happy halloween!
lunch for the next three days. yay!

what is anakin's secret?
who was anakin's mentor?
who is r2d2's master?

lunch for the next three days. happy halloween! yay!
  bayani na, beauty pa!
suburban arlington heights newspaper the daily herald missed a great show this sunday. maybe mostly coz i was too oh la la, the sunset's beautiful to remember to add tonight's event to the AP's daybook. heee.

this year's theme, "bayani na, beauty pa!" for cfc's 2005 wow gk fundraising event was apt - all the event wants to do is promote gawad kalinga's goal of "building 700,000 homes in 70,000 gk communities in 7 years." and they did it by flattery and strumming heartstrings for the homeland. heee. but unlike politicos, their cause yields results and the need is tangible and real.

many of the organizers are themselves immigrants who used their free time or took time off to help stage the two-hour concert. it is a project of couples for christ illinois - so many sponsors involved non-cfc organizations and businesses. most of the performers are members of cfc's other facets - youth and sfc - as well as dance troupes, choral groups and winners of beauty pageants.

i've heard many gripes about gk - how it doesn't really solve the philippines' problems, how things won't change just so a family now has a house. how it just perpetuates the practice of building a house on land not your own - a family does have paperwork showing they live in that particular house, but they don't own the land. they own the house. if they want to sell the house, they need permission from cfc.

there are also the good sides - all of which are on the ancop web site. there's one story about housewives talking with pride about their brisk businesses with the food they grow in their backyards. but my favorite good thing about gk came from my friend andy - "it's good, because a house gives people a starting point."

i don't want to think what sort of impact one person can have when they do someone else some good - i have an idea, and after tonight's event, and others similar like it - cfc has been raving about gk for years now, since its inception five years ago - you don't want to hear it because it might loose its effectiveness.

i tried not to think about if half of something like this happened 10 years ago, i would prolly have been spared hours and hours of brooding and homesickness. :-) it was good to see friends from my many worlds there - cfc, je with pintig, hataw pinoy, and whoa who was that again that edited and wrote for the big pinoy-am chitown newspaper in skokie? i forget -

and normally i'd be totally embarrassed because of the frickin' theme - whatda hey? cheeeeesy like drippin'. eh. and then they distributed RP flags and sang "ako ay pilipino" outside during the expo, and coz they featured the ultimate tearjerker, donation-getter, help the philippines because the poor need you, the country's heroes. ahaha.

*shrugs,* i let it slide this year because i knew most of the people in the event, ahaha. i didn't want to contribute to any more floating concerns or misery - some of them already ran during the GK hero's run fundraising event, when about 50 cfc members joined the 2005 lasalle bank marathon. they had to go to practices on top of training for the marathon. ahaha - that's dedication. i'm jealous. heeee.

and then there were the booths themselves - creatively structured like the colorful houses in the various GK villages, giving you a feel of what it must be like while walking along the signature newly-paved streets lined with colorful houses. GK youth's booth was red.

pix coming soon.
  O Unhappy Hour
~ 4 p.m., sunset

I left my camera, charged and ready, waiting for me beside my desktop PC. I charged it because I wanted to bring it out today, when I knew I'd be downtown and taking in breathtaking views of Millennium Park. Grr!!

That security guard's been roaming the grounds since I got here. He must be very bored. He looks like it, ahaha. He looks at my baby laptop and my strange green messenger bag and my coffee and my celly - how could I just lay my computer on the grass, take my coat, drape it across my shoulders and senselessly abandon the world? On my back to the grass, I look to my left.

There's a bit of sunset left striking the cloud gate square, a bit of sunlight poking a blinding gleam from a speck of curvy tip. Stainless steel is blinding if you stare at it sitting down, but while lying on your back with your face to the side it's actually quite pretty.

But can I take a picture of it? No!

Grrr, look at that sunset. Everyone over there is sharing it and enjoying it. They don't even know what treasure they have: sunlight! Warmth! Shade has draped across the Pritzker Pavilion. My bed of soft grass is cold. The steel Gehry structure is cold. The sound net is cold. The buildings are stainless steel and glass and cold, too. They might be heated, but I don't want to be indoors. I've been indoors all week.

I lie down again. Without the sun, yellow acacia leaves still clinging to autumn branches just look like dirty brown moles. Ordinary, dirty and brown they flap in the wind, no longer golden charms clinking in the afternoon. Someone should knock that building down, it's obstructing the sunlight. What's that building's name? Imma find out that building's name and have it knocked over. It's ugly and bulky, a wall like the old one in Berlin, like Damen Hall at Loyola. Grrr.

