francisco is back in my life! ahahaha.

we rode back from old irving park, but i learned i can't drive and drink my green tea frappuccino at the same time, so we stopped and he waited until i finished my drink. hehehehe. in my eagerness we almost tumbled, too, ahaha.

so it took us half the time it usually does to ride keeler and irving park to kimball and from kimball to the brown line train station. in between we had to bypass sidewalk construction, three girls intent on their cell phones and the short skirts of each other, a little girl hopscotching the sidewalk cracks and her mother watching, a boy who saw the hopscotching girl and slowed down walking coz we were passing from behind, two other girls on their bikes riding the other way from the other side of the street. they were also taking the sidewalk. hehehehe. gotta play it safe when you're rebounding sidewalk bumps and cracks. ahahaha.

i noticed that every car will poke their noses into the roads, mindless of whether there's pedestrian on the sidewalks. they don't realize that the hood of their car has the ability to knock a person down and seriously injure them. i noticed that young drivers our age will actually look and let you pass first, but the adults don't care. the adults look but don't see. i thought, this is our enemy, kiko and i. there isn't anyone in the world who'll watch us but ourselves.

finally at the brown line station he scratched my otherwise flawless legs. oh wells!, i thought, small sacrifice, they'll be flawless again in no time. ahahaha. the train operator said we were blocking the car, but i told him we'd fix it, and we were lucky it wasn't a crowded train, too.

i just walked him downtown coz i wasn't yet used to driving there, and we entered the building on time. WOOT! but i forgot my lock in our basement, so i guess kiko will just have to come to work with me. i stashed him in the breakroom. he can enjoy a view of the river and the west side from there. hafta remember to take him out later tonight for dinner, hehehe. but not very far coz i didn't bring my bike lock with me.

ahahahaha. kiko is my bike. someone stole my bike seat last october and i've been without a bike since. i can go running around everywhere again without worrying about parking or waiting for the bus or train. heeee.
  fried spam with rice
ooo... desk full of paper. yay!

ooo... keyboard buried in paper. yay!

ooo... colleague angry at phone. yay!

ooo... clients looking for something to entertain themselves.

ooo... hungry. but i can't leave my desk. so i'll just post this pix of spam a friend of mine posted in his blog:

burnt spam
  chicago iraqi americans cast their vote
haven't got much going on right now outside of work. will post some movie reviews soon. well, here's a freaky work memory - the day after i started, aug. 29, nationwide wire satellite service shut down. so we had to send copy to our members by email or fax. yes, it was a nightmare. i don't know how i rode it. but i must have done something coz i'm still around, ahaha.

here's a piece that i turned in to one of my other magazines, but they turned it down because of time constraints. i wanted to see for myself the encouraged iraqis who hoped for better for their homeland, so i visited a polling place in suburban rosemont.

March, 2005

Chicago Iraqi Americans cast their vote

busha elsaffar casts her vote
Busha Elsaffar casts her vote.

Members of the International Organization for Migration and the Iraq Out of Country Voting Program clapped, surprising voters casting their ballots into a large covered plastic bin at one end of the polling place.

Their simple congratulations remind everyone that they've all just participated in history in the making. Americans of Iraqi background are voting to form the 275-seat Transitional National Assembly, responsible for drafting a new Constutition and for choosing nine candidates for president.

The event is in accordance with an order by the Coalition Provisional Authority, an organization established by international Coalition members, headed by the U.S.

Benjamin Yousif is employed by the IOM, and has served in similar election events. He was born in Iraq, but first lived in Jordan, Turkey and Greece before settling, along with his entire family, to the U.S. when he was 16. "I'm pretty thankful we didn't leave anyone behind. It's pretty amazing, working with the citizens of other countries to get their ballots in, and then finally being able to do it for my own country," he said.

"We were actually expecting more people to register and vote - we only have a little over a thousand registered out of 50 to 100,000 living in Chicago. I'm not sure why they didn't want to come, some say it's fear, others probably just can't get out of work or come here to vote. But those that could, the way they came in, driving an hour, several hours, from Texas, Nebraska, South Dakota, or even flying, just to register and then to vote - it's amazing," Yousif said.

Others consider it a badge of honor. Khoshaba Kamber is an Assyrian Christian who came with his wife and daughter to visit his son in Chicago in 1978. After seeing how life in the U.S. was for his son, he decided to stay. Kamber would visit many more cities before finally settling in the U.S.

Khoshaba Kamber and family
Three generations at the Rosemont polling place: International Organization for Migration spokesperson Atorina Zomaya with Khoshaba Kamber, his son Joe, who moved with him and his wife to Iraq on Columbus Day, 1978, and Joe's daughter and two sons.

"He was born in Iraq and was six years old when his family first fled to Syria in 1993 to escape the Simele Genocide," Iraq OCV spokeswoman Atorina Zomaya translated, citing the 1933 killing and expulsion of Assyrians from the village of Simele, in northern Iraq. Iraq's statehood was established in 1920.

"He fled religious persecution with his father, brother and cousin. He says more than half of his village was killed. They went to Syria, which was a colony of France at that time." Zomaya translated.

Kamber said even though his job was stable - he worked for 32 years as a government chaffuer - they remained uncomfortable because of ethnic persecution. In 1980, he was able to return in Syria and Iraq to visit family, but chose to live in the U.S.

"It's an honor to have democracy, in the sense that we're able to cast our vote here for our people, but also so we can have the freedom and democracy that we have with us in the U.S. for our people in Iraq. So we can work in our own land," Zomaya said, translating for Kamber.

Bushra Elsaffar trained as a geologist in Iraq, but switched careers when she married and moved to the U.S. with her Iraqi-American husband. Her entire family is still in Monsur, Iraq. Her sister said that their workplaces had given them Thursday until Monday off so they can vote in the elections. "She said they were scared, there was a lot of bombings, but they persisted and voted," Elsaffar said.

There are two election locations in Chicago - suburban Rosemont, set up to serve out-of-state voters, and suburban Skokie, for Chicago and local residents. Three hours after polls closed at 5 p.m. Jan. 30, Zomaya said that there was 99 percent turn out at both sites.

Hadi Al-Hisnawi
Hadi Al-Hisnawi with his two daughters.

For Hadi Al-Hisnawi, who lives with his wife and two daughters in Chicago's north side, this is the first time he's ever voted for anything for his country. "This is why we came here to this country. This is the point of freedom," he said.

His wife, Hanaia Tlab, said she's been waiting for this day for a long time. "It's everyone's independence," she said, recalling her own family in Iraq.
  dark typewriter
dark typewriter

today, aug. 28, is my 5th anniversary day of working at a worldwide wire service with offices downtown.

among my most memorable non-work writing experiences there is a fire evacuation we had to endure because the mercantile exchange caught fire - we were stuck in the stairwells between floors over the 20th for over a half hour. if the fire were bigger, we prolly would have been in huge trouble. i wondered if this was what it was like for employees trying to escape the doomed world trade center towers in new york city, only two years before the fire at the merc.

we exited the building and, unlike many other companies who called it a day (it was already around 6 or 7 p.m.), we hung around and sent a couple other reporters to our thomson center office to continue filing. we asked our springfield office to cover the regular stuff. everyone on duty stood by for instructions while the managers ran back and forth trying to find out what was going on.

from inside the building, with only a couple cameras in tow, one of our missing photographers suddenly showed up but stood looking at us, goofily dumbfounded, wondering why we were outside when inside was the fire. hehehe.
  invisible cities
currently reading: italo calvino's invisible cities. i'm getting really frustrated reading this. i can't concentrate. i can't understand most of what he wrote. other people, i think even ludwig wittgenstein has said you start really reading only when you finally don't understand what you're reading.

goodness. so now i can't understand eric gamalinda's "the map of light" which is written in english by someone who was taught english as a second laguage. and now i can't understand calvino, who i read in translation from italian. i learned that i understand journalese the best. goodness: all of that is english. and i write in english. what is happening to me.

i think i'm just dumb. ya, that's it.

the previous book i finished before calvino is alfred yuson's voyeurs and savages, a book about the 1904 st. louis world's fair, that featured many native tribes, among them filipino groups from across the country. the book states that colonial powers, such as europe and the u.s., held these fairs to justify their roles as colonizers, the need to christianize, educate and civilize countries such as the philippines. it mentioned puerto rico and other countries as well. i know zilch about the 1904 world's fair, but i know chicago played host to one, in the late 1890s. the only remains of that exposition are the architecture of the museum of science and industry and the elevated train tracks, still in use today. hell, i ride the el everyday. it's my primary mode of transportation.

if i really wanted to be crazy, i should question what the hell am i doing riding an experiment, an exhibit in the same fair that featured my countrymen as objects? would it be justification if i said that i have no choice, i live here, it's my main mode of transport?

that would be totally insane, but i'm glad i was able to write that down, ahahaha. in the same fairs was electricity featured. nothing is black and white, everything is compromise. i should shake my being fundamentalist, ahahaha.
  superhero ang tatay ko - raven guerrero

superhero ang tatay ko - raven guerrero
Originally uploaded by ulanmaya_deux.

recited during the father's day open mic, june 19

"Kuwentuhan mo 'ko," sabi n'ya.
"Tungkol saan?" tanong ko.
"Kahit ano, kahit ano," sagot n'ya. "Kuwentuhan mo ako tungkol sa 'yo. Sa nanay mo. Sa tatay mo."
"Kilala mo na ako," sagot ko.
"Tsaka nanay mo," dagdag n'ya.

