my gateway drug's silver

my ibook is sterile white. i haven't seen it for over a year. it's somewhere in my sister's basement studio.

the powerbook is silver. he's such a cutie. sala cafe quarter-owner edwin laughed at me. "nevermind functionality!" to which the appropriate demure reply is, "of course."

oh, PCs will always rule the world. i saw someone using a white sony 12-inch at a starbucks a few weeks before the powerbook came into my world, and i wanted that, but since the michigan avenue sony store's gone out of business, there was nowhere to get that cutie but online. so i went to the apple store instead.

most businesses still use PCs - but it's good that some schools will make you use both, if only to prepare you for whatever job you might land.

but what really freaks me out is how quickly the macintosh computer's latched on to consumers. oh, they do crash, i've seen it. the tekkie had to take the poor imac apart and replace this menacing band of circuitry. "it just happens, from normal use," the wright college graphic designer said, as if it were an old, tired pair of socks.

there is but one ipod among my siblings, and because we never see it - unless it's plugged snugly into the youngest's ears - we're considering a second to join our brood.

apple's invasion prolly started with those really giddy, ultrafearless, "go on, mock me" TV and billboard ads of the gummylooking imacs - those huge computers with the rounded backs and the brightly colored semitransparent plastic body. the ad made the macs look like eager to please, jumping caramel popcorn. it just made you want to respond to their cries, "gimme a shot!"

and macs almost... talk to you. ahahahaha! [ salon.com: mac_is_the_future ]
  a lesson in geography

is the middle east part of asia?

where do you put turkey, then?

the arabian peninsula, jordan, syria, israel, iraq, iran and that general area have been dubbed as the middle east. some time ago, north asians sought to remove the term "the far east" from modern writing because the world is presumably smaller and easier to traverse now, that part of the east isn't that far.

it used to be that turkey, cyrus and the nations near them were called the near east, but again, it looks like that moniker's been abolished. how can that part of the east be near when they're a world so different from even europe, which resides just an hour or so by plane north of them?

the middle east, because of extensive play by the west, retains exoticsm but i don't think anyone still remembers that they used to be part of the huge continent of asia.

asia is the southeast, like indonesia, malaysia, singapore, the philippines, thailand, laos, cambodia; the south like india, pakistan, bangladesh, nepal, bhutan, afghanistan (sometimes mistaken for being in the middle east now, as well); the north like japan, china, mongolia, and russia.

at least, this is the asia that i think is on everyone's minds when they think of the word.
folks at sala cafe are planning a gig of mahjong every saturday or so. since gambling is such a hot ticket nowadays, that is.

"what do you think of a game of mahjong on saturday?"

i shrugged. isn't it spelt majong? "sure. but all i know about it's that the tiles are pretty, the house will stink of smoke and i'll be sent out of the room again." the adults in my family play and keep my cousins and i out until the game ends, usually once an uncle's won everyone's money. my cousin ging once won this huge hand - i still remember her pleased, embarrassed look as she shovelled the bills and coins into a purse on her lap. i wondered how many christmases it would take before i earn that much cash.

and so it's decided. they were talking about the $10 card tables at target and the points everyone would earn instead of the money to be traded, as illinois law prohibits gambling on business property. i wonder if they'll teach texas hold 'em as well.

instead of money traded, people will earn points. "the more points they earn, the bigger the prize, like a gift certificate at a nice restaurant."

"ya, or some movie certificates."

"or a date with edwin."

and they went on how maybe sala can host tournaments, and award ceremonies with real certificates and trophies involved.

"it will be the next big thing around town," said one.

i don't know about them trophies, but for sure the gaming thing will catch on.

current music: such great heights - the postal service
current mood: bouncy. yea yea
  marcos in hawaii
ferdinand "bong bong" marcos jr. is scheduled to visit honolulu feb. 1 to 8, and a hawaiian judge is waiting to drag him to court.

the last time the marcoses were in the u.s., ferdinand sr. was found guilty of executions, torture and disappearances during his 14-year presidency under martial law. their assets were ordered frozen, but interest in almost all of them have doubled since their discovery in 1986. in 1996, imelda and her son were found in violation of the court order freezing their assets. they are fined $100,000 each day since then.

judge manuel real is assigned to distribute assets of the marcos estate. he's ordered bong bong to quell talking about the court proceedings while he signs a sister-state province agreement with honolulu governor linda lingle.

there's a ton of money involved in this case. the banks holding the money are appealing a ruling that states they should pay up as per real's distribution orders. this is such a high-end scandal that i think many other filipino politicians, in office presently, want to follow.

in 1986, after somewhat understanding that the money marcos stole somehow was part of what my family earned as well, i wondered what would happen if all that money were released back into the country. could all that help pay off national debts to the world bank and IMF? could that money fund rice and fishing farms in the province? can that money help out my parents so both of them can stay in the country for longer than a couple years at a time? so they won't have to work elsewhere far away?

the court procedures might make the marcoses squeeze their wealth back into the philippines... if the banks will quit appealing.

bong bong marcos is now a governor of ilocos norte, a province in northern philippines.
  need volunteers

if you are an iraqi national or an iraqi-american,
and plan to vote some time this weekend,
and won't mind being quoted in a story,
and live in chicago,

please contact me: yhortil3@yahoo.com. thank you!


  the grandees
i never went to any sports events at loyola, even though i knew the ramblers were rising up the college basketball nationals. their coaches frequently alluded to the 1960s national championship win we once had... the plastic banner-type reminder is plastered to the side of athletics building, looming over us, gleaming in the snow and rain.

girl basketball varsity classmates would have noses in books while we shuttled to and from lake shore and water tower campus. shuttling was the only time to talk to anyone, at least, in my world and theirs. shuttling was also the only time to nap during the school day. we never got passed we're supposed to turn in something today, right?

and yes, all the filipinos majored in law and medicine and were involved in either the fashion shows or rice bowl.

no one from loyola graduates and gets into journalism. there are odd stragglers - jerry crimmins the magnificent exudes catholic apology and persistence, he was made a supervisor around here and did brilliantly, but only wanted to write. the managers said no. so he quit. he returned to his old, the esteemed chicago law bulletin.

and then on a random thursday i call the daily herald in arlington heights and john lush answers the phone, class of 85, the only other loyola alum that's staff of a newspaper right now. in our estimation.

the ramblers have a painful secret: our original name. the lame name thankfully sank into obscurity, taking the school's cheer with it, so mr. lush and i just chorused the popular refrain from anyone who's ever seen gentile center: 'that gym sucks!' ahahahaha -
california investigators say juan manuel alvarez parked his car across some train tracks and waited for the train to barrel down. shortly before driving to the train tracks, investigators say he slit his wrists and stabbed himself, in all the nonlifethreatening places.

alvarez must have waited for a while on those tracks, because he decided he didn't want to die, after all. he jumped out of his SUV at the last minute, too late for the train to safely stop. the train crashed into his car, derailed, and injured more than 100 people, taking the lives of 11.

prosecutors charged alvarez with 11 counts of murder and has become eligible for the death penalty.

it looks like another one of those strange true stories of someone getting exactly what they wished for. [ more ]
  the v word
pinays in san francisco are staging their own version of the famed eve ensler play, 'the vagina monologues.'

