yum yum

sigh... which bag, which bag?
oh gosh i just HAVE to say this.

the goal of putting harry into the triwizard tournament isn't to kill him, it's to CAPTURE him so his blood can be added to a cauldron to bring back the lord voldemort. no use adding dead blood into a stew when the goal is to bring someone dead back to life!!!

gosh!!! y'alls gotz it wrong!!! get your facts right, people!!! ;-/ bitter
  this idea of faith

ABC had just finished a segment on college kids loudly calling on the name of the lord to reverse the roe v. wade rule. in the end, i loooove how the reporter ends with, "at the end of the pastor's comment, bells began to ring." and bells do begin to ring, somewhere in the big city that is washington DC. it's just the perfect clincher to what the pastor's saying, that the college kids are indeed changing the world.

what's more's that in the middle of the broadcast, the reporter points to an aerial map of washington DC. he says the building that the students use, paying $7,000 in monthly rent for a small office space on the second floor, is built at an angle that points to the supreme court building.

the reporter is trying to communicate all these strange coincidences. or are they coincidences?

it reeks mockery to me. the reporter is trying to say that these college students aren't acting in a progressive mode, they're acting medievally, the way, in the dark ages, people believed that cholera was transmitted through the air and that mechanical clocks are made by the devil.

this is the dark side of journalism, complex stories made easy to tell. it's easier to tell the story of faith as akin to witchcraft in the 1500s. it's a lot more festive to the eyes to show college students dancing and screaming into the microphone their prayers that often have nothing to do with roe v. wade. it's a lot more exotic to show them sticking a red LIFE tape across their mouths and praying in front of the justice chambers.

but it's like a snake eating its tail in that there's no other way to tell this story - the reporter did ask the college kids questions and their responses really are as exotic and strange as you'd expect them to be. it draws you in and makes you sit there and watch their broadcast until the end.

have you been to washington DC and seen these protestors?

they really are strange and eerie. on the way to the national galleries, i happened on the supreme court building and saw about 20 students lined up in the sidewalk far from the entrance of the chambers. it's because of them i refused to enter the supreme court building. they stood there, heads bent. quietly. praying. mouths taped in red.

it's like a train wreck - you can't help but watch. some of them were awake and talking to people - one of them actually entertained this other person who was for roe v. wade, and she was the one nodding and giving the other person license to rant. it looked like the supporter was the crazy person, and the pro-life person, with her calm nodding, the normal one.

in true ulanmaya fashion i asked for a red tape and asked what was going on. i stepped back and took a photo. and then i walked away.

it's very encouraging to see young people already adamant about their faith. they stand together because there's more than one of them. but with the way they closed their eyes and prayed, i knew that even if there were just one of them, they would kneel - or sit - or stand - in front of the supreme court building and just pray. it's pretty interesting.

just like most things you can't see, if you look for it, you just might find it. but i totally believe that there is a god and he does listen, and so much like us, he chooses his response, if he responds at all. there are some people in my circle of friends who lean anti-abortion because they are catholic, and it's part of being catholic. and being catholic is their identity. there are others who are sympathetic to the woman faced with this unexpected decision.

i tend to believe that women who do get unexpectedly pregnant really won't get rid of their babies. it's just that the noise about this issue has gotten so ridiculous, so carnival-like. but unlike many issues where the real is being drowned out, the real is actually highlighted: does life begin at conception? unless you're a woman, shouldn't you just shut up about abortion? are you just joining because you're catholic? do you really believe you'd have killed someone by abortion? is it abstinence or birth control? does having a baby at 15, with your family and the boy's family supportive, really all that bad? is this issue ever even an issue at all? :-)
  who's your daddy?
Your Daddy Is Dick Cheney

What You Call Him: Old Man

Why You Love Him: He's the Mack Daddy
Who's Your Daddy?

... sorry kids. i just want to stay happy... ahahahaha. ...
  filipino open mic in hiatus
Filipino open mic takes respite after a year of performance

Originally uploaded by ulanmaya_deux.

michaelle pureza performs an early draft of "From 'Dialogues with the Devil' by Taylor Caldwell" at pintig's november filipino open mic.

After one year of original music, drama and poetry, organizers with theater troupe Pintig Cultural Group plan to send the Filipino Open Mic into several months' hiatus to give space to other projects.

About 50 people gathered for three straight hours of performance Sunday, Nov. 27, at Hoghead McDunna's in Chicago. Among the headliners were veterans Imelda de la Cruz, Joey Flores, Lani T. Montreal, Bagwis and first-time performer, Toronto-based actor Byron Abalos.

An era in Filipino-American youth in Chicago is resting for a moment. Musician and actor Narciso Lobo has consistently played host to the monthly open mic events pro-bono.

"We're just taking a much-needed break from organizing this event. We'll definitely be back, sometime next year, possibly March," Lobo said at the closing session Sunday. The open mic has been held in various venues, such as Sala Cafe, InSight Arts and Jinx Cafe.

There were no themes given each open mic. At first the event was simply a venue for aspiring writers and performers to showcase their works pro-bono in a safe venue. Later, many works pointed to a single theme of change in the Philippines and the U.S. In November's open mic, Bagwis has written and performed songs about the Cojuangco estate Hacienda Luisita in the Philippines' largest island, Luzon. In January's event, writer Kay Barrett has read a journal entry on the reelection of President Bush.

It is the first and only event of its kind in the Chicago area held exclusively for artists of Filipino descent. Lobo has also invited Mexican artists for the open mic's first Mexican-Filipino open mic held in August.

The open mics gave many young Filipino adults encouragement to hold events of their own that highlight and contribute to their heritage.It connected artists with each other - Bagwis found their vocal lead, Ginger Cacnio, Pintig member and producer with Ruckus Productions, at a session in Sala Cafe in Chicago. Rey Villar found colleagues who would work with him to bring about his brainchild, the Chicago Filipino-American Film Fest, to reality. It helped many quiet writers break their shyness and attend other Filipino and non-Filipino events.

Past performers of the successful open mics include Allen Hope Sermonia, artistic director of Due East Theatre; Pintig actors Levi Aliposa and Michaelle Pureza; musicians Ramon Bonzon and David Wycoco; Committee on Pilipino Issues; and poets Marlon Unas Esguerra, Amador Ibardaloza, Bea Rodriguez and Raven Guerrero. The event was featured by Chicago-based Hataw Pinoy, a Filipino-language local TV show.
a friend and i once went online to look at college programs. we dreamed that we could afford all those classes in prestigious univerisites, mostly on the east coast. there was one school on the west coast that he chose. i haven't settled on anywhere, although i'd mentioned cornell university. writing about this memory right now reminds me to visit that school before my friend graduates from there, ahaha. i hope he's still around.

