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Hangover (and nope, it ain’t of the alcoholic variety)

5 Jan

Getting by with just as much enthusiasm as a deflated balloon.

I did something I’ve always wanted to try for the first time today. My hands were shaky as I dragged my cursor to the e-mail bearing tidings of my fate.

The outcome wasn’t what I was hoping-wishing-praying-offering-eggs-to-Santa-Clara for. But ah, well — you win some, you lose some. And it sure shan’t-can’t-won’t stop me from loving what pushed me to try in the first place, or stop me from trying again at all.

To more opportunities that drive us nuts, drive us out of our comfort zone, and ultimately drive us to realize what’s most important to us.

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Taming the Scrooge

25 Dec

We all have a little Scrooge inside.

Sometime, somewhere, we’ve all had our hearts broken at Christmastime. And no, I don’t just mean the romantic kind. December 25, after all, falls within the tail-end of the year — a period rife for reflection on regrets and its many merciless permutations.

Every year since I was eleven, I’d make the rounds in my mother’s office and ask for aginaldo (Christmas treats, usually in the form of money) from her colleagues and superiors. I remember my eyes growing round as saucers that first time, when I came home with four digits worth of Christmas money.

For this little girl who sold candy bars and biscuits at school to augment her allowance, the aginaldo rounds were a godsend cash cow.

By and by as I grew in height, my benefactors’ fists clenched tighter and tighter around their purses. I made the rounds as an eighteen-year-old, knowing full well that it would be my last. Most of the gifts I had received from Mama’s friends at that point were the same things they would give one another — make-up, little pouches, mirrors and the like.

My little Scrooge would have humbugged at the idea of this Christmas. This is my last Christmas as an undergrad student, supposedly also the last where I enjoy immunity from the compulsion to give gifts to godchildren and various other aginaldo-seekers (oh how the tables have will turned!).

But besides more responsibilities, the passing years have brought to me the kind of healthy ambivalence towards receiving gifts. I reach out to give little tokens of gratitude to those whose love, friendship, company and service have helped me grow in the past year(s).

As for the returns, I don’t think of them nearly as much as my entrepreneurial eleven-year-old self would have. What she would have considered the greatest Christmas heartbreak would be coming home empty-handed after an afternoon of pamamasko.

But I have come to realize that seeing people’s faces light up, or hearing how much they enjoyed or will enjoy what they’ve been given are gifts in themselves — one that no amount of red envelopes or bills can ever measure up against. And perhaps it would be the most awful Christmas heartbreak of all not to know the difference.

All we want for Christmas

3 Dec

Spotted in the UP Journalism Club‘s Secret Santa wishlist:

  1. Mahalin nyo lang ako at wag nyo kong saktan 😥
  2. Contact Lens: either red (na vampire-ish ang dating at hindi adik)
  3. Film 100 readings
  4. End world hunger
  5. Mahinto na  yung gulo between Hamas and the Israelis
  6. Mahalal ang mga tamang tao sa gobyerno
  7. Marriage equality
  8. Love/what comes close
  9. School supplies na worth 200. Haha.  Or dumbells kasi ang laki ng braso ko. hehe
  10. Peace on earth. Love in all our hearts. But then, it’s a futile effort, like paghahanap ng jowa. (andaming sinabi)
  11. 2 MRT Stored Value Cards. Make me believe na di SVC ang laman ng gift ko (e.g. lagay mo sa garapon, etc.)
  12. 200-peso worth na peras o mangosteen. Pakilagay na lang sa basket. Bumili sa palangke. Humingi ng written receipt na may “Merry Christmas, ***!” note. Isama ang resibo sa gift.
  13. Mamahalin. Yung hindi nang-iiwan.
  14. A large bottle of sunblock SPF 70 or higher. Nagsiswimming kasi ako and I don’t wanna look like Malibu Ken in a barong in April!
  15. Swimming trunks (shorts type, HINDI yung Olympic men’s diving type)
  16. Swimming goggles. maraming mura dyan. hanap-hanap din. may below-400. utang na loob, walang Little Mermaid/Spongebob Squarepants na designs.
  17. Running shorts…pwede nang Quiapo/Divisoria/Baclaran. thankful na ako sa Greenhills. sasambahin kita pag galing ng Nike Factory Outlet
  18. Lovelife for JCers
  19. Freshness sa mga hindi na freshie
  20. Justice for the victims of (broken hearts) unsolved crimes

Salamat sa tradition of critical thought and action, lalo na kay anonymous “Mrs. Santa” wisher ng huling tatlong items. HAHA.

Note: All items listed are verbatim and were edited only for capitalization and/or anonymity.

 

Encircle all that apply

28 Nov

Beating the deadline (n. or v.)

– the writer’s (  equivalent of  / supplement to / substitute for  ) an orgasm.

Soft focus

14 Nov

“Smile!” he said.

You came to mind.

It made all the difference.

Thought bubble on a fluorescent-lit date with ProQuest

15 Sep

You know you’re this much closer to being a grown-up when journals become works to be cited, and cease to be well-guarded repositories of experiences and feelings.

