Friday, August 31, 2007


There's something about Pido Jarencio.

In all my years of following UAAP basketball, I have never seen a coach as magnetic, as amusing, as compelling to watch and listen to as Jarencio. When he speaks to his players in the huddle during a time-out, I really enjoy listening to him. His language is colorful, his face is expressive, his energy and love for the game are palpable. Yesterday, I watched the UST-Ateneo game at Araneta, and Pa, Hanks and I were seated in the Patron section near the UST bench. We weren't exactly within earshot, but Coach Pido's voice is so loud and boisterous that we could hear him pretty clearly. Every time he was talking, it wasn't just his players and coaching staff who were hanging onto his every word, even the UST supporters seated behind them were paying rapt attention. At one point during the game, he blustered at his boys, "Ayokong matalo sa mga gagong yun!", jabbing a finger towards the Ateneo side. This made the UST crowd burst into spontaneous laughter, and in spite of myself, I laughed along. It was vintage Pido: a little coarse, but delightfully unpretentious and forthright.
Take his statement in the August 15 episode of The Probe Team, on what he told his players he'd do if he found out any of them were involved in game-rigging: "Bubugbugin ko kayo! Ako mismo bubugbog sa inyo!" :p

My dad is a fan of Pido as well (indeed, he was one of the first to suggest inviting him to coach the Tigers). Having had the chance to enter the UST dugout a few times (privilege of a former team manager), Pa regales us with tales of how Pido is such a down-to-earth character who inspires the respect and loyalty of his players. Perhaps it's because he was a former player himself, but Pido seems to understand not just the mechanics but also the psychology of the game from the players' perspective. When his players commit errors, he berates them but he doesn't attack, and he doesn't engage in verbal abuse (*coughJoeLipacough*). Though he's fond of peppering his speech with choice expletives, the players seem to implicitly know it's not personal, it's just the way Coach is.
When his players miss a shot, there's Pido, shadow-shooting from the sideline, grimacing in vicarious pain. He knows what it's like out on the floor, knows the risks and the breaks of the game, and he doesn't place blame on anyone (even the referees), just reminds his players to bear up and keep their focus.

Pido also goes out of his way to give credit where credit is due, and is known to both verbally and physically convey his praise and encouragement. Classic example was when he kissed his fingers and rubbed Japs Cuan's hands (for luck :p) before Cuan took a couple of crucial free throws during last season's Finals.
Pido gets excited and frustrated like any other coach, but he occasionally breaks the tension with a comic moment in a way that's endearing. He's also generous in giving his second-stringers opportunities to shine, choosing not to rely heavily on his first 5, and gambling on younger, more inexperienced players who have potential, which is why kids like Khasim Mirza, Chester Taylor and Mel Gile have improved dramatically this season. He also manages to communicate with his players in way that motivates them to want to perform better, and makes them believe they CAN do better. In their last game against the Archers (which UST eventually won in spectacular fashion), during a time-out prior to a La Salle possession, Pido pointed to each of the Tigers in front of him and barked, "6-3! 6-4! 6-3! 6-5! 6-1!" I was puzzled at first, wondering if he was talking in code, when it dawned on me that he was rattling off his players' respective heights, his way of telling them they were much taller than the Archers and that they could easily put up a defensive stop.

Pido Jarencio is like a less refined but funnier Coach Carter, stern but forgiving, brash but sensible, tough but lovable. And ultimately, you know he cares-- about the game, about his alma mater, about his players. So it's really no surprise that the UST crowd is the only one that cheers for their coach as much as they cheer for their players. They love Pido, and heck, so do I.

P.S. Ateneo eventually beat UST with a stunning buzzer-beater courtesy of Kirk Long, but the Tigers outplayed the Eagles throughout the entire match. So even though I was a jumping, screaming, rejoicing speck of blue in a sea of yellow, I knew who was the better team that day. Props, UST.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I need my shrink, and she's in Singapore

Lately it seems like I keep battling questions of friendship ethics, one after another. Should I say something... should I not do this...would it be right if I kept quiet... would it be wrong if I didn't stop...?

Whatever the question though, and whoever the friend is, or how many other people are involved, I wind up feeling the exact same way: guilty. Even if logically, sensibly, I know I didn't do anything bad. Even if technically, I didn't lie. Even if honestly, I never meant for anything to happen.

Times like these, I wish I weren't so damn ethical. Or such a "good" friend. Or am I?


