Picked up a couple of new (used) books over the weekend, a hardbound copy of Dave Eggers' A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
and Douglas Coupland's debut novel Generation X
, which looked like one of those software manuals from the '80s. Got both books for only Php650 off Avalon.ph
, ayos na ayos na!
I decided to skip Genius
for the meantime, although I did peek at the first parts of the book, where Eggers (hilariously) discusses his book and its merits:
4. Actually, many of you might want to skip much of the middle, namely pages 209-301, which concerns the lives of people in their early twenties, and those lives are very difficult to make interesting, even when they seemed interesting to those living them at the time.
5. Matter of fact, the first three or four chapters are all some of you might want to bother with. That gets you to page 109 or so, which is a nice novella sort of length. Those first four chapters stick to one general subject, something manageable, which is more than what can be said for the book thereafter.
Meanwhile, I ended up finishing Generation X
overnight. It's a profoundly sad novel, and, rather than summarizing the sentiments of a generation, it taps deep into the psyche of a group of twentysomethings who are "underemployed, overeducated, intensely private and unpredictable."
I can relate to most of what the characters are going through, especially the futility and the "futurelessness" that seems to define this era in our lives. I can relate for their need to just get out of the road to perdition, or worse, yuppie-hood. I could see a lot of my thoughts being reflected on the pages, sometimes eerily so. The novel would depress me, too, except that I was kind of in a happy place while I was reading it, so everything just went over my head.
I read an article once comparing Douglas Coupland and Nick Hornby, and how they both captured the mood of a similar age. I could see the connection, but they go off in very different paths. While Coupland showcases a sort of contempt for the culture that envelopes the world of the twentysomething, Hornby embraces it (most prominently on High Fidelity
), acknowledging instead of denying how we need and use popular culture (music, film, and books) to define ourselves and even fill some of the gaps in our lives. After all, human relationships are messy and difficult, while pop culture not only goes down easy, it also easily lends itself to categorization and definition.
Sometimes I wonder if that's what I'm doing with my life, and, as sad as that sounds, it's not all that bad.
(Nakuha ko kay Ederic
, yung latest na kumakalat na 'Hello, Garci' joke.)Kung nag-sward speak lang sana sila, di walang gulo ngayon:
Female voice: Halloo Gracia! Halloo! Halloo!
Male voice: Mudra! Nachukchak ko na po ‘yung mga chuva!
Female voice: Bongga! Yung mga che chenes, keri na ba?
Male voice: Winnie Santos muder, wa na wiri ke aling Minda! Now na!
Female voice: Ganda ever!End of story, unless i-translate ni You-Know-Who!
On seeing the 100% perfect girl one beautiful April morning
by Haruki Murakami
One beautiful April morning, on a narrow side street in Tokyo's fashionable Harujuku neighborhood, I walked past the 100% perfect girl.
Tell you the truth, she's not that good-looking. She doesn't stand out in any way. Her clothes are nothing special. The back of her hair is still bent out of shape from sleep. She isn't young, either - must be near thirty, not even close to a "girl," properly speaking. But still, I know from fifty yards away: She's the 100% perfect girl for me. The moment I see her, there's a rumbling in my chest, and my mouth is as dry as a desert.
Maybe you have your own particular favorite type of girl - one with slim ankles, say, or big eyes, or graceful fingers, or you're drawn for no good reason to girls who take their time with every meal. I have my own preferences, of course. Sometimes in a restaurant I'll catch myself staring at the girl at the next table to mine because I like the shape of her nose.
But no one can insist that his 100% perfect girl correspond to some preconceived type. Much as I like noses, I can't recall the shape of hers - or even if she had one. All I can remember for sure is that she was no great beauty. It's weird.
"Yesterday on the street I passed the 100% girl," I tell someone.
"Yeah?" he says. "Good-looking?"
"Your favorite type, then?"
"I don't know. I can't seem to remember anything about her - the shape of her eyes or the size of her breasts."
"So anyhow," he says, already bored, "what did you do? Talk to her? Follow her?"
"Nah. Just passed her on the street."
She's walking east to west, and I west to east. It's a really nice April morning.
Wish I could talk to her. Half an hour would be plenty: just ask her about herself, tell her about myself, and - what I'd really like to do - explain to her the complexities of fate that have led to our passing each other on a side street in Harajuku on a beautiful April morning in 1981. This was something sure to be crammed full of warm secrets, like an antique clock build when peace filled the world.
