served fresh from the forest floor

Musings

Lystan

  • The age of the drowning man has arrived.
  • Consequences of choices are ripe for the picking.
  • Candlewicks pick up flame and lick thick waxes down.
  • Entities dance to tuneless dirges.
  • Dreams of aisles and veils portend the desire of a dying heart.
  • Unnurtured soul cries — silently, bitterly — behind fierce mask.
  • Lost believer making their way back to the beckoning fold.
  • Pains, joys, tribulations mingle for perfect sustenance.
  • Cast adrift in sunless seas, tides ebbing, flowing to final oceans.
  • Ends of worlds no longer matter.
  • Maps no longer bear compass points to lead the way.
  • Directions are meaningless — the only choice left is to trod onwards.
  • Forward, forward, forward to bleak horizons feet doing the work.
  • Goodbyes are spent, hellos are still minted and unused.
  • Oceans swallow sleeping ships and spew them back to empty piers.
  • Baggages are packed, unpacked, and packed again. (more…)

Mental Exercise

ashes

dust

blood

lust

musk

crayons

neons

rayons

bourbon

celadon

camp

vamp (more…)


Tomes of My Fathers

Let’s see… It’s already been two months and three days since I’ve become a roomer in a boxlike 6 meter square cave near the Shoe Factory. And I am still unhappy as a bee taken off her Prozac prescription.

And this unhappiness is brought to you by the constant yo-yoing of oil prices and the all-time-high inflation in the market. I’m not blaming the president though. She has so much on her plate already. If I were running a nation where the average woman’s head scrapes the 5-foot measure, I would surely have serious self-esteem issues. But that’s my personal politics, and I beg you to ignore that. 

There is no relief from this escalating madness, and we might as well chomp on the bit for a little longer. I have a new mantra now: “For all things, give thanks.” Hmmm. It keeps me sane with all that’s been happening. But I’m willing to bet that my blood pressure’s escalated again, keeping up with the trend.

Still we say, as cliche as it may sound, that life goes on.

Well, I was home in the Tropical Jungle over the weekend and whiled the 36-hour reprieve from the boiler-room heat of the cave in the lowlands by coercing my old buddy, the washing machine, to spin and soak/soak and spin my laundry while I watched a pirated copy of Journey to the Center of the Earth 3-D and, at the same time, tied old books in bundles.

About those books… my family had those old and musty tomes as far as I could remember. Most bear the mark of the passing years: yellowed pages, insect-nibbled edges, termite-gutted bibliography and index sections (my mother would raise hell when she finds out), waterstains, coffee stains, ketchup stains, scribbles on the margins, highlighted sections, squashed bugs between pages… They’ve encroached all available space in my cottage. Some are languishing in our makeshift library where they get to be the accommodating beds to several generations of woodland mice. I’ve stacked paperbacks and hardbound first editions in every possible nook and cranny; some have begun falling on unsuspecting souls’ heads when things get dull in the house.

But I just can’t throw them away. Would you do that to your 70-year-old grand aunt who taught you to read, to bake cookies and to douche? Okay, I don’t douche. But the point is, would you throw things out if they helped shape how you look at the world? So I endure and put up with the mustiness; every once in a while, I get a fit of the cleaning bug, and I spend a day bundling stacks of these well-loved warped bound sheaves for a reshuffle of their storage places. An aside: I learned the Greek alphabet through my great grandfather’s lexicon, and I could read some words in the language if you’re willing to bet. Sometimes, for nostalgia, I pull out our tattered copy of The Church of Our Fathers, a really ancient book that may already be out of print — one of my mother and father’s textbooks in the seminary – and look at the the woodcut illustrations of how the Christian church was founded. Those pictures scare me. Image montage: blood, gristle, violence, the burning times, the Inquisition, pregnant popes, homicidal landgrabbing bishops… but it’s just my paranoia so I ask you to ignore that. Just please don’t conclude that my childhood was one unhappy mess. It wasn’t… partly.

This weekend, I stashed some editions under the stairs, away from the leaking roof. Some found a new home beside the clothes shelf. At least, there are no termites this time of the year to get at them.

When my 36 hours in the mountains were up, I rode down to the cave with my clean clothes crammed into a bag, far far lonelier but not yet beaten.

I have a backup plan:

You know, when I win the Aegean Lottery, part of my winnings will be used to rehabilitate all those books in a humidity-controlled chamber, complete with a restoration area and carbon-dioxide-minimizing technology. And it shall be housed in a chrome and steel edifice that I shall call bibliotek.

Here’s to making our dreams into realities.

 

[image courtesy of www.bbc.co.uk]


Today’s Special: Broken Coffee Cafe Apartment Fried Chicken

Enough of the blind items for now.

I am feeling peckish today, so allow me to lead you as we traverse the more pleasurable alleys of gustatory delights. Today, just for today, I will share with you a recipe I came up with while still staying  alone with a pit bull and a mongrel dipped in the Japanese spitz genepool in an apartment right by the side of a highway where at nights, car drivers loved to drag race.

Actually, it’s my take on my favorite comfort food, the humble fried chicken.

It was still during my college days. I remember that it was during midterms week that company was coming one evening and I had nothing to serve for dinner. I think I promised them fried chicken or something, but with my “hectic” college schedule, I wasn’t able to marinate, in the night before, some chicken for frying. The boiling process recommended here is done to speed up the chicken’s absorbing capacity of the marinade, as the guests were scheduled to be calling in three hours’ time — which was also the time I was trying to clean up the living room to make it look presentable and banishing my dogs to the second-floor bedroom.

I leafed through my dusty memory for the recipe for chicken that’s tender and bursting with citrusy freshness on the inside while crispy crunchy on the outside.

Here’s how you go about it, in case you are in a bind with company coming over for dinner in, say, two hours’ time. Otherwise, you can marinate the chicken overnight, omitting the precooking process.

Take 12 slices of chicken thighs and/or drumsticks. Precook in a pot of water but don’t overdo the boiling; just be sure that the bloodiness is gone and the flesh is still intact and not falling off the bone and your chicken’s good to go. Drain and set aside while you prepare the marinade.

