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Barefoot in Manila

Fishing for compliments. Complimenting for fish. It's a life.

Monday, April 29, 2002

The end of an era. This guy leaves the Eraserheads and I know, without a doubt, that my youth is gone. Don't get me wrong, I'm still young. It's just that when the icons of your youth start to either drop dead like flies or do things you never expected them to do, you realize that things are irrevocably changing. Ely Buendia leaves the band and I say to myself, "Hey, I'm all grown up."
I first started listening to them in 1993, about a few months before they hit it big. There songs were the soundtrack to my college years. I studied, passed exams, failed subjects, met people, and had a falling out with others: Through it all, their songs were playing in the background. Of course, as I got older, I began experimenting with other bands. I stopped buying their cds. But there would still be one or two songs from their album that I'd like.
And now, Eli is leaving the band.
I heard they got a new singer, a girl. But even if they'd gotten a guy, the voice will still be different, the sound will never be the same.

.: posted by cecille 10:36 AM


Sunday, April 28, 2002

My thoughts exactly. Sometimes I have convictions that I couldn't really put into words so I'm not even that conscious that I believe them. And then I come across a word, phrase, or sentence that is able to give voice to these beliefs. Here's Anne Rice on the subject of good and evil. Her words (from the book The Feast of All Saints) struck a chord with me.
"When you find out that there is no ultimate good and evil in which you can place your faith, the world does not fall apart at the seams. It simply means that every decision every decision is more difficult, more critical, because you are creating the good and evil yourself and they are very real."

.: posted by cecille 6:36 AM


Something new. I've just changed the layout of this page. I don't know if it's any better than the one I had before. What I'm sure though is that it's simpler, and I like that. I got tired of all those boxes at the sides that I constantly had to update (and almost never do). I'm thinking of adding other pages though.
Gray dominates the page. My friend said that the page looks boring with all the gray. Well, I don't know. I like gray right now. I have a gray state of mind at the moment.

.: posted by cecille 6:36 AM


Saturday, April 27, 2002

The American bangungot. The thing with the American dream is that it is not only Americans who labor under its promise of a better future. The truth is that most Americans now look at it with jaded eyes and it is the foreigners who are blinded by its glitter. This larger than life perspective on the promise of life in "the States" is in no small part a result of Julia Roberts smile, Bruce Willis' bulging biceps (eww, what a turn of phrase!), Arnold Swarzenegger's smoking gun, Meg Ryan's happily-ever-after love affairs, and _____ (put name of celebrity here)'s __________(think of any stunt that a Hollywood actor has done and fill in the blank).
I've seen so many people give up a rather comfortable existence here just so they can earn American dollars. Earlier this year, three of my officemates quit their jobs to go to the US. Two of them were singles, in their mid to late 30s, who were anxious to see what opportunities awaited them at the other side of the Pacific ocean. Their anxiety was in part fueled by the fact that they've stayed at the University for more than six years and yet nothing of significance to their careers happened. I could understand why they were willing to risk everything. Maybe they felt they were single anyway, they were still quite young, and there was nothing tying them down here.
Unfortunately, I couldn't say the same for their friend. She was single alright but she had an adopted son to raise. Besides, it wasn't as if she was destitute. After working for several years, she was able to buy her own house and get a nice car. But she wanted to go to America because her career was going nowhere and she had to think of the child she had to raise. So she sold everything: the car, the house, and the stuff inside the house. She left her adopted son with her mother and went off to America to find a better future.
Now she's breaking her back working as an aide at a nursing home. Now she's taking care of big-boned and cranky senior citizens instead of her office job. Whereas before she had a rather comfortable home, now she lives in a cramped apartment she shares with other Filipinos. In six months, when her visa expires, she'll be forced to move from place to place and evade deportation back to the Philippines.
If it's any consolation, however, she'll now be sending precious dollars home to see the son who will never know her through school.

.: posted by cecille 7:14 AM


Wednesday, April 24, 2002

Can we please stop saving the world? Everyone in Malacaņang and those just dying to get their foot in the door are now scrambling to explain their side of the issue. It seems that a group calling itself "Freedom Forces" have been caught red-handed plotting to put up a military junta. Now that names are being mentioned, these "forces" are distancing themselves, insisting that when they said collective leadership they merely meant a group that would advise the President on what and what not to do. They never contemplated setting up a junta.
Heh! Your logic stinks. Granting that all you wanted to do was to "advise" the President, what made you think that the advise would be welcome? The fact that you guys are now without any position, having lost in your bid for one during the elections, means that the Filipino people do not exactly appreciate the stuff your brain comes up with. This is why you lost: because we didn't want you messing around with our lives.
The problem with having Catholicism as the national (though not official) religion is that you have tons of people (from ALL walks of life) raring to try their hand at being small-time messiahs. Everybody is out to save everybody else. And this is why everything is a mess.

