Monday, November 26, 2012

Random Thoughts

What is a fleeting moment in a sea of constant turmoil and instability? When the waves surrender to the pull of the moon, the ocean becomes calm and listless. The unending waves pulled in different directions unknown.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Trying to be a morning person

Being a morning person is the most difficult thing EVER in your youth. I am convinced it is partly genetics and partly old age that factors into it. People often say, those who wake early are considered the most successful because they get things done. After all, as the old saying goes: early bird catches the worm. Ergo, I am on a quest to wake up at 6am every morning to get to the gym for an hour and be at work before my boss gets in at 8am. This self-inflicting sacrifice is purely a test to see if I can actually accomplish the impossible.

Monday Morning:


Thank god, I have 5 minutes until 6am. I can hit the snooze button and ignore my mom's call.


I struggle. I fight. I cry. I bury myself deeper in my mattress. Flip the covers over my head and curse the ticking clock.


I shove my head deeper in the pillow and allow the blanket warmth to seep through my bones.


I close my eyes tighter to shut the rest of the world from intruding in my comfort.

6: 30am:
The clock's ticking voice reverberates through my room in a limitless attempt to annoy the shit out of
me. I slowly push myself up thinking this is IT! This is the moment I will wake. I then look around in the dark room and in one huff I say "fuck it" and plop back under my covers, snuggling closer to the center of the mattress and into my blanket.

All the while, the clock keeps going..6:40, 6:41, 6:42, 6:43, 6:44, 6:45..

6:50 am:

My eyes open to adjust to the digital clock on my phone. Panic overtakes me. I jump out of bed rushing to the bathroom all the while shoving gym clothes in my bag while my toothbrush is hanging out of my mouth and one shoe on.


My 6am wake up goal is a blatant fail. My attempt to work against the slumber laws of physics crumbles before my eyes. My bleary eyes adjust to the cold morning light. My first step into a new day. Not quite the opening I wanted, but at least I wake. Perhaps productivity is on vacation today.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Wise Words When You Reach Your Quarter Life Century

Funny/Memorable quotes from my birthday:

1. "You're 25? is prime age to get drunk, get laid, and get out." - Tisha, Office Front Desk.
2. "When I was 25 I was in Spain and I was in love...with many men." -Maribel
3. "When I turned 25 I had a quarter century crises and I cried to the cab driver." - Abra
4. "You got flowers and edible arrangements? That's like my graduation and all b
irthdays combined." - David
5. "Happy Wednesday" - Roland
6. It's okay to have fun and go crazy at your age. When you reach age 28 and onwards and you drink and go crazy-people will judge you." - Boss
7. "How old are you? 25? God, you're still a baby." - Boss
8. "At your age, I was high everyday...those were the good days. Then I got a job at the State department and those good days ended" - Lee
9. "25 is a milestone! 26 is nothing because it's all downhill from there..take me for example..I'm almost half way to a 100." -My bro

Sunday, September 9, 2012

I am the asian that takes pictures of food, so shove it.

Rustik Tavern, Caesar Salad - with extra crunch

Rustik Tavern, Blueberry pancakes (more like face cakes)

Pho 75, Best Pho in town

Pho 75

Home-made chik-fil-a

Truckeroo, TaKorean

Truckeroo, The Aloha Truck

Truckeroo, Kalua Pig and Chicken Terryaki

Half-way to 50 and still lookin' good

My birthday is coming up in less than a month. 

I fail to comprehend the magnitude of turning 25. After all, it is ONLY half way to 50. After all, it is ONLY a quarter of a century. Come to think of it, in the past 25 years...I have lived through and indirectly witnessed the fall of the Berlin wall, the release and election of Nelson Mandela, 9/11 bombings, a war on terrorism, Saddam Hussein tried in court, the election President Obama-the first Africa-American President, the assassination of Osama Bin Laden, the Arab Spring, occupy wall street, the death of Michael Jackson, and the release of Aung San Suu Kyi.

Life is amazing and there are always new events surfacing to make you wonder where the world is headed. I think in my lifetime I have read and seen unbelievable revolutions perpetuated by the rise in new media technology. My generation is truly connected in thought, spirit, and action. People have become more aware of the impact they have on their governments, institutions, and communities. Social media has challenged boundaries, geographies, beliefs, and personal capacities.

It is unbelievable how the last 25 years of this world is characterized by changes in interconnectedness, digital activism, new media, and finally political progress through the constant campaign of like minded individuals around the world who are the same age as me.

When the clock strikes 25 years old I know I still have so much more to do in this world. So much more to contribute. So much more to share.

Cheers to half-way to 50. Cheers to life.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

DC Life - Chillin in Bloomingdales

After 3 months of job searching, I managed to nail a job back in my "first home away from home" - Washington, DC. After applying for a thousand jobs and submitting my resume into the black hole of unemployment waiting, I manage to get a yes.

Ergo, I packed my bags and headed to D.C. so I can make it in time for fourth of July :) aaaaand into a massive heatwave of (105 degrees F)

D.C. is beautiful in the summer except when it's scorching hot then I think it's close to hell.

I've been staying with my friend in her beautiful 1920s house. It's humungous and their rent is so cheap. (seething in jealousy) However, there is just so much room that I don't step on anyone's toes while crashing here and looking for a place to stay.

I have no idea how long I will stay. I have no idea if this was a good career move. I just know...when fate gives you a bone you better take it. There is so much to do in the city and NYC is just a four hour bus ride away. Trips to Europe is cheap from JFK airport AND I get to experience the four seasons. As much as I love the beach, I'd take East Coast living any day. At least there's more variety and opportunities to do something worthwhile.

This is a massive life changing decision ... and I am at a critical point in my life where my choices do matter because it will impact where I ultimately will be when I reach 30. One thing is for sure, at 30 I want be satisfied and established. I have a vision for what I intend to do and it is just a matter of figuring out how to get there and how to do it.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Laughter with a hearty meal is good for you..perhaps not for the waist line, but good for your soul.

It is amazing to be young and hungry. Not for life. Not for knowledge. But for FOOD.

I think know I gained a significant amount of weight during my three week vacation. In fact, my days were filled with non-stop eating. I barely bought any new clothes or new things because most of my money went to food.

I managed to take some pictures of the food I ate. However, most of the time I decided to just eat and leave the camera in the pocket. I guess this is where the fat ass youth stereotype plays in.

