Saturday, December 29, 2012


I would like to close my eyes, pretend I am on a plane, snugly strapped in, and the PA announcements are just finished ... thank you for flying with us, and see you in your future journeys.

Then the plane makes its final descent, the tires burn against the runway, and before I open my eyes, the different kind of quiet that pervades my inner space interrupts, and I am awake.

I am still in my bedroom, semi-frozen, alone.

Realization comes that further introspection may prove to be of less help than it should, but then, so what?  So says Don Juan de Marco, there are only four questions of value in life:
"What is sacred?  Of what is the spirit made?
"What is worth living for ---- and what is worth dying for?" 
His answer, as I mumble in reflex while watching the movie, is love.

It isn't corny at all, and the more I think about it, my apprehension disappears.  Yes, the hard life snaps at my tiller.  Sometimes my confidence gets shaken.  Yet I must keep in mind that I am the helmsman now, as it should have been clear to me years past.

I miss my family dearly.  It should be, and it will be, until I choose to end this exile.  I tried sometime back but it wouldn't take.  Too much to do.  Too awful to contemplate surrender.

Let the next year come, and the next, and the next.  What the sky can hold, that is how much I am ready to lay down before my ticker says, no more.

One more year, one more year.  Onward, that I may encompass not only thousandfold, but skyfold (a word and a pun of my invention) the hopes and dreams of those whom I love.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Not Yet After, But It Is

Willing Exile: Just Hangin'

If there's a way I can gift-wrap this message for a particular someone, I would.  But then again, what I mean to reach one person may just end up being misinterpreted by someone else.  I'd like to be known yet still unseen, not much unlike Lionel Richie in Hello, only not as creepy.

It gets tiresome to sweet-lemon the result when there is so much residual bitterness.  Intellectually I am aware of this feeling of never fully letting go, but emotionally it is still there.  And I don't like to pretend that the feeling isn't affecting me.  It does.  Because the feeling, because of the choices surrounding it, encompass my whole life as it stands right now.

No, no more positive spin for this right now.  I'd like the feeling to sear into me and leave its mark.  Only then can I let it go and try, as best as I can, to move on.

I'm not begging to be pitied.  In fact, I don't even care for acceptance or understanding.  I just want to say what I would like to say, and then I hope that will be the end of this.

Friday, December 21, 2012


In a few minutes, standard Arabian time, it will be the 22nd of December 2012.

It isn't an important date by any means, not to me at least.  Tomorrow will just be another day here in Saudi Arabia, another cold day in Riyadh in a succession of very cold days.  I am not making a reference to all of the millennial talk, to the "end of days," or some other facsimile of signs that the Apocalypse is upon us, namely the passing of the Reproductive Health Bill in the Philippines.  Hardly made a dent in world consciousness.

I am glad that life continues on giving, and giving, and giving.  Whatever the impetus, new life comes forth and within that moment of tenderness, of vulnerability, one finds all the reasons needed to live.  As for death, it is always unwelcome, whether in the ICU or on bullet-riddled, blood-stained kindergarten walls.

It is awe-inspiring that the cycle of life continues even with all the dumb mistakes we humans commit everyday.  While we have reduced Evil to a small "e"  I am very thankful that even with all the buttons waiting to be pressed for a worldwide conflagration, cooler heads have managed to hold onto the tiller.  At least for now.  Every time I see a video or a picture of children growing up, even though they are not my own, I am grateful for time's passage and the blessings these children have made possible to their families.  It hurts me, it pains me that any one of them has to face a moment of privation.

It is therefore bewildering that for all of our aspirations to virtue, only we have the capacity to be inhuman to ourselves.  How, instead of teaching future generations how to live, love, and learn, we are teaching them to hate, maim, and discriminate.

Out of all this bleakness, it is not unreasonable that one learning we can take out of this is that the best intentions aren't enough.  Loving and cherishing one's family is not enough if the primacy of the family means oppressing other families.  Learning and developing new skills must not prescribe that others not as popular should be excluded.  Celebrating one's personhood means also appreciating others, especially those people whom we find so different from ourselves.

