Tag Archives: self-portrait
9 Aug

The Mean Reds and Friends as Tiffany’s

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.

The desire to 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.

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Last Friday Night: The Cheat Date

30 Jul

There is no state of bliss like sleeping in, especially on a weekday. It’s a privilege I’m unlikely to bask in once I trade my class readings for office memos, and my Form 5s for tax returns. That’s why every year since 2010, I strive to leave at least one whole morning free when mapping out my schedule for the semester.

This sem, Fridays are my staying-in-bed cheat days, what with a lone interpretive writing class (granted, it’s a three-hour class) at 1 p.m. Last July 27, though, I unintentionally took the lollygagging a little to the extreme. I woke up feeling ill at 10 a.m., ate breakfast, did my morning routine, and plopped back into bed an hour later. 

I woke up a second time at 2:30 p.m. In my groggy state, I read a text message from my prof: she had called off our class and required us instead to catch a forum from 1-4 p.m. that day. 

I reached school just in time for the forum’s end. YAY. Thankfully, I ran into classmates who were generous enough to fill me in on what went on during the forum.

Lesson learned: Never doze off after accomplishing morning routine. If it can’t be helped, at least set up an alarm.

That night, I was lucky enough to have enjoyed the company of my batchmate and good friend Jiru. I was up for some redundancy that night, so we trooped to Maginhawa for a double burger cheat date (no hard feelings, grad pic diet) — whetting our appetites first at the Burger Project and hopping over to The Iscreamist for dessert.

The Burger Project lets diners customize their own burger, with a range of patties, sauces, buns and add-ons to choose from. As a bonus, you can even name your creation and they’ll have the recipe recorded, allowing you to order the same thing during your next visit. 

     That night, I had a beef patty with lettuce, tomatoes, caramelized onions and gruyere cheese, drizzled with Burger Project’s Special Sauce and all wedged between two sesame buns. YUM. 

     Over at The Iscreamist, I tried the Burger variant of their Dragon’s Breath concoctions. The latter are basically cookies on popsicle sticks with Macaron, Bacon Popcorn, S’mores and Burger variants. It’s served in threes or fours with a cup of liquid nitrogen. 

The diner dips the cookie into the cup (effectively flash-freezing it) and pops it into his/her mouth. Then he/she sits back as smoke flares out from his/her nostrils and mouth, in a very bad-ass dragonesque fashion.

T’was my first time to try Dragon’s Breath. Jiru was kind enough to take a video as I floundered and slightly panicked as the first frozen cookie stuck to my tongue. Will upload it the next chance I get. 

And because he’s such a sweetie, Jiru capped off the night by giving me my first birthday gift this year: my own copy of The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. ❤

It rained for most of the afternoon and well into the night, something I failed to anticipate when I slipped into today’s outfit: an Express tank top (P100 from an outlet store) and a girly little skirt from the Makati Cinema Square ukay (P105). The silver ballet flats are from the Marikina Shoe Exchange, and the bright blue ribbon was a birthday gift from last year. 

I set out to try a different outfit shot last Friday, so I set my camera Sheldon on self-timer. This was the result of 561489 takes (after a time, all the futile jumping started feeling like a workout…yes, grad pic diet, I hear your evil cackle loud and clear) and a close encounter with a twisted ankle.

Cheers!

A Different Kind of Lens

26 Mar

Last Saturday morning, our J 123 class met in the Inquirer room for the last time. Sir Sabangan was his usual pilyo, amusingly deprecating self  — he was feeling extra generous that day, because he treated us to four boxes of pizza — and spirits were high all around (except, of course, when we watched a horridly graphic video clip). Each of us presented our final requirement, a photo essay on a subject of our choice. Mine was about a day in the life of litseneros in La Loma.

If college were an amusement park, photojournalism class would be a roller coaster. The themes of our required assignments throughout the sem included nudity, Payatas, fraternities, the Oblation Run, sports and the procession of the Nazarene.  Thus far, no other subject has compelled me this much to go places I’d never be, meet people of varied sensibilities, and observe beyond what lay before me.

I came to know the difference between looking and seeing, of taking things as they are and learning how to deal when the output is wanting. I discovered how challenging it was to capture so much in so limited a frame, and how to do without the unnecessary. I got to work on my own accord and in tandem with others. Timidness took a backseat as I learned to assert myself when situations called for it.

I persisted on diskarte and pakikisama, and found out just how effectively a well-timed sob fest can make the impossible happen. I learned to adjust not only camera and image settings, but especially to less than desirable circumstances and personalities.

I’ll miss J 123. But just because I’m not required to cover off-beat assignments anymore, doesn’t mean I’ll miss out on other opportunities to take Sheldon (my camera, lelz) out for exercise.

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