lawsuit county
if kerry wins this election, and if the military families of the ads aimed against him consider further, lawsuits might fly like leaves carried by wind. there is math to this chaos; the lawsuits may fly and then subside. the country can weather that storm. george w. bush is just another man, after all.

i can't find the ads aimed against bush from the kerry site... they've been airing on TV all this week! one has this army boy giving his speech on iraq... and then like a bad joke's punchline he shows us the stump of his left hand, and goes something along the lines of he lost his left hand defending a lie.

the sept. 11 commission, and later people like colin powell, have admitted that there's no connection between the terror attacks and iraq.

my family and i are going apple picking today, a tradition we invented and reserve for fall. hopefully the weather will keep our heads cool so we can pass by ikea, coz i really need those bookshelves and that new loft bed and a drawer of clothes coz my bedroom is growing and looking more ridiculous everyday.

strange questions.
  i have a grudge
i only wanted to buy tickets, but got curious so i hopped on sony's official site of it. i got killed. i'm so glad i used another name, coz if i used ulanmaya, i really can't sleep now.

I GOT FREAKED!!! IT IS JUST A DAMNED MOVIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :bitter now: ahahahaha. ...
  ideology 101
it easy to see why "progressive" groups want the president out, though.

progressive groups are usually nonmainstream. they're loud and confident because they know what they're talking about. they can be one-sided, and why not - it is the side that speaks to them the loudest, the side that is closet to their realities, the side that they live, breathe, eat and sleep with everyday.

in my view, progressive groups are almost always right. they see what's missing in the mainstream, and they want to balance things out. it's their right, their entitlement to be heard at the very least.

so when progressive groups are silenced just for gathering and disseminating info so average jane and joe (curious ones watching a rally or walking alongside a march just to see what's going on) can think for themselves for once, that's when i throw all my questions out the window and poke a new one at the oppresor - they're just talking. why won't you hear them out?

it's the sort of naïve question that provokes irritation and cynic laughter. :wry:
ya, i saw the video as well. eminem always said he didn't care, but no one produces work of opinionated calibre without giving a damn, even if his sentiments were shoved way in the back of his mind.

the video nailed it allllllllll down. no one joins the military unless they had money to pay for college. the military makes college (public universities) free to get more kids to join.

it is with the tax cuts drama that i have trouble understanding. if i get it right, the couple thousand returned to my mother earlier this year is directly related to president bush's tax cut program. that's a couple thousand she returned back to the state anyways because of rising property taxes in the neighborhood where we live. while the money did pay for other things, eventually she still had to use most of her paycheck and part of mine to pay for regular things needed to keep a house going. so while we balanced out, i can see how other families might have to dig deeper to pay for taxes, property taxes especially.

property taxes are asked of neighborhood residents to pay for local schools, infrastructure (parks, roads and buildings) and city services (garbage collection, snow plowing, tree trimming, graffiti removal, fire and police patrol, clerk service for these things to be taken care of). ideally, the more money taxed out of you, the better your neighborhood will be.

president bush wants to give people a tax cut. that means more money in people's pockets... less to government services.

going back to the eminem video - there's this mother of two who got an eviction notice in the mail. so she lives in an apartment, and prolly doesn't earn that much to begin with. and then she turns to the tv with the president touting his tax cut. for weeks, that's all that he ever talked about. that means government will have to cut back on services because they'll be getting less from taxes. that funnels down to city officials being let go left and right because there's no money to pay them. that funnels down to the local public school, where the mother's two kids attend, where teachers being paid for by the government (or, if in a private school, part of their salaries are paid for by the government), who are prolly on strike because even though their ranks aren't depleted, they earn zilch and want an increase in wages and a new health care plan.

but tax cuts aren't just on government. in another roundabout way, tax cuts also mean that the mother will get less tax refund - you get incentives if you're a single mother with two dependents. so, even if you get more back per paycheck, you get less when refund time comes around. you're almost always sure to spend every cent in your paycheck anyways.

the president asked congress for more than $80 billion to fund the war. this is where all our money goes. this is what our military friends and family work on and die for currently. the democrats basically say that the war can still be fought, but at a much lesser cost in lives and money. the democrats are pushing more for diplomacy.

many argue that planning for the sept. 11 terror attacks all happened under a democrat's watch. that's why my mother went, "vote for bush! kerry will just sell us out again to the terrorists."

and then there are people like sasha, toronto resident and ardent democrat, who i met in a greyhound bus on the way back to chicago from toronto. she took a semester off from school and saved her money all summer so she can volunteer for the party in swing state michigan.

"and so, between the devil we know and the devil who never had a chance, i think we'd have the best chance of winning this war and starting over with the devil who never had a chance," she said after a debate with my cousin. she said kerry would give canada their best chances with regard to economic and political partnership with the u.s.

which is interesting because democrats seem to meddle more subtly in international affairs than republicans. kerry's been talking about giving jobs to americans, not outsourcing them overseas, the current standard businesses practice. a friend once told me that if the democrats win, they'd partner with china, and "china will gobble up the american economy in a heartbeat."

maybe. american economists are working to shake china's habit of following the dollar. it's daunting, negotiating with the most populous nation in the world, a dragon in the east, a nation whose cousins the chinese-americans in your own country you also barely know. i can see why foreign countries would want the president to win this election - it will be, as kerry debated, "more of the same."


saturday golden nugget:this reporter is leaning democrat. whoever wrote this report with dana bash is leaning democrat for including this bit of info, and so early in an election year. - Bush hails 'growing' economy: President touts numbers on home ownership CNN, May 6 - New Mexico is a battleground state in the presidential race. In 2000, Al Gore won by 366 votes -- fewer than Bush won by in Florida. Forty percent of New Mexico residents are Hispanic, and Bush has been advertising heavily in both English and Spanish.

Kerry has the support of popular Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson.

Later, Bush traveled to Arizona to deliver a similar speech in Phoenix.

The speeches in the key Southwest states were billed as official White House events, not campaign stops, meaning they were paid for by taxpayers. [ more ]


saturday useless trivia: lake leaves when you kick around ankle-high piles of maple leaves yellow and wide as your palm, you hear surf breaking on rocks along the lakefront. that's what lake michigan sounds like in late summer, crashing on the rocks.
  everybody was kung fu fighting
ahahaha... i really like this song. a faith-based young adults organization i used to hang out with composed a dance to it. everyone was filipino, but they wore chinese and japanese suits, coz filipiniana stuff ain't available, accessible and affordable around here. it makes me laugh. HUUUUUUWAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!

(tangent: yes. it was a song on kung fu, after all. ahahaha.)

there's a book titled after it: Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting by vijay prashad.

i first saw the book at the asian american writer's workshop web site. last september i had a chance to visit AAWW's offices and nearly cleaned the place of books i'd been looking for. i also stumbled upon some real treasures, like luis francia's poetry collection "the arctic archipelago" and "the ravens 2" anthology.

(HOLLA AT THE MAMA!!!! while she still has cash to splurge. coz she'll be shoved in the dark when when she becomes destitute again. mwahahaha. i just wish i can keep on saving money so i can keep on collecting books!!!)

