Monday, January 31, 2011

Phobos and Deimos

In the deepest hour of the night, confess to yourself that you would die if you were forbidden to write. And look deep into your heart where it spreads its roots, the answer, and ask yourself, must I write?

Ranier Maria Rilke
Letters to a Young Poet

I  wrote  poetry  long before I learned to write prose. It was an accidental epiphany, a legacy bestowed  upon us before Ralph Semino Galan disappeared from our memory. In Literature 101, he taught us to play with words.  Brimming with confidence and hubris only a person from Diliman displays,  he let his words soar and dive and play dead in front of the class.   

While the rest paid no attention, there I was trying to make my infant words sing. Like a distant constellation that he was, Mr. Galan never said anything when my words finally became a balladeer. Despite being brushed off, I found myself a companion. In turmoil and distress; in great joy and unspeakable sorrow, my words became poetry, and I wrote them to tell my journey.

The verses were never broken.  They were inked in pages of a Papemelrotti notebook and sang to me in solitude. A few souls were able to read my works. Some were so moved, they wrote their own poetry.  In my desire to immortalize their words, I kept their verses hidden in my treasure chest.

There is infinity in letters. And for four years in the university, I was able to weave stories with nauseating sentences. It was only after I was about to wear my toga that the stanzas were replaced with paragraphs. The prose was born and matured, as sentences upon sentences nourished my blog posts.

To ask me to write poetry again is like forcing me to speak a lie and tell everyone that I'm a virgin.  Gone are the juvenile musings, lamentations of lost puppy loves, and happy words meant to say pain. Everything is spoken straight from the gut nowadays.  I could not even lift a page from my notebook without showing pity to my past works.  With the way I learned to bend words, I fear of desecrating my old language. 

Resurrecting this memory only meant one thing. Like in the past, when poetry seems to disappear, this is a foreword of the things to come. My mind is getting cluttered, and the toils of living steals whatever time I set for reflection. Writing has become an elusive leisure; a time will come I could not afford it.

And so just in case my space becomes silent, you know it was meant to be.  With nothing to write save for a  life snugged between the mundane and the insignificant. 

Expect less words to fill this void from now on.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Full of Grace

Baby Lenin returns home after being confined in the hospital. He stayed for four days, and the round the clock vigil had robbed his parents of sleep. His urine samples showed infection. Someone was careless to let piss and feces collect in his diapers. On his first night, the baby's fever soared to 41 centigrade. The news worried the matriarch so bad, she asked me to inform the favorite aunt of Lenin's condition. Despite the risk of breaking her no-call-beyond-nine policy, I dialed her landline to seek consolation. We thought the situation called for urgency, but our panic had only earned her ire.

Nevertheless, the doctors-on-duty got some scolding from their esteemed professor. (who is also the favorite aunt) We were told that they assembled around Baby Lenin that night to personally attend to his condition. The fever disappeared after an hour and everyone breathed a sigh of relief.

Antibiotics was pumped into the poor infant's bloodstream the next morning. The favorite aunt wasn't satisfied. She recommended a complete ultrasound of Lenin's internal organs. Her prognostication terrified us all.  What if it turns out to be a birth defect?  How could we accept such tragic revelation?  Prayers were offered to assure a worried family. Fortunately the findings were normal. Higher dosages were eventually required to speed up his recovery. The in-laws came to visit.  My mom, in her frail state was present at the hospital every night. Her dedication unfaltering, the toll on her health concerns us all.

Now that the ordeal is over, let me confess a revelation I never shared at home. A day before fever struck my poor nephew, I had a bad dream about another aunt. I remember her sobbing over something which wasn't revealed at the start. I had to look closer to find the cause of her tears.  To my horror I saw a small white coffin before the scene faded to black. I didn't pay attention to that dream until I heard my nephew's shrill inside the ER.

Mom stops at the man-sized statue of the blessed mother before leaving the hospital
as she lets her intentions known
I could only whisper my prayers begging the heavens not for my dream to come true.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

MP3: Genre (Second Part)

First Part

I once thought that the sound quality of mp3s were far inferior to audio CDs.  This was the reason it took ages before I began copying songs I already possess. And with Sony Discman as my audio player, a hard drive barely able to store my computer games, and better sources of pirated CDs than P2P websites,  there was no reason for a techno switch. I was ready to brush-off the coming changes to pursue my old passions.

That was until I realized that an mp3 player is needed to sustain my gym workout.

The giant leap began with a Chinese-manufactured audio player. I bought the device for less than a thousand pesos. When it broke down after a few months, I switched to the sleek Creative Zen Nano for my music needs. It was my feeble attempt to catch up with technology.  However, the mp3 player could only store a limited number of songs.  Zen Nano's storage capacity was around 1 GB.  

Space-saving meant that I could only pick a few songs from the library and upload  it to the device. Since work-out songs must be separated with the rest of the mp3s, folders were created according to the genres. This idea was then adopted for the hard drive's music library. The system allowed my collection to expand in all direction.

6.  Light Alternative - Indie

To put Tori Amos, Sarah Mclachlan and Alanis Morisette along with Britney Spears and Miley Cyrus would be an abomination.  The musical differences are too striking, comparisons don't exist.

Also known as Adult Top 40, songs from this genre do not fall under pop, hard rock, hip hop, or dance music category. The songs mostly appeal to sophisticated urbanites and self-professed intellectuals who find themselves totally disconnected with mainstream music.

The songs in this genre are usually played in the FM station Jam 88.3. Though somehow similar to  Alternative-Rock, Light Alternative - Indie includes more female artists. The songs are more mellow and acoustic versions of the same, or even different genres fall under this collection. 


  • Drawing the line between pop music and light alternative sometimes get blurry. Pink, whose songs are considered mainstream contain profound lyrics and intricate tunes that would easily pass as Adult Top 40. Sadly, since she is identified with pop artists,  songs like "Who Knew," "Please Don't Leave Me" and "Just Like A Pill" appear in another folder.
  • Dash Berlin is among the rising stars in the dance music multiverse. However, since his song "Waiting" has an acoustic version, the song falls under the Light Alternative genre.    
  • There's a very big chance that if an artist uses piano or guitar as musical accompaniment, the song would fall under this category.
  • Favorite tracks:  Paula Cole - I Don't Want To Wait; Shawn Mullins - Lullaby; The Cranberries - Linger; Tori Amos - 1000 Oceans; Joseph Arthur - In The Sun.

7.  New Wave

This collection covers many genres from different and often diverging artists. What holds them together is the decades when their songs first hit the airwaves. The heavy use of synthesizer-based musical instruments to create the sound was another consideration.

Mami Athena often said that the 80s was the last great decade when fashion,  pop culture and music achieved universal appeal. Songs from this period became timeless and iconic. It has a distinct character and nostalgic appeal  that touches everyone. Such impact remains unrivaled until today.  

New Wave's contribution to succeeding generations is immeasurable.  Aspiring stage performers born during the late 80's would sing  Heart's "Alone" or  Bonnie Tyler's "Total Eclipse of the Heart," without any idea that the songs were already  global hits long before they were born.