Sunday, August 26, 2007

Hairspray: big hair, big heart, big laughs, big talent

The film adaptation of Hairspray delivers the same message as the Broadway musical adaptation: prejudice against people who are of a different color, or size, is wrong. But the movie also drives home this additional message: no one in Hollywood, or on the face of the planet, can shake his groove thang in a fat suit and drag (complete with heels) like John Travolta can.

Travolta's super-sized, stellar performance as the mother of Hairspray's heroine Tracy Turnblad was solid gold, and one of many superb performances from the cast. The younger actors all brought great energy and joie de vivre to the movie, from vivacious newcomer Nicole Blonsky as dancing discovery Tracy, the big girl with the big heart; to teen heartthrob Zac Efron of High School Musical fame, who looks better (and is easier to take seriously) with black hair rather than surfer-dude blond; to perpetually perky Amanda Bynes, whom I much prefer playing a more low-key second fiddle; to American Dreams' Brittany Snow, showing off some surprisingly impressive bitchy/bratty acting chops as well as some fluid dance moves; to the amazing, erstwhile unknown Elijah Kelley, easily the smoothest and most skilled dancer of the lot.

But for me, the true joys of this buoyant musical were the older, but by no means less animated, members of the cast. MILF-of-the-moment Michelle Pfeiffer was glacially sultry and age-defyingly gorgeous as station manager/stage mother/villainess Velma von Tussle, and displayed a delightful flair for comedy I never knew she had. Queen Latifah exuded regal grace (pun intended) and matriarchal warmth as Motormouth Maybelle, and her soulful solo "I Know Where I've Been" was one of the most moving moments of the movie (Jennifer Hudson who?). And the always, always magnificent Christopher Walken was adorably goofy and sweet-- yes, Christopher Walken, sweet!-- as Tracy's dorky, doting father. For those who don't know,
Walken is actually a trained dancer (anyone remember this?), and my absolute favorite scene was his duet with Travolta, "Timeless to Me", where both got to exercise their dancing muscles... not to mention their acting muscles, capably convincing the audience they're a married couple who's very much in love. Walken and Travolta, all lovey-dovey. Priceless.

Oh, and I have to make special mention of James Marsden. I once thought he was making a career out of playing the wimpy guy who always loses the girl to the leading man (see my review of Superman). I totally forgot about the musical talents he had exhibited on the one season he was part of the cast of Ally McBeal. He used those talents to full effect in this movie as the toothy, slick host of the eponymous Corny Collins Show. I give him props for playing his part to pomaded perfection, and I hope I never have to diss him again (stop accepting those wussy roles man!).

With its soaring Broadway songs, rambunctious spot-on choreography, colorful 60s-style sets, spiffy retro costumes (AND stiff retro hairdos), plus a cast that makes everyone on Dancing with the Stars seem like they all have two left feet,
Hairspray is one happy, happy movie. The stuff that comes in aerosol cans may give hair a lift, but Hairspray the movie will definitely lift your spirits.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Baboo, Malu

Ding dong, the witch is dead. Sort of.

Feeling the heat of the outrage that flared up because of her incendiary words, Malu Fernandez has issued a statement apologizing for her now infamous People Asia article deriding OFWs (I'm supposing it's not just an online decoy because the Philippine Star, of which People Asia is an affiliate, published the exact same statement in their Opinion section today). The apology sounds contrite enough, and Ms. Fernandez has even resigned from both People Asia and the Manila Standard, so we won't be reading any of her twaddle for some time to come, huzzah! Whether or not her remorse is authentic or sincere, no one can say for sure. Under the circumstances, I suppose it's the best we can hope for from the disgraced diva. I'd still like to hear from the editors of People Asia though; an explanation for how and why that column even made it to print would only be fair, in light of Ms. Fernandez's statement. If she had enough balls to swallow the jagged bitter pill and face the music, then her editors shouldn't be hiding behind their desks to dodge the bullets that should have been aimed at them as much as they were aimed at their erring columnist.

In any case, score one for the power of vox populi. Ah, the sweet smell of victory. Or is that a whiff of Jo Malone, as Malu Fernandez skulks away with her tail between her legs? Hah.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Ailee the anomaly

My freshman year in college, people persisted in asking me 2 things that got on my nerves. The first (and more popular) query was "ICA ka?", which was invariably followed by a look of shock and bewilderment when I replied in the negative. What, a Chinese girl living in Greenhills who didn't study in ICA?!? How is that possible!?! Eventually though, I got used to it (indeed, 10 years later, I'm still getting that question occasionally, with the same look of bewildered shock I now find amusing), and after my teaching stint in ICA I've learned to take it as less of a slight (given all the preconceived notions and "hin-deh noh!" jokes about ICAns) and more of a compliment.

