27 December 2009

When Blogs Take Flight

27 December 2009
When I was in high school, I juggled mathematics and writing effortlessly. I solved some algebra questions in the evenings and in between classes, while on weekends, I sat in front of my Windows 95-powered PC and created– feverishly, fervently– my next literary masterpiece. Those days, writing never felt like a chore. Sure, I discarded more stories than I could care to count, but my resolve never wavered. When one short story felt a bit too much for me to take, I took a break (or solved that trigonometric exercise that I’ve been itching to get my hands on). Then I moved on.

[Click here to read the rest of the entry. :-)]

08 November 2009

Of Hearts and Heartaches (III)

08 November 2009

MOOD | pensive
RANDOM | boracay in 2 weeks

Of Hearts and Heartaches
A Soap Opera of Madness

There is method to the madness.

Let us begin with a character named K. K, once upon a recent time, loved N, but that love, though lingering, is now slowly disappearing like ice on the polar caps. It's been a tough journey, but K is now ready to face other people. The first person in K's way? A character named L.

K is ambivalent about L, but L is enamored by K. However, another character named W is in this story, and W does not want K with L. W wants K with D, instead, but D is a person who likes things the easy way. D is cool enough with K, but because K is not that interested (because of the above-mentioned lingering love), D calls J and asks for a date. J is another character altogether. J declines the date.

K hypothesizes that W does not want K with L because W likes K. Recent events have revealed, however, that W actually likes L and not K. Unfortunately for W, L does not like W, but likes K. Interestingly, K liked W once upon a time, and K thinks that W likes K back, which was what prompted the hypothesis in the first place.

J, on the other hand, loved K eons ago, but that polar cap had already melted. What took its place was an enchantment for K. J and K had an intimate moment, but now K is already committed with K, which sort of takes out J out of the equation. J, however, still has bouts of "like" for K, but knows that the verdict is already out on that one. Instead, J turned J's eyes to W. Like K, J liked W once upon a time. But J knew W liked K more than W liked J, so J shrugged it off.

Just to clarify (haha): in between the K-W period and the K-L period, there were the K-N and the J-N periods. But N lost K and N lost J, and that was when K found L and J found W again. This time, J was hesitant about W because of certain values differences; W, on the other hand, appeared to like J. In any case, J stalled. But now, after some soul-searching, J has decided to pursue W. But the news came out that W actually likes L, and now W, who once liked J, is now ambivalent about J.

J thinks about N and the what-ifs. But J does not like N despite knowing that N likes J. J also thinks of L (in the sense that L is cute), but knows that K likes L to a certain degree and L likes K.

And just to add a wrench into the whole machinery, L now has a girlfriend named F.

Like I said, there is method to the madness. With a little luck and a lot of persistency, somebody's bound to get it. As for the madness that prompted me to write this entry in the first place? That no one can decipher; that no one can get.

Perhaps that's just as well, because I'm getting tired of figuring things out myself.

30 October 2009

Of Hearts and Heartaches (II)

30 October 2009

MOOD | neutral
CRAVING FOR | a sweet kiss
RANDOM | condos, hay

A Few Notes on Attractiveness

Note #1: Matching Hypothesis. This is no Popoy-Basha Breakup Rule; this is a real scientific theory proposed by Walster et al. in 1966. According to Walster, (and I'm quoting Wikipedia on this to get it right) "people are more likely to form long standing relationships with those who are equally physically attractive as they are."

Ever since my Psychology 101 teacher taught me this way back in 2nd year college, I became a fan and a believer of the hypothesis. It made sense then, and it makes sense now. Walster was perhaps just credible and ingenious enough to transform something seemingly in plain view into a paper discussing social desirability. Brilliant!

Note #2: Attractiveness. There's something vague about the term "attractiveness" though, and it is wise to look into the blurry line. I, for one, believe that there's a definitive distinction between "handsomeness" or "prettiness" and "attractiveness." Humanoid X can be handsome or pretty, and yet Humanoid Y may not be attracted to X at all, even when Y can acknowledge that X is, indeed, by some objective metric, handsome/pretty.

Let's break it down. In how many ways can one person become attractive to another?

BY VIRTUE OF THEIR GENES | Ignore the statement I made about "handsomeness"/"prettiness" not being equivalent to "attractiveness." Some people are just born lucky. Even as babies, they already have the perfect Athenian leg length or the impeccable Apollonian jawline. When they walk past, heads swirl and swivel, eyes pop and protrude. It doesn't matter whether they're drenched in motor oil or wearing potato sacks for clothes; these "uglifiers" may enhance their natural beauty even more.