.: posted by cecille 1:02 PM


Tuesday, April 23, 2002

I was making myself useless around the office, surfing the remaining 30 minutes before 5:30. I was following link after link after link and I suddenly came upon this site on Cover chains. Here's a list of covers of and by Radiohead.

.: posted by cecille 5:41 PM


Sunday, April 21, 2002

How things are. I haven't been able to write as much as I want to lately. I've been busy in the office, trying to make all the deadlines that seem about to blindside me all at the same time.
There's SemEnder, a newsletter for the posh parents of our equally (if not more) posh students. The grades will be sent out on the week of Apr 22-27. This means that I have to be done photocopying and folding about 2,500 copies by Wednesday, at the latest. Latest estimates put the number of those reproduced and folded at around 1,500. Whew, there's a lot more folding to be done and my arms and back are already protesting. It would have been easier if I had help. Well, after being hunched up at my table folding and folding and folding hundreds of copies without so much as a "Hey, what are you doing?" thrown at me, I finally realized that my officemates are not inclined to help me. I'm not so sure I want their help either. Last semester, Minch helped me fold some of them and I was appalled at the lack of quality of her folding. It killed me everytime I saw how the corners weren't aligned. I'd refold them whenever she wasn't looking. Which meant double the effort for me.
Another thing lined up is the University website that I've been working on for what seems ages now. The layout is all done. All we have to do is place the text on the page, something that I promised to be completed in March. Hey, it's not like I purposely meant for the work to be delayed. As you may have already noted, I'm taking care of so many other things (the folding!) besides the website. If it were up to me, I'd want everything to be done by June, before I go back to school. Based on how things are moving, however, it looks like there's not much chance of that happening.
I've also been fixated lately with revising the layout of this page. I lose my motivation to write whenever I realize how I'm not exactly loving the layout. I also want to make things a little simpler--get rid of all these boxes at the sides, plus the other pages, and just stick to this weblog. I never get to update the other content anyway, so why waste your time checking out the other pages?
There's so much to do and there's so little time. I wish someone builds a time machine already.

.: posted by cecille 9:33 AM


A peek into the future. This is what the tarot cards promised. Tempted with the prospect of looking into how things will turn out, I had no choice but to say "yes". Well, I'm glad I did because the future looks so much better than my present.
A more financially gratifying future is being laid out for me by the forces in the cosmos. Either a new job or a new opportunity awaits: both of which promise more money for me. And consequently, more taxes for the government, but I don't want to think about that right now. Also in the cards is romance. Well, this is welcome news. (Yes, Kate, I know you may be sniggering right now, but it really is a pleasant possibility.) The upshot, however, is that any romantic liaison being cultivated with someone from a legal background is bound to fail. Uggh, there goes my future with The One Who Shall Not be Named (and yes, Kate. he's NOT Valdemort).
You can see how I'm in an optimistic mindset right now. I had a tarot reading about a year ago and the cards weren't exactly nice to me. It seems that, finally, Whoever is Controlling Everything in the Universe is now pleased with me. It's not such a surprise since I've been a good person for the past year. He he, I've earned it.
I'm getting all worked up with my tarot-divined future but I still haven't resolved to myself whether or not I believe in tarot readings. The pathetic loser in me wants to believe in it so badly, what with all the goodies supposedly lined up. The cynical me, however, is screaming and violently flailing her arms, trying to beat the optimistic (aka Pathetic Loser) side of me into admitting that all this is just a "pot-of-gold-at-the-end-of-the-rainbow" kind of thing.

.: posted by cecille 9:32 AM


Saturday, April 20, 2002

It's Saturday afternoon and I'm here in the office slaving away. I have Alison Moyet on my cd player as I slave away, folding hundreds of copies (more like 2,500) of the University's publication for our hoity-toity students' parents. Alison is yakking her head off about "going weak in the presence of beauty." I must say I can relate as my sister practically has to resuscitate me every time I look into a mirror. I am positively gorgeous, baby.
Comment if you must, but leave out the wisecracks.

.: posted by cecille 4:03 PM


Friday, April 19, 2002

I happen to like eggs but some people may prefer cows. Here is where you'll find them.
Enjoy. And don't forget to say Moo!

.: posted by cecille 8:50 AM


Wednesday, April 17, 2002

My state of mind as of this time regarding friends, co-workers, and everybody else in this world that I ocassionally run into: "I'm not asking for your love. I just need a little appreciation once in a while to make me feel less disposable."

