdesign feeds are the best, ngl.

[newly revamped domain here]



Lately I've been reading a lot of essays, mostly on NYT, about what it's like being in your mid-twenties at this time and age. One asks what's taking us so long to grow up, while another describes the members of Generation Me as "millennials born between 1982 and 2002" who are "entitled whiners".

Born 1984, I'm turning 26 in December and I guess this is just a sort of mid-life rethinking catching up with me. According to the first NYT article, sociologists define "transition to adulthood" as marked by five milestones: completing school, leaving home, becoming financially independent, marrying and having a child.

Situation check: I was twenty when I graduated from college, and I've been away from home since 16 (at the start of college); have been financially independent for more or less four or five years; have been in a committed, long-term relationship for three years, though by virtue of nonexisting laws, I might never be able to marry the person I want to be with for the rest of my life. We have no plans of having children.

I wonder if we're in the minority or the norm -- these twenty-somethings living away from home to be near the workplace, working eight to nine hours for five days a week and rarely seeing our parents and families outside of weekends or important family celebrations like birthdays or Christmas.



Three years in, or almost, and still I am amused/baffled whenever the question of "roles" comes up in casual conversation with friends old and new -- so, who's the "girl", who's the "guy"? Most times I only laugh; yes, I find it funny, but only because it confuses us, more than anything.


triggers, hipsters, and my mother would have liked facebook

But first -- the best thing to have come out of Rockwell's Urban Bazaar EVER:
Smile if you're gay! And then carry on.
Favorite things for this Sunday: Whistlestop's buffalo chicken wings, Starbucks' iced signature chocolate, matching shirts, InfectThemAll (whoo ipod touch games, panira ng buhay!)

Least favorite things: Ants. Who like to crawl over clothes. Especially my underwear. (Overshare but - OUCH.)


jesus, is that what I think it is--

2:00 p.m. Done with today's newspaper. Turns out: We have a Super SWAT thing that went unused on Monday. Mamarazzi has mixed reviews. And Aga Muhlach is already 41. Oh jesus.

Life roundup: Solo flight yesterday was a success. Eastwood with the Ates last night was awesome.


One day, I'd like to be this polo able to wear a guy's polo this sexily.
GAAAAAHAS($!*@#(!)!#*$!)(#@! you do know I'm lesbian, right?


as long as i have limbs

or, alternatively, a running tally of this day, to amuse myself

Today's mantra: Today, I am a one-woman powerhouse. I will be a machine and I will be unstoppable.



radio silence


Oh, I will figure this out eventually; perhaps when your chair is empty and it's after nine o'clock, and I'm left to lock doors and glass cabinets. It's always the silence that gets to me. It's what got to me in 2007; it's what will get to me when the dust clears (maybe tomorrow).

The phrase that hits me is, What holds up half the sky. Weren't we that, once -- you holding up your end, me holding up mine, the two of us plodding along, steadily trying to work miracles on a six-day work week. When I look back at that -- how, really? One Saturday, we're in La Union. The next thing we know, it's a Sunday and we're lying face down on the floor of the office, trying out surfing moves on a flat, unmoving surface, bruises still fresh on our knees; the midterm elections looking us in the face. Too young and too far away.

There a lot of little things that go unnoticed, though not necessarily unappreciated; I've worked alongside you for four years, wrapped in the comfort of your presence, calming like a steady hand above a jittery heart. It's been like that for four years, and then suddenly it isn't; perhaps it will take a longer while to get used to this absence, as with all old habits we have to shed. If there's one thing getting older has taught me, it is this: that we form habits only to break them. (It's a good thing I've had practice with cigarettes, is all I'm saying.)


Life round-up: Banchetto on Friday, 35th monthsary/haircut on Sunday. Nine fatalities on Monday as a dismissed policeman hostaged 25 people on a bus in front of Quirino Grandstand in Manila. Hostage-taker Rolando Mendoza died along with 8 tourists from Hong Kong. Venus Raj won 4th runner-up in the Miss Universe pageant Tuesday (Manila time) in ceremonies held in Las Vegas. Miss Mexico grabbed the title; it was well-deserved. The Q&A could have gone better, but I believe Venus did her best and personally, I feel proud.


Doing what you like - that is freedom. Liking what you do - that is happiness. When things get murky I close my eyes and listen to myself and it's really surprising how at the bottom of it all, the voice inside me is saying, Yes. After all this time -- yes.


Dear love, get well already so we can cuddle. /end-sap


rolling with the punches

You know what they say -- you gotta roll with the punches. I've been resisting this auto-template-design-thing for ages, but then in the absence of code I can cannibalize for "older entries" -- le sigh. I'm usually not comfortable using anything I don't understand the barebones of (I looked at this design's HTML and it's all like... pfft.) but what the hell. It's supposed to be easier, so.

Slow clap, you win Blogger. First you stop my FTP, and now I'm even abandoning the rugged comfort of classic templates for this alien autothing. *sob*

(I am willing to bet that didn't make sense at all.)


Sunday summary:

+ Finally, Dad got around to installing one of those double-lock things I've been planning to install. Christ, how had I ever thought of installing these things alone? My father, armed with electric drills and chisels and stuff, and an experienced carpenter with x number of years under his belt (snicker) took a couple of hours just finishing the thing. In conclusion: Whatever age, dads are always super. Thanks Dad. :*

+ Feature SMGC purchase of the day: Casual rubber shoes and heavy duty PE shoes for Wy, casual shoes for me, WOODEN MUG HANGER-WHATEVER (love!) In conclusion: So happy.

