Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Cruise Instructions

You see him from afar. You notice him.
You are not sure if he notices you as you walk towards one another.
As you come closer, you like what you see.
Was that a look from him, too?
A few steps away and yes, you notice him checking you out, too.
Or so you think.
You walk past each other.
After just a few feet, or three seconds, you glance back.
You check if he glances back, too.
If you are really interested. STOP.

Look back.
Check for a glance-back.
If he doesn't (or if you didn't catch it), it's not meant to be.

But if you see that momentary glance-back, hope is alive.
Just stay there. Pretend to be looking at the window display.
Never mind if it is all women's clothes.
Yeah, the point is to be obvious to HIM that you are stopping for him.
Casually look back and see if he is going to stop, too.
If he does, and he pretends to do exactly what you are doing, BINGO.
Or even better, he starts walking towards you, BINGO.

Go for the kill.
Slowly, start walking to approach him.
Don't be shy. Walk towards him.
I said walk. Don't run. You don't want to look That desperate.
Slow down as you approach him. Hopefully, he'd still be there. He'd still be faking appreciating a stupid window display.
About two feet away, stop. Preferably at the same window display.
Smile to yourself. As if you saw something you liked at that stupid window display.

Choose appropriate pick-up line. Some suggestions:
Straightforward. May kasama ka?
Pa-cute borderline pathetic: (looks at stupid window display) Ang ganda nun no?
Lame and corny but may be appreciated because of corniness: Anong oras na?
Stalker-ish: Nakita kita. (Notices something he is either carrying or wearing and uses it as a line) Galing ka sa school?

Alternative endings:

He doesn't stop walking BUT still glances back.
You have to follow him. Don't run. Just walk a bit faster to catch up.
If he wants you, he will continue walking but will slow down so you can catch up anyway.
There should be a series of glance-backs with half-smiles as confirmation.
Once you catch up, choose appropriate pick-up line.

The more aggressive type may actually make you follow him.
It may be towards a restroom. BINGO.
Follow him. But don't be over-eager.
He will go to a urinal. Choose the one beside it. BESIDE his! Not the time to be coy.
Do Not Initiate Conversation At The Urinal.
You May Check-out Package BUT be discrete.
Conversation will transpire at the sink area.
Or, if there are too many people, outside the restroom.
But confirm interest with direct eye contact on the mirror above the sink.

If he leads you to a dark and secluded place. DO NOT FOLLOW.
The risk of being held-up is higher than risk of quickie sex.
I repeat. DO NOT FOLLOW. Abandon mission!
Always go for areas where there are still people around.

Disclaimer: This post is for reading pleasure and not meant to be construed as instructional, despite the tone.

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Monday, February 1, 2016

BIrth Month starts

Good Grief! I'm turning 50 by the end of the month. I turn gold!

It's absolutely ancient in millennial terms, maybe even prehistoric. And I get a lot of the ribbing from younger pals. I used to do that myself.

In my 20's, I would look at people in their 50's and think of how old they must feel. That is not necessarily a bad thing. As I was climbing up the corporate ladder, I would be inspired by those already up there. I would think that they would have so much wisdom.

As I fast approach 50, I don't feel so old, or so wise. Yes, my body has changed much. There are really more aches and pains, especially in the joints. I can only lift so much weights. The effort to burn that fat is twice as much.

I am reminded of this quote "Just when I knew all of life's answers, they changed all the questions." That is exactly how I feel, especially with work. I got to this executive position, leading a change in the industry dynamics. Then, almost in an instant, the dynamics changed again. I am back to almost zero.

I don't feel so old because I don't feel so wise. I was hoping that at this age, I would be this 'guru', this 'sage' just dispensing quote-worthy statements, lessons of life. Unfortunately, I haven't collected much yet. I am still learning.

Maybe it's a good thing. It is certainly humbling. I'm still pushing myself, challenging myself, in all aspects. This 50 year old is still not giving up on having a slimmer midsection. This 50 year old is still wracking his brains to come up with solutions to work problems. Yeah, it is getting tiring. But it is not enough to make me pull a hard stop.

Not just yet. Let's see how I feel when I change my citizenship to Senior.


