Wednesday, June 23, 2004

The love between father and daughter

Eileen Tabios writes about her childhood in the June 22nd entry for 2004. I love reading about other people's thoughts on their parents. Each one is special; each one is endearing.

To all our parents and guardians. May they live forever young in our hearts!
Boracay Tropical, 401 Town & Country, Sunnyvale CA 94086, (408) 73900-7200

Forget San Francisco. Forget Daly City. Forget all other American cities including New York. The best restaurant serving Pin@y food is Boracay Tropical at Sunnyvale.

Quick, if you were planning to go to a restaurant, brave the distance and the traffic and go to Boracay Tropical. Order the seafood sampler/platter ($18) and the inihaw na baboy ($12). You will be delighted.

This restaurant is for those of us who value quality in food. Quantity is there, but the taste is the king in this place. The mangoes mixed with the bagoong were fabuLOUS! Childhood memories ika nga! The daing, pusit and mussels were excellent. The squid was nice and soft, not rubbery. The inihaw na baboy had the feint aroma of smoke and fire. Yup, yup, yup. Delicious.

We had the kilawin na mackerel. This is kilawin ala Pin@y style. The fish will come to you already cooked by the vinegar. The mixture of the vinegar, green chile, and the onions is heavenly. It is amazing that a melding of flavors could be achieved like this. Only love and care can do this kind of cooking.

Because it is located in Sunnyvale, most of the patrons are Caucasians. And that is why I am telling you dear people that you have to go visit this restaurant. Go get your Pin@y self visiting and enjoy the quality of food. Did I mention that their halo-halo put to shame most other store's halo-halo? Even the fabled Sinugba in its pre-Christian days could not make a halo-halo like this. The gulaman had taste! The sago was textured with flavors! And the ice cream! Whatever ice cream was being used should be outlawed. I think that ice cream was the best mango ice cream I've had. Pure decadence. Talk about silky and fattening.

If you have friends who are not Pin@ys, go and take them to Boracay Tropical. Excellent food, excellent prices. The restaurant is not turo-turo so don't expect turo-turo prices or taste.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

President Bill Clinton

Clinton's book came out for retail today. On Sunday, the plan for the SO and I was to wash the '69 Mustang. We got delayed because of the Clinton interview televised in 60 Minutes.

There was nothing new for me in the interview. It was just nice to see a former president who had a brain for once. I believe in the power of money. How else can one explain President Bush II?

I still believe that with respect to lying, Bush is worse than Clinton. Bush lied about going to war, which costs lives of soldiers. Clinton lied about having an affair. And how about that bastard Ken Starr? A pox upon his brood and his descendants!!!

Go out and buy the book for one of the great presidents. I just hope that Hillary becomes the next President if Kerry does not win.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Touch of Class

I had to leave the car at the dealership so that they can add the car alarm and the spraying of scotch guard so that the car's paint and interior do not get that dirty. I am getting accustomed to my Accord. I had to get a rental to get to work and boy, it sure was different. The rental is a Toyota Corolla, a nice serviceable car, but without the comforts of home. The seat is too small, the radio is too weak. Thank goodness that I bought the Accord.

The SO took her parents to the Moroccan restaurant Tangier in Oakland this past Saturday. The food was excellent as usual. The meat from the chicken and the lamb was falling off the bones. The couscous was nice and grainy and really made it difficult to grab. We were eating with our hands, which is how Pin@ys in the Philippines eat most of the time. I was apprehensive about eating with my hands in public, but with food this good, forget about it. Besides, they let you wash your hands with water. After eating, you get scented water with the smell of jasmine. The after dinner event was almost as good as dinner.

There was also a belly dancer who performed during dinner. The interesting thought that came to mind is that in America, everything seems to revolve around sex. So much so that belly dancing would be seen as a vile form of entertainment in which sex is used to marionette men. In reality, there is absolute beauty in the dance. The muscular contractions which must be performed require absolute concentration and skills.

I was hoping that the SO's father would be the one to give the tip to the dancer, but guess what! They made me do it! Absolutely embarassing. I want my voyeurism to be hidden and in the shadows. Not out in the open! There was a crystal clear moment though during that dinner. Do I watch the belly dancer or do I eat the food? The SO was just chomping away happily and gleefully. Hey! She took a piece of the lamb that I wanted! Hey! She's starting to nibble on the bones! I wanted to do that!