In a deep bowl, drop five finely chopped garlic cloves and one teaspoon of ground pepper in half a cup of Worcestershire sauce, two cups of soy sauce, one-fourth cup of calamansi juice, and two tablespoons of brown sugar. Mix under brown sugar is dissolved. Place chicken; make sure that each slice is well immersed in the marinade. Cover and place in the refrigerator for an hour or two, agitating or turning once in a while to get an even coating.

When the time’s up, drain the chicken and save the liquid. Ensure that the slices are dry enough for the coating. You don’t want to end up with a gooey mess that absorbs more oil that all those high-tech equipment corporations are using to clean up their oil spills in oceans all over the world.

For the coating, you need a cup of flour, no sifting necessary. Place in a plastic bag together with two teaspooons of ground pepper, two teaspoons of chili pepper (optional), a couple of teaspoons salt, and two tablespoons of powdered milk. No, breastmilk cannot be a substitute.

Drop the chicken pieces, one piece at a time, into the flour bag. Shake for an even coat.

Heat oil (deep-frying measure) in pan, and when the temperature is right, drop, again, one piece at a time, the chicken pieces into the pan. Make sure that the pan does not get crowded. Brown chicken on both sides, about three minutes each side. Take out from pan and lay on paper towels to drain off excess oil. Do likewise to remaining chicken pieces. (Take your time here, as the guests will still have to settle down after exploring items of interest all over your house. The smell of cooking food is an assurance that they will be fed in good time, so they would not worry that you are not there to entertain them as they try to figure out your toenail collection.)

Serve with hot rice or mashed potato and gravy.

Remember the marinade? You can boil a cup of it to serve as dipping sauce, replacing the ketchup or gravy.

Bon appetit.


An Update from the Cave

Just so the public may know, I am on the way to recovering my equilibrium. In my latest trip to and from my beloved tropical jungle home to visit my tribe and procure neccessities for my cave near the  Shoe Factory, I did manage to lug the following down from the mountains:

  • a bagful of books, mostly of the spy thriller variety cooked up by Mr. Ludlum
  • a guide to being a tightwad, The Tightwad Gazette II
  • an old issue of Vogue
  • four dictionaries: regular English, mispronounced and misused words, American slang, and Oxford’s dictionary on euphemisms. Why four? Honestly, I don’t know
  • a batik painting from my beloved uncle Zio
  • a table cloth
  • clothes hangers
  • masking tape
  • thumbtacks
  • scarves. For what is a world without scarves?
  • empty chocolate tin cans for my sugar and coffee.

The sight of familiar things really did wonders to my flagging sanity. I found out that I can again smile upon waking up.

Things are shaping up rather nicely.

I shall be using my spare time to blog and practice Haitian voodoo.

[Note to self: Bring sewing kit next time around.]


A Sore Monday

I am thinking of ways by which to dominate the world while a bag of newly purchased groceries is wedged between my feet, for fear that I’d forget and just leave my week’s ration of noodles and, hoohay something new!, instant curly spaghetti and no-cook just-add-boiling-water soup on the internet cafe floor when I get up and go home. Mmmmm! My jaded salivary glands just water at the thought of another MSG and sodium overload.

Apologies to all who drop by and see that I haven’t written anything insane for some time now. There’s the situation in The Shoe Factory, where everything passes through the newly installed pirated version firewall. The fear of being suspended from work for three to five days without pay grips my heart each time I key in www in the address bar of my browser. IT’S THAT BAD, boys and girls! Someday, furtive glances would not be allowed anymore, and we elves will be required to look each other squarely in the eye so that the Host of Unimaginative Shoemakers are assured that we are not cooking up ways of dominating the world while stuck for a quarter of the day in the dreariness of the factory and that our glances mean nothing else than attempts at flirting with the cute guy two rows away. Sorry. I must recant that. But then again, dang and tarnation! I do blog in the office… sometimes. And another thing is that I am still feeling wretched and lonely that I can’t bring my carcass out of coma to head off to an internet cafe with a bit of decent connection. I can’t, really can’t.

But something has got to give. Addictions are really hard to banish, so says a crack peddler to his new protege. I’m here now, clacking away like a deranged… clacker.

This is how it came to be:

I finally escaped the suffocating heat of my boarding room and rode the mini-jeep (I shall not call it easyride too often, as the word conjures images of highly impregnable females in my already malicious mind) to the city after rolling around in the upper deck that I’ve transformed into bed and getting nothing out of it except the feeling that I am a limpid lumpiang sariwa drenched in garlic sauce.

In the city, I marvelled at the pace of everything… fast, blurred, and confused. People wore confused expressions on their faces. Or is it just me? It’s been three solid weeks since I walked around the downtown area and mingled with my fellow mortals. To acclimatize myself, I ate in my favorite carinderia while on half a shoestring budget and then proceeded to the grocery to stock up on semi-eatables for my daily subsistence in the boarding house.

Some people might think that I suffer needlessly from my diet of noodles and other curlicued carbohydrates and that I have a choice between eating a freshly cooked meal or bomb my system with all that sodium and gunk. Yeah. Let’s just say that I am a masochist.

After getting my groceries, the afternoon sun’s still high overhead. I’m loath to go back to the boarding house this early and was wondering if it would do me good to hang out by the boulevard. The last time I did, I got propositioned by a desperate soul for a two-hour stint in a nearby hotel/motel. I told the poor guy my sores* were still raw and I was off duty that day. I opted to stroll and window shop this time.

So walk I did. Then I came by rows and rows of internet cafe offering promos for their per-hour computer rental. Alrightee. The addiction has to be fed.

Here’s where I am right now. This is NOT in the office, that’s for sure.

And about my plan for world domination? I’ll keep it to myself. But it does begin with cartons upon cartons of instant pancit canton being unloaded on the docks of major city ports all over the globe.

___

*Kidding about the sores. Ask my physician.


Neighborhood Update

The Nevergirl’s got a [dot]com.