It is also not unreasonable that we prepare ourselves by being fooled by this season of glee to expect that somebody else will be doing the hard work, the pedal-pushing, the small sacrifices. We can dream of good things for everyone, just like ol' John Lennon says (bless his soul), but we can't stay dreamers forever.  It is time to wake up and do something.

Merry Christmas.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Lowest Common Denominator

This particular post is dedicated to the extension of the Obama presidency.  I should have posted this in the past few days but my computer conked out on me and I lost the will to live.  Literally.  A few days later, I am viewing this screen from a replacement computer and the post is still waiting to be finished.

I know I should be reading more opinions from other people before launching one of my own, but I can't help but link the success of Obama's re-election to the surprise results of the 2010 Joseph Estrada candidacy.  I'm not a particular fan of President Obama's politics but he played his cards correctly - keep things going despite opposition, push here and there to do something meaningful, try to generate some traction in Congress despite not having the upper hand in either the House or Senate.  Whatever failures he had is a not an overall failure of his leadership - it is simply a function of having Republicans and Democrats have at it on a regular basis.

In short, let us give him the benefit of the doubt - just as the American people chose to re-elect Dubya in 2004.  He still has the same contentious Congress with him, so good luck.

As I mentioned earlier, I am not an Obama fan, and were it not for the outright hypocrisy practiced by the Clintons in their marriage of convenience, I'd be singing paeans to Hillary Clinton.  In 2008, Obama getting elected was a revolution of the youth and the formerly less-heard sectors of society - with social media and new forms of expression, previously less-influential sectors armed themselves accordingly. In 2012, he played the "us-against-them" card so well against the Establishment his "favored" constituencies came out and saved the day.

Now, Mitt Romney must have been a skillful businessman to reach his current state, but he failed to counter one of the most important rules in politics - the rule of the lowest common denominator.

Monday, November 05, 2012


I have given some thought to finally retire this blog.  After all, who would want to read about the inner life of someone who has just recently turned into a forty-something?

Sometime back, I had this secret wish that someone out there would read the thoughts I put down here and find in me a kindred soul.  Tough luck.  It's a Catch-22 situation, anyhow, you either put yourself a little too mildly or disinterestedly few people will care, or so far out there people will think you are a freak.  Hey, I'd like a little public affirmation once in a while, but too much attention will make me sick.

Therein lies the dilemma.

There is also this aesthetic side of getting my writing back on track.  I need a new muse, a new inspiration.  For some reason, I have felt less urgency in my craft over the past few months.  Mind you, it is not for lack of time - far from it.  No energy, no focus in whatever original thoughts I have been putting away in the back of my mind.  I wouldn't know whether to abandon this ambition altogether.  One more try, one more attempt to stop backsliding.  Looks like a Sisyphean feat.  Good luck to me.

So, what's been happening to me?  Took a forty-day furlough in the Philippines and the wisest decision I made was this: Be still.  Sure, I would like to settle all the pending issues in my life - finding a life partner, projecting my career trajectory, working to ensure I reach that trajectory, estate planning for my finances, etc.  They will happen soon enough.  All I want to do right now is BE.

Saturday, June 23, 2012


The new week opens with me starting work at my second location in Riyadh.  I am not so enthused about this part of my deal, I have just gotten used to my working in my current place (and having my own office to boot, too).

But in any case, I have no illusions about this new deal.  It's the same as the old one.  I just hope I will bring whatever I can into this process and help contribute to the emerging professionalization of this outfit.

Organizations have their own ebbs and flows but the more different they are in many aspects the more the same they are substantially.  Whatever the concerns of the people are, they will want to sail away from roiling waters and find safe haven as soon as possible.  All it takes, then, is resolute leadership to hold the tiller.  I never thought of my role as the helmsman - the navigator, yes, but not the helmsman.  Not yet.

So, the objective is landfall.  Safe travels are not guaranteed.  The storm watch is on.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


"I don't know if I practiced more than anybody, but I sure practiced enough. I still wonder if somebody - somewhere - was practicing more than me."

"A winner is someone who recognizes his God-given talents, works his tail off to develop them into skills, and uses these skills to accomplish his goals."

