aim has email

ohmigosh AIM - AOL instant messenger - has email!!! ahahahaha. it is so damn cool - well, for the moment at least. the tekkiegeek in me is amused, intrigued and busy trying this thing out. i wonder if it could post to blogs?

hmm - i guess not. i tried it earlier, the way you blog from your cell phone, but like most e-mail technology right at the moment, it doesn't work. oh wells.

this is purty neat!!! ahahaha. my first online experience, after the old bulletin board system - i can't remember what it was called, i think it was BBS - is america online. AOL is too expensive and clunky for me right now. DSL and the T1, T3 connections are killer, killer apps.

ahahahaha! ulanmaya is happy.
  balenciaga: resolution no. 998

autumn/winter 2005 balenciaga. i want shoes, pants, shirt, belt buckle and hairstyle. yum.
  benedetto on a stamp
benedetto on a stamp

paoPAO (9:27:13 PM): did you know coffee is the second most valuable traded commodity, second only to oil?
ulanmaya (9:27:24 PM): mmmm... coffee
  the philippine deep - gail derecho
the philippine deep

read the playbill with a mere curious eye. the one glaring trait of a new play by northwestern university graduate student gail derecho and director christopher hejl was that none of the actors sported spanish last names.

because all filipino names are spanish - that is, to some, it's ok to say that most filipino names are spanish, instead of filipino, because there's rarely a filipino name that isn't spanish. in fact, it could be said that if you sport a european-sounding name and you happen to be filipino, your ancestors could have been spanish, or noticed by the spanish. if you happen to sport a filipino name - usually with the letter "ng" or a multisyllablic form with a vowel interspaced between consonants - the spanish might not have gotten a chance to get to your ancestors' village and rename you according to spanish law.

which is a good thing.

for the multimedia play "the philippine deep" tells the story of derecho's search for personal meaning in her family's history. abigail derecho of the play narrates that she is descended from three grandfathers, one chinese, the other spanish, and a third "with no name."

she describes the third as a filipino native.

what a wonderfully apt way to drop the idea that history is written by the winners. the filipino grandfather was cuffed and tied to a chair until he is forced to sign a piece of paper saying that he pledges allegiance to the spanish crown. he signs the form and is hauled away, laughing and spitting at the jailguard. the spanish grandfather enters the room and, like the filipino, is clearly uncomfortable with signing the form. but he does.

this is where i got lost a bit in the play. i don't think it's the play's fault - i stumbled on that you had to sign a piece of paper that shows your allegiance to a certain country. as a naturalized u.s. citizen, i also had to sign certain forms - as soon as my family and i landed in LA, we were escorted to a window and introduced by an immigration officer (who looked like a security guard; he was a black man, the first-ever black man i had ever seen in my entire life, and lucky for me i remembered it was rude to openly stare at someone) to a piece of paper that we had to sign.

up until that time i had only invented my signature for my university ID two months prior, and my mind scrambled to remember what it was. as soon as i signed it, i knew i had cemented my signature for life.

i wondered if the filipino native thought of the same. or was he illiterate and could only sign it with X? but it seemed he actually wrote a first and last name.

this scene segued nicely into the idea of literacy in the philippines. the chinese grandfather's son became a lawyer to defend his father, accused of treason against the u.s. government. the judge ruled in favor of the grandfather, commending the "little brown" lawyer on his english.

language used in the play was extremely unapologetic to the point of shocking and funny - the known insults of "little brown brother," "exitable monkey," and such were crisply uttered that you know the message was simply to remember and conquer, and not to offend. sharina martin, a black woman, played a violent spanish guard that insisted the unnamed filipino grandfather sign the allegiance form. she said her being cast in the role of the guard was "not a conscious choice by the director... i don't think we should stray away from that because it was reality. it's what art does, make you uncomfortable and look at truth," she said.

the play used video and subtitles to cue audiences into eras - in the 1940s, after world war 2, the philippines had become a colony of the u.s. english became the medium of education. to adapt to a changing government, the chinese grandfather betrayed his chinese heritage and signed an oath to the u.s. government; his son learned english to defend him. to adapt to his treason, the nameless filipino grandfather laughed and spit at the spanish guard for making him sign an oath of allegiance that he detested.

to prove that the grandfather wasn't committing treason, the lawyer had him sign an oath of allegiance to the u.s. right then and there at the courtroom. this scence intrigued me because it reminded me too much of the 1970s and the supposed smooth talkers of the marcos administration. i wonder if this is just a play on the myth that all filipino males are adept at prevarication. it made me laugh.

one part of philippine history that i noticed seemed compellingly missing or intentionally omitted or grossly mistold is the country's encounter with the japanese. this play featured a scene that could probably be played by itself and still expertly relay the whole message of adaptation.

collectively, every filipino seems to hate this part of their history. i think every grandparent has either witnessed or heard about a pregnant neighbor murdered by the japanese. the story i heard is that a pregnant woman just returning from the market when the japanese came to her village. she has a very young child with her. the soldiers took her baby and played with it, tossing it in the air and enjoying hearing the baby cry and her scream for them to stop. they finally give in. they toss the child in the air, bayonet it, and then bayonet her stomach to stop her screams. they leave the bodies on the street. the father's whereabouts are curiously ommitted.

a dim spotlight shines on abigail's grandfather holding on to his mother. they are in the belly of a japanese ship, in the middle of a sea. this is an important scene in the play, where the mother remembers her spanish heritage, remembers how she asked her husband to marry her, remembers her mansion in the province, the only mansion in her small village. amid the bombs and the shell-shocked ship, she realizes that if she escapes the ship and lands on soil, the philippine guerilla will think she's loyal to the japanese, and they'll kill her. on the other hand, she and her son might die on this japanese ship anyways.

when they return to land, their entire village is burned to the ground, including their beloved mansion. an unseen neighbor calls out from the audience, every other house in their village burned to the ground almost immediately, "but your house, ma'am, your house burned for three days and three nights." the grandmother stops her seeking and melts to the ground, saying even if they rebuild there will never be another house like that for her. the scene ends with her telling her son that it's his turn now to live, to build a life.

a reiteration of the running theme: adaptation. on abigail's mother side, a widowed grandmother manages her husband's wealth wisely, and is elected the first female governor of a province of surigao. but like most government officials in a changing philippines, she yeilded to many events because her first priority is family. to gail's family, the country's prosperity was robbed by the marcoses. gail's father, a lawyer, makes every effort to leave the country. they arrive in los angeles.

at first they sleep on the floors of relatives' houses and struggle to find jobs. gail's father is happy his wife has a job, but insecure that it is better-paying than his. at 40, she returns to school to learn a new trade - from pharmacy to a skill involving computers - because someone has to support the family. the father takes private practice. gail is born and is closest to brother dennis, 13 years older than her.

gail's brother has much of their native filipino ancestor's instinct of resistance, and like their ancestor, he has good reasons for it. "you were born here. you don't know what it's like to move here at 14. they laugh at your accent, the way you dress, the way you talk," he tells gail. while gail is working toward a master's degree, dennis has faked attending police academy and was arrested for impersonating a police officer - among other offenses.

the play ends openly - dennis says he's been in the philippines all these four years that he's disappeared. he gives no indication whether he'll stay there for good, and only came back to the u.s. to bid gail good-bye. gail is clearly staying in the u.s. to pursue what it means to be filipino in america. the video ends with the real gail derecho, lead by a guide to the edge of the water of her parents' home in a province of surigao. beyond the beach is the philippine deep, a deep sea gorge reputed to be the deepest in the world.

the metaphor is challenged by friends who had attended the final performance on saturday evening, jan. 21. derecho claims that as a student production, she was obligated to offer the play first to the university and use students of the theater department. that alone is indicative of the filipino community in chicago - for which parent would send their child to northwestern to take up theater? friends and i agreed that this might be the only reason.

friends also commented that a very good contributor to the sold out 2 p.m. saturday show and the friday night show was that the play must have been a requirement for students as part of a multicultural class. but i find it indicative that, according to a friend, a whole section of audience consisted of members of a filipino student association at northwestern university.

just their attendance, no matter their motive, is enough for the filipino community. some audience raised angry questions on the message of adaptation among filipinos - saying this is why the homeland remains corrupt and unliveable, and the community here in chicago, invisible.