You can now catch her over at http://www.thenevergirl.com.

I can never get enough of her witty funny and powerful writing.


This Side Up

Today, I shall tell you of transitions.

It’s been three days since I left my tropical jungle home and become a roomer in a boarding house near The Shoe Factory.

It’s been three days still, but I just found out Monday morning that Faith, already four, was enrolled by her mother for day care.* She sent me SMS that our girl was to start school Tuesday. How time flies. And Tuesday afternoon when I called Ta, Faith also spoke with me and enthusiastically reported that she’s now a big girl because she is already in school and she has a new set of uniform and crayons and books and new friends. ~Sigh.~ How time flies. And I wasn’t there for her first day. :( But at least Ta was there to bring her to the day-care center. Then, last night, another SMS came from Faith’s mother, informing me that the little one was chosen to dance for a program held at the end of the month in the day care. I won’t miss it for the world.

+++++++

Ta has discovered supermoto. Each Sunday for the past three weeks, with some of my college years barkada and other speed freaks, they flock to Valencia’s oval** to ride several laps around the track, pitting each other’s skills in steering around the grassy, sometimes muddy circuit. He still overshoots his mark because the motorcycle doesn’t have front brakes installed and the wheels are near-bald.

There’s is a race scheduled as one of the highlights of the town fiesta this October, and Ta has set his mind on participating — that on top of being a rider for the annual downhill mountain bike race. My only complaint is that after practicing for downhill and supermoto, he seldom has energy for other things (*wink*).

+++++++

As for myself, I am now living away from my beloved hut in the midst of the tropical jungle. I miss the frogs that sing their guttural songs, the buzzsaw call of the cicadas emerging from their more than a decade hibernation, the fist-sized bugs and creepy crawlies, the flowers, all the greenery.

I got a small room (2 m x 3 m) near The Shoe Factory. Hopefully, this will save me a few pesos considering that I won’t be consuming that much fuel anymore. Grn! When would this crisis stop?!

Consider a bed and breakfast place. That’s the feeling that I got the first time I checked out the place. The boarding house has eight rooms, or doors, lined in two rows. My door is farthest from the wash/kitchen/bath area; I have to walk down the hall in order to brush my teeth or pee. But I am not complaining much because each door has its respective bathroom. This is the most important factor that I looked for while house-hunting. Even if a boarding house has a jumbotron in the common living room or each room is equipped with airconditioning, footlockers, and personal masseuse but I have to share a toilet and compete for bathroom time with two dozen other people when my bladder is about to burst, it just doesn’t seem a very attractive prospect for me.

It’s been years since I’ve lived by myself (I left home when I was sixteen to attend college in Dumaguete, which is more than an hour’s flight away from Manila), and the current arrangement somewhat brings back those college days. I now sleep on the bottom deck of a double-decker bed; I’ve stowed most of my stuff on the top deck. My morning coffee gets boiled in a stainless steel heating pot that I also use to cook my instant noodles. I’ve stocked on bananas and soda crackers in an attempt to economize on the foodstuff. When I go to the bathroom, I carry my toiletries in a plastic basket — I am still paranoid when it comes to leaving stuff in the toilet.

There’s still a bit of problem with water. The town where The Shoe Factory sits does not have a constant water supply. A pump sits in a neighbor’s yard and they are kind enough to let the boarders like myself get water there. So each morning, I go there with a tiny pail, with the lines of Belle’s song about provincial life traipsing in my head, and I exert my biceps and triceps, getting a fairly good workout from the rusty water pump. Goodness knows I also need the exercise. Then, a bit of weightlifting ensues as I haul my first pailful to my bathroom, deposit the water in the bigger pail, return to the pump and then repeat the process three or four times. I may get tired of doing this in the future but for now, I am enjoying the novelty of it.

Drinking water is much more complicated to procure. The first day, the landlady assured me that the water from the tap was safe to drink, and I, trusting but not used to the local water, tried a glassful of it that sent me to the banyo with a rebellious stomach. This morning, I worked out a system that is composed of taking my empty water bottles to the town market (2 kilometers away) and use the coin-op water-dispensing machine there.*** Ten pesos yields three liters of potable liquid that’s good for two days. I should get a bigger water container next time to save on trips to and from the market.

Three days into living alone and with no other diversion other than reading El Filibusterismo, I’ve caught myself talking to myself. Maybe I should get a radio or something.

+++++++

And how have you been lately?

*Faith has been with her mother for a week when I moved near The Shoe Factory. She was feeling lonely with the grown ups in our house because they won’t always play with her. She has her little brother, now a year old, for her playmate in her mother’s house so we sent her there for the meantime.

**A former track-and-field race track that was abandoned for many years. Owing to its secluded location in the outskirts of town, the place had been a favorite venue for lovers who wanted time alone for themselves. Also, this place is where people took their goats and cows there to graze, taking advantage of the lush vegetation that grew unhampered over the years.

***I’ve noticed the coin-op machine when Ta still drove me to the office and we passed by the marketplace.


Armageddon Come

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

Major crackdown on renegades in The Shoe Factory yields devastating results!

This is it… The end of The Shoe Factory’s single source of happiness. As I write this, the Search and Destroy Elite Corps (SADEC) unleashed by the Unimaginative Shoemakers have closed in on the the clandestine operations of renegade elves who were attempting to discover the true answer to the meaning of life.

Minutes away from the online discovery of the purest answer to the age-old question as to what it means to exist as one does in this world at this day and age, the SADEC swooped down the production line where some elves have sandwiched a few minutes of their work hours each day to dip into the portals of the WWW to work out the answer to the question mentioned above and to use it as a means of short reprieve from the toil of assembling purple sequined shoes embellished with bright orange tassels (the bestseller, the Unimaginative Shoemakers have proclaimed).

