Monday, October 25, 2010

5 (or 6) things

About 6 months ago, my boss gave me a pep talk. The kind wherein he gives "life advice" that he learned over the better part of the century. There were 6 trivial items that he had outlined and gave specific examples of, namely:

1. Wake up with a start.
2. Accomplish one small feat to start your day.
3. Think of the end, first.
4. Make a regimen and stick with it.
5. Reward yourself.

Yeah, I know that's just 5. I'm keeping the last one for myself, sort of our little secret. Maybe when I'm in the mood I'd finally be able to focus my attention for more than an hour and actually write a book about all these, so understandably I'll need to hold back that 6th item just so the 3 people actually reading this blog would be compelled to buy it. Heck, just look at what Stephen Covey did, holding back that "8th" habit for an entirely new book after his previous 7 ones became a best-seller. Then again, what sort of chance do my 6 habits have against his 8, right? Some smart-ass bookstore clerk would probably put my book beside Covey's and people would look at the both of them and say "Hey, I'm getting my buck's worth with 7 (or 8) habits more than the six this loser is trying to sell." So I guess that shoots down any chance of my book selling for a profit.


Lately I've been running out of nonsense to talk about for this blog. Not that I'm making a lot of sense these days, but there has been nothing occupying my noggin'. Take note that there is a huge difference between thinking up nonsense and not having anything to think of, sensible or otherwise. To remedy that I've bought some books, but as soon as I close them, the thoughts fly right out of my head. Really convenient.

So I opened up my notebook, the one I use for work-stuff and found my notes about that meeting I had with my boss. That was interesting... serendipitous, even. Now, not only do I have something to write about, but I've got 5 (maybe six, *wink*) topics that would keep this blog in circulation among my 3 readers. That'll at least assure you that I haven't been hit by a bus or a speeding bicycle lately.

Here's what I'm going to do, I'm going to write 5 posts to explain the 5 (or 6) items enumerated above for my succeeding posts. I can't give you a schedule of when these posts are going to come out because, well you know me, I just can't plan that far ahead, can I?

Oh, and a disclaimer, I said I'd discuss these items as my boss had done, but in no way does that imply that I follow these items personally, nor that these actually work. It's just something tossed out there, for the entire world to take up or disregard. Sort of like someone asking you for some spare change, it's not really required or anything, is it? Unless of course, that person has a gun pointed straight at your balls, which is kinda hard to ignore. If it was trained at your heart or your head, some of you might get smart thinking they're bluffing or you're likely not to feel anything if they did shoot. But at your testicles? You're not likely to die from a gunshot wound there, but kinda makes life a heck of a lot lonelier and miserable, doesn't it?


You could stop here, I guess. The next paragraphs are kinda out of topic, effects of my short attention span. If you'll notice how the first part ended, you'll correctly guess that were diving straight into testicles, where all my focus has conveniently shifted to. You could salvage your taste buds now and leave, I'll understand. Probably, you could go back to the succeeding parts after a short break. At least then you'd have already eaten. If you're bulimic, it is highly recommended that you do this. (Bulimia is a bad thing, by the way. But then again, so was that Baconator Mexican Melt I ate a few minutes ago at Wendy's for breakfast. So who am I to judge?)


I recently found out that some friends of mine had their pet cat "fixed".


Yeah, that was an awfully short paragraph, wasn't it? I intentionally left that statement on it's own so that you'd realize how big and massive (I was gonna say weighty, but had doubts if that was in fact a real word) that felt for me. No, I don't have some special kinship with that particular feline, nor to felines in general. Just that the act of c*stration seems so medieval to me. I couldn't even spell that word out in its entirety. From hereon, if I really have to, I'm referring to it as the "Sad C". (The 'Big C' was already taken)

My first actual realization that there was such a practice came with farm animals. Here was a little baby boy-pig, held upside-down by someone wielding a sharp razor blade. I felt my legs give way from under me. I almost gave up eating pork, then I heard that they did this to bulls as well. If they could, I'm sure they'd also apply this practice to fish and chickens. So I swallowed my pride and went on cooking bacon and steaks. God help me if I were to turn vegan.

Still, that doesn't mean I'm okay with it. Of course, this is a practice done since early times up until today, I'll admit. Eunuchs had their packages "cut off" to ward off temptation as they bathed and served the emperor's harem, and there are lots of males voluntarily having their johnsons cut off to this day. But then that's voluntary, they wanted it. I'm fairly certain that this isn't the sentiment of the majority of males, human or otherwise. If I were a cat or dog, I'd more likely volunteer for behavior modification via electrocution or drugs than be spaded.