I've quite a bit of sunlight left before dark sets in. Imma go chase it.
  ticker tape after
the chicago white sox wins this year's world series trophy. after a highly-publicized parade through most of chicago's south side neighborhoods - bridgeport, bronzeville, chinatown, pilsen among others - this is what the news outlets left out.

that's 20,000 pounds of shredded chicago sun-times newspapers. it took a shredding crew six hours to turn that paper into ticker tape to rain on the crowds and the motorcade, the players and the grandstand.

at 11 a.m. on a fall friday, with the sun already slanting a beautiful gold, every single one of those 1.75 million who watched the parade played hooky at either work and school. ahahaha.

crews worked overnight thursday trying to put the event together. still in bright neon green and orange uniform, they waved out of the crowd and the sox waved back.

this debris serves as nice b roll, and after i took this pix, a cameraman saw me and decided to follow suit:

grrr. i hate copycats. :-/

so i walked away since i wasn't supposed to be there anymore anyways, and further south on lasalle street to the dead end of lasalle and jackson, the streets somewhat returned to normal:

along lasalle avenue, there's old photographs of ticker tape raining on a parade as well. i never stopped to look what the city celebrated then, but it is totally a nice touch to celebrate on the streets today rather than en masse at some park.

the blocks along lasalle, madison, wacker, jackson and clark - chicago's financial district, the "canyon" - reminded me of black and white world war 2 photographs where sailors and families celebrated and tried to find each other in the rain of confetti. so rare, and uber nostalgic.
  the speaks
everybody in manila
go to intramuros on the 29th
bring P200
see the speaks
and then yell,
with intentions to blow your lungs out,
and love from DC and chicago

no, seriously.
they're from DC.
but they'll wonder about chicago.

i saw them play last october 2004 at george washington university. everybody stayed in their seats except for an enthusiastic few. i noticed the women in stilettoes and jeans and the guys seemingly happily brooding politik. it was the studio of the former CNN crossfire. the speaks played with hot stage lights in their eyes. they clearly weren't meant to play in such strict confines. but they rocked. still. ahahahaha.

god in heaven digs circles. heee
ahahahaha i'm not a baseball fan, well, when the season starts i become one. but the white sox wins the 2005 world series!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
i feel like i'm totally getting old, old, old. older than my age. older than my mama's age. old like i'm never gonna be happy ever again. old like there's no more tomorrow, no more sunrise, no more promises and cliffhangers and cliffnotes to cheat with. old like there's no horizons yet to chase. old like there's no hope left. old like there's no help to call. old like there's no sunshine. old like there's no starry nights. old like curry-lacking fried noodles. old like a bell-less church steeple, like a chime-less front porch. old like split-level cacophony. old like memory. old like no chance. old like retribution. old like there's no labrinthine garden mazes to figure. old like there's no spring. old like there's no soft drizzle of rain. old like there's no traffic to curse, no highways to chase, no mountains to mock. old like there's no giant steel monsters to taunt. old like there's no sea of paper to tear. old like there's no more journeys left to traverse. old like there's no more puzzles left to unlock. old like a bunch of rusted keys resting near a door that will not open. old like i'm standing outside that door. old like hearing reggae jams beyond the door, old like trying out rusted keys, knocks, feeling brittle knuckles and shoulders break for ramming them into the door. old like standing over a cliffside, spreading my arms, and refusing to jump. old like the spotlight's passed me and turned to someone i can never, never again become. old, old. old like wasted. old like exhausted. old like disenchanted. old like flapping in the wind. old like a one-way conversation, an unachievable solution, an unforgivable situation. old like negotiated. old like compromised. old like wilted. old, like i've clipped my long tresses, leaving my waist and my back and my spine and my shoulders and my nape and my ears at the mercy of the wind. old, like i resolve to share my life with you and i've forgotten selfishness - how you're MINE, you're MINE, you're MINE, and i've forgotten yelling and stamping and pouting. it is a worse feeling to behold an anxious, instensely disliked object: i feel like i'm getting old. when i'm not there yet.
  in the meantime
in the meantime while i'm quiet, the routemaster, the popular double-decked bus shuttling tourists and londoners around town, is slowly being phased out.


like the popular red phonebooth.

london phone booth

red phone booth

winter of the red london phone booth

i haven't been to london yet. i'm sad.

the chicago white sox duke it out against the houston astros again for the 2005 world series. they won saturday and sunday. the astros are miffed at major league baseball for not giving them their wish of closing the stadium dome. mlb wants the aerial photo shot. the players want to be enveloped in the screams of fans.

the number of u.s. soldiers killed in iraq has reached 2,000. on oct. 27 and 28, at 11 a.m., at the federal plaza on adams and dearborn streets, the activist group voices for creative nonviolence will ring bells to join the mourning.

the latest on the bells of balangiga is mired in politico muck. the wyoming veterans' commission was reconstituted yet again and people are again wondering if they were appointed because they want to send the bells back home. jana ginter wonders if some compromise might be made. she wants reproductions. "i know we've become attached to them - they've been used here in cheyenne at the base," she said. there are two bells in wyoming and one in an american base in south korea.

