Sunday, December 31, 2006

President Hillary Clinton

In the middle of the Clinton Presidency, I saw the possibility of Hillary becoming President.

I believe that John Edwards and Barack Obama should not run. They are young enough to wait for Hillary. Edwards had the unlucky decision of pairing with Kerry, a war veteran who should have pummelled Bush on defense. Obama does not have enough Senate experience. He should not take a VP spot however if he wants to become President someday. He should wait and garner power in the Senate. He still has 20 to 30 years of opportunity. To jump in now would be to take a beating. Align yourself with Hillary.

Barefoot Running

In the Dec 27 Wall Street Journal, the newspaper featured a runner trying to run barefoot in marathons. The runners want to develop a thick sole of epidermis on their feet with the idea of preventing ankle injuries and plantar fasciitis. However, the pain of blisters and the very real threat of feet injuries resulting from infections is something that the runners ignore.

One runner stated that he went bare after other barefoot runners passed him by. HELLO??? Why don't you improve your conditioning? Train in a dry, environment with heat up to 80 degrees. After that, you can run pretty much anywhere. How about training without food? Without hope? Without anything? That is why the African runners do so well. They don't have any other hope and running is their lifeline out of the ghetto that is their current existence.

Some part of me admire the stupidity of the runners in America who want to go barefoot. IF they want to impale their feet to pebbles, gravel, pine needles, and INSECTS and worms, GOD BLESS AMERICA! Americans are free, but it does not guarantee wisdom.

As for me, when I walk around the block, I wear my New Balance shoes. My feet are wide and they demand protection. I grew up with tsinelas. I even had a nail puncture my tsinelas. Forget that running without shoes.

Saturday, December 30, 2006


Bryan Boy is the Pin@y Blog of the Day for Dec 30, 2006. He is outrageous and laugh out loud funny. In the Philippines, he should be a celebrity. In America, he would be a comedian. Go see what every parent dreams about when thinking that their son might be gay.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

My Obsession with Trophies

I never had trophies. Okay, I had one trophy for an essay contest that I won while I was in Latin class. I did not grow up here in the States so I never participated in the baseball, basketball, and pop warner programs that apparently satisfies everyone's desire for trophies.

Trophies for me mark achievements. A milestone you commemorate. You look at the trophy and you feel good about yourself. It might be the hunter in me. Instead of looking for the head of a deer or a seal, I instead look for glass or acrylic trophies that have the insignia or seal of some corporation or club group.

I am shallow. I embrace my shallowness. But I think that compared to gambling on football games or basketball games, my obsession is quite delightful.

I just finished the first step in my Toastmasters group. I am applying for the Certified Toastmaster level. So I decided that once I am approved, I will get the acrylic trophy and place it on my desk. At work, a ton of people place their trophies on their desks. Why shouldn't I?

Of course, I will have to buy the trophy myself. The Toastmasters group I am a part of is too poor to afford. You know what? I don't mind. I earned the darned thing. I prepared and gave ten speeches in front of people. That is not anything to sneeze about. In fact, there have been at least thirty people who have tried to come in. But, public speaking is never easy. It's challenging and sometimes a little bit intimidating.

So yes, I will get that acrylic trophy. It's either that or I have to shoot a seal.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Christmas Shopping

Christmas Shopping

It used to be easier before when i did not make money. There simply were no gifts to anyone. But now that I can afford some gifts, it makes it more complicated. Do I get them something just for the sake of getting them something? The SO gave me a great advice. “We will only give them something if it is something that they need or can use. This frees me from having to give someone something generic.

Thus, the list of materials that I have from my list are as follows
A maroon bowling ball for my brother so that he can take up bowling
A PINK (very loud pink) bowling ball for the sister in law
Chocolate bars from Scharfen Berger for the officemates
A bowling ball (BIG TIME from Ebonite) for the SO
The complete set of WEST WING for me
Two pairs of booties for the twins
A huge glass aquarium made of light for the first niece
A bowling ball for a friend of ours in our bowling team

It is quite obvious that in our past time, we are using bowling. And why not? It is cheap, there is room for constant improvement. And it is a social game. Although in league this past Thursday, there were a bunch of grumpy old men who were not so much into conversation. They were fabulous bowlers, but grumpy and inaccessible. You might as well have bowled alone.

My scores were 110, 131, 108. Next time, I will scream more ENDORPHINS.

I also went to the Berkeley Street Fair held every Dec on Telegraph Avenue. Yesterday, I got lucky and bought a sling type leather wallet that you wear on your shoulder. I had been looking for that for quite a while. I used my prize for bowling a FIVE BAGGER to get the wallet. The guy who sold it to me was named Dean and his company was Santini leather. For those looking for good leather material, his number is seven-one-four, seven-two-six, one-sixe-two-three. Beautiful leather.

And then we saw our Tibetan friend who manages to give us prosperity. May he be blessed in his lifetimes.

The other place that I went to was the LeatherMaiden’s workshop for leather belts. Boy, talk about great belts, I have had a black belt now for two years. I bought it from them when they still did not use a stamp. It took her a while to figure out if she did my belt or not. But the belt is still in great condition. It shows that I have lost weight because of the way that it is held. Awesome.

Merry Christmas to everyone!!!! Prosperity to All!!!!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Certified Communicator

Choosing Happiness

For my tenth speech for the Toastmasters Certified Communicator Award, I had to give an inspiring speech. It was supposed to go 8-10 minutes. I only planned a speech for 5-7 minutes. Somehow, I had to prolong my speech.

So, I went to the dramatic course. Instead of just giving a title of "Choose Happiness," I went to the title of "Become a Magician."

For about two minutes, I showed fear. I mentioned stuff about my earlier life. No money. Hypochondriac. Thoughts of cancer and heart disease seeping into my life everyday. Fear of being killed. Fear of dying. Fear of death. How does it feel to die? Is it sudden? Is it slow? The audience did not know what to make of it. After all, I was supposed to give an inspiring speech. Why in the name of heaven was I so scared? They were giggling. Smirking. I continued until they were absolutely uncomfortable. They were on the edge of leaving their seats before I changed.

I snapped my fingers. I clapped my hands. [Thanks Tuhan for the dramatic flair]. I did a compare and contrast with who I was five years ago and who I am now. I showed that fear and sadness is not a fun way to live.

Then, I gave practical advice. The first is to smile. The smile makes hormones of happiness in your body. The second is to leave the depressing people. Sad story. But if all they are about are themselves and how sad and lonely their lives are, forget it. Time to leave them. Choose happiness.

Now some would say that it is better to feel something than not to feel. To those, I say visit a third world country where there is no indoor plumbing or food on the table. That should shake them up well enough.

The third advice was to control your thoughts. Do it slowly. First control the small things. Don't be jealous of the successes of others. Be happy for them. Don't think about trying o one-up others. Congratulate them and you will see that you too will be congratuled in turn for your successes.

For the speech, I whispered, I screamed, I stood behind the podium and I did every single trick in the book. They said that I exceeded it when I began talking about death and using the snapping fingers and clapping hands. My personal belief is that it was an effective memorable speech because they were uncomfortable. It is amazing what Toastmasters can teach.


The last time we ate at Kansai was during its opening night. We stayed very conservatively and only ordered traditional sushi and sashimi. At the end of the evening, we figured out that you could order the fusion cuisine.

Tonight, we went back to Kansai and our palate was entertained by the fusion cuisine. From the Specialty section, we ordered

Imperial Sushi: The fish is selected by the customer. I ordered hamachi. The fusion cuisine came with caviar, yogurt and the hamachi. The sensation in my mouth was outstanding. The individual pieces looked like mochi ice cream. As one bit into the food, little explosions stimulated one's taste buds.

Ebi Boat: The shrimp was placed on top of a ____. A huge dollop of caviar and gold flakes was placed delicately on top of the shrimp. The head of the shrimp was fried to crispiness. Absolutely divine!!!

Creamy Hamachi: Raw hamachi is already a treat. Add cream and some tempura beans, the fish reaches new heights of ecstacy.

Salmon Lover: Pieces of salmon are paired with apple slices and avocado. It gave new meaning to salmon.

Kings Maki Sushi: This one was extraordinary. As I bit into the piece, the texture of the fried soft shell crab was mind boggling.

Yellow Road: salmon in and out, lemon, basil and chilly sauce. Probably the most sedate out of all the ones we ordered. But can go head to head with the very best of any other restaurant's masterpieces.

The price of the restaurant is reasonable. With the above, our bill hit $150 for three people. Include in that a meal for me at about $14 for fried calamari. I believe that anywhere else, this thing would have cost something like $300.

Th bonus for us is that the chef came over and asked if everything was okay. He then suggested that the next time we are there, we should just go to the bar and don't order form the menu. He will just make stuff as we order a type of fish. Can you believe that???

Sushi Bar & Japanese Cuisine
4345 Telegraph Avenue
Oakland, CA 94609

Friday, December 08, 2006

Maybe It Was Not a Fluke

Bowling results: 154, 129, 192

So maybe, my high score last week was not a fluke. I got the high series for the handicapped group at 711. Woohoo!!!! I also had the high score handicap at 262. Woohoo!!! Endorphins! Happy Thoughts!

I realize that I bowl well when I am happy. I have to dance my happy dance during bowling to make sure that my endorphins are flowing. Otherwise, it does not bode well.

I just heard the Bayer offers discounts for bowling balls!!!

Monday, December 04, 2006



I had been struggling with my bowling over the last two months. I have not been able to pick up the spare frames. The pesky single pins at the 7 and 10 location were just giving me problems. I got so desperate that I bought a spare ball so that I could shoot straight.

On Nov 30, I was able to put together a 500 series with a 177, 203 and 143. Woohoo! I never thought that I could concentrate hard enough that I would ever break the 200 barrier.

We were not able to play a game before league. The lanes were being reserved because the other league had positional play. I wore my red cowboy shirt because I had forgotten to take along my bowling shirt. My Wrath bowling ball was newly bleeded of oil.

The night started well with a spare and then a strike. I was trying to focus so that I could bowl well. For some reason, I thought that I could bowl a 200 game. The first game was definitely going well. I was able to find the line between oil and dry and the ball kept getting strikes. The tenth frame was the adventure one because I ended up throwing a gutter ball after a strike. I lost 20 pins because of that.

The second game, I forced myself to relax because I had already bowled a fabuloug game. This time around, I was able to accomplish the feat of a 200 game.

With bowling, I can ask the question "Who needs Kobe when I got me?"

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Rooting for Melody Lacayanga


When Fox was showing the show "So You Think You Can Dance," I openly rooted for all the Asians and the Pin@ys in the show. After all, it was not everyday that I saw Asians and Pin@ys on television without a white man as a husband or boyfriend or groom. For that matter, I still don't see Asian men on television as the husband, boyfriend or groom of Caucasians.

