Thursday, December 31, 2009

The year that was: 2009

As the year draws to a close, it is only appropriate to publish a review of 2009. I originally planned on writing a Christmas wish list, but I think it would be insensitive to list down the things I want while a lot of my countrymen are still homeless due to typhoon Ondoy.

If I were to describe this year in one word, it would be dramatic. I know of two other bloggers who share this sentiment but events have proved that the word dramatic could even be an understatement. So much has happened this year (and about to happen, I.e. the Mayon Volcano), such as the Amapatuan massacre, the typhoon that ravaged the country, the Obama administration, the sinking of M/V Baleno 9, Octomom, and the deaths that for some reason have become so plenty that many Americans refer to May to August of this year as the summer of death. There is King of Pop Michael Jackson, actors Farrah Fawcett, Brittany Murphy, Patrick Swayze, former President Corazon Aquino, media heavyweight Walter Cronkite, and others.

On a more personal note, there have also been plenty of drama in my life. If 2007 was the Age of Parties, where weekends (and sometimes weekdays) were spent partying and drinking; and 2008 was the Age of the Boys; 2009 is the year when I grew up and matured. I learned a lot of things this year, and I have to admit I learned some of them the hard way. I made important realizations about the world I live in and about myself. I know more about myself now, thanks to a little thing called reflection.

It has been a tumultuous year. Arranged here, in no particular order, are some of the great moments in my life this 2009:

1. This may be the Age of Reason, but it still wouldn’t be complete with a peek into my love life. It has been a colorful year, although none of them lived to see 2010 with me. It has been so colorful that when I looked in my date book to list down the Boys of 2009, I saw that I went out on a date with a certain Dru on May 19. Who Dru is, I have no idea.

2. Attending two prestigious journalism seminars. The first was Pressplay, hosted by the official student publications of both La Salle and Ateneo, and Inkblots, the annual journalism fellowship of the Varsitarian, the official student publication of UST. I got to listen to renowned mediamen such as Sandra Aguinaldo, Cesar Apolinario, Ernie Sarmiento, Ruel de Vera, among many others. I even got to meet my fellow student journalists and see Winnie Arboleda and F. Sionil Jose. I was also able to interview JC de Vera in the Feature writing seminar.

3. My nomination for Best Personal Blog in the Philippine Blog Awards. I didn’t really expect to be nominated, I submitted my blog on a whim and forgot about it because my computer broke. I felt honored to be one of the twenty finalists around the country vying for the Best Personal Blog Award. It was a huge deal for me because I have never been nominated for anything my whole life. Jim Paredes from Apo Hiking Society won but to be on the same playing field as an Apo is validation enough. I was also invited to attend a Manny Villar blogger’s convention but I responded a day late so I wasn’t included in the official list of participants.

4. Finally growing up. I made my first major purchase ever, a new cellphone, which was quickly followed by two others until I was satisfied with my Nokia E61i. I also bought a camera and recently, a laptop computer. I became independent after hanging out with my friends, who are all older than me and living on their own.

5. The movie adaptation of Substitute For Love, a short story I wrote three years ago. Looking back, there were a lot of errors in grammar and it could have been written better, but it was good enough to raise the interest of a Mass Communication student friend of mine, who wanted to film it for the school’s Art Film Festival. It didn’t win any awards, but I was proud to say that that was my story. Another friend offered to film another story of mine, Eat Me, for next year‘s competition.

6. Becoming associate editor of The Perpetualite, the official student publication of my school. I was supposed to be editor-in-chief, and there was an altercation that followed which included me walking out, but I accepted defeat and congratulated Anna, the current chief. I’m happy to say there is no bad blood between us, even though I scored the highest in the editorial exam. She won because of seniority but in hindsight, I’m glad that Anna won because she is a better leader. I consider my term as associate editor as training ground for next year, when I will be the most senior staff member. Here’s to hoping!

7. My weight. My weight has been fluctuating my whole life and until now, I’m still not satisfied. The pinnacle of my weight loss was this year, when I weighed in at 150 lbs. My diet was pretty radical, with eating only a pack of crackers a day, but it was worth seeing myself skinny. I gained a lot of weight but after New Year’s, I vow to lose the added 26 lbs.

8. My party at Ascend. Because it was awesome.

9. When Ondoy struck, it devastated the entire country. Pictures and video clips of atrocities shocked the nation. I was surprised to hear that our house in Quezon City was flooded up to the second floor, considering the gate is really high and the house itself is elevated. All the cars were ruined and Georgia’s puppy died. But this was nothing compared to what happened to other people who lost their homes and loved ones. Because I was blessed that all my loved ones are safe and our Las Pinas house escaped the wrath, I donated old clothes to Red Cross and volunteered to pack.