Anyway, I just wanted to post some of the most delicious, heart clogging, diabetes ensuing, and high blood pressure trigger foods I consumed this past week. There is more to life than just eating...and that would be eating with great company. Any meal is great when you have friends to enjoy the moment with.

Laughter with a hearty meal is good for you, perhaps not for the waist line, but good for your soul.

So I wanted to post some pictures of the food my friends and I ate and why it tasted good to the bone.

After a night of vodka, dancing, and Xbox Dancing my friends and I went to brunch for some unlimited champagne. Yes, how do you capitalize on a great night? You drink some more! 
In our conversation we compared ourselves to the joy luck club and who amongst our friends would die first in the Hunger Games.

(Papa Johns,  Lower East Side)
After 3 hours of cheese commercials, I finally caved in and suggested we buy cheesy bread for dinner that night. Another 1 hour of cheese commercials, my friend Roland finally surrendered and second my decision. 
We rented out Paranormal 3 and discussed reasons why the characters in the movie were stupid and if placed in that situation each one of us would have booked it the first time we smelled something fishy going on. 

(Dalessandro's Steaks, 600 Wendover St, Philadelphia, PA.
 In this situation there was no talking and simply eating. Chili peppers in my cheesesteak, chili peppers on the side, and cheese whiz spread over every crevice of this dish. 
During the meal, we talked about a possible heart attack, onset of diabetes, clogged arteries, obesity, and why we are glorified fat asses...and yet we still kept on eating until there was nothing left but soggy oily bread and chili pepper cores.  

The Tombs (1226 36th Street, Washington, DC.) w/ Roland
 Back to the old Georgetown stomping grounds where my friend Roland and I drank 2 pitches of Blue Moon. 
We talked about what we would have done differently, the people in our lives, and where we hope to go in the future. 
That is what I call a best friend for life.  

(Thai Food Resto, A Thai Chef's house)
This amazing concoction of Thai dishes was heaven sent. $30 for 8 courses of food. 
There was no menu and you could not choose the dish you wanted. The moment you sat down the food came. Simplicity is an understatement when describing this restaurant because it was literally in the chef's living room. The decorations were old books, childhood drawings, and mismatched tables and couches.
Unlike most Thai restaurants in DC, this was not served with fancy garnishes. Instead, this was served on banana leaves and packed with spice. My friends categorized it as a "food boner".
No other place like it.
God Bless Thai People.

This had cheesy fries..need i say more?
Shake Shack with my fave Filipina, Kara. We talked about her bomb ass RN position in Brooklyn and her decision to go into Med School to be a surgeon. Inspiring. So proud of my friends and their successes.

Doughnut Plant (Chelsea) w/Kara
On our way to the High Line, we stopped by for some sugary desserts filled with custard and buttery diabetes goodness.

Jollibee (Queens)
Filipino Halo Halo. Reminiscing about our good old Philippines days.

Pakistani/Indian Food Joint somewhere along Lexington Ave. w/Asra :) 
Reminiscing about RHO Life and how we got paid to hang out with friends during Gtown Days.

Momofuku Noodle Bar (Lower East Side) w/ Lisa, Rols, Trinh
Last day in NYC and going all out Asian with a spoonful of sesame seeds.

Chick-fil-a (Christiana Mall, Delaware) w/Trinh and Rols
5 Chicken Burgers
3 Sides of Fries
Potential heart attack
Absolute deliciousness

A bunch of kids walked passed us and we thought we were setting a bad example with the food we were eating :D Then Roland stuffed his mouth with fries in front of them.

Hot and Spicy Crawfish (Adam's Morgan) - w/Thuy
Expensive shells
Tiny bodies
Finger Lickin' Good

2 lbs of crawfish were GONE.
The server thought we ate neatly. However, I beg to differ. I can't imagine how how messy it can get during dinner time.

$1 Oysters!!! :D w/Trinh
And literally having a high/lethargic feeling..

Honey Pig (Annandale, Virginia) w/Calvin, Thuy, Trinh
I walked out smelling like BBQ Pork Belly and Kim Chee
We stopped at Bon Chon but their kitchen closed early. Who does that?
We were disappointed to a point where we wanted to run over a guy, who walked out with the last take out, and steal his food..
The things we do for Korean food are unreal...

Korilla BBQ - Food Truck w/Kara
Korean food goodness in a nice Bento Box
I wanted to lick the sauce from the container...that's what did it for me.

Home Made Pork Roast w/Trinh
Brined and Marinated with Oranges (that were about to go bad), sugar, bay leaves, garlic, and onions
Plus Trinh's Secret "Trinh Sauce"
Bathed in Coconut Juice
Roasted for 8+ hours and eaten with tender loving care

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

NYC Living: The Battle in my 20s

At the moment, I am staying with my friend Lisa and her roomie Therese. Their apartment is in Manhattan's Lower East Side. It's so nice and the place reminds me of collegiate living. However, instead of college students the people outside are college students turned professional. There are families also living in the complex, which is weird because I keep thinking this place is a fancy college dorm.  As I fry spam for breakfast this morning the hustle and bustle of people outside has caught my attention.  I wonder for a minute what it would be like to live and work in the city. From my first two days, I love it already. I love city life. I love that there is something to do everyday. I love that it is so diverse. I love that I can go anywhere with just a metrocard and not have to pay for a car or gas.

However, my number one buzzkill thus far are the prices. It is ridiculously expensive to live in New York city. You will need to earn a 6 figure income in order to live comfortably. Most of my friends live on the outskirts, like Brooklyn, because rent is cheaper. Hence, if I really allow myself to consider living here I need to come to the realization that it will be tough on finances. I have to either find a good job right off the bat or intern (suffer for 3-6 months) and pray that they hire me full time on an income level that I can survive on.

As much as I love being young, going out, and being with my girls. I realize mid-20s can be tough shit. It is difficult to get noticed amongst the 100s of qualified job applicants. I have to learn the virtue of patience and determination in the face of constant rejections and no call backs. I have to chug out resumes and cover letters like a machine and send them to as many places I can think of. I have to reconsider interning in order to get my foot in the door. Essentially, everyday lived is a day of possibilities. Some days may have more bad luck than good luck. However, I have learned to take it as it comes and pray for the best.