  • Let the music absorbs you:  The first song that enabled me to rhythmically move to the sound using improvised steps and gestures was Industry's "State of the Nation."  It was the first song  I danced. 
  • Erasure's "A Little Respect," MG's "No Sense of Reason," and Seona Dancing's "More To Lose" are the forebears of today's electronic dance music.
  • A lot of one-hit wonders such as The Divinyls "I Touch Myself,"  A-ha's "Take On Me," and When In Rome's "The Promise"  came from this genre. 

8.  Classical Music

My fascination with classical music must have been born out of guilt.  Thrice did my parents worked hard to put me to piano school, but all attempts to learn the instrument were for nothing. I chose not to complete the short courses and preferred the joys of juvenile wanderings instead.

Eventually, my knowledge of piano keys and musical notes all disappeared. Even reading guitar chords, which I was able to play in piano was lost to memory.

I know little about Mozart, Bach or Beethoven. Clint Mansell and Bear McCreary were new discoveries. Their compositions clear my head, and shows the extent of my esoteric leanings.  I seldom listen to classics, but whenever I hear an artist play the piano, I could almost imagine myself performing the piece.


  • The reason why my parents enrolled me to piano school is for me to use the piano at home. They bought it the first time my "militant" dad earned from doing "real" work. 
  • "Entry of the Gladiators" is a circus music often used to introduce clowns 
  • Vitamin String Quartet is a group of musicians known for their tribute albums to rock and pop acts. The group is known for transforming songs such as "With or Without You," "Yellow" and "Screaming Infidelities" to classics.
  • Favorite tracks. Clint Mansell - Together We Will Live Forever; Beethoven - Moonlight Sonata; Pachelbel - Canon in D (Full Orchestra)

9.   Anime-J Pop

    Some bloggers asked why I don't have K-Pop songs in my library.  The answers are simple:  First is because many K-Pop artists look weird ( the boys put make-up and try to look effeminate). Second is because I don't like boy and girl super-groups.  Third is because of generation gap. There's no such thing as "K-Pop" when I was still a groupie. In its place was J-Pop; the song and dance entertainment extravaganza imported from Japan.

    Fueled by the second and third wave anime invasion during the late 90s,  J-Pop enjoyed minimal success over mainstream radio.  However, the genre's global breakthrough gave rise to the otakus we know today.


    • Opening and ending theme songs whether in anime or tokusatsu are sung by  J-Pop artists. If the oldest track in this genre includes theme songs of  Japanese TV shows, the oldest I have would be Daimos' opening song.
    • While Penny Tai and F4 are both from Taiwan, their songs were listed under J-Pop. I still have to create a "world music" folder where they rightfully belong.
    • Melodic people tend to focus on tunes rather than lyrics.  This is the reason why I could appreciate J-Pop songs without ever understanding the lyrics.
    • Notable J-Pop songs that are also opening/ending theme songs of animes:  Snow - Nightmare (Jigoku Shojo)  and  L'arc En Ciel - Drivers High (GTO) 

    10. Pinoy Pop

    Mula sa pinaka-jologs hanggang sa medyo conyo, lahat ng mga kantang pinoy na hindi matuturing na banda o kaya naman ay original OPM (katulad ni Basil Valdez) ay kabilang sa genre na ito. The reason for putting everything under one genre is because of my limited knowledge in original pilipino music.

    Kaya naman hindi nakapagtataka na sa aking music library, ang RnB princess na si Kyla ay kahanay ng Aegis at ang piling mga kanta ni Gary Valenciano, MYMP at Regine Velasquez ay ka-folder ng Salbakuta at Gagong Rapper.  

    Masyado bang hindi katanggap-tanggap? Kung gayon ay paumahin. Sadya lamang malawak ang taste ko sa music na pati mga kantang maririnig mo sa Patok at Malaguena na jeep ay kumakapit sa aking pandinig.    


    • Crappiest songs in the collection:  Masculados - Nakaka; Vhong Navarro - Totoy Bibo
    • Songs that keep me in-touch with the peons of Payatas:  Gagong Rapper feat Kyla - Kabet;  Aegis - Basang Basa sa Ulan; Crazy As Pinoy - Panaginip
    • Favorite tracks: MYMP - Torpe Song #5; Gagong Rapper feat Gloc9 - Panaginip (Acoustic); Jeans - Ngayong Gabi; Eric Santos - I'll Never Go


    Tuesday, January 25, 2011

    Blind Jump

    "Grabe Mugen, sa sobrang tagal na natin dito, you can literally walk at the door and tell me, 'Boss, may problema tayo.'"

    The Boss
    Conference Room
    1135 Hrs.

    Words slipped like a blunt knife under my cloak. It was an unprecedented move; even sneaky from another  person's point of view. After weeks of attending high-level meetings that will shape the post-retrenchment  direction of the company, I suddenly announced my intention to leave. To make things worse, I didn't even let the Patroness catch her breath before telling her to count me out of the team.  It took some time for her to absorb my words.  There was no resistance,  I had her approval.  But in the end, she could still not help but ask, "why?"

    I did my best to lay down my arguments, that I wanted to take a breather and was disillusioned by some decisions made by the management. It didn't help that comparisons were made between my pay and what others recieve. The bitter aftertaste of the last interview remains but I chose not to breathe a single word.  It was enough to say I was soul-searching. The drive wasn't there and there was no certainty I could perform as expected.

    After our heart to heart talk, the Patroness went to the room where the boss holds office. Meanwhile, I went to the parking lot to smoke.  Within minutes, my phone rang and it was the boss. I decided not to pick his call to process my decision. Leaving was difficult for me. It was like running away from a battle, assured of an irreconcilable guilt, and an unfinished business that will haunt me in the future.

    I went to the conference room after my cigarette break. The boss was seated next to Mami Athena, whose eyes glistened for reasons I never asked.  The boss made known the company's gloomy situation, and laid down his plans to address it. From the way he worded his explanation, it seems our journey would be a one-way trip; that we stand between swift closure and slow death that might still be overturned.

    Our stay meant delaying the inevitable. Should we succeed in holding the fort, the separation benefits of those asked to leave would be paid. After all the commitments are honored, we could start with a clean slate, Perhaps, even diversify the business and make it grow again.

    "But we need talented people to look after the shifts."  

    When I took my resignation letter seriously, I have no plans to start over had my request been granted.  I sent several application letters to SEO companies and ditched the pending job offer from Accenture. In my grandest delusions, I'd like to take a long vacation.  One that would please my inner hobo. I would upgrade my desktop computer (or even buy a laptop) and play Sims all day. I was planning to go on a pilgrimage and write everything that I see. That was how I intend to spend my break. After all, I no longer answer to anyone.

    "You have stayed too long under my shadow,"  it was Mami Athena. "I guess its time for you to chart your own way."

    I am free.

    But reason nudges when faced with the truth that I have no means of earning. The gravity of past actions - where - I suddenly disappeared just when the companies I was part of faced tough moments added to the burden of guilt. "The cycle must be broken," I told myself, repeatedly  "If I run away now, I will flee again when I find myself in such crossroad."