"I've got a theory that if you give 100 percent all of the time, somehow things will work out in the end."

     - Larry Bird, NBA MVP (1984-86), 
       1998 NBA Coach of the Year 
       NBA champion Boston Celtics ('81, '84, '86)

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Listen Christian

Just a small reminder to me on this Holy Week, a poem attributed to Bob Rowland, and in itself inspired by verses in Matthew 25.  A few years back, while I was doing work for La Salle Lipa High School, I translated the poem to Filipino to better reach my audience.  With props to my friend Robert (and not a slouch in Filipino himself), who was the first person to deliver it in public.  A little rewrites here to modernize the language, but here it is.

We waste too much time on the details of rightness when out there somebody is asking for our help right here, right now.

(Sidelight:  Don't watch "The Descendants" alone.  See it with a loved one.  It can be downright depressing, as I found out last night.  I'm not ashamed - I cried buckets.)

Nagugutom ako
at bumuo ka ng samahang pantao
at tinalakay ang aking pagkagutom.

Nakakulong ako
at dahan-dahan kang lumakad
papunta sa kapilya mo sa silong
at ipinagdasal ang pagpapalaya sa akin.

Hubad ako,
at sa iyong isipan
ay pinagtaluhan mo pa ang moralidad ng aking hitsura.

Mayroon akong sakit
At lumuhod ka at nagpasalamat sa Diyos
para sa iyong kalusugan.

Wala akong tahanan
at sinermonan mo ako tungkol sa
silong-pangkaluluwa ng pag-ibig ng Diyos.

Nangungulila ako at iniwan mo akong nag-iisa
upang manalangin para sa akin.

Mukhang kang napakabanal,
at napakalapit sa Diyos.
Subalit gutom na gutom pa rin ako,
at nangungulila,
at nilalamig.
Saan napunta ang lahat ng iyong mga dasal?

Ano ang nagawa nila?
Ano ang ikabubuti sa isang tao
na buklatin ang kanyang aklat ng pagdarasal
kung ang buong daigdig
ay dumaraing ng saklolo sa kanya?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Slowed, and some other Things

Slowed by the steady stream of work.  Not enjoyable in some sense but overall I am glad.  The year is going by very fast and soon enough it's time for vacation.

I have finally gotten around to reading "Towers of Midnight," Book 13 of the Wheel of Time.  Kudos to Brandon Sanderson.  He has managed to translate the compelling narrative of Robert Jordan in his own words, and yet magically capturing the tone of the earlier books of the series.  It is not the same cant the maestro ended up with (Book 11, Crossroads of Twilight, was begging to be snuffed out), but it is the flavor fans have been wanting to savor for some time.  Nice to read it in hardback, thanks to Jarir for knocking off the price.

"A Dance With Dragons" is up.  Never apprehensive in picking up George R.R. Martin.  Don't want to spoil anything for the prospective readers, so I will stay quiet about the book.  Prologue so well-written I got sucked in very quickly.

It's a comfort to get back into old habits.  Nine months into my tenure here and it feels like I've given birth to something better for myself.  Nice to get into fighting mood by firing broadsides at people who are overzealous on posting political links on FB.  But then, no.  Wouldn't add anything substantive to the discussion, except this:

1) If anyone is innocent until proven guilty, it stands to reason that anyone can be therefore charged and tried before a court of his peers.  We are not killing democracy by trying CJ Corona.  In the first place, we already shot ourselves in the foot by electing those senators and congressmen who are participating in the trial.

2) The eminence of Juan Ponce Enrile should be expected.  The guy is as old as the Sierra Madre Mountains, them mountains he and his family have denuded in the past 50 years.  Don't give him extra points for something he should have known for being in public service for at least 50 years.

3) Anyone claiming anything new about scandals of the Aquinos and Cojuangcos better brush up on their history.  We already knew that, and people still elected Cory, because she promised to dismantle the mechanism of Martial Law.  Exchanging Marcos and his crowd with the Aquinos and their crowd was simply that, an exchange of leaders with no visible difference except the promise of "democracy." That is why many middle-class people during that period straddled the fence, or stuck it out with Marcos.

