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.")

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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.