"i believe it's a quality that's extraordinary, and overlooked," derecho said, when approached by audience with questions at a reception after the final show on saturday. "what we do [adapt] isn't recognized as definition." she says that she wants to bring about dialogue on why there are, at best, two poles - either filipinos should be nationalistic or assimilate, "and maybe being filipino is being both," she said. she also wondered if our strategies for survival throughout history have allowed us this distinct quality of adaptation.

derecho also mentioned that history cannot be represented in types, but maybe it can be told using the experiences of individuals.

that night, i was late in attendance with a friend who wanted to go out clubbing. he was extremely, unnecessarily, angry. i chose not to retort back, because it was my fault that i couldn't tell him that tonight was a cancel. i'm not the only person we were going out with, but he's also the type to carry a grudge. i've decided, that if that sort of situation happens again, i should just cancel. i had other friends that night in the audience who wanted to talk more about the play, i should have just worked up the courage to say no.

i suppose i've gotten so greedy with engagements recently to patch up unworkable issues in the house. which i might end up discussing if this blog entry gets any longer. ahahaha. sorry. thanks for your indulgence. good night.

a shorter, less revealing but definitely more readable form of this piece is scheduled to appear in the february issue of the filipino-american community builder newspaper. if you are unaware of the newspaper, copies can be picked up from the UniMart on Clark Street, and the paper's offices on 5232 N. Western Ave.; telephone 773-275-4540.
  purple bar
wet nightclub

saturday we went clubbing for brian's birthday. i love going out, but it all depends on the club. downtown clubs are by far the best ones, ahaha. the party just gets better as the night deepends. at 3 a.m., wet was just peaking.

my friend arranged for a limo ride to the club. champagne toast for the birthday boy. pictures all around. (guess who was the shortest individual of the pack. ahaha.) i looked around and i wager that 80 percent of the clientele was asian. ahahaha.

by 3 a.m., it was too much fun for one of our own, but i didn't want to leave yet. *sigh.* i love being one of the last to leave a club, but... ya. i guess it was a good idea to leave while it was still safe. ahahaha. next time, we won't, dammit. next time, i don't care how dorky i look, imma bring a bottle of water and food. ahaha. leftovers from the dinner. ahahaha.

all i know's that the vodka tonic was free and for once i didn't gag at the taste of alcohol. ahahaha.
jo koy

yo, jo koy is on leno. ahahahahaha! hop on his web site and his segment on leno is playing right on the home page.

nope, never heard of him, but it's always great to hear from people from HAWAII!!! ahahahaha... but i hope imelda de la cruz makes it to david letterman! ahahaha, hear the two most quiet pinoy populations in the u.s. roar!!! ahahahaha... ok bye.

centennial is hot. smokin'! one of the most fearsome dam breaks i've seen in my lifetime. we all missed out on 1998 (remember the field museum exhibit?), we're making up for lost time in 2006.

ahahahaha, just kidding! but i hope it's just not a bandwagon type thing.

  good moods
paoOFFthehook (5:40:31 PM): :-D
ulanmaya (5:40:33 PM): eh?
paoOFFthehook (5:40:38 PM): hi
ulanmaya (5:40:43 PM): what happened
ulanmaya (5:40:47 PM): y r u so happy?
paoOFFthehook (5:41:02 PM): im just in a 'good mood' not necessarily happy
ulanmaya (5:41:37 PM): oh!
ulanmaya (5:41:45 PM): ... y r u so happy?
paoOFFthehook (5:42:49 PM): no particular reason
ulanmaya (5:43:15 PM): well that's silly
ulanmaya (5:43:21 PM): the cardinal is hospitalized
ulanmaya (5:43:25 PM): it's 30 below outside
ulanmaya (5:43:35 PM): they're talking more about a fake book than hamas getting elected to lead palestine
ulanmaya (5:43:43 PM): there's nothing to be happy about
ulanmaya (5:43:49 PM): i'm hungry
ulanmaya (5:43:54 PM): i want bicol express
ulanmaya (5:43:56 PM): life sucks
paoOFFthehook (5:44:21 PM): geez what a kill joy!
ulanmaya (5:44:31 PM): ahahahaha now that's better
paoOFFthehook (5:45:21 PM): 8-)
ulanmaya (5:45:46 PM): what happened, and y r u happy?
paoOFFthehook (5:46:10 PM): its been a long week
ulanmaya (5:46:21 PM): oh! ahaha
ulanmaya (5:46:23 PM): that's a good one
ulanmaya (5:46:32 PM): i agree
paoOFFthehook (5:46:56 PM): yeah
paoOFFthehook (5:47:55 PM): uh ok

thompson center, interior

ulanmaya (5:57:19 PM): did u get 'em?
paoOFFthehook (5:58:33 PM): where did you send it
ulanmaya (6:28:23 PM): to your cell phone
paoOFFthehook (6:28:35 PM): my cell can't handle photos
ulanmaya (6:28:43 PM): awww... so y r u happy again?
  hello kitty guitar grrrl

hello kitty guitar grrrl
Originally uploaded by ulanmaya_cinq.

hear me meow!


Originally uploaded by ulanmaya_cinq.

hehehe... dinner. wao bao siopao was right there in the building, the same place i got my new phone, azure.

sigh. several thoughts are at play here, right now. first of, a colleague knocked over my phone, forever breaking the LCD. i was so mad! i still have madd memory in that phone. i'll have to figure out a way to retrieve it. for one, i lost a lot of phone numbers in that phone. it could store memory in the phone itself.

so the only place i could get a phone immediately was at water tower place, a mall clear across downtown from where i work. i had to take a cab to get there, but it was worth it. i LOVE my new phone.

meet azure! my new phone. the pix above is his first creation. he took it on the cab way back to work. *sigh.* i don't think i've ever exhausted the old phone's capabilities, and azure's even more loaded than luis, my old phone. so i hope i can take care of azure for a long time. hehe.

my next thought is that water tower place rocks. it has everything! on the first floor as soon as you enter the building is wao bao siopao, sample of which azure expertly photographed. now, if only the high end downtown mall matched my prices, ahahaha.

my last thought is that i know i'm not the only freak who's named their phones... or their cars... their bikes... their cameras... their computers... remember chia pets? gameboys? game&watches? well... i know i'm not the only one who's played with one... ahahaha

  One hundred years of disregard
A group of friends form a book club to read pages that concern Filipinos

It started out as a delirious suggestion by a friend at a wedding. Now we have a first meeting for 6:30 p.m., Feb. 18 in Chicago.

"Let's form a book club!" a bridesmaid suggested to me this past August at a friend's summer wedding. Pleased, I asked her what she wanted to read, and she offered, "Dogeaters," but the others said we needed to start with something more relevant, more comprehensive of Philippine literature.

They suggest we begin with the folk poems etched on bamboo by ancient ancestors in the north. Or we begin with riddles, or bugtong. The 12-syllable poems of Francisco Balagtas. Approach Philippine literature historically, so we won't forget to talk about the Noli and Fili. The short stories of the American occupation. The novels of the First Quarter Storm.

