Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Come Find Me by Marie Digby

(In which The Seeker seeks for her seeker.)
***

As we were waiting for a Binangonan bound jeepney one chilly December night, Teacher Ayin caught my attention with a sudden suggestion.

“You know what? There was a song I’ve heard that really fits you.”

I looked away from the approaching vehicles as the traffic light hit red, as if on cue, and asked her in response.

“What is it?”

“Come Find Me. It’s by Marie Digby.”

I’ve never heard of that song. But I know the artist. Unfortunately, the only song that I knew she sung wasn’t even her original – the acoustic version of Rihanna’s Umbrella which made it big on Youtube.

“I don’t know that.”

“It’s a good song,” she said, “The prominent lines were…” She sang the lines but I couldn’t make out the words because of the street noise. It’s still noisy at that intersection even at midnight. She stopped and recited the lines, as if she knew I didn’t understand though I never told her.

“I’m calling out, I’m ready now. Come find me.”

I was hit, except that I am not sure if I really am ready.

“That’s from Marie Diby, right?”

She nodded.

“I’ll check that out.”

I wished to learn more about the song and talk about it but I couldn’t say anything. And being the bad commenter that I am, I said, “She’s really pretty.”

Come Find Me by Marie Digby

Monday, December 28, 2009

She Could Be You (Kyle XY Theme)

(In which a female version of the song plays in my head.)

***

After my sister watched the first season of Kyle XY (which I bought) when I wasn’t home, she got so interested to finish it that she borrowed the DVD copy of Season 1 – 4 from a friend. So for the sake of getting even, I ran a double season marathon when she was at work. And I loved it! Yes, it’s Kyle XY. So how late am I?

What troubles me in this series more than the unrequited interest of Jessie toward Kyle is the D4 song from the juke box at the Diner which Adam and Sarah usually play. No, I don’t hate it. In fact, I love it. But the message keeps on getting into me like an unwanted truth, that no matter how much I try to shake it off, it just won’t leave. The music was ironically comforting but the message disturbs me – yes, like an unwanted truth


She Could Be You by Shawn Hlookoff

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

13 Uses of a Small Bone Pillow

(In which my Lovely Solace becomes more creative.)

During the Christmas season, people are quite busy checking out gift items for loved ones out of the very limited time that they have. That is why we choose the most common gifts that do not really require much planning and thought like pillows. But you’d want to stay away from the very usual round and rectangular ones but wouldn’t want to give out hearts two months ahead of time so you’ll choose the very cuddly bone pillow. Not only is its softness proportionate to comfort and warmth, its mere presence suggests thoughtfulness minus the effort.

Now Sandy receives a very lovely little bone pillow from Teacher Glaiza which she obviously adores. She keeps on hugging it and thumbing it as if it’s the most precious thing ever when she doesn’t seem to use the drawing pad I gave her. Now there isn’t any intended trace of jealousy there. I found the pillow lovable too. But what is more lovable is the idea that Sandy found out during our class while she was hugging the pillow – that its uses are far beyond its being a pillow.


“Teacher! Look!” she told me in a manner that makes me imagine Archimedes.

“What?”

“First, this is a pillow for naps,” she said, then put the pillow on the table and bury her tiny face in it in an unquestionable display of comfort and contentment of a weary soul upon seeking refuge. Then she lifted her head and held the pillow in her hands. “Then it’s a tumbling toy!” she said gleefully as she tossed the pillow in the air, her smile widening every time she catches it. Then she paused and tapped the wall, creating a roll of bass sounds. “Then it’s sound of…” she thought for a moment but did not stop beating.

“Drums?” I asked.

“Yeah!” she said in her signature exuberance.

“Then if there’s a bad person, you can hit him with it. Or when a mosquito bit you, you can do this,” she said as she scratched her leg with the pillow.

After answering an activity, she felt bored and sleepy but I told her to study so she slapped her face with the pillow.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“I need to wake up.”

Then upon realizing that she has just discovered a new use for the pillow, she smiled and shouted “Oh so many things!”

And the list went on. It got so interesting we have to write it down.

1. Pillow for naps
2. Tumbling toy
3. Drumstick for the wall
4. Weapon against bad guys
5. A mosquito bite scratcher
6. A slapper to wake you up
7. A fan
8. A dirt remover (Just scrub the dirt off and go!)
9. A punching bag
10. An improvised hunchback prop
11. Scratcher for the back (works perfectly when you’re playing a hunchback)
12. A dog bone when pretending to be a dog (which works as a pacifier too)
13. An arm exercise (attach the handle with the pencil and torture yourself with its weight and size while you’re writing)

When we’re done listing and she got tired of speaking, she asked me, “How many?”

“Thirteen.”

“Wow! So many!” she said as she tossed the pillow high up in the air. When she caught it, she paused and started thinking again.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Why Parokya Ni Edgar Rocks

(In which you should brace yourself for more revelations.)


***

I shared a video of “Gitara” on my Facebook wall and received an e-mail psychologizing my actions, telling me that I don’t really like PNE and that I am just trying to impress someone. Of course I said no. I like them but I am not a huge fan. I am just one of the many people who could somehow relate to some of the songs or of those who feel the song. Anyway, we all have our stories. Unintentionally, I seemed more of a fluent speaker of street slangs than a responsible-sounding blogger when I’m in the chat box as I defended my preference on music through e-mails. Well, I don’t talk the way I blog.