that's some double whammy of an ownership-type play; it flies in the face of the assumption that all filipinas are catholic, therefore aren't supposed to be so loud and overt coz there's nothing, really, to be screaming about.

so say the critics. the problem with the play is that it mentions the V word. so taboo, it's absurd to even mention. it's like a lady kicking down the door locked by her husband and screaming what the hell are you doing.

and it's been interpreted such - the motif of the screaming woman with PMS, stay away from her. her inability to give words to what she thinks and feels because, presumably, the world is shaped by the victors, who all happen to be men.

and so when a graduate student of philosophy asked, "i wonder if it's enough for a person to base their whole lives on just their sexuality," a castmember jumped the gun, "this play helped me recover from being raped, made me realize i was still valuable."

the fact that such material exists should be evidence enough that there isn't enough discussion on abuse against women. or women letting the abuse repeat. or just even how a woman looks at things.

there's such a thing as wrong really being done to you, and wrong you've imagined inflicted on you. and often the only way to tell the difference is when someone else recognizes it for you.


i first saw this play as a junior at loyola. loyola would send students to far-off places like the south side of chicago and developing nations like cuba to carry out social justice concerns, but you'd raise eyebrows if you planned big things that mattered to students, like sex.

so the theater school wanted to shake things up and announced they wanted to perform ms. ensler's play. the school said no. they persisted - and won a one night only special. tickets were first-come, first-serve, 2 only per school ID, because the venue was tiny, velvety mullady theater, seating 298 (yes. that's why huge gentile center is right next door). you'd have wanted to swipe the ones waiting at the box office window when the ticket agent wasn't looking. ten minutes after doors opened, we sat at the aisles.

the scene that stayed with me the longest was of soldiers gang raping a european woman during some sort of war. i think they changed it to the sarajevo war - the school at that time was closely watching president clinton's moves while yugoslavia tore itself apart. the soldiers raped her, one inserting the barrel of a rifle into her. the character screamed they just kept laughing and she wasn't sure if they were going to fire or not.


a lot of people stayed after for the q&a portion. as expected, no one dared ask the first one, so the director and the cast stated the obvious - how a play of this sort is needed on campus, how theater students rehersed for it same as any other production, how they were glad that, for starters, the school allowed them to show the play even if it were just for one night. the questions were difficult to stem once they started. the play is now staged every year.

for a jesuit school priding itself as the only one in chicago, it was groundbreaking on-campus but illicited an "it's about time" everywhere else. the school got over the hype and realized it needed to laugh at the absurd at least once every year. ignore the other half of the world, you're left with half a world. that's not the way to function at all.
  the embers oracle - guillermo trujillo
on this side of my desk: open newspapers! clipboards! the directory! forward-looking papers!

on this side: immediate papers! the stapler! a highlighter! my bottle of lotion! two uncapped pens! my cup of unsharpened pencils! my computer monitor!

and on this side: food!

somewhere under all that: my notebook!

they added to my workload some time last year, so long ago i can't remember exactly when, and i've been coasting along but i think i'm beginning to have a hated day of the week: monday.
for once i actually rose before sunset on a weekend.

animated conversation in the first floor dining area. it is their voice that wakes me, their singing ilonggo. when i was little my mother and aunts would gossip in that language during bedtime over my siblings and i. i've associated it with lullabyes and protection. as expected, conversation is the latest from the province, or at least, memories from the recently-arrived. my mother sounds happiest, her clipped ilonggo illiciting excited responses from my aunt and uncle, several times removed. an entire house floor muffles their advice and their laughter, but their happiness is clear as day.

they're so remarkable, that generation. i don't think i can hack maintaining my language or my sensibilities like that, but there are some things i pray i will never learn from them. they want to put up a store called "the three sisters" in front of the "two sisters" store already in place at the town plaza in thier hometown. how cheesy is that!

yellow sunlight waits through my window blinds. i love it! ahahaha. i tell the day i finally caught you, and i know it is beautiful out. the snow on the ground will reflect light back so everything looks sharper, crisper. yellow indoor ceiling lamps cannot compare.

someone's opened our living room blinds so all that sunlight comes through.

our relatives have retreated to the basement where their work continues. the phone rings incessantly for more relatives who call, and the tv's chattering away as well.

ok wait, i hafta play dakilang utusan muna -
  no disclaimers

why would you go out on a day like this?

for pintig's monthly open mic @ sala cafe.

david wycoco

narciso lobo

kay barrett

allen hope sermonia

imelda de la cruz

next open mic is february 18th, pintig space.


perhaps why the screeching of a character from my sister's favorite anime never keeps her from snipping her fingernails is that shriek's not what she would make on the worst day of her life.

when her boxedness collapses, she freezes into place, whether groping for the correct pattern for design class or reading work online, or, if the computer hasn't given her solace she will run to her pets and pretend they can speak back to her secrets to a painless escape for us all.

the television's volume must be turned all the way up to escape my incessant typing, that maddening chiseling of keys committing to permanency a story she would rather i not discover, a story she would rather i not impart before she herself's had a chance to committ to patterns a reality wholly her own.
  snow squall
wacker and madison

it is snowing in the city of big shoulders.

chef intern rashid and i worked late shifts and happened on each other on kimball and berteau - that's what happens if you live two blocks from each other and it snows all day.

i didn't know he rode the same bus as me back to our streets.

thick winter scarves keep you from looking all the way left and all the way right. "who can recognize each other in this weather?" he laughed.

snow so deep collects in your beards and your wool hats and your hoodies, the sleeves of your coats and the folds in your jeans.
  1920s concourse clock

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buffalo central terminal, concourse clock, circa 1920s.

  theoline - bernice abbott

Bernice Abbott, Theoline, Pier 11, East River, Manhattan. 1936.

  every girl outcast's dream
for fun, my colleagues and i watched the penultimate scenes of the celebrated cult sissy spacek classic, "carrie." viva la chicks outcast, i say. remember that burning gym scene?

sympathetic chick's gaze followed a string attached to a strange bucket from the ceiling, and then down under the stage where the shadow of two disembodied hands held the string.

well, the bucket may have contained glittering confetti. you never know. but, as that falling strip of fabric showed, why was it over just carrie?

so sympathetic girl's guts told her to check to whose body did the shadow of hands belong to, and sure enough, as she parted the streamers and peered under the stage, they belonged to carrie's enemies, hiding, shivering in anticipation.

inattentive teacher grabs sympathetic chick from the stage. adults ruin everything.

inattentive teacher should have listened to sympathetic girl - especially as she was frantically pointing to something sinister lurking under stage.

it is every girl outcast's dream to burn their high school down. because, as everyone knows, girls won't burn anything unless abused, ridiculed, and yes, even simply provoked.

"umm. some people would say she was satan, ulanmaya," my colleagues said.