+ So, I've discovered a new song from Lifehouse?
Lifehouse - From where you are by thegshift


of aftermaths (the year of pleasures, berg)

Elizabeth Berg's "The Year of Pleasures" reminds me of Joan Didion's "The Year of Magical Thinking" in terms of subject matter. Like Didion, whose book chronicles her process of coping after her husband John Dunne died in December 2003, Berg's female protagonist Betta Nolan here is also struggling in the aftermath of her husband's death, incidentally also named John. And before you even ask: No, I don't actively seek out books about death and coping, but you see I've always had a soft spot for anything that discusses death and discusses it well (like, remember this?); I admire anyone who manages to have the right words for loss and anguish (Didion most especially; I can't do it in fiction, but Didion did it and it was all fucking real.)

(Mandatory cut for spoilers)


inday monday

Warning: Contains domesticity.

At Shopwise this morning, I bumped into Kim at the toiletries section; I was busy logging prices of grocery items (such is life when you're shopping with GC's) and I nearly bumped into his cart. When I looked up, I saw him, exchanged the mandatory, "Uy!" and then asked, "Haha, ito rin assignment mo today?"

(I heard Almi's sick - get well soon, bebi!)


So, today I:
- purchased my weight in liquid zosa and domex
- bought a shit ton of breakfast stuff like oatmeal and milo
- hoarded napkins and pantiliners as if  we were preparing for a nuclear holocaust
- bought a new rice cooker *hearts*
- sent out the laundry
- defrosted the ref
- did a bit of tidying
- edit: replaced the old aircon with a new one (yay thanks nay!) and carried the old unit through six flights of stairs. CHAMPION WEIGHTLIFTER WIN.


Also: I am trying out soundcloud! Here be PlayRadioPlay's "We've been searching the sky" -- because I'm kind of hooked.

  prp-wbsky by thegshift


the angel's game, zafon (2010)

Carlos Ruiz Zafon's "The Angel's Game" starts like this:

"A writer never forgets the first time he accepted a few coins or a word of praise in exchange for a story. He will never forget the sweet poison of vanity in his blood, and the belief that, if he succeeds in not letting anyone discover his lack of talent, the dream of literature will provide him with a roof over his head, a hot meal at the end of the day, and what he covets the most: his name printed on a miserable piece of paper that surely will outlive him. A writer is condemned to remember that moment, because from then on he is doomed and his soul has a price."

First paragraph: SOLD! WE HAVE A WINNER!

(Cut for generally non-spoilery rambling)


let's do an UPCAT post!

(So. Ten years ago on this same weekend, I took an exam that changed my life.)
First weekends of August are special, especially for high school seniors, if only for the fact that on this weekend, the University of the Philippines opens its doors and gives its prospective freshmen a sneak peek of what it's like to be here -- yep, it's the weekend of the UP College Admission Test, the Holy Grail (LOL) of all college admissions tests in the Philippines.

On this weekend, thousands of hopefuls troop to the University to take the exam - which can only be taken once and never again. Last year, there were around 67,000 examinees. Re-reading the requirements and general UPCAT FAQ over at the website makes me feel nervous all over again LOL.


and now, for my gayest project ever

(Ohai Michelle Rodriguez. Irrelevant sexy photo is irrelevant)

So. Remember how last night, Andrea and I were discussing the possibilities of having an awesome movie that will put Angelina Jolie in a single film with every. single. tough chick ever...?

Believe it or not, this actually had plot. We cast Mila Kunis, Kaya Scodelario and PLL's Torrey DeVitto as Angelina Jolie's sisters (a.k.a. Goddamn it, that's the most goodlooking family EVER) and I remember there being sex, drugs and kidnapping somewhere.

(I should totally have recorded that conversation last night, but I'm pretty sure it went something like:
Her: Why would these people fight anyway?
Me: Someone kidnaps someone's sister?
Her: But in reality, nagtanan lang pala sila nung sister nung isa.
Me: WIN.)

Also, in the spirit of wanting a movie with Eva Green and Marion Cotillard being French and lovely together:
Her: We could totally cast Eva Green and Marion Cotillard as lovers. They can be in the Russians group with Angelina Jolie.
Me: I love you FOREVER.
Her: With Amanda Seyfried.
Me: *DIES*

And since we have that Asian faction:
Me: And then we can cast Gaby dela Merced with the Asians, right?
Her: HOT.


So. Here you go.
Offsite link here: Badass chicks being badass - a massive picspam involving girls with guns, mostly.
Aaaand also -- an offsite link of the other non-gunholding but just as badass girls

"please take your panties off the security camera." -- salt (2010)

Salt (2010)

Let it be known here that should Angelina Jolie ever retire from filming action flicks, I WILL CRY. Oh god. I missed gun-toting Angie SO HARD. I mean, she was hot in Wanted, but this?

(Things I loved about Salt, a.k.a. Total lesbian flailing below cut aka SPOILERS)


someday, this too will make sense

(I feel sad this isn't going anywhere. So I chopped off the rest and kept three paragraphs. Murder.)
She asks about how you are, and you think, how is this so easy, falling back into old routines of How-was-your-days like nothing hurt in between today and the last day you saw her? Seven years. Is it long enough for things to be written off, just like that?

