The Thought Parking Lot

Lists of ideas better parked than kept running

Notes from a Dead Man

Life, as the cliched expression goes, is full of ups and downs. One minute you are on top of a hill admiring your handiwork; the next thing you know you see yourself rolling downhill — much faster than how fast you got to the summit.

I would love to believe that old Marlboro ad that said, “It isn’t the number of times you fall down, it’s the number of times you got back on” or something to that effect. I mean, my balls can take another bashing from another ride on a bull or this wild stallion I call my life but I have to admit that it is impossible not to feel tired at some point. The whole effort of picking yourself up and starting again is becoming a pain. Now I find myself scratching my head and asking myself, “What now, dude?”

I felt like I died on the last bull ride I had. I was dead before I fell off, at least in a figurative sense. If it were in the literal sense, this piece would be totally “ghost-written.”

Fuck that. I’m getting back on.

 

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Stalking is Your Day Job (You’re Good at it, too)

If you are actively online (on social networking sites), then it is a resounding “Yes, your day job is stalking.”

Seriously, who does not sneak in a few views on Facebook and Twitter while they are in their offices or at home working? With the convenience of social media, and location tagging, everyone is an instant stalker. Compare that to the dedicated stalkers of an age when stalkers literally stalked their targets, today’s stalker could be at home, scratching his ass, or in the office, stealing a glance away from a spreadsheet.

 

The Holy Week That Was or a Pre-workweek Warm Up on an Easter Sunday in the Philippines

Holy Week, Batman! It’s Easter Sunday!

I’m trying to restart my brain for the coming workday. No cold starts, please. I might as well warm up the old brain here. I’m no saint when it comes to coming back to work after an almost week-long layoff.

In the Philippines, the Holy Week that caps off the Lenten Season is either a:

Option A. “Holy” Vacation for Catholics. Holy Week + Travel to Province + Family Reunion or Staycation + Holy Week.  Most likely, there’s a Visita Iglesia squeezed in. Hmm, a mix of reflection and reunion.

Option B.  A real Holy Week for Devout Catholics. Some even have themselves nailed on a cross. (Which is actually a good way to cure mobile phone addiction– “I can’t come to the phone right now. I’m nailed on a cross” voice mail message sounds good).

Option C. Vacation/ Party Season for Non-Catholics (NCs) and Non-Practicing Catholics (NPCs) a.k.a. beach/ resort time. 

Having been raised as a Catholic, I distinctly remember Holy Week during my childhood as being spent in either our house in Metro Manila, or our clan’s official home in Zambales (I forgot if it was an aunt’s or one of my abuelas who owned it), or my grandfather’s home in the Bicol Region. I remember Holy Week to be extremely quiet. Once the Holy Week started there was nothing on TV. Even the radio went dead. It was silent torture for a boy who craved entertainment. At least it was a chance to bond with cousins, play on the streets with friends, occasionally climb trees, watch processions, and an occasional trip to the river. Boy, it was that boring! 😛 This was in the 80s. There was no internet.

Other memories include my dad making sure that entertainment was a regular showing of Cecil B Demille’s Ten Commandments or Ben Hur over at the next door neighbor’s house. Hey, at least there was an option. I remember getting excited by the parting of the Red Sea or probably ignoring 3/4 of Ben Hur. I remember the strict implementation of the Catholic no-meat policy for meals. I remember sitting through a meal of salted codfish that was too salty. That one’s etched firmly in my tongue’s memory.

Today’s Lent and Holy Week observance in the Philippines seems to have evolved into a mutated version of what I grew up with. Rules have relaxed a bit. I’m not complaining. I will always love my neighbor no matter what rules come out. How has my Holy Week evolved?

Monday to Wednesday seemed like normal workdays that seemed to last forever and had a Friday-ish or Saturday-ish feel. People were almost about ready to jump out of their chairs and out of the office door for a vacation. I didn’t have an issue and just kept on working. I know that I’ll be staying in Metro Manila anyway. No need to rush to a bus station or to the airport.