"it's beautiful here," he confessed, as if marvelling that he's still attending cornell, a simple boy from a small town in florida. most of his other friends opted to stay in florida. besides, you don't pass up ivy league, you just don't do that. especially as it was a chance to live far away from florida, a state you could very well return to and explore on your own. that's what home was - a place you know will always be there, a place you could always return to, a steady island in the rocky seas.

ariel didn't really say that about florida, ahaha. but i suppose that's how you think of home, once you've moved away from it, and once the looming prospect of return comes closer. all those pieces about returning, how home is always the same, and yet different. different, because a stool has been moved, a chest had gathered dust, and you yourself have changed. the way you'll move when you go back home will be vastly different from when you'd have left it. you prolly weren't even conscious about how you'd have left it, to begin with.

what will it be like to leave chicago for a while and call another place home? whoa, there, i've said it - and yet i don't want to repeat it. for years i didn't consider chicago home. it was just a place to stay, where i worked, attended school, visited churches and ate out; watched movies and read books. it was where i hung out at cafes later and had drinks with colleagues and friends, later. it was where i returned to when i went on trips, with family or by myself to see other friends in their own homes, far away.

trips are vastly different - there's the mojave desert we passed through last december, on the way to the grand canyon. it was clearly a place you just had to pass through and not stay; the same with the grand canyon. who would ever want to live in such cold and windy climes, not to mention how trecherous those cliffs were? but native americans have, for generations and generations. i forgot his name, but one native american my mother spoke with said that their tribe is still negotiating terms with the government on how to parcel that vast piece of land.

the grand canyon is the widest expanse of gridless geography i have ever seen. it was beautiful, rough, and red; i had this delirious moment where i remembered my high school dragonlance books where sharp mountain ranges came off of their bases and fly to enemies and chop them in half for intruding their peace. but i picked up a small, sharp red clay shard from the base of guano's peak on the canyon;s west rim, and pocketed it. and then i ran down the side of the hill after my sister and took more pictures.

travelling means taking your heart and your packages and picking up souveniers along the way. it's not setting your heart down, like that native american guide did, when he talked about the land and their plans for it. he asked if the two other kids with me were my siblings and i grinned. he had that look on his face like he were being treated to some dolls or something, ahaha. he talked as if the land and his heart were one.

we went to the grand canyon to celebrate a decade of living here in the united states. i had spent the last of my savings out west, ahaha. but it was all well worth it. we returned to chicago exhausted, and i think a bit confused, ahaha. this year, we decided, we are staying put in chicago. our mother, busy with work, just went along with that plan, but she's made it a point to visit the philippines next year.

if she goes, i have to know when so if i actually decide to go, we're not in the same place at the same time, ahahahaha. i hella can't stand being in my own homeland and not being able to explore it - again! hello. can you tell how frustrating that would be?! yes, girls in the homeland aren't supposed to be gallivanting, but in my book, girls in the homeland aren't supposed to be gallivanting with their parents, and their friends, so that she can be overruled at every opportunity. goodness. doesn't that just leave a bad taste in your mouth. ahaha. but i totally won't mind making rounds on my own. that means, no money from the adults as well, ahaha - so gotta save up right now.

i'm at a starbucks right now because the computer in the house is occupied. and i wanted to get out of the house. if i stay there, i'll just eat everything and sleep and watch TV and while away my free day with having done absolutely nothing, the empty type of nothing. i want to read my book next. my siblings and i aren't talking, so i didn't ask if they wanted to see a movie; and as home bodies, i know what their answer will be anyways. i'm seeing one on sunday anyways too, ahaha. but as i moved the side of a couch here at the starbucks to make room for my baby julytown apple's electric plug - yes, i named my computer and i call him baby, i bet you do, too - your own computer, that is - you stay away from my computer - to make room for my computer's electric plug, i realized that this is how i behave in my own living room. i'm being hella shameless! ahaha.

but as i settled into the couch and my computer, waiting for a desk to clear, i thought, how nice to have a quiet moment to do your own things for once, with still a few hours of daylight, no less. i've worked the evening shift at the AP long enough, but i have to stay a night owl for a bit longer, until i've accomplished my one big project for next year - y'alls who read this will know soon enough. ;-) have a happy early christmas shopping season. time for a warm cup of joe.
awit, arturo luz, 1953Awit
Arturo R. Luz
1953, Oil on Lawanit
48 x 37.5 cm
Ateneo Art Gallery Collection

one of the things that interests young filipino americans here in chicago is the country of their parents. one of my friends, d, visited his father's province in northern luzon this past summer. as part of a freelance video project, he interviewed his neighbor elvie, a high school graduate with plans to go abroad to work. here follows an excerpt of their hourlong conversation. they are talking on the top floor of an abandoned house near the outskirts of town. elvie wants to go to japan, but not manila:

So Japan or Taiwan is where you want to go now.
(tumango) Nods.

Have you ever thought of going to Manila? First, before you head to Japan or Taiwan?
(nods, makes a small face) Sa Manila naman, I mean, there’s so much freedon on it di ba – andaming freedom doon, and then , andun lahat, it’s up to you kung pipiliin mong mapasama ka, or piliin mong mapabuti yung buhay mo doon. Kasi sa freedom na yun, kumbaga hindi mo, hindi, hindi, alam mo yun andami dun eh, termptations, a lot of , I mean andun yung drugs, lahat-lahat, temptations, rightly. nightlife, andun din, magulo din.

In Manila, on the other hand, there’s so much freedom, right – there’s so much freedom there, everything is there, it’s up to you whether you choose to better or life or not. You never know with that freedom, there’s so many temptations, there’s drugs, everything, right, nightlife, and it’s also crazy hectic there.

Do you have friends in Manila right now?
Uh - hmm

Can you describe the life of your friends in Manila?
(laughs, doesn’t talk)

How does it feel to have some of your classmates leave Camalaniugan?
Pag bumalik na sila, mas liberated na silang magsalita. (laughs) Siguro mas open na yung mga isip at puso nila sa mga… siguro they’re more fashionate, mas… ok na, pag nandun ka, mas maimprove mo yung pananamit mo, yung pananalita mo, yung lahat, puwede ka ring matutong manigarilyo dun, kasi malayo ka sa mga magulang mo, di ba, kasi nandun lahat. (laughs)

When they return, their speech is much more liberated. Maybe they’re more open in their thoughts and hearts. They’re more fashionable. When you’re in Manila, you can improve the way you dress, your speech, everything. You can even learn how to smoke there, because you’re far from your parents, right, because everything is there.

Let’s go back then, and talk about life in the Philippines, especially here in the province – can you describe for your families, not just for your own family, but for your family, especially for Fil-Ams, how would you describe the province?
(pauses) Ang pamumuhay kasi dito kasi simpleng simple lang siya, kaya lang, pag ipinanganak ka dito na isang kahig isang tuka lang, siguro pag hindi ka gumawa ng effort mo na hindi ka mangarap, wala kang pangarap, na mabago yung lifestyle mong yun, siguro, wala kang comment, I mean, dito ka lang. Siguro kuntento ka na sa ganung pamumuhay, wala kang reklamo, di ba, pero pag ikaw yung tao na gusto mong magbago yung lifestyle mo, yung pamumuhay nyo, yung may pangarap ka, na hindi lang hanggang dito, kasi dito – there’s a little progress on it, I mean, ambagal ng pagprogresso dito. So.

Life here in the province is so simple, when you’re born here, it’s hand to mouth if you make no efforts, if you don’t dream of a better lifestyle, you’ve no comment, and you remain here. Maybe that life suits others, but if you’re one who wants to change your lifestyle, and you have dreams that go beyond here – because here, there’s little progress, I mean, progress is extremely slow here. So.

What does the province need, then? What are some of the things the province need to improve?
(pagod na siya) Siguro yung mga tao, kailangan mo nila, kailangan, iaccept din nila yung pagbabagong yun, di ba, yung kasi minsan ang ibang tao takot sa pagbabago, alam mo yun takot sa, anong tawag dito, andami pa ring taong gusto sa, alam mo yun –

Maybe for the residents, they need to accept change. Some people are afraid of change, you know.