10. The discovery of sleeping pills. Valiums have been around since I was in high school but I only realized their potential this year when I took them to fight my chronic insomnia. It worked like a charm and I have tried others since then, from Mogadons to Acetaminophens, to Sleepasil and Sleepwell.

11. Finishing my P.E. course. It took me five years but I finally did it. It took a while because I avoided it like a plague, never liking the idea of changing to itchy clothes and sweating. I didn’t pass the two P.E. classes I enrolled in UST, dropped two in Perpetual, until I was forced to take them so I can graduate next year. My last sport was swimming, which I didn’t like because of issues with my weight, but I ended up liking it. I suddenly was looking forward to waking up at 7 in the morning to wear my trunks and join people I didn’t know in a pool that only reached my waist on both ends.

12. The Mass Induction of officers. I attended the Mass Induction last year as the secretary of the Psychological Society Student Council, which was a bore because I was with people I didn’t know much. This year, I went as the associate editor of the paper and being one of the most important organizations in the school (and having the second most important position), I requested five extra seats to bring in my jolly junior staff members. We had a riot that night. Because Anna didn’t attend, I had to go up on stage to represent TP in the oath taking. I was the first to be called and spent five minutes alone on stage because there was a confusion about who to call next. I basked in the spotlight, without forgetting to check if my zipper was closed.

13. Psychological Testing class. We had this course last semester and it deals with the anatomy, history, administration, and interpretation of psychological exams. One of the fun things we did was to group ourselves and administer all kinds of tests to the class. What did I find out about myself? That I have a tendency to be schizophrenic and aggressive. I swear psychopathy appeared twice in my Draw-A-Person test. In terms of intelligence, I found out that my IQ falls under Average (Test of “g’, Culture Fair), to which I was surprised. Thinking it was a fluke - I think of myself highly that way - it was soon backed up by the Raven’s Progressive Matrices and the Purdue Non-Language Test, who went as far as describing my reasoning ability as Below Average. However, I got a Superior Rating in my Otis-Lennon School Ability Test (an Achievement Test), as well as a Very High in my SRA Verbal Form. To express the irony in our professor’s words (the class volunteered me to be an example in writing psychological reports), I’m smart, but I’m not supposed to be smart. Touche.

14. My internship. My internship for Industrial Psychology began this semester and I was soon thrown into the world of Human Resource. I was assigned to Generika, the firm that makes generic drugs, and I am loving every single minute of it. First of all, it’s so refreshing to be wearing dress shirts instead of my school uniform. I had to dig into my closet for them (which was gathering dust because I haven‘t gone out in a while) and it’s so much more comfortable wearing Oleg Cassini and Courreges than my old uniform. In fact, I’m detesting the dress down Friday rule of the office where we can be more relaxed with our fashion choices. I also love the process of Human Resource and how applicants call me sir that I might just pursue this after college. Armani sure does make you feel powerful.

15. I said that the list isn’t listed in any particular order (and it isn‘t), but I wanted to save this for last. My biggest moment in 2009 was when I drafted my life plan, the path I’ll take after college. It took me five years because I was still debating what to pursue after college, whether it’s Journalism or Psychology. I love both fields but there has to be one thing. I could minor in the other, like be a journalist and apply what I learned in interviewing people or be a psychologist who occasionally writes columns or maintains a syndicated blog. Both have its merits so everything was hazy. But I finally decided that I would pursue… Psychology. One of my majors this semester (and so far my favorite) is Abnormal Psychology, and it renewed my passion for the field. It’s the reason why I even enrolled in the program. It made every psycho killer film I watched since I was a child a “case”, as well as the profiles of serial killers and psychopaths I voraciously read. Because the class inspires me so much, I have taken to reading mental disorders outside class. So what I’m planning after college is to work in HR (this is where my love for Industrial Psychology surfaces), and after earning considerable money, enroll in a graduate school - preferably Ateneo - to pursue Psychopathology, the study of the development and nature of psychological disorders. And while I study the mentally unstable, I work on the book I’m hoping to publish and maintain this blog.

So that’s it. It has been a crazy year, but it has been productive. I’ve made a lot of mistakes but that is the purpose of welcoming 2010, to clean the slate and start anew. It’s time to take control of our lives and gear it for the better. What would the new year bring us? Only we could answer that question.