BY VIRTUE OF THEIR ACCESSORIES | The most apt cliche for these guys? Clothes make the man. Someone from this group cannot leave the house looking (and feeling) good without the usual hygiene and beautification routines: the application of hair product, the combing of the hair, the just-the-right-number of perfume sprays. Without the proper grooming and the well-fitted clothes, their looks alone just wouldn't fly.

BY VIRTUE OF THEIR STANCE | People who belong to this group are perhaps luckier than their genetically-perfect counterparts due to the fact that their attractiveness tends to be more long-lasting. However, in order to get there, these guys and gals deserve a second, third, or fourth glance. In other words, their looks will not strike you; their stance will. When you come across these people, you find drawn to them even though you think (by some objective measure) they're not really all that handsome or pretty. Maybe it's just the way they hold their cup when they drink coffee; maybe it's just the way they stand when they're waiting for a cab; maybe it's just the way they walk across the room. Confidence? Most probably. Appeal? Definitely.

BY VIRTUE OF THEIR SKILL | You don't even have to meet these people in order to say that you're attracted to them. This is perhaps the rarest way by which one can find someone else attractive, but it exists; it's there. Ever wonder why performance artists gain ultimate fandom despite a physical look that's less than appealing? Ever wonder why writers lead a life of constant adoration from fawning fans? This is the reason: some people just sing "hot." Some people just write "hot." Some people just act "hot." Some people just freaking solve "hot."

As you can see, there are several ways by which one person can become attracted to another. But that's not really the point. Note #2 is just a corollary to Note #1. Note #1 is the point:

In order for me to form a long standing relationship with you, I first have to find you equally attractive as I am.

And that's how K sees it.

24 October 2009

Of Hearts And Heartaches (I)

24 October 2009

MOOD | curious
CRAVING FOR | a party
RANDOM | seven blog entry ideas, no time to write them down :(

There's Just No Time for Love

It's 8 AM on a Monday. The alarm has been blaring for 30 minutes now. I look over to the bed beside me and notice with a groan that my roommate has already left. Probably off to an early morning hearing. Good news: I have dibs on the bathroom-- there's going to be no mad rush to the toilet bowl today. Bad news: I still don't want to wake up.

But I have to. I cannot make the hand that feeds me wait.

And so it goes. The routine that I have to go through everyday. Rise from bed; iron my long sleeves; pick the clothes I have to wear and lay them on the bed; head over to the showers, and soap the tummy first; towel myself dry; put on the deo; brush my teeth, then gargle with the citrus-flavored Listerine; jab the insides of my ears with cotton buds; dress up for work; apply hair product on my, well, hair; powder my face; spray a noticeable amount of perfume; look for my room keys, my wallet, and my cellphone; arrange my bag; leave.

It's 9 AM. I'm 30 minutes late, and I haven't even hailed a cab yet. On a good day, this will take me around 2 minutes the moment I emerge from the kanto. On a particularly bad day, it will take me 20 to 30 minutes, tweedling my thumbs inside my pants and tapping my right foot like an irritated little brat. In any case, I will not ride a jeep to work. That alone will take me 45 minutes since the jeep passes through the dreaded Makati Ave - Ayala Ave route. I will rather wait for a cab 30 minutes longer than necessary.

When I arrive at work, I'll drop by the employee lobby to get my fingerprint scanned. It's an upper if I arrive by the skin of my teeth-- at 9:29. But if I arrive later, I'll just shrug my shoulders and hope for a better day tomorrow. The day personally begins at 10, with a lunch break at noon, a coffee break at 3 (if we haven't bought one from RCBC Starbucks during lunch), and dismissal at around 6:30, 7:30, or midnight, depending on how early I was in arriving at the office, how heavy my workload was for the day, and whether or not my officemates are rushing to get to the Body Jam/Hip Hop/Cycling/RPM/Body Combat session on time at the gym.

After the gym session (or at some days, study session), we tend to have dinner. If we're feeling stingy or diet-conscious, we'll skip the dinner altogether and head on home. Another 5-10 minutes waiting for a cab, and then I'm off.

It's 11 PM, and my roommate is already asleep. By this time, I'm still wide awake, either by the endorphines released from working out, or the exhilaration of getting through a chapter. I cannot let my day pass without serving my dishes in Cafe World, however, nor can I make my way to dreamland without checking out the latest news in the blogosphere first. Tap tap tippity tap tap on the keyboard for an hour or so before a yawn interrupts me, reminding me that there's still work to be done tomorrow. I try to squeeze in a blog entry, and if I'm lucky, I'n ready to lie down by 1 AM. 2 AM if there's a TV show to catch up on. 3 AM if there are two of them.

