Horrah for home bound holidays

Thanks to Andres Bonifacio’s rally for a revolution, I am able to take a one-day break from the realities of the city and work life. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect (refer to the bitter, bitter previous entry). I am actually able to enjoy the slow calm of a holiday. Yes, in the middle of the week, I am not chasing after something or grumbling about someone.

The day started terribly. I woke up with an emotional hangover. I hated not knowing what to do with my bitterness, so I went to one of my awesome friends, George. George is a bear–okay, he’s cuddly,  loveable, and friendly like a bear. He’s not only adorable and tall, but also gives sage advice on everything. It also helps he’s taking a human resources management course, so his knowledge is useful to my crisis. I sought his advice in the form of tarot cards. And the cards were very sensible:

The main theme of my reading: the hierophant. According to learntarot.com, it can hold the following meanings:

getting an education: pursuing knowledge

becoming informed
increasing understanding
studying and learning
seeking a deeper meaning
finding out more

George’s interpretation: “You need to achieve an epiphany before moving on to better things.”

It was a humbling and enlightening experience, being told these words. And anyone aware (and has felt the wrath) of my pride would be surprised I took his words to heart.

Sometimes we need a slap on the face to get over ourselves. Some people are best told gently, but then I know I can take a surprise punch or slap with enough reflection. I am still growing up, and there are things I need to learn to prepare myself for the future. We can’t expect things to just come to us, we have to work for them. And sometimes the challenges (and shit) involved with getting there may not seem worth it–but it will get you somewhere, and it will aid you in the future. We have to work to get to where we want, to move on. We cannot just leave without resolving the things that bother us, and improving upon ourselves. It’s simply a matter of getting ready, and making yourself stronger for the challenges to come. No one ever said life would be easy.




mid-week crisis

Never settle, they say. Reach for your dreams and always aim high. If you reach a low point, then you  shouldn’t settle for that.

I never settle for mediocre work. I wasn’t exactly a stellar academic student, so I am making up for it with dedicated, high quality, organized, and persevering hard work. And it’s not just cause I am making amends, it is also because I love what I do. After all, I wouldn’t be so motivated to finish if I didn’t enjoy it. Yes, I like feeling like a god. Creation is what I do–all right, production is a better word. I put something together and I love that satisfaction of seeing it in its polished finish.

Now settling for bullshit–or as Jason Bateman’s character in Horrible Bosses puts it, “Putting up with shit–is another matter. You will run into people who will pull you down. There will be people who get away with being lazy because they can. And then there are those who look better simply because they have the favorable aura: they’re charming, good at networking and chatting everyone up. Or they could just be attractive, hence the primal, intuitive favorable response from everyone else.

And you have to put up with them, because it’s part of the job. It’s just another hurdle–nothing that can’t kill you can only make you stronger.

But settling for people’s shit? That doesn’t make you stronger. It makes you meaner, bitter, and angrier. It makes you exasperated and impatient. It makes you tired, and wonder why life isn’t fair.

I’m tired, angry, bitter, and have had enough. But it isn’t the “have had enough” that leads to a revolution; it is resignation–seeing that maybe 4, 5 years from now, I could still be muttering these things to myself, doing what I can to do my work well, but having people’s bullshit pull me down. That’s terrifying.

But a bigger picture is always at hand: the final goal. Helping your family out. Getting day by day. Living as dignified as I can.

I remember these things, and complaining about all that shit seems selfish.

That and a Lit chair once told me, all the hardships you’re going through? They’ll make for great pieces in the future.

The future? Hopefully that has less shit.



Dear Facebook

No, I don’t want to inform my feed which specific articles I’ve read on Yahoo! and The Guardian.

It’s terrifying. It’s as if someone is watching me from across the window, reading over my shoulder, and is getting to know me through the links I click.

Yes, I realize I should only add people I know personally on Facebook (which I do). I also realize most of my friends have the same interests as me, so I will benefit from the list of articles they’ve read.

But do I really need a complete list of what they’ve been reading? It feels like an unnecessary progress report–or a conversation striker for a creepy stranger, whichever your preference.

Thank God we have a choice NOT to opt for this app. It just irks me to see it every time.


