Monday, March 31, 2008


what this means is that we will soon join the multitudes in Vancouver without a roof over their heads.

A bleak bleak future awaits...

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Lost Causes

I woke up feeling like the 38 Degrees that was burning within me – hot, weak and not in the best state of mind. I feel the sickness run amok through my veins, teasing every tissue in my body, sapping the very last ounces of strength from the earthen meat upon which it feats upon – in a state of delirious merry making, all at my expense . It is in this state of things that I sort to cheer up my dropping spirits and began searching to for a movie to watch, and there I came upon it – Attila the Hun.

But it wasn’t Attila that fascinated me, it was his nemesis – Flavius Aetius

Aetius comes from the a long tradition of men defending lost causes – men like Socrates (who sought to inspire the thirst for knowledge in his fellow Athenians, but was make to drink hemlock for his troubles); Gustav Stresemann (the statesman who sought to save the doomed Weimar Republic); Lin Zexu (who valiantly resisted British aggression during the Opium War) just to name a few.

Aetius was in Edward Gibbon’s words, ‘the last of the Romans’. Such an accolade was vested in him because he was indeed the last of the Romans who was able to grasp the geo-political situation of the known world and possessed the military astuteness that brought about Roman dominance for centuries.

But Aetius’ Rome, wasn’t the Rome that was once the dominant superpower. It was a Rome knocking upon death’s kneel – teething with social problems, threats from Barbarians to the borders of the Empire, rampant corruption and vicious power struggles that had earlier split the empire into two. There were two Romes that Romans knew of – the present Rome and the glorious Rome of the past. As most Romans struggled to merge the two, Aetius was clearly aware of the differences that lay between illusion and reality. He recognize that Rome was feeble and weak, and it was past it’s days where it could deploy it’s legions to every corner of the empire to impose Rome’s might upon those willing to challenge it. He knew the new realities required him to play a tacit game of statesmanship – the ability to play one against another, to divide and rule, while hopefully buying the much needed time and resources Rome needed to recuperate it’s former greatness.

Although Aetius was willing to accept and challenge the realities, it was only right that eventually reality caught up with him. The jealousy of his Emperor Valentine III over Aetius’ military achievements and affection he possessed amongst the Senators and the plebs drove the Emperor to assassinate Rome’s last standing hope. The dagger’s thrust brought with it the final nail on the Empire’s casket.

But Ateius’ determination to carry on the course of a seemingly failed enterprise lives on to inspire. He realized, like the others before and after him, that the road was murky and impassable, but he defiantly took that realization in his stride, and held onto the belief that one’s destiny lied not in grim perception, but in the belief of one’s ability to alter the inevitable, to change one’s realities while not expediting it as idealism.

We need such hope today, such hope that is intermixed with astute determination to alter our realities. To be bearers of lost causes and not be afraid to fail in the process. And should we fail, at least we did mark our destinies with our own hands and pour scorn upon fate's hideous work.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

One never knows the full breath of liberty until one finishes all his (my male bias) essays!

Take that from me, because one thing I've come to fear as an Arts student is a term called 'dateline'. I shudder at the rampant warnings of academics that thou shalt art not plagiarize . I'm haunted by the sounds of the clattering keys emanating from keyboard echoing through the silence of the morning. Such is the life of an arts students, no thanks to the derivation from our motto - To Procrastinate beyond reasonable doubt, and when doubt shall arise, FREAK OUT!

But that is all past me, for this period at least. One things for certain, that is the certainty my monumental struggle with essay writing is bound to re-live itself sometime in the near future.

And to that individual who think that it comes naturally to me: NUTS!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Here's my attempt at witticisms, I can't say there were all my own.

Perish with ignorance you ill rotten fools, for your self acquired knowledge has quite expired

One does not need to ask oneself what he knows, it’s just a simple click away

Hypocrisy is a lovely thing, for one has to be oneself at a time and later part with it and embody somebody else.