On the back end of the weekend comes news of some relatives and friends who have developed cancer. My prayers go to their children and their loved ones. Just remember that death in its ultimate form is just another gate to another existence. Let go of the fear and show your love now that you know. There is nothing worse than carrying guilt for a lifetime.

I spent the weekend with the SO. Saturday was with the parentals. Sunday was shopping. I don't know why I got the urge. I just did. I did not buy anything too much. I just wanted to shop. I would hold things and then decide that I did not need them. I was shopping for a watch, but could not find one that I liked.

Today is the start of another week. Another day to celebrate life. Another day to say "I love you" to your loved ones. Go out there and do it.

Friday, June 18, 2004

Busy lives

Lately, I have been singing the blues whenever I don't see the SO or am not around her. Maybe I am becoming co-dependent. Maybe I just like hanging out with her. Maybe, there are a lot of other maybes. Sometimes, I am afraid of not being around her. Sometimes, I use her image to drive me to just keep plugging away at work. Gotta take care of my family! Gotta take care of my family!

But there are times when I look at my life and say that this is not what I envisioned it to be. But then again, I suppose it is the sinking feeling that everyday can be a grind. That it is up to you to find the beauty in the day. Beauty will not present itself to you as a magical elixir or genie. Nope, you have to work to find out why this day is worth it. Why this day is worth fighting for.

So yes, sometimes I lose direction. I just have to find it somehow. I hope you have a great weekend. Find your direction and keep on chugging.
Mistakes in Traffic

I made the mistake of leaving from work yesterday at 5:30 PM. I got home nearly at 7PM. Talk about a crawl pace at the freeway in SF. And you know what? There was not even an accident. The freeway just can not handle that many cars. I had to turn on the air conditioner which lowers my fabulous 28.5 miles per gallon. But I deserve it.

A bad news of not getting a photography gig. Well, there is always another gig out there. I just have to believe. And with my car, I am free to go nowhere quite quickly.

Slept in this morning. Instead of waking up at 5:30, I stretched it to 6:30. ONe full hour. I had nightmares of having to go to work and being stuck in traffic for one hour and a half. NOpe. DId not happen. I got to work by 40 minutes. Awesome!

But then again, I am paying the bridge toll. I can't wait to get the electronic FastTrak so that you just go through the toll areas.

Traffic will be horrendous once more as the Gi*nts are playing the Red Sox at Pac Bell Park. I plan on leaving after 7PM so that hopefully, everyone is in the stadium by 7:30. Otherwise, it will be a nightmare once more.

Thursday, June 17, 2004


The car represents freedom. Now I am free to go nowhere. Actually, gotta send money to the yaya in the Philippines. Gotta wash the car so that they can apply the coating.

But yes, now I can actually drive the SO like a princess though she does not act like a princess. Thank God!

Maybe I will go to Half Moon Bay this weekend. Oh, the SO has a martial arts seminar. I guess I can't do that. Oh well, maybe I just go to the gym then.

It took me about 17 years to finally get the dream car. And now that I do, I am quite happy. I just did a gas mileage thing. I drove 287 miles. I added 10 gallons of gas. 28.7 miles per gallon. It's not 36 mpg like a Honda Civic, but then again, I am comfortable when I drive and it zips along like nothing flat.

The freedom to go somewhere is finally at my hands. Now, if I can only figure out where that somewhere is, I would be all set.
Wedding invitation list

Last night was a scheduled one for the SO and me. We were supposed to make the list of all the guests. It turns out that I had to give the people I was inviting. Sadly enough, I don't even think I broke fifty people for the invite. But it did not help that I was drinking a glass of wine from Dutch Henry, which is a gallop and a hop away from Achilles of the hills.

As the days grow nearer to our wedding, I begin to see why people become so stressed out over a wedding. The bride and groom might not care about having everything going off just so, but everyone else is. From guest lists and what not to other things, people seem to overblow the importance of it. I myself do the very same thing. For example, for the wedding invitations, I wanted some invites that had the layered look like a wedding cake. I wanted a bookstyle invitation. Really, how many people will look at that invitation over and over again?