AAWW's offices are on the second floor of a building downtown, 16 west 32nd street, suite 10-a, new york, ny. i stepped in to a dark open space, lights to my right shined on a low, wooden stage. the white back wall serves as the backdrop, paper cranes taped all over it. the stage lights cast yellow, the only light in the room. two four feet tall bookcases greeted me, but i wanted to start from the very beginning - two more bookcases half-full set against a far wall. a couple people were talking the reason for the workshop. others hunkered over desks, working. i've never been there before, but everything seemed familiar, welcome, unthreatening.

you can imagine rough poems declared from that small stage. you can hear them rent comfortable cocoons clear across the room. you can feel the edges of blunt knives clip excess ego, imagined fears. you can imagine daylight expose newborns. there isn't blood. but the souls who've passed this way have polished the room into a home. peace has passed this way.

i settled in front of the books. there were four people working in the office area, one of them reached for a string dangling in the middle of the room to switch on a light. i noticed a sala set to one side of the room. against the back wall, more shelves, from floor to ceiling, but empty. more shelves to my host's left, but half-full. "here's a stool if you need one," my host, a girl who worked there, said, smiling. i took it. she pointed to free books waiting in a box on the coffeetable. all these stories in pages, and yet there remains a thousand more to tell.

i'm not obsessed with CNN. maybe u r. no, i haven't decided who to vote for yet. yes, i've registered. no, i don't want coffee right now, i've already had 20 ounces yesterday. it's still circulating in my system. no, i haven't done homework yet. yes, laura bush is smart. she's cocky and shoulda been president. women rule. no, i don't want dinner. you're smart and we clash. we always have answers to each other's questions. no, that's boring. that's ego-whittlingly destructive. are we done yet? coz i want to move on. yes, that's rare of me.

how high is that? i mean, i sound like i was on something, ahaha. i have class again tomorrow. i'm glad for the speed coz it actually forces me to blog something real once in a while, but hello... it would be easier if i actually can spell di-ci-pline. :wry:
  signature tweed
banana republic - not enough color:

urban outfitters - hmm, maybe:

urban outfitters - maybe; fabric looks thin!

i saw this really cool dark purple one that a NBC5 reporter had on tv - i want those type! and the ones i saw on ABC7 are cool too.

i'm annoyed at ABC7's webmaster. what's the point of posting a story about FASHION when you won't post pictures?! hello, grab it from the video. photoshop, yay. i never did that when i was with NBC5. it'll just invite phone calls, which means more work for them! silly, silly, the bash-your-head-against-the-wall type silly. arg!
  3rd coast/sala
a couple high school friends are in town, one to exam for a medical license and the other looking for work. i wrote this expansive e-mail on where to get touristy info, and the girl writes me back............... coz all they want is coffee.

ahahahaha! :blush:

but i recover!!! i can take them out for that too, and at a couple great city spots, too.

one is young sala cafe, just opened early this year by four friends - lotta, sabu, francis and edwin, who also writes for via times newspaper, one of two well-known tabloid format newspapers that serve filipinos in chicago. the unassuming cafe on irving park and keeler roads is a great alternative to the usual borders and starbucks frequented by loners. it has brick walls, a fireplace, a couple barstool-type tables glued to the far wall (for gazing and displaying, what else), artwork, a sofa set (of course), and great coffee.

i'm not kidding. they have this brew called "the black cat" and if you add caramel, 2 percent milk, whippped cream and some chocolate shavings, you are immediately transported to heaven. you can turn it into a latte too, it's that versatile. ahaha.

sala's always busy - you have to make reservations in advance if you want to rent out the place for events. there's a halloween costume party there this saturday that i'm still debating whether to attend, coz i hella don't do costume parties. i can go there wearing jeans and a shirt - that's costume enough! i insist.

the other cafe i can take my classmates to is storied 3rd coast cafe. i don't know much about this cafe except that my friends took me for dinner there for my birthday this year. it was where we agreed that what makes a cafe a cafe is the wood. i dunno about that, but i know the ventilators are excellent coz it let my friends smoke and me not share it. there's dinner and dessert, and bottomless coffee.

just the juice, and you can have all the cream and sugar with it, too. i can't quite place where they get their coffee, but it has its own taste as well. sometimes i doubt the freshness but that's part of the 3rd coast's charm. you walk into an old chicago landmark building in red brick, down some steps turn left and down another set of steps. newspapers scatter to your left and you choose which wooden set of table and leather chairs you'd want to sit. if it's daylight outside, sunlight seeps through tiffany stained glass windows - another chicago trademark.

the music is club techno turned down low and the lighting amber always. you can stare at your companion's face forever and since it's changing all the time as you talk in the dark, you won't get tired of it. ahaha.

which cafe should i bring my friends to - the one from chicago, or the one brought to chicago? i can't decide. i'll hafta send them this blogspot entry. it's their weeekend out, anyways.
this is my favorite holiday ever. i'd enjoy it more if i didn't hafta be bombarded by CNN and the elections!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  degrees of difficulty
that the elections are upon us do not make my life any easier. arg!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

i'm trying to finish this difficult article. i've been writing it for over two weeks now. TWO WEEKS!!!!!!!!! how unheard of is that?! i can't even begin to describe how frustrated and incensed i am. it has never taken me this long to write FEATURE articles before. i thought i can write features in my sleep!

the problem is that i never worked while the event was happening. i never looked for my lede. i figured, this is a topic close to me, the lede will come bite me in the ass, not the other way around.

damn life. it should just keep the hell away from my work, as far away as possible!!!! it is the only way i can get anything done. at least, it looks like that, lately especially. i can no longer mix my life with my work. i freakin wrote the lede AT WORK while no one was looking.

imma get some sleep. in the last five hours writing about a weekend event, i only have day one down. and i am leaving that section alone!!!!!! no one touch my lede!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! my writing teachers will sympathize, "it happens," but for crying out loud. can it please not happen ever, at all.
  to REALLY give care
Gawad Kalinga (GK), translated in English means "to give care," and it is an alternative solution to the blatant problem of poverty not just in the Philippines but the world. Its approach is integrated, holistic and sustainable – a concrete action plan to rebuild this nation by harnessing the best of the Filipino – our faith and our patriotism.

What started barely five years ago in the Philippines as a simple but daring initiative by Couples for Christ has now become a growing multi-sectoral partnership driven by a vision of a new Philippines with NO MORE SLUMS. Together with its partners, Gawad Kalinga is now in the process of transforming poverty-stricken areas, many of them now empowered to further improve their quality of life! And the heart-work of GK volunteers is evident in the beautiful colors of the GK homes that have been built for and with the poorest of the poor Filipino families nationwide.

The transformation is astounding. Slums are disappearing. Rich and poor, Muslims and Christians, government and the private sector are building communities together. The poor are re-discovering their dreams, and are being empowered to build a better future for their families. The stories of how not only the poor but also the donors have been transformed continue to grow.

