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Archive for the ‘Internal Monologue’ Category

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Almost home.

Farewell, land of wheat products and cold food.

I can’t believe how much I’ve missed food, my food, not these yes-beautiful-but-hollow sandwiches and salads and strips of pancetta on pasta. I want spicy peanuts, adobo and the rogan josh across the street from the office. I want sinigang and green papaya salad and the buta kakuni at Shinjuku.

I am wanting all these while munching on yet another variation on the croissant.

I fly out from Paris tomorrow, connect to Amsterdam then take the lights-out-everyone-sleep flight to Manila. It will be the morning of the 26th when I arrive, many Euros poorer but richer in so many other ways that count aside from money.

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I wrote this poem in 1996, put it up on my old blog, and rereading it now, eyelids heavy with a week’s worth of sleep, I realized it had no title.

Who abandons these cars
and allows them to live anew:
cat motels, dust magnets,
flutes when the city’s hot winds

go through one cracked window
then another:
who? And who smears hasty hearts
on all those windshields,

made-to-fade messages of love
to Veronica or just anyone
passing by? Take a number,
then any street,

find that door and knock on it.
Whoever answers can be
the woman who is always the question,
freshly arrived from the airport,

smelling of lavender and
sex on the beach.
“Who are you?” she asks, and
dizzy with love, you can’t answer.

Was it Robert Frost who said the title is the clasp that holds the necklace together?

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you’re sideswiped by possibility?

Doors

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I bought a yoyo in the same week I read Daniel Pink’s A Whole New Mind. I bought the book two years ago but my sister took it away, to the Hinterlands, which shares the space-time continuum her dorm room and the planet of misplaced ballpens occupy. It returned from the journey with age spots, so I assume time runs differently over there.

One of the most interesting takes on the book is on PresentationZen. I didn’t know Garr Reynolds existed before googling A Whole New Mind. So, one more blog for me to follow. I am supposed to give a “Presentation 101” talk in the office any time this year. (This decade, my schedule willing.) Methinks it will be easier – and faster – to just order the Presentation Zen book.

The yoyo. I walked into Hobbes and Landes looking for a Bop It for Lucien. They had Mimobots, model soldiers and a shelf of dog toys, but no Bop Its. A video was running on the Active Toys display, so I watched. Minutes later, I was hypnotized into buying a high-tech yoyo. Oops, [YO]2. Following high-tech product nomenclature conventions, Active Toys took a simple toy name and added brackets and a superscript.

I played with the yoyo all day at work. It came with a tricks CD, so I watched that. I have been practicing looping, alternating between my left and right hands. I am surprised at how addicting it can be, learning a new skill. I tied the string to Lucien’s tiny finger last night and he ended up walking the dog. Just the walking part, not the spinning part – unless I stand him up on a chair, the string’s too long for him to actually use the yoyo.

I don’t have a labyrinth to walk (in a Whole New Mind, labyrinth walking is said to quiet the mind and free the right brain to do some thinking on its own), but I can pack the yoyo.

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Happy Havarti.

I like cheese. Roquefort, raclette, havarti, emmental and good old cheddar make me happy. Actually, cheese of any kind makes me happy. So tonight it is havarti and a can of Coke Zero. Coke Zero launched today with a newspaper wrap, four or five ful-page sequential ads in the Inquirer and Star and a building drop-down. It felt like an obscene amount of media money, the kind that says, “I’m a leader brand and don’t you forget it!”

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Thinking about one thing (and the many things that come with it) for three weeks straight nudges you into a fugue, a drunkard’s walk that ends in a slump underneath a streetlamp. I feel this way at the end of every new business pitch. The hyper-concentration drains away with the adrenalin. I am tired and my keyboard has ink blots.

The happy bit about post-pitch fugue is everyone is extra nice to you, and doesn’t bug you too much. So today I decided to bring the PSP and zone out on arcade games, which demand only my fingers and eyes, and some part of my brain that isn’t wondering what day it is. Oh, and there’s lunch to be figured out, but I can spare a couple of neurons for that.

It’s a good Monday.

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has robbed me of punctuation

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Argh!

I am working overtime. Argh.

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I told my sister last night, “Oh no, clutter ate our Christmas.” She told me to be patient. I sighed. Our house is a pastopolis, three floors of hereditary packrattiness.

On Christmas Eve there were at least twenty different sets of plates unpacked and waiting to be washed before being put away again. Floral, geometric, plain, heritage… There were exemplars from every interior design magazine theme. (My mom is only this way with house stuff, and I use the word stuff because all the other words sound archaic, like accoutrements and bric-a-brac, although come to think of it they are more to the point. Bric-a-brac, in particular, sounds remarkably like the six plates, three glasses and plastic soup spoon which, as of last night, are with us no longer.)

