We’re Moving Out

I’ve got a very big family and I’ve known our home as the most secure among the neighborhood. It was where we were always proud to be Inside. And like the rest of my siblings, I also look up to our parents and I was ever so proud to be one of their children. But then time changed and it’s been a year or two since our parents have given us the hint that they’re up to something. And what that is, we were clueless then. By the middle of this year though they told us the shocking news–the house we’ve known to have endured storms and earthquakes is crumbling. That shocked us. It can’t be true. The news was like coming out of a very bad nightmare that despite the earlier hint, still caught most of us unguarded.

That being the reason, it surprised us no more when the next thing they told us was their idea to move out of our current home, a home where I’ve spent most of my life with the rest of my brothers and sisters, old and young alike. This is where we learned to crawl, walk and eventually stand up on our own. This is where I learned and understood how to deal with the rest of my siblings in harmony. We’ve had our differences for sure, but we managed to hold on together with the values that have bound us as one family.

Now, since they decided that we finally move out in 6-9 months time and have announced the location of our new home, they have now started orienting each member of our family of the phases that we will undergo to make the transfer a smooth and successful one as much as possible. We were all ears and so eager to hear about it.

Of course, not all of my siblings are happy with the news. Some are excited but most I can sense are not yet prepared. The older ones for sure have lots of memories in this present home and younger ones have still lots of things to prove and experience. But then, mom and dad have made up their mind.

And so after asking the rest of the members what they think of the transfer and if they wanted to move on or not, our parents stood steadfast. Despite the obvious pain they have to deal with, mom and dad have to finally kiss goodbyes to those who have chosen to part ways. But just like any responsible parents will do, they did not forget to partake what they have to those who will be left behind hoping that my brothers and sisters make use of it wisely.

On my part, they haven’t talked to me yet but to keep me busy they have assigned me to do my share in packing up things this week. Some of my siblings have done their share since a month ago. Now it’s my turn. Our home is almost half empty but there’s still a lot to be packed.

Rummaging to what is yet to be boxed, the nostalgia of yesteryears seems to rewind just like in the movies. I can vividly recall the days when mom and dad would give us a new toy and each one of us would gather around it wondering what it was for and but making sure it works at the end of the day. Sometimes we’d argue over it and sometimes we’d work together like we have one mind with one goal. And with each success we made in putting it to work, mom and dad would always clap their hands, give us a pat at the back and more often than not, treat us to a well-deserved meal or even give us some tokens or gifts for the job well done. Those days will be missed. Hopefully, in our next home, they’ll do just the same.

It’s been two days after I started observing and taking charge in the packing of several of our toys with the help of the people whom our parents hired to do it for us. Some of these people are familiar to me as I’ve played with them when I was a bit young in this soon-to-be-our-ex home. Now we still know each other and I’m still as eager to play and help them box the toys.

Tomorrow the packing stops. Just for two days at least. I heard that our parents will be handing out some envelopes to all of us. It’s probably for Christmas. I don’t know. Whatever it is, thanks anyway mom and dad.

Disclaimer: The characters and events in this story are fictitious and if there’s any similarity to actual events, person or entity…then, it must be true…well, partly true.

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A Week of Interviews (Part 2)

The second interview we had last week is far more serious than the first because what is at stake here is someone else’s life being entrusted to us we if pass it. It’s actually the 2nd one for this process as the 1st one was done at home. This time we were in an adoption foundation somewhere in Cubao.

Early this year I approved the long standing wish of wifey to adopt a child. I can still recall the time and place when I finally told her about it. We were having dinner in Aling Tonya’s in SM by the Bay when I saw one family with small kids passing by. I guess something in me snapped when I felt like we need another one to tag along with us just like complete families do. That night, the image of the kid holding his father’s hand while they merrily chat held on to my brain like stubborn road tar. And that was it; I had to admit then that we lack at least one member. We need a child.

Since then, my wife had been busy searching thru the internet regarding adoption, child care, etc. I myself did some searching especially on the inevitable potty training thing.  This I guess is the one thing that I might need some time to getting used to with our future kid. Other things related to raising a child, I’m now prepared to do it. At least I think so.