Thursday came and implementation of my Holy Week plan:  bonding with my family by visiting the old churches in nearby Laguna. For this trip, I decided to enter Laguna via  the back route–the more scenic Rizal route. We were able to visit seven churches in seven towns:

  1. Pakil
  2. Paete
  3. Pagsanjan
  4. Sta. Cruz
  5. Nagcarlan
  6. Liliw
  7. Magdalena

I’ll just list that down for reference. No pictures today. Hmm, I remember I hardly ever post photos. LOL. Anyway, the missus and the kids seemed happy that day. I’ll give myself a pat on the back. Congratulations, Brian. Spiritual and family objectives were met in one trip. This was one trip that I wanted to go on. It isn’t every day that I can get to see several holy houses of God in one day. It’s my own little way of saying thank you for keeping me focused every day.

Anyway, aside from the reflection and travel to different churches, we had nothing else to do on Good Friday. The missus and I ended up cooking a small no-meat feast, That reminds me, we  ought to fast in the coming years. Since both of us can cook, abstaining from meat is not a hindrance to eating more than a small helping.

With the cooking part over, I decided to sit down and catch up on some old movies and some TV shows. After two days of doing that, I realized that I sat down and sat through a staggering body count. That’s after a marathon session of sitting through all of the Hobbit movies (death of countless humans, orcs, goblins, and trolls), all current episodes of The Following (there’s currently six episodes with a minimum of three victims per episode). To cap it off, there were the innumerable soldiers that couldn’t shoot straight that died in Expendables 3 and all of the Cowboys that Wyatt Earp allegedly shot down in Tombstone (yes, the Kurt Russell movie).

Well, today is Easter Sunday. It’s the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus. I can say that I am recharged. I just hope my brain wakes up in time for Monday. Godspeed to me.

The Philippine SONA Makeover

July 28, 2014–Manila.  It’s another day for the State of the Nation Address (SONA).  SONA day is National Presidential Buhat-Bangko Day or National Presidential Pat-Your-Own Back Day. For the usual protest people, it’s National Government Don’t Do S#!t Everyday Day. For congressmen, senators and invited guests, it’s National Dress Up and Clap Day. For people passing through Commonwealth, today is National Hay Naku! Traffic Day. For ordinary work-minded citizens, it’s just “Hay! Monday na naman” or “It’s just another working Monday.”

***

I never particularly enjoyed these presidential speeches because these are supposed to be glossy reports. I agree with a post I read earlier that the real state of the nation is how the people sees it. However, I’ll give all presidents a bye for this event. It’s supposed to be their day to highlight their accomplishments. I mean, who in his right mind would shoot his own foot in front of the nation? But, I will give a ton of points to true leaders who aren’t afraid to tell his people what lies ahead and the steps they have to take. I will give points to those not afraid to admit mistakes and are progressively working towards solutions. I remember a “legal” argument in the Bicentennial Man movie. A line there mentioned something about people not being ready for a “perfect” person to be declared as human. That was after the android sought to be legally declared a human after acquiring human skin and emotions.

***

SONA, with all the preparations and media focus on it, it’s almost the best-produced show next to ABS-CBN’s ASAP on Sundays. However, I think it’s about time for a makeover. I mean, it’s been years of strict formality and the thing might lose a connection with those wanting a show. Like, maybe it can be the best show ever.

Here are some suggestions:

1.  Presidential Intro and Opening.  I’ll always look to Mike Judge’s Idiocracy for inspiration. I think with the showbiz-loving nature of Filipinos, an awesome intro like this one is in order. And to make critics shut up, the president can bring out the heavy guns–for real. With the country’s current president being a gun lover, this could be a perfect fit.

Here’s a clip from vimeo.

2.  Clapping. It’s tradition that those at the SONA clap at everything a president says. I think we can still introduce some variety to it. I mean, why not? It’s been so much as tradition that it appears to be just mindless appreciation for whatever escapes the presidential mouth.

a.  For the “Why didn’t I think of that?” reaction, there’s the slow clap. This is instant variety and stamps “DIFFERENT” from all other SONAs.

Here’s a clip from YouTube (user YuppiePunk.org) as reference:

b.  For the everyone-is-happy reaction, there’s “The Wave.” Popular in baseball games. I think with this country’s legislative branch dominated by the ruling party, they can easily do something like this.