And yet, you say, "Older and wiser," smiling as you lead her into the kitchen, pulling out a seat for her at the table and flipping a switch on. She squints at the light, and she suddenly looks so young; something tightens in your chest as your heart turns itself over. "You?"

"Older," she just says, shifting her eyes back down to the surface of the table. "A whole lot older."



jaro, leyte (2010)

Monday, the day after the wedding started really early -- following Krista, Wy and Dad's departure for Manila on a 6 a.m. flight, we also had to move so as to get to Jaro on time. I've always been fond of Jaro, a town that's about half an hour's drive from Tacloban. It's where the old house of my maternal grandparents still stands to this day. My recently wed uncle, an engineer by profession, built it for them before he left for abroad more than ten years ago.


uncle ed's wedding! (the proper post)

First things first: My uncle got married last Sunday! We were all in Tacloban over the weekend - it was the first time all my mother's siblings, their spouses and all their children were all present in an event that's *not* a wake/funeral. Hurray for family togetherness!

Here have a photo of a family camwhoring in an airport:

(Mandatory Cut. Do not proceed if you're allergic to: weddings, gold, my face, THE SIGHT OF MY HUGE ARMS OMFG.)


a wedding!

I'm off to Tacloban for the weekend because my uncle's getting married! He's my mother's youngest brother (five of them in the bunch, mom being the eldest, and auntie being second to the youngest) and he's coming home from abroad with his wife and 16-year-old daughter to finally have that Church wedding that's about a decade and a half in the making.

I'm excited to get back to Tacloban - haven't been there for years, and the last time I was there for a wedding was in 1991. I was seven then and I was a flower girl in Auntie Benda's (Mom and auntie's other sister) wedding. I remember my gown was itchy as hell and that back then there was only three of us - me, my three-year-old sister Krista, and four-year-old cousin Mark.

Here, an illustration for your guidance:

1991. A time when the rest of the kids, including my own brother, haven't even been born yet. Imagine a time like that! Whenever that wedding comes back to me, it's always in flashes of old dusty photos like this one hehe. Krista and I were raised with Mark as practically our brother, and that time I thought it was just going to be the three of us FOREVER AND EVER. Haha.

But then we know how that turned out. The rest of them came and now we're all older and I'm now 25 and Krista's 22 and Mark's 23 and we're returning to Tacloban for another wedding. I'm not a flower girl anymore -- I'm not even a bridesmaid, but a reader and the reception emcee, if the invitation is to be believed. (EMCEE! SA RECEPTION! SNEAKY I TELL YOU! SNEAKY!)

I remember in 1991 we were holed up in our Lola's old house in front of the school where she once taught and when we got there she started introducing us in speedy Waray to the Invisibles of the old house (so as not to get sick) and then at night we kids would secretly chip away at the cake hidden in the kitchen while the elders were elsewhere and when the wedding day came and they discovered the half-eaten cake they'd just concluded, "Rats." We never spoke of it again LOL. That was fun. That was the last time I think I got away with anything. Ah, old age, you suck! LOL.

In that house my Lola had an old black and white TV and an old Family Computer and in the days leading up to the wedding Mark and I would sit and play Battle City maybe or take turns with Circus Charlie and do you know how hard it actually was to play those games sans color? Yeah, we didn't mind either.

I don't know if that house still exists -- a few years later my grandparents moved to another house entirely, and it's the same house along the highway that saw both my Lola and Lolo's wakes in 1994 and 2002. They're buried together in the same spot in the nearby cemetery, and I remember that their tombstone had lyrics from Color it Red's "Paglisan" -- I kid you not. I'll take a photo if it's still there and readable.

Since I was too young in 1991 to really enjoy a wedding, I'd always associated Tacloban and Jaro with deaths in the family, so really I'm just glad this time around it's for a wedding again -- even if I'm aware that, being of marrying age now, I hereby run the risk of being asked about my own wedding plans.

Sabi ko nga, magpakasal kayo dahil pwede kayong magpakasal! Kung pwede nga kaming magpakasal siguro kasal na kami kahapon pa! LOL.

Anyway. Too complicated so. BRB practicing my ~sly smile. =)


ridiculously amazing photo time!

This morning, Andrea and I woke early because she joined this year's Robinson's Fit and Fun Run at the Fort (like she did last year). I think last year I said something about running this year, but as usual, I played Baggage Counter instead and sat at the Medics' booth listening to my iPod (to ward off people who were probably considering asking me about band aids or something) until I noticed people with their 5k jerseys already coming in through the finish line. LOL. I'm the most useless former sportsperson EVER.

Anyway. This is just an excuse to show off this adorable photo:

Her: (after the run) Tara, sabi nila may giraffe daw sa grounds! Pa-picture tayo!
Me: Ows? 

Hahaha OMG I am so in love with this girl *smooshes you*. I should totally compile photos where we posed with ridiculous mascots (like Pilandok at SMX or those pandas at Rockwell haha)

ANYWAY. Here's the deal re: what we've been up to this weekend over at her LJ. :)


oh, a domain?

LOL so I actually managed to code a bit of my 2008 backlog at the domain TODAY.

Productivity is productive, and dorky intermission is dorky. (Oh, I've totally forgotten having written this, by the way.)


anatomy of a pick-up line

So yeah, so the downside of dating a pretty girl (LOL) is that at some point guys young boys like her. They come up to her, and they become all awkward and they start saying all these unnatural, otherworldly things, like:

Boy (give or take 22 years old): So, I heard you had a car. Where do you park?

