Saturday, January 16, 2016

Do You Ever Really Know?

When asked how much I know a person, there are a couple of things that run around in my head.

I think you never really stop knowing a person. I think you can never really know a person enough. And it's funny and sad that we think we know people so well that we can be comfortable with just being with them, with just being who we really are with them. I've thought that would be okay before, but when you lose that trust with someone once, you can't really get it back without thinking if all those years were just tolerance.

Anyway, I've found that it's very rare to find people whom you can truly talk with. There are people you can have long meaningful conversations with, and there are people who just chat, scraping the top of the iceberg, the superficial fillers, until one gives up and decides to waste time elsewhere. I think it then matters what you mean by knowing a person because you can say that you know a person well by the many meaningless things you've talked about but you can't say you know who the person is without the layers of ever-changing information.

I've heard before that even when you're married, you still learn things about your spouse that never came up when you were still single. Even when you've been friends for years, there are still things that you never really know about the person. So why do we still ask if we know someone enough?

How do you know? How do you really know a person "enough" that you can say you can trust that person with, say, your life?

Matters of consequence.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Pseudo Deja Vu

Pseudo Deja Vu

Pseudo Deja Vu

I live fairly near to this quaint food place (I don't know if I should call it a restaurant) where I am writing this post. In the few minutes that it took for me to walk here, I realized that I was forcing deja vu.

We all know that deja vu is "the illusion of remembering scenes and events when experienced for the first time." It's the feeling that you've seen something happen that way before.

Well, pseudo deja vu is, I believe, when you force it. I was forcing deja vu when I walked here because it's exactly what I did the day before. Pseudo or forced deja vu is doing something exactly the way you did it before to achieve the feeling of deja vu. It's what you do when you stalk or when you want to be stalked: you stick to a schedule, a routine, and do it the same way every single time.

But this post is not going to be about stalking. No. I am going to talk about the many times that we force deja vu.

Two quotations come to mind when I think of this.

The first is from Albert Einstein's definition of insanity: "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

The other is from Thomas Edison: "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."

I understand that these two are totally different, but bear with me on this one.

Sometimes we do things even when we know they won't work. Sometimes we do things even though we know it's wrong. We convince ourselves that things will turn out differently, but who are we kidding, really? When you do the same thing over and again, it's going to end up the same as it ended up the last time. We become like dogs chasing their own tails. It's an endless cycle of, well, that's just it. It's a cycle.

But why do we do it? Do we hope for change? Of course we do. We hope things become different. But even more, we hope to feel that same feeling we felt the last time (so many feels). Someone once asked, "When was the last time you did something for the first time?" And someone also gave the sentiment that "I wish I could forget I read this book before so I could read it again as if it were my first time." Do we secretly hope that we could undo the past and make it the first time?

Do we secretly not want to deja vu (yes, I used it as a verb :p)? I don't know where this post is heading, but I do know that sometimes we are so caught up in the before that the after becomes inconsequential. We live in the past and long for the future that we are hardly ever present. Sure, when you live in this world for too long, everything seems to become familiar, but it's not exactly the same.

So it's your call if you want to pseudo deja vu. It's your call if you want to do the same thing over and again without changing anything. You can choose to be insanity or you can choose to be the 10,001st way that actually worked. (But come on, you want to go all the way to 10,000 before you change?)

In Inception, Leo (because I'm too lazy to search his character's name) had this spinning top that let him know if he was in the real world or not. My spinning top that reminds me that this is only a pseudo deja vu is that I came here a couple of minutes later than I did yesterday, did not order the same thing, and actually wrote a post. So it's only a pseudo deja vu. Nothing is ever really the same.

Pseudo Deja Vu

Pseudo Deja Vu

Pseudo Deja Vu

PS I believe I don't make sense right now. :p

Monday, December 28, 2015

3 Things to Do on a Road Trip to Pagudpud

This post may also be titled "How to Survive an Almost 12-Hour Road Trip (that Started at 1 a.m.)," but that would be too descriptive (and may or may not drive you away from reading this post). Also a fair warning, expect a lot of parenthetical comments (because they're the words that actually matter haha).

Christmas for some people is spent with family in their homes, in front of the TV, eating Christmas dinner. This was also our usual celebration, but this year, we decided to shake things up with a road trip to Pagudpud.

Now for anyone who knows anything about traveling and road trips amd Philippine geography, a road trip to Pagudpud (with all the rest stops and necessary traffic delays) would take about twelve hours.