    The boss sweetens the pot with memories of shared accomplishments. He told me how we'd pull ourselves together when crises threatened our very way of life. In his vision, he sees me, Mami Athena  and him leading the transition.  How unfortunate that I'm backing out when they have high hopes for me  

    With the final roster of agents revealed  (almost all of them belong to the team  the Patroness and I jointly picked) a shift that tailors to my nocturnal personality, and a possibility of getting a raise, should our endeavor pays off, I was almost tempted to retract my statement. The only thing keeping me from doing so was my worry that Mami Athena would question my sudden change of heart. 

    "Make up your mind you fool!  Don't say anything only to take it back later!"

    "Be professional, honor your word.  Nag-resign ka na eh."  

    "Akala ko ba ayaw mo na, bakit bumabalik ka pa?"

    I was given a day to reconsider, but when they said that they would have a hard time finding a last-minute replacement, I suddenly remembered what Mami told me when news of retrenchment came out.

    "Honestly, I don't trust anyone aside from Pie, except you."

    Then and there I made my decision. Between loyalty and chances to start anew - with no assurances of repeated growth - I chose the former. The boss wasn't yet done revising the new terms when I suddenly interrupted his overture .

    "I'm staying."

    Sunday, January 23, 2011

    Pedia Ward

    Slowly, my mother's wheelchair rolled towards the emergency room. We had just left the admission department after securing our private room, when we heard an infant cry.

    The shrill of his voice bounced across the room. Gut instincts told me who it was, my mom thought otherwise.

    "Teka, si Lenin yun ah!" Lenin is my 2-month old nephew

    "Hindi ha!" While the matriarch was arguing with me, I pushed her wheelchair faster to where the cries came from.

    Curious onlookers stood outside the small quarter across the pedia ward.  Inside the room were my sister, her husband and a female nurse with a huge syringe in hand. Lying in bed was my nephew whose wails simply begged for mercy. My sister hushed him, my brother-in-law tried to get his attention  with toys while my mom and I stood outside, helpless at baby Lenin's condition. The nurse was drawing blood for observation.

    It's been two days since Lenin showed signs of ailment. His fever shot up by several degrees only to disappear a few hours later.  On the second day, I told my sister to call her doctors for opinion. She even asked me to send a text message to my favorite aunt, which I refused to do.

    "Anak mo yan, dapat ikaw ang makipag-usap sa mga doktor niya."

    I wouldn't mind pressing the speed dial to reach the favorite aunt.   When mom was unwell, the favorite aunt's phone was bombarded by text messages seeking instructions on how to deal with her sickness. I wanted to teach my sister how to assert as a mother.

    She needs to learn it by all means.

    At past seven in the evening, my nephew was finally admitted to the hospital. His blood sample reveals infection. As of this writing, the doctors are still tracing its source. Urinary tract infection appears to be our best candidate.

    But we could still go wrong.  

    When baby Lenin's chills had subsided, it was as if things were back to normal. Except that we're in a small room in a big hospital, waiting for the doctor's diagnosis. 

    In the lull between the body heat surges, my nephew was kicking in bed. I was stroking his tummy with my fingers - like I often do - while his parents ate dinner with my mom. For someone who is too fragile, too innocent and too sheltered to feel such suffering; my hands could only watch in vain. For someone to wail like he did at the emergency room earlier, when he never cries at home; his pain sears through my calloused skin. For someone who is well-loved, who keeps the peace at home,

    who is our bundle of joy.

    The sight of those steel needles piercing his flesh will haunt me for sometime. 

    No wonder, between the baby talks and whispers of "get well soon, little one,"  while Lenin smiled, held my finger and kicked his legs harder - like he's not sick at all.

    I felt my eyes moist.  In my heart, I was already in tears.

    Saturday, January 22, 2011

    MP3: Genre (First Part)

    I have my own particular sorrows, loves, delights; and you have yours. But sorrow, gladness, yearning, hope, love, belong to all of us, in all times and in all places. Music is the only means where we feel these emotions in their universality.

    H.A. Overstreet

    Whoever the author was doesn't matter. I couldn't find him in Wikipedia either. But what he said applies to all: Music feeds the soul. It makes us remember all our fondest memories and draws out our deepest, bittersweet longings.

    In truth, music connects me to people. Kahit walang usap-usap, basta  tamang sound trip, bonded na ako. One of my pride and joy is that with music, I prefer sounds less heard.  Some of the songs in my music library, ako lang ang nakakaalam. This distinction makes you see people differently. Hindi na bale na hindi mo trip ang personality ng isang tao. Pero kapag alam mong iisa kayo ng pinakikinggan, you can't help but cast that person in a better light.

    This entry is about the genres that classify my songs. The different genre was inspired by the radio stations in the computer game Sims. I list songs in this manner because moods come first when I'm listening. When classics seem more appropriate, I switch to Bach and Mozart. Kapag feel ko naman maging upbeat, there's David Guetta and Alex M.O.R.P.H to keep me high. Finally, when I am struck by a bout of emo, I switch to Alternative. Nothing heals a broken spirit faster than listening to Vertical Horizon, Sarah Mclachlan and Rivermaya sing their ballads.

    1.  Alternative-Rock

    Despite my growing affinity with electronic dance music, I am still a rakista by heart. Bands from this genre include Smashing Pumpkins, Kings of Leon, The Fray, Collective Soul, Dave Matthews Band, Goo Goo Dolls and Dishwalla.  Marami sa mga mp3s sa genre na ito ay napakinggan ko pa sa NU-107. Despite my soft spot for this type of sounds, I never ventured beyond Aerosmith. My ears could only appreciate soft ballads. Headache often follows whenever I hear screamo or industrial music being played.  


    • Old School bands such as Vertical Horizon, Guster and Creeper Lagoon always remind me of my college days.  
    • Hard to find songs:  Peel - Everlive; Neve - It's Over Now.
    • Songs from these genre could, actually, make me cry.

    2.  Oldies - OPM

    Sabi ni Mama na ang unang musical influences ko daw ay sina Freddie Aguilar, Asin at Sampaguita.  Her assertions are true since both my parents are 1. Nationalistic and 2. Social Activists. I also remember switching sides of a cassette tape when I was very young.  My baby book even records that "Bayan Ko" was among my bedtime lullabyes. 

    When I grew up, I searched the web for those songs from my childhood.  Rey Valera's "Malayo Pa Ang Umaga" evokes memories of "Ula, Ang Batang Gubat" while Tina Paner's "Tamis ng Unang Halik" perpetually identifies her with Chris Villanueva.


    • I try not to play Basil Valdez' "Hindi Kita Malilimutan," and "Kung Ako'y Iiwan Mo."  These songs remind me of funeral processions. 
    • Oldies-OPM is further subdivided between Manila Sound and OPM.  Manila Sound emerged during the Martial Law years.  Described as smooth, easy flowing jazz/folk/disco music, the songs allegedly try to mask the atrocities and human rights violations of the government supporting them.
    • Hard to find song:  Lolita Carbon - Biyaheng Langit
    • Freddie Aguilar's "Kamusta Ka,"  Asin's "Himig ng Pag-Ibig" and  Joey Albert's "Tell Me" are my favorite.