"Nasabi ko na ba sa 'yong superhero ang tatay ko?"
"Tatay ko. Superhero."

"Hindi, totoo. Kasi nung bata pa s'ya, sa Pitogo, sa Quezon, naglalaro s'ya sa may gubat nung gabi. Tapos, may nakita s'yang bulalakaw, BAM! Tumama sa isang puno ng acacia. 'Pag lapit n'ya may bato sa gitna ng puno, tapos may nakasulat na 'Darna!' Naka-costume s'ya tas nilalabanan n'ya yung mga masasamang loob."

"Bullshit," sinagot n'ya. "Wag mo kong lokohin."

"Sige, sige. Actually yung tatay ko dati magbobote. Nagtutulak s'ya ng kariton sa kalsada tas binibili n'ya yung mga lumang bote tsaka pira-pirasong bakal. Tapos, ibebenta n'ya sa junkshop pagkatapos. Isang araw, napadaan s'ya sa bahay ng isang milyonaryo. Sabi sa kanya nung milyonaryo, 'May ibebenta ako sa 'yo pero dapat ingatan mo.' Pumasok sa bahay yung milyonaryo tas paglabas n'ya may dala s'yang lumang barbell. 'O ito,' sabi nung milyonaryo. Tapos bigla na lang namatay sa harapan n'ya. Kumaripas ngayon ng takbo yung tatay ko, tapos, habang tumatakbo s'ya, sa isang madilim na kalye, may nakita s'yang babaeng hino-holdup. Ang lalaki nung mga holdaper, tapos tatlo sila. Kaso hindi natakot yung tatay ko. Binuhat n'ya yung barbell, kasi ipapalo sana n'ya dun sa mga holdaper. Kaso nung hinawakan n'ya yung barbell, BAM! Bigla s'yang nagka-costume tas kamukha na n'ya si Edu Manzano. BOOM BOOM! Bingubog n'ya yung mga criminal! BOOM BOOM! Nilipad n'ya deretso sa police station. BOOM BOOM! Laglag yung puso nung babaeng niligtas n'ya. At 'yan 'yung istorya kung pano naging Captain Barbell ang tatay ko at kung pano n'ya nakilala ang nanay ko."

"Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit. Bakit mo ba 'ko niloloko? Lagi ka namang ganyan, e." Sinabi n'ya. "Mabuti pa manood na lang akong TV. Kausapin mo 'ko kung wala ka nang hangover," sabi n'ya, patampo.

"Hindi, hindi," sabi ko. "Pasensya ka na wala naman akong espesyal na kuwento tungkol sa tatay ko, e."

"Hindi naman ako humihingi ng espesyal na kuwento, e," sagot n'ya.
"So anong gusto mong sabihin ko?"
"Kahit ano, kahit ano," pakiusap n'ya. "Kahit ano."

"O sige. 'Yung tatay ko galing sa Pitogo, Quezon. Mahirap na mangingisa yung tatay n'ya. Yung nanay n'ya deboto sa simbahan. Naisip nung mga magulang n'ya magandang ideya kung patigilin n'ya sa pag-aaral yung mga lalaki n'yang anak, pagkatapos ng high school, para tumulong sa tatay nilang mangisda. 'Yung mga babae lang ang pupunta ng kolehiyo, dahil dapat matatalino sila para hindi nakakahiya pag nag-asawa na sila. 'Bullshit,' sabi ng tatay ko. Kaya pagkatapos n'ya ng high school tumakbo s'ya ng Maynila. Nagtrabaho s'ya sa pabrika ng tsinelas para paaralin 'yung sarili n'ya sa kolehiyo. Political science 'yung kurso n'ya. 'Dun n'ya nakilala 'yung nanay ko, na galing sa pamilya ng mga maylupa sa La Union. Hinabol-habol n'ya yung nanay ko, minsan nagkunwari pa s'yang 'nawala' daw s'ya kaya napadpad s'ya sa La Union. Hindi s'ya masyadong nagustuhan nung mga Ilocano, pero 'yung nanay ko? BAM BAM! Laglag yung puso n'ya.

"Naging propesor s'ya pagkatapos. Anak ng mangingisdang Quezon, ngayon nagtuturo na ng Political Science sa unibersidad. Dito na rin s'ya naging Marcos loyalist. Na-wa-water canon 'yung nanay ko sa protesta habang 'yung tatay ko sumasama sa motorcade ni Marcos. Nag-aaway sila sa bahay. Pareho silang maprinsipyong mga tao, at nagdesisyon ang tatay ko na pumuntang America pag akyat ni Cory. S'yempre nung panahon na 'yun hindi ko pa naiintindihan kung anong nagyayari. Alam ko lang na pupunta kami sa La Union sa bakasyon tapos makikita namin ng kuya ko yung mga pinsan namin doon. Alam ko lang na pagdating ng Sabado pupunta kami ng tatay ko sa field tapos magpapalipad kami ng saranggola. Isang beses pa nga, sa sobrang lakas ng hangin, natangay ko ang saranggola tapos nadapa ako at nasugatan. Nabitawan ko rin 'yung saranggola. Iyak ako nang iyak, tapos tumakbo sa akin 'yung tatay ko. Sinumbong ko sa kanya kung anong nangyari at ang sama-sama ng loob ko. 'Ayos lang yan,' sabi n'ya. 'Kinuha ng anghel 'yung saranggola mo. Ibabalik din n'ya yun. Tapos dalawang saranggola yung ibibigay n'ya sa 'yo.' Tapos binuhat n'ya ko pauwi sa bahay tapos ginamot nila ng nanay ko yung sugat ko sa tuhod. Sa araw na 'yon nagkasundo 'yung radikal na aktibista at yung Marcos loyalist.

"'Nag-overtime lang,'" yan parati 'yung sagot ng katulong namin tuwing tinatanong ko kung nasan na 'yung tatay ko. Sana sinabi na lang n'ya na pinilit ng tatay kong makarating ng Amerika. Ayaw n'ya kasing maranasan namin 'yung pinagdaanan n'ya. 'TNT ka kung TNT,' sinulat n'ya sa amin nung isang araw. 'Pero hindi magugutom ang pamilya ko.'

"Yung lang," tapos ko. "Wala namang espesyal sa tatay ko, e."

"Bullshit," sinagot n'ya. "Ba't di mo sinabing superhero ang tatay mo?"

  art junkie
Claude Monet: Water Lily Pond (c. 1917-22)

the art institute of chicago has suceeded in acquiring claude monet's "water lily pond," 1917-22. oh la la. impressionists don't bode well with my siblings, they said they painted horribly and were racist and bigots. ahahaha. i've forgotten most of my humanities classes to remember if that's true. anyone who's had a chance to take advantage of art museum free days (tuesdays in chicago) should, because everyone needs to be reminded of things beyond the daily grind.

while visiting las vegas last november, the hotel bellagio held an exhibit of monet artworks, and i got to see several of his works, including "the japanese bridge." i thought the painting stretched on indefinitely. the play of light, brushstroke and color intrigued me, and i wondered if such skill were possible with writing.

on a trip to the national gallery in washington d.c., i got to oogle at several versions of his "rouen cathedrals." i was happy i was able to take them all in at once - they were installed right next to each other in the same gallery. i imagined monet spending entire days just sitting in front of the cathedral, studying their changing throughout the day before taking up a pencil, or a brush, and start sketching.

i also got to see this painting, which held me in thrall for a long time. but i don't recall ever seeing the little boy, just the woman with her parasol. i'm not sure why the painting arrested me so, and i was sad that i didn't get a chance to sit and wonder without also remembering i was pressed for time.

but i remember the light in this painting seized centerstage. the light is the main attraction here, and she and her parasol were mere instruments, much like monet's brush and the canvas. i tried looking at the woman herself, and guessed that monet appreciated her beauty, the way her dress picked up in the wind. but the way it changed and folded in the wind was what captured monet the most.
coffee cherries - guatemala antigua

starbucks coffee card collectors are the most creepily depraved people i've come across.

the baristas are among the nicest, most normal people i've ever worked with. they take time to talk to you when they mop the floor or wipe the tables. there's this one barista who's actually a DJ at a club who, on his off hours, takes time to talk to me when i'm waiting in line. of course, it's always a short conversation, or a stolen one when i'm with a friend or on my computer, but it's a real one, nonetheless. he likes nine inch nails and travels downtown by skateboard and actually moved from out east to experience chicago on his own. he likes macs. he thinks they're the best investment anyone can own. he owns an ibook and can't get enough of itunes. ahahaha.

but coffee card collectors? absolutely depraved. they like email. they abuse it to pester you until you've released a card. that card over there, the coffee cherries one? released in this city yesterday. i've announced it to a yahoogroups on who wants to trade, and there's this american trader who really, really wants 20 of those right away.

