Monday, September 27, 2004

Philippine metaphysics

Message 2 in thread
From: Renowl (
Subject: Re: Filipino metaphysics
Newsgroups: soc.culture.filipino
Date: 2004-09-23 21:28:06 PST

Friday, September 24, 2004

Wedding Decorations
This is an e-mail by the SO. It discusses decorations.

Hi Everyone,

Life is going well. Wedding planning is going along. Right now, just
kind of waiting for inspirations for different things to hit. For
those of you who don't know, we have the wedding date set for Saturday
October __, 2005. (Note that that's next year)

One inspired element of the wedding reception is pinecones. We'd like
to gold spray paint pinecones and decorate the reception tables with
them. We like pinecones, plus it's also an homage to Tatang's mother
who used to spray paint them and decorate her desk at work with them.

We need about 150 or so pinecones to put 5 or 6 or more on each of the
30 dinner tables. So, let us know if you know of good pinecone hunting
grounds or if you have a pine tree in your neighborhood. Or if you
happen to pick a few up that are calling "Gura & Tatang" that
would be great too!

We could buy them at a craft store, but they put that funky pine scent
on them and they're ridiculously uniform. Where's the fun in that? We
hope to get a lot of interesting shapes and sizes.

We're collecting them now because I'm not really sure when pinecones
fall, but I think it's in the Fall and we might not have time right
before the wedding to go collecting pine cones. We figure they can
keep for a while. And after we're done, everyone will have some nice
fall/Winter/christmas decor touches to bring home.


PS For folks who like being involved in the wedding process and like
crafty things, we'll have a subsequent spraypainting party along with
others like invitation and party favor assembly gatherings.

It's payday! That's a good thing. The last time it was pay day, I was driving towards Las Vegas and enjoying a day off. Today, I am coughing the way of the sick. Getting coughing fits is worse for me because I inherited my mother's predisposition to coughing. It's as if you run out of breath.

But I choose to remember the Las Vegas trip. It was a wonderful time to drive using 580 and then 99 highway. The 99 highway had more towns and was better suited for people like me. The drivers are nicer because they actually pull to the side. And it does not hurt that you have nice big roads to boot.

It's hard to believe that time goes by so quickly. Yet, if you are at work, not quickly enough. There are just too many things to do. If you think of all of them, you get overwhelmed. I try to think of them one at a time.

The car will be brought to the dealer for the 8K inspection. Change of fluids and other good things like that. Four months and 8K miles. Wow. But there were two dashes to Vegas. You figure that was about 2400 miles. So in reality, it was only 5.5K miles. I guess though that it is a lot of miles. I just have to take care to make sure that all the maintenance is done.

Today is Friday. Eight hours to the weekend. May you have a great day and may you enjoy your weekend.

Monday, September 20, 2004

80:20, the way of things

I have been reading a book which discusses in detail the principle of 80:20 as a found principle in the way that things work. It can be interpreted as "twenty percent of your business will give you 80% of your profit." Or as, "80% of your problems will come from 20% of your people." Or, twenty percent of your work will be 80% of the important things in your job.

And I go back to what my teacher said: "What do you want in your life?" In my previous little priorities, I had wanted to become a physician, become a scientist, be famous, and all those things that lead you to supposed happiness. Heck, I even thought working till in the wee hours of the morning was romantic. As I have grown older, either the lazy gene has been upregulated or common sense has kicked in.

Why would I work so hard for so little money? Being famous doesn't make you happy. Why pursue it? Working late into the wee hours means that someone majorly screwed up and did not do any planning for the project. You should be able to finish your job in the 8 hour time slot or else your company does not give you enough resources to finish the job.

I had always trusted on the postulate that companies will do what is best for themself. Ha! Now of course, I know better. Companies will fail because of the people who are humans leading the company. When humans do not know, they will inevitably fall because of their clay feet.