DIEt [please don't read if you're eating]

So I was watching the Tyra Show this afternoon and came upon this very interesting topic. The Tyra Show revolves around three major premises (weight, fashion, and racial discrimination) and this particular episode dealt with the first, where they talked about the more radical ways people try to lose weight. There was a girl who stapled her ears to curb her cravings, and another who stitched a mesh on her tongue to prevent swallowing. But perhaps the most disturbing is how there are people who intentionally put tapeworms in their bodies to help them lose weight.

Now, I have heard of cases of tapeworms placed in the body to trim down. In the 70's, several manufacturing firms put tapeworms in diet pills to stimulate weight loss in their clients. But from what I remember, the clients were unaware that there was a parasite introduced to their bodies.

Usually, tapeworms (Cestoda) are acquired through eating undercooked food contaminated with host poop (host referring to those who have tapeworms in their bodies) or host meat. Tapeworms are very disgusting creatures. The beef tapeworm grows to 40 ft. long and other species can grow to over 100 ft. long and live up to 20 years. They stick to the digestive tract using hooks and suction cups on their heads. The reason why a host loses weight is because the tapeworm eats the food they eat. Like a pregnant woman, the host eats for two people. In fact, it eats for many people because a tapeworm grows many digestive systems which independently feeds. What's worse, it lays eggs. Eww! It gets so bad (they can lay up to a thousand eggs at a time) that the host may poop worms, or proglottids.

Tapeworms can also be dangerous. While it promises appealing aspects to the weight-conscious (such as loss of appetite, diarrhea), the tapeworm can enter the brain and cause life-threatening infections, severe headaches, seizures, and symptoms of psychosis.

There is even a site that sells and promotes the "tapeworm diet". The owner (who if I may mention never went to med school and whose methods aren't approved by the Food and Drug Administration) guested on Tyra and defended himself by saying that the site is for autoimmunity. Because of our obsession with cleanliness, the immune system develops autoimmunity and chases "ghosts" because it has nothing to fight. Beef tapeworms are then introduced for $2,000 to entertain the immune system. However, I noticed that although the site (and the owner) mentioned that they only treat those who have this autoimmunity, the page's subtitle was "all natural weight loss" and featured an ad that says FAT BANISHED! WITH SANITIZED TAPEWORMS. Very interesting.

I've done a lot of methods to lose weight but this is insane. People are becoming desperate and are resorting to more dangerous methods to fight fat. Stapling the ears and stitching the mouth is far enough (hello, gangrene), but to introduce foreign objects that could drive you crazy is just too much. I'd rather take Phentermine and Ephedrine (appetite suppresants similar to shabu and cocaine) than have a hundred-foot long worm in my body. What are they going to think of next? Stapling the stomach? No, wait. They already thought of that.

This micro piggie went into my pocket

All I want for Christmas is a little micro pig I'll name Harry.

Micro pigs, which are all the rage in US and the UK have attracted big showbiz names such as Paris Hilton, the Beckhams, and Rupert Grint. And for good reason. These little piggies, which are no bigger than a teacup when they are born, can weigh up to 65 lbs. and stand 14 in. tall.

Reportedly, these animals are very clean (pigs actually are very clean animals, they have few sweat glands), very adorable, and very intelligent. According to Jane Croft, a leading micro pig breeder, they are the fourth most intelligent species after man, monkey, and dolphin.

These pigs, which have been crossbred from choice lines, are very expensive in spite of their size. They can go for $400 to $4,000.

So to all of my rich friends, you know what to get me for Christmas.

Photo and information taken from this site.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Obsession du jour

Meet Henry, my obsession du jour. A 10.1" HP mini-notebook I bought last Christmas. It took me quite a while because I was thinking of so many things such as the size, the brand, and the price. I decided on a netbook because it's light, it's cute (it has a cool swirl design on the cover), and meets all my needs as a writer, student, editor, and all around internet bum. Besides, I have a desktop for heavy duty tasks that little Henry can't do. I was hoping for a Toshiba but a netbook with the same specifications cost a lot more. So far, Henry performs great and I'm in the process of installing much needed programs like iTunes, Limewire, Microsoft Office, and Photoshop.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

You and me plus eight

Our new puppies! Clockwise: Meiji, Mocha, MJ, and Mojo (who I have mentioned in this post). The four are puppies of Maggie, our chihuahua in Quezon City.

Aren't they cute? Meiji, like the chocolate, is very sweet and likes to be cuddled. Of the four, she's the most outgoing. She kind of looks like Misty, our mini pinscher. Mocha's really shy and likes to stay under the sun. She needs to, she's so pale! I think MJ's the cutest (she's mine). Mojo is the only boy.

