January 27, 2005

unusual

our major annual public symposium went smoothly yesterday. my boss is out of the office. there are a lot of things to do, but i feel unusually relaxed and easy-going today. tired, but relaxed.

maybe it's the new pair of shoes i'm wearing. amazingly bouncy, but still a bit rigid and strained my feet after walking three blocks from our house to the office (my bike's rear wheel got punctured two days ago -- the machine shop somewhere near our house are so sloppy with their scrap wires scattered on the roadside).

it must be the exercise, and i'm getting sleepy.

i slept at 3:30 this morning. two days ago i had a ym chat with a good friend. it's one of our rare times when we catch each other online. our conversations never fail to take me to the extremes -- my spirit is lifted to stellar heights, and at the same time gets buried six feet under a thousand times.

by the time we said our goodnights, i'm always left with a choice to either hold on for as long as i can to stay beaming and flying up there in the clouds, or quietly settle down to the grim task of digging up my decayed, regret-festered, coward and sorry self.

either way, i will be sleepless. either way, eventually, somehow i'll be back to where i am, always looking forward to our next conversation.

ah.

two of my officemates recently bought their digital cameras -- one a 4 megapixel canon, and the other a 5 megapixel sony. i feel so obsolete now with my 2 megapixel nikon. /heh

looking at the first batch of photos and random shots they shared on the LAN, it feels strange. i guess i'm just not used to seeing myself through other people's lenses.

ah. sleepiness is gone. back to digging...

January 25, 2005

a bread affair

i had wheat bread and cream cheese spread this morning. with hot coffee at hand, i started my usual morning feeding ritual by smothering two slices with spread on one side each, slap them together, fold it to make a thick, rolled bundle, dunk it in coffee, tap it a few times to avoid dripping coffee all over the place, and devour the bundle in two bites. yum! if i have time i usually repeat the process twice or thrice, or more until i get stuffed or when the clock strikes 8:30am, whichever comes first.

i remember growing up watching my batangeuño father rip open a pandesal with a fork, stuff it with whatever's on the dining table (egg, fish, mango, peanut butter, etc) and do the whole coffee-dunking process. almost everyone in his clan does that, and so the habit was eventually picked up by all of us in the family.

i had my first experience of being ridiculed for my bread-eating habit in my freshman days at the university dormitory. my new visayan friends couldn't stop laughing at how i would dunk almost all kinds of bread in coffee, milk, or juice before popping them in my mouth. i guess oreo's milk-dipping commercial doesn't have much airtime back then.

when my girlfriend introduced me to hazelnut-chocolate spread some years ago, i got addicted to it but treated it like any other spread and ate bread with it like the way i do. that was until a friend showed me how to really enjoy it: spread a generous coat on one side of the sliced bread, balance it on your fingertips, and let the spread stick to the roof of your mouth when you bite into it. the sensation is somewhat heightened when you wash it down with coffee.

i just found hazelnut-milk spread and some bread in the office fridge. i'd like to try that one-slice-one-sided-spread approach, but my fingers can't balance so well -- and i believe that a bread will fall with the spread-side always facing down. ^_^

January 21, 2005

unhealthy

i've been leading a very unhealthy lifestyle lately.



while i didn't spend the last days of 2004 on daily drinking sprees -- which is normal amid the year-end festivities in my home province -- i find myself ingesting beer almost everyday since i got back in manila. before anyone starts thinking that i'm alcoholic, *shudder* let me at least try to identify some factors to my increased beer consumption:



lately, there are a lot of things to talk about after office. in the three years of living together with four of my co-workers, i notice that work-related affairs usually don't get carried back to the house -- we don't talk about work as soon as we settle down and watch tv or whatever. if we do talk about work after work, it's usually big deal enough to be beer-worthy. aside from the usual stress and tension, this year will be especially toxic for us at the station.



last year's leftovers. the supply is there, the company is there, and as mentioned, lots of things to talk about.



our friendly neighbor manang pao-pao's sari-sari store and eatery. lowest retail price for beer in town. err, i guess supply will never be a problem, especially if access to it is just a few meters away. this place also serve great typical filipino "turu-turo" ("point-point", as in to choose your food by pointing) dishes, barbeque and isaw, an array of "silog" menus (variants of fried dishes paired with fried rice and fried egg) and pares (beef stew) -- not exactly the healthiest, but still great for heavy meals and "pulutan" (appetizers that go well with alcoholic drinks).



the wonders of lynn. lol just kidding. "i hate you, tet-cheese!" mwahahaha!!



that's about it. not the best of excuses, but i try to re-assure myself that i'm (still?) not the one to drink beer for no reason at all. it's just that beer tastes so good when the weather's too cold, or too hot, or when i need to stay awake beyond my insomnia (no kidding. with the right dose, it works like coffee for me), when i need to concentrate, when i have fever, when i have cold sores... *okay enough now*



did i mention beer can keep me awake?



i guess i should start worrying about my sleeping habits. my typical bedtime is 1am. with conscious effort, i'd be lucky to be sleeping at 11pm. with beer, i'd still be restlessly up and awake at 3am (my ragnarok online acolyte is now at level 66/48 because of that). in all cases, my waking time is constant at 6:30am (error margin of plus/minus 10 minutes).



