Monday, September 29, 2008

From Bar Ops to Beer Ops

We were invited by a faculty member, who happens to be our friend and Lingkod brother Ted, to serve in the Bar Ops mass for UP barristers on the last Saturday of February. So I went there with two lawyer-friends, Tess and Paul (with family), who both played the guitar. Although my company is a sponsor in the UP and ALSP Bar Ops, I went there as a former bar hopeful. I went there to attend mass celebrated by Fr. Nono, to listen to the Dean give his encouraging message, and to be one with the bar takers. I was once (or twice) in their shoes, and I know they need all the support and encouragement they could get.

Ahh, times have changed. During my term as Treasurer of the Law Student Government, Bar Ops was held in the country's biggest law firm. Last weekend, it was held in the hotel, with flowing food. During our time, we were a tips machinery. This time, I could not see a single printer churning out last-minute tips. Or perhaps they were just beaming the tips to the barristers' cellphones, laptops, and PDA's. I couldn't tell. I was busy eating, chatting, and singing (videoke).

I was with the LSG Treasurer after me, TSP, and we met the current LSG Treasurer. We should have had our picture together in front of this streamer. For everything becomes about the bar - all fundraisers, all efforts, all studies, all exams. You could do well in law school but if you fail the bar, you cannot practice. It's as simple as that.

I should know. I was one of the reasons UP didn't reach a 100% during my time. They say it doesn't matter in practice. They say I'll forget about it.

But every year, every September, I remember. This is not my last blog post on the matter.

To all (not just UP) bar petitioners, I am praying for you. Enjoy your well-deserved rest. Worry about the results another day, preferably next year. There's nothing you can do now but to pray and to wait.

In between, you could party. That's all right too.

What If...

What if today were the last of all days? I ask myself this question, buoyed by a growing desire to spread my wings and seek another land.

Just thinking of all that I'm leaving behind overwhelms me. Thank God for RDL and co-discerners on this journey, otherwise I'd be too scared to move. But I want to.

I can't find a nice version to upload here, but this song by Hourglass captured my feelings as I was driving to work this morning. It is good to ask these questions. It is good to know I can follow my dreams without fear.

The Last of All Days

If today were the last of all days
Would it change how you feel who you are
Would you rise for a moment
Above all of your fears
Become one with the moon & the stars

Would you like what you see looking down
Did you give everything that you could
Have you done all the things you intended to do
Or is there still so much more that you would

Follow your dreams to the end of the rainbow
Way beyond one pot of gold
Open your eyes to the colors around you
And find the true beauty life holds

Would you live for the moment
Like when you were young
And time didn't travel so fast
Be free in the present
Enjoying the now
Not tied to a future or past

Follow your dreams to the end of the rainbow
Way beyond one pot of gold
Open your eyes to the colors around you
And find the true beauty life holds

You would probably say all you wanted to say
But doesn't that strike you as strange
That we'd only begin start living our lives
If today were the last of all days
If today were the last of all days

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

If You Forget Me

Since Dred posted Pablo Neruda's "I Like for You to be Still" as read by Glenn Close, I wanted to look for Madonna's version of "If You Forget Me". As Dred said, Madonna nailed this one. I saw this video prepared by a fan on YouTube.

Here are the words so you can sing, I mean, read along just like videoke:

If You Forget Me

I want you to know one thing.

You know how this is:
if I look at the crystal moon, at the red branch
of the slow autumn at my window,
if I touch near the fire
the impalpable ash
or the wrinkled body of the log,
everything carries me to you,
as if everything that exists,
aromas, light, metals,
were little boats that sail
toward those isles of yours that wait for me.

Well, now,
if little by little you stop loving me
I shall stop loving you little by little.

If suddenly you forget me
do not look for me,
for I shall already have forgotten you.

If you think it long and mad,
the wind of banners
that passes through my life,
and you decide
to leave me at the shore
of the heart where I have roots,
remember that on that day,
at that hour,
I shall lift my arms
and my roots will set off
to seek another land.

if each day,
each hour,
you feel that you are destined for me
with implacable sweetness,
if each day a flower
climbs up to your lips to seek me,
ah my love, ah my own,
in me all that fire is repeated,
in me nothing is extinguished or forgotten,
my love feeds on your love, beloved,
and as long as you live it will be in your arms
without leaving mine.

It's from the soundtrack of the movie Il Postino. Get the CD and accompanying book if you still don't have it in your library. Worth every centavo.

The Marriage of True Minds

I'm drinking more coffee and reading more poetry.  I'm glad they exist to help me live more fully.

In this blog, I'm moving from Beethoven to Shakespeare. There is greatness to drink in and greatness to contain. But greatness to express? I don't know. It remains to be seen.

I have loved this sonnet since high school.  Its cadence is perfect.  Its words are classic, almost biblical.  You should here it read out loud.  I cannot find a link that works tonight (perhaps because it's close to 1 a.m.) but you may want to look up the soundtrack of the TV show Beauty and the Beast: Of Love and Hope, where great poems that became my favorites are featured.

I will not attempt to interpret this.  I should go back to school to be able to do that.  Well, someday who knows I just might stop dreaming and start living.  That's what my RDL is for - discernment.  Again.