Anything but Dogeaters. "It's a good book, but by no means does it represent Philippine literature," said the bridesmaid's sister.

I sipped melon juice and thought I'm going to embarrass my upbringing if I talk further. If only they knew just how clueless I was as to how to go about forming a list of suggestions on what reading material from the homeland we might discuss. I'm just an unabashed Pinoy lit junkie. I won't know where to begin.

"Don't read chronologically, or historically. That's boring," said a friend, a professor of the humanities at the University of the Philippines. And then he paused. "Is this club going to be just for fun, or are you all out to seriously learn something?"

Clueless, I tell you. I really didn't know. All I knew was that I was happy to share with friends the books that are available here, and the ones that made a splash in Manila, like Lualhati Bautista's Dekada '70 or Edgardo M. Reyes' Sa Mga Kuko ng Liwanag (In the Claws of Light). I wondered if we would have to strike some deal with a bookseller so we can get everyone copies.

"Ganito," my friend said, "start with Jose Rizal - the Noli (Noli Me Tangere) and the Fili (El Filibusterismo), so you'll all have background in Philippine literature's traditional roots in realism and radicalism. And then, Without Seeing the Dawn by Stevan Javellana, a novel clearly in the Rizal tradition. I also recommend the following: Woman With Two Navels by Nick Joaquin, and State of War by Ninotchka Rosca. And then after all that, you can read Eric Gamalinda, Carlos Bulosan, Bino Realuyo, Arlene J. Chai, Jessica Hagedorn, Alfred Yuson, et cetera."

I squirmed in my seat: I would have to explain to my friends why in the world are we reading obscure material, and who are these writers? Should I give them a short introduction to who Alfred Yuson is, and that when Nick Joaquin died in 2004, the entire Filipino literati, down to the last journalist and poet, mourned his passing, jolted collectively as if electrocuted as one? Why aren't we starting with Dogeaters? A Pinay wrote that!

And then the professor mentioned that perhaps to prepare readers, I copy them the fun short stories - Nick Joaquin's Summer Solstice, and Beinvenido Santos' Scent of Apples and The Day the Dancers Came - and then we can move on to "the hardcore stuff, like Carlos Bulosan's America is in the Heart.

"Maybe it would be better if you guys provided summaries for books and you all voted which books to discuss next based on popularity," he said.

Impatience was setting in. The professor wanted to change the subject, and I only had a vague idea that his approach was out to teach beyond entertainment, but of course I wasn't about to learn that in ninety seconds flat with his Internet card running out.

"Kasi, committment is what these novels need," he said. "Let's change the subject."

There is such a thing as your own community telling you you've sold out for catering to the needs of those from the outside. Many Filipinos in the homeland will question your bringing the culture to the U.S., which will most likely be presented and taken in the wrong or watered-down context. There's that sentiment among the literati in the homeland, but lucky for me thus far, I don't get this vibe from the homeland professors and writers I've come across.

There's a first book out there for a book club just on Philippine literature, I knew. We just had to find it. And we hadn't even addressed Philippine literature in languages other than English - the Philippine national literary contest, the Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature, has categories in English, Filipino, the southern languages of Hiligaynon and Ceburano, and the northern language of Iluko, ensuing growth in the humanities in those languages.

But perhaps the first book we need to read has been apparent all along.

A title has repeatedly popped into conversations since the three months after those first conversations, consistently deemed a must read. "Have you read it?" asked a friend.

"No," I admitted, "and I don't think I want to. Unless you guys have. Or let's read it together. Have you read it?"

"It's heartbreaking. I'm so sad. It made me cry." This statement, from a graduate of the UP and the University of Illinois, currently a staff member at the Albany Park Neighborhood Council, known for her logic and integrity.

A couple other activists, after reading the book, have prostrated themselves at the foot of the author and vowed to remember his words until the end of their days.

The same UP professor who rattled off a list of suggested novels said, after reading the book, that the autobiography remains relevant. "I don't believe in comments that deem this book 'outdated' and should be struck from the lists of important texts. If that may be, it's like setting aside notes on history, or disregarding the voice of a Filipino with intentions to make the new Promised Land into a country truly democratic, free, abundant and peaceful."

And so it is set, and you are all invited. Please join us at 6:30 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 18 for a discussion of that seminal autobiography by Carlos Bulosan, America is in the Heart. Please RSVP to me at ulanmaya@gmail.com with your name and e-mail address. Please come prepared to discuss the book.

We will need your insights, your presence, and your suggestions on a book club name - the person who suggests a winning name will win a prize. Everyone is invited, Filipinos and non-Filipinos alike.

America is in the Heart is available at all the usual book outlets, but it could be available at used bookstores for cheaper, and of course, your school library and the Chicago Public Library.

Our next meeting will be on Saturday, March 11. Again, please e-mail me for a time and a venue.

See you on the 18th!

This piece is scheduled to appear in the February issue of the Fil-Am Community Builder newspaper. If you are unaware of the newspaper, copies can be picked up from the UniMart on Clark Street, and the paper's offices on 5232 N. Western Ave.; telephone 773-275-4540.
  peninsulares library cafe
if i wanted to sum up today's first half, it would be that life is dotted with small little highlight things. redundant because they're like chocolate: you can't just have one. hehehe.

i crossed michigan avenue bridge craving chocolate. somehow i knew that today fannie mae candies on wacker drive and michigan avenue is giving out chocolate samples. i swiped one each from the coffee pile and the white chocolate pile. mmmm. swallow all that guilt down with the lady's, "hello, feel free to try the samples on our counter," echoing in your memory. it's not shameless, it's not taking advantage of, it's sampling, and so next time i will have to buy something. ahahaha.

it got colder in chicago today - it's one of those laze around the cafe with something warm day, sunny but windy, and not too cold. but i didn't want to spend today at just any cafe, it has to be somewhere i can feel new in, one that's open enough so i can spend some time there without feeling like i'm invading in cafe space. or sucking in ambience.

today on email someone forwarded a neice's happy thoughts about succeeding in opening a cafe in her home province of bicol.

I opened the cafe last December pa. Its called Peninsulares Library Cafe. Its a library with a full menu and coffee. A conference room good for 20 person and a massage room.

Im here in manila now to get contacts for books and coffee, but Ill be returning to bicol tomorrow morning.

Last Dec 17-23, we launched the Storytelling Nights for children. The theme was Stories from different parts of the world, with a discussion on new vocabulary words and Moral lesson of the story. This January though, I discovere that we have a new line of Filipino Childrens books that are surprisingly competetive with imported Childrens books. Its Called LAMPARA books. They feauture filipino authors and flipino illustrators. If you could only see some of these , its really beautiful in glossy sheets and original forms of drawings/sketches. ... I made the 2 hour session more comprehensive though. ... Parents register their children 30 mins before the schedule... and my storyteller is dressed in gypsy clothes complete with a CRYSTAL BOWL... only well, I dont ave a crystal bowl so I made use of a Fish Bowl. (hehehe)

Oscar, I really wish I could have a POET GUEST to launch a Poetry Reading Night........... Do you know of anyone willing? for a low pay> hehehe... Im just starting and Legaspi is really new at this kind of activity. Their all used to Cockfighting and drinking (lol)..... I am slowly tapping into the Filipino Artist here in Bicol..... but well, I guess I cant have everything in a rush.

Oh by the way... did you know that Amorsolo used to live at the very same Ancestral home that I mae into a cafe? interesting isnt it?