STOP RIGHT THERE. *clears throat* AHAHAHAHAHAHA. Okay, now that that's out of my system, let me make the case for why that should be, under other circumstances, a pretty clever pick-up line.

1) It flatters you.
A. Wow, he thinks I have a car.
B. Wow, he thinks I'm financially able to have a car -- to buy one AND to put gas in it. (Or at least my parents are - buena familia!)
C. Wow, he thinks I'm actually skilled to drive.
F. In summary: WOMAN OF THE WORLD.

2) Asking about parking makes you think like HE ALSO HAS A CAR.

3) And the chances of it getting the undesired response are actually slim:
A. Scene: Yes, she does have a car and she knows where to park.
Boy: So, I heard you had a car. Where do you park?
Girl: Oh yeah, I'm parked at (insert space here)
Assessment: Confirmation that she has a car (Wow hot chicks who DRIVE YEAH), plus added knowledge of where to park (If the boy has a car in the first place LOL)

B. Scene: Yes, she has a car BUT she doesn't know where to park/has a problem with parking pa nga.
Boy: So, I heard you had a car. Where do you park?
Girl: Oo nga eh, I've been having a hard time with that too.
Assessment: BINGO! YOU CAN HELP. OMFG. Downside: If she asks for help and YOU DON'T REALLY HAVE A CAR -- oh man, that sucks.

C. Scene: Yes, she has a car BUT she doesn't bring it with her to Makati because, um, why?
Boy: So, I heard you had a car. Where do you park?
Girl: Sorry, I don't bring my car to work eh.
Assessment: Confirmation that she has a car and that she doesn't bring it to work (Oh man, chicks who know better than to drive to Makati = HOT)

D. Scene: She doesn't have a car. You are horribly mistaken BUT she is polite enough to ask about yours.
Boy: So, I heard you had a car. Where do you park?
Girl: Naku, I don't have a car eh, baka iba yung sinasabi mo. Ikaw ba?
Assessment: BINGO! NOW YOU CAN BRAG THAT YOU HAVE A CAR. Downside: LOL kung wala kang kotse, eh... di ba weird? HAHA.

E. Scene: She doesn't have a car. You are horribly mistaken. PERIOD.
Boy: So, I heard you had a car. Where do you park?
Girl: I have no idea what you're talking about.

Boy: So, I heard you had a car. Where do you park?
Girl: Well, you heard it wrong. That makes your second question irrelevant and unanswerable.

Boy: So, I heard you had a car. Where do you park?


LOL, and oh, btw, a last scenario: F. Scene: She doesn't have a car. You are horribly mistaken. AND ALSO SHE IS GAY AND SHE WILL TELL HER GIRLFRIEND LATER, WHO WILL END UP WRITING THIS GUIDE TO CHOOSING PICK UP LINES CAREFULLY.

So, public service announcement: You guys, that's my girlfriend. Please stop picking her up. Thanks! :)

That is all.

Bonus: Also, if KStew doesn't play for our team I'll be horribly disappointed.Really. That girl is so awkward and adorable I kind of want to go out and have drinks with her and ask her about her first girlfriend, or something.

ETA: Julie's rejoinder via text made me LOL (Ate, you're da best):
So, are you either:
a) Incredibly flattered that guys are making passes at your gf;
b) wanting to buy a car for your gf;
c) amused at such lame pick-up lines
d) amused that guys can't tell if someone is gay.

Answer: LOL mostly D.


i wanna be where the boys are!

Oh man, The Runaways. You know I'm totally smitten with something when they suddenly show up as blog template design, I kid you not.

Number of times I've re-watched the movie, in whole or in part: seven EIGHT.

Standard disclaimer: Dakota Fanning is SIXTEEN, you guys.


Pardon all this red, though. Some movies strike me as a sort of color, and definitely, cherry references aside, this film is RED. Brutal, still-raw-wake-of-fingernails-down-your-back RED.

Also, Kahlua may or may not be at fault for all this pretty subdued yellows.


Yesterday, the parentals picked me up for some late snacks/early dinner with my siblings at Banapple on Morato. Their food is good AND cheap, yum. Also, I finally saw my sister's new flat, and man, her bathroom is HUGE.

How huge?

Me: (upon opening the door) WOW, CHRIST. Ilang shower stalls meron sa loob nito, tatlo?
Krista: Sabi ko sayo eh.
Me: Shet, ang hirap linisin niyaaaaan.

LOL. Of course, my first concern would be cleaning it. Actually, I wanted to clean it upon seeing it... okay, WEIRD.

ALSO! I met my brother's supposedly "annoying" roommate (LOL "dark" horse - tm PDI inauguration supplement) yesterday. And he was CUUUUUUUTE. I mean, how can you hate a little boy who looks like Mort from Madagascar?:

Here, an illustration for your guidance.

HAHAHA. Also, have you seen my brother? He is now taller than Krista, and you know Krista's like, a ~giant or something. Haha. Growth spurt ahoy!

Wy: (Nagsusumbong, annoyed) I mean, he switches the lights on to text, in the middle of the night -- ano ba wala bang ilaw yung fone niya?!

I swear, my brother is going to be Queen/King Bee or something! I APPROVE! Wala pang nakakakuha ng ganyang status sa aming magkakapatid as far as high school is concerned! GO TEAM GO!