colleagues are looking at someone's wedding pictures. i want to blog and i need to start another assignment and my email hasn't stopped popping new messages. "is that the electric slide?" i asked, and a boy said no, the slide's a different dance. i want to yell back, it's a photo of a slice of a moment in time, and their stance looks pretty much like the slide to me, dumbass. you don't think i go out too much. but i grin and yawn and go check on the faxes and go back to blogging.

in fact, i go out enough where the electric slide's staple. ack. and no, there's nothing wrong with that. but sometimes, i want sake.

i want to run out for jamba juice and dinner but i haven't started my other assignment yet, even. i am going to work overtime again. but i won't ask for pay coz i'm blogging. ahaha.

my allergies suck. but i need to last longer than right now around here, so i remember my friend from st. petersburg, and how she wrote out seven - seven! - postcards for me, and even though she used all the same stamps on all seven postcards, she did send them even though she had no idea when my cards are coming, if they're coming at all. i hope she's received my trade.

nd2, thanks for the text. you'll do well.
ohmigosh, i just saw this movie. EVERY filipino should see it. my friend acquired this movie through video international in skokie. it hasn't yet fully occured to her what treasure rests on her DVD shelf, ahaha. totally am so glad to have run into this movie on her shelf. it hella made me cry!!! boo. :-( i hate this movie.

i love italy!!!! of all the cities that i've studied, dalla bellezza:

il vaticano

but then of course i might change my mind once i get there... by vespa from austria. ahahahahaha
  beam large
alex is dying. he has tumors in three places in his brain. doctors have deemed it terminal. friends in the philippines are waiting for each other to visit him. everyone is praying for him.

alex liked to tag along high school classes older than him. i never knew him. but i know what it's like to hang out people older than you. it's a lot of fun, you have two worlds at the same time. your thoughts are with another set of friends as you hang around your other friends during classtime. there's always someone to hang out with in the off-hours because not all classes dismiss all at the same time.

alex is dying. in his class picture, his smile is bright and worry-free. how things must have changed for him in college, at work. his family thought he was suffering an eating disorder, so they consulted the wrong doctors. too late, they discovered his true illness.

alex is only a couple years younger than the rest of us. his home address is 5 Magiting St., UP Village; his mom is asking friends to visit him. surely his visitors can coax his usual large smile to dissolve graceless boulders blocking the way.

[ u.p.i.s. batch 96 ]
  monet's gardens

today after class i decided to walk south along michigan avenue and take in the cold autumn air. it was as good a time as any to think of monet. the art institute of chicago recently acquired the monet painting above, "water lily pond" (1917-22), from private collector and museum friends, ruth kaplan and her family.

compared to monet's other paintings, the above doesn't evoke immediate interest like the japanese bridge painting. it isn't a splash like that painting. to me, this painting's centerpiece is water itself, how it flows between water lilies. monet wanted to capture how it flows and changes to capture light and the reflection of trees.

monet's paintings have resonated so much that they've been copied by painters, and then later, by landscape artists and photographers.

Monet's gardens and flowers. Keith Sarver, 1998.

Kasteel Groot Buggenum, the Netherlands.

with only 45 minutes to spare, i just browsed the art institute's museum shop and found these beautiful panoramic postcards of the real deal - the gardens of giverny, near normandy, where monet lived while painting his famous series. after looking at the postcards, i renewed my resolve to visit giverny before i die.

there's just something about gardens that evokes peace and healing. unlike the chicago botanical gardens, where there's more of an outdoor museum feeling in that there's specific areas designated for various types of gardens (english topiary, prairie, circle, japanese, and others), giverny looks so much better, ahaha - less very obvious human touches. and if you're a city-dweller, urban-breather, crawly-creature, less of the human trespass is just what you need from time to time. even if it's just on paper.

Originally uploaded by ulanmaya_trois.

borges, september 2

when i took this photo, it was early september, i think around 7 p.m., when sunset was still at 8 p.m. it's downtown near michigan avenue and pearson.

a block west of this building are apartments with storefronts of restaurants and bookstores. the second floor apartments - or offices - easily fetch $1,000 from renters, but you get a great location. you pay for noise each weekend and every rush hour, but in exchange, there's a bookstore, a coffeeshop, a restaurant, loyola university, historic watertower, holy name cathedral, a victoria's secret, an H&M, and the john hancock building nearby. it's just perfect for insomniacs like me. hehehehe.

this photo reminds me of the short story "the aleph" by jorge luis borges. i have to reread it, ahaha. i like how he manages to merge memory into one long paragraph at one point in the story. and then he did it again in an attempt to describe everything. purty cool.
  the penultimate peril
heeeeeeeehehehehehe... second to the last disaster. it is said i'm a little - a tad bit - a lot - hehehe - sadistic wanting to find out what happens to the baudelaires. but... but... but... that's not truth at all. see, when someone can't help but beg to tell their sad tale, the least you can do is listen. it's compassion. human curiosity. a slight voyeurism. ahahaha... all jokes fall flat in the face of the great,(ly) elusive snicket.