Still, if you were there, or lived during the Edsa 1 times, which would you prefer - the "stability" of Martial Law or the chaos brought about by democracy?  Yeah,  I didn't have to ask that question.  Be glad of what was restored, and exercise your right to speak more responsibly.

As for the Cory revisionists who declare her all to be a saint - be wary of history's lessons as well.  TIME named her its "Woman of the Year" in 1986, only to call her government "one of the most corrupt in Asia" in 1990.  There were growing pains - a lot of them.

By the way, anybody with an advertising background can come up with drivel and still call it a history lesson.  (No use to link to that viral video on YouTube).  Egads, use your brains!

Friday, March 02, 2012


Trade: ESPN Trade Machine

Sign of the times - March Madness is on its way, so my favorite TV show, "Fringe" takes a few weeks off so that the followers of the NCAA can get their annual bracket fix.

In the meantime, time to indulge in a little fantasy in the Association.  As a Boston fan, I would love for this trade to go down.  Boston rebuilds on the fly while maintaining its flexibility to either retain some of its key assets after contracts of said assets expire.

Orlando gets some pieces to keep itself competitive in the short-term and then they create cap flexibility to attract some new talent, while avoiding the quandary of losing Dwight Howard for nothing.  Ray Allen becomes their designated shooter either as a starter or coming off the bench, while Big Al takes over the post scoring duties left by the void of Howard's departure.   Allen comes off the books at the end of the season, while Jefferson during the next one.  The Magic get a chance to bid for a legit star next year or save all of their cap space to make a splash in the summer of 2013.

For Utah, they shed their redundancy of talent at forward and in Rondo they get the point guard they have been coveting to run their offense since D-Will left.  He would prove to be a great fit in Utah.  J-Rich is a rent-a-shooter whom they can package later for to get other talent, while J.O.'s contract expires at the end of this season and saves them some cash.

And of course, the Celts make out like bandits in this one, with a strong starting four of Harris, Pierce, Garnett, and Howard.  At the two-spot, they have an option of going small by starting Bradley or Dooling or going big with Daniels, Pietrus or Pavlovic.  If they go big, Pierce can either be the shooter or the driver as the situation warrants and they can go interchangeable on offense/defense.  I would personally prefer to give Bradley a little more burn, but the front office also has the option to manage his minutes by signing Free Agent X from the waiver wire or promoting another hopeful from the NBDL to be a reserve while the other veterans can soak up starter minutes.

Hey, it's free to dream, especially since I haven't slept much.  Here's to an exciting NBA trade deadline.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Oxygen Break

A sound is meaningless if there is no one around to hear it.  In like way, no love can be called true unless it is shared.

(Sigh).  All my brain can come up with right now is one-liners.

In other news, "Spartacus: Vengeance" is filling up my hours.  Watched the first five episodes, and I figure they are milking the same themes from the two previous series.  Crixus is the lover denied (as Spartacus was), while Glaber is the ambitious Roman (replacing Batiatus).  Spartacus is no longer a human being; he is merely a force of nature.  His already paper-thin character has even been sliced more finely from cardboard to wrapping paper.  No inner conflicts there, just a quote machine on the nature of freedom.  

Wouldn't want to ruin it for the fans who haven't started on the series, but one thing is for sure - the violence is gratuitous, excessive even.  Designed for the lowest common denominator.

There goes my oxygen break.

Monday, February 27, 2012

No Reason Required

Just can't help it.  I've hit a rut and I need to get my brain plodding along.  Go back to what works.  Rekindle that wonder.  When all else fails, turn to Sesame Street.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Back in Spring

I remember some of my old posts regarding favorite songs.  If I were held at gunpoint this song wouldn't make the top five, not even the top ten, but for now I'm in a folksy mood and experiencing a mild form of homesickness.  So I'm jamming to some of the songs of my childhood, including songs by (and here it comes, egads!) Sharon Cuneta.  I can't find some good downloads for VST or Hagibis, so YouTube would have to do.

