Monday, December 20, 2004

the golden an is in the tan . . . truck

remember the plan?

well, i've done it, dan.

i am now in serious danger of severe dehydration from all the tears i've shed ever since i handed my notice. if i'd known it would be this difficult to leave office friends, i would've just shut up from day 1 five years ago. but who could resist being invited to a pork-sisig*-with-mayonnaise lunch? (don't answer that -- you'll make me look like a fat junkie) (which i am)

so there. the good news is i'll have more time to blog in 2005. the bad news is i might not have anything to write about (or money to pay for internet time, come to think of it!).

maybe i can find a blog sponsor. (ah, pasig raver, if your comments only paid for my dial-up)

DIAL-UP!?! aaarrrggghhhh.

someone please remind me why i resigned.

*in english = minced pig face, brain, skin, hair, gut, eyeball (and a wart if you order ahead) fried in fat served with fat on the side and drizzled with more fat

Friday, December 17, 2004

me, myself and lanai

living in a house with a resident architect has weird perks.

to make life three times stranger, my dad is an architect*, my younger sister is an architect and my older sister is an interior designer. they've made our residence a lifesize dollhouse of sorts.

each time i look at the living room, the chairs are in different positions. our furniture has been moved around so much, each piece must be suffering from positional vertigo by now. it's fun, yes, because it's like coming home to a new house every time, but YOU try getting new bruises every time you try to enter your room without the lights on.

for my birthday this year (or was it my homecoming after the HK trip?), my family -- inspired by watching too many episodes of queer eye -- rearranged my room into a totally unrecognizable space, complete with a corner chair and lamp, in case i have to interrogate someone using a bright light. just yesterday, i came in and saw that my room was rearranged yet again by dad (mr i-have-too-much-creative-energy-after-retiring-please-let-me-do-something). this afternoon, he hung old framed paintings and random pictures on my walls. i took one look and laughed out of sheer amusement at how my room was so involuntarily dynamic. (interestingly, it was the same kind of laugh when i saw how strange my little HK apartment's kitchen looked after i hung all my newly washed underwear on the cabinet handles to air-dry.) (to you who are dying to comment: there is nothing erotic about delicates over a gas stove.)

and speaking of my dad: if there's one thing not everyone knows about him, it's that he has a thing for lanais/verandas/porches. of course, you'd just have to take one look at our house and it will hit you like a vigan tile.

our original house had one porch -- a simple outdoor area that led to the living room. then he added another one (lanai harder), this time on the OTHER side of the living room. because really, you need two of those in case you have guests who can't stand each other, right? (i will not mention at this point that we don't have a sprawling estate, so lanai harder is two hops away from the first).

BUT we had a second floor . . . and dad said, it is not good for two lanais to be alone.

so then there were three.**

and dad saw that it was good.

we have three lanais.

(will give you a minute to let that sink in. if you need a lanai to reflect in, let me know.)

as to why this lanai story is important, i will reveal in the next entry (which may or may not be written in this lifetime).

*my favorite anecdote involving my architect father doesn't even involve his presence. i was playing taboo with some med classmates, when a male friend holding a game card exclaimed (excitedly), "this is the profession of orange's father!!!"

so, to match his energy, everyone shouted (in unison), "architect!!!"

he looked at me and said, "your father's an architect?"

(and yes, "male friend" is the famous ronald cruz. dr ronald "the-pigs-noticed-this" cruz. believe me, that taboo story is ultimately funnier if you know ronald.)

**don't think i didn't think of calling the third one lanai hardest. i just didn't want to insult you by stating the obvious.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

do you hear what i hear?

it's the crack (crick?) of knuckles rusty from not blogging for so long. am an embarrassment to the blog world.

the good news is my blog life is going to get better. hint, hint . . . wink, wink . . . cough, clear throat, cough, spit. (ok, maybe i'm coming down with something.)

the bad news is it's like pulling teeth. can a process be more overdue and long-drawn-out?

and now for the totally unrelated but amusing pseudoquote* of the week from a male acquaintance: "that's when i found out i was gay: when i bought stationery and refused to write on it because it was so pretty. come to think of it, even just the fact that i bought stationery said a lot."

*i paraphrased. it was probably better verbatim, but i have the memory of a goldfish with alzheimer's.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

juanch, the christmas composer

'tis the season for strange lyrics from a strange (but adorable) 2.5-year-old nephew.

juancho can't pronounce the r sound yet, which makes for an interesting (intewesting):

jingle bell, jingle bell, jingle bell yuck . . . (or maybe he has the sarcasm gene too?)

now this one, i can't explain:

c is for the candystone around the christmas tree . . .

and now for an embarrassingly true story:

i wanted to put the correct lyrics for the christmas alphabet and proceeded to type, "to my lyric-challenged friends -- it's 'candy cane', in case you were wondering" only to find out that it ISN'T. according to bestfriendofthemillennium google, it's:

c is for the candy trimmed around the christmas tree.

my thoughts:
1. candy around the tree? who does that in manila!?
2. i like my parenthesis-infused entries more than my colon-studded ones.
3. "colon-studded" sounds like a disease.

Friday, November 19, 2004

ssssssssseriously, isssssssssss it ssssssssmashing?

so i DID get that sexy-dancer-provoked haircut like i said i would (wasn't brave enough to get a perm. was thinking maybe only sarah jessica parker can get away with a permed bob.) (is a bob still a bob if it's curly?) (this is another gay test, in case you were wondering.)

will not post pics of the new look here, partly because our camera is in the shop (or so i think) and partly because displaying my speckled face (hello acne season!) online will not help my ailing social life.

however, i need to document one of the stranger comments i received recently. this precious insight came from a female officemate:

"your hair's nice. you look like cleopatra."

(i have to admit that typing that made me laugh again.)

to that shocker, my reply was:

"i should probably buy a snake." (referring, of course, to the 1960s image of elizabeth taylor playing cleopatra. i didn't even know this image was in my mental library until that comment.)

my question is (and i usually have many): was that a real compliment? or a subtle way of saying "you shouldn't have gotten a haircut, you paranoid idiot"?

regardless of intention, that comment cheered me up. must write to santa about my need for specific reptilian accessory soon.

the plan

it has been 9 days since the last blog.

i figure the only solution is to hand in my resignation because, really, work is getting in the way of hardcore blogging. this can't be good for my mental health.

yesterday, because i was at the office earlier than usual, i tried to start an entry (oooh. today i did this, yesterday i did that . . . save me from thinking people are actually interested in the blow-by-blow account of my day!). i opened the blog window, stared at it while outlining the entry in my head, and proceeded to save the urls to link to (i take my blogging seriously).

and then i had to work.

and the entry never came to pass.

i can see it now. i'm going to be one of those people who think life is meaningless without a stable source of income, one who would prioritize work over their emotionally hungry children. or maybe one of those who wear gold shoes every day. still deciding.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

i've had a few

been thinking about regrets.

they say you shouldn't have any, but my question is: when you say "they say", who are all these people? they say lightning doesn't strike in the same place twice, they say you shouldn't wear a black belt with brown shoes, they say if you love someone, then set them free . . . if they come back again, then in the end, it was meant to be . . . i thought we were lovers . . . i thought we were (you have just been subjected to a gay exam. if you are currently singing/humming the rest of the song in your head, then you are officially a gurl. you know barbra too much to be 100% male. if you are on your feet and belting your throat out while holding an imaginary microphone and tapping your fingers on it ala diva, please sit back down and continue reading because you are embarrassing me.)

(am i the only one irritated by singers afflicted with seemingly uncontrollable mike-tapping finger action?)

hmm. oh, regrets. ok.

my biggest regret at the moment is stress-eating too much in HK. because now it takes longer to pick out clothes in the morning and . . .

now i can't get streisand out of my head and it's my own blasted fault. can't anyone write a boring, self-absorbed blog entry anymore!?! papa, can you hear me?

Friday, November 05, 2004

advice to strangers: quit while you're ahead

scenario 1 -- on the plane back to manila (have i mentioned that i'm back home? newsflash: i need a better welcome-back line than "you gained weight!")

on the seats next to me, two filipinos (who apparently just met on the plane) struck up a riveting small-talk conversation about their lives. i thought, "wow, they're friendly (and extremely open: the middle-age woman was asking the yuppie male to give her daughter a job). it's nice when people open up to complete strangers that way. i hope they start talking about bank accounts and PIN codes."

the man (who was in the middle seat) then stood up to go to the toilet and, as i was in the aisle seat, i offered to get up to make room for him (he's . . . shall we say . . . expansive). he went ahead and squeezed through the small space between my knees and the seat in front of me, successfully suffocating my knee caps. (suffering suffocates, batman!) (i don't know why i said that.)

the woman (in the window seat), seeing that her new best friend was gone, stood up and whispered to me conspiratorially, "i better go to the toilet now. i don't want to have to go through him. that man is HUGE!!!"

so much for instant unbiased friendships.

scenario 2 -- waiting for a cab

after a considerable amount of time trying to hail a cab in makati, i saw one with a passenger ready to get down near where i was standing. unfortunately, the passenger got down in front of foreigners who were also waiting for a cab. i looked back longingly and the two female caucasians wave at me, "here, take this cab. we know you were here first."

so i thanked them profusely. and then they followed up with "we know you filipinos would've done otherwise, but we'll let you have this."

thank you for the cab, for insulting my race and for making me feel more grateful that i'm back where i'm supposed to be.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

note to self: do not attempt to create a 12-course dinner with apartment food

it's true. we learn something new every day.

for instance, just last week, i learned that i am someone idiotic enough to forget to get off the elevator at her office floor, but poised enough to keep a straight face while the man who got off the top floor looked strangely at the pathetic dimwit who has to ride the elevator back down.

today i learned that i should not, under any circumstance except PMS-triggered depression maybe, consume the following in succession:

- 4 giant rice crackers;
- 1 entire tin of mackerel fillets in oil (even if it has the phrase "omega-3" emblazoned on the label);
- a huge 2" x 2" x 2"cube of dense, malaysian chocolate layer cake (even without the rest of this list, eating an enormous chunk o' chocolate is hardly a great idea);
- 3 pork and mushroom dumplings;
- one slightly large fuji apple; and
- too much iced tea.