***
This one’s a recent discovery. I told you I am not a huge fan. I just know when I like something after I exposed my senses to it. Just like in Alvin’s case. I know what I want when I see it. Whether it wants me too or not is a whole different issue. That’s settled.

I usually hear this song when high school girls and boys huddle in the videoke bar in our place every Sunday night or just any other night they can. You could hardly hear the main vocalist as everyone wants to have their share of good music so it becomes a chorus. It’s a loud song with a regretful theme and a nostalgic aura. And this fan-made video added fun to the song that would just make you laugh at your timidity and stupidity as you try to move on.


***

The first time I heard this was when a friend handed me one end of his MP3 earpiece and another friend, the other. We asked who the singer was almost at the same time and awed in unison. I have never, in my experience, heard PNE singing an acoustic let alone an English song. When I searched for it in Youtube, I found another fan-made video using Final Fantasy VIII which is definitely the icing on the cake.



I wish I could learn to dance that fast. But then I’ll need an equally charming and patient counterpart of Rinoa.

***
Probably the reason why their songs become hits lies not only on the beat or the melody. Their music is simple but it’s the simplicity that gives the song a human touch and thus creates a link between the music and the human heart. Who doesn’t fail anyway? And who has never loved and lost?

Friday, December 18, 2009

A Week Before Christmas

(In which my “asocial” nature gets in the way.)

Not only are the people in the academy aching for Friday to come because of the lovely 13th month pay but also because of the much awaited Christmas party with a costume party theme. But just like any other places, there’s a bunch of people who refuse to wear costumes and take part in the exchange gifts. And I am one of them. Well, not that I have decided not to join from the very start. I just felt that I cannot wear a costume that is already set on someone else’s mind. So when Friday came, I wore a red blouse with white knee length pants and kept a Santa hat in my bag in case I look too awkward to enter the hall. Now don’t even try to guess what I am trying to portray because I realized that I look like a sales girl from a store of some sort in the midst of teachers and students with fabulous costumes.

And the more frustrating part is, BF has gone home with her thirteenth month pay and immunity from joining the party since she works in the morning shift. No matter how hard I try to escape that beautiful party out of shame for my irresponsibility, I have to be there because it took place within my working hours. Perhaps I can still find a way to sneak food (when it’s time to eat) to my room and check if I have messages on Radius. You see, I do not want to feel small in the midst of people who bothered to spend time and effort to come up with costumes and stuff to make the party colorful when I am just after watching them perform, the food and the pay.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Save the Best for Last

(In which I got something good from her.)
***

My Facebook wall got flooded by numerous status messages saying their good bye’s and thank you’s to a teacher who’s leaving yesterday. That day wasn’t really a good day since Alvin wasn’t always available for chatting because of a meeting; I was given 24 students to teach for the last seven hours of that hard day’s work and I was even handed a level up test form to fill. I scanned the schedule over and over, checking for possible time to breathe and eat and do my stuff only to find several ten-minute breaks distributed separately.

The day went on as usual – me multitasking and my students giving me either their best or worst performances. But what I really love the most was the continuous ringing followed by an operator saying an alien language which means no one’s picking up and I have to try again later.

After being exhausted from talking to one student to another and trying to maintain the same energy level as the first time I answered the phone, I was thankful to dial the final student’s number for this evening only to be more thankful.

The person on the other line’s voice was very welcoming and warm. And did I mention he has a good accent? When I say he has a good accent, I mean he is trying, albeit effortlessly, not to sound in his first language. And he converses! This is the type of student with whom you’ll feel that ten minutes is indeed short.

I bet he’s cute personally, his voice tells me. And he’s so suave I swear I could already imagine what a heartthrob he must be. After the class, I approached his former teacher, hugged her and said my good bye. I also told her about my new student.

“He told me you used to be his teacher.”

Her eyebrows crossed out of cluelessness. I tried to remember his full name but was only successful in recalling his last, which is the most common surname in their country. She saved me from even more painful trying and shouted his name.

“Yes! He’s the one!” I shouted back.

All my thoughts about the 22-year-old student were almost confirmed as she faked fainting and fanned herself with her hand. She then said I’m lucky in a manner people speak during the Spanish regime.

So I am lucky. Well, I deserved some consolations after this hard day.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Happiness by Super Junior

(In which I remember one rule in dating.)

***




This music video has been a resident of my Music folder for a long time but I never cared to watch it. But after my ears complained of being sick and tired of the limited playlist, I clicked it and was subdued into the atmosphere of mostly handsome guys in a spa, a fitness center, a department store and finally out in the streets giving their cutest poses and dances and hugging everyone for free.

It would be dishonest to go against most user comments on Youtube and say that I do not appreciate the song and it’s not adorable. But I would also be dishonest if I do not say that they seem gayer than Zach Efron. Well, I appreciate the song and the guys, too. I would not have called them handsome if I don’t. But I prefer toughness over cuteness. Perhaps that’s the reason why I prefer Big Bang.

About the rule in dating, I remembered that women should not date men who are prettier than them. Teacher Kaye once shared an online correspondence that took place between her and other bloggers on the topic “Edward”. One male blogger said that he doesn’t understand why women go for men like that – men who spend eight hours of their day at salons and spas to make themselves flawless; eight hours in the fitness gym to keep their bodies desirable and fit; and eight hours in their room sleeping so they won’t get wrinkles and eye bags.


