Archive | October, 2011

Dental flaws

29 Oct

For the most part, braces have had a bad rap in mainstream media. I grew up watching  local and foreign shows that featured characters whose social awkwardness was attributed to — if not aggravated by — their being metalmouths. This physical trait was usually combined with other “undesirable” qualities, such as wearing glasses (preferably large-rimmed, for more adherence to the dork stereotype) and raging war against prepubescent acne.

Despite the dearth of empowered role models on TV, I still found the uniqueness of wearing braces appealing.  So when my dentist recommended me to an orthodontist in second year high school, I was more excited than exasperated.

But not for long.

Sure, there were fun parts, like getting to choose your favorite color/s for the brackets and elastics (school skirt red? bubblegum blue? traffic cone orange? a combination of all three?). But in exchange for this little new outlet of self-expression, the freedom to indulge in things that define childhood — particularly munching apples, eating popcorn, chewing gum — was greatly impeded.

On the day she installed my braces, the ortho threatened gently warned me to abide by the restrictions lest I pop a bracket off and needlessly extend the duration of the treatment. I promised to comply, as neophyte metalmouths are wont to do. I’ve seen some braces wearers in varying states of  nonchalance before — i.e. using their tongues to “strum” the elastics at the sides of their mouths, and to flick loose brackets like beads in an abacus — and I told myself I wouldn’t follow suit. As it turned out, I would go on to fare far worse, but only with the best intentions.

I joined an immersion in Passi, Iloilo the summer before senior year. For the duration of our stay, we participants were taken in by host families within the community. What made the experience so much more dynamic was attending a barangay fiesta that coincided with our first day in the locality. Our gracious hosts didn’t just provide us food and shelter then; they also made like tour guides around town.

As is customary during fiestas (particularly in rural areas), most households prepared a generous spread for guests and strangers alike. Our merry group of immersionists started doing rounds at 1 p.m. and huffed back to our lodgings 5 hours later, after feasting with 7 households.

The following day, we were invited to the residence of one host family for breakfast. They were among the well-to-do in the community, with a bountiful fish pond as well as tubo (sugarcane) and pineapple fields within their property. Using his bolo, the patriarch hacked off a stalk of tubo and a pineapple, peeled it, and served it to us. Because refusal could be offensive to the host (and because the chances of me tasting fresh-from-the-field tubo any time after were pretty slim), I grabbed a bit of sugarcane and sunk my teeth in, braces and all.

Note that the term “sugarcane” has “cane” in it for a reason. A sharp pop and crackle revealed that two of my brackets (and the wire that held the whole thing together) disengaged, unable to bear the brunt of  that tubo’s solidity. Needless to say, my devil- and/or dentist-may-care feat horrified — but I’d like to believe, eventually amused — the orthodontist.

My dental delinquency reached its peak when the braces came off, and retainers replaced it with a vengeance. Or, more appropriately, vengeanth. I was a college freshman then, and I vividly recall how that corrective contraption wreaked havoc on my pronunthiathion the way Edward Cullen’s sparkling-in-the-sun attribute punctured his claims to masculinity. My friends made like my preschool teacher and gleefully poked fun at helped me get over the speech slur.

Chuth awethome friendth I have!

Many a time, I’ve been warned of an orthopedic relapse and the hassle that Braces and Retainers version 2.0 may bring. Because of the threats it posed to my oral communication skills, I laid off the retainers for a year or so. This is why it was with much apprehension that I called  my ortho’s secretary last week to schedule an appointment.

This prodigal patient finally had her check-up yesterday, almost two years after her last visit.

When the ortho strolled into the booth, she asked about school and how my sem break was so far. I answered as best as I could, given that her dental tools were then traversing my oral cavity. After some four minutes of poking around, she asked, “Did you bring your retainers?”

Uh, no.

“Oh, that’s okay. Great! Your teeth are solid, and they didn’t move.” Then a flash of her own pearly whites. “You’re done!”


Now excuse me as I go canvassing for bolos to chop sugarcane stalks with.


When things get out of hand

17 Oct

Final school works for the sem now in progress.

Play with bubbles to ease stress.