(i started to write the food list hoping to convince myself that my tummyache is idiopathic but i should have known better.)

and if anyone even dares to comment along the lines of "that's still a light dinner. you didn't have rice anyway", i will personally see to it that this person will be the first in the world to have an entire dumpling (or a slab of chocolate cake -- he can choose) up his right nostril. or left. like i said, he can choose.

that is, as soon as this vague abdominal pain goes away.

maybe i should wash it all down with skim milk. after all, i haven't had dessert.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

6 days to go

there comes a point in every traveler's life when he or she asks himself or herself the painful question:


but he or she will learn from his or her mistakes of travels past, and will bravely move on, silently pledging to himself or herself that he or she will never ever attempt to bring too many office clothes, skirts (if traveler in question were a "she" or a kilt-loving "he") and/or socks.

(and this blogger is simultaneously pledging that she will never try to be too politically correct, because, really, the "he or she" crap is downright irritating.)

Monday, October 18, 2004

tomorrow is october 19

tomorrow is grossy's birthday. in her honor, i will post the rather dated writeup i made for her college yearbook (you'll see why she didn't submit it unedited). if you don't get or agree with any of the innuendos and inferences, then you don't know gross.

Only few of Mia’s friends know that she will never, under any circumstance, pass up the chance to watch a beauty pageant; or that she will never, even if her life depended on it, take badminton seriously. Taking on any endeavor (except anything that involves cleaning her room) with zeal enough for the whole cast of ASAP, Mia has consistently churned out school and nonschool projects grand enough to be praised by her parents and closest bribed friends. Mia is Helga of the “Hey Arnold” fame—a rough, tough, bony shell disguising (albeit unsuccessfully) a fan of “Tabing Ilog” (she’s a dead ringer for Eds), “Love to Love” (guapo pala si Cogie) and (gasp) “Meteor … (dare I say it?).” Although still confused about whose face she wants to be reborn with (Donita’s or Ashley’s?) or whose body she wants to morph into (Beyonce’s or Buffy’s?), Mia is 100% certain about her fate—to be a diva. Why not.

happy birthday to the girl i will always refer to as my younger sister.

note to readers: yes, the last punctuation of the writeup is really a period.

note to g.o.j.: i can change the writeup if you refuse to lend me clothes or shoes.

second note to g.o.j.: am kidding. or am i?

living on the edge

i'm not a risk taker. my secret middle name is "comfort zone" (note, not "... room"). bungee jumping and skydiving are not in my life's to-do list (but wearing gold shoes or a tube top sans the mandatory cover-up jacket/cardigan/blanket for no special reason is. will do it when i become a mother. mia can verify that i've declared this countless times.)

however, these past few days, i've discovered a brand new kind of risk taking: eating semi-spoiled food ("semi" implies the absence of discoloration, foliage or mindblowing stench).

in the span of a week, i've eaten two types of bread and two cups of yogurt that were past their expiry date. i slightly toasted the bread to kill ("invigorate", more likely) the bacteria that have started to reside in the multigrain goodness. as for the yogurt, i convinced myself that the slightly sour smell was normal (it is, sometimes, but not usually with the fruit-flavored ones).

refusal to throw out relatively expensive food
secret hope of contracting diarrhea to lose extra pounds gained through stress-eating
risk-taking behavior
a blog entry
soon on the orange express: "my horrendous toilet quarantine: why i regret buying too many perishables at the grocery"

Monday, October 11, 2004

cutting to the chase

there are tons of pinoys in hong kong: the relatively small subset of professionals and business people ... and the bigger population of servers, domestic help, band members (who are freakishly good!) and sexy dancers (i'm not sure what the correct term is nowadays, but i'm sure they do more than just dance. i'm sure they can also ... sing).

the dancers have a generic look: they're dark, curvy (again, another mild word, so just substitute your favorite adjective here) and have long, straight hair.

am going to skip a few unnecessary sentences and premises* (and only the smartest bloggers and alleged fans will understand why i don't want or need to spell out my realizations while walking along the streets of hk at night) and get straight to my conclusion:

when i get back home, i will get a drastic haircut. or a funky perm.

*thank you, gross of joe, for reminding me of this word. i can't believe i completely forgot "premise" after years and years of overusing it.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

divine intervention, divine comedy

last sunday, i had to get to a church using a map. as this was the first time i had to do this in my life, i set off early, wearing the most comfortable shoes i brought.

the "map" was a rough sketch i drew the night before, copied from the map posted on the web site of the church i wanted to find. i needed to reconstruct it because i didn't have enough foresight to print the map at the office.

life lesson: when copying a map, write the street names legibly.
life goal: learn how to write legibly.

as expected, i became the proverbial lost sheep. except with less fleece and more sweat. however, i didn't stop walking, except when i thought i heard church bells and it turned out to be the tram. or maybe it was the bus. but i was pretty sure that if it was moving along the road, it couldn't have been what i was looking for.

however, as divine intervention would have it, i chose all the right turns and found the beautiful church in the middle of nowhere (i'm in hong kong. every place is "nowhere.")

i was in such a great mood when i sat down and allowed my heart beat to slow down. so when i saw that the priest was a deadringer for mr bean (if mr bean were born in argentina), my cup of joy overfloweth.

i don't remember the last time i smiled ("grinned" is more accurate, really) throughout an entire mass. i kept expecting father bean to make a silly face or release a silly grunt. how can someone so seriously intense look so amusing? at the end of the ceremony, i approached him to say thanks. little did he know.

tomorrow, i have to find the church again. i don't know where the wannabe map is, so this time i'm going to find it based on sheer memory and pure intuition. and maybe father bean will help me pray that i find my way back to the fold.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

from what part of the US?

a conversation that happened during fireworks night --

new, possibly american acquaintance who just found out i'm from manila: you're filipino???

me: yes, don't i look filipino?

mr acquaintance who was allegedly an english tutor: you talk like an american. i thought you were american!

me, in shock: you must be kidding.

he wasn't.

this is what happens when one watches too much american tv. my ongoing love affair with cable was bound to bear fruit.


marti, if this doesn't make you believe in God, nothing will.

i didn't lose a single entry!!!

see below!!!

will eat to celebrate.

double *#(&!&*^!%$!!!

last night i lost 2 blog entries. one was a long, carefully composed and edited self-absorbed discourse on how noisy i am and how hard it is to be a noisy person in a silent office. lost that because the blogger site was acting up. so i made a second entry, mourning the loss of the first, saying that losing blog entries drives me to stress-eat (as if i need another reason). and i LOST THAT ENTRY TOO. (incidentally, the title of the second entry was *#(&!&*^!%$!!!, which explains the lame title for this one.)

so i just gave up last night.

today is a new day. if i lose this one too, i will go back to bed and cry my eyes out. and maybe eat some more.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004


i lost a long entry. i had spent an hour composing and editing and re-editing it ... and now it's gone. i lost it because the blogger site was acting up.

i have half a mind to finish the rest of the pringles.

there's nothing like a lost blog entry to make a woman stress-eat. as if i need another reason to eat.

the new me: quite quiet

spend a day in the editorial department of the "makati office" (now i have to specify the place [although maybe the quotes were a bit of an overkill], as i'm currently in the "hk office") and one of the first things you'll notice is i am one noisy person.

i walk noisily (i blame the heels), i laugh like there were no tomorrow (and i have the memo to prove it. think "excessive happiness" from patch adams), i tap my fingers on the keyboard while thinking, i bang my hand on whatever surface is available when i feel emphatic about something (smart officemates have learned to stay away), and i sneeze violently (i get "bless you's" from people at the opposite corner of the office).

so NOW that i'm in a different office, i have to change some of my habits just so i wouldn't call too much attention to myself (as if a stranger sifting through the pantry mugs would go unnoticed, but stay with me).

the walking has been solved for me -- the hk office is carpeted. the tapping and banging is under control, surprisingly -- i've managed to limit the wrist action to a minimum.