Before I forget.... do you know of any organization I can work with in getting books or helping out in an essay or poetry writing contest for the bicol region? Id really like to launch some sort of a contest that can be more meaningful for these folks here...at the same time have publicity for the Cafe.

gotta go and go cafe hopping here in Manila. Ive been trying to check out new bookstores and cafes.... and checking out coffee beans!

how wonderful to read about someone's hopes about something new in her life. hehehe. bicol means a lot to me because it's the first philippine region i travelled to on my own as reward for my efforts at writing. the bus ride was 12 hours, and it was worth every moment of my time. hehehe. i hope no one in that listserv reads this blog.

today in the mail arrived a subscription from a story company based in brooklyn, n.y. hehe - talk about perfect circles. i was just there this past weekend! blogged all about it all week this week as well, and i'm not yet exhausted about it. truly an interesting place, and we didn't even try to make it interesting ourselves. we just visited some key cool places where people lived, and that was enough.

although i knew one in our party felt our trip was a tad bit lacking. he wondered if really there were any other entertaining spots in brooklyn we could have gone to. the brooklyn botanic gardens. the children's museum. other landmarks featured in "a tree grows in brooklyn," at least, i think there are landmarks in that book, i haven't read it yet, hehe. but in the end, he and i accomplished what we came for in visiting new york.

and chocolate - while stopping in indiana, we purchased a pound of chocolate-covered blueberries from the south bend chocolate company. mmmm. that was by far the best small little highlight thing that weekend.

next time, i will have to savor those fannie mae chocolate bites slower. i just gulped them both down like i always did when i was a kid. ahahaha.
the roadtrip to nyc went exceedingly well - we left early morning on friday, arrived a shade shy before that day ended, a few minutes, in fact.

but the drive back was bad. i wanted to jump out of the car so many times, and i wondered how to ask to be dropped off a train station without starting a war, but instead i buckled my seat and looked outside into the dark. pennsylvania. i can't stand pennsylvania, even if the big cities are cool. but it was early evening, and i'm most awake during those hours, and i can't sleep.

i listened to guy concerns because i thought i could contribute. how naive. but i told them that guy feelings are just as complex as girl feelings, and they said, "awww." i got annoyed because i thought this was also something they knew.

one of our party shared with us an epiphany of his: he wanted to become a photojournalist. i shared with him everything i could come up with. i have to email him about the hawaii conference later this year.

a couple hours ago, i finished talking to a friend who gave me some information that made me, finally, see the light. this is why i had been feeling uncomfortable all weekend. i just ignored it, because i didn't think it was a big deal - but it is a big deal, and now i know why. quizzically, there's no need for apologies anywhere to anyone.

but i wanted, i so wanted to get out of the car. i can't deal with issues right now. i'm only barely able to contain mine. granted, my issues are shallow compared to theirs, but they're still issues.

with all this luggage, should i still have gone to new york city? definitely. i brought my issues with me, but the best part, the best part, was making them meet the metropolitan museum of art. ahahahaha. my issues seemed to dissolve once i got there. it was very different from brooklyn, and they said healing comes when you're forced to meet something totally removed from that old situation.

i guess that contributed to my feeling sad on the trip back: i met the solution to my concerns only on the last day, and i wasn't given much of a chance to flush them all out. i hoped, next time. unfinished business, always, when it came to the Village.
  valentino pier
in the morning, i thought i would go to connecticut to visit my family, but i didn't recognize the phone number ringing in my cell phone. it was my cousin, and he actually called me back! well, i didn't recognize it, so i ended up letting voicemail catch it.

no message.

i woke up ready to go back to chicago. i knew it would be another mellow day. our host and her friend didn't really feel like doing anything, and i knew why - i had known all along. but it's a touchy thing that everyone can relate to, but when blogged, turns the writer ugly. ahaha. so i'll leave it at that.

we had breakfast again at this great place back in red hook, called hope and anchor. i just had french toast for breakfast. i didn't know why i didn't want anything too heavy. at breakfast the last two days - two out of three cans of spam consumed! yay! - i ended up eating the last of the spam and rice. if there were no consequences, i totally wouldn't have minded.

i took a bite out of the food offered by the friend sitting in front of me. the potatoes looked crispy. but it was the restaurant's shirt that attracted me. i liked that their large size looks like a size small for here in chicago, now the u.s.'s fattest city. ahaha.

i liked the 50s nautical decor. the customer sitting right beside us offered to take our pix. i liked that the light hit us so that even without flash, our picture came out really well.

"you're the guy in the bar," her companion said, smiling, looking at the friend sitting across me at the table.

this suprised all of us. granted, the bar was the neighborhood hotspot. but how strange, to be able to recognize someone you saw only passingly at half-light. i wished i had something more to say - someone recognized us in the middle of new york city? we grinned and continued eating.

we looked for furniture again. then we walked to one of our party's apartment so she can retrieve a hat and gloves. she has a paper chandelier, and i have a couple of the asian american books on her bookshelf. yay!

we walked to the end of valentino pier on coffey street where remarkably you can see across the verrazano narrows to staten island and ellis island. lady liberty peers your direction but past you to france. it was close to sunset, the waves and the light just starting to glow its whitest gold. the pier was extremely clean, and new, and it was cold. the no fishing sign said that women of childbearing age shouldn't eat the fish caught in the pier. i think everyone knows that, be they have the ability to bear children or not, but it's good to have it in writing, anyway.

"hello," a voice greeted us. it was a woman, getting ready to go out, locking her front door. we turned and smiled, puzzled.

"you're in the bar last night," she said, turning a key and grinning.

people in new york are supposed to have this distinct accent, but last night she said she was from chicago, so the accent is there, the brooklyn one that is, but only barely perceptible. we thought that if we were left in an island, everyone would recognize us as a group.

"you are on an island," one from our party joked, and we all laughed, but i thought the islands were staten and manhattan. i left it at that.
  the red hook
the red hook bar in the neighborhood of the same name in southern brooklyn was where were ended the night sunday and started monday. the gin tonic i had at the suggestion of our host cost a mere $6 with tip and hit me after three sips. i found myself sitting in the middle of a table of five. they were talking to each other. i was admiring the decor. a guy who pointed out my "cute glasses" sat across me at the bar, with his back turned to our table. i didn't realize i wasn't talking to anyone when our host stopped talking and also started looking around. i turned to them and tried to contribute. they fell silent, so i asked them to translate something sent to me in spanish.

ahaha, two weeks into the new year, and i still don't fully know what had been texted to me in greeting for the new year. i truly had intended to find out, though. and this was the first. i knew it was lame to ask someone on the street who i knew spoke spanish, but i guess it's ok to ask someone you knew?

she said she didn't know, but that pascua is easter, and not christmas! oops.

halfway through everyone's drink, i got hungry and asked if anyone wanted to go find someplace to eat. they just wanted to go home. i shrugged, and sipped my gin tonic. midnight is early for me, but it wasn't my trip to begin with. i was happy to have explored the back part of the bar - we had just missed a band playing there - where a friend of mine wanted to make sure he still had control of his legs, and took to a videogame and started playing. our host looked at a jukebox, but didn't find any song she liked. she'd been playing mellow tunes of country, avant garde and alternative all weekend. her friend, the driver of our party, liked the postal service.

"they're a two-person band, and the way they form tracks is they mail things to each other. one plans the beats while the other sings and writes lyrics, and then they mix tracks together. they both belong to other bands, but the way they create the songs is by sending each other their work. i don't think they've ever actually met," he said, explaining the band to me. he did that at least three times the entire weekend, once going to new york city, the next two times while there.

the postal service is a great band. it mixed well with six feet under. while at another friend's apartment, also in the red hook neighborhood, we saw "back to the garden." later, i learned why i chose not to learn how to smoke various types of leaves that evening, ahaha. but i'm not sure if it would have made a huge difference if i did.

the friend had a cat, and her owner chose also not to smoke, and instead she stopped the show and rewound a bit so she can hear a line by claire obscured by everyone's happy laughter.