"what's wrong with u.s. traders?" he quipped. like some dude at a club when you've already said NO.

nothing, there is nothing wrong with you u.s. dudes, whatever shade of green you may be, except that "you already live here. it's just a matter of time when the cards come to your city." my goal is not speed, it's variety.

whereas, have you tried trading with someone from halfway around the globe? goodness, i tell ya. this is why coffee is so painfully easy to procure in these here shores: the caribbean, south american, asian and african lands can't refuse your top dollar. and you can't get enough of them blends. you let caffein take over your veins. it is midday, get a grip, will you.
  statehood dreams
i find it spectacular that israeli officials would force their own people from the gaza strip, a land they seized from the palestinians in a 1960s landmark war. can't they just leave them alone? after all, those jews chose to live on tensioned land. they chose to stake their lives in a place they knew was changing, and they wanted to contribute, be part of, witness that change. they called that lavalaced land their home. yesterday, the last jews locked arms and laid down on the steps of neve dekalim, the gaza's largest synagogue. their israeli compatriots pulled at their legs while their gaza neighbors held down their shoulders. they were arrested, yelling and punching every uniformed and shielded officer in their way. nearby, a group of girls chanted their protests. "you're driving jews out of a synagogue. the last time this happened was the holocaust."

palestinians, cloaked in violence, blow themselves up to make their point. simplistically speaking. they've succeeded in recruiting girls who would be journalists in their own right, girls who dreamed of medicine and worked for docorates they weren't aware yet of striving for. they've excelled at making it look like youth suicide, a trap they can't get out of, so this is the best possible contribution they can make for their seized land: if you're going to waste your life anyway by living this lie. this land. this strip. this demarcation they imposed on objects rightfully ours. this gaza, and the west, coined a bank so they know when to expect bullets and beware. we must make our point at the capital, jerusalem. and finally, finally, all the lives of those who sported gunpowder and more, who offered their lives to allah at the opportune time He designated it to be, they've succeeded for now, finally, this parcel of land will be ours. we don't know what life is like by ourselves. we've imagined it, and now it's true.

i haven't read enough of this story, and it might be sacriligeous of me to wonder if any palestinians decried their jewish neighbors being forced to leave. it would be more logical to assume they celebrated the jews finally realizing what it feels like to be abused and deemed second-class. so far this story reminds me of a repeated speech since the new york city sky fell four years ago: self-determination starts with freedom. today they released iraq's first constitution after ousting saddam hussein. i wonder what else did the u.s. massage to usher in this change.
  tourist guide
a friend of mine is visiting from michigan. she asked where her hotel is in terms of safety in the city. four email trades later, i ended up telling her that you can get a dry strawberry daquiri from the john hancock signature room that closes at 1 a.m. on sundays if you like. that way, you'll pay just $6 instead of $9 and still see the city from the second tallest building in chicago. ahaha.

but i got a kick out of her not knowing what bubble tea is. and so i go:

ooh, you have to try bubble tea. it's basically a fruit or dairy smoothie with tapioca. tapioca - sometimes called pearl - is coconut juice turned into jelly balls. it's called bubble tea because it's served with a wide-mouthed straw, when you sip, the dark tapioca forms gaps in the straw and they look like bubbles. yum - just thinking about it is making me happy. hehe. the most convenient place for you to get bubble tea would be in chinatown, which is i think about 15 minutes directly west of the shedd aquarium. if you're looking for it, you can't miss chinatown.

once inside chinatown, i know of three places that serve bubble tea: tea leaf cafe, seven treasures restaurant, and joy yee restaurant. uhh wait, i already told you about directions in chicago, right? the lake is always to your right hand. that's east. the direction you're facing is north, your back is south, and your left hand would be west. this is handy to know, pardon the pun, because chicago is a grid city (as opposed to boston, whose streets meander) and it's the easiest way for people to give you directions to the place you want to go. as a result, many people will tell you that you'll go (direction) to (the corner of) street A and street B.

anyways, i think there's a shuttle bus from the field museum that can take you directly to chinatown. (the shuttles are actually converted trolley cars, they're all in red and come coded, like a trolley sporting a green triangle will take you to the museum of science and industry... i forget what symbols they use, but it's easy to find out.) seven treasures restaurant is on archer and cermak with the yellow awning; and tea leaf cafe is on wentworth and 23rd streets, with the green sign. joy yee is popular among the young people because aside from bubble tea, they serve the best korean barbecue short ribs - you've got to try those. joy yee is on the other part of chinatown, inside chinatown plaza with the chinese zodiac sculptures, on cermak and archer streets.

bubble tea is invented in california, and the chicago asian american community's made it a must-need staple or reward dessert. if you frequent starbucks, they now have the green tea frappuccino that's been around for at least three years in asia now. i think starbucks wants to tap into the bubble tea market, that's why they released the green tea fraps, ahaha. bubble tea is called something else in asia, though, and it's only been around there for not too long.

goodness. nevermind that i could be wrong about sago. when you know so much about a city from memory, i think it is high time - way high time - high like a satellite around the 10th planet of the solar system - that you moved out of that city so you can memorize the facts of another. yay!
  mabuhay ang bagong kasal!
mike and jen's wedding day
aug. 20
somewhere in elgin

mike and jen

mike and jen

mike and jen

wild bridesmaid

the love clique pix

i should get a new camera

sigh... ahahaha... more pix coming soon.
  forward this blog entry
bamboo in chitown

Bamboo Live in Chicago
the NOYPI Astig US Tour 2005
Aug 20 2005
@ the DoubleDoor / 9PM
1572 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago IL 60622
21 and Over
tickets: $35
contact: 773.592.1728
  filipino/mexican open mic
i sneak out of work for a moment that turned into two and a half hours of away from the office. ahahaha. i went to this month's open mic event that i only learned about earlier this week. no regrets. i always love being with young filipinos intent on their art. later, je walks in with four really cute guys, i mean, they look ok, decent, yanno, ahaha, she walks in with these four and like always marches to the back of the room. raven and i wave hi to her from our seats in the back. ramon and ciso are playing, and i am intent on their duet, so later when je hugs me from behind, i'm reminded of real human contact. i totally just should have called in sick today. ramon and ciso are melding their voices and the four really cute guys merge with the crowd. the two give way to a female poet. i take a pix of her and swing my camera to the back. the four cute guys are captured. one of them looks warily at my camera, knowing that it will be posted online somewhere. ahahahaha.

but not yet coz i haven't yet uploaded pix and i'm still here at work. i'll have to find time for that this weekend.

i snuck out of work today, and boy did time fly by. ciso called a break, and i asked him if i can go next, and he said yes, i can go next, with a concerned look on his face. ha. i am in such huge trouble. andy goes up to me, and asks, "are you on break?"

"yes, but it's passed."

i call work. there is nothing going on. i look at a poster but don't recognize any of the people in it. i go back inside. the only time that raven is giving a reading is the one time i am not hearing it. he says he hasn't finished his piece yet. ha!

we resume open mic. we share it this month with mexican-americans, and i didn't even remember that until i entered sala cafe two and a half hours earlier and sat down.

I am driving through the storm, listening to the patter of leaves and the lightning drops mingled with the rain.

On the radio a serious guitar band struggles to contain a crowd enthusiastically singing their memories of driving far, far away at 120 mph.

Last weekend Sandra Cisneros read about a woman who used to be the first and only love of a man - or so he claims. "I was someone then," she lamented, eyes lost in bliss, her neice transfixed, there is no one else in the world but her aunt and her story. Her aunt said he came home later and later until she lifted his shirt and found the scratches on his back.

An incoming car shines his brights at me.

I swerve slightly and continue.

In high school, we figured out how to play "Fast Car" on the guitar in our spare time. We figured we'd do that someday, and eventually I did get my fast car and my deserted highway, but somehow I've never been blessed with the broken heart, the unravelled dreams.