HOWEVER, controlling my loud sneeze and laugh is a bit of a problem. to say the least.

today, i had to control two sneezes by putting one hand over my face (fingers slightly squeezing my nose ... too much detail?) and the other hand over my sternum (note the use of an asexual term). the result? imploding lungs. i'll bet bits of alveoli are now scattered all inside my thoracic cavity.

as for the laughing: it's tough. very tough. especially when a certain british editor cannot help being witty on msn or just plain silly. YOU try maintaining your composure when your peripheral vision catches a 6-foot-3-inch man hamming it up, trudging (and grunting) slowly to the printer while assuming the slouch of a defeated man. i will bring duct tape tomorrow. still thinking if i should use it to tape my mouth shut or tie my favorite hk officemate to his swivel chair.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

smiley smiley night

yesterday was chinese national day ... or something. the important thing to remember about yesterday, in my opinion, is that it was a holiday that fell on a workday. and really, is there anything else i need to know about it?

(incidentally, i have great timing when it comes to holidays. there's always some holiday when i'm in town. i think of it as the cosmos cooperating with my laziness.)

the other important thing to know about it is they usually have fireworks on that day (and other days, i suppose, but this entry is not about firework-associated hong kong holidays). i was very fortunate enough to be invited to the flat of the friend of a friend of a friend (don't think about that too hard). his place was set on the side of a hill, and had a balcony with a great view of the harbor (harbour, if you please).

as someone who has never seen grand fireworks displays, i was stunned by this particular exhibition. there were the usual exploding balls, the great spheres of twinkly white lights (which i really like), the run-of-the-mill shooting light type of thing (i have the terminology down pat) ... but what was really spectacular and intriguing to me (aside from the immaculate state of this guy's flat) was the exploding smiley.

you see the ball of light zoom up into the sky and when it explodes, it turns into a smiley in mid-air. HOW??? i don't care about the concentric rings and the hearts (ok, now that i've mentioned it, maybe you can explain the hearts as well). just tell me about how you can get two eyes and a smile to find their way in the smoky air and stay where they are meant to be! my champagne-soaked brain and i couldn't let that thought go the whole night.

i, of course, wanted to talk about it some more, but being the only filipino in the group, i felt like i had to stick to the practical, sensible issues at hand (like if i was open to marrying a man who already had 10 wives. don't ask. they already did).

Thursday, September 30, 2004

reality bites ... and makes you look like a damn fool

(disclaimer: this is a boring entry. don't say i didn't warn you. no dinner = no glucose = hungry brain.)

i should've informed a network about this trip: i am, i now realize, an unpaid reality show star.

(if you'll just let that sink in a bit, you'll realize how stupid that phrase was. because really, i'm just an unpaid reality show lead.)

just how many embarrassing moments can one have in a day? apparently, there is no clumsiness limit in other countries. it doesn't matter that in your country, you are a respectable, poised, calm professional. as soon as you step out of your comfort zone, you turn into a bumbling idiot.

to illustrate:

i made sure the luggage i packed was lighter than the last time i went to hong kong. it was the same bag for a trip that is more than twice the length of the first stay. and YET i wanted it to be lighter this time. i tried, i really did.

apparently, the bag itself is heavy, so no matter how 'lightly' i packed (if you consider bringing 5 shoes 'packing lightly') (in my defense, i'll be here for 5 weeks!), it was still bound to give me problems. and by 'problems', i mean it was out to get me (look up 'resistentialism.' now.).

(anyone bothered by the periods before and after the parenthesis? anyone? anyone?) (name that movie.)

where was i??? oh.

airport: in an awkward attempt to quickly roll the bag across the (and you'll have to help me here because i don't know what those things are called ... the things you put the ticket into and it lets you pass by opening up the jaws of death) ... thing, i managed to fall over the balance-challenged luggage because my hand was clutching its handle while the bag fell on its side. fortunately, hong kong is the land of 'i-don't-care-about-you' so no one gave a rat's ass.

hotel (eherm, serviced apartment) entrance: i had checked in. innocently, i waited by the door, expecting someone to bring the bag to my room. instead, the receptionist said "you can go up now" ... and that was that. i had to drag the monster of a bag into the elevator, which, to my dismay, was carpeted. ergo, it was not roller-friendly. i tripped my way into the lift, which, incidentally, had just enough space for the bag and one of my thighs.

there. i've successfully bored myself with my story. time to shut down.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

flying the notsofriendly skies

i get cold easily. it's a fact. i don't know what all this body fat is for if it can't keep me warm. my fat is purely decorative in some places and just plain extraneous in others.

so, on the plane to hong kong, just as we were gaining altitude, i decided to ask the flight attendant for a blanket. the stewardess (do they still call them that?) nearest to me was a stern-looking woman who looked at me (and my fat) with such disdain that i quickly reviewed my request to check if i had mistakenly asked her to strip while serving the ham-and-egg breakfast. she huffed off towards the back of the plane, leaving me wondering if she was really going to give me my much-needed protection.

a few minutes later, while i was intently eavesdropping on my seatmate's conversation (i couldn't help it! she spoke in spanish, english, filipino and a bit of gayspeak!), i felt a finger annoyingly clawing at my shoulder. the last time i felt a true-blue kalabit, i was in gradeschool, and even then it wasn't pleasant.

i turned to see who was irritating me. it was she. the woman who probably trained for months and months just to become good at her job had just called my attention by tapping ... no, make that "intentionally scraping" my shoulder. apparently, that is in section 5.2.4 of the flight attendant handbook circa 1942.

she did that only to say that she was still looking for the cursed blanket.

this entry would've ended on a bitter note if not for the SECOND flight attendant, the one with a smile that should be reserved for beauty pageant triumphs and lottery victories, the one who asked me, with all the sincerity in asia, if i wanted more water. she could've looked like dirt, and i would've still felt grateful for her warmth, which stood out especially after ms nasty finger. flight attendant no. 2 singlehandedly saved the reputation of PAL, in my opinion.

if, some time in my future, i would be asked if i could remember exactly when i turned lesbian, this would have to be it.

(note to the curious: no, i'm not and have no inclinations of that sort.)

strange conversations beget strange trips

i should have known, when i found out i was going to hong kong again, that i would experience another out-of-body conversation just prior to the trip, much like one of my favorite phone conversations with a customer care representative, or whatever you call them these days.

two days before my departure, i was at the eye center, waiting to have my eyes refracted. i wanted to bring fresh disposable contacts to hong kong, ya see, and i wanted to make sure i was getting the correct ones. so i wouldn't have to remove my lens prior to having my eyes checked (if you have never tried wearing contacts, take my word for it: taking them out is a bit of a hassle -- a downright pain if you have eyestrain and spent most of the day in an airconditioned environment that can make your eyes as dry as the sahara at noon: it's like tearing off your corneas), i wore my glasses. if you somehow missed that, let me reiterate -- i wore my glasses.

the lady from the eye center got my record sheet from the files and proceeded to ask me her routine questions: "are you the 'de guzman' from pasig?" "are you going to have your eyes checked today (ok, that was strange already)?" and ...

"are you wearing your contact lens right now?"

i answered by blankly staring at her through my fingerprint-stained glasses. so she followed up with another amazing question: "... or are you wearing glasses?"

hong kong is going to be great, i can tell.

hello hong kong

surprise, surprise: i'm back in hong kong.

the bad news is i'll be living alone for 5 weeks. the good news is that, in theory, i can blog every day -- much like the last time, which prompted a whole slew of entries, starting with this one.

for day 1 this time around though, i ate ... vegetable dumplings. only because the woman beside the steamer knew how to speak english.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

a dash of evil and a pinch of fat

today, someone pinched my back fat and asked me (rhetorically, i suppose): "WHAT'S THIS???"

back fat: the folds of fat on your (where else?) back that are extra-obvious in people (especially females who choose to wear brassieres) with bad posture (when your back is hunched, your clothes cling tightly to every fat fold).

in some countries, this may be considered the height of rudeness, but here it's somehow acceptable to touch others' adipose reserves. apparently, it is also ok to ask the victim if s/he knows about the fat in question. ergo: "what's this?" (to which i should have replied, "that is proof that I am a cranky woman who finds comfort in stuffing her face with junk food, so please let go of my fat" but all i could muster was a semi-muffled squeal of shock)

i'd go into my theories on the uniquely filipino attitude toward fat and the concept of beauty, but i'm too lazy to get into it. all this extra fat (on the back and in other not-so-obvious places) is making me sleepy.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

hail topi

it hailed yesterday, according to our roving reporter/permanent house fixture/pseudo-nanny/intrigue queen who goes by the name topi.

it can mean only one of two things:
1. it really did hail yesterday.
2. it did not hail yesterday.

i'm tending to lean towards option 2 because topi has a tendency to exaggerate. also because topi is the same person who cannot, after 40+ years of existence, make the s sound when it comes at the end of a word. of course, that has nothing to do with credibility; i just wanted to share it. more topi-isms later.

according to topi, hail melts longer than normal ice (although i doubt if she has basis for that observation) and is shaped differently. that my father corroborated the story bears no weight on the report. being retired, he has to coexist with topi and this may have affected all sense of reality.

regardless of precipitation type, i wish i stayed home to see whatever it was that drove topi to a frenzy. or maybe i just really want any excuse to stay home.


chips ahoy -> chipahoy
taster's choice -> taster choi
foil -> foiled ("Balutin ko ng foiled ang sandwich?")
sprite -> sprike
clark -> clart


spooky discovery c/o ana (aka the president of my fans club with a membership of, give or take, three) :

click this -- -- and see what you get. note that this url is almost exactly the same as mine, minus an 's'. THE HORROR!!!

am just grateful it's not some porno site (although i'm sure a certain pasig raver would've been pleased to no end).

now i'm thinking about changing my blog's url. am also thinking about why that site even HAD that url. is the orange a biblical fruit?

don't answer that.