After talking, we'd have lunch somewhere, maybe see a Woody Allen movie, stop by a hotel bar for cocktails. With any kind of luck, we might end up in bed.
Potentiality knocks on the door of my heart.
Now the distance between us has narrowed to fifteen yards.
How can I approach her? What should I say?
"Good morning, miss. Do you think you could spare half an hour for a little conversation?"
Ridiculous. I'd sound like an insurance salesman.
"Pardon me, but would you happen to know if there is an all-night cleaners in the neighborhood?"
No, this is just as ridiculous. I'm not carrying any laundry, for one thing. Who's going to buy a line like that?
Maybe the simple truth would do. "Good morning. You are the 100% perfect girl for me."
No, she wouldn't believe it. Or even if she did, she might not want to talk to me. Sorry, she could say, I might be the 100% perfect girl for you, but you're not the 100% boy for me. It could happen. And if I found myself in that situation, I'd probably go to pieces. I'd never recover from the shock. I'm thirty-two, and that's what growing older is all about.
We pass in front of a flower shop. A small, warm air mass touches my skin. The asphalt is damp, and I catch the scent of roses. I can't bring myself to speak to her. She wears a white sweater, and in her right hand she holds a crisp white envelope lacking only a stamp. So: She's written somebody a letter, maybe spent the whole night writing, to judge from the sleepy look in her eyes. The envelope could contain every secret she's ever had.
I take a few more strides and turn: She's lost in the crowd.
Now, of course, I know exactly what I should have said to her. It would have been a long speech, though, far too long for me to have delivered it properly. The ideas I come up with are never very practical.
Oh, well. It would have started "Once upon a time" and ended "A sad story, don't you think?"
Once upon a time, there lived a boy and a girl. The boy was eighteen and the girl sixteen. He was not unusually handsome, and she was not especially beautiful. They were just an ordinary lonely boy and an ordinary lonely girl, like all the others. But they believed with their whole hearts that somewhere in the world there lived the 100% perfect boy and the 100% perfect girl for them. Yes, they believed in a miracle. And that miracle actually happened.
One day the two came upon each other on the corner of a street.
"This is amazing," he said. "I've been looking for you all my life. You may not believe this, but you're the 100% perfect girl for me."
"And you," she said to him, "are the 100% perfect boy for me, exactly as I'd pictured you in every detail. It's like a dream."
They sat on a park bench, held hands, and told each other their stories hour after hour. They were not lonely anymore. They had found and been found by their 100% perfect other. What a wonderful thing it is to find and be found by your 100% perfect other. It's a miracle, a cosmic miracle.
As they sat and talked, however, a tiny, tiny sliver of doubt took root in their hearts: Was it really all right for one's dreams to come true so easily?
And so, when there came a momentary lull in their conversation, the boy said to the girl, "Let's test ourselves - just once. If we really are each other's 100% perfect lovers, then sometime, somewhere, we will meet again without fail. And when that happens, and we know that we are the 100% perfect ones, we'll marry then and there. What do you think?"
"Yes," she said, "that is exactly what we should do."
And so they parted, she to the east, and he to the west.
The test they had agreed upon, however, was utterly unnecessary. They should never have undertaken it, because they really and truly were each other's 100% perfect lovers, and it was a miracle that they had ever met. But it was impossible for them to know this, young as they were. The cold, indifferent waves of fate proceeded to toss them unmercifully.
One winter, both the boy and the girl came down with the season's terrible inluenza, and after drifting for weeks between life and death they lost all memory of their earlier years. When they awoke, their heads were as empty as the young D. H. Lawrence's piggy bank.
They were two bright, determined young people, however, and through their unremitting efforts they were able to acquire once again the knowledge and feeling that qualified them to return as full-fledged members of society. Heaven be praised, they became truly upstanding citizens who knew how to transfer from one subway line to another, who were fully capable of sending a special-delivery letter at the post office. Indeed, they even experienced love again, sometimes as much as 75% or even 85% love.
Time passed with shocking swiftness, and soon the boy was thirty-two, the girl thirty.