Don’t blame life when things go wrong, it’s just that we have forgotten our better half.

It is almost vulgar to talk in niceties, for we will forget what we uttered almost certainly at the point of it’s utterance. Vulgarity is a different matter, we take pride at our vulgarisms and constantly save it for our own consumption.

Such pretty lasses and charming boys, I'm sure they manufactured more of them at the plant.

In life, there is no such thing as a hard and fast rule, the only rule in life is to break all the rules in life. (Somewhat plagiarized from Wilde)

Sunday, March 23, 2008

In History: The Battle of Little Round Top

In 1863, with the American Civil War into it's third year, General Robert E Lee, the Commanding General of the Army of North Virginia set upon the invasion of the North, with the hope of capturing Washington D.C and ending the war. The Union forces decided to put up a stand against Lee's juggernaut at a little town in Pennsylvania called Gettysburg. At the end of the Union left flank stood a hill called Little Round Top, which was defended by the U.S 1st Brigade, 1st Division. The 20th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment commanded by Col. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, with just 385 men were positioned to the left of the Union lines.

On 2nd June 1963, the Alabama Brigade of Confederate General John Bell Hood's Texas Division were ordered to take Little Round Top. The 15th Alabama Regiment then maneuvered to the East in search for the Union flank Col William C Oates, commander of the 15th ordered an attack on the Union's Western flank held by the 20th Maine and 44th Pennsylvania. The attack was marked by steadfast confederate persistence and tenacious Union defenses. Col Oates in order to overcome the stubborn resistance of the union forces ordered his forces to maneuver to the left in an attempt to outflank his enemy. Colonel Chamberlain in response extended his line to prevent the flanking maneuver to the extend that his line to the extend that his line was one man thin. Having repelled tides upon tides of Confederate attacks, Chamberlain realized that the casualties were rising and they were running out of ammunition. Knowing that he has little chance of resisting another onslaught, Chamberlain ordered his troops to fix bayonets to the passionate yet defiant cry - 'Bayonets!' with the intention of ordering his troops to charge down the hill beginning from the left flank, in a swinging door maneuver to the right

The charge took place with the Union forces charging down the hill and their momentum held the confederate forces bespectacled as such a maneuver was deemed unorthodox in warfare of that day. The maneuver crippled the 15th Alabama and lead to the eventual Union defeat of the Alabama Brigade, a force which outnumbered their Union counterparts several times over.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Good Friday

A day of prayer and abstinence – I guess I’ve adhered at least to the second part of it, I think I just don’t possess the temperament to kneel for a period of time reading down the my list of problems, usually I’ll just tell God that…Well God, you are God, you know me true and through, so just please make all my problems disappear!

From experience, such a recipe usually bears mixed results, from my point of view at least. I do not think God actually measures the length of your prayerx to the propensity of Hisher graces. I mean I know of people who really belief in that sort of thing, I mean what else can account for the multitudes of people who flock to the front peels of Novena Church every Saturday and cement their knee caps upon the kneelers for hours. But if they belief what they’re doing makes a difference, good for them, but I’m certain that knee hurts really bad after a while.

As to the abstinence part, I did observe it. However, I think I was really enjoying myself gulping down frostered flakes with whole milk. So, even though I observed the necessities of not consuming meat, which is suppose to make your life a living hell, I actually found no trouble munching through a whole box of cereal. So I guess I did adhere to the letter of the law, but not the spirit of the law – which I assume is to starve yourself silly and that renunciation of all that pleasure is suppose to knock some sense into you and enable you to better reflect as to whether you’ve been naughty or nice.

For me, as I stood at the back of the church for the 3pm service (It was so darn pack! I actually had to squeeze myself into the other service being held at basement) I told myself that I think I’ve done pretty well, at least well enough not to be lock into eternal damnation. I hope so for my own sake.