"she had some witty comeback to that, and i didn't hear," the host said.

she is the host, and we were in her huge apartment with 6 rooms (two bedrooms, a storage area, TV room, kitchen, a second shared sala space) and two bathrooms. all hers, she shyly, giddily, laughed, and it was an accomplishment, in the middle of the big apple. something she can show that's truly hers. we left after seeing "back to the garden" and headed to "the red hook" bar, where a band had just concluded their night's set.

after one whiskey shot, my friend groaned, he was so unused to the bar setting, that wanted me to talk, "talk about anything."

"oh gosh, what haven't i told you," i said to him. the warm gin helped get stuff out of me: why i went with them in the first place, a story complete in a 90 seconds flat.

it was great to be somewhere other than the 6-bedroom apartment, or the brownstone apartment, or chicago. it's acutally a trip away from the guidebooks, completely original, and shared with company.
  prologo - jorge luis borges
today we didn't leave the house until about 3 p.m. we set for brooklyn's cobble hill neighborhood to look for furniture for our host. we picked up another friend along the way.

she chose a simple, antique wooden wardrobe that fit right into the decor of her house. everyone, including the owner, had to help carry the lightweight but bulky wardrobe from the shop to the car. the boys ended up tying the wardrobe to the top of the car.

we took the wardrobe back to the house where our host cleaned it and started placing clothes in it. after she settled into a routine of that, the rest of us found other ways of occupying our time - one read his book, the other dabbled a bit into the computer, while i combed through her bookcase.

antonio machado
poesias completas - p. 93
orillas del duero
a la desierta plaza...

the poetics of space
swann's way
the post card, derrida
(i read this in college, but of course i didn't understand it) the history of sexuality
thorlichen on argentina
borges on thorlichen
the suspension of perception


Towards the middle of the 19th century there was for the first time talk of pictoral photography; the coupling of these two incompatible words must have been a scandalous oxymoron for those people, analogous to the silent music of St. John of the Cross or to Chesterton's nightmares of delight. Who could admit rivalry of alliance between the eternal art of painting and upstart photography, who could suppose that a puny, furtive apparatus, servile as a looking-glass and imitative as a monkey, incapable of omission or selection, could menace the supremacy of the human eye, the human hand and the legendary brush of Apelles, the more admirable for his work being lost? Launched in these terms the debated admitted only one answer, which it was customary to frame in words of irony and rage. Now we know and feel, though we are unable to define it, that the argument conceals a fallacy which must be speedily brought to light and exposed. Curiously, the just solution of the problem is suggested in a sentence in Sir Thomas Browne's Religio Medici (1642). The reads, “All things are artificial, for Nature is the Art of God.” If we substitute for the word God, today a very compromised term, the words spirit, élan vital or will (these latter in the sense given by Schopenhauer and Bergson), the opposition between natural and artificial, organ and instrument, is obliterated. Then we can grasp that the spirit, engaged in its millenary task of explolring or creating the universe, formed the organs of sense and then, through the working of the brain, the instruments and machines which are their projections. The microscope, the telescope, and the camera complement the human eye. Around 1868 Helmholtz defined the eye as a sort of camera, this is inversely a sort of eye and it is irrational to deny it participation in aesthetic activities. The camera sees rather more than the man handling it; behind an aesthetic function there is always a documentary one. Whoever abhors the machine should also abhor the body of the man. The same should be said of that other instrument, language.

The arguments I have indicated run the risk of appearing useless or superfluous; let us not forget that they were paradoxial when Samuel Butler though them towards the end of the last century. Let us now consider this anthology of images for which it is my privilege to write about in this prologue. The reader turning its enchanting pages in other parts of America or in Europa will have no suspicion of the subtle but very real difficulties which (Gustavo) Thorlichen has had to conquer. They are of psychological order, though there are those of physical order as well, since the Argentine territory is very extensive and in certain areas excessively harsh and primitive. Few regions of our planet have less of the visual than this. Consider the first case of the pampa. Darwin observed (and Hudson corroborated him) that this plain, famous among the plains of the world, does not have an impression of vastness on one regarding it from the ground or from horseback, since its horizon is that of the eye and does not exceed three miles. In other words, the vastness is not in each view of the pampa (which is what photography can register) but in the imagination of the traveller, in his memory of days on the march and in his prevision of many to follow. The pampa is not contained in one image; it is a series of mental processes. I have said the same of the overwhelming but almost invisible Buenos Aires, which is not in this avenue or that vista, but is borne on the consciousness by rows of low, rectilinear houses stretching out for leagues and leagues. The picturesque is the exception of this country and we as Argentine do not feel it. Hence the difficulty of grasping in a limited series of images these farouche and almost abstract realities, hence the singularity of achievement which Thorlichen has brought off with clarity, fervor and good luck.

Prologue, “La Republica Argentina,”
A book of photgraphs by Gustavo Thorlichen
  a tale of anecdotes
i don't think i've blogged about this poet yet. i hope she doesn't check blogs by pinoys, ahaha.

sofia starnes lives in virginia. "the truce" was forwarded to a group listserv that i subscribe to. i became curious and troubled by that i totally couldn't decipher what "the truce" wanted to reconcile.

and so all i could do right now is collect her work. ahaha. i posted a couple poems of her already online to another group blog of writers i subscribe to, so now i think that's why no one talks to me in that blog anymore. hay.

today in new york city we had breakfast at noon and two of our party wanted to stay quiet and look for furniture. the people we lived with had just recently moved into that apartment - a brownstone, she called it - so there was no furniture. but our host had lent us blankets and towels, and cooked us breakfast. we used spam can no. 1 today.

brooklyn's park slope neighborhood is the hotspot to check out. dinner at convivium osteria will set you back $50 or so a plate, but with the ambience, service and of course unparalleled flavor of the mediterranean, it's well worth the trip.

we had dinner there to send off a friend of our host named rachel. she's moving back to chicago. our host had just moved back to new york city in the middle of last year. another one of our friends had thought of following her there. he's still in chicago. but i suppose many plans change.

we closed off the night with two sets of jazz at the new puppet's jazz bar on 5th street. my friend and i took so many pictures that it grabbed the attention of the drummer, so that after the first 12 minutes, he had to get up and tell me to stop videotaping. it would have been all right had he not had to yell from the stage. the bar was tiny and cozy and everyone could get to know each other if they wanted. i set my camera down. after another half hour the drummer - also the bar's owner - approached me and apologized for asking me to stop taping. i totally understood, truly i did, except that everyone else had to learn about it as well. he took my empty saketini glass and explained that his bandmates asked him to prohibit taping because they were going to post their music online. i wished they hadn't run out of plum wine. half our party left at midnight, whereas i asked my friend to stay for the second half. retiring at midnight in nyc seemed a little too early for me. when we left at 2 a.m., there was snow on the ground, on brown leaves still clinging on short trees, on car windshields and uphill black pavement.


The Truce
by Sofia M. Starnes

The sky—a scraped knee tincturing a gauze,
the gauze wringing out water, over thirst and pond;

swiftly we walk our hump-and-halo mile,
to pause before the porch.

Torches will tell the city what we saw; that no one's
scheming scorched-earths after all—not here,

No matter how despondent they might be, there's

fire in scattered windows; linen glows.
Our lola smoked the gossips of her room,

her star-tip floating—nothing else;
I knew she sat, still, at the far-edge of her mat,

planning the birth of stories.
Tell me—was it that cold and dreary?

Middle East: the warlords running high, bone-sand
equipped to parch a river's hope, and prophets

multiplying. Drink and rise.
Ah, lola again: in the remarking dusk,

accent of thread, and stoop, and winter—
spittle, ankle, and ice—umbilical;

this child from that, a mother's cradling mama, and
someone else's son.