Monday, September 13, 2004

titanic tearfest

i didn't read the book when it was just lying around the house years ago because it looked sappy and i didn't want sap.* i watched the movie because everybody told me it was sappy and these days, i'd rather cry because of movie sap than because of real life sap.

so i set a movie date to watch The Notebook, in spite of dire warnings ("do not watch it. you will die crying.") from well-meaning friends who know about me and sobbing at movies.

short of giving away the ending, let me just say that it was predictable (read this review. wish i had written it myself). and let me just say that even if it was, i was also predictably affected. it reminded me of the time i watched Pay it Forward (NOT that predictable) with two girlfriends. the credits were over and the cleaning people had gone through the whole theater and we were still sobbing our eyes out.

the horrible thing about watching a movie during the final stretch of its run is having fewer people inside the theater. fewer people = more silence. more silence = hearing every little sniffle. this is why i almost suffered a laryngeal spasm from trying to hold back the deluge of tears i wanted to release. more than anything, i wanted to let out one of those noisy sobs of despair reserved only for funerals and American Idol finals. i didn't, because i didn't want to hear any comments from the teenagers just a few rows back (the same teenagers who went "AWWWW" at every other scene).

instead i let the tears flow silently all throughout the credits, all the way down the stairs, inside the toilet booth, while retouching my powder and whenever my movie friend wasn't looking. the good news is i was prepared this time; i brought travel tissue (something i didn't have on hand when i watched Titanic -- yes, that movie. i like leo. so sue me -- which explains why half of my friend's jacket was a deeper shade of green when we left the theater).

another problem with holding back tears is crying at every other excuse to cry after the incident in question. after watching The Notebook, i cried during America's Next Top Model, was teary eyed after the Sex and the City rerun, and shed a tear for the Amazing Race (ok, i usually do). when i saw I Am Sam on HBO, i frantically changed the channel. sometimes you just have to say no.

*i'm not sure if 'sap' is an official noun. i'm hope you know i'm not referring to the sticky goo from plants. although i'm sure if you get some of that kind of sap into your eye, you'd tear up like there were no tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

google, the tease

google. it's starting to get on my nerves. am starting to think it's just trying the limits of my patience.

it's out to get us.

for instance, if you enter Hwai-Jeng Lin Professor Department Education, you will get this question --

"Did you mean: Hwai-Jong Lin Professor Department Education"

so, silly you, you agree. "yes, maybe i did mean 'jong'! maybe i got the name wrong," you think, while silently thanking the internet gods. "thank you google!"

then you click on the seemingly great suggestion, and you get --

"Your search - Hwai-Jong Lin Professor Department Education - did not match any documents."

and this is why i am slowly being pushed into subclinical psychosis.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

he's going to do well in school, i can tell

juancho (the 2-year-old boy wonder/nephew) came from the house of his lola baby (that phrase looks strange, now that i look at it). here is the only thing you need to know to understand this entry: lola baby looks exactly like lola mina (the mom of juancho's mufasa aka tatay).

interviewer: juancho, who does lola baby look like?

juancho the whiz: lola baby looks like ... a sofa.

(according to reliable sources, his previous answer was "a house" -- which is equally funny, but more politically incorrect.)

the evil elevator eye

setting: a typical monday morning.

it was a full hour and a half before i officially had to be at the office and i was sauntering through the lobby towards the elevator. i received the usual strange looks and forced greetings from the building security guards who must have noticed by now that i always enter the building with uncombed, damp hair (believe me, it's easier to comb when dry).

as the elevator doors were opening, my peripheral vision caught the image of a lady briskly walking toward me but thought nothing of it. in a half-awake state, i slowly got inside the lift (ha! am turning bloody british!) without thinking about the stranger. as the doors started to close, i heard her shout "UPPP!!!" and with a jolt i pressed the open button (note to elevator manufacturers: those arrows? they are indistinguishable in moments of extreme stress. best to put "OPEN", "CLOSE" or even "PRESS THIS TO OPEN THE DOORS, YOU BLIND NINNY" on the buttons. our society is plagued by way too many icons).

the lady entered the elevator and out of habit i looked up and met her stare. if there is one thing i regret in my life, that would have to be it. ok, that and the time i ate a whole bag of chewy chips ahoy in one sitting. but i digress.

instead of thanking me, little miss buildingmate glared at me with as much anger as she could muster at such an ungodly hour (maybe that's where the term 'ungodly' comes from). with one cold, piercing look, she managed to tell me how mean i was for even considering not holding the elevator for her. i might have prevented a no-nonsense yuppie from logging in at 6:30 am! i have affected her daily productivity! how dare me! i am evil elevator scum with disheveled (albeit clean) hair!

hello monday.

Monday, August 30, 2004

this proves that i am wholesome

the first installment of the lord of the rings is not part of this list. i used to be able to just switch off the tv even while gandalf is screaming at the huge mass of burning demon thing (excuse the non-official monster name). last night, however, was a different story.

it was the two towers HBO premiere.

the thing about the 2nd lotr movie is, to put it bluntly, there is a lot of legolas in it. like the stunt director had a field day with his character and decided that the elf was a james bond predecessor. so, as the ex-wife of legolas-the-perfect, i was bound to watch it until the end.

which, of course, brings me to my dream. you know, dreams. where you can be anything and everything and do anything and everything.

so, what my subconscious decided i should do to legolas-the-incomparable in my dream was: braid his hair.

if you've been watching lotr carefully (or is this in the book?), you'll notice that the hair just above the ears of legolas-the-invincible is french-braided. i remember thinking (while watching last night) that it must be hard to braid your own hair while thinking about impending war with ugly, unintelligible creatures.

anyway, in my dream, i must have been his personal assistant or hairdresser. i could've been the WIFE, you see, but my subconscious just doesn't allow such indulgence when legolove is concerned.

a bookmark is never there when you need it

i decided at a very young age that i would never dog-ear a book page. it's just WRONG to mangle books (this from a person who almost always successfully -- but accidentally, mind you -- inflicts some sort of harm to borrowed books). i've felt this way ever since my grandmother told me that books had feelings so i should never destroy or hurt them. she said this while i was dancing on top of a hardbound children's book.

so if i need to mark a page and there are no bookmarks in sight, i just try to remember the page number.

p.s. it never works.

of course i shouldn't be surprised. i haven't been called a goldfish for nothing. when i have to memorize the page number, i try to focus on it, then associate it with a ton of things or people (e.g., 119 is my office local plus 2). when i get back to it, i realize that i have discarded any memory of page numbers in my continually shrinking brain (my house number plus 2? my office floor plus 2? my credit card number divided by my pin number?) and i end up reading a lot of what i've read before so i can reach the part where it doesn't seem to ring a bell anymore.

i've also used a variety of makeshift bookmarks (don't bother giving me the store-bought kind -- i will just misplace it): receipts, tissue paper (go figure), hair strands, my own hand (i wake up with a gangrenous finger because the book had cut off the circulation in it), candy wrappers, the corner of a pillowcase, the table corner, and the floor (usually by accident ... use your imagination ... unless you are pasig raver, then i will explain it to you in detail before you conjure some dirty little scenario).

so even if i end up reading a book at least twice by the time i finish it (what with all the overlaps), at least the book is not mad at me.

Monday, August 23, 2004

storytelling, sleeptalking

it was juancho's bedtime and he wanted me to read a book. the only children's book in our house that bore any resemblance to his own books was an old, poorly illustrated, hardbound antique with talking animals. it would have to do. juancho was too young for an entire roald dahl novel.

instead of letting me read the entire story from beginning to end, juanch interrupted me every 3 seconds with "tita eng,* what's this?" and i willingly obliged him with a response.

if you haven't tried to read aloud at bedtime, here's a bit of useful info: the thing about reading a storybook to a child at night is that it's tremendously sleep-inducing to everyone within hearing proximity. which is supposed to come as no surprise, except i don't think the reader should fall asleep before the readee.

another thing you should know (but is not entirely useful) is i sleeptalk (i also sleepwrite, but that's another story). a few years ago, when i was in that special place between wakefulness and dreamland, i told a friend who was driving me home to step on it and follow the car ahead of us because my sister was being kidnapped. he never let me hear the end of it. probably because it happened more than once.

anyway, ...

"tita eng, what's this?" "(in a loud, animated pitch) it's a frog!!!"

"tita eng, what's this?" "(in a softer, calmer tone) it's a pig."

"tita eng, what's this?" "(in a whisper) it's ... an ... e ... le ... pha ..."

"tita eng, what's this?" "it's my work!"

at that point, i jolted upright and the image of pending work in my mind's eye was erased and replaced by frogs and pigs and e-le-phas.

the good news is, i don't think juancho noticed.