The most vivid memories of February in Manila were during high school, where it meant the school fair and the high school dance.  It was the social event of the entire year because apart from class interactions and the occasional soiree, this was only place where one can meet a large number of girls, unless one were a nerd and always competed in interschool events (which always has negative effects, sadly).  It meant a lot of New Wave and glam rock/gothic rock blasting from the speakers, even an occasional Billy Joel's "Sometimes A Fantasy" or selections from Michael Jackson and Earth, Wind, and Fire.

As we didn't have cellphones then, coming out with someone's landline number on a piece of paper (or on your hand) was a major victory.

So this song is about the spring of young love.  Every note tinkles as if it were brand-new.  Right now, these notes sometimes resound a little more strongly, albeit as echoes of forgotten times.  You'd wish it were the first time, and that you have a whole lifetime for experiences to come by.  But when you look into the mirror, the lines on your face tell you that time has betrayed you and you must savor every last drop of pleasure that comes into your life, before they run out.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Another Week

Willing Exile: First Thursday

Going back to my post of more than four years ago - some rash sentimentality about falling in love and sleepless nights.   Somebody must have heard me and posted a decent copy of this song:

This song just inspires me to hug somebody.  A heart that is tried and tested several times may cease to believe in the miracle that is love.  On the other hand, maybe that kind of heart has just had its unhealthy share of romance novels and Hugh Grant movies.

Some are steadfast in longing for the right kind of love, only to realize that they have waited too long or have chosen the wrong kind of places to find their love.

Some have just thrown love into the winds like a will o' the wisp, and live life without expecting a true love to return.  So they either settle for someone with whom they can live, or they just put themselves in the path of the wind, like scarecrows.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

And the Result is...

My Political Compass

Who would have thought that I am staying closer to my roots?  I thought I have turned Republican.  A little left of center it is.

To take the test, go to

You Need Green to be Mean

How much would it cost to build the Death Star?

Just nice to know, so that my little investment portfolio will have to shoot up just that much.  Wouldn't want to stop the project midway - no wonder it took the Empire almost eighteen years to build the first one.  I'd be dead before I start building this baby.  Investment, anyone?  A sure-fire way to dominate the galaxy, only X-wing fighters with Force-enabled pilots as risk.

It's so easy painting rich guys as the bad guys.  It really costs money to be the villain, especially if you're not an altered human, a mutant, or an alien.  Where would Lex Luthor get the wherewithal to battle Superman without cash?

Now imagine what power bill Dexter's parents are running with his secret lab in the basement...

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


"A process cannot be understood by stopping it.  Understanding must move with the flow of the process, must join it and flow with it." - Paul Atreides quoting the First Law of Mentat, "Dune"

Monday, February 20, 2012


Sometimes people can just have mind-numbing confidence.  One man had the guts to go up against a whole army. From David Eddings' "Queen of Sorcery":

"I will challenge them." Mandorallen announced calmly, "One or all. No true knight would refuse me without being called craven. Wilt thou be my second and deliver my challenge, my lord?"

"What if you lose?" Silk suggested.

"Lose?" Mandorallen seemed shocked. "I? Lose?"

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Past Peeping

Almost 20 years to the day, I was fully introduced to the music of the Beatles.  In my early teens, I was particularly enamored of the classics and religious music - the classics being what they were, and I admired their themes and structure.  Religious music, well, because I was a volunteer facilitator and we listened to a lot of "retreat" music.  My sisters loved OPM, and our eldest brother loved R&B and jazz.  My other brother was a true child of the times, loving New Wave music.  I pretended to listen because I didn't want to hurt his feelings.  I was such a snob.

I watched a lot of movies in the theaters then because that was my only form of escape - going home meant living through the pressures our family was going through at the time, and being elsewhere meant that life was catching up on me.  The Robinsons Galleria theaters showed a lot of footage of "A Hard Day's Night" during those times.  I would suppose there was a lot of heavy promotion since it was almost close to the 30th anniversary of the Beatles' first hit in the UK ("Love Me Do," a Top 20 hit).