    3.   Reggae

    I know little about this genre but still, it stands proud among the other genres in my music library. What I know is that it originated from Jamaica and the songs define a distinct Afro-American sound. The songs have a slow, steady rhythmic beat.  Sabi ni Mami Athena na people who listen to reggae are generally homophobic. I didn't ask why, but I know that Jamaicans are hostile towards homosexuals.


    • Nagsimula ako mag-collect ng Reggae after watching Will Smith's I Am Legend. Masyado akong na-move doon sa "Redemption Song" na ni-play noong closing credits. 
    • Recommended tracks:  Ziggy Marley's "Drive" and Bob Marley's "Sun is Shining"

    4.   HipHop-RnB

    Of all the things I don't want to be identified with, its HipHop. Totoo nga siguro na magkatunggali ang maka-Techno at maka-Rap.  Both sounds are loud and urban yet they are of different musical perceptions.  Tuloy, ang followers ng isa ay madalas opposite ng isa.

    But RnB has been around for a long time. Noong high school kami, kapag nasawa kaka-senti ang mga ka-klase ko, saka naman sila bibira ng  "Each Time" ng East 17 o kaya "Do You Believe In Me" ni Eric Gadd.  While older RnB artists such as Boys2Men (na wala akong tracks) enjoy a sense of timelessness, new ones get replaced easily by upcoming artists.

    It must be the repeated and non-stop radio airplay.    


    • My Hiphop-RnB folder is divided into three sub-genres: Hiphop, RnB and Rap.  Hiphop is the  mainstream among the three. It includes danceable tracks such as "Sexyback" by Justin Timberlake and "Forever." by Chris Brown.
    • RnBs are considered easy listening music. Nelly's "Just A Dream," T.I's "Whatever You Like" and Amber David's "Back to You" belong to this sub-genre.
    • Last to have its own mini-folder is Gangsta Rap. Songs from Eminem, Tupac and Bone Thugs and Harmony belong here.  Though seldom played in my iPad, I keep the mp3s to remind me that once, I found solace listening to Tupac's "Life Goes On." 
    • Favorite tracks:  Public Announcement - He Got Game;  Fort Minor - Where'd You Go; East 17 - Each Time      

    5.  Pinoy Alternative

    Is basically the local variety of the Rock-Alternative genre. Bands like Eraserheads, Rivermaya and Parokya ni Edgar dominate this category.  NU-107 had a role to play behind the mp3 explosion, as well as pirated cds. Malaki rin tulong na nung high school, na-influence ako ng mga students ng mom ko to appreciate local bands.

    Before being introduced to foreign bands, I started with Pinoy Rock artists first. I was listening to Eraserheads' "Ligaya" when I was in Grade Six. Sinama rin ako ng mom ko sa isang concert sa Amoranto Stadium when Introvoys, The Dawn and After Image were just becoming mainstream.  

    Many years after I started putting songs in my hard drive, Pinoy Alternative still has a very strong presence in my music library. The absence of a credible rock station may have an impact on the local band scene, but I believe that another Bamboo Manalac or Ely Buendia or even the great Francis Magalona remain to be discovered.  


    • Yano's "Esem" was my anthem when I was out of work. The song still plays over my head when I go window shopping.
    • Sugar Hiccup's "Five Years" is known for its hauntingly, funereal sound.  The only words ever spoken in that song are "But he will never be back..."
    • The last gig I saw was Taken By Cars.  Wandering Commuter invited me to go out one night.  Tama naman na may event sa Cubao X and then may nag-perform na mga bands.  Sarah Marco sang December 2 Chapter VII.  
    • Hard to find songs:  White Noise - The Merry Song, Lady Bedspacer - Bala, Freshmen - Trip Mo Ba

    Yun lang muna.  I didn't know that describing each genre would take so much time.  There are eight more to go.  In my next entry, the vast differences in my music taste will be highlighted. I will also reveal the first mp3 stored in my computer.


    Friday, January 21, 2011


    Mami Athena used to be the one who gets hysterical whenever a person talks about the undead. She's an ardent believer, and even claims that a reanimated corpse scares her more than the appearance of ghosts.

    Her nerd factor about the subject is unbelievable: she knows all the zombie movies directed by George Romero; she reads literature that centers around Zombie Apocalypse. (World War Z, Zombie Survivalist Guide, etc.) Whenever we take our office break and decides to stroll around the neighborhood, she knows if a house could hold out against a zombie onslaught or not.

    For a long time, I was a quiet witness to the Patroness' fancy. When she and her cohorts talk about the subject, I fill my thoughts with images from Plants and Zombies. Deception plays a role behind the apathy. I may not be a believer but the nerd in me tries to explain the concept behind the living dead.  

    From the science point of view, which I saw in National Geographic, the idea of a reanimated corpse walking among the living came from Haiti. They say a sorcerer called "bokor" hypnotizes the victim. When the helpless soul offers no resistance, the bokor makes a small cut on the person's skin. Toxins in the form of powder is sprinkled around the wound. It induces death-like state on the victim.   

    With the family informed of the victim's passing, funeral preparations lead to a hasty burial. It only takes three days to create a Hatian Zombie. After the mourning had passed over, the bokor will secretly dig his victim. He will then reanimate the creature, who is now partially paralyzed due to toxin and then makes him believe that he is already dead. 

    In Romero's canon, a bite from a zombie infects the victim. The organs cease to function while the brain retains control of the muscles. The spread of such infection triggers a global epidemic. The struggle for humanity to exist with the undead driving them to extinction became the inspiration for many zombie movies.    

    Despite my exposure to the culture, my nerdy fixation never got hold of the idea "of the undead bringing down the living."  I saw the Dawn of the Dead remake, but instead of getting terrified of being chased by living corpses, I pirated Richard Cheese's lounge version of Down with the Sickness. I was teary eyed after watching I Am Legend, but instead of embracing the idea of a viral outbreak turning the planet into a world of the undead, I began downloading Reggae songs from the Internet.

    It  was only when Baabaa accidentally (?) included some episodes of  the Walking Dead did I finally take notice.  The episodes were bundled together with Battlestar Galactica, which I asked originally. I watched the pilot episode at past midnight. Despite the gory details and excellent treatment of the story, sleep came without a hitch.

    the bicycle girl

    In my dreams however came the staggering corpses. I wasn't scared, really, but then and there did I realize,

    I am already hooked.

    Wednesday, January 19, 2011

    Blast From The Past

    June 14, 2007
    Fullmetal Dreams

    It was around mid-morning of  June 11.  The tricycle, which I boarded at Shaw, finally found the condominium where the company held its office. Getting out of the trike, I sent a text message telling the recruiter that I had already arrived.  He replied shortly and told me to wait.  He was just doing some important stuff and would attend to me shortly.

    When I reached the unit,  I pressed the doorbell several times but nobody answered.  I looked inside and found the unit nearly empty.  There was a worn-out and dusty sofa near the door; across the living room was a dining table.  The table separates the sala from the kitchen.