how nice also of harper collins to beef up publicity on their current capital series. harry potter's the competition. they need the big bucks to keep going. ahahahaha. and in this light, i can't wait!!! ;-D
  title too terrible to reveal
art too awful to show his real name is too mundane to mention. he does not want you to know his reading tomorrow at new york city is too tedious to attend. ahahahahaha. 12th's not the charm.
  eat drink man woman
it isn't the first time i've seen the ang lee classic, "eat drink, man woman." but it is definitely nice to be reminded of living life as tastefully as humanly possible. this is every artist's dream, to impart their life's remarks for the time being and stir inspiration, thought, movement into an audience. tragically it took the very early hours in the morning when distraction is asleep for me to appreciate old taiwan, beautifully elaborate dishes with no taste, superscaled banquets where food taste matters little, the irony of daughters finally fleeing their house, save for the most likely one - and when she finally does, she's not getting married.

storytelling is most effective with metaphors. i noticed dostoevsky consumed, as in, you devour a book. fast food, for rushed consumers. amsterdam, and its bland cuisine, the perfect backdrop for indonesia's spice. a high rise office space, and flight, to take in all of taipei. the music you take in. the sport you burn. the packed meat you must boil patiently to soften. sweet, sturdy rice wrap created by kneading soft dough and spread in circles over hot plate. the spirits and ginger soup you drink. the dumplings, still in the steamer, you eat.
  poet of the wastes
saw this movie today with a friend. it's at the landmark cinema, in front of the borders, near the corner of broadway and clark, so it's truly a movie experience. the film is part of the 41st chicago international film festival, and the theater is capitalizing on it. there is a festival booth, and the house is decorated with the flags of the world. the film is 81 minutes long and tickets are $12. and it is totally worth every minute and every cent.

saman aghvami / iranian student news agency

i admit very little knowledge of tehran and iran, so i am very taken by the movie. i looooove the way director mohammad ahmadi frames every shot of this film. i'm obssessed with perfect still photography shots, especially of unfamiliar places. mohsen makhmalbaf's screenplay is gorgeous.

i didn't know it snowed that far north of the middle east. we are all used to photos of royal palaces and massive buildings of europe, or the canals of amsterdam or the ruins of egypt or greece, or the sparse streets of london and its hilly countrysides; we're all familiar with caribbean coastlines and tropical jungles, but i, for one, rarely see any part of the middle east that's normal - no tanks, blown up houses, no soldiers, no crowded streets, disorganized traffic; flying sand and dust, the dull yellow and gray of desert. these are the typical images of the middle east broadcast by mainstream media everyday.

ahmadi and makhmalbaf filmed a couple regular tehran streets where houses have high gates and front doors, streets have sidewalks and space for flowing traffic and organized agreements - such as mailboxes, intercoms, gutters with flowing water and clean-looking debries (i.e., no human waste), parks with sculptures, streets thickly littered with nothing but autumn leaves, small lines are formed before embassies, and garbage is tied in plastic bags and collected every night by 9 p.m.

the chicago film festival blurb announces that this is an iranian film "whose intent is to steer absolutely clear of political commentary." well, no. maybe. there is a poet who, wooed by a mere observer, glibs that he chose to stay in iran because he's a cow, bleeding milk. his balcony is so extensive that his visitors need to step back to show themselves to him when they call to visit. he receives food only from his second floor apartment. once a week, he sends down money in a rattan basket to an aged grocer who brings him reading material and food. and it seems like his only visitor is the observer.

one night the observer notices a wooden ladder leading to the window he normally throws his garbage from, and, when mr. poet does not answer, the observer climbs the ladder and enters the poet's world. it is disheveled. someone has thrown the poet's books into a pile in the middle of a bedroom. at the very edge of the pile is a black journal the poet said contained his latest collection. the observer picks it up and calls around the house for the poet. he reaches the bathroom, and finds the writer there.

before ending, the observer writes to a girl he met on that same street and asks her to see him. that day, it was snowing. the girl has collected white powder on her shoulders, in her veil, on her lap, around her arms. almost three inches has collected on the park bench. the observer comes along with his black book. she asks him if he has been writing her all those letters all along. he says here is the poet's last book, read it and keep it. she stands up and, hearing all she expected to hear, walks away.

from the web site of dr. mostafa moini, professor of economics, oklahoma city university

snow falls around the observer, and the camera pans to reveal a sculpture of his profession. they say poetry is merely honesty. that it is wasted on the inattentive. that one man's trash is another's treasure. that trash, truly is trash, when your dreams come flying by. that it is glib talk, easy to be snowed by. that unlike sunlight, snow does not touch everything - snow falls like a blanket. it evokes comfort, like poetry, but the only true comfort you'll find in lines is far from it, away from it. poetry freezes a moment in time, and rare are the few who choose to chisel and cast moments permanently into stone.

