Monday, May 30, 2011

the humbling experience

...of being a patient, that is. it doesn't matter who you are, how much money you make. you are simply at the mercy of the people, professionals, yes. and of machines and contraptions.

you strip down in front of nameless faces (would it help if you got to know them? hmmm. maybe not). you receive your orders (lie down, stand up, sit up straight, put out your chest) and you just comply.

you feel such indignity. but you bear it. and you start to feel the helplessness of your situation. and you accept and just let it be done to you. psychologists call this learned helplessness.

it will happen sooner or later. hopefully later than sooner. a reminder that we are all just flesh and bone. in the end.

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ex-rated photos

i was doing my attic-fixing. i was finally able to put the cabinets ive wanted for it. so im organizing all the stuff (junk mostly) to be stored there. i came upon this plastic bag of pics from an old life - pics during my time with immediate ex.

and we amassed quite a set. birthday parties, trips local and abroad. new condo. barkada get-togethers. i remembered separating all of these from my photo albums and stuffing them there.

what do i do with them? do i throw them out? do i keep them? i guess our current not-in-speaking-terms arrangement and all that bad vibe between us is pushing me towards getting rid of them all.

what would you do with ex-rated pics?

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Sunday, May 29, 2011

cc as carediva

my father is 76yo. he still looks healthy (actually quite fat) and doesn't look his age. he struggles with his weight and his waistline. but still gives in to the cravings for ice cream, chocolate, lechon, kare-kare, lengua. i wish i could get him to eat healthier. well, both of them (dad and mom). but i dont have the heart to be dictator when i know they enjoy food so much.

lately, he has been having some stool problems. probably hemorrhoids. but the sad thing is, at his age, it could be worse. and so typical of people his age, he dreads going to the doctor and getting his laboratory tests. so he has been delaying that.

a frantic household help called me on my cellphone, fearful that my father might be having some attack. i rushed home and assisted my mother, who was also panicking. thankfully, it wasnt anything cardiac. just stomach spasms. but i am observing him. tomorrow, i take a leave to accompany him to the hospital.

the gay son's role is carediva, right? i can't imagine how my married siblings could take care of him, even if they wanted to. they all have their family priorities. and at this point, i can't help but feel blessed that i am gay. i feel really special, as if i was chosen for this purpose of taking are of him, of them. and though i have my own priorities (my career, my relationship), i know that taking care of them is way up there. no questions asked.

i also know that my parents are thinking the same way. they are thinking that they are blessed that they have this gay son who has chosen to stay behind and be with them (all my siblings are abroad). and committed for life to be by their side.

being gay is a blessing. that statement must qualify me for excommunication according to some quarters! but during moments like these, i feel that in my heart. and i am grateful.

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Friday, May 27, 2011

Thursdays with cc: is performance punishing?

i saw this post this morning. with 14+ comments.

tama ba naman yung dahil maganda ang performance mo sa trabaho, yung load ng palpak mong kasama sa department ay kunin sa kanya at ibigay sa iyo??? I was punished for being the best in what I do, at yung pumapalpak naman ay rewarded by removing a bulk of the work load nya. :(

a lot of the comments were sympathetic, of course. some were empowering him to complain directly (which he did but apparently, did not get satisfactory answers from the bosses)

i was tempted to jump in to comment but he might not appreciate what i was about to write.

my pov

bosses will always have the firm's profitability and total productivity as top-of-mind. if a section's productivity is faltering, they would need to re-allocate resources (including people) to remedy the situation. and sometimes, it means giving the job to those they know will perform and deliver more consistently than others.

it will seem like performance is punishing, from the employee's pov. and it will feel like it is, with the added load. but what is not apparent to the employee is how his evaluation becomes more favorable, a cumulative effect that manifests itself in due time (merit increases, promotions). the 'rewarded' employee, on the contrary, will be evaluated less favorably and well, you get the picture.

of course, that is most simplistic. there are other factors that will come into play. the other employee may have other skills (or strengths) that contribute to productivity, hence, he remains in the section. or 'punished' employee may have limitations in supervisory skills, hence, the limited upward movement.

it is very tempting to always look at the situation and feel 'victimized' and look at the bosses and owners as evil taskmasters. i shared a different pov in the hope of expanding horizons when looking at the same situation.