Saving yet spending on the holidays

If there is one thing that is impossible to accomplish come Christmas season, it’s a diet. So I won’t bother fighting a losing battle, and instead, I shall give my best tips on avoiding a problem my ATM, savings, credit card, and debit card know all too well: spending too much on gifts to your loved ones (and yourself). Thankfully my trip to Malaysia next year, along with an  unneccessary salary deduction, let me practice a few necessary saving pre-cautions before my first Christmas gift shopping trip yesterday. Here’s how I successfully came out of 500 concessionaires, yet only bought 10 products for 10 people (and none for myself!).

  1. Stick to a budget. Yes, we’ve heard it all before, but it’s the oldest and best way to really limit your spending. No matter how many talks you attend or projects you take on to make extra cash, if you don’t limit your expenses, then you won’t have any left for basic needs and emergencies. Sticking to a budget also means the following: (a) controlling yourself, (b) realize and accept that the life of a shopaholic has dire consequences.
  2. Act like a guy. When guys go out to the mall, they set their sights to one (or two) objects and only buy that. Set a buying goal and only do that. Yesterday, my priority was gifts for my officemates and shoes from Posh Pocket. I was able to get a good deal on the former, and didn’t end up buying the latter because the shoes I wanted did not fit well…which brings me to:
  3. Do not force a buy. Especially shoes, bags, and clothes. If you have too much of one thing, take a page from my friend Nina: only buy a new thing if you’re giving up or selling one of your old. If you have more than you need, then you only want more.
  4. It also helps to bring a STRAIGHT guy. As much as girlfriends hate bringing boyfriends, they are very, very useful when it comes to controlling your spending. I gave my bf a list of things I can’t buy: bags, makeup, and only ONE pair of shoes. So whenever I looked at a bag, he would go “oh, oh!” When I did insist on a bag I did like, he offered to make it a Christmas gift–it was then I realized I didn’t want it that much. It wouldn’t make my Christmas wishlist; it just happened to be there and I happened to like what I saw.  Also, I would have been forcing a buy.
  5. Prioritize your expenses. List down what you need to buy and what you would prefer to buy. Yesterday, we were also planning to go to a food market–which is much more important to me than getting clothes or a new bag. So once I bought the gifts, I held back from buying something for myself. I wanted to see how much I would spend on food before splurging on anything else.

Writing on writing 2.0

I lack an imagination.

Wait, scrap that. I have been known to arrive at crazy ideas and conclusions. I lack the voice, proper sentence structures, and compelling dialogue to make those ideas concrete.

But I do not lack a mental organizer, recorder, or word/idea linker. I know what questions to ask someone with a story, and how to bring that story out in clear, concise sentences and properly sequenced paragraphs.

Yet to have an “original” (or new spin on an old) idea and write it into a story that makes you turn each page, wanting to know the central question to the plot? Meh. Good luck na lang sa ‘ken. My attempts have been futile. Practice makes perfect, but the hesitant editor in my insists it’s shit. Even I am boring myself.

George Orwell, you’re not helping!

[The] three characteristics a work of fiction must possess in order to be successful:

1. It must have a precise and suspenseful plot. 

2. The author must feel a passionate urge to write it.

3. He must have the conviction, or at least the illusion, that he is the only one who can handle this particular theme.

– Advice to writers

It also doesn’t help that my standards are: George RR Martin’s A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, and A Storm of Swords (everything after, zzzzz), Ryan Murphy’s American Horror Story (SINONG TATAY MO?! haha!), Stephen King’s The Shining, and Haruki Murakami’s Norweigan Wood. Wait, that does help, but who knows how many years it’ll be till I arrive at their caliber?

Oh the woes of a non-fiction writer.

Maybe I should dive into fan fiction. It’s where my world and the other meet, providing the character sketches, world(s), et al, but I am left to control the world to my wishes. Parang nag-mana lang ako ng negosyo, tapos kailangan kong ayusin. Or a business that was bought by new management–which sounds a lot like what I do regularly anyway, which is edit the hell out of articles.

Whatever my woes, I need to get out of my comfort zone and fast. Remaining stagnant is not an option!

Umitim ka

In English, your skin is darker.

