Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Memorial Day Weekend 2005

The whole of last week was a training session for me in the new law firm. Lots of reading and writing. Unfortunately, I still don't have a computer and a phone so I have had to try and squat upon other people's stations to get some stuff done. The firm is a huge law firm with somewhere between 1000 to 1500 people. It is not really a law firm as much as a beureaucratic automaton. After spending time in a photofinishing firm and wearing jeans and all that easy stuff, I have had to try and dress more conservatively.

Two of the cousins of the SO visited last week. They were the younger cousins, aged 21 and 19. Both are in college and trying to establish some semblance of a life. It is interesting to note how different the cousins are from each other. These two were particularly nice and laid back. They were so laid back that in some way, they really need to learn how to speak up when they are unhappy. I suppose that it will come with age.

We picked them up on Friday evening. The SO got the instructions from mapquest and it gave us this screwy, swerving, frightening road map to the house in SF. The house was located near Golden GAte Park, but it was not in the middle of anything. In short, there was nothing interesting in the neighborhood. No coffeeshops, stores or anything. It was like suburbia in the the middle of SF.

To entertain the cousins, we took them to Sai-Sai which is a Japanese restaurant in Oakland. We ordered so much food that in the end, the restaurant gave us some dishes as a complimentary gift. I ordered the grilled mackerel which has become my favorite. The SO ordered the cold buckwheat noodles with the sashimi. The younger cousins did not really eat raw fish so the SO and I had it for ourselves. In addition to that, we ordered three kinds of rolls which pretty much crowded the table with food.

Once we got home, the cousins saw how messy the place was and they began to clean. Talk about obsessive-compulsive. They first did the table because they were cooking kamoteng-kahoy cake (cassava cake). Then it spread. They had to put away the pens on the table. They saw the living room and they started in on the living room. Two hours later, the other cousin was not satisfied and she started in on the refrigerator. Talk about O-C!!! Man, she would not let me sleep until that fridge was clean. She was going to start in on the freezer until we told her that we had cleaned it two weeks ago.


Saturday morning was scheduled for the Asian Art Museum where a Maguindanao wedding was performed by members of KulArts and some visiting Maguindanao artists in front of nearly 200 people. Yours truly was the back-up groom. I actually got the call from the SO on Thursday that they needed as groom. On the one hand, I was flattered and wanted to do it. On the other hand, I was very hesitant since who was going to be the bride? If it were the SO, then it would not have been a problem. But if it were another person, well, all bets are off.

As it were, I was featured as the "Bintang" who carries the gold bars in a bronze container. The groom was the son of the datu and the successor to the principality. He was followed by a man carrying a sword; the man is the second in line to the succession. Then, it was me with the gold bars. Around the groom were two women carrying umbrellas, and another woman acting as a bintang.

We practiced the procession several times. Actually, we did it so many times that it was becoming a bear to carry the bintang. Holy cow, so this is how it is to be an actor. I had to be concious about how to act and where I was looking so that the illusion is not broken. As each procession occurred, the director fixed and manipulated the dancers and actors. There were so many changes that it was a wonder that we remembered what to do.

Usually, I watch the show behind the camera. This time around, I was the subject. It was surreal in the sense that it felt like being a character. I missed the camera and the shots that I could have made. I saw one of our friends trying to get photos of his wife. I started laughing inside because I was just trying to be in his head. Ooops, missed that one. Don't move!!! Oops, one second too late. Just missed that photo. Gotta reposition. Ow, that hurt. Where am I?

In the end, we (the guests and the performers) did pretty darned well. The set-up worked and people were lost in the illusion.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Religion and Thoughts

Here's a blog by someone who actually thinks when it comes to religion. MulingSilang is the Pin@y Blog of the Day for the 30th of May in the year of the Pinay 2005.
If you get this for guys, it would be hilarious

Bwahahhahaha. This thing would light up every hour if it were used on a teen-age boy.
Bahay Kubo

Synesthetique is the Pin@y Blog of the Day for the 28th of May in the year of the Pin@y 2005. She learned Bahay Kubo and made sigarilyas into pot. Bwahahahah! Watch her as he learns what it means to be human in the Philippines.

She wants to be a teacher.

She wants to go to San Francisco.

Read her story.