I look at the clock and it's way past my bedtime. Tomorrow is another day, and I cross my fingers that I get in before 9:30. I have a meeting at 10.

18 October 2009

Why I'll Always Be Proud of Ateneo (II)

18 October 2009

MOOD | scared of the next few days
CRAVING FOR | study leaves
RANDOM | spring awakening rocks!

PREVIOUSLY | There's more to my Atenean pride than just winning the basketball championship. First, I love where my school is located. Katipunan is not just a place I go to to study; it's a place I come home to each day. Second, Ateneo has pushed the boundaries of my mind and spirit by offering me eight helpings of Philosophy and Theology. That's a lot of non-core, yes, but those two subjects are a mighty chunk of what being an Atenean is all about.

Here are two more reasons.

THREE | Awesome Professors. A good teacher makes his or her students appreciate the course within the semester he or she teaches it; allows the students to learn on their own without sacrificing proper guidance; and most important, objectively looks at the students' merits before handing out a rightful grade. A great teacher does all that and-- beyond the confines of the classroom-- imprints a special mark in the lives of the people they teach. Ateneo has become a veritable breeding ground for excellent professors, and for that, I am proud. More so for these people:

Mrs. Rowie Azada-Palacios, Philosophy | I believed in myself and in my capacity as a thinker more because of the way she handled our class. Philosophy would not have been the same had she not been at the helm of that difficult course. Luijpen, Marcel, Arendt-- whoever the philosopher was, she managed to dissect his or her philosophy in chunks that were easy to digest. I remember the first time I read a philosophical discourse (Luijpen's Phenomenology of Truth) and I was devastated. I felt stupid. But when the class discussions moved forward, I realized how ingenious the entire dissertation was. Until now, applying Luijpen's thoughts remains as one of my favorite classroom-to-real life crossovers of all time.

Mr. Gad Lim, English | Sir Gad never gave me an A in any of my papers. Not in any of my short story readings, not in any of my opinion columns, not in any of my essays. The highest grade I got from him was a B+/A-, and that was for a piece that mentioned Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears. Thank goodness I got good grades even for that one.

It's a testament to the brilliance of a teacher when a grade-conscious student like me did not for one second resent the grades that I got. I deserved all those marks. In fact, I should-- and was--- and still am-- grateful for all those comments in red that he gave me, the ones he wrote so neatly in the margins of my papers. The good techniques in writing that you perceive? I owe it all to him. The bad things? It's all my fault. I should have listened more.

Mrs. Marian Reyes, Statistics | My math grades weren't what they used to be back in high school. In fact, if Ateneo's system was more major-centric than it was-- that is, if almost all my subjects were math-related and had fewer core subjects-- I would never have graduated with honors. There were only a few math subjects that I truly excelled in, and one of them-- Statistics-- I really, really learned to love. My fascination for the subject cemented my desire to pursue the actuarial track, and the teacher who taught it-- the equally fascinating Marian Reyes-- helped me erase any doubts I had with myself back when the subject was the only bright spot in a particularly depressing semester.

FOUR | Cura Personalis. The nail that finally drove the coffin home. Or a saying that's similarly phrased. The one characteristic that separated Ateneo from my other options, the main selling point that pushed me to choose the Jesuit institution over the other, bigger campus in Quezon City. Personal Care.

I'm a high maintenance kind of guy. I don't appreciate being left all alone to fend for myself. While I understand the need to become independent, I need to have some sense of being watched over, of being able to say to myself that it's going to be okay to move this way, to commit some errors, because someone has my back. Ateneo provided me with the tools to grow into a unique individual, but at the same time established some ground rules to ensure that my growth is defined within safe boundaries. I appreciated the sense of purpose. I appreciated the concern for my welfare. I appreciated the holistic approach to addressing my entirety as a person.

In other words, I appreciated how Ateneo nurtured me.

With all these reasons, it's not hard to understand why I love my university so goddam much. Thank you, Ateneo, for everything. I will always be proud of being a blue-blooded Atenean through and through.

12 October 2009

Why I'll Always Be Proud of Ateneo (I)

12 October 2009

MOOD | proud of my alma mater
CRAVING FOR | a new pair of glasses + a new television (got it!)
RANDOM | when did the expression 'bitter ocampo' become, like, uso?

