Sunday, May 29, 2011

[[ FRAGILE ]]

Fragile is this beating heart beneath this lapel of my black boyfriend blazer.

The TV was blaring this morning. The morning news, unlike he morning air, stunk of politicking and brainwashing. I sank on the sofa, opened my now off-white netbook to log on to Facebook. I clicked home and the news feed was as stinky as the morning news. I do not know why but I cringe whenever I see someone's status which is a copy-paste of those text messages that are forwarded and back over and over again. And then I saw this thread. "Really? She did... " "Yep! Positive." "Oh my God!" Oh okay, they were talking about me on their walls. I heard my heart crack a little and I let out a soft sigh. The morning was losing its freshness as the air heats up.

That afternoon, I was walking mindlessly around the stores and restaurants in the university campus. I went over to the one that serves the best pasta. I was already salivating at the thought of ordering their creamy and saucy spaghetti de carbonara, reminiscent of that scene in Eat Pray Love. The waiter came after 15 minutes. "Friend. There you go." Yes, I am a regular here and the staff address me as Friend. Anyway my eyes zoomed on the food on my table. The air smells of cheese and meat and that homy feel when Mom cooks at home. I picked up the fork and put all my mind on making the perfect coil of pasta around my fork. It suddenly felt cold when a customer went inside the restaurant. Without looking up, I knew it was you.

I can see from the corner of my left eye that you are with someone. So, she is the one. I shouldn't be clumsy now, of all the times that I shouldn't be clumsy, it is now, I thought. But my fingers are disobedient and the fork that I was holding fell on the plate making an embarrassing noise. I know you looked my way. I didn't dare, would never dare to look back. Boiling anger spills over my chest into my numb fingers. I gathered all the poise I could muster and ate in silence. This spaghetti de carbonara used to be heaven. That moment, just sitting there was hell. I could hear you laugh. Softly, she laughed with you, the kind of laugh I wish I was the one doing. I couldn't help but think that maybe, just maybe, you were laughing at me. Quickly, I gulped every ball of pasta down my throat that ached stifling the sobs back. I paid my bill. I stood up, thankful that I wore my highest heel that somehow makes me feel like a rock star and walked past you and
looked at you in the eye and turned back like a triumphant beauty pageant contestant, except this time no crown has been won but a love lost.

I ran to the streets, aware of this beating heart breaking beneath the lapel of my black boyfriend blazer. Heart of mine, how fragile you are!

Disclaimer: This is pure fiction. I swear! lol

Friday, May 27, 2011

[[ PLINKY PROMPT: WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU CANNOT SLEEP AT NIGHT ]]

Some of you may know that I used to be an insomniac until a few days ago when a doctor prescribed me meds for it. Anyway, Plinky (the anti-writer's block tool) sent me questions and I am going to answer this one out because it is the easiest. :)

What do I do when I cannot sleep at night?

1. Blog. A lot of those sleepless nights were spent on thinking about random things. My cranium is abuzz with ideas. What better way to channel these ideas than to open my netbook and type them away and then post it on this beloved blog of mine? (You have no idea how much I value my blog. But maybe you do.)

2. Read. I have three e-book readers on my netbook as of the moment: Microsoft Reader, Kindle for PC, and Mobipocket. The latter is my favorite. And so whenever insomnia attacks, I just read away hundreds of e-pages until the wee hours of the morning. I am currently catching up on the Shopaholic series by Sophie Kinsella.

3. Download. This is one of my vices. I download every imaginable apps and add-ons on the internet. E-books. E-readers. Desktop Mascots. XP themes. Windowblinds. Download Manager. Mozilla and Opera plugins. MP3. Games. You name it, I DL it. Currently, I am obsessed with hello kitty. Everything on my netbook now is hello kitty. Even the icon for dota, I changed it with a hello kitty icon using Resource Hacker. Ha!

4. Read again. This time, blogs. I read the blogs of my blogger friends, those I came to know just through blogosphere to keep up with their lives. After much blog-hopping, I'll know what is trending, which blogger is sikat, who is funny, and who is god-like in writing. I know a lot in the blogosphere. I salute thee!

5. Lastly, I just battle my butt out to try to fall asleep. :)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

[[ BEAUTY CULTURE ]]

In 2010 there were more than 12 million cosmetic procedures — from breast implants to Botox injections — performed in the United States, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Meanwhile, there is at least one mother who has injected Botox into her child, a beauty pageant contestant (as seen on "Good Morning America" last week); a steady stream of models in uneasy relationships with their body weight, and magazine layouts in which skin color and body shapes have been digitally modified.


Apparently, there is an ugly side to the beauty industry. Silicon implants, nose jobs, chemical peels, tummy tuck, fat transfer, face lift, and let's not forget digital retouching.