Jodisini is the Pin@y Blog of the Day for the 29th of May in the year of the Pin@y 2005.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

You Have Got to Be Kidding Me

I was eating happily at my new workstation. J who is my trainer and the person I am replacing in the law firm came over and saw the SO's picture. He suddenly became very animated and says the So's name. My jaw drops and can't believe that it has happened again. The SO knows someone in my world. It seems that more and more, a lot of people know the SO. As you will know, I's wife was a friend of the SO during high school.

It does not stop there. It turns out that I's wife was also one of my students a looong time ago in the cancer class. I can only hope that when I was teaching that I was actually good and reasonable. I remember that I was a damned *sshole when I began teaching. I had pretentions of grandeur. Later on, I just had self-knowledge that I could get anyone an A no matter how good they were. If they followed my advice, they would get the higher score. Hell, I even had some students who had dyslexia who got B's because I was their TA.

It is a small world indeed as evidenced by this episode. In fact, I saw in the meeting another person who I had interviewed with about three to four years ago. I don't know what happened to him in his old law firm.

Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you. I got a job in a law firm. From my adventures in a photo processing plant to a law firm. I tell you. It will be interesting. I am back in my old school.
Singing can be hard

as the SO has mentioned, we have bought the magic sing microphone as an incentive for my winning the money group TUBIG last year. IT has brought many levels of enjoyment in my life. However, the one I bought is the latest one and the algorithms are a bit harder to surpass.

I was watching American Idol and was hoping that Bo Bice would win. No such luck. However, I can understand how one can have different parts of a song get screwed up with pitch and tone. Still don't know the differene between either of those. All I know is that I got a 91 for "Dahil Sa Iyo" in the professional mode. The last sets of pharases threw me off. otherwise, it would have been a 96.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Bisaya ka man gid?

I enjoyed hearing Bisaya when I was younger. My yaya was from there. Check the Bisaya Blogger. She's the Pin@y Blog of the day for the 23rd of May in the year of the Pin@y.
Eat, Food, Drink

For the 22nd day of May in the year of the Pin@y, titagurl is the PIn@y Blog of the day.
Star Wars Episode III

Went to the Grand Lake Theatre yesterday for the 6PM showing. The moviehouse is great because it accomodates many, many people. There were good seats available for everyone depending on one's temperatment. The middle seats are obviously prime seats. I personally prefer the side aisle handicapped locations for the space afforded. There was also a showing of the Mighty Wurlitzer. Very few places offer this grand tradition of the moviehouses. Who can play organs nowadays?

I was not as excited since one pretty much knew that Darth Vader was going to turn to the dark side. My friend A was not convinced of the decision by Anakin. He thought that it was too easy. Well, Anakin was never the sharpest one in the bunch.

The rest of the movie was great. I enjoyed the fight scenes, though the SO said that it did not develop the characters any. I would have chopped off Darth's head at the end instead of leaving him burning on the soil. But that is just me. It's that Pin@y in me I guess.

Afterwards, it was dinner at a Cambodian Laotian restaurant. Good food, just small portions.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Pictures of redoing a house

If you are ever interested in rehabilitating a house, go to this site.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Come with me to the DARK SIDE

BWahahahhaha! I just followed my instincts and look where it led me!!!

Hut Hut Hut

Hey, this is a pretty good test! It pegged me really well!

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Another Pin@y


I just wanted him up here so I can revise later.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Feng Shui
Feng shui is a description of how energy in the land and your dwelling flows. It is a Chinese cultural tradition which was told to me through the SO's martial arts teacher. The SO became a practitioner of feng shui because her teacher (and mine) became aware of the oneness or universality of energy.

The basic idea is the each area of the house represents a particular area in a person's life. There is the prosperity / money corner, the children corner, the relationship corner and the community corner. If the prosperity location is not present in the house, most likely, that person's life will have problems with money.

During R's wedding in Las Vegas last year, somehow or the other, the topic drifted to feng shui. Another person in the table asked "How can you believe that? You are a scientist?" My reply was "It is precisely because I am a scientist that I believe in it."

In my line of work, patterns and probabilities in the form of statistics govern the way things occur. Logic, physics, chemistry and biology are known quantities to me. I have spent half of my life studying these disciplines. So when feng shui begins to create patterns and twist statistics, I begin to pay attention.

Several weeks ago, someone in the floor of the condos passed away. She was a single woman with no husband or children. However, she was a very active participant in the House association and in the SPCA. Today, we sneaked into the open house to examine her abode. True enough, in the relationship and children locations were the the two bathrooms. The physical layout of her home once again reflected her life.