One beautiful April morning, in search of a cup of coffee to start the day, the boy was walking from west to east, while the girl, intending to send a special-delivery letter, was walking from east to west, but along the same narrow street in the Harajuku neighborhood of Tokyo. They passed each other in the very center of the street. The faintest gleam of their lost memories glimmered for the briefest moment in their hearts. Each felt a rumbling in their chest. And they knew:
She is the 100% perfect girl for me.
He is the 100% perfect boy for me.
But the glow of their memories was far too weak, and their thoughts no longer had the clarity of fourteen years earlier. Without a word, they passed each other, disappearing into the crowd. Forever.
A sad story, don't you think?
Yes, that's it, that is what I should have said to her.
But I'm in so deep
You know I'm such a fool for you
You've got me wrapped around your finger, oh...You know you've got it bad when you're just physically trying to stop yourself from posting song lyrics all day. I just allowed myself this once, because it's Friday and I'm tired.
How I spent my Saturday night
My brother Mikko my sister Icay, and I just hung out in my room, with a couple of bags of V-Cut and a 1.5 bottle of Coke.
Hehe, ang babata pa nila cam-whore na! May pinagmanahan...
Over the weekend, I was able to finish "The Power of Myth", a book containing transcripts of a televised discussion between philosopher Joseph Campbell and journalist Bill Moyers. Even though it didn't come down easy, the book was a very good read and made a lot of sense.
I most loved the fact that there was a lot of stuff in the book for those who are hopelessly romantic:
Aristophanes says that in the beginning there were creatures composed of what now are two human beings. The gods then split them all in two. But after they had been split apart, all they could think of to do was to embrace each other in order to reconstitute the original units. So we all now spend our lives trying to find and embrace our other halves.
Last week, on the trip back to LB, I found an old booklet of mine lying around in at Cel's apartment. It was a print-out of old stuff I'd written before. I was a bit embarrassed by it, and I had wanted to grab it and take it home, but I figured they'd already probably read it already. I decided to leave it there.
It's the same embarrassment I feel when I read old stuff I wrote on my old website. Probably the only reason I haven't taken the old site down is because I'd feel guilty, because I know some of the stuff there still means something to other people, even though it barely means anything to me anymore.
I hadn't written, nor tried to write, stories in a couple of years. I often wonder if I really do want to write, because, when I think about it, my main motivation for writing all these years has been to impress some girl. Writing came easily enough to me (writing, not *good* writing), so it was an easy way to at least draw a little bit of attention to myself.
Now you could see why I'd be embarrassed.
I remember reading an interview with Conrado de Quiros, where he was asked if he ever wrote to try to woo a girl. He said he never did, because as good a writer as he is, he felt that it hardly seemed fair.
Good for him, I guess. Me, I need all of the help I can get.
Actually, I've had this story on my mind that I've been meaning to write for the past couple of years now. For the past couple of years, I couldn't get it out of my system because I couldn't figure out how to tackle the subject. Then when I finally had it figured out, something similar happened to a close friend of mine. While it's not the exact same situation, I figured the topic was too sensitive for me to try to write about it so soon.
SPeaking of that friend, I wish he'd come to talk to me about that situation. I think I would've been able to help. At least, I'd have made him read about Tristan and Isolde.
Photos from last week's shower
(Sorry for the delay, busy sa pagiging rockstar eh.)
Hannah and Samuel, eto yung paborito kong kuha.
More photos here
Feeling rock star
Things are already bad enough here at the office when we're up to our necks in work, but it's much, much worse when we don't have anything to do.
Take a look at what happened this afternoon when there wasn't so much to do. We just went out to 7-Eleven for some green tea when we suddenly felt like buying an eyeliner.
The thing is, there was a party at the office tonight, and the whole office was there. I almost forgot that my colleagues and I at the web team already had a crazy sub-culture the rest of the company wasn't aware of. Everyone kept asking us why we were wearing make-up, and we had fun with our answers. Kung ano-ano na sinagot ko, pati mga boss, mga crush, niloloko ko na.
"Uhm, nakatulog ako kanina, tapos pag-gising ko ganyan na."
"May nililigawan akong goth chick eh, may date kami mamaya."
"Sasali ako sa Rockstar INXS."
"Wala lang, trip ko lang, bakit, anong klaseng society na yung meron tayo na hindi na pwedeng mag-make up ang isang lalake dahil sa gusto niya?"
"Eyebags 'yan, sa sobrang puyat sa trabaho."