With that in mind, then one must work within the parameters of one's job. Accept the clay feet and do your best with what you have. Don't be lazy, but don't be stupid.

This is the word of God.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Las Vegas Weekend

The Venetian is beautiful. Granted it is an imitation. But what price would you pay to avoid the associated travel to Europe? Besides, everyone speaks English so you can really enjoy yourself. I specially like the grand feeling of the hotel. For a reasonable price, you get to feel like a millionaire.

I did not gamble. But the SO did and she was very good. The first evening, we tried out the mini-baccarat and some craps. The Saturday evening, it was some of the slot machines and then it was off to pai-gow poker. We were waiting for this table for a while but when the players left, they were going to close the thingie. It was a good thing that one of the floor managers saw us, asked if we wanted pai-gow, and asked the dealer to deal us in.

However, the dealer must have wanted to leave because we could not win for anything. It was a rough education in some ways. It's a good thing a Pin@y dealer came on to relieve the dealer. Next thing you know, we begin winning too. The big win was that this one guy had a straight flush which paid him $250 but also paid every other person on the table $50. The SO was quite lucky too since she got some flushes, a full hand and some triples. She got out of that one with $106.

At the wedding, R had invited two of his friends from college to speak on his behalf. The first one was M who is a lawyer. He had to come alone since his wife was with the kid. He spoke very highly of fatherhood. Like all fathers, he was very happy with the child and told me to get started soon. The other speaker was N. N was some type of consultant who travelled frequently. His girlfriend was from Chicago, and they both met at Vegas.

I was wondering about the dynamics of friends like these. I do not keep in touch with friends from college. It would probably be safe to say that I don't have friends from college. Maybe they were acquaintances. I am closer to my friends from high school. Though I only keep in touch with a handful of those too. I'm very lucky to have the SO in my life. She's my bestest friend and she tolerates my eccentricities.

This post is dedicated to E and R who got married in Vegas on 12SEP04. May the winds of prosperity bring you bounty and happiness.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Don't Mess with Pin@ys

where are
my lovely balls?

were here.
Just here. Here!

now gone.
Without a goodbye.

anyone seen
these blessed balls?

--Achilles, who probably has pissed off Mistress Chatelaine one too many times
Wedding in Las Vegas, Part 2

We make it to the wedding even though there were three choices of locations. The concierge were helpless and unwilling to help in trying to give location. I had to guess. Hmm, they didn't do it over the bridge because the people would have to stand? R is a Pin@y? They must be doing it in the chapel. Off to the chapel we went!

As we walk along the corridors, we sneak a peek into the rooms. We finally see the chapel and there R stands nervously waiting. I did not expect R to look like he did. He did go to Berkeley so I expected something else I suppose. In some ways, R reminds me of myself. Tall, dark and handsome. Cerebral in nature. Deep when it comes to philosophies of life. And confused as to how to live one's life.

I am surprised to find out as we enter the chapel that the bride's side is Korean. Korean? Hmm, how did R manage that? Koreans are a very closely knit community. Some would say that they only marry other Koreans. And here stands R breaking all those rules. The man who travelled the islands of the Philippines for God only knows why. How could he convince a Korean woman to marry him? That is equivalent to the parting of the Red Sea.

The wedding is flawless. The flower girl seems to be shy but a bit of a perfectionist. She made sure to count the petals as she dropped them while stooping. Probably did not want to hurt the petals. And the bride was beautiful as all brides are beautiful on their wedding day. The two of them are nervous. They have a hard time repeating the words of the judge. But the moment, the sweet moment of marriage lasts for the briefest of 15 minutes. Another Las Vegas signature. But the promise to each other love and devotion. In sickness and in health. For richer or poorer. Till death do they part.

So the couple leaves the chapel and receives the people. They are beautiful. Glowing and basking in the bliss of matrimony. Or is it the bliss of having finished the wedding?