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

keep in touch

for private comments:

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in conclusion

a few months ago, i embarked on another attempt at getting that gay holy grail - a set of visible abs. i went for nutrition counseling with fitness first. after trying out all the diet programs (fit for life, south beach), i felt this was the last frontier.

that was in oct 2010. how time flies! i have completed 32 weeks (yes 32 weeks, roughly 8 months!) of the program, religiously writing out my food intake each and every single day for 224 days! and i must say that it was about 90% accurate.

and i was also measured up every week. and my mood swings would go with the way my weight and my body fat fluctuated! lol

yesterday was the last measurement. but actually, i would put the peak of my program at the time when i went to boracay. (which was the real end-goal in the first place!)

i started at a bodyfat % of 22.8. i hovered around the 20% level for the longest time, particularly after the holidays. i was at 144 lbs.

after the program, i ended with a 16.8% bodyfat and a weight of 136.8 lbs. i actually went down to 134 lbs pre-boracay. but proudly, this was my lowest bodyfat ever.

i have achieved what i've set out to do. after much effort. and it was a combination of a lot of factors. for one, i was an obedient student. i am a good follower. and even if i had my doubts, i complied with everything. the journal entries were hard to complete but i still did it anyway. incorporating the program with an intensified cardio (running) and weights program was crucial, too. sustaining it was a chore, helped by the "mini victories": the regular measurements, the numerics. this was the most effective way of keeping the mind focused on the goal.

there were sacrifices made along the way. lots of it. for a sweet tooth controlling carb intake, i made enough plenary indulgences to pave the way to heaven. and even alcohol intake. i had to curb that because of the indirect way it added more calories into my system.

i still recall a few years back, writing in my "The Secret Gratitude Journal" a wish to have abs, but written out as a fulfilled wish. "i am so thankful for finally achieving the body and the abs i have always wanted" or something like that. though i have to say that i only have a few visible abs. as you could see in the pic, the excess skin still hangs around the middle part and obliques. i need surgical intervention for that.

the best part, of course, is that this also translates to a healthier me. my blood work-up in february showed that all the indicators (cholesterol, uric acid, glucose, etc) were at normal levels! not bad for a 45yo.

now, it's maintenance as a goal. though my personal trainer challenges me to go for an even lower goal of 15% bodyfat. but i think im good with this. i can bulk up a bit, too. im still deciding.

im just happy that for once, i was able to look at the mirror and see a body i actually find attactive. and if i could do it...

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loving the new gym bag

finally found my ideal gym bag and overnighter. so handsome and classic. perfect dimensions. handpainted aviator duffel from cole haan. love.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

there's one or more in every family. those who are hard up in life. kamag-anaks (relatives) who may not have been as fortunate.

i have a cousin in such circumstances. a bit older than me, and in a longterm live-in relationship. they worked for this little handicrafts shop for a decade, barely receiving minimum wage.

i offered her a job as a personal assistant, my way of helping her out, giving her higher pay. work as my assistant is very seasonal and very light. i told her that she could also start painting again on her free time (which would be a lot). after a few months,i took her partner in as manager of the nano-enterprise. they were profuse with gratitude, feeling that they have a chance at a better life.

last month, my cousin quit. after just three months. she was offered another job, this time with supervisory potential. and she was feeling bored with all the free time (but she never got back to painting) and soon enough, her partner also resigned from the nano-enterprise. after a month. she felt that it didnt have potential to earn. the employees were too much for her.

i used to think that every person had the potential to rise from their humble beginnings if given the right environment and opportunity. and when i would look at them, i was thinking that they stayed for a decade in that handicraft shop because they felt they didnt have options.

i offered the opportunity for them to be liberated from the shop that seemed oppressive and abusive. now im realizing that there are more sides to that story. they lacked initiative, first and foremost, to truly be enterprising. they had a lot of ideas initially. at first. no more seconds. or follow throughs. they didnt even have the perseverance to try to manage and make things work. they stay in their comfort zones and wouldn't even want to think for themselves. they always needed to be told what to do. always.

my cousin was hired by a former classmate who owns a chinese fastfood chain. she will be given the chance to prove herself as supervisor. im sorry to be pessimistic but "good luck" is all i could say. if she manifests those traits mentioned above, i dont know how long she could stay, even if the owner is a best friend.

maybe ill be proven wrong.