It was a thrill to watch Melody dance in the show. But the thrill got to be so much that I ended up not watching the show in the end. I did not want any cortisol coursing through my body.

So I was surprised last night to hear that "the Filipina in the dance show" was at my niece's debutante ball. I was surprised to say the least. Apparently, Melody Lacayanga was a first cousin to the debutante. Not only that, it turned out that Melody has a sister who is a very talented singer also. They both served as the hostess of the evening.

It was four degrees of separation. I know my second cousin L. L married M. M is the sister of Melody’s mother.

Melody was about five feet and two inches. As a dancer, her body was fit and trim. In fact, I saw muscles that usually can only be seen in the abdominal area when the skin is peeled off during anatomy dissection. Melody flew off the floor during her dance performance. I am always in awe of dancers. To have such fine control over their bodies.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

49ers are just cursed

So the niners want to leave SF. Bwahahhahah. Sen Feinstein is introducing a bill so that the niners will have to leave the SF moniker and the 49ers name.

As they the niners screwed up the SF Olympic bid, now they will have to pay for it.

JROTC out in San Francisco

As a Republican, I look at SF and see the extremes. Just recently, the city decided to shut down the Junior ROTC program. In the television news show, hundreds of young students were demonstrating for JROTC!!!! And the city decided to get rid of it.

Absolutely stupid.

Canada Vacation

Canada Vacation

The vacation began after the wedding of Ninong A on Saturday Nov 4. “A little rushed because of the hectic schedule. But, we actually managed to wake up on time to leave for the airport. Travelling with us were the two blue Samsonite suitcases which were wedding gifts, the Nikon D70s camera, the two newest his and hers bowling balls, and two computers. The bowling balls went into its own separate bag because of the weight restrictions. If placed inside the Samsonite, the luggage exceeded the 50 pound weight limit.

The first stop was at Seattle through Alaska Airlines. It’s a beautiful plane, but their tickets are a tad expensive. On the plane, two guys who weighed over 300 lbs sat next to each other. That was a difficult and painful experience to observe. The ride was uneventful. At Seattle, I marveled at the glass enclosure. Surely, technology is a wonderful thing. It allowed people to create great structures like airports made of steel and glass. We ended up winetasting at an airport store. It was not bad. Either my tastebuds are maturing or I was hallucinating. But I could taste what the winenotes said.

We got to Edmonton using Horizon Airlines. Thankfully, the SO booked a jetplane instead of a propeller plane. WE got to the West Edmonton Mall at about 7 o’clock. The roads were icy and the shuttle driver was driving slowly. We managed to geet to the opening reception for the SO’s conference. It was at the waterpark. Pretty nice enclosure that contained a very big beach. There were waterslides and bungee jumping. We had dinner with two delegates, one from UC Davis and another from Texas.

We had to order room service on Sunday night. I ordered fried chicken and French fries while the SO got spinach artichoke dip. Tip. Don’t order the dip.

Monday morning, I managed to wake up late. But I still went for a walk. It took me about 1.5 hours to walk around. The mall was huge. The winter light lit up the mall in the morning. By the time I walked at 11 oclock, the mall already had people walking around and working. I was relieve to see an Asian store where they sold bread, Chinese food and Asian food. For the last week, I have been eating peanut butter and jam sandwiches.

The room that we stayed at was a smoking room. It was on the Hollywood floor, which meant black walls and mirrors all around. The room had a Jacuzzi. When we first entered, the temperature was 25 deg Celcius. I had to adjust the temp lower because it was too warm. I also had to buy Febreeze to get the smoke smell out. I tell you, Febreeze works like magic. The smoke smell was decreased substantially. Even four days later, the smoke smell is not as strong.

While the SO was out, I was on my own. Monday, I basically walked around the mall and was taking photos. I saw a class of figure skating at the ice rink. Yup, they have ice rink in the mall. The figure skaters skated for nearly three hours as they practiced their skills. Pretty dedicated.

For dinner, we met up with other conference attendees. It was a large group of about 12 that went to a standard steak place. We ended up splitting into two groups. Luckily enough, I was with the Berkeley contingent who were fun. I had to order the whole rack of ribs, which I am paying for right now through my gout pains. But, I’m on vacation! Later on, we went to a hotel room where one of the attendees mixed vodka with red bull. It was pretty good. The SO and her office mates called up their boss. I ended up talking to him.

Tuesday, I woke up really late. That was the day the SO gave her presentation. I had to check up on a syllabus for a class I am teaching at a city college. I tell you, I missed teaching! It was awesome. In the afternoon, off to bowling. Hehehe. I had to practice STONES. That’s what they call it besides ten pin bowling.

Tuesday evening, off to Whyte Avenue. The same folks who went to the Moxie’s Grill went on Tuesday. Another attendee wanted to go, but she did not have a jacket. It was a goood thing because it ended up snowing later on. Dinner was at an Italian restaurant. The folks were looking for a karaoke bar. However, we basically did a pub crawl. First up was an Irish bar called Filthy MacNasty. Apparently, they did not know what a carbomb was. It was supposed to be a pint of guiness with Jameson whisky. The bartender gave a few ounces of guiness.

Next bar was at Hudsons which is on Gateway and Whyte. Pretty nice restaurant / bar. I ordered diet coke since we were going to walk to the karaoke bar Hudson’s on the campus of Univ of Alberta.

Karaoke was okay. Not great. The people in the bar were not that supportive and they sang unfamiliar songs. The group ended up sitting with some college students. I tried to speak and bullshit with them. They ended up leaving. I was rather disappointed at myself. I could not make them comfortable. The SO was supportive. After all, I am trying.

Later on, it began snowing as we were going home. Well, this was not a normal storm. Huge snowflakes were falling. I was so happy to get home that I gave the taxi a big tip. The snow usually stops taxis from working once it was 2 am.

Wednesday, I ended up walking again after waking up late. I managed to have lunch with the SO at Europa Café. Buffet. The SO went to tour the campus of Univ of Alberta, while I just sat around and bummed around the mall. I slept for two hours in the afternoon because my stomach was too full.

Later that evening, we ended up going to dinner at Tony Roma’s. Not a bad restaurant. I got the prime rib. Luckily enough, it was not very salty.

Thursday was the first day without the conference. I woke up with sun peeking through the sky. It was the first time I had seen the sun since Oakland. I stood up to take a photograph. I also went for my morning walk or constitutional. One time around the mall this time.

We tried to go to lunch, but I ended up falling asleep waiting for the SO to leave. That was not good as we were delayed two hours. WE at at Zeller’s Diner. I ordered a two pattie burger while the SO got a salmon burger.

Then off to the Canadian Rodeo Finals we went. Awesome rodeo. I was thinking of riding a bull, but after seeing them do it, I guess I can just remain a fan. I tried to take photos, but I had to check in my camera.

That’s the quick version of our vacation. Two more days and we will be back home.

Fantasyland Hotel

The hotel has themes on each floor. We are staying at the Hollywood theme floor. The corridors have black fluorescent lights, neons with the Hollywood sign, and black tiles. It’s on the twelfth floor, the penthouse of the hotel. Inside, there is a kingsize bed, a huge cabinet, and two lounge chairs. The first thing that struck me was the smell of the room. Smoker’s room. I was able to withstand it for about one night. But there was so much smell that I basically bought Febreeze to get rid fo the smell. Even buying the febreeze was a struggle. First, where to buy it. Could not see it in the Asian store. Then, went to Zeller’s and this place was huge. Finally found the febreeze in the detergent side.

The SO had officeworkers staying at a Polynesian theme. The Jacuzzi in that room came from faux rocks ala waterfall. The room looked a little tacky. Someone said that the room was for those with syotas. I can’t imagine a fantasy occurring in that room unless you have the complete outfit.

We also managed to go to the Rome themed floor. It turns out that some rooms are decorated and some are not. In one decorated room, the bed was circular.

Wedding a Year Ago

Reflections on the Wedding
1. Concern about the wedding day going by too quickly. Didn’t happen because we managed to enjoy the time.
2. Photographs and the meticulousness of Mr. Song. But we got him because he is a great artist. It takes him a while to judge the balance, height and shape of the group. Never made a complaint. Have this one picture with the classic silhouette pose.
3. The Barong Tagalog never got creased because it was embroidered all-over.
4. The four things I had to do for the wedding: shoes, pants, shirt, and show up. That is all I was tasked with.
5. It was great to see members of my old lab and grad school.
6. There were two tables that were set up for extra people who show up. My sister pointed them out as tables for the dead. One could believe it.
7. The cake was so good that I wanted to just sit and devour the cake.

Post –Wedding Celebration
1. Went up to the suite to talk to my brother, BIL, and SIL. Asked the SIL to get us some fast food, any fast food because the Chinese food in the fridge was frozen. That’s right. Icicles formed in the food.
2. The MIL was nice enough to arrange just about everything for the next day’s move back to Oakland.
3. The next day, went to Oakland to begin opening the gifts. The gifts were fun to open. There were some very generous people giving us cash and some very nice gifts from the registry.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

One Year Anniversary

This past weekend was the one year anniversary for the SO and me. Pretty fast, if you ask me. The last week had been quite busy, what with the citizenship and some chit-chat with a new possibility.

Friday evening, I picked up the SO and went home because of a problem with some food. The SO ended up going to Ikea alone and her parent's home. I stayed at home and tried to cure my stomach and my left ear which has been clogged for about two weeks now. The Murine ear drops did not work. But, I have been flushing it in the shower. And that has helped a little bit.

On Saturday October 7, we began the day in the morning watching some cartoons. Then off to the Fallfest 2006 in San Francisco. We ended up taking BART since we figured that we might get too tired.

Some of the highlights:

Definitely the Gold Wineglass Award goes to Cosmic Chocolate (925) 260-1700. Delicious as well as visually pleasing chocolates.

The Silve Wineglass Award goes to Marshall's Farm Honey. Get some blue chesse and add some honey to it. YUMMY! For the diabetics out there, forget about this recipe!

Bronze Wineglass Award goes to Specialty Wine Cakes which served alcohol-infused cakes – sherry, brandy, amaretto, and rum.

Some honorable mentions:

Sciabica & Sons produces olive oil. The wife tasted their jalapeno and said "The Way Spicy Should Taste." The guy manning the booth said that he was looking for a slogan to put on the jalapeno bottle. The wife smoothly suggested that she could take a bottle of olive oil. No response. But, the olive oil was outstanding.

Iluna Basque was at the front section of the set-up. They had a person carving a whole ham. Pretty impressive in the way that the dried ham was being carved. Quite tasty too.

After the ride back from BART, we collapsed at home and slept for a few hours. We were not able to go to her cousin's show at Bindlestiff in SF, but I am certain that it was a good show.