Occurrences like this jar my way of thinking with respect to feng shui. Yes, my scientific mind can not explain the rationale. But when I see a pattern often enough, I have to believe that my science is not advanced enough to see or understand the phenomena which I am seeing. Then, I have to choose faith.
Karaoke Magic Sing

The family came up for a visit yesterday. The sister's family is moving to San Francisco, and my sister had to come in for a physical. My brother decided that he might as well come up since my uncle was celebrating his 76th birthday. How time flies. Twenty-three years ago, we landed in America as teen-agers. Now, we are adults, with one of us about to have three daughters. The party was served with the usual tasty Filipino food. Lechon, mussels, pork, beef, and chicken were the basics. Cakes and madjong are for the dessert.

My brother surprised everyone by bringing out the Magic Sing microphone. Who would have ever thought that he would buy one, much less bring it to a family party? Initially, no one except the SO wanted to sing. In fact, the SO nearly jumped off of her seat to grab the mike. There have been instances of the SO borrowing her mom's magic mike and singing the night away.

My cousin J was the first one to try his hand at it. I requested an Ilocano song and he obliged with "Dungdungwen Canto." He must have needed some practice because the mike gave him a 75. When the SO began, she started a list of songs that garnered her 90's and above. This of course brought out the competition. One of our couple-cousins ended up singing. The wife received a 99. She brought the house down with her rendition. Her husband suggested that the mike was sexist because it always gave a great score to the women. Eventually, the husband topped it off with a 100 at which time he retired.

I was initially very shy and unsure of myself. But hey, you are among family. Bwahahahha. So I looked and looked and finally started singing with my very own rendition of Bahay Kubo. When I took the mike everyone was very intent on what I was going to sing. When I started, everyone howled, laughed and some almost fell offf their seat. I continued singing even with the noise. Aba! Pop-star ata ako! My cousin J started throwing balled-up newspapers at me. In fact, he ran out of newspapers to throw, but I kept singing on. Finally, when I ended, I got the score of 95! Bwahahahha. Everyone howled. Comments were made "Ayan, siguro kung hindi mo binato, naka-100 iyan."

As it turns out, you might be out of tune, but hey, you can get a great score as long as you can follow. I love this Magic Sing mike. I followed the song with Anak by Freddie Aguilar; my rendition gathered a 97. The audience laughed. But what stopped their breath was my "Dahil Sa Iyo." The SO told me to channel Madam Imelda. And you know, I am an admirer of corrupt dictators who can sing. So channel I did and voila! 100!!!! That pretty much shocked everyone! Bwhaha. Later on that evening, I channele Pilita Corales and in my rendition of Kapantay ay Langit, I got another 100. I joined the 100 Club as Vice-President. And established the Double 100 club! Never in my wildest dream did I ever see this coming. Tears are just flowing from my eyes. Bwahahahah. Watch out American Idol! I will be the Pin@y Idol! Sasambahin ako para lang huwag madining ang aking kanta!

Come to think of it, I am always in search of things that will amuse the Chatelaine. Karaoke might be one ticket to that ride. Can you imagine her singing? And not just singing, but doing a poetry-singing art performance? I smell a book deal for her!!! How many would this be? Will this be her fifteenth?

Friday, May 13, 2005

BushShit Economics

So, am I the only one who wonders at the following: Bush orders bases to be closed in the US to save BILLIONS of dollars. Bush creates a war in the search for WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION. Bush through military continues to CLOSE DOWN bases saving BILLIONS of dollars. Now that we have saved billions of dollars from those cities in the United States, we can send those BILLIONS of dollars OVERSEAS in our war in the Middle East.

So, money away from the US. Money goes overseas. Shit, I knew that globalization was good and great. But this is f*cking ridiculous. This is not even trickle down economics. It is bushshit economics. Take money away from Americans and give it to other countries. F*cking excellent.

Can someone please give me a government who will give 1 or 2 BILLION dollars to education? I mean I like other countries, but take care of America and education FIRST!!!!
Last Day

It's my last day at the photofinishing place. I am sad at leaving the place. I guess you could say that I know the hazards too well that I would miss the pain and the suffering. I am sure at the new job that I will also have new problems, challenges and pitfalls, but the current pain and suffering is more attractive than the new unknown pain and suffering.

My coworkers have been great. It is not a perfect place, but my group and the larger group are pretty good. What I lament is that the other groups are unable to support and work with my current group. In some ways, I realize that businesses fail because of multiple failures at each level. Business is so fragile.

