Friday, January 29, 2010

Lull Before the Storm

It's been a slow couple of days at work. I'm still waiting for the result of the internal review that's currently being done to the stuff I managed to put together. I'm sure there will be an email popping up on my Inbox anytime soon asking me to dive back in to work and start the process of revising and/or redoing. That's a pretty standard procedure in what I do. And I'm anticipating the additional load will be heavy if not outright messy.

I also decided to put myself out there for career advancement within the company. I've been working here for almost five years now (March 25 will be my fifth year) and I've been promoted once two years ago, to the position I currently hold. I've already grown a lot as an employee, and learned immensely from the responsibilities I've been lucky enough to have been given. To add to this, I'm getting too familiar with what I do that I'm starting to get bored. And I feel like I'm stagnating. So I thought it's about time to shake things up a bit and start moving forward. I guess it's just the normal progression of anything that pertains to anyone's career. One just needs to forge ahead and move forward for growth.

And I told my boss about it a while ago, and she pretty much summed up how she feels about my decision with these words: "I will always wish you the best. But then too, I will always wish that you don’t get it so I can continue working with you."
Knowing my boss, it's her way of saying yes haha. We've always had a very good working relationship, and if EVER I get this gig, I will be heartbroken to leave her team. But then that's looking too far out ahead isn't it? I'm not even sure I'll get this. I'm sure the competition's gonna be tough. But there's really nothing to lose if I try. I guess pretending I'll get it is just my way of psyching myself up.

So I'm anticipating a whirlwind of stressful interviews plus work-induced stress in the coming days. But right now it's all quiet in the battle front, and I'm trying to enjoy it as much as I possibly can. We all deserve a momentary respite from the daily grind don't we? We all want a lull before (or even during) the storm.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Keep on Running

It's been a busy couple of weeks at work. And just when I thought it was about to ease, they decided to throw more stuff our way. It’s the kind of grind that finds me comfortably seated in front of two monitors all night, air-conditioning on full blast, sipping coffee once in a while, but leaves me utterly exhausted at the end of my day. I barely have time for a decent meal, and if I choose to have one, I take it out of a fastfood joint and eat it quickly in front of my monitors.

These monitors...two flat widescreen 19-inchers, side by side whizzing on a 4GB RAM with a Core 2 duo soul become my window to anything and everything I'm working on nightly. It's a breeze to work on one of these, opening up multiple software without the hassle of it ever bogging down. All I actually need to worry about is stretching my legs too far out under my desk and accidentally unplugging the darn thing from the power socket. Because then, if I am unlucky, hours worth of work will go kapoof if I'm not attentive enough in hitting save before it does it on auto.

Now I am not complaining. I know a lot of people who work twice as hard and are infinitely more stressed than I am now. I happen to think I got it easy (at least relative to those people I mentioned). I'm on perpetual flexi-schedule and can work on projects on my own pace. No boss at the office to physically badger me as deadlines approach. On the contrary, her being located in the States makes it easy for someone like me who thrives on minimal supervision to work and finish the job. And make no mistake about it; my boss is a joy to work with, which probably explains why I’m still with the same company after 5 long years of working for it.

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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Photo Set 2: Sunlight

One of the many things I look forward to when I hit the beach is the sunlight bursting into many beautiful colors as it dips and rises on the horizon. There is just something magical about each moment. 

Sunrise/sunset photos I took using a Canon Powershot SD850 point and shoot cam.

Anawangin, Bantayan, Panglao.

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Remembering Dad

It’s all almost forgotten now.

Except in random moments when I remember those vivid memories of violent fights, and the long and tense waits for him to come back home. And when he was home, the endless anticipation that something terrible was about to happen.

I can’t even recall the exact date anymore, but it was 1997 when it all started happening. My sister and I were watching a local show on TV, when all of a sudden I heard someone screaming. I’ve never heard anything like it before. A wretched sound of anger, pain and undeniable heartbreak delivered in a familiar voice. We rushed to my parents’ room, and we saw them there. My mom was on the bed crying, my dad desperately trying to restrain her. It was her voice we heard. Between angry screams she was hugging and kissing him, telling him he was the only man she had ever loved. She was uttering incomprehensible questions, random thoughts coming out of her asking how and why everything came to be. I remember being frightened and confused; I thought my mom had gone crazy.

