admiring Dad on fathers’ day

selfie with mom dad and george

The man of the hour, flanked by 4th Brother (standing), Mom on Dad’s right, me on his left, and Mahal shooting the selfie.  Happy Fathers’ Day to all fathers and father figures!

COMPARED TO the mother’s biological tasks related to babymaking, the father’s involvement is a breeze.  Literally, we only need to work (if you can call it work) for a few minutes if at all.  The rest of the job, lasting at least 36 weeks and 9 months max, belongs to our noble mothers.

But that doesn’t make our responsibilities any less when it comes to our offspring.  Almost universally across all cultures, fathers provide, nurture, inspire, educate, and act as our first role models.  Plus, we should be ready to wash the dishes and be ready for carpooling to school and PTA meetings when the primary parent (Mom) is unavailable.

*****           *****          *****

My father stayed with the script, and more.  He was always ready to spend time and just have fun with us, if not after school, then on rest days and weekends.  He wasn’t an all-star playing coach for pickup basketball, but had more than enough time for us for Saturday trips to Chinatown and Sunday fun runs astride Manila Bay.

*****          *****          *****

Dad has slowed down now, but his mind is as clear as the day his firstborn arrived.  He no longer takes his long walks but tight skirts and long legs still bring a twinkle to his eye.

He enjoys being pampered  by his wife, albeit with the inevitable scolding if ever he indulges in his minor vices.  But the thing he enjoys most is that anytime he summons his sons scattered across the seven seas, they will show up (via Skype or FaceTime), and that every now and then the latter still seek his timeless counsel and wisdom.

Including of course, how to catch the eye of those leggy mini-skirts (just kidding, Mom!).

Thanks for everything Dad.  Happy Father’s Day, and mabuhay to all fathers!



candid haphazard & post-apocalyptic zombie thoughts before leaving for work

can't go to work without the bike, and can't bike without helmet and hi-viz jacket. 🙂

IT’S BECOMING progressively harder to jump out of bed these days, at 46 and a half.  Adding to hacking out of throat and lungs the congestion of the previous night, which tends to accumulate while you sleep (which is probably why it’s called congestion, duh), particularly during the cold, cold months, is a couple of inflammed joints almost once a week now, sometimes in the fingers, sometimes in the knees or ankles.  Used to be I thought it was because of alcohol, seafood, certain types of vegetables (specifically legumes) and lamang-luob, which I tend to avoid almost entirely now.

the gouty combination : beer and seafood, thanks and acknowledgment to 🙂

But lately it seems I’ve been suffering from these comical but painful situations (think mascots hands and fat ankles and knees) more and more.  Usually they subside later into the day, but I don’t always have the luxury of coaxing them into functionality.  Unless I imagine it, my eyes prefer to stay defocused and languid the first hour of the day,which is probably not too uncommon for most of us at this delicate age, and these are signs I need to have eyes rechecked, and new spectacles prescribed.

Depending on what I ate the previous 24 hours, I also have to be accountable to my digestive system, and if it was a workday like most days, I manage to be more or less responsible with food intake, not too much, food groups in order, and the result is I don’t spend too much time in the bathroom (belated TMI alert, sorry!).

If however, like today, I just woke up from a (n ANZAC) holiday, there is usually hell to pay.  A glass plus of cheap Merlot to help me get to bed, a dish of ice cream which I eat on the sly (quite a feat, considering that esposa hermosa and I share a tiny flat with almost no one else for company; our flatmate and Panganay largely keep to themselves), a glass plus of Coke Zero vintage last week (which I stubbornly drink despite the mortal dangers of dark fizzy), miscellaneous chichirya of local and international origin, and whatever my omnivorous snout picks up from all over the four corners of the flat.  And that’s just shortly before turning in.

You can expect the messy results the next day, when I earnestly strive to purge myself of all poisons ingested and resolve to avoid similar behavior, which I happily forget the next evening before a free day or weekend.