"Ano ba tawag sa kanila metrosexual - isang metro na lang, homosexual na!"
(What do we call them? Metrosexual – just one meter short from being homosexual!)

- A Friend

(UPDATED! My friend told me this one's from Arnel Ignacio when he guests on The Sweet Life on QTV.)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

My Deadly Sins

(In which it is jealousy and hatred today.)
***

Perhaps I am really so transparent that it isn’t hard to see what I conceal because I am never successful in concealing it in the first place. And the problem is I tend to measure others through my own yardstick. I forgot that not all people mean what they say and everything they have said and shown will be null and void 24 hours later.

Or perhaps I am just being so clingy. I hate to admit it. But when everything seems useless and no one seems to care, I have no one to talk to but myself so I’d better be honest.

Fine. I hate you for lying and I hate myself for believing. I hate you for being sly and I hate myself for being gullible. I hate myself for telling you I’m a witch but lack the power to send you to hell when my anger kicks in. I hate myself for responding when you start buzzing. And I hate my virtual confidante for being sick today.

And yeah, I’m jealous. And I hate that you never noticed!

What I Want (Part II)

(In which I am thinking of what to do with my life for the time being.)

***

Actually I wanted to blog about the (in)famous Alvin but I would like, for heaven’s sake, save the remnants of my pride and dignity by trying to keep mum and to desperately and silently collect the shattered pieces of me and move on. People, I have been in so much emotional turmoil lately that I am starting to wish I am really a witch as what I’ve told him so I can somehow make him emerge from his own sea of anesthesia. But I am no longer saying anything – especially not when I sent him an MP3 file and I forgot to erase the URL of this site from my mail signature. I am now in so much fear that Alvin might think I am trying to direct him to my literary territory.

So, I want to…

Buy a new book. This might sound simple. But when you are working overtime everyday and have to deal with 23 phone students thrice a week you wouldn’t want to spend whatever spare time you have to run to the nearest bookstore.

Start drawing again. I have written this on Part First. I have even bought a new set of colored pencils and a couple of rolls of watercolor paper but time remains to be my nemesis. My pencils are still unsharpened and clean and the papers are still rolled.

Go back to Graduate School. I know it would mean sleepless nights and stressful days and no more time to play but at least it will keep me occupied. Well, it also means I have to get a laptop.

Get a better place on the net. I loved you, Radius. But now you are becoming more of an addiction than a normal habit. Well, it’s not really you I complain about. But I really need something that will give me more smiles than worries and sleepless nights and tremendous “heart beat” moments.

Start up a Korean blog. No, I am not very contented with the ♥Translate This Blog♥ option so I really want a blog written in Korean, out of my full effort to type in an alien keyboard using an alien grammar and tell the world how I am getting along with my third language.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Equivalent Trade Gone Wrong

(In which curiosity kills the cat.)

***
Fine. If there is a collegiate subject called Flirting 101 I will never pass it. I don’t need anyone to tell me I am stupid. I have posted that in some of my other blogs and journals to spare you of the trouble. Right. And I am. I really am!

Remember Alvin? We have agreed to trade secrets for today. And I took the risk of going first. I told him that my opinions about him were posted in this blog and he responded this way: “I am thinking… of the blog.” to which his previous statement was “Am I one of the things you think about?” Yes, people. I just gave myself away.

You have to agree with me that that is not a secret. It’s just like saying “I’m sorry to hear that” after learning about someone’s cat’s death! We have agreed to trade secrets that are of the same weight. Equivalent trade eh? But he didn’t abide by the agreement. And then he demurred by saying “I’m about to open up. But it’s time to go. It takes time to open up, you know?” For all I know, this kind of statements were made by teachers like me in a manner in which we desperately try to sound sad when telling our students that we have to leave when in fact we’re so relieved.

Okay. It’s my fault. I’m so obvious. Desperately obvious. And stupid too. I used to tell my virtual confidante, distance is still my friend. Now I don’t know if that distance will ever be made closer. Well, this is what I get when expectations and reality collide.

End of this crap – it must be – literally and figuratively!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Explanations

(In which I attempt to justify this blog’s title through this post.)

***
I know that it is quite strange to explain the chosen title for this blog after posting more than seventy articles. However, I just so happen to recently understand how long I might be keeping the title. You know what I mean, I hope. Searching for your place in the world or even searching for your real self – as well as all that composes you is like looking for the proverbial "needle in a haystack".

We all are searchers of different things and places and faces. And I am on my own venture for the search of happiness. I may sometimes mistake happiness from momentary gladness. But in the end I know that I am searching for that happiness which is long-lasting. And no. I am not looking for a knight in shining armor for I am not a lady in distress and this is not a happy-ever-after type of story. But I do hope this is not tragic anyway.

***

I told Alvin he wouldn’t find out if I blogged about him. But after sending a file to a common friend bearing the url of this site I felt reluctant to write but sensed that not everybody are concerned about reading my posts anyway – aside from the very few constant readers who I really treasure. So now I am.

I thought my search will be old-fashioned till I met this guy. I love technology. The best part is the chase and the mind reading game which I am never good at. No I am not chasing him. You wouldn’t want to know how I chase. But after a month or so of constant correspondence, I learned how to react to double edged jokes, or statements– the kind that both intended to make your heart pound like crazy and make you demur. And I learned that the best response is to mimic. Now the problem is that we women – ok, I, am so susceptible to falling regardless of proximity. Now I don’t know if I should still love or begin to hate good conversations.