the camera pans further from the observer and fades to black. my friend and i sit for a while and then realize we can't read credits in farsi script. we get up to eat coconut chicken and hummus and bread in the theater basement. the cheap champagne rang through our senses long after the movie's conclusion.
  persepolis bullhead

Originally uploaded by ulanmaya_trois.

visited the university of chicago's oriental institute a couple weekends ago. here are some pix - enjoy! :-)

it is 4:25 a.m. i really would like to sleep now, but i am afraid of what thoughts will come to me in the middle of the night. i'm not afraid in the conventional sense. this is where vocabulary fails me. or the other way around.

i'm not afraid. i'm wary. is that the word? let's pretend that's the word.

we're all plagued by some thing that keeps us awake at night - worries big and small, including that it is 4:30 a.m. and there's nothing you can do about it until daylight.

i groan when those thoughts come, i know i won't be equipped to deal with them. i would like to be asleep by then, i would like to be resting because i need it. i need rest so i can function well enough the following day. but how can you rest when a thousand invasive thoughts pummel you incessantly? - or when the caffein does? :-P

that last sentence makes me stop and think. it sounds like a symptom of something else - a sign of aging. ahaha - addictions and plans mix in the middle of the night to form sleeplessness. you learn how to cook your own caffein.

when thoughts like that don't stop bugging me, i turn over and hope that my next sleeping position is better than the last. i realize that the nagging thoughts are caused by people, situations and things that aren't me, that are beyond my control. it's robbery. and i'm the only one there to defend my peace. and all i want is a good night's rest.

thankfully, strangely, mercifully, i sink into a stupor and win... zzzz. ...
  suite 216, the seneca
that's where i picked up my media credential today. shannon opened the door, and it was great to see her in person. she gave me my credential - as usual, a tiny piece of laminated cardboard with my photo - and a tag. the suite was indeed sweet - a cozy, private, corner room that looked smaller than it really was, with a sofa and three bedrooms. "this is the first time actually that i've seen this room," shannon laughed. i turned around and in walked two men with an accent clearly not american.

"hello, we need a car to take us back to our hotel," they politely said, clearly not knowing where they were. ahahahaha. if you want to impress important people at night, michigan avenue in the early evening is where you take them. their hotel must be somewhere along that road.

suite 216 at hotel seneca is the chicago international film festival's hospitality suite. i could have had european beer, nutella and biscuits, sour cream dip and bread if i wanted to, ahahaha. but i took my credential, wondered at the filmmakers who walked in, and left right away. ahahaha. imma nerd like that. i should have at least asked who the guys were! ;-P
i just wanted to see movies. well, my contact asked for my photo. i'ze lyk, photo? so i ripped one from an old photoalbum. and then he called me later that yesterday. "we'll take care of you," he said, "we'll get you a media pass."

YAY!!!! :-D i just wanted to see movies, but now i get to go to openings and special screenings and the awards banquet on the 15th. ahahahahahaha. all that answering the phone when they needed me to paid off. ahahahaha!!!!

the catch is that the girl who was supposed to work on my media credential was so swamped when i talked to her today. so it's ok, she will get me credentials and she said i can call if i can pick it up tomorrow. which is fine, coz most of the good movies ain't till friday and the weekend.

woot!!! ahahahaha. sweeeeeeet. my contact is just a volunteer, so this thing might not happen again next year. i'm so bubbly and giggly all over. ahahahaha.

coz even if i don't get the pass, that means he owes me one. and, ruthlessly speaking, i can use that for some other time. ahahahaha........... just kidding, chances are i'd have totally forgotten ahahaha. for now, i can still drop names. ahahahahaha
  strange and new - the sweet hereafter
Strange and New
by Atom Egoyan

There was a rustling,
that seemed like a bustling
of merry crowds jostling
at pitching and hustling.

Small feet were pattering,
wooden shoes clattering,
little hands clapping
and little tongues chattering,

and, like fowls in a farm-yard
when barley is scattering.
All the little boys and girls,
with rosy cheeks and flaxen curls,

and sparkling eyes and teeth like pearls,
tripping and skipping,
ran merrily after the wonderful music
with shouting and laughter.

When, lo, as they reached the mountain-side,
a wondrous portal opened wide,
as if a cavern was suddenly hollowed;
and the Piper advanced and the children followed.

And when all were in to the very last,
the door in the mountain-side shut fast.
Did I say all? No. One was lame.
And could not dance the whole of the way.

And in after years,
if you would blame his sadness,
he was used to say, --
"It's dull in our town
since my playmates left.

I can't forget
that I'm bereft
of all the pleasant sights they see,
which the Piper also promised me.