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Monday, January 18, 2016

Joross, Pia and me

Everybody seems to be talking about that Joross video scandal. I pity the guy. It turns out to be a 4-year video that somehow surfaced. A friend of mine shared one particular comment from Direk Joey Reyes: "Well, at least... Very good and grammatically correct English, di ba?"

I can't help but laugh. It was also the "other" thing that I remember from that video, his 'very Pinoy' way of speaking English, grammatically correct yet very Pinoy. I recall Pia Alonzo-Wurtzbach's Miss Universe Q&A's and all the interviews that followed. It was also distinctly Pinoy.

I am proud of their correct use of English AND that they speak English without having to 'adapt' an American slang or British stiff upper lip. I didn't use to feel this way. I used to think that one needed to speak English as a native English speaker, accents and all.

I have a sister who has spent more than half her life in the U.S. She has managed to retain Pinoy-accented English, with all the nuances that come with it. I used to laugh about that, or even be embarrassed, but not anymore.

In my last trip to the U.S., I was alone in a small cafe in the little New Jersey township. The waiter, cute and young, was taking my order. I followed it up, and asked for water. He came back with all my orders and chatted a bit with me.

"You must be Filipino. You said 'wa-Ter' " he mentioned matter-of-factly, emphazing that I didn't slide my 'T' as Americans would. I nodded and smiled though I was asking myself whether I have just been insulted.

"I'm half-Filipino. My father is from Olo-ngapo." I laughed and talked to him a bit more.

Afterwards, I was still mulling over how I said "water.' I never thought I pronounced it differently. But rather than be insulted, I thought I shouldn't make a fuss over it. It's about time I 'embrace' my Filipino-ness, even in speech. Other nationalities don't care about how their accents when they speak English. Why should I? As long as I am grammatically correct, I shouldn't have to change the way speak and be ashamed of it.

Yes, another glass of waTer, please. Thank you.


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Friday, January 1, 2016

Hello 2016

I haven't experienced a rainy New Year (at exactly 12am) in a long time (I actually can't recall any.) It was actually quite a spoiler. But it didn't keep the neighbors, nor me, from lighting up those sparklers and some fireworks.

I used to do much preparation for a new year: haircut, new clothes, having all those round shapes in the house. I didn't do anything special at all this year. Maybe it's the age. Maybe because whether I prepare or not, how the year turns out is totally unrelated to that. That is the very definition of superstition, I suppose.

2015 is over, and I'm all the better for it. I was just so hopeful when 2015 came. But as the months passed, I became less and less enthusiastic. It was a difficult year for me. My folks' medical challenges returned (after a 2014 hiatus). Even the challenges at work were worse than before. Again, it's all over.

The bright spot is that my relationship with c3 is wonderful and stable. He is a beautiful person (confidently beautiful) with a good heart (not just a heart). I am blessed by his love and support.

I'm turning golden this year. Yes, I am preparing for that. I feel that is still a milestone that needs to be celebrated.

Hello 2016. Hello from the other side.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Gospel of Poverty

Sometimes it would cross my mind - Galit ba si Jesus sa mayayaman? (Is Jesus angry at wealthy people?) or at another point, now that I live quite comfortably, am I doomed?

But then again, he never really says anything to that effect, unlike the way he calls out Pharisees and Scribes as hypocrites. In direct reference to wealth, "It is harder for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God than for a camel to pass the eye of the needle." He didn't say impossible. He didn't say that rich men cannot enter the Kingdom of God. He just says that is very difficult.

When I read the Gospels, I see a very real and deep concern and compassion for the poor, the powerless. They live at the fringes of society, at the fringes of the consciousness of those who are comfortable. We get reminded of them in the news, maybe in cinema and TV, too. My nephew, who grew up in New Zealand, was surprised at the 'poverty' he saw on the streets, so real and so.. Near and proximate. That is something he never saw in Auckland.

But Jesus never forgets the poor and underprivileged. Because hunger and thirst, or material poverty, is the surest was to 'break a man's spirit'. When one's circumstances cannot be changed, when no amount of hard work can make one eat a little better the next day, when hope is disappearing that one will have 'better life someday', that is the most depressing state for a human being. At that moment, his will to live, his 'spirit' is crushed. How could one go on living?

Jesus sees that brokenness, and he is so moved by it. And in response, He declares "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." There is hope. The Kingdom of Heaven, not of Earth, is already theirs. It is not so dire after all. One may be hungry at the present time, but just keep on persevering, justice will be served eventually.