*that's me.

a pretty face and an about-face

(from a tv interview)

interviewer behind camera: what makes you beautiful?

the model i don't particularly like but sure, she's pretty: people say i have nice eyes, nice lips, nice skin, nice face ...

same interviewer: what is your definition of beauty? (or some other pageant-type question)

the model who realized she needed to save her soul on national tv: i think personality makes a person beautiful.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

why remote controls need angles

(warning: this anecdote involves a big pimple. if you are not very fond of acne stories, there is a little box with an x on the upper right corner of this window [an empty box on the upper left, if you're using a mac]. click it to be spared of ... me.)

(some people say that i write about acne too much. all i can say is: i write what i know.)

one of my best pimple-trauma stories involves my younger sister, a remote control and an out-of-control pimple.

it was another couch-potato night for me and mia. i was lying supine on the couch, she was sitting in another one nearby. i was, at that time, nursing one of those giant pimples they try (but fail) to recreate in movies with an inadequate budget for prosthetics. the monster was on the tip of my chin. it was swollen to maximum capacity and couldn't have been more painful. or so i thought.

mia, who decided she was too sleepy to watch the last few minutes of whatever it was we were watching, stood up and "gave" me the remote.

here are a few facts you need to digest to understand the gravity (pun intended) of the situation:

1. she didn't really give it to me. she placed the remote on my chest.

2. the remote, in an attempt to look as high-tech as possible, was more tubular than angular. ergo, it can roll down an incline.

3. i am not flat-chested.

4. the remote was not made out of down. it was made of tough plastic that survives falling from a height of 5 feet or violent throwing by a 2-year-old.

5. a rolling tube gathers no moss and picks up speed on the downslope.

6. your chin is conveniently located right-smack in the middle of your body and, if you're looking downwards (like, say, when you're watching tv on couch-potato night), it obliterates the neck and is almost adjacent to your sternum.

7. it is more painful to be hit by a speeding tubular object than one in slow-mo.

with all that (and more) in mind, you can probably guess what happened to the fast, rolling tube of tough plastic and the speed bump (with a bump) that broke its fall.

i have never seen my sister so remorseful. to this day, i use that event to my advantage. i just remind her of the deluge of tears and other unmentionable body fluids and she becomes my instant personal assistant-slave.

believe me, i nose pain.

if you have been plagued by acne for most of your teenage/early adult life, then you must be familiar with that creeping awareness (translation: "oh no! it cannot be! not again!") of a growing pimple upon feeling a small bump accompanied by mild to severe localized pain while washing your face.

a few days ago while putting on facial sunblock (why do i need to share these things?), i felt a mild discomfort around the nose area and was horrified to realize that the irritation was from one of the vilest types of pimple you can have (and i've had them all) -- the-pimple-on-or-inside-the-nostril-rim type. and even worse, i had two -- one for each nostril.

(you don't really have to continue reading, but if it will make you feel better, i promise that the next few lines won't involve the words "pus" or "explode.")

if you think that people who complain of painful acne are exaggerating, then don't tell me who you are. because i will get you. really.

having a painful nose means:

- not being able to sniffle or clean your nose properly;
- not being able to flare your nostrils in anger (i don't really do that, i just practice it just in case i need it for effect someday);
- not being able to just tap your nose while thinking (i do that a lot, which probably explains the existence of the pimples); and
- being consumed by nostril discomfort for most of the waking day.

the good news is that the pimples have wisely decided to stay out of view. only i know that they are lurking in the dark recesses of my face. (but of course talking about acne makes the lesions wilder. it's been scientifically proven.)

i just hope they dry up before i catch a cold, need to attend a social function, or get hit by a shuttlecock. more on that later.

Friday, August 13, 2004

do not read this entry if you are expecting substance

after one has gone through a series of draining situations in the span of one day, including (but not limited to) ...

- being pressured to work faster by officemates from non-English-speaking countries through a series of emails written in unrecognizable syntax, making you feel like you're reading bizarre subtitles while watching a pirated dvd (or -- for those born in another era -- reading the wrong lyrics from songhits)*

- 2 hours of semi-competitive badminton inside a sauna-like court on an empty stomach

- discovering that you can't work on the 40-page journal you brought home to edit (due first thing the next day, of course) because you forgot that you don't have the software at home and downloading the free trial will take 10 hours and having a generous friend upload the installer to a web site with public folders will take just as long

- getting your already-bruised ego trampled on by a ghost from the past, forcing you to make an otherwise simple decision complicated only by sleep deprivation, hunger, fatigue, work stress, borderline depression and the disturbing lack of comfortable black shoes

... the only thing to do is (you're lost, i can tell. review first sentence and get back here quick) eat a whole box of apple-coated watermelon/lemonade-coated wild cherry NERDS.

which is exactly what i did a few nights ago, after realizing the futility of crying over the full version of adobe acrobat (and the lack of it thereof). i sat down beside my sister who was currently engaged in an 8-episode marathon of 'sex and the city' and proceeded to stuff my face with candy. i figured that if i was going to stress-eat, i might as well stay away from fatty comfort food. after all, a whole box of nerds is just 270 calories and it wasn't full when i started eating. (ironically, the perenially underweight carrie was downing 3 slices of wedding cake while i was enjoying my glucose-fest.)

when i got to the last few pieces, my tongue felt thick and rather sore, not to mention splotched with an attractive red and yellow pattern. when i saw that the tips of my right thumb and index finger were also shockingly red**, i spent a good amount of time in front of the sink trying to brush and wash off the evidence of my defense mechanism.

strangely enough, i felt better after eating the whole box. an abnormal tongue, tinted fingertips and a sugar rush can keep you awake long enough to put everything in perspective.


*my favorite example from JINGLE songhits: "Damned" by Shimoli

(correct lyrics)
Damned, you're one man I just can't stand, you're ...
Damned, you built your castle on the sand, you're ...

(their interpretation)
Damned, you're one man not just extension ...
Damned ...

**note to the nerd-naive: you don't get finger stains if you eat it straight from the box or shove a palmful of nerds into your mouth. my fingers were stained because i was procrastinating by eating it piece by piece.

Monday, August 09, 2004


there are ants living inside my sister's keyboard pc.

we don' t know how they got there. we suspect that all the junkfood being thrown around has something to do with it. the thing about these ants is they don't traipse around the computer table when they have nothing to do. so you can't really tell they're there UNTIL you type. typing is their wake-up call. wouldn't you wake up and run out in a panic if your home was pounded at a rate of 40 words per minute (or faster if the pounder happened to be chatting)?

the moment you type on this particular keyboard, the ants come crawling out and onto your unprotected hands. sometimes they bite, sometimes they tickle, but most of the time, they just irritate the hell out of you.

trying to work on that pc is like Corporate Fear Factor. i've had to bear many itchy nights just to meet a deadline. it's a nuisance for sure but a blessing in disguise if i ever saw one -- if ants crawling all over you don't keep you awake, nothing will.

mia (the keyboard owner) didn't know about the ants until she got home from her 2-month trip. however, she realized they had been there a while when she heard juancho greet the high-tech pets like they were part of the family. "hi ants in the compinter!"


juancho (my 2-year-old nephew and [bias alert] the cutest little boy this side of the world) and I were watching a barney video (his choice, needless to say) when he suddenly declared, "no barney. i yant to yatch sick."

as you may probably have guessed, he's not the best enunciator. around 80% of the time, we need his mother to interpret an otherwise nonsense utterance. when he was younger, "hng hng da" meant "winnie the pooh" -- don't ask.

so as my brain struggled with what that last sentence meant, i asked him to clarify. "sick?" i asked.

"sick! sick! sick!"

"no more barney?"

"no! sick!"

yes, juancho, barney is a sick, pathetic excuse for a mascot, but what can i ...

"sick! pweez, sick!"

"juancho, i'll show you the discs, ok? you show me sick."

so i carried the boy (also known as the downfall of all our lower backs) so he could see the stack of vcds and dvds on the shelf. i showed him a picture of chip from beauty on the beast.


"no, sick!!!" he was obviously getting frustrated.

i frantically looked at each cd cover. "charlie brown? baby snuffy? bear in the big blue house?" and then i saw it -- a 4-disc box of "sex and the city" season 1. no way. can he be saying ...? NO WAY!!! he's too young! how can he possibly ...

"sick sick sick sick sick!!!"

"juancho i can't understand you!!!"

and we just stared at each other with eyes that mourned our communication gap. then i had an idea.

"i know, juanch! let's go downstairs and ask tita mia what 'sick' means, ok?"

he seemed to nod in agreement (or fatigue, not sure) and we asked my younger sister. after just 3 "sicks" from juanch, mia got it.

"he wants to watch SHREK."

when i finally showed him the cd, he let out a squeal (a shrek, har har) of delight. "siiiiiiiiick!"

p.s. it was all worth it. by the end of the movie, juanch was clapping his hands, saying "good job, sick!"

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

exploding coke: not an urban legend ("coke was it")

yesterday at around 12 nn, i put a can of coke in the freezer of the office pantry ref.

i was planning to take it out after eating my lunch, but of course i completely forgot about it. it doesn't take a genius to figure out what happened next. i found out about the pantry disaster through my officemate who had been discreetly asking people one by one if they owned the coke in question. she finally got to me (as luck would have it, i was the last person she asked) and when i said it was mine, she whispered mysteriously, "they're looking for you."

i ran to the scene of the explosion. the freezer had patches of frozen coke on its walls, and splotches of dark fluid all over the rest of the ref. on top of the ref was the sorry-looking, disfigured can, looking very much like the abandoned orphan that it was.

after profusely apologizing to the person who discovered the mess and the one who was going to clean it up, i tried to work again. i couldn't. all i could think of was how i wanted another coke.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

they didn't fall far from the tree Posted by Hello

*** and the city

rpn channel 9 (read: NOT cable) began showing 'sex and the city' some time ago (and by 'some time ago' i mean, i haven't the foggiest). i've always wondered though how a show like that could possibly be shown on local tv.

last night i found out.