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Sunday, May 22, 2011

davao this time

this visit was a long one. relatively. happy i brought my folks with me to enjoy the place.

marco polo gives good service. they were very accommodating to my senior citizen parents. they assigned a room right next to the elevator. the outlets were staffed with people who were always extending them a helping hand. i guess it helps that i stay at their executive floor. hehe.

i always get to do my workouts here. the fitness center is not too big but adequate enough for a workout, cardio or weightw, on the go. and the best part is the lap pool.

as much as the aesthetics of artsy-shaped pool lends itself to gardenscapes, i still prefer the lap pool for swimming. i treat swimming more as a workout i guess. i love the feeling of weightlessness, the refracted otherworld vision beneath the surface (and the view of crotches without being noticed!) im not a good swimmer. took some lessons for a decent pool crossing. its a skill i have yet to really master. its still an effort for me to do freestyle. maybe i should include that soon in my workout choices soon.

anyway, for the previous days i've been checked in, i have wanted to sneak in a swim. always, id see a lot of kids in the pool. somehow, a warning a friend told me before still haunts me ("kids in the pool = uncontrolled piss"). eewww. so ive held off swimming till the last day. however, on my last night, i went out to check the pool and saw this hunky youth doing some laps in his board shorts. the only one worth looking at in a sea of pissy kids and prissy adults. he seemed with some other folks. i proceeded to the fitness center instead.

i finished my workout hurriedly and left for the elevator lobby. and as i waited, he also went in. and he was quite TDH (tall dark & handsome). nice eye candy. i left him there as the lift arrived.

on my last day, i decided to swim before breakfast. ill get ahead of the kids if i get there by 730am and have the pool hopefully all to myself. weather was perfect! there was one family. a young couple. and me. yey.

laps. laps. then on one of my stops, TDH walks in with a kid, another guy and girl. a married na siya, i thought to myself. i caught him scanning the pool and looking my way. hmmm.

anyway, deadma lang. did my laps as he and his companions got in the pool. ahhh. the kid is his niece. he is with the couple, either the girl or the guy is brother probably.

i went out of the pool and proceeded to get some sun and read newspapers. i was still getting the feeling that he was looking my way, pa-simple lang. and in between the yaya chores, he would do his laps. and show off with a breast stroke. aba swimmer. he seemed uneasy, as he would steal some glances. hmm. ganun ba kahaba ang hair ko?

i was done and i went to the shower area to rinse off. i thought to myself, pagsumunod eto... and as predicted, he walked in and pees. no eye contact. sheepishly he moved. and he hurriedly left. more afraid of himself than me, i guess. lol

i left for the elevator lobby. and soon enough, he was behind me. and inside the lift, the 'dance' was dying to be initiated. all i had to do was strike up conversation, offer a view of my room.

so easy, the pull so strong. again. 'tang ina. ang dali dali talaga. but i stood my ground. and he got off unceremoniously at his floor.

the familiar scene. the unfamiliar reaction of walking away. could have been a clean, NSA hook-up. jackpot pa. but in the end, it couldnt be worth it.

my heart was still racing as i settled for breakfast. the adrenaline rush of it. part of why it felt so compelling. then.

i blame my new set of abs. lol.

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Saturday, May 21, 2011

a love-hate relationship

my driver and i. he's super-talkative today. i get this feeling he misses the talk. its been a while since i talked to him this way. because i was pretty pissed at his attitude at times. the guy suddenly clammed up. he just didnt talk. when i gave instructions, all i got was silence or a nod. that irritated me. one time, i sat him at my desk and asked him pointblank if he was unhappy and wanted out. because i wasnt going to stop him. that shook him up. and since then he has been normal again.

but sometimes he talks too much. today i dont mind. but there are times i do. im hoping he is learning the difference.

managing blue collar workers is a different challenge altogether.

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new PAL inflight safety video

after probably a decade, PAL finally changed their inflight video. i remember how the old one became "popular" since it supposedly featured the flight attendant Erap hooked up (?) with. funny thing was on my flight to jakarta previously, ms FA was actually our FA. i wanted her autograph. Lol. i should have. since they changed the video. she's now an archived icon! haha

anyway, i like the effort they put to make the video entertaining. mega-production. with loads of animation. i just found it a tad too entertaining. a bit over. the senior citizen main actor did his part well. the script, the direction should have taken a more sombre tone. but it will catch attention.

so i rate it an A for A-fort. but that's just me. :-)

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Sunday, May 15, 2011

random thoughts on the deck

its 935pm. im enjoying the breeze on the deck, something i havent done in a while. super clear sky. an almost-full moon overhead. everything just seems... right.

i am reminded of how scared i used to be outdoors at night in this place, in the old house. in that old rickety house, aswangs and tikbalangs and white ladies seemed so real. i dreaded stepping out, fearful that they'd be lurking in the caimito or the chesa trees. now i cant even begin to feel any fear. hahaha must be my age, too.

i came from a confenrence a few days ago. im usually just there to meet and greet clients. a social function really. and as a colleague of mine was introducing me to some clients, i was pleasantly surprised that one of them was just extremely goodlooking. as in drop-dead handsome. i actually saw him in one of the events a few months back. and even then he was a standout.