During the interview, we were asked to answer a couple of questions from the forms and a couple of which got me to reflect for a moment.

  1. Names of people who influenced you? Frankly, I can’t seem to figure out who did.
  2. Three (3) things you fear the most? Undoubtedly, I wrote lightning as one.
  3. I will love my wife more if…? I answered: if she cooks breakfast without being told and if she drives the car Because other than these, I love her as she is.
  4. What are the adjustments you’ll make when you receive the baby? I wrote a phrase or two, but for sure that will be a lot…and I’m excited about it.

After being inside the interview room for at least 3 hours, we finally finished filling in the questionnaires with my mind wondering if the social worker was also taking notes of every gestures and comments we made. Hopefully, we did well as our answers will be used to match the child for us. If my jokes and other comic remarks were noted, I might as well expect a baby with red-round make-up on his cheeks. Seriously, as long as he’s healthy, I’m accepting it.

***

Taco Bell

Coming out of the foundation more than half an hour past lunch time, we headed to the nearby The Gateway mall and treat ourselves in Taco Bell’s. That lunch for me was more than just a treat, as it brought back memories of my US trip back in ‘05. The tacos smelled and tasted just like they did abroad. I just hope that wifey will soon have the opportunity to agree with me.

***

Red right hand

Tooth Fairy
Definitely not from your mom’s fairy tale bedtime stories

Soon after, and as if having an itinerary for every interview day, we were again headed to the cinema. Both of us easily pick Hellboy II: The Golden Army over other films. This would be our first time to watch a movie in this mall. The cinema is fully carpeted with a wide end row and tapering towards the wide-screen. Air-conditioning is just right and its soft cushion seats added a great viewing experience for one great movie such as Hellboy.

What I find fascinating about this sequel is the fact that it got better than the first one. The creature characters were surprisingly well detailed that although the diversity of the aliens reminds me of Star Wars Episode III, the creatures in Hellboy are as unique as the main stars of this film. Even the villains were convincingly portrayed. And as much as they appear mean and scary, I think the tiny evil tooth fairies deserve a movie of their own. Oh, by the way, Hellboy and Liz are having their own kid. Coincidence?

And there goes another busy week for both of us. It may even become busier until the end of this year if our baby arrives by October. I’m not so fully sure yet if I’d be busy at work as well. This I’ll know in a couple of weeks.

 

A Week of Interviews (Part 1)

It is a fact and a cliché that time flies so fast. And so today I was surprised to see that the last time I did a blog was on August 31 and fifteen days after that, I’m still wondering what I’ve been thru since then. Now I’m in the middle of the much awaited months for us Pinoys–the BER months. And being the 15th which is the payday for most employees, I can just imagine the throng of people in the mall, in the clubs, and those in the beer bars—all likely enjoying at least a couple of Christmassy tunes in the process.

In spite of losing track of my activities, the freshest memory that still lingers in my mind are the things that we did last week. In work terms, work week 37. Last week, my wife and I underwent a couple of separate exciting interviews amid my untimely colds that was made worse by the enduring rainy week. But having prepared for these interviews for so long, not to mention that the stakes are high, we proceeded undeterred.

The first one was in the US embassy in Manila. It was actually my wife’s idea to try our luck in getting a US Visa (tourist). Although, I’ve been thru this before for my week-long Wisconsin training trip, I was a bit pessimistic in acquiring a new one as I’ve seen a couple of times the disappointment it gave my parents upon every denial in their quest to visit my sister abroad. Lately though, according to wifey, a lot of her peers got theirs without much ado. And true indeed, after a couple of anxiety-filled hours inside the embassy, our visa application got approved as well. My wife went out of the hallway skipping like a kid promised with a weekend beach picnic. “I feel like I’ve just won the American Idol audition”, she quipped. Well, that probably puts me in William Hung’s shoes when he got the record deal. (What made it greater was that our Visa expires in 2018 but the news today regarding the end of validity of the green passport by 2010 looks trouble to me.)