"Ganito raw talaga sir kapag nagda-drugs eh."
"FOR a full minute, the nine-year-old boy could not speak. But when the words finally came, so did the tears.
"The soldiers had told him to start digging his own grave with his bare hands. They might as well kill him now, since he would probably join the New People's Army, anyway.
"It was an empty threat: The boy was later freed. But the trauma has remained weeks after that ordeal."Full story
About a boy
Because the thing was that when she sat down next to him at dinner she was interested, for the first five minutes, before she'd worked him out, and in that five minutes he got a glimpse of what life could be like if he were in any way interesting. On balance, he thought, he'd prefer not to have that glimpse. What good did it do him, after all? He wasn't going to get to sleep with her. He wasn't going to go to a restaurant with her or understand how her father's affair with her mother's best friend had affected her views on having children. He hated that five-minute window. In the end, he thought, he would be happier if she turned around to look at him, just about managed not to vomit, and turned her back at him for the rest of the evening.
-- Nick Hornby, from "About a Boy"
If you've read the book and if you're aware of how the story unfolds, you'd realize that he hardly believes what he was writing. Still, he's captured that feeling every guy gets when he meets someone spectacular, every painful little pang of insecurity that creeps up and paralyzes even the smoothest of boys.
Dammit, it feels all too familiar.
I've made my mom read "About a Boy" which is a truly wonderful, funny book, and she says she's liking it so far. Good thing, too, just so we could have more things in common.
Ang tanda-tanda ko na, tapos yung mga kabarkada ko nagsisipag-asawa na at nagsisimula ng pamilya, tapos ako... teenybopper pa rin ang drama 'pag nagkaka-crush.
It was hell week at work, even more so than last week. I was juggling a bunch of projects, in addition to my usual workload. Friday was the launching of the new website for GMA's new international channel
, as well as Howie Severino's new blog
To meet the deadlines, I came in to work at 11am on Thursday morning, and stayed at the office (working!) until around 10:30 Friday evening. After getting home, I slept (quite literally) all day on Saturday. I woke up at 4:30 in the afternoon!
Of course later that evening my boss texted me about some important updates for the website, so I ended up sneaking back in to the office at around 3:30 this morning, as I still had to go to Baby Samuel
's baby shower at LB.
At around 5am, I went out to get some ice tea from the canteen when I bumped in to Howie Severino himself. He and a colleague had just hailed another taxi, and they were carrying a camera, probably to do another Sidetrip feature. He looked quite surprised to see me, because, well, it was 5am. Haha, and this was after he was surprised when I was replying to his emails at around 12, 1 in the morning this past few weeks. We then went off our merry ways, only for me to discover that the canteen was closed (saka ko lang naalala na sarado nga pala yung canteen pag Saturday nights to Sunday mornings).
Well I gotta go off now, get me some breakfast and meet the bunch at UP!
-- Nakausap ko si Sexbomb Rochelle, sa set ng Daisy Siyete. Maganda pala siya sa personal.
Ang motivation ko sa pagpunta, actually, si Jopay. Kaya lang wala pala siyang schedule na call eh.
-- Nagkaroon ako ng bagong crush... dito pa sa office! Ngayon ko lang siya nakita dahil nandun siya sa kabila, at kanina lang ako umakyat at nag-ikot-ikot dun. Natuwa naman ako. Mukhang mapapadalas yung pag-akyat ko dun ah.
Baduy man aminin, sa dinami-dami ng magagandang babae dito sa opisina, sa kanya lang ako nagka-crush talaga. Nagda-damoves na nga ako eh... sa Friendster :p
Pero actually, nag-email na kami, alam niya na yung pangalan ko, pero hindi pa siguro niya alam na ako nga yun. Sa email ko na lang kaya siya ligawan? Mwahahaha.
-- Inayos ko yung blog ni Howie Severino. Actually, may meeting rin kami kanina, tungkol sa pag-gamit ng blog, pero nag-cancel ako (kapal no?). Kasi nagkaroon ng problema sa server ng website. Nagkagulo nga sila rito eh, kasi nandun pa ako sa taping ng Daisy Siyete. Hehehe.
Ok yung mga sinusulat ni Howie (naks, FC!), pero di pa pwedeng i-public eh. Kung fan ka ng Sidetrip niya sa Saksi, o kaya ng mga documentary niya dati sa Probe o ngayon sa i-Witness, magugustuhan mo yung blog niya.