In every generation, there is a Venus to come close to. There was a time when women were swooning in their corsets so tightly tied and now women swooning from skipping meals to keep up the stick-thin figure. Blame Twiggy!


We are not just in a world of "survival of the fittest" but also "survival of the prettiest." A study showed that a pretty face is perceived as smarter. So there goes the beauty industry exploding like a supernova. Years ago, we only hear of moisturizers, foundation, lipstick, rouge and eye shadow. Now, a modern woman's makeup bag contains at least 20 items.


Let's think again about some issues: about what we consider beautiful and why, why it is part of human nature and what role certain images and photographers and media play in our ideas about the boundaries of beauty.

Digital photography has made it easy to manipulate how people appear, resulting in unrealistic examples of beauty that may skew some people's expectations of themselves and others. It is tempting to think that the digital revolution introduced new levels of fakery, considering the effects of the globalization of Western beauty ideals. But then again, retouching and clever lighting are as old as portraiture itself. 

Such manipulation is "kind of like the apple in the Garden of Eden: it's so readily available that people use it without thinking. And I think that's had an effect. Some images in magazines, they're almost becoming illustrations instead of photographs.


And the war that pop culture wages on the female body should be looked at closely. These models are not the norm.

[[ GPS TO MODERN TRUE LOVE? ]]

IS there a proven strategy for finding love? If so, I suspect millions of people would like to know.

Answers, I'm sure, abound. I can already see the raised hands of self-help authors, relationship coaches and matchmakers eager to ply their trade. Open your wallet and maybe you'll learn that the secret is to follow a set of antiquated rules, or to lower your expectations and settle. Perhaps you'll be asked to describe your favorite salty snack, and that preference, when added to your profile and cross-referenced with someone else's preferences, will turn the key and in you'll go. Surely there's a science to this. Isn't there a science to everything?

Not according to all the grinning newlyweds who first locked eyes during Pilates or in a conga line at the tiki bar and found themselves hitched and happy without consultants, fees or even a single round of speed dating. "We just knew," they say, maddeningly. "It'll happen to you, too. You have to be patient."

Patience may be a virtue, but for many, it's no strategy for finding love.

So what else can you do, short of hiring advisers, creating a direct mail campaign or revealing your vitals to a site like Perfectmatch.com?

1. PERFECT THE TEXT

Seduction via love letters has a long, rich history. With text messaging, the genre is enjoying a renaissance, albeit one marked by shallowness and brevity.

Not that that's a bad thing. After all, it's hard not to be impressed by the efficiency of a message like "ur gr8 lets m8," which takes three seconds to type and a fraction of a second to send, and requires no stamp, wax seal or calligraphy. Cost: zero (depending on your texting plan).

Yet it can still be the start of a beautiful relationship. If the object of your desire replies with something chatty like "lol! its f8!" you're well on your way. Keep it going. Consider adding a playful photo or two (data charges may apply).

But be careful where you aim your camera: One ill-advised picture can ruin a thousand words.

2. TANTALIZE WITH TWEETS

Not long ago a young Brooklynite I heard from, Julieanne Smolinski, discovered an interesting phenomenon. She was seducing people. And she was being seduced. Not with suggestive touches or whispered come-ons, but with 140-character dispatches accompanied by, as she put it, "a chest-up self-portrait the size of a Scrabble tile."

Here is a truism about social media like Twitter and Facebook: the smaller the profile picture, the greater the fantasizing. People will double-click on your photo to try to see more of you, or drag it to their desktops hoping for a better view.

But the photo stubbornly remains a minuscule square of seductive potential, which only fuels the obsession. Combine it with some witty tweets and the package may prove irresistible. The Scrabble tile must be met in person.

Of course, it's almost impossible in these circumstances for the encounter to live up to the fantasy. Which is the downside of imagining one's romantic future based on a smattering of thumbnail images and glib phrases. Which is increasingly how we meet each other these days. Uh-oh.

3. CHASE TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH

We are told in matters of love never to chase. Chasing makes you look desperate, pathetic and obsessed. I've read hundreds of tales of chasing. The common version, which involves drive-bys and doorbell ringing and way too many unreturned calls and text messages, can be squirm-inducing.

But chasing someone you love to the ends of the earth is different. If the crush of your life decides to up and move to Japan, as Lisa Ruth Brunner's did in a story she told here last summer, and you miss her so much you arrange for foreign study in Beijing (which was as close as Lisa could get), and a year later you find yourself reunited with her in Tiananmen Square, the magnitude of your act is so absurdly out of scale that it can turn the original paradigm on its head: pathetic becomes romantic, desperate becomes determined.

And even if your grand gesture doesn't lead to love, as Lisa's didn't, at least your story stands a better chance of moving from the police blotter to Hollywood.