"well, yes. if there is such a thing as a feminine face of god, then there's satan's counterpart as well," i sweetly said.

because truly, "carrie" isn't a horror flick - it's the original girl power movie. :pleased:
  # 38334
i'm so embarrased for american idol contestant no. 38334, the one with the red shirt, white khakis and the hemp chocker necklace. i just happened to glance up and see this girl singing her heart out to paula abdul's horrified face. this is why i refuse to watch reality shows - i'm not one for watching someone nameless embarrass themselves in front of millions. that's what blogs are for. i wonder what sort of therapy the rejected will have to suffer after these auditions.

ok, i'll soften - maybe she was planted there. and the judges knew. and they're all acting. that seems more likely.

oh, lord have mercy. i'm so irritated.
  jumpy intelligentsia
for one of my assignments, i chose to sit at my old school library and sift through an okay amount of material and craft a story that same night. i had three books, pages of notes, and a handful of web sites. i didn't want to borrow the books coz i knew i'd forget to return them on time again, and i wanted to finish the article already. it didn't help that the girl sitting next to me got up her seat every 10 minutes because she can't stand the one essay she had to compress into a 5-page final paper.

it was midterms week, so i forgave the thousand times she did that in the first hour. and then she started spilling her pages into my share of the desk. it was then i learned that i don't share very well, not with strangers, or at least, not with this girl. i thought then she deserves my flying papercut swing.

and then i remembered my own struggles, choosing between jars of clay and prof. von wahlde, cheating by listening to them both at the same time. shame on me. but then the girl clucked her tongue and flounced away again. a boy sitting on her other side looked up and shook his head.

i was irritated, but i wasn't about to let my article get away all because of a fidgety girl. i can't, ahaha. i don't know when i'll have time next, and i really wanted to write this story. i'm close to finishing it! i could get dinner soon!

and then the girl came back, sighing loudly, grabbing her book, pointing to the same page she's been trying to synthesize for the last two hours, and then furiously typing for at least 10 minutes straight. a friend of hers came along, and she said she's actually doing well.

and no wonder. i looked over her share of the desk and there were two cups from "intelligentsia" - the latest trendy coffee around town these days. oh, for crying out loud. my head was still wrapped around my article when it silently yelled, "learn to hold your damn caffeine."
  counter-inauguration events for thursday, jan. 20
1. DC trip

some chicago students are going to washington, d.c. for a counter-inauguration protest. they are now looking to rent a third bus, but they need 25 people to fill it, and they only have 6 people so far. seats are $80.

from organizer beth massey: "The buses will leave on Wednesday, January 19th at 5 pm from Columbus Drive between Monroe and Adams (right behind the Art Institute) and be in Washington before 9 am on Thursday, January 20th. They will arrive back in Chicago prior to 9 am Friday, January 21st. The buses are coach buses with toilets and the ability to show videos and movies. In other words they are not school buses; they are modern and comfortable."

if you are interested in going, please contact tina hernandez-lasquety at herlast@hotmail.com, phone the bus company at 773-878-0166.

2. university of chicago

cultural and artistic responses to the inauguration

Rockefeller Chapel, 5850 S Woodlawn Ave.

Spoken Word Artists:
Gregorio Gomez, Alvin Lau,Cin Salach. Open Mic to Follow.

Swift Hall, Third Floor Lecture Hall, 1025 E 58th St.

Two panels that address the following questions from the perspective of various issue areas or group perspectives, featuring brief comments by panelists and then plenty of time for discussion.

Panel I: What Happened?
3:00-4:30 p.m.

This session will address the question of how did people vote in the last election and why? Moderator: Debbie Nelson Speakers: Jerry Rosenberg on election analysis, particularly the gay marriage issue Amy Hollywood on religion as a political factor/issue Achy Obejas on election organizing and responses in Latino communities Chris Meckstroth reflecting on student mobilization

Panel II: Where do we go from here?
4:30-6 p.m.

A great deal of effort and money was expended by ordinary citizens in the last election, perhaps unlike anything many of us have seen since the '60s Civil Rights and Anti-War movements. Where and to what ends can some of that activism be re-channeled? What issues are we likely to confront in the near and far term? In short, what can we learn from what happened and how do we apply it to the battles that are sure to come, i.e., Supreme Court nominations, Republican legislative initiatives, the congressional elections in 2006, the continuing war in Iraq and elsewhere. Moderator: Tom Holt Speakers: Jessica Graham reflecting on the experience of working the polls in Wisconsin for future mobilizations. Mark Rifkin on possible responses in the gay movement, re. the battles ahead. Christine Gomez on rethinking Latino and black community political coalitions. Lisa Wedeen on international developments, perhaps especially on how prospective developments internationally (like the Middle East or Iraq war) might frame domestic politics in the years ahead. Will the chickens finally come home to roost?

plenary roundtable
Roundtable Discussion, Rockefeller Chapel, 5850 S Woodlawn Ave.

Moderator: Cathy Cohen Speakers: Lauren Berlant George Chauncey Geoffrey Stone Melissa Harris-Lacewell

counter-inaugural ball
8:00 p.m.
Ida Noyes Hall, 1212 E 59th St.

Admission is free and open to the public. People with disabilities who believe they may need assistance, please contact Gina Olson at 773-702-9936 or golson@uchicago.edu.

Protest Groups, Too, Prepare for the President's Big Day
By Michael Janofsky
The New York Times, Jan. 13

WASHINGTON, Jan. 12 - Just as Inauguration Day planners are doing everything possible to ensure that all events next Thursday celebrate the start of President's Bush's second term, protesters are gearing up to disrupt them.

From nondescript headquarters a dozen blocks from the Capitol, a coalition of groups linked by their opposition to the war in Iraq and other administration policies are organizing their own inauguration events. Those include a determined effort to jeer the presidential motorcade as it carries Mr. Bush from his swearing-in at the Capitol to a reviewing stand at the White House.

"Our goal is to make sure Inauguration Day reflects the great divisions that exist in the United States right now," said Brian Becker, national coordinator for the coalition, known as Answer, which stands for Act Now to Stop War and End Racism. "Bush is trying to assert he has a mandate. We will show that a big part of the American people do not believe he has one." [ more ]
  blogging from photobucket
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photo by kid sibling. mountainpeak as we crossed west past the rockies.

this is so damned cool!!! ahahahaha... i'm blogging from photobucket. they post the pix you want in an HTML editable text box. i'm still learning, but i think i still hafta log into blogger and make changes there, some marks like quotations, and some tags like < br > don't transfer well enough.

but still!!! ahahahahaha, so perfect. my consideration for blogger has elevated from cumbersome to cool, in my eight months or so of using it (for the third time, first was shortly after it came out, next was to host my sept. 11 site, and latest is now. maybe third time's the charm, after all. ahahahaha).

ulanmaya the internet junkie has arrived on blogger. dangerous. woohoo!!!
  i want this bear
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The 'Crazy for You Bear' comes with commitment papers and is meant to convey out-of-control love.

Valentine bear has some seeing red
'Crazy for you bear' angers mental health advocates
by The Associated Press
Updated: 10:45 a.m. ET Jan. 13, 2005

MONTPELIER, Vt. - A company that sells cuddly Teddy bears through the mail has angered mental health advocates with a special item for Valentine's Day.

The Vermont Teddy Bear Co. is featuring a 15-inch bear in a straitjacket. The $69.95 stuffed animal is called the 'Crazy for You Bear' and comes with its own commitment papers.

"This bear was created in the spirit of Valentine's Day and as with all of our bears it was designed to be a lighthearted depiction of the sentiment of love," the company said in a statement.

Mental health advocates believe the bear is "a tasteless use of marketing that stigmatizes persons with mental illness," said Jerry Goessel, executive director of the Vermont chapter of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill.

