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*.