For he led us, he said,
to a joyous land
joining the town
and just to hand

where waters gushed
and fruit trees grew
and flowers put forth
a fairer hue

and everything was strange and new."

As you see her, two years later, I wonder if you realize something. I wonder if you understand that all of us... Dolores, me, the children who survived... the children who didn't... that we're all citizens of a different town now. A place with its own special rules and its own special laws. A town of people living in the sweet hereafter.

Where waters gushed
and fruit trees grew
and flowers put forth
a fairer hue

and everything was strange and new.
Everything was strange and new.

the sweet hereafter
ahahahahaha... i have to admit that part of the reason i like-hate-detest-cry over-defend-enjoy-sorta-i think so-yea this job is coz you meet all these connected people and, like the chicago international film festival, get to ask for passes and are granted them and get to see movies for freeee... yum. now i have to look for excuses to call in sick. ahahahaha. c'est happy, happy ulanmaya. :-D heeee.
nakalimutan ko na yung ibig sabihin ng "bebot."

i couldn't help but laugh laugh laugh at the new BEP track, "bebot." ahahahaha i love it. even though the first few seconds of the song made me sooooooooooooo embarrassed to hear it.

but i love love love BEP. they rock. i'm sorry. they've become my personal heroes - my cliche good time, positive all the time band.

coz, if you are an overseas filipino worker, the hopes and dreams of the very last bunso hinge on the dollars you send back home.

if you are an overseas filipino worker, you're most likely wiping the beeehinds of u.s. people whose younger relatives themselves need to make a living and the best they could do is pay you and your agency to do this dirty work.

if you are an overseas filipino worker, you're most likely worrying over white bosses and black colleagues and hispanic customers and fellow asians who are hopelessly unreachable because all their accents are darn thick and you've never met anyone like them before, not even in the capital. that the first thing you and a rare filipino friend resort to are long conversations about home, how's your family, and hey, where are the other filipinos? want to go out this weekend?

and then there are the other pinoys who were born and raised here, those who went to school here, those who only moved here last year. where are they on the weekends?

sometimes, there's gathings and you go out. ooh, the fun. so fun. you go clubbing to forget, even for a moment, the next assignment because you might never get another chance, ever, again. and because you're mostly only in your early 20s, 30s, you remember what happiness is like back in vigan. baguio. manila. quezon city. diliman. malate. makati. caloocan. antipolo. angeles. los banos. calamba. cavite. tagaytay. naga city. puerto princesa. boracay. iloilo city. kalibo. dumaguete. bacolod. cebu city. tacloban. siquijor. davao city. butuan. dipolog. cagayan de oro. iligan. zamboanga city. basilan. jolo.

and then there is something other than work and learning about cultures to tell home about. your noble deed, a miniscule slice of the filipino experience, is momentarily lifted in this one song.

ang sarap. teka, sandali. isa pa nga. :-)
  right this fleeting now
writing this on a monday early morning. actually, lotsa things happened saturday, but let me reserve stories about yesterday for sometime this week, ahahaha... coz yanno how it is during the workweek: sometimes stories run out.

been reading the blogs of and emails from friends.

one cannot get enough of asking herself who she is, but by doing so, her blog reads like someone skinning herself alive. she dislikes it, at the same time, she knows she will never find peace if she stops blogging her issues. she isn't suicidal, or depressed, she's confused because she's looking for herself. i admire her because she doesn't run away to some remote, exotic locale like lhasa. she's looking for her roots here in the u.s. she doesn't identify fully as filipina in the philippines. neither does she identify as american. watching her peck at goosebumps is like watching someone teetering along the side of a skyscraper with no intentions of jumping off the ledge. but something else can nudge her ever so slightly, the wind or some random pebble left over from construction, prematurely sending a rare thinker to the fates of us all.

another writes about her hobby and how difficult it was to obtain the needed pieces to complete her collection. i have most of its pieces. her collection is online and when i first browsed through it, i hope i could amass half as interesting a collection as hers. she has photographs and postcards of st. petersburg, the cathedral capital of russia. "it's like a fairy tale," said a polish friend, of the city.

my hobbyist friend has postcards of a small town called pskov and its regions, in northwestern russia. in fact, most of the photographs in her photoalbum are postcards, and most of the postcards, along with arresting monuments and reflections of skylines on water, feature churches. pskov churches, white stone structures with minarets and crosses, are accompanied by three-story stone white monasteries with holes for windows. i imagine the mystics wrote their works in stone monasteries like those in the postcards.

she's not sure why she has hundreds of postcards of churches in her album. "i'm haven't studied theology but i have read plenty of books for myself and i like postcards with religious places too. i don't know why religions fascinate me so much, maybe it's because there were no religions in USSR and i managed to live in that country a few years of my childhood that i can recall," she wrote. by her asking what i did for a living, i realized i haven't told her much about myself at all. and now i want postcards of riga. i don't want to think how this hobby of pictures must be taking us away from work, school, other parts of real life.