Gawad Kalinga’s achievements are a reflection of the sharing among different classes in society, and the partnership involving all sectors of society – bridging the gaps that divide us as a people. We are also building International Villages, showing that poverty can be addressed if rich and poor nations learn to share resources to create a better world for all.


hoy, what's your take on the whole ANCOP/GK 777 thing?!

k wen

k wen,

i think it's imperialistic!!!! :-(

just thinking about it makes me depressed. i hate - HATE!!! - criticizing
CFC coz who am i to say such things about people who only want to do good in this world?!!!

but the very good thing about it is that i think even
tony meloto knows it. he said himself, here in chicago, that they're going to be dealing with almost 400 years of imperialism. that sucks!!! i told one of my UP friends here (and i think i shoulda just shaddaup coz it just confirmed to her that she's totally depressed coz she joined SFC), and she said that it just perpetuates a landownership-type system in the philippines that's derived from the old spanish feudal system.

this is how i understand it - CFC basically acquires land through donations, whether some rich dynasty gives up land or money for CFC to purchase land with. they then raze the land to the ground, rid it of the ever-present squatters, and then put them to work electing a leader and then building their houses. that's where a lot of us kids get called - when the building starts, they need all the help they can get, buying materials and pounding nails and whatnot.

CFC then owns the land the families build their houses on. but like every other subdivision, families are given titles to their lots and houses. they are prohibited from selling the house or the lot or both - they have to tell CFC first. only after CFC approval can they sell their property. i think they then undergo a CLP after the village gets built... coz now they have nice houses to show off. AHAHAHA. but that's really what tito tony said!!!

on the one very good hand, it's great because it allows people to practice the basics of community - gives them structure, in that early in the day kids are supposed to go to school (instead of run around beg or sell wares); if you get sick, go to his health center; if you have concerns, go to this government office. it teaches them loyalty and responsibility that it's up to them to keep the neighborhood liveable. there's always been government supplies, funding and volunteers for this type of thing, it's just that the many organizations that have tried going out into neighborhoods before failed, and no one seems to know why.

i think CFC's nailed it down - because even if people get educated and receive health care, they go home to cardboard, wood and steel nailed together to form... a box, instead of a house. CFC's also stumbled upon a very good trait - poor people are used to building things with their hands, with whatever materials they find through asking, scavenging or stealing. they still use their own hands to build ANCOP houses - except that now they have better materials. i think it softens a blow to their egoes and makes us look less like imperialists.

on the other hand, for us here who live in the states, europe and elsewhere, it's an opportunity to perpetuate the bonggahan attitude... ahahahaha! lavish parties? formal affairs? expensive lottery tickets? sheesh. but then, we already have big, yearly conferences. this should be a natural segway when conference season is out. ahahaha!

that's being cynical, of couse. i really liked it that some rich couples here in chicago have sold houses and mercedes benzes so they can donate to ANCOP. they have no use for big houses anyways - all their kids have moved out. ahahaha! sheesh.

so that's what i think. thanks for asking!!! ahahaha. i've been harboring this since shortly after the NAAFA conference here, when dylan wilk and tony meloto addressed CFC Illinois and other Filipino Chicago organizations. tito tony was like, "CFC is the one called, and yet baka maunahan tayo ng mga di taga-CFC." stuff like that. i didn't tell a soul - only that one SFC sister and those outside the community! - coz it'd take too much to explain! ahahaha. it'll just confirm suspicions that i am a freak!

so what do you think? and why do u keep on asking? u think it's freakish too, huh? like some surreal invention from a hitchcock movie. well! you're not alone! ahahahaha. do tell!


i didn't answer your question. ahahahaha! GK777 itself? ambitious, but doable.

and and AND!!! they called it a "heart" work. awwww... a work. *sigh.* issa must be really enjoying married life, now. ahahahaha!
  passing through
when i visited my cousin in houston last year, she mentioned all the toys, clothes, food, gym equipment and old computers she said accumulated in her house that she wants to give away.

"ya, we can send it back home to iloilo (philippines), but it's so expensive, so i think i'll just give it to the local charity here. over there you do have a set salary, but it's enough to just get you by. here, at least you have some left over. so kahit papa'no, it's better out here," she said. we were driving to a tia maria's in one of her two cars.

i was genuinely happy for her success - three years in the u.s. and already settled with two kids, two cars, a house and her husband's mother - but i worried that she's becoming like the rest of my mother and her friends: collecteur extraordinaire. ahaha. in that you collect everything and can't bear to throw anything away, because you really hadn't yet had time to sort through your things to see which ones are discardable and which ones are for posterity.

one of my siblings is fearless in that aspect - she has no qualms selling old textbooks for money, or throwing away old notes and junkmail, even ones that schedule her mother and elder sibling's medical schedules for flu shots.

but aren't they the same - one collects things thinking she'll have time to sort through them after she's done exploring. the other knows she doesn't have time to lug around all those things while she's passing through. two types of travellers.

while packing to prepare to fly back to chicago, my cousin-in-law's mother sat down to watch me. do you know how unnerving that is, especially if she has this strange smile on her face? so i asked her, "how are you?"

my cousin chose to live in a new subdivision in a far suburb of houston. it is full of young parents, their kids and their middle-aged parents. my aunt says that she's homesick. she wants to go back home to her maids and friends and activities to keep her from thinking about all the what-ifs in her life. "i cry, just remembering," she says.

here is a traveller to reckon with. her luggage and her collections are incalculable. she mentions a group of older parents she hangs out with at the local catholic church, but she's still homesick, she says. i haven't a clue what to say to her. "go on, tita, i'm listening," i assure her while shoving laundry into my duffle bag. she says she remembers her older brothers who always knew what to do, the other siblings who died and allowed her to return briefly for a visit.

ah. she'd been home recently, and compared to the chaos and laughter back home, it is deafeningly silent in her daughter-in-law's new neighborhood.

it was 4 a.m. and i really wanted to go back to chicago happy. thankfully, my cousin-in-law called us to the kitchen to eat. my nephew woke up especially that dawn to ask, eyes half open, "tita, can i play with your computer now?" so i lugged him back to the breakfast table and asked him something else. my aunt follows us with still her small smile. i hope soon she sees just how similar her smile is to her grandson's, with the permanent grin, who knows i'm distracting him.
  there's always something
julytown's had enough. he's accompanied me everywhere this year, and now he wants to stay put here at the house - because it's the only place he'll charge battery. we took him to a starbucks last night, and he accomodated us online beautifully, but refused to work after 2 hours, his batterys' lifespan. hay. c'mon baby. let's go to the store where all your friends are.
  random thoughts

christmastime in alexandria, virginia, means putting christmas lights on trees, adding to the already picturesque colonial streets. it's exactly how i pictured the streets of 'tale of two cities' would be. there are old taverns - one where george washington ate - and new ones, like a GAP. it was silly that stores are already playing christmas carols - it's not even halloween yet!

still, the cobblestoned streets, historic houses and the big mason building at the end of a main street still remind me of the historic high-heeled colonialists that used to live here. i'm sooo happy to have been brought there for dinner. DC rocks!!! :-D


playing host

i'm grateful to my hosts in new jersey and virginia. when i asked for directions, they always go, "our house is over here," as if i actually really do live with them.


sad is not nice

enough of sad. sad acts like the flu - you sneeze, yay! you just passed it on. now everyone has the ability to sneeze in chorus. EVERYONE IS SAD. we're dropping like the temperature outside. dammit. it makes you laugh at the flattest, lamest jokes. ahaha. *eh.* i guess that's good.
  the best voice
the best voice comes from sarah mclachlan. her version of "prayer of st. francis" currently spins in my freind's xanga, francis. the song's included in the buffy soundtrack. buffy rocks!!! oh ya. :-)

francis is a strange character. he's a priest. we saw him through a decade of study. i'm so proud of him. our recent goofy picture had me pointing to his roman collar, the sun shining right in our faces. i'm reminded of how old we all really are right now - lines like the miles we've trudged show up all over our faces each time we laugh.