Obviously, I've spent an awful lot of time in thought about this topic, knee-weakening as it is. I owe it to all those who've undergone the Sad-C. I start off with the idea of a person's definition, do johnsons define being males? Their individuality? Probably not. So why are men all sentimental about it?

A friend of mine tells me that his grandfather had undergone the Sad-C. He had the Big-C, Prostate. It was painful as hell, as he grimaced and at times lost it due to the pain. His children (my friends father and his siblings) had signed the waiver for them to do the Sad-C. When gramps woke up, without his willie, he was devastated, and set out to hunt the children who had this done to him. My friend found his dad and uncles hiding under the bed and the dining room table, scared to death.

Imagine yourself locked up in prison, hard labor in Siberia or the South Pole, for 300 or so lifetimes. Obviously there's no going back to the real world in this case. But what if, the warden comes up to you and tells you he's gonna cut your sentence to just 10 days if you subject yourself to the Sad-C? Will you take it? Personally, I'd rather take my chances in the biting cold and hard labor. (And the occasional ass-rape, which is why if I'm gonna end up in prison for the rest of my life I'm gonna want to contract some form of contagious but non-lethal leprosy)

Friday, October 22, 2010

From coffee to coconuts

I was doing nothing in particular last night, enjoying a cup of coffee and some smokes, just letting rush hour traffic pass before I drive home. A van stops in front of me, and a bunch of high schoolers get out. They were exiting the van and finding themselves rushing the gauntlet between a 7-11 and a Starbucks. I hastily made a bet with myself, promising a round of beer should I guess correctly which of these two establishments would get the most traffic. Almost reflexively, I exclaimed that the winner would be the 7-11. Cheap beer and liquor always trumps expensive coffee.

Well, I lost. (Which also means that another side of me won, I guess) Almost everyone went to Starbucks and bought the biggest ass size of the most expensive cold beverage they had with all the extras. Well, a couple of them (they were about 10, in all) did go to the 7-11, and left with some bottled water.

What the heck happened here? High school kids prefer coffee to good old beer? This must be a mistake, maybe they were so wasted already that they needed a coffee to pick them up. That's probably the only reason I'd take in coffee when I was in 4th year high school. Always better to have your breath smell of coffee than of bile and vomit. But these kids looked fresh as a daisy, and yet, here they were, sipping coffees?

And expensive coffees, mind you. Back in the day, my daily allowance was exactly how much it cost to drink a couple of shots of tequila at the DC Diner. These kids spent on coffee what I shelled out for breakfast and lunch today. I'm beginning to hate the younger generation.

Who needs a drink?


Maybe it's because they're not poor as I am. I bet their parents didn't drink beers back in high school too, which is why they went off to do well in college, bag a promising career after graduating, and assured themselves of a great future. I, on the other hand, came from a long line of good-for-nothing, alcohol guzzling forefathers. They had come from backward little islands in the Sulu sea, where getting an education meant living to be 18 years old without getting killed, hit on the head by a falling coconut, eaten by a shark or a giant turtle, or losing a limb as their neighbor (whose daughter they peeked at while showering) hacked them with a kris.

That all ended with my dad. He was the type who knew that there was a bigger world beyond the powdery white shores and pristine sapphire waters of his tiny little island. The island life wasn't for him, he thought. So he went out of his way to do well in school. He worked and studied from the first grade until he graduated from high school, earning cents and pennies from carrying groceries, hawking rice cakes, peddling soup and other odd jobs he could find around the marketplace just so he could buy books and pencils and shoes. While all his friends were off at the beach, torturing sea turtles, knocking down coconut crabs, hitching boat rides to other islands and climbing trees, he was burning his eyebrows reading textbooks with the help of his little oil lamp and bludgeoning his feet walking and running around the market all day.

It all paid off when he got a scholarship to study college in the big city. Of course, the shock to his system was difficult. Here where people spoke in a different dialect from his own, wore nice shoes, didn't have to wear the same shirt for a week, and didn't have to brew their own beers or roll their own cigarettes at home. He also discovered that while he was a friggin' genius in his little island, the standards of education was a heck of a lot higher in these here parts. He had to study twice as hard and long as everybody else, and yet also had to get some money for food and pomade and beers.