This contemplation did not come from nothing, though I know it may seem kind of out there. The last time I was in NYC was for a cosmopolitan photo shoot. My friends and I won a a contest and we were featured in a Dove ad. I remembered our bright and hopeful magazine statements about our future and what what challenges we faced thus far. Our perception at that time was innocent and we never really understood the depths of those challenges until we lived it out of college. I know the challenges will always be there but I have learned that taking chances is important and I think above all else that is what separates our generation from those in their 30s, 40s, and 50s. Our generation is for taking chances and living a life that is often undecided and scary. However, the thrill is once in a life time.

Going along these lines, I remembered when I met my h.s. friend Joey for the first time in almost 6 years on Monday. He is an aspiring photographer working in the city and when I asked him how he came about his job now he simply said, "I had to lift shit."

Yes, he had to lift shit. He had to work his way up. He had to be the slave. He had to make due with what he can and try his best to earn the respect of his colleagues. That is the reality of our 20s. We have to take chances, move out on our own, and lift people's shit. I think that is a perfect way to end this overlong blog post. The reality of me moving to NYC will have to be understood before I make any real decisions.

Thank you concrete jungle for making me realize how thankful I am to be young and how much harder I have to work to get to where I need to go.

NYC Living: Staying Out Until The Sun Rises

In an amazing feat I have managed to afford a flight to New York City to visit my college besties. Well, they're more than that, they're like the brothers and sisters I never had. :) So to me, they are more than just friends, they're family. Granted we've been apart for 3 years and because we are so busy and far apart it is difficult to try and catch up. However, when those moments come they are memorable.

For Memorial Day weekend, my friend Marybeth graciously granted me a buddy pass to fly with United Airlines as a standby passenger. $500 for RT between East Coast and Hawaii? Fuck Yes! I will gladly stand in the long standby lines if it means I get to see my friends again.

The first day I arrived (Sunday), I did not have a chance to rest. I stayed with my friend Polliann (she is so awesome because she graduated from Seton Hall law school) who rented out a hotel room at Hotel Pennsylvania (Across Penn Station) for the sole purpose of having a weekend celebration for her graduation. Mind you, weekend celebration equates to the longest post celebratory shit show. She has been partying it out since Thursday night (Graduation day) and was going at it for 5 days straight. Unbelievable. My first night out in the big city was amazing. The night life was thriving. The people were bumpin' to the music. The guys were gracious enough to buy drinks for ladies. It was so surreal and I felt like I would wake up any moment.

The second night we headed out again. Instead this time, we were hard pressed to find a place open on a weekday. We were also turned off by the fact that shots were $17! It was definitely a "What the hell?!" moment and we were loosing faith that the 5 day celebratory event was finally coming to a close.

However, the heavens opened up. God proclaimed, "You shall have fun tonight" and proceeded to send us two random Jewish club promoters who paid for our entire night of table service and unlimited vodka. Alleluia! Thereafter, we proceeded to Time's Square at 4am and roamed the streets to find a local Mcdonalds. I must say chicken mcnuggets taste so much better at 4am in the morning when you are high on life.

As my amazing friend Lisa says,  
"You know it was a good night when you're out while the sun comes up."

The past two days thus far is a testament to that.

The following day, I wanted to go exploring on my own because it's nice to go at your own pace. It was liberating to navigate my way around the city. I got lost a few times but I got the hang of it eventually. :)

I visited Mr. Ripley's Believe it or Not Museum. I grew up watching the shows so I thought it would be nice to see all the cool stuff he hoarded. Yes, I kid you not, Mr. Ripley is a freakin' hoarder! He collected everything! Beer canisters, masks, pictures, figurines, shrunken heads. He was an amazing adventurer and very well known for his travels. His museum made me realize everyone has something special in them. Even if it may not be realized, it's definitely there.

My walk through Midtown took me through all the usual places, Time's Square, Rockefeller, Top of the Rock, Bryant Park. However, only two places amazed me.

9th ave and the NYC Public Library. 

9th Ave is a foodie dream. All shops of different foods, culture, and diversity. Strolling down, part of me wished I had enough cash to try everything. The smell of halal, curry, samosas, and spice left my mouth watering. The district is so diverse and I was in love with it automatically. 

NYC Public Library is a nerd heaven. I was impressed that the library is open to everyone. The study rooms were filled to the max. The books were shelved high to the cathedral ceiling. I strolled around around and took some time to read a few excerpts from books and sat amongst the throng of people studying or lounging around. The hall ways were lined with artwork. The marble structure of the whole building was impressive. The grand opening paid homage to the people who gave money to start the library. Knowledge is truly shared in that place. The realization gave me a very distinct feeling of American patriotism. After living in the Philippines for 3 years and not finding a single library or having access to this amount of knowledge, I was definitely thankful for the opportunity.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

An excerpt from my old Valedictorian speech :D

I opened my old high school journal and out popped my old valedictorian speech. It's been years since I saw these words. I realize I need to find my old determined self once again. I was so competitive and probably overly ambitious. That side of my personality waned a bit over the years but I realized I need to get it back.

"I stood still for a moment wishing I could get one more year in high school. However, I knew I could not and truth be told I did not want to because I experienced all my school had to offer. I have no regrets because I did everything I could and I succeeded to the best of my ability. Lastly, I have no fear in taking the next step, turning the next page, and taking the next jump. The risk is worth it and I hope we all take it. Fellow classmates, let us all look to the future with determination to fearlessly conquer our dreams."

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Families are Forever

Rest in Peace cousin Carlito :'( Love yea, I wish I had met you!. Times like this we should keep our head up high and stay strong!! Grandma's taking this the hardest, she thanks you for all that you have done!!!!! Death leaves a heartache no one can heal while love leaves a memory no one can ever steal. Families are FOREVER♥ FLY WITH THE ANGELS, COUSIN!
"For he has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one;he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help"
Psalm 22:24
 ♥ REST IN PEACE UNCLE CARLITO ♥ WE LOVE YOU Love Always,MAKAYLA && MALIKAI! -we never knew you but heard alot of good thing about you. Our heart aches for your wife && kids. But now you have no pain && you are not suffering no more now you can REST IN PEACE! KAT && UNCLE BOY Stay STRONG && COME back home to us SAFELY!!! FAMILIES ARE FOREVER && ALWAYS ♥
Rest In Love CARLITO, I love you cuz! UNKO BOY AND KATZ KEEP YOUR HEAD UP, stay strong! To the rest of MY FAMILY IN THE PHILIPPINES LOVE YOU ALL,be strong for each other! :) *families are forever*!
A close family member died today. Just taking a moment to memorialize the love we have for family.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

May Memories..listless and nostalgic

I should be finishing this paper but I am not feeling the inspiration at the moment. Maybe writing random shit will help me get through my writing funk. It is now May! We are now almost halfway through 2012! How freaky is that?! May is also Graduation season. My Facebook feed is full of undergrad friends talking about their last class, their last paper, senior parties, and graduation day.