One thing that my wife and I are totally in synch with is that both of us agree with rewarding ourselves with every success that we had; more often than not, we love food treats. And this time we dropped by MOA (Mall of Asia) looking for something new. Then we saw Cheesecake Etc. Inc. It is a small (approx. seats 10-15 person) restaurant but with cozy feel to it. Obviously, we ordered a couple of cheesecakes and coffee to match it. What we got were lovely shaped treats plus great plate decoration. Price was also fair. I recommend this place as an alternative to Starbucks.

Walle

After satisfying our sweet tooth, we headed to the cinemas just in time to catch the movie Wall-E. It was time to feed our craving for comic relief.

Like any other Disney movie we’ve seen, this movie didn’t fail us. The scenes in the movie despite being subtle and comical packs a serious message of what our (humans) future awaits if we lose the awareness on our environmental obligations. It also sends a strong warning to everyone who tends to entrust our lives to technology with the belief that it is there to give us convenience. Convenience that if not controlled will eventually produce more bad than good effects in the end. Does garbage problem and obesity sound familiar? If there’s an animated counterpart to Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth movie, this is it. This is a must see movie for both young and old alike. (I love this one so much that I can’t wait to get its DVD.)

(to be contintued…)

 

Heroes Wanted: Dead or Alive

Just like any other typical Sunday at home, I once again savor the fact that today is another day off after a stressful week at work despite taking a leave last Thursday to finish a painting task at home and several other business in preparation for “the baby.”  And so, as predictable as clockwork I was out of bed early to send my wife to work and soon found myself in front of my beloved sunny side up breakfast and Sunday newspaper.

I’m not really sure if today is some sort of holiday to honor our heroes but the main section of the Philippine Star has its editorial regarding heroes in our midst. It mentions that today is Ramon Magsaysay’s 101th anniversary. While reading it something captured my attention:

“…This year’s Ramon Magsaysay awardees include two from the Philippines…”

This line made me paused for a moment as I can’t seem to gather the relationship between the words Ramon Magsasay awardees and the phrase include two from the Philippines.

Correct me if I’m wrong but a Filipino awarding body will of course give honor to Filipinos, right? Well, after flipping more pages later, another article titled “Touching History” (by Michael Charleston B. Chua) washed away my inch-deep knowledge of this award. I learned from this article that the Ramon Magsasay Awards is an international body that honors not only Filipinos but other Asian heroes as well. So that explains it.

What I find alarming though with those articles is the fact that the majority of recipients of this award are not Filipinos. Even more troublesome is that those Filipinos being honored are not even popular in the Philippines. Do the names Gov. Grace Padaca and Jaime Alip ring a bell? If you’re not an elementary student who has current events or history subject, I doubt that these names are in one of your brain neurons. That’s how serious is our need to have a hero–a Filipino hero. Do you think we have one? Is it Ninoy?

During my elementary days, and despite the innocence, I can still somehow recall the emotions of so many people from the news about the assassination of this opposition senator. The major effect of this event took 3 more years before most Filipinos got grumpy and fed up, marched to the streets, formed the famous People Power, ousted the Marcos dictatorship and eventually seated to presidency Ninoy’s housewife, Cory. I knew from then on that hope for a better Philippines has blossomed… or so they say. Like most pinoys during that time, Ninoy was my hero, too.

Ninoy
I’m also Ninoy.

But once I graduated from college, started to work and had my own time in front of the TV, I began to learn further about the Philippine political scene. I soon realized that the yellow ribbon song, Ninoy, Cory and the People Power at EDSA were nothing but hype and it worsen when EDSA became synonymous with civil disobedience and short term memory loss. I suspect that it may even be a creation of some spin doctors trying to insult the minds and hope of most Filipinos. The reality is, I figured, Philippines is going nowhere. The crooks were never gone; they just changed form, political parties, and surnames.