Ateneo just won the Men's Senior Basketball championship a few days ago. Another sweet, delicious victory. With the Seniors grappling their way to claim the judo top spot, the Juniors grabbing the basketball, judo, and swimming championships, and the sweet surprise that was the Cheerdancing Competition, my alma mater is on a roll as she celebrates her 150th year. With such wonderful feathers perched on our cap, it's quite difficult not to be proud of one's university, no?

But that's not exactly one of the prominent reasons why I'm proud of my school. For one, I'm not a sports fanatic. I don't even know what an "assist" is, for Pete's sakes. And for another, my interest only extends to a vague, general idea of what's going on in the UAAP basketball world. If you ask me who the starting five are, I'm going to look at you and blink. And blink. And blink. It's not my thing, in other words, and I'm cheering for the team because it's the Ateneo team.

So what is it? What prompts me to be very vocal about my affiliation with the school? What drives me to return to that campus on the hill to rejuvenate my tired spirit, my weary body? What inspires me to write again and again about why I'll always be proud of being an Atenean? Let me count the ways.

ONE | Katipunan Avenue, Loyola Heights. Katipunan was my world back then. The campus was my backyard. Having no close relatives in Manila, I had to stay in the dorm inside the school. For four years, my entire world was compressed in one little corner of Loyola. Little, yes, but that was one special corner.

In that little corner, lush rolling green fields lay. Trees adorned the sides of streets like sentinels watching over their wards. The red-bricked buildings stood proud amidst the concrete and the grass, each within a stone's throw from each other (save for Bellarmine, which was perhaps two stones' throw away). The roads, expansive and inviting; the paths, well-trodden and worn.

Outside, the entire strip was adorned with every possible necessity a student might have. Hungry? There was always KFC at one end, and McDonald's on the other. Hungry and with extra money? There's Kamirori if you were craving Japanese, and back then, The Barn for something more Western (Bo's Coffee now stands where this resto once was.). Internet cafes were dime a dozen. Rustan's Fresh was the grocery of choice, but if you were willing to move further for something cheaper, Shoppersville was just a tricycle ride away. Churches, banks, some tarot reading-- that little nook had it all.

Could you blame me if I just wanted to stay in?

TWO | Philosophy + Theology. These two branches of learning are unique to the university in that they're part of the core curriculum. Each and every student that passes through the gates of Ateneo has to take these subjects as early as their sophomore year, and will continue to do so until they graduate... four Philo subjects and four Theo subjects later. That's a lot of core curriculum.

I've got no regrets taking these subjects. I have had no complaints.

Philosophy pushed me to think over and beyond the conventional. It gave me the opportunity to inspect myself and the way I interact with the other; it provided me with the means to dissect what is truth and what is merely a semblance of the truth; it guided me to analyze religion in unbiased means and through a framework that is perhaps antithetical to its essence; and it enticed me to look at ethics as not merely guidelines to live by, but as a dynamic area of exploring one's purpose in life.

Theology, on the other hand, told me that yes, it is okay to question your faith. It is imperative to find reason behind the faith that we keep. While it is inadequate to reject religion outright with no reason or rhyme, it is also equally appalling to embrace it without knowing why you're doing so. Blind obedience is just as bad as stubborn rebelliousness.

The biggest personal thing I got from studying these subjects? Surprising myself. The human mind does work its wonders when given the right pressure and the right environment, and Ateneo is a perfect breeding ground. I'm proud of my school because it gave me the avenues to be proud of myself.

(To be continued.)

06 October 2009

Wading in the Shallow End

06 October 2009

MOOD | tired
CRAVING FOR | four-pack abs; let's not overreach for six
RANDOM | loving cafe world in facebook

When I graduated from Ateneo, I weighed around 125 pounds. It says so in my first resume, right beside Age (20) and Citizenship (Filipino). I think I just gained around 10 pounds during my entire stay in college. I have this distinct memory of getting assigned in the lightest weight division for the sparring finals of my first year judo P.E. class, and I couldn't have been greater than 115 pounds then. Of course, I wanted to gain some weight; I had an inverted triangle for a face back then, and it wasn't fun looking like a walking ad for Vicks. Unfortunately, no matter how much carbs I ingested (I was munching on pancit canton... sandwiched between slices of bread), all the gain I could muster was a measly 10 pounds. The wonders of a college guy's physiology.