The company said it would discontinue the bear, but not before Feb. 14. [ more ]
This is a test post from Photobucket.com
$40 million for a party. mostly from corporations that almost directly benefit from the war in iraq. i guess he should take it because it's all donated money, of course you'll take handouts. corporations and charities should have done better to donate their wealth to places where obviously it is most needed.

this is why india refused tsunami aid - they claim they have funds enough to cover losses all on their own. they don't want strings attached. they think it's a form of colonialism.

but the inauguration committee still should have taken strides to keep this thing from ballooning into the moster that it already is. the latest count are nine balls.

no matter how people justify spending that much for a party, there's still choices all sides could have taken so this event doesn't make non-military residents of the u.s. look, for once, like escapist fools. or fools in denial.

i'm disappointed because it shouldn't take too much effort to realize that this money could be spent better elsewhere - better armor for military currently in the field, for one. and then all the planes to fly them all back.

the president is ducking his head - his wife refers to him as a symbol. analysts predict there will be no jokes in his speeches this time. he'll still hold aloft a flute glass and toast the national guard reserve at their free ball. i hope someone calls out a question to him they way one soldier did, at the prompt of a reporter, donald rumsfeld when he visited them in the field: "so when are our brothers coming home?"

Expense Draws Wrath, but Not From Charities
By Carol Morello
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, January 16, 2005

... Rep. Anthony D. Weiner (D-N.Y.) said he has heard grumbling from some of his constituents in Brooklyn and Queens.

"These are sober times," said Weiner, who wrote a letter urging Bush to redirect the inaugural money to equipment or bonuses for U.S. troops. "We have 150,000 troops at war. We have a world recovering from the greatest natural disaster in recent memory. The image that is most troubling is of a president in black tie holding a champagne flute at a time when so many soldiers are eating out of a plastic pouch while getting shot at in Iraq." [ more ]

No Limits for Inaugural Fund-Raisers
By Glen Justice
The New York Times, Jan. 15

... The committee took advantage of campaign finance laws that allowed companies, which are prevented from contributing to candidates during the election, to donate freely to the inauguration and offered packages that include premium tickets to the festivities and special events with the president.

"Corporations do this as a matter of course," Mr. Reynolds said. "Many corporations had this in their budget for this year. Without knowing whether a Republican or Democrat was going to be elected, they had money already budgeted." [ more ]

For Inauguration in Wartime, a Lingering Question of Tone
By John Tierney
The New York Times, Jan. 16

... President Bush, like most of his wartime predecessors, is not halting the inaugural partying, but this year's planners are striving for a solemn mood. The inaugural events, with the theme of "Celebrating Freedom and Honoring Service," will begin Tuesday with a tribute to the military. After Mr. Bush takes the oath on Thursday, there will be a "Commander-in-Chief Ball" that evening for 2,000 troops who have either served in Iraq or Afghanistan or are headed there. Separate gestures are being made by corporate sponsors like Amgen, a biotechnology firm, which is assigning all its inaugural tickets to employees serving in the National Guard.

"Our tone throughout the inaugural events will show gratitude toward those who protect the ideals that make our nation so great," said Jeanne L. Phillips, the chairwoman of the inaugural committee, which seeks to raise $30 million to $40 million through ticket sales and private donations to pay for the events. [ more ]
  misery for overtime
a colleague of ours suffered a brain aneurysm. surgery is over, now they're waiting for the blood collected in his head to be absorbed by his body. tomorrow, day 3, he's expected to be transfered to a rehabilitation facility.

his aneurysm started with a really severe headache. first chance he got out of the office, he asked a former colleague to drive him to northwestern hospital, where doctors immediately spotted what was wrong. we circulated a card, it's around here somewhere.

aneurysms are a lot more common than i thought they are - one web site says that 3 to 5 percent of americans have brain aneurysms. [ more ] it sounds a lot like cancer, in that things can be prevented from getting worse - rupturing, bleeding, pressure building in the brain - if blood vessels in the brain are checked and if anuerysms are caught right away.

everyone is suprisingly springy and worried for him. he is the type to whistle down the hallway even during an apparent crisis inside and outside the newsroom. he finds something to be cheerful about even as public relations agents fool him and his colleagues into thinking an official went this way when he actually had already left the building.

"you're sure you placed that piece of paper on skip's desk now," he told me once.

"ya, but i didn't reply, i mean, it's skip, it'll blow over," i said, stopping working and looking at him.

he started laughing, sardonic sounding to others but replete with mirth to the rest of us. "did you see that e-mail he sent you?" he turned to everyone else in the newsroom. "he carboned this really nasty email to ulanmaya to the news editor, asking her to change her phone number, saying it's a fax, and that he couldn't find the specials request fax on parn's desk. most likely, he took the request paper, walked around and placed it down somewhere else, and can't remember where."

and then just last saturday, he came out of his hole of a workroom when we laughed at a college per diem person who played hookie and didn't even call in to tell us he's skipping work. "i have to cover a sorority rush scene," he told the supervisor, who pounded his head on the desk and laughed to the high heavens.

"that boy will be our boss someday soon," said jeff, a photographer.

mike green emerged, confused, and took a moment to look at all of us doubling over. "i would choose to cover a sorority rush scene myself, over the AP," the supervisor told him.

"i'm trying to sleep back there," green said, when we very well knew he wasn't. you will always catch him plugging away at his machine in the workroom, or lugging four different kinds of cameras to assignments. typical mgreen banter.

to cheer me up one afternoon, about a third of the way into my second year working here, he let me see one of his pictures of the pope. he opened his small cupboard space and showed me a picture of ioannes oaulus II, slumped and praying in his throne, with a giant image of the christ filling the background, looming over the aging pope. "sometimes, with the way the world is going now, someone has to say no. it's his job to say no," he said.

but my favorite quote from him is still something i think about everyday: "your misery is my overtime."

it is always in the back of my mind during my regular shift and when i have to work longer to make sure that every candidate has either won or conceeded, every criminal charge noted, every person hurt accounted for, every death documented and reported. he'd better hurry back into the newsroom; everyone's worried. he'll never know he was missed, of course. ;-)

What causes a brain aneurysm? [ webMD ]

A person may inherit the tendency to form aneurysms, or aneurysms may develop because of hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) and aging. Some risk factors that can lead to brain aneurysms can be controlled; others can't. The following risk factors may increase your risk of developing an aneurysm or, if you already have an aneurysm, of it rupturing:

* Family history. People with a family history of brain aneurysms are twice as likely to have an aneurysm as those who don't.

* Previous aneurysm. About 20% of patients with brain aneurysms have more than one.

* Gender. Women are twice as likely to develop a brain aneurysm or suffer a subarachnoid hemorrhage as men.

* Race. African Americans have twice as many subarachnoid hemorrhages as whites.

* Hypertension. The risk of subarachnoid hemorrhage is greater in people with a history of high blood pressure (hypertension).