4. LOVE THE ONE YOU'RE WITH

Sometimes the love of your life is already with you. But there is some reason you cannot be a couple, or so you think.

Logic no, heart yes. I think we have our proven strategy.

[[ FACEBOOK PAGE OF THE DEAD ]]

It is trending nowadays: how to deal with dead Facebook friends. It's not so cool to think what should you do if one of your Facebook friends passes away. I mean, we do not wish that to happen, don't we? Certainly, it is not one of the creepy things that Mark Zuckerberg had anticipated or else he could have created a semblance of a cemetery to complete the virtual living (or dead) world he created.

But really, what if It happens? Should you just delete That account?

According to Social Q's Facebook page (where you are all welcome to join), they would have said: speak with a relative of the Dead about his/her ghoulish life-after-death account and close it. But now, there is the emergence of a new Facebook trend, in which the pages of our dearly departed are converted to tribute pages, on which Facebook friends share their feelings of loss and wax poetic via wall post.

What do you think? Cool or not?

Sunday, May 22, 2011

[[ THE TWITTER TRAP ]]

Read this one in NY Times. I thought of sharing it to you guys.

The Twitter Trap
By BILL KELLER
Published: May 18, 2011

Last week my wife and I told our 13-year-old daughter she could join Facebook. Within a few hours she had accumulated 171 friends, and I felt a little as if I had passed my child a pipe of crystal meth.
Enlarge This Image

I don't mean to be a spoilsport, and I don't think I'm a Luddite. I edit a newspaper that has embraced new media with creative, prizewinning gusto. I get that the Web reaches and engages a vast, global audience, that it invites participation and facilitates — up to a point — newsgathering. But before we succumb to digital idolatry, we should consider that innovation often comes at a price. And sometimes I wonder if the price is a piece of ourselves.

Joshua Foer's engrossing best seller "Moonwalking With Einstein" recalls one colossal example of what we trade for progress. Until the 15th century, people were taught to remember vast quantities of information. Feats of memory that would today qualify you as a freak — the ability to recite entire books — were not unheard of.

Then along came the Mark Zuckerberg of his day, Johannes Gutenberg. As we became accustomed to relying on the printed page, the work of remembering gradually fell into disuse. The capacity to remember prodigiously still exists (as Foer proved by training himself to become a national memory champion), but for most of us it stays parked in the garage.

Sometimes the bargain is worthwhile; I would certainly not give up the pleasures of my library for the ability to recite "Middlemarch." But Foer's book reminds us that the cognitive advance of our species is not inexorable.

My father, who was trained in engineering at M.I.T. in the slide-rule era, often lamented the way the pocket calculator, for all its convenience, diminished my generation's math skills. Many of us have discovered that navigating by G.P.S. has undermined our mastery of city streets and perhaps even impaired our innate sense of direction. Typing pretty much killed penmanship. Twitter and YouTube are nibbling away at our attention spans. And what little memory we had not already surrendered to Gutenberg we have relinquished to Google. Why remember what you can look up in seconds?

Robert Bjork, who studies memory and learning at U.C.L.A., has noticed that even very smart students, conversant in the Excel spreadsheet, don't pick up patterns in data that would be evident if they had not let the program do so much of the work.

"Unless there is some actual problem solving and decision making, very little learning happens," Bjork e-mailed me. "We are not recording devices."

Foer read that Apple had hired a leading expert in heads-up display — the transparent dashboards used by pilots. He wonders whether this means that Apple is developing an iPhone that would not require the use of fingers on keyboards. Ultimately, Foer imagines, the commands would come straight from your cerebral cortex. (Apple refused to comment.)

"This is the story of the next half-century," Foer told me, "as we become effectively cyborgs."

Basically, we are outsourcing our brains to the cloud. The upside is that this frees a lot of gray matter for important pursuits like FarmVille and "Real Housewives." But my inner worrywart wonders whether the new technologies overtaking us may be eroding characteristics that are essentially human: our ability to reflect, our pursuit of meaning, genuine empathy, a sense of community connected by something deeper than snark or political affinity.

The most obvious drawback of social media is that they are aggressive distractions. Unlike the virtual fireplace or that nesting pair of red-tailed hawks we have been live-streaming on nytimes.com, Twitter is not just an ambient presence. It demands attention and response. It is the enemy of contemplation. Every time my TweetDeck shoots a new tweet to my desktop, I experience a little dopamine spritz that takes me away from . . . from . . . wait, what was I saying?

My mistrust of social media is intensified by the ephemeral nature of these communications. They are the epitome of in-one-ear-and-out-the-other, which was my mother's trope for a failure to connect.