The second (and more annoying) question that I regularly encountered was "Chinese ka, e di magaling ka sa math?" This presumption peeved me a lot, not only because of its implied racial stereotyping, but because well, quite frankly and simply put, I suck at math. So it was somewhat huffily that I would reply, "Actually, allergic ako sa numbers."

This was almost physiologically accurate. Whenever I sat for a Math or Accounting exam, either my arms would feel strangely itchy, or I would get the strongest urge to vomit. I have always struggled in subjects that involved numbers in any way: Math, Statistics, Accounting, Finance, even Chemistry and Physics. Somehow my brain is just not programmed to process figures and equations properly. Even now that I'm vice president of our company, I have trouble computing for salaries and deductions, cost prices and SRPs, taxes and expenses, and I regard invoices and financial data and bank statements with the same dread and loathing as a Math midterm exam paper. This is to the undying frustration of my mother, who once taught high school math part-time while earning a degree in BS Mathematics, which she eventually finished magna cum laude. During our schooling years, I imagine she sometimes looked at her 3 mathematically-challenged children and wondered despairingly where her numerical intelligence genes went, the genes she inherited from her father, a man who can compute stuff on an abacus faster than most people can on a calculator. I am a disgrace to my family, as well as to my entire race.

Which wiseguy first propagated the notion that all Chinese are good in math anyway? Granted, a lot of people who do well in math are Chinese, but that doesn't mean all or even the majority of our kind are math whizzes.
My mom has a theory that it's because the multiplication table is easier and faster to recite in Chinese, so Chinese kids learn it better and consequently solve math problems more quickly. This theory wouldn't be so lame if it weren't for the fact that I can recite the multiplication table in Chinese at machine-gun speed, but I'm still pathetic when it comes to more complicated equations. My mom, grasping at the straws of genetics and linguistics, tries to blame my mathematical deficiencies on my education, saying both my grade school and high school were weak in Math, but that's just laughable because Uno has a reputation for producing some of the brightest math nerds in the country, while Jubilee... ok, so I did win a "Best in Algebra" award from the Math Club during my senior year, but that was a fluke, and largely thanks to my best friend (who IS a math whiz) unexpectedly screwing up the last question of the quiz.

Or perhaps I should consider the possibility that I really am just an abnormal freak of nature. The other day I saw in the news that a group of Filipino students brought home dozens of medals from the 3rd International Mathematics Invitational Competition held in Singapore. The list of names of medal-winners reads like roll call at a school in downtown Binondo: Uys, Chuas, Cos, Tans.... I know it's a noteworthy achievement and something to be proud of (hooray Philippines! hooray Chinese-Filipino students!), but it's stuff like this that makes it hard to dispel the "all Chinese are good in math" myth, and makes me look even more like a defective product off a China factory assembly line.

But hey, this is how I'm wired, faultily or not. And if in exchange for the lack of math skills I got the innate ability to write with flawless grammar, that's not such a bad deal (you wouldn't be enjoying reading my blog so much otherwise... assuming you ARE enjoying it). So yes, I'm a Chinese girl who sucks in math. Yes, we do exist, much like non-ICAn Chinese girls living in Greenhills also exist. So please, wipe that look of bewildered shock off your face. :p

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Looking for a laptop

I'm thinking of buying a new laptop. We have an existing HP unit that my siblings and I share, and which I occasionally lug to the office and business functions from time to time. It used to function well enough, but now it's begging to be reformatted because it takes about 10 minutes to start up. The hard drive is littered with our numerous personal documents, photos, music, movies and programs, and our company's presentations, training slides and other files are scattered within that mess. I would prefer to keep all work-related files in a separate laptop, not only to avoid the inadvertent transfer of viruses which might contaminate our personal files, but also to avoid scheduling conflicts, like if Bens needs it for school on the same day as a meeting with SM. Besides, it's not exactly professional having the Leasing VP see whatever undignified wallpaper is in use (currently featuring Remy from Ratatouille, previously the main characters from Heroes).