Here's a map.

See, how lousy I am at pictures haha.

Anyway to pass the time, here's what you can do (because this was what I did).

1. Sleep. 

As Ms. Universe 2014 advised Ms. Universe 2015 during her final walk, "Sleep if you can." I took that advice as if I were the girl she was talking to and spent most of the trip asleep. You can't blame me (or yourself if you decide to also do this). The trip started at one in the morning and we didn't sleep the night before. Of course sitting in a moving vehicle would lull me to sleep (I can practically sleep anywhere). 

This is also when I finally appreciated the existence of backseat seat belts. Once I was strapped on, the only risk I was posing to my sleepy self would be banging my head on the window (of course I'm in the window seat, duh). 

Sleeping on a dawn road trip, you don't really miss much. You just have to make sure you're a bit awake when the sum rises so you can catch the colors of a newly woken world. 

But of course if you're the driver (or the driver's navigator or the backseat driver or just a driver), you can skip this because you're not allowed to sleep. Keeping you, Mr. Driver, awake can be a challenge and a totally different post because I don't want to talk about that right now.

What I do want to tell you is another thing you can do on the road trip.

2. Eat.

This is important because we all have to feed ourselves at some point. And riding. Car is very exhausting. So every time someone offers food, take it. (It's also kinda rude to refuse an offer hihi.) 

This was kinda what we did, and I tell you, it was the unhealthiest trip I have ever been. This trip introduced me to the awesome package that is the Weeshee Bag.

Photo taken from (I think). 

It's this bag full of junk food goodness that can make the kid inside fill with glee and your kidneys and uric aside cry in disappointment (but who cares, really). 

We consumed most of its contents in more or less just a few hours (because we had to sleep in between eating---that's an important part of eating during a road trip). I can't say I regretted the snack food because I really don't regret it. Hihi. 

But if you get a chance to actually plan your trip snacks, you might want to include something healthy . . . Like hot dogs and marshmallows. Or maybe some fruits. That would be great too.

And last but not really because there are so many possibilities:

3. Watch Scorpion.

One of the advantages of being in an Isuzu MUX is a built-in TV. And when the passengers come prepared, there is bound to be a TV series in their possession. On this trip, it was Scorpion.

It's a case-solving series with highly intellectual characters and is inspired by the true story of Walter O'Brien (who says he has an IQ of 197). It's kind of Mr. Robot working in CSI with the nerdiness of Fringe and Flash and all them other case-solving series with nerds. Needless to say (but I'm still going to say it), I was hooked. Science and fun characters, what's not to love. I mean, a control freak genius, an OC human calculator, a mechanical prodigee, a narcissist behaviorist, an agent (really just an agent), and a normal person who gets to keep the balance of the team equals, well, Scorpion. (As you can see, I am also very lousy at promoting things I like.)

What's great about the show is that it's fast-paced and witty. The science stuff doesn't drown the normal person but also isn't dumbed down for the nerds (I am using this word as a compliment, okay). In fact, I was amused that one experiment they did was just aired on National Geographic, which means the creators of the show (and I guess every other science-y show in the world) really did their research. Really, just watch.

Anyway, so during the round trip of the road trip, I think we finished ten or thirteen.

But (and I am saying this with emphasis) if you are prone to motion sickness and your eyes make you dizzy and naseous when you watch TV or read inside a moving vehicle, I do not recommend you watch this during a road trip. After a couple of episodes, my head hurt and I wanted to vomit, and I found myself fighting the urge to still watch the show (as in my left eye was closed but my right eye was still peeking). But of course, it's your call.

And there! My three things to do during a twelve-hour road trip. Hit repeat and you are good to go. Sure, there are other things you can do and I can suggest so much more, but for this trip, these three things worked for me.

I hope it works for you too.

Follow-up posts on the road trip coming soon. Happy New Year, everyone!


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Blank Pages

This is how I #hugot. Also, this gives you an idea of what I'm really thinking about sometimes when I'm staring at my work but not actually working. Only sometimes. :)


It was still early. We talked about meeting up today, but I didn't think he'd be here at this time. I rubbed the sleep off my eyes and smiled at him as he came through the door.

"Good morning," he said.
"Good morning," I replied. "So early?"
"I wanted to watch the sunrise with you."

He hugged me. I went back to my room to change while he took his place on the living room couch. When I got ready, we walked to the beach.