But thanks to good-natured people, I am now starting to be enlightened and aware. Who knows whether my romantic search is going to end gradually or abruptly, or is just starting to take good turns? And yes, I still have an intellectual search and all those search stuff. One step at a time? Sure. I am in no rush. But the problem with me is I can hardly define and recognize what a waste of time is once a potential crap is beautifully packaged and has this beautiful ability to make me feel good and think otherwise. So help me God.

So why The Seeker?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Pornography, Art and the English Hayden Kho

(In which the painter in me speaks.)

***

The moment I began to be more familiar with the horribly disfigured John Ashe from Harrison’s novel, I couldn’t stop myself from comparing him with the Phantom of the Opera not only because both half of their faces was hideous but also because of the darkness in them. Erik’s was passionate and murderous; Ashe’s was passionate and lecherous. I am still uncertain whether I consider Ashe murderous. But I blame him, albeit incompletely, for Suzannah’s misfortune and death.

***

What convinced me to buy this book is its inclination to art and artists, particularly painters in which I was restrained for being in a long time. As the secrets become known to me, an old debate among artists, and non-artists, rose again:

When is a work art and when is it considered pornography?

In our third year in the high school for the arts, we had a chance to have an exclusive nude painting session done not at our studio but in a private residence. The mere fact that it was done outside the school’s premises gave the experience a spirit of illicitness but it was nonetheless thrilling. We have painted her – our very professional model – the same way we do a bunch of fruits in a basket, only we are not allowed to touch our sitter.

When we got back to our dusty studio the next week, our professor asked our opinions –the only three girls in the group.

“How did you feel during the session?”

I was asked first. “Nothing,” I answered, “we’re artists anyway.” The other guys chuckled at the sound of the self proclamation. I looked back at them and we shared a moment of silent laughter through eye contact. We’re artists.

The other girls were asked too and replied the same way. Whether it was done to make our comments unified so as not to make a fuss or it wasn’t really a big deal for them as it was for me, I don’t know.

We studied each others’ works and told some their flaws and accepted our own. We looked at pictures of naked women – some solo shots and some showing them in the middle of busy painters. I noticed at once that the usual poses show women sitting on a bed or a couch with their arms on their sides for support as well as to expose their breasts, with one of their legs over the other to conceal what is necessary; or lying down with their head resting on their palm a-la Kate Winslet in Titanic; (Yes, with the signature necklace.) or just standing against a wall.

Honestly, I don’t find it pornographic, or even insulting, despite my professor’s deeper probing.

“Don’t you find it embarrassing, considering that it’s another girl you’re painting? Don’t you feel as though it was you being painted in the nude?”

All of said no. We reasoned out that it was not really us to begin with and that having them in the center of our attention is not for the sole purpose of staring at their nudity. It was all for the proverbial sake of art. For, as they say, a woman’s body is a timeless work of art. I took that at face value. Besides, those drawings and pictures were not meant to incite lust.

As for John Ashe’s collection of women who interest him, it was pornography. For one reason, the women whose pictures he took manifest an image of humiliation and insult. Although it was a consensus between the photographer and the subject materialized by the camera, I still couldn’t erase from my mind how the writer described what she saw in the woman’s faces. Regardless of whatever pose they were asked to do or roles they were asked to portray by this terribly rich, powerful and ugly man the camera still shows the real emotions beneath the surface. And the pictures could land on anyone’s hands – at the right price – without the negatives. Surely it was just another display of a fetish rather than of artistic expression. Ours, I believe is different. To pose in front of teen-aged painters somehow means a challenge to the inexperienced artists’ thin portfolios. The crowd, composed of disinterested stares and busy, paint or charcoal-stained hands gives less tension that being in an exclusive red room alone with the “artist”.

Ashe’s “interest” again reminded me of another man whose “journal” consists of videotapes of his intimate moments with women – with or without their knowledge.

Fortunately for John Ashe, he has a super discreet secretary and a power so palpable he doesn’t need to exert much effort to make people follow and be quiet. For Hayden Kho however, secrecy has a price which apparently he was unable to pay. Keeping dark secrets the way he did is like putting a living puppy in a thin box – it will always have its way out. Then he’ll wonder how on earth the truth is now ruining around him. (What happened to this poor guy anyway?)

Now, I am not having myself to be taken as a judge, I both dislike these men. As what my co-artist once pointed out, a woman’s body is a work of art, but I dare say that using it as a way to serve man’s baser instincts defies the art that I loved and that’s where another story starts.

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Stranger by Chris Van Allsburg

(In which I learn by asking.)
***
One of my telephone students is using a book from the new program under the category SENIOR. However, my class with him makes me think as to whether he lacks confidence or he’s just plain lazy which brings in ineffectiveness since he doesn’t respond like a senior in our class. Now we’re on another story by Chris Van Allsburg. We have taken up The Garden of Abdul Gazasi in the previous book (which is another post worthy story) and now we’re on The Stranger.

The moment I saw the cover page I noticed that mystery is the dominant flavor of this story. Not only because the book says so but because of the natural dark aura that its totality brings. However, the darkness that emanates from it is not something you’ll be scared of but rather something that will make you think.

I asked my student, “What’s the season described in this story?”

“Uhmm…”

“Yes? What season is it?”

“Fall?”