Since mainly I'll be using it for work, my requirements for a laptop are pretty simple:
  • fairly light and portable (in case I need to bring it on a business trip)
  • decently long battery life (for longish presentations)
  • WiFi-enabled
  • CD/DVD drive with a burner
  • multiple USB ports (our HP unit has 5)
  • memory card slot a plus (our HP unit has this too)
  • operating system is NOT Windows Vista
  • price ceiling: P35,000
  • NOT a Mac (won't fit under my price ceiling anyway)

Suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Once I've decided on which laptop model to get, my friend and personal shrink Maddy, who is now based in Singapore, has kindly offered to buy it for me, since prices are cheaper in Lah-lah Land. Her mom will be visiting her in October, so I need to make up my mind by September, leaving her enough time to search for and purchase the laptop before her mom arrives. So help me out, my bloghounds, and let me know your recommendations. Thanks in advance. :)

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Bookworm's progress report #3

I'm happy to say that it looks like I'll be achieving my goal to finish my New York Times reading list before the year is over. I've made good headway since my last progress report, and I only have 3 more books to go (4 if you count Hamlet, which I need to read to prep myself for Updike's Gertrude and Claudius).

Quick looks at the 3 novels I finished in the last month:

The Book Against God is not as controversial as the title sounds. It's not really a book against God, it's a story about a man who's writing a book against God. Trouble is, his father is a vicar, and has no clue his son is an atheist. There is a certain comic feel to this novel by James Wood, thanks to the pathetic nature of the main character and the pompously erudite yet blithely ignorant first-person narrative, but primarily the content is philosophical, and unfortunately most of the arguments and symbolism just went over my head. Strangely enough, although this novel is one of the New York Times' best books of 2003, I came across a New York Times review that criticized it as "
flawed by pretentiousness, top-heavy with ''meaning,'' wobbly in tone, hobbled, ultimately, by a failure to bring off the grand message it seeks to deliver". That pretty much sums up what I thought about the book, and leaves me wondering why the Times put it on their best books list at all.

Maybe it's because I'm not a middle-aged American man, but I couldn't muster up any sympathy for the protagonist in Preston Falls, who undergoes a midlife crisis in spectacularly destructive fashion, involving drugs, guns, rock n' roll, and home improvement. If I were his beleaguered and long-suffering wife, I wouldn't have put up with all his crap, especially the seeming lack of concern for his family's welfare. It's no wonder their children are such annoying little brats. Perhaps this was author David Gates's point, precisely, to portray, if not parody, a typical American family's dysfunctional behavior, likable or otherwise. However, I just didn't like his book very much.

Now White Teeth I did like, and it is the kind of book I'd love to be able to write someday: a funny, poignant, painfully honest and truthful look at the loves, losses and lives of an ethnic minority family living in a country and culture not their own. In this case, the ethnicities involved are Bangladeshi and Jamaican, and the country is England. The ending was a bit unsatisfying, but overall it was an engaging read, with memorable, quirky characters and crazy but believable plot twists. I definitely agree with all the critical acclaim heaped on this debut novel by young writer Zadie Smith, who like fellow celebrated debutante Marisha Pessl, gives me severe writer envy.

* * *

While I'm on the subject of books, I'd like to promote the site Shelfari, which I think my fellow bookworms out there would like. It lets you "build" a shelf of books, so that your network can see what books you own, are reading, or would like to buy. You can also read reviews of your books, and post your own reviews. I've inserted my reading list bookshelf in my blog's sidebar, a neat little addition to keep my faithful bloghounds updated on what I'm currently reading. Check out Shelfari yourself, and add me to your network so we can share our shelves.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Party pooper says her piece

My cousin Abi sent me a very amusing Guardian article that echoes my opinion of clubs and the clubbing lifestyle as a whole (read it before proceeding). One passage I found particularly funny and spot-on was where the writer described something "frightening" that struck him about the crowd in the "fashionable London nightclub" he went to:

"They were all photographing themselves. In fact, that's all they seemed to be doing. Standing around in expensive clothes, snapping away with phones and cameras. One pose after another, as though they needed to prove their own existence, right there, in the moment. Crucially, this seemed to be the reason they were there in the first place. There was very little dancing. Just pouting and flashbulbs."

I can sense several of my students glaring at their computer screens and Ms.Lim's blog post right now (bato-bato sa langit...), but hey, they hafta admit the guy's got it right. One need only scan their Multiply albums for the incriminating evidence. :p Not that a camwhore like me is in any position to criticize, but I digress...

A few weeks back, over dinner with my cousin Joy and her boyfriend Steve, we got to talking about how we don't understand the allure of clubbing: dancing on a crowded floor with strangers' asses grinding up against you,
smoking or inhaling vast clouds of second-hand smoke, enough to shave a good few years off your lungs' lifespan, and drinking overpriced beers and cocktails until you're wasted enough to do something stupid like climb up on a ledge in a micromini and stiletto heels (or worse, flirt with someone who looks good in the dark, but turns out to be some butt-ugly perv in the light of day). Or, as the Guardian article puts it, clubs are "cramped, overpriced furnaces with sticky walls and the latest idiot theme tunes thumping through the humid air so loud you can't hold a conversation, just bellow inanities at megaphone-level". And it's hard to comprehend how anyone finds them cool or fun.