* Smoking. In addition to being a cause of hypertension, the use of cigarettes may greatly increase the chances of a brain aneurysm rupturing.
the most exact way to tell someone's ID, aside from the hollywood-immortalized eye scan, is the fingerprint. outgoing homeland security secretary tom ridge wants passports to have not only the holder's eye and hair color, but also his or her fingerprint.

upon landing at LAX airport over a decade ago, my family and i were immediately brought to the international immigration offices for fingerprinting and photographing. we had just pulled up stakes in the homeland and were in line for green card and VISA processing. the immigration officer gently took my right index finger and lead it to a stamp pad. "do not press hard, do not try to help," he said, an earnest and harmless, but firm look on his face.

i didn't say a thing, but i'm sure he saw the insulted look on my face. i didn't even want to be there. i remember wondering what it would be like to fly away from the philippines for the first time, and when the plane's tires separated from the runway, i felt my own roots irrevocably severed from me. hello, i told myself, be rational. you are strapped to a plane seat, rapidly climbing thousands of feet into the stratosphere. there isn't an escape route in sight now, you should find one when you land. and aren't you curious about korea? i calmed myself thinking this was for my mother. i shouldn't be gone from school too long. i won't be missing out on much. besides, it should be fun - while packing my things, i had little guilty feelings of when we move to the u.s., i'll have every material thing i've ever wanted right at my fingertips. it won't be so different from my life here in quezon city. i tried not to think of how my mother looked at my box and wanted to throw everything out. she thought i didn't need any of that junk, hell, everything in the u.s. is better, and why should you bring memories of your dad with you? she was a little crazy then, but because she was my mother, i obeyed. but this strange african-american officer? the first american i met on u.s. shores? i'm glad to finally meet a specimen of the real america. but why should i impart my plans to return home to someone who won't care?

the print of my index finger ended up in the back of my green card. for someone who grew up in a society whose one form of ID for minors is issued by the perennial school, it was a mere necessary step to assure my mother that i wasn't going anywhere, anytime soon. it was my freedom card. pre-sept. 11, 2001, it was my magic carpet to the homeland. (right now i'm sure quezon city laws have changed. my parents have their work IDs, driver's licenses, and other forms as well. most kids of middle income parents in circa 1990s quezon city have their birth certificates and school IDs. recently i just helped out an indian national get a spanish visa so she can vacation for two weeks in spain. and she's a green card holder. pre-2001, you can fly back and forth between the u.s. and your birthland with just your green card and birthland passport.)

then, of course, the plot thickens. the drive to earn my own passage home was sidetracked by former classmates graduating to second semesters and sophomore years. i wanted to play catch up. and then in 1998 i actually did return home, but that's another xanga entry. ;-P

you decide whether mr. ridge's latest proposal will be another hotspot for invasion of privacy advocates. [ more ]
  poesito contro la guerra
God, with all his light,
walks in the darkness!

On the trail of his shoes,
trees grow.

And on the trail of his thoughts,
autumn appears.

On the streets
You see eyes with clouds inside
of wrinkled faces

And the faces of the mournful
are full of heavenly tears.

And those black, heartless clothes
that have nothing to do with poems.

in a newsletter they send so seldomly you forget the site and the movement ever existed, the editors of poets against the war appended these poems by "soufie."
  killing fields memorial
Asians in America article: The Cambodian American Heritage Museum: Remembering the Killing Fields

Across the Lawrence Avenue bridge over the Chicago River, artisans for the Cambodian Association of Illinois carved a Buddhist goddess on its headquarter's facade. Upon entrance, the visitor is greeted with soft lights over photographs of children, photographs of newly-arrived Cambodians in their first winter coats and hats, photographs of whole families shuffled from one camp to another.

The Cambodian American Heritage Museum and Killing Fields Memorial tells of an oppressive regime that destroyed the morale and culture of a people. There are four sets of iron ankle braces and a photograph of how they were used to hang two prisoners from the ceiling. Two ancient prayer books in Khmer script, made of palm leaves. An airline shopping bag full of immigration papers and airline tickets, showing they fled into Thailand, later to the Philippines, later to the United States.

Further into the space is a curved divider protecting 80 glass columns under soft light on risers. In the center is a granite wall, etched with a lotus flower in mother-of-pearl, and the words, "We countinue our journey with compassion, understanding and wisdom."

The names of 25,000 victims are carved in Khmer script on each glass column. Kathy Reun, CAI Family Strengthening Counselor, reached for one of the green columns. "I might find my mother's sister's name here. My whole immediate family suvived," she humbly said. [ more ]

first blogged: courage, dec. 14, 2004.
last year was so frickin hectic, it spilled into this year. i felt like i lost a year. this year is catch up year.

shall i start with the books? ahahahaha - i laugh because you need discipline to read all the way through a book, and i want to do that. 'the da vinci code,' 'angels and demons,' 'fabulous small jews.' i actually got to read 'the curious incident of the dog in the night-time' by mark haddon coz a friend of mine texted me at a little past 4 a.m., "YOU HAVE GOT TO READ THIS BOOK!!! the whole school fell for it!!!"

i've already actually purchased the last hardbound copy at borders on clark and broadway and had been hoarding it for several months before he texted me, and i should have read it to impress them all. mwahahahaha. ah, i am wasting my shot at fame by not taking advantage of my access and reach here to show off what i know to peeps over there. ahahahaha.

i heard 'garden state' is a good film; i shall make an effort to rent it on dvd. 'closer' sounds like an interesting flick as well, i'll try to see that as well. the one movie that's got me mildly curious is 'my sassy girl,' (yeopgijeogin geunyeo); everyone overseas says that it's a must-see. i guess anyone who's serious about korean film and TV's already seen this. it's incredibly rare here! :bummed:

today we finally got out and shopped, the fridge is stocked and the cheetos are waiting. (yum. i hope they leave some for me this time!!!) we also actually drove to evanston to watch a movie and visit the borders there. damn. this year is truly getting to me, when i'm able to leave a bookstore empty-handed with my credit card burning through my jeans. victory!!!

'house of flying daggers' (shi mian mai fu) is, as always, magnificently delicious zhang yimou eye candy, with the brothel almost as obvious a stage as the restaurant scene in 'crouching tiger hidden dragon,' (wo hu cang long) and at first i didn't recognize ms. ziyi with her face all made up. her ballet skills came into play in this film. absolutely loved the bamboo sequence and the green gangsta costumes and salakots. ;-P perfect character counterpoints. but we think 'hero' (ying xiong) drained mr. yimou out, making the end to 'house of flying daggers' a bit comical and overdrawn, just like a hong kong fight scene. still, because of perfect abstract frames like bamboo flying as spears or springing as daggers, as new sprouts from the ground, the movie is well worth seeing. :-D

an old book i read in high school keeps on coming back to haunt me - 'phantom' by susan kay. at least, i think that's the 'phantom of the opera' version that someone asked me to read in high school. i remember being speechless and envious of ms. kay after reading the book. since visiting new york city last september, and looking for something to do in times square, we thought of seeing the broadway, but thought better of it; rent already cost us almost $100. that's what you get for being so spur-of-the-moment. the book came back to me while times square glared and dazzled above me.

impromptu is always romantic and exhilerating, and this year continues the crazy chase for the latest, trendiest, the best. but i need to nail my feet to the ground and prioritize - because there's always next year to catch up with things. :pleased: and by that time, all the new books will be paperbound and cheaper, all the movies will be on DVD and easier to rent. one of my other resolutions this year will be to achieve discipline and chisel priorities and ignore the nagging boredom, "i know this city well enough already." one year of play is year enough for many, year enough for me. i've just typed out the many distractions that might entertain me for the rest of the year, i should be content till they tide me over the next. with all this on the side, i should be able to accomplish several of my real goals. thus, i'll reserve asking for things supposedly due me for the time when, as i've said before, truly deserve them. :-)
  folklore saves town
i forgot which coastal town this was... or which TV station featured a story on them.

