Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Prophecy of Merlyn

“I do not think much of it as a quest,” said Kay. “He only went after the hawk, after all.”

“And got the hawk, Master Kay,” said Hob, reprovingly.

“Oh well,” said Kay, “I bet the old man caught it for him.”

“Kay,” said Merlyn, suddenly terrible, “thou wast ever a proud and ill-tongued speaker, and a misfortunate one. Thy sorrow will come from thine own mouth.”

At this everybody felt uncomfortable, and Kay, instead of flying in his usual passion, hung his head. He was not an unpleasant boy really, but clever, quick, passionate and ambitious. He was one of those people who would never be a follower nor a leader, but only an aspiring heart, impatient in the failing body which imprisoned him.

-excerpt from T.H. White’s The Once and Future King

Finding for a phrase which explains what I feel about this passage—

It broke my heart. I may have been Kay, for all Merlyn knew. Now I’m supposed to write about how frustrated I am about my limitations—about the things I knew I could do and wanted badly to do but somehow never found the strength to—but something keeps catching as I try to type them. Someday, when I put them down in words, I may have overcome them. But it may be a day I for which I could not afford to wait.

Sunday, November 26, 2006


'Happy people don't keep diaries. They're much too busy living', Robert Heinlein says in his book Friday. This tells us about what he thinks of happy people. First, that happy people are of necessity busy and second, that they don't keep diaries.

Sounds redundant, but I'm doing it for emphasis. Why? Because I think he's wrong. Happy people are not always busy people. I am happy, but I'm not busy. That's why this blog gets updated so often; I have a lot of time to waste on non-existent readers.

But things are different, now. Surprisingly, I have a lot of stuff to bother about lately. Or maybe, there's just me wanting to bother about a lot of stuff lately. There's a fundamental difference. I've always thought that feeling busy and actually being busy are two different concepts. The latter complements your social life, the former says you're pathetic.

But yes, I do feel tired more often, if tiredness is any measure of busyness. Maybe I'm going through a paradigm shift. My relaxed, laid-back philosophy is slowly evaporating. Well. It may be inevitable. I don't feel any sorrow, though.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Wednesays, Coke Light, Isaw and Imaginary Fights

I feel stoned. I’m listening to pathetic piano instrumental music right now. Just two weeks into school and I’m knocked up—and not in that sense, okay. It’s a pretty day to-day, lot’s of birds chirping, lots of sun, extra dough to spend. But what do stupid me do? Sulks at home and listens to pathetic piano music, that’s what.

I so feel like a loser.

I’m supposed to be participating in a debate contest today, but it just takes too much effort, yes? I like to turn off my brain on Wednesdays so it works on Thursdays. I think I’m also supposed to turn up for an interview for editor-in-chiefship of the college paper, but that also requires lots of motor and neural coordination. Not good. Why invent Wednesdays when there are Thursdays, huh? Stupid calendar honchos, that’s why. Don’t! Ask me why.

All I need is someone to annoy and/or pick a fight with. Not some logical fight with coherent words; not anything physical. This kind would have a lot of mumbling and glaring and a general but amiable resentment towards the opponent. Very genial. Very stupid.

So this is what I did: I went to the mall by myself. What with this heat suffusing the country in the middle of the Christmas season, malls are the most logical places to go. It makes so much sense, I can’t believe I thought about it all by myself.

It may be a conspiracy. The mall owners of the country gathered together in a secret meeting and decided to fund the project of a mad scientist. The mad scientist has discovered a way to artificially alter the temperature at will. The analysis team hired by the mall owners correctly predicted that with higher temperatures, the frenzied pitch of Christmas shopping will extraordinarily increase. Thus, the revenues usually generated by the average gullible Pinoy quadruples.

After the mall, I went to the isawan near our subdivision. I gorged and swigged it down with Diet Coke.

Now that makes absolutely no sense, you know I thought about it all by myself.

You Need Someone to Say Hi To Late At Night

I don’t want to sound like a certain emo guy you know, but I warn you that I may get too close to his timber which may lead you to lose your respect for me. I assume that neither of us wants that to happen, but someday it will. Let’s just not hope its now.