It was still dark. We held hands while walking. My other hand was tucked inside my jacket pocket, keeping it warm in the strong breeze of the sea. His other hand was in his jacket pocket, probably keeping it warm too. We were silent, happy with each other's presence. We found the rock that protruded from the small hill a ways from the shore. It was the perfect sitting place to view the sunrise. I snuggled up to him, and he wrapped his arms around me, resting his chin on my head. Then we waited.

The sunrise was beautiful. He wasn't talking much. I didn't intend to break the silence.

It was only a few steps from my house. He stopped walking and pulled me gently to where the sea kissed the shore.

"Hey, is everything okay?" I asked.
"Yeah. I just . . . I'm not ready to let you go yet."
I smiled. He used words like this when he had something important to say.
"It's okay. Let's just stick around for a while."
"No, I meant I'm not ready to let you go at all."

At that he pulled out his hand from his pocket and showed me a ring. A ring that meant what I thought it meant but something I didn't want to believe. He knelt in front of me and took my hand like everyone does in the movies and some people do in real life.

"I don't know if I'll ever want to let you go because right now all I want is to be with you forever. I know this sounds selfish and completely disorganized, but I love you. If it is selfish to want you, then I am selfish, but that's what I think love does. It keeps you wanting to keep the people you love with you. So please, let me be the most selfish man in the world, and be mine forever. Will you marry me?"

He stared at me. I stared at him. His hand was poised to slip on the ring into my finger. I stepped back.

It was too soon. I took another step back. I saw the dread flash in his eyes, then the confusion. Finally, hurt. I didn't say anything. I took off and ran into the house, not even bothering to close the door. My mind was reeling.

He couldn't just ask me to marry him. I had to escape. I had to leave. He didn't deserve this.

His footsteps creaked on the floorboards as he followed me into the kitchen.

"What are you doing?" he asked. "What's wrong now? Don't you love me?"
I paced and pulled on my hair, wanting to rip them off. "I have to leave."
"What? Why?" He walked toward me. "Why are you doing this?"
"I can't marry you," I said.

He clenched his fists and set his jaw. He was holding himself in. He was about to explode.

"Why are you so afraid of admitting it?" he seethed.
"You don't want to marry me, not can't. You don't know if you love me."
"I love you," I said, looking at him and trying to keep still. I did love him.
"Then you're just afraid of sharing your life?"
I didn't have an answer.
"You're a coward! You make people fall in love with you then you leave them bleeding. You're too afraid to get hurt that you don't care if you hurt other people. You are a coward!"

I turned away, finally letting the tears roll uncontrollably down my face. He was right. I sank to the floor and hugged my knees and just cried. I didn't care if it was an immature response to what he said. I was too tired of running away. Maybe this time I could just let the pain rip me to shreds.

I expected him to leave, but I felt him sit beside me. Not touching me but very much there. He was hugging his knees too.

(May 29, 2014)

Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. The events in this story are purely from my imagination. This has never happened to me in real life, nor do I wish or plan for this to happen. I don't live near the beach. :p

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Note to Self

As I count down to the end of this quarter-life crisis, I look back and realize how (it's taking me some time to think of a word to describe how) the past year was. I guess the word I'm really looking for is inconsistent, but maybe spontaneous can do a better job at making sense of this post.

So because I felt a bit spontaneous after the "surprise," here's my note to self.

Part 1

The next time, if there is a next time, your friends surprise you by bringing balloons and party hats and a cake and some poppers while they're singing "Happy Birthday" in a room full of other people, forget yourself. Turn around and look at them. Really look at them. You may not get a second chance. Look at how they walk toward you, smiling, singing, like fairies carrying gifts of happiness with their bouncing steps. (I really wish you had looked so you'd have a better description of what happened.) Look at their faces and remember that moment. Remember how you feel. Take notice of how you suddenly realize that these are your friends. These are the people who make this world bearable. They are your family. Look around. Look at the people in the room. Listen to their voices as they join in the singing. Appreciate them. Notice their smiles. Notice their existence. Notice that they are your friends too. Take a deep breath. Don't be afraid to cry. Let it sink in. You are not alone.

There will be no pictures in this note. You will not see what happened when it happened, but you will not need to. The pictures are static, the moments frozen on the page. They linger, and they do not fade. But they lose their value. Somehow, in the fleetingness of memories, you will find their importance, their significance. Somehow you will realize that these memories, which may someday fade, become special because of the idea of losing them, of someday finding out they cease to exist. These memories.