This particular bit, along with "I Should Have Known Better" were my favorite pieces (well, they did receive a lot of rotation).  The harmony is impeccable on this piece, and at this point I would surmise Lennon was reaching his creative apex as a Beatle (my guess is that he topped out in "Rubber Soul" as a member of the band, and thenceforth McCartney became their driving force).  When I listen to this song I always play in twice, singing with Lennon's part the first time and then with McCartney's part the second time.

The Beatles' surfacing in my musical palette also came with the rise of grunge and Pinoy alternative rock.  In a way the stripping down of the musical components of recorded music was the antidote to overproduced electronic tracks of the '80s.

This year the Beatles would celebrate their 50th anniversary as a hit band.  Looking forward to all the tributes and the concerts.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Just Hangin'

I've already given up on "Glee" having any sense of plausibility or story content but I keep on watching because of the music performances.  The Valentine's Day episode wasn't particularly great, but Damian McGinty's "Home" by Michael Buble and Amber Riley's rendition of cheeseball classic "I Will Always Love You" by Whitney Houston were particular standouts.

Stevie is still the one for the chill factor.  Buble did a version of this, which reminded me of the original.  The vocal crescendo is unbelievable.

As for other things, Valentine's Day is still the same but I have a project in mind which I hope does not miscarry.  If it does, well, there goes the usual.  I usually crash and burn, anyhow.  Ouch.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Worldwide Export

OFW remittances hit record $20B

Just firing up the stove for another gasbag of opinion.

As an expatriate Filipino, instead of giving me a bigger sense of pride, it is giving me a greater sense of disappointment.

I am not saying "nay" to overseas employment.  Like free trade in goods and services, there should be freedom in the movement of natural persons to seek employment.   Filipinos, by virtue of our natural resilience and eagerness to succeed (yes, our English is considerably better than those of other nationals.  But that advantage is fast disappearing, thanks to declining standards and poorer comprehension in today's graduates.  End of long parenthetical thought), are uniquely prepared to compete in the global environment.  A significant amount of the world's seafarers are Filipinos.  Many of the drillers and other technical workers in the Gulf oil industry are Filipinos.  Filipino engineers are unnamed heroes in the transformation of this region, as highways, seaports, airports, water and power installations, factories, and commercial buildings have been built with Filipino technical expertise in their design and construction.  One can see Arab names in the headlines, but the significant contributions have been made by Filipinos and other expatriates.

I cannot say "nay" to overseas Filipino employment because my being employed in Saudi Arabia is paying our family's bills, as overseas employment sustains the lives of millions of Filipinos.  Our country's Gross National Product is dependent on remittances, and if anything, expatriate contributions have kept the economy stable and that our country has sufficient reserves of foreign currency.

I cannot say "nay" because throughout the political and economic turmoils that have afflicted the country, the region, and worldwide, our country has not gone under.  Remittances are our economic anchor.

It's just that because of this economic anchor, government policy has not been sufficiently progressive in addressing the key issues ailing our economy.  What makes matters worse is that of creating an environment conducive for expatriates to return to the country for retirement, the result is just the opposite.

Baser Natures, Continued

Willing Exile: Baser Natures

Channeling: Barry Manilow

Now that piece is not well-written at all.  But to pick up something more from it, I'd like to start it out as an introduction to what I think I meant to say.

Though some of its assertions were dismissed as quackery, Desmond Morris' "The Naked Ape" does make the point that psychosocial evolution has not followed up more quickly on the effects of all the technological revolutions that have taken place.  Some of our most basic instincts still hark back to earlier times, and with the explosion of information you can have several otherwise intelligent people live walking contradictions in their value systems.

Take for example many people who are pro-choice on the reproductive health issue, and are pro-life on the death penalty issue.  Some may not like animal testing, but are supportive of stem-cell research.  On the other hand, you have people who are pro-life and are committed to the death penalty at the same time.  Some cannot stand eating meat, but would welcome genocide on others just because they are of a different faith.

Of course I will be accused of simplification and sophistry on this one, but it does beg to be argued - rather than coalescing into more discrete value systems, societies are now a mosaic of various ideas and special interests.  Some people may argue that moral relativism has taken the field and the influence of monolithic institutions like the Roman Catholic Church has waned considerably.  Even adherents of either side (or rather, multiple sides) may even argue the degree to which the decline/progress of society has gone.

