Things (or People) To Avoid When Writing

I’m writing  an article and this is not supposed to be it. I drafted my first choice and set it aside for later retrieval and continuation as I can’t concentrate on how to properly compose it. I have made a lengthy piece but the words and phrases seem to be similar to that of a drunken line of ants. No go.

It left me no choice but to press CTRL+N–or in layman’s term, make a new post instead. As a release mechanism, what I’m doing now is share some of the distractions that need to be avoided or eliminated when writing. By the way, this is in no particular order. I repeat: In. No. Particular. Order.

  1. Clouded mind. It’s one thing I avoid when writing or even replying to emails. Blogging is like driving and a clouded thinking doesn’t give good judgment and direction. So avoid it if you can. Anger, frustrations, and depression are just some factors that will result to clouded thinking. To solve it, listen to your favorite music over the headset before and during a blog composition.
  2. TV. Boob tube. Turn it off unless your topic of choice is what you’re currently watching.
  3. Videoke. No point explaining this one. Pray for rain instead, it helps disperse your neighbor’s drunken party.
  4. Empty stomach. Write satiated if your topic is not about how it feels like to be hungry. Then lastly…
  1. The wife. Yes, that’s right. Wife. As lovely as she seems to be and might even contribute blog ideas, she on the other hand could be sneaky, unpredictable and a potent factor of ruining a good blog. If her mood isn’t right, she may even be the cause of unexplained deleted post or worse a deleted blog. To neutralize or tame this threat, I make sure that she’s fully asleep. But I still always remain cautious because a snore isn’t an indication of a deep sleep. I’m always prepared of any sudden or unsuspecting pillow movement as that may prove that she’s sneaking behind watching for that telltale sign that of a naughty blog.

Although, this isn’t the complete list, these distractions are often the reason my fingers freeze, mind stops running and usually makes me end up sleeping beside my lovely, sneaky wifey. Not bad after all. Ti abi.

 

Advertisements

Posting From Microsoft Office Word 2007

I love Bill Gates. I love Microsoft. No, this isn’t obsession but just a recent appreciation of how MS Word 2007 makes life more convenient for bloggers. I was hesitant at first to use this feature as I’m one paranoid especially when a pop-up asks me about my personal info including my password. Previous training (and common sense) tell me that passwords should never be shared. Only the paranoid survive. Yes?

MS login
I dread options like this more than not having a helmet while on a motorcycle.

Come to think of it though at some point of our lives, and if some are still not aware of it, we just have to give our trusts to other people especially now that information technology is unavoidable. Gone are the days when browsing through files in the filing cabinet is cumbersome. And nowadays it’s not only those nerdy (pardon the word, but some people appreciate it when they called nerdy) IT people that holds your life’s info in their hands. Does Big Brother ring a bell? And so you’ll wonder who these people are anyhow? Let me name a few and their respective potentials.

  1. Network admins – they have the privilege to access your emails, blogs and any other IT-related matters. I consider them the highest threat in the exchange of information. That’s why most of them are among the highest paid positions other than nurses.
  2. Credit card companies – they know how you spend, know what you buy (and your compulsion), what’s your salary and any other financial info you’ve submitted to them when you applied for that unarmed robber inside your wallet.
  3. Your friendly doctor or physician – they know your body more than you do unless you’ve personally probed your behind to look for lumps (ouch!).
  4. NBI (or FBI in the US) – they know your fingers better and has the capability to exchange it with someone else’s. So be extra careful with your fingerprints among soooo many other things that could be taken against you.
  5. Morgue personnel – morbid as it may seem, they are the least of your worries for unavoidable embarrassment. You know what I’m talking about. At least, your next of kin will be the one who will entrust you to them.

(That’s funny, but when I typed the title I never knew that I’ll somehow end up relating it to the last bullet. It must be a result of another bloody CSI episode this week.) 

Anyway, getting back to the topic, since it’s imminent that I’ll be spending quite some time blogging in the days to come, I finally have to give in (again) to entrusting my secret alphanumeric code–a.k.a passwords to those behind this MS Word 2007 feature of publishing a blog directly without having to open an internet. It’s a compromise, I give my trust to them and they give me the publish menu in my MS Word in return. That’s just the way it works.

word 2007
Wordstar was simpler.

And today, while the Jetman is probably still fast asleep after setting the first English channel crossing by using his wing invention, I on the other hand is celebrating in my own petty way for having my first blog published thru MS Office Word 2007. To each his own.

Posting Word

Not Guinness book-worthy, but a record nevertheless.

Destined to Blog?

I have not been into my top form lately and been desperately trying to convince my body to go back to the gym or spend some time playing badminton with my friends. But then since almost three weeks ago I’m in the state where the cliché the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak applies. Just lazy in short.

So to entertain myself I’ve been at the mercy of technology. If I’m not in front of the sofa watching TV, I’d be in front of my PC killing time by surfing the net,blog-hopping, lurking forums,etc. The bright side here is that while my body is waiting for it to be in action, my mind is enjoying its time in front of the PC and I think it has taken quite an interest in reading blogs. This time more intently, more geeky.

Instead of self-pity for not being in the court or on a treadmill doing 5K, I began to feel contented feeding my mind, if not overload it, with info from the World Wide Web. I started visiting more blog sites, participated in blog forums, and reviewed some basic grammar—a never ending quest. Additionally, I felt like I’m seeing some potential in monetizing my blogs. These sites must have been some sort of premonition as today I officially become a dead-employee-walking-man. Today, I start counting down my time out of corporate life. Ninety days from now, I’d be free, I’d be jobless. Thankfully, I won’t be money-less at least for a good 6 months. I guess.

For now the question is, Am I destined to blog? Whatever the answer is, I’d like it to be yes.  And if it is yes, I’d like myself to be paid for doing so. Hopefully, I’ll start small and hopefully I’ll at least earn an amount just enough keep me from being tagged as a full-fledged bum — well, that’s the plan. I love writing, I love blogging. It’s something to keep me occupied after I’m done potty training our baby (to be). Now where is my red English writing book? If killing time is a crime, then consider me a serial killer in the days to come.

***

For the past few weeks, I’ve frequented the wordpress pinoy community and I saw its improvement today. I love the way it looks now as it has a more WordPress feel to it than before.

old wpp
Old WPP

This is not the exact look of the site but a cached version from my new search engine -homepages friends. This too, pays. How?

new wpp
New WPP

Then the site improved and new theme is better. Anything that shows a cup of coffee is attractive for me.

***

 

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.

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.