That’s how pessimistic I’ve become when it comes to politics. Actually, I’ve been pessimistic on most aspect of the Philippines – should I say, just like most Filipinos do? I’m wondering now who’s to blame for all this. And the answer is? It’s not Erap. Not FVR. Not even GMA. Then who? Surprise! No one but us. Yes, us. Everyone has their own share of this downturn we are experiencing for years now. Everything we did, like paying bribes, not paying the proper taxes, buying pirated items, refusing to register and vote during elections just to name a few, are factors that bad politicians (is this an oxymoron?) and their evil allies enjoy. One way or another we are guilty. We are feeding their greed.

As much as I’m tired of reviving (my own) hope over and over and over again, I still guess that it’s about time that we bring back the slogan”Tama na, Sobra na (enough is enough).” Everything we do right now has its effect and every contribution even in small ways will help in the recovery of our nation. My mind is holding me back from saying this, but let’s start believing that change is possible…let’s cross our fingers, exhale deeply and let’s do our part – consistently.

So in order to do my part right now, I’m setting aside at least some part of pessimism especially now that some group started this advocacy to bring back the spirit of heroism by founding the iamninoy movement.  This is long overdue but I consider this a good move and a good start. I do hope that this gets a good media exposure. I hope the media (especially TV) stop their senseless, exaggerated news. Most people are bored of negativity. It’s high time we discover more heroes, dead or alive. From them, let’s look back, review and learn from our past mistakes. Let’s move on.

 

Breakfast, Egg, and I

You have to know what you want when you reach the end of the line…” – Andrew Zimmern, Bizarre Foods host.

I’m one of those who consider breakfast as the most important meal of the day. I can skip lunch, dinner and whatever snack there is, but never breakfast. I become grouchy when I miss it in the morning. This is often why I’m grumpy on my way to the office and becomes grumpier upon reaching our canteen once I discover that the menu at the counter doesn’t stand true to the enticing smell reaching our company’s parking lot.

So what is it with breakfast that makes me crave for it every day? Well, a typical breakfast for me includes coffee and egg. These two may be combined with longganisa (sausage), hotdog, tocino, corned beef, and spam, just to name a few—a few oily ones. Sometimes fish and veggies are accepted for health reasons but if I can avoid it they won’t get near my breakfast selection.

As weird as it may seem, I enjoy watching movies that have scenes of people having breakfast either in their own home or inside a restaurant. And to make it even weirder, other than the great car chase and firefight, one of the scenes I won’t skip in Ronin is the part where one of the assassins cooks egg as the others plan their heist.

You see I have this thing for perfectly cooked sunny side up eggs. I can’t exactly recall how long I’ve been into this obsession but I know that it has been years since I started trying to mimic the well-rounded sunny side up of McDonalds (or Jollibee).

And to prove how serious I am with what others would consider a trivial part of breakfast, I’ve spent time and money, fortunately not a fortune yet, on my quest to perfect my own sunny side up which led me to buy and test ‘tools’ to achieve my ultimate goal.

My egg tools: 1. Egg rings 2. Microwaveable egg cooker 3. Mini Teflon frying pan 4. Teflon frying pan

I started of course with the promising Teflon frying pan. It is flat it is non-stick, but it doesn’t work. I’ve used different stove settings to see if the egg will cook differently, yet to no avail. The shape just doesn’t stay round.

Then I found the microwaveable egg cooker.  This product’s box shows four heart-shaped (it’s not round but as long as it’s perfect I will go for it) sunny side ups. Sadly, the item not only failed to meet the promised result, but the egg tasted bland and felt like rubber after coming out of the microwave.

I also tried poaching with the expectation that once I drop the egg into boiling water, it will miraculously attain the coveted shape as I have seen the chefs on TV do it. Instead what I got was an egg lacking crab and corn mixture. I read that some trim the edges to attain the round shape but I consider it cheating.

And there’s the egg rings. I found these in the grocery store and it looked like a foolproof way to finally have breakfast with a McDonalds-like perfection but right after I cracked the egg, all hopes were gone when the egg white leaked like water from the lower sides.

A smaller Teflon frying pan was my latest purchase hoping that its size will make the egg form along the pan’s side. At first it actually did but the top side does not cook well which led me eventually flip the egg and ruin its form in the process.