Here’s a clip from YouTube (user SwaToRz) as reference:

3.  Other suggestions: (oh, my, there’s some more?)

a.  A closing song. Filipinos love a good song and dance number from politicians. Seriously, I don’t know it they enjoy the talent or if they’re into checking out how stupid their leaders look.

a.1 For the current president: If memory serves me correctly, the current president did sing in one of his inauguration events. I’m just not sure if it was “Estudyante Blues.” For this year’s SONA, maybe Manny Pacquiao can do an impromptu number with Frozen’s “Let it Go.” I mean, that’s if the president wants a perfect ending to that DAP issue. I think for President BS Aquino’s final SONA, he should do an AC/DC song. I’m thinking “Highway to Hell.” I mean, the boogeyman is coming in 2016.

***

Seriously, the biggest makeover we need is a change in the people. Speeches and shows only highlight what government wants you to know and guide you on how you should feel; these are all cosmetic. It is also healthy for people to verify what they read and hear from the people that serve them. Take an interest. Take a stand. Do something, even if it’s just figuring out the world you’re in. Be the change. That’s how we can manage our future.

 

 

 

Because I Couldn’t Figure Out What to Write

I think it was last week when a very dear friend/former co-worker, sent me a message on Facebook. She said, “Master, when are you going to update your blog? The last one is so old already.” In case you’re wondering, she fondly calls me “Master” as a way not to call me “Sir.”  I did insist before that she call me by my first name which was totally cool by me even if I outranked her. Filipinos are super polite and respectful and strictly abide by that. So, I said that if she’ll insist on calling me “Sir”–I am certainly no knight–she might as well just call me “Master.” Just don’t ask me on what I am a master of.  In some circles, I can be a master of bad timing, disasters, and other nasty stuff. Anyway, this matter has no bearing on how the rest of this post goes.

So, what have I been up to since I took a break from updating this address on the internet? Well, I’ve been reading other blogs, stalking people on Facebook, and watching the news, and vice versa. In a way, I can figure that as something like an observation field trip–a so-what’s-going-on-in-the-world kind of thing. I hate to imagine that cyberspace is an actual representation of how people are in real life. If I look at Facebook, I might surmise that most of my friends are either adventurers, geniuses, yoga masters, potheads, philosophers, judgmental pricks and narcissists, or all of that rolled into one person. I mean, no matter what they do online or offline, it’s totally okay with me.  Just as long as they aren’t damn cheats.

Other than Facebook, of course there are online communities/ bloggers of like-minded thinking. In general, I can just group them into: fun communities, groups of open-minded progressives, groups of closed pseudo-intellects pushing agendas, and marketers. It’s great that people can seek out people that they feel are so much like them. That’s totally okay with the fun stuff and learning about new products. On the serious side of things, I mean, if one isn’t careful or one isn’t too critical about what he or she reads, one might end up supporting a cult, an extremist faction, and whatever radically extreme food and health movement. I say that any trip should be to broaden the view not tighten the noose of confirmation bias. Fun, I guess that’s what I am aiming at. Fun in the general sense that we shouldn’t take ourselves too seriously. I mean, just imagine having fun without hurting other people; the world will certainly be a better place.

Openness, broaden your views, explore; I found those reading recipe books. I mean, now I have an odd curiosity to make donuts and ice cream. At least those are things in mind other than my home made sausages. I always thought of cooking at home as a means to relax. But deep down in the core, I feel that it’s something else. I think a friend of mine just answered that for me. He mentioned something about the need to create, like, it’s who we are. That just hit the spot. And that is what brought me here today to hammer out a few words on my keyboard. Well, I’m not exactly a literary genius, but doing this helps me figure out how to bring out thoughts and ideas that will otherwise pester me for some time. It’s a desire to express something. One might ask: “But what has that got to do with home cooking?” Well, it’s transforming something raw into something edible and filling, something that nourishes my loved ones. It’s a joy this person cherishes a lot.

Create something of value. It might be for you or for some other people. The joy is in making it and seeing it come to life.

Clicking on publish.