What do you know about others’ experiences abroad – what are their impressions? Why is it like that?
(pauses, smiles) Nauubusan na akong sasabihin. I mean, bakit andaming - kasi pag Filipino na yung nagabroad, di ba, yung basic nilang trabaho doon, is a domestic helper one, so –

I’m running out of things to say. I mean, why is there – when Filipinos go abroad, right, their basic work is a domestic helper, so –

Did you know that the dictionary in the U.S., I think it’s the Oxford dictionary, the word for Pinay is – instead of saying a woman from the Philippines, it’s says "Pinay: Domestic worker." (1) That’s our impression, di ba, so what are some of the things that we can do to change people’s view of who we are?
Kami – ako kasi, di ko rin masasabi, kasi kapag nagabroad ako, I think, yun din, to be a domestic helper, no choice eh. You got to choice. I mean, walang nang options na iba. Yun na lang yung easiest way na magagawa namin. Di naman kami puweding maging doktora doon, di naman kami puweding maging ano kasi di ba they won’t (laughs) – so that’s it, so yun, kahit na siguro ano pang sabihin nila, kahit na ano pang discrimination na matatanggap namin, we’re willing to take the risk, kasi kailangan nga, iniisip namin yung hirap, yung hirap – gaya ko, pag nakaalis ako, siguro kahit na anong risk ang madadatnan ko doon, kahit anong hirap yung dadtnan ko doon, ok lang, kasi iniisp ko yung hirap dito eh, ayoko nang - magkaroon man akong among masungit, or ano, titiisin ko siguro, kasi iniisiip ko yung pamilya ko dito. Kailangan kong magsacrifice, kailangan yung mga pangarap ko sa kanila, magawa ko. Eh kung matatakot ako sa mga risks na yun, walang mangayayari sa akin, hindi ko magagwa yung mga pangarap kong yun, di ba.

Ang sarap ang sarap, magistay sa sarili mong bansa, di ba, nang wala, nang hindi na mo kailangan i-please yung, iba, kasi pare-pareho kayong Pilipino, eh di ba, ang sarap pa ring mamuhay, kahit na siguro mahirap ka rin din dito, at least hindi siya gaya nang pag nasa ibang bansa ka, hindi mo, hindi, mo, hindi mo, ikaw, yung parang ikaw lang yung toy nila doon eh, parang, yung "you don’t belong here," yung ganoon sila, na, "sa amin 'to," parang yung parang "you’re just a slave." Yung ganoon.

Kaya siguro hindi mo rin mable-blame yung iba na, kahit na siguro kahit na ganon na, tinetake pa rin nila yung ganoon kasi sa hirap ng buahy dito, yung effort namam na yun yung in return, di ba. may ipapadala sila sa pamilya nila dito, Big help na yun.

We – me, I also can't say, because when we go abroad, I think, it's also that, to be a domestic help, because I have no choice. I have no choice. I mean, there aren’t any more options out there. It is the easiest way for us. We can’t be a doctor, we can’t be anything else because they won’t (laughs). So whatever they say, what other discrimination we receive, we’re willing to take the risk, because we think of the difficulties here and need to improve our lives here. Like me, when I leave, whatever risk I’ll encounter, whatever difficulties, I think of the hardships here, and I think, it’s ok. Even if I end up having a difficult boss, I’ll endure it, because I’m thinking of my family here. I need to sacrifice, I need to fulfill my dreams for them. If I fear the risks, nothing will happen to me, I will never fulfill those dreams, right.

It is so sweet to stay in your own country, right, without trying to please anyone, because all of you are Filipino, right, it is still so sweet to live here, even if it’s difficult. It’s not like in another country, where you’re like just like their toy, where they tell you, "you don’t belong here," where they tell you, "this is ours," as if they tell you, "you’re just a slave." Like that.

So maybe that’s why you can’t blame the others, that even if they’re treated like that, they take it, because they know how difficult it is here. Their efforts, in return, they can send something back to their families. That’s already a big help.

Is there anything you want to say to those who’ve migrated abroad? To those who were born abroad?
(laughs) Those how were born abroad already na – you are lucky, lucky kayo kasi ‘cause, I mean, be thankful sa parents ninyo, di ba, kasi they’ve done that effort na ipanganak kayo doon, hindi nyo na kailangan makita yung hardship dito sa Pilipinas, hindi nyo na kailangan pa sigurong daanan yung maging TNT ka muna, then pag nandun ka tsaka magpapasakal nang ganito, kasi citizen na kayo, so pangalagaan nyo’ng pagiging citizen nyo and then try to look back sa culture na ‘Pinas – na pinagmulan nyo.

Try to look back lang, hindi mo lang, wag mo lang siyang itapon na you’re a Fil-Am. So you’re lucky, man. lucky kayo, okay, so be thankful sa mga magulang nyo.

Just try to look back, just don’t disregard that you’re Fil-Am. So you’re lucky, man. You are lucky, okay. So be thankful to your parents.

And um, siguro, sa lahat sa aming magkakapatid, ako na lang yun - wala na, eh, yung ate ko, may kanya-kanya na silang buhay, so kailangan kong magpatuloy, so kailangan kong iresacrifice yung lahat.

(Laughs) Those who were born abroad already – you are lucky. You are lucky because, be thankful to your parents, because they’ve accomplished that you were born there, you don’t need to see how hard it is here in the Philippines, you don’t need to hide first and then get married to a citizen because you’re already a citizen. So take care of your citizenship, then try to look back on the culture that is the Philippines.

I’m not saying I’m not lucky, because I was born here, I was born poor, or what. No. I’m still lucky because my mother molded us, because even if there’s 13 of us in the family, she tried her best to keep us together, she never gave any of us up for adoption, I mean, she tried everything, her best, that we all stay there in one house, not like the others, they were given away. Think of that, right, 13! So there.

And I think, of all of us siblings, I’m the only one left. There’s no one else – my older sister already has her own lives, so we need to continue. So I need to sacrifice everything.

So Elvie, describe to me, what does it mean to dream?
Pag nangarap ka kasi kailangan niyang, kailangan anong tawag dito, pag mangapara ka, kailangan may action doon, di lang yung simply dreaming and then you’re not making any move to it. So try to look for, I mean, try mong makamit yung pangarap na yan, magmove on ka, I mean, keep an action on it, not just simply dreaming, so pag may pangarap ka, hindi ka, you must be a risk taker, and then, pag may pangarp ka sa buhay wag mong alisin yung hope di ba, yung belief sa sarili mo, self-confidence din, and asking the guidance of our Lord.

When you dream, there needs to have, what it’s called, when you dream, you need action, not just simply dreaming and then you’re not making any more to it. So try to look for ways to achieve those dreams, to move on, to keep the momentum, and not just simply dreaming. So when you have a dream, you must be a risk taker, don’t loose hope, believe in yourself, have self-confidence, and ask the guidance of our Lord.

(Camera pans to the far-off fields.) Can you look in front of you?
Minsan pag nangarap kami, or pag nagbibiruan kami ng pinsan ko, sinasani naming, lahat ng kung saan nang makita ng mga mata ko, na pagaari namin, na someday I’m going to own all – (laughs, waves arms to the sky)

Sometimes, when we dream, or when my cousins and I joke, we say we own, everything, all this, as far as our eyes can see. That someday, I’m going to own all of this.

Why do you come up here?
Whenever I get a problem, I’ll just run here and stay here and stay up in these buildings, and I’m keeping my dreams too – parang ang relax-relax ko dito, feeling ko parang lahat niyan akin, parang nakakakrelieve, yung katahimikan, yung walang nambubulabog sa yo, and then iniisip ko kung ano yung next move ko, I mean nandiyan lang ako nakaupo, tinitignan ko lang lahat.

Tatlong oras akong nakaupo diyan, sometimes I sit there for three hours, me alone, sitting there and having my own thoughts. Kapag nandiyan ako inisisp ko parang ang layo-layo ko sa problema.