Let’s talk about primary friends and secondary friends. Primary friends are those who you trust your life and panties with. They are the kind of people you can leave your red lollipop with and know that the patch of wet that wasn’t there before isn’t theirs. Their less important functions are as follows: absorbent shoulders to cry on, fellow problem solvers, and sympathetic ears to endless rants.

Secondary friends are simply the people you hang out with when the primary friends are not available to humor you. Secondary friends assuage your boredom, make you laugh, hear your occasional petty problems, and not much else. They are fun to be with, much like your primary friends, but you owe them less obligations.

Sometimes though, secondary friends take over the role of primary friends. It may be that the primary friends are simply not doing what they are supposed to do, on purpose (i.e. ignoring you) or not (it may be that your schedules simply do not match), thus pushing you away to your secondary mates. It may be that the secondary friends demand too much time from you, because they like you and want you to be a more permanent part of their clique, thus pushing you away from your primary buddies. It may also be that you are too insensitive to know what you are doing in the first place, and want everything at the same time and expect them to generously understand you with no hassles.

That does happen, fortunately. I understand you too well. See, I always thought that if there’s anyone in this whole wide polluted world who thinks a lot like you, it would be me. Since we think so much alike, I know that you know I am not being sarcastic as I type this paragraph. I really do mean it. I wish I don’t.

Why don’t your primary friends just get together with your secondary friends? It’s fairly simple, if you think about it. They like each other in the first place. So why isn’t it happening? Life is simple, only if you think about it.

I know you’re happy. And I’m happy too. But I miss you.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

And You're Almost Happy, Almost Content—But Your Head Hurts

Who or what made us? Why are we here? Why doesn’t anyone or anything absolutely answer questions such as these, if there is such a thing as an absolute answer?

Well, I’ll tell you flatly that I don’t care. As long as I get what I want, as long as I’m content with whatever I don’t have, then I don’t care. So far I’ve lived a relatively satisfied life without answers—who says I can’t for the next few decades more? Life is simple. (You’re sure? I got the impression that we’re looking for something more than that ‘life is simple’ summary. A purpose, methinks?). (You did? Shut up).

This shit reminds me of a short story by Ray Bradbury called ‘The Blue Bottle’. It’s very…short, for a short story that is. Very linear: two men are looking for the fabled Blue Bottle which is somewhere in the crumbled empire of Mars. One man is driven, making the acquisition of the bottle the sole purpose of his life. The other man is just along for the ride, not caring about finding the bottle or not. What could be in this blue bottle that men did not live to speak about? According to the myths, the bottle contains whatever the finder’s heart desires. Much like a magic lamp, but this one’s found in Mars’ red sands.

After years and years of searching, the first man found the bottle. He walked a little distance away from his buddy who waves at him while taking a drag at a cigarette. He opened the bottle, and finally realized what he was really looking for all those years. The blue bottle was a scapegoat; he could not tell himself that his life was senseless and pointless and useless to anyone, even to himself. He needed a myth to tell him that, and more—to give him what his heart really desired.

The next day, his friend went to the patch of red sand where he was supposed to be. All he found was a blue bottle half-full with bourbon.

The story is sad. And it scares me.

Friday, November 17, 2006


It’s on the 7 o’clock news. The temperature in Metro Manila has gone down since last night, creeping on the unaware and unprepared. The sun is going to set earlier and rise later; the winter solstice is near. Christmas is near.

When I was younger, my grandparents were the first to put up the Christmas lights in the subdivision. There was a tall Indian tree standing guard in front of their house then, and it was the first among its neighbors to be decked in a glittering radiance. Their Christmas tree had handmade décor; my tita always smelled like glue gun until the plastic tree has ceased to become one to the imagination. The whole house used to glow with singing lights, and us kids used to sit down in the middle of the street to stare at the only place where Christmas came early.

It was magic, then. I waited for Christmas, and although I did not understand what it really meant (Jesus’ birthday, dear, mama said), the superficial symbols were enough to make me believe in Santa Claus and holiday cheer and The Jackson Five. They were enough to make me innocently happy.