    I stood at the front door until another guy appeared.  He was sporting  a long hair and a rugged get up.  He introduced himself as an applicant, who's shift in a call center had just ended.   We talked briefly about his job, since I was set to join Convergys after passing their English refresher course a week before.

    Suddenly, a short, rounded guy with glasses showed up. Looking at his face, the guy was in his mid-thirties.  He was wearing a Lacoste shirt and a cream-colored pants. He had this laid-back appeal, preferring conversations without formalities.  In fact, he got along with the other applicant whose candor made him appear very confident to me.

    The interviewer lead us to the dining table and introduced himself as Pie.  He is the boss of the company. As he gave a brief history of his enterprise, he took some entertainment magazines from one of the chairs.  He then pointed at the advertisements with words ending with  "text mates. "  We read the ads from each magazine and when we were already had an idea about the job, Pie told us that we will become chatters. Our job was to reply to text messages pretending to be the girls in the ads.

    His revelations made me pause and clear my throat.   I think I'm not yet ready to hear what he said.  "You mean we have to think and act like girls these users text? How's that possible?" I asked Pie.

    "That's why we look for  people who are innate actors and actresses; you have to be open-minded in this kind of job," he explained. "This is an adult-oriented business. Are you cool with it?"

    I felt silent.  While further elaborating the job, all I could think of is whether I am in the right career path, or whether the company I would be joining is legitimate or not.

    At that moment, life presented me with two options: Being hired in Convergys was just days - if not weeks away. I could patiently wait for their call, or grab this opportunity now since I badly needed a source of income.

    The other applicant, who felt a little restless during the interview asked things about benefits and all those job security crap. Since I understood that Pie's business was just starting, I look forward to get only my basic pay.

    Other benefits must wait.

    Pie asked me to stay downstairs while he introduced the interface to the other applicant. While waiting for them to return,  I phoned a friend who might be interested to try the company - even as a part-time job. Unfortunately he was already enjoying his work at C-Cube, so he said good luck with my interview. When Pie and the applicant returned, the latter can't hardly speak.  He appeared disturbed and confused - not only to me but also to the boss as well.  Within minutes, he informed us that he needed to leave. Nevertheless, he told Pie that he would seriously think about the offer.

    The interviewer then asked me to come with him so that he could introduce me not only to the team, but also to the account I will be handling.

    He lead me into a small room with five computers. There were three agents tapping their keyboard. One was a girl with big chinky eyes, the other was a guy and the last one, who was loud and flamboyant, was a transvestite.   He first introduced me to the guy - who was just hired a week before. We would be working for the same account that's why it's important that we get along well.  Unlike the other two, who were more interested in chit-chatting with one another than acknowledging my presence, this new guy was extremely quiet.

    He nodded when Pie introduced us to one another.

    The interviewer asked me to sit in front of the computer. He then opened the link and keyed the password so I could access the account.

    Within minutes, I was already replying to the incoming texts appearing on the computer screen.

    "Hi, my name is Karla. Do you like to chat with me? How are you?" I slowly typed in the message screen.

    "Not bad Mugen," Pie said. "Do you know that there are some applicants who would take ten minutes to compose such simple introduction?"

    Feeling satisfied with my work, Pie left to check on the other agents.  From time to time, he would take a look at  my screen, read my replies, then move on to return to the other agents - who at that time were having conflicts with their day-offs.  I kept my cool during those tense moments. Remembering how good I've been in MirC. I told myself that I will get this job, no matter what.

    Hours passed and I didn't even notice that the agents' shift were about to end. Sensing that I  had enough exposure for a day. I told Pie that I will have to leave.

    On our way out, he gave me some pointers about the job, the interface I would be working and the environment that I will be exposed.

    After three months of being jobless,  I was hired on the spot.

    It's been six years since I was introduced to Pie and his company.  Mami Athena came a month after I was hired.  This has been my life ever since.

    Tuesday, January 18, 2011

    The Final Solution

    Do not be afraid of changes. I know you as a sentimental person with strong attachments. But your relationship with that firm is a hindrance to your progress.
    Cut, and cut cleanly.

    - Dr. Magsasaka

    Tomorrow is the last day of work for those who volunteered to leave the company.  I am still in, as far as the last agreement is concerned.  My job is to ensure the restructuring program would be a success.  But with uncertainties come the disillusionment. During the interview with another firm, the basic perks denied to me glared with each question the recruiter inquired.  There was no way I could defend my firm, especially with the pay I get despite my position.

    I have been complacent for too long.

    With no vision in sight, a business model that is obsolete, a product that has seen too many heartaches in the past, a workforce in disarray, a tide of changes that will completely change the work environment at the floor,

    finding reasons for staying has been overturned by reasons to leave.

    Tomorrow is the last day for those who had volunteered. My resignation letter has already reached the desk of the lords. If only I could find the boldness to once and for all,


    and leave everything behind,

    I would never look back nor return.

    Until such time I find myself and prove to everyone, I am in a much better state.

    Monday, January 17, 2011


    Consider it your beginner's luck, and be humble. Not everyone who drops by unannounced at a global off-shore company gets to sign a job offer the following day. We were surprised to learn that your semi-planned trip to the Business District would turn out the way unforeseen. All we know is that you were planning to pay the remaining balance of your mother's memorial plan. Next in your list was to check about that pay your family will get from the ex dictator next month.

    But here you are accomplishing what your heart desires.

    With only the office address in your mobile phone to lead the way, the recruiters granted you brief audience. Asked what job position you applied and you said "Data Analyst," a career you overheard from another applicant sitting beside you. Forget about the bloody exam, which took three hours of your precious time. Forgive yourself for flunking business math in school (which urged you to guess the correct answers in some of the multiple choice questions) and accept that you easily get distracted and it showed, without resistance during the multi-tasking part of the test.  What really mattered is that you passed and you were granted another interview, now with the HR officer.

    It was the pretty lady with a porcelain face who asked the questions. Questions about your past jobs, your previous lives and your thoughts about reincarnation.  At the back of your head you know you will be reborn as a corporate, underpaid slave.  With no job permanence to speak of, and a shifting schedule which would further mess your already fucked-up body clock, you accepted the offer after clearing your throat.  The HR was clearly impressed with your record.  "Never underestimate the power of starting with a clean slate," you said.  This is why you are willing to leap back to an entry level position,

    despite being next to the manager in your present existence.

    Is this what you really want, Mugen?

    Contract signing is at ten in the morning.  They have asked you to bring your academic records, your NBI clearance - to make sure you're not an enemy of the state, and a certificate of employment from your present company.  Had you been doing the routine before, documents such as the one required are easy to produce.

    But this is your first try. 

    Never forget.  Chatzone thought you will stay.  You haven't pronounced your intention to leave. 

    Thus,  much as we would like you to move on and start all over again,  I'm afraid your place is elsewhere. Life had  let you take a peek at what lies ahead. This is you in the coming months: selling your talents for a slice of material pleasures. It won't take an Einstein to know where your happiness lies.


    You deserve better.