And everything was never the same soon after. The moment she saw us by the door, my mom’s face turned into a template of rage…and mom told us the entire, hurtful truth. Dad was having an affair with one of his office subordinates. A woman my mom considered to be a friend.

I couldn’t help but be angry with him. It is human nature I guess, more so if it’s your mom, to sympathize and pity the one scorned. If not only for my weekly allowance I didn’t want to go back home, because then I’ll see him and I’d hear them fighting. And yes, I was angry for a long time for something I couldn’t fully understand. All I know was that my mom was betrayed, and by extension, we children were betrayed too. I faintly remember the reason he gave mom that day, amidst teary and furious attempts to get across an “I am so sorry!” plea; that he is only human and that made him weak. I remember wanting to punch him, and to tell him that I heard that too many other times on TV. I remember the following years that the house was hell for everybody.

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Monday, January 18, 2010

Photo Set 1: Morning Dew

I like capturing images using my 8 megapixel Canon point and shoot camera. I particularly like Canon’s digital macro feature. I do not have a dSLR, and I’m no expert photographer either. That doesn’t stop me from taking good photos if I see a moment.

Early morning at my mom’s backyard garden becomes a world on its own. It’s a treasure trove of subjects. The morning dew on a gabi leaf takes on a beautiful new form once lit by the sun. I was there to capture these:

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Friday, January 15, 2010

A Little Investigation

I was watching it unfold, a homoerotic scene playing out before my eyes. In a room that size, it wasn’t really hard to see. And with instincts like mine it wasn’t really difficult to know. It didn’t help them that huge mirrors line every wall, and where mirrors weren’t present big glass windows line up in panes. So when I turn my back towards them I still see. When I turn to my side, the reflection of them distracts me. The two were dripping sweat; straining muscles gleaming under wet skin. One was wearing blue while the other chose a tone in black; both sporting similar white shirts exposing two hairy pits. The outfits to me seem too contrived.

I didn’t want to speculate. Based on their looks they didn’t appear to be “different”. More so intimates. No, they just don’t fit the “mold”. Dark rough skin, greasy hair not styled flashy. Dry smoker lips, untrimmed goatee. I was betting they were drinking buddies trying to lose the tummy, or something else just to keep my curious mind at bay. They were kinda dirty. Looked stinky. Two long, tall frames. To wandering eyes, they looked pretty normal, nothing special there to merit a head to turn. Or win little glances here and there.

And those shoes… oh, those shoes they’ll make closeted fairies throw a fit!

But then their bustle made me wonder, my sleazy mind lunging into overdrive. Malicious streak made me stop for a curious fact-finding.

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Shifting Paradigms

It was after arriving from a short stint in Europe when I decided to follow this road. I never really expected to stay this long in the business; I after all, earned a license to practice engineering. But I will not place blame on naiveté, for I was then fully aware of what I was about do. I went home to a country that at that instant suddenly felt new, looking to thrust myself into any work that will sustain my unseasoned independence (and sustain me financially more so). And she was there for the taking, teasing me to suckle from her rich, fat bosom. That was when I took a leap of faith, on that decisive day in late August 2003. It was the moment I shifted paradigm.

I remember a class I took back in my days in Diliman, when an old professor lectured on a topic he wrote a book about. The book, I heard, didn’t sell very well, because most of us novices back then simply could not wrap our heads around what in the world the idea was about. Now he was not the most articulate of my previous professors, neither was his faltering age any help in arousing interest in class. And being the unconventional topic that it was, he was then, as evidenced by a whole lot of yawns and aimless scribbling, not preaching to the choir.

But in a merry twist of irony, of all the lessons I’ve heard in UP his was the one that got stuck in my head.

Because on that day he did not talk endlessly about an exhaustive calculation in Thermodynamics, but rather strangely, on the value of doing what’s best for one's career based NOT on one's chosen field of study.