If one has a failure at the system level, at the personnel level and at the management level, it virtually guarantees a downhill slide to oblivion. It will be a slow slide, but will be a slide nonetheless.

I guess I will sign off from there by 2 or 3 PM today. I hope that they succeed. I have recruited two people who will contribute a lot to the company. But whether the company succeeds or not is really up to the management.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Tagalog Star Wars


gives a run-down on Tagalog Star Wars.
A soldier's Blog

Sometimes, I play the game of clicking on the "next blog" till I hit a Pin@Y. Tonight, I saw Gozar The Traveler's diary.

There was a time when I wanted to go to West Point. i was dissuaded because of the physical tests. I was never the strong physical type. Later on, I realized that I probably would have been one of those soldiers who got court-martialed because I ask way too many questions. I can't help it. I grew up in a country where martial law reigned.

On some nights, I stare at the night and wonder what I would have done when EDSA occurred. Would I have demonstrated? Would I have hidden behind the books? It is wonderful to dream that I would have done the right thing. Somehow, I doubt that I would have been out there demonstrating.

The SO heard that another Fil-Am is thinking of joining the ranks of the revolutionaries in the Philippines. It is the greatest irony of Pin@y life. Pilipinos are trying to leave the Philippines because o fthe bleak future. Fil-Ams are trying to go there to join the revolution.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Badass Grandma

Sometimes, I think that I am the greatest. No offense to Muhammad Ali. But then again, I see others like Luchie and I have to bow in admiration. She went to America to take care of her grandchildren. It's the classic story of how Pin@y's familial bonds are allowing the Pin@ys in America to work and have someone to take care of their children. Luchie is the Pin@y Blog of the day for the 9th of May, in the year of the Pin@y 2005.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

blogging bugs

One of the pleasures of blogging is to find another Pin@y blogging. Blogging Bugs is the Pin@y Blog of the Day for the 8th of May, in the year of the Pin@y 2005. Read and follow her life as she visits her mother, measures the mettle of today's Pin@y generation, and recounts the joys and sorrow of her life.
Make-up practice session and maganda magazine

Saturday was a make-up session trial with Noel A. I met him while I was photographing Likha. Noel is an exceptional dancer and as it turns out a hell of a make-up artist.

Apparently, the fiancee's eyes do not take too kindly to the color blue. Whenever Noel applied some blue eye shadow, "her eyes changed... her eyes are too strong." The SO ended up with some orange or orange shaded colors. Amazingly enough, there is a lipstick guard which allows lipstick to stay on and on and on the lips for a very long time. Check out Sephora.

As I dropped off Noel at Bart, he mentioned that I was very lucky that I my fiancee was very beautiful and very tall. I nodded my head in agreement. I was thankful that the SO also laughs at my messed up jokes, makes me laugh and makes me go to the gym. Oh, and did I mention that I tag along with her when she goes ice cream shopping?

After the session, we had to check out how well the make-up would last. As it turns out, make-up is supposed to "blend" after application. The SO and I went to the Maganda magazine reception and dinner just to check out the limits of the make-up. Apparently, someone mentioned that the SO was "gorgeous." What am I? Chopped liver? Bwahahahha.

The ultimate test was to have dinner and eat and drink. So off to La Coco's in Berkeley we went. A fabulous restaurant where I ordered the linguine tuttu mare and she ordered pasta with red meat sauce.

Not bad for a Saturday.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Carter is Great; Bush sucks

Former President Jimmy Carter's policies just shows how stupid Bush Jr. is.

And I revel in the fact that I can call the American president stupid and not go to jail for it. I love America. Go US troops! Kill some more of those weapons of mass destruction that I heard so much about from Bush Jr. Or should it be Bush the Ignorant?
Cultural Creative

No wonder I get along with the SO.

You scored as Cultural Creative. Cultural Creatives are probably the newest group to enter this realm. You are a modern thinker who tends to shy away from organized religion but still feels as if there is something greater than ourselves. You are very spiritual, even if you are not religious. Life has a meaning outside of the rational.

Cultural Creative
















What is Your World View?
created with QuizFarm.com

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Argentine Tango

About nine or ten years ago, I began to take lessons in ballroom dancing. Another graduate student in my lab wanted to learn and I went along for the ride. We got to the point of addiction that I actually looked forward to Tuesdays and Thursdays because those were the days of dancing. We got to the point of being so good that we actually gave a West Coast Swing exhibit during one of the balls.