Oh man, siblings. How are yours? ♥


re: second chances (a rejoinder)

Oh you and I, we used to have a grand time together, dining in nice restaurants, having our share of sinful desserts, drinking hot choco while watching movies -- what happened? When did the falling out start? This morning, when I woke up I had no idea I'd be parting from you this soon. I thought we were going to work it out? What happened to second chances?

So yeah. Maybe, you know, sometimes second chances just don't work. Maybe I am better off without you. Maybe the point was giving it a shot and falling short of expectations in the end. Suffice it to say: No more what ifs now.


Damn, I've forgotten how painful it actually is to have a tooth taken out -- it's been what, a decade and a half, since that time I had my molars taken out in preparation for braces? -- so the sheer pain of the whole event jolted me, is all; I actually spent a bit of time crying inside the dentist's office and a few hours back in my apartment whimpering LOLOLOLLL EMBARRASSING. (I used to be so badass, Christ, what happened to me)

But I am better now, and I think I will be better in the days to come. No more shitty toothaches that threaten to split my head into two. No more waking up and thinking, maybe today will be the last day you will hurt me. I am done.

We are done. (Thanks for the molar memories. LOL.)


Benigno Aquino III, 15th President of the Philippines

After nine years, five months and ten days under now former President Arroyo (yessss ang sarap i-type), we now have a brand new President!

(Fact: I was still in high school when Arroyo was sworn in after Edsa 2 on Jan. 20, 2001 -- O DI BA ANO BAAAA. I have been working for already FIVE YEARS NA COMEONST.)

Funny how a year ago, Noynoy Aquino wasn't even on the RADAR for the 2010 elections. Curious how destiny plays out huh.

Here's Manolo Quezon's Notes on this inauguration. (I woke late and when I got to the office, Charice was already singing the Lupang Hinirang -- btw, good job Charice!) And if you missed Noynoy's Inaugural address, here's the full text on Inquirer.net.

ABS-CBNNews has also posted YouTube links for the video:

ANC says Aquino was interrupted by applause 23 times. I guess they didn't count the other shorter ones, because when I listened again, I counted 37 in all (including 18 applause breaks that lasted for at least 5 seconds -- me ganitong distinction haha adik.)

Anyway. He delivered the address in Filipino - straightforward, malinaw, hopeful pero realistic ("Simula naman ng kalbaryo ko.") Also - I will definitely be on the lookout for these wangwang things, Mr President. And also, for "No reconciliation without justice." I am all for new beginnings and for working together, so. Tara let's.


my dentist endorses second chances (fact)

Yesterday, I paid a visit to the dentist across the road because of a head-splitting toothache. I'd already had an inkling it had something to do with a previous tooth job that I had damaged and then conveniently forgot about (no pain, no attention = classic adult evaluation of things), not to mention the fact that I am unnaturally scared of dentists, even if they're dorky-hot like that one across the road. (This is, by the way, a "couple assessment" - meaning, the gf and I approve, LOL)

So, yeah.  I was in her clinic yesterday, because really, toothaches I can manage, but toothaches coupled with headaches? Not so much. The other day it hurt so bad I couldn't keep my eyes open in front of the monitor so I figured I better haul my ass to the dentist's before someone is left with no other recourse but a root canal (More painful than unrequited love, some of my sources say.)

When I got there, it was a newly rearranged office -- the last time I was there was a considerable time ago, and I really expected to be reprimanded for missing my scheduled visits (LOL still a twelve-year-old having her braces fixed when put inside a dentist clinic after all these years -- oh have I mentioned I had four of my molars taken out when I had to do braces when I was ten? Now you know.) but then when the doc walked in she was all smiles and saying, Well, don't you look familiar?

I was here a long time ago, I said, almost appending, You do remember my girlfriend? but held it back. Later that night, I told Andrea what I'd learned in that visit - the doctor didn't like math so much, so she entered dentistry, but she remembers being good in simple Algebra (an oxymoron LOL) and Trigonometry and Geom in high school; also she doesn't like reading fiction and pocket books, but she does like the Internet and Facebook (After I'd asked, So if you're not into reading that much, then what do you like to do then? Sports?)

Unfortunately, Andrea, for all her repeated visits, never spoke to her on a personal level AT ALL. WTF you make me seem so flirty in comparison, love.

(Cut for dental adventures, etc)


improved attention span is improved

I should tell you I am extremely pleased that I actually still manage to finish books nowadays. Even if they're depressing like whoa.

To wit:

The truth is, I was warned that it was sad, as in Hang myself afterward-sad. And I just said, Perfect!


a mix of things

First things first: Month number 33 today! ♥ Monthsary weeekend spent watching Toy Story 3 and eating popcorn. OMG this movie made me cry.

(Spoilers under cut, whatever)


the runaways (2010)

That this movie exists makes my pants ME very happy. So, um, yeah -- basics? It's Kristen Stewart as Joan Jett and Dakota Fanning as Cherie Currie. Need I say more? (See also: Total flail entry over at F'yeah!)

So. It's a movie about that trailblazing all-girl rock band, The Runaways. Chicks prancing around in their underwear playing guitar? Check. Chicks singing into the same microphone? Check. Chicks rocking it out like crazy? Check. Chicks licking coke off each other's palms inside plane bathrooms? CHECK OH MY GOD I FEEL SO OLD/DIRTY/BOTH.

Number of times I had to remind myself of Dakota's age throughout this film: 37985035. (Jesus, the girl is SIXTEEN YEARS OLD.)

I cannot think coherently, so I give you a picspam instead:

Ngh, aviators. (And half-open, body-hugging leather jeans.)