Snow Patrol takes Manila by storm

10 Aug

Following three days of torrential monsoon rains, Snow Patrol rocked the riffs at the Smart Araneta Coliseum last August 9 for the Asian wave of their Fallen Empires tour.

Snow Patrol and part of the concert crowd.

With the absence of an opening act, the Irish band got the ball rolling with “Hands Open” from their 2006 album Eyes Open. This was followed by “Take Back the City”, an ode to the grit and grime and glister of the metropolis.

Gary Lightbody flaunted his playful side, jokingly (?) flirting with the Texan guest guitarist in the lead-in to “Crack the Shutters”.  The vocalist mouthed “Is this comfortable?” to the microphone while inching closer and closer to the stringman, much to the amusement of the audience.

The night’s setlist was a steady mix of old favorites and fresh offerings, spanning the last decade of Snow Patrol from Final Straw to Fallen Empire. Spectators rose to their feet and sang along full force to the familiar chords of “Run”, “Shut Your Eyes” and “Chasing Cars”.

While I was a wee bit disappointed that they didn’t play “Signal Fire” from the Spider-Man 3 OST, I remained a giddy, happy child over “Crack the Shutters” and “New York”.

But while many a Snow Patrol song reels of love, loss and everything else in between, the experimental rock visage they have adopted of late – as embodied in Fallen Empires – shines through.

After an electric performance of “Called Into the Dark”, stagehands ushered in numerous conga drums. “This is the part where we get crazy with the drums,” Gary said with a grin before launching into the opening riffs of “Fallen Empires”. I’ve heard it said that some performers are better heard live. After last night, I’m inclined to believe these Irish boys are among the best of such.

The concert was an aural and visual feast, with interactive lighting and a seven-pronged projection screen alternately featuring close-ups of the band and video supplements to their performances.

The stage and projector setup.

A roving camera nestled on a crane effectively limited the chance to get awesome photographs hovered near the stage, documenting the band and the crowd. The footage could apparently end up in the final cut of the Fallen Empires Tour DVD, slated for release in 2013.

Snow Patrol left the stage after “You’re All I Have”, only to return for an encore. “I’d like to offer this song with our deepest respect and deepest sympathies to your country as a healing gesture at this time – to those who have lost their homes and indeed, their lives,” said Gary.

“This song is about my family, and my home, and I can’t think what it would be like if it was taken from me. I’d like to offer this song to all, out of respect to your grace, and your humanity, and your kindness. Thank you all. Thank you all. I’ll never forget this,” he finished, as the strains of “Lifening” wafted over the coliseum.

Snow Patrol ended their Manila rendezvous with the livewire “Just Say Yes” – evoking the vibrancy of a rainbow after the squalor of rains, a welcome respite for a country weathered by storms, meteorological or otherwise.

*****

Snow Patrol Manila Setlist

  1. Hands Open (Eyes Open)
  2. Take Back the City (A Hundred Million Suns)
  3. Crack the Shutters (A Hundred Million Suns)
  4. This Isn’t Everything You Are (Fallen Empires)
  5. Run (Final Straw)
  6. In The End (Fallen Empires)
  7. New York (Fallen Empires)
  8. Set the Fire to the Third Bar (Eyes Open)
  9. Make This Go On Forever (Eyes Open)
  10. Shut Your Eyes (Eyes Open)
  11. Chasing Cars (Eyes Open)
  12. Chocolate (Final Straw)
  13. Called Out In The Dark (Fallen Empires)
  14. Fallen Empires (Fallen Empires)
  15. Open Your Eyes (Eyes Open)
  16. You’re All I Have (Eyes Open)
  17. Lifening (Fallen Empires)
  18. Just Say Yes  (Up to Now)

    Projector screen at the end of the concert.

*****

Thank you very much to PinoyExchange.com for the free tickets! 🙂

The Mean Reds and Friends as Tiffany’s

9 Aug

Growing up, I had my fair share of advice from adults and self-help books to be judicious in finding company. “Be careful choosing your friends,” a particular book said, “you become who they are.”

With time I came to realize that friendship, as with any relationship worth its while, becomes less about enabling circumstances and more about the choices we make to stay connected. This becomes especially true when circumstances – for reasons geographical, professional, spatial, or if you want to go all Bradbury or Spielberg about it, dimensional – make togetherness anywhere from a notch to an eon more difficult. Ultimately, the desire to connect — or re-connect — is a commitment.

Nineteen years ago, I was born on the last week of July in the midst of a thunderstorm. Every birthday since, it had been a challenge to invite people to celebrate with. Varying degrees of rain were constant gatecrashers at my parties, after all. But this July 29 was a different story, with some of those I hold dearest conspiring for a surprise get-together.

The tapestries of each friendship are as diverse as the people themselves, but a single thread binds them together. They are among the first people I could, would and do turn to when I get a bad case of what Audrey Hepburn (as Holly Golightly) called the “mean reds”.

My birthday outfit was inspired by the iconic “wild thing” Miss Golightly.