he blogged about his latest bout of moodiness, and now everyone is sad. boo. there is never an opportune time for downers. we don't have time for that.

he said he'll pray about his sadness. i don't get that. i've never understood that. when i was still leading a youth group at school, i didn't have time to dwell on such things, so i think that's why i never really experienced being down down. they said they take away the unhappiness by praying about it.

prayer is great. it gives you a set structure of things to do so you can forget about your unhappiness - which is basically the chaotic dishevelling, dismantling of everything that's structured in your life, right? by reciting something repetedly, you move on to the next bead, the next chant, on and on until by repetition you think about what you're saying. that somehow rearranges and structures the chaos in your head. it also takes up a lot of time so by the time you're done, you think of how less time you now have for everything else you hafta do! ahaha.

when i was still leading a youth group, there was this one priest who wanted to "dedicate" us to the Lord. he lead us to a short prayer and then faced the altar, asking God to lead us in the way He wants us to go.

we're catholic, by the way. :-)

i never got that. i wondered what that meant, but at that time, it wasn't the thing to ask questions. just recently in new york city i was able to spend some time with my host and their priest friend. (eek. i owe them a phone call. i gotta say hi at least.) before we knew it, it was 4 a.m. and we still had to drive to my host's house. i finally understood the structures of his arguments, like the steel frames of a highrise under construction, but i sure as hell wasn't sure if i believe all of it.

it would be easier to just succumb and believe.

another friend of mine said that there isn't anyone who fully, completely, believes in any single faith wholeheartedly. there's always holes to fill, questions, concepts unreacheable. it's just human.

when we tried to nail down concepts that night, fr. big bear (because he really is a big bear), my host and i, they eluded us like hungry butterflies looking for nectar. we played with opposites and what ifs. i was so glad he had also been a teacher of theology, because if he were otherwise, i don't think i would have been open enough to ask questions and receive tutelege.
  plane fare for coffee
i dislike
spending for plane fare
just to have coffee,

how there are no spontaneous
'let's hang out
and watch a movie' nights,

how most conversations
take place emoticon to emoticon
instead of face to face.

rare is the comfort
of taking the 'passenger seat.'

yes. this necessary moment
is done. there's
'glass is half full' moments -

taking walks in different cities
listening to our thoughts,
a first date by the bluff,
shooting stars,
the decadence of watching tv together.
drives -
momentous occasions.

'glass is half full' moments
need to outweigh
'glass is half empty' moments.

you will never know difference
if you're blind
to the worst things.

after everything,
i will take the seconds
that made everything worthwhile,

behold them
then store them
for safekeeping.

for cheryl the brave, wendel the king and grace the forgiving.
  girl with a balance
the balance suspended perfect between east and west. her hand stops three inches above the mantle. she dare not move should she upset the balance. she masks her apprehension with cocked head to the side, intently watching the balance.

she plays judge to the weighing of air on scales, except that she's no lawyer, nor trained judge, just a mere girl playing with unfamiliar instruments. in the background are maps, a turkish mantled table, rich with maroons and lavish threads. on her shoulders are wool, and velvet, a robe. a hood hides her hair.

she is a dream, a possibility, in case someone awakes and considers, "might there be women out there willing to practice law with the rest of us? for we could definitely use the insight," they said, "the newness of ideas."

but even these groundbreaking moments remain a dream, the way the sun highlights each fold of her gown, the way the sun visits every bump on the stone wall hind her. it is a possibility that a female could some day take the stand that rules the fate of another, but for now, the possibility remains trapped in a mere painting by 16th century vermeer.
  vacation drama, scene 2
news editor switches off his office light, slams his door shut, hurries to short little filipina's desk, drops the schedule in front of her with nary a glance, huffs off.

short little light as a feather filipina, talking on the phone, looks up: thank you!

news editor: thank you.

staffer 1: hey, there's no donuts!

news editor, hurrying away: i know, i'm sorry.

staffer 2: next time!

news editor, salutes, walking backwards: ok, all right.

short little filipina smiles into the phone, news supervisor approaches for the schedule.

short little laughing filipina, happy and relieved: i was so scared! if i were to be fired, i'd be in bureau chief's office, and you'll never see me again! the door'd be closed! i won't even come back for my stuff, i'd be soooooooo embarrassed!

news supervisor, dumb pensive expression, remembering her own vacation scheduling skirmishes: no shit.
  vacation drama
short little filipina in the office wants to reduce the days she's off for her next trip. she stands her ground in her news editor's office. wild gesturing and looking up the sky by the news editor. she smiles her sweetest, crosses her arms, shakes her head. news editor waves around two sheets of paper, sighing. little girl skips out of the office, light as a feather.

news supervisor: are u in trouble?

short little filipina in the office: no... at least, not for now. for my next trip, i just wanted to take back more vacation days to carry over next year. news editor says to take all the days for this trip anyways because i'd have more than enough to carry over next year. i begged him no; i'd for sure need as much vacation days as possible for next year. the ___________ isn't the only reason i'd need to schedule days off next year. and.......... he conceeded! :-D

as per the contract, managers are entitled to force us to take vacation. he says he's already done that to the other staffers. he pulled all the stops, mentioning that he has other staffers he can make work if one of us were to leave, says we can take this conversation to the bureau chief who for sure will schedule the days for me right then and there, says i'm being greedy for carrying over days. i just smiled - the company is asking me to go on vacation more often! ahaha. that's too good to be true.

essentially, news editor was nice enough to give me just the days that i asked for, no more, no less, so i can carry over more days for next year. now i really hafta leave y'alls for a whole month next year to keep him happy.

giggling and laughing in the background. other supervisors pretend they haven't heard or seen anything. news editor exits the office for some personal business. regular office mayhem resumes.
  tour of the library of congress

resting after a tour of the library of congress. the library indeed was a feast... but at that time, i, for one, knew that library pages weren't food for the hunger i'd focused on at that time! :-)

thanks, melissa c.! :-D

left to right, standing: linda nietes, jon pineda, ricco siasoco, gina apostol, gad s. lim, glenn sevilla mas, melissa nolledo christoffels

left to right, seated: almira astudillo gilles, eek... i forgot her name, and that girl seated next to her, too

left to right, seated, first row: the samontes
of course, at oct. 21, i can't "hmm" forever.

but but BUT!!! yanno what i want? i want a geeky sense of humor. :pleased:

talkin bout this thingy: NaNoWriMo. :pleased: it is a curious little thing. click here.

If I'm just writing 50,000 words of crap, why bother? Why not just write a real novel later, when I have more time?

There are three reasons.

1) If you don't do it now, you probably never will. Novel writing is mostly a "one day" event. As in "One day, I'd like to write a novel." Here's the truth: 99% of us, if left to our own devices, would never make the time to write a novel. It's just so far outside our normal lives that it constantly slips down to the bottom of our to-do lists. The structure of NaNoWriMo forces you to put away all those self-defeating worries and START. Once you have the first five chapters under your belt, the rest will come easily. Or painfully. But it will come. And you'll have friends to help you see it through to 50k.