This doesn’t come as any surprise to me since:

1) I came from a swimming spree last last weekend

2) The weather has been summer hot, and since I’m a commuter, I expose myself to the sun walking from point A, to point B, to point C, etc.

What irks me is why people have to ask WHY I am getting darker. If you imprison me in a room, yes my skin is bound to be pale. But since I work and like to go out, the sun is bound to get to my skin.

I am a Filipina, so my skin is bound to get darker. Why are my fellow countrymen so shocked then that my skin can change after several hours under the sun? Growing darker, and not RED, also means my skin has better chances against the UV. So I’m sorry if it’s not the “nice” white you prefer, but Pinoy ako eh. Live with it. I actually enjoy being tan, so please just don’t press the issue of my color. It’s not your skin, it’s mine.

Of course, the downside are the UV rays that can lead to skin cancer. So to protect my golden skin from the UV rays, I tried using Clinique’s city block. Unfortunately it made my skin oilier and took a long time to dry after application.

So I went to around two malls and a supermarket in search of the right face protector. Not one for swimming or the beach; just something that wouldn’t upset my skin’s balance.

Instead, all I ended up seeing were products like these:

I realize that the stigma of looking white supposedly means you are of “higher class” (god knows I feel that at work all the fff time…anywaaaay).  Apparently it’s cause being tanned means you look like nagtatrabaho ka sa bukid.

But class cannot be bought and true beauty is exemplified in embracing who you are. So no whitening products, I want my skin protected, but not to the point I don’t look like myself. And a tan can also mean that I go to the beach regularly. Oh diba, sosyal? May pera akong pangtravel! Hahaha! It also means I commute, which can be a bitch, but is a part of who I am. Why deny it right?

Thankfully a friend referred to me Olay’s anti aging cream. I had no choice, even if I’m too young for this. It outright stated UV protection (SPF 15), had a not so oily base, and didn’t have to force me into the promise of becoming a white swann.

Flawless din ang brown noh

Another bane of living in a “wannabe white” culture? BUYING FOUNDATION! Once I’ve saved enough for a foundation my tita recommended (she has the same skin tone), I’ll be sure to write up a post here.

And so begins a morena’s search for enhancing what’s already there 😉

Remember, remember the first of November

The Reading Front

Inspired by my friends’ and colleagues’ book lists and book pages on their blogs, I included a list of my own on this blog. I’m 50 percent through A Dance with Dragons, but certain chapters are such a bane and struggle to get through. Martin’s plot is no longer working towards a definite conclusion, but simply delaying the answer to the burning question of his story: Who will win the Game of Thrones? Although most books go into subplots that connect to a bigger picture, leading to an aha! moment so stunning (yet not as surprising, once you’ve gotten over the initial shock), Martin just seems to be shitting subplots without weighing their consequences properly.

There are still more titles to finish and start, but I can’t seem to multitask books like I do with television shows. Since reading requires all six senses to work at my control, it doesn’t feel right to exhaust all of them then force them to work into the enjoyment of another plot and set of characters. I never gave myself a deadline, after all, with that long list, right? Hahaha, excuses!

Horror-rific Halloween

In lieu with the day the dead walk among the living, my sister, sister-at-heart, and boyfriend had a “halloween themed marathon” at our house. We watched the first two episodes of The Walking Dead’s 2nd season and the first four epsiodes of American Horror Story. There was no Asian horror in between or to end the night, so I was able to sleep by myself. I am quite impressed with AHS, given that it’s by the same dudes who did Glee. I hope it doesn’t fall into Glee‘s downward spiral and keeps up the creepy. Now I can’t watch that show alone (I’ve screamed twice so far in surprise and terror), but I still need to know what happens next. Effective tension-ridden horror? Most definitely!

Long Weekends

Last week’s long weekend is coming to an end, but the next one only leaves three days to catch up with work. But since my work is sort of people dependent (ie replying to e-mails, their schedules), life’s surprises can only tell the time line the rest of this year follows.

And speaking of this year, it’s TWO MONTHS now till the end of 2012. My self-imposed deadline has me terrified.

But the end of the year/a new year deserves another post of course.

For now, I am ever grateful for 2011 so far. But new chapters must be started.