I remember the last Christmas I spent with my grandparents. I woke up really early, took out my kid bike, and pedaled all over the subdivision waiting for my Lolo to unlock the gate. As soon as it was opened, I rushed in to check out the gifts sprawled under the tree. I was tipped with ten pesos for being early, and you know what they got me? A dinosaur. It walked and it roared. It was green and made of plastic.

The next year, Lolo and Lola converted to Dating Daan—a religion which does not celebrate Christmas. I guess I was crushed and disillusioned, but I don’t really remember how it felt, what it meant: all I know was that I will never get any more dinosaurs. We had our own tree and lights, but they were not quite the same and not quite as special. Kids didn’t sit down in the middle of the street to stare at our house.

Since then, the other houses in the subdivision lost morale. The houses put up their Christmas lights later and later into the holidays, and some, like ours, just stopped. Maybe they thought there was no point to it. I know I did.

Isn’t it sad? I hold that Christmas is nothing more than a massive commercial success. There might be a deeper meaning, there probably is, but I don’t know what it is yet. Listen, all I know is that Christmas is special. The cold reality of it being a marketing stunt cannot cover that. It is special, and without the lights and the tree I’ll never know when it’s near.

Thank the entity above for 7 o’clock weather news.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Annual Bout of Doubt

I’ve been telling people to read Douglas Adams, and only one person listened to me. This particular person is female and very pretty—trust me on this. I don’t exactly know just how much damage sci-fi has done to her, but only yesterday she proudly told me that she has the perfect defense weapon against potential rapists: geeky glasses.

I just blinked. If she weren’t so cute I’d slap her (Joaoao forgive me for my sinful thoughts, I have yet to live a fulfilling existence). I’m not a physically violent person (if you call pinching armpits non-violent), but men DO run after this particular girl, literally, and say “Miss, I’m dying to know your name” while panting after an exercise from Lawton to Kalaw. This is the kind of girl I spend afternoons lecturing on the carnivorous and carnal nature of men and the utter usefulness of learning how to sneer. If D is her answer for my test question (what do you do when a guy smiles at you? A. smile back and beg to be gang-banged B. sneer C. take out balisong D. wear geeky glasses), let’s find a way to fit it to her chest and I’ll shut up.

Sorry for sounding mean, but I am fiercely protective of her—as are most people around her. And don’t make the mistake of assuming she’s dumb because she looks great; I may kill you for it. She reads Douglas Adams. You don’t. *sticks tongue out*

So back to Douglas Adams. I have here an interesting excerpt from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and this is the context for it: the Babel fish is something you put in your ear which feeds on brainwaves and thus enables you to understand any language in the universe. Don’t ask me how it works, it’s so complex. Here.

Now it is such a bizaarely improbable coincidence that anything so mind-bogglingly useful [the Babel fish] could have evolved purely by chance that some thinkers have chosen to see it as the final and clinching proof of the nonexistence of God.

The argument goes something like this: ‘I refuse to prove that I exist,’ says God, ‘for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing.’

‘But,’ says Man, ‘the Babel fish is a dead giveaway isn’t it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and so, by your own arguments, you don’t. QED.’

‘Oh dear,’ says God, ‘I hadn’t thought of that,’ and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.

‘Oh, that was easy,’ says Man, and for an encore goes on to prove that black is white and gets himself killed on the next pedestrian crossing.

I posted the excerpt because I’ve been ruminating about my religion or nonexistence of it lately. But let’s talk about that another far away day. I’ve got to find some pepper spray.

PS—If any of you has Mostly Harmless, the fifth and last book missing in my Hitchhiker collection and wants the ultimate ego boost of having someone go down on her knees to beg for at least a chance to read it, feel free to contact me.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

I Hope Were As Happy As They Sell Us to Be

Every morning, the husband goes to work wearing a navy blue shirt. The missus rises from the bed and opens the closet, revealing a row of neatly hanged white polos. A look of utter anxiety crosses her face as she spirals down to a horrible bout of depression over unused white polos. But lo! She gets hold of a shimmering white bar of detergent which then magically solves her marital problems. From then on, the husband goes to work wearing a navy blue shirt under a white polo.