I'm not even sure these new instruments are genuinely "social." There is something decidedly faux about the camaraderie of Facebook, something illusory about the connectedness of Twitter. Eavesdrop on a conversation as it surges through the digital crowd, and more often than not it is reductive and redundant. Following an argument among the Twits is like listening to preschoolers quarreling: You did! Did not! Did too! Did not!

As a kind of masochistic experiment, the other day I tweeted "#TwitterMakesYouStupid. Discuss." It produced a few flashes of wit ("Give a little credit to our public schools!"); a couple of earnestly obvious points ("Depends who you follow"); some understandable speculation that my account had been hacked by a troll; a message from my wife ("I don't know if Twitter makes you stupid, but it's making you late for dinner. Come home!"); and an awful lot of nyah-nyah-nyah ("Um, wrong." "Nuh-uh!!"). Almost everyone who had anything profound to say in response to my little provocation chose to say it outside Twitter. In an actual discussion, the marshaling of information is cumulative, complication is acknowledged, sometimes persuasion occurs. In a Twitter discussion, opinions and our tolerance for others' opinions are stunted. Whether or not Twitter makes you stupid, it certainly makes some smart people sound stupid.

I realize I am inviting blowback from passionate Tweeters, from aging academics who stoke their charisma by overpraising every novelty and from colleagues at The Times who are refining a social-media strategy to expand the reach of our journalism. So let me be clear that Twitter is a brilliant device — a megaphone for promotion, a seine for information, a helpful organizing tool for everything from dog-lover meet-ups to revolutions. It restores serendipity to the flow of information. Though I am not much of a Tweeter and pay little attention to my Facebook account, I love to see something I've written neatly bitly'd and shared around the Twittersphere, even when I know — now, for instance — that the verdict of the crowd will be hostile.

The shortcomings of social media would not bother me awfully if I did not suspect that Facebook friendship and Twitter chatter are displacing real rapport and real conversation, just as Gutenberg's device displaced remembering. The things we may be unlearning, tweet by tweet — complexity, acuity, patience, wisdom, intimacy — are things that matter.

There is a growing library of credible digital Cassandras who have explored what new media are doing to our brains (Nicholas Carr, Jaron Lanier, Gary Small and Gigi Vorgan, William Powers, et al.). My own anxiety is less about the cerebrum than about the soul, and is best summed up not by a neuroscientist but by a novelist. In Meg Wolitzer's charming new tale, "The Uncoupling," there is a wistful passage about the high-school cohort my daughter is about to join.

Wolitzer describes them this way: "The generation that had information, but no context. Butter, but no bread. Craving, but no longing."

Bill Keller is the executive editor of The New York Times.

Friday, May 20, 2011

DOMAIN DILEMMA

My .info domain is not configured properly when it was transferred to my godaddy account. So I will have to publish throug the default domain of blogspot.com. I will sort this out. Just bear with me.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

[[ BLACK SUMMER ]]

The air smells acidic and foul. The stench of human sweat lingers around. There is a yellow glow to the sunlight like an incandescent lamp. The aircons and electric fans are nearing the brink of breakdown from abuse. The white man comes to island to get a tan and a tanned young island girl. The kids are busy in the dance/acting/modeling/painting/cooking workshop. The older naughty kids are cursing in their summer class after flunking the finals. The Bieber fan gets disillusioned after knowing that JB had been rude to another fan. The mall rats are evolving into mall monsters, growing more vicious than ever, scouring every nook of MOA. The fashion trends are in rage for color blocking, juxtaposing big chunks of solid bright colors. We see men in their Hawaiian button downs, and women in frilly maxis bursting with patterns. Fruit juices are served on tall glasses sweating in the sun. Orange orange juice. Yellow mango nectar. Red watermelon shake. Pink
pomelo punch. Colors colors everywhere. But I see on shades of black under my cheap Folded and Hung sunnies.

Monday, May 16, 2011

[[ TO MY LONG LOST BESTIE ]]

I was flipping through folders containing my photos when I saw this one, taken during the Inter-ethnic Dialogue and Conflict Resolution Seminar that the ACCESS-Marawi Group and the MSU Supreme Student Council sponsored during the Freshmen Week. I love this photo of me, but suddenly a picture of one of my dearest best friends who was with me that day this pic was taken, popped into my head, flooding me with memories.


Dear, I have not heard from you in like years. I miss you. So much. 

[[ A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS ]]

Written by Khaled Hosseini, famous for his best-seller The Kite Runner, this novel will take us back to Afghanistan. Equally as powerful as his previous work, if not more, the story revolved around the touchy topic of the place of women in Afghanistan.We hear about their plight in the mainstream news media, but we do not see them behind the walls of their homes. Another important aspect of A Thousand Splendid Suns is how it recounts the start of the Afghanistan conflict, its civil wars, the Taliban, and the war with US of A.The Afghan refugee crisis has been one of the most severe around the globe stretching for three difficult decades. The war with USA alone is now over a decade. It's not just about Osama bin Laden. War, hunger, anarchy, and oppression forced millions of people to abandon their homes and flee Afghanistan to settle in neighboring Pakistan and Iran. At the height of the exodus, as many as eight million Afghans were living abroad as refugees. Today, more than two million Afghan refugees remain in Pakistan.