Is it weird that I will be 3 years out of school as of June and yet I am still very cognizant of what it felt when I got out of my last class and finished my last final? A "bitter sweet moment" is an understatement. It was an unyielding and overwhelming sadness! I could not wrap my head around the fact that I will soon close a part of my life that was so integral to my personal and professional growth. I still have all the thank you notes from my Club Flipino family tucked away in a box so they won't fade. I still have all my Georgetown t-shirts (accumulated over 4 years) of different colors and from different clubs and events I was involved in. I still plan to make it into a quilt..eventually. However, I have yet to find time to learn about basic sewing to make happen. :(

3 years have passed by and yet I find myself reliving memories at random. Most of my facebook albums from 4 years of undergrad life is set to private and only I can see them. I felt it was inappropriate to leave them up since the people who friend me nowadays are co-workers. It wouldn't be very professional if there was a picture of me hanging over a toilet being seen around work. :) So most of the albums are closed and there are some moments when I flip through them and I still laugh at the distant memory of what was. It is a nice pick me up moment that gives me a bit of happiness during the most dullest or frustrating moments of my life.

I guess I shouldn't really be blogging about this since I'm still in single digit years after graduating. However, nostalgia hits me hard sometimes and I felt I could put those feelings on paper just for fun. It's always nice to reminisce...but it gives us encouragement to continue living and make new memories, new pictures, and new albums. Eventually those albums will close and we'll look at the memory in fondness and appreciate our life even more.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Where can I take survival courses?

This article totally fits with the whole "survivor mode" blog I made yesterday.

Victoria Grover, Utah Hiker, Survives 4 Days In Dixie National Forest

I think all college students should undergo a proficiency exam on surviving the outdoors to supplement our research, analytic, and language background. You may never know when you will need it. I now regret not doing Girls Scouts as a kid. I am definitely making my kids participate in girls/boy scouts so they can survive in the "arena" (lame hunger games joke, but I can't help myself) or more aptly named the real world.

I think hunter/gatherer cultures are on the right track. To reach the age of maturity, you need to survive in the wildernesses. The tribe will dump you in the middle of no where and you have to find your way back home at the tender age of 12 or 13. I watched an episode on National Geographic where a tribe would circumcise young boys and leave them out in the wilderness to survive. If they were successful they were hailed as men of the tribe. If they failed...well that would just suck. 

Alright, I'm adding "survival courses" to my list of basic skills to have. Thank you huff post.

Plan B Network: brokers, airline employees, sales associates, and marketing professionals

So I just got another inspiration to supplement my earlier blog on survival skills.

I realized in addition to survival skills, you're going to need people to help you along the way.

I've been to so many networking events and conferences I have lost count on how many business cards passed through my hands. One regret is not taking note of the special people that come my way. The people who can get you out of sticky situations when you find yourself cornered. The people who can bail you out or vouch for you when you are need the extra help.

If you're going to so many networking events, it's good to develop a network of people you can develop a professional relationship with. Call this your "plan B network" if your friends and family can't help you. I am constantly jealous of people who are well connected. They have connections in high places that most normal people, like myself, can't dream of.

Networking events are in fact the best place to expand your network for career and personal objectives. The difficult part is maintaining the relationship (save for another blog) and not just using them for what they can offer.

Rules of engagement:
  • If you can't keep the professional relationship going, don't bother asking for the favor. 
  • Likewise, put yourself out there for whatever service you can provide
  • Don't abuse the privileged and don't flaunt it.
Here's my mini list of what sort of people to have in your network :)

1. People with access to a private jet
2. Secretaries! (Any secretary to any official because they can "squeeze you in" for an appointment if they like you well enough)
3. Marketing/PR people for hotels, restaurants, and bars (Can you smell the freebies coming your way?)
4. Someone in borders and customs
5. Someone who previously/is working in the IRS
6. Real Estate broker
7. Financial broker (My friend Jed offered to help with reinvesting my mom's retirement money in the Philippines)
8. Airline employees (When my friend Roland found out his grandma suddenly died he was able to get an emergency buddy pass from a friend of ours, Marybeth, because her mom works for United Airlines)
9. Electronics sales associate
10. Car dealership sales associate
11. A cop (usually name dropping when you're pulled over gets you off with a "warning")
12. Event organizers/managers (I had an experience when I knew the event organizer for a concert! He let my friends and I through security and got us front row tickets for free
13. A "really god lawyer" because legal shit is tricky and you need someone on your red corner if the government/enemies are in the blue corner (Thank you @roxiemacasang)

If you have anymore ideas to add to my list, let me know! 

Learning how to hack a computer, shoot a gun, evasive driving, and other survival skills

Today my mom and I bought our first ever flat screen TV. How is this such a radical move? Well, if you know my mom you'll know that she will NEVER buy anything new. She will always get something second hand if it is still good. With enough prodding I managed to convince her we needed it. haha SCORE!

Along with our TV, we bought a TV stand. The sample display looked so simple to assemble. I thought it would be a piece of cake. I mean how hard can it be right? After sitting through hours of statistics and economics, assembling a TV should be mickey mouse.

I was dead wrong.

It took me 2 hours! 2 miserable hours of assembling a stinking TV stand. 2 hours of my life I can never get back.

When the task was done I cried in happiness and then I wanted to take a sledge hammer and destroy it. I thought to myself, what is the use of 4 years of education when I can't even put together a TV stand efficiently?

If the world came to an end, I'd probably be the first one eaten by zombies. So what can I do to make my chances of surviving higher in the event the world faced Armageddon?  What can I do to make my chances of surviving higher in general?