Back then it sounded frustratingly odd to me, that a guy who earnestly toiled for a chemical engineering PhD would talk about pragmatism and practicality. After all, spending loads of money attending school for a three-letter title at the end of one's name, just to end up teaching at a public University, wasn't my idea of being thrifty. And just to emphasize his point that day, albeit I thought it was a subliminal sales ploy, he brandished his book around like a badge. He proudly called it “Shifting Paradigms”. (He didn’t claim the concept to be his, as there were other literatures written about the same. But he applied it to our life as engineers and it took on a whole different meaning.)

{ Paradigm: a philosophical or theoretical framework of any kind .}

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Woke up to the sound of birds chirping. Pandesal man doing his rounds. Coffee aroma and breakfast sizzling on a pan. Cool fog, leaves moist to dry before the rising sun. I realize I'm lucky to have a place like this to always go back to. To recharge me, keep me grounded, to remind me who I am.

And I am blessed to have a family making this place a home. Going back to the City in a few. But this place will always tug my heart towards it asking me to be warm in her comfort and just be the person I was before the busy, hurried life I chose. There is no place like home indeed!

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Wednesday, January 6, 2010


I’m sitting here, six forty three at night inside a room filled with things we gathered from years of acquiring. But for my dog scratching in front of the fan, and my cat laying spread eagle like a babe on the floor, only Mayer singing gives the room some semblance of a pulse. I can’t help but start typing away aimlessly using the computer on my lap, trying to snare a perfect moment for some good old emo goo. Trust these disturbed moments of emotional imbalance to churn out written musings you’ll re-read and be ashamed of later on. But then again everyone is a little sick enough to do it, so here’s one for the books. Or should I say, for this blog.

So I’ve been wondering about what makes two people “connect”. What makes two separate individuals click in a way that they share their lives as one. This must be a totally inane thought to even write about for some, but then a series of events the past few weeks (which needless to say involves matters of the heart), got me itching for a post. Now I’m no Dr. Phil, neither am I a writer claiming to have that kind expertise. But I know we’ve all, in the course of our adult lives, got at least a singular moment in time when we met somebody interesting, got to know them and got interested, got to know you as interesting too, and the rest, as they say, became your history. While some people start out as individuals afraid to even meet up (lest they be judged on the insecurities that most of the time only they themselves care about and see), others are blessed with brave souls, who at a moment’s notice will go out of their way to randomly show themselves up to characters they barely even know. And of course others, as predictable as a cry is to come out from a hungry baby, would end up being together; dating, living in, promising each other the world and eventually settling down.

The past year had not been kind to a lot of my friends in this regard. To be pretty straightforward about it, a lot of the coupling that had endured many trying years fell apart from a diverse set of reasons. The bottomline in a majority of them, at least as far as I see it, is that one of them found somebody else they apparently have a connection with. Or in cases where another party was not involved, the connection eventually fell apart somewhere along the journey, and somebody needed a fresh start. It is universal at the start of any relationship that there has to be an apparent connection, some sort of binding motion that glues two people to unite, without which any union would not last.

The word “connection” in itself is a tough word to explain. In a world where anything to be believed has to be founded on something visibly measureable, that word simply doesn’t hold any truth. How can something as ambiguous and as deep as an emotion of connectedness be ever carved in words? Then double that, given there are two people involved, and you’ll probably get my point! Now, I will not be the one to judge or explain what in my friends’ point of view the word could actually mean. Neither will I narrate stories that are not mine to tell. But I will, as a matter of personal opinion, express a view entirely borne out of my limited experiences.

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Monday, January 4, 2010

Some Mayer Lovin..

"I will beg my way into your garden
I will break my way out when it rains
Just to get back to the place where I started
So I can want you back all over again"

He is insanely good. I heart Mayer!

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She came to us on a hot summer afternoon. With a few old clothes and not much belongings in tow, she arrived at the Makati apartment I was renting. She was with my aunt who, in some fateful stroke of good luck, found her seeking employment. And immediately after she arrived, she was eager to impress. And I thought, wow, after the horribly lazy househelp I had prior, this is uncharted territory. But my inner devil told me not to openly show affection just yet, only the stoic, no fuss TianTian to show her who's the boss.

Deep inside though, my heart was breaking for this girl, who at 21, doesn't seem like she's used to working hard. She could have had an entirely different life. But instead she had no choice but to clean somebody else's house and wash someone else's dishes. The worst part, and I know you "promdis" would agree, was being uprooted from her comfort zone out in the quiet countryside and be thrust into the chaotic world called the metro.