Sa alaala ng ngiti mo, lumiliwanag ang mundo
Over the last few months I've had the privilege, perhaps more than ever in my life, to be able to read books for leisure, and every time I finish another exhilirating adventure, I can't help but get the idea that in all those stories, love is just happenstance, just another subplot to provide our hero with just another inconvenience on his way to winning his ultimate prize. It doesn't define him, because he's much too great to be affected by something so petty. He is destined for greatness.
And love is so pedestrian.
It's the least common denominator, the common dreams that the unwashed masses strive for to prop up their sad little lives, which is why all these banal pop songs and teledramas and pulp literature push love down our throats.
Love is so pedestrian, I end up thinking to myself.
Which is why it's such a comfort to go to a Bayang Barrios gig, like I did last night at the Conspiracy Cafe. When she starts singing beautiful songs about love (yes, love!) like Joey Ayala's "Walang Hanggang Paalam" or "Malayo Man, Malapit Din" (the theme of Pinoy Abroad
), you'd have to convince me that angels weren't the least bit involved. Something so divine couldn't merely be pedestrian, right?
As a bonus, Mike Villegas (Bayang's husband and former Rizal Underground guitarist) was goaded by the small crowd into singing the Rizal Underground hit "Bilanggo." He prefaced the song by saying, "I wrote this ten years ago for Bayang, nanliligaw pa lang ako sa kanya... hindi niya ako sinagot."
It's been a long day. Actually, it's been quite a long week, I've been battling with flu-like symptoms all week, and work's been very very heavy, with me juggling four projects all at once. Then Friday came along and our office turned into a newsroom, and it was exhausting and exhilirating. I was writing copy and coding and patching and taking phone calls and transcribing, sometimes all at the same time.
I loved it.
I miss blogging. I haven't really blogged, and I've been meaning to blog all week but couldn't find the time. I was gonna write incoherent 500-word ramblings about a bunch of topics like the two books I finished last weekend (Lolita
, finally, and Winterson's The Passion
), Batman Begins which I finally caught last weekend, open source blogging solutions, the Smarty PHP templating engine and unprotected sex, girls I used to like and who used to like me back, going back to LB after two-and-a-half years, the motherfuckingly awesome opening sequence of Sugo
(did you see it?!) and a bunch of other stuff that were neither interesting nor funny but I'd still shove up your throats anyway. Maybe next week?
I was supposed to do a report on the UAAP opening later for Peyups.com
but I don't think I'm still up for it (sorry Karl).
Maybe it's a good thing, because I don't think it's going to be anywhere near my 2003 report
(UAAP board chairman) Mr. Capistrano tells us about the preparations of his school (Ateneo) for the UAAP, and tells us that it's the school they choose, and that they rock, and that everyone else sucks. Mr. Capistrano also announces that they are requiring their students to attend their games against UE, FEU, Adamson, and NU as part of their "immersion" program.
Or the 2002 report
- They announce that UP lost several key players, including Robin. Thankfully for us, we still have Batman.
- Wait, wait, I figured out a better joke. They announce that UP lost several key players, including Robin. Thankfully for us, we still have Rustom.
Thank God that no Filipinos were hurt
in the London bombings. It's a dark day, but today, London is in everyone's hearts. The best place to get updates is the news blog of the Guardian
The big news on local shores is Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's speech
last night asking her cabinet members to resign. MLQ3
goes ahead and calls her a liar, and compares her to Hitler and Marcos.
Also, there's an online petition for GMA's resignation
The proverbial shit has hit the fan. I spent the whole day on this
, who just welcomed Baby Samuel into the world at around 3PM yesterday. Left work early last night, at around 7PM to make the trip with Luz and Tseri
"Pare, bakit yung baby mo, maputi... at saka, guwapo
were there when we arrived. The baby looked great, and it was such a wonderful, wonderful moment seeing the little guy there beside the new mom and dad. Took tons of pics, which I've already sent to Mark. I figured he should be the one posting them.
It was also my first time to go back to LB in 2 1/2 years, and it looks a hell of a lot nicer now than when I left. More on this later, I'm at the office, just finished up the work I'd left last night, and dead tired after the trip to and from LB.