(not verbatim, but close enough)

carrie: last night i had the biggest *silence* of my life

miranda: i did my laundry.

carrie: i'm mean, i usually *silence* when i'm in love with a man, but when i had *silence* last night, it was just so *silence* unbelievable.

charlotte: maybe he's the one.

samantha: *silence* *silence* *silence*

i'm not totally against censorship, but attempting to sanitize a show that has a title you can't even say on air is just plain *silence*.

Friday, July 30, 2004

lost in translation

and speaking of evolutions and cooking shows, ever notice how translators have progressed from unemotional bland robots to spirited, inflection-heavy actors?

my only exposure to translators on tv involved international beauty pageants. the translators of yore wore formal outfits and were as inconspicuous as they were useful (much like subtitles, come to think of it). "the essence of being a woman is being myself." not much emotion there.

today, translators speak with so much passion, you'd think there were an award-giving body for translators (is there?).

of course i am referring to the translators of iron chef, the cooking show.

i think most of the appeal of this show comes not from the masterful chefs or their impossibly intricate dishes, but from the energy of the translators.

on any given episode you will hear them exclaim:

(actress-judge tasting a dish) "oh!!! i was surprised by the use of eel in this dish! how LUXURIOUS (her favorite word)! i'm really enjoying this! it's exploding in my mouth!"

(judge who looks like he could train the karate kid) "uhhh ... i think this could use a bit more cooking, but it's excellent. well done! you have combined the french and japanese styles perfectly. good! good!"

(hosts overseeing the cooking) "what do you think the iron chef is cooking?" "my guess is that he's going to ... no! what is this!? this is truly a surprise to me! i would never have guessed he was going to fry the bamboo shoots!" "oh my, this is such a surprise." "it's so luxurious!"

needless to say, i'm addicted to that show.

communist kirei

this week, i received a call from a panicked mia.

"what happened to kirei*?"

according to mia's fascinating discussion, kirei used to be thinner and more irregular. now the chips have a uniform square cut and, based on her expert judgment, "it's not the same!"

not surprisingly, i'd noticed that too a few weeks ago but had no one to share it (the observation, not the food) with.

and now you're wondering why this incident deserved blog space. two simple reasons: (1) i like talking about food; and (2) it's my blog.


*this is not the first time i've mentioned kirei in this blog.

surviving skittles

after two months of shopping and eating in the US, mia (aka 'younger sister') is back. to appease the sister she left behind (aka 'me'), she brought back tons of unhealth.

one of the more attractive packets inside the huge goody bag was that of sour skittles. it was shiny neon (shiny neon?) green, maybe because it was a promotional thing for shrek 2 (which, incidentally, i have finally seen). if you open a bag with all green skittles, you win ... something. i forget.

the thing is i've always liked sour candy. i like those cry babies (multicolored balls of sourness), sour gummi worms, sour gummi beans. ironically, i do not like sour 'real' food, like green mangoes or tamarind or ... ok, this is getting boring.

SO, you can imagine why i was excited to discover that skittles had a sour version (mia says it's been around for a while now but even if i knew that, i would have probably been just as excited to get free food). i should've known i was in trouble though as soon as i took the first candy.

apparently, sour skittles were designed to make salivary glands shoot out a liter of saliva straight down your bronchi (a tube leading to the lungs -- not exactly where you want your food to go), causing a coughing spell of pneumonic proportions. and this happened after every 5 skittles. i coughed so many times and so violently that i saw snippets of my life flash before my eyes (or maybe those were just the family pictures framed on the shelf). did that stop me? eventually yes, after the 4th pack. (i didn't finish 4 packs in one sitting, silly, although it's not entirely beyond me.) i figured i should probably stop eating it anyway before my throat bled from all the coughing or i gained 20 pounds from excess sugar, whichever came first.

today, the green packs are still very accessible and visible from the couch-potato couch i spend most of my home hours in. am still reconsidering eating more. partly because i want to find the winning pack, and partly because my throat has healed quite nicely.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

the problem with office mp3s

to drown out the distracting hum of typical office activity, i listen to mp3s at work. ironic but true. 

as i have no mp3s of my own, i have links to a couple of officemates' mp3 folders. and because i am laziness personified, i usually just lump ALL the audio files into one humungous playlist and play them at random. which means, of course, that i am slave to the musical preference of other people.

WHICH MEANS, it can happen that while staring at the blank wall beside me trying to think of how to reword a sentence from hell, i will be suddenly painfully aware that i am being subjected to "last thing on my mind" by steps.

(to those who do not know this song: as your punishment for being so sheltered, i will send you the music video. YOU try getting it out of your mind. this song is virtual bubble gum on your virtual shoe sole.)

the evolution of the cooking show

i remember anticipating sunday mornings because of the chinese cooking show that came after the chinese movies on channel nine. i had no idea what the chinese cook was saying, but she threw ingredient after unidentifiable ingredient into her oversized and dilapidated wok with such passion that i knew deep in my stomach of stomachs that i'd be a fan of cooking shows forever. true enough, i grew up watching every cooking show i could lay my eyes on. and there weren't many when i was growing up, mind you.  

i remember being amazed at how old cooking shows had huge mirrors on top of the stove so the cameras would be able to catch a bird's-eye view of the pot action. i thought that was frikkin ingenious (this from the same child who thought the inventor of scissors was the smartest person ever). who thinks of these things!?

today, i don't have to wait an entire week just to catch a show. the food network has come to the aid of us cooking-show addicts. who thought of the food network!? (probably the same guy who invented scissors)

the cooking shows have evolved, though. instead of having the huge mirror overhead, they have somehow figured out a way to get the camera come extrasuperclose to the food. this makes me wonder though. i know it's artistic and all that, but do i really need to see onions being sauteed from 3 millimeters away? (yes.) in real life, the day you need to observe tomatoes being chopped by a freshly sharpened knife an inch away from your eyes is the day you lose your vision.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

spitting image. (as in "please redirect your spit away from me. i thought it was a good idea. so sue me.")

 Posted by Hello

hair-raising tales

  • my hair has grown to its longest length since birth. if you've never had long hair, you don't know what kind of struggle it is to comb it after a shower. i usually just leave it wet and tangled when i leave the house and brush it into something relatively presentable before i step out of the car -- all the while praying that i will never have to step out of my car (for instance, if the police apprehend me) before getting to the office. surprisingly, vanity and car safety are compatible.


  • my friend discovered a long strand of white hair. can't say that it alarmed me. must be something like the 2nd or 3rd i've discovered on my head. am now having visions of a head full of white hair ala ororo, who was my favorite x-man before the movie came out. (hi hugh.) not a bad superhero fantasy (being ororo, not hooking up with wolverine), except maybe by the time i have a head full of white hair, i would find it hard to even stand up straight. come to think of it, that's already a problem.


  • i discovered (and i still don't know HOW exactly) a 5-inch strand of semi-invisible hair growing on of the middle of my back. didn't pull it out. as if i need more proof of freakishness. i'll grow it until i can tuck it in the back of my pants so i cross the item "acquire useless talents and traits" off my life's to-do list.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

thought of the day

from an infomercial --
"Don't be pennies wise and lose the chance of becoming a real beauty."
(some blog entries need little elaboration to elicit some kind of reaction. if you want to elaborate, feel free. just don't tell me -- i don't want to know.)
(thanks mia, for SMSing this and completely distracting me from what was supposed to be an ultraserious telephone conversation.)

Saturday, July 17, 2004

my blog needs an editor

i am an editor. at least i get PAID to edit. being an editor for quite some time now, my brain has inadvertently been on the lookout for errors in all types of non-work-related published material, which, sadly, includes this blog.
the problem with blogging is finding typos and grammatical errors in past entries and thinking (more like "screaming internally"), "people saw that! they saw that error and wondered why the hell i'm still working as an editor!!!"
recently, an editor-friend who religiously (and i hope not in a cult-type way, marti) reads this blog pointed out a small error which disturbed me greatly. i wanted to drown in my self-imposed suffering. but i corrected that (you'll never find it now! haha!) and moved on.
today, i discovered yet ANOTHER error resulting from carelessness and an obvious love affair with parentheses ("brackets," according to my favorite british editor). in this entry, the first paragraph ended with "item" when it should've been plural.
will the grammar gods ever forgive me?
(i wonder if melodrama pays well. if it did, a number of hysterical friends should've been millionaires by now. it's probably a good idea to keep these friends. you never know.) 