“Oh. Is it already fall?”

“No. but it will be.”

So I went on asking what fall looks like and how he finds it, which resulted to more hmm’s and ahmm’s than sensible sentences. Then I asked what Farmer Bailey felt and what happened next.

“He felt a cool breeze?”

“Good. And then?”

“He heard a thump.”

“What does he think it was?”

“A deer.”

“So there was an accident and he thought he hit a deer. Let’s move on.”

“What did Mr. Bailey found on the road?”

“A man.”

“What do you think was his reaction?”

“He must be surprised?”

“What did he do next?”

“He went closer to the man.”

When I asked him what Farmer Bailey feared the most and after being subdued in dead air, I said, “He was afraid that he might have killed him, don’t you think so?”

He agreed like he has always done.

“Okay. What did the man do afterwards?”

He answered by reading the text and I asked him to answer in his own way. He refused so I have to provide a “scaffold” for him.

“He opened his eyes and got terrified. Then he got up.”

As I saw that the text was longer, I had to make sure he really understood it and asked literal questions.

“Where did the farmer take him?”

“What do they think of the stranger?”

“What is the doctor’s diagnosis?” In this point I had to define diagnosis. Then I asked about the thermometer.

“What is the use of a thermometer?”

“To get the temperature? If it’s hot or cold?”

“How do you know if it’s hot or cold?”

“The mercury. If it’s low, it’s cold. If it’s high, it’s hot?”

“Okay. Why did the doctor tell them to throw the thermometer away?”

“Because it’s broken.”

“What seems to be the problem?”

“The mercury was stuck at the bottom.”

After asking the obvious literal questions, I then asked about the strange things that he noticed in this part.

“The stranger is strange.”

“Why?”

“Maybe he doesn’t know the soup?”

“He seemed to be ignorant about the soup. But then he lost his memory according to the doctor, right? What about the temperature?”

Silence.

“Mrs. Bailey shivered, right? It must be cold then.”

“Aaahhh.”

Then we talked about the rabbits. He seemed to understand that part so we moved on.

This time I asked him what kind of person the stranger was, aside from him being strange.

“He’s a good worker.”

“Why do you think so?”

“He can use the pitchfork well.”

“Okay. What else?”

“He works hard and well.”

I was supposed to hiss or sigh at these exhausting moments of bringing out his interest to talk more.

“Good. Is there anything strange in this part?”

Silence.

“Do you think he gets tired?”

“No.”

“Why?”

“He didn’t even sweat.”

Again, he used the text in verbatim but I didn’t care.

“What in this scene is he fascinated about?”

“The geese?”

“What about these geese?”

“They are in V formation.”

So I went on asking when geese do the fascinating V formation and after some encouragement, we arrived at the answer that it happens in autumn.

So now we have talked about how long the stranger had been there as well as the changes that took place, or were supposed to take place but didn’t.

“The trees in their farm were still green.”

“How about the other trees?”

“They were red and orange.”

“What does the stranger prefer?”

“Red and orange.”


So it was obvious something was wrong. And of course we have to understand it.

“How does the stranger feel as each day pass?”

“He feels sad?”

I grew tired of this exchange of interrogations when he’s supposed to answer with a declarative sentence. “Are you asking me?”

He gave out his little laugh with the light touch of the k sound and said “No. he feels sad.”

“Why does he feel sad?”

“There is something wrong, he thinks. Maybe.”

“What did he do as he becomes more upset?”

“He pulled a leaf and blew on it.”

“Did he intend to do it?”

Silence.

“He did it without thinking. It was as if it was second nature to him.”

“Aaahh..”

As we took a look at the picture, I asked, “What happened to the leaf?”

“It becomes red.”

We talked about the departure and what happened after it.

“The trees were not green anymore.”


“Did the strange things stop happening when the stranger left?”

“No.”

Right. In fact, it becomes nothing less than strange. I asked him why and we talked about the trees in the farm and the words etched in frost.

What makes this story worth reading is that you have to activate your senses to understand it. It could be like any other story since descriptive images were created by writers to make the scenes vivid. But since this is a mystery, there is at least one core question to answer at the end of the story and you have to cite reasons to give justice to your deductions. As I ask questions, I try to look even for the simplest clue that is there and link it with the other ones I’ve found and see if they make sense. It makes our class exciting since you try to help the student forebode and to increase his interest and excitement. I just hope I was able to do that with the kind of student as cold and unfeeling as this one.

Now the question is, who’s the stranger?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Dreadful December is Coming!

(In which blasphemy is the last thing I mean.)
***
People would usually avoid being in or ending a relationship on special events; i.e., birthdays, Valentine’s Days, Christmases and New Years to prevent the suffocating feeling of being reminded of how sweet those days used to be until we got dumped. However, we often forget that the first and the last days are not the ones that really count. It’s all the days within the relationship that you’ll be reminded of.

I was actually tempted to have a three-month older version of Green Day’s song as the title of this post. But I realized that waking after December isn’t really a good idea since January is another month to hate and the months that follow are hurtful and desperate. I can’t sleep all year long. Right. The happiest days of my life so far ends in January and begins on I-don’t-know-when. But it was the approaching of December which brings me to another half-burned, half-elated state of being.
You just know when it’s December by the mere picture of everything. You can even feel it and smell it. I don’t know how to describe its odor. I just know when the air smells like Christmas.