Sunday morning, we went for breakfast at Lois the Pie Queen's Restaurant in Oakland. The SO liked the place. I was not too into it because of the crowd. I thought that the batter was a little bland. And unfortunately, we got stuck in a middle table where no one really served us.

After brunch, off to see the Terracotta Warriors, a martial-musical at the Paramount Theatre. Check out the Chinese Performing Arts Festival site. I liked the show's mixing of western and Chinese elements. It's a different way of storytelling and certainly very visually stimulating. The company of dancers were phenomenal. Specially like the openness of the sex scenes as interpreted by the dancers. I thought it was truthful to human nature and not objectionable. Certainly, the choreography for it was creative.

I could not help but think that America with its puritanical sidestreak would have a problem with the scene.

After the show, we went to the Marriott Courtyard in Emeryville where we stayed for the evening. Dinner was at Spenger's in Berkeley. We must have been very hungry. A small sampler of oysters, a plate of fried calamari, steak for me and salmon for her. Key lime pie for me and vanilla ice cream with fruit for her. After dinner, I got her some flowers: dahlia's and a blushing bride. She liked them!!!

The next day Monday, we took the day off so we could relax and recover. Breakfast was bread, cheese and olives. Then off we went to Fry's and bowling at Clayton Valley Bowl in Concord. Ended up buying some LED bulbs for the flashlights and some DVDs of Toshiro Mifune. Bowling got me a score of 150, 109 and 148. Woohoo! I liked the sound of the bowling ball as it rumbled down the lane. It's just like rip Van Wrinkle time.

Then, back to home we went.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

How Seconds Turn Into an Eternity

I have only recently recovered from the fright I obtained from Veronica's friendly greeting outside of Zellerbach Hall right before the Bayanihan Dance Company's performance. Go read her account and then come back to my account.

So there I was chatting it up with friends right outside of the hall, when I hear children call out,

"Hi Rhett." The greeting was followed by giggling.

[Brain: Hmm, someone called out my name. But besides D and E, I should know no one here. Well, even if I know them, their voices should register as adult voices. Not children's.

Ahh, it's probably a kid whose name is Brett, or Jet, or Brad. That's it. Just some kids running around playing tag.]

"Hi Rhett." Another giggling sound.
[Brain: Err, nope, this time, that was definitely closer. More to my back.

Well, I did not feel any knives or sharp pointy objects entering my back. That's always a good sign that this was a friendly greeting. Usually former undergraduate students are screaming and shouting at me for their "C" or "B".

It doesn't help that I told them that their answers during the midterms were not really correct. How the heck do I help that? I just can't give credit when they don't write the right answer to a question.

Oh-oh. D is pointing to my back. Hmm, she looks like she's in shock. I better turn around.]

As my eyes focus on three youngsters aged five to nine, my brain processes the information.

[Brain: Well, they are calling me. They seem to know me. But I sure as h*ll don't know them. Who are they? Where did they come from? Ahh, so this is that feeling of dislocation due to entering the twilight zone.

Hmm, they are cute kids. They could be my kids, I suppose. But I swear, I would have remembered fathering three children. Hell, I don't know anyone who would not have contacted me with "Hey, guess what, you're a father now."

Analyze… Analyze… What was I doing five to ten years ago. ANALYZE!!!! You're a scientist. Go back to the time machine. Ten years ago was one year before graduation from grad school.

Who were you pining for in that time period? Well there was N. But as I remember, she was Asian. These children definitely look mestizas. Asian plus Filipino would make Asian looking children. It can't be from N.

Okay, did we go anywhere in 1996? Well, I did go to Maryland. But I swear, that was for a fellowship with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Our idea of partying was staying up late and talking about the gossips in the laboratory in the east coast. Heck, I can' even remember a blonde from that party.

How about graduate school? Well, there was A, C and K. They were all white. But I don't even remember getting to second base with any of them. Hell, I didn't even date any of them. They all got their PhD and I know they would have at least given me the courtesy call that I was a father of a set of twins and one single.

Okay, anyone else? Well, there was A. But she's a psychiatrist in SF now. I had to leave her because she was disrupting my existence to such an extent that I could not function. And, she was Chinese. These kids are mestizas.

FOCUS! Analyze all the Caucasian women you liked. Could you have fathered these kids with any of them? Well, there weren't that many Caucasian women I liked. By the time I was a junior in college, I only liked Filipinas. Okay, there was this really tall blonde in Chemistry 1A, but I didn't even get her name.

Wait, I did go to a fraternity bash. Oh, that was an Asian fraternity though. All the women there were in my Biochemistry class and I couldn't date them because I was their teaching assistant. Scratch that one.

Tutoring! Maybe you met a Caucasian while tutoring. The only person I liked when I was tutoring was B and she was Japanese. I don't think that a Filipino + Japanese would give you mestizas.

Well, let's confirm that these kids are mestizas. Light brown hair… Good tan… A resemblance to pango noses…. wait they have that mischievous smile. That could have definitely come from you!

What mischievous smile?

Oh…[looking at the children smiling] that MISCHIEVOUS SMILE! Shit, they look like me when I was a kid smiling after I had peed on the cactus.

I give up. I hope these are not my children and that I'm not about to be featured in the Jerry Springer show. I have my alibi!!!!]

As I say hello, the children say "Our mommy Veronica says 'Hi'".

[Brain: Oh, ayan. Veronica daw. Sino yung Veronica? Sigura kaklase mo.

(Brain has shifted to the most basic language Tagalog in an effort to process faster.)

I have never dated anyone with that name. I have a niece Veronica, but she's only 1 years old.

Of course, these could be my grand-nieces. They could have traveled back in time. I guess in the future, they can come back to the past and be like tourists. I should ask these girls whether I'm still skinny in the future or not.]

As I say "Veronica who?" they point to the right.

[Oh, thank God!!!! It's Ver!!!!]

You scared me, children!!! Don't do that again!!!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

I am American

I woke up all giddy and excited at six o'clock on the morning of October 3. American citizenship day had come at last. After 24 years, seven months and eleven days being an American, I can finally say that I am an American with the papers! Woohoo!

My mother had applied for my citizenship when I was in college. I believe the fee then was about $100. But when she got the notice for the interview, it turned out that I was going to be in Indiana for an internship. I tried to become a citizen during graduate school, but graduate school and dealing with the inanities in graduate school took precedence.

I thought about becoming a citizen under President Gore, but that did not work out. I should have just become one during President Clinton. At any rate, under Bush II, I have become one.

Before going to the Nob Hill Masonic Center, I had to prepare. First off, what kind of clothes? The old me would be going there with jeans and a t-shirt. But since I was the new me, I decided on a suit and a tie. The tie had the golden bears of Berkeley on it. Bought it on a store that catered to Cal alumni. But that store J. Good is now gone. A victim of lowered tastes and greater competition. The suit itself was bought in 2003 in anticipation of interviews. At the time, I bought the size 38 pants. It's a little loose now. Time to go to the store and have it shortened and tightened around the hips.

I placed the flag in the bag. Placed the documents in the plastic bag. Placed my resident visa card in my wallet for the last time. I had to give up the card that showed my youth, my promise and my naivete.

We took Bart and the cable car to the Masonic Center. Masonic Center is the place where I have watched two of my friend graduate from UCSF medical school. I never thought that I would enter it with a ceremony of my own. A small part of me still wonders why I couldn’t be a medical doctor. A larger part of me, the logical part, says if I had done that, I would be thrice divorced, working hard, unhappy, not very close to my family, an arrogant ass and an idiot. And, the SO probably would not be married to me.

There were a lot of people present at 0830 hours. The SO said I should go in so she could sit down. Apparently, she did not have a lot of sleep time. By the time I sat down, I was the seventh person in the section. Woohoo!!! Up close and personal!

It was an hour of explanations from the officer of the USIS. A lot of don't do this with your certificate. A lot of explanations on what you need to do as a citizen. VOTE!!! A lot of appreciation for what the people there are giving up.

Some of them give up their identity wholly. Some give up their culture. They believe that as Americans, they don't have to teach their children what it means to be the non-American. My skin is too brown to give up anything like that. American citizen born in the heat and humidity of the Philippines. Where sweat makes you thin.

There was a photographer from the Chronicle. She kept taking photos of the people. The Filipina woman in front of me kept fixing her hair. The photographer would not take our pictures. I wanted to tell her to stop preening and let the photographer take photos. I imagined myself as being noble. Like a king, which you are in America.

They asked for someone to read the pledge of allegiance. Apparently, I still had some "hiya" or Filipinoness in me. I did not fast enough. I should have. Next time. Hell, I am a Toastmaster after all. I can sell real estate if I have to!

At the end, I brought out the American flag. I waved it to the wife!!! And of course, we took photos outside of the Masonic place.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Voila, American Me

On Wednesday, I trekked to downtown Oakland's Federal Building to take my immigration test. Remembering the last time I tried to get my citizenship in SF, I was worried. The SF federal immigrations building in the 1990's was hot, humid, filled with humanity. It almost felt like the US embassy in the Philippines.

At any rate, I was informed by the sister that I need to pass this test because next year, the fee will be $900. Damn. It used to be $90. Then it went to $300. That $300 was so expensive, it was not until I could get a real job at a real company that I could afford it.

I spend about an hour studying inside the atrium of the federal building. I sang the star-spangled banner many times. I read the study brochure multiple times. I was ready!!!

I dropped off the appointment notice and waited. It does not take that long, maybe fifteen minutes. A gentle, quavering voice called out my name. The interviewer did not know how to pronounce my name. It's alright. He could have called me a Chinese name and I would have responded.

He checked my information. I had to be doubly alert when it came to the crime section. What with all those double negatives that sometimes pop up in questions.

Nope, never been arrested. [That's why I missed the demonstrations in Berkeley.]

Nope, never had a felony. [I'm a delicate rose petal. I don't do the dirty work.]

Yes, I will bear arms for the United States. [Who do I have to kill for America? For my citizenship, I'll do it.}

Nope, don't know any Communists. [American communists are living off the fat of the capitalist market. Filipino Communists were turned by Marcos into businessmen who live off the fat of the people. Chinese communists are capitalists hiding behind a communist flag. Nope, no communists in this world. Communists only live in the books.]

Nope, Never been outside of America. [Only once in Canada, but that is part of America. Why would I need to go to Mexico? It looks like the Philippines. It's also a lot poorer. And with that leftist guy trying to become president, you never know how stable that place is.]

Nope, never had the desire to travel outside of the US. [I got warm water in the plumbing. I got toilets that work. I got tissue paper. What else do I need to see in the world? They won't have tissue paper or you will have to squat to use the toilet. I'm just not that flexible.]