2) Aiming low is the best way to succeed. With entry-level novel writing, shooting for the moon is the surest way to get nowhere. With high expectations, everything you write will sound cheesy and awkward. Once you start evaluating your story in terms of word count, you take that pressure off yourself. And you'll start surprising yourself with a great bit of dialogue here and a ingenious plot twist there. Characters will start doing things you never expected, taking the story places you'd never imagined. There will be much execrable prose, yes. But amidst the crap, there will be beauty. A lot of it.

3) Art for art's sake does wonderful things to you. It makes you laugh. It makes you cry. It makes you want to take naps and go places wearing funny pants. Doing something just for the hell of it is a wonderful antidote to all the chores and "must-dos" of daily life. Writing a novel in a month is both exhilarating and stupid, and we would all do well to invite a little more spontaneous stupidity into our lives.

the agglomeration of power which... gives them a certain iridescence of glamor and superiority. - Margaret Landon

it is autumn where i'm at right now. the trees look pretty. the temperature plummets, hurrying like the sunsets. night encroaches and swaths our emotions in black. yuck.

it's autumn around here. i'm wearing a *wool* vest over my *long sleeved* shirt. it's cold. we're robbed of an hour's daylight. disgusting.

yuck. not just one hour, three. it is 5 p.m. and already sunset. just last month this was 8 p.m. oh, hell. hell is soft golden in the sunset.

i cheat: the nonitalic words are mine, but the quote i got from here.

  DC 3
i really miss DC. ahahaha. people here in chicago are way too happy. people in DC are happy too, but not delirously happy, not happy-happy, not happy-go-lucky i might win the lottery today. DC, one of the terror attack sites, with a sense of history. they're cheerful classy, even dress cheerful classy. ok, they're trendy. ahahaha. *eh.*
  the wimp in all of us
i hate bemoaning the fact that my editor won't print my story.

coz i have no reason to think so.

he's never EVER done that before.

well, now he might.

coz, yanno... ionno. i disappeared, but now i'm back, and right now i like to think it's my crazy mind talking.

actually, i think that all it is is that i went right to work after flying in from washington DC, and while here i'd let my papers pile and my work stagger a bit so i can write the first draft of my masterpiece feature article.

voila! dedication. mwahahahaha.

and now i have holes in my article which i know i can very easily fill if only i get outta here and into my suitcase where my books and cards and notes are. yes, it means creating my very own chaos, my version of hell. it means my wallowed wait until people respond. agonizing until my article is actually printed!

  blogging the novel
i'd just come from a writer's conference where the novel is revered as a work of art. i don't write novels, but i read them, and have high respect for those who can churn one out. but blogger's just announced a challenge to "blog your novel."

erm... kinna cheapens the efforts put at writing, editing, rewriting (times 1,000+++ and then some)... yanno, of the old-fashioned, paper or hardboard bound type. don't you think? hmm. ...

  DC 2
oopsie, i pressed publish.
i am going to miss this city. but gatchie DC says that gatchie nyc are related! :-D well, waddya u know! ahahahaha. ...
  no time for words
where is a 24-hour starbucks in DC when you need one?! :bitter:

a non-popular coffeeshop, or chain shop corner, anywhere, anywhere! there hasta be one somewhere in a city that houses the library of congress and the national archives.
my sister and i are sharing a bitter feud. heehee! i swear, the last time i screamed at her will be the last time i talk to her. EVER.

well what can i do when there's this golden box of decadent leonidas pralines that surprised me voila! upon refrigerator's opening? a card listing a chicago office encouraged me upon box's opening. i popped the remaining white chocolate truffle before anyone could protest. there was no one there with me, but the voices of my siblings, "heeeeeeeeeeeeey...?" can make one feel very guilty.

i happily asked my mother, "who bought the leonidas chocolate box?"

"ay! that's ______! i didn't even touch it. put it back!"

eeek! "uh, i can't...!"

. ... ! she's forever blocked from my xanga now, too.

ionno bout y'alls sibling fights, but mine's no more bitter than the rest of y'alls. they're even more bitter, in my opinion. but there's no going around it that we're related by blood, and forever will be sisters. *shrugs.* forever's a whole lot longer than the few weeks we ignored each other. i'll just get us a replacement box from DC, i guess, ahahahahaha. ...
  leaving on a jet plane... again
goin to washington DC tomorrow. have i packed? no!

monday, going to syracuse, new york. do i have people picking me up there? no!

wednesday, flying back to chicago. am i sure to be on time for work that day? no!

oh gosh. monday the weekend we travelled to toronto, i wore jeans to work while the biggest of big bosses met at the big conference room. it was a stroke of sweet heavenly providence that the door was closed and the blinds folded coz the mailroom and the bathroom are across that room, and i hadta change and hide my luggage in the mailroom!

i'm so glad as well that even if you wear jeans to work, it don't mean... much. ahaha. just that you're unprepared. but i'm glad it wasn't busy that day, too!

i hope god'll watch over me this time, too. ahaha. if you pray, send some my way. :-)
  debate v3.0
if you can remember "underdog" from four years ago, that's exactly what president bush did in this debate.

it's a classic strategy: there are three instances to prove his mettle - if you start weak, it'll give your opponent the advantage, give you the chance to be self-decrepit and cutesy to your supporters and the undecideds.

you duke it out on the level of your opponent for the second time around.

and then you slam dunk him in the third instance, when he's built his confidence. voila! instant strategy clinch, with 19 days till election day to go.

19 long - or short - days, depending on how retaliations fly. ;-)
autumn falls golden
in our courtyard
you play your stringed waltz

for the old algerian,
he with the permanent grin
and the secret poems

that emerge each step.
his vivid memories
of dancing hair,

of leaves to classic color
fall timbre perfect,
till quivering strings settle.

4:19 a.m.
oct. 13, 2004
apparently a lot of kids of filipino descent out here in the good ol' u.s.a. think that anything filipino is excruciatingly adorable. anything from the manong custom to calling anyone 20-40 years older than you "tita" or "tito" to the food, to the home decor to ANYTHING, is hilariously funny.

the recent one that made me somewhat smile was the accent of an older filipino that a friend of mine almost died to laughing. he wrote it in his blog:

So "Tito" gets up to the podium to do the reading and he reads from the book of wisdom "...the souls of the just are in the hands of God....they are peace..." Except with the thickest filipino accent, he says " da sools op d'just are in da hands of God...they are in PISS"

my other friend showed it to me and laughed as well. i laughed as well - can you just imagine the misunderstanding had my friend not been filipino? but when filipino accents are concerned, i rarely laugh - english isn't our original tongue. that's the english commanded in the philippines.

i dunno why kids out here find anything about the philippines adorably cute. to me it reeks of chivalry, as if they acknowledge the "little brown brother" concept and deal with it by laughing it off.

i wonder if i'm overreacting. coz americans born and raised here already have their own accents - southern, new england (northeast), midwest and western accents, and everything in between. accents are always funny and sitting ducks for teasing.