The fiancee and I walk around the Venetian Hotel and areas afterwards. It is a beautiful hotel. The gardens outside are just plain cute with statues oo women spitting water. The insides of the hotel are gorgeous. Painitngs of masters are tastefully reproduced. What is interesting is that there is a canal inside of the hotel. We had planned on going on a gondola ride. We never made it because after the reception, we just hanged out with the bride and the groom.

The reception was at Postrio. We walk around for severall minutes trying to shop. Too expensive for our tastes. One store waws selling the Lladro porcelain figurines. Beautiful artistry. Shocking prices for something that will collect dust. I was intrigued by the porcelains that depict Asian culture. There was a Japanese man and woman sitting. And there were two Thai dancers. About a year ago, one porcelain became available through Ebay. It was that of a singkil dancer.

We go to the reception. It is a Wolfgang Puck creation. Pizzas come out as appetizer. Followed by the salad and the main course. Everyone in the restaurant is having fun. But it was quiet. Our table in which the couple's friends sat was also quiet. We met M who is a lawyer. His wife was off with the kids at Blue Man Crew. N brought his girlfriend form Chicago. We end up talking more once everyone had left. R the groom came by and sat down with us while his wife changed her clothes.

Walking around the area of the Venetian, you could see all the brides and grooms who had gotten married. Some were in the bar, while others were walking around the malls. Each one of them with an interesting future I bet.

We tell our own little stories of how we met. I ask about marrying a Korean. R and N tell of their escapades with a beat up old VW van and a summer of painting houses. A night of going to Denny's with the car not starting right at 4 AM. N had to push the van; all for that 2.99 meal which R graciously paid for. As everyone was laughing loudly and N's date was aghast with horror, I tell her: "This is Berkeley's finest. Tomorrow's leaders, Today!"

I learn that R is mild-mannered. Silent. Thoughtful. He's still getting used to the idea of being a couple. When he started taking pictures with his friends, his wife asked him, "Aren't I supposed to be in those pictures too?"

We end up in a bar and we stay till they close. We just chat it up. The fiancee and I talk about how we are preparing for the wedding day. I hope I don't have as many fears as when I did the pamanhikan.

Today, we drive back to Vegas. I tuck in another great weekend into the memory box to be recalled when I am having a stressfull time at work.

Weddings are interesting. I am slowly realizing that the location does not matter. Be it Vegas or elsewhere, it is a promise of a life together.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Criticisms on Yuson

The beauty of literature is that eventually, one will see iconoclasts espousing a revolution. Hear Kurimaw throw stones at an ivory tower.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Las vegas

Two hours of driving, two and a half of resting, and then four hours of driving. A lot of driving for the priviledge of going to the city of sin.

The SO was playing baccarat and it looked so easy. My, when I tried it, I did not win a single one. I figured that I was like that character the cooler. I make people lose. The SO said that I should change that. How do you change something like that? I try to, but maybe I should just not play games of chance. Maybe I will play Texas Hold Em instead.

Thanks to my brother, I can now drive long distance without any problem. He noticed that I was too cramped. He told me to make my chair like a LazyBoy chair. Get some air, stretch your legs and relax. Boy, did that ever work. I drove two hours, rested, and drove two hours again.

We took California 99 down to Fresno and Bakersfield. This was a better way to Vegas than Interstate 5. % has jackassess and buttheads. Rude crude and unattractive. On 99, drivers actually pull to the right side to let faster cars go through. By the time we are in Vegas, we caught up with some jacks. People who brake when there is thrity feet of clear space in front. People who travel 65 mph in the fast lane. People who increase speed when cars try to pass them. May their food be bland and their lives uneventful!

God Bless America and Nowhere Else!

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Kerry as candidate

Now I hear that Cheney has said that if Kerry becomes president, the chances of another attack like the Twin Towers would increase. Madeleine Albright came off her perch to say that this was over the line.

If the Democrats were smart, they would say something like, and just exactly when did the September 11 attacks actually happen? That's right. It's under the current administration's watch. It's not fair. But this not stooping down to the level of your political enemy is gonna make him not a president.

