Monday, December 21, 2015

№ 238. Advent

The advent of grace
And death permeates
Existence like light to panes.

Details of Pope John Paul II's miraculous chair
exhibited at the UST Museum

Sunday, December 13, 2015

№ 237. Dark Night of the Soul 2

Ramen House intallation

"Many people think that the point in life is to solve their problems and be happy. But happiness is usually a fleeting sensation, and you never get rid of problems. Your purpose in life may be to become more who you are and more engaged with the people and the life around you, to really live your life. That may sound obvious, yet many people spend their time avoiding life. They are afraid to let it flow through them, and so their vitality gets channeled into ambitions, addictions, and preoccupations that don’t give them anything worth having. A dark night may appear, paradoxically, as a way to return to living. It pares life down to its essentials and helps you get a new start.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

№ 236. Fulcrum

"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play; his labor and his leisure; his mind and his body; his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing, and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing. To himself, he always appears to be doing both."

On a best effort basis, I am laminating a lot of leisure between layers of serious stuff. I guess it's still at a test phase. I hope this experiment will only fortify the quote above and, hence, permit me to infest as much of my work with little critters of hobbies.

Feet loose at a NIA class.

№ 235. Om, too

Be like water.

Water is fluid, yet it tends toward stillness, and it's reflective. If you can embody these characteristics, you'll be able to benefit anyone in need.

Becoming mentally fluid means allowing people and situations to exist as they are without judging or trying to change them. This acceptance is important—it's the beginning of healing.

Taken in a NIA White Belt Certification Class.
29 November 2015

Monday, November 30, 2015

№ 234. Om

"Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer."---R.M. Rilke


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

№ 232. Evil is Ordinary

Every Angel is terror. And yet,
ah, knowing you, I invoke you, almost deadly
birds of the soul.
Where are the days of Tobias,
when one of the most radiant of you stood at the simple threshold,
disguised somewhat for the journey and already no longer awesome
(Like a youth, to the youth looking out curiously).
Let the Archangel now, the dangerous one, from behind the stars,
take a single step down and toward us: our own heart,
beating on high would beat us down. What are you?
(from The Second Elegy, The Duino Elegies, Rainer Maria Rilke)

Bento Box:

That image of a concert venue turned slaughterhouse on Friday, Nov. 13, in the storied capital of France, captures the random carnage that was the primary objective of the terrorists. It could only have been terrorism—the concept of asymmetrical warfare is only analytical, the framework of an anti-Western backlash mostly rhetorical. Above all, the declaration of an Islamic holy struggle is a perversion of religion.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

№ 231. Il y a

We thought that it was going to be an uneventful Friday the 13th. Then evil crept in on us. Again.

There is evil. Like our Christian concept of God it is both immanent and transcendent.

Evil knows no sleep. Knows no compunction. No restrain. It is slow, patient and deliberate.

Jean Jullien

Evil slows time. 

When time lapses into memories
that sting in slivers of papercuts

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

№ 228. Jiro is a Borg

"While watching it, I found myself drawn into the mystery of this man. Are there any unrealized wishes in his life? Secret diversions? Regrets? If you find an occupation you love and spend your entire life working at it, is that enough? Standing behind his counter, Jiro notices things. Some customers are left-handed, some right-handed. That helps determine where they are seated at his counter. As he serves a perfect piece of sushi, he observes it being eaten. He knows the history of that piece of seafood. He knows his staff has recently started massaging an octopus for 45 minutes and not half an hour, for example. Does he search a customer's eyes for a signal that this change has been an improvement? Half an hour of massage was good enough to win three Michelin stars. You realize the tragedy of Jiro Ono's life is that there are not, and will never be, four stars."

Ooma in Megamall has one of the best Gyozas in town.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

№ 227. Gedankenexperimente in Ateneo

First Station of the Cross: Last Supper Sculpture
College Chapel, Ateneo de Manila University

Back in college, when the Rizal Library was still housed in two adjoining buildings and when Ateneo was still a single college, the library was a favorite "third place". It offered an airconditioned haven where students could quietly hang out, sleep, study and cool off between classes, oral exams, presentations and org meetings.

Last week, when I visited the place in the middle of a busy semester, I was glad I saw that new additions were built in the campus. The new college grounds now house new buildings, halls, pocket gardens and spaces although much of the old layout and roads have been preserved.

The chapel, although renovated, retained its quiet, reassuring charm.