Friday, July 16, 2004

a deep thought

why do they have to put up signs that say "WARNING: DEEP EXCAVATION"? does the depth of the hole make any difference to drivers? even drivers who have even just a pinch of self-love or self-preservation instincts know better than to ram their vehicles through excavations, deep or otherwise. "some guys are digging a hole! let me just drive right across it because it's probably not a deep one anyway, seeing that there's no warning sign."
if anything, the "deep" sign triggers panic, instead of caution. i was driving along katipunan avenue one night with some of my girl friends. the barriers surrounding the excavation were not spaced near each other, so you could see a bit of the pit (gotta love that phrase) from the road. and see it i did. it was a huge, gaping hole of holes and i bet that if i looked farther down, i would have seen ... tijuana.
anyway, after the initial glance (which i sorely regretted), the friend (later on, you'll see why this term is used loosely here) beside me shouted, "THAT'S A DEEP HOLE!!! BE CAREFUL!!!" the katipunan excavation didn't need that sign -- they had a live warning device inside my car. my fists clenched the steering wheel so tightly that my nails left permanent smileys on it.
i survived that night. no thanks to the sudden astuteness of peripheral vision and my excitable, panicky ... acquaintance.
(note to acquaintance: am kidding. but don't do it again. well, at least not to me.)

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

mouse balls*

surprise, surprise, i brought office work home.

figured i needed to update this list anyway, so all is not lost.

tonight, under the guise of promoting productivity by removing any obstacle that might slow me down, i cleaned the ball of the computer mouse.**

mind you, it wasn't an easy-access ball. it didn't have a user-friendly door/cover/thing that you could just flip off to let the ball fall out. it had a screw. which means i had to find a screwdriver. which means i had to choose the correct size of screwdriver that would fit in the narrow pit (a complicated technical term) where the screw was lodged.

i did all that -- with a smile and the energy of someone happy to find something that delayed actual work. i lovingly scraped off each petrified lump of dust that clung to those roller-type things (complicated technical term #2). i wiped the grime off the mouse ball by carefully running it down my white pajamas. i slowly reassembled the contraption with the precision of a neurosurgeon.

it paid off. the cursor has never flown across the screen with such speed and accuracy! my pc is revved up, nothing can stop it! work can now ensue!

... and that's why i have a new blog entry. why work when the mouse has never been cleaner?


*i know it seems like i have too many posts about all kinds of balls, like this one, or this one, but it makes sense if you think about it (and i doubt that anyone would). the blog template is making me dotty (to insult your intelligence: ball = dot).

**i know that it's a mouse. every single time my 2-year-old nephew comes within a 4-foot radius of the computer, he calls my attention and says with all conviction -- "that's a mouse." so I'M POSITIVE that it's a mouse.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004


the advantages of forgetting to bring glasses to work on no-contact-lens days:

- it's like living in a dream. everything is hazy, everyone is faceless ... and you feel like you're floating in oblivion. then you come sprawling back to earth when you realize that you wouldn't be editing an article about antibiotic resistance in your dreams. but then again, you've had stranger pseudonightmares.

- you don't go through the day thinking "i forgot my glasses in front of my computer" because you've forgotten it already. you've saved yourself a whole day of self-reminders to carry your glasses around.

the disadvantages:

- when you try to hail a cab at night, you just blindly hold out your arm, trying to stop anything with headlights. you've attempted to stop motorcycles, four-wheel drives, and walking coal miners with their headgear light switched on.

- you take forever before entering the ladies room because you have to stare at the icon on the door to make sure it is wearing a skirt.

Monday, July 12, 2004


there are some movies that, once i catch on tv (and it doesn't matter at which point i start watching), i cannot possibly tear myself away from and have to watch until the credits. such is the strange attraction to these movies that even if i have seen those movies more often than i can count, even if i am already late for a badminton appointment (which is exactly what happened yesterday), even if you PAY me to leave, even if my brain has shriveled up into a pathetic sleep-deprived mass of gyri, even if ... (time to stop), i STILL won't be able to turn away from the screen.

one would think that i'd be attached to movies like the breathtaking 'lord of the rings' (hi orly!) series or even the riveting 'forrest gump' -- but nooooooo. my embarrassing list includes (but is not limited to):

- the land before time (animated miniature dinosaurs looking for their mommies -- no relation to my life whatsoever): i watch this just to check if the ending could still make me cry. so far, i have always succumbed to my sappy nature.

- twister (chasing after spirals of death while rekindling romance -- i usually catch this just as they're ravaged by the F4. the tornado, not the boy band): i think i only watch this because i'm amazed at how helen hunt (and her hair) still looks good even after whipped by violent winds.

- hook (peter pan grows up to be, tadaaa, robin williams): this one i can't figure out. i watch it because ... because ... it's not called 'hook' for nothing. needless to say, hook makes me break down in tears every single time. my mind hears "my happy thought was you" and interprets it to mean "start crying like this is the first time you've heard that line."

i can go on and on but i have to preserve whatever's left of my dignity.

Friday, July 09, 2004

didn't think it would happen, but ...

... i miss hong kong.

after being homesick for the entire 2 weeks i was there and 10 days after landing in manila, i am now "officially missing" (with apologies to tamia):

- my small hotel room with the great bed and pillows i wanted to fit into my hand-carried bag. i liked the fact that everything in the room was practically within reach from the center of the bed.

- victoria park. i've had to trudge through that blasted park so many times that i felt it was expanding by the day. in retrospect, it was a very clean park. am slightly regretting not sitting down to admire the ... trees. however, i remember the passerby who was hit by a flying ball (they are ALWAYS ALWAYS playing football -- or maybe it was hockey, haha -- in the park) and regret disappears fast. (i do NOT miss sundays at victoria park, when it turns into an indonesian rave party complete with gyrating, drunk indonesian lesbians. don't get me wrong. i have nothing against them. but consider this: (1) i look like an indonesian; and (2) i am not interested in women, indonesian or otherwise. you figure out why walking through that crowd made me nervous.)

- the taxis that travel at an average speed of 80 kph along side streets.

- the corner grocery, which always faintly smelled of durian but was filled with tons of foreign junk food and octopus balls.

- the lemon iced tea. they always serve real tea with slices of lemon and syrup on the side. even mcdonalds serves it this way. and speaking of mcdonalds ...

- shrimp wrappers from mcdonalds -- shrimp wrapped in wanton wrappers and then deep fried. served with the generic sweet chili sauce. yum.

- the ultra-fast desktop computer they let me use at the hk office. was planning to put it in the same bag that was going to hold the hotel bed and pillows. only if there was space left.

- time to blog every day.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

of role models and wrong answers

a couple of radio djs asked their listening public this question: WHO IS YOUR ROLE MODEL?

aside from the usual replies of heroes and presidents and celebrities (yes, avril lavigne was on the list. don't laugh. she has great ... hair.), one answer stood apart from the rest.

"my role model is myself."

the eversopolite djs managed to keep from laughing their arses off, while saying that it was a "really unique answer" while most probably thinking "the philippines has a drug problem." i'm sure they wished that they were somewhere alone, like me, laughing MY arse off (not that there was much arse to begin with) in disbelief.

maybe the caller was avril lavigne.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

how to know when it's time to go home

during my last night in HK, i decided to get a ton of japanese snacks from the store that carries mostly meiji (as in the makers of that yummy koala cookie thing with the chocolate inside) items.

i bought enough stuff to get me three coupons with japanese instructions on how to join a contest or find out if you've won a prize. good thing the chinese saleslady was a big help. big help. i think she was this close to having a nervous breakdown. after the communication struggle (where are subtitles when you need them?), i figured out that I won 200 HKD worth of japanese food at some restaurant. gave that to my HK-based friend because i was leaving the next day anyway.

i also won -- and as a certified junkie, this was even better than the gift certificates -- crab chips! a huge bag of it.

so back at the hotel room, i realized that due to laziness and lack of funds, the crab junk was going to be my dinner. after putting the first chip in my mouth, i was surprised to find out that my much-awaited prize was, in effect, ... KIREI.

(if you do not know kirei, shame on you.)

eating the kirei-wannabe made me homesick (like i wasn't homesick for the entire duration of the HK trip?) so after making sure i wasn't dressed as a hooker, i went down to the hotel bar to avail of my complimentary drink (which i almost completely forgot about).

i ordered a glass of white wine (because i am a boring, uncreative creature) and it arrived with a bowl of something indistinguishable in the dim lights of the bar. after putting the first indistinguishable something in my mouth, i was surprised to find out that my much-awaited free bar snack was, in effect, ... OISHI.

(if you do not know oishi, you should have stopped reading since the kirei anecdote.)

and that, ladies and gentlemen, is how to know when it's time to go home. when homegrown junkfood follows you to far-off (if you consider hong kong "far-off") lands and unexpected situations.

barbeque clover, here i come.

it's true about doctor's penmanship

was very complacent about not blogging the past few days. after all, i'd written notes on what i wanted to blog about. today, i look at the disheveled, sorry-looking scrap of paper i've been carrying around in my bag and all i see are purple etchings pretending to be words.

i hate having to rely on my memory.