Whenever I have problems, I’ll just run here and stay here and dream – I feel so relaxed here, I feel as if I own all this. The peace and quiet is relaxing. No one bothers me here, and I get to think of my next plans. I mean, I just sit there, looking at everything.

I sit there for three hours, sometimes I sit there for three hours, just me, sitting there and entertaining my own thoughts. When I sit there, I think my problems seem so far from me.

(d is quiet. elvie waves her arms around.) Someday, I’m going to build a house like this, (laughs) if it’s God will.

(d points to the distance) Where’s it going to be – over there?
Maybe. (laughs)

(1) if someone can verify this for me, i'd be grateful. i haven't been able to find a dictionary, online or print, that says so.
  happy turkey day!

remember, as you bite into that succulent piece of meat, you would have killed an innocent creature of nature.

ack turkey

your food was once live, breathing, clucking and with instincts to run, just like you. sitting there on your table, to the turkey you look like someone just about ready to pounce.

cat pouince

of course eating good food just doesn't compare to remembering good times past with a replica.

no comparison

but, just so you know... don't say i didn't warn you. ;-)
ok because someone is pressuring me to write about it, i'm going to cave in. coz i rarely get requests. mwahahaha.

If you did not write every day, the poisons would accumulate and you would begin to die, or act crazy or both - you must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you. - Ray Bradbury

ulanmaya at flickr
izumi sake
Originally uploaded by ulanmaya.

sake flight at izumi. two down, two more to go. oh la la.

placido pinot grigio 2002
150 centiliters
three friends
11 p.m.
houston, texas
cold without a light sweater

a bowl of wine corks rests on the bar of my friend's apartment near houston's chinatown. she said she drank all of that by herself. she hadn't moved to houston for six months at the time of our visit. back in poland, she said, her friends drank more.

piling into a minivan to one of houston's worst clubs that happens to be in a great location.

saying no to the driver, the most put-together, sober man in the party, one who drank but still actually walked in a straight line. in front of everybody, after i'd regained soberness, he asked if i wanted a drink. it was something you ask a girl overprotected by friends but who still hung around the apartment bar watching them all drink while she sipped sprite. ahaha. it was a sweet gesture. i'm glad he asked.

You Are a Bloody Mary

You're a fairly serious drinker, who's experimented a lot with different drinks. You're a drunk, but a stable drunk. You don't ever let your drinking get out of control.
What Mixed Drink Are You?

i don't really drink, but i like tasting new things. it took a trip to houston, a city where i have three different sets of friends and an uncle with a family, for me to just go ahead and do it.

everybody in that apartment was either a programmer, engineer or a web designer for boeing. yes, the boeing. the aeronautics company relocated from seattle to chicago, but decided to have most of its IT business in houston. company HQ is still in chicago. they even have a gift shop in chicago.

since that 2002 party, i'd only experienced one drink that i really liked - a really light and sweet champagne served at a friends' wedding, during the reception toast. sweet and golden and bubbly. best with strawberries. i could drink that all day and be ok.

light and sweet sham-PAG-ney
lemon drops
red headed sluts
chocotini, but only the one mixed at zentra

Originally uploaded by ulanmaya_trois.

kuya noy in action

the sake flight at izumi is four different types, one warm, the other bitter, one smooth like green tea ice cream, the other... i didn't taste the other. i couldn't. so they argued amongst themselves about how it has to be consumed. one forgot about her camera. it was my chance - i gulped the second flight all in one go. down it went, savory and sweet, warm and coating my throat. before it hit my tummy, it hit my head. ahh.

whoa. was that the world, twirling sideways a few degrees? someone caught me. "oh, look, look!"

"oh, but a picture!" his girlfriend said.
"i'll just go like this," and tilted the tiny, empty bowl.
"you were just waiting for us to turn away," les said.
and i was.

no one else was stressed enough to drink that night. the sake was good, but i didn't want to be sport.

and i won't trade any drink for coffee. hehe. sorry.

last summer, a chicago cafe owner joined us in a game of questions. she held a cup of nonbubbly clear something in her hand. vodka, she said. straight up. the only way i know how to drink it, she said. she beat the boy sitting to her right at our game of questions everytime. but give that boy a guitar, and he can beat you at any game anytime.

I wanted so much for my purpose to sing like Nabokov and Updike and Joaquin, not knowing that before I could learn to sing, I first had to find a voice.

I found that voice while listening to the stories of a man in Samar who was drinking tuba. ...

This lusty old farmer about fifty years old, face red with drinking tuba since morning was a marvelous story-teller. ... He used sexual metaphors in the dialect that made our stomachs split with laughter - his sensibility certainly was not as refined as Henry James'. But despite the crudeness of his (sexist) language, I laughed and laughed at his stories. I did not need to be sober to tell myself that after reading the great writers of my literary education, I had finally found my supreme story-teller. ...

I wished I could write the way he talked. For years, my idea of literariness was confined to an achievement of craftsmanship the best representative of which was a Palanca prize-winning "written" work of fiction, not a mere rambling story-telling session around a gallon of tuba. But my friend the drunkard story-teller made me realize how wonderful we were as oral story-tellers, as channels of chismis, as natural boaters who deflate our own verbal balloons. Now in my writing, I am trying to recapture that quality of orality, of drunken braggadocio and chismis. I can hear this voice in my ears; it even has a face that goes with it. Now I don't strive anymore for "greatness" in writing, for winning a Palanca, for self-conscious organic unity and coherence that results in workshop polish. I don’t care if I won't be considered a great fiction writer; I am contented with being a mere story-teller.
- Timothy Montes, The Tuba Drinker as Story Teller.
[ more ]

what i really dislike about drinking is that it's a great way to pass the time. souse your brain in that stuff, and the night goes bye bye, never to return. it's detrimental if you like sunrises, which on saturdays in autumn at a friend's apartment in chicago were always bright but padded, as if covered with lace. i felt completely fine. i purchased coffee and went to class two hours later. but it's absolutely sweet if no one can tell about last night.
  poetry break
the poetry center of chicago will release a new verse in a billboard over the busy river north gallery district on dec. 19.

mark strand over chicago and wells
mark strand over chicago and wells, 2003-04

You there,
Come with me into the world of light and be whole
For the love you thought had been dead a thousand years
Is back in town and asking for you.

li-young lee over chicago and wells
li-young lee over chicago and wells, 2004-05

the next verses to grace the intersection of chicago and wells while we rush about trying to complete christmas shopping will be by pulitzer prize winner and chicagoan lisel mueller.

Each day, another minute of light.
They mount up, these tiny presents,
as we slowly unbundle ourselves
and offer our faces to the sun.

we can complain that enterprising lightology found a way to help both the poetry center and themselves.

mark strand over chicago and wells

but when you are out there in chicago's busiest shopping district, with the bells and the parades and the street musicians; the window displays and the screaming, happy children loosed from their parents, running to chase the latest toy display that's caught their eye; when you're in the shadow of historic water tower, loyola university, the john hancock center, the american girl place, the hershey's store, the park hyatt hotel, the scarves and coats at banana republic and the nagging pills and band aids at walgreens; lookingglass theatre and glittering water tower place mall, bistro 180 and sweet ghirardelli; with screeching police whistles, late public transportation, and an occasional fire truck, sirens blaring; couples oblivious to everything else and tourists too excited to notice anything but their cameras, you will want some sort of perspective to the madness around you. you'll mutter mueller's billboard isn't close enough to michigan avenue.

and then you'll complain you wish mueller were clearer. hehehe.
  the greats are going home
nvm gonzalez's home in up diliman went up in flames friday night. no one could have predicted this. old houses are crammed full of stories that sometimes they implode. it would have been all right, except that houses tend to take their best secrets with them, leaving children confused and picking at fragments of a life gone all too soon. sure, there's a time and a place for everything, but never for twice a death - first his physical presence passed, and now pieces of his legacy.