So yeah. I will be an American. Now, I just have to choose which background I'm going to be:

Southern evangelical. Knocks on doors of neighbors. Tries to bring the kingdom of heaven for only $199.99. Can't get heaven any cheaper. Well, the Catholics offer heaven for free, but they always collect during Mass.

Finnish Midwesterner. I could then represent the Philippine team for the 500 meter speekskating event.

A Texan Cowboy. I am a Republican. So if I choose this, I can be just like George W. Bush. Hoo-hah!!!

An Asian from California. Wait, isn't that what I am already?

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Happy Martial Law Anniversary

34 years ago, the great visionary, President Ferdinand Marcos instituted discipline for the Filiipinos.

Para sa ikauunlad ng bayan, disiplina ang kailangan.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Music through the internet

I am constantly surprised by the internet. Live 365 allows you to connect to streaming music. Korean Pop, here I come! Pinoy music, I can listen to you!!!

American Me

Or, rather, I should be by the end of the day. I take my citizenship exam today. To tell the truth, I am a little nervous. I have not taken a history class since my junior year in high school. AP American History with Ms. Goldblum. Ahh, those were the days… I wrote essays on the viewpoints of historians with respect to the events of American history.

I sang the star spangled banner song last night to completion. Some bars were hummed. The SO tried to help, but I drowned out her voice because I was concentrating. Francis Scott Key wrote the lyrics for that.

Washington. Both the president and the capital of the world. Lincoln. Both president and emancipator of slaves. Both executives with cabinets.

The Constitution is the supreme law of the land. Congress makes the laws. The senate and congress legislates. The Supreme Court interprets.

Thirty-seven years old being a Filipino. It's not that hard to give up a citizenship when I hardly visit the Philippines. Some Filipinos have been giving a hard time to Jim Paredes of APO HIKING fame because his family left the Philippines. But he has a great reason to. He wants to follow a religious calling. You can hardly do that in the Philippines specially if it is Buddhism.

I don't see becoming an American as giving up hope in the Philippines either. I just see it as taking care of myself. A new box. I get to experience the world in a different way. I get to converse with new people as an American.

I get a new pretty box. I should reupdate the old box too. Maybe I will make it like a jeepney, with horses stampeding on the hood, curtains shielding the soul from the sun, mud flaps exhorting GOD to protect everyone in the jeep and no one else. I'll take it out for a spin every so often. I wonder if anyone will notice.

As for the American me, hmm, better take some pictures. Maybe I'll get blonde hair.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

25 Years is a Blink of the Eye

Two weeks ago, we attended my a twenty-five year wedding for my father-in-law's brother. We became a substitute for the candle sponsors when one of the sponsors could not make it from the Philippines.

Uncle J and Auntie A began dating in the 1970's. When they got married, the story goes that they were just wearing jeans. No muss, no fuss. Twenty-five years later, here came the en grande wedding.

There were about twenty primary sponsors. Most of them though were from the ballroom dance club that my aunt and uncle belong to. The number of guests were actually held to less than 250. The larger hotel could not be reserved in time. If not, probably they would have broken the 350 barrier.

While I was looking at their video, I could not help but think of how quickly 25 years go by. Three children. Twenty plus years in America. Children in high school. Children in college.

J and A ended up getting interested in ballroom dancing. As we have seen, couples need something in which both partners can participate. Both partners must enjoy the activity. It can't just be one of the couples enjoy it. Otherwise, it will not be fun and the other partner will resist.

The SO said that is why she likes bowling so much. We can both do it. And, I can do it alone if I wanted to. Heheheh.

During the ballroom section, there were some pretty amazing moves. I wonder how long they have been practicing that. There was one move where the woman leans backward and the man supports her neck. Wow. Talk about trust. I wonder how many times the guy dropped thee woman.

The celebrants also ended up dancing with their family. I believe it was a West Coast Swing. Very nice. Very beautiful.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Mr MSG the Bowling Team


Mr MSG is the name of the bowling team that I play in. I liked the name ZOO, but over the weeks, Gary preferred the MSG reference. It is from the initials of the players in the team and not from monosodium glatamate. As a sidenote, some people are "allergic" to MSG. They get headaches. In the 90's, scientists figured out that glutamate was a neurosignal to the brain.

Yesterday was the Jubilee tournament. I never participated in any tournament before. Frankly, I was just not athletic. And the thrill of competition was something that I avoided. It was akin to the thrill of natural selection. My body would pour so much cortisol into me that I would be sad for a long time.

Jubilee was in Palo Alto. A long drive for a bowling tournament. When we got to Palo Alto, the SO pointed out all the 1950's architecture like the car wash. The bowling alley itself harkened back to the time of rock and roll's birth.

We enter the bowling alley and see people… lots of them. Oh my god. It's like Vegas. Or like a racetrack. This is insane!!! I don't do well in crowds. This put me off in my mood. There was no air conditioning. Bowling bags everywhere. It seemed nasty. The bowling floor had equipment from the 1960's. No changes at all even with the plastic seats.

We get there at 2:30 PM. The game is at 3 PM. We order pizza and drinks. I hope for the best. The SO asks if we could enter a side-contest. I'm thinking "is she nuts?" we're just beginners. BUT, bowling has developed a perfect handicap series. It allows beginners to compete with veterans.

Game 1 began. I threw the ball and felt it go into what seemed like a canal. Oh-oh. What kind of lanes are these? The approach is sandal. Thee front is maple and the middle is pine, according to a book I later read. The lanes are uneven, not like Albany Bowl. I did not realize that bowling alleys like these still existed. I thought that everyone had switched by now. The wooden lanes gives the place a nice character. I fish out a 129 from the first game.

Game 2. I resist the temptation to experiment. But I can not find a string of spares or strikes. But I manage to eke out a 140+ game. Mostly, I could hit some spares. I was bowling with a straight ball and going at it from an angle.

Game 3. I figure that the lanes have changed so much that I sort of need to find the curve. I switch to the 3 to 9 o'clock suitcase hold. The ball hits the 4-7-8 pins. The second ball does the exact same thing! It was good that no one was looking. By the sixth frame, the score was something like 88. In the seventh frame, I readjust the hold. I FOUND the curve! Got a strike for the eighth. In the ninth, I get another solid strike. The pins have more action. It allowed the other pins to knock down the 10th pin. In the tenth frame, the ball slips somewhat, but there is still so much action that I got a strike!!! A TURKEY!!! Gobble-Gobble!

I leave to celebrate. The sister-in-law calls me back to tell me that I have another one. I actually manage to close out the game with two more strikes. AMAZING. My first five bagger in a game. In a tournament!!!

Final score was 177 or something like that. Woohee!!!!

The SO had an out of this world game in Game 3 with a 195+ game. WOW. She got a turkey and fulfilled her desire to try and get bowling shoes. Awesome.

The bowling alley was so challenging that I found my curve ball!!! Praise be to God!!!!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Xman #65 Dangyunhaji - Lee Jong Soo vs Ok Bin & Ki Bum (en)

This is why I enjoy Korean variety show XMAN. The guests are willing to suspend their being a superstar to become realistic participants. I specially enjoy the embarassment of Ok Bin. Great reactions.

A Filipina Goes To America and Misses Iowa or August & September 2006

August & September 2006

I believed the months were going to be empty. But, turns out that just like any other year, the months fill up with fun and interesting moments.

I believe the last time I was here, we were about to go up to the hillside retreat of the winelover / chatelaine / avant / gardener Eileen Tabios. On the way to the hermit's abode, the SO and I stopped by Star Bakery, which occupies the old Valerio's store in Vacaville. The rest stop was to buy the offerings to the Hermit in the Mountain. After purchasing 60 sen~oritas and 3 chicken empanadas off to the mountain we went. Just as a sside note, we got the senoritas while they were still hot. As a result, as I bit into one, the melted sugar would solidify in my front teeth. Ahh, can Filipinos make anything better with flour, sugar and butter? I don't think so.

The Saturday at Galatea was beautiful. Lunch at the favorite spot of Taylor's Refresher. I ordered the Club burger. The ahi tuna was getting to be ridiculous with respect to price at $13.00. Hell, can I not get tuna at that price in Ranch 99? Lunch was at Dutch Henry's where we dived into wine tasting of five bottles. For the whole day, we consumed or tasted 19 bottles of wine. Seven bottles were tasted at Pride. Seven more at dinner.

I think the highlight of the weekend was our meeting Eileen's mother. Heheheh. Talk about enchanting. I and the wife had a blast talking to her about the province, the Philippines, Marcos, and food. The next plan is to bribe Eileen's mom with kare-kare, pansit and other goodies so that she will tell us about the embarrassing stories of Eileen.

Eileen's mom was a student of Edith & Edilberto Tiempo. Edilberto and Edith Tiempo studied with Paul Engle in the University of Iowa's writer's workshop in the 1960's. Eileen's mom told us of a very interesting story. When the Tiempos started the program, they mentored five undergraduates who eventually finished their master's degree. The plan then was to send each one of them to Iowa to study. Eileen's mother was the third in the sequence.

However, the first student to be sent across the ocean into America never made it. The female student apparently had an illness and she ended up passing away in the boat bringing her to the United States. After the death of the student, the others were not sent to the US. Of course, I had to ask Eileen's mom what would have happened if she had been sent to the US. She looked away into the window and said, "Well, by that time, I already had a family so I don't think I could have gone." It was an interesting story because she would have gone to the United States at about the time that Eileen would have been born. Eileen screamed that she could have been a blonde Iowa goddess!!!! Bwahahhahaha!!!!

So, it is so interesting to me because the idea of a writer's workshop in the Philippines was so intriguing. And then, I meet one of the first students of the writers who set up the Dumaguete workshop.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Me: Girl takes pic of herself every day for three years

Check out the inventive minds using

Sunday, August 20, 2006

It's All in the Head

It's All In the Head

Last Tuesday, I picked up the Columbia 300 Wrath 13 pound bowling ball from the pro shop. I tried it out on Tuesday evening. I had to wait three hours until league finished. Talk about excited in using a bowling ball.

I got the ball drilled for a fingertip hold. The ball is two pounds heavier than the one I am used to. But, it felt like I had more control.

Unfortunately, league night was not as cooperative. Even though I dropped by and played two games before the league, I did not have absolute control. I guess I was trying the 3 o'clock to 9 o'clock hold and lift too much. I was also dropping the ball.

On Saturday morning, I played ten games in three hours. That was not so memorable either. Although this time around, I was plotting what I was doing in a notebook. I decided that consistency had to be part of the game.