Pretty huh? Pretty moronic. If I was the husband’s boss, I’d fire him for not wearing his uniform to work. If I was the wife’s closest gal pal, I’d slap her and tell her to get a life and stop sulking about polos. Since the husband will lose his job because he was prissy and the wife will be more depressed because of peer pressure, their marriage will disintegrate. Can a bar of detergent erase a man’s prissiness and combat peer pressure? Yes? Idiot.

That detergent commercial is stretching reality a bit too far, simplifying it and thus distorting it like its brethren. While such commercials may seem utterly stupid and mostly senseless, beware: commercials are probably the most brilliant things that man hath created.

Douglas Adams said that evolution has three stages: Survival, Inquiry, and Sophistication. For example, the first stage is illustrated by the question: How do we wash our clothes? The second by Why do we wash our clothes? And the third by What detergent shall we use? If we apply evolution to something as basic as drinking water, the order will be as follows: How do we drink water? Why do we drink water? And what is the tastiest mineral water? It can safely be said that we are now in the stage of Sophistication. It is the job of advertisers all over the planet to compete for their products to be the answer to the third question of humankind.

I believe that the question of sophistication has only one category to satisfy: the happiness of the consumer. Let’s not get into the nuance of defining just what the hell this happiness stuff is. Suffice it to say that happiness is a good thing; the highest ideal; the IT everyone is after. If a TV commercial can sell you happiness, it can sell you anything. Or maybe it will stop right there and sell it to you for something below a hundred bucks.

Sounds farfetched? Remove your earwax. Commercials try to sell happiness nowadays and actually succeed at it. Ever watched the Enervon anong meron ang taong happy campaign? The commercial asserts that energy can make you happy. Enervon can give you energy. Thus, doing some clever math, we come up with this equation: Enervon=energy=happiness. Stupid, but hey, they sell. Anong meron ang taong happy? Kabobohan.

And the Del Monte tomato sauce commercial, this one’s a winner. The husband narrates the tough times his family has been through. Surprise, surprise, his wife’s spaghetti made with Del Monte tomato sauce pulled them through! Hooray! At least Enervon’s energy=happy analysis makes a little sense. But a tetrapack of tomato sauce? Man you must be joking. Tomato sauce can’t solve family problems even if it was streaming out your nose.

The examples above are not unique, as there are varying manifestations of the fundamental idea. The same theme of selling happiness is all over the idiot box, and we are suckers for it. Great hair can make you happy. Chicken can give you joy. A capsule dissolves your stress, gives you a promotion, makes you richer, and makes you happy. Name it. For every personal definition of happiness each one of us has, a commercial can promise you IT. Never mind this teeny weeny bit about the products delivering IT. Our minds work out the expectations and make them come true---free of extra charge.

So to hell with reality. As long as these commercials give us something to hope for, something to expect, and answers to the relevant questions in the universe (why am I not a sexy beast), then who cares about them being moronic and unreal?

This is the scary part: their creators know exactly what they’re doing.

Anyone Up For Insulting Coffee?

I'm predicting that coffee shall play a significant role in my life for the next four months. I have a class until 8.30 PM every Tuesday, and the teacher is a horrifying creature (I've spent a sem with her, hey). That in itself should be enough to keep me awake, but I don't know. Nightmares also happen when you're sleeping.

Since I usually hit the sack by 7.00 PM, this particular class is too much for poor me. That's why I need a caffeine boost just before the three-hour class starts. There are only two coffee places I know which are near campus: Gonuts Donuts and Starbucks. (Hell, I sound like a tourist brochure slash saleswoman).

Gonuts Donuts coffee is horrible. I'm not the one to be saying this since I don't drink a lot of coffee in the first place, but it IS horrible. They better stick to selling donuts and donut holes---that is, if they dont't want to lose customers. Well, who knows, maybe some customers are really masochists out for a cup of fun. Hm? Come to think of it though, how can you sleep with this bad, uncomfortable taste in your mouth? If I'm buying coffee just to keep me awake, Gonuts Donuts may be just the place.