another friend wants to join this year's AIDS walkathon-race thingy-fundraising event. he actually spelled his entire name in the "to" of his email to me, and i wonder if that means anything. you can never tell with him. he shops better than i do, but then again, i only like shopping if i have money to burn. and i don't have, anymore. ahahaha. the friend is looking if i would be one of his sponsors, and since i sponsored one of our other friends, i want to do the same for him.

he blogs eating at a churrascaria, and he's explained it to me, but of course i didn't understand the first time. "it's a brazilian-style restaurant that serves up a wonderfully prepared 'salad' buffet, while waiters dressed-up as gauchos walk around with skewers of perfectly grilled meats, poultry, or fish," he blogged. today friends and i ate at a chili's in skokie. i haven't eaten there before, and midscale food chains like chili's are all right for friends. they're much cheaper than fogo de chão, the churrascaria he blogged about. you don't go to fogo de chão to just eat eat, you go there for the experience.

he wants support for a good cause. "i suck insanely when it comes to fundraising, so your help is greatly appreciated. i'm not even setting a goal for myself just because i suck at it. AHAHAH," he e-mailed.

none of these friends live in chicago. i would have wanted to join my friend at fogo de chão, i would have wanted coffee with identity, and i would have wanted to breathe the russian autumn as well. but these, right now, are enough. this time with friends are enough. right this fleeting now, as i write this, i am glad for what i already have.
  brown woman - narciso lobo

Originally uploaded by

Brown Woman
© 2005 Narciso Lobo
he says lyrics are still fluid, "and could change down the line." awwwe. it's cool the way it is. ;-)

Mmm, your kisses taste like home to me
And your smile is like a sweet island song
Mmm, we're moving in harmony
In this beautiful rhythm is where I belong

And now I know why
All the white girls didn't seem right
And now I now why
I'm gonna sleep good tonight
Now I know why

Brown woman give a brown man wings
Brown woman strum a brown man's strings
Ease my sufferring
Hear this brown man sing

Brown woman's where a brown man's from
A brown woman calling make a brown man come
Sweeter than honey rum
You're my brown woman

Mmm, you love me like a summer breeze
Through the mango trees
On the ocean shore
Mmm, your skin gets me drunk just as well
As a bottle of San Miguel
Let me drink some more

And now I know why
All the white girls didn't seem right
And now I now why
I'm gonna sleep good tonight
Now I know why

Brown woman give a brown man wings
Brown woman strum a brown man's strings
Ease my sufferring
Hear this brown man sing

Brown woman's where a brown man's from
A brown woman calling make a brown man come
Sweeter than honey rum
You're my brown woman

Like a summer breeze through the mango trees
You love me sweet and slow
Like a slow jam sung in our island tongue
You move me down below
When you're not beside me baby
When you're gone and I'm alone
Umiiyak, umiiyak ang puso ko

Brown woman give a brown man wings
Brown woman strum a brown man's strings
Ease my sufferring
Hear this brown man sing

Brown woman's where a brown man's from
A brown woman calling make a brown man come
Sweeter than honey rum
You're my brown woman
  cold as grave
the corpse bride

saw the corpse bride last weekend. for some odd reason, i keep on spelling BRIDE as BRIDGE. ha! i dunno why.

the movie, as expected only of a burton-elfman-depp mix, is clever, entertaining, and respectful. i have one complaint, though, and everytime i remember it, i laugh:

the british accent.

yes. why is it that everything elegant, modern, serious, magical, uppity and european has to be said in a british accent? i'll bet $10 that the legend of the corpse bride is actually german, just like many of the original fairy tales. the german accent is just as exotic and european as the french or russian accent.

i suppose it has something to do with that the audience will most likely be american. ;-)
  packaged and shipped

there is a scene in the movie the shipping news where a new writer is given a lesson by an editor on how to look at life so that it sells news. tert card asks the main character, quoyle, to describe a storm coming to town.

Billy: It's finding the center of your story, the beating heart of it, that's what makes a reporter. You have to start by making up some headlines. You know: short, punchy, dramatic headlines. Now, have a look, what do you see? (Points at dark clouds at the horizon) Tell me the headline.
Quoyle: Horizon Fills With Dark Clouds?
Billy: Imminent Storm Threatens Village.
Quoyle: But what if no storm comes?
Billy: Village Spared From Deadly Storm.

i never have yet had to resort to beefing up a report just so people would read it, but i totally understand why we have to sometimes. sometimes there really isn't any news going on, and your automatic inclination is to pretty up stories. the end result is very good writing, but the real news is almost nothing.

of course, now i've jinxed it, and so the rest of my week is bound to be busy. ...
a college friend wrote the first stanza. and then i wanted to cheer him up so i went the lines in blue.