From the unified College of Arts and Sciences, the Ateneo  was reorganized into seven autonomous schools: Law (Rockwell, Makati City), Medicine (Ortigas, Pasig City), Government (Rockwell, Makati City), Management (Loyola, Quezon City), Humanities (Loyola, Quezon City), Sciences and Engineering (Loyola, Quezon City),  and Social Sciences (Loyola, Quezon City).

Saturday, October 31, 2015

№ 226. Percussive Halloween

I've been banging the piano for close to thirty-three years now. The piano is an old analog instrument and is considered as both percussion and string. Because of its age and unique mechanism, it offers an unparalleled range of repertoire and performance options. Perhaps this is the reason why it's called the king of instruments despite its many demands and, yes, limitations.

Last Thursday, I watched a piano recital at the Abelardo Hall. It was an academic requirement for the performer's Masters Degree in Music Performance. The recital exposed me to a side of classical music which I did not realize included pieces showcasing the piano in very unconventional, almost theatrical staging.

Halloween treat after office: free Abelardo recital

Saturday, October 24, 2015

№ 225. Seed Clouds of Ideas: Interestingness

Here's an interesting read about interestingness of ideas. "Interesting" used to be a neutral, ergo, a safe response to an idea. This was until the word was repackaged with new visual power and connotation in Flickr.

Seed Cloud Installation

Monday, October 19, 2015

№ 223. Happy 7th, Sophia

Let wisdom be your shadow:

At sunrise, yellow,
Like omelettes and jams from mom;

At midday, white,
Like lace, linens and lunch breaks;

At sunset, orange,
Like tickles and pups to walk you home;

At nighttime, grey,
Like warm cloaks of dad's goodnight tuck.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

№ 222. Two Funerals and A Film About Black Death

We visited two funerals this week and to cap it off, I finally finished watching the The Seventh Seal.

Bart would say, "¡Ay, caramba!". I would say, "Tick tock".

First Funeral (Sunday, October 11). A close friend since kindergarten days (almost 40 years of friendship), a cardiologist, had to go through the last three or so months of his mother. His mom was diagnosed with stage four liver cancer last July. The cancer has metastasized to the lungs. It was again an issue between curative or palliative. In the end, doctor friends advised palliative care.

I was called to the hospital last Sunday to advise on end of life issues. She passed away three days later, survived by her husband, two daughters, two sons and a number of grandchildren.

Second Funeral (Wednesday, October 14). An officer at work confided that her father, a chronic diabetic, was undergoing renal dialysis. That was May, five months ago. He passed away last Monday, four days before his 75th birthday.

Our laminated lives seem both too brief and yet too lengthy. How is meaning and measure appreciated? Is it achieved, gained or obtained? Does one decide whether to view life through the lens of kairos or chronos, or both, depending on the need?

Sunday, October 11, 2015

№ 221. Virtual Lawyering

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way - in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only." --- Charles Dickens, Tale of Two Cities

What is out there for the once and future lawyer?

Emails are so mid-90s. Google has grown up and morphed into a teenage giant. Social networks are slowly plateauing. Wireless, and its many iterations, is almost the humdrum norm, circa 2015, except maybe for my desktop office.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

№ 220. Missed Connection

I met you in the rain on the last day of 1972, the same day I resolved to kill myself.

One week prior, at the behest of Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger, I'd flown four B-52 sorties over Hanoi. I dropped forty-eight bombs. How many homes I destroyed, how many lives I ended, I'll never know. But in the eyes of my superiors, I had served my country honorably, and I was thusly discharged with such distinction.

And so on the morning of that New Year's Eve, I found myself in a barren studio apartment on Beacon and Hereford with a fifth of Tennessee rye and the pang of shame permeating the recesses of my soul. When the bottle was empty, I made for the door and vowed, upon returning, that I would retrieve the Smith & Wesson Model 15 from the closet and give myself the discharge I deserved.

I walked for hours. I looped around the Fenway before snaking back past Symphony Hall and up to Trinity Church. Then I roamed through the Common, scaled the hill with its golden dome, and meandered into that charming labyrinth divided by Hanover Street.

By the time I reached the waterfront, a charcoal sky had opened and a drizzle became a shower. That shower soon gave way to a deluge. While the other pedestrians darted for awnings and lobbies, I trudged into the rain. I suppose I thought, or rather hoped, that it might wash away the patina of guilt that had coagulated around my heart.

It didn't, of course, so I started back to the apartment.

And then I saw you.

You'd taken shelter under the balcony of the Old State House. You were wearing a teal ball gown, which appeared to me both regal and ridiculous. Your brown hair was matted to the right side of your face, and a galaxy of freckles dusted your shoulders. I'd never seen anything so beautiful.