That brokenness is not exclusive to those who are materially poor. We have all experienced being broken in spirit at one time or another. A career failure, a heartache, a death of a loved one. These circumstances just crush us. And we feel the hopelessness. In that brokenness, Jesus also speaks to us. We, who may be comfortable "and filled", are also included in that 'blessing'. We realize that all our material wealth does nothing to lift our spirits. Only when put our Hope in Him and his promise of the Kingdom of Heaven will we ever find solace.

However, we rarely experience that brokenness. We delude ourselves into thinking that with enough money, with enough wealth, we can be comfortable and never be 'broken in spirit.' That is the reason why it becomes so much harder for the rich man to enter the Kingdom of God. We put our hope in the things of this world, not in Him.

The challenge then is to realize that at a certain level, we are 'broken in spirit'. That is the challenge that can be met only by humbling ourselves willfully, that despite the comforts of life we can enjoy, we are still 'poor in spirit', we are nothing. Those who are materially in poverty are way ahead of us because their brokenness is with them everyday. So they turn to Him everyday, not like us. We forget often.

The difficulties I face at work has led me to feel that brokenness. I am broken in spirit. I acknowledge that I failed in so many respects. I have been humbled and crushed. I say this now, acknowledging my weakness, my poverty in spirit.

But in this broken state of spirit, I have turned to Jesus, everyday. I finally saw how prayer is helping me turn my spirit around. I have started to pray a bit more, acknowledging to Him that I cannot do this on my own. That I need Him to show me how to re-build this company.

Slowly, surely, He has started to! Dahan-dahan may nangyayari. Dahan-dahan nagkakaroon ng liwanag. Napaparating niya sa akin ang mga dapat kong asikasuhin. Binibigyan niya ako ng mga pagkakataon, opportunities that I can only describe as 'miraculous' to start to turn things around. Hindi lang mabilisan. Sa tamang panahon.

That is my learning for this Christmas - not be distracted by the material wealth, the pleasures that I will enjoy this season. I need to be reminded of the poverty in spirit that I share with those who are truly less fortunate than me. I wish to always acknowledge that brokenness because only then will I realize that there is really hope in Jesus, Jesus who's birthday the world will be celebrating this Friday.


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Sunday, November 29, 2015

My Shemitah

It started with family discussions over dinner regarding end-of-days predictions on September, specifically September 23. Again, people online have been sharing news from different sources. Asteroid crash, stock market crash, another 911, etc. etc. We've all heard it before. And it was on the news again. One of those struck my fancy - those related to Shemitah.

I won't go into the details. Just click the link to get to the long video where this techpreneur explains it. Shemitah Exposed

Of course, none of the predictions came to pass. But somehow, the concept made an impact on me, on gullible me. LOL (I actually pulled out some of my dollars and changed this to local currency, right as the rate started going south.)

Every seven years, there is a period of cleansing, when life as one knows it, needs to be re-ordered, re-balanced. It is so biblical. The seventh batch of seven years, the change is even more profound. That's 49 years total. That is exactly my age right now. So I am particularly reflective on this personal Shemitah.

Before I turn 5 decades early next year, I have started to do some re-ordering. I decided to end my service at the parish. I will stop my teaching sideline, something I have been doing for... yes, you guessed it, 7 years. The biggest change will happen with work. That is something beyond my control, and yet it will happen this year, too. So neatly woven, don't you think?

But I have also resolved to maintain certain things in my life, like working out and trying to be fit and healthy. That is here to stay, even if I will never achieve the hotbod... ever. The pursuit of the ideal is enough for me to keep it going, on and on.

My practice of the Catholic Faith is another one. Even as I left parish service, I feel that I would be end up still being 'of service' through a different ministry.

My service to my family, my parents is both a responsibility and a privilege. I am honored to be the only one among the siblings left here in 'Pinas to take care of them. Funny that recently, I got invited to be ninong at not just one but two weddings of young men whose moms I just know casually or professionally. They approached me, requesting to be a ninong to their sons because they loved that I take care of my folks (as I post on my FB). Hahaha

It will not be 'business as usual' when I turn gold next year. I still don't know what form my life would take after 2016. But oddly, I am excited and at peace with it.


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