In the SADEC’s latest raid, headed by a newly sworn in commander and armed with the deadliest spyware that The Shoe Factory could afford, the carefully hoarded caches and favorite sites were filtered, saved as evidence, and classified RESTRICTED. Any more attempts to access these blocked sites would now earn an elf the luxury of spending a forthnight alone in a cold sunless cell where s/he will be forced to subsist on stale bread and tepid water; every other day the offender will be paraded around the Enchanted Bamboo Forest bearing the sign “Inciting Sedition: Don’t Do This At Home“; and every afternoon for the term of incarceration, said offender will be given fourteen lashes to serve as an example to others of what happens to anybody meddling with nonshoe-related activities. On top of this, the offender is still expected to produce his/her daily quota of purple sequined shoes embellished with bright orange tassels, which is fourteen pairs per day, minimum.

Tough times. Would this prevent other elves from circumventing the barriers in this sad factory?

A quote comes to mind from the Hacker Manifesto:

You may stop this individual, but you can’t stop us all.


That Doodle…

Just came back from jogging all over my blog neigborhood, and I can’t help but notice one thing: Where is everybody?

Could be that

  • the blog infection is wearing off;
  • there is a major power outtage in the area where those bloggers live, preventing them from posting; or
  • they are busy with opps for their bread and butter.

Still, the Doodle managed, again, to rattle the chains of my shackles with his take on waiting. Yes, Master Joh, I pity myself too, for waiting for goodness knows what.

Shall life happen still?

~Sigh.~

To all happy campers, pardon the gloom and doom of this and past posts. As soon as I up the dosage of my Vitamin B complex, I’d be happy as a lark again. But that’s NOT saying that I am a junkie.


this post will work for food

Well, I’ve moved out.

Poverty could make you take the plunge into the unknown, the unfamiliar, the abyss, the gaping maw, the… enough of this.

—-

Here goes.

Economic forecasters have predicted continued price hike of basic commodities in the coming days, owing to the per barrel price of the liquid gold that is petrol, the legacy of the dinosaurs and the giant ferns of the Mezosoic era, which is hitting nearly $200 at the time of writing.

So, yeah, I’ve moved out of my comfort zone and am presently resigned to the fact that I am stuck in this j-o-b.

Would it be a happy pill for anyone if I share the news I’ve read last week that has a grim outlook for my generation? That, because of the worldwide economic bad hair day, people my age are the first of the generation that would not be earning more than my parents when they were my age? That we’d be lucky enough to land jobs, no matter how unsatisfying or no matter how crappy the terms of employment are?

I feel the prediction looming ominously in the horizon.

I can definitely feel the crush. All around me I see ads for jobs but no one’s getting hired. Five years’ experience required. Referrals from previous employers, employee background check. Even fast food joints won’t hire anybody who has no college education. And others spend years getting their M.A.s and Ph.D.s, hoping that the higher the degree they’ve attained, the better the job offers are.

—-

Ok, that’s over.

I guess I’m delirious.

The truth is, I’m broke. And payday is days and days away. I shall, in the new room that I am renting out, subsist on instant noodles, soda crackers, and tepid water.

—-

That’s it. I’m not expending more energy on this rant. It makes me hungrier.


Indignant, I am

…i’ve vented out steam…

it’s enough for now.


State of the Nation

Our country’s economy is floundering.

Sink or swim. We could only wait and see. No lifeguards to the rescue. All nations around the world are victims of the same shipwreck. And all are saving their own asses, desperate to get to shore.

Due to the almost-weekly increase in fuel prices and the consequent increase in the prices of all commodities, economizing has crept up in almost everyone’s vocabulary.

(an aside: the latest increase has given me heart palpitations! but then again, it must be the coffee).

Along this vein, it seems that extreme frugality, although long espoused by a handful of people I know,  along with skimpy clothing, has become the theme of the current lifestyle of more and more people across the country and the globe.

The following examples are some people’s attempts at beating the skyrocketing prices.

One lady saves shampoo costs by watering down an entire bottle of her favorite toiletry and making a 150-ml bottle last for three months. She estimates that she saves around 120 pesos by doing this.

A mother of three budgets her weekly ration of spices by dividing a regular-sized onion into seven sections, marked with a felt-tip pen. One section is for Monday, another is for Tuesday… well, you get the idea.

There’s a family, five people in all, who buys an entire kilo of dried salted fish. They go for around a month and a half on that ration, foregoing any fresh viand, except for the occasional pot of green leafy vegetables they may pluck from their tiny backyard garden.

A guy, in order to save on shampoo, soap, water, and electricity, bathes just every after three days. But he still consumes a larger volume of cologne compared with the time in the past when he still used to bathe regularly.

A letter sender, whose letter was published in a newsletter about frugality, says that he saves around a few dollars (the newletter is US-based) a month by using just one perforated section of toilet paper each time he does his business in the loo. (Ewwwwwww!)

Okay, I understand that these are desperate times and that people will resort to desperate measures in order to survive. But perhaps practicality still needs to be considered. Or is it just me thinking this way? Should it be that for the sake of survival and existence, nutrition, well-being, hygiene, personal comfort and security be sacrificed?

In any case, Tata and I will be house hunting today. We decided that for the time being, while the country’s economy is still undergoing a slump and the resolution level for this crisis is still as low as the Marianas Trench is deep (which means near forever), I’d rent a room near the office. Happy though I am to drive down the tropical jungle in any weather condition, doing it daily does not cut it anymore. We’ve calculated the costs and decided that a boarding house would be more feasible than spending for gas daily. We’d be able to save a couple of thousand a month (I hope) just by eliminating the fuel cost.

 

~Sigh.~

Sacrifices.


Meme Brigade: Q&A

Gracey, of jeffreyandgracey, tagged me for this.

Here are the rules:
1. Add your blog/s to the list. Feel free to add all your other blogs. It’s okay if you only post this question in one blog as long as you answer them.
2. Get back to YEN and will add your blogs to the master’s list here! Yup, another linking thingy but this one has 15 questions and you get to enjoy answering them too!
3. Tag as many friends online you know. But you don’t need to be tagged in order to join.