somehow i bristle when they tease accents uttered by filipinos, especially if they're spoken by someone our parents' age. most of my friends already know how that somewhat offends me - to me, it looks like a subtle, gentle show of shame.

i let it slide. they think it's nothing - it's a cute joke, and always, you never want to go beyond the joke. they'll go, "there's a thousand other important things to pay attention to," but i wonder if this is simply a result of generation gap or a type of stereotyping.

i learned that whenever stereotypes hit me, as soon as i recognize it, i try to soften its approach by laughing at it. but doesn't then make you think of ghosts? ghosts don't exist, they could tease you. so then straighten your accent because the background of your accent doesn't exist here.

i've run into racist events before, from all sorts of people and situations. they get old quick, and you want justice all the time. but it doesn't erase the fact that you always end up wondering if you're imagining things, because in this day and age, how could one person - or a group of people - be so ignorant of who you are?

there also exists a harsher, stranger form of stereotyping - one that's generated by you. that you're not sure if someone else really accepts you for who you are, so you calculate and always make the right moves.

i learned this skill when i looked up one day from my workdesk and noticed, "whoa, i'm the only person of color on duty tonight. hell, i'm the only female!" and unconsciously, because of my insecurities, my work and the rest of the night crew's work, suffered. i lived up to an imaginary standard because i thought i had to prove something to everyone else because i was differnet from them. i set aside that they were people too. it's different from wanting to succeed - i didn't want to get noticed. they were all too different from me, and they can't help me move up in the world.

during informal conversations at work, i decided that i don't hafta be right all the time - just available to make contributions. i decided that i don't hafta keep on thinking i was different all the time. in my workplace, where i spend eight of my 24 hours, there's several times enough when my difference will come out on its own, unbidden and welcomed.

(awwwe, lookie that... an oprah moment. yay!... ahahaha... did that ruin the moment? sorry, just can't pass it up, ahaha. ...)
  i'm back at work
and i should shut up and start working. ahaha. the piles on my desk won't move themselves. i sound like i'm underwater and i hear as if through soundproof glass. i sneeze every 10 minutes and cough every 5. share, share! share the flu. everyone's gotta have their day, too. mwahaha.
  pick on the hardy souls who bring you the news
Three men: an editor, a photographer, and a journalist are covering a political convention in Miami. They decide to walk up and down the beach during their lunch hour. Halfway up the beach, they stumbled upon a lamp. As they rub the lamp a genie appears and says "Normally I would grant you three wishes, but since there are three of you, I will grant you each one wish."

The photographer went first. "I would like to spend the rest of my life living in a huge house in St. Thomas with no money worries." The genie granted him his wish and sent him on off to St. Thomas.

The journalist went next. "I would like to spend the rest of my life living on a huge yacht cruising the Mediterranean with no money worries." The genie granted him his wish and sent him off to the Mediterranean.

Last, but not least, it was the editor's turn. "And what would your wish be?" asked the genie.

"I want them both back after lunch" replied the editor. [ more jokes... well, at least one more, heehee ]
  samson and delilah - mila d. aguilar
He was never Samson
But look, she’s cut off his hair,
Clean to the top,
Dirtied to the bottom.

Like he was her own
She has known him
Kith and kin to her
Most private past

She did not even have
To ask. She is he,
The gender doesn’t matter,
Long as the green buck’s

There, before her,
Glittering its golden aroma
Sweet to his tongue too
Hers as much as his

In their lust
He was never Samson.
_She_ was his ransom.

October 11, 2004
8:08-8:47 pm
first posted on plaridel_papers
  superman dies
superman's heart imploded today, shortly after he addressed healing to a chicago audience. they were interested in how he salvaged his powers, being paralyzed from the neck down, how he held a ready grin to always first greet you. at first after his accident people bemoaned its irony - superman, invincible, the man of steel, is paralyzed from the neck down. it reminded everyone of the myth versus the hero christopher reeve, who addresses audiences from his wheelchair, a ready grin always the first to greet you. today, reeve reminded everyone even champions misjudge - he fought to strengthen the spinal chord, not minding the needs of his heart. superman's heart imploded today. he ascends into history gathering grace and courage, well-deserved and, up, up and away. [ more ]

actor christopher reeve died of a heart attack today. he was supposed to address the rehabilitation institute in chicago some time this week, i forget exactly when. when he was first wheelchair-bound, people bemoaned the irony of it all - superman, invincible, the man of steel, is paralyzed from the neck down. it reminded everyone that superman is a mere myth, and reeve, the real thing - he would show up at events seated in his wheelchair, face open and ready to partake in the gathering, often with his wife nearby. now, like the comic book hero, he ascends into history gathering with him well-deserved grace and courage, up, up and away.
  the day my sister brought back the flu
i deliberated for an hour whether to show up to work today or just wallow. an hour and 13 minutes later, i croaked into the phone, "i have to call in sick today. ..."

... coz i have the flu, shared by my sister who took a flu shot. and then she got sick. but i determined that today will be victory for me!!! :-D i cut spam and cheese and beat eggs for my omelette. yum! i didn't share.

my sister with the flu putters about the kitchen, emerging with a fancy beef steak dish with corn and green pepper. my blue skies morning darkened into torrential rain - well! aren't we fancy! i swallow vitamin C.

now my head is starting to ache. last night i felt the ascorbic acid conspire with the water i took with it to melt the insides of my stomach.

"burn!" the acid cried, in the warzone that is my stomach filled with virus and friendly antibodies that greet everyone good morning. in the chaos, VitC could no longer tell friend from foe, so he jumped at everything that moved. "make sure you get 'em all!"

in the meantime, i blog. the flu buys me an extra day to do some of the things i said i'd do if i had an extra free day. my extra free day starts right now, and the thousand other things i could do is staring me in the face, little alice-in-wonderlandlike mone raths, more acquiesent than assertive.

imma take a nap.
  so, like, it went over, like, woosh!. ...
i actually understood most of what was going on during "the presidential debate: duke it round 2"! yay!

but it remains that the best way for me to make head and somewhat tails of the debates is to react to other people's comments on it. soon, soon, my friends, i shall learn to be independent and crank my own brain to understand -


"I read somewhere that a majority of Filipinos prefer Bush as American president. And I remember thinking, what the fuck?" [ more ]

umm... you mean filipinos in america, right? if so, ya, that's true.

the thing with some filipinos in america is that most issues never reach their doorstep anymore. that, or they don't see just how issues like the federal legalization of prescription drugs affect them, coz they've prolly already been buying rx drugs over the border anyways through friends and relatives who already live there.

my (nonfilipino) colleagues and i have just been talking about how president bush might still achieve reelection solely because of the war on terror; a lot of nonfilipinos have friends or relatives in iraq or afghanistan. they want to make sure that their friends and family come back safe. (i've also some filipino friends who've actually been shuffled around the country for training; it's a hairy wait until we find out whether they've been sent away, returned, reshuffled, responded to emails, stuff like that.) it's different with filipinos in my circle, though.

my mother's generation will most likely vote republican this election. some singularly believe that reelecting the president will keep america safe... from outside invasion.

my peers, on the other hand, most likely will vote democrat because of their distrust of president bush. historically, democrats have been more sympathetic to domestic minority concerns. most students consider the democrats' approach to foreign policy more logical.