Egg snafu

With the outcome I have mentioned, I will continue my search for the sunny side up and hope that someday I’ll start my day with a lovely egg I could proudly say I personally cooked to complement the brewed coffee and bread or whatever goes well with it. Hopefully, that day will come before we welcome to our home a new family member or else I’ll be forced to serve him either scrambled or boiled eggs just because I can’t cook the perfect sunny side up.

***

Immediately after I finished this blog, I wondered why I haven’t checked the internet if someone is as desperate as me. Well, I guess I may not be alone after all since I discovered this after typing “How to do a perfect sunny
side up.”

Anybody for an egg meet up?

Death Race: A Film By Filipinos

The other night my beloved wifey and I watched the last full show of the film Death Race (Starring Jason Statham as Jensen Ames) because Wall-E isn’t showing anymore. And while on my way to meet up with her at the mall, I was thinking of the title which by itself is a no brainer. As it implies, I presume that it’s just all about death and race. No more. No less. But wait, there’s more.

The moment the film started rolling, it immediately captured my attention with some of its projected text on the silver screen and with some questions running on my mind along with it.

2012 in America. Will we be there by this time?

Unemployment. Will we be included?

Death. Entertainment?

Race. Will we be watching another live F1 soon? And when?

My wife, as I expected, started giving her naughty remarks (I always know that it is meant to annoy me) while I was starting to sink in to the story. But instead of hushing her, I myself made my own mumbled remarks in agreement. And as if those keywords aren’t enough to keep us related to the opening part of the film with its resemblance to our pending future, the opening scene also shows the main character getting laid off from his job in the metal factory. There’s chaos in the line of workers waiting for their turn to get their last pay. At this point, I was beginning to feel uneasy and I was somewhat praying to get over with the factory scene and show the death race itself.

A few frames more, the factory setting ended, thankfully. I did not mind when the succeeding scenes became tragic with Jensen drugged by someone in a ski mask and eventually becoming unconscious just to wake up with police and their hand guns sticking inches away from his face while trying to make sense what he’s doing with a knife in his hand and his dead wife beside him. Needless to say, that landed him in prison.

His role in Terminal Island became apparent when he was offered to participate in the famous Death Race since his record shows that he was a famous car racer years before. His acceptance of the part will be his way out of the prison facility with the condition that he will win the race. (Sadly, I didn’t catch in the film the reason why he needed the said career and instead endured working inside the hot metal factory).

So just like any sane man offered to race for freedom, Jensen accepted. And this is where I started to enjoy the film. The main death race had several inmates as drivers and with their own armored, gun-mounted, and extra modified cars. Among them of course is Jensen who had to wear a mask in order to pretend as Frankenstein who was actually the famous death racer who perished in the opening scene but without the fans’ knowledge. The race is viewed online by fans numbering in millions with each paying at least $99 per view while the death racers outrun and “outgun” each other.

While I consider this as a B-movie, I actually applaud whoever was behind it. I’m now beginning to imagine that the people who conceptualized this movie are a team composed of Dana White’s men, ex-FIA officials, troubled American school kids, Twisted Metal (PS1 game) programmers and last but not the least – Filipino drivers.

Why? Because I find this movie a mixture of UFC fighters who are driving F1 cars with trigger-happy American school kids handling the Gatling gun’s remote button. Furthermore, the Filipinos here are divided into two sub- teams. First are those drivers who love to mount anything on their jeepneys from horse figures, shiny CDs, LEDs, more LEDS, horns, and unlimited antennas just to name a few–they are the designers of the Death Race cars. The other Filipinos are those who designed the weapon activation systems–-which I wish I’m one of them as sometime, just sometimes (wink wink), I wish I had those buttons inside our Mary.

Surprising as it may seem, I recommend this movie to let out some steam without doing any harm to the stubborn driver in front of you while stuck in traffic. Road rage alert. Watch out for bald male driver fumbling with the cigarette lighter

The X-Files and Marriage

At last! A couple of days ago my wife and I finally got the chance to view one of my much awaited movie. The X-Files: I Want to Believe. I can’t exactly say that I’m the number one fan of its TV series, but I can say that it’s one of the shows that made me forget almost about everything once it starts showing. The moment the first note of its theme song plays, I’m all eyes and ears in front of the boob tube.