This is the story of two women, one an illegitimate daughter of a rich merchant forced to live in the outskirts of town because she was supposedly a shame to his father's legitimate family, and one an educated daughter of a teacher who lived in a "modern" way. The two met by chance when circumstances led them to become wives of a man who is self-righteous, violent, and "extremist." I cannot point out everything in this novel that affected me but let me tell some.


One is the Taliban's Rules when it comes to women. These rules were even printed on flyers so every woman will comply.


"Attention women:   


You will stay inside your homes at all times.

It is not proper for women to wander aimlessly about the streets.

If you go outside, you must be accompanied by a mahram, a male relative.

If you are caught alone on the street, you will be beaten and sent home.  

You will not, under any circumstance, show your face.

You will cover with burqa when outside. If you do not, you will be severely beaten.

Cosmetics are forbidden.  

Jewelry is forbidden.  

You will not wear charming clothes.  

You will not speak unless spoken to.  

You will not make eye contact with men.  

You will not laugh in public. If you do, you will be beaten.  

You will not paint your nails. If you do, you will lose a finger.  

Girls are forbidden from attending school. All schools for girls will be closed immediately.Women are forbidden from working.  

If you are found guilty of adultery, you will be stoned to death  

Listen. Listen well. Obey.Allah-u-akbar."


Whoever wrote these rules and implemented them fiercely, I hope a flicker of doubt burst in your mind so that you can question whether what you believe in is correct. Maybe you are one of those who believes without doubt, who thinks that just because you believe in something religious makes them right. Maybe a little doubt is all you need. A little self-check. 


Afghanistan, like the rest of this world is full of those people who argue with each other who has the better belief. One faction wants socialism, another fights for democracy, another screams for an Islamic state. But what has been borne out of this? War. Mass murder. Blood bath. Can we just stop all this bulls#@$ ?

[[ CAPTURE IT! ]]

There were those fleeting moments of pure light, unfiltered by negative thoughts.


They are rare.


They rarely come even if chased down the narrow alley.


How I wish those moments can be frozen.


For they are liquid,


slipping out of my hands when I try to hold them.


Yes, I want to freeze them like a fraction of time captured in a photograph.


So I can have something solid to linger my touch on


when everything disintegrates into smoke,


dimming the morning sun.

[[ THE SLUMBER THEY CALL DEATH ]]

I admit that I am thinking of death a little too often these days. Eons ago, I associate it with the image of a hooded figure carrying an awfully huge scythe, of worms eating the flesh away, of darkness in the grave, of the Angels that are supposed to punish the sinner. Eons ago, I was afraid of it.

Perhaps it is the love of life that scare us from the embrace of the eternal sleep. We are too accustomed with waking after a several hours of deep slumber. Perhaps, too, it is our religious beliefs of the Afterlife. The three major religions of the world (Judaism,Islam and Christianity) all taught us about heaven and hell. Our mortal flesh cannot deny the filth of its sins and so comes the uncertainty about where we are headed--to salvation or damnation. But the bigger uncertainty is the thought that what if there is no life after death. After we are decomposed down to our elemental composition, then we cease to exist as whoever we were.

It is indeed very much like sleep, when we surrender to its grip, we don't really know what we will dream about nor whether we will dream at all.

There are those instances when our waking hours are saturated by pain. There are those waking hours when at the end of a long journey, we are tired beyond imaginable. I thought to myself, indeed life and death are like wakefulness and sleep. Sometimes, we are just too tired of everything that we long to curl up in bed and give everything to the hands of Fate. And sleep away into the unknown.

In this simplistic idea of death, dying becomes less terrifying. Death becomes more inviting. Like a blanket thrown over our shoulders when it's cold. Like a quaint cafe along the cobblestone streets of Paris. Like the warmth of the cup of creamy cappuccino. The smell of it. Silky and rich. Like an embrace.

(yawn)

I am drowsy. Very drowsy.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

[[ THE UNBELIEVER AMONG THEM ]]

I was in high school then when my mouth dared to utter the words "Does God really exist?" Bewildered, my friends and classmates reacted violently behind my back. It was a rumor that spread like wildfire. Years later, when I meet someone who knew me back then, they always question whether that "rumor" is true.

I dare to speak up now. Yes, indeed.

In a small town where what others think about you matter, I suffered from that "slip of tongue." It turns out, I was the only one who dared ask the big question of existence. They said "sayang, matalino pero walang paniniwala."