Now on to the heart of the tag:

The Questions

1. When you buy a greetings card, are the words or the picture more important to you? The picture tells the story.

2. What’s your favorite kind of cake? I have yet to taste the best mocca cake.

3. Do you ever make gifts for people, if so what, or do you buy them? Both. But expect something personalized when I have the time to make them.

4. What’s your favorite holiday? Yuletide. 12 days of Christmas. Yey!

5. Are you going on holiday this year? Erm, with the Shoe Factory tightening the noose on absences, and with the “privilege” of non-consecutive 5-day paid absence bestowed to regular elves, which includes the sick leaves and birthday leaves, I strongly doubt it. Still, if my Fairy Godmother is listening, a week in Camiguin Island would be very much welcome. 

6. What was the best party you’ve ever been to? A Christmas dinner in a S.C. justice’s (name witheld to protect identity) house, where the host got very drunk on his own red wine that he ended up donating 100K to charity on the spot. Free food and liquor the whole night. No orgies.

7. If you are married, describe your wedding. If not, what would your ideal wedding be like? I don’t know how to answer this one. But if push comes to shove, it would be in a garden just as the Sun breaks off from the clouds’ embraces. No long white train, please.

8. What’s the most romantic thing that’s ever happened to you? Valentine’s dinner by candlelight on top of a water tower. The main course was canned sardines and cold rice, sans silverware.

9. What’s your favorite girl’s name? Alexa.

10. What’s your favorite boy’s name? Matthias.

11. Which celebrity would you like a dream date with? Right now? Jake Gyllenhaal. Can this be accommodated in a week’s time?

12. Which female celebrity do you find beautiful? Nicole Kidman.

13. Which male celebrity do you think is attractive? See answer to question # 11.

14. What is your best character trait? I have harnessed the powers of the universe to help me learn to be happy in the moment. *Tee-hee*

15. What is your worst habit? Picking my nose in front of complete strangers (Joke!). Chronically disorganized in thoughts, words, and deeds.

 I’m passing this on to Lurchie, Ehn-ehn, and Nilroz.

THE LIST:
1. Me and Mine 2.Creative In Me 3.Little Peanut 4. Pea in a Pod 5. Sugar Magnolias 6. 6. A Life in Bloom 7. Because Life is a Blessing 8. Nita’s Random Thoughts 9. Nita’s Corner 10. Nita’s Ramblings 11. Thomas Web Links 12. Thomas Travel Tales 13. Great Finds and Deals 14. Make Money Online 15. Recipe Collections 16. My Wandering Thoughts 17. Filipino Online Community 18. Famous Lyrics Collections 19. Thomas Digital Services 20. Bohol Paradise 21. PRC Board Exam Results 22. My Paperless Writings 23. As The World Turns 24. My BIG Picture 25. When Silence Speaks 26. Felicity’s Vision 27. Bienvenue `a la Noryfel 28. Inday’s Kitchen 30. My Life 31. My Life in this Wonderful World! 32.Me,Myself+2 33.FunFierceFabulous 34. Supermodel Wannabe 35. kathycot dot com 36. buhaymisis.com 37. In Depth 38. My so called Life 39. Life’s Impression 40. Vhiel’s Corner 41. Anything and Everything in Between 42. Designs By Vhiel 43. Can of Thoughts 44. Artsy Creatures 45. Click Here To Forward 46. Filipino in Canada 47. Faery Dancing 48. My Safe Haven 49. Broken Coffee Cafe


Meme Brigade: What is Love?

I could start by saying that it hits you when you are doing an entirely different thing. That it catches you unawares in the most mundane moment in a workaday grind or in the most purposeless walk you take down the lane of unguarded contemplation. But it could be that you are busy chasing rainbows or trying to reach that proverbial unreachable star. All the same, whether you are doing the former or the latter, you are unaware of Cupid’s arrow hurtling down at 350 mph from his cloud-covered boarding house in Olympus. And this shot is aimed at your thumping bumping ice-cold lonely heart.
And then it hits! The impact may be felt or unfelt, depending on your emotional state; it may be as a deluge of emotions straining to be unleashed from the dam of your self control, blowing your mind completely into the galaxy of irrationality, or it could be like a tiny hopeful seed – slowly growing, taking roots, coming up to the surface, spreading its branches to the heavens, reaching upwards until love itself blossoms and bears fruit.
It is a force that makes mere fragile mortals, cowards in other circumstances, become courageous — they learn to speak out and defend their cause. It can fuel the fires of creativity and imagination. It makes men and women alike try to achieve the best that they can be as individuals that have the divine spark within. It graces life with light, mirth, and laughter.
On the other hand, this force also ignites wars between kingdoms. It causes hearts to break from being unrequited. It causes men and women alike to drink poison and hope for better environs of their union in the afterlife. It causes a man to forget his aging parents. It drives a woman to betray her sister. It is the bringer of tears, bloodshed, and strife.
But still, as all the greatest stories told by humans since they began to speak have love as their core message, Lurchie (who tagged me for this meme) has maybe felt the truth that stood the test of time:
Love, in all its forms, does make the world go round.
***********
And so, I hereby tag Master Joh (just this once because I am interested in what you have to say from a rooster’s perspective, hehehe) and Gracey of jeffreyandgracey.
The instructions are as follows:
*START COPY HERE*

1. Make a post with your answer to the question “What is Love?”
2. After the post, copy the complete instruction from *START COPY HERE* to *END COPY HERE* together with the pexlinks banner and place it under your post.
3. Please make sure you copy all the links and all must be originally intact.
4. After making the post, please comment HERE with the permalink of your post.
5. Please visit HERE every now and then to update your post with all the links of the participants.
6. Tag as many friends as you want. Share the love and receive love. We are hoping that spreading this will help us in our Technorati authority and maybe PR.

1 – Pexlinks Triple Love 2 – Pinay Mommy Online 3 – Momhood Moments 4 – Aerin’s Collection 5 – Deranged Insanity 6 – Anthology of Snippets 7 – Shenzee’s World 8 – Reflections by Mariz 9 – Miss Write 10 – Faery Dancing 11 – Chorva! 12 – Broken Coffee Cafe 13 – You’re next!