and we got to talking, usual client pleasantries. pleasantries that stretched to the entire afternoon. business talks primarily. but i have to admit a kilig factor there somewhere. haha but later on, the novelty wore off. and when i was viewing some of the photos, he didnt turn out to be photogenic. haha. nevertheless, that brightened my day and my trip. :-)

ill be going out of town again on tuesday. davao this time. i panicked last night because it seemed that my mom couldnt remember that i gave her the plane ticket. i distinctly remembered having given it to her. so it was pissing me off that she couldnt remember and couldnt find it. i was so sure i endorsed it to her.

or did i? it turned out i actually didnt. i found the ticket in the drawer. so what the hell was the distinct "memory" i had of giving her the ticket? was i hallucinating it? talking to pc about it made him jokingly ask me if i was turning schizophrenic. yikes! scary thought! di naman sana! lol

on a final note, my iphone just died. seemed like suicide actually. i had the foresight to synch it before the death. so im not as bothered. but texting again on a numeric keypad is effort-ful! sigh

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

the soundtrack of indigenous life

i watched balinese theater (the barong). i listened to the orchestra, playing with indigenous instruments. i was trying to catch a melody, a tune. but i couldn't. at times it felt cacophonous, with no one instrument 'carrying the tune'.

i thought maybe indigenous music was meant to be that way. music was meant to play like a background, mimicking the sound of nature. there really is no one melody, but just a harmony of tones, playing like a soundtrack of their lives. the music plays even as other tasks are accomplished, or conversations are made. it does not demand attention.

i just got used to listening music, as opposed to hearing music. listening is a focused activity, with a tune, a central melody, with a beginning, and an end. i pay attention to it. i drop what im doing. and listen.

which is so different from indigenous music. which is why i have yet to fully appreciate it.

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Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Passion Of The Corporate Closet

That trip to Boracay allowed me to get to know my friends a little better. They are mostly in their mid-30's, upwardly mobile, and seemed to be very passionate about making tons of money. Not that they are wanting. They are doing very well. And lately, the discussions center around acquiring real estate properties. more and more.

I was quiet for the most part. Hesitant to contribute. Yes, I am fortunate enough to have 'enough' to be even part of this group. But I just don't have the 'fire' in my eyes when the talk is about this piece of property or that investment or that return, unlike them. They turn to me and question my acquisition of Simply Red (my sportscar). I slowly answer "i just enjoy driving the car." They ignore that. And it becomes the usual talk about asset depreciation vs real estate value appreciation. blah blah

The discussion made me think of what i'm most passionate about. i want to spend my life doing what i enjoy, and what i'm passionate about. Since i'm never going to be passionate about wealth and asset acquisition, I can never think of myself as doing that for the rest of my life. (Hence, I am not going to be filthy rich anytime soon)

With the little that I have, i want to enjoy it and not just accumulate for later consumption. (Of course, it's on top of a kitty for life's emergencies). Which is why I bought Simply Red in the first place. I enjoy driving that little red car. I enjoy being with the company of people I love (family, pc, friends) I enjoy being entertained by good movies. I enjoy wonderful music. I enjoy expressing myself through song and sometimes, dance.

But Passion... that's another thing. I realized I am lucky to be doing what I am passionate about - I am passionate about creating winning marketing strategies. That sounds so geeky. But it's so true. I can get carried away building strategies, creating plans, programs and tactics. I can brainstorm for hours and let the mind just wander. I feel so energized after great meetings with my team, with my ad and media agencies. And I love seeing these things through to fruition. Executing. Implementing. And I get to do these and earn from it!

Which explains, too, why I am a corporate guy. My mind is built to look at strategies that require huge resources, multi-level, cross-functional coordination. I do not have the skill nor the patience to use this 'passion' at a micro-enterprise level, with meager resources. And even as I admire the negosyantes, I do not envy them. I'm not built the way they are.

Yes, I found my passion. And my work and the industry I am part of, continue to challenge me to create and create some more. They ape our strategies shamelessly. And instead of being angry, I just feel more energized. Time to get back to the drawing board and create some more! Always on our toes. Always creating!

Ooops. I get carried away. Sorry. How about you? Have you found your passion?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Balinese Art

I got this oil on canvas painting by Balinese artist Arok during that trip. I'm quite amazed at the vibrant contemporary art scene there.