Jesús, María y José—
and lola's murmurs often finished thus: they came,

they bore into our lodging with a rush,
whose urgency was marvel.

The sky has healed completely, not a scratch.
We end our walk, up steps, into our porch for stories.

Surely we're safe in every home tonight,
surely the house won't burn, the war won't come.

She'll scoop him up, Who never plays with matches.


Shadows of Innocence
by Sofia M. Starnes

Purewhite, paperwhites,
odor of petals on the wicker-stand on which

we lean.
Deathwhite, dogwood white, hybrid

shadows behind the screened porch...
We have been cautioned not

to invade the white square off the house,
where the dead live.

Why did you bring the bulbs
indoors this year? Fresh spring-

whites are for old slabs with their prone angels.
Remember the dotted hearts in our earliest

missals, their venial lesson, scent
of onion skin. We learned

from them never to flirt with a fragrance,
for the sake of our faithfulness.

Blameless lily-white,
how it escapes us, as white always does,

with the merest gesture: a finger
smudge on the slick envelope, thin trickle

on the swab where a nail
ripped, velvet eye-shade against the tissue,

powdery death.
Remember the white cassock our priest wore

in summer heat, like a returning santo?
It dropped its length on stubby

feet, into our muddy garden.


The Soul’s Landscape
by Sofia M. Starnes

Ah, what the soul gives for shape –
to be handled head-first

at the temple, to be cumbered
with cotton, white puffs

from plantations in heat; what it gives,
for the flick, flick elastic

on wrists, loose-leaf palms it befriends,
at its youngest – for the sake

of all this, and this place.
Love me now with your

hands (says the soul, half-exploring its
landscape), better me

with embodiment; come, angle the ribs
where they beach into

longing; come, finger the oval description
of death, smallest hope

for cessation. When the room is redundant
of space, and its walls

wish for closure, thumb my corners
up, inward, wade your lips

through the ridge where they meet,
to allow recollection.

I must love with the tissue and the gloss
that embody: cellule, elegy,

ghost, danger, languish... all those words
out of context for souls,

god-forsaken, whiplash of the neck –

is the word I would use the most cautiously;
how precarious its hum,

ear to earth, plumbing earth, earthwise.

we're here now:)

i'm going on a different type trip this time. hehehehe. we're driving to new york city... well, brooklyn. ahahaha. it's been a while since i've done that, and it was never with family. just friends this time. hehehehe.

that last time i went on a road trip with friends, i bloody prayed for the 18-hour caravan!

let me lift up a prayer to Him: Lord, me and my fellow leaders are driving to dallas. please give us the strength to complete the 18-hour trip. please help us not to get lost. please give us the patience to stand each other in that van for 18 hours. please give us the joy in knowing that even then we are serving YOU! that this road trip, the pavement that stretches before us, this gathering of leaders, this community, this conference and our very lives were made possible not by chance, not merely by biology or fate, but because of Your loving, infinite, glorious and mighty hand. i praise You, Father! because of this knowledge Lord, because of this love of Yours, i hope and pray You forgive me for all the sins i've made in the past. please forgive me for the ones i will make tomorrow and in the coming days. please bless me with wisdom, grace and forgivness so that i may enjoy this weekend with Your people. thank you Lord! i love You. amen.

i think we'll need some of the same for this trip, actually. hehe.

i've never before needed to bring bedding... and so i will have to do that now. that's how sheltered i am - i think it's a great novelty that i actually have to pack pillows and a blanket to this trip! oh la la! :bounces:

i'm used to travelling... but i never really learned how to pack light. light is when 30 percent of my luggage is air and the rest... the rest... well, you have to be ready at every opportunity! :pleased:

also, it's wintertime, so there'll definitely be less space with all those sweaters you have to match with only certain fabrics of certain clothes! hehehehe -

and so, to celebrate the first weekend of la nouvelle annee, my friend and i decided to save 'memoires of a geisha' for when we can all get together, and decided to see the quentin tarantino-stamped 'hostel.' let's just say that it was no coincidence that 'hostel' sounds a gosh darn lot like 'hostile.'

three backpacking friends - two from the u.s. and the third from ireland - decide to explore amsterdam together. they meet this happy character with a bright, annoying eager smile who invites them to a remote city where they can get as much girls, drugs and happylife as they want.

they take a lengthy train ride where they encounter this strange character who likes to eat chicken salad with his shaky hands. he freaks them out by saying, "i like eating with my hands. i think people have lost that connection, with our natural states."

the friends get off a remote station and ride a cab through factories and small towns. they arrive at a beautiful, picturesque city straight out of a postcard. they check into a youth hostel that serves international clientele. they meet two asian women, and get to room with two beautiful slavic women who cater to the u.s. ideal that european women have no shame.

on the second day, their irish friend disappears.

that night, one of the two friends wakes up in a dark room with all the pincers, forks, chain saws, drills, scissors, scalpels, knives and all the sharp, pointy objects your mama told you to stay away from. tables and tables of them. he's hooded and scans the room though holes in the hood. he's chained to his seat. he doesn't recognize any of the objects. the room is dirty and it might even smell. he hears muffled screaming in the distance.

we won't know what that building is, only that his other friend ends up in the same place, lead by the leash by the girl he slept with the night before. she laughs, "i make a lot of money on you," in that lovely slavic accent of hers.

it ends with the friend, paxton, rescuing another hosteller, an asian woman named kana. her eye is gouged out. paxton's right ring finger and pinkie are severed off. kana sees her reflection and throws herself into the path of a rail service engine chugging past the station at high speed. paxton has no choice but to take advantage of the police's distraction, and escape into the train leading to town.

i'll just stop torturing you with spoilers here and say that paxton rendered justice in the end... but justice is relative. so is recovery, and the reasons why one would relish the rush of seeing someone in pain. and why one would fear torture, instead of death. in this movie, death is a welcome reprieve. death brings peace.

like what professor lupin told harry potter - he is afraid of fear itself.

which made me wonder, if i had gobs, lashings, oodles, piles, rafts, scads, slews, stacks, tons, wads of money that i didn't know what to do with, where would i spend it? i have the power to buy the world's most tilltillating things - and what would i do if i get bored? shall i travel to remote hostels and mingle with beautiful people and pass the days paying for a room equipped to make someone scream?

scream bloody pleas, i mean. pleas to stop, stop, stop!

good movie, unless you are eating popcorn. my friend and i had prawns and sushi beforehand, and i had my calming tea. i'm just glad that food stayed in my stomach, hehehehe. i was ready to walk out of the theater twice, but i stayed because it is probably the only movie i will ever see that discusses horror and the dark limits of human nature in such explicit film language (photography and dialogue), and because i was really curious how paxton and his friends will end this story.
  closing cup in chicago

consumer whore

mine was the last cup she made, and i noticed her preoccupied expression, but chose not to ask. she won't consider it professional of me.

laura is moving back to her parents' house in indiana, to save money. "but it's all right, it's in the purdue area near the indiana university there, so it's a college town," she said. she didn't look up because she was pressing some buttons on the register. earlier she'd turned off the lights, darkness poured into the store, and officially i'd turned into a member of the crew.

i am the consistent last customer at the starbucks on madison and franklin streets, one block east from my office on wacker drive. when my schedule permits, i spend my breaks there, talking on the phone, texting, meeting a friend, but mostly, catching up with writing. laura is the only barista who won't tell me that they're already closed and i have to up and leave now.

"we're already closed, but you can stay as long as you like, just please exit through the side door, over there," she said, in her own soft way.

she gave me a crew pin, ahaha - crew have to earn that pin with the most sales or praises from customers. she just rummaged around the back and gave me one because i asked if they sold any similar. i'm a wierdo like that.