The Past in Matchboxes

There is also the matter of the matchboxes. I saw them laid out on the ledge two days ago. Me: “I can’t believe you kept all these boxes!” Mom: “Yes, I think we can still use the matches.” Me, thought balloon: “Oh, I thought we were keeping them as examples of Philippine graphic design from the seventies.”

We hardly made any headway in the pile of trash bags and boxes underneath the stairs. I opened a huge trash bag to discover it contained a wealth of rags, from at least two decades (I could tell by the fabric). There were rags made from rags. I showed it to my mom and asked if we could spread the rag love, so to speak, and she said no, we can still use those. We are so carbon-neutral it hurts. I managed to persuade her to let go of most of my grandaunts’ clothes, and a set of curtains that had the barest suggestion of aesthetic consideration and shed fibers with every shake. I think the find that gave me the most pause was a wrapped wedding present from our family to “the happy newlyweds” dated 1996. I opened the package and took out matching plastic placemats and an oven mitt. I told my mom that the happy couple had just celebrated their 11th wedding anniversary. I hoped they had gotten along fine without the placemats and oven mitt, so our family could use them now.

A day from 1991

The item that gave me the second most pause was a page from a chintz-covered planner I used in 1991. The schedule is eerily similar to what I have today. It’s been 16 years of FGDs and pre-prods and recording sessions that start at 9 pm. At least my handwriting has moved on.

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there were four women who ruled the tiny world I called work.

When I first met Matec, she had a perm and a voice that carried across the conference room. She was brash, but she was also very kind. Once she sank her teeth into a project, she would not let go until we were all fainting from fatigue, just to get it done.

Elaine was a smart bomb with a dirty mouth and an intelligent smirk. She never had a plain old smile, it was either a smirk or a knowing grin. Her eyes would flash with her own mix of desperation and humor, and she used to don fake latex breasts and terrorize the artists into finishing her work on time.

Mother (Tere) was a terror, too, in her own way. She would always say, “What about…” and then let the sentence trail off, and we would all stare at the ceiling waiting for ideas to drop. She could be tactless, and very often emotional, but she was the creative strategist who always gave me a chance even if she thought my ideas were just a notch above crap.

Chiqui, I always thought, stood straighter and walked faster than everyone else because she was shorter. She was firm, and organized people and stray thoughts with ease.

They used to hang out together, have noisy lunches together, push one another to the limits of their patience, and Elaine would roll down the car windows and shout out Chiqui’s phone number to male passersby she thought were cute and needed to take Chiqui out on a date.

I saw them together at lunch today, a decade after most everyone parted ways. Elaine mimicked a Thai bar girl doing a razor special, Matec pulled out a giant folding fan from her red patent bag and gave everyone the lowdown on her body sculpting, Mother scolded Chiqui for not wearing her glasses and Chiqui ate everything on her plate while chatting left, right and center. It was a surge of nostalgia, sweeter than macapuno ice cream, and I was glad to see them being more themselves than ever.

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There’s no one in the creative department. Or in the accounts department for that matter. It’s all quiet and dark and cold in the office. I want to take a nap. But I must be productive! I have meetings. It is Thursday after all, the day we all must get through before Friday.

It is during these cold mornings that I find myself grateful for the heat radiating from my MacBook Pro. It’s not a bad handwarmer.

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the rain sheeting, careening crazy down the windshield. A splitsecond later, as the car moves forward, the ears receive the bounty of sound, the pitter too soon after the patter.

I imagine slow rain to have vowels like long e and long i, but a monsoon downpour does away with all the vowels, and insists on rapid-slurred consonants, kkkkk ppppp. The ride to the office gives me more than ample time to imagine the outposts of the language of rain, as traffic is an inch a minute. I see a man stalled on his bicycle, leaning against a parked car, too weary to struggle the last few meters to the waiting shed. The couple in the taxi in front of me ignore the rain, the jam, the taxi driver sneaking peeks at them in his rearview mirror. It is a rain-bleak morning, but they flutter their fingers on each other’s cheeks and make their own sunshine.

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I like this more detailed readability analysis, but alas, it does not have a widget. This blog falls in between TV Guide and Reader’s Digest. My old blog is on the high end of most popular novels, sneaking up on Time and Newsweek. I should use tintinnabulation, excoriate, phlogiston, anile and caterwaul more often, with a hefty sprinkle of pejorative and gerrymander.

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That’s what Joey, WordPress.org person, said to me last night when I proudly showed her my “new” blog. So I chose the upgrade option to get custom CSS working. I just don’t feel like doing it today. There is a gray veil of rain beyond the gray window behind the gray blinds. Monotone, monochrome, a monologue describing nothing much at all. Perhaps even the day is in default mode, too set in its ways. I’m neither sad nor bored. My state of mind is akin to blips of self-awareness in between handfuls of peanuts.

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