And then, we got the questionnare from the church. Why do I want a CAtholic wedding? Why at this particular church?

Interesting questions, no? I said that Catholicism is my religion. I have looked around, and I have seen the many faces of God. I am satisfied that the Catholic religion can give me guidance in facing life's questions. As for the church, the SO went to school there. She turned out to be an extra-ordinary individual so I figure that is a good enough place.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Soft tires and dirty windshields

When I was young, my father would do two things in the morning. He would go outside, smoke a the morning cigarette, take the squegee, rags and a pail of water and clean the car . My brother described it as an obsession with cars. I agree considering my obsessive compulsive tendencies to fixate on things.

Yesterday, as part of my transformation into a driver, I went to the corner gas station, took out the tire pressure gauge, and added air to the tire. Of course, it was a momentous occasion for a non-mechanical guy like me. I had to make sure for example that I added air and not water. Apparently, water does not work inside a tire rotating at 50 mph.

And today, I got to work at 7AM. What to do for the next hour? Well, how about cleaning the windshield and windows? Yup, I was cleaning windows in front of my job. It was not that embarassing because no one was here. But I still felt funny.

In some ways, I reconnect with my father when I clean the car. I see him doing it; and I follow his lead. I don't know how he always managed to get out and clean the car in the morning. It probably took him some 30 minutes to do it. Today, I had to confront the same mystery of the squegee which my father confronted. How do you squegee without leaving any streaks? How do you clean the side mirrors without leaving blur? How do you make it so that the car always looks clean?

Maybe I need to get that feather duster that my father carried. Maybe that was the secret. Feather duster.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

St. Jude

I owe St. Jude and God and Jesus and the universe many things.

Prayer to St. Jude Thaddeus

Most Holy Apostle, St. Jude Thaddeus, faithful servant and friend of Jesus, the name of the traitor who delivered your beloved Master into the hands of his enemies has caused you to be forgotten by many. But the Church honors you, and I invoke you as the special advocate of those who are in trouble and almost without hope. Help me to realize that through our faith we triumph over life's difficulties by the power of Jesus who loved us and gave his life for us. Come to my assistance that I may receive the consolation and succor of heaven in all my needs, trials, and sufferings, particularly (here make your request) and that I may praise God with you and all the saints forever.

St. Jude, apostle of the Word of God, pray for us.
St. Jude, follower of the Son of God, pray for us.
St. Jude, preacher of the love of God, pray for us.
St. Jude, intercessor before God, pray for us.
St. Jude, friend of all in need, pray for us.
St. Jude, pray for us, and for all who invoke your aid.
Stomach Rumbling

Lately, my stomach has been rumbling and tumbling. I don't know why. I have been eating my veggies like a good boy. And still the rumbling continues. I suppose I should be embarassed because other people hear it. But really, isn't it a normal process?

I have been driving now to work for two days. The first day was a dream. The drive was not like a drive. Today was more insane because the lanes merged more and it was more complicated in terms of merging. But thanks to St. Jude, I am still around happily typing away.

I am basically saving about two hours each day with the car. When I got to work yesterday, I was not tired; I was ready for work. When I left, I was tired, but when I got home, I was not totally washed out. In fact, I cheated and I drove around the SO and our friend D to ice cream. Yum! They were willing to go to ice cream because they will try to cleanse out their bodies with the lemonade only diet. I don't think I will be joining them because with the work stuff, I just need all the food I can get. I have been lowering my food intake however. And I am now trying to find the gym to work out in.

But back to the car, and now I can also write. While riding BART, I could not write as much as I wanted to. The ride was not letting me concentrate. Instead, I read the daily newspaper. Now, I don't have to buy the paper and don't have to keep up with the silliness of the world.

Saturday, June 12, 2004

Prayers for the Living

As I grow older, I get to hear more about people dying. As someone who can see some glimmer of the future and who can feel time slip through my fingers, I have always been sensitive to the separation of the soul from the body. In some people, it is an easy transition. For others, it is a scary lonely time.