i once had a friend
named Conscience
he had the tendency to start headache pains
and gave me pills to keep me sane
but oftentimes he's been falling asleep
and waking up to eat.

while Conscience ate
i discussed childlike rumors,
like twinkling stars
and cloaked stardust
anything to keep him
from reminding and chiding,
he munched on his cereal
and suddenly stopped:

sharply, rudely,
my side split,
i learned
one can double over
sideways, and fall
on one's shoulder.
my elbow, shattered.
my side, rent in pieces -
it was a bite,
a bite taken by Conscience.

and then
i woke up
to eat.

  violet, not purple
ube ice cream with pinipig

it was never "purple." it was always violet to me. hehehehe.

i could totally use some of that good stuff right now. but that pix was taken in las vegas, at the goldilocks there. *sigh.* i gotta wait until daybreak tomorrow to raid the filipino store's ice cream freezers? that's so unfair. life's so difficult!!!

  sunday mass
here's a story worthy of a forward. yanno, those forwards that are always meant to warm your heart on monday morning at work, hehehehe.

during the school year, there is a 10 p.m. mass at loyola university's madonna della strada chapel at their main campus at lake shore.

just thinking about mass is making me happy. :-) i never lived on campus, so i missed out on a huge chunk of my life. but i used to seize every opportunity i got to attend the 10 p.m. mass. there's nothing like a room full of students not in class or in analysis mode - just in prayer.

there's one lenten mass i remember where they brought in 12 students with small bonquets of wheat, playing the 12 disciples. as part of an offering, they set down the wheat - i think it was wheat, curiously, the stalks were green - at the foot of the altar and later helped distribute the bread and wine.

at loyola, i really, really like this bread the chapel used in place of the usual white, circle wafer. i must get the recipe from one of my friends. it's chewy and soft and sweet at the same time. it's brown wheat bread. when i get a chance, i'll post it here.

sometimes in the course of my studies i don't get to eat - i would wake up and rush from the house because it takes me 40 minutes by train to arrive on campus. i would catch up on reading or sleep while on the train. i love to sleep, so when i wake up i'm almost always late. i skip breakfast.

when i go to mass, it was almost always the only time i got to eat during the day. sometimes i remember to pack some food - i remember one time grabbing the remaining loaf of bread in the house and using the free jelly at the cafeteria, and that would be my meal for the day.

i would sometimes need to stay on campus until midnight because we only had one computer in the house, and both my siblings would already fight over it. so i opted to stay on campus during the week, or visit the campus on the weekends, to type up my papers. (and the campus is beautiful, if you've ever been there, you'd know. :-)) if i don't sleepover a friend's dorm, my mother, who worked the night shift, would call me on her cell phone (we also only had one cell phone that time) using her work phone to tell me her work shift was ending and she was coming to pick me up.

there would be one hour between her calling and picking me up. i would use that time to go to mass. my empty stomach would be warmed by that pinch of bread and sip of wine. and i thought i was never hungry. hehehe.
  the first
hay, so we start another month: october.

can't say the past nine months were wasted. i know i tried to have a blast each chance i got. i went CRAZY when i was reigned in. (i.e., my trip to southern california with my mother and my uncle. there were no kids around. it was stupid. don't do that.) but at the same time i learned you can't be all talkative and happy all the time. hehe.

i'm going to try to write something everyday this month. hehe.

i can't believe that it was just last month that i went to florida. i'm glad to say that somehow the "drug" they fed me during the sfc conf is still around. ahahaha. even though friends who used to be part of the group totally refuse to go back. i think that's funny. i'm assured like that because they found other ways to stay true to themselves without needing the support that sfc provides. isn't that how ideologies are supposed to be, anyways?

as for me, it's irritating that somehow nothing seems to faze me. at least, lately. it's irritating, because, if paranoia were a person, he'd someday walk toward me again and go, "hi! remember me?" it might be in winter when ice coats the sidewalks and icicles plunge from skyscrapers, sharp like weapons and gravity-laden and ready to kill.

but my "eh" mode is highly important because autumn is coming, the weather hasn't yet cooperated (the temperatures tomorrow are scheduled to be 80s when it should be 60s), but the days have. i get to appreciate the earth's turning several degrees to the left this time of year.

except for several months here and there, i've used the same exact desk at work for five years now. every late summer or early fall, the sun would blind me because my right side faces the windows. you can't ignore it when the sun says hi. well, i noticed he's been sinking and sinking faster and further the left of the windowsill, which is aligned with the side of the presidential towers west of the building, across the chicago river. in the late spring and early summer, the sun set somewhere else, never bothering me.

the sunsets have turned spectacular - gold on stone buildings and glass and steel. sunset, the busiest, most stressful time of my workday, so it is inspiring to glimpse perfect beauty every time you look up from your work. like the season of fall, the beautiful sunsets don't linger. i thought, how precious.

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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