Six months ago, nobody would believe that I once had a three-sided polygon for a head. It was unimaginable. Four years after stepping out of college, I was sporting a "healthy" 145 pounds. Not bad if I were 5' 9". Those pounds would have been fantastic. But alas, the gods in the sky decided that Cherifer should outdate me by around 20 years, so no, 145 pounds wasn't an ideal weight. According to this site:

My Height + My Weight = Borderline Overweight

Needless to say, it wasn't a pleasant feeling. Everything about me seemed to double: my tummy, my face, and most annoying of all, my chin. Yes, I was quite sensitive about my double chin. It took years of practice to find that perfect camera angle, one that would give the illusion of a tight jaw and a distinctive jawline. Any shots that showcased the blasphemous folds would immediately find themselves in the digital bin.

Of course, I tried to lose some weight. But no matter how many times I skipped on that extra rice or slashed my eating time in half, it seemed as though my tummy, my face, and my chin had lives of their own, and the goal of their existence is just to expand and expand and expand until I was powerless and too overwhelmed by LDL to stop them. All the loss I could muster? Diminutive. Infinitesimal. Nil. The makings of a quarter-life crisis.

That was six months ago. Shortly after that, an announcement was made that drove me and several of my colleagues to the gym.

Annual Convention would be held in Boracay in November.

Fitness First has a motto that they love to plaster all over their gym walls: Motivation is what gets you started; habit is what keeps you going. Motivation, check. It's going to be my first time in that hallowed land right smack in the middle of this country, and there was no way in hell that a single guy like me would appear bloated in such a place. Boracay equals fit, and that was it. If I were to look good and feel good, things had to change around here. And as Master Yoda would put it: Change, things did.

I weighed myself yesterday.

I think I just returned to college. :)

01 October 2009

This Week on the Boob Tube: Shows With No Eliminations

01 October 2009

MOOD | a million bucks
CRAVING FOR | more Taboo games in the office
RANDOM | tomorrow feels like a saturday

Hello folks! I'm baaaack! Told you it wouldn't take too long before I succumb to the temptations tortures of television. The Powers That Be just won't let me escape, and I'm helpless under their daunting force of authority. Helpless... like Blair Waldorf in NYU. Feeble... like a post-wiped Echo. Lost... like Sonja Stone after a six-month hiatus from the modeling world. Lame... like all these attempts to segue.

Let's not waste any more time, shall we? Class is now in session!

WARNING | If you're not watching the latest episodes of these shows, you will be spoiler-ed. However, the reviews below may be late on a few shows, so yay for the late downloaders!

Season 1, Episode 1


Joel McHale is love. His witty jabs at celebrities in The Soup has always been a reliable source of chuckles, and in Community, I expected nothing less. And shock of shocks: McHale delivered. I'm glad that the show catered to his type of humor, transforming what may have been a disastrous cast (the Indian stereotype, the token black guy, and freaking Chevy Chase?!) into a perfect cesspool for fast-paced humor. My boy McHale held this bunch of misfits together quite well.

Season 2, Episode 1


Woo! One of my favorite shows last season is back! I've had high expectations of the season premiere, primarily because the last Dollhouse episode I watched-- Epitaph One-- was beyond amazing. That episode solidified the direction the series was going, and provided enough answers and endings for the characters while leaving new and exciting questions at the same time. In comparison to that, Vows came up short. It's good that they didn't focus on the Assignment of the Week, and even better that they picked up basically from where they left off with Omega, but the episode just wasn't that exciting. (Also: more scenes with Sierra and Victor, please!)

Season 1, Episode 4


Single Ladies. For one whole episode. OMG. Kurt kicking ass, admitting his gayness to his dad, and feeling more loved than ever. OMG. Finn able to convey raw and real emotion. Tears, bros, tears. And Quinn digging deep within her soul to portray a vulnerable teenager caught between a rock and a hard place. Phenomenal. Probably the best episode since the pilot, and I have a feeling it's just going to get better.

Season 3, Episode 2
"The Freshman"


It's all about the ladies. I don't know what's worse-- Serena's unfounded brattiness, Blair's constant need to be Queen Bee, Vanessa's lack of hair care sense, or Georgina's existence. In an episode where the women are acting like childish idiots, it's good to see that maturity can still be found... in Chuck Bass. Yes, Chuck Bass, king of everything disastrous and devilish, reprimands Serena for acting up and provides practical advice to Blair all in the span of one episode. The world has turned.

Sadly, Nate wasn't in the episode. OH. SO SORRY. He was there?

Snip that Bree nonsense off the bud, writers.