When I began dating the SO, we also ended up taking lessons. We had to take the beginning lessons, but because she practices martial arts, learning the steps was very easy for her. We never did manage to give an exhibit. We only took it for about a year and a half. We got to the point that we were getting bored in class. We stopped taking lessons when we started trying to do some of the PBS style ballroom dancing. That was about five years ago.

Over the last weeks, I decided that I would like to take dance lessons again. True, the SO would not be with me, but she is not with me at every single moment of my life. I might as well learn to live with it.

Tonight was Argentine Tango night. It was my second lesson. We did the basics with the 8 count.

Count 1: Step back with the right foot.
And 2: Left leg goes back, then to the side. Left leg takes slightly wider step than the woman's frame.
3: Right foot of male goes left and then forward.
4: Left foot steps forward.
5: Right foot steps even with left.
6: Left foot steps forward.
7: Right foot goes forward and to the side.
8: Left foot goes to the side.

At Step 2, man pauses. Adjust woman.
1x: Left foot steps diagonally. Right foot steps and is even. Adjust.
2x: Right foot steps forward. Left foot is even. Adjust.
3x: Left foot steps diagonally. Right foot steps and is even. Adjust.
4x: Right foot steps forward. Left foot is even. Adjust.
Continue to Count 3.

Forward Ocho:
At Step 5, unlock the woman by turning the man's frame. Need to wait till woman is unlocked.
1: Left foot steps back diagonally. right foot follows and is even. Unlock
2: Right foot steps forward diagonally. Left foot follows and is even. Unlock. Repeat twice.
Continue to Step #6.

One of the hallmarks of ballroom dancing is that the man leads. It is essential that the man leads. Otherwise, the dance does not look correct nor does it feel right. There is a tendency for advanced female dancers to lead. This often leads to confusion on my side because I suddenly feel a lead and movement that I am not used to. Not to mention that my counting is thrown off.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Mastering English

In the show "Dalagas at Tomboy," there is a video where Maiana Minahal mentions that she has mastered her adopted language but has forgotten her first language. She has mastered English to such an extent that she is a poet in the language. And yet, she can not speak Visaya.

The small ironies of life in America.

English Genius
You scored 100% Beginner, 92% Intermediate, 86% Advanced, and 80% Expert!
You did so extremely well, even I can't find a word to describe your excellence! You have the uncommon intelligence necessary to understand things that most people don't. You have an extensive vocabulary, and you're not afraid to use it properly! Way to go!

Thank you so much for taking my test. I hope you enjoyed it!

For the complete Answer Key, visit my blog: http://shortredhead78.blogspot.com/.

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
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You scored higher than 62% on Beginner
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You scored higher than 30% on Intermediate
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You scored higher than 21% on Advanced
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You scored higher than 70% on Expert
Link: The Commonly Confused Words Test written by shortredhead78 on OkCupid Free Online Dating
Lourdes School Quezon City

I managed to find last weekend the yahoo groups for my graduating class in LSQC. It was great to see and read about what they have been doing after twenty years. I have spent the whole of this week reading the entries and that is why I have not blogged.

Because I left the school before I finished first year high schoo, my memories are mostly entrenched in those of elementary. It is like an unfinished movie in some ways.

One interesting aspect of the class' deliberations is the status of those like me who left the Philippines before graduation. At that young of an age, one does not control one's destiny. Parents are the key. If your parents want you to move, you move schools. I am glad to say that the class decided to consider anyone who seeks entry into the yahoo group as part of the batch. Their decision is very inclusive.

For some reason, I have also been missing the high school years and the college years in the Philippines. Though of course, if I had gone there, I would not have had the chance to integrate myself into American culture as much or as little as I did.

I suppose in some ways, because of my experience, there are only a few places where I feel at home. Whereas others have alumni groups or fraterneties, I have gotten to the point where I don't really feel like I belong. I just knew people over the years, but no social groups bind us.

One other aspect of the whole high school experience in the Philippines is that of puberty in an all-male school. In the beginning of my first year, the school was slowly integrating the school. I confessed to my classmates the crushes I had on teachers. Looking back on it, it was kind of cute. Here's a schoolchild attracted to a twenty year or thirty year old teacher.

The integration of the school is now complete. There are women in the different classes. Thank God. Hopefully, this will reduce the number of losers like me who could not for the life of us speak to women.