I pretty much skipped that entire partying phase of my life during my teens and early 20s (my friends weren't and aren't the type who enjoy having to scream in each other's ears), and now, even if I did want to unleash my inner Tim Yap (*gag*), I just feel too old to be fighting for elbow room with hordes of college kids high on E or whatever designer drug is in right now. I have no regrets about not having been a wild child, and when I see photos of my students at "Emba" or Alchemy, drinks in hand, party poses honed to perfection, I only feel a mixture of wry amusement and faint concern. I don't judge them and their idea of a fun way to spend a weekend night, and I'm certainly not about to go Sister Dina-ballistic on them and lecture them on the evils of alcohol and short skirts, but when I see those pix I can't help thinking to myself that if I have a daughter someday, I'm chaining her up in her room until she's 30. Hopefully by then, people would have gotten sick of clubbing and come up with alternative ways of passing weekend nights, like clay pigeon shooting, quilting circles, or Chinese checkers tournaments.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Leadership and management styles from CSI

AXN has started showing the latest season of CSI: Miami, and in the most recent episode, Caleigh's Hummer was run off the road and into a Florida canal. While she fretted about the evidence bags inside her vehicle, her boss Horatio Caine is more concerned about her. Caleigh: "The evidence, it's all compromised." Horatio: "Yes, but you aren't." Awww.

My sister and I agree that if we were CSIs, we'd want to work for Horatio. Even if Miami's cast is my least favorite, over the seasons I have developed a soft spot for H
, incessant shades-twiddling and all, because of all the team leaders of the 3 CSI shows, he's the one who strikes me as the most "human", the one who takes time out to console victims' families, who talks to child witnesses in a gentle, reassuring tone, and who always looks out for his people, putting their welfare first before any case, no matter how important.

Discussing H's virtues with Hanks led me to thinking about the other 2 CSI head honchos, and how they differ in handling their respective teams. I've come up with the following comparative profiles:

Gil Grissom, CSI Las Vegas

Gris is the hard-core scientist of the 3, and it shows in how he leads his team. Calm, collected, and cerebral, the pragmatic entomologist sets high standards of accuracy and integrity for himself,
thus inspiring the same kind of excellence in his crew. Sure, he forgets to do his paperwork from time to time, but it's easy to forgive his administrative shortcomings because he's just so effing brilliant. The only downside is that his cool, logical ways make him seemingly detached emotionally, and while his people obviously respect him and are even fond of him, he rarely reciprocates, at least outwardly. Hell, it took him 6 seasons to get it on with Sara. The strong bond among the Vegas team is rooted in their loyalty to and hero worship of Grissom, but it ultimately flowers because of their distinct personalities, which mesh well, and a shared sense of humor which Gris has a hard time relating to. Which is not to say he's devoid of all warmth-- he gets in a wry quip every once in a while, and he obviously has softened up ever since hooking up with Sara. But inter-office relationship aside, Gris is the consummate professional, both as a CSI and as a boss.

Mac Taylor, CSI New York

Mac is a former Marine, so it follows that his management style leans toward the militaristic. He is strict with his subordinates, and demands discipline and focus from all of them.
He has a strong sense of ethics and justice, and is not afraid to make hard decisions, such as when he fired one of his CSIs in the 1st season, or in certain episodes wherein he butted heads with Danny, Hawkes and Flack. However, Mac's not a total drill sergeant. He's firm, but fair, and he is known to display concern for the personal well-being of his soldiers. He obviously shares a close friendship with Stella, and recently he has even started dating Peyton the medical examiner. Just don't expect the macho man to hug anyone (or be pleased about getting caught embracing his lady love in public). His no-nonsense manner tends to be a bit brusque, but it fits well in the gritty New York setting, and anyway his team is composed of tough, fiercely independent Gothamites who can take what he dishes out. And when the going gets tough even for them, Mac's steely intensity, stoic restraint, and steady authority are what make them turn to him as their rock and anchor.