"i'm moving back, just to save money, and then i have to move out because i hate indiana," she said, barely perceptible.

moving back to your parents after you've moved out is one of those acute tragedies that turn the young into bitter, stunted adults, or heroes on a mission, running as fast as they can as far away from their home as they can. around here, it's downright depressing if you move back. it's like suicide if you move back into a house with parents and siblings there.

well, i told her about her being the only one who let me stay at their store for as long as i like, knowing she won't like this bit of memory. but it's one of those things you should say because it's a good memory. everyone likes to hear praises about something they devote a huge chunk of what little time they have, that is, work. baristas, particularly starbucks ones, must have developed skin thicker than elephant hide for hearing all sorts of jokes about their company.

but i'm wrong. laura interrupted, and said, "all right, you're going to make me cry," laughed, and the other remaining crew laughed. laura has to catch a 7:45 p.m. train. i exited and said good night.

logo from the comic book legal defense fund.
  collecting stones
Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster,Bahia Desorientada,2k5
dominique gonzalez-foerster, bahia desorientada, 2005, video

my friend raised a disturbing question yesterday.

i told him about tropicalia, how i hadn't yet had a chance to totally understand where their joy was coming from, being as most of the participants, artists and consumers alike, managed to work together and produce an amazing, colorful movement despite belonging to different backgrounds.

we watched the whipped cream, candy cane and chocolate syrup in my coffee deflate and sink into liquid, and then he said, "masaya siguro maging latin."

if the world had turned to a red rock around us, and the ground beneath my feet crumbled to sharp, massive boulders, freeing my body to fall into infinity, i wouldn't have noticed. i would have pegged myself on his answer to that question. as calmly as i could i opened my mouth.

"i had never in my life wished i were someone else," i said. "why do you say that?"

we agreed that there are elements of the spanish in our heritage, but i had to listen to him because he hadn't yet spent as much time as i have in this city. "if you think of it, filipinos are still extremely asian. if you go to concerts, they're enjoying themselves and they show it by standing still and watching. whereas the hispanics, they have no inhibitions with regards to their feelings."

i had to agree. i also had to break our conversation because we'd arrived at the end of my hourlong workbreak.

without saying anything, he reminded me that sometimes it's important to spend time just talking, even if issues come out. like everyone else, i hate unresolved issues. and already i'm rapidly collecting them before the 10th of the first month of the new year.

but this friend, me and another friend of ours are driving to new york city this weekend; there'll be more than enough time to talk. i can't wait!!! :-D
the name just gives it away. like some sweet fruit candy from far away. brazil, perhaps.

Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Bahia Desorientada, 2005, video
dominique gonzalez-foerster, Bahia Desorientada, 2005, video

the exhibit tried to capture the essence that is the tropicalia movement of the 1960s and 70s in Brazil and South America, but somehow it just fell short.

tropicalia dress installation

there's no substitute for being there, being in the moment.

i found it a little hard to believe that era happened in the first place - but i guess the tropicalia movement is what happens when you let politics starve and affect artists, ahaha. or it could be the other way around - artists seeking to give comment on the atrocities they see around them, so they produce.

antonio dias, Coração para amassar, 1966
antonio dias, Coração para amassar, 1966

i liked the show a lot because it tried to engage all your senses all at once - the colorful fashions, vinyl album covers, plays, novels, sculptures, video, a large mural leading to the exhibit, music, and an installation of tasting various colored liquids from white bowls, reminiscent of juices sold by street vendors at the time.

mural leading to the exhibit
mural leading to the exhibit, commissioned by the museum of contemporary art, chicago.

you get the feeling that the movement's color and vibrant life was derived from the artists' genuine desire for change.

there was an installation of a stuffed pig in a crate, by an artist challenging the judging done in a prestigious contest at the national level. the installation won. there are other smaller pieces, such as a metal lunch box with a yellow mold of an anonymous face in it, to call attention to better compensation for workers.

rubens gerchman, lute (fight), 1967
rubens gerchman, lute (fight), 1967

there are pieces that remind you the movement crossed all cultural, economic and racial lines - there is video and a simple installation of a street vendor's cart, selling frozen fruit juices in the summer at the height of the movement. there is a poster of a european-looking woman, and an indian-looking woman with her tattoed body and slanted eyes, both hanging onto a man with an afro. there are pieces that remind you of brazil's stifling weather, of the movement's beginnings in the laid-back beaches of rio de janeiro.

helio oiticica, eden, 1969
helio oiticica, eden, 1969

what really struck me was how hard the exhibit tried to render how the era looked, felt, sounded. i'm sure the mural on the MCA's wall entrance was a lot more vibrant, a lot more colorful, a lot more scandalous and edgy than any sort or artwork at the era's height. even then, i wished i had a whole extra hour to scale the second floor and see the exhibits there.

rivane neunenschwander, ze carioca and friends (soccer champoin), 2005
rivane neunenschwander, ze carioca and friends (soccer champoin), 2005

i didn't get the impression that the tropicalia movement was hedonistically heady and over-the-top for the sake of being hedonistically heady and over-the-top - i think the era simply burned with passion for change but also celebrated a vibrant and giddy present.

the exhibit makes its way to london in february, lisbon in july, and new york city in october.

here is a web site featuring the exhibit.

here are more pix from the exhibit:

the view of eden from the top of a two-story riser.

sensory masks



gerchman dias

antonio dias

antonio dias
  more than rarities

where is this?
Originally uploaded by ulanmaya_cinq.

guess what room this is.

i found this place in the suburb of evanston, at the recommendation of a cashier at the panera bread shop in that city. i walked into a clean, wide alleyway with parking for four cars. across the alley from this place is the back of a framing store, which you have to enter the conventional way, that is, through the front.

the front door of this place faces the parking lot, still paved in rough asphalt like all the other alleys in evanston. someone planted an oak tree in a corner, put benches, planted flowering bushes along the walls of the small parking lot. there's still the garbage dumps across the way along the side of the frame shop, but otherwise, the front door where this place pictured above doesn't invite you to an oppressive place at all.

the wreath at the colonial doors told of a warm, inviting place. the place is suprisingly huge! the owners have added the quaintest things to the tiny space - furniture, a piano for the music section, turn of the century military coats for the history section - expanding it remarkably. it reminds the visitor that the presence of the best of these items in a house are synonymous with a life lived well.

they have room after room of the things you see in that photo, grouped according to medicine, world war 2, journalism, photography, children's, aviation, literature, business, poetry, gardening, law, cooking - groups that everyone can easily follow. their collections are impressive, which include rarities like 1960s poetry magazine issues and saturday evening post anthologies.

it seems you can't cram another item into that space, but it's actually still easily negotiable. they rarely have any paperbacks, almost all their items are hardbound. but what's really extraordinary is that they've painstakingly wrapped every single reading item there in vinyl, even the newest items, such as harry potter and sue grafton.

i eavesdropped on customers chatting with the owners about how people from around the world come to see their little space.

what space am i talking about?

hint 1: coz i feel like an adventure
hint 2: coz i'm hopelessly clueless
i think i now know why scrapbooking wasn't as fulfilling as i thought it would be.

violet blank page

designers produce all these gorgeous paper patterns, laces, buttons, strings, punches, die-cuts, scissors, stickers, stamps, inks, writing implements, colors, everything... they make everything for you. so all you have to do is peel and stick.

when i see all that gorgeous paper, my mind just ceases to think and goes, "oh, pretty." when i was little i used to collect little paper stationaries. those things you press between sturdy folder pages and trade and protect as fiercely as you know how.