Oh Jesus.

Hot chicks know how to rock. (Also, please do not look at me that way. Yes, the both of you.)

IN CONCLUSION:  SO. HAPPY. My pants are still on fire. SERIOUSLY.



on palindromes*

This was one of our first photographs. In 2001, no one had a digital camera, and CD writers were still this new in thing for them rich kids (namely, Alloy LOL) and this photo had to be taken by a point-and-shoot one with film. (Whose was that? Mine? Julie's? Hannah's? Kat M's, according to Almi, whose memory is still astounding LOL.)

I still have the formal version of this (A formal version! Like a class picture!) tacked to my old orange file case. The only things that changed about that panel of my file case were the class schedules posted around it. I think if I were to retrieve it now and open it, it would have mine and Julie's sched for the last semester of our college lives taped on opposite sides of that other block photo. How's that for thesis partnership/efficiency heh.

It was 2001 then, and it's 2010 now. On the surface, it's a simple switching of digits, (because I'm a dork like that) but we all know how much times have changed, yeah? New lives, new loves, new jobs, new babies, new girlfriends, new boyfriends, new husbands, new wives. Hell we even have a new president coming, something we haven't had in NINE YEARS. Isn't that something?

But yeah. Sometimes I miss waking up and going to class and having exams and having new classmates and retaking women's basketball as a non-credit PE just for the heck of it and hanging out under the skywalk in between classes and the baked mac at the CMC canteen and walking to AS because the Toki jeep takes too long and watching films at the Film Center (yes, that too, sometimes) and sitting by the Sunken Garden and getting grass stains on my shirt and smoking in the lagoon (yes, among other things) and smoking cheap Winston Lights (P1.25 lang!) outside the Music building while eating fishballs and waiting for the sun to set and going to those SONAs to rally (yes, that too) and getting lost while on field assignments and getting lost in the chatter with friends after, getting lost and getting tired and sleeping over and eating Tita Tes' nice food and eating one too many packs of pancit canton at Julie's and Cleng's mom's cooking and her good-looking dad, and Tagaytay at Jaycee's and ensaymada at Wendi's, etc, etc, etc. Insert Puerto Galera here, insert rappelling at Kampo Uno here, insert lantern parades here, and more here, here and here ---

But then again -- maybe I don't miss college that much, because college is more about the people than the place, and when I go to work these days, half my co-workers are old friends (the other half are lovely little sisters, hehe), and Julie and I still text a lot, some serious, most gago, and Jaycee's still sabaw on Twitter, and yeah, there's a whole lot of you on Twitter and when I open my EchoFon and I read something like "Legolas Cage" from Jaycee, or hear about Hannah's and Mhel's new adventures, it's like I never left the place, and I am glad, I am so glad to be able to take so much from that past life along with me into the new ones I enter.

Last month, I marked five years in my job. On the 22nd, Andrea and I are hitting 33 months (that's one-third of a hundred already, love! We're so close! LOL I love you.) It's been give or take two years since I stopped smoking, and I've been having less alcohol lately and even less caffeine. Sometimes, I smile to myself and think, Who is this person?

And then I opened my closet. Today, I was supposed to wear something that isn't a shirt or a pair of blue jeans and I found... um, next to nil. I have a trusty pair of slacks, a decent looking job interview-esque top, and I just found out this morning that I CANNOT LOCATE MY BOOTS. (Jesus. I need to have more adult-looking clothes and shoes, seriously.)

But yeah. Good to note there are things that haven't changed, alongside things that have. (But I'm still getting a new pair of boots one of these days. Hehe. Shoe shopping - How's that for a change? ;) )

* EDIT: 2001 and 2010 are not even palindromes. As to how that title got there, I'll chalk it up to creative license. PWEDE. \o/


marvelous marinduque, a post-mortem

The Inquirer's Outdoor Club went to Marinduque and they let the Read-Along team tag along to replicate the program there. (A quick word on replication -- The program is on its third year now (one hundred-seventeen sessions, and counting -- time flies, no?) and we're looking into opportunities to not only expose people to the usual read-along per se or just a one-off storytelling session, but to teach organizations how to conduct similar sustainable programs in their area -- that's what replication's all about. Hehe. Seryoso? ANYWAY.)

Preparation time was  rather short for such a big time operation, so to speak -- we were still reeling a bit in the aftermath of the elections and we were just given a little over a week to put things together, but eventually I was able to leave with the Alitaptap trainors Rich and Ray on Thursday night with the Outdoor Club. Actually, the first plan was to go to Marinduque by plane - only SeaAir and ZestAir had flights to Marinduque, but unfortunately we were unable to secure tickets for Rich and Ray, and this would prove to be a blessing later on.

Anyway. The 8-vehicle convoy of Mitsubishi AUVs, SUVs and sedans left the Inquirer office at 8 p.m. Rich, Ray and I rode on the sleekest silver Lancer EVER. We were hoping to catch the 12 midnight Ro-Ro to Marinduque at Lucena port, but unfortunately we missed it. (The route we had taken was traffic-free but apparently too long.) We were able to ride in the next trip, which left the port around 4 a.m. and arrived at the Santa Cruz port of Marinduque around 7 a.m. The Montenegro Ro-Ro had an aircon room and the TV there showed a Jeric Raval movie but I was too buzzed from the long drive to properly enjoy it.

(I totally had you at Jeric Raval. Cut for three days' worth of rambling.)