sorry for the gross watering down of issues... they're definitely bigger and more complex than my ability to capture them.

in any case, wasn't kerry just nasty toward bush this time around? and bush just defensive, especially in the area of health care? sheesh!

my name is yvonne. i live in chicago. :-)
  NICK: hoy
umm... coz yanno... we're old now... yanno... umm... like... sfc age and all that... so... umm... i guess it's legal... in all sense of the word... coz it is a xanga after all... i mean... it's legal to start posting pictures of scandalous people trying to remember what it was like to dance in the rain with soap and... umm... tabo and a hose and buckets of water:
NICK (4:10:20 PM): hoy
NICK (4:10:22 PM): musta
ulanmaya (4:10:24 PM): ahahahaha
NICK (4:10:26 PM):
ulanmaya (4:10:40 PM): AHAAHHAHAHA
ulanmaya (4:10:43 PM): aahahahhaha
ulanmaya (4:10:46 PM): ano yan
ulanmaya (4:10:51 PM): imma post that sa xanga ko
NICK (4:11:20 PM): lol
  jenny looking for something to do
jen called in the middle of class this morning, up so early on a friday at that.

"do you want to come to an election training meeting held by the immigrant rights commission this saturday?"

"i don't know if i can be there on time, but i'll definitely be there."

"and then we can prolly go somewhere to eat after."

i thought of the bookstore i was so eager to show her, because it was in an up-and-coming neighborhood - read: gentrified, the rich white folks are coming! - and i wanted to save it for friends who had a free afternoon on a weekend.

i haven't called her back yet. jenny looking for something to do on a saturday morning, for a cause that was worthy, who prolly talked to eric so that she'd call me and we'd meet sometime at that meeting there today.

ahahahaha. there's a secret to every blatant thing.
  media in america
dean francis alfar wrote some observations about america in his blog.

i stumbled at his apt ending - "where words come into play, we want the universe to explore."

i wanted to blogback, "the main bookstore chains here in the u.s. like to think they can get you any media thing you want, even if it's three days later. little do their business minds know. ..."

but that sounds lame and incomplete. i'd just come from my fiction class right now. the lesson for today? if you can't reach your classmates, your teacher will almost always reach for you, mainly coz he dun want you to turn into that strange sad kitten in the corner. mwahahaha!

i wrote about AS, or palma hall, in UP diliman, was made to read it out loud, and he remembered it in recall. dammit, that's not even my campus, but i went to high school there, and always thought i'd go to college there too. but God granted me my king palm boughs at UPLB instead, and despite my resolve never to look back and to get used to questions, "bakit hindi diliman?" i write about pink staircases a world away from the imaginations in that classroom.

dammit. what did i expect from an arts college? it is going to be an interesting semester.

alfar's post on america is here.
  fall...ing (reprise)
four floors isn't enough to kill someone.

from outside a faculty office building of a prestigious asian university sheltered by trees that reached for each other in the sky, a man decides to take his fate by his hands and jumps off the top of a four-story college building primarily used by professors, writers and souls of the stage.

from within an office in that faculty center, a professor notices and stops his lecture, finally winning rapt attentions from his students. the man is gathered onto a wide wooden plank. an amublance comes. the professor dismisses his students.

what's four floors? a quarter second. a turn of a page. a whisper of breeze carrying browned leaves of unsaid stories.

this weekend i have to get my butt to a store to get a shelving unit with wheels. and then i can put away my new books and clothes. and then i can move on with the rest of my life.

in kalamazoo, michigan on the bus back to chicago, i noticed a house painted goldenrod yellow, the kind of yellow annoying announcements for university organizations are copied on so people will notice, the kind of paper you pass out that contains a poem or two to remind your students these words have note. they automatically turn away from goldenrod yellow because the natural red of maples entices them more, the way the one tree turned first before all the others, making them wonder if trees do talk to each other and race each other and show each other off and if the homeowner with the goldenrod yellow house realizes that his back yard maple tree's decided to turn ahead of the others.

the bus passes the neighborhood and it is the end of the block. goldenrod yellow sears the edges of my eyes. i try not to think of the canadian books i could have purchased had i been given the chance. i'll have a better idea where to lodge all these stories once i get my shelf with new wheels.
  room plans
imma regret this, coz there's stuff pending on my workdesk, but instead of eating dinner during my break, i looked for room furniture already... ahahaha... i've planned a whole new look for my room. there's stuff going to the basement apartment, where furniture is lacking anyways. now i hafta ask around for a ride to the suburbs to ikea and container store. oh la la!
four floors isn't enough to kill someone.

what's four floors? a quarter second. a turn of a page. a whisper of breeze carrying browned leaves of unsaid stories.

did someone really fall four stories to the ground?

this weekend i have to get my butt to a store to get a shelving unit with wheels. and then i can put away my new books and clothes. and then i can move on with the rest of my life.

in kalamazoo, michigan on the bus back to chicago, i noticed a house painted goldenrod yellow, the kind of yellow annoying announcements for university organizations are copied on so people will notice, the kind of paper you pass out that contains a poem or two to remind your students these words have note. they automatically turn away from goldenrod yellow because the natural red of maples entices them more, the way the one tree turned first before all the others, making them wonder if trees do talk to each other and race each other and show each other off and if the homeowner with the goldenrod yellow house realizes that his back yard maple tree's decided to turn ahead of the others.

the bus passes the neighborhood and it is the end of the block. goldenrod yellow sears the edges of my eyes. i try not to think of the canadian books i could have purchased had i been given the chance. i'll have a better idea where to lodge all these stories once i get my shelf with new wheels.
  fall in my room
it's getting colder outside. my main concern is............... what shall i wear today?!!!


seriously. i still have the stuff i accumulated in new york city sitting in this silly packing box in the middle of my room, awaiting my orders to get thee unpacked and stacked into bookshelves and clothes chests, get thee folded and tucked away into the back of a pantry, unobstructed and free from errant legs bumping thee, therefore denying thee existence that is due us all. the books and scrapbook things from los angeles that shiver in anticipation each time i step over them to get to the stack of clothes sitting on the futon, waiting to be ironed. yesterday i wore a new shirt because it was impress the bosses day, where even news editors wear fall tan, tweed jackets, making sure they outdress editorial assistants hunkered over their desks, buried under faxes, newspapers, press releases, printouts from various computers aged dot-matrix and laser.

.......... ah dammit. and the toronto things too, but at least i actually got laundry done for that trip right away! ahahahaha.


my room is such a freaky mess. it reminds me of my cousin's room in tigbauan, iloilo, that big old house with the endless rooms and the sudden bathroom your cousins lead you to that they swear is working and is devoid of spiders. there's endless secrets and stories in those rooms, and mine is chugging along the same merry, gloomy path theirs are. i'm sure there's a snake hiding somewhere in there. hi, pet snake. shall you greet me today or shall we play hide and seek this weekend?

dammit. they say your room is a reflection of what's in your head. that's not how my mind is. it's prolly just as well that it's colder outside coz i needta clean and organize again this weekend.
on the bus back for chicago, a woman bored with her sidney sheldon book looked up a second time after we laid down our luggage and cued up behind her.

"is this is the line to chicago?" one in our party asked.