The Taylor black brocade dress (P250) is from Red Tomato. Black leather platforms are by Gibi. Layered teardrops choker (P150) is a tiangge find, and the necklace used as a hair accessory is a birthday gift.

Here’s one of my favorite scenes from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, where Holly explains the mean reds to her writer-neighbor Paul Varjak:

Holly: Poor cat! Poor slob! Poor slob without a name! The way I see it I haven’t got the right to give him one. We don’t belong to each other. We just took up one day by the river. I don’t want to own anything until I find a place where me and things go together. I’m not sure where that is but I know what it is like. It’s like Tiffany’s. 

Paul: Tiffany’s? You mean the jewelry store. 

Holly: That’s right. I’m just CRAZY about Tiffany’s! Listen, you know those days when you get the mean reds? 

Paul: The mean reds, you mean like the blues? 

Holly: No. The blues are because you’re getting fat and maybe it’s been raining too long, you’re just sad that’s all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you’re afraid and you don’t know what you’re afraid of. Do you ever get that feeling? 

Paul: Sure. 

Holly: Well, when I get it the only thing that does any good is to jump in a cab and go to Tiffany’s. Calms me down right away. The quietness and the proud look of it; nothing very bad could happen to you there. If I could find a real-life place that’d make me feel like Tiffany’s, then – then I’d buy some furniture and give the cat a name! 

In another scene, Holly said, “Anyone who ever gave you confidence, you owe them a lot.” I may not see these lovelies all the time, but everyday I’m grateful for the likes of them, who make me feel like Tiffany’s — and eons, eons better.

via Tumblr http://bargainmuse.tumblr.com/post/29045759294

Chapter 19: Page 1

30 Jul

“Why is the windshield larger than the rearview mirror? Because what lies ahead is far more important than what we leave behind.”

Spending my first hour as a 19-year-old going through pictures of the last few days and heart-warming birthday greetings (will get back to each of you lovelies soonest!).

The universe and the weather system conspired to cancel my morning PE class (I’ll miss touch rugby for another week, but hey, I’m not complaining).

Thank you to everyone who has been part of my journey thus far.

Thank youuu as well to Mamao, her chief accomplice Raine and the sneaky — and special! — creatures who connived to present a birthday surprise like no other.

Together, we rediscovered “adobo”, tested our innuendo mettle with What’s Yours Like?, vented through a strictly-timed round of Apostrophe, and got ultra-competitive over Taboo and Wordi. Besides good times and goodwill, we had our fill of tongue (thanks to my favorite lengua), the staple birthday noodles, barbeque, sardined milkfish, cheesy laing, pretzels, pretentious junk food organic fruit chips, wine, Gouda and Colby.

Sneaky, sneaky.

By sunset, we had made the following all-important realizations:

1) Say “Lady___” as a clue for the “bug” in “ladybug” and you’re just as likely to be answered with: “Gaga!”

2) Unicorns can, in some ways, resemble bulls.

3) To some (and by some, I mean to Suzette Dalumpines), “hulk” is a perfectly acceptable rhyme for “honk”.

4) Making jokes is easier than making love.

5) America — not just flying or super strength– is a superpower.

6) “Royalty” is what jacks up after the EO on mining is passed.

7) Giraffes can’t really reach their ears with their tongues.

Thank you for sharing today — and so much more — with me, you precious sneaks.

Cheers to the sunshine in each of us, and to the company of people who keep downcast skies at bay!

Bargain musings

25 Jul

In a matter of days, I’ll be blowing 19 candles on what would hopefully be a dark chocolate and cherry cake. In a matter of months, I’ll be among the latest sunflower children of UP Diliman, shifting the sablay from the left to the right shoulder in parting with my alma mater, and in anticipation for what awaits outside it.

The past few weeks marked the last of many firsts, and the first of many lasts. This Bargain Muse venture is among my firsts, and I hope to make it last for as long as I can.

The idea for this blog came to me one day on a trip to my favorite wonderland, an ukay-ukay. My browser has seen its fair share of fashion blogs, most of which feature branded clothes or accessories equivalent to anywhere from 1 to 15 unit/s of my tuition. Not that there’s anything inherently bad about that. Everyone’s free to spend their resources the way they want to, after all.

For my own part, I believe spending isn’t a pre-requisite to a diverse wardrobe. Each article of clothing is an investment – just as there are costly options, there are also those to be had at a much cheaper price. And as I’ve discovered time and time again, relatively lower prices do not have to equate to tacky designs or poor quality.

Bargain Muse celebrates this affordable ingenuity. There is value (and unparalleled thrill!) in getting not just more, but the mostest bang for your buck. This blog is an account of the little treasures I find amid yard sales, stuffy thrift stores and unkempt cardboard boxes – clothes and trinkets that lay still on their racks, begging to be rescued from their neon plastic hangers.

At the very most, I hope to encourage others to explore the infinite possibilities of bargain shopping. At the very least, I hope to meet others who share similar interests, particularly the idea that one need not shell out too much to dress presentably.

Cheers!