Sunday afternoon, I went bowling again. Amazingly enough, I managed to bowl two games that were 202 and 200. The circumstances were great. There were two groups playing to the right and to the left. I had to stop and basically concentrate on what I was doing. I had to slow down time so that I could feel the delivery. I had to focus my mind. Focus my hand to deliver to the same spot. I used a 5 o'clock to 11 o'clock delivery. I had to focus on my pre-delivery to make sure my hold was at a 45 degree from my hip. The floor target was the break line and the Brooklyn line.

After those two games, I went back to my average. But now, I realize, it's all in the head.


Tingnan ninyo ang mundo mula sa mata ni Hiraya. Pinay Photo Site of the Day for August 20 in the year of the Pin@y 2006.

Bughaw Ang Kulay Niya

Bughaw lives in Seattle, where life resembles Philippine life in weather and people. The blogger milkfish gives a rendition and commentary of life in America. Bughaw is the Pin@y Blog of the Day for August 20th in the year of the Pin@y 2006.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

A Marine Comes Home

The sacrifices that humans can make are remarkable.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006



I gave my eight Toastmaster speech today on the topic of bowling. I was supposed to use visual aids in the speech. Since Powerpoint was boring, I decided to use bowling shoes, bowling ball and technique as my visual aids. It was quite successful. I did not feel nervous at all. Although, I wish I can prepare speeches much earlier. I feel that I keep winging the speeches. Two more to go and I will get the competent communicator level. Yipee!!!

AND, I picked up the new bowling ball today. I had to wait 2.5 hours to play, but wait I did. WOW! What a difference the fingertip hold gave me. Talk about rotation. Talk about hooking. Of course, with the Wrath bowling ball, the coverstock is so good that my mistakes were forgiven. I actually bowled approximately 135 average. Talk about great. I had about five or six spares/strikes. Awesome. This was a definite improvement. Now, I just have to practice and find my targets.

Monday, August 07, 2006



I have been thinking about transformations the last few weeks. I have asked myself what I wanted to be in the future. Did I want to continue in my current career as a legal analyst or should I switch to another game? Did I want to continue doing what I currently do for the next twenty years?

I came late into the game. I came late into admitting that I love money. Money is a way to live comfortable. No, money is not everything, but it sure makes life easy. Money can't buy you love. But, love is easier with money around. As the SO says, without money, the first thing out of the window is love.

So I admit that I love money. I like money. I enjoy what money can buy. Comfort and security. Now, I also have to admit that I am lazy. What I want to do is to just read and become a storage house. I want to just learn. What job is like that? Well, that of an academic, but they don't make too much money. And, most of the times, they can be impractical in the business world.

Until one day, Tuhan said that Warren Buffet just reads. He reads and does the things he has a passion for. Warren Buffet is a futurist. He reads and tries to understand the future. Well, right there, I am halfway to being similar to Warren Buffet. I can read lots.

As a start, I began reading the book The Rational Manager. Then, the SO got a subscription for the Wall Street Journal. Now, I read the journal. Lately, there was an interview where someone suggested the book The Future Executive: A Guide to Tomorrow's Mangers by Harlan Cleveland from 1972. Constructive ambiguity : The people who lead in complex organization are not the people who look for structure but those who recognize that important and complex decisions involve ambiguity. Mr White advised people to get as much diverse experience as possible.

Since I probably did not achieve a second round interview in the previous application, I tried for a project manager position. It reports to the vice-president for the legal firm that I am in. I don't know if I can make it. The SO said that I will learn new things. I believe that it will let me be a creative executive. One who understands other things that are essential in business.

Already I see that I must be more adventuresome. That I need to fear less. That I need to become risk taker.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Searching for the Past

Searching for Ancestors

Got an e-mail asking me about my hometown. It might turn out to be a cousin of mine. What a hoot! It's like finding a needle in a haystack.

Bowling was disappointing. We ended up losing 3 of 4. However, the other team had to bowl way above their averages to beat us. One bowler was in the 220's while the other one had to hit 200's.

I am taking tai-chi. Still have to figure out which style. It will probably depend more on the time of the class more than anything else. I found on the internet that the horse stance is really called the horse-riding stance. Imagine how your legs would look like if you were riding a horse.

Haven't heard from the interview. Probably did not make it to the second round. The good side is that I learned what I needed to work on.

Got an inquiry for a wedding. The SO will speak with the bride-to-be.

Busy at work what with all the files that need closing.

Oh, did I mention that soc.culture.filipino is a wasteland? Not one interesting thread. I can't help but smile. When it comes down to it, as a writer, you either have it or you don't.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


Well, bowling has been pretty good. This past week, I actually managed to bowl above my average of 110 and somewhat carried the team. The previous weak was a bad one what with the gout pained right ankle. The average score was 70 two weeks ago. Yuck.

We were in third place at the start of the evening. By the end, we were in second place. We managed to sweep the other team.

The job has been going along well at the law center. Although, I have not heard about the position I interviewed for. I am still hoping for a second round of interview, but it seems remote. They probably want more experience.

I learned that I needed to do some extra work though. Gotta do some risk assessments.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Job Interview

Last Monday, I went for a job interview. The job was four levels above my current status. It was also for a manager position. I decided to pursue it because it was one of those once in a lifetime opportunities. A new building with a new staff. That just does not happen every year.

I believe I did well in the interview. I managed to show enthusiasm and a different mindset from everyone. I believe that the old ways of doing things don't work. There must be a new way. Some of the things I thought were important:

1. Positive attitude.
2. Being creative in resolving problems.
3. Communicating effectively.
4. Implementation of systems.
5. Creating priorities in the job.

I ended up reading this book called the One Minute Manager. It had some pretty interesting ideas.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Life is Full of Surprises

Yesterday was an amazingly busy day. Three, count them, three parties. The first party was for the Malasiquenean Organization of the SO's family. The party was in honor of the visiting mayor from Malasiqui, Pangasinan, Philippines. The mayor could not get his visa on time for the yearly Malasiqui party. Thus, he is visiting during the summer.

To reserve the spot, members of the organization was present at the picnic site at 6 o'clock in the morning of a Saturday. Yup, you can bet that he missed the Saturday morning cartoon shows. But, the FOOD!!!! The great characteristic of Pin@ys is that they know how to eat. Whether they bring catered food, or they make it themselves, or they make it on the spot, you can be rest assured that the food will be delicious.

I did not get to eat too much because I spoke with a cousin of the SO's who is getting married in a year. I had to give the college advice.

The next party, was a babyshower for one of the cousin-in-laws. The baby is due in one month. Mother and child are doing well. This will be the third child for the grandparents who also happen to be our ninong and ninang.

Now, for the great part…THE FOOD!!! Food like that is usually reserved for the binyag. But, we got lechon, kare-kare (made for me, I would like to think), spicy bagoong, sisig, and lumpiang shanghai. Wooohee!!!! For dessert, fruit salad, puto and buko salad. Can you feel your arteries hardening yet?

Now the last party was a birthday party for Tuhan. Tuhan is my money group teacher as well as the SO's martial arts master. Tuhan turned 50 this year and that is why there was a bash. Tuhan has created a community through his life. It's an amazing community filled with very interesting and very special people. In a lifetime, a person would be lucky to meet two or three of these people. Tuhan had close to fifty of them in his house.

Perhaps my favorite part of the ceremony was the promotion of Tuhan's students. The first hint was when the SO and others were asked to break boards and concrete blocks. Then as Tuhan prayed over the first set of students, I understood the transformations occurring.

The SO said that it was great that she had five years before becoming GURA in the Kamatuuran School of Kali. As a novice, there are no responsibilities, no care and no expectations. But as a GURA or GURO, the expectations and the responsibilities begin.

Woke up at 8AM. We slept at 3AM. Whew!!!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Visa Anyone?

Well, here it comes... I need to study and bone up on American history and English. I'm slated for an interview. After twenty plus years, I'm going to be naturalized as an American.

One of those things that I just never got around to doing. But since the SO wants to go to Europe, I better change my citizenship. I don't want the Europeans to think that I was a babysitter.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

The Nature of Drama

There are a few places where I can buy or rent Asian movies. For the more mature selection, a store in Japantown is a select place. For the mainstream selection, a store in downtown Oakland. However, the video store in Oakland is only open during the weekdays up until five o'clock in the afternoon. Considering my work schedule, I just don't have a quick enough drive to get there. So I am left to going to the store on the weekends.

It is unnerving to go to a store where I don't understand the language. For the first times that I went, I always felt like I did not belong. But after a while, I realize that the color of money is a beautiful way of communicating with store owners. Make sure you buy stuff and pretty soon you belong.

I had not been in the Oakland store for at least a year. I stopped going when I realized the magic of netflix and dvd rentals. There was also Blockbuster sales on movies. But as I mentioned previously, I had been bitten by the Korean drama or Goong. So on a Sunday, off I went to downtown Oakland.

The saleslady made an interesting comment to me as I surveyed the movies. She was recommending the later Korean dramas because the earlier ones did not end happily. The characters usually had cancer or died and so the resolution of the drama was unhappiness. But the later ones are now having happy endings. Like Cinderella.

And this got me to thinking about our lives. Do we choose to emphasize the sadness or do we choose happiness. I know that for my part, I have begun choosing happiness. How about you?

Friday, July 07, 2006

Friday in July 2006

This week, there were some opportunities in the law firm. A lot of personnel movement occurred over the last two weeks such that opportunities abounded. I had to take advantage so I had to dust off my old time resume. Being content in my current position, it was difficult to get myself to fire up the resume builder. However, though I am indebted to my current boss for saving me from the hell that was the photofinishing store, I still have to take care of the family. So, after lounging around watching for Korean dramas and variety shows, I hit the resume builder.

There were good and bad news. The resume got through the first level screen. However, it was "late" because by the time I had submitted, the internal period had passed by. Teached me a lesson. If you really want that spot, get your gear on. Ironically enough, buying the DVD for Goong served as my motivation for finishing the resume. At least now, my resume is in 80% tip-top shape.

I am addicted to Korean dramas. They are high value productions with excellent storylines. The translations are iffy, but I get to understand it in a round-about way.

The current one I am watching is Goong. A drama about a nineteen year old woman who becomes a crown princess in Korea. Perhaps I like it because I am a romantic at heart. I love seeing mushy love stories. Perhaps I wish that I was a charmer during high school. More debonair. More assured of myself. But then, what would be my price if I were like that? Would I have been married at the age of 19?

Ahh, the choices in life.

Phalluses Waving in the Air

Howie Severino helps Ramon Obusan document little known pre-Spanish and Hindu-Malay tradition.

I laughed when I read that the waving of phalluses was considered masturbation. Hehehe.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

I have Goong!!!!

Yes! I have obtained the DVD 10 disc set of Goong as a prize for cleaning the refrigerator on Monday evening. It also serves as a part prize because I updated the dear old resume. Gotta keep looking you know.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Paper Airplanes

During 6th Grade in LSQC, we made paper airplanes. The goal was to get it across the street, approximately 300 feet away.