It's incredible what these gals have to go through before they decide to take the plunge.

The first one I employed had 3 kids, and got booted out of her previous employ when the house owner decided to move. Her name was Ruth, a stocky, somewhat middle-aged lady who loved to sit by the front door and pretty herself up using a hair brush and a compact make up mirror. She was tall and dark, and her big frame and booming voice gave her a sort of mother like quality. My friend and I used to make fun of her privately, using her Visayan accent as a backdrop of never ending impersonations.

She was a character that one, so much so that she was able to convince us to go on 4 AM trips to the buzzing (and dirty) Balintawak wet market to buy our provisions every fortnight. Of course we had to ride a cab going there, and we always end up spending more than what we intended to spare because of that. One day she asked for a "bale". For the uninitiated that terms means a payment advance. She went on her usual litany of marital problems, throwing invectives towards her "inutil" husband in for good measure. And for added effect, she added in what seems to me back then was a valid excuse to get me scrambling for my wallet to give her what she wants. She unloaded the "my-child-is-sick-and-is-in-the-hospital" heavy ammo. Now I am inexperienced in family affairs, and I usually am a sucker for melodrama and gossip, so I was the perfect victim. I guess no one really prepares you for something like that. She threw in the kitchen sink at me and I, well, basically cried me a river. And the several days off the job I gave her to take care of her child became a week. Then weeks. Then several weeks. Until, let's just say she pretty much pushed me to find her a replacement.

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Saturday, January 2, 2010


Cute and fat Debi always visits me when it's time to wake up. She never fails. She'll either lick my face or lay beside me in bed begging to be scratched. And with a face like this how could I ever resist?

Wake up time is one hell of a cute overload time!

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I'm no gadget freak, but this phone knocks the ball way way way out of the proverbial park. I love my iPhone 3Gs to bits!

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Perpetual Caution

In the spirit of reminiscing I decided to revisit old stuff I wrote.

First one on my Facebook page late last year:

And a second entry from my Multiply site in early 2006:

They pretty much sum up how I mentally process and do things: with perpetual caution.

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Life is Good

Someone once said that you stop living life once you lose your sense of wonder. And that enjoying it means simply living in the moment. No need for fancy, expensive things (though I don't mind 'em!). Just taking pleasure in tiny little events as if everything in it enriches and adds to your person.

Taking stock of what I have distills everything to this bottomline: I have great friends. I have a good job. I have a wonderful family. And I can afford life's simple pleasures. I've had my share of wonderful moments from the previous year; good ones that sustained me, and bad ones I learned life lessons from.

As it is the time of the year when people look back on the "what was" and the "what-could've-beens", I realize that all of my experiences are actually really worth writing about. That if I were to truly live in the moment, I won't run out of things to write. The "sense of wonder" will always be there. And that there will be so much more appreciation for life. It will actually be so much more fun!

So on this note, just when the year 2009 has finally ended, and when everything in the year 2010 is just about to unfold, I start building my blog by reminiscing on the small wonders I've had in the year that was. I will let the pictures try to tell the story of a life that's good!!

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It Starts Right Now

And so after a while of blog inactivity, I am again starting another blog. Another year had just begun, and I thought what better way to mark that milestone than to write about random ramblings from this period moving forward.

I've been in this same situation before.I start a blog, write for a while, then procrastinate a little,'till it all grinds to a stop. It has always been the life cycle of my blogs. I know I can write decent stuff, but I also know I’m too darn lazy to ever do it consistently. I’ve never actually maintained something as substantial as a whole year’s worth of writing. I guess it's always gonna be the easiest step isn’t it..starting it? But actually maintaining it and writing something worth the read will always be the challenge. But I will try. This time I will really try. So pardon me for I sometimes write a little bit angst-sy, a little bit sad. I’ve never actually been known for my humor anyway.

I am three decades old in a year that had just been born, promising to himself he will try to write. Just for the heck of it he will try, and see if anything comes out of it this time. Anything worth a few minutes in front of my computer to write about goes here.

It starts right about now.

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