(EDIT, 6/5: Now with photos, courtesy of Ruthie. YAY.)


freedom at its finest

“So as long as I don’t violate any laws and I don’t disturb anyone [I should be free to smoke]. This is one of my few remaining freedoms.”
Source: Aquino on smoking: Sorry, but I can't quit (via Inquirer.net)
So, presumptive president-elect Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, 50, has rejected calls from health groups for him to quit smoking and be their anti-smoking poster boy or something; says smoking would "help him deal with the severe pressures of his new position" and that he would quit "at the appropriate time."

Now, there's something that would truly polarize this nation haha. Haters (gonna hate) to the left, smokers (gonna smoke) to the right. Ang hiraaaaaaap. Haha. Smokers say leave him alone; non-smokers say the president should be a role model. Eh si Obama nga nagyoyosi pa rin di ba.

Where I'm coming from: Happy to report I've been off cigs for the better part of the past two years after being a smoker for seven years. SEVEN YEARS, YOU GUYS. I used to kid that my relationship with nicotine was the longest I've ever had haha but then I look at myself now and for the most part (for the most part) I am in awe of how I managed to go from this girl who used to smoke a pack or two a day (A PACK OR TWO CHRIST) to this girl who can go without.

Well, a lot of it is due to significant changes in personal circumstances: There's Andrea, for whom smoking is the number one "deal-breaker" (mine is anorexia or some deep-seated hatred for food LOL), and the people I now hang out with often don't smoke at all. That's the most important thing, I guess, the immediate vicinity -- the first thing a quitter needs is a good support system, because letting go of the habit is letting go of a crutch.

Oh, I still miss it every now and then - it's like when I miss coffee, or when I miss alcohol. It's been so deeply entrenched in so much of what I'd been used to doing (that's what habits are, aren't they?). I used to smoke whenever there was space and time for it - in the office lobby while waiting for a gimmick, in waiting sheds while waiting for a jeep or a cab, in a bar while nursing a bottle of beer. I even smoked even when there was no TIME for it, just so I can introduce nicotine into my bloodstream. It was that desperate. The hardest part, I think, was that I smoked whenever I wrote anything -- academic papers, love letters, work, fiction. So just imagine how hard that was, when I stopped smoking in early 2008 and I found that the words have left me.

Left me. I wanted my nicotine back because I wanted the words back and that was hard. 2008 was a hard year on that front, but so much more rewarding in so many other places. 2008 was also a year of major career changes, of added responsibilities. Was it actually a crazy idea, to let go of smoking while in the middle of important life changes?

But then, now, here we are. It's astounding, really, how I got through Elections 2010 without nicotine (and actually spent the last stretch leading up to May 10 without alcohol and caffeine as well! IKR, PANO NANGYARI YUN?!) Since severing ties with yosi, I've rediscovered my nicotine-less self as actually enjoyable (LOL enjoyable); sure staying around in all too smoky places now makes me sick, and I've been out of the bar-going, nightclubbing scene for quite a while now, and I do miss getting drunk and so full of nicotine I feel like puking (oo minsan nakakamiss ang kawasakan) BUT THEN I've also rediscovered that there are a lot of things out there that I can also enjoy minus the smoking and the binge drinking.

The most important thing I rediscovered? That I can write without these substances. That the words are back. 2009 was a good year, and it was a good year without nicotine. I needed to rediscover myself as a non-smoker, to redefine myself as someone not substance-reliant. And so far, so good. The feeling that I can say no to myself -- that I can manage to not smoke when in the midst of smokers, that I can say 'iced tea' instead of 'San Mig Lite' - it. is. AWESOME.

So, from me to you, Mr Presumptive President Elect - you should try it. It's freedom at its finest.



Monthsary number 32 over the weekend, in a word, was AWESOME. It had a fantastic spa treatment, a LOT of food, a walk around Cubao, dinner paid for by my sister, Pinoy Henyo, Crepes, EVERYTHING.

(Early disclaimer: I am stealing photographs Andrea has already photoshopped because they are pretty. Okay, carrying on.)

1. Girls, do yourselves a favor and make a trip to Urban Escape Spa at least once in your life. SERIOUSLY. It's on Timog. If you're coming from Edsa, it comes AFTER the Circle/Morato, and it's on the left side of the road, in a building beside a McDonald's. Can't miss it. It's on the second floor, it's this warm, pleasant place, with really nice and generous staff. Their iced tea is fantastic, and their Swedish massage is so fabulous that I actually FELL ASLEEP (embarrassing, really). PLUS: We got to use their jacuzzi (JACUZZI!) and their steam room (it felt like I had clouded over glasses ALL THE TIME; I felt like a dumpling LOL yeah it was my first time) and that, plus the massage: P375/pax ALL-IN with shower use/endless towels/bottomless iced tea. (There's a promo for the hours between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., lucky us!) SERIOUSLY GIRLS GO FOR IT.

2. My girlfriend is an artist! No, seriously, look she drew me!

Me: Oh my god, we do look alike! (pause) 
Tangena wag nating iwan 'to dito at baka akalain nilang 
cartographic sketch ito ng isang wanted criminal LOL.

3. LOL apparently my EQ has not improved, Robin Padilla on Wowowee (Research joke) notwithstanding: (Unless of course love, you remember that this sundae on the left is yours? Hehe.)