And Starbucks. I love their coffee. It's not just the obscene joy of lugging a Starbucks cup around for the status symbol. The coffee really does taste good, and that's a lot to be said from someone whose idea of great coffee is a pinch of it with two tablespoons of sugar in hot water. However, the Spouse Equivalent hates the place. The first and so far only time he's been there, he promptly declared: nasusunog ang aking kaluluwa sa langit ninyong mga elitista.

Which is valid. A frappe for P150? In a Third World country such as ours, the concept 'Starbucks' (i.e. conyo, pang-mayaman, sosyal) is a screaming declaration of the gap between the rich and the poor. A yuppie or an upper-middle class student can pay for a cup of expensive coffee while the next guy he passes by hasn't eaten for a day. I think there's something wrong with that.

So why Starbucks? There are lots of other expensive places where this gap between the rich and the poor is illustrated: restaurants, car showrooms, jewelry shops, clothes stores, etc. But picture this: the average Filipino loves coffee. Since the average Filipino is financially unstable, the perfect meal substitute is coffee. Cheap, filling, warm to the tummy---just like food, only cheaper. When Starbucks came to the Philippines and thus was consequently worshipped by the moneyed, 'coffee' as the poor man's food substitute became the rich man's status symbol.

Coffee became an insult to the poor. More so after other expensive coffee shops sprouted after the entrails of Starbucks' success---like Gonuts Donuts.

Whichever the case is though, I'm still buying from Starbucks. They have good coffee, and whatever I said above, I'll validate my consumption by saying that as far as I'm concerned, it's worth it. P150 for a frappe? Why not, if it keeps me awake for three hours while listening to Logical nonsense.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Grape Juice

I got my Humanities I grade yesterday. A 1.75. I’m disappointed, but for the standards of the teacher, I admit I’m second rate. Which is true. The highest grade he gave out was 1.5—if that’s his first rate, then as the only 1.75er in his class, I’m second rate. Weeps.

He writes these really mean comments on test essays. Don’t ask what he’s written in mine, which I got just yesterday too. Suffice it to say that I was pretty smug when I passed the blue book and when I got it I wondered why he even passed me in the first place, after reading the comments liberally sprinkled over the pages.

I’ll always credit him for saying that honest criticism should never hurt. And I’ll be damnably honest as I say this: I love honest criticism. That’s why I got friends who don’t feed me shit just to make me feel bad, or good, whichever would suit individual egos. I got a Spouse Equivalent who trashed an outfit I was feeling particularly fashionable in, the entity above bless his soul. I want to hear as much subjective truth as possible even if it criticizes the things I am particularly proud of.

I am proud of my writing, but I admit that I’m not a good writer. My Hum I professor shoved that in front of my face. I’ve known the fact for some time, that I am not as good a writer as I make myself out to be, but he really did the trick. He pointed out exactly WHY. Well, I won’t tell you why; it’s a secret. But he’s right. I’ll give him that.

Another student would get mad at him—his comments are valid, but they are unnecessarily mean. His comments would bruise any ego, as they are done in the art of tactlessness. (Well sir, if you ever get to read this, I want to tell you that we’re doing it mano y mano; honest criticism for each honest criticism).

Well, he probably won’t be my teacher again so far as I’m concerned. He’s a good professor, and I appreciate the surgical precision which he employs in ruffling egos. I learned a lot from him last sem. But there’s still one thing, sir. If you get to read this (which will be approximately never), tell me what’s written behind this:

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The picture’s a little blurry, but it’s the front of my Hum I blue book. Below the nasty but true comment about the absence of my sense of time (hey, I forgot to write the date okay), is a statement which was blacked out with pentel pen and then whited out by liquid eraser. Above the erasure is written:

Please disregard, I’m very sorry for this Ms. Lanuzo.

Now what did he write and then erase doubly, at that? Probably something which would make me want to end his life or mine. Nyahaha.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

In The Mean of Time

I’m waiting for inspiration to clobber me so I could write something on this page. In the meantime, I am prowling the house, making trips between the terrace where I start talking gobbledygook to my dogs and the fridge where I am slowly inebriating myself with Kool-Aid. In the meantime, I’m turning up the volume to K’s Choice. I miss these guys, they don’t just rock, they jazz, they do a Steve Lynch, and they play saccharine acoustics.