Standing at the back was quite fun, I mean you get to see everything. The service of course, the choir girls, a few familiar faces here and there, and how the collective behavior of people who were just individuals before they stepped into church. When one kneeled, everyone kneeled. Someone utters a response, the crowd chases after his or her utterance. I guess the atmosphere where everyone is accepted as one in one community without the prejudices and biases does give us all a reason to feel good about ourselves. And some even get overboard and seek to superimpose upon you. I was lectured as to the proper technics of venerating the cross, why? Because I did not have a rose in hand and I think in Filippino culture, putting a rose by the cross is part of the whole ritual. So I just nodded in agreement as an old Filipino lady gave me her rose out of the dozens she had and told me to kneel and touch the foot of the cross and kiss it. I did just that because as she walked away, she was looking behind her back ensuring that I was following her instructions. I’m sure she just didn’t want me to burn in hell for not following the dictates of venerating the cross – a tradition probably crafted from the days of old and edited and exaggerated every generation since. But she gave me a Rose, and I knew she just meant well.

So tomorrow is Easter and the little kids would be imagining queer little bunnies hopping down their lawn. Too bad, it’ll just be gorging over Easter eggs for them, and a long weekend for me. As I said earlier, tomorrow is a time for feasting and merry making, so like how I fastered on frosted flakes with milk ceaselessly, I shall have a real Merry Easter! And I hope that applies to all of you as well. Here’s to a happy and joyful Easter! Stay Safe, but keep the faith!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

A Maundy set of Ramblings

Econs Test was a breeze, to my surprise, I was expecting in all honesty something a lot tougher given the amount of input the prof puts into his lectures. I guess the all nighter I pulled through was well worth it. Just a little aside, as I was handing up my paper, the prof walked past me and gave me a soft nudge with a cheeky little wink. Did not quite get the hint initially, but man, as I was packing up only did I realize that I was sitting next to a real hottie. I guess even she caught the Profs’ attention and is the just added motivation I needed to attend my 4pm econ lectures more regularly instead of attending the earlier one.

Anyway, with the long Easter break coming, it seems like everyone has a plan or another to get some well deserved fun out of the few days of rests before the finals. For myself, I didn’t have any plans and I only realized it fully when a friend of mine asked me on a trip to Seattle, something which I really wanted to do, especially given the company. However, its just the way things are, there’s got to be keeners like me in this world to make it go around, otherwise how would all the fun loving people get their fun in the first place.

Talking about keeners and slackers and what not, I remembered a point in time where we used to establish individuals to be such and such a person because he or she is just a loser, period. We do not even give much thought as to why the individual presents him or herself as such. Instead, labeling one does give the individual who coins the label a certain sense of superiority over the other – a top down comparison. So as it is easier not to think, and it makes one feel good about oneself when one resorts to labeling and stereotypes, people just go ahead about it without much thought and without realizing the farcicality and hubris involved in such actions.

If we think about it real hard. It’s just not keeners and losers we’re talking about. It is terms like terrorist, defeatist, patriots, democrats, republican, liberal, conservative. We have become enslaved to the dictatorship of terms and stereotypes, usually those tag lines are not even our own to begin with, but scraps we picked up from popular culture.

A close friend of mine once quoted Shakespeare in his famous soliloquy, “The world is a stage, we are all actors.” I nodded in agreement, for I know by my life, I’ve been living by a plot, a plot that from which we enact from every single day of our lives, a plot that has long been written. It is written in our genes, it affixes our temperaments, it translates into our idiosyncrasies, and most of all it crafts the environment in which we live, which partially constructs the individuals we are. As such, aren’t we products of these interweaving plots? Stage Actors, who in a final brush with deception, are lead to belief that we are free to exercise our autonomy over ourselves and even others. So then who are we? When we are to commit an action, no doubt it is of our doing. But it’s motives, it’s dimensions, it’s every livid detail was and is made up of elements and intermediaries beyond our human determination, rather engineered by complex neural and cognitive networks imbued in us beyond the scope of our autonomy?