4. After massage we went to Gateway/Cubao to have merienda/look at ukay. We weren't aware that we got down from the taxi IN FRONT OF EUROTEL. LOL FOREVER. The doorman almost tripped on his own feet while HURRYING TO OPEN EUROTEL'S DOORS TO US. Wow, how accommodating, really, but sorry dude, we're not about to go there. NO REALLY, WE'RE NOT (though did we look like we needed some Eurotel time? LOL PERVS WHAT) -- just, LOL. Apparently, we radiate this very visible LESBIAN COUPLE VIBE. Loud and proud, people.

5. Things we did in Cubao: Looked at ukay (she scored a fantastic jacket), shopped at booksale, ate at Razon's (where I introduced her to dinuguan), wandered around Cubao X. 

6. And then we went to Trinoma to attend my sister's birthday dinner with her high school/college friends. We gave her a book on how to have nice foreign-themed weekends (which I'm sure she and my brother would love, since they cook and experiment in the kitchen, etc etc). I had endless iced tea while her friends had alcohol and Andrea had margarita (ok I did help decimate the margarita, a bit. It was so strong it was LETHAL) and then with everyone alcohol-laden we played... PINOY HENYO. Ahay these kids are awesome. Sample words: Balat (panalo talaga tong word na to pano mo huhulaan to di ba), semento, PCOS machine, anino, ATM machine, straw, etc.

Krista's gift. (She's now 22! Huzzah! I was 22 when I met Andrea! Time flies.)

Lethal margarita is LETHAL.

Gerry's Grill's Sisig Kilaw is always AWESOME. ALWAYS.

7. The following day we had Pepper Lunch and had not-coffee in Seattle's Best, and then some fantastic crepe in Crepes n Cream in Rockwell. NGL, I love Rockwell and all, but I do miss weekends when we could stay in and NOT BE FRIED. Hay, weather.

Beef! I like Beeeeef!

Currently reading: Joe Hill's "Horns"

Gone in 3, 2...

Weekend well spent, all in all! I could get used to this, hehe :) How was *your* weekend? :)


here comes the bride (PAK!)

On Magnetic Hill in Rizal ALONG RIZAL HIGHWAY (LOL sorry, I only noticed this on the second go.. YES I WATCHED IT TWICE, BAKET? /edit), an accident occurs involving five vehicles just in time for a solar eclipse. As a result, five people suddenly find themselves in other bodies -- the bride, the ninang, the yaya, the lolo and the gay beautician image stylist. And I thought Freaky Friday was amusing.

Oh my God Chris Martinez. Yes, the writing is splendid, the dialogue is witty, and the story is engaging. I mean, SOLAR ECLIPSE! Jesus. Must have been fun trying to brainstorm on this one and arguing re where to put the lolo's soul for maximum effect and what to put inside Angelica Panganiban's body LOL.

But more than the writing, the acting is FANTASTIC. I mean, you can't pull off a body switch comedy with mediocre actors. Angelica Panganiban was awesome (PAKKKKK!) as the now-hysterical bride, and John Lapus was... well, you have to watch it to be properly scarred by everything, is all I'm saying.

Suffice it to say we'll be quoting from this one from now until FOREVER (like Kimmy Dora - Do you work here?) and planning about body switches with friends while waiting for the next solar eclipse.

Bravo, you guys. Run, don't walk. RUN. *PAKKKKKK!*



Catherine's (Julianne Moore) husband David (Liam Neeson) misses a flight home and her surprise birthday party for him falls apart. The following morning she spies a suspicious picture in his phone and it is here that things start crumbling. It's a marriage overtaken by responsibilities, a connection worn thin. Catherine, a successful gynecologist, is still pretty despite the lines on her face when she smiles, and yet she is often overlooked by her husband, a charming professor, a classical music expert. They have a son, a music major named Michael, aloof and secretive like most boys his age, and between a son that wants to have nothing to do with her and a husband who doesn't see her, Catherine feels so alone.

From her office window once she sees a girl escorting a man out of a building. She is young and blonde and from afar Catherine can see how pretty she is, and how the guy she's with is perhaps David's age. The girl can't be older than Catherine's son. She's wondering if men of a certain age prefers girls of a certain age; younger, definitely, than she now is. The thought fills her with a sort of dread.

The first time Catherine runs into Chloe, it's in a restaurant restroom. Catherine locks herself in a cubicle and hears sniffling from the adjacent space. There's a muffled voice of a girl crying, and after a while, Catherine's handing the girl a handful of tissues through the space between them by their feet. The shot of their stilettos and the music and Chloe's red painted fingernails wrapping around Catherine's pale hand make for very tense viewing and nothing's even happening. Or at least, none yet.

Outside by the mirror, Catherine is fixing her hair. Chloe comes out, thanks her. She pulls out a dainty hair clip and tells Catherine she must have dropped it. Catherine says it isn't hers, and Chloe says, Take it anyway. Catherine turns around and smiles. Chloe looks back -- her eyes wide, honest, fascinated; her lips full and parted. Chloe says, I want you to have it. Catherine considers for a moment before telling her she has to get back to her husband. Chloe stares at Catherine reflection on the mirror as she walks away, says nothing.

I try to chalk it up to overreading subtext -- I'm always overreading subtext because I enjoy it. Put two attractive girls in a room and somehow I can manage to read subtext into it 80 percent of the time. But this -- Amanda Seyfried as Chloe, for all the sexual tension that oozes out of her in this first scene wtih Julianne Moore as Catherine -- it is not subtext at all, is it?