    Sunday, January 16, 2011

    Mister Pillow

    May tatlong bagay na nakakapagpatulog sa akin ng mahimbing sa gabi. Una ay malinis na kumot na binabalot ko sa aking hubad na katawan. Ikalawa ay mga cartoons na pinapanood ko tuwing madaling araw sa Skycable. Nasanay na nga akong iniiwan na bukas ang TV at hinahayaang ang auto-shut na  lang ang magturn-off dito. Ikatlo ay ang unan na niyayakap ko sa pagtulog. Alinman sa tatlo ang wala at pahirapan bago ako dapuan ng antok.

    Noong nakaraang buwan ay bumili si mama ng mga unan na pang-regalo. Isa sa mga ito ang aking napansin habang nagbabalot siya ng mga ipapamasko. Wala naman akong balak hingin ang unan, pero dahil alam ni mama na matitigas ang unan sa higaan ko, pinilit niyang kunin ko ang isa. Mabuti daw itong pangsuporta sa ulo.

    Ang hindi alam ng aking ina ay sadyang sanay ako sa matitigas at bukbukin na mga unan. Dala ito ng mahabang panahong nagtitiis sa mga unang namana ko pa sa aking mga ninuno. Kaya't nauwing pangyakap lang ang bagong unan na bigay sa akin. Masyado itong malambot na tamang tama para sa malalaki kong braso. Ito rin ang unan na ginagamit ng binatang madalas ay pinapatulog ko sa amin.

    Mister Pillow

    Sa simula ay parang balewala lang sa akin ang bagong unan.  Kagaya lang ito ng tatlo na nakasanayan ko ng katabi sa kama. Ngunit sa tuwing nagbabadya ang kalungkutan at pangungulila; ng paghahanap at pilit na paglapit sa taong bumubuo sa akin, ang unan ang nagsisilbing alaala ng taong madalas gumamit nito.

    "Meme ka na?"  Pasado alas dos na ng madaling araw. 

    "Uu, ano gawa mo?"

    "Heto yakap mahigpit si Mister Pillow. Intay ka makatulog baabaa ko."

    It's been quite sometime since I entrusted my happiness to someone. I have sailed through life believing my toughness can get me out of the most bitter entanglements. It's no wonder, when the full force of my caring side reappeared, all I've got is a soft fluffy pillow to remind me of that person who showed me once again how to...


    Saturday, January 15, 2011


    January 14, 2011

    The "Boss"
    Managing Director
    Chatzone PLC

    Hello Sir,

    It’s been six years since I joined Chatzone PLC. Being one of its pioneer employees, I saw how the fortunes of the company ebbed and flowed with the changing times.

    However, a time has come for me to rethink about my objectives. I understand the transition happening at the moment with the survival of the company at stake. I also see the value of letting the company seek the people who would lead the reformation. Thus, for the love of the company, I grant my position as QA Analyst available.

    Thank you very much for the opportunities and I hope that my stay with Chatzone PLC has been fruitful as it has been very meaningful to my personal growth.


    "Magpasa ka ng resignation letter! Magsu-submit rin ako!"

    Mami Athena was furious upon her return from a meeting. Apparently, some people have questioned our refusal to vacate our posts.

    It's been four days since the announcement came and people are still having second thoughts of leaving. The morning shift agreed to vacate their posts, save for its team leader, and let the management decide the agents to retain.

    Meanwhile, the PM and GY shift agents were let to decide on their own. As of this writing, we learned that their team leaders have no desire of abandoning ship. They are willing to become agents and do the job their subordinates used to do.

    "Kapit sa patalim eh," I explained

    Plans were already made before the announcement came. I was there when the blueprint was being drawn. However, of the 13 agents in the master list, nine have already submitted their resignation. Leaving was the last thing on their minds, but they knew what's at stake: the closure of the company. Around 20 are still fighting limb for limb for the 16 slots needed.

    Mami Athena and I tended our resignation in the spirit of fair-play. Everyone expects us to lead the restructuring and thus, spared from the selection. We were hoping that our move will inspire not only the agents, but the team leaders who have no place in the new order. It was a gesture aimed to let the company freely choose the people who would make it survive.

    But we have underestimated the power of self preservation. Indeed, when you're comfortable in your spot and you have nowhere else to go, you will do anything to stay.

    And the boss seem not to care at all. Perhaps, he had already surrendered everything to fate.

    Thus, this generous act had lead me to this state. Come Monday, I might be sending my resume elsewhere.

    Search For The T'Boli

    come to think of it, I haven't read a pinoy lesbian blog

    I used to sense them more than I could sense my kind. Underneath their feminine instinct is an attraction reserved only for chicks.  You notice the way they dress: their faded jeans and monochrome shirts howl of masculinity. You feel them in the way they assert their convictions: their dominance you find strangely appealing. Their songs strike a chord:  Indigo Girls and Tori Amos comes to mind. Though their sports often repulse you, their fight is your fight.  For no matter how distant and exclusive they have become, they are, after all, part of the third tribe.

    The leap of faith was made possible when a group of lipstick dykes agreed to show up. It was my first eyeball: It was the day I freed myself from self doubt. During that first meeting, I met three of them. They joined the fray together with  the gays and confused men of our time. Only one name I still remember. Hers is Mymnosene. She was a perky little chick who had a short hair and beaming smile. These three ladies made me feel at ease that night. They lend me their patient ears and listened to my ramblings. Then they stepped back when I found acceptance. Soon, I joined my tribe and went our separate ways.

    As time passed, the less I hear from the T'boli.  I might have entrenched myself too deep in my own universe, words from their worlds have failed to reach me. The gay men have made their presence felt across blogspace. But none I know of lesbians.

    I've been thinking about this for quite sometime.  Now that I have set aside my conflicts and embraced my sexual preference; Now that I'm free from the sick cycle of meat market and habitual visits to the dance floors.

    Now that I have put myself in a place where seeing the womyn is like seeing oneself inverted in the mirror,

    It is time to seek wisdom from the other side and grow.

    The search for the T'boli begins.

    Friday, January 14, 2011


    Matagal rin akong nag camp-out sa labas ng inner office matapos ma-promote bilang analyst. Bukod kasi sa malamig ang aircon sa loob ay sobrang bagal ng computer na na-assign sa akin. Naroon rin na baguhan ako sa QA department at ilag sa mga kasama, maliban kay Mami Athena.

    I work best when left alone. Nothing distracts me more than two people talking about their finds on the Internet instead of doing their job. Bukod pa roon, hindi ako makapag-blog hop ng may nakatingin sa akin. Kumbaga, kahit mainit at madalas patay ang ilaw, priceless pa rin ang katahimikan sa training area.

    Nang mag-resign si Bishop last August ay pinasa sa akin ang kanyang  work station.  For the first time matapos ang tenure ko sa pagiging team leader reliever ay nakahawak ulit ako ng mabilis na desktop sa trabaho. Subalit may dalawa pang henchman na natitira si Mami Athena.  Left out at hindi pa rin ako makasabay sa kuwentuhan ng duo. 