I drive my car through the storm and arrive at the campsite cabin. A retreat, music and laughter everywhere. I extricate my things and trudge to the site. With a perpetual audience like this, I know I will never need to know whether I exist or not. I look back, just to be sure the world is still out there.

ciso was nice enough to mention who i was, where i worked, how long i've been reading in front of crowds (since february). but the fear never leaves you. ahahaha. so i read "visibility" and i hope it appealed to everyone, calling out sandra, calling out silent guitar strings and how long travel time and how $3 per gallon gas adds up when you peddle your craft.

i read "visibility" and another poem and "The Map of Light" by eric gamalinda, and the girl mexican poet and raven and je and the four really cute guys were listening in the room. i love blankets of silence.

four really cute guys. i used to play guitar.

bamboo heard me play. ;-)

july open mic
Originally uploaded by ulanmaya_deux.

The Map of Light
by Eric Gamalinda

Because you are indifferent, I can offer each morning
only to starlings and not face their ridicule.
They know the map of light is a burden shared
in poverty. They know that every syllable is defiance,
an act of survival.

Mercy looks for moving targets.
Those who have just been born don't know what it's like
to spend an eternity searching. I will let them sleep quietly,
and hope when they wake we'd have left
enough of the world to live in.

And as the hours pass I will speak in codes again.
In the fisted cold. In the warm evenings that weaken
my resolve. So that those who listen
will keep asking, until all our questions
have navigated the earth.

Someone will release the borders from their tyranny.
When I die this body, a cargo of memories,
will disperse and be air. Birds will fly through me,
breathing the words
I no longer remember.
  a piece
A Piece of Chalk
by G.K. Chesterton
(from an essay in TREMENDOUS TRIFLES. The original essay appeared in the DAILY NEWS, November 4, 1905)

I remember one splendid morning, all blue and silver, in the summer holidays when I reluctantly tore myself away from the task of doing nothing in particular, and put on a hat of some sort and picked up a walking-stick, and put six very bright-coloured chalks in my pocket. I then went into the kitchen (which, along with the rest of the house, belonged to a very square and sensible old woman in a Sussex village), and asked the owner and occupant of the kitchen if she had any brown paper. She had a great deal; in fact, she had too much; and she mistook the purpose and the rationale of the existence of brown paper. She seemed to have an idea that if a person wanted brown paper he must be wanting to tie up parcels; which was the last thing I wanted to do; indeed, it is a thing which I have found to be beyond my mental capacity. Hence she dwelt very much on the varying qualities of toughness and endurance in the material. I explained to her that I only wanted to draw pictures on it, and that I did not want them to endure in the least; and that from my point of view, therefore, it was a question, not of tough consistency, but of responsive surface, a thing comparatively irrelevant in a parcel. When she understood that I wanted to draw she offered to overwhelm me with note-paper.

I then tried to explain the rather delicate logical shade, that I not only liked brown paper, but liked the quality of brownness in paper, just as I like the quality of brownness in October woods, or in beer. Brown paper represents the primal twilight of the first toil of creation, and with a bright-coloured chalk or two you can pick out points of fire in it, sparks of gold, and blood-red, and sea-green, like the first fierce stars that sprang out of divine darkness. All this I said (in an off-hand way) to the old woman; and I put the brown paper in my pocket along with the chalks, and possibly other things. I suppose every one must have reflected how primeval and how poetical are the things that one carries in one's pocket; the pocket-knife, for instance, the type of all human tools, the infant of the sword. Once I planned to write a book of poems entirely about things in my pockets. But I found it would be too long; and the age of the great epics is past.

With my stick and my knife, my chalks and my brown paper, I went out on to the great downs. ...

I crossed one swell of living turf after another, looking for a place to sit down and draw. Do not, for heaven's sake, imagine I was going to sketch from Nature. I was going to draw devils and seraphim, and blind old gods that men worshipped before the dawn of right, and saints in robes of angry crimson, and seas of strange green, and all the sacred or monstrous symbols that look so well in bright colours on brown paper. They are much better worth drawing than Nature; also they are much easier to draw. When a cow came slouching by in the field next to me, a mere artist might have drawn it; but I always get wrong in the hind legs of quadrupeds. So I drew the soul of a cow; which I saw there plainly walking before me in the sunlight; and the soul was all purple and silver, and had seven horns and the mystery that belongs to all beasts. But though I could not with a crayon get the best out of the landscape, it does not follow that the landscape was not getting the best out of me. And this, I think, is the mistake that people make about the old poets who lived before Wordsworth, and were supposed not to care very much about Nature because they did not describe it much.

They preferred writing about great men to writing about great hills; but they sat on the great hills to write it. The gave out much less about Nature, but they drank in, perhaps, much more. They painted the white robes of their holy virgins with the blinding snow, at which they had stared all day. ... The greenness of a thousand green leaves clustered into the live green figure of Robin Hood. The blueness of a score of forgotten skies became the blue robes of the Virgin. The inspiration went in like sunbeams and came out like Apollo.

But as I sat scrawling these silly figures on the brown paper, it began to dawn on me, to my great disgust, that I had left one chalk, and that a most exquisite and essential chalk, behind. I searched all my pockets, but I could not find any white chalk. Now, those who are acquainted with all the philosophy (nay, religion) which is typified in the art of drawing on brown paper, know that white is positive and essential. I cannot avoid remarking here upon a moral significance. One of the wise and awful truths which this brown-paper art reveals, is this, that white is a colour. It is not a mere absence of colour; it is a shining and affirmative thing, as fierce as red, as definite as black. When, so to speak, your pencil grows red-hot, it draws roses; when it grows white-hot, it draws stars. And one of the two or three defiant verities of the best religious morality, of real Christianity, for example, is exactly this same thing; the chief assertion of religious morality is that white is a colour. Virtue is not the absence of vices or the avoidance of moral dangers; virtue is a vivid and separate thing, like pain or a particular smell. Mercy does not mean not being cruel, or sparing people revenge or punishment; it means a plain and positive thing like the sun, which one has either seen or not seen.

Chastity does not mean abstention from sexual wrong; it means something flaming, like Joan of Arc. In a word, God paints in many colours; but he never paints so gorgeously, I had almost said so gaudily, as when He paints in white. In a sense our age has realised this fact, and expressed it in our sullen costume. For if it were really true that white was a blank and colourless thing, negative and non-committal, then white would be used instead of black and grey for the funereal dress of this pessimistic period. Which is not the case.

Meanwhile I could not find my chalk.

I sat on the hill in a sort of despair. There was no town near at which it was even remotely probable there would be such a thing as an artist's colourman. And yet, without any white, my absurd little pictures would be as pointless as the world would be if there were no good people in it. I stared stupidly round, racking my brain for expedients. Then I suddenly stood up and roared with laughter, again and again, so that the cows stared at me and called a committee. Imagine a man in the Sahara regretting that he had no sand for his hour-glass. Imagine a gentleman in mid-ocean wishing that he had brought some salt water with him for his chemical experiments. I was sitting on an immense warehouse of white chalk. The landscape was made entirely of white chalk. White chalk was piled more miles until it met the sky. I stooped and broke a piece of the rock I sat on: it did not mark so well as the shop chalks do, but it gave the effect. And I stood there in a trance of pleasure, realising that this Southern England is not only a grand peninsula, and a tradition and a civilisation; it is something even more admirable. It is a piece of chalk.

i still believe in God, but i don't go spreading His word so overtly anymore. neither do i make it a priority; there are other wealthier and better-equipped people for that. ahahaha. i have nothing against those who've made it their livelihood to be missionaries, in fact i admire them, and given the chance to go on another mission trip with them, i would do it at the drop of a hat. but only on certain mission types, ahahaha.

i liked this eassy because it gave me a moral lesson:

When, so to speak, your pencil grows red-hot, it draws roses; when it grows white-hot, it draws stars.

oh la la. a poet once compared me to a rose. she called herself a poet. we both worked for the school's newspaper. i wondered then if she ever thought of me as a writer, ahahaha. but i can't tell that to her face, ahaha, as a parting gift she wrote me a poem and you can't say no to that sort of thing. anyways, she's already written it in my notebook.

chesterton in these essays (i haven't finished reading all of them) is highly readable and entertaining, ahaha. if i were this funny, i would be much happier with my line of work. ahahaha. but no one writes like this anymore, unless it is an editorial or column - and those aren't called essays, ahaha; you don't call them essays until you want to laud content and form, and rarely do you do that unless you wannabe funny - writers today avoid pieces like this because it is an old way of writing. (i remember reading a derivative of this form essays when i was little, in 3rd and 4th grade. the writer passed away when i was 10, and sadly i never took care of my collection of the newsletters where his essays appeared, so now i can't even copy the technique. grr!!!) i haven't read enough of chesterton and his contemporaries yet, but i think also when colonialism and the availability of worlds and perspectives other than western came about, this mode of writing faded because truths suddenly blurred and melded.

arguments for relativism grew, but as expected, arguments for constants and absolutes strengthened as well. coz ya - famously, right - the only constant is change. the only truth is that there's many. lovely circle, isn't it. ewww.