To you who judged me that way, this one is for you!

Have you ever thought that perhaps you were born in a community whose beliefs are wrong? If believing blindly to whatever you were taught is right, then what if you were born in a cult for instance? Don't you think that attitude of belief without understanding is dangerous to some degree? They say faith is belief without reason, but come on, a little understanding is not bad at all.

I am no way ashamed of this period in my life when I believed in nothing. I was hungry for answers and I did research and read a lot of religious literature. Years later, I finally believed. This time, I have reasons to believe. This time, I am confident in what I believe in. Because I know that I am not that dimwit who believed unquestioningly when she was told that the world is flat.

I have mental faculties and it is but natural for me to question the logic of things. I needed answers because if I forced to myself to believe, I will only cheat myself. Whatever semblance of faith I can muster, I know that it is shallow and the foundations are weak.

Last thing, whatever you believe in, just keep it to yourself and do not force it down my throat. I will only vomit. I have my belief, you have yours, so do not cross the line. Pocket your hypocrisy.Better yet, eat it.

[[ A EULOGY ]]

She is one of those people I don't understand very well even if we are bestfriends. She is a mystery to me. I wanted to put her under a category, a stereotype but my efforts are in vain. But if there is something that I understood from her, that is she wanted to live.

Yes, she wanted to live. She wanted more from life. She wanted to live in every breath like a blossoming daisy in the meadow, fragile yet hungry for life. She saw life behind the lens of poetry, where tragedies are as beautiful as fairy tales. She wanted to fly. She wanted to be free. She wanted to embark in adventures. But this world is obsessed with safety. She saw a sea of people in suits and pinstripes, racing relentlessly up the success ladder, where success means an education from a reputable institution, an 8-5 job, a spouse and maybe some children, a "stable" kind of life. Safe.

One day, she asked me,"What if Magellan was a safety-freak and did not sail around the world? What if Alexander the Great stayed inside the safety of his home? What if Copernicus did not question the belief then that the earth is the center of the universe?" I jokingly said,"Maybe we'd still be in the Dark Ages."

She told me her plans. I thought she was a little too ambitious for what she wanted was never been done before. She said she only want to leave footprints. To achieve this goal, she had to be freed and let t the world caged her in its norms and customs.

My friend, I did not know you will set yourself free like this. I know this life lost its meaning to you but I wish you stayed and like the rest of us, endured it. I may never will comprehend your reasons,but I am consoled that perhaps, wherever you are, you may find whatever that is lacking here.

[[ THE LOST SYMBOL ]]

Have you read Dan Brown's latest book, The Lost Symbol? I have. And it disappointed me in a way that I thought it would be as compelling, as powerful, as almost-factual-I-almost-believed-it-is-not fiction. Twelve hours later, disappointment turned into something else.

By morning, when I had finished the book, I was as intellectually challenged. It reminded me of those soul-searching questions I have always wrestled with:

Does God exist?

Is there a soul?

If there is, what happens to it when we die?

What is the purpose of life?

What if there is no God?

If there is, how will we know?

Can all the world's religions and spiritual systems be read essentially as one large vision of humanity's quest for connections to the larger universe?

Is there a physicality to the mind, the soul, and human thoughts?

Do the latest advances in science reveal who we really are and what our place in the universe is?

There is a scene in The Lost Symbol when Robert Langdon and Katherine Solomon are lying on their backs, gazing up at the magnificent mythic fresco, The Apotheosis of Washington, that fills the top of the Capitol Dome, like two kids, shoulder to shoulder, contemplating the meaning of life, after their heroic night of revelatory adventure. It reminds me of the moonless cloudless nights when I stare at the depth of space, feeling humbled by the wonder of it all. I think we all did this at some point in our lives. So, too, did people in all societies from prehistory to the ancient Egyptians, Babylonians, Greeks, Romans, Medieval alchemists, Renaissance humanists, Galileo, Newton, and even Benjamin Franklin who was known for discussing the big questions with his "lunatic society" on moonlit nights. When we were kids, and especially during adolescence and early adulthood, we reflect upon those big questions.But as we grow older, most of us stop and instead
come to believe, convinced that there are no satisfactory answers to the bigger existential questions and simply continue on life's journey. This is what I like about The Lost Symbol. It gave me an opportunity to revisit those big questions.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

[[ RH BILL ]]

So this friend of mine messaged me on Facebook asking me what is my stand on the Reproductive Health Bill. My simple answer is: I AM PRO-RH BILL.


1. What is so wrong with sex education?

2. If you don't want contraceptives, nobody urges you to use one.

3. If you don't want contraceptives, why deprive others if they want to have access to them?

4. Contraceptive is not equal to abortion.

5. Don't you just hate the image of a poor Filipino couple bearing a child every year yet cannot even feed their kids decently?