in my room are pages and pages of journals and books. i wrote them as a matter of survival. several times in our street, houses have gone up in flames. candles became a fad and my family was no different in that we had candles everywhere as well. i bought a secondhand chest and threw my journals and letters in it. i hoped, if our house was next, i hope the chest would at least survive long enough for me to run and retrieve it. i worried every time i left the house, if it would still be standing when i came back. i kept the candles in my room unlit. i would light a candle only if i'm there to watch it.

fires were springing up around the city, they said, caused by neglected cigarettes or spontaneously exploding gel candles or faulty electrical wiring or gas heating left to fend for itself.

later, the fires were somehow doused and replaced by building. the old houses that caught fire were rebuilt almost from the ground up. what remained of the old houses, how they looked, what bricks were used to build them, survive only in photographs. if someone remembered to take pictures, at all.

but no one will yet read my work. it's too raw. it's unprepared. and embarrassing. no one will yet study it, and no one ever will. they should have gone up in flames before any more notes by the great ones have.
  the fourth year
goblet of fire maze

and so, i told my friend what i thought of harry potter 4: the movie.

"remember that scene where, after quidditich, when the death eaters came and raided the tent city, and they just burned and ransacked everything, and how they cut the scene of the quiddith match, leaving much to the imagination, focusing on the psychological aspect of what 'i love magic' means to you, well, the death eaters came, and raided the camps, and nothing was left. and then daily prophet printed that it was 'terror at the quidditch world cup' and it really was, because the death eaters came from left field. i mean, there was no warning. and they even left the dark mark in the sky. this, after a happy event, the quidditch world cup. it's too much like sept. 11. this fourth movie is totally a post-sept. 11 movie. the book too, coz it was based on the book."

and then she was like... where did that come from? ahahaha. well, her one problem involved a cut of a scene, when victor krum got hermione and him drinks, she left the boys, and then the scene cut to hermione and ron arguing, ending with "you've ruined everything."

i'd add that the next scene cut to harry and herione talking on the bridge, the same bridge where harry and professor lupin talked in the previous movie. hermione is dividing her time between both boys. it's a total love triangle situation. but post-sept. 11 kinna. coz it's not the love we're all thinking about. i mean, they're 14. ahahaha.
  updating a classic
this post has spoilers.

2005 pride and prejudice

they say shakespere has a female counterpart: jane austen. i totally agree. that's why when hollywood decided to seize her "pride and prejudice" from BBC's miniseries mill, i just had to see it.

the problem with me's that i had the book in line to read as a sophomore college student, but i never got past elizabeth's musings about some ball, i can't remember if i stopped after the first ball just when she was about to meet darcy for the first time. all i remember's that austen's language is beautiful, but i had thomas beckett waiting and due two weeks before any sort of book report on any novel.

and if you do that to books, put them down in lieu of other stories, most likely you'll be siezed so far away, and before you know it, it might be too late for that book to contribute to your A. ahaha. so all i could do is compare this movie to the BBC version.

what the movie took away from the BBC version is elizabeth's long, quiet walks, even as the movie opened with her finishing a book. filmmakers used her observant attitude to introduce us to her world: she entered her family's grounds through the back door, cluttered with laundry, swans, open waters of what looks like dug-up foundations of an unfinished back part of their house. from the front, we see a modest 2-story house, crowded with servants, farm animals, just about ready to fall apart for housing five energetic daughters and their parents. the patriarch looks just about as tired as the house, even as he is still strong enough to house them all.

isn't that the mark of a middle-class family - i remember austen mentioning them not being rich, but they were well-respected. there is a scene where elizabeth swings from an old swing hanging under a gate at another part of their back yard - again, cramped and cluttered with animals (alternately cows, pigs, chickens), small ladders, straw, carts and servants. the small back yard opens into fields. we get the sense of yet more unfinished projects left by mr. and mrs. bennett because it just had become too cumbersome to complete when there's more pressing matters - children, their education, their feeding and upkeep of servants and a household.

it's at this point i wondered if the movie were trying to communicate that the true unfinished project is elizabeth herself. while twirling on the swing, her good friend charlotte visits and gives her the news - she's marrying mr. collins, who elizabeth had just rejected not too long ago. she declares she doesn't have that many prospects, that she can't afford to be choosy, that she's already 27 and a burden to her parents. "don't judge me," charlotte protests. this ends any more words from elizabeth. she twirls again on her swing.

how many relationships end is with tears and a journey. but in this case, the journeys actually seem to become activities to meet other realities that helped elizabeth know exactly what she wants. many middle children are ignored unless things happen to their friends. her sister jane goes off to london to visit her aunt and uncle, in the hopes of meeting her prospect bingley. elizabeth goes to kent to visit her friend charlotte. it's at kent that darcy proposes to her and when all things fall apart, he leaves kent first but not before writing to her, trying to explain everything.

the scene lingers on a speeding darcy running away on his horse, just as elizabeth reads his letter. later, when darcy and bingley visit the bennetts and bingley proposes to jane, elizabeth is shown sitting at the roots of a tree and darcy is walking away. i know i would do the same thing. sit under a tree, that is. ahaha.

i could also relate to her visiting darcy's estate and finally seeing the life he truly lives - things she could only imagine are actually real in his life. he has a talented sister who was playing the same piano piece she barely tinkered with while visiting his aunt. who wouldn't be embarrassed when faced with what could have been?

i read somewhere that jane austen set about writing the times of her life - she didn't want to create realities, she wanted to document them as they were. i imagine if she were a political commentator, she would have left anne coulter in the dust. if she would have been a journalist, she would have left cokie roberts running for cover.

but she chose to write novels, fortunately. in the BBC version, elizabeth would have been content to remain single all her life, except that there's darcy and she can't stand "knowing that he is in the world and thinking ill of" her. in the hollywood version, there's collins and her family and her own ambitions clamoring for attention all at once.

so it got annoying at this point in the story, very bridget jones, very cosmopolitan. she's achieved all that she's supposed to at that point in her life - friends, family, education, travels. but then, everyone else is moving along ahead of her. i like to think that it's not just women who run into this brick wall, guys also do, and with them it's worse because at least we admit it whereas they... um... they... well... they don't. ahahahaha.

we can say that she has all this but the one thing she really wants, but what i found interesting in the film is that that "one thing" isn't explicitly stated. i wonder if the film wanted to say that before she could even find out for herself, she's assailed by social rules that forced her to consider marriage above all else.

what i also really liked about the film is that if the roles were changed - if it was darcy that looked into that mirror and not elizabeth, if it was darcy that couldn't sleep that night and walked to longborn from pemberly, the story would still have been believable. because they both looked in a mirror, only darcy wrote his thoughts down. and they both walked across the cold english countryside in the dawn, only the camera followed elizabeth as she met darcy. ;-)

favorite moments in the film:

3) all the scenes with the sunrises (which is a cool touch, no one remembers the sunrise, ahahaha);

2) all the dance scenes (everyone loves a good party);

1) the moment she says that sisterly love is destroyed if you see your older siblings out and you can't party with them. coz we all know, around the age of ten onwards, unless you are a sister and have good relations with them, you just want to kill them. ahahaha.

stamford as meryton
*sigh*... someday i'm going to england. and then i can see all those hills and misty dawns and ruins of old houses and castles and cold, green mornings for myself. hay. ahahahaha
  the scattered concept of home - salman rushdie

rushdie speaks
Originally uploaded by ulanmaya_trois.