Basic life skills I still need to learn are (don't laugh at my ignorance, I'm a work in process):

1. Pick locks
2. Change flat tires
3. Jump start a car
4. Be a Gardner
5. Be a pseudo-car mechanic
6. Sew my own clothes
7. Hack a computer
8. Play the guitar
9. Evasive driving
10. Shoot a gun
11. Start a fire (without a match)
12. Hunt and cook wild animals

Clearly, there should be more on this list but I haven't had time to think things through. However, you get the picture. Who knows when you're stuck in a rut and you'll need one of those "essential life skills" to get you out.

Yes, picking a lock, hacking a computer, and evasive driving can be borderline illegal. However, illegal skills are usually the most worthwhile skills to have.

If you have any ideas, let me know. I'll add it on my list. :D

Thursday, April 26, 2012

HBO Girls - Does it apply to me?

There has been so much debate regarding the the HBO show "Girls" that I thought I could put in my two cents as well.

Race debate aside, I thought the basic premise of the show is interesting and fresh. Young people in their mid 20s are plagued by student loans, living off of parent support, and trying to make ends meet by working in a job that that will hopefully lead to the perfect career. Don't get me wrong, one size does not fit all and the show may not be applicable to all. In fact many young people I know have the good life  have become successful and happy in their careers.

The show gives off a vulnerability that most people my age try to hide. The first time I watched it I identified with the character because it is such a pain to find a job that fits personal expectations. I have gone through it and I am still going through it. It sucks. However, unlike the main character, I would not stick around for a year in an unpaid internship and allow myself to be used and abused. I have a bit more dignity than that. Moreover, I wouldn't give up on myself and I would continuously work hard to find a career that mattered to me. Sometimes we have to put a significant amount of hard work, determination, and ambition to get what we want.

I guess that is where my parent's mentality comes into play. Through their experience, I realized you cannot wait for opportunities to come your way, you cannot wait for that elusive position to be available for you, you cannot wait for your boss to promote you. If you personally believe you are worth it you need to cease opportunities for yourself. Life is too short to be waiting.

So in the end, yes "Girls" is a perfect depiction of mid-20s struggle but I have to argue against the portrayed weakness of my generation. We aren't focused just on sex, boys, and complaining of what challenges may come our way. I like to think we are fighters. We are more motivated to prove ourselves. We are more ambitious to start new ventures. We are unwilling to sit idly by while the world passes us over. I think we need to give our generation more credit for facing a recession, social discontent, and adapting to a fast paced world.

We'll see how the show goes. One thing is for sure, I hope the characters evolve beyond their misery and constant complaining.

Dealing with Death

 It is the most depressing thing in the world to find out a loved one is dying. It not only causes grief but it also brings you to a realization that every breath you take matters and it shouldn't be wasted.

My mom, in her grief, asked me "Why is God so finicky to let good people suffer while those who are bad live?"

There is no right answer to this. Religion will say it is "God's Will" or it is simply due to the balance of life. However, it is still difficult to accept such ambiguous reasoning. It causes one to wonder if some are more lucky than others. Perhaps some, though good or bad, have extra lives to spare while others barely have one. It is unfair and we always come to the same question, why?

Then again, maybe we are asking the wrong question. Instead we should be asking, why not? Why should good people suffer on this miserable earth where war rages on, poverty is a disease, and there is uncertainty in each day that passes. Why should we want to live in a world that is greedy and unkind to those who are different in race, ethnicity, and class? Maybe dying early is a a blessing in disguise because heaven, if it does exist, is a better place to be. Maybe one person dying paves the way for another to live? Maybe one person dying allows someone to realize their own worth and strength? Maybe one person dying creates fortitude and inspiration amongst the living to keep going and keep fighting?

Our nature as humans is unique because we have something not many animals have. We have emotions and thoughts. We identify with the suffering and we feel compassion. We see the dying and we feel thankful for the life we have. We see sadness and we relish in the happiness than comes our way.

Our journey is fraught with sadness, bad luck, disappointment, stress, and death. Likewise, it is also full of happiness, good luck, success, and life. After all, without one you cannot fully understand the other, right?

Dear mom, you are right. It is unfair for good people to die. I cannot give you a reason why. I cannot lessen the pain. However, we should still make the passing of loved ones memorable. They live on in our actions and our words. So maybe they didn't really die but they lived on in a greater way unknown to us. For that we are better people because of them.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

My Mid 20s Career Battle

I recently came across a marketing job that allowed me to work closer to home. The pay is okay but no where near great. The only benefits are: it is closer to home and it was a communications based position. However, I told myself that I wouldn't take it unless I could negotiate for the salary. I feel entitled to a substantial salary because of my education from a pretty awesome institution and I worked as business development coordinator for an engineering firm. My previous job pretty much put me at the front lines of marketing by networking and connecting with diplomats, businessmen, and politicians. It was awesome. However, family comes first and I decided to leave it behind and come home.

So of course! I expected my next job to be similar or  higher pay. I was sadly disappointed. However, for the sake of comfort and simply because my financial situation at the moment is tenuous I am desperate to get back into a career and have a steady salary. I have been home for almost 2 months now and I feel my vacation is slowly eroding away and restlessness is taking over. So should I sacrifice my expectations for a job that could come easily to me? Simply because I need the money? Afterall, I need to eat and pay the bills right? I can't wait for that elusive perfect job to come my way.

Still..I feel like I shouldn't settle.

My family says I should take the job and then quit if I find something better. However, I feel that is such a cop out. If I decide to do something, I can't quit it unless I've done a great job in it. I can't leave unless I've seen it through until the end. It would bother me that I quit because it means I failed at meeting the expectations of the job I agreed to do. Lastly, I would feel bad for the employer who had faith in me and hired me.

So what should I do?

Approaching my mid 20s, I feel like I am at a critical juncture at my life. People cannot take my expectations seriously and I cannot find a job that would satisfy my need to be challenged. Why are all the awesome jobs saved for people who are old and in their 40s and 50s. They are already seriously lacking in creativity and they have fallen into the "routine" of things. Their minds clouded by their family obligations, years of stress, and clocking out at 5pm. Whereas my mind is fresh and ready to jump into the game. (Okay not all 40s and 50s people are boring...some not all!)

As I wait for that elusive phone call to tell me my salary expectations have been met. I wonder what I would do if it was not. Take the job and satisfy my immediate financial demands? Take the job then quit when something better comes along? Deny the job and keep looking and trying for that perfect job?