Season 5, Episode 1


My roommate knows that every time we watch this show, I would turn to him and say: "I freaking love this show." That love did not waver a single bit with HIMYM's 5th season premiere, Definitions. If any, it propelled my fandom to a whole different level: I have ceased to care how Ted Mosby would meet his future wife. I was all for it during the first few seasons, driven by a burning curiosity to discover how they could extend such a shortsighted plot (and adopt it as the show's title, no less!), but now that I've discovered how they could do it (yellow umbrellas and almost-weddings and being in the wrong classroom at the right time) and more important, that they could do it, it's no longer at the top of my appreciation list. Everything else-- from Barney's awesomeness to Marshall's awkwardness to Lily's relentlessness to Robin's Canadian-ness to Ted's normal...cy-- just all came together for me. This is a good cast with an engaging script and a cohesive story to tell, and Definitions is the right launching pad for the season to come.

Season 1, Episode 2
"The Beautiful Aftermath"


I'm all for shows about beautiful and rich people (see Gossip Girl), but this show lacks luster and glamor, the very things it should be overflowing with. Name-dropping signature labels every ten seconds or so does not a fabulous show make. And the acting? Terrible. I'm willing to give Ben Hollingsworth a pass ("Chris Andrews"), but Mischa Barton ("Sonja Stone")? I'm not as forgiving. Wasn't she in that "critically-acclaimed" California-based show epochs back? Did she always act in this manner, like she can't move her facial muscles? If she's going to be the focus of this show, and she's required to act, she better shape up fast.

29 September 2009

This Week on the Boob Tube: Competitive Reality TV

29 September 2009

MOOD | ecstatic
CRAVING FOR | a few more hours before sleeping
RANDOM | i wonder how long this blogging gimmick will last :)

My hands are tied. Really tied. There's work, my studies, this blog, and, most tiring of ALL, the amount of time I have to spend watching all these awesome new shows. It's such a burden. Can you imagine the time spent on finding the torrents, waiting for them to seed, waiting for them to download, and finally, the tiresome task of actually watching them in my laptop? Can you just imagine the radiation? Gosh.

But who am I to deny The Powers That Be, right? It's my job to endure the laughter, the excitement, and the occasional irrational hate towards annoying and stupid characters/contestants. I may end up in the mental hospital needing treatment for excessive attachment to a contestant in a reality show, but I have to do this. I have to.

Anyway, let's grade shows! Fun, fun, fun!

WARNING | If you're not watching the latest episodes of these shows, you will be spoiler-ed. Okay. Let's grade shows!

Season 15, Episode 1
"They Thought Godzilla Was Walking Down the Street"


FAVORITE MOMENT(S) | The surprise elimination at the very start of the race. The I Survived A Japanese Game Show Roadblock. Contrary to the opinions of other people in the forums, I actually loved the Japan half of the 2-hour premiere more than the Vietnam half. The first half was exciting and new; the second half, typical TAR fare.

THEY WHO ANNOY | Lance the lawyer. Too shouty. Meathead.

THEY WHO WILL CROSS THE FINISH LINE FIRST | I'm hereby placing my bet on Sam and D(e)an, the gay brothers. Meghan and Cheyne may give them a run for their money, however.

Season 13, Episode 3
"Make Me Tall"


FAVORITE MOMENT(S) | Lulu's elimination. After complaining and criticizing people the entire episode, she finally got her comeuppance.

THEY WHO ANNOY | Lulu and Ashley, the biatches who whined and talked shit about everyone else. Good thing one of them got booted out. I was hoping it was Ashley, because she's so unforgettable, but in any case, I don't really like how Lulu looks in her photos and in panel, so she's also good to go.

SHE WHOSE PICTURE TYRA WILL HOLD LAST IN HER HANDS | No preferences yet, but I'm leaning towards Erin. I just wished Tyra didn't bleach her eyebrows. The thing just looks awful.

Season 6, Episode 11
"6 Chefs Compete"


FAVORITE MOMENT(S) | The Taste It, Make It challenge. I love these palate challenges. The talented chefs here fall into two categories: those who are good in service, and those who have amazing palates. There have been several seasons where the Final Two chefs had a service vs. palate thing going on. 

THEY WHO ANNOY | Tennille leading the pack? That is not a good sign. I mean, kudos for rising from the kitchen undead, but I do not want to see her shouty self in the Final Two. No way.

HE/SHE WHO WILL BECOME HEAD CHEF OF ARAXI  | Kevin. He's not a favorite (not like Michael from Season 1, or Christina from Season 4), but he's the sanest of the bunch. I don't like Dave because time seems to slow down terribly when he talks, and he reminds me too much of last year's winner (I don't even remember his name, anymore. I think it starts with a D.)