And Christmas used to be a happy moment. We didn’t start then nor end. That’s the point. It’s one of those times within the bonding moments I just can’t let go. As for me, I can give away the first meeting for anything. Especially when I think of what mess I had made of myself since then. And who wants to remember the parting of the ways? But when all is over, all that remains is the memories. And happy were those memories. When I saw the pretty Christmas tree being put up by our lovely officemate, it seems like time is moving backwards, though only internally. I seem to be the only one who goes back in time and all was looking forward.

I don’t think there is any point of avoiding any memorable day before making and breaking somebody’s heart aside from saving the sanctity or anything of that day. It’s not just about the lovely Christmas tree. Not about the expensive one-hour long distance call which was shortened by fifty percent to save the other half for New Year’s Eve. It’s not the Christmas card with the lovely message though grammatically incorrect. It’s not those days – not even the best day – that really break me into droplets at the slightest thought of it. For the daily calvary is indeed more painful than a single day.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

On Losing and Mourning

(In which I got someone who somehow understands in the form of printed text.)

***

After finishing The Four Temperaments, which is about the complex love affair of a ballerina with a violinist and his son as well as with her dream of becoming a star, I started reading the novel I bought together with it on a secondhand books store.

The Nightingale’s Nest is about Pamela Griffe, a girl who lost his husband three days after their marriage when the man was sent to fight in The Great War. She then works for a couple who owns a gallery years after. Their home and the people they know will eventually add another life-changing chapter to Pamela Griffe’s life.

Here are two paragraphs relating to how she felt when her beloved husband was taken because of his duty to defend his nation.

We only had those few days, but they changed my life forever. It wasn’t only grief that separated me from other single girls of my age; it was that I joined the ranks of the widows. We were no rarity value; there were tens of thousands of us, each dragging her individual tragedy like an untidy packed suitcase, a disobliging memento mori for the as-yet unbereaved. Even my parents managed to give the impression that for me to miss Matthew too much, or to show that I did, would be something like bad form, when so many others out there were in the same position. And many of them, their tone gently implied, almost as if comforted by the fact, had been married for years, and had children. It was as if my fledging marriage to Matthew did not, could not, count for so much as all those longstanding ones, exemplary or otherwise.

. . . In telling me that I was in some in some way fortunate to have lost Matthew before things went any further, before we had built a life together or got to know each other better, or had a family. . . they were driving the very aspect of my loss which I found more agonising.

I always hear people – whether celebrities or common people – console a brokenhearted person after a breakup by saying that it is better that it had ended rather earlier before too many times were spent together and too many memories were made. They would even give the example of a couple being together for ten years, got married and later found out that they were not really meant for each other and have to separate.

“See? At least you were saved from that fate!” they will say.

But, regardless of the consolation the early parting might give you for saving you of more sweet days to be recalled painfully and be forced to extinguish from your mind forever so as not to incur any more pain, the fact that you have lost never changed. You don’t need ten years, or children or a marriage to know that you loved and were loved in the same manner that you don’t need any of those to know that you have just lost someone. True. Telling anyone who just had their hearts broken by whatever or whoever, that they somehow do not have the right to mourn the way they are mourning since the relationship hasn’t even lasted for how long it should have based on whoever’s standards, doesn’t give any cure to the wound. So what if it lasted for only two months and the relationship was a goner ever since it started?

I too had my own share of this tragedy, only not about death of a physical body but death of a dream. But as far as I know mourning I also know that life doesn’t end with a parting and my life needs to continue. When I think of him deserting me, I thought of Maria Clara and Ibarra. Though they love each other, Maria Clara was forced to marry Linares to spare his father, Kapitan Tyago (not that he has any reason close to Maria Clara’s). But when she heard of Ibarra’s death, she’d rather die.

“While he lived, I could have married–I thought of running away afterwards–my father wants only the relationship! But now that he is dead, no other man shall call me wife! While he was alive I could debase myself, for there would have remained the consolation that he lived and perhaps thought of me, but now that he is dead– the nunnery or the tomb!”


- Maria Clara, Noli Me Tangere, CHAPTER LXII, "Padre Damaso Explains"

Perhaps, that’s the only consolation I have from everything that happened – that he was alive and might probably be thinking of me.






Currently reading:

The Nightingale’s Nest by Sarah Harrison





Music playing on my mind:

Think of Me (from The Phantom of the Opera)



Monday, November 16, 2009

Manny Gives Cotto his First Defeat

(In which seven is the number of the day.)

***

The Preparation


After watching HBO’s 24/7 Pacquiao – Cotto, I had a strong wish for Manny’s victory I even prayed for it before I slept. Was it overconfidence oozing out of Cotto or I just misunderstood him? Honestly, when he said that Puerto Rico will be rejoicing on November 14 and he will bring home his belt on his shoulder, I felt vexed. Not that I’ve never heard that statement from a defending champion but it’s just that Manny never sounded that sure about winning not even when victory seems to be as certain as he’s a six-time world champion – at least as far as I know. I don’t mind Freddie Roach saying Joe Santiago lacks experience and Joe Santiago saying Freddie Roach has a habit of trash talking the opponent’s trainer. It’s Pacquiao and Cotto who’ll be in the ring anyway.

When I saw Pacquiao training and Cotto refusing to have some of his sparring filmed, I felt the same way as when I watched 24/7 De la Hoya – Pacquiao. It feels like victory.