Horatio Caine, CSI Miami

As previously mentioned, H has the most empathetic management approach. Not only does he make allowances for his team's mistakes, he sometimes bends the rules and sticks out his own neck protecting them when needed. If there's a problem or if one of his CSIs is in a jam, his ready response is "I don't want you to worry about that right now. Let me take care of it." His kindness extends to the respectful way he speaks to his team, including the lowly lab technicians, regularly addressing them as "Mr. ___" and "ma'am"-- even pulling out "sweetheart" for Caleigh on occasion. Not that he's a pushover, of course; he speaks softly, but he carries a big stick. It just seems that he doesn't need to reprimand his people because they've already been programmed to feel unbearably guilty whenever they screw up. Whether it's from knowing they've disappointed H, or because they each have a Caine conscience plugged into them, it makes evident that the Miami team is devoted to both their work and their boss.
Though H is the least humorous of the 3 CSI leads, he is the most compassionate and most accessible, and because he's always there for his people, they show complete faith in his guidance and direction.

So which guy would you rather work for, the smart guy who's always right, the tough guy who fights for what's right, or the nice guy who treats people right? And conversely, if you were running a CSI team, would you be the one looking for the right answers, the one looking for justice, or the one looking out for everyone else?

Monday, August 13, 2007

Pwedeng magrequest?

Matchbox Twenty, my favorite band of all time, is coming out with a greatest hits album in October. I'm sure tracks like "Push", "3 AM", "Mad Season", "Bent", and "Unwell" will make the cut, but I hope some less popular songs I love make it as well. Though I know Rob Thomas and the boys won't be reading my blog or following my advice, I would like to make my case for the following to pleasepleaseplease be included in the album:

1. Back 2 Good - This is my absolute favorite Matchbox Twenty song, AND my absolute favorite song, period. The lyrics are bitingly angry yet achingly sad, and speak of a universal loneliness that transcends the usual break-up blues. My favorite lines:

"Everyone here's to blame,
Everyone here
Gets caught up in the pleasure of the pain,
Everyone hides shades of shame,
But looking inside we're the same, we're the same
And we're all grown now,
But we don't know how
To get it back to good"

Tell me that's not good.

2. Hang - Definitely not one of Matchbox Twenty's more well-known tracks, but I'm a sucker for songs about the pain of saying goodbye. Plus, my friend Chris once played this on his guitar for me, and only upon hearing the acoustic version was I struck by how beautiful the melody was.

3. Rest Stop - I appreciate brutal honesty, and it don't come more brutally honest than

"While you were sleeping
I was listening to the radio
And wondering what you're dreaming when
It came to mind that I didn't care"

'Nuff said.

4. Last Beautiful Girl - As you can probably tell, Matchbox Twenty seems to specialize in break-up songs, and while this one doesn't sound like it (the melody's quite smooth and doesn't get edgy until the refrain), it's one of their most spiteful and bitter. And this is one band that is at its best when bitter.

5. Disease - As can be expected from a rock track co-written by Mick Jagger, this song is catchy, dance-able, and sexy. It still has the trademark Matchbox breaking-up-is-hard-to-do message, but delivered in an uncharacteristically un-angry, groovy way.

6. If You're Gone - This one has an excellent chance of being included in the album, so I don't really need to petition for it, but I just want to say that this is the best please-don't-leave-me song I've ever heard: plaintive without being whiny, heartfelt without being sappy, and it has the killer line "there's a little bit of something me In everything in you". How could anyone have the heart to go?

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Something I got from Sel Uy's blog

The thing with having access to so many blogs of college kids is that I come across a lot of "memes" and surveys. Most are pointless and seem downright silly, but occasionally I feel like indulging in pointless silliness (especially when I'm too lazy to blog about more serious stuff but wish to keep up with my monthly blog post quota). Anyway, this one isn't really all that silly, and seeing as how it's 3 in the morning as I type this, I find it timely, at least.

1. Ling (Lucy Liu from Ally McBeal), to Yang and Ria
2. Doc (as in Doctor Evil), to Jen Ong (Mini-me)
3. Eddie (short for "editor"), to Bri

1. January 20, natch
2. May 17, Hanks' birthday
3. November 1, Bens' birthday

1. watched SNL videos on YouTube
2. texted my cousin Abi
3. edited photos to be uploaded to my Multiply

1. Matchbox Twenty, who I just found out are back together again, WOOHOO!
2. U2
3. Bon Jovi

1. waste time on your roses
2. search for your Personal Legend
eat lots of ice cream

1. Makes Me Wonder, by Maroon 5
2. 4 in the Morning, by Gwen Stefani
3. Big Girls Don't Cry, by Fergie (sorry, Abi :p)

1. height, of course
2. soulful eyes :)
3. nice hands (long, slender fingers)