but i totally still enjoyed scrapbooking, ahaha, especially if i made myself take time and think about what sort of theme emerges from these set of photos and memories. i base my layout on that theme and then look if i have materials for it.

i stopped a couple years ago because - i'm sorry - but it made me feel dumb. ahahaha - everything is provided for you, patterns, colors, stickers; all you have to do is... peel and stick.

but then, i had to devote time to the other things i want to do in life, and i knew i won't have as much time to create my own patterns if i wanted to. plus, there was no time and space for it here in my house. oh gosh darnnit, another reminder of the inevitable, ahaha... but it's a lot safer than blogging your life, ahahahaha. ...
  the president is in town!
well... they said president bush visited chicago, but God didn't like that, so to call attention to the president's atrocities, He burned down a beloved chicago historical landmark - the pilgrim baptist church on 33rd and indiana streets.

pilgrim baptist church

and that's all that i did today at work, since the fire broke out at 3 p.m. right in the middle of my shift, google this and pass along that, and answer this, and look for that, all concerning the beautiful turn of the century church in chicago's bronzeville neighborhood.

fortunately, no one was hurt in the blaze, and i mourn for a century and a decade and a half of history, archived music (gospel was said to have been invented there), paintings, stained glass, and most of all, architecture obliterated and passed into history.

i'm totally sorry to see the 1890s structure fall, but goodness, am i tried of typing "pilgrim baptist church." arg!
  movie vs. film
a friend raised the issue of whether it's better to call a series of moving pictures that tell a story "film" or "movie."

i want to want a movie:
rumor has it (ok whatever, i haven't seen this yet)
king kong
brokeback mountain
batman begins
casanova (even though i really like this, ahahaha... oh)
walk the line
house of flying daggers
the island
just like heaven
the legend of zorro
pride and prejudice


i want to see a film:
me, you and everyone we know
panaghoy sa suba
chronicles of narnia
the constant gardener
the great raid
the corpse bride
march of the penguins
poet of the wastes
harry potter and the goblet of fire
charlie and the chocolate factory

ahahaha... but then again, i try not to pick apart everything that i see. i already do that almost always readily. i want to stay happy, yanno. ;-)
  bea off the swing
bea off the swing

my niece, bea.

today, i got an e-mail reply from her telling me what books she's read recently.

Well there are many books that I read I can't even remember their titles. Well I recently read these books:

Go Ask Alice : Anonymous
Antichrista : Amelie Nothbomb
Gregor The Overlander : Suzanne Collins
The Silver Chair : C.S. Lewis

I am more into novels that deals with teenage problems. I would like to read more books from Amelie Nothbomb and books that are related to Go Ask Alice. I'll talk to you later!!

goodness me, she's outgrowing me faster than i can blink. she's my oldest cousin's second daughter; they live in canada. where has the time gone? ;-)
  gumamela tea

argo tea
Originally uploaded by ulanmaya_cinq.

gumamela steamer + four sachets of splenda + several cubes of ice = drinkable hibiscus tea.

(120 minutes later)

gumamela steamer + four sachets of splenda + several cubes of ice = drinkable hibiscus syrup. yay!
  cafe bacci

i tried hanging out at the cafe bacci on madison near lasalle street about this time last year, and even though the place was clean, and the food good, it was such an unhappy place that i rarely stopped by after the spring was over.

about this time last year i tried to take better care of myself by detoxing on coffee and bread. i ate like a rabbit. i bought tea from cafe bacci because i wanted to try out the new place. they opened earlier this year, about the same time i changed my diet.

i succeeded in maintaining the new diet only until my birthday, that is, the first half of last year, ahaha.

so i guess that's why the cafe seems sad to me - it was where i bought my daily tea, instead of coffee. it was a new place and i was also trying out something new in my life. i had to make the change because the routine was killing me and making me unhappy.

the cafe is still there. there's a branch on michigan avenue that i like better because it faces the millennium park's cloud gate "bean" sculpture, and the light there seems brighter and better. the one on madison avenue appears sadder because it's nestled in the ground of "the canyon," chicago's financial district. skyscrapers cast shadows on each other over there. sunlight still hits the sidewalks, but only in certain times of day.

there's au bon pain and caribou coffee across the street from cafe bacci - and those, actually, are a lot more fun, for some reason. there's a tiny plaza that caribou coffee and au bon pain share that in the summertime tables and chairs are laid out for people to use. they're chained to each other in the evening, and i suppose security guards are sent from time to time to watch so no one hauls away the iron merchandise.

i sat at one of those iron seats and tables one afternoon before starting work and finally completed "katipunera: and other poems" by filipina writer elsa martinez coscolluela. the weather was absolutely perfect and the wind blew cigarette smoke away from me. i wished there was more time to reread the book and possibly write a reaction in my journal.

i closed the book and prepared to leave. i suppose i felt happier in that tiny plaza in the midst of the financial district with the suffocating skyscrapers because of that bit of sunlight and blue sky, that bit of air. coscolluela subverted the usual images of greek mythology and cast them in a filipina light - the minotaurs became tikbalangs and kidnapped filipina girls, the nymphs became inhabitants of rural countryside, fighting for their land that's slowly encroached by the city.

sometimes, coscolluela extracts a heroine from my own philippine past and casts her in her rightful light. nameless women turned their houses into headquarters for an underground insurrection movement against the spanish by admitting wives to party with them while husbands gathered in the basement to cement oaths by blood compact. gatherings like these always end up segregated, anyways. if i remember my high school history well enough, these parties became the basis for the philippine revolution of the 1800s.

i stood and left the plaza. and so around this time last year i was changing. i'm reminded of my own strengths, frayed at the beginning of 2005. i carefully tucked "katipunera" in my bag. i should fight for them, in the distinct way i learned how all throughout this year.
  top ten most alluring, i mean, annoying dance hits this season
sitting here remembering... and you don't always know the titles of those dance songs... ahahaha... so imma be typing lyrics:

10. bamba situ rama ramba bambaaaaaa
bamba situ rama ramba
bamba situ rama ramba bambaaaaaa

9. baby you're all that i want
when you're lying here in my arms
i find it hard to believe
we're in heaven

8. blood-is-pumping

7. always i wanna be with you
and make believe with you
and live in harmony, harmony

I'm mentally mad
I am a super sharp shooter
Sittin on a roof top
My name is MC H, I got the big breaks
And the bass
One, two, check
It's a mixture ruff to the core
Through the texture
Come and get a taste of the fixture
yea-ea-ea-ah, yea-ea, I feel hardcore

5. i don't know if i could face it again
can't stop now
i've travelled so far
i wanna know what love is

4. oh, why? (oh, why?)
do we kiss the dream goodnight
when we know
it will never see the light
and smile
when we look into the eyes
of a child
and there's nowhere left to hide?
oh, why?

3. I brought you something close to me,
Left for something you see though your here.
You haunt my dreams
There's nothing to do but believe,
Just Believe.
Just Breathe.

Another day, just believe.

(oh no, wait, this song is actually cool for driving, ahaha)

2. Young man, there's a place you can go.
I said, young man, when you're short on your dough.
You can stay there, and I'm sure you will find
Many ways to have a good time.
It's fun to stay at the Y-M-C-A!

1. Mai-ai-hee

Alo, Salut, sunt eu, un haiduc,
Si te rog, iubirea mea, primeste fericirea.
Alo, alo, sunt eu Picasso,
Ti-am dat beep, si sunt voinic,
Dar sa stii nu-ti cer nimic!

Vrei sa pleci dar nu ma, nu ma iei,
Nu ma, nu ma iei, nu ma, nu ma, nu ma iei.
Chipul tau si dragostea din tei,
Mi-amintesc de ochii tai!

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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