"yes, but i'm actually getting off at detroit," she said, smiling, happy to be distracted. like all important conversations, i forget how this one led to the current elections, but i do remember my cousin pointing out her rainbow pin with the word "kerry" printed on it.

like all impotant debates, i hardly notice the difference between her arguments to vote democrat and my cousin's efforts to deflect them for voting for the incumbent. what i do notice is that i've heard everything that my cousin's said before, only never bothered to respond because they're made by my cousin, who'll hang around my life for as long as i'm in it. the other thing that stuck in my head's most of what sasha, who read sidney sheldon, said, made sense.

for slowpokes like me, debates are always hard to follow. all i noticed during the last presidential debate were the distractions - bush picking his eye, kerry writing and laughing into his podium. you understand the most arcane of things, like strikes of lightning clearing the fog in your consciousness - for example, i actually understood that they disagreed about their plans for north korea.

i'm determined to follow this election the only way i know how - by identifying the issues and on where they stand... ok. the candidates for vice president duke it out, round 1... the only round... begins... right now.
  vote, vote!


Some suburban locations have voter registration booths open until 8 p.m. tonight. Please hop online and look for your city's Web site; for example, if in Evanston, it is http://www.cityofevanston.org/. Type "city of ______ and illinois" on Google.

  register to vote!!!

y'alls gotta remember to REGISTER TO VOTE TOMORROW.

the chicago board of elections web site is acting wack coz it's giving me this site:

when in fact it's really this: www.chicagoelections.com/

more info:
Illinois State Board of Elections
100 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60606
(312) 814-6440

REGISTER to vote!!!

ya, this is chicago; we vote early and often . ...

  when i went to toronto. ...
i still haven't gotten used to spilling everything on a web blog, and i don't think anyone should, anyways. what if your regular stalker decided to go after you? they'd recognize you before you even could sniff a whiff of their scary beeehind. besides, i, for one, would like to keep people interested and coming back for more of my blog! :-D

anyways, my recent trip to toronto ended on a rather strange note.

a caucasian man married the oldest of my girl cousins. she never mentioned a word about how i could have helped them financially, which i totally forgot about when i signed up to tag along my mother, who wanted to see them by bus in the first place. he never mentioned it either. he just seemed intent on their kids - all five altogether, two each from their previous marriages, and a new one bouncing up and down the stairs when no one's looking.

which was great! that he was intent on his kids, i mean. the baby cries for five seconds after hitting his head and then tries the stairs all over again.

the trip was hella crazy fun until i sat in the front seat of my cousin's van on the way back to the main house in scarborough and started asking questions. people in back kept on rehashing the same stories - and if you know me, i can switch stories on and off in my head - and for once, i'd like to get at least one story straight.

it turned out one of our cousins had fallen ill to a mental disease, and i asked who she was. my cousin's husband then explained. i mused out loud, "you know, that's a common problem among filipino-americans - the mental illness thing." he said something like, "really?" and i offered maybe coz the girl was just hurt beyond her capacity, going into the possibility of race issues and what it means to be of filipino background living in canada.

i guess coz this husband of hers hasn't yet encountered someone haunted by "what ifs" all her life that he immediately jumped the gun, "ah, but by your saying that, you admit that is true!"

i was doumbfounded. where in the world did that idea come from? racism, in our family? of course my mind considered, "maybe." he was immediately defensive, turning the tables around to something that reeks of "reverse discrimination."

i realized i was dealing with yet another person unconscious of "the other." and i don't blame him - you don't consciously think of these things when you first meet someone. any normal person will first automatically assume that they are capable of the same exact things as you, only when mistakes happen do these ideas actually surface.

i should have paid more attention because even last night when it was fresher, i couldn't totally pin down just exactly what he said that led to that pseudoargument. in the end there was no winner or looser because i again was reminded of how ignorant i could also be when dealing with a race not my own. in north america where race is such a sensitive issue, and in asia were race is almost nonexistent, on-the-job-training can be pretty messy.

my cousin's husband helped me with my bulging messenger bag filled with clothes and scrapbook supplies, and my mother stayed behind because she knew exactly what was going on. from the very beginning my cousin's husband seemed too chivalrous for my cousin, who can silence errant little boys with a pointed look. he never seemed to believe that my family and i lived - and thrived - in chicago. yet again, i thought that with the things that i knew to be true, i felt totally isolated in that house, mainly because i didn't want to hurt my divorced cousin, mother of two teenagers, who'd become very happy when she married this caucasian divorcée with two children of his own.

later in the midnight when my mother and her generation of cousins talked about all things republican and war on terror, my mother turned to me and went, "so what did you and your cousin argue about in the car just now?"

whew. not too democrat or libertarian or green or socialist or independent myself, i just kept silent while people around me chatted away on how bush compares to world war 2, martial law, and gloria macapagal-arroyo. with careful precision i tried to recall exact words and timing and phrases, but i blocked most of it because of the absurdity of it all.

it turned out that my cousins' parents totally agreed on me with most of the points i raised with the caucasian husband.

well... whaddya know. who knew! ahahahaha!

they agreed mainly on how that husband's rarely been challenged even in his own house. they even compared him with the other caucasian husband, who they actually like more because he seems more down to earth than the other one.

"well... because the other one's never been divorced before, and the first one's got his own history - he's divorced and still shuttling his first two children to and from their mother," i reminded them, because everyone needs to be reminded of flip sides once in a while.

everyone needs to stand their ground regarding issues seemingly far removed from their reality, because you never know how close they could affect you. i wonder how dick cheney, rod blagojevich and alan keyes are handling their families now - vice president cheney has a gay daughter, republican candidate for u.s. senate keyes might have one, and illinois governor blagojevich has a sister-in-law who's openly gay. and that's but one firecracker crackling about the world today.
  ooh la la
i am blogging from my second baby. ahahahaha - my cousin's husband taught me how to hop wirelessly online and now i am blogging away to show it off. mwahahaha!

in toronto now and things are great! we're waiting for my other cousin to come so we can go to this art show nearby. and then we're supposed to go shopping for art supplies and scrapbook stuff. woohoo! i can show my cousins yet another one of my expensive hobbies. hopefully we actually get to go shopping. also hopefully we get to go to a bookstore - these kids, my nephews and nieces, need real books to read!

as for the lurking part of blogs, ay nakay - we alls gotta get used to that. i don't get that, complaining about lurkers. lurkers who suddenly break out into the open? so what? hmmm -
  things on a friday
today was hella busy, but i wanted to post coz it's the first of october. ahahahaha. going to toronto NOW. arg! my desk is the aftermath of hurricane ivan. and charley and jeanne. ewwwwwww! but but BUT! i am reading 'lucy' and another book by jamaica kincaid on the bus ride to toronto. bino realuyo, eileen tabios and d.m. reyes will accompany me as well. woohoo! :-D if you pray, pray for my mother and i's safe trip. i humored her - it is 8 hours by car to TO, and this greyhound bus is stopping at kalamazoo and detroit... i think. she has the tickets. this is my sheltered mother's first bus ride EVER, so she wants company. AND, i get to go to TO for free! ehehehehe... woohoo!

welcome, and thank you for boarding the ulanmaya transit express. tickets, please. mind the gap as you depart. have a pleasant experience.

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gromit is curious

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