Before I forget, I had a good reason for spreading a mini-feast of junk food/sinful food before beddy-bye time, and I’ll spell it out in four words : Walking Dead, season finale.

Our Walking Dead heroes pretend they're zombies, but who knows what'll happen in Seasonn 3? Abangan!

I wasn’t an instant fan, in the jaded way we all perceive post-apocalyptic zombie thrillers spiced with love-triangle and whacko-killing-fields subplots (at least the gory killing sprees are not gratuitous, you need to kill zombies indiscriminately, and the ratio of mindless zombie to tasty human is about 100:1, conservatively).  But because esposa hermosa is so seldom drawn to Kiwi TV fare and this was attracting her like funny cigs to Cheech and Chong (pardon the eighties reference), I found myself watching whenever shift work permitted every creepy Wednesday night.

The acting was good, the plot crisp and credible (in the way having zombies roam a post-epidemic Earth was credible), and I discovered a truth about my young wife : she is as fearless as any modern Pinay, but can’t go to sleep by herself after a ghost/vampire/zombie flick, yet loves to watch the wretched things.

Just a final comment about season finales : don’t you just hate it when as regards resolving plots and consumating climaxes, season finales are anything but satisfying?  They are mini-contradictions in themselves : They are supposed to tie up in neat (although bloody) little packages the story arcs of the season, yet are designed to be hanging just enough to hook you into waiting for, and watching the next season !  Now, how annoying is that?  It’s an ending, but not really an ending !

The added disadvantage Noel and his little wife suffered was that we had naively prepared to view a two-hour gorefest (there are surprisingly few scenes of zombies munching on human drumsticks, the producers apparently had their fill during the first and a half seasons) that would be the definitive end of the season, and the only possibilities by way of credible ending/s I saw (without sharing such with my companion, who was up to here [point to neck] in stressful viewing) were (1) everybody becoming zombie fiesta handaan, or (2) other survivors or government forces rescuing all our bida (protagonists).

Who would’ve known that in his little group, Rick Grimes (played by Andrew Lincoln) would declare martial law, and that most of the group (around a dozen) would actually survive the zombie raid on their redoubt ?  In short, almost nothing is resolved in the finale, except the scuttling of Shane (the main rival of Rick, in leadership and in romance), almost surely to keep us on tenterhooks for Season 3.  Argh.

And that’s why I ate too much, slept too little, woke up with the blahs, and trying to finish this before hurrying to afternoon shift.  Even when (maybe especially when) TV entertainment is at its best, there is usually hell to pay the morning after.

Thanks for reading!

Speechless but not wordless : Many thanks, muchas gracias, xiexie nin & maraming salamat po

Not sure if nomination means the award itself, but I'm claiming it 🙂

THE LAST time I earned an award was 1972 in 1st Grade, when I was able to use in a single drawing all the crayons in my 16-size Crayola box, Teacher Xu (Shu between a schwa and an umlaut) was so dazzled by my triangle-and-square house and stick figures that she gave me an unheard-of 82 in Art, and proclaimed my drawing (that day) to the rest of my bewildered classmates to be “Most Creative.”  Needless to say, my artistic career was all downhill from there.

Seriously, I don’t ever recall ever being given an award so this one, The Versatile Blogger Award really means a lot to me.  Moreover, coming from a very popular and outstandingly inspiring blogger, Ms Alpha Miguel-Sanford of Aspire. Motivate. Succeed, it’s quite a humbling experience and is one of the few things I can truly be proud of.

I want to make it formal, so to Ms Miguel-Sanford, I thank you sincerely for nominating my blog, and for believing in me ! Because we are both Filipinos, I say proudly maraming maraming salamat po !

If you’ll allow a few personal insights on blogging : it starts out best when you’re at a solitary stage in life, when you are forced to step back and take stock on how much (or little) you’ve done to justify your existence.  Whatever your assessment is becomes(usually) your electronic output, whether it’s done as a chronicle, or as justification, a comparison with greater and lesser lights, or merely an observation of what’s been done, the finished product is a work in progress on that aspect of your life that you wish to expose to the world.