Sunday, June 27, 2004

wish i had written this line

from the book olivia joules and the overactive imagination (by helen fielding, of bridget jones's diary fame):

She swam to and fro, forgetting about time and reality, until she saw Rik in front of her tapping his hand on the air dial, communicating such patronizing sarcasm with each tap that she felt that the scuba world's gain had been the mime world's loss.


funniest movie moment i've seen in a while

from victor/victoria (starring julie andrews):

in a french pub, a man was waiting in the darkness for a private investigator. private investigator walks in.

man: (acknowledges private investigator's entrance)

p.i.: (sits on bar stool)

man: (with thick french accent) be careful ...

p.i.: (confident, also with thick french accent) i'm always careful ...

man: the stool is broken.

p.i.: *KABLAG*

(ok, on hindsight, that was probably funnier seen than read.)

bring on the disease

the evil of being in a foreign grocery store is seeing so many interesting kinds of junk food -- a passion not shared by many.

yesterday, i bought a small pack of vegetable fries. was pretty good. i finished the whole pack in 2 minutes. was licking the salt off my hands when i decided to read the nutrition label.

ingredients: flour, vegetables, etc etc ... MONOSODIUM GLUTAMATE.

which explains why the white crystals on my fingers weren't cube-like as salt crystals usually are.

maybe i should have eaten the fries outdoors, unprotected under the blazing sun, with a side order of nitrate-packed tocino and burnt barbecued pork while injecting myself with hormone replacements and smoking a cigar or two.

cancer paranoia hits hard during times of solitude in non-english-speaking lands.

Saturday, June 26, 2004

day 12: play ball! again!

remember the fish and meat balls from the first day? well, that day, i saw more than fish and meat balls. i spotted OCTOPUS BALLS in the grocery round the corner.

so for 11 days now, i have been contemplating how my life has turned out in hong kong ... and if i should taste the octopus balls.

after a bit of convincing from ana (note to ana: yes, you, ms mba. allegedly the president of my fan club.), i bought some.

one would think that octopus balls would be of the same consistency as fish or squid balls (let's not get started on the meat balls again). like homogenized, ground fish or squid, as the case may be. but one would have thought wrongly.

took a huge bite (it had to be huge, each octopus ball is like and inch and a half in diameter) and discovered, TO MY HORROR, that the ball had STUFF inside. it wasn't a puffed-up squid ball. it was more like a siopao cousin.

and because i have a bit of a fear of octopi (that is a gross understatement.), i PRAYED that i wouldn't find octopus parts inside the ball. apparently, the prayer did not reach heaven fast enough because before you could say UNDERWATER ALIEN, i spotted a little tentacle.

then i figured, i am an adult. i have to overcome these fears. i can eat my fear!!!

so today, i ate octopi. or at least bits of it. (ok, i confess. i made sure my tongue wasn't moving around while i was chewing so i didn't accidentally brush it across an octopus sucker. i have my limits.)

of sticks and things

left the hotel too late last friday. couldn't get a cab. gathered my guts and took the tram with only one clue of where i was supposed to get down: at a mcdonalds in a red building. wasn't really confident about that, but i figured if i got lost, i could always get a cab (i have been told that i have the memory of a goldfish. which explains my flawless logic. no cab? take the tram. get lost? take a cab. how did i graduate from med school?).

anyway ...

the problem with chinese characters is they all look the same. it doesn't matter if i've seen the block at the back of my office for over a week. it doesn't matter. all the chinese signs look the same. so that short ride felt like going through a really cheap, uninteresting but tense-filled theme park ride. i knew that if i didn't get down at the right spot, i could end up in ... tibet. which may not be all that bad, except i left my jacket at the hotel.

thankfully, the golden arches (NOT in chinese characters, la!) signaled the end of my hot tram ride. love ko 'to. (in hong kong, it's "i'm loving it" -- not quite the same appeal, but it seems to work.)

Friday, June 25, 2004

neck olympics

HK has not been kind to my waistline. although the hotel has a pool and mini-gym at my disposal, i have not been able to break into a decent sweat since i arrived. ok, cancel that. i've been sweating like hell from the heat, but never from aerobic exercise.

meanwhile, my neck has never been fitter.

i watched a french film (the barbarian invasions) at the ifc mall -- a bloated version of greenbelt 2. great seats, cool theater. except we were seated on the second row, which meant my face was something like 6 feet away from the screen.

WHICH MEANT that, to read the subtitles, i actually had to look from left to right. two hours of repetitive neck movement -- that is my week's worth of fitness.

on the upside, each of stephane rousseau's eyes was as big as my head. (as to WHY that is an 'upside', i have to figure out. meanwhile, don't ask.)

Saturday, June 19, 2004

how to impress a new boss: tales from the dark side

1. put an entire rice cracker in your mouth the second she calls your extension. you will be forced to reply monosyllabically and she will be forced to cut the conversation short.

2. for your first face-to-face meeting about your new work, bring a dirty piece of paper and a pen cover. it's always good to bring useless props to show that you are too busy to make sure you picked the right end of a pen from your desk.

(this reminds me of my first meeting with one of my first bosses. she was going over my resume and showed me how the second page of my cv was stapled upside down.)

yes, i hate to say it, but these really happened.

it's amazing that i still have my job.

the weaver

met another hong kong officemate. right after that, i told another colleague that i met someone new.

me: i met connie by the pantry!

my funny colleague: who???

me: connie!

mfc: we don't have anyone named connie!

me: get out.

mfc: i'm not kidding.

so i brought him (more like 'pushed him against his will while he was giggling at my expense') to where the officemate in question was seated (she wasn't there during our covert operation).

mfc: that's SIGOURNEY!!!

me: but ... that's not a chinese name!

sometimes i should just throw in the towel.

a room with a view

first full day at the hk office. i had been working for about 4 hours when i noticed that my face was getting hot and i was developing a headache. wondered if i was coming down with something. that or work was making me blush. because the latter reason is just downright stupid, i concluded i had a slight fever.

my first thought: IS THIS THE BEGINNING OF SARS?

while considering this possibility, i looked out at the harbor in full view. all i needed was the forrest gump soundtrack. "this is a really nice workplace. i can see the boats passing and the ..." and then it hit me: i was in front of a clear glass wall. i wasn't sick, i was getting sunburned.

i love vertical blinds.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

day 1: play ball!

starving after check-in at metropark (the hotel that no one--not even those who live here--has heard of). found a nearby 7-11. saw hong kong teenagers in school uniform eating fishball-type things. bought some for myself, ate near them. was curious about the brownish balls on their plate.

me: may i ask what you're eating?

hong kong schoolgirl: yes.

(significant pause from me)

me: what are you eating?

(where is canned laughter when you need it?)

HKS: it's a bit spicy.

me: but what are they?

HKS: it's ... it's ...

me: (trying to be helpful) fish?

HKS: no, meat.

it's true. being in a different country makes you an idiot. a meatball by any other name is still a meatball. except you'd probably have to spell it out for someone like me.

Monday, June 14, 2004

your country is not weird

was talking to the cell phone operator, as i needed to activate my phone's roaming for my upcoming hong kong trip. the conversation was ending, but i remembered a slight problem i encountered the last time i used that service.

me: do i have to change any other phone setting?

operator: no, just the manual network selection i taught you.

me: ok, but in australia, i couldn't access the local network.

operator: oh don't worry, hong kong is a normal country.

(couldn't help it, i let out a full-volume laugh at this point.)

me: so australia is ... what?

operator: sorry, i meant "regular." hong kong is a "regular" country.

still had no idea what she meant, but i figured it meant i wouldn't have problems in hong kong. also, i assured her i wasn't laughing at her (she apologized profusely), it just sounded cute.

am also planning to call her back to report if hong kong is indeed normal. i have my doubts.

the more important things in life

found out i have to go on a 2-week, work-related, out-of-the-country trip (count 'em hyphens). when the news sank in, the first thought that came to my head was:

oh no. i'm going to miss the replay of the results show of the american idol finals.

forget about packing, forget about being mentally prepared for the work ahead--but worry about the tv shows that i'm going to miss.

something tells me i should be concerned about the current wiring of my brain, but what the hey.

to think i've already seen the finals and results show.

Friday, June 11, 2004

unfinished business

once again, i have proven that bringing work home results in either (and i’m talking about the times i don’t connect to the net):

1. me drinking way too much coffee and typing maniacally through the night (this happens only 0.12% of the time)


2. me exploring the forgotten files stored in “my documents” (this happens 100% minus 0.12% of the time)

last night, i found an unfinished essay i was supposed to submit to legmanila (to the curious: i used to contribute regularly to an online magazine. don’t bother looking for it. is now some kind of search engine. or something.)

i was writing about narcolepsy and the opening paragraph was supposed to be:

Have you ever fallen asleep while writing with a tech pen on a mimeographed sheet? If you distinctly remember waking up holding an empty Pilot shell, with your cheek partially stuck to a huge damp blotch of ink on what was supposed to be your morning report, then the answer is a resounding ‘yes.’

i don’t remember what the rest of the essay was supposed to say, but i do recall that i wanted to end with the story of how one time, while accidentally falling asleep in the middle of a narcolepsy lecture in med school, i woke up with the professor’s laser pointer directed at my huge forehead. i, along with a third of that class, provided her with live visual aid.

(in other news, some of the newer laser pointers don’t project just plain dots or arrows. i’ve seen stick figures and animals and entire words and other shapes. i suppose they had to come up with stuff like that partly to perk up an audience ready to fall into a coma. “look! an outline of a heart on top of the 34th bullet of the consolidated company action plan for 2005. time to wake up!”)