*END COPY HERE*


Broken Coffee Cafe: Best Propaganda Writing

Thank you, Master Joh, for the recognition you have afforded the Broken Coffee Cafe. I am humbled by everything you wrote. I guess it pays to be pissed off with the Unimaginative Shoemakers.

I have taken liberties in grabbing a picture from www.southnfrance.com for the nice trophy to go along with this acceptance speech/post. And I am holding back tears of happiness (and, ok, humility as well) as I write this.

trophy

I wrote as I saw and as I felt, with a bit of embellishment from the devious imaginative muse every now and then, and never thought that there was something to it.

Dear Reader, the cafe is the recipient of a (soon-to-be) prestigious award for literature in cyberspace:

The gold medal of The Doodle’s Best in Propaganda Writing.

The Broken Coffee Cafe shares the honor of this recognition with Tamark’s More Than a Mouthful and Lurchie’s Anthology of Snippets.

I want to thank everyone who continue to order Broken Coffee, with the dregs and all.

Thank you for the comments, reactions, encouragements, and rants, that make me realize that even my nonsense makes some sense.

Here’s to all the propagandist bloggers (and all other sorts) in the www.

Salut! 


Tales from the Sideboard

First off, I apologize to people who stopped by the Broken Coffee Cafe these past few days and found that there’s no freshly brewed anything on the menu.

Passe and limpid as it may sound, I’ve been truly busy.

First, the operation.

Which, for the curious, went out fine. The doctor did a good job of it, slitting my knee open just a teensy bit and extracting the lump from it within the hour. Then the good doctor stiched up the wound, and, until now, I barely feel the excision point, which is now healing nicely. I had grossly imagined that I’d end up with a gaping hole smack in the middle of my knee. So I’m really glad that it’s a pretty neat work. The only drawback during my operation was the assisting nurse who made me feel nervous. She was an intern, poor girl. I was conscious the whole time, and when the doc asked the nurse to hand him the scissors, she did so with trembling hands. Only, she handed him a pair of excising forceps or something. The doc had to stand up and rootle amongst the surgical instruments himself to get what he wanted. I wanted to joke about the situation, but the nurse was so tense from failing in her first practical test that I felt she could inject me with pentobarbital and I’d wake up with my kidneys missing if I did.

Thank you, one and all, for the prayers and well wishes. I made it through. The stitches will be taken out next week, and even now, the wound is healing nicely. There’d be a teensy scar there, but that’s all.

Second, the time.

Oh well, as I am back in the Shoe Factory and was, last week, in the second shift, I can’t just ride off to some Internet cafe (will someone sell me a laptop at a bargain) with a just-operated-on knee and pour out my heart and soul onto the keypad of a PC. I was under the “recuperating” mode, mind. I saturated my brain with primetime goulash from the sole channel that our television antenna could catch in the tropical jungle. I had tone-deaf singers; a stuffed toy posing as a viscious wolf-human and over-emotic real human characters with computer-generated blood-red eyes that were so unconvincing; a crazy spin-off of a Korean teleseries that actually made me laugh; a reality show where everyone cries for one reason or another, or even for no reason at all; and the culmination of a Korean telenovela that featured characters with lousy martial arts skill and appearances as common as my next-door neighbors’ (where’s the thrill in that?) eating my hours away every night that I did not choose to be asleep by seven.

Well, this time, shifts have changed in the shoe factory, and it’s waking up in the middle of the night again for me for the next few weeks so I could get down from my tropical jungle home and fall in with the other elves hammering soles and insteps for the day. (An aside: The Unimaginative Shoemakers have taken to posting parchments of their announcements, thoughts, and rants rather than communicate with us directly. Shoe production has taken a nose dive to one shoe per day, at least in our team, mostly because of this.)

 

Third, and finally, all the other miscellany.

First day of the dawn shift, my alarm sounded. As I was reaching for the mobile-slash-alarm phone, I felt a sharp burning pain on my wrist, then an angry buzzing sounded near where my head was on the pillow.

It was a hornet! And an angry one. And it stung me!

It may have gotten in from the latticed bamboo slats, probably to take shelter from the rains of the previous night.

But my goodness! Talk about being an ungrateful guest!

Bless genetics because I’m lucky enough to be immune to hornet and bee’s stings and had been known to only suffer minor itching and slight swelling. The sting was sharp, though, and I woke up Ta when I yelped in pain. We had a bit of a battle of wills and wonts when he wanted me to down copius amounts of honey, as in the mountains, the home remedy for stings was honey. It was four in the morning and honey wasn’t exactly my idea of a breakfast for champions. But in the end, a compromise was reached. A teaspoon of honey was the only casualty.

So, Monday morning dawned bright and cheery, and a woman, all wrapped up in scarves and a jacket, with a hornet’s sting throbbing in her right wrist, shattered the morning calm as she drove down on her motorcycle from her tropical jungle home to morph into an elf and enter the gates of the Shoe Factory. After all, what would the world be without shoes?

 

 

P.S. For those who tagged me for memes, particularly Lurchie and Gracey, I’ll answer them soon, promise!


A Whole New Quilt of Ideas

I never got around to doing this earlier, but let’s give it for Lurchie, the quilt-weaver who also knows a thousand and one ways to generate cash in a pinch, who finally got the (dot)com that she wished for.

See her new quilt of ideas at http://pencilpushin.com to read about her life as a wage-earner, as a copyeditor, as a mother to two wonderful kids, as a wife to her husband Dhirrac, as a friend, and as a credible resource for anything about telecommuting.
Congratulations, Monkey Keeper.


Under the Knife

This is the hypochondriac in me posting this, so pardon the accompanying imagery.

Tomorrow, I’m scheduled to go under the knife. Try as I might not to overthink it, images of me being cut up, sliced and diced still lurk and spring up suddenly, courtesy of the ever-present overactive imagination.

surgical blade

It’s just a minor surgery that would not even qualify me to get disability benefits from social security (heaven forbid!).