We now have six chihuahuas here in Las Pinas! Two more and I'm pulling off a Kate Gosselin!

Thursday, December 10, 2009


The actual specimen. It looks so sleek mounted against the wall.

And when I walked in my room, I saw this:

My mom's 22-inch screen TV. I almost cried.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Larger than life

I woke up early this morning and found this in the living room.

A Samsung 46" LCD TV in HD. That's a big ass TV! I had to take a few steps to get to the other side of the box. It's going to be in my mom's room but I don't care because that's where we watch movies anyway.

Can't wait to see the actual set! My mom said a repairman would come over tomorrow to attach it to my mom's wall. Cool!

10 Reasons Why We Don't Need Sleep

1. Because sleep deprives us of doing what we need and want to do.

I'm going to buy a month's supply of Sleepwell tomorrow, dammet.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Did I mention?

That Bill and I were accepted at Generika Pharmacy? Our internship starts tomorrow.

Exciting! Will blog about it soon.

Gene therapy, retail therapy, semen therapy

I heard this thing about smearing semen on your face to make it soft and smooth. I think I heard it from Nip/Tuck and after further research, I found out ancient Egyptians did the same thing to make their faces supple.

Last night, while drinking with my friends, a guy friend and I discussed the merits of smearing our own semen on our face. It was a disgusting topic, but we were laughing the whole night.

I checked sites online to separate fact from fiction and found great stuff from Yahoo! Answers.
  1. thats the friend did it and his acne went away and he actually got alot of girlfriends because they said his face was so smooth...kinda strange but true... -mnkyspeed9
  2. Oh, absolutely. Be sure to smear it all over your face just before your P.E. class. -they suspended my account again
  3. you kids are hilarious. do you have zits? find out for yourself! IT IS FUN TO SMEAR IT ON MY WOMAN'S FACE. -Jim B
  4. its probably just a dumb lie a guy will tell you to convince him to give him oral sex. They're so desperate. -crashhhintome
  5. Uhm, well, it's good for helping your teeth whiten, literally.I don't know, I don't prefer being facialed. -Nikki
  6. I don't know but I'd like to be part of your experiment. -downdrain
  7. Of course it is not true! It has been a ploy used by many guys for many, many years now to get us to have semen on our faces. lol All they need to do is ask and not make up myths! :o) -alexa2829
  8. We could try. Do you have acne? -jdc6733
  9. Myth I think! but I'll *** on your face if it helps. -Jimbo
  10. What a great question! I just wish it were a throat lozenge. It might promote more swallowing. -Aaron
  11. Woman juice also can help the eliminate athlete's foot. Beleive me, I Know. Since my girlfriend and I started getting kinky, my acne has cleared up and my skin is dam near perfect. -leslielezbian
  12. Thanks! All my acne cleared up and my face is smooth as ever! Im going to do it once a day now. Everyone else should too. -Connor B (the dude who asked the question)
To sum everything up, I didn't find one decent answer. But they all were funny!

You guys might want to check out this site, though. It's called Semen Therapy and believers claim that drinking semen three times a week can help prevent and fight cancer. It even has a page for adding semen to your diet.



Last night, I went to Alabang to watch a movie with Mark, a friend. There was still an hour to kill so while he checked out clothes in Rustan's, I went to Powerbooks to browse books. In the Filipino section, I saw this cool comic series by Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo called Trese. It's about the adventures of a detective named Alexandra Trese who solves crimes of a more supernatural nature.

I read the first story of the first installment (Murder on Balete Drive) and it's really promising. It's about how this girl sold her first-born to an aswang barman to kill a white lady to exact revenge. It's awesome shit. The blurb of Murder on Balete Drive reads:

"When the sun sets in the city of Manila, don't you dare make a wrong turn and end up in that dimly-lit side of the metro, where aswang run the most-wanted kidnapping rings, where kapre are the kingpins of crime, and engkantos slip through the cracks and steal your most precious possessions. When crime takes a turn for the weird, the police call Alexandra Trese."

Of Mass Murders (third book):

"12 midnight at Metro Manila. Try to remain calm if you suddenly spot a tikbalang speeding down EDSA or a manananggal swooping across the Makati skyline. While partying at the Fort, never ever let the enkanto at the bar buy you a drink. Yet, there are deadlier things that walk the streets of this city. One of them now demands blood and sacrifice. When crime takes a turn for the weird, the police call Trese."