Season 6, Episode 6
"Lights, Camera, Sew"


FAVORITE MOMENT(S) | I love Ra'mon, but man, that reptilian outfit deserved to be trashed. The elimination was totally unexpected, however, because I have had the impression that Project Runway keeps its favorites safe. And Ra'mon was definitely a frontrunner earlier on.

THEY WHO ANNOY | While I may love Nicolas's "cinematic" Ice Queen ensemble, I don't necessarily have to like him. He annoys me more than Shirin annoys the hell out of him. And Gordana in the bottom two? Again? I really, really like her workmanship-- everything she does seems very well-made. I know that the judges are looking for more oomph, and this may be just a wake-up call rather than a real threat, but whatever. She doesn't deserve to be in the bottom three. For now.

HE/SHE WHO WILL WOW THE CROWD IN BRYANT PARK  | In terms of craftmanship, I'm all for Gordana's wearable dresses ("wearable" being a bad thing now, apparently), but in terms of ambition (and therefore the ability to win the show), I'm gunning for Christopher

Season 6, Episode 6
"Penn and Teller"


FAVORITE MOMENT(S) | Loved the idea behind the Quickfire challenge: cook a tandem of two dishes showcasing the contrast between the "Angel" and the "Devil" themes. I hated that Robin won, but the idea rocks. I also cheered at Jennifer's inclusion in the Top Four despite having problems with the Deconstruction Elimination Challenge. She really kicks ass in this male-dominated season.

THEY WHO ANNOY | Robin's Quickfire win and the consequent immunity from elimination. The comeback of the annoyingly talkative Toby Young (bring Gail back, please!). And Tom Colicchio, but he's been annoying me since perhaps Season 3.

HE/SHE WHO WILL COOK AT THE FOOD & WINE SHOW IN ASPEN  | I acknowledge that most of the male cheftestants this season are great, but I have my eyes set on only one person in the competition, and this cheftestant is a she: Jennifer. May come across as cutthroat, but who cares? At least my food tastes and looks good.

I'm having second thoughts posting the second part of this assessment (involving non-reality TV shows) because this took so goddam long, but let's see. I might have a stroke of inspiration somewhere. Besides, can I really resist talking about Dan's exodus from social Siberia, or Mischa Barton's atrocious acting, or the gloriousness that is Glee?

Stay tuned.

28 September 2009

When Smiles Fade

28 September 2009

MOOD | melancholic
CRAVING FOR | serenity for someone i barely know
RANDOM | death is imminent

I keep coming back to the messages that pile up by the minute in your Facebook site. I am transfixed by the outpouring of grief and memories posted by your friends and colleagues. I do not know you that well, except that you are a friend of my friend, but I am rendered motionless by this shocking event.

It's not fair. No one deserves to die at 30.

Mortality has never come this close to me before, and the reality is jarring. One look at your profile page is all it takes to see how life can sometimes play a different tune from the song we've composed in our heads. Your personal motto may have been foretelling-- "no pain, no gain"-- but no one can really be prepared for this, and I sincerely hope that there was no pain.

I take a look at the number of friends you have, and I realize that it will forever remain at 4,394. I take a look at our 8 mutual friends, and I know that there won't be another one. I take a look at your primary photo and it strikes me that your smile-- that beam that radiates with so much happiness-- will remain frozen in your pictures, lingering with the memories of a life that has been cut too early, cut too short.

That smile may fade from your body, but from your spirit it never will. That smile will certainly not fade from the hearts of your family, or from the hearts of your friends, or from ours who are reminded of our humanity by your passing. Rest in peace, that's all we can ask.

When smiles fade, that's all we can offer.

26 September 2009

Rain's Best Served in Small Doses

26 September 2009

MOOD | strangely pleased supremely bothered
CRAVING FOR | chicken inasal sustenance of any kind
RANDOM this rain is CRAZY!

If what I'm seeing is not an illusion, then the rain may have been more intense than I initially thought. Outside, the flood's knee-deep in height, and people are wading through the waters with much effort. It's actually bothersome that they're wading through the waters at all. Inside, news of insane traffic, roof-climbing citizens, and the bar exam postponement are flying fast and thick across the airwaves. Craziness. The last time a typhoon brought on the crazy was almost exactly three years ago when Milenyo struck. That was a show of wind. This is a show of water. If anyone's having second doubts about buying that kayak...