these are my notes on the 2005 chicago humanities festival keynote speech delivered nov. 13 by writer salman rushdie. the festival's theme is "home and away." i've added words in [ brackets ].

i wish that i were one of those writers who are deeply rooted - who inhabit a tiny patch of earth, mining that patch of earth, and it's enough for them. instead, i forge stories out of another place. rooted writers write out of a provincial place. instead, i invent the ground the book stands on. this is problematic for a writer, because it takes enormous effort to write it to being.

this is the problem my father created for me - he died in the 1980s. when i went to college in london, he sold our house in bombay. if he hadn't done that, i would have gone back to bombay and lived there. the idea of house is endangered - i can't now go back to that same house because other people have bought it, and changed it.

what happens when you loose home? my family and i lived for a time in the muslim city of karachi in pakistan. it was not home - i thought it was like new jersey [ in that new york city is just across the atlantic ]. at that time we moved there, karachi TV was just starting. i worked for a time at a station there. they talked about censorship - all references to the word "pork" was cut but "sex" isn't, and you can be as pornographic in your descriptions as you want, so long as you don't mention "sex."

after that, i moved to london, and it was there that i had to reclaim that home is in bombay - that is the land of my birth. bombay is a city built by foreigners and reclaimed by land. it could be that many expat writers who can't reclaim their land could create invisible cities.

i learned it was important for me to make sure people in bombay could relate and could recognize this truth. the characters came alive while i was away from bombay. but the past does come back - once a boyhood friend of mine reintroduced himself to me with a nickname i invented for a character in one of my stories. he was known as someone else to our friends, but now he's somehow convinced himself i've based a character in one of my stories on him.

it's commonly said that immigrants are always uprooted. well, i actually think of myself as excessively rooted in too many places - and i think this is beneficial. i believe immigrants are children of aeronautics. i've written about many scenes on flights in airplanes. for example, in the satanic verses. [ he reads a passage from the book. i haven't read the book, so i can't tell where. airspace is soft, imperceptible feel - ] way up there in the air, changes take place.

the most enormous event in world history is mass migration - there are greater movements across the world for various necessities: refugees, exiles, immigration for work - humans have ended up in places geographically far away from home. and yet they maintain a bond that tells you they aren't that far away from home.

the roots of the soul are rooted in place - social conventions and customs, ideology - when you move to another cultural place, all that is severed - places, languages, people, belief, ideology or faith is contradictory to your own. you as a community have to reassess all that you have - presence, what you throw away, what you absorb, how do you live in a new place, and what are the internal tensions.

but the new mixed-up world is a better world. our cities are now challenging us, turning into new kinds of people. thus cities are the site of richness and creativity. many people are disturbed by this, because many realities cannot mingle, and are incompatible with each other. in "the satanic verses," i wrote that the world contains incompatible realities - you can't ask for a wilder place.

in "the ground beneath her feet," i had an idea for science fiction - almost all are incredibly badly written, there are few characters and many static figures. but it didn't work for the story i wanted to tell in that book. in jorge luis borges' "the garden of forking paths," where a writer writes what it's like to discuss many possible realities - it explodes and can't happen. but the writer says he's writing about his case - that incompatible realities are fighting for the same space; they are fighting each other. only one of these realities can survive, and this is applicable now. as in roots, continuity has a linear descent - is this necessary for our own peace? but with the way the world is, we can't keep peace anymore because of what it is.

novels in the 18th to the 19th century worked differently - both writer and reader have to agree on a reality, share a description of the world. this is how the realistic tradition came about. but now we don't agree on how the world is about - there is fragmentation of the world. we can't go on pretending we agree that the world is like this, [ that is, there is one reality ]. this forces us to make up an uprootedness tradition, in that there are many realities. an uprootedness fiction may then be necessary.

in "the ground beneath her feet," the myth of home and time is also the myth of the way - myths of home get airtime - and "home is where the heart is" becomes easier, we lay claim to space, we settle down.

but then, we have the desire to leave home - the myths of away is a lot less considered. we aren't content, that's why we leave. at home, we're claustrophobic, constrained, known too well - and sometimes we don't want to be known at all - we can't reinvent ourselves. sometimes we want to be less examined, and this is the value of departure - rather than remaining. if we stayed, we'll be stultified beings.

the families in my books are implausible - but yet others say they're too much like their families. the normal life is uneventful. the reason why we lock our doors at night and when we go home is because it's mayhem out there. but in reality, it's not, it's also violent inside. and we're not allowed to say this. in "the wizard of oz," there's dorothy's lie - she says "there's no place like home," about kansas. she's in oz.

oz is much better than kansas. the writer then proceeded to tell many other stories about dorothy and oz, and in the sixth book she settles in oz. once we've left childhood, there's no longer any place like home, like origins. this is growing up.

the child's fate is adulthood - as children, we always looked up to our parents and they never did anything wrong. but a child soon becomes an adult, a falliable adult, a member of falliable parents. this is the last and most terrible lesson. we all become magicians without the magic, eventually.

we all want to live in oz. to get to oz, dorothy had to ride the great whirlwind. we have to accept transport for good or ill. ancestral homes die not, even as we enjoy the transcultural life, we all still want to go home.

when my family and i lived in kashmir, you belonged to it by ethnicity. people will define themselves first by region before by country - [ for example, they'll say ] i'm keralan first, before indian. it's enchanting for me because kashmir is the most beautiful place i've seen. people with different backgrounds learned to co-exist, they were peaceful. i don't think i can make this up - it's more than i can make it up. things are just as they are in kashmir. lesson for the... the... bushes, there you go. [ reference to the father and son u.s. presidents. ] kashmir is caught between india and pakistan - and it's the myths that matter there.

literature can create lost paradises. it is memory and ancestral homes that matter - humans have the myth of paradise. if you are an artist, you have the good fortune of being able to recreate paradise. artists can live in many different places because of this capacity. where i am right now, my home, is good enough. when people ask me where my home is, i tell them, the home i make in my books.

  manic archivist
she stopped scrapping coz it's lost its charm. in college it was always fun, even meaningful.

later, as she looked for it more and more, she found her eagerness waning. the paths to creativity in that direction seemed endless, and she didn't want to travel that far. but she's already mired in scrapping desert abundance, swimming in other people's art, picking up scraps of other peoples' drawings, other peoples' designs, other peoples' patterns, their colors and shades. she's sinking funds in an activity far, far away from what she really wanted. she didn't even know what that really was.

she gave it a chance and looked at others' work. some clearly had a purpose to it.

others were simply too creative and too energetic for her to follow.

she wanted to set to books her entire life and the soveniers and tickets that came with it, but she simply didn't want to give the time. when she did have time, she lost appetite for it, and blanched at the invasion of the word "overindulgent."

but all her material was still fresh and good, they'd be useable for years and years to come. while organizing them, she accepted a thick quilt bought her by her mother - you don't refuse anything given by parents, no matter how embarrassing and helpless it made you feel. it was one of the worst patterns she had ever seen in her life.

pretty soon her other skills in mixing media returned, because various venues remembered it and asked for it. normally she relishes the whirlwind of busy, but she shrieked for the opposite. maybe it's the weather. she can handle heat, but sudden bursts of cold snapped her peace and sent her looking for bizarre outlets bewildering even to her. she remembers at least one other historic figure preceeded her, portuguese poet fernando pessoa, whose disquiet exceeded hers by over 40 authorial personas. she likes to think she can copy that. she might have four other friends inside her, she doesn't know. she laughs it off, ahahahaha.