The authors of the bill and thousands of its supporters can add more to my list. But the thing is, maybe it's time to open our minds to new solutions to old problems. If it proves futile, we can always abolish it. I just think it is worth the try.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

[[ ADIKTUS ]]

I haven't foreseen that it will come to this, having to post through MMS. Posting can wait, right? But really I need to rant. Baddest of luck befell on me last night. But then I deserve it. Because I am an adik (addict in Filipino).

Here's what happened. I was deep into the electronic pages of Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol e-book which I was reading on my ASUS Eee PC netbook. I saw a warning on my screen that I was on battery instead of AC even if my AC adapter was plugged in. I didn't mind it thinking that since I was reading with the netbook on my bed, I must have unplugged it accidentally. So I continued to read until midnight. I completely forgot about the adapter until I noticed that my power is running out. I checked the connection and voila, it's not working! Have I mentioned that the adapter was sandwiched between my pillows and was as hot as hell?

So now, I have to surf the net through mobile browsing all because I am so adik with my netbook that if it could file a suit against me for abuse, the jury's verdict will put me behind bars. My relationship with it is the closest I have to anything. Like face to face with it from the moment I wake up and fall asleep. How do I fix this? I need it asap. No, not just because I am having withdrawal symptoms.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

[[ FIRST SCRIPTWRITING AND DIRECTING STINT ]]

I cannot fully verbalize how excited I am this very moment right after I, along with my partner in crime who I will refer here as he-who-must-be-named (Voldemort? nah!), have submitted my entry form for the SINENG PAMBANSA LANAO DEL SUR FDCP SHORT FILM COMPETITION 2011 which aims to engage the young people of Lanao del Sur in the quest for the peace in Mindanao. The participants are supposed to complete the phrase "Peace is..." and either they show their idea on how to solve this conflict or just describe their notion of what peace is. This is youth empowerment through film.

You see, the Mindanao conflict is older than me and even my grandparents. Some of us youth do not really understand what this conflict is about and how relevant it is to our lives. It is like a cancer that has taken root deeply into our country and seems impossible to cure. However, hope for reconciliation must never wane because if hope finally dies, then we can no longer hope for a better Philippines. The sickness of a finger can be felt by the whole system.

I am thankful that there are those who still pursue the dream of a peaceful Mindanao. It is my moral obligation, not only to my fellow Mindanaoans but to myself, to take part in events like this. At the end of the day, I can sleep with a sense of fulfillment that I actually contributed to the cause.

To you who-must-not-be-named-but-I-will-certainly-have-to-name-later-on, we can do this!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

[[ BY THE TIME YOU READ THIS, I'LL BE DEAD : THE BOOK ]]

The title alone is intriguing. Add the beautiful cover and one will itch to open this book. Written by Julie Anne Peters, this tells about Daelyn Rice, a teenage soul that is deep in the pit of misery. She went through a series of unsuccessful suicide attempts and she's now determined to get her death right.




Daelyn's downhill slide is a result of years of torment and embarrassment she received because of her weight and has suffered major psychological damage from being bullied. Eventually, she lost her raison d'etre, her desire to live. She starts visiting a website for "completers"— www. through-the-light .com. She discovers theThrough the Light website on accident, but finds it to be a welcome change of pace to the other suicide websites and discussion boards she's visited in the past. Instead of preaching and warning her against her decision, the website provides rational and informational posts and discussions about ending her life.



Daelyn is biding her time. She only has 23 days until her Date of Determination.



What will she do in her last 23 days? How will she end her life? I won't spoilt it for you guys because the thrill of the book is in knowing what will she do next. This is certainly a powerful eye-opener. Bullying can be a very ugly word.



Just like suicide.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

[[ WORST GOSSIPS I'VE HEARD ]]

Kids, it's midnight and insomnia is tormenting me. How to deal? Silly thoughts. So I am going to try to remember all the ridiculous gossips I've heard so far. Here goes:

1. When I was a kid, my playmates believed that Bruce Lee died because somebody shot him using a shotgun while he is, sorry for the term, defecating.

2. Bongbong Marcos is allegedly not Fedinand Marcos' son. He is Emilda's son with another man. Look at him now, he is so much like his supposed adoptive father.

3. This on is more recent. John Lloyd Cruz and Shaina Magdayao got stuck in the throes of passion. I now you know what I mean.

4. Piolo Pascual and Sam Milby was once an item.

5. Boy Abunda had an operation that will enlarge the opening of his anus.

6. Katrina Halili's nose is real. Who are you kidding?

7. Senator Miriam Santiago is too brainy that her off-the-roof IQ drives her insane every now and then.

8. Princess Diana's death was planned by the royal family. They wanted her to die because she was pregnant with Dodi's child and that will make "pollute" the royal blood.