and so this is why someone like me, a kid in every way, someone who runs about everywhere, will still read chesterton and his friends because sometimes you are at a loss as to your next decisions. you don't know which nonimmediatependingproject to work on first when downtime hits. and with all the media and stories pummeling your way trying to sell something, it's just great to have someone simply tell you a story - rarely does anyone do that in writing anymore. ;-)
  the great raid
summary: recounting of what writers say is the most successsful american operation in the history of the u.s. military, the rescue of more than 500 american soldiers, all survivors of the bataan death march, from a cabanatuan prison camp run by the japanese. a little-known event in the second world war.

aesthetically, i liked the muted colors. they filmed in australia, and i liked the near-authentic white sands along the coasts and the gray sands inland. i liked their stage of what looked like intramuros, chinatown, the streets of manila. i especially liked one shot of mina, blocked from crossing the street by marching japanese soldiers just as she got off the cable car in the middle of the street - she could be filipinas, prevented from moving forward because of war. loved how they tried to be as authentic as world war 2 manila as possible with the cable cars, spanish-tinged houses, cathedrals and dress. the accents were nicely done.

and yes, it was told from the point of view of an american, stanford graduate captain prince, married and who says he just wants to do his duty and go home. he can be echoing any young person set on serving his or her country after seeing sept. 11 unfold on CNN.

completed in 2002, i can only guess that "the great raid" was written in the first place to remind people of the u.s.' impact on using a country to forward their own goals. what's the difference between an iraq of the 1990s under the arm of strongman saddam hussein, with the philippines of the 1940s, under the boot of japan?

nevermind screening schedule - the war in iraq had already been started by the time the screenwriters started molding a story. for whatever purpose the film served it - to encourage mothers who've already lost the first sons to afghanistan, to recruits with second thoughts, to troops holding posts in a foreign, arid land, to honor world war 2 veterans still alive.

there is one scene where captain juan pajota (cesar montano) asserts to lt. colonel mucci that "this is our war also," but i'm not sure what he's actually asking for. he might be asking for more play in the rescue, instead of the ancillary role of making sure that japanese reinforcements don't make it to the camp. i found it disturbing that mucci didn't indulge pajota any more than saying that their positions on the sidelines will be more than enough help to the mission already, but then again, what else can mucci say?

to the americans, this is a mere rescue, not that much of a contribution to the war effort. to the filipinos, it's a crucial arm in their war against the japanese. in that case, with their positions battling the japanese directly, they were best put in their current roles.

i have to check out the book "ghost stories" first, but according the to the san francisco chronicle, in "ghost stories," one of two books which "the great raid" is based, pajota actually planned the rescue, not captain prince. in the movie, the impressive maneuver to bring in a bomber to distract japanese officials from the ground while american troops advanced on their bellies and to remind prisoners they aren't forgotten is shown to be suggested by pajota. it's still a shabby trade compared to pajota actually planning the raid, still a reinforcement to the suggestion that filipino troops played a secondary role, despite pajota's insistence their soldiers are seasoned. is pajota is still alive? i wonder what he would say.

many u.s. politicians and writers hope that this film will shed light on how filipinos and americans worked side by side during world war 2. i think the movie suggested that pajota's contingent was part of the philippine insurrection army, and not at all part of any american unit. i hope it will remind politicians handling the filipino veterans equity act that there were filipino-american military contributions to the second world war, some not even participating in the pacific theater. i hope it will also remind politicians the effect of current wars on the countries they're staged.

the other interesting bit that the film concerns an obscure concern of mine, but from past conversations with friends, i know i'm not the only one mulling this issue over.

the film seemed to gloss over the relationship between the philippines and the japanese. it looks like no one ever talks about this here in the u.s., or at least, when conversations like this happen, i'm never around, ahaha.

the mother of a friend of mine recently visited the philippines for a tourist tour she was never able to take while still living there. among the stops was a site in memory of the japanese invasion of the philippines. my friend didn't specify where, because i don't think her mother knew where as well. but he said she returned with much avarice against the japanese for 1) invading the philippines and, in exaggeration, 2) for brutally ransaking everything in sight. my friend said his mother's behavior surprised him so, but what topped it was that she went as far as calling the japanese the three- and four-letter J word - a label considered on a par with the N word here for blacks.

i was shocked, but i wasn't sure if the J word was derogatory, and my friend, born and raised here, making him a full-fledged jerzee boy migrant to chicago, confirmed that the J word is highly derogatory. "here," he emphasized, meaning the u.s. it's the same as "asiatic" and "oriental" when you use those words to describe a person.

asians here in the u.s. realize they're all lumped in the same boat, and there's already enough racial baggage around here as it is. groups have to choose which issue to tackle first. and within the groups, baggage brought in from the homeland by the newly-arrived is considered laughable if you fail to see how it relates to your current life.

and, it matters to me, because i have to write an article about another WW2 movie, dammit, and soon already. and i think i have my solution now. but before i can tackle my article, have to exorcise demons from my childhood.

all i know about the japanese agenda during world war 2 is that they raided asia because they wanted an "asia for asians," but they neglected to remember that to the nations they invaded, it would be an asia for the japanese. also i know that because of the two atomic bombs dropped on them, they no longer engage in military tactics with any country, even as they maintain weapons and an army.

almost every person my age has heard a version of the story of japanese soldiers descending on a woman with her baby while they shopped quietly, washed clothes on a riverbank, or stayed quietly in their house. the soldiers took the baby, tossed it around like a ball, and then bayonetted it to shut up the woman. or, in some cases, it was a pregnant woman, her baby taken from her, the baby bayonetted, and her stomach bayonetted to make her silent. it makes me wonder whether that story with many versions is made up and passed along as propaganda against the japanese.

i read another story when i was in grade school about a girl, trying to be enterprising during the war, hiding her family's stash of cash in their new beds - hospital beds with metal springs and hollow posts, acquired by her father. she heard the japanese raiding her village again, and she tried to think of a safe place to put her family's cash. she thought of the bed posts and acted quickly. the japanese came and took her house's best pieces: their new hospital beds. the leader gave her a note, saying, "the empire of japan thanks your family for your generous donation." for weeks after i read that story, i cooked up plans in my head so i can tell the girl how to heroically rescue her family's money from the japanese. she has to bring back the money because they have to eat. in the meantime, they would sleep on mats and blankets on the cold floor.

later, while a sophomore in college, my history prof would lecture to a bored, stupor-laden class that had the incumbent american president not dropped the two atomic bombs on japan, the pacific war would have continued indefinitely, killing more american soldiers who were trying to island-hop to japan. australia and the philippines were stepping isles. right now i can't remember which president that was, and yes, shame on me. i learned then that the war in the pacific mattered little to them because the culture is vastly removed. it looks the same with the recent bombings in london and a resort in egypt - 200 killed in egypt, 52 in london. london was reported more because perception and culture are more similar between the u.k. than egypt with the u.s. it seems the same as well, when the indian ocean tsunamis happened - many u.s. papers criticized puny western aid, ahaha. maybe because the west didn't really understand extent of damage.

although, as a member of the media, i know people around here tried. and that is the best that anyone can do.

"the great raid" and "ghost stories" are written by american writers, for american readers. they portrayed the japanese in the stereotypical heartless way, in that when you make a mistake, you and ten others will pay for it. it might remind audiences of why japanese-americans, along with americans of german, italian and others of european descent, were rounded up in concentration camps while the japanese in asia attacked nations there. many of them protested and cried injustice - just because people are of the same lineage doesn't mean they are of the same ideology.

as for me, i'm assigned to write about a japanese-american's tribute to the japanese-americans who served in world war 2. it is a film recognizing their efforts, a retake of an old film. there is the black unit who served in the civil war immortalized in the film "glory." there is "we were soldiers" for mel gibson's vietnam; he told of a fictional vietnamese-speaking american soldier querying a downed vietnamese soldier. there is "the great raid" for filipinos. there is also a movie for the japanese in the u.s. now, i'm concerned because i'm going to have to write the story without seeing the film. ...
  thunder between glass
the game for today is to catch one while in action, and hold it in sight for as long as possible until it streaks past behind a building. you follow the thunder. you spot the diffused jets of smoke. and then i found one:

b1 lancer bomber

everyone was doing it. in intersections while we waited for the light to change, while crossing the street, alongside corners for smokes and coffee. they scanned the blue for metal and glass other than buildings and steam.

practice for this weekend's air and water show had started. there it goes again! but i can't see it. a pedestrian with white hair laughed at me.

"you're never going to see one," he said, but we looked up the skies again.

"i already saw one! right there, by the train tracks, going this way!"

b1 lancer bomber

and we looked up again. there's only so much sky you can see from the ground along madison street, wells, franklin and wacker, and everyone across the street by the starbucks is looking up as well.