    Nagresign si Mister Snort ilang buwan bago matapos ang taon.  Kung si Bishop ay feeling all-knowing, si Mister Snort naman ay may saltik kapag kargado. Mannerism rin niya ang mag-snort na parang laging may Cocaine sa paligid. Anyway, we're down to two pero casual lang kami nung kasama ko sa department. Maliban na lang kung trabaho ang pag-uusapan, wala talaga kaming pakielaman sa isa't isa.

    Nang ma-istroke si Mami Athena at naiwan kaming dalawa ni Petong the Unhealthy One, kanya-kanyang kaming gawa ng report. Since walang QA head na titingin sa amin, sa director kami nagrereport.  Kapag absent ang isa, nalalaman na lang namin sa mismong boss ng kumpanya.

    That's how distant we are.

    Sa mahigit limang taon ko sa trabaho ay pili lang ang talagang pinakisamahan ko. Naroon si Jerjer na tinuturing kong kakambal at si Mami Athena bilang fag hag at mentor. Siguro snob lang  talaga ako. Wala rin akong pakialam kung impression sa akin ay unsociable. Since wala rin namang nagaganap na inuman sa office at yun lang ang paraan para ako ay mag-open up, tingin ko sa lahat ay pawang katrabaho lang.

    Last week ay inabandon yung isang floor na dati rati ay napupuno ng agents. Maraming office chairs ang nakatambak ngayon sa training department kaya nakapili ako ng mas kumportableng upuan. Ilang araw mula ngayon ay last day na ng kasama kong si Petong.  Dahil sa kanyang work habits na talagang kaiingitan ng lahat, hindi siya sinama sa restructuring program.

    Now that I'm the only one left, parang may kurot tuwing binabalikan ko yung  mga panahon na saling-pusa lang ako. I don't have any regrets not getting close to anyone - except kay Petong na niregaluhan ko ng T-Shirt noong Pasko. Tanda ko pa, noong kaming dalawa lang at nagrerecover pa si Mami Athena,  binigyan niya ako ng brownies na binili niya sa canteen.

    The Patroness and I were sorting out company materials this morning when I realized how things have changed. Dati-rati ay sabay-sabay pa kami kumakain kapag may sinipag magluto sa tatlo o kaya naman ay yung walang sawa kong pagtatanong kung kailan ang next gig ni Mister Snort na hindi ko naman pinupuntahan. Naalala ko rin na si Bishop ay mahilig mag-brew ng coffee at kung minsan naman ay nagba-bake ng bread na pinapatikim sa amin.

    I suddenly remembered them all because of the things they left behind.

    Meanwhile, having a skeleton force means there is no need for a QA anymore. Austerity measures indicate that the team will be dissolved and the training room and its inner office will be abandoned:

    ang mahalay na desktop pc

    It took some time before I was able to put up my working space; and just when I got everything, (including the permission to bring blankets instead of jackets at work)

    my little corner is finally no more.

    Wednesday, January 12, 2011


    On November 17, 1986, a Japanese crew of  JAL (Japan Airlines) cargo jumbo freighter aircraft encountered three unidentified objects while flying over Alaska.  The Boeing 747 cargo aircraft was on a routine flight from Paris to Tokyo cruising at 966 km/h (600MPH) at an altitude of 10 600 m (35,000 ft).

    The plane was heading towards Anchorage, Alaska to re-fuel when at 5:11pm Captain Kenji Terauchi reported seeing three large objects flying below. He described the largest as resembling a shelled walnut. Captain Terauchi further described the largest craft as twice the size of an aircraft carrier. After several minutes observing the unidentified objects, the crew noticed that they matched the speed of the freighter plane and began trailing behind.

    Japan Air Lines Flight 1628 Incident

    My dad used to tell me a UFO story when he was still alive. I was too young to recall the exact details, but he said we spotted an orange metallic object hovering over the sky.

    You see, our old house had a big opening that leads to the neighbors' rooftops. We leave the huge window open at night to take advantage of the breeze. Then it just happened one evening: an unknown object in stationary flight appeared.

    We knew it was a UFO after it was reported in the tabloids the next day. Records of the news article may have all been gone, but the personal account remains.

    It has shaped my being.

    Several years after the strange encounter with the mysterious aircraft, a UFO craze hit Manila. I remember those wall posters announcing the coming Rapture; Roy Alvarez and his TV appearances; Commander Ishtar and his armada of spaceships as big as the Araneta Coliseum; the "classified" documents my dad had obtained from local "ufologists."

    When the fad died out, I turned my attention to science, space operas and strategy games to fuel my fascination: Star Trek, Babylon 5, Battlestar Galactica, Carl Sagan, Master of Orion, Galactic Empires, Homeworld. My nerdy existence was driven by this thought; this mere ponder about our place in the sun in hopes of getting a piece of the answer.

    But until now, I still ask:

    Are we alone in the universe?

    Strange as it is, but in a time when everyone has access to digital images, earth-like planets being discovered in distant stars, and microbes thriving in nearby planets, the age-old question remains.

    Within a few months after these events Captain Terauchi was grounded, apparently for his indiscretion of reporting a UFO, even though he was a senior captain with an excellent flying record. Several years later he was reinstated. The UFOs in this case were tracked on both ground and airborne radar, witnessed by experienced airline pilots, and confirmed by an FAA Division Chief.

    However, for unknown reasons, the FAA did not pursue the case.

    Tuesday, January 11, 2011


    The plan was to ride the storm until Friday before I relay my final decision.  It would be a graceful exit; one that is impossible to be refused. I would tell the management that I would move on to pursue my master's degree. After all, the thesis requires focus.  The tuition would be funded by a rich uncle from abroad, while the raketship would pay the bills.  The idea was so perfect, I don't have any reason why it will be rejected.

    The day I gain my freedom, I would waste no time searching for leads: call centers, data management companies, website content and internet marketing. Any job that would require knowledge of the internet will be the target of my application.

    Makati and Ortigas will be my hunting ground.

    Leads that once I shared with colleagues will now be mine to exploit.  It won't be easy selling oneself, especially with my limited job experience.  However, sourcing knowledge has always been my advantage.  Not to mention, I'm a fast learner and a good writer. This is the reason I thrived with Bentusi. Not only do I earn, I learn from doing my work.

    Speaking of Bentusi, her new company, Escrive will be my source of income. It doesn't pay much, but  I will make sure the earnings are enough to cover my bills - three credit cards, a cable subscription and a postpaid phone are the obligations I cannot ignore. The relatives would also be informed of the sudden changes, hoping that when lack of funds cripple the household (since it would leave my mother working alone) they could come to our aid.

    The last time I was jobless, I held out for five months with my small savings. Projections revealed that I could endure three  without any crumpled bills lapping my pockets.  Three months is all I need to get back on my feet. It could be extended to four, should the raketship find more goldmines during my stay in limbo.  There will be frequent visits to Katipunan to seek refuge, and more time to blog while rewiring my life.

    It took an entire night to plan this great escape, while beneath these reluctant posturing was the hope for signs to appear.  