Upon this realization, we do we do with ourselves? Wouldn’t it be contrary to say people can change, because people are such and would not and are not capable of altering themselves. No, people can alter their belief systems, but they do so only because they possess the characteristics which enable them to do so. These characters they possess outside of their decision pattern, but it is something in them which enables them to do so. Similarly, when an individual curses and scorns at another for a transgression, another individual on the other hand reacts in nonchalance. We will then say that the latter possesses a good temperament, whereas the former well, it has to learn to be more understanding and tolerant. We tacitly recognize both possess differences in nature, but we pause from going any further, as that will compel us to recognize the failure of our control of our own self-determination. However, if we do venture and take that step into the unknown, we cease to talk of our natures as free, but natures which are determined.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

It is in the scent..beware! beware!

"Herr God Herr Lucifer Beware! Beware!
Out of the ash I rise with my red hair
And I eat men like air."

-Sylvia Plath in 'Lady Lazarus'

Plath might just be right, if psychological research is anything to go by. Except that it takes a little more than a puff of ash.

Anyway, psychologist have ascertained that the key factor that sexually attracts women to their male opposites is the symmetrical dimensions of their facial and bodily features. The more balanced your facial features are (if you've that fat lip or that lazy eye and have issues, know you know why) and the more symmetrical your body is (Yes, those abs!), apparently the more sexually attractive you are.

Evolutionary Psychologists have reasoned that the possession of such features present the male subject as someone who has a tendency to be more healthy and as such possessing superior genes.

However, women do not have to see to know, they can sense it - through the scent of the man.

In a recent study, a few men of varying body symmetry were asked to put on clean shirts and to wear them for three days without changing. In other words, the shirt will be stenched with their odor.

Later, a group of women were called into the lab and asked to pour through the shirts left by the men. (In other words, sniff) There were then asked to ascertain who they thought, just solely by the scent alone, who was the most sexually attractive male.

True enough, most of the women selected the shirt which was worn by the man who possessed the most symmetrical bodily features!

Not only that, when asked of their menstrual patterns for that month. It is found that there is a correlation between high ratings for the 'symmetrical' shirt with that of women who were ovulating. In other words, when the woman has a higher tendency to have a child, the greater the attraction to the symmetrical male. Hence, this pattern of correlation point to the earlier evolutionary factor we talked about.

As the prof talked about this, I looked around the room and I saw that the only people laughing were the males. Most of the females just listened on reticently. So, is that tacit acknowledgment of some truth to this? How would males react? I also told a few of of my friends of this finding, and everyone of them made responses that reflect a immediate urgency of heading to the nearest gym and working out to get the much needed toned body.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Normative Statements

Sometime last week, I went through the whole exercise of coping with emotive self destruction - where your being yearns for something, but you know full well that what you seek is quite beyond your reach and in my case, extends beyond one's own ability to turn the tide.

That isn't in anyway - meek acceptance. Meek acceptance and genuine retrospection are two very different matters.

Meek acceptance is to scorn and curse at one's fate, and pray for divinity from the heavens.

Retrospection, on the other hand, is to take things in your stride, recognize your weaknesses and move on to fight another day.

However, I have no hard feelings of the episode, only to say that I genuinely treasure the agonizing and often painful dispensation of brutal truth and the painful assault it brought upon the emotions/senses - for it douses you with the springs of reality and extinguishes the desire for any illusions or fantasies.

However, there is still hope, not some abstract longing, but real expectations based upon some hard facts and objectivities.

Or there may be more disappointments to come, but seriously, I always ask myself how much more worst can it get.

Hence, a new week starts, what will come about it?What shall materialize? It is Lent, a time of (My mum so aptly reminded me) a time of 'abstinence and penance'. Amen to that. So tuna sandwiches on Wednesday, Celery Bolognese on Thursday, Abstinence on Friday (No Alcohol, No cheap 2nd hand tobacco, No Sex) and well you can eat a whole damm cow on Saturday because Jesus is risen from the dead..