I am still deciding what to do. If you have the answers please tell me because I hate over analyzing my situation and falling short of what I should do.

How I Conquered My Bad Dream

I had a very interesting dream last that was borderline amusing and frightening. In my dream, I was looking up at the night sky. The clouds were swirling in blue, grey, and glittering colors similar to a froyo. I loved it at that moment because the swirling froyo sky would shape into any face I wanted to see. Then all of a sudden the sky took on a menacing view and out of no where a frightening lady pops up. I have no way of describing her but she looked like the girl from the movie "The Ring" all zombie personality, evil, and angry. This "form" was inching closer and closer towards me with the intent of killing me. In my moment of fear I realized I was dreaming and I took control. Her hand came close to my face and I did some Yaw-Yan move that allowed me to grab her hands and knee her face. I was so angry that she scared me that I woke up feeling angry rather than afraid. Although, when the adrenaline rush subsided the fear came back. However, I value my sleep more than my sanity and I hated feeling helpless. So I resolved to go back to sleep and told myself if she ever comes back I'll pull her hair from her face and finish the job the second time around.

AND THAT! my friends is how you handle a bad dream.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Goats, Grass, and my Mom.

Me: I think we need to mow the lawn mom.
Mom: Yeah, I'm thinking of buying a billy goat so they can eat the grass.
Me: Hey, that's a good business idea and saves the environment!
Mom: (contemplating) Then we can kill it and make dinner when it's fat from our grass.
[spoken like a true Filipina mama]

I recently posted a small dialogue between my mom and I during breakfast one morning. I thought it was funny because my mom and I were on completely different wave lengths. My mom was thinking food while I was thinking business idea for a lawn maintenance business.

You have to love Filipino moms and their ingenuity. :)

Kaldereta Kambing and Papitan Anyone?

Alternate Universe Names -What's Yours?

Lazing around the other day, my mom casually said her second option to my name was "Rianna" after my father's mother "Seprianna" can imagine my surprise. I could have had the same name as the popstar Rihanna!

The twilight zone theme song popped into my head as I thought of an alternative reality where my friends called me "Rianna" instead of the name I have now. Could your name affect your personality? If you weren't born a Jane or a John but a Janice or a Jonah would that make a difference in how you develop your personality?

Your name is sacred and perhaps how people perceive your name can alter their reaction to you. The name "John" is associated with religious reverence at the same time most people consider it a plain name. Does that mean people would automatically think you are plain? Medical examiners likewise use the name "Jane Doe" for unidentified bodies. Does that mean "Jane" is associated with someone who lacks identity or someone who does not stand out? The same goes for other names like "Bob" or "Joe" because the name may lack outward character EVEN IF the name may mean something personally (like the name of a loved one).

My mom told me of an old wives tale in the Philippines. When a baby is born he or she is automatically assigned an "ambiguous spirit", which is sort of considered our "aura" in western terms. If the baby is continuously sick it means the spirit born with the baby is weak and unable to protect the baby from harm. Hence, the family calls on the village witch doctor. They bring the baby to a large old tree where the doctor swings a "bolo knife" at the tree trunk and pronounces a new name for the baby. This method gives the baby a new and stronger spirit.

A name is everything. It gives us an identity. It gives us a place. We can abuse our name but we can never change our name (I guess legally you can) but the name given at birth is what lives within you forever.

In the twilight zone, I wonder what Rianna would have been like. Would she be more adventurous? Popular? Outgoing? Worldly? Introvert? Artsy? A rebel? I would not know. In the back of my mind, I give reverence to Rianna, in whatever alternate universe she might be, and hope she lives up to the greatness of her name and who it stands for.

Monday, March 26, 2012

What perfect time than now?

Last night, I stayed up late looking into the dark wondering where I was going with my life. I resigned from my corporate cushy job 2 months ago with the intention of going back to school and returning home to help my mom. However, I feel listless more than ever. In fact, I feel more resigned because I have nothing planned out, with the exception of school.

Where am I going? What am I doing?

My mind spews out things I should do, things I can do, activities that would challenge me, and projects I could start. Within the convoluted priority list in my head, one thing kept popping up in my head - stop planning and simply do.  

What perfect time than now? 

I have no family to take care of, no dependents to feed, no large bills clouding my head, no 8-5 job holding me back.

Maybe I'll start on a memoir? Because I have complete fate in myself to know I'll be someone important in the future.

Maybe I'll dabble in a bit of fiction writing? Because I always wanted to test my own creativity and see how far it would go.

Maybe I'll take a class on acting? Because I want to know if I can cry on the spot without being sad.

Maybe I'll take bartending classes? Because I have a secret wish to act out scenes from Cayote Ugly one day.

I don't think of this as a bucket list because a bucket list implies you have all the time in the world to get things done. No, this will be my "Shit to do Now list" because nothing potentially great should wait. 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

A woman's power can do magnificent deeds

"The idea of withholding sex for a cause is not a new one -- the ancient Greek play Lysistrata tells the story of women who organized a sex strike to end a war between Athens and Sparta.

More recently, a strike was launched in 2006 in the Colombian city of Pereira, known for its drug trafficking and violent crimes. The strike was implemented by wives and girlfriends of gang members to get them to change their lifestyle and hand over their guns."

The Ingenuity of Third World Countries - Cheap Lighting

If the world comes to an end tomorrow, all governments cease to exist, and the economy falls rendering all currency useless, who will survive? Will it be the cushy political leaders? Will it be the billionaires? Will it be celebrities? 

I somehow doubt it.

The people who will survive at world's end will be those who have to play the game of survival from the very beginning of their existence. This video is a testament to their ingenuity, their survival, and their wits. 

They may not have the most money in the world, the fame, nor the support of governments and organizations. However, they get by on their own. They survive through the resources at hand. Where else can you find inspiration than their story.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

An upgrade of "boiling vegetables"


Lemon Grass
Young Papaya
Sweet Potato

Friday, March 23, 2012

Study Snacks from Ma's Garden

Before my midterm a couple weeks ago, my mom made me a study snack. However, this MEAL was anything but a snack. She turned a Korean noodle bowl into an amazing green feast with some greens in our back yard.

She also turned Potato tops (which I thought was just plain grass weeds at first) into a salad dressed with boiled eggs, tomatoes, ginger, sprinkled with a bit of fish sauce for taste.