It isn't a case of Cole Porter's "Anything Goes."  It isn't about black turning white, but rather the idea: is there a black?  Is there a white?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Sorry Seems to Be...

When other people find it hard to forgive you for what you've done, sometimes it's important to ask if you've demonstrated true remorse and have begun the process of restitution.  Making the apology mean something means being prepared to do exactly the opposite of what you have done in the first place.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Baser Natures

Our carpool had an interesting conversation just the other night regarding the onset of urban sprawl in Riyadh.  A lot has changed, they say, in the neighborhoods within the vicinity of the factory.  But even with this development, the construction will not be enough.  There always has to be something better.

For example, for all the advancements made for the King Khalid International Airport terminal, right now the building seems outdated.  Many expatriate workers often complain that Riyadh is the Kingdom's worst first port of entry (the others being Dammam and Jeddah).   It is not even a question of physical infrastructure, but rather the work ethic of the people running the show.

(Sidebar: I am positively running out of brain juice.  My sense of organization and my ability to stay on point are getting shot.  Okay, back to point.)

Our ability to control nature around us is also our blind spot in losing control.

This is the reason why I chose this song - it is our human nature to be enthralled, to seek adventure, to want to be covered by bright lights.

We are still governed by passions that cannot be defined by logic.

Now, as I start losing point on this topic, let me end this for now.  Coming soon.


Whoever wishes to keep a secret must hide the fact that he possesses one. - Johann Wolfgang van Goethe

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Falling Short

Sometimes an opportunity to be great comes only once - it just depends on the person whether to answer the call to be great.  The biggest obstacle to being great is just being good enough.

Letting Love Remain

It feels so wrong to celebrate anything in particular while someone in your immediate circle is grieving.

My colleague at the office who is also my flatmate is undergoing a personal crisis right now.  His mother passed away last night and so he must take an emergency leave.

I'm never been a fan of Valentine's Day.  I believe the whole holiday is an exercise replete with crass commercialism.  It's a convenient holiday for spending in between New Year's Day and the school holidays in March/April.

I believe love should be celebrated as often as possible.  One can never encapsulate the wonderful moments that give this life meaning, even though, realistically, those moments will make up 15% or less of my entire life.  But without those moments, life is assuredly less.

Love is not just a feeling you get.  True love means an entire appreciation of the other's personhood, and is a commitment between two partners.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Of Firsts and of Truth

somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond - e.e. cummings

I was not really into the series "Beauty and the Beast" because, of course, it was the late '80s and I hadn't outgrown cartoons yet, and I wasn't a fan of romance on TV either.

By the time the show was cancelled I finally understood what it meant, what it means, to welcome the presence of love in one's life, and I also discovered the work of e.e. cummings.  I  bought a cassette tape of the the soundtrack, with my favorite track - (The First Time I Loved Forever) as the headliner.  Ron Perlman was great as Vincent, the "Beast" and I probably watched a few episodes of the show only because of Linda Hamilton (on whom I had a crush since "The Terminator").

There will never be a replacement of the first love, of that first exciting moment - as things should be, when experienced for the first time.

It will not, however, replace, the eternal flame of the true love that forever kindles once found.

Sunday, February 12, 2012


You can never be left unstained or unsullied by the things you value and love.  They will always leave their mark on you.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Celebrate the Underdog

NBA -- Jeremy Lin continues to provide hope to Knicks - ESPN

Life provides very difficult and oftentimes, very short odds.  So getting a guy with all the odds stacked against him, and then seeing him do very well, is inspiring.

I personally don't like the Knicks, but that is a franchise that is in need of a different kind of hero.  They chose Amare Stoudemire to be their man, only to trade for Carmelo Anthony and ruin their dynamic.  They get rid of Chauncey Billups, their emotional anchor, to save money, thinking that the glitz of the city will draw free agents.

Maybe the allure of New York will rope them in, but having a great city in which to play isn't enough.  Ask the New York Mets.  They spent a whole boatload of money, and their team still sucks.  Ask the Los Angeles Clippers.   More than a quarter-century in LA and they could only celebrate a few years of success.