"i'm going to trip looking for one!" the man said.

i laughed, "i'm going to get hit by a car!"

and the light hadn't changed yet, so i looked up again. i heard thunder.
  zotob takes yahoo
as of 10:22 p.m.: i know this because it took yahoo several seconds to send my email. and then i can't even get to yahoo.com anymore. i know it affected yahoo because i can't log into flickr.com either. google isn't yet affected, because i could still do a search and log into blogspot.

the virus first hit this weekend, and now it's affecting media's huge computer networks. it hasn't hit chicago yet, although it's in peoria, hitting caterpillar.

hehe... yes, i am a tekkie geek. it'd be hella inconvenient, but i'm curious to see how fast this worm eats into personal PCs. good thing i also use macs. ;-)
  17th aaja convention
all those attending this year's aaja convention in minnesota this 17th to the 20th, have fun!!! it is a steep couple hundred for me, and i can't bring myself to cheat. anymore. ahaha. sorry.
  ms. busy spoiled drama queen award
and the winner of monday's ms. busy spoiled drama queen award is...



thank you, thank you for all those who never gave up on me today! yay! let's keep it up so tomorrow i get to win again!
it just supremely sucks when you know you're being lied to. i love it when i catch people who think they're fucking good lairs.

no, this doesn't apply to all you who know me.

on another hand, my colleague and poet friend got published again! yay! :-) i'm happy for her. here is her work.

i'd also just come back from movie night: we saw crash. beautiful flick. love the way they started the story somewhere in the first middle, like a rope tied in a circle - they started somewhere a third of the way around. love how it is absolutely true, like that old computer game called jezzball or the more elegant, karma, good or bad. and because the entire universe but me has seen the flick, i was influenced to look for "hope" - because stark through the flick's realism, it's there:

the hope that emerges after you reach your limits and just end up tired and trying to do the good thing for those you can reach.

the hope that comes from the innocence of childhood.

the hope that comes from a steady stream of busy nothings - until you hit a spectacular car crash somehow.

the hope that comes from tradition and folklore and superstition - all those angels and legends are true.

the hope that's immediately available, even if you have to pay service for it.

the hope that just happens to be. dorri prolly knew the bullets were blanks as she was the one who loaded the gun. she could have gotten them replaced. but she prolly knew her dad would regret successfully using the gun.

there is all this hope - so many types of hope - because crashes are ubiquitous and unwelcome, unwelcome every time.

key line: "i am angry all the time, and i don't know why." (jean) why won't her friend listen to her? why didn't jean's friend recognize a rare moment of clarity in her, after a decade of friendship? why didn't she realize jean isn't accustomed to handling this clarity?

key line: "it's the sense of touch. in any real city, you walk, you know? you brush past people, people bump into you. in LA, nobody touches you. we're always behind this metal and glass. i think we miss that touch so much, that we crash into each other, just so we can feel something." (graham) he can be talking about any city. or chicago at night, ahaha.

my film prof earlier this semester mentioned an academic paper about how people's behavior has changed since the invention of plumbing. before indoor plumbing, people dealt with their own excrement privately, in their own ways. the paper speculates whether humans have lost something primal by our hiding, even from ourselves, our most private acts.

my classmate muttered, "ya, but i'd like to keep it that way."

it got me wondering whether that might be the reason why reality shows and contests and blogs are selling madly nowadays. we don't know our own weaknesses, so we look at others' and see if we can relate. or worse, copy.

when i first moved to the u.s., i learned a new psychology concept: the idea of personal space, of "bubbles." i told friends in manila that the bubbles here are much, much larger and more impenetrable, you're not even allowed to joke about it. ahaha.

of course, it is now after sept. 11, so the bubbles may have shrunk. or, as shown in this movie, punctured and burst altogether, and with that, you then wonder if it's been like that all along, regardless of sept. 11. or, as i'm writing right now long after college, my perception of the bubbles of other people has changed.

a couple other specific points of hope: graham's brother peter killed by officer hanson, who's always trying to do the right thing. his mother mistakes that peter, not graham, brought her groceries. "you've become too busy for us," she said, accepting that graham is incapable of such kindness to her. maybe now that peter is gone, and assuming graham doesn't change toward her, she'll recognize how much he cares for her.

the video business salivated upon by a newly-arrived asian boy. the video industry might provide entertainment, diversion and livelihood to keep him away from greater evils. for example, he and his friends can engage in film piracy to earn money to support their life there in LA.

irony is the home of all hope in this film. graham's LA is every city formed when two roads cross. sometimes firearms aimed at each other are mere blanks, sometimes they're real and kill. sometimes the blanks in people's lives help you realize who your real friends are. sometimes the things they said about controlling your destiny will actually have to wait; all springboards to making dreams come true are messy. "crash" closes with stereophonics' "maybe tomorrow":

I look around at a beautiful life
Been the upperside of down
Been the inside of out
But we breathe
We breathe

I wanna breeze and an open mind
I wanna swim in the ocean
Wanna take my time for me
All me

So maybe tomorrow
I'll find my way home
  st. louis loves dem filipinos: the musical
guerrero theater, 2nd floor palma hall
UP diliman
aug 3, 4, 10, 11 and 12 at 7pm.
tickets at P250.
call dulaang u.p. at 9261349/9205301 loc 6441
or visit them at palma hall, room 136

my high school barkada, tati abraham, is part of the musical. woot! i wonder how the extra shows went? it was supposed to just run from july 13-31. a high school friend who saw the play says the regular runs were sold out every night.

when i finish "voyeurs and savages," i'll post my thoughts on that book. what an amazing coincidence! ;-)

philippine star: For the sake of other "clueless" readers, let me give a bird’s-eye view of what the musical is all about. The play revolves around the 1904 World Trade Exposition in St. Louis, Missouri (where, if memory serves me right, the Bells of Balangiga were brought after they were taken from a Samar town during the American Occupation). It was in that world expo where Filipino ethnic groups (the Bagobos from Davao and the Bontocs/Igorots from the Mountain Province) were put on display like objects of curiosity – you know, dem treated like monkeys wearing g-strings and living in trees (a dance sequence shows the actors dancing like monkeys).

Congratulating the Dulaang UP for opening its 30th theater season with this musical, UP chancellor Sergio S. Cao noted in his message that the event (the St. Louis World Expo) "is important in Philippine history as it legitimized the imperialist agenda of the American government in the Philippines... The musical version of the play offers a more complex view of that colonial experience... a western genre, and its appropriation by Filipino artists shows how the colonized can use art forms borrowed from the colonizers to empower themselves and overcome their subjugation." - Ricardo F. Lo [ more ]

inquirer news service: GOOD things do come true for those who wait—and persistently plod on their chosen course, regardless of disappointments. Miguel Castro, a veteran theater actor whose name somehow sounds familiar to the viewer but never seems to make it to the A-list, is experiencing a reversal of fortune. It's not just the lead role in Dulaang UP's "St. Louis Loves Dem Filipinos, The Musical" which he alternates in with fellow stage actor Arnold Reyes. At a time when many of his colleagues are packing up for greener pastures in Disneyland Hong Kong, Miguel is in a position where he can choose his parts and live a comfortable life right here in Manila. - Cora Llamas. [ more ]
  movie food
saw this movie friday night after work. i learned that i really like going out to movies really late, after work. but i have to go elsewhere for food, ahaha - chicken strips, curly fries and a sprite cost me almost $10.

that is ridiculously steep for junkfood - there's junkfood filled with sugar, there's junkfood filled with starch. this junkfood is full of air. seriously. it comes in packs and the clerk heats it up for you. i tasted nothing most of the time but the salt on the things. but i liked that i had time to eat quietly while everyone around me caught up with stories and whatnot. hehehe.
  nunelucio alvarado

most of alvarado's work concerns plantation workers in his native negros occidental. this piece struck me because it reminds me, sadly, of me - the faceless, nameless worker, one among hundreds of thousands in offices and streets in chicago. ahahahaha. i don't mind; i was immortalized in canvas. ;-)

tomorrow is my sister's bday. we've taken to just sitting inside the house these past few days, although the weather outside's become bearable. i hope we get to see a couple movies, but all she wants to do is eat at noon-o-kabab and go shopping for some pesto sauce ingredients. yum! :pleased:

but what's sweeter will be seeing our mother's face when we sit down to eat. i imagine a scenario: "what's this place?" she's going to ask.

"noon-o-kabab," we'll say.

"oh." and because she also cooks elaborate filipino dishes, she prods. "what do they cook here?"

"beef, mostly meat, but also rice," i say, because she's familiar with that.

"oh." and she will look around, because the decor of elaborate tiles and mosaics looks familiar. "what kind of food is this?"

because good food takes a while to make, we'll have to stall for time. but because sometimes i shake tact when faced with good food, i will blurt, "persian. like in turkey, when you went on the cruise."