Ugh! why are mom's so awesome? How can they just whip these dishes up like it's nothing?! Clearly I have much to learn because if it was just me, I'd just eat a bag of chips and soda.

Thanks ma!


Thursday, March 22, 2012


The 2012 DOUGHMAN:

Eat+run, eat+'swim', eat+bike!

Race the DOUGHMAN with a 4-person team in a relay format with each team member performing an individual eating+athletic leg culminating in a final team eating+sprint leg to the finish line. The race comprises 1 bike leg, 1 aquatic activity leg (requires some running), and 2 run legs. One vegetarian and one vegan can be included per team. Non-vegans should assume they are eating eggs and cheese.
The race route hasn't been set yet, but the two running legs are normally 1.75 to 2.5 miles, the "swim" leg is a run followed by an activity in the water (not a lap swim), and the bike route is less than 10 miles. Here's the breakdown by food type: Running: meat; Running: vegetarian; Bike: meat; Swim: vegan.

Food Food Food!

Let's Eat!

"I have always believed that a true Philippine cultural value is to use food as a unifying factor — for both families and communities. “Kain na tayo” (let’s eat) is probably one of the most used phrases in our language. And the use of the phrase is not just an invitation to join in the meal, but it is a gesture that signifies that it is unthinkable to eat without sharing food. To leave anyone out of a meal is sacrilege in our culture. So food is also an intangible that makes everyone a part of the feast." -Amy Besa, Owner of Purple Yam

One of the best things I look forward to when I go home is home cooked foods. My family has some of the best Filipino cooks in the world. Good thing, they only cook for the love of family. :)

Go Forth and Post!

Through our ever evolving social media platform, technology has significantly changed the way we humans interact. This cataclysmic change was best described with four words: “What are you doing?”
Such a simple question and yet you could get answers that are so diverse it ranges from the most trivial, thoughtful, to informative. The end of 2010 saw approximately two billion individuals with web access. Today there are more than 750 million Facebook users;  2 billion video views per day on Youtube; and 1 billion tweets per week on Twitter. Can you believe, there are more tweets than there are people!
What does the popularity of social media reveal about the human psyche? How does it reveal an evolution of human beings?
First, contrary to popular belief, we do not go on facebook to “network” rather we go on facebook to “broadcast our lives” to people who are not in our inner circle of friends. This broadcast goes a long way in developing, not mere friendship, but information and news about what is happening in the world today. Think about it, you go through your feed to not just comment on people’s walls but to see what is happening? John is eating at all you can eat steak special, Jane is at the 50% off sale , Sam is stuck in traffic because of construction. All these little tid bits feed us information about what is happening in the world, so now we know to hit up that steak place this weekend, to go to that sale, and to take an alternative route home after work to escape the traffic line. Our addiction to facebook and twitter does not stem from our need to make friends, but rather our need to expand our information network. Afterall, the more people we add to our facebook the wider the information network we receive. As human beings we recognize the importance of not just “making friends” but what sort of information that “friend” can give you. For example, I am facebook friends with a promoter for a club. In no way, are we close or have hung out. However, through her status updates I get the low down on what sort of parties are happening in the city and a contact through which I can get access to those events. Very valuable indeed!!
Secondly, in 2009, Twitter dropped their “what are you doing” and started asking “what is happening.” This small yet significant change further reflects how individuals are going beyond the concept of “personal updates” and evolved into an “information network” that shares everything from news worthy information, fashion, entertainment, restaurants, nearby events, etc. Gone are the days of personal updates, now people want to share news, events, and stories. Think of it as going beyond the gossip to filtering information that is actually useful to you.
Lastly, having a large network and connecting with people play a large impact in the information we receive around the city that could help us make decisions about what we plan or new information tidbits we would pick up during the week that could influence our decision and conversations. Previously, the information we received came from a few close friends and the 6’oclock news. Now, social media has become an explosive trend to gather information from all sources and allows you to likewise share the news you hear twice as fast, as it is happening. Today, we do not get information after it happens, we get it AS IT IS HAPPENING. When a severe earthquake occurred in India, a local got on twitter and tweets what is happening. He opens up a google document for people to share information about bodies found and how to get needed supplies. Within minutes thousands of people respond and that one tweet and one google document becomes the most important survival tool to help victims of the earthquake tragedy. How amazing.
Nowadays, all major news networks, CNN, BBC, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, etc. have added new buttons to their articles by giving you the opportunity to “share” on facebook or twitter. We have become, not a “networking culture” but an “information culture” greedy for new news, trends, and popularity for sharing new information first.
Evolving social media reflects a culture that thrives on the concept of “What Are You Doing?” The four words that have transformed the way we share. AND now to “What is happening?” The three words that have changed the way information is dispersed in the world. Now, within seconds, we know when the first rock was thrown in a protest in Syria, we know when Justin Bieber cut his hair, and we can follow every second that passes of the Pacquiao’s fights without without buying HBO pay-per-view and just reading people’s tweets. Shared and reshared, we spread human interest and opinions, which in turn changes what we know, how we talk, what we become interested in, and consequently who we build relationships with.
So, go forth and post, tweet, facebook, share, like, comment, and poke and perpetuate the addiction of social media and hunger for information.