Admittedly, blogging is an exercise in exhibitionism; the more naked and unadorned it is (about ourselves), the better.  For many bloggers, it is unashamedly therapeutic, and the beneficial effects, mostly incidental.  Hopefully, the end justifies the means, right? 🙂

Along the way, you discover kindred souls that say, hey I feel the same way man, and you just put into words what I’ve been feeling / thinking, and because of the power of shared experience, you either influence others into choosing the road you have traveled, or in some cases, avoiding the pitfalls you’ve encountered.  That word influence is a bit presumptuous and quite powerful, but if a person buys into your blog (figuratively only, there’s no purchase involved), you hold in your keystrokes quite a powerful tool that can add value, happiness and satisfaction in other people’s lives.  It may start out as an unintended consequence, but to help others as a byproduct of your blog is a truly rewarding experience.

Another rule that must be followed by the Versatile Blogger awardee is that I must share seven things about myself, which is actually a redundancy on my part as at least half of the blog is devoted to personal life experiences, meaning that by nature I rave and rant about me, myself and I.  So sorry for the self-centeredness, but you’ve probably figured out by now that blogging is self-absorbed in a lot of ways, the way you share best is by sharing what you know best, which is you and your world.  It’s like saying, here I am, warts and all.  Nevertheless, boredom alert sounded and damn the torpedoes, here are my seven tidbits :

I was born on a lazy Friday afternoon at 2.00 pm, barely out of the birth canal and already aching for a TGIF brewsky.

Interpret it any way you want, but I have 4 brothers and no sisters.  I also honored my folks with their first granddaughter, also born on a Friday.

I group these three into one factoid : I love to watch people dance, but suffer congenitally from two left feet; I like being a nocturnal person by overcoming clumsiness in the dark but suffer from selective night blindness; and I can’t swim beyond five feet and four-and-a-half inches (which incidentally is my height).  Don’t these lovable traits go together?

I can’t elaborate on this, but I am probably the oldest student driver I know.  Don’t hate me please.

I don’t have a favorite food / dish, but if I had to recount the most memorable taste experiences, the dishes involved would probably be pork sinigang, Sichuan spicy noodles, Cadbury Picnic bars, Shakey’s Pizza, and my Ilocano yaya’s ginisang sitaw with adobong peanuts.  All these unleash floodgates of memories of yesteryear.

Don’t ask for a reason, but at least once a week, I exercise like crazy early in the day, and then later, undo all the fitness momentum generated by gorging on chips, pastry, soft drinks, and anything else I can get my hands on, and just stuff my face indiscriminately.  I can diet-wise go from supermotivated to superguilty before half the day is over.  I have to do something about that, because esposa hermosa usually catches me, I don’t know if it’s the health negatives or the getting caught that depresses me more.  As they say, at least I live to fight another day.

Have we reached seven yet?  This is related to Tidbit # 4 , but I still bike to work everyday.  I’m getting tired of using the pushbike while fighting gusty winter winds, so it will probably change this year.  Beyond that, I will probably elaborate later.

I pay forward the Versatile Blogger Award to the following :

1. Foodtrip by Nors Vargas

2.  Story of a girl by Katt

3.  Text and Photos by Jude Bautista by Jude Bautista

4.  Straight from the heart by Catherine Vi Clausen

5.  Something to read by Lilia Nicole

6. Lawyer on the Run by runningconsiglieri

That’s it for now.  I can’t think of anything more to say, other than something humorous and tongue-in-cheek : “I am a drinker with a writing problem.”  Given all the treasures afforded to us by bloggers and blogging, a writing problem is certainly one we can all live with !

From the bottom of my heart, thanks all the guys in, Alpha Miguel, and all the visitors to our crazy little blog !  God bless you all always !