"yes, in the region where saddam hussein lives."

ahahahahahaha... this is why sometimes my siblings dislike bringing my mom and i out. i will totally go for the yummy food - looove them deep meaty flavors and dill rice - but you can almost hear the world wars going on in our mom's thought processes. heeheeeee -
ohmigosh, all i did was work today.

i woke up, i took a shower, i ran out of the house because i was late, i got to work late, i sat down, i started typing. i chatted, ahaha. that pushed work a little further. i used my hour break to walk to the u of c to pick up an assignment, so no time was lost there. as soon as i got back to my desk, i hadn't stopped working - until 15 minutes ago. the good thing's i actually got everything done on time, on top of other small things they asked me to do.

i would be insanely miserable if someone didn't send me pix of his birthday. if people didn't update their blogs. if someone hadn't chatted. if someone hadn't called me on the cell. tomorrow is another busy day - i toyed with the idea of calling in sick so i can accomplish the other assignments i have to do for other groups, but i can't; the president is coming to town to sign a landmark transportation bill. nothing out of the ordinary better happen! ahahaha. we've enough work as it is.

i'm encouraged by the reminder that "everyone works. what else do you do with your days?" unless you are wealthy and own a hotel chain in chicago, you won't have to work. we work to live. some people like their jobs enough to say they live to work. we earn our keep so we have money to burn when we're not working.

when we work, we learn the value of having time - not money - to burn. time, to me, is the best commodity. i would choose preserved vacation days over trip reimbursements. time is ruthless and liquid. how you let it escape your hands is telling of how you manage your life, how you look at life, how you live your life.

i wish i had more time to do the things i want to do - work on different things, with different people, to trade experiences and abilities with. right now in my age, that's where i should spend my days: working. to me, time well-spent is spent learning more about the craft you studied in college, whether it really is something you'd like to do for the rest of your life. if it's not, it is high time you left and looked for a new job. or went back to school. time well-spent is a weekend with people you love and your favorite foods - yummy pesto! oh la la - a book, a video, and lots and lots of ... laughter. (ahahaha! excuse me, no. this is a PG-13 blog. we're too young for that sorta thing.)

a vacation well-spent is to places and situations you have never been to and experiences that will teach you how to live your life fuller. i've been on some trips where i just felt miserable out of my mind because i knew i was wasting time there. but there are also trips and experiences i would never, never trade. i'm so grateful for those experiences. :-)

to those i mentioned, thanks for all the reminders of being human. :-) yes, this is the rare happy perspective blog entry without the ahahahaha - oops, too late. heehee! good night.
  when the typing stops
while just getting my office seat warmed, i pick up my ringing phone and the chicago defender says publishing giant john johnson died. i would end my shift by letting chicago's most influential black newspaper know their copy hadn't reached our systems, so if they want they could try again... but we won't need it: we beat them to their own story.

johnson was the first african-american to venture into magazine publishing. he borrowed $500 from his mother and put together the first magazine that highlighted the contributions and successes of blacks in chicago. the magazines would eventually evolve to ebony and jet. later, after successfully luring advertisers to place in black media, he built a cosmetics line and a third magazine.

it took a decade for mainstream advertisers to decide to place ads in johnson's magazines. it paved the way for other corporations to place in similar-managed media. he won people of color everywhere a huge battle in media representation.

i used to intern for a 4-color glossy magazine that featured high-end weddings. we'll call the book "flair." our offices were on grand avenue streets. below our building was a corner bakery, but i was too poor then to have lunch there. i brought baon everyday instead - my favorite being fried longganisa. *yum!* the smell would fill our tiny office and my boss, the publisher, would ask what the dish was.

"fried pork sausages. want some?" i said.

she smiled, looked down. "thank you, but i can't. i was taught to not eat pork," she said. i learned then she was jewish. ahaha! seriously. she wasn't offended, but she wants to think i've offended her. i was ms. uberreligious at that time, too - i had a photograph of jesus taken from a youth conference backdrop from that summer tacked to my bulletin board.

so. flair magazine was published by a white jewish woman and her assistant was this filipino catholic with smelly food. only the ad rep at that time was black. but audiences didn't know that. i fielded a phone call that said as much, in a gentle and questioning manner, that the magazine was bogus because it was headed by a white woman, white writers dominated its pages, and what did that have to do with being black?

it's the calm ones, i learned, that you should watch out for. the publisher told me that when she first started, she was getting married, and what better way how to learn how to plan it than to start a magazine?

the would-be wedding fell apart, obviously, because running a magazine isn't easy. it's not even funny. i would tell you more, but yanno how the net works, so imma shut up now, ahahaha. but i was still very happy with my experience - it was my first exposure to the real of publishing. i got to meet so many different people. i learned many things about publishing - of tearsheets and mailings and bridal shows and business with investors, printers, ad agencies, modelling companies, dresses, shoes, photographers, writers, graphic designers.

my publisher and i shared a tiny office, and i faced the wall. i had to turn 360 degrees to see some semblance of sky and light. so i learned about office spaces then, too. ahahaha.

i can see why johnson wanted to stick to the pretty, happy side of black america - there's the wire services and the broadsheets and the broadcasts and netcasts and the ubiquitous advertisments already. if only once a month, somebody needs to remind everyone of perspectives, choices, successes, celebrations and possibilities.
  superstar anchor signs off
abc world news tonight anchor peter jennings died tonight in his home with family. he was 67.

we first heard about it on CNN, which had interrupted its nighttime broadcast to announce the sad news.

the most memorable TV shot i have of him is him looking out the window one new years night, i think when 2001 turned into 2002. like many turnovers, he and his staff had been working for almost 24 hours. he was visibly tired, but his face betrayed thinking beyond what he was broadcasting: times square filled quickly for the customary ball drop only after 10 p.m. and cleared before 1 a.m.

"i had never seen times square clear this quickly," one of his field reporters said, to which jennings acquiesced wholeheartedly.

i realized then that he must want to be with his family that night, but he had to work.

all major news outlets paused their own reporting to pay tribute to a reporter who knew so much, even the most mundane facts, as diane sawyer said, like what lay beyond the corner of their building's street - a cafe - and beyond that - a small park. "i better leave. i'm way beyond my league," sawyer said.

"what can we give them?" barbara walters said. "our deepest sympathies, our condolences to his family."

aaron brown's voice weighed heavily on CNN's broadcast as he told how they covered california earthquakes, south america's politics, and how he was in rome when he heard the news why jennings had been off the air for some time now. "it was pretty clear he was saying goodbye," brown said.

and in jennings' final broadcast he said as much, without uttering the words. storytellers never like to make stories - they tell others' stories. the lifelong canadian citizen, dubbed a demanding and unpredictable boss, only decided to receive his u.s. citizenship two years ago. "curious by nature," as ted koppel described him, jennings said millions of americans suffer from cancer, and he will learn how to live with the illness from them.

"I wonder if other men and women ask their doctors right away, 'OK, doc, when does the hair go?'" he joked.

good evening, mr. jennings. i have learned much from you.
  cold pasta
it's quite an experience to eat cold linguini in pesto sauce and fresh romano cheese. *yum!* unless a salad, i've always eaten pasta warm or fresh from the microwave. must learn how to cook this dish from siblings. it's such a great reward after leaving the office last night at 1:45 a.m. with a worsening flu! ;-)
  ... ill
i really hate being sick. :-( but i'm glad i decided to work today. drinking warm green tea with honey. after a venti green tea frappuccino, and after that, cold water with ice, though. heee!
  ... busy
i hate being really, really busy - like really busy, with no time to breathe and get up for food or go to the bathroom. i can take one job after another, but when you pile three projects on my desk all at once, you'll get my "are you kidding?" face.

i'm happy you trust me with all that work, but there are other people who can do the same things i do, yanno.

of course, i look up and realize that there isn't. HA!

and of course, my cell rings and it is the rare friend who calls. i ignore that coz i'm busy, now. why couldn't have they called when i was just blogging?! they were nice enough to leave a message. an hour later, they even texted to see where i'm at. "are you coming?"

with pride or a big head or an exceedingly spoilt nature, i ignore all other solicits for my time. i'm busy! of course, karma hits from behind, and after work, there's suddenly nothing to do, and no one to call.
now... where was i? ahaha.
oh ya, i asked for an illness.

i should learn how to ask for bigger things, like winning the lottery or for a genie in a lamp that cracks no jokes and follows my every command to "go get me a pair of franco sarto sandals, the newest kind, please, and make sure nordstrom's notices nothing missing from their inventory," or "go get me a new pair of silver dangling earrings, please, and yes, the ones with gray pearls this time, and make sure forever silver doesn't notice," but no.

no, because we can't be so spoiled at so young an age. woot! ahahahahaha.
if you believe any of this, i'll hurt you bad.

but i did get my illness. heee: my throat has been aching all week, and i've been coughing randomly. vitamin c works not. i hope this is just fatigue. i want to go to springfield this weekend, if time permits.

