Thursday, June 29, 2006

On writing and blogging

"For the most part, writing is a selfish and self-centered profession. And the essay, as E.B. White has remarked, is probably the most egoistic of all forms." -Alan Lightman

It both flatters and slightly freaks me out whenever I hear of total strangers reading-- and presumably enjoying-- my blog. The other night at the Yao dinner party (and no Heidi, not your Yao house in Greenmeadows :p), Sam Ang's brother asked me out of the blue if I had attended a wedding in the province recently. When I asked him how he knew, he said he had read about it in my blog. Apparently, his friend Jonathan a.k.a. JoLiao (whom I have never met in my entire life), brother of my former student Karen, had referred him to my blog when he spotted Shereen's name mentioned. Why Jonathan reads my blog is still beyond me, but I appreciate it nevertheless.

Writing is a very self-indulgent activity; blogging even more so. When Matthew asked me what I usually blog about, for a second, I was stumped. "Anything and everything" seemed like a safe response, but if I'm being completely honest, then the more precise answer would be simply "me". Blogging serves as both catharsis for pent-up emotions and wayward thoughts, as well as caters to one's inner exhibitionist (as oxymoronic as that sounds). When one writes for public consumption (and come one, let's face it, blogging is public, no matter how many "friends only" settings or cyber-pseudonyms one uses to construct the illusion of privacy), there is a certain egocentricity involved. If you are a fellow blogger, chances are you blog for any of the following purposes: 1) to share experiences; 2) to recount events; 3) to express ideas/opinions; 4) to vent positive/negative energy; 5) to harness creative juices. And all of those have a commonality among them: they all revolve around YOU. And since you chose to do your writing through a very accessible and very public medium, then that indicates either you wanted people to react to what you've written, or at the very least know what you've written. Never mind if they know who you are or not. The point is, your words are out there for the whole world to read, and don't tell me that's not a cry for attention.

True, sometimes we get the occasional stalker or an unwelcome bloghound or 2. But that's an occupational hazard of being a blogger. If you're so concerned about who gets to peek into your innermost thoughts and feelings, then write in a friggin' diary, complete with lock and key. Or just don't write about deeply personal, sensitive stuff that might become tabloid fodder (no offense meant to you-know-who-you-are ;p).

I have no qualms admitting that I like receiving comments on and about my blog, that I like the idea of having an actual following out there with nothing better to do than read about me, me, me. I also enjoy taking all my chaotic thoughts and opinions and feelings and ideas to churn out organized (well, mostly organized anyway), sensible, occasionally profound, sometimes funny and hopefully always entertaining prose. Blogging is-- in all senses of the phrase-- "me time", and it's the best kind of "me time" I have in the middle of a busy workday or a stressful week. I get to focus on myself, and I get others to train their attention on me as well.

So perhaps Alan Lightman and E.B. White were right, that all writers are, on varying levels, self-absorbed egomaniacs. Well I love writing, and yes, I love myself. And if you're reading this, then maybe you love my writing--and me-- too. Thanks for your 5 minutes. :)

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Bitch against bullies

The great Sirius Black (and not the wise wizard Albus Dumbledore, as I originally wrote-- thanks for pointing out my mistake, Mae!) said, "If you want to know what a man's like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals." I strongly believe that a person's character shows in how s/he deals with people of lower rank or social standing. That is why on first dates, I pay particular attention to how a guy treats the waiters, because those who are rude to servicepeople are usually snooty, ill-tempered bullies beneath their preppy clothes and courtly manners. And man, do I hate bullies. This may come as surprising, considering how bitchy I can be, but I consider bitching and bullying 2 completely different things. A bitch (a good, proper bitch anyway) acts nasty because she finds fault in something or someone. A bully pushes people around simply because they can. A bitch is selective in her nastiness, and usually only chooses targets worthy of her precious time. A bully just terrorizes anyone who's weaker and easy pickings.