Infraternam Meam writes about his experience with dealing with his little brother's cancer.

As with all situations involving a transition from this life to another, the details are heart wrenching. It is as if the world will end and nothing else matters. I remember when my mother passed away. The grief at knowing that you are alone in this world was almost unbearable.

I say almost unbearable because you are never alone. In my situation, there was my sister and my brother. My family was still there. I simply had to find a philosophical construct in how to include my mother and my deceased father.

No, I did not find it in religion. I simply thought about things for the longest time. Then, I realized that people will stay in your heart and in your conciousness as long as you care for them to do so. So if I miss my mother, I simply recall the happy and wonderful events of her life which was a part of me.

Dying is easy for the dearly departed because they are done with this earth. For those remaining here, it can serve as an anchor or it can serve as a liberation. My teacher told a story of how when his mother died, the old women pointed at him and laughed and said that "You are now free."

My teacher wondered about that statement. What does that mean? He finally realized that it meant that his mother is now in his heart. No physical ailment or physical wound can hurt her. She is free to be with him forever.

The mind is a powerful device to create various realities. In this ever changing world, I try to use mine to make life a little bit more fun and interesting.

I offer my prayers to those who are living because we need it more than those who have departed.
Honda Accord LX

Today, I will be buying my first car. I have always wanted a car, but I have never been able to afford the monthly payments. Furthermore, it is the Bay Area and public transportation has been quite decent. It's not like New York where you can rely on the subway and taxis, and where the parking is insane.

I get an Accord. I tried looking for other cars. The only other one that I really considered was the Toyota Camry. But the SO suggested that her family is a Honda family. I liked the Camry because it looked like a tank. The Accord can still look a little sporty for my taste.

I'm just getting the LX model. No leather seats, no sunroofs, no frills or extras. I'm getting a car so that I am able to stay at work later. I had been getting acid reflux and stress because I have been unable to fulfill all the job that I needed to do. My personality is one that tries to do the best. And I felt that I was not doing enough in a 9 hour day. So, with the car, my work can extend to the ten to eleven hour cycle. On some days, I anticipate a 12 hour day.

I am seeking out this type of work dedication so that ten years from now, I don't have to do anything this insane. Ronald Reagan the former president of the US spent few times with his children. They hardly knew their father because their father carved a large place for himself in the fimament of the universe. He was buried yesterday with all the pomp and circumstance a deserving president deserves.

I also need a haircut. How lucky am I?

Monday, June 07, 2004

The Female Body

The billboards for 24 hour Fitness Club features a photo of a blonde who is extremely fit. She's sitting on a Pilates ball and one can see fitness exuding from her. Oddly enough, I was not that attracted to her image. I began to worry about my sexuality because usually, if it is the female form, I am like Achilles to a stick thrown into the mountains.

The SO ever intelligent as always pointed out that the image of a fit woman is the image of man: broad shoulders, small hips, well-developed muscles and a lack of fat. MY GOD! She is right! That is why I was not attracted to the picture of the woman. She looks like a MAN!

And let's not even get to the homoerotic meanings of the billboard from 24 Hour Fitness!

busy as usual

i am busy as usual. there seems to be a ton of material that need to be done soon or if not soon, by tomorrow. The weekend was such a breather that I was very happy to savor it.

i decided to purchase a car. nothing fancy. a honda accord LX used or new. I hope it does not get more than $20K. I can live with the payments if it is around $350. Anything else and it might be excessive. I never had a car before, although we do have cars from city carshare. but my commute is more excessive now than before.

add to that the fact that I really need to stay later and later at work and you have the makings of stress. stress, i must remember is a construct from my expectations. but in reality, the present condition i have now is temporary. all things are temporary. thus, i can do my best and that should be sufficient.

i hope your week is a great week. i know that mine will be great because i will persevere even under the conditions like these.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Bang! Bang! By Bam! Bam!

You want honesty? You want uncompromised truth? Go to BamBam's site where everyone and anyone can be called to account for the truth. Is the sister being a manipulative little bitch? She'll call it out. Bam-bam even calls herself out for not participating as much in the statistics project. Such honesty makes me proud. Maybe there is hope for earth.