In the meantime, I look at the clothes I just got from Divisoria yesterday and wonder if making a blog dedicated to fashion tips and suggestions would be worth my while. What do you think? I have a Vox now, but I don’t want it to be like my Blogger. I’m thinking of a plausible theme.

touch the fingers of my hand
and I wonder if it’s me
holding on and on to love what else is real
a religion that appeals to me oh
I believe in me

I just love that song, “Believe” by K’s Choice. It’s the ultimate solipsist’s song! Robert Heinlein said that solipsism and pantheism can solve the questions of the universe. Solipsism asserting that I am the only real thing in the universe, and so everything else is just my imagination and pantheism (oh wait let me just get this massive dictionary) aha, and pantheism asserting that God and the universe are identical. This statement of his is from his 1963 book, “Strangers in a Strange Land”.

As I reached for the massive Webster’s Encyclopedic Dictionary, musty rose petals fell out from in between the pages. Aw. Cc’s roses. He doesn’t give me flowers anymore, which is a grievance, but that’s okay. I have some here already, preferably forever. I wish he’d just make everything formal NOW. We’ve been together for more than a year, and no titles while at it. Come to think of it, who needs titles? This is more or less it, if you know what I mean.

In the meantime, the clouds are gathering ominously. It will rain in a while. I like and dislike being alone in the house while its raining. I like it because I can appreciate the beauty of a million needles; I dislike it because it makes me want to drink something hot and have a long philosophical conversation with whoever is up to it. Like now. I’d just have to settle with K’s Choice (bravely I look further than I see, knowing things I know I cannot be—not now) blaring on the speakers.

In the meantime, I’m waiting for inspiration to clobber me so I could write something on this page—

Saturday, November 04, 2006

In The Dead of the Morning

in the dead of the morning my eyes are burning from lack of faithful sleep that used to come to me like mosquitoes right on schedule to the feast like dust motes to settle down inevitably

in the dead of the morning my neurons are burning from lack of sober sleep that used to inebriate me like two liters of iced tea every twenty four hours like dolfenal two-fifty everytime bleeds the flower

in the dead of the morning my blah blah blah what the hell.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Beautiful Day

The sun is shining, the sky is blue, blue ha moccs sir, one thousand two thousand three thousand four thousand *part forgotten* especially when I see the respectable face of my beloved bloody son-of-a-parent officer.

I hated CAT. Just a bunch of jerks strutting around pretending what they did mattered out of the campus walls. Well, maybe it did. Who knows. Elaborate play-acting does a lot to augment illusions and generate the drama not found outside stuffy green uniforms and fake rifles and combat boots and shiny brooches.

It escapes me, though.

Particularly, I hate rigidity. CAT is the opposite of everything I would like to fancy I stand for. CAT leaves no option for thinking; you just follow orders, like a pack of trained dogs. You have to tie the damn laces left over right for the left boot and right over left for the right boot, wear black underwear, spew out the appropriate responses to set questions, most of which do not make sense. Like the above. Maybe someone can tell me what it means.

I dislike moving in a straight line, even for just about four hours every Saturday. If I have to be literal here, I dislike marching in a straight line and turn corners by 90'. You can just imagine how sloppy I was---am. I'm sure the officers then loved demeriting me, I was a dead giveaway.

Or maybe, if I just dusted all this rhetoric away, maybe the real reason I hated CAT was because I sucked at it. Suffer this arrogant claim: I'm good at a lot of things. Strike out Math (I hated it), Physical Education (I hate it), and CAT (I hated it). Now we see a pattern. I'm a self-centered bitch who doesn't swallow failure well and thus sour-grape at the things long past.

But. Would I have sucked at it if the whole idea of Citizen's Army Training did not conflict with my philosophy?

Why this reminiscing about one of the more boring and intensely unenjoyed segments of my life? Well, it IS a beautiful day to-day. The sun is shining, the sky is blue, and the rest tumbled out of my fingers like Kool-Aid powdered granules.