Bottle slips from fingers.

Bubble soap spills on [mother’s] laptop keyboard.

Tissues for an attempted rescue.

Screen turns fuzzy.


asldksfkljkjhfiooqw1pp’l;;Stress returns tenfold

Uhm, suuuure you do.

16 Oct

Lelz. I love Audrey Hepburn, but what gives?

Rude awakenings

14 Oct

The week so far has been a heady mix of close calls, hits and misses.

A good friend and I worked aklsjdklasf hard on a project but got sidetracked by a frustratingly basic oversight: something that should have happened, didn’t happen. But because something that could have happened didn’t happen, we pulled through even if we were thisclose  to falling off the tightrope. We had a post-mortem over bites of mamon (which I sneakily consumed since we were in the library), and surmised that while we could have fared better, we’re at least thankful that the problem didn’t take a 360-degree turn for the worst (superlative intended).

Haggard Fresh from a semi-allnighter with Communication Research 101 group mates (also my org mates, so yay to clingy productivity), I set out to finalize my take-home exam for Film 176.  The latter class under former CMC dean Nicanor Tiongson was easily one of my two most enjoyable classes this sem, because it engaged my passion for film and broadened my appreciation of performing and visual arts.

I keyed in Ctrl+S for the last time at around 4 p.m. and embarked on a mad dash for school right after, fearful of the first wave of post-workday urban traffic. But as it turns out, what I should have been more fearful of was the column next to my parking space, and my as-of-then-undiscovered propensity to have a blind spot for columns when driven by fear of missing a deadline. Ditto for the tendency to inch way too close to one side when descending from spiral parking ramps. Goodbye, untarnished car doors! And goodbye, possession of a Jason Mraz concert ticket — it was nice thinking I was actually on my way to you, instead of a nearby auto repair shop.

Thankfully, I made it to the deadline — but that minor collision with the column was only a foreshadowing. On the way home from a clinginner at Lutong Bahay, a friend and I braved the Quezon Avenue traffic. The COT was a road accident involving a sedan and a bus full of passengers. We tsk-tsked at the sight and sloughed it out through the U-turn leading to southbound Edsa.

No less than one tambling away from the Quezon Avenue MRT station — where my friend was set to alight — a taxi beside me made a sharp left turn and in so doing, commenced the third traffic jam within that same hour in Q Ave. The taxi got scratched at the rear and there’s now a gaping dimple where my fender’s smooth surface used to be.

So this wasn’t a great day. But while I’m grateful that the only harm done so far was to my pocket, property and pride (I overheard a jeepney passenger remark, “Ay, babae kasi nag-dadrive” when he saw me negotiating with the taxi driver), I hope it’s not too much of a stretch to wish for nothing else untoward to happen from here on.



Legendary sorry excuses

10 Oct

From the one and only Barney Stinson.

[  ] It is a habit.
[  ] I am a naturally selfish person.
[  ] I didn't know if it bothered you.
[  ] I was     a) hungry       b) lonely       c) intoxicated
[  ] I thought it would be funny.  
[  ] You were never supposed to know.  
[✓] It was my evil twin.

Things I know but don’t always remember (hell week edition)

8 Oct

1. Productivity is always inversely proportional to the number of tabs currently open on any given window.

2. Thinking of resting your eyes for a wee while? Don’t even think of folding your arms and resting your head in front of the computer. Unless you want to wake up after five hours with aching neck and back muscles, groggy with lack of progress.

3. If you must work with iTunes in the background, at least pick out songs that won’t compel you to grab the nearest hairbrush/remote/your-makeshift-microphone-of-choice  and channel your inner Adele at daybreak.

4. Increased caffeine intake can make you more immune to the energizing effects and more susceptible to its undesirable ones.

5. Playing blink and seek with your word document cursor will do nothing to lessen the white space.

5. Just because you’ve minimized the problem, doesn’t mean you’ve solved it.

7. Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and all networking sites still have fully functioning logout options.

8. NO, you don’t need to go to the restroom for the third time in half an hour.

9. And NO, you don’t need that second glass of water either.

10. CTRL isn’t just a button — it’s high time you exerted more of it IRL.