When I joined you under the balcony, you looked at me with your big green eyes, and I could tell that you'd been crying. I asked if you were okay. You said you'd been better. I asked if you'd like to have a cup of coffee. You said only if I would join you.

Before I could smile, you snatched my hand and led me on a dash through Downtown Crossing and into Neisner's. We sat at the counter of that five and dime and talked like old friends. We laughed as easily as we lamented, and you confessed over pecan pie that you were engaged to a man you didn't love, a banker from some line of Boston nobility. A Cabot, or maybe a Chaffee. Either way, his parents were hosting a soirée to ring in the New Year, hence the dress. 

For my part, I shared more of myself than I could have imagined possible at that time. I didn't mention Vietnam, but I got the sense that you could see there was a war waging inside me. Still, your eyes offered no pity, and I loved you for it. 

After an hour or so, I excused myself to use the restroom. I remember consulting my reflection in the mirror. Wondering if I should kiss you, if I should tell you what I'd done from the cockpit of that bomber a week before, if I should return to the Smith & Wesson that waited for me.

I decided, ultimately, that I was unworthy of the resuscitation this stranger in the teal ball gown had given me, and to turn my back on such sweet serendipity would be the real disgrace. On the way back to the counter, my heart thumped in my chest like an angry judge's gavel, and a future -- our future -- flickered in my mind.

But when I reached the stools, you were gone. No phone number. No note. Nothing.

As strangely as our union had begun, so too had it ended. I was devastated. I went back to Neisner's every day for a year, but I never saw you again.

Ironically, the torture of your abandonment seemed to swallow my self-loathing, and the prospect of suicide was suddenly less appealing than the prospect of discovering what had happened in that restaurant. The truth is I never really stopped wondering.

Friday, October 9, 2015

№ 219. The Voice


A nun takes the veil

I HAVE desired to go
Where springs not fail,
To fields where flies no sharp and sided hail
And a few lilies blow.

And I have asked to be 5
Where no storms come,
Where the green swell is in the havens dumb,
And out of the swing of the sea.

Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844–89)

Yup, she's still got the voice --- clarity, precision and timbre.


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

№ 218. "There may be flowing water on Mars. But is there intelligent life on Earth?"

"New findings from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) provide the strongest evidence yet that liquid water flows intermittently on present-day Mars."


Meanwhile, on Earth.... We are still debating, doing very little that is aggressive and significant enough to reverse climate change and continuing blithely with our irresponsibility---daily. I am already old enough so I have only a few more decades left. But I do fear for the next generations. What will they inherit from our shortsighted and selfish mess of a world?

№ 218. An MBA Can't Help in Your Career?!

"During meetings, my fellow managers who have MBAs often talk, if not brag about what they know about management buzzwords and theories. When I hear them bragging and counter-bragging with one another, I feel belittled as I can’t contribute much during our discussions. I hesitate to give my two cents’ worth as I don’t want to telegraph my ignorance.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Saturday, September 12, 2015

№ 215. Daily Habits of Successful People

My T.R.A.N.S.C.R.I.P.T. / notes. Killing time and trying to be quasi-productive.

Aristotle said that 95% of what we do is the result of habits. Make good habits your masters.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

№ 214. A Day in the Life

"I’ve always told myself to treat it like a 9-to-5 job. You just go do it. It doesn’t matter whether you’re feeling good that day. I don’t think writers or artists can afford to have a “creative temperament” or to wait for inspiration to descend. You have to simply sit there and make yourself do it. And over the years that’s a discipline I really developed. I can sit down at my desk every day and do my work, never give myself permission not to do it. Once your mind understands that it has no excuses, it’s remarkable how it begins to play along." (Harvard Business Review)

Life after Law School, Circa 2005-2006

Monday, August 31, 2015

№ 212. Sleep

Sleep deprivation is leading to less efficient learning, higher emotionality, increased anxiety, and a less efficient brain.

I'm counting the hours till the next REM.

Money Trail, Dreamscapes & Happy Feet

Sunday, August 30, 2015

№ 211. Good Sunday Find

Listen to the multitudes inside.
Unbundle the doubts.
Cut through the fog.
Re-see the flawed.
Accept the imperfect glaze.

Staring at Rothko

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

№ 206. Of Vice Presidents and Of Facts

"Once again the facts have been erased." - Ai Weiwei

Election worries are again brewing in the Philippine political horizon. Are we reverting to analog as a safer option towards peaceful, honest and credible elections or are we plowing through with automation, regardless of the costs?