.: posted by cecille 5:14 PM


Tuesday, April 16, 2002

Waiting. There are all sorts of stories, poems, songs, movies, and other works of art centered on the concept of waiting. I, for one, feel that every waking moment of my life is subconsciously a process of waiting for the right time, the right way, the right person, the right feeling, the right undefined ideal that will make everything better.
Here's an excerpt of a poem by Lawrence Ferlinghetti. I love these lines and always keep them glued to my computer monitor so I can look at them when things are going a bit slow or are spinning out of control.
I am waiting to
get some intimations
of immortality
by recollecting my early childhood
and I am waiting
for the green mornings to come again
youth's dumb green fields come back again
and I am waiting
for some strains of unpremeditated art
to shake my typewriter
and I am waiting to write
the great indelible poem
and I am waiting
for the last long careless rapture
and I am perpetually waiting
for the fleeing lovers of the Grecian Urn
to catch each other up at last
and embrace
and I am awaiting
perpetually and forever
a renaissance of wonder.

.: posted by cecille 3:12 PM


Monday, April 15, 2002

Don't worry, it's still the same old me. The one who wrote the previous entry wasn't an impostor (who would bother impersonating me?) nor was I made to write the entry at knifepoint by a government flunky. I really want to believe that everything in government will be better this year. No special reason for this conversion.
I just paid my taxes. That is reason enough.

.: posted by cecille 4:30 PM


Call this a temporary loss of sanity, if you will, but I'd just like to get it out that as of today, 4:00 in the afternoon, I am optimistic about the government. I'm getting all these exciting vibrations of a future where every Filipino is truly happy, well-fed, healthy, and earning a good living. I believe that this vision will come true because our government is good.

.: posted by cecille 4:23 PM


Friday, April 12, 2002

Something's wrong. I got a brand new hard disk for my home PC last Monday. Theoretically, everything should be running smoothly now since I tossed out my geriatric hard disk. The truth, however, is that everything seems to be going wrong. Either Windows is having a hard time detecting my monitor or something is seriously wrong with my video card. The computer can't seem to make up its mind. Repeated attempts to adjust resolution have failed, with Windows insisting that the settings do not conform to either the adapter or hardware. After nasty words were said, Windows finally agreed to an 800 by 600 resolution but obstinately refused to adjust to a 256 color setting. I've done everything I could think off, short of ripping the video card, but I don't think Windows is going to budge. The worst part is I couldn't even use Photoshop because it requires 256 colors, at least.
Another thing that's giving me heartache is my inability to get on the net. I don't know what's wrong. I'm using an internal modem and, as far as I know, it's working. I've gone over the suggestions of Windows help so many times and I've discovered that the modem is okay and the communications port is already open (whatever that means). And yet, when I try to dial up, Windows is asking me to verify is the modem or the phone line is connected to the computer (I seem to recall this as Error 630). I'm stumped for options and I'll appreciate any help. Please, if you got any idea, tell me. I'll be eternally grateful.

.: posted by cecille 5:02 PM


Wednesday, April 10, 2002

I'm back! After a long weekend (Monday was a non-working holiday) and being out of the office yesterday, I'm back to the daily grind. For now, fortunately, the grind is going well. Thank you very much to all the forces in the cosmos for this small favor.
I attended a seminar on Web Design Fundamentals yesterday at the Philippine Center for Creative Imaging. Obviously, I haven't gotten around to applying what I learned. This can be inferred from the fact that the layout of this page still sucks. We were a very small group. Only five participants showed up so the discussion was more focused and more relaxed. We also got to know each other quite well. The guy who conducted the seminar used to be the web designer for Businessworld Online. Now he's teaching full-time at De La Sall University.
The most important thing that we learned from the seminar: the user is the master of the web designer's world.

.: posted by cecille 4:27 PM


Friday, April 05, 2002

What's yours? This piece by Craig Taylor talks about the soundtrack of love. I think Garbage's No. 1 Crush qualifies. No empirical basis for my choice though.
Tell me yours.

.: posted by cecille 3:58 PM


This is not about Rico Yan, although this may be my subsconscious telling me to stop dwelling on his death. I had a nightmare last night. I was up until 2 am, nagmumuni-muni(reflecting) on stuff that I've always wanted to do (You see, I promised myself that I'll devote my one-year break from school to doing everything I've always wanted to do. My break is almost over but it feels like I haven't accomplished anything.). About an hour after I fell asleep, I woke up almost out of breath. I had a bad dream. I can't remember the details now but I think I was being confronted by someone or something. I was really scared to go back to sleep after that.
I looked up the word bangungot, or nightmare in English, and this is what I saw. Based on the article, I have nothing to fear. Those who die from nightmares are mostly males.
And the last time that I checked, I wasn't (not dead, you idiot, MALE!).

.: posted by cecille 11:21 AM


Thursday, April 04, 2002

You might want to listen to this. Here's a nice song by Brendan Benson that I discovered today. I'll probably swing by Music One or Tower Records one of these days to check if they have it. The song is Life in the D and the album is called Lafalco. The first stanze goes like this:
My life in D is a tragicomedy
A poetic verse
It's voodoo some say black magic ettouffe
A dead man's curse.