Ahia (my friend Gerry, whom I haven't heard from in ages)
Mineko, my roommate from Beijing
3. Coleen, one of my few ICAn friends from college and our awesome org president

1. a new laptop
2. a Coach bag
3. the new Chuck Palahniuk book Rant

1. reading
2. writing
3. Multiplying

1. Greece
2. France (Paris, specifically, since I've already seen the Riviera)
3. Switzerland

1. Tweety, a sentimental fave
2. Stan from South Park
3. Pearl (the pink octopus) from Finding Nemo

1. Madison, for a girl
2. Kennedy, also for a girl
3. Avery, for either a girl or boy

1. Shangri-la Plaza
2. the Podium
3. the Mall of Asia (more for store visits than shopping though)


1. McDonalds
2. Wendy's (Frostyyyyy!)
3. KFC

1. Jubilee Christian Academy

2. Ateneo de Manila University
3. Peking University, a.k.a. Beida

1. coffee!! lattes, mochas, macchiatos, cappuccinos, frappuccinos-- as long as it's got coffee in it, I'll drink it

2. Coke Light, my soda of choice, but only when there's no...
3. ...ginger ale, which I usually have in fancier restaurants, and airplanes/airport lounges

1. wallet
2. lip gloss
3. digicam (a camwhore never leaves home without it)

1. Estee Lauder Pleasures, my signature scent during high school
2. Bath and Body Works' Sweet Pea body spray, my signature scent in college
Armani White for Women

1. black (it matches my soul, haha)
2. blue (even before I became Atenean)
3. yellow (especially for flowers, wall paint, and VW Beetles)

Ateneo-La Salle round 2, September 2
2. the Arrow Global Conference, October 13-14 (New York)
3. Juls and Sir Mike's wedding, November 17

TOP THREE TAMBAYANS [in your school]
1. BoA Room 2 (but we just called it the LEX room) in Colayco
2. the caf (for quick lunches, merienda cravings, and pre-Accounting midterms/finals cramming)
3. I know it's off-campus, but I can't not mention Park 9, the LM girls' HQ :)

Thursday, August 09, 2007

The abominable snob-woman

Every so often, we have the misfortune of encountering people so horrid, so utterly despicable, that we are left sputtering in a fit of disbelieving outrage ("I can't believe someone could be so hateful!"). Usually, these loathsome characters are fictional, such as Dolores Umbridge from the Harry Potter series, or Jabba the Hutt, or any antagonist played by actor David Morse. But occasionally, we run into the real thing, and we are unpleasantly reminded of the existence of vile beings who walk among us.

One such vile being writes a column for the Manila Standard, and goes by the name Malu Fernandez. Yang sent me this link to a blog post by her friend Jae, who was writing in reaction to an article the self-declared "divalicious" Ms. Fernandez contributed to the magazine People Asia. Apparently, this charming woman fancies herself a jet-setter and connoisseur of the finer things in life.
In said article, she writes about an Emirates flight to Greece, and her mistake of deciding to travel in economy class. She laments that she wanted to slash her wrists upon learning she would be stuck in a plane full of OFWs, which she equates to a "private hell" God designed for her. She also describes it as "being trapped like a sardine in a sardine can with all these OFWs smelling of Axe and Charlie cologne while my Jo Malone evaporated into thin air."

When you're done sputtering in outraged disbelief, I'd also like to share that this Malu Fernandez openly declares she is "
perennially stressed just by living in this godforsaken place in the Third World" (read more of her crappy writing here)
, which is apparently why she loves traveling so much with her well-heeled, ladeedah friends. If I ever find myself traveling in first class with this pretentious, egotistic social-climber, I'm transferring to coach.

As abhorrent as this bitch is, I am a bit more appalled at the editors of People Asia for allowing such elitist and RACIST remarks to be put in print. And they're supposed to be a magazine about Filipinos for Filipinos? Perhaps they should be more specific, that they're a publication for Filipinos who can afford to vacation in Greece and turn their noses down at Boracay villas, dismissing them as "rustic" (the word Malu Fernandez chose to use in her Manila Standard column).

I'm a self-professed capitalist myself, and I won't pretend I'm a champion for the masses, or that I take up the cudgels for all noble social causes. And I cannot conceal that I lead a comfortable, sometimes lavish, lifestyle. But you will never, NEVER hear me blatantly belittling anyone below my socioeconomic class, nor would I ever act so condescendingly towards anyone who can't afford the same luxuries I enjoy. That would be absolutely reprehensible, and offensive, and LOW. Shameless snobs like Malu Fernandez have too many privileges in life as it is. They should not be given the additional privilege of airing their sickeningly skewed views of the world in supposedly respectable publications.