It happened this way. Perhaps I received some sort of trauma on my right knee sometime last year. I could not remember how, but I noticed that there was a dot-sized mass almost in the middle of my knee. I didn’t mind it then, thinking that it’s just a pimple or something. But what a place for a pimple to grow on. Anyway, for a year, I ran, skipped, jumped, walked, strode, jogged, pedaled, squatted (although not necessarily as often as I would have wanted) like I usually did. Little by little, my attention was drawn to the dot-sized something on my knee because this time, it has grown to a proportion that could not make me still ignore it. And the pain! Gracious sweet mother! Each time I accidentally bump my knee against something, the pain makes me see celestial bodies float past.

Last Saturday, I had an entirely different business that brought me to one of the hospitals in the city. I decided that, since I’m already there, might as well let a doctor look on the matter regarding my knee. The doc examined the lump and then and there proclaimed that a surgery was in order. He said that it might just be some growth that is benign but a biopsy would still be in order.

medical surgery

Yikes! But he was kind enough to allow me to think it over. So, I decided that he’d remove it Tuesday.

I just came from the medicare office after processing the necessary documents. May things turn out well. I may not be able to ride a bike for a couple of weeks. But it’s okay, considering.

And here’s a picture of my knee with the thing growing there. The growth is right in the middle of the inner circle, drawn on for purposes of relieving boredom.

(Pardon the absurdity, but it’s actually a picture of my knee. )

[surgery images courtesy of dailymail.co.uk and ghia-blades.com]


Summer Equinox

Today is the longest day of the year, this being the Summer Solstice.

Actually, this Celestial celebration, marked by the ancients as the wedding of the Earth and Heaven, officially begins at a minute before the clock strikes midnight on June 20th, Greenwich Mean Time (around 7:59 AM of 21st June for the Philippines).

The ancients have honored this time with bonfires, feasts, and dancing, grateful for the long day, the shortest night, and the chance to be with those they love.

If it weren’t stormy outside (and if I weren’t in the office), be assured that I’d have a huge bonfire blazing out on a field, with music from the guitar and a makeshift drum. I’d be with friends, and we would wait for the coming of the hour of the equinox, whiling it away with stories and songs.

A happy day to one and all!

Be on the lookout for Fairies!

 


The Act of Writing, as Told by Paulo Coelho

Doing my regular round of blog hopping, I stopped by one of the waystations of my wanderings — Paulo Coelho’s Warrior of the Light. There, in one of his previous entries, I found a gem, a fount of inspiration for the weaver of words.

This is what Paulo has to say about

The act of writing – the reader (Issue No. 170)

“There are two types of writers: those who make you think and those who make you dream” says Brian Aldiss, who made me dream for such a long time with his science-fiction books. Thinking about his sentence and my work, I decided to write some columns on the subject. In principle I believe that every human being on this planet has at least one good story to tell his neighbor. What follows are my reflections on some important items in the process of creating a text.

The reader

Above all else, the writer has to be a good reader. The kind that sticks to academic texts and does not read what others write (and here I’m not just talking about books but also blogs, newspaper columns and so on) will never know his own qualities and defects.

So, before starting anything, look for people who are interested in sharing their experience through words. I’m not saying: “look for other writers”. What I say is: find people with different skills, because writing is no different from any other activity that is done with enthusiasm.

Your allies will not necessarily be those that everyone looks on with admiration and says: “there’s nobody better”. It’s very much the opposite: it’s people who are not afraid of making mistakes, and yet they do make mistakes. That is why their work is not always recognized. But that’s the type of people who change the world, and after many a mistake they manage to get something right that will make all the difference in their community.

These are people who cannot sit around waiting for things to happen before they decide on the best way to narrate them: they decide as they act, even knowing that this can be very risky.

Living close to these people is important for writers, because they need to understand that before putting anything down on paper, they should be free enough to change direction as their imagination wanders. When a sentence comes to an end, the writer should tell himself: “while I was writing I traveled a long road. Now I can finish this paragraph in the full awareness that I have risked enough and given the best of myself.”

The best allies are those who don’t think like the others. That’s why, while you are looking for your companions (not always visible, because meetings between the reader and the writer are rare), trust your intuition and don’t pay any attention to others’ remarks. People always judge others using the model of their own limitations – and at times the opinion of the community is full of prejudices and fears.

Join those who have never said: “it’s finished, I have to stop here”. Because just as winter is followed by spring, nothing comes to an end: after reaching your objective, you have to start again, always using all that you have learnt on the way.

Join those who sing, tell stories, enjoy life and have happiness in their eyes. Because happiness is contagious and always manages to keep people from being paralyzed by depression, loneliness and troubles.

And tell your story, even if it’s only for your family to read.

The pen

All the energy of thinking is eventually shown in the nib of a pen. Of course, here we can substitute nib by ballpoint, computer keyboard, or pencil, but the nib of a pen is more romantic, don’t you think?

To get back to the theme: words eventually condense an idea. Paper is just a support for this idea. But the pen will always remain with you, and you must know how to use it.

Periods of inactivity are necessary – a pen that is always writing ends up losing the awareness of what it is doing. So let it rest whenever possible, and concern yourself with living and meeting your friends. When you return to the business of writing, you will find a happy pen with all its strength intact.

Pens have no conscience: they are an extension of the writer’s hand and desire. They serve to destroy reputations, make us dream, send news, trace pretty words of love. So always be clear about your intentions.

The hand is where all the muscles of the body, all the intentions of the person writing, all the effort to share what he feels, are concentrated. It is not just a part of his arm but an extension of his thought. Hold your pen with the same respect that a violinist has for his instrument.

The word

The word is the final intention of someone who wishes to share something with his neighbor.

William Blake said: all that we write is the fruit of memory or the unknown. If I can make a suggestion, respect the unknown and look there for your source of inspiration. The stories and facts remain the same, but when you open a door in your unconscious and let yourself be led by inspiration you will see that the way to describe what you have lived or dreamt is always far richer when your unconscious is guiding the pen.