scrapbook layouts courtesy of two peas peanut gallery
fernando pessoa's trunk
u of c

university of chicago police have arrested a "person of interest" they say might be connected to arson at four buildings at the u of c hyde park campus. usually, when police call someone a "person of interest," chances are's that person did it.

the person is female, and a former student. police supposedly arrested her as she exited one of the buildings set to fire.

the fires aren't very big, they were contained to one desk in one room, at swift, kent, ryerson and eckert halls in the main quad. the fires started yesterday, tuesday, when the weather suddenly turned cold. i'm pretty annoyed because i was just there saturday feeling very unhappy because i arrived to class one hour late, the teacher prolly didn't even notice, but i did, and, if you know me, i equate that with not being able to hack classes at the u of c anymore, at all, in whatever capacity, ever, so i'm a failure and i should just go away.

so after class, i hopped online to look for directions to northwestern university for the kriti festival. i was so glad the world gave me a break that day because even though i can't remember having ever registered, my fee was paid for and i was able to catch the several remaining workshops that day. i even got some books signed. yay!

and then news of a fire breaks out, at the hyde park campus, of all places. first of all, you don't go to hyde park just to visit it. you stay there all day because it is two hours from any which point by train from downtown chicago.

second of all, police said the female person they had in custody is a former student. not some disgruntled homeless person. i was thinking, some day i'm going to be this school's former student. i hope someday i won't feel the need to burn any place down, university or otherwise. but for now, can't i just choose a school or an affliation that's noncontroversial for once. for once. i just want peace and quiet, while the autumn sinks into winter. it takes just these last few days till the 21st when winter officially starts, but in reality, just two more weeks until the winter, according to calendars charted by nonhumans, sets for real for three long months.

or at least when it snows. today i woke up with flurries outside my window. the extremely light dusting of snow reminded me that i'm such a wimp. but at least i got ready for my day and didn't think of fires and didn't hop back into bed. ahahaha.

i got this stamp from a postcard mailed to me from the UNESCO site of lijiang in southern china. the trader's since moved to hong kong, so no more cool lijiang postcards and stamps. :-(

i'm totally interested in china, especially her economic potential. china looks mighty exotic and forbidding from way out here in the cold, dumb dull west. ahahaha.

the scifi series firefly - sooooooo cool, ahaha - and its continuing movie serenity feature a reality several millennia in the future. humans have now colonized every inch of the universe, and everyone's a bounty hunter of everyone else. ahahaha. but their main languages are english, and... and... mandarin. coooool.

but it's not cool how fox cancelled the series after only one season. (i can see why josh whedon wanted to air it on fox instead of the scifi channel; networks are always better-paying and cast a wider net, ahaha.) fans retaliated by downloading the whole 14 episodes from online somewhere. now we have to buy a DVD burner, ahahaha. ... but ya, china will some day rule the world. ahahaha.
i'm sorry i'm a pretty wholesome person but i just had to blog, that i've just seen a repeat of oprah's bra intervention segment. we laughed at how some obviously flat-chested souls somehow turned into wearing C bras. the fitters gave them silicon pads to fill them up a bit. the others were big women and ended up wearing bras that look like tank tops. they all squealed, "thank you, oprah!" coz now they're wearing the right size bra that doesn't bite into their skin and leave unsightly marks and sunburn curves. ahahaha.

well, truth is, many women wear the wrong size bra. and they do it, i'm sorry, ahahaha, but they do it to give themselves more of a chest, and coz no one told them any different from what they know.

thing is, you don't want to call attention to your chest, but you can't help it, especially as the marker for how you choose a bra is if it feels like it fits. ahahaha. and umm, the things at victoria's secret? well, no one told me that you have to choose a bra that's a size larger than you. they just told me it has to match your top and you have to wash it everyday. ahahaha.

so now oprah's modelling women who're wearing the right size bra - and their sizes go as high as H. oprah has an expert who's also mentioning brand names and where to get these - none of them mentioned triumph so far. ahahaha. i kinna like 'em coz there's this one brand that's a full-sized bra, gray with a green design and a little ribbon on the strap, ahahaha... she turned around and her clasp strap was way thicker and lower than i thought it should be. but she said she's comfortable. i dunno. ahahaha. i've never worn my strap almost at a level lower than my hair.

a friend and i once browsed through the online victoria's secret catalogue and we wanted almost everything they sold in those pages. but then i went, "who's going to see?" she said, "who cares?" ahahaha. coz those bras are expensive, yo - almost $40 a pair. but they were pretty. *sigh.*

i so want to stay and watch but it is 11:30 p.m. and i just have to take the train tonight, ahahaha. ...
  cuneo gardens, 2002

cuneo gardens, 2002
Originally uploaded by ulanmaya_quatre.

i decided to take a break sunday night and hunted around for old pix to post online. i stumbled on my old pix of the cuneo gardens, which my family and i visited in 2002, in the fall. it is my fantasy of a magical autumn world come true, ahahaha.

the garden's centerpiece is a classic italian mansion we didn't enter - there is a small fee to enter, and we were already content with the grounds. the gardens are family-owned, with help from the chicago park district.

reality hits you when you approach a small lake - you can smell sewerage from the gazebo, about twenty feet from shore. it emanates primarily from a small waterfall on the side of a small, steep hill. there are also patches of ground obviously paved for stabler ground for receptions - the grass and leaves there look paler and remind me of pictures of rainforest quicksand.

scattered throughout the grounds were sculptures and greek pillars. at first, i was disappointed that all the sculptures in the garden had already been wrapped to prepare for winter. it was very chilly that autumn afternoon that we visited. i couldn't take my gloves off without freezing my fingers stiff. i considered if we could request the office to remove the wrappings temporarily.

two years later, looking at the photos again, the wrapped statues actually added an eeriness, nostalgia, a displaced hauntedness, that i don't think could be possible had the statues been revealed.

and all throught the garden were leaves. leaves of maple, elm, leaves yellow, green, brown. there is one large shrub of red. there are patches of brown soil in the smaller, more manicured gardens, wind hadn't swept any leaves in there yet. there are thick walls of ivy, now bare for shedding leaves. the open ground held layers and layers of leaves. they cushioned and crunched underfoot. groundskeepers hadn't swept any leaves yet. the beautiful foilage was dustless and ankle-deep.

  rushdie laughed

rushdie laughed
Originally uploaded by ulanmaya_trois.

so... salman rushdie addressed the chicago humanities festival here sunday, nov. 13. chicago writer studs terkel gave him a meaty and hilarious introduction. rushdie took the stage, saying terkel is one of those writers who he could just listen to indefinitely.

rushdie joked about his fatwa, thanked people for coming, humiliated that he had a death threat on his head. "this is my 37th city in 2 weeks," he said. "here i am again, risking my life."

the audience laughed. you get the sense that they'd run to the stage to defend rushdie should anything happen, but of course, nothing did, and with that, you wonder if they really would run to the stage to help. i kept my cell and camera handy, but i just wanted to hear him speak. i wrote down just about every word he said, now i have to decipher my handwriting.

after the talk, ulanmaya got her books signed. ulanmaya's persona when in front of writers is this little girl who can't grow up with all these questions and things she wants to say crowding the front of her head. even though she wants to be taken seriously, what comes out of her as she addresses rushdie is, "i read your hauron," she said.

"oh yea," rushdie said, pleased. he signs her second book. ulanmaya realizes she's on her own up there, no one else is in line coz everyone else is still buying books. she wonders if she should fill the silence. she realizes she'll regret it if she doesn't.

rushdie takes her last book. "but i still think gogol and kafka are readable," she blurts.

rushdie laughs. ulanmaya can't believe she just said that. the volunteers struggle not to howl. some of them shake for trying to stifle happiness.

what's better is that ulanmaya has her camera out, and she takes a pix. rushdie finishes signing her last book.