You can ask anyone who knows me well enough: despite my bitchy tendencies, I always make it a point to be nice to those "below" me, including waiters, security guards, our office staff, our salesgirls, our household help, the maintenance men and janitors at ICA... people often taken for granted and overlooked (to the point where even a simple "thank you" is foregone), or worse, abused. Bullies are abominable because given that they're already in positions of power or hold sway over others, they use that very dominance to crush the dignity of their inferiors. The bastards have all the advantages birthright or wealth or society have bestowed upon them, and the best they can do with those advantages, those blessings, is step on the downtrodden to make them even more miserable? That's plain despicable. I'm not even talking about outright physical or verbal abuse; the mere lack of basic courtesy towards others-- shoddy dismissals, careless put-downs, hurtful remarks, condescending tones-- it does enough damage. To think that most bullies are well-educated and come from well-to-do families. How's that for good breeding?

So to all you power-tripping, thoughtless, greedy bullies out there: you may be bigger and badder, and you may always get your way, but a bully is always the smaller, lesser person. And you are just not worth this bitch's time.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Not so small talk

Now that Hanks is home, we can now resume our TNG marathons (yay!), and yesterday we quickly crammed in 2 episodes before dinnertime. 1 of those 2 episodes featured the android Data attempting to master the human skill of making small talk, which he took to with characteristic speed and ease. Observing Data chattering away with an equally loquacious Star Fleet officer, Commander Will Riker marveled, "How can 2 people talk about nothing for so long?"

Riker's statement reminded me of the previous evening, when I attended a dinner party at the Yaos along with my parents. We arrived roughly around 7:45 PM (thanks to us getting stupidly lost in the maze of twisting-turning streets that is Greenmeadows), and left close to 1:00 AM, but the night just flew by, thanks to good food, good wine, good company and good conversation. Of all the "kids" at the party, I was the only one in her twenties (ack), but I still got seated with the "teenagers" (there I was pretending to be young again ;p). I knew I would have no trouble talking with sisters Shereen and Sheridine, as our recent encounter in Cebu proved, but I was pleasantly surprised to find Sam Ang and her brother Matthew just as engaging to converse with. I don't know if it means that I am capable of adjusting my wavelength to that of an eighteen-year-old's, or I've just been lucky to be meeting unusually mature and articulate teens. I suspect it's more of the latter.

In any case, I thoroughly enjoyed the evening, and the many diverse topics of conversation we touched on, from movies to books to education to blogs to common acquaintances to coffee and dozens more I can't even recount. There were 3 particular things brought up that I would like to expound on, but I'll reserve them for future blog posts. For now, suffice it to say that I have learned that, given the right company, talking about "nothing" for so long isn't as difficult or dreary as it sounds.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Atsi anticipation

Hanks is coming home this Friday! =D I can't wait to have my roomie/Hollywood informant/malling buddy/giftwrapper/car pillow back! *bounces with giddy excitement* I've printed out a welcome home sign and prepared two cute surprise gifts for her (don't worry, she never reads my blog no matter how many times I've bugged her to, haha). Now I just have to clear all my junk off her bed and desk (been using them as temporary storage while she's been away :p).

Friday, June 16, 2006

What dreams are made of

Last night I was scrounging around for scratch paper in my desk drawer when I came across an old, cheesy essay I had written. The last line went, "It doesn't hurt to dream." Reading that, it suddenly occured to me that yes, it does: dreaming DOES hurt. Because if it's something you want badly, desperately, passionately, then it should hurt like hell-- otherwise, it's not really a dream but just a passing fancy or spur-of-the-moment craving. A dream is something that comes from your very core, something that you would be willing to pour blood, sweat and tears into; something that, once attained, would make your life a little more complete; something that, if left unrealized, would gnaw at your insides for as long as you live and breathe. So it does hurt to dream... but we go on dreaming anyway, not only because we all have to nurture our inner masochists, but because no matter how much it hurts, it is, ironically, what keeps us alive. After all, there is no greater human vital sign than pain. So here's to keeping all our dreams-- and all the pain that comes with them-- alive.