*starts computing*



okay, i'm worried now.

January 19, 2005

a bite of old memories

"isaw" (ee-saw) - a popular streetfood in the philippines; grilled chicken or pork intestines served in bamboo skewers. good source of uric acid and cholesterol, but at least you die happy and satisfied. be conscious, though, of sanitation and remember to eat only in stalls that serve the sauces in separate, disposable cups; beware of those who still practice "centralized sauce dipping" or something like that -- hepatitis and other diseases are not fun to share. finally, love the environment -- dispose of your sticks and cups properly.



i believe education is the "great equalizer" -- one that can bridge the gap between the rich and the poor. there's one other thing that comes close to this function: isaw at up campus-diliman.



i can think of two landmarks in that campus that hold the record of having the great-tasting isaw in town -- mang larry's near kalayaan residence hall, and the one at ilang-ilang.



the former has been around for a longer time. i remember doing an undergrad term paper on mang larry himself, his family, and his isaw livelihood when i was a freshman (it's that long ago, i tell you). his relatively high standards for quality ingredients and cleanliness instantly made me his fan. throughout my college years, his humble pedicab stall was my refuge when kalayaan hall -- and later molave hall -- serve terrible grub. it's where i bring my off-campus friends everytime they visit ("you haven't been to up campus if you haven't tasted mang larry's isaw!"). in the brief time that i had a girlfriend, back then, the isawan was one of our favorite dating places: romantic evenings under the stars, munching on lip-smackin' good isaw while watching people, traffic, and the show on mang larry's portable tv (tipid pa!).



yesterday, tekpipol had a rare opportunity to use a van for free (thanks ar!), so off to up campus we went. we tried the one at ilang-ilang first, but at 7pm, they were already sold out. no surprise there -- this one boasts of sauce soooo good you can drink it.



and so we ended up at mang larry's. it's been years since my last isaw pig-out session, but i held back on the urge and settled for only ten sticks (i average 40 sticks back in my college days).



except for the bigger mobile stall and more staffs systematically taking orders and cooking, mang larry's isawan hasn't changed at all. the typical human mix is still there: young and old *uboubo*, students from different schools (easily spotted by their uniforms), work drones fresh out of the offices, people and families from nearby communities as well as those arriving in cars and vans.



rodic's was our next stop for some tapsilog *yum!*. we could've proceeded to sara's to complete the nostalgic food trip with booze, but work awaits the next day.



our inuman at sara's can wait. i'm sure these landmarks will be around for a long, long time. ^_^

January 17, 2005

desecrated

i don't know what's the truth behind this incident, but it defiled the celebration of ati-atihan.



and i guess i just have to be thankful that my mother wasn't there at the celebration when the shootout happened. sigh...



i am one of the many aklanons who hold ati-atihan with special fondness and significance. i hope that one of these days i could share my memories of this wonderful event. but for now, i pray for the safety of those caught in the crossfire, and hope that nothing like this ever happen again.

January 15, 2005

do over

i'm off to a not-so-good start with my blogging life this year.



in a rare, lull moment at the office yesterday -- which is usually after we had lunch -- inspiration struck. so i went online, logged on to blogger, and started hammering down those ever elusive thoughts, angst, and what-nots. i didn't even bother typing it first on notepad, given we have a very unreliable internet connection at the office.



and so about eight paragraphs later, i decided to hit the "publish post" button and viola! the connection broke and gone are all those ever elusive thoughts, angst, and what-nots. sigh! it could have very well been a palanca award-winning piece. haha!



ah! it's just like how life could sometimes disconnect on you. one moment your life is going smoothly, then suddenly everything starts falling apart. next thing you know, you're on you knees trying to put the shattered pieces back together again, fooling yourself into believing you even could. and after some time, it dawns on you that you can never put the pieces back together, and surrender to the fact that you have no choice but to accept what's left, or do over, and move on.



but what the heck... moving on. ^_^



last christmas and new year were especially important for our family, as this could very well be Mama's (my grandmother) last. two months ago, she suffered her worst diabetic/stroke attack since she got paralyzed and lost speech control eight years ago. when i got home last december 24, she is already blind, weak, and thin. she refused to eat and be brought back to the hospital anymore.



and so i spent my vacation at home, talking to Mama everytime she's awake, watching her eyes struggling to follow the sound of my voice as i check her IV drip. sometimes i would turn up the TV so she could listen to the news.



and then a tsunami struck east asia.



it was an eerie feeling: listening to the news spew out the number of casualties, watching the many lives lost in an instant, while sitting beside one who has peacefully resigned to her destiny.



life is no candle in the wind. it is strong and it will fight no matter what -- for as long as eight years, or as short as eight seconds.