"so why do you like gogol and kafka?" she attempts a second time. the volunteer looks about to throw her from the stage, where the signing took place, because there's no space otherwise at the merle reskin theater.

rushdie proceedes to the next book. "well, they make me laugh," he said.

ulanmaya realizes there is much, much more to learn about the world, and, in her usual laughing way, steps back. "thank you," was all that she said. she stumbles down the stage, the volunteers thanking her and saying goodnight, and she trots to her friends across the theater still waiting to buy a book.

"guess what i said that made him laugh," she giggled to them.

the chicago humanities festival sold out all of rushdie's books except for his latest, "shalimar the clown," a harbound number at $17.13 on amazon.

and no, dammit, i paid the $6 to get in there. i thought it would be like $65, like how much you'd pay to hear regine velasquez belt out whtiney houston's songs. ahahaha. i've never been inside the reskin from the blacony before, it was quite an experience, ahaha. i thought, i'd jump off the balcony if i didn't pay. ahahaha.

  meandering for chitra

chitra b. divakaruni
Originally uploaded by ulanmaya_trois.

attended this weekend's kriti south asian literary festival.i'm so happy this event happened here, ahaha, and that part of it was a weekend and i could attend!!!

i noticed that almost all panelists, speakers, theater people, filmmakers, writers, organizers, musicians are women or headed by women. their keynote speaker is chitra b. divakaruni, author of "the conch bearer" and "vine of desire." she clarified a question posed by a female writer, who posed it with such meandering meanings complete with synonyms and examples and sweeping gestures, i thought she must be, unmistakably, a theater major.

"what is it that you guys do to make yourself start writing, that is, what is it that you do to put yourself into that writing mode, or, what do you surround yourself with, where do you guys go, what activities do you do to make yourself write, what rituals or practices or..." at that point, i wanted to conclude for her, "what spells and incantations and how do you add lizard's tail just so, so your brew always comes out perfect?"

the other panelists were nice to her. "i put on music, that's pretty much my ritual to write," said one. "i take a walk to take myself away from everything and then lock myself in my room," said another. chitra grabbed the mike and asked the person who posed the question, "so basically you want us to know what rules we follow to be able to start writing?"

the girl stopped a moment and looked down on her desk. you sympathize with her because you don't know if she's being real or not. i sure didn't.

she looked up, "basically, yes," she said. or maybe film.

i forgot chitra's answer then, ahaha. i was so insensitive. i do remember her being straight to the point and mindful that the south asian community needs more voices in the mainstream. this is the moment in the festival that i learned in this panel, that they focused on the how one writes, nevermind the why.

at a similar event in washington DC last year, i was dismayed that questions from the audience raised to the panelists - also all writers - were about why does one write. it took effort for me to wrap my head around that, because i remember momentarily asking "why not?" i shoved my query to the back of my mind to give space to speculation. this is what i was going to write about for an article about the festival, i thought, because this is the dominant question. in the process, i set aside my own queries, the mark of a weak consideration for art and because i wanted to focus on writing the festival as it was.

maybe because i was so searching for it, that i was so a part of writing and music and food and architecture and painting and film, that i grew up in an environment that fosters art, that it never occured to me that artists might appear a different creature to those who never wrote a creative word or swung an arm in an arc in their life unless it's for school or an organization's presentation.

to the benefit of the questioning individual, the washington DC panelists all gave good answers. i think they suspected the audience to ask them that question, anyways.

the friday before the kriti festival, a friend was just talking about "the conch bearer." i've been looking at "the conch bearer" in bookstores for a while now, but it never occured to me to just even browse the book, ahahaha. what's more's that i didn't get a chance to buy "vine of desire" until divakaruni's panel ended, and i ran, i so ran, to thorne auditorium where the books were sold, but took my time dallying there before choosing "vine of desire" anyways - it was one of the first i picked up - but did i look around the school to see if she's just standing around waiting for someone to pick her up to drive her the airport? noooo..... arrrgh!

i so need to look life in the face sometimes. grrrr.



just a lot of random things.

attitude, babe things are back to normal at my house. i think. a good indication's that a couple days ago, i found an almond joy wrapper in the wastebasket in our living room. i didn't say a word, coz i wasn't talking to anyone in that house. and then tragedy struck. and then almond joy and mounds sprung up like mushrooms around the house last night. i made a sibling gimme the last remaining almond joy, waiting on her desk. she gave it to me. haaa.

attitude, babe yesterday i actually made it on time to class. but i couldn't resist not passing by sbux coz i was early. i fell in line and turned to my left and voila! what would greet me as i hung my head: the new plastic christmas cards. woot!

attitude, babe yesterday, like i always do, i entered nordstrom and used their escalator coz i didn't want to climb any stairs, and crossed the store, passing by all these great shoes and clothes. after class, i walked from class to my office along michigan avenue. i didn't buy anything, or planned to buy anything. ha! hey, that's an accomplishment.

attitude, babe yesterday i stopped by a jamba juice to get a fruit smoothie, and the nice barista was on duty. he likes to talk. because the wind had changed and the sun decided to hide so it was freezing outside, i decided to tell him about our pet. and then i fell mute. so he started cooing sorry. and i just shrugged. and then i nodded, coz he asked if we're ok. and then i smiled, ordered a matcha cherry charger and a pastry. and then i stepped aside. the next thing i know's he shared a matcha boost with me and that my food is free. i decided to shut up the rest of the day.

attitude, babe every fall, the maple tree at the end of our block turns a magnificent red. every fall, i plan on stopping for two seconds to take out my camera to post his splendor online. every fall, i forget. now only a hardy half of his leaves remain. he'll again be well-prepared for winter. there are other trees with magnificent yellow foilage and others with green-edged-with-yellow leaves, but... sigh.

attitude, babe because i fled the office at around 7 p.m. on wednesday, i left all my projects and assignments hanging. one of my editors approached my desk with incredulous-disappointed-you're-not-getting-away-with-this on his face, and to spare my skin, i blurted, "my dog died." his look changed from that to not compassionate, but he said, "if there's anything i could do." and then he left me alone. so i stewed in my desk running after his work and it was good he left me his cell. yay!

attitude, babe yesterday, at least five other people said sorry. i learned then that compassion is much lovelier than pity. so i ran around the office more coz it just reminded me how gossip flies around here, and to never make any mistakes so that only good things about me get spread. i ran out of things to do. so i filled copier paper. hehe.

attitude, babe yesterday, the jamba juice and the matcha boost and the grande gingerbread latte didn't work on me. i just felt warm in my cheeks. i took my breaks and laid my head on my arms on a desk in the breakroom and snored.

attitude, babe i got another "yay! good work, ulanmaya," happy email. i'm happy the editor CC'd it to our overlord. heee.

attitude, babe if you click on each one of these shirt bullets, it'll enlarge them so you see the writing across the chest. they are a&f's controversial attitude shirts. i can see why a lot of brunettes went whatevs and protested these, ahahahaha. i'm not blonde, so i dunno.

Puerto Real 02
Originally uploaded by d2digital.

bougainvilla-crazy. yay!

bouganvillea! iyan ang favorite flower ni imelda marcos, kaya nagkalat ang halamang ito sa metro manila noon. imeldific ang kumuha ng pic na ito, bwahahahahaha.

Posted by nasadulongdila to ulanmaya at 11/10/2005 06:29:52 AM

thanks sa comment! :-) sorry i had to delete this, ahaha. naunahan mo ako. kuha ko ito sa aking email. salamat!

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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