Best Paper Airplanes

Goong a Korean Drama

Over the weekend, I was entertained by, a service that shows films/movies over the internet.

While looking for silly Japanese game shows, I stumbled across a Korean game show populated by Korean actors and singers. I was fascinated by the fact that the actors and singers allow themselves to be the subject of ridicule and fun. This is vastly different from American royalty. More than that, it required said actors and singers to be WITTY. This is something that Americans do not necessarily have.

One game requires a person to ask a question, and the other person must say "Of course." This often led to confessions of true love to the other person. Showing one's genunine feelings for another person is quite touching. In one episode, a female singer mentioned how she wanted to get to know another singer. In ten minutes, she explained her obsession/crush and it was complete with tears.

Absolutely attentive television!

One of the results is a television drama called Goong. Go check it out.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

My Harem

I used to have a harem.

However, if you leave the rats to four a cage, they will inevitably get nasty. Rats are carnivorous and if one of the rats get sick, the others will begin cannibalizing. So imagine hundreds of rats in one cage container. Some of those rats will have to be put down.

Monday, June 26, 2006


Continues even though some lives end. Three weeks ago, my uncle passed away. And as I sat and looked at the way Pin@ys grieve, I am struck that the only times we see people now are during weddings and funerals. Life goes on and passes on by.

Had a training at work in which I saw the good, the bad and the ugly of the law firm. Some lawyers were just so ignorant that they screwed up the system. Some lawyers wanted to do well in the training. Other lawyers just sat around and did not try.

I realize of course now why some people become partners, while others don't. First, you got to have some sort of brain. Second, it's all in the attitude. One lawyer in particular in the office does not have either one. She does not understand how the system works, and at the same time, he does not have the proper attitude of going with the flow. She made the mistake of stopping the work twice. In the first instance, he was just ignorant. In the second instance, he did not listen.

As for me, I need to learn how to encourage people and not sound judgemental. Damn, that is hard.

Pin@y in Hell's Kitchen

One of the sous chef in Hell's Kitchen is Pin@y.

She's probably wondering... What the F*CK?! All these candidates suck like the proverbial slime. I should be getting that free resort in las Vegas.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Colon Cleansing

I am thinking abouttrying Colonix Cleansing

Psyllium Husks
Flax Seed
Fennel Seed
Licorice Root
Aloe Vera
Grapefruit Pectin
Papaya Fruit
Slippery Elm Bark
Marshmallow Root
Rhubarb Root
Guar Gum
Peppermint Leaf
Uva Ursi Leaf

Check out a satisfied customer.

What did strike me is could the mucoid plaque be a product of the material being consumed?

I continued the search and found this quack buster.

bowling high; life lows

The beauty of life are the highs and the lows.

I managed to bowl a 154 during the first game of a league night. Three spares and two strikes got me there. In the tenth frame, all I needed were three pins. While setting up for the tenth frame, I was praying for no gutter ball. Because I managed to break 150, I get to buy a bowling ball… But not just any bowling ball. I get to buy The ONE from Ebonite.

Then I hear from my brother that my uncle at Daly City passed away. May his soul rest in peace. My uncle was one of the professionals who immigrated to the US during the 1960's. A dentist by training, he became a bus driver for Muni for nearly thirty years. Sometimes, I wondered why he never practiced dentistry.

A classic Ilokano, my uncle lived life through good food. The man can cook extraordinary Filipino food. Onions and garlic were his favorite ingredients.

Uncle Sid lived to a ripe old age of 76. We celebrated his birthday in April. Here's to you Uncle. Go find my father and have yourselves a drink.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

The Game of Bowling


We started off the bowling league last week. Unfortunately, it turns out that the bowling lanes have an application of oil before the games start. This results in unpredictability with respect to trajectory with a bowler like me who does not have the hook. The ball ends up every which way except down the lane.

Last week's scores were 113, 80 and an abysmal 50. That's right, 50! The teammates blamed it on my changing my style every which way. I blamed it on the fact that the ball would not go down the lane any way.

We partnered up with two other elder gentlemen who had an interesting way of bowling. They skipped, hopped, hugged the wall and went into the other lane to convince the pins to fall down. It was hilarious.

Gary surprised them though because by the last frame, they were bowling their best. They did not want to be beaten by a handicapped person.

This week's scores for me were 77, 99 and 146. Yup, that is my top score to date. I actually had five or so spares and one or two strikes. Not bad.

Gary the coach suggested I lean forward. So I did. It seemed to give me some momentum. I also released my little pinky from being folded. I made my feet separate from each other. The right foot about a half of a foot in front. And, I did the targeting. I started with the 1-3 pin pocket. Went to the middle triangle. And drew a line to the first circle and my shoulder. That actually worked.

After the game, I had to bowl again just to get out my desire to experiment. I ended up bowling a 123 when I used the 3/4 turn with the third circle as my target. I had some hook to the ball. When I used the helicopter style, it was bad. The first frame was a strike, but nothing else after that. It was difficult to control where the ball was released.

Here's to bowling. Here's to the middle class! Hooray!!!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Food and Food and More Food

Potluck with lawyers. What can I say? I LOVE it! They have deep pockets so everything was catered. Samosa was so good that no one used the chutney sauce. BBQ from a restaurant. Can you say a whole piggy? Okay, not a whole piggy, but it was RIBS!

I used a BBQ recipe.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Best Vitamin?

Was watching TV when I saw this. I checked it out and realized that this is just another scam. World's best? I doubt it. You should check out USANA if you want the best vitamin.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

April 2006

The month has passed quickly. Each weekend has been busy. A baseball game on the weekend of the 22nd. A party on the 29th.

Have recently picked up bowling and that is why I have been not writing here. Bowled a 135 game just this past Thursday. Although rock bowling is not fun as I could not see the lane markers.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Mutya & Maguindanao Masters

Mutya. The Allelulia Panis Dance Theater performed Mutya yesterday at Yerba Buena Gardens of the Art. Mutya means the pulse of life in all being. Mutya can refer to the the pearl-like object that is born from the heart of a banana plant during the holiest day of the year. Mutya also refers to the female energy. I am familiar with the term through "Mutya ng Pilipinas" a beauty pageant in the homeland.

ng babae,
ilalim ng saging

ng buhay,
pulso ng katauhan

kababaihang kaluluwa
nangangailangan sa lahat.

Alleluia Panis' vision is to create dance / theater works that define the artistic identity of thee Pilipino-American people. From what I saw in "Mutya," Alleluia succeeded where others have come up short.

To define culture is to define jell-o. You can try to capture, to hold, to limit it, but in the end, you need a larger Tupperware to hold everything that it encompasses. To represent a people's experience in a dance, well, it is almost impossible. The Western tradition of >ballet and modern dance take little pieces of history. But you know, Pilipinos just don't think small. Thus, we have the Mutya Project, which is due in January 2007.

Whereas Philippine folk dancing is way to look at the past of Pilipino ancestors, Pilipino post-modern dance must incorporate the present day reality of the Pin@y experience. A Pin@y in San Francisco would more often than not be the child of an immigrant. The Pin@y would have come from the middle class or lower from the Philippines. Money will be an issue of survival. For most, education will be the only vine to save them from the quagmire of poverty. For some, gangs and drugs will be knife that harvests their lives.

The goal is to encapsulate that world, reconcile it with the ancestral past, and create a work of art that will inspire.

It is not an easy task.

Beginning. The dance began in the dark like most of us began life in the womb. Three dancers wrap their bodies in a T'nalak, abaca fibers woven into silk like texture. Elements of pangalay accompany the music through the movement of the hands. Three t'nalaks were attached at their ends such that a triad spoke is formed. [Imagine a wheel with three radial spokes instead of the forty or so. ] The cloth limits the body movements of the three dancers. The dancers can not leap, they can barely jump. A slow clockwise rotation. A counter-clockwise movement to change pace. Was this dance the representation of Pilipino-Americans and their multi-faceted identities of Probinsiyano, Spanish, and American? The abaca t'nalak tie the identities into one. The t'nalak ties represent the history of the colonization and the subsumed probinsiyano or regional identity so prevalent in Philippine society.

Meanwhile, the rondalla music played in the background. "In the key of off ," remarked someone. The rondalla group played the traditional folk music. Before the performance, the band played extremely well. There was no hiccup at all. But during the whole Mutya performance, there were problems. The musical notes had a dissonance. At first I thought that it was simply an error. After all, musicians playing in the dark can pluck the wrong string. But, the error kept repeating itself. Finally, I glanced over at the band and noticed that a new player had joined. I don't know if he was out of tune or if he was making the mistakes. But the sound was definitely wrong. Because of the off-key playing, the performance of the dances was affected. Also, there did not seem to be any coordination between the music and the dance.

As an aside, this seems to be so true of Pin@ys. In life, in music, in dance, we are so bound by rules. The music must stop here, because the creator of the music only created 64 bars of music to be played. Rules do not allow our younger musicians, students or children to improvise and learn and expand into making the music their own. If an art of an image does not follow the rule, it is not Pilipino. The adherence to the rules make us disciplined adults. But it also keeps us from enjoying life.

The first dance concludes with a dancer entwining her feet in the triad of t'nalak. As she slowly spins, the t'nalak wraps her feet until she can only spin as slowly as the triad of dancers spun. The dancer spun slowly away from the stage into the far left corner, away from the light, away from our eyes.

More next time…

Monday, April 03, 2006


Jing lives in Germany; A Pin@y in a foreign land about to be remade into the image of the Philippines. I pity those Germans. They don't know what they are in for.

Exhibitionaist. Sagittarius. Sporty. Lover of men. coke addict. Prude and proud of it. A connoiseur or snot and boogers. Transfilipina is the Pin@y Blogger of the Day on the 3rd of April in the year of the Pin@y 2006.

Living from Death

Death. So final. So absolute. You exist one minute. You don't exist in another. Death is the liquor of life. Death stops you, makes you rethink of where you are going and where you have been. Death simplifies things for you. What you thought were so important now are trivial. Tears shed because of something said are tears wasted for self.

I spoke to Marianne Villanueva. last night at the Bayanihan Center in San Francisco. In the spread of the conversation, she asked, "Where is your mother?" As a reflex, I said "She's dead." I detected discomfort in Marianne's face. I added hastily, "She's been dead a while so I have gotten over it."

To recover, Marianne asked, "And your father?" Strike two. I replied, "He's dead also. It's been twenty years." Marianne replied "Oh."

In the Philippines, death is celebrated. Celebrated not like the New Orleans celebration. Celebration with food and with massive amounts of flowers. The flowers hid the smell of the dead. As embalming technology got better, the flowers stayed as a measure of the dearly departed's value on this earth.