I celebrate teams like the San Antonio Spurs for doing well as a small-market team.. They had luck of circumstances, clear management direction, and good coaching.  Even though I hate the way they made it to their city, I celebrate the Oklahoma City Thunder for building on their own talent and exercising patience with their young core.  Now they're rigged to win many championships.

I celebrate the underdog because it's the right attitude to be in - playing against the odds, playing with a sense of desperation, playing with something to prove - because playing with a comfort zone is the one of the easiest ways to run a Titanic into an icepack.

Now, if there could only be someone to spark the Celtics...

Thursday, February 09, 2012


The Need for Spiritual Fitness

As I write this post, I am celebrating passing another half-year without major incident.  As one gets older and gets to know one's moods and flows more intimately I know when I need some time to milk off my frustrations and put them into words.  It isn't fair, honestly, to the whole process and to the process of my writing (which I am refining further in the hopes of making the trade full-time), but for now this is what with which I have to work.

Not a fan of today's quoted author, but one key component of health is the spiritual side.  The whole concept of wellness is not only what we project on the outside, but what is also happening within.  I was born and raised in a Catholic home, though not very strict and characterized more by the free spirit that we had - we thanked God with the rites of our faith, but my parents did not insist that we close our minds.

All this did not prevent me from being a Catholic volunteer during my late teens and early twenties.  While I may not count much in the world with what I was making, that was certainly the most fulfilling time of my life. 

Since then, I won't say it's been downhill, but the happy times seem a lot spottier and harder to come by.  Disclaimer, though, those times have been considerably blurred by a lot of nostalgia.  As the happy times were more profound, so were the wounds to my psyche.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Regretting that Decision...

Prudentialife Plans halts selling, payments to clients

... to invest in another pension plan.  I didn't trust pre-need then, I still don't now.  The rules of the game when it came to financial institutions were all turned topsy-turvy by the crash of 2008.   Apparently whatever shocks that were weathered before still have remnants to make an effect.

Also, I wouldn't be surprised if politics has something to do with this latest fiasco.

There goes my P500,000 premium (sob, as in sunnava...!)

Tuesday, February 07, 2012


"All roads lead to Trantor, and that is where all stars end." - Isaac Asimov, Second Foundation

One lesson from Stephen Covey is to begin with the end in mind.  From the start, mark point A as the beginning. and then mark point B as your terminus.  It should be that simple, from an intellectual point of view.  We define our journey, scope out the road getting there, and prepare ourselves accordingly.  The fun part, they say, is the journey, and not the destination.

There are lots of things to do on the journey - for while we must reach the other side, we must sustain ourselves throughout so that we keep ourselves hale and hearty on our travel.   There will be lots of things to see - wonders one has never seen, or sometimes the rare combination of having the usual mixed with the magical.

And of course, while we go through this journey, there are all sorts of distractions - whether from the vistas we see or the people we encounter.  Or sometimes we get waylaid at the stops we take - mostly by our own unreadiness or unwillingness to keep on moving.

So it is that some people make their way in life a lot more quickly and get to explore so many places - traveling the width and breadth of the human experience - while others stay where they, relatively close to where they started, hardly venturing beyond their comfort zones.

We all know where and how this journey will end someday, for all of us - in death.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Yes It's Valentine's again...

...Even though I'm in denial.  Customary sappy songs will be in order.  My choice for this month is this song from the movie version of "Camelot."  It's fantastic as a spoken piece.  Richard Harris' song-chant delivery is very memorable.

As for the song, these are wise words from King Arthur.  Yes, he was a cuckold, but he was King.  Well worth for all to understand that in love, sometimes, several wrongs don't make things right, but that was the whole meaning of the joy/suffering anyway.

One must be lucky indeed to follow that last train of thought.  I must be semi-plastered.  Stop with the cough medicine, kiddo.


I didn't mean to leave you alone.   But I did.

Blame torrents and other mindless joys.  Blame a harder working schedule.  Mostly, blame a cheap fellow who doesn't want to pay more for personal internet access.

Hard to regain momentum on this.  But I will try.