Oh, and the Malu Fernandez monster actually had the audacity to defend her "humorous", "tongue-in-cheek" People Asia piece in another of her badly composed columns: "If any of these people actually read anything thicker then a magazine they would find it very funny." Well I'm a voracious reader, Ms. Fernandez, and I didn't find it funny at all. Unless by "funny" you meant "repulsive", which it is, and which you are.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Eureka, I got it

With the help of and, I've figured out that my attack of vertigo was a symptom of vestibular neuronitis, swelling of the vestibular nerve, which "carries balance signals from the inner ear to the brain". It looks like the bad cold I caught last week hatched this condition, which is viral in nature (this confirms Auntie Nene's doctor friend's guess as well). There's no specific cure for vestibular neuronitis, as it usually goes away on its own after some time, which is a relief. And I suppose I should count myself lucky, because in some extreme cases, the vertigo lasts for a week, sometimes longer! Next time I get a cold I hope it doesn't decide to screw around with my vestibular nerve again.

Hit me baby, one more time

Back-to-back Britney-inspired blog titles. Obviously not a good sign.

Early Monday morning, I was jerked awake by an earthquake... or at least I thought it was an earthquake, since our bedroom was rolling back and forth, making me violently dizzy. But when I opened my eyes, I saw nothing in the room was moving, not even me. Uh-oh. Every time I turned my head, I felt like I would pitch out of my bed onto the floor (I had never been so acutely aware of the height of my new mattress until then). After a few more minutes of this unpleasant carnival-ride-gone-haywire sensation, I called out to wake my sister, who jumped out of bed to alert our mom. Frankly, I was scared my brain was going to implode or something, because it was the first time in my life to experience vertigo, and I didn't know what had set it off. I had spent the whole weekend sleeping off my nasty cold, and I thought I was already ok. Apparently not.

Naturally, I skipped work and stayed in bed all day regaining my equilibrium, with the help of some vertigo medication and more sleep. Hanks looked up vertigo on the Internet and said it could be a symptom of hypertension, low blood pressure, an ear problem, or a neurological condition. Not one of those sound appealing, but if I had to guess, hypertension would be the culprit. My BP was ok, my ears didn't hurt or feel weird, and anything neurological is just too scary to consider.

In any case, I'm doing better today, although I still feel faintly dizzy when I make sudden movements. If I'm not completely ok by tomorrow I promise I'll drag myself to see a doctor. Until then, I'm adding this bizarre case to my growing list of possibly-work-related mystery ailments.

Where's House when you need him?

Friday, August 03, 2007

Oops, I did it again

On our way home from dinner with Inggo last night, I was telling Pia about how my health has begun flagging ever since I joined the family business. From my post-Dumaguete dengue scare to my now infamous Bangkok bout with LBM to my mysterious Thai-triggered fever to the worst case of laryngitis I've had in 26 years, I've been so frequently unwell I'm beginning to wonder if some of it isn't psychosomatic. After all, I wasn't sick this often when I was teaching. Is my body trying to tell me something?

Now, after 2 straight days of store visits, I'm coming down with what feels like another monster cold. Fortunately, for once, I have nothing lined up for the weekend, so I can take the time to rest and get my strength back. I'm just bummed I missed out on badminton today. Just as well though, I don't think I could handle more physical exertion after several hours at SM North EDSA on the first day of a 3-day sale.

Perhaps I do need to change my job. Or maybe just my vitamins.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The circle of life

It's Amah's 1st death anniversary today. When she passed away last year, events felt like they were unfurling unnaturally slowly, and even now, as I look back on the wake and the rainy day of her funeral, they replay in my mind in slow motion. It was different with Angkong, who passed away in the summer of my junior year in college, in 2000. Then, things seemed to snowball and progress quickly, and before we knew it we were all wearing red to mark his 2nd death anniversary.

The beautiful similarity about both deaths though, is that new life came to the family the following years. In fact, my niece Maxine was born exactly one year after Angkong left us, on April 1. This year, my cousin Atsi Gue gave birth to Isabel in June, and then Atsi Fanny had Andre 2 weeks ago in July (both babies have the trademark Lim cheeks =D). In a way, we feel that the spirits of Angkong and Amah live on in these latest additions to the family, just as their memories live on in our minds and hearts.

"Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there." - Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451