Cancer. Tumors. Of all the diseases, the degenerative diseases emphasize much more than other diseases the regression of an adult into infancy. Before technology managed to balance patients on the slim line of life and death, parents left the world suddenly and unexpectedly. But with better nutrition and vitamin pills, more and more we see our parents become infants before our very eyes.

I was frightened when I saw my father's body be reduced to skeletal proportions. I knew as a teen-ager what was happening. It was the cancer. Or the treatment for the cancer. I wondered whether I would end up the same way. More importantly, I wondered whether or not patients are conscious when they are dying. Are their minds still as sharp? Are they trapped in a veil of fog? I hope it is the latter. Let them have the minds of infants if they are to have the bodies of infants.

In the end, I had to build a philosophical framework to accept my parent's death. One day, I realized that I could slide into the oblivion of despair. I could continuously dream of the things I missed about my parents. I could continue to pine away and wish for their return. Instead, I decided to live. I decided to take what they taught me and use it in my life. I chose to keep them in my heart. Then, they are not dead, or dying or in pain. They are alive, teaching me, counseling me. Making me realize that I have many things to live for.

But death marks your time on this earth. As a child, you hardly ever know anyone who dies. As an adult, it becomes a constant reminder to you. Time is passing. You are on the road to death. What has your life accomplished? What have you done? What is there to accomplish?

So here's to death and dying! May we all accept it when our time comes. May we accept the passing of those close to us. May we give solace to those who are about to leave the mortal coil.
Birth …death. A cycle that repeats incessantly. In a thousand worlds, in countless galaxies. Birth …death. The two sides of a knife. The same side of life.

In our reaction to death, to dying, we see that which is true in the universe.

by Eileen Tabios

[4/2/06, A.M.]

Everything is a relationship.

My family relied on the doctor to cure my father.

The doctor caught my mother in a weak moment and got her to concede, "Yes, he's dying."

I arrived in Los Angeles to hear my mother report on how a doctor discussed the best ways for a man to die, rather than how to heal.

"Doctor," I said in a conversation I plan to have. "Your role is not to advice how a person best dies. Your role is to treat illness, hopefully cure it."

I heard his thought, He's dying.

I replied with my eyes, We're all dying. We're also all living.

The words I said: "What do you recommend for someone who wants to live, with a family who wants him to live?"

Since I last saw her, Mama has sprouted snow on her head.

Mama, ever by Daddy's bedside.

F. beats himself inside his mind for having chided Dad for not eating. Later, we would learn his throat was blocked by so much phlegm he could not swallow.

Tears firmly jailed by the mind.

I beat myself up because I don't want to be here -- where Dad has shrunk to "Daddy" cradled among plastic tubes delivering antibiotics, antibiotics, antibiotics ... and oxygen.

I am glad to be here. He saw me enter his hospital room and his face was suddenly the sun. His arms entwined with plastic tubes reached forth to hug me. I am glad he felt my arms, suddenly trees surrounding him. He hugged me back but I only felt more air.

Kaiser Permanente -- ever stupid with cost-cutting cruelty. One hospital forced my father to leave -- "he's fine; he just needs to go home."

On the way home, Daddy started to have trouble breathing and they turned the car to take him to another Kaiser hospital's Emergency Room.

He is still in the Emergency Room.

Once, the ER nurse asked my mother in sincere confusion, "Why did the other hospital discharge him?"

A new question added to the list of questions which will never have adequate answers: How could the other hospital have discharged him?

My father is better treated at the second hospital.

People matter.

At this second hospital, there is an experienced nurse with the ability to dislodge the phlegm that had been blocking my father's throat for five weeks in the other hospital.

They kept the jar with the sucked out phlegm. Ugly. Yellow. And the last piece sucked out was solid. Ugly. Brown.

"Like a piece of paper," my cousin observed about its solidity.

I would not be able to breathe, too, or swallow with paper stuffed down my throat.

As if my poems remained trapped there as I gasp unsuccessfully to sing.

I would not be able to breathe if my body jailed my poems.

My father is ill and I think of poetry and and and all of that saddens me.

[4/2/06, P.M.]

The conversation unfolded as I imagined it.

I asked, "Doctor, I'd like an update."

The doctor -- this one with a better "bedside manner" than any other Kaiser doctor I've met -- replied, "He's dying. I don't know what update I can give."

My father's youngest son -- my brother -- died unexpectedly less than six months ago. At one point this evening, not knowing where next to turn my mind, I turned to a cousin H. to say, "If my father is to die soon, it's too bad he couldn't have died before my brother. It must be difficult for a parent to witness the death of a child."

In response, H. said nothing.

Belatedly, I remember that H., with whom I'd lost touch over the years, has two children, one age 2 and the other age 5.


Except that since I arrived by his bedside, his condition markedly improved. Within hours after my arrival, he improved enough to be taken out of the emergency room. The technician unplugging his various tubes in preparation for moving him said, "It's always good news to be transferred out of ER."


Later, I joked to Dad about how his improved condition must be due to my arrival. Grandiosely, I emphasized, "It must be my presence!"

He turned his head slightly, pretending otherwise. But his lips smiled.

He had called me a few weeks ago in the midst of delirium caused by his medicines. Not knowing what else to do, Mom had put him on the phone. That's when he scared me shitless by announcing, "I've got a tumor coming out of my nose."

Later, Mom would explain that the "tumor" was the feeding tube inserted through his nose. But, first, he pleaded with me to talk to Dr. G -- the very useless Dr. G -- to take away the tumor. To ease his mind, I lied and said I would. That's when he broke my heart by saying so plaintively, like a child just melting in relief, "Thank you."

As if I had the power to make things better.

The painful, conflict-ridden relationship we had all my life and, despite the criticisms he'd levied, he still believes me to be a bigger person than I know myself to be.

As if I had the power to make things better for him.

I left him nearly 30 years ago. I have finally returned.


Everything is a relationship.

As if I could make things better.

No. Thank you, Dad.

The adult ages into child. The parent becomes a baby. The only difference, I thought as the tossed-aside blanket revealed how thin and ravaged his body has become, is that all babies are beautiful.

It took three seconds for my mind to skid, turn a corner and conclude, His ravaged body is beautiful. The purple bruises and purple lines of collapsed veins caused from too many intravenous tubes. The folds of skin loosened as his inability to eat pares down muscles and fat. The brown age spots. The skeletal legs undermined by lack of exercise. A body that I suddenly realized his daughter can probably carry.

Would carry.

O, Fallen Angel.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

MIsogyny is hatred of women

I finally found Barbara's blog. While reading, I found some things which I did not see in the same light as she did. In her March 30 entry she said:

And as I am interviewed for a F/Pilipino publication in die Niederlande, I am asked, "What are some of the struggles/challenges you face as a Pinay Poet?" To which I have responded: " The recent racist and misogynist backlash I've experienced subsequent to RS's review of Poeta en San Francisco is a very clear example of what we all as Pinay poets are up against. Those resistant to our work and what we mean to say in our work will make it personal, very dirty, and very ugly. They will descend into comments about our exotic appearances, take violent stabs at our sexuality, hurl every racial epithet they can at us, and few who represent the institutions will do a thing about it. I did not believe American readers and writers could descend to this level until we all saw it for ourselves. My/our challenge, though, is not to censor ourselves, for these reactions make it perfectly clear how important our voices and presence are in literary scenes larger than our own Filipino communities, and that we must aspire for our work to change the American literary canon. I sincerely and firmly believe this."

Since I enjoy a good flameware as well as anyone here, I looked over the comments in Ron Silliman's blog. After reading the comments several weeks ago, I have to disagree with Barbara's assessment above. This goes to show you that even though I belong to the pack of coyotes, I can disagree with Barbara's assessments.

1. I have to believe that Ron Silliman's review placed Poeta en San Francisco as a seminal work. Ron's has explained or given his side of the story as to why he does not stop purported "racist" or "misogynist" remarks on the commentary. In short, doing so would amount to censorship. I believe in parallel with Ron Silliman that people can say whatever fucked up shit they want. They just have to deal with the consequences. The comments in the blog make it clear that the people who are giving the comments are not very intelligent, precise writers. They are lucky to be able to string words together into a coherent thought.
2. I did not see a misogynist statement in the comment section. Again, this is where one person can see "misogyny" and another person sees "personal opinion". To me, misogyny would be writings that depict women as hated things. [Hell, I had to look up misogyny because it kept popping up in the writings.] Personally speaking, the comments were dumb comments by dumb people.
3. The "exotic appearance" was from a male [pretty much qualifies the remark as dumb]. As another male, I looked at the episode as one commenter trying to make a joke. Granted of course, this is a male trying to make a joke to another male. "I've never been partial to the Polynesian look" is what I believe the statement was.
4. The poem that Ron Silliman reviewed is

[ave maria]___
our lady who crushes serpents
our lady of lamentations
our lady full of grace whose weeping statues bleed,
our lady who makes the sun dance, pray for us

our lady of salt pilgrimage
our lady of building demolition
our lady of crack houses
santa maria, madre de dios, pray for us sinners

our lady of unbroken hymens
preteen vessel of god’s seed
your uterus is a blessed receptacle.

our lady of neon strip joints
our lady of blowjobs in kerouac alley
our lady of tricked out street kids, pray for us

blessed mother of cholo tattoos
you are the tightest homegirl

our lady of filas and lipliner
our lady of viernes santo procession
our lady of garbage-sifting toothless men
our lady of urban renewal’s blight

pray for us sinners ipanalangin n’yo kamin makasalanan
now and at the hour ngayon at kung
of our death kami ay mamamatay__amen

This is a very powerful poem. It juxtaposes Mary, the Virgin mother of Christ and a prayer of the Catholic Church to the current reality of life in San Francisco. Specifically, it is life in the Mission. The holy and sacred is placed in the context of the mundane, the unimportant, the forgotten and the sexual.

By its very nature, the poem has elicited a response or a reaction from the commentators. Some have shown their non-preference for Polynesians. Some have questioned the juxtaposition of the sexual with the religious. Some have questioned the necessity of the sexuality with the poetry. In one sense, the poem has succeeded in creating conversation about what "poets" believe.

I believe that this is fantastic. The poem is deep enough to elicit reactions from average normal people. The poem shows that women do have power through their sexuality. And in truth, isn't that a wonderful thing?

I forget the rules of law in Jewish society. But if an unmarried virgin was to suddenly be pregnant, I believe the prize for said virgin would be STONING.

But our hero, the Blessed Virgin Mary is not stoned because she is carrying the SON of God!!! BRILLIANT!

5. There is an old saying in the computer world, "Garbage in; Garbage out." What should also apply to this situation is "Garbage processors [human mind]; Garbage analysis".