    Sa totoo, marami akong excuses para umalis.
    Nandun na I'm sick of tired of doing the same job.  I also sympathize with the agents  who got booted out.
    Sabi ko, I will draw the line once I learn that none of my people gets in.
    Being transferred to the graveyard shift
    was another consideration.
    Call it lame and cheesy but I'd rather abandon this job
    than losing a chance to be with my baabaa.

    But fate has other plans.


    They say the universe conspires when a person wants too much of something. As it turned out, it didn't take long for the omens to show up:

    The names of agents recommended by the QA team were all approved.
    The team leader who used to torment me, and then trained me to take over her position was asked to stay.
    and there's a good chance I will not be permanently assigned to the graveyard shift.

    I know it sucks to get left behind. But the stacks are in my favor and the pros too glaring not to notice.  The end of this saga remains elusive and in the end, we are still riding a sinking ship. Yet looking at how convenient the arrangements are, there's no reason not to take my place.  With all the cast of characters being assembled and the roles, recast with better actors, something tells me, there's still hope for the company:

    its not too late to save what's left. 

    Monday, January 10, 2011

    The Boat Is Sinking

    Our woes began at the middle of last year, when the management had learned that our funds were slipping. An urgent meeting was called and in less than a month, a quarter of our workforce had been retrenched. They were the first and last who left the company with their back-pays intact. Had the others knew they were in for more sacrifices, almost half of the people would have left.

    The management held on to the belief that a reduction of manpower will allow the company to recuperate. It did for a month, but come September, production slid to alarming levels in one of the key accounts. The agents belonging to that account form the bulk of the remaining workforce. When numbers did not recover and the output remained stale and hopeless, a reduction in working hours became the policy of the company.

    One by one, people were being nipped from their workstation. An agent working for her two children cannot live on 6K alone. A single mom with no one else to rely for support would dive into the black hole, hoping there is salvation beyond. All of a sudden, they found themselves working for call centers when they thought all their lives they don't have the voice.  They found themselves in alien shores clinging to one another, wishing their troubles would end.

    Meanwhile, a season went by and two more accounts had closed. The noose is tightening around the company and the management was too stunned to make a move.

    Should we close the company and declare it bankrupt?
    How about those who held out since this crisis started?
    What shall we do with the team leaders?
    How do we pull this one off?

    Too many questions yet the answer is already spelled out on the wall. The company cannot continue to run with its present number of people. One must shake the system until the undesirables fall. One is already certain who will remain and who will have to move on.

    Of the 49 survivors who stuck with a sinking boat, only 16 has been asked to stay. None of the team managers were counted; the wretched HR officer was also ditched. Of the 16 souls who will form the new team, my uncle was not included. Mami Athena's future son-in-law also had to go and when the final numbers emerge, none of those I recommended to be retained would be considered.

    I was asked by the boss to stay. With my ability to jump from one job post to another, (like becoming a QA analyst, a team leader and an agent in one sitting) my presence cannot be ignored.  Versatility has now revealed its ugly head. And with all the training I recieved, the company is exacting a price. I do not mind staying behind, and sink. (for I know how to swim) But at the back of my head, when I contemplate the very survival of my wealth, instincts begin to reassert: will fate remain kind, when suddenly,


    I leave everything behind?

    "I just want you to know that I cannot promise anything should you decide to stay," the boss cleared his throat. "hindi ko masasabi na magiging okay ang lahat after nito."  I was listening quietly. Mami Athena had already told me the risks of staying.

    "But I want you to know that your presence will be well appreciated.  Hindi ko sinasabi sa lahat ng tao ito."
    I don't know what to say.

    Saturday, January 8, 2011

    MP3 Library

    Ang blog entry ko ay tungkol sa aking  mp3 library.

    my preciousssssss

    Simula't sapul ay may sistema na kung paano ko i-arrange ang mga mp3s sa computer.  Sa halip na by music artists, ang mga tracks na nasa folder ay categorized according sa genre nito: Alternative Rock, Light Alternative Pop, RnB, Electronica, etc.

    Ang sistema ay nakuha ko pa noong sinaunang panahon.  Nagsimula kasing magkaroon ng mp3s sa hard drive dahil sa pc game na Sims. Nadiskubre ko na bukod sa built-in music na galing sa game ay maari kang mag-import ng mp3s mula sa hard disk. Sa halip na Simlish ang mga kantang lumalabas sa stereo na binili ng Sims mo, naroon ang mga kanta ni Paula Cole at Shawn Mullins upang magbigay background music sa mga bahay na kasalukuyang nilalaro ko.

    guess what genre these songs belong

    Noon pa man ay kilala na akong tirador ng mga pirated audio cds sa University Mall. Ito yung mall na katabi ng DLSU.  Mula Alternative Rock hanggang Ibiza, asahan mo na meron akong cd nito. 

    I was able to set my rules when getting my music fix.  It must be assorted. Bawal akong magnakaw ng entire album ng isang artist. Noong naglevel-up ako at nadiskubre si Napster at Limewire, ganun rin. One or two songs from a music artist and then off I download from another. Paniwala ko kasi na I'm not just getting their music, 

    I am preserving them.

    this is where mami athena's ms office training went

    It took great pains to hold on to my word that I will preserve these mp3s. Noong una, I burned  tracks with blank cds to compensate pero hindi ito sapat. I burned some more until I realized that it was not working. I tried listing down the songs and the artists in an excel spreadsheet then sent a copy to my email, hoping I would never use it in the future.

    Then one day, my fears came true. A careless technician who was reformatting my computer accidentally erased my entire library. Five years' worth of downloaded and pirated songs suddenly went kaput.  As in tulala talaga ako. I demanded access to one of their units for several days. Download lang ako ng download. Mabuti na lang at nasa akin pa yung mga na-burn kong cds before. Malaking tulong rin yung excel sheet na sinend ko sa email hindi man ito updated.


    Technology is evolving.  The last time I remember, Creative Zen was my mp3 player. Then comes the iPod Mini thanks to my relatives abroad. Who knows, maybe I will have a gadget upgrade this year. 

    The shift from single-spreadsheet mp3 listing to multi-spreadsheet genre-based listing is still ongoing.  Matrabaho lang kaya matagal.  It's good that I'm using dial-up internet connection at home or else I would include the album of each song which I have to research pa.  Nakakatagal rin yung habit of playing the song of a track I'm working on before proceeding to input a new data.

    As of last count, nasa 2,800 files ang lahat ng mp3 ko excluding those belonging to my sister and those that I haven't listed yet sa excel file.  The number is not that big for those who download entire albums from Torrent and other file-sharing websites. However, these numbers represent around twenty five hundred artists from all genres.  Having Virna Lisa's "Magkaisa," Patsy Cline's "Crazy," and Depapepe's "Summer Parade" in your library speaks a lot about one's music acquisition.

    In my next entry related to my mp3 library, I will describe each genre and the most hard-to-find song from each album. I'm planning to invest on getting a Terrabite storage device and a faster internet connection so I could expand my library.

    It doesn't matter if I couldn't play all the songs in one sitting. After making so much effort  to have these music artists on my hard drive, the aim is not about personal pleasure anymore, it is about helping humanity in keeping the music available for all time.