I am so wanting this! I like how the authors combine old-world superstitions and the modern Filipino lifestyle.

For more information, check out this site.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Feels like insomnia

It's 4am and I'm still awake. Under normal circumstances this would be the time when I finally doze off after tossing and turning for many hours. But I have to go to the head office of Generika (the pharmacy) to apply for my internship so I'm cutting out sleep altogether. Bill and I planned to meet around 8 so that means I have to be up by 6 to enjoy my breakfast, bath, and the selection of today's outfit. Stripes, maybe?

I suffer terrible bouts of insomnia. I'm not sure if you could classify it the way the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM) classify sleep disorders but it has come to affect my life in a major way. I wake up late, come late to morning classes, and remain sleepy for the rest of the day. I feel lethargic and my back hurts constantly (I don't know how this fits, but let's throw it in). However, what's odd about my case is that I feel sleepy like a regular person. When I get home, there's nothing I would like to do more than undress and hit the sack. But when I do, trouble begins. I lie in bed and wait for sleep. It doesn't come.

Also, what's weird is when I do sleep early (say 11pm), I wake up after a few hours and stay awake the whole morning. Tonight, I slept around that time and woke up an hour later. The only explanation: my body clock is not functioning properly.

Usually, I can't sleep because my mind is still racing. My mind wanders from the totally mundane (like what the world would be like if unicorns were real), to the more urgent thoughts (like how I would attack my assignment on bipolar disoder). These are the times when having an active imagination can be a liability. There are also nights when my back pain or joint aches are too much to bear. There are also those instances, albeit very rare, when I'm just not sleepy.

To combat this, I read. After a few pages, my eyes start to close on their own and I just drop the book (I'm afraid that if I move, I'll wake up) and fall asleep. If that fails, I change positions. Sometimes it helps if I sleep a certain way. If THAT fails, I switch on the TV and watch a documentary. The soothing voice of the narrator can sometimes lull me to Dreamland. Drinking warm milk helps but I think that's more of a mind over matter kind of thing.

I've taken the medical route as well. I've tried Valiums, Mogadons, Acetaminophens, Sleepwell, and Sleepasil. Sleepwell and Sleepasil are over-the-counter drugs so I don't take it seriously. Acetaminophens are from the States but they're good because they cure body pain that accompany sleeplessness. The problem with it is you have to take two to three at a time before it actually works. I've tried Mogadons twice but they're really good. Once, I didn't have trouble sleeping for an entire month. But it's hard to find and the effects are quite scary. I've taken a lot of Valiums because it's dirt-cheap. Whenever I try to score, I always have to explain that it's for my insomnia and not because I want to experience a high. Dealers give me this knowing look but I'm sorry, I'm a Whitney when it comes to that, if you know what I mean.

In hindsight, I don't remember insomnia plaguing me when I was in high school or when I was in UST. I remember it starting in Perpetual when I started to take in more responsibilities. It's probably the stress and the generalized anxiety that's keeping me from sleeping properly.

I hate my inability to snooze. Honestly, I find it easier acing a major exam than attempting to sleep. But that's the way life goes for me, it's either responsibilities or sleep. And if I have to pick, I have to pick responsibilities.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Hark, are the angels already singing?

It's already December. Even though our huge-ass Christmas tree is already set up in our living room and our house is decorated with angels, Santa statues, and Christmas lights, I still don't feel the holiday spirit.

Partly it's because of school. There are so many things to do that I don't have the time to appreciate the decorations around me. I have my thesis, piles of assignments, and my internship to take care of. Oh yeah, we were rejected by Citimotors because they prefer female interns. Ah, the taste of rejection. I never learned to like it. Fine then, I'll take my Courreges and Pierre Cardin where it's appreciated. Kidding.

I handed in my resignation for the yearbook committee. With my busy schedule, I don't think I can call companies and ask if they want to sponsor our yearbook. I felt that if I stayed, I would compromise the entire team. Advertising is responsible for production, after all.

Today I interviewed an applicant for the paper. Even though he couldn't answer my more complicated questions (such as his thoughts on Kenyan politics, Iranian media, and the election process of Uzbekistan), he impressed me with his other answers. He was eloquent, witty, and intelligent. He had a strong command of the English language which showed in his application exam. Perhaps if he finished it (I said no when he asked for an extension), he would have received a higher grade.

I have little time to rest and my sleeping habits are worsening. Even though it's barely a month, I'm already looking forward to my Christmas break. By then, I'm sure I'd feel the holiday spirit.
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