Yes, there was one wacky person out of the whole bunch. She was crazy and not in a good way. She was clueless. She was stupid. Her arguments like her writing were delusions. But I believe that she was an exception to white America. Most Americans just are not that crazy or stupid.
6. I believe that the comments in Ron Silliman's blog was nothing more than men trying to out man each other. The comments by the crazy white-girl was made by a delusional psychologically disturbed individual. I would not blame the white hegemonic powers nor the other clueless commentators. They are just not that intelligent.

I have to say that in my life, I have met other clueless idiots on the internet. But do I have to take it upon myself to open their eyes? NO. They can go watch a movie. In fact, the movie is "Walking Each Other Home" by Lee Mun Wah.

This is my two cents for whatever it is worth. I write it because even in a pack of coyotes [description used by the crazy-white-girl], there is still dissent… there are different ways of seeing things.

I believe that Barbara has certainly created poetry which elicit reaction. It's an excellent first step. But now, the challenge shifts to how can poetry elicit inspiration in the reader so that the reader decides to change the paradigm of his existence.

POMO Weekend 2006

One of my favorite books is When the Elephants Dance by Tess Uriza Holthe. Set in the middle of World War II, it featured supernatural forces with human drama. However, for me one of the more disturbing moments was when I read about the advice of an old crone to one of the female characters who was raped. The woman said, "You need to let this go. You need to let go of the pain and the suffering. You need to move on." Several years ago when I read this, I wondered how anyone could go on after having been raped. How do you deal with the pain, the humiliation, and the violation? I concluded that the advice of the woman was folly. It was wrong, dead wrong. In situations like these, it was excusable for the person to obsess and become bitter and be like that forever.

Fast forward to this weekend's POMO event held by KulArts. In the afternoon of April 1, 2006, a poetry reading was held at Yerba Buena Gardens. The readers were Marianne Villanueva, Jason Bayani, Barbara Reyes, Jason Reyes, and Joel Tan. There were several striking moments at the reading. What follows are my comments.

1. An excellent question asked by an audience member was why did Joel Tan use frank sexuality in his pieces. Joel replied that in anything, you have to put something out. The most basic of all things is one's own body. So, in his writings, he wants to show everyone who he is. One way to do that is to speak about his sexuality.

2. When Marianne Villanueva introduced her writing, she mentioned something odd. She said that in her writing, nothing ever happens. Nothing is ever resolved. I thought, "Then what is the point of your writing?" And after listening to the short story "Silence", Marianne was absolutely telling the truth when she said that nothing ever gets resolved. The two characters end up standing facing each other in silence.

3. Now an audience member who is an academic from Spain but was born in the Philippines (I did not get her name) later on stated a wonderful explanation for why the two writers above write the way they do. Joel and Marianne are creating a discourse between their writing and the previous literary writings of one genre. For Joel, it would be the gay literature. And for Marianne, it would be feminist writing. This explained a lot to me and my slow brain. You write this way because you are not in a vacuum. You are placing yourself in genres.

4. Jason Perez won the most amusing and most original doughnut prize. He wrote about the experience of a 12th grader in high school dealing with the inanities of life. But, the beauty of the writing was in the way in which Jason named the characters / groups in the story. It wasn't just the gang "Satanas;" it was the gang "Pinoy Sons of Satan." Watch out for this writer. He's funny.

5. After the reading, questions and comments were asked from the audience. I was struck by a statement from the audience. A student thanked the speakers for being beacons of light in a world of darkness. It was fantastic to see Filipinos as models of the community. The student went on to lament that he did not have an avenue to express himself at his school. When asked what school he came from, he said "UC Berkeley." This of course piqued my interest because a Pin@y in Berkeley is in short supply. What type of trouble is this kid in?

The readers however were very helpful and pointed out that there are avenues of things to try. There is Maganda magazine on the campus. And here, our hero-student said that "I am trying to break the he-he-hegemonic nature of Berkeley where everyone is white.

Now, having gone to graduate school where there were very few minorities, I was extremely sensitive to this issue. I myself have had some panic attacks when I thought I was not as intelligent as the other students who came from the Ivy League schools. But after much analysis, I realized that those students can be as stupid and dumb as anyone from Berkeley.

But back to our student who could not prounce white hegemony. I was intrigued by this perspicacious youth. After all, to use hegemony, let alone to pronounce it is a painful mission. But lo and behold my surprise when I finally see that the Pin@y student looked white. The thing that instantly popped into my head was "What the hell is his problem? He looks white. If I were him, I would use that to my advantage." Later on, someone also opined that the student could pass as a Caucasian. Let me be clear about this folks, the student is not meztizo looking. I mean he can really be a whiteboy from Georgia.

6. While the SO and I were eating at Naan & Curry, I happened to try and apply what I learned from Tuhan Joe Arriola. Tuhan said that one must stop reacting to things because reaction is a very basic function. What one needs is to be creative when confronted with complex situations. Tuhan was teaching about money matters. But I decided to apply that to life.

In the case of the Berkeley student, I categorize his statements as reaction. He tries out for parts in a play. He is given the bit parts. He wants the main acting part. The central character. But he does not want to be part of the support cast.

As the Spanish academic put it…"One, are you any good? Two, you need to be the best bit part actor. You can't start as the CEO of a company." I translated that to mean…Instead of complaining about the white hegemonic structure of a King Lear play, you should probably play the non-speaking role of the page first.

7. In the evening, the second part of the POMO / KulArts weekend began with a piece by Janet Stickman. In her piece, Janet discussed the child-abuse by a priest. I don't know if it is autobiographical. But, I would say that it is a great example of giving an audience what it wants. Drama about a pertinent topic currently going on in American society. The piece follows a basic business rule. To make money, give the people what they want.

However, at that point, the voice of Tuhan clicked on in my head. His words were "Those beginning their life's journey ask "What do I want?" Those who decide to go into business have figured out that to be successful in business, one needs to give people what they want. But in reality, to help the community and to help people, what is critical is to give people not only what they want, but also what they need.

And I have this wonderful revelation in my head. The readings and performances tonight were on the whole wonderful moments of giving people what they want. But also, to a certain extent, the readings and performances fail because they did not give people what they needed.

At this point, I would like to contrast the ending for Janet Stickman's story / piece and that of Tess Uriza Holthe. Janet's character obtains vengeance against Father Jimmy by naming him to everyone. In revealing his identity as that of a rapist and a molester, she has obtained vengeance for her eight years of silence and non-writing. The character injects Father Jimmy with the same pain and suffering as the character felt. And that is as far as the story goes.

But in Tess' story, the old crone advises the character who was raped to let the pain and suffering go. To let it be washed away by love. Or her fate will be that of the old crone, a bitter life dotted with envy of everyone else's life.

I look at the above paragraphs and realize that Tess' story gives people what they need while Janet's gives people what they want. In a certain way, Tess' story is the more successful story because there is a practical advice at the end of a very painful event.

8. I mention above how examined in one light, one can say that the performances fail in giving people what they need. But how can a person practically give people the things that they need?

One has to be creative. One has to create joy and laughter in the middle of the pain and misery. It shows people that the pain and the misery can pass. One can retell the stories of one's life to others who might be seeking others with whom they can commiserate. And one can break grounds such that white people begin laughing at one's very distinctive Pin@y joke of the barrel man.

One person who did it was Reggie Cabico. Energetic with a philosopher's mind. Poetic in the descriptions of his love affairs. Manic in his impersonations. Utmost misery in dealing with his mother's insecurities. Absolute joy in being a man who loves other men.

Reggie Cabico needs an HBO show. In one scene, he brings out the chocolates. He asked the audience their astrological signs. "Who is Pisces?" Then, he describes that particular love affair. "Pisces. You were the one who introduced me to your mother as your "friend" visiting from the islands. I was the flavor of the month. You left me on the JFK tarmac." [Note: I made the last line up to give you a flavor of his schtick. I was laughing so hard that I forgot what his love stories were.] I did remember that at the end, he asked, "Who's a slut? ….You, the slut do not get candy because you are a one night stand."

9. In this world in which everyone is taught that they are special and that they will do something special in the world, the hardest fall is when you realize just like everyone else that you are only okay. You are average. You will never be stage actor like Sidney Poitier. You will never be the singer like Barbara Streisand. You will never be the hookster who comes back from the dead ala Donald Trump.

The greatest challenge in life is what do you do when you realize that you have to work, earn a living, do things you despise in order to live. Your dreams in childhood dissolve into the ether. If lucky, you are left with education. If unlucky, you are unmarried with a child and a mother to support.

The average everyday people need a change in paradigm. A change in the way they think. A change in their opinions. A change in their decision to lead life. In short measure, what they need from poets, singers, actors and writers is the inspiration to change their life. Average everyday people want the emotion, the drama and the constant pain and suffering. This allows them to tell everyone else that they are special because they are undergoing this process.

But really, is grieving over your relative's death that special? Sooner or later, everyone does it. Everyone's reactions will differ. Some will be guilty that they were not good daughters. Some will be relieved that they are no longer responsible. Some will forever miss the bond. These are the only things that differ. Each person's reaction.

And it is in this that I say that the artist's job is to inspire change in an everyday person's life.

10. I was speaking with a friend of mine about the Maguindanao Masters touring the Unites States. She privately confessed to me her frustration about the lack of support from the Filipino community in bringing the fabulous musicians to the local area. Considering the fact that there is a high number of Filipinos in Los Angeles, San Diego, and God only knows where else in the East Coast, it is still very difficult for the Filipinos to come together and get our shit together.

In my mind, I had to ask the question, "Are the peole organizing these events in other areas born in the Philippines or the US?" The answer inevitably is that they are born in the Philippines. And that for me makes all the difference. To a colonized Filipino from the Philippines, the Moros from the South are not worth a damn. I can speak like this because I used to be one of the colonized Filipinos from Luzon. Simply put, the way that we are exposed to Moros is the way the Church colonized the minds of Pinoys.

But my friend said she disagreed with me. She mentioned that she thought that Pinoys can not get their shit together because they are not hosting "The Bayanihan Dance Troupe." If it were Bayanihan, you bet your ass the Pinoys would come out to support. Mainly because Bayanihan can compare with the choreography and the stage production of the Western theaters. The Maguindanao Masters exhibit true Mindanao culture of community music-making and celebration. The audience is part of the show. There is no separation between artists and audience. This makes for a very non-traditional show.

And to that I will agree. I will also agree that most first generation Filipinos from the Philippines do not have the money to spend to go to a show. To a great extent, it is their loss because they will not understand what Filipino culture is about.

To those wondering "what is Filipino culture?", I would answer it by telling them to go and see the Maguindanao Master on April 2, 2006 at Yerba Buena Gardens in San Francisco. Because to one extent, just because you or I fail to describe Filipino culture does not mean that it does not exist.