He managed it somehow, and through the years was able to crawl his way up beyond the poverty line. He raised a family and eventually became a part of the "barely sub-middle-class", which is where we kids found ourselves growing up as.


Ironically, his children, myself in particular, dreams of living out my life in a tiny little island, surrounded by powdery white sand beaches and pristine sapphire waters. Pestering sea turtles, cooking coconut crabs in some coconut milk, and waiting for the coconut water to ferment into wine. I'm not too sure he's proud.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Blink blink blink

I can't write. So here I am, writing about it. It's no fun, having some specie of writer's block creep up on you just when you've a lot of things on your mind. The trouble starts when I think of something, then write a whole paragraph about it. Then the mind goes blank, makes a weird whirring sound, beeps twice then shuts down without auto-saving.


That cursor keeps on blinking, taunting me to do something with it. I hate it. It's the same feeling I get when I sit down in someone else's house and there's a dirty magazine just laying around. There's that quality about a pornographic magazine that makes you long to pick it up and browse through it, even when you've seen it a dozen or so times. This cursor is just longing to be violated, to be pushed around the panel from left to right, bullied by the letters which suddenly emerge out of what I imagine to be it's asshole. STOP BLINKING!!!

Well, unless my computer suddenly stalls on me, I guess the cursor will continue to give me a digital version of the Chinese Water Torture. The good news is that with advancements in technology and desktop publishing, the cursor has gone on a diet and has gone from a ugly and irritatingly bright green block on my monochrome computer screen to a less-obstrusive twinkling black sliver on my cooler-on-the-eyes LCD screen. Still is giving me bad "blinks", though.

When I think about it, (yeah, the blinking cursor demands a lot of thought) these cursors are insanely important. Can you imagine typing away, then shifting your focus to taking a long drag out of that Marlboro cancer stick, and suddenly you're lost. 'Where is the cursor? It's supposed to tell me where I am.' There lies the dilemma that most humans who have to face a computer for a living, have no choice but to live through, the fact that something so irritating is so important and essential to your sanity.

To take the irritation a bit further, imagine the cursor blinking right in front of you, with sound. Now that would surely result in a lot of laptops and computer monitors being tossed out of frustration. Beep beep beep beep... blinking and beeping away every second. And instead of a small, thin stick figure, we replace it with the image of a stick of dynamite. Now that's one way to keep someone off-balance.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Buds, anyone?

I bought a heap of cotton buds lately. Yes, I'm pretty sure I'm stocked up until the second coming. That's when I realized that cotton buds were pretty expensive. You could just imagine me lined up at the cashier's table, with a sack full of cotton buds, then realizing that I didn't have enough money to pay for it so I brought out the plastic.

Wait, have I told you why I felt compelled to stock up on a lifetime supply of buds? It was one of those really life or death situations. You're watching television, then your ear itches. So you try sticking your finger in your ear and wiggling, maybe the earwax would be jarred loose. 9 out of 10 times this doesn't work, of course, and 5 out of 10 times you make it worse. So you go to your supply cabinet to get some cotton buds and baby oil. Guess what? You're all out.

So you tell yourself, don't panic. I've still got some cotton balls, and a box of toothpicks. I'll be fine. Over the years, my dad has demonstrated remarkable skill and resourcefulness by crafting his own home-made cotton buds. This is some real, old-school ear-javelin we've got here. So I try it, but the cotton keeps falling off the toothpick. So I try putting some spit into it (literally) so the cotton would hang on a bit more securely, but as soon as I let it go the cotton unwinds itself and breaks free.

At this point, all hell breaks loose.

I did the next best thing for relief that I could think of. I went to the sink and drowned my ear under the faucet. Didn't help, now I've got an itchy, wet and cold ear. Irritated is an understatement to what I'm feeling, I wanted to take a screwdriver, punch it into my ear and turn a few loose screws out. This is just torture.

Of course, I figured the screwdriver would probably be a bad idea, considering how much I shelled out just to buy 'em babies. Stainless, tempered Japanese stainless steel, magnetized tip and sturdy rubber grip. I wasn't about to bloody these by sticking them into my brain matter.