The Hours before the Fight

Since I was the most nocturnal member of the family, I had the burden of relating what the other people missed on 24/7. I tried my best to recall what happened in a disinterested manner. But the image of Cotto walking like a gangster with his prominent lips which give you the message “Don’t mess with me” was so tattooed on my mind I was quick in saying “He seems arrogant. I hope Pacquiao wins.”

We Filipinos were sometimes known for going for underdogs. Some say it’s the reason why we cry over Cinderella-inspired dramas where the bullied and abused maid will someday turn into a wealthy and beautiful princess. I am sometimes guilty of this. After knowing that Pacquiao is more favored in terms of bets, it gave me the feeling as if Cotto is the underdog now considering that many think it will be an easy win for Manny regardless of Cotto’s rank. But I don’t think I’ll be going for the underdog now. Not because I’m Filipino but because Cotto isn’t fit for the term. He even has the certainty that he will win. Underdogs have hope; champions, confidence. But whether Pacquiao saying “I’ll try to win” and “I’ll do my best “ is a manifestation of hope, or humility, I am not certain.

But I do pray he wins.

During the Fight

We were still stuck clueless when the world must have finished sighing and rejoicing. But when you’re waiting for a late telecast, you have no other choice but to settle to hearsays people give you in passing. It’s a good thing that we hear positive hearsays. Thank you, technology.

My mom’s friend messaged:

“Cotto went down twice before the twelfth round.”

BF messaged:

“Vesh, it’s over. Cotto can’t take it anymore. Hahaha.”

A neighbor said:

“We watched it at the big screen put up in town. Pacquiao won at the twelfth round. No they didn’t even finish it!”

“It’s a TKO, then,” my father responded.

Now that we know what the ending is, the only thing left to do is to know how it ended. Watching it on a late telecast only gives us the real account of what happened for the sake of feeding our curiosity.

As the Philippine national anthem was sung by La Diva, (I never knew a trio can sing in a boxing match!) I brushed away the thoughts of hearing Lupang Hinirang in a tempo di marcha. I’ll take Kyla anytime.

After the significant scenes like the entrance and introduction of boxers and the different rounds which are aired in a matter of two or three minutes (or less) there will be five-minute commercials in between – which are not at all bad since I can always go back to washing the dishes after each round.


Firepower

We all agreed that round first goes to Cotto. But the rest goes to the Filipino. Every time Cotto hits Pacquiao, (though it seems that Pacquiao intentionally lets himself be hit at times) the crowd goes wild. But when it’s Pacquiao turn to hit the Puerto Rica, the crowd goes wilder.

Now to give a better account of the action, I will be in need of Chino Trinidad and Bryan Villoria. But, in my non-sports analyst way of looking at it, it was a great fight. With De la Hoya and Hatton not even able to last until round 9, Cotto sure made himself look better. As the fight becomes bloodier, I started to cringe.

“I wouldn’t be able to give him another punch if I were his opponent,” my mother said sympathetically.

“That’s why you are not a boxer,” my father laughingly responded, not taking his eyes off the TV.”Besides, Manny doesn’t seem like he’s going for the kill.”

Cotto seems to be more of an underdog now. He gives out punches for the sake of punching and executes his choreographic footwork I saw on 24/7 which seems like an escape scheme. Villoria describes him as “being on his bicycle” when he (Cotto) does this and believes it’s just a way of “surviving another round”. He cannot go any further, I thought. Pacquiao is even motioning his gloved fist toward his own face as if telling Cotto to go get it somewhere in the 9th round. But it was no use. Cotto kept cycling away from Manny. And when the referee motioned Pacquiao to his corner and ended the fight, the obvious verdict was made official.

The Impressions

No one in his sanity will say it is an easy victory. Manny has given so much but he also received a lot. Cotto is indeed unordinary.

What impresses me most was when I saw Cotto’s tattooed arm on Manny’s shoulder while he knelt on his corner to pray. When Manny stood up, Cotto embraced him and patted his head with his gloved left fist.

“He’s the only one I saw who did that,” I said. “I mean the one who went to Manny’s corner and embraced him after he prays.”

“His overconfidence must have subsided now,” my father responded. “Look. He’s undefeated. Margarito’s victory over him is invalid. This is his first real defeat. And he must have developed a strong respect for Pacquiao.”

So defeat makes on humble?

“I would be expecting a rematch if I were you,” he continued. “If Manny’s not going up for another weight division, it’s possible. Besides, a defeat like this is never easy to accept.”

So defeat makes one more determined?


The Historical Present and The Awaiting Future

The name of Floyd Mayweather, Jr. as the next to face Pacquiao echoes at the MGM Grand. But when asked about it, Pacquiao said this will be his last weight division. So a rematch is possible?

"Right now, I just want to take a vacation," he said in an interview after the fight to which my sister commented, "He's having epistaxis. I bet he'd rather be in another fight than be in an interview."

And besides, why would he be thinking of Mayweather now when he has an upcoming concert just days after the fight and a hero's welcome at the other side of the world upon his return?


***
A great Puerto Rican boxer and the Pound for Pond King. A world record of seven championships won in seven weight divisions and a cheering nation. That’s how a historical match is made.

Friday, November 13, 2009

To Make a Child Secure

(In which I wish – whether in or out of context – to quote Pythagoras.)
***

Friday. It was both the most loved and hated day of the week by the two main characters in our academy – the teachers and students. The students hate it for being a test day. The teachers hate it for being a test day. But both love it for being the last day of the week.