Postscript: Incidentally, I found out someone's dream came true today. Congratulations, Mini-me! Told you so. ;p

Thursday, June 15, 2006

People magazine's hottest bachelor 2006

You won't believe who it is.

And if you still don't believe it, click here for photographic proof.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

FIFA fever

Sports fans around the globe are in the grips of World Cup mania, and it's no different inside the Lim residence in North Greenhills. Every evening finds the four of us (we're missing the biggest football nut of us all, but Hanks will be home in just 9 more days, hurray!) with butts firmly planted on our living room couches, watching the nightly games live, thanks to the pay-per-view box we had hooked up to our TV. I don't have my dad and brother's comprehensive understanding of the sport and its rules (I still don't get the whole offside thing), but I like seeing countries, especially the smaller, underdog ones, coming together in nationalistic pride and solidarity to cheer for their team (crazy face paint, kooky hats and all). When Trinidad and Tobago survived a goal-less match versus a supposedly stronger Sweden squad, the nation celebrated like they had won the championship. When the beleaguered Togo team scored the first goal in their match against Korea, the players rejoiced by doing a bunny hop dance on the field. No matter that they eventually lost-- it was their first World Cup Finals appearance, and they had a goal. It's really amazing to witness such spirit and unbridled, achingly primal yet deeply human joy.

And yes, I enjoy watching cute players running around in their shorts. That's the main reason I'm rooting for England. Can I help it that Becks is so darn hot? :p

Friday, June 09, 2006

Silver linings

I'm saved!! Shereen and her sister are also attending the much-dreaded wedding in Cebu this Sunday, so I have fun people to talk to during the excruciating event. The weekend's not looking as bleak now. =D

I'm too busy (and lazy) to write a full-blown review of Inside Man, but I will say this: Clive Owen can rob me absolutely anytime. *drools*

P.S. Watching Cars tonight, yay!

P.P.S. Dallas beat Miami in Game One, whee! Go Mavs!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Heavy heart

As painful and mildly mortifying as it is to admit, I have had my heart broken before (yes, in the romantic sense), at least 3 minor times, and 1 very messy major time. Just as I believe that people love in many different ways, I also believe that we feel heartbreak in unique ways. Mine always seem to be accompanied by physical symptoms, usually respiratory: a tightening of the chest and a sharp intake of breath, or in the case of the one messy major time, difficulty breathing for a good few seconds.

Having someone take your heart, smash it into smithereens, and hand back the mangled remains to you, apologetically or otherwise, is never easy to take. However, recently, I discovered that there is an even worse feeling: witnessing someone you love have their heart bashed into bloody bits, and seeing them suffer from it. The pain you feel, though not your own, is magnified by the helplessness to do anything to relieve the other's anguish, not to mention underlying, albeit sometimes irrational, anger towards the person who bludgeoned your loved one's heart. I can look back on my own romantic woes and reflect on them with nothing more than a tinge of bittersweet sorrow, but I have come close to tears more than once just thinking about the heartbreak of someone I care about. I guess it's hard to accept that someone could refuse to love a person you love so much.

I concede that perhaps overprotectiveness and irrational resentment may be involved in making me so distraught on a lovelorn loved one's behalf. But when it comes to the people I love, moderation and reason don't often dominate my thoughts and emotions. And no blog post can ever fully explain it.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Not again!!

Just a day after we got back from Bangkok, my mom oh-so-casually asks me what I'm planning to wear to the wedding next weekend. I ask, what wedding? She goes, the wedding in Cebu. And I go, oh f---ing hell. Well, ok, I didn't say that out loud. But that was certainly how I was reacting inside. I've barely recovered from our last trip, I'm facing a week's worth of backlogged work, an afternoon-long meeting and a whole-day photo shoot, and then I have to fly to goddamn Cebu to attend another goddamn wedding of a family friend I don't even goddamn know, and mingle with more unfamiliar family friends with my face frozen in a grotesquely forced, fake smile, AND I also have to visit all our blasted outlets in the whole of blasted Cebu while we're there.

In case you can't tell, my job satisfaction level is not exactly at its highest right now.