Speaking of elections, we have a line of Vice Presidents who eventually assumed the top post: Macapagal-Arroyo, Estrada, Ramos, Osmeña, Macapagal, Garcia, Qurino and Osmena. Eight and we're counting as we go. Does this mean Binay?

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

№ 205. Cafeteria at the Edge of the Universe

Pico Iyer, in his book “The Art of Stillness,” recounts his meeting with Cohen at a Zen monastery up on the hills outside Los Angeles. Cohen, without any irony, told Iyer that sitting still was the “real deep entertainment” he had found in his 61 years on the planet. In his book, Iyer declares: “Going nowhere … isn’t about turning your back on the world; it’s about stepping away now and then so that you can see the world more clearly and love it more deeply.”

Sunday, August 9, 2015

№ 204. 884 Mondays Till Retirement

It's Monday. Again. I know the feeling. There are piles of work, deadlines to beat and projects to accomplish. I've been through several Mondays before. In 43 years, 2,236 Mondays. There will be several more to go. That's 884 Mondays more till retirement, kid.

What's an appropriate emoticon for Mondays?

But then.... there's this article about getting old and not retiring. And a quote from Pablo Casals:

“The man who works and is never bored is never old. Work and interest in worthwhile things are the best remedy for age.
On my last birthday I was ninety-three years old. That is not young, of course. In fact, it is older than ninety. But age is a relative matter. If you continue to work and to absorb the beauty in the world about you, you find that age does not necessarily mean getting old. At least, not in the ordinary sense. I feel many things more intensely than ever before, and for me life grows more fascinating.”

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

№ 203. Time and Leaf

Killing time in limbo. Bureaucracy works. Lines move. Today I am no. 4,115. The screen reads 4,090.

Meanwhile, a book and one million years later....

Passport renewal was fast,
contrary to dreaded expectations

Monday, August 3, 2015

№ 202. Happy Feet

Eiffel Tower, Paris, France, May 2014

Restless, happy feet
Roam sleepy, sunny shores.

Masada National Park, Israel, May 2014

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

№ 201. Thursday Book Find

Happiness. Birth. Sadness. Death. Suffering. Love. Comfort. Indifference. Fall. Weakness. Redemption. Strength.

Happy Feet are well worn by walking.
July 2015 Taal Food and Heritage Tour.

All the invisible stuff that our so-called life is made of. Do these metaphysical realities somehow explain the mass of the universe?

Monday, July 27, 2015

№ 200. Penrose Tiles

What is that which are called "Penrose Tiles"?

That which are called "Penrose Tiles" are patterns named after Roger Penrose, an English mathematician and a physicist.

Deviant Art

These tiles exhibit repeating patterns that display at every scale and can be thought of fractals. This remarkable property is called self-similarity where the same patterns occur at larger and larger scales. Thus, the tiling can be obtained through "inflation" (or "deflation") and any finite patch from the tiling occurs infinitely many times. (Wikipedia)

Sunday, July 26, 2015

№ 199. July 30 Earthquake Drill

The picture applies to all disasters, I think. Not just hurricanes. A friend messaged me on viber and added: Whistle. Thanks J.

More resources:

Friday, June 5, 2015

№ 198. Frontier Life at the Wild, Wild East

Masbate lies almost at the farthest end of Bicol region. It serves as Luzon's link and crossroad to Samar, Leyte, Cebu and Panay, farther to the south and deeper into the Visayas. Because Masbate’s frontier islands are also niched at the typhoon corridor of the Philippines, leaps of miles away from the country’s economic hubs, they are blessed and isolated by the seas surrounding them.

To be sure, while our seafood can often be abundant, our supply chain of goods and services is keenly dependent on clement weather, the nautical highway and once-a-day flight.

Dried seafood from Saud or the weekend market

These crossroads have come to be reflected in Masbate’s people, food and language, as well. By inhabiting the fringes of imperial Manila and the queen city of Cebu, we Masbateños have learned to cultivate a happy, sometimes confounding, influence of tongues and temperaments borrowed from our neighbors and quietly adapted to the life and rhythm of these islands.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

№ 197. Coming Home

I am on my way home.
But I've lost my way.
A long road lies ahead, thin and lonely.

I can't find the once familiar roads.
The yellow brick roads that lead to my anchor.
But I look hard for these long forgotten leads.

There is someone waiting for me home.
I will be home soon.
It won't be much longer.