actually, i want to go back to funky buddha lounge. ahahaha.
  cities and memory 3
ulanmaya at flickr
skyline in winter
Originally uploaded by ulanmaya.

in vain, great-hearted kublai, shall i attempt to describe zaira, city of high bastions. i could tell you how many steps make up the streets rising like stairways, and the degree of the arcades' curves, and what kind of zinc scales cover the roofs; but i already know this would be the same as telling you nothing. the city does not consist of this, but of relationships between the measurements of its spaces and the events of its past: the height of a lamppost and the distance from the ground of a hanged usurper's swaying feet; the line strung from the lamppost to the railing opposite and the festoons that decorate the course of the queen's nupital procession; the height of that railing and the leap of the adulterer who climbed over it at dawn; the tilt of a guttering and a cat's progress along it as he slips into the same window; the firing range of a gunboat which has suddenly appeared beyond the cape and the bomb that destroys the guttering; the rips in the fish net and the three old men seated on the dock mending nets and telling each other for the hundredth time the story of the gunboat of the usurper, who some say was the queen's illegitimate son, abandoned in his swaddling clothes there on the dock.

as this wave from memories flows in, the city soaks it up like a sponge and expands. a description of zaira as it is today should contain all zaira's past.

the city, however, does not tell its past, but contains it like the lines of a hand, written in the corners of the streets, the gratings of the windows, the banisters of the steps, the antennae of the lightning rods, the poles of the flags, every segment marked in turn with scratches, indentations, scrolls.

~ "invisible cities," italo calvino. translated by william weaver. 1978.

  why i stopped writing - joey flores

why i stopped writing
Originally uploaded by ulanmaya_deux.

...you want to know why i stopped writing...i'll tell you why...

...i am sick and tired of writing life's drama...of forever asking why about all the four letter words in life...there you go, life...love ache pain fear rape feud trap gone away damn shit bull crap fuck...those email forwards you get that makes you go aawwwww instead of aarrgghhss...i want to write about how great life is and all that good crap...

...just like the rubber duckie song, how bath time can be lots of fun...how perfect a combination of coffee and cigarette is in the morning, makes your teeth yellow, hell, you might even die of cancer but WHO THE FUCK CARES???!!!...it's fucking awesome!...just like waking up in the moring with someone (you know, i hope)...or just the mere fact that you made it through the night...just like the feel of the first snow flakes on your skin...or driving with your top down (if you have one) and feeling the breeze on your face and your moussed up hair, then some a-hole speeds by you but stay calm cause you know you're going to see that sumuhmahbitch at the stop light anyway...or discovering a pimple on your nose but you don't panic because walgreens has the cure...and all is well in the world...no whys just is...

...i am stuck in my self-built time-warped zone where i question the whys...analyze the analogies...iron the ironies...explore the metaphors...neverending questions of whys...why is silence deafening...nirvana in utero...tears in heaven...why so many whys...and do you know that why is a word in the english language which hardly touches the inside of your mouth...go ahead, try it...makes you wonder about its emptiness...its meaningless...

...that is why i stopped writing...

i stopped writing... and then started smoking. just kidding, yeoj ;-P

et moi, arrête l'écriture? mon dieu! *coughs* ahem. i mean, i can't do that. it's like asking me to jump into the chicago river - one look at the green morass and i thought, anlamig naman diyan. i mean, i can't do this to my moms. plus, the pollution will kill me first, not the drowning. and then i remembered i didn't even have insurance yet. so i walked away from michigan avenue bridge.
  learning to listen
i can't stress enough how important it is to learn how to listen. you guys. i'm serious. it's a lot like learning how to read - you have to stop your entire damned life to really read or listen well.

like i said, i'm serious. i won't be cursing otherwise. i can't help but be angry earlier today because a couple friends of mine don't know how to listen!

one lives here in chicago. i was giving her a rant of my days and she was shopping. i talk about how angry i am, and then she interjects with, "you know nemezio is coming to town to campaign for philippine president?"

curious and used to switching gears at a drop's hat am i, i ride along. "nemezio? the former UP president? why the hell's he here? why is he asking for money here?"

"ionno," she shrugs while dropping things in the supermarket.

and i know she didn't mean to cut me off my rant. she just thought it was ok to interject with some thought of her own. i know this, because i went, "ok, wait, let me continue so i can finish this stupid rant of mine -"

"oh, sorry," she says, and i can just imagine her turn sharply another way along the grocery aisle and focus on some other product she needs for her apartment.

the other friend i talked to while walking from school along michigan avenue and state streets. if you know these streets, these aren't quiet streets at a wednesday at 1:30 p.m.

i already told him that my cell is old, it's tempramental even though we have the same service. i told him that i'd call him back when i get to a starbucks and he just laughed.

he's enjoying a joke all on his own, a joke i didn't hear because of static coupled with his rapid story-kuwento-laughing mode. but it annoyed me because i was walking in the heat, trying to cross state street, already being honked at by this van from indiana. damn tourists! who's the frickin visitor here? who's the frickin pedestrian! i realize i will get killed if i keep on talking to good ol' buddy, so i cut talk short. "i will call you when i get indoors," i tell him.

"oh. ok. where are you?" he asks.

"well, i'm in front of daley plaza right now. still walking to work."

he laughs. apparently, i'd just missed another joke.

"hey, i can't hear you. i will call you back," i said, and we hang up.

hay! and it's been a really GREAT summer so far! after blogging this, i think it's my cell. it's pretty old - almost 2 years this coming february, i think - but now i will have to get a new one to keep up with everyone.
  popcorn friends on the way
this week and last shall henceforth be known as "popcorn friends week:" friends i had not seen in years suddenly pop out of city firmament and cement.

the first is a musician from my wright college days. i found him waiting at the blue line belmont tracks. he did a little dance with his feet while sitting down when i didn't recognize him. "iggy. rachel's brother," he said. i didn't know i knew someone named rachel. i had to dig way, way back, and i'm glad i remembered, but i'm not sure if i want to go that far back in my life, ahaha.

and then i remembered every secret and embarrassment rachel and i shared. i remembered every horrible secret i formed on my own while i was friends with rachel! i gave iggy my card, and i'm not sure if he checks my blogs, ahaha.

the other two came today - a brother and sister team, naome and emanuel, from my UP college of music days. i wonder how in the world they found me. it was just bizarre, ahaha. they emailed me out of the blue - using an email address I AM SURE i never gave them. i wonder how in the world they found that email address. it's kinna freaky.

in the past when i became friends with people i didn't really care for, i've had troubles ahead. it was very hurtful, because i never want to come across as fake.

there are people i'd like to contact now, but again, the trust issue - i have trust issues all around. i should learn to discriminate between using trust on people i care about and people i work with or for. that's one issue i have to work on, for sure.

everyone has trust issues. i just don't want to be the butt of one of them.
  bachelorette on the loose: funky buddha whoa jen
ulanmaya at flickr
bachelorette on the loose: funky buddha whoa jen
Originally uploaded by ulanmaya.

jen's bachelorette party last saturday. *sigh.* girltime is always intoxicating, ahahaha.

  not one to miss a party
funky buddha lounge chicago

second to the last event sunday early morning: funky buddha lounge near downtown. parking was horrible, but somehow we found a space. can't remember where. can't tell you to save my life. but i do remember it was well-lit and near the highway. ahahaha.

finally, FINALLY found out what the huge mural of a laughing - laughing, not smiling - buddha was with the stupid cocktail drink in his hand was for. the juice in the drinks are organic. the chocotini was fabulous. i stopped after that. i really did. ahahahaha. i laugh because we had soooooooo much fun. we all decided it to be a weekly thing. it has to. else, i'll trot over to the place by myself. ahahahahaha.

ok no one will believe me coz i swiped that pix off some web site coz i didn't get a chance to edit and upload my real pix yet -

unahan ko na kayong lahat:

happy birthday to everyone born the month... the month... this month... i mean, the month following july and preceding september!!! ;-)

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

05/01/2004 - 06/01/2004 / 06/01/2004 - 07/01/2004 / 07/01/2004 - 08/01/2004 / 08/01/2004 - 09/01/2004 / 09/01/2004 - 10/01/2004 / 10/01/2004 - 11/01/2004 / 11/01/2004 - 12/01/2004 / 12/01/2004 - 01/01/2005 / 01/01/2005 - 02/01/2005 / 02/01/2005 - 03/01/2005 / 03/01/2005 - 04/01/2005 / 04/01/2005 - 05/01/2005 / 05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005 / 06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005 / 07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005 / 08/01/2005 - 09/01/2005 / 09/01/2005 - 10/01/2005 / 10/01/2005 - 11/01/2005 / 11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005 / 12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006 / 01/01/2006 - 02/01/2006 / 02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006 / 03/01/2006 - 04/01/2006 / 04/01/2006 - 05/01/2006 / 05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006 / 06/01/2006 - 07/01/2006 /

gromit is curious

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