You see I’m one of those who believe that someone could be indeed out there. Since I was kid, one of the things we did once the sun sets is to look up the dark and star-filled sky either just to past time away or to compete with either my friends or my sister on what have we lately learned about the constellations. Most of the time when we do that I would always wonder if someone else may be staring down (or up) at us and wondering just the same thing like I do.

My enthusiasm for alien life form – or at least stories of it – increased further as I grew up. And the advent of The X-Files filled in the craving to know and discover more. I began to wonder if conspiracies especially on the part of the U. S. government exist–remember Roswell? Those days and even until now, seeing the “Something is out there” poster sends some sort of adrenalin rush. These are words that keep the alien conspiracy theorists awake and sleepless.

So other than the fact that The X-Files featured two great characters, FBI Agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson), whom I had crush with the latter, the presence of the elements of mystery, conspiracy, and the idea of finding alien life form here on earth is a dream come true for every believer like me.

Sadly, the second X-Files movie still didn’t do justice to the TV series. It has actually gotten worse than the first one.  The story just doesn’t have the X-Files feel compared to its TV counterpart. But maybe it’s just me. And maybe it’s because we came in late in the first place and my mind was divided between catching the UFO-looking patty of Burger King’s Whopper Jr. and getting in on time inside the cinema. My wife actually sensed the desperation that she consoled me that we missed only a couple of minutes of the show. That’s easy for her to say but The X-Files for me wouldn’t be a complete X-Files if I didn’t hear its main theme song.

Bits of this movie that I find interesting are:

  • Finally, their (Mulder and Scully) platonic relationship ended. Good for Mulder, bad for us male Scully fans.
  • Despite the obvious ageing, both still has the appeal as X-Files FBI agents. (I learned from the Jimmy Kimmel show this morning that Gillian Anderson was just 24 years old when she first made it to the X-Files TV show.)
  • At least Skinner is still there. But it could have been better if the Cigarette- Smoking man had his appearance. I love this Morley-packing character.
  • Pedophile priest considered alien? Just about time I guess.
  • The snowy Virginia setting really added to the cinema’s chilly temperature. Hot brewed coffee highly recommended instead of sodas.
  • And guess who’s in charge of the music for this movie? Mark Snow. How colder can it get?

If given the chance, I’d like to watch this movie again from the very start in order for me to understand what it was all about. I hate to believe that this latest X-Files movie is a flop. There must be one good story behind it all.

***

Why The X-Files and marriage are related

Scully: What are you doing?

Mulder: Trying to ignore you.

While I’m still trying to figure out the actual leader of this sinister plot of getting me late for the movie. I’m starting to believe that there’s a conspiracy between Burger King, bridge repair works, SM guard on duty, the cinema and my wife (this is where the X-Files theme song plays). Come to think of it The X-Files and marriage may seem to have some commonality at all. Now you have a clue of who my suspect is. Well, here’s more why marriage and The X-Files are related.

  • The anticipation to see the show is just like anxiously waiting for your wife to come home with six-pack of beers. The moment she’s in, you grab the beers and then you’re in your own world on the sofa.
  • Sometimes the episode doesn’t seem to make sense just like your…(you fill in; I’m not getting quoted for this)
  • Sometimes you get obsessed with the show, of course, just like how you sometimes get obsessed with your wife.
  • The continuation of an episode sometimes doesn’t seem to get related to the other. I’m sure you’ve had discussions with your wife that suddenly shifted to something that made you wonder if you’re awake during the whole discourse.
  • Sometimes the episode is just so scary you can’t help but avoid looking at… (I’m not completing this one either – you fill it in. Take the risk)
  • Most of the time though, you miss it so much that a week is never complete without seeing it. Sometimes you even wish that you can see it daily. Now, this is more like my wife. Hahaha. Peace!