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faithfool i want to believe

Wednesday, March 06, 2002

Mischief in the cosmos. It's funny how some of the greatest things you'll discover will come to you when you least expect them. We'll see the best movies, hear the most unforgettable music, discover the greatest love just when we're not looking. This is the "divine comedy." And we're the stars, playing our roles 24/7 as the gods plot in the background for our comeuppance.
The tragedy with us humans is that we take ourselves too seriously. We think the world revolves around us, even when astronomy has overwhelmingly shown that we all belong to just one puny planet in a puny galaxy floating in a microscopic corner of space.
So when I wake up to discover that the tap water has turned nasty, I think that there is some cosmic plot against me. When I can't get a ride after 15 minutes of waiting, I conclude that another conspiracy to make my life miserable has been hatched. When my boss catches me surfing the net during the 10-minute break I take after working for the whole day, I say that there is an Annoy and Humiliate Order drafted by fate with my name on it.
When I was in college, my political philosophy class professor said that humans constantly look for order in the universe because they can't handle the concept of chaos. For me, the universe doesn't just need to work a certain way, it has to work a certain away with me at the center of everything.
Kurt Vonnegut once said, "Just because some of us can read and write and do a little math, that doesn't mean we deserve to conquer the universe." Well yes, but if we can read , write, and do a little math, perhaps the universe should to revolve around us.

My thing for Mr. Barker. I was staring at my bookshelves, thinking of something worth writing about when I saw my collection of Clive Barker books. I counted them and discovered that I had amassed quite a number. Then I got to thinking about how I discovered Clive Barker.
It was in early 1998 when I first heard about Clive Barker. As with other people working in government, I had tons of free time at my disposal. The office wasn't connected to the net so I had no other outlet on which I could focus the listlessness of my mind. So I turned to reading that stack of Mirror magazines gathering dust on top of the steel cabinets. That's when I came across Karen Kunawicz, a Filipino writer. She writes a column for the magazine and she sometimes invites other people to write for her column as well. One of them wrote about the best horror books of all time. I was pretty much tired of Stephen King by then so I eagerly scanned the list of alternatives.
A week later, I was scanning the books on sale when I saw one by Clive Barker. It's called Sacrament. It was one of the best books I've read and after that, I was hooked.
I had read so much of his stuff that I already considered myself a Clive Barker expert. So when I was asked during my interview for admission to Law School, I accidentally blurted out his name when asked what I would like to talk about. (Before the interview, I was warned by upperclassmen that you only volunteer topics that you feel you know more about than the professors. Otherwise, they'll run rings around you.) I got the desired effect, I guess, as all the esteemed professors could say was, "Who is he?" At least I found something on which I was an expert and on which they were completely clueless.

Tuesday, March 05, 2002

Do the math. What is the square root of minus one?

(In)Fidelities. A few months ago, a friend of mine who's married almost separated from her husband after she found out that he was having an affair. This time, another friend of mine is having an affair with a married man. And I am stuck in the middle of all these plots, torn between minding my own business and respecting their privacy.
In the first case, it was easy enough since my married friend came to me and told me everything. At least I felt that whatever advice I gave her was solicited. In the second case, I'm having a much more difficult time since I'm not even supposed to know that she is involved with a married man. How do you tell somebody that what she's doing is wrong when you're not even supposed to know what she's doing? But how can I keep my mouth shut when, as a friend, it is my duty to at least remind her that what she's doing won't do her any good in the long run? Not calling her attention on their infidelity means I'm also being unfaithful to our friendship.
And it's doubly hard not to talk to her about what she's doing now that I've seen the other side of the coin--the side of the wife trying to make sense of why her husband was unfaithful to her.

A minibreak, if you will. I'm taking half of the day off from work today. I don't really have anything planned for the extra three hours of free time. Maybe I'll work on this site for a bit (as I'm doing right now), surf around the net a little, and then try to finish the book I started reading last night. What I definitely won't do is go to the mall and do some quick shopping before heading to the office. This can spell disaster, as the experiences of my officemate has repeatedly shown.
It feels weird to take a break from the office a mere day after the weekend. I was all set to go to work earlier today. I woke up early (a rare occurrence), got my clothes together, and headed for the bathroom. The tap, however, seemed to have other plans as all it produced is murky, smelly water.
So now, here I am killing time until noon. I hope the water clears up by then.

Sunday, March 03, 2002

Pirated CDs. Pirated cds are now all over the place. You find stalls selling them in almost all places where people congregate. The centers for pirated cds, however, are still Quiapo (which used to be the shopping center of Manila but is now filled with crime and grime) and Greenhills, San Juan (a small municipality near Manila. The home of the notorious Estrada family). I went to Quiapo yesterday to get a bunch of pirated cds. The stall across my workplace sells these cds for P60 but in Quiapo, you can get them for as low as P30.
I bought two karaoke cds for my dad, who loves to sing, and I bought a vcd of Sting's Brand New Day tour and some music cds for myself. I know that buying pirated cds is just like stealing: I'm depriving artists of the chance to profit from their work. However, in a situation where you have to pay for P425 and up for a cd that you can get for P30, it's very easy to succumb to temptation. Anyway, if it's any defense, I don't buy pirated versions of cds out in the market. I only buy compilation cds of artists I like but not that much for me to spend P450 on. I spend hundreds of pesos for Dave Matthews and Counting Crows cds.
And I also don't buy pirated cds of Filipino artists. Business is not so good here right now and they need all the help that they can get.

Langhap sarap. The phrase literally means "smells delicious." Back in the early 90s, this was being used by a burger joint (Jollibee) to promote their food. I was reminded of this slogan a few weeks back when a friend recounted to me what her teacher said when she attended some classes in advertising.
They were talking about how Jollibee came up with the slogan. According to the teacher, Jollibee commissioned a market study on Filipino consumers. They found out that Filipinos liked to smell their food before they took a bite out of it. For Filipinos, food not only has to taste good, it has to smell nice as well (Of course, there are exceptions. Filipinos love a fruit called durian but you'll never believe how it can stink up a room.).
I wanted to see if this is true so I started observing other people eating whenever I'm eating out. You'll never believe what people do with their burgers.


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