.: posted by cecille 6:06 PM


Thoughts. I couldn't sleep last night, my mind was occupied by existential questions. I was thinking of how four years ago, I would lie awake for most of the night worrying about how my life would turn out. I still hadn't graduated from college then. I was supposed to be finishing my thesis but I was actually just bumming around. I called it running in place. And boy, I could really run furiously. But I never seemed to get anywhere.
All those nights I was up thinking, I'd get so worked up over all the possibilities, all the things I could do to get out of the rut I was in. I promised myself that the following day I would start working on my thesis. I would get my life in order. Then I would wait anxiously for sunlight to stream through my window and tell me that the pivotal day in my life has already dawned. Somehow though, when the sun finally shows its face, I'll still be tied to my bed and taking it easy. I used to hate myself during those days. Why do I procrastinate so much when I knew how important it was? How could I not do something when it was my future on the line?
Now I realize that I may have been crippled by fear during those times. There was no one to give me structure and deadlines. And I do very badly in unstructured situations because I can always find excuses for goofing off. I couldn't rely on others as well. All my friends had graduated and moved on. I was left all alone to deal with everything.
I don't know what finally spurred me to get my act together but I did.
My days of being a bum, however, did wonders for my soul (I can tell you're incredulous but humor me.). I got to read a LOT and, in doing so, learn a SOME important things. Henry David Thoreau comes to mind. He said that everybody marches to the beat of a different drum. There's also Ricky Lee's version: the trip to Quiapo. When you start off for Quiapo, you can take different routes, and a host of options for transportation. You can even walk. What's important is you do get to Quiapo. This taught me to not compare myself too much to other people. Who knows what bullshit these supposedly lucky people have to put up with?
Better the bullshit that you know (and eat with and sleep with) than those that you don't.
I was wondering why, suddenly, what happened four years ago has taken charge of my thoughts. I guess it's my subconscious telling me not to be too hard on myself. After all, everything is well. The fact that I've been sleeping well lately is proof enough of that.

.: posted by cecille 11:57 AM


Wednesday, April 03, 2002

Oh! what pain is this! A bit melodramatic, you might say. Not when you're in my shoes, however. I was goofing off at the office for the past few days, learning css and using it to redesign this site. After a couple of days (plus a lot of code stealing... er, uh... borrowing), I finally got the basics down. I came up with something a bit decent. (Paste very excited smile here.) So I decided to try it on this page. Yes, this explains why this page looked real bad at intervals today.
I don't know what happened. I previewed it on IE5 before uploading the new template and everything looked fine. I tried using it on my BlogSpot account and it also worked out fine. When I uploaded it to this Tripod hosted page, everything was all over the place, and in the worst places.
I blame Tripod of course. But how can I unlove them (it?) when they (it?) let(s) me squat here for free?
Oh! oh! All my blood, sweat, and templates for nothing.

.: posted by cecille 5:45 PM


I got mail. Just wanted to share something I got through e-mail that I thought was funny:
Attorney: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a
pulse?
Witness: No.
Attorney: Did you check for blood pressure?
Witness: No.
Attorney: Did you check for breathing?
Witness: No.
Attorney: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you
began the autopsy?
Witness: No.
Attorney: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
Witness: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
Attorney: But could the patient have still been alive nevertheless?
Witness: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing
law somewhere.

.: posted by cecille 9:54 AM


Monday, April 01, 2002

In case you're confused... I got a Mac in the office. At home, I mutate into a PC person.

.: posted by cecille 10:54 AM


Resurrection, man, is sweeter after death. Did I just say that? Well, it should be pretty obvious though since only someone who died can rise from the dead.
In my case though, the death was more of a digital one. My home computer crashed during the long Lenten weekend. Whatever I did, I just couldn't convince the dang hard disk to start spinning again. After about half a day's worth of curses and frantic tweaking of the computer, I gave up. Time of death? 12:00 nn, Friday morning (noon?).
So I had to content myself with an analog, or at least un-digital, existence.
In times like this, desperate people will turn toward tv. So I did. This meant:
1) 7th Heaven marathon, no thanks to channel 23
2) HBO marathon (this was on Friday, when they decided to take a break from 7th Heaven)
3) 7th Heaven marathon (again!)
This also meant other things such as:
1) finished reading Eva Luna by Isabel Allende
2) attempted to continue reading Don de Lillo's Ratner's Star. Still didn't get it though, so I put it down.
3) unearthed some of my law stuff and reviewed some. (Okay, I really had to do this. I'd forgotten almost everything, owing to my one year break. If I don't want to look stupid in June, I really have to read up).
It's Monday morning. My computer is not well yet. I'll probably buy a new hard disk on Saturday. This means I have to sneak my posts here at the office, while supposedly working.

.: posted by cecille 10:51 AM