there is a small island in the indian ocean whose population escaped the tsunami by following folklore. a fisherman explains it in simple, awed terms, that when the tides change earlier and farther than they normally do, it is time to flee after animals already headed for higher ground. the fishermen said that that sort of thing happened around the 1880s, and knowledge of it had been passed generation to generation.

the town implemented their own tsunami warning system and sent everyone to higher ground when the tides shifted rather later in the morning (around 8 a.m. local time) the day after christmas. sure enough, the tsunami came. most everyone was safe.

there was this other island in the indian ocean, along the tsunami's path, whose airstrip and population also had been spared. i can't remember if it were the same island. but the island's governor said they've been waiting for five days before the airplane came with provisions. he said they would have notified mainland sooner had they still had the equipment to.

this town's story is yet another reminder to me that no story, however unlikely, should be taken for granted.

curious thing: tsunami travel time
  damn papers
a good friend whom i really clicked with several years ago in college has come back to haunt me. thing is, she's threatening to sue me.

this is a side of writing that's been completely kept from me, even by my own mentors. "oh, what sweet, harmless innocent you are. no one'd have the heart. go now, write well. good bye."

the friend and i belonged to different schools, pursued different majors, but belonged to the same youth group. i needed to complete an ethnography for one of my classes, and i cheated - i profiled our youth group.

shortly before the semester i was to write the ethnography, the friend showed up, again out of the blue, and connected with the rest of us. she has some of the best stories, and they're not all happy ones. she's made such an impact on me and the youth group that i used her to demonstrate one of my points.

i wrote the paper. and i posted it online.

i had misgivings about using her name with her story that i couldn't sleep for weeks before and after the paper. what demon possessed me to do such a thing? i'm such a stupid innocent. i remember feeling then it'd be ok. it's unsettling to think now, of how i somehow set aside the whole deal and prayed i won't have to deal with it again.

well, it came back. just over the holidays i wondered what had happened to her. and this evening, i got an email from her.

i tried to stay calm coz there wasn't anything i could do for another three hours until i got off work, but the whole deal weighed so heavily on me that i became so crabby at work, even my fearless supervisor backed off.

i started making up strategies. nevermind that she prolly had one of her lawyer friends write the email. i can see her being reasonable like that. no one's got my back with the paper; it wasn't written for any organization. how much would my own lawyer cost? where the hell's what'shisname who went to illinois? urbana's three hours by bus.

to keep from snapping at my siblings to get off the computer already, i dug around for my old files. an old computer, 15 floppy disks, six CDs, several journals, one book. i was about to attack my old clips and notebooks when i stopped and just tried out all the codes i knew i used for the homepage.

fons adae
germani ***

i tried the old computer again, a whole folder of scripts wasn't there. it was good my room was on the second floor of our house, i wouldn't know what to do with the mounting panic in my limbs. looked at the labels of 50 more CDs. tried the floppies again. sat in front of the machine and tried out germania, resigned.


i am going to delete the whole damn paper offline!!!

*** The Name of the Rose, Umberto Eco.
  a complete story
washington post staffer philip kennicott writes in his jan. 5 essay, "from a distance, hope glimmers like a mirage amid the misery," that the continuous barrage of images, soundbytes and 60-word updates from the tsunami affected areas do nothing to help or solve growing problems there, or solve problems already there before the disaster.

mr. kennicott does not address the bigger aftershocks resulting from the disaster. not about the stinginess of governments or the two-facedness of god, but the short reach of global media, succumbing to the easier stories to tell.

story after story of the same. there are patterns enough to be gleaned: how has government corruption installed before the tsunami affect distribution of aid? international relations? environmental impact? how have small towns functioned in relation to the big cities previous to the event, and are they still connected now?

Disaster also forces the skeptical mind to question God's existence, and yet the media -- supposedly so skeptical -- do a virtuoso dance around the problem of God and His mercy. There are complicated theological ways around this problem, this dilemma of two Gods, one who wields earthquakes and waves like Zeus throwing thunderbolts, the other filled with compassion and alert to the power of prayer. While the media will occasionally raise the issue of doubt -- or how religious leaders deal with doubt -- they revert quickly, effortlessly, to an endorsement of orthodoxy. It is easier to report on people praying (the visuals are better) than it is to write about doubt. And doubt makes people angry. It shakes faith at a time when faith is under stress.

maybe journalists aren't digging deep enough - these stories have been told, we just missed the 30-minute segment, or the special sunday section. there are stories of parents losing faith, there was at least one father who no longer can bring himself to face mecca and chant.

"there is nothing! there is nothing! where is god? what is god?" cried a man in front of an american student of divinity.

broadcast media, whose reach and immediacy should equal responsibility, hasn't jumped on the why issue quick enough unlike after sept. 11, 2001. mr. kennicott laments habit after habit of the same - take CNN, for instance. they installed monina rajpal and richard quest to anchor and cover the immediate aftermath. and then they sent their notables, christiane amanpour, aaron brown, anderson cooper, to asia, with paula zahn remaining in the studio to staff the fort, as if this well-known team will give legitimacy to the news previously reported by less exposed journalists.

i sympathize. with CNN.

the realm of the big question(s) belongs not to journalism, realm of the pithy soundbyte. it belongs to the worlds of literature, philosophy, theology. perhaps mr. kennicott implies that it's about time daily journalism raise the big questions, the way documentaries and hour-long features did shortly after sept. 11, 2001, and devote energy to explore the questions' roots.

however, there seems to be no way around it - mr. kennicott and the rest of us should brace ourselves that the best angles and representations surface only after one story after another has been told. personally, i still insist on the reporter's challenge to tell the story fairly and completely, and at a mere three minutes a piece; at a mere 500 words a story. the world is hurried and crowded. someone will always make us stop and look around. that's what the features, editorials; the documentaries and specials are for. further, that's what literature, philosophy and theology are for.

Images of destruction inspire an intolerable sense of futility in those far from the catastrophe. The obvious response -- to send aid -- is adequate only to prevent further suffering. About the suffering that has already happened, the losses that can't be undone, we can do nothing. Except watch for a time, until we're numb, or bored, or angry at the repetitive misery -- and then, in the back of the head, cue those violins, the sunset mood, the irrational affirmation that allows us to ring down the curtain.

To ring down the curtain on the story, not on the actual suffering.

perhaps bringing in prime fresh faces closer to the disaster will hasten relief. i think mountains are moved because of the subtle nudges of the nightly news, we just never recognize them. mr. kennicott is right - hope is a mirage. especially if those with the reach to point to it fail to rouse the leaders and groups responsible for realizing it.

From a Distance, Hope Glimmers Like a Mirage Amid the Misery
By Philip Kennicott
Washington Post Staff Writer
Jan. 5, 2005

We've entered the moment of insipidity. No matter what may be happening on the other side of the globe, where hundreds of thousands are dead and injured, millions homeless and whole regions in shambles, the narrative arc of the stories Americans expect requires hope. So even before the real actors in this faraway drama have felt the full burden of despair, journalists have moved on to inspiring tales of survival, affirmation that life is returning and that healing proceeds apace.