You don't need the pictures. You have them all in your memories. You have them all in your heart. You know how special the people are to you. You know how they risked the surprise. They don't know it but when they started walking toward you, your world shifted. You saw clearer. You saw them. You really saw them. Your friends.

The next time people surprise you, look at them. Really look at them.

You will realize someday that it will be like looking at the groom as his bride walks down the aisle. It will be like looking at the parents as their child receives the certificate of graduation. It will be like looking at the coaches of winning teams as they realize the work is done. It will be like looking at the artist whose songs are being sung louder by the crowd. It will be like looking at the universe, created to bring glory to its Creator, created to stun you in awestruck wonder, created to make you realize it was worth it. It was worth existing. It is worth being alive.

The next time people surprise you, let them. You don't have to decide how to react. You don't need to. Just let them. Stay in the moment. Let it seep through your skin and make you realize what you've known all your life: that God has been keeping you alive. For this.

And more.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Boom: Coloud Headphones

This post may also be titled "What Happens When You Give Me Money and Send Me Off to Impulse Buy."

I present to you Coloud Headphones the Boom Blocks in Gray/Pink.

All right, the story begins with normal workers like you and me doing our job and doing it well. By God's grace, a veritable number of points was given to me as SPIFF (somebody please tell me what that means). As had been agreed, it was appliance showcase quarter, meaning we had to choose certain appliances that were worth whatever points we gathered. 

Indecisive me could not decide in time what to order (and I was on leave), so I consequently forgot to send my request.

On the day of awarding, I was sitting, probably obviously sad because of my own negligence. So out of the blue, I was sent off to an adventure! Buy myself something and bring back the receipt.

Ergo, the Coloud headphones.

Admittedly, I have been eyeing headphones since last year. I've done a bit of reading on which ones had great quality and which ones were "meh." So when given the go signal to just buy, I was relatively prepared.

What I didn't take into account was my relatively giddier demeanor which eventually swayed my less-than-strong resolve. Decision-making abilities being stated, I stepped into the only store I knew in Ayala Cebu that had relatively more headphone choices.

"Hi, what's the best headphone set you have?"
"We have Beats."
"Uh, besides Beats." (embarrassed smile here) "Within the 1,500-peso range."

One points me to a Phillips headphones, but they would not let me try it because the packaging needed to be destroyed and therefore bought. Crossed that out. Also, I didn't have faith in Phillips' wiring.

Another pointed me to Coloud. So I tested it out.

Why this color? Because it looks like my running shoes. Also, it's kind of generic but not generic black.

Quality wise, it was okay. I'm not a reliable source when it comes to quality, but it sounded okay when I tried it at the store. At home though, when I played "Radioactive" by Imagine Dragons, it sounded very scratchy, like metal and plastic. It wasn't the bass, although I would have wanted the bass to perform better. Other songs proved that the set was okay. So it's just the song then?

So yeah, the Boom seems okay. I've only had this for a day, so I may update this post as I abuse this set of headphones. It's also kind of too big for my head, but as I have decided after I bought it, one rule when buying on impulse is not to care . . . at least not much.

Here are the specs for the specs-seeking reader. (Info taken from the insert in the box.)

The Boom combines noise-isolating design with comfortable wearability.
Audio Specs
Driver: 40mm dynamic
Sensitivity 100mV @ 1kHZ = 101dB SPL
Impedance: 32 ohm
Frequency Range: 20.0 ~ 20.0 kHz
Flat cable: 120 cm
Weight 132 g

So there. I have a new set of headphones. My first set of headphones. Will I buy another set someday? I don't know. Let's see how this one fairs first. Coloud, make me proud. (Also, please don't make me regret not buying a relatively more reliable brand like Phillips or Pioneer or even TDK.)

It was fun to impulse buy. Is there a job out there that would just send me off to impulse buy then write a random, non-informative, wholly opinionated review about whatever it is I ended up buying? :)

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Throwback: The Twenty-First Time

Okay, way back in, I don't know, 2011, when I was still new to the world of social media and Tumblr, and when I was bored and extremely . . . wait, I think I was jobless when I wrote this. Anyway, way back then, I posted this on Tumblr. And I guess it really does still ring true today.