Still it's Monday and I still have a whole chunk of emotional baggage to feast on from last week.

(In the LATEST installment: She (who spend half a Saturday fiddling with some damm watch which practices HR Hyperinflation) proudly boasts that she has gotten a full refund for the watch! Well, congrats for getting a full refund)

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5 (2nd movement)

Van Cliburn played Beethoven's 5th Piano Concerto at the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, 1960. In my opinion, it's got to be the most beautiful piece of music and especially this particular rendition. Van Cliburn, as an American, was playing the piece in front of the entire Soviet Leadership, yes including Nikita 'Shoe-stamping' Kruschev (google Kruschev 'shoe incident') He eventually impressed the judges so much that they awarded him the first prize, with the approval of the Soviet Leadership. A piece of musical history indeed!
When time gets ahead of you

Today involved some heavy lifting. The Madame of the house had her watch give up on her and having spend quite a fortune acquiring it for aesthetic purposes, she saw the need to go through the trouble in getting it fixed. So I followed her, went around a bit, patronize a few watch shops, got disappointed, decided to fix it ourselves, went to the dollar store - got ourselves a set of tools, went to superstore, bought the battery, took the watch apart (mind you, in the middle of Superstore!), affixed the battery, realized the watch still refused to work, checked the old battery, realized she got the wrong battery, tried inserting a one cent coin to give the battery a firmer connection with the mili-circuit, failed! Tried paper, failed! Decided to go to a watch shop instead, stopped by Grand and Toy (She has spoken: 'It is The Source LAH! Not Grand and Toy!) okay lah... bought a new battery, realized we lost one of the screws of the watch, took it apart, out with the 'old' in with the new, it did not work, banged it a few times, it worked! got scolded for fixing the watch on the floor in the middle of the shop and hence obstructing potential customers (To which I pointed out that I just bought a battery from the shop) Watched fixed! - And our madame savored all the full three hours of work she put into the watch. It was, a pretty nifty little thing! It could measure your heart rate and the work rate of your heart with pin point accuracy. So when my reading came up to 256BMP! and 96 per cent heart work rate. I was pretty darn surprise I was still alive and standing. Harpreet did better, 365 BMP!

By then it was pretty clear that there was a morale of the story. Do not get anything off Craig's list just because it saves you 50 bucks. It really aint worth it.

Saturday, March 15, 2008


Question from mum: What have you been doing for the last whole week?

That's the answer..

Grek: what have you morphed into having not cut your hair since December. I guess here's the answer.

hmm..I think this is a more accurate portrayal

I guess that assures you all that nothing much has change.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Of neighbors and blinds.

Well kids, here's a word of caution, next time you want to engage in any carnal actions, please pull down your blinds, because someone didn't and half the apartment block got to witness the whole freaking episode! I mean everything!

But it was really something!

I just got home from dinner, tired and all from sleep depravity. So I threw myself on the couch and began talking to my room mate about life and all. Then as he walked away to pick up a call, something from the apartment opposite mine caught my eye! At first it didn't occur to me, it failed to register in my mind! It was just a bobbing head, then upon closer observation, it was just not a bobbing head, it was a woman going ballistic! She was being humped vicariously! And she was just simply out of this world, in full view of the pairs of preying eyes from across the block.

I motioned to my room mate, he just stood in front of the window and watched and they just went on.

He asked in utter disbelief,"Is she dancing?"

I answered,"Nooo.. I think she's in a self induced trance!"

I guess they did not even freaking care! So it went on for a good five minutes.. (only?) and we continued to be held in disbelief, stopping only to ask each other, 'why didn't they pull down the freaking blinds?'

The episode ended like it started, abruptly. She stood up, and left. Then the guy stood up and pulled up his pants and then mechanically went on his business on the computer. For those two, it seems like everything is all in a days work.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Sunday, March 02, 2008