There's some small evidence of this: a lucky survival story here and there, a few instances of people finding relatives they thought surely were lost. And, of course, it's in the nature of being human to get on with life.

So the network superstars have arrived in the stricken areas, as if only by being there can they dig out the essential feel-good stories that allow Americans to reassert faith in a benign God and order and meaningfulness in the world. The print media are there, too, searching for the same scraps of redemption, but without the sentimentalizing touch of the television camera, the tone of familiarity, the relentless, oozing empathy of first-person celebrity journalism. [ more ]

regarding the two arts.

Journalism versus Literature?
By Nick Joaquin
Posted: April 30, 2004, in two parts.
Inquirer News Service

The following speech was delivered in August 1996 by Joaquin, then the Ramon Magsaysay Awardee for Journalism, Literature and Creative Communication Arts. - Inquirer News Service.

... My journalistic writing developed in me an understanding of writing in general. You know, actors say there are no small parts, there are only small performers. So I say: There are no hack-writing jobs, there are only hack writers. If you look down on your material, if you despise it, then you'll do a hack job.

But journalism trained me never, never to feel superior to whatever I was reporting, and always, always to respect an assignment, whether it was a basketball game, or a political campaign, or a fashion show, or a murder case, or a movie-star interview. As J.D. Salinger admonished (but this ain't a verbatim quote), I was always shining for the fat housewife in the third row.

I remember this young poet scandalized by this article I did on Nora Aunor. Wrote this young poet: "Nick Joaquin is writing about Nora Aunor! Nick Joaquin has become a bakya writer!" But that article lives as one of the best essays on Miss Aunor because she was not bakya to me and I did not go bakya on her.

So that was the first vital thing I learned in journalism: that every report must be done as if you were reporting on the parting of the Red Sea, or the Battle of Pinaglabanan, or the splitting of the atom.

Good reportage is telling it as it is but at the same time telling it new, telling it surprising, telling it significant. The good reporter should become so absorbed in the story that he becomes invisible in it and the story seems to be telling itself.

That is the basis of an old, old maxim: Trust the tale, not the teller.

I can claim in the Quijano de Manila reportage, you don't see Quijano de Manila at all. You see only the actual characters involved in the event that's being reported. So, as you read, that event is not just something being related to you but something happening right before your eyes. ...

The so-called creative writer tends to be too subjective, too obsessed with himself. That's why I think every aspiring young writer should spend some years as a news reporter, so he will be obliged to step out of his own private world and to experience the world outside.

This will not only train him to be observant and objective, it may also save him from eccentricity, the danger that faces every creative writer. The newsman has to report the who, what, when, where, why, and how as clearly as possible so that even people on the run can read him.

The newsman cannot afford to be eccentric.

Eccentricity is such a temptation to the creative writer because he tends to be self-indulgent. In the Philippines especially, where so few read him, he may be tempted to indulge in his fancies and foibles. He feels under no obligation to communicate clearly because he know that his readers are mostly his own fellow writers and that he can play games with them.

But what journalism demands is responsible writing. The reporter is duty-bound to communicate-and to communicate as sensibly as possible. He must not play games with the reading public: Communication is serious business.

But too many creative writers believe that, if communication is the business of journalism, literature is different, because the business of literature is expression-or, to be more specific, self-expression. And here the responsibility is only to oneself.That egotism is the kind of sickness that a tenure in journalism can very effectively cure.

On the other hand, the journalist is also sick who believes that he does not have to write well to produce good reportage, who actually thinks a graceful style is out of place in journalism. But if the responsibility of the writer is to communicate as clearly and sensibly as possible, then he must have a good command of expression as any creative writer.

A newsman who is careless with his grammar is being as irresponsible as a newsman who is careless with his facts. And a reporter who cannot tell a news story coherently cannot be justified by the speed and enterprise with which he got the scoop.

If the creative writer needs more training in responsible communication, the news writer needs more training in fine expression, even self-expression - especially today in the Philippines, when the news writers cannot even get the gender of their pronouns right.

[ Continued - part 1 ]
[ Continued - part 2 ]
  it looks worse than it really is

our street

sister shoveling the stairs of our house. it will be my turn when i come back from work. grr. :-(

this winter's first real snowfall was at least five inches by midday today. i have a couple pictures downtown, i'll post when i get a chance. it's always at least 10 degrees colder here coz of the wind and the lake. it got slushy and slippery a bit, so all i paid attention to was putting one foot in front of the other, ahahahaha. ...
  real flicks
Hollywood gets America right
Chicago Tribune, Jan. 1

for all you movie buffs.

but i still think michael moore put words into president bush's mouth, during that scene moments immediately after a security detail told him about the planes hitting nyc.

and i think the producers of "seed of chucky" are compensating for something. no one can be that dumb... right? it's simply not possible. :expressionless:

For all the talk that Hollywood values and culture somehow pollute the real America, many who make films manage to create art that illuminates the human condition, tells a good story, reveals something about ourselves and brings in the crowds. At their best, the movies make us laugh, make us cry, make us think.

This year, more than most others, movies inspired a lot of thinking, a lot of news and a lot of controversy.

There was young, confused love in "Garden State," old, controversial sex in "Kinsey" and middle-aged malaise in "Sideways." There were films that brought fresh maturity to questions about love and relationships, two subjects that always preoccupy us.

Blockbusters were less muscular, less mean, more earthbound. The heroes were filled with doubts in dark times.

"Spider-Man 2": Insecure, guilt-ridden kid yearns for romance, gets the girl and saves the day in New York, a city on the rebound after Sept. 11.

"National Treasure": Treasure hunter solves riddles, makes peace with dad, hooks up with a brainy woman and saves the Declaration of Independence. In these times, some things really are worth fighting for.

The bookends to the tumultuous year were the two movies that came to represent red and blue America, Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" and Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11."

The natural inclination is to think that "The Passion" drew the conservative, religious George W. Bush crowd, and "Fahrenheit 9/11" drew the liberal John Kerry crowd. If that's the case, Red won by a landslide at the box office and by a squeaker in the election.

But those two movies were perhaps more alike than they seem. They were independent efforts, had difficulty finding major distributors, and offered far more than the conventional Hollywood romance and action dramas. Know what? Many people enjoyed both films, found them to be profound and provocative.

The year ended with the arrival of a morally ambiguous and heartbreaking movie, Clint Eastwood's "Million Dollar Baby." Here, in the shadows of boxing gyms, cheap diners and tawdry hotels, is an American story about family, race, religion and class. It's as real as the greasy dollar bills that waitress-boxer Hilary Swank collects as tips. It's a world where losers and heroes work the same side of the street and they all chase a dream. It sends a blunt message: protect yourself. The climax of the film is one of the most controversial seen in years.

OK, this is still an industry that insists on scaring people silly with films like "Seed of Chucky."