Sooner or later, you have to admit that you will have to stoop down to become president. Clinton did it with the spin control. That simply means that you don't let any news article come out without a response from your director.

I was reading Michael Moore's "Dude, Where's My Country" and he poses many good questions there about the relationship between the bin Laden family and the Bush family. If Bush were a Democract, he would have been crucified. But since he's a republican, well, you get a free pass.

This shows what I have known before. The Democrats are too nice or too stupid to be in politics. What they need are attack dogs. What they need are spin doctors. What they need is to learn what politics they are in.
Driving Courtesy or Lack Thereof

Left early enough to hit the beginning of traffic. I hate rude drivers who cut in on you without a signal or anything. Rude, crude and unattractive. May their food be bland and their days boring.

Monday, September 06, 2004

Bold Bare Naked

Hubad is the Pin@y Blog of the Day for Labor Day. Young, impertinent, smart. Another glimpse into the mind of Pin@y youth.

Flips In Fog City

Wily Filipino is sending his students out into the world of blogdom. Hear their stories:

Flips in Fog City

Maybe, you can come back later because they seem to be just starting.

I have spent most of the weekend with the SO. I have been trying to practice to slow down my anticipation so that I enjoy her company while riding in the car, talking to her in the living room and other "mundane" things. I read in a book by a Vietnamese writer that you must pause and savor the moments that you are with someone instead of wasting it in trying to anticipate the future.

I sat underneath the stars on Friday evening while waiting for the SO to finish Kali class. It was unusual for me to look at the sky and see the stars. I realized that part of human compulsion is to look at the stars and the world and try to order it somehow. Thus we have constellations. That looks like a horse. That looks like a car. That looks like twins.

Saturday, the SO and I went with a friend K to the gun range. It's been a while. i have put away plans for puchasing a gun until I can afford the higher end models. This time, I figured out that I was too low on the table. THat I needed to stretch my back while shooting. And that comfort from the benchrest is a requisite. The goal for us was to shoot the black target measuring approximately ten inches in diameter. The goal for some of the shooters on our right side was to hit the paper.

I was pretty decent. The first try, the shots were consistently up. I had to readjust some and add a third sandbag. That made all the difference as I gradually started hitting the black target. As usual, the SO did not even have to warm up. She started hitting the black rather quickly. The bench was not a challenge for her so she tried the standing up position. But since the wind was blowing, it was pretty hard. What was funny was that in acquiring the target, she shot the target next door. Bwahahhah. K says, "Did you shoot oneof my targets?" Bwahahhaah. I was wondering how come I missed the hole made when she made two straight shots.

Sunday, I went to the bookstore and bought two books that hopefully will help me out at work. One is a problem-solving book while the other is the Pareto Principle Book of 80/20. Turns out that 80/20 just means that the world turns towards imbalance. Through chaos principle, there is an underlying logic that governs events; however, that underlying logic is non-linear. A few inputs can have a humongous effect later on through feedback loops.

Both days, we went to places where the engagement video was shown. I don't like to see myself on TV. Somehow, I am not as debonair, witty and gorgeous as I imagine myself in real life. But that is probably my colonized self talking. In reality, I am probably personalbe, funny and entertaining. Leny cooked enough food for four days (as Cal would say) to celebrate her grandchild's arrival into the world.

I met a couple who's daughter had broken her back while doing some sort of high jump. It was awful as one can see the toll of their daughter's illness. We also spent some time on the road so we could not really get there on time. We were late by about a good two to three hours. Blame thaton the toll bridge near Vallejo. My, it was 1.5 hours getting there. I had to sleep. I did reward the SO with food from Chowking. She wanted halo-halo and I got the taho. We ate in the store since I could not imagine driving and eating taho at the same time. I tried to eat the taho with a straw, but the colonized boy that I am finally gave up trying to be American. I got the spoon and slowly scooped taho. For Leny's party, we brought buko pie and egg pie. I realized later on that egg pie is custard. BWahahahhah.