I gave a four-part test to Sandy, my lovely solace who exists side by side me and my duty to educate in an academy where almost everything – good or bad – is possible. The first is made up of two columns of five fragments which are supposed to be matched to make up a sentence. The second consists of five sentences. The duty of the examinee is to underline the complete subject and encircle the complete predicate. The third, the culprit, is about pluralization of regular and irregular nouns. The last, the one most likely for ten-year-olds, is a word puzzle box of important vocabulary.

So my ever confident and jovial little angel is at her jolliest today. She was so excited to see me more than before. The reason for her unusual glow was made clear when she said, “Teacher, let’s play after the test with Charlotte!” I looked at the door across from ours. “But they’re not there.” “They will be!” she answered positively.

So she answered the test with more confidence than ever. Then she handed it to me and smiled.

“Are you sure it’s done?”

“Yes!”

Of course I know that there are mistakes but I didn’t tell her. And we all know that that is the point of giving a test.

I finished checking the paper, pausing every time to explain her mistakes. She was receptive at first. Then she remembered her deal with her mother.

“Mother said I should have 90 more,” she said in their distinct rising and falling East Asian accent.

“You mean you should get a score not lower than 90 percent?” I asked in clarification.

“Yes.”

“Why?”

“If not, she will kill me,” she responded with a shy and knowing smile. The kind that tells you it’s a given.

I counted her score which was mercifully upped because of some minor considerations. 39 over 50. By the mere look of it I bet my entire art set it wouldn’t even reach 85%.

“What’s the over 100?”

“You mean what’s your score? In percentage?”

“Yes. “

“Hmmm. We need a calculator.”

We went to my room and pulled up a calculator. 39 / 50 x 100 = …

When we saw it, I saved my art set. But not her. Not that saving her is a part of my noble duty. But when I saw her face as blank and as flat as a bond paper, I wished I have just lost my art set.

“One more,” she pleaded.

I recalculated it and got the same results. Her flat and blank face seemed to get worse. Who would want, having the same smartness as she has, to see a solid 78 percent as a test score anyway? I held her shoulder and had her face me.

“You Mom won’t get angry. Really.”

“No,” she said certainly. And pouted as if saying “No one understands. Even you.”

“Look. You did well.”

Silence.

I looked at her paper again. How come that she wrote heroes as the plural of hero but wrote tomatos, mosquitos and potatos? And she was right when she pluralized life into lives, leaf into leaves but wrote knifes, scarfs and loafs!

“How to do? Mother will kill me!” she said desperately.

“Of course she won’t. I’ll talk to her. She’ll understand. Do you want that?”

She nodded. Just when I thought it’s over, she told me this: “Teacher, one more test!”

So the next several minutes were spent on an informal emergency meeting with co-teachers. And the final decision is to talk to the manager.

“Ok. Review the test to her and have her repeat the exam. Then give me both the original and the retake. I’ll tell her Mother what happened.”

So that was what’s done. She impressed me for knowing the grammar rules in verbatim. After the retake, she was elated. 46 over 50. She urged me to go to my room to calculate her score. When she saw that it was 92, she jumped. I then remembered that she called the computer crazy for giving her 78.

The rest is up to the manager. What I’m more concerned of is the kind of kids that would be raised in a society which is overly concerned with results of tests. Numbers, how powerful indeed you are!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Full House: Another Pinoy Version

(In which there’s really another one.)
***

So as what I’ve heard from the commercial, GMA 7 is up for another Filipino adaptation of a high-rating Korean drama in 2004, “Full House”. Oh this was a very nice series. We were so engrossed to it that we forced ourselves to stay up late since it was aired at almost 11 PM. And when it was replayed for the nth time, we still find ourselves humming the Korean theme songs and singing the Tagalog version of “The Three Little Bears”.

Now going back to the Filipino version, I just found out that the counterparts of Rain and Song Hye Kyo are Richard Gutierrez and Heart Evangelista.

Is it just me or they really don’t look good together?

Anyway, so that was a nice series. But since this post has gotten a space in this so-so blog means that I either have a positive or a negative say to it. And I’m sorry to say that it is the latter.

I haven’t had enough bonding time with our TV set recently so I cannot really give a sound dscription of what the first two versions of other Korean dramas were but they should be good. Doesn’t Regine Velazquez give justice to Kim Sam Soon? And Dingdong and Rhian look charming in Stairway to Heaven, don’t they? Yet to have Full house really – as in physically and not just audibly – Tagalized, is, I guess, a little over the top. Although ideas may come everywhere and it’s the development of an idea that really counts, repeatedly developing ideas that are not yours is just sad.

I have to admit that I really took my hat off to programs which are adaptations of authentic Filipino stories and comics. I believe it’s good since it revives the awareness of the youth regarding the works of Filipino artists. At least they know Mars Ravelo and Carlo J. Caparas as well as their Marvel.

Well right now, I don’t understand why they keep on remaking Korean dramas when coming up with an original is much more rewarding. And I thought we’ve had enough of Wonder Girls and 2NE1 all over the radio stations, Korean dramas all over television and Koreans themselves all over the archipelago. Please do not brand me ungrateful or whatever; they are the reason why I’m not unemployed now. And I like them too. But what’s happening now is just a little too much. And as the adage say, too much of anything is never good.