And just like before, the Internet is abuzz with pictures of the calamity. With Twitter (and TwitPic) leading the charge, the photos have become more spontaneous and more urgent in nature. Appeals for help are stamp-marked with corresponding photos, almost like proofs of involvement in the presence of an awful catastrophe. Three years ago, I was not able to document the event, but I cannot let this pass this time around without a few shots of my own.

Venetian waterways, what? We have our own right here, for 60,000 pesos less.

This isn't the Amazon, but I wouldn't put it past Poblacion to have a few anacondas of its own.

Needless to say, my roommate and I are stranded right here inside the house. It filled me with a strange kind of excitement earlier (check my crossed out MOOD), and I was all set to write an entry about how the rain doesn't fill me with loneliness anymore (road to self-actualization, woot!), but as soon as I turned on the television and read the Facebook statuses of friends, what started out as excitement slowly turned to dread, and that self-actualizing post didn't feel as appropriate any longer. (The flood outside our boarding house still fascinates me, however.)

Rain may be fun these days, but it's best served in small doses. In any case, being physically stranded is not tantamount to being mentally stranded. There's always that Dune novel I've been wanting to pick up, and the yoga mat is quite inviting. Goodbye partying, yes; goodbye, Starbucks coffee, yes; but goodbye, activity? No freaking way.

23 September 2009

How to Get Unstuck in One Easy Step

23 September 2009

MOOD | itching to study
CRAVING FOR | a more productive study day tomorrow
RANDOM | i was sipping on chamomile tea at 1:30 in the afternoon

The best way to start a blog is to write something hopeful. I'm not a superstitious person, but perhaps there's something to this belief. It can only do good, after all-- a hopeful entry is an invitation for inspiration, a refreshing beginning for what possibly may be good times ahead. While there may be appropriate times to write an emo-centric post, the first few entries are definitely not those times.

But I have to make an exception this time around. I just need to get something off my chest.

I move on easily. This is a characteristic I am grateful for. I have always been a forward-looking person, and it shows. I did not cry during my high school graduation, for instance, because college was just around the corner. What use were tears over parting times when you could get excited about moving to Manila, studying in Ateneo, and meeting new and awesome people, instead? In the same 'unfeeling' manner, no tears were shed during my college graduation. With a job as a management associate in the number one insurance company in the Philippines-- why weep? And just to drive the point home further: I did not lament my fate when management training ended and I got rotated into the actuarial department (the profession of my dreams!) and I did not bawl when I left my previous company to pursue another (closer to home! higher pay! less stressful life!).

How I act in my academic and corporate affairs, I do the same in other aspects of my life. Being heartbroken is a fact, but so is moving on. Losing someone you love is a fact, but so is recuperating from the pain. Living your days feeling lonely and alone is a fact, but so is coming out stronger in the end.

Half-empty, half-full.

Circumstances may dictate where you are now, but you always have a choice to see things in a different perspective. Think you're stuck in a bad place? Being stuck is actually an active choice, one that involves holding on to a past that no longer fits with the present. The title may be overly presumptuous-- we cannot possibly get unstuck in one easy step-- but at the same time, that one step is all it takes to start moving forward. I think it was Lao Tzu or Confucius who wrote that a "journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step," and wouldn't you know it? A practical proverb that makes sense. Why pin your hopes on uncertainty? Why bear the pain longer than necessary? Why wait?

And gosh, wouldn't you know it? I think I wrote a hopeful post, after all.

22 September 2009

There's Nothing Special About September 22

22 September 2009

MOOD | pensive
CRAVING FOR | peace of mind and a good night's rest
RANDOM | i wrote this entry in 1 hour and 30 minutes

There's nothing special about the way the numbers go together, either. 090909 is a more auspicious date, and will probably bring in more luck for the rest of the year. With all those curves, the Chinese are going to be happy. I can even do better with 092109-- I'll affix historical relevance by citing the Martial Law, and then delve into a meaningful discourse about the lack of personal freedom then and how blogs ultimately become the antithesis of that silence now. But no. Of all the wonderful dates I could have possibly chosen, I settled for 092209, a date that looks like an incomplete cellphone number. Or possibly, a failed attempt at a numerical palindrome.

Yep. There's nothing special about the date alright.

But like people always say, things happen for a reason. And I think I got this all figured out. At some point in the future, when I stumble upon this seemingly insignificant date, no other memory will fight for my mind's attention save for one:

On September 22, 2009, at around two past the hour of midnight, The Sunbaked King was reborn.

And that's all it takes to make this day special.
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