9. Lady Gaga is a transgender.

10. Elvis Presley is still alive.

Can you add one to this list?

Monday, May 2, 2011

[[ MODERNIZING LOVE ]]

What is love in the context of a Twitterized world? Years ago the interest is on "no strings attached" sex that for many wasn't turning out to be so carefree. The question that seemed to hover was: How do we get the physical without the emotional?

What a difference three years make. This time the most-asked question was the opposite: How do we get the emotional without the physical? How do we grow and deepen our relationships in a wired world. Today,relationships are grown and deepened almost exclusively via laptops, webcams, online chats and text messages. Unlike the sexual risk-taking of the hookup culture, this is love so safe that what's most feared is not a sexually transmitted disease but a computer virus, or perhaps meeting the object of your affection in person.

The Internet and smartphones are obliterating the geographical boundaries that used to define one's dating pool. We read about high school couples that no longer split up when they go to separate colleges because, well, why should they when they can still spend practically every waking moment in touch and even in sight? The same goes for foreign-study flings that carry on after lovers are once again on separate continents. And then there are those who are in a relationship that started and ended on Facebook walls and never really met physically in between coupling up and breaking up.

We can only ask the possibility and peril of this kind of pixelated long-distance love story. Is this trend to going to be around for long? Is Skype-ing as satisfactory as good old cuddling?

[[ OSAMA BIN LADEN DIED AND I'M NOT HAPPY ABOUT IT ]]

When the 9/11 strike happened, I was in awe that the United States of America, the most powerful country in the world is actually defenseless, which to me betrays the logic. How come that they were not able to intercept the airplanes? They got the most sophisticated military, didn't they? Moments later, a picture of a bearded man danced in our TV sets. Really? This man has that capabilities? Really? There was already a suspect minutes after the incident?

Before I could even blink my eye, US troops came marching to Afghanistan leaving the country with countless orphans. (Haven't you read Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini?) Later on, it was Iraq which they attack because of weapons of mass destruction. Where are those weapons now? A decade after, Osama died. So it actually took them ten awful years to catch the man.

I am not happy at all. Because I am not convinced that everything that happened between 9/11 and today is not staged. Because today, anti-terrorism is synonymous with Islamophobia. Because USA's revenge is way too much. They lost 2 buildings and hundred of lives. In return, they destroyed thousands of home and killed thousands of civilians.

Does an American equals to a thousand Afghans?

[[ THE MOVIE THAT SCANDALIZED EUROPE ]]

Diario de Una Ninfómana / Diary of a Nymphomaniac


The Diary of a Nymphomaniac is a movie that tells of the wanton escapades of a French woman living in Barcelona, her unbridled and overpowering lust, her love affairs, the men in her life, her struggle to understand herself, her new "profession" as a prostitute, and her fall and redemption. Starring Belen Fabra, Leonardo Sbaraglia, Geraldine Chaplin, Angela Molina and directed by Christian Molina, this artsy movie won't leave you unaffected.

Kids, listen. I watched it. I did! I think that the movie is cool. Take the carnal activities out of the picture and just contemplate on the little commentaries about society that the movie throws to its audience, it will make sense.

There are many unforgettable lines in the movie. One is when when Val, the lead actress, confided to her grandmother about her being a nymphomaniac and how she is terriefied by it, being so different from other women, her grandmother just said,

"Men invented nymphomania to scare women who break the rules." (Not an exact translation since it is in French and Spanish.)

Unlike most movies that tells us that sex without love is empty, this one does the exact opposite. It says that pretty much every bit of misery that comes the way of Valére comes from trying to make it into something more than something she enjoys on its own.

Another unforgettable line: "Marriage is no different from prostitution." Either way, you are bound to someone, owned in fact.

Although I do not agree to most of the ideas presented in the movie, I loved that it challenged my opinion on certain things, made me see them from the opposite direction. The beauty in that is either our values become strengthened or our horizon is widened. The movie is beautifully shot, with gorgeous actors, and the narration which is mostly in Spanish is like music to the ears.

The core of the movie, I believe is freedom and responsibility. To what extent are we free? To what extent should we let the society control us? Who is responsible for your happiness? Your family? Your boo?

Or just yourself?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

[[ I DID NOT WATCH THE ROYAL WEDDING ]]

5 reasons why:

1. To differentiate myself from the two billion people who watched the Willia and Kate wedding.

2. I cannot stand anything that is associated with the idea that a girl suddenly becomes a somebody because of a prince charming.

3. I'd rather be curled up in my bed reading Gossip Girl which is currently my guilty pleasure.

4. I am too self-absorbed to be thinking about my own business and nobody else's.

5. Watching the wedding does not do anything for me.

Reason why I should have:

........

Seriously, give me one!