So anyway I went into my sister's room, and looked for a hairpin. Yes, you heard (or read) me, a standard issue looped hairpin. This was a trick my mom used when we were kids. My mom hated cotton buds. To her, they were evil little things, out to infect your ears with bacteria and puncture your eardrum. But hairpins, which were invented and designed for an altogether different purpose, was apparently perfectly suited to ear cleaning. I'll bet my mom thinks they should be called ear-cleaning pins. I found a bunch of hairpins... but there was either a butterly, or a star, or Hello Kitty glued to it. Even if I did manage to fit them into my ear, I guess the thought of me going to the ER to have Hello Kitty extracted from my ear canal wouldn't exactly be a boost to my erstwhile non-existent street cred.

So all I could do was sleep on it. When I woke up, the itch had somewhat subsided enough that I could walk a straight line to the store and buy me cotton buds to last me 2 lifetimes.

Friday, October 8, 2010

I'd ask Kate for directions, for sure

I found myself driving all over town today. Got to go downtown, through the university belt, Chinatown, the docks and even visited my old neighborhood. Nice, huh? If only I had driven through all those on purpose, though.

You see, I was supposed to go to the docks this morning. So I woke up, thought up my route, and got there with time to spare. Breezed through my business, then I was a free man. Which presented me with a dilemma, since I forgot to plan for the rest of the day.

Of course, my first impulse was to go to the office. (Yeah, really) So my brain engaged into auto-pilot mode and headed south. But then, I thought: 'Hey, it's lunchtime, maybe I'll make a short detour for a sandwich or something.' So I began thinking of what to eat, where to eat, how much time to I have to eat, where will I park, does the restaurant have parking, should I text for company, do my shoes match with my belt, etcetera. Before I knew it, my brain short-circuited, and my internal compass got shot to hell. Where the heck am I going?

There I was, clueless and floating amidst the tide of compact sedans, motorcycles, container trucks and delivery vehicles. I had little idea of where I'm supposed to be headed, and wherever I was going wasn't it. Here, I made a little map of how it went:

I started from the pentagon on the east side of the map, the black line indicates how I got to my destination, marked by the other pentagon on the western extreme. Then the red line marks my return path. Obviously, it was the scenic route, through downtown before sensibly getting back on track.


Let me make this clear, I did not get lost. I knew where I was at all times, just that I didn't really intend to be there. I had a plan, keep driving until I get to someplace familiar to me where I could easily make my way to where I was headed. It was a good plan, a sound and rational plan, sure maybe a tad stupid and egotistical, but there was at no point any real need to ask for directions from some stranger who thinks he knows better than I would how to get back home.

Of course, there was also never a need to go the scenic route in the first place. But hey, you don't always have to know where you're going and how you're getting there, right? That would be boring. Frankly, you can't always wait for surprises to come your way, sometimes you've got to just make your own surprises, like hitting that stray dog just this morning.

(Kidding, there wasn't any dog. Just a bunch of rags which I thought was a dog, or a puppy, which I had accidentally rolled over of. If it really was a dog, I probably wouldn't be putting it in this blog for fear of my life. If it was a penguin or a kangaroo or some other exotic animal roaming the city streets in a bid for global domination, however, I'd likely have my picture taken beside the roadkill.)


Bought myself some second hand books this afternoon. Figured I would need something to read during my personal time at the coffee shop while waiting for the rush hour traffic to subside. So I got "A Thousand Splendid Suns", "Love in the Time of Cholera" and some light reading, the title of which escapes me at the moment. Actually, I wanted to get the Archie Double Digest, but for a second hand comic book, found it ridiculously expensive.

I'm particularly interested in the Garcia-Marquez book. It's an important element of the movie "Serendipity", which I've probably watched over a dozen times with the ex. (And a few other times just on my own. Gay, I know, but Kate Beckinsale's just too hot, specially with that accent.)

I've read his other book, Ten Thousand Years of Solitude. Yes, wrong title, but that's exactly how I found reading that book... a century feels like a minute compared to how that story dragged on and on for me. (But then again, I don't read the articles in Playboy, nor Penthouse Forum. Yes I'll admit that much.) So I guess that's how hot I think Kate Beckinsale is. I'd actually buy a book whose author I don't particularly find interesting just because of a movie she was in where she had a copy.

So allow me to say, that I think schools and books would be immensely appreciated by students if they were associated or endorsed by supermodels and sexy actresses. If Kate Beckinsale approached me in a tiny bikini and asked me to read my Thermodynamics textbook back in college, I would probably have already invented a perpetual-motion machine, and received multiple Nobel prizes by now. Then you'd all be kissing my backside, won't you? Instead of ridiculing my disdain for asking directions.