The gallery I visited displayed only originals (many copycats abound), complete with certificates of authenticity. It was one huge gallery. And out of so many artworks on display in a dizzying array of styles, this caught my eye. I wanted a contemporary representation of Bali life, but not abstracted. The colors and strokes spoke to me about gentle, charming Bali with the Balinese gate in the background. Teddy likes it, too!

Arok sells his artworks online. You can check it out at his blogspot.

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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

early morning rant: PH vs Phl

why can't we get our acts together?

yeah, we agreed to dump "RP". but why is Inquirer using PH while Star uses Phl to replace RP? Can't we agree to use just one? do we have to endure their rivalry even in this space?


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Sunday, May 1, 2011

boracay 2011

the ease and savings of booking online, not just airline tickets, but entire vacation packages, has changed the travel habits of a lot of my friends. i know a lot of them who diligently surf the net, aside from always being in the lookout for great deals. they end up having their whole year planned out for them. which should be good for them and for the airlines and the tourism industry (imagine accurate forecasting usage as well as cash upfront!).

much as i would like to jump into the bandwagon, i really dont have the patience for it. so i rely on friends to do this for me, at least for those who feel i am worth bringing along on these trips. (none of the fabCs has a penchant for this, methinks)

and where as before i had this group of friends from way back, with whom i would take trips with (usually with boyfriends and plus ones), my ever-expanding social networks have given me the chance to travel with new sets of friends and acquaintances. and a chance to learn about and adjust to new sets of people!

the first time, it was a trip to dumaguete with the badminton buddies (including my ex and his love), a few years back. this time, its boracay. and it was with friend, legal eagle, his bf, and other friends ive met through him at parties and dinners. so there's always something new to learn.

for one, i really, really prefer having my own room now. i chose to room in with friends because that was the consensus, but i should have said otherwise. for the convenience and 'hassle-free' accommodations. no matter how nice your roomies are, you all have your set ways, and these wont always agree. besides, as oc-oc as i could be, i want to tidy my room at my own time and pace.

and learn about people, too. like how much more oc-oc others can get. or the idiosyncratic morning rituals. or how much fart one generates in privacy! or the deep-seated insecurities that surface during alcohol-facilitated late-night discussions.

in the end, you appreciate people more, and treasure their friendships. but i still want my own room. hehe

this boracay trip was like the culminating event of my six-month abs race. all those workouts, runs, diets led to the this point. i was picturing how i would have all those solo shots on various parts of the shore and the resort, with board shorts and washboard abs.

and i achieved the goal. yeah, i got the wows of all of the group, who were equally determined to get the abs look. and for the first time, i was walking around, shirtless, with some people actually checking out me and my torso.

but the pictures... sorry. i just didnt feel like posing anymore. one of us was actually so conscious of his abs and was having multiple photos taken, it felt awkward to do the same. i guess it is enough for me to know that there was a time i looked that certain way.

and the price i had to pay? LBM from day 2 to day 4. yup. two weeks prior, i went with a diet of lean meat, steamed or oven-baked, no salt, fruits and camote, oatmeal and wheat bread. two weeks. upon arrival here, i binged on the buffet lunch and dinner, right on day 1. it was the prize! a chance to indulge! but my stomach knows better. and all that fat and cream and oil it started rejecting. and uber-watery stools for the rest of the stay.

did it ruin my vacation? yes and no. the yes part is obvious. the need to go to the toilet from time to time. the self-imposed alcohol ban. but the no part? it didnt stop me from doing swimming, and sunset-viewing and enjoying their company. and doing juice bar and even white house (i like it. a real sunset happening place in station 1).

it also helped maintain the figure LOL. (i prayed that i wouldnt get fat and bloated. an answered prayer?) and kept me from staying at juice bar too long to attract temptation. hehe.

yeah. pc wasnt with me due to family activities. so i was in boracay again, no plus one. so while walking the beach footpath, i recalled my last trip here last year. a trip i took in haste just to use expiring miles. a trip filled with expectations of hot one-night stands picked up in juice bar. that trip had just one encounter, grindr-facilitated. and it was horrible. the guy looked okay but the attitude was a major major turn-off. it gave me erectile dysinterest. and juice bar drinking alone, well, didnt materialize. i didnt have the guts to go up to guys i liked. and nobody had the guts or the reason to come up to me, too.

so it felt so comforting to know i didnt have to do any of that with this trip. no need for me to meet and mate. no pressure, except to just look great in board shorts. lol. and though i did get that stranger saying hi, i felt no need to get jiggy with him.

lbm and all, it was a fun trip. it was the barkada that made it all worth my while, even as i was wishing pc was with me.

and i still want my own room.

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