The Twenty-First Time by Monk and Neagle

Nowhere to live, nowhere to fall
He used to have money, but he’s wasted it all.
His face is a photograph burned in my mind,
but I pretend not to see him for the twenty-first time

He sleeps under stars, that’s all he can afford
His blanket’s an old coat he’s had since the war
He stands on the corner of Carter and Vine
But I pretend not to see him for the twenty-first time

He may be a drifter, he’s grown old and gray
But what if he’s Jesus and I walk away?
I say I’m the body and drink of the wine
but I pretend not to see him for the twenty-first time

She’s twenty-nine but she feels forty-eight
She can’t raise three kids on minimum wage
She’s cryin’ in back of the welfare line
but I pretend not to see her for the twenty-first time

She may be a stranger tryin’ to get through the day
but what if it’s Jesus and I walk away?
I say I’m the body and drink of the wine
but I pretend not to see her for the twenty-first time

This is a call for a change in my heart
I realize that I’ve not been doin’ my part
when I needed a Savior, I found it in Him
He gave to me, now I’ll give back to them

Drifter or stranger, father or son
I’ll look for Jesus in every one
’cause I am the body and drink of the wine
and I’m thankful there’s more than the twenty-first time

Open your eyes . . . there’s so much that you can do to change the world. There’s so much you can give to those who are in need. There are so many ways for you to share the light to those who still haven’t found it. All they’re waiting for is your solid YES to God.

(Before I continue, I’d just like to say that this is the third time I’m typing all this down since the first two times, my browser crashed. Evil is working overtime.)

The problem with our society nowadays is that we have grown so accustomed to people sleeping on the streets, be it poor people with no homes to go to or people who have drunk themselves to sleep. We have grown so used to seeing them all sprawled on the sidewalk with only cardboard boxes as beds and clothes that haven’t been washed for who knows how long. We look at them, no, we don’t even really look at them. We only glance at them and think, That’s what they want and that’s what they get. Sure, there are those people who would prefer begging to working. But if you dig deeper, there are those hearts that someday want to be teachers, doctors, engineers, and even business people. There are hearts that are yearning for more from this life. Hearts that want to learn, if only they were given a chance. Think about it, what if the boy on the street you just passed was supposed to be the one to find a cure to some sickness but he never would because you didn’t even stop to take notice of him? What if the girl hugging her knees as she lies on the cold sidewalk at night was supposed to alleviate her family’s poverty but she never would because nobody even offered to teach her?

We are so blessed that it’s not hard to think of ways to bless others. We have so much that others have nothing of. We were made to be blessings to others. We are blessed to be a blessing. We were not made to hoard these blessings. God said that we should store up treasures in heaven, not here on earth. What use are these material treasures if we don’t use them for God’s glory? The Bible also says “To whom much is given, much is required” (Luke 12:48). We were given much; thus, we can give much. If you think you don’t have "much" then think about those people who are sleeping and eating off other people’s stuff. What do they have? And besides, what do you have that is not from Him? He gave us so much that He even gave His life for us. We were made to make a difference, and if we don’t realize that, then we might miss the chance of being used by our Creator.

Genesis 12

The Call of Abram
 1 The LORD had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.
 2 “I will make you into a great nation, 
   and I will bless you
I will make your name great, 
   and you will be a blessing
3 I will bless those who bless you, 
   and whoever curses you I will curse; 
and all peoples on earth 
   will be blessed through you.” (emphasis mine)

Abraham followed God and obeyed Him to the extent most of us still don’t understand. And God fulfilled His plans that Abraham will be a blessing to others and to "all peoples on earth." Obey and He will use you. We were made to bless others as what God has shown through the life of Abraham. God can use you too.

Think about it. You were given so much. We are blessed so much, and there are so many ways we can bless others. It may be financial or physical comfort or even just the blessing of remembrance. The mere fact that you care for a person can uplift a poor spirit and let that spirit experience the light and love of Christ. We can start small. Maybe we can pray for that man on the streets today. Or give a piece of bread to that old lady scavenging for food inside a trash can. We can maybe talk to the children who haven’t had a bath since who knows when. Or maybe give extra clothes. And even go the extra mile to share the gospel of Christ to them so that they will know that God loves them no matter what their situation is. God has a plan for them although they may not see it yet. Let’s help them see. Let’s help them realize that God’s love surpasses all understanding. God loves us so much that He even sent His beloved Son to be with the ragged, torn, abused, and oppressed people He loves so much. He sent Jesus to show us that love is possible for everybody, even the ones our society may call untouchables. God wants us to love them the way He loves us, ragged and broken as we are. There are so many ways to be used by God. All God is waiting for is our yes.
John 13:34-35  “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
God bless us all! =)

After reading that again, I feel like I'm still challenging myself. We are works in progress. God's not finished with us yet.