But there was more than usual in the fare from Hollywood in 2004. More to make you think, cry, laugh and get mad, more that reflected on America. It was a good year for going to the movies.
  a coagulation of pixels - eileen tabios
first blogged may 27, 2004. a friend recently blogged how nice it would be connecting with someone without even trying, even if it were just through IM.

and i agree. except when things like the following poem happens. but i can't tell him just yet. he's a wee bit o' college freshman still. i won't be responsible for all his education.

and i still haven't answered my question. after consuming the poem, i wondered what else could replace 'pixels.' i can see this poem working in the 18th century when express mail meant same-day delivery but after several hours and by horseback. express mail is almost nonexistent overseas. light bent through stained glass? refracted through binoculars? alternately obscured and let through during a thick fall of leaves in a forest? a coagulation of clicks, scratches and switches by radio? 'a clearing of static'? ahahahaha. so messy.

the great tabios does it again.

but for this, she should have changed her title - nyc! ahahaha... at least, i saw images of nyc and great expectations when i read this poem.

the word pixel is fairly new. someone reading this from the early 19th century won't understand. what else refracts, breaks apart, bounces light? shattered mirrors, kaleidoscopes, shards of glass? glass balls, stained glass, clear plastic pebbles? haven't those already been written about? ya sure - the internet age and to appeal to the teens. pixels are way too new! we don't want to date ourselves. what else can replace it?


Eileen Tabios

There are poems that can leave you exhausted, drained. Their intensity gets close to the edge of the bearable -- but they're all the more exhilarating for that. Eileen Tabios has an enormous tonal range in her poetry, a breathless intensity may be her most characteristic mode. As Ron Silliman put it, "Tabios tries for more in one page than many other poets would attempt in 20. And she pulls it off." Her many books of poetry and prose have been published in both the Philippines and the United States -- most recently, Reproductions of the Empty Flagpole (Marsh Hawk Press, 2002) -- and she is the publisher of Meritage Press. [ kultureflash ]


A Coagulation of Pixels
by Eileen Tabios

I never had this conversation with you I never told you of dampness of sheets ripping of a pillow falling onto the floor of right hand circling wrists while left urged thighs farther apart of tendons straining of veins pulsing to a primordial beat I never told you of two bodies wanting nothing less than osmosis and agonizing over the compromise

I never had this conversation with you You never felt me bite your lower lip then quickly back away (oh, fear!) only to have your mouth follow my fearful tongue slipping back into an interior you mapped until its scent became yours You never cupped my face between your palms while you sheathed frustration to demand "Where do you want these kisses to lead"

I never had this conversation with you I never told you something I'd only articulated to shadows at night I never told you something I foretold in poems I wrote as a child I never told you I was the one who ruptured the fragile sieve of my memory so that I will forget what I never told you "I am so alone"

I never had this conversation with you You never heard my latest dream where we entered an apartment that seemed to be mine A wide loft We could feel its warmth The room blossomed into blinding light so that we witnessed no perimeter We saw this limitless space from in front of a door that shut behind you In the dream I never revealed to you we remained within a narrow hallway though there was a huge expanse a few feet away In that hallway I began to whisper an untranslatable language of confusion I started to shake my head But you in an equally untranslatable language refused to give confusion the last word Gently but firmly you pushed me back against the wall so that I remained bound within your embrace So that I couldn't leave which is what I initially felt I should do In this dream whose narrative you never heard from me we came to leave that hallway to enter a room you never promised me in another dream and where after the sun left to attend to other aborted conversations bruises would come to surface to our mutual delight Even the pain of painting lavender against flesh would be better than all the many things that we never shared

I never had this conversation with you I never told you that your poems made me pause linger by your side (stray finger occasionally rising to trace your earlobes) then stay (once I even sat on your lap) I never told you that I was helpless against making one exception after another to rules I so meticulously structured so that I wouldn’t fall through the grid You don't hear me now pleading with you to see me now as I drop as I plummet for you

I never had this conversation with you I never told you that someday I will pause at a city street corner Looking at admiring a greengrocer's display of fresh flowers Winter day but not too cold Coat unbuttoned A hand that will reach for red roses from a thought a hope that caressing waxy petals might release their perfume might un-freeze their fragrance Hear a sound Look up to see you I never told you that I predicted you will not be smiling Your brow in fact will be deeply furrowed For there is so much already that never was between us

I never had this conversation with you I never said hello I never said goodbye This was but a poem you wrote which I memorized to return to you I never had this conversation with you You never heard me You are not clenching your hands now as you don't hear me as you don't wish desperately for your palms to replace an erstwhile breeze for trapping my hair You are not licking your lips now as you remember how in a conversation that never occurred you half-growled half-purred before concluding "You taste delicious You rampant you"

I never spoke You never did not hear I never You never did not I never had this conversation with you where you repeated never repeated "Avidly rampant you"
  clothes that make you
today is another one of my rare monday nights off, giving me a restful three-day weekend to start off the new year. i spent it doing what i like best - catching up with the rest of my life, reading, blogging, watching t.v., sleeping, eating, and of course - shopping! :-D i should have started january 1, but got lazy, even though i'm in dire need of new trousers.

new york & co. and old navy had their usual sales this year, and i scored on a great collection of pants and shirts. i've new real world clothes, things i can, for once, shamelessly wear at the office. woohoo! i feel a little giddy.

since starting working full-time, i determined that shopping can not only be embarrassing, expensive, tiring and hypocritical (most companies employ sweatshops) - it can be fun as well. there really is such a thing as expressing yourself through your clothes. except that now i think i've all the pieces i need for that, and i should stop. ahahaha.

ok gotta go. i'm at depaul university's downtown library computer lab. my sister works here. she is kicking everyone out, ahahaha -
  viva la bloggers!
People of the Year: Bloggers
Internet Phenomenon Provides Unique Insight Into People's Thoughts

Dec. 30, 2004, ABC News — A blog — short for "web log" — is an online personal journal that covers topics ranging from daily life to technology to culture to the arts. Blogs have made such an impact this year that Merriam-Webster named it the word of the year.

"There's a blog for every niche. There's a blog for every interest," said technology writer Xeni Jardin, who co-edits the blog boingboing.net.

Dylan Verdi, an 11-year-old known as the world's youngest videoblogger, says she covers "things that I've seen that I like or that I've heard of, or just anything that happened to me that day that I'm thinking." [ more ]
  clean slate
andy goldsworthy

happy new year to everyone!
  the center of everything
tsunami aftermath in asia is taking on a strange, ironic pallor as relief efforts continue. to state the obvious, one of the world's happiest holidays is overshadowed by the world's greatest natural disaster to date. i'm sure there are hundreds incidents right now of pure mirth even amid the devastation, we just don't hear about them, perhaps out of sheer exhaustion, perhaps out of respect for the injured, the dead, the lost, the missing.

one happy tsunami story was featured recently on TV, set in penang, malaysia. (yes, the tsunami on TV again, to the point of voyuerism - the holidays are always slow news days; CNN has survivor stories back to back to back now.)

when the tsunami hit shores, it swept a family away from their youngest and newest member, sleeping on a mattress at the back of their restaurant. the wave lifted the mattress, the baby riding atop its crest. the family found their restaurant flooded and their baby crying and waiting for them on the same mattress. [ more ]

hmm. wonder if the same family's connected somehow to the penang restaurants here in the u.s.

a media friend of mine worked the day of the tsunami and mused how the quezon landslides seemed trivial compared to the events in thailand, indonesia, south asia and africa. i told her, "i'm so glad for once the philippines isn't in the center of things," and she dryly agreed, "no kidding."

(the center of everything is actually the title of a book by laura moriarty. i haven't read it yet. i want to, tho, ahahaha - )

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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