Every word leaves a memory in your heart – and it the sum of these memories that form sentences, paragraphs, books.

Words are as flexible as the tip of your pen, and they understand the signs on the road. Sentences do not hesitate in changing course when they make a discovery, when they spot a better opportunity.

Words have the same quality as water: they go around rocks and adapt to the river bed, sometimes turning into a lake until the depression has filled up and they can continue their journey.

Because when words are written with feelings and the soul, they do not forget that their destination is the ocean of a text, and that sooner or later they have to arrive there.

Source of Paolo Coelho’s text posted here: Warrior of the Light, a www.paulocoelho.com.br publication

[image of pen courtesy of snappywriting.com; the reader by allposters.com; and the text by creator of circumstance ]


Unicorn!

For those of you who have always believed in magic, fairies, and mythical creatures, I’ve got news.

A “unicorn” is alive and well and grazes in a 2.5-acre park in the Tuscan town of Prato.

Unicorns are known, in the mythical realm, for the single horn that protrudes from their foreheads. These creatures are endowed with magical powers. And throughout the collection of literature from ancient and medieval times, the Unicorn has, in one way or another, been mentioned.

The creature pictured here is actually a roe deer that scientists think has a genetic flaw that made it grow only one horn. But the peculiar thing about it is that the horn actually grew in the middle of its forehead. For the rest of the story, click here.

 

 

[photo courtesy of http://dsc.discovery.com]


sketching escape plans

why?

i tell people to follow the call of the wind. i tell them what messages can be gleaned from the stars about their fates. i point them to the path as shown by the lines of their palms. i show them what happiness and bliss there are to be had if, for once, they listen to their hearts.

and yet….

here i am, fully aware that this is not what i want, to one day realized that all that is left of my optimism is a dessicated core. that my soul has languished and died a silent death, leaving my body with an empty shell. that my dreams have flown to visit somebody else’s thoughts. that i am part of the body count of people who, after a couple of years or three, wander around the metropolis with a glazed stare and shallow desires born out of a materialistic unaffirming profit-oriented culture.

inside of me, i cry and scream and rankle about the unfairness of all of this. still, it was my choice to be here. and it is still my choice whether i want to stay longer or not.

just wait. my paper boat’s not ready yet.

[image courtesy of jupiterimages.com]


Waxing Self-Righteousness

This morning, I invoked the good girl residing buried under the mounds of mildewed rubbish, dust bunnies, old molted skins, and the general debris of my own self’s basement and helter-skelter ran down from my tropical jungle hideway to pay some outstanding electricity bills.

The bills have been tacked to my bedroom dresser for eons already, as my schedule did not make it easy for me to just go waltzing out at any hour to go to the electric cooperative payment outpost, falling in a three-mile-long line, waiting until, millimeter by millimeter, it would be my turn to hand my statement of account (SOA) to the octogenarian sitting behind a glass cage for him to smack his thumb on wrinkled lips and use the said thumb to leaf through the sheafs of tissue paper that are my SOAs, wrinkling his eyebrows every now and then as he strains, with fading eyesight, at the minuscule numbers representing the amount I owe each month for the service that allowed me to be anesthetized by shampoo commercials shown during prime time on the local tv station. I simply did not have the luxury to regularly experience such indescribable experience.

But today, despite the light drizzle and the fact that I ran out of the house without any breakfast, I resolved to treat myself to the experience of paying my bills, just like in the old days.

However, it turned out, to my slight disappointment, that the octogenarian I’ve mentioned earlier has already been called by his maker, perhaps making him the keeper of books up there (I imagine him, methodically smacking his lips and using his good old thumb to search for the names of people who are allowed entrance into the Pearly Gates. He’d be looking for my name under the letter “F”…”Let’s see now… Felipe, Felix, Feliz, Fem…” It will be ages before the lines moved).

The present teller’s hair has been slathered with the latest snake oil pomade, he had the lightest pink polish on his David’s Salon-manicured digits, he has a rock the size of a baby’s fist on his left earlobe, and I think I detected a hint of gloss on his lips. The top three buttons of his polo shirt were undone, revealing a chestful of hairs.

He leafed through my sheafs of SOAs with flexible fingers, looked at the computer monitor for verification of my account, then puckered his lips. Looked at the sheafs of SOAs and puckered his lips again. I sensed something was amiss with the three SOAs that I’ve brought.

He looked at me with a raised eyebrow (countoured, mind!) “There are five unpaid bills here.”

What?!

“Five unpaid bills. This wasn’t disconnected yet?” His contoured eyebrow made a perfect parabolic arc.

I told him that it’s only three that I have at hand. But it was like arguing with the Matterhorn. He would not budge. There were five bills there. Pay all of them or face disconnection in the coming days (the horror of not seeing Wowowee!). I didn’t have a choice. I paid the almost-three-zero-zero-zero outstanding balance.

(Lucky I was dripping with cash as of the moment — not! I was actually paid only 51 hours for the 104 hours that I reported for work. Something about an accounting personnel endorsing the wrong hours for my shift. So, actually, I was nearly broke.)

Then on to the good part. For those of you who are not aware of this, the town where I live is host to the power plant that generates electricity for most of the region and the surrounding provinces. It is ~aherm~ only natural that simple folks such as me could get an electric bill refund each time I pay my bill.

But still, in order to get the refund, it requires me to undergo a bit of a complicated process. But the process is actually a catch basin to keep the citizens of my beloved town in check, and it ensures that there are no deliquencies in our payment of taxes and other services, e.g., safe drinking water and property taxes. In toto, I shelled out an additional Php300 to pay for property taxes and water bills that I happened to forget about the previous two months *blush*.

After all the hullabaloo, I am pleased to inform the interested reader that I got my money back — that amount I paid for my electricity bill. All in all, it boils down to me spending Php300 to get back my almost-three-zero-zero-zero pesos. And I have paid all my taxes for this year. See you around, Internal Revenue!

I feel such a sense of accomplishment.

Somebody get me a halo and a pair of wings. I feel a beatific glow around me.

 


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