The Drama of Happily Ever After

Once upon a time in a far away land there lived a charming girl who good natured and everyone in the villeage loved her. One day she met a prince wandering in the forest and they fell head over heels in love. The girl, however, felt guilty because she harboured a secret. She was born as a half human and half wolf, a beautiful girl during the day and by night a mighty she-wolf. It was only by the hand of true love can she control her “gift” and live a fulfilling life.  Days and months passed, the couple fell deeper and deeper into love. The deeper she fell in love, the more guilt she had. Until one day, she told him her secret. 
We are taught at a young age what it means to love through fairy tales. The conception that love will come from a dazzling prince who will sweep you off your feet and live happily ever after is in fact a misconception. Those types of stories are too good to be true, don’t you think?
In retrospect, these fairy tales reflect some realistic truths about relationships, life, and love.
First, it reinforces the reality that marrying rich is good advice.
In the Disney fairy tales, and even in the original stories by the Grimm Brothers, one thing is for sure, it showed a class difference between two star crossed lovers. Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Alladin are some examples where the girl (or in Alladin’s case, the guy) had to go through drastic means to become financially stable. It is not necessarily a bad thing, but it does paint a story that mirrors the general view society has towards marriage and relationships.
Second, be wary of the crazy mother in law or step mother
Mirror Mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of all?
O Lady Queen, though fair ye be, Snow White is farrier far to see
In the Snow White fairy tell, Snow White and her Prince faced a crazy step mother with image issues, combined with her temper and flair for dramatics, make her a very deadly villain.
In the story, Cinderella, the evil step mother had attention issues and a superiority complex. To compound her bitch attitude, she had two equally bitchy daughters because the apple never falls to far from the tree.
Cinderella and Snow White are stories where the mother figure plays a rather important role in determining the happiness of a relationship. Instead, what do these stories teach us as young children? They teach us to “hope for happiness” to “hope for a brand new day” and to “always do unto others as you would like others to do unto you.” However, the obvious underlying realistic and practical lessons in these stories should be to always make a good first impression with the “mother” because that will ultimately determine the level misery of your relationship.
The last challenge is we are conditioned to believe in “happily ever after”
After the story ends, what do we believe will happen? Think about it, “Happily Ever After” implies the Prince and Princess lead a perfect life, drama free because they already got over the hurdle of the evil witch, the bitchy step bother, and every curse and poison in the book.
However, with time and old age we learn “Happily Ever After” is far and few between. A pessimist once said, Life does not always have happy endings, and it will take medication, unreturned phone calls, heart break, and some therapy to ultimately get there.
Personally, I believe we need to change “Happily Ever After” to “And they lived happily as they could possibly be after.”
A pessimist, however, offers a few other realistic alternatives to “Happily Ever After” to consider
a.   And with all the alimony, she finally bought the castle she always dreamed of
b.   And he never found out the child wasn’t his
c.    And she never had any idea that he was actually gay
d.   And they stayed together because of the kids

In the end you should make your own story but maybe one day when you have children or grand children, try to give them a reality dose of the world to make them realize that “happily ever after” is not something that happens is something you have to work hard for. As they always say, If you’re not willing to take the pain, then don’t get in the game.
So to continue the fairy tale we started before. Upon hearing the news of the young girl’s secret, the Prince ran off scared for his life that one day he will be ripped from limb to limb in their marriage bed. The girl cried, got over it, and then chased him for dinner. – And she lived happily ever after.

Be Glad It Was Not You

We all had our share of awkward moments. That awkward moment when you punch the air for a hi5 but the other person doesn’t reciprocate. That awkward moment when you go in for a hug but the other person doesn’t hug back. That awkward moment when you release a bit of gas in a quiet room and pretended it was not you. That awkward moment when you had the bathroom stall to yourself for a big dump only to find out there were other people in the stall next to you.
As much as it makes us squirm in our chairs, we cannot deny we were one of two people in situations like these. You are either embarassed or you witnessed an embarrassing moment. People often talk about how they reacted if they experienced an embarrassing moment. However, no one discusses how to react AS A witness to embarrassing situations. Do we just look away? Do we just ignore it? Do we laugh? Do we make a joke? Do we change the topic?  What do we do? As much as people hate it the most, being a witness to an embarrassing moment is difficult because deep down inside we want to laugh but at the same time we want to be courteous and not say anything. What a struggle, to control two emotions at once. Believe it or not, how we react tells us a lot about our personalities.
 What would you do?
So how would you react if you realized I have a lipstick stain on my teeth or some spinach stuck in the crevice of my tooth? Are you the type of person to say, “Hey Krystle, you have spinach on your teeth?” or would you simply be the type of person to stare with a discomfort on your face like you just witnessed your worst nightmare?
Social Scientists have termed this as vicarious embarrassment where you empathize with the person who is living an embarrassing situation without knowing it. The higher the empathy the more prone we are to feel discomfort when witnessing an embarrassing situation. That look of discomfort can be described as a “cringe worthy moment.”
Cringe Worthy Moments
I’m sure many of you have naturally cringed when you watch American Idol and the person on national tv sings horribly. You want to turn the channel because you cannot stand to watch someone’s humiliation. Some cringe worthy moments I have experienced, and I’m sure many of you have experienced as well, includes: seeing a lady with a huge rip in her pants, a man who trailed toilet paper on his shoes after leaving the bathroom, a woman walking in stilettos taking a huge fall, and a girl who had a period blood stain on her pants.
According to social scientists we are one of two people, those who feel external shame and empathy for victims of embarrassing moments and those who find humour and delight in other’s embarrassment. If you’re someone who loves watching episodes of “The Office” and find amusement in other people’s awkwardness you are definitely someone who finds humour in everything.
It is not necessarily a bad thing if you laugh. Some might find it rude, but “laughing” would be the best way to cope with it. Simply because any pain of external shame from witnessing an embarrassing moment is already difficult in itself. So why prolong the discomfort when you can simply laugh at it.
Viral embarrassments
So in this day and age, you would think embarrassing situations are contained. In that millisecond when you watched someone fall and slip or when you see someone bend over with a huge crack in their pants, the moment lives on for a few minutes then it fades away. Taken over my life’s other mundane worries.
Fortunately, for our generation embarrassing situations go viral, ON THE INTERNET. With my handy-dandy phone or my handy-dandy camera, I can snap a picture of you in your moment of drunken glory and post it on my facebook. With a simple button, I can record you dozing off and drooling at your desk and post it on youtube. With a simple tweet or status update I can let all my one thousand friends know what I just witnessed and with a simple upload I can post that video or picture on a website that finds humour in human failures.
I’m sure many of you have seen or taken part in this trend. One of my many favorite websites to check regularly is that posts picture of people, signs, situations that are just embarrassing and awkward. People rate it, comment it, and the link gets passed around all over the world. Another one of my favourites is where people take screenshots of friends status updates with typos and embarrassing photos made public. Another one I would like to share with you is where people who send text messages with autocorrect turned on would send messages that are completely different than intended.
These websites flourish on viral embarrassments, which turn embarrassing “moments” into lifetime embarrassments. 
In the event that you find yourself on the opposite end of an embarrassing moment, a witness to the faulty of human beings and awkward moments. Take a step back, appreciate the moment, and be glad it was not you…THEN MAYBE YOU CAN FEEL SORRY AFTER.