We spent about four hours speaking to Cal and Leny in the wonderful dusk and evening of Santa Rosa. It was beautfiul. We were probably outside till about 9PM! I asked if it was always that gorgeous over there. We ate some more of the food. Some highlights are the adobo and the chicken. TAsty! The scones were wonderful and soft, unlike other scones which seem to have been set out upon the desert.

We left Santa Rosa loaded with food, one rocking chair courtesy of Leny as a wedding present and a Nigerian jug as an engagement present. Whohoo!!! And yours truly once more am fulfilling the office of servitude for the SO by driving her around the world. By the way, we got lost in some back country around Vallejo and were driving with the air conditioner at full blast. But the places we went to were simply marvelous. Bright gold grass with rolling hills. Truly, one can not help but conquer this land and take possession of it because of its beauty. IN some ways, I understand the covetous nature of the settlers and what they did to the Indians.

Yesterday, we were at A&H' place to visit. We once more brought the video and once more, people were mesmerized by the gifts. I did tell them that I realized that the gifts were nothing. It is what lies in your heart that must be shown in the dowry giving. Now, how do I make a business out of this?

I met Enrique de la Cruz who is the Prof of Ethnic STudies at CSUN. He used to be at UCLA for many years. I spoke to him about how to get a Filipino-American Studies group at UC Berkeley. I threw out the idea that money will make the university listen. He suggested that money with plans upon plans will make the university act. He showed and discussed the ideas he had. He is the first person I have met who is realistic with respect to this. He realizes that we have to cultivate the professionals. It can not be done in ten or fifteen years. It will take twenty to twenty-five years.

His wife Prosie is an excellent cook and a writer. She shared her leche flan recipe to the SO. I am more used to Pin@ys who do guard recipes like their lives depended on it. But this couple wanted to share as much as possible. I'm going to have to aspire to be more like them. To be able to share as much.

And today, Monday, the SO and I take a day of rest. Laundry. Cleaning.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Dreams and what could they mean?

I have had some bizarre dreams lately. The last one is that of the Chatelaineselling some sort of product with the motto of "Poetry Makes You Beautiful." The gist of the ad campaign is that as the Chatelaine reads poetry, she becomes more and more beautiful. After the first stanza is read, up pops a red head on stage right of the Chateaine. By the middle of the poem, a blonde has appeared to the Chatelaine's stage left. And by the end of the stanza, a brunette can be seen shaking her luscious hair to and fro. It was at this point that I notice one of the Chatelaine's underlings (luckily it was not me) speak to the head of the ad company. The major Mojo guy said, "If I were you, I would learn every single thing from THAT woman."

Friday, September 03, 2004

Labor Day 2004

A three day weekend is upon us. Yesterday, I got some blood drawn. The nurse told me to start hitting the salad bar because the way my serum looked, I was creating a heart attack. The serum was cloudy when it was supposed to be clear. The one caveat to the situation is that he spun the tubes for a really short time. Something like five minutes. Before, they would spin the blood for a very long time. I'm thinking that the separator was somehow mixed in with the serum and that is why it looked cloudy.

But, since I felt guilty for eating so much good food like lechon, chicken, and other Pin@y foods, I went to the gym last night. Twenty minutes of stationary bicycles and thirty minutes of the elliptical with arm poles. Got home by about 10:30 and ate dinner. Two bowls of vegetables!!! And a piece of chicken breast. I had to have some meat along with the bread.

The SO is going to class tonight. So I will be left alone again. Probably will have to work out some more. Saturday, I test my skills in the gun range once more. It's been a while since we last went. Then, Sat afternoon, we go off to check out Santa Rosa for Leny's party. Sunday, we go to A & H's to show off the video. Hopefully. Monday is the day of rest. Wash the cars.

Have a great day!