I will stop because I don't want to write about a retreat that I'm not fully taking yet.  Let's go back to the sonnet, and end with these words:

Let me not to the marriage of true minds (Sonnet CXVI)

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments.
Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove: 
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark 
That looks on tempests and is never shaken; 
It is the star to every wandering bark, 
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken. 
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks 
Within his bending sickle's compass come: 
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks, 
But bears it out even to the edge of doom. 
If this be error and upon me proved, I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

-- William Shakespeare

Monday, September 22, 2008

Sonata Pathetique

Frustrations out. In my head, I could play Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 8, or Sonata Pathetique, like this:

Oh well. Some of us were just born to listen and appreciate.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The S Word

A term that describes my state today is "unglued".  This, despite several therapeutic lunches and dinners with my friends for the past week.
Last night, I tried practicing some piano pieces for Fr. Geoffrey's Recital but stopped after repeating the same mistakes for almost twenty times.  My piano teacher, Mama, agreed that it was probably just an off night.  "Artists and athletes have those", I explained to her.

This morning, I cried all throughout the Charismatic mass.  I was not a member of the Catholic community that sponsored it so I felt nobody would remember me sniffling all throughout, from Opening to Closing song.  God could hear me, I could sense His presence, but I just stared back at Him.  What could I say that had not already been said about my situation?  

After mass, I was at my usual post as money counter after the mass, but I felt like I was the world's worst counter.  I mean, I love the Pondo ng Pinoy project of our diocese, but the sight of all those twenty-five centavo coins made me dizzy and Fr. Steve had to repeat counting some of the rows I neatly piled.  

Then I drove for my parents and nephews to Serendra this afternoon.  I committed several driving booboos and after a third driver honked at me for straddling two lanes out of indecision, I said out loud, "Yes, I know I'm being stupid."

Luigi, my 11-year old nephew, looked at me and said, "No, Tita Ella, you're not stupid."

And just like that, I wanted to hug him, my saint of a nephew, who once said that "I think everybody should love everybody". But if everybody loved everyone else, this would be Heaven already.  That's why there are people we cannot love and people who cannot love us yet.  We are still on Earth.

Luigi doesn't read this blog so I can very well say the S word here.  That's another apt term to describe me nowadays:  Mighty Stupid. Yes I'm being hard on myself. You'd think by now I've learned. I played a game I couldn't win. I don't even like games, so what was I doing in the first place?

I'll just sing.  This ought to summarize what it's been like.

Out of Reach
From the Bridget Jones's Diary OST

Knew the signs
Wasn't right
I was stupid for a while
Swept away by you
And now I feel like a fool
So confused,
My heart's bruised
Was I ever loved by you?

Out of reach, so far
I never had your heart
Out of reach,
Couldn't see
We were never
Meant to be

Catch myself
From despair
I could drown
If I stay here
Keeping busy everyday
I know I will be OK

But I was
So confused,
My heart's bruised
Was I ever loved by you?

Out of reach, so far
I never had your heart
Out of reach,
Couldn't see
We were never
Meant to be

So much hurt,
So much pain
Takes a while
To regain
What is lost inside
And I hope that in time,
You'll be out of my mind
And I'll be over you

But now I'm
So confused,
My heart's bruised
Was I ever loved by you?

Out of reach,
So far
I never had your heart
Out of reach,
Couldn't see
We were never
Meant to be

Out of reach,
So far
You never gave your heart
In my reach, I can see
There's a life out there
For me

Thursday, September 18, 2008

He's Just Not That Into You


This is a helpful summary of the book "He's Just Not That Into You" by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo. It's highly recommended for all single women. Don't waste the pretty!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

For Just a Moment

From the classic '80's bratpack movie, St. Elmo's Fire, comes this love theme that is what the power of great soundtrack music is all about.  It makes you remember the movie's essence and captures the emotions of the characters.  I like the instrumental version as well.

I must be getting old.  This song reminds me of old friends and old times.   

Love Theme from "St. Elmo's Fire" - (For Just A Moment)

David Foster

Written by David W. Foster and John Stephen Parr

We laughed 

Until we had to cry

And we loved 

Right down to our last goodbye

We were the best

I think we'll ever be

Just you and me

For just a moment

We chased 

That dream we never found

And sometimes 

We let one another down

But the love we made

Made everything alright

We shone so bright

For just a moment

Time goes on

People touch and then they're gone

And you and I

Will never love again

Like we did then

Someday, when we both reminisce

We'll both say

There wasn't too much we missed

And through the tears

We'll smile when we recall

We had it all

For just a moment

Time goes on

People touch and then they're gone

But you and I

Will never really end

We'll never love again

Like we did then

We laughed until we had to cry

And we loved right down to our last goodbye.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

It Doesn't Happen to Everyone (Why Fairy Tales are for Fairies)

This was my idea for a book, and some friends even said they would contribute a chapter each. But I could not figure out a way to avoid to write with bitterness (for the subject is teeming with such possibilities), so I postponed the project until I was objective enough to face it.

The song says "fairy tales can come true; it could happen to you". Well, it could but it doesn't mean it would.  

So what to do when the fairy tale does not have a happy ending?  When Cinderella's prince doesn't look for the owner of the glass slipper and runs off with one of the bejeweled princesses scattered around his castle?  When Sleeping Beauty isn't kissed back to life?  When Snow White is left to suffer Death by Apple Poisoning?  When there are more princesses than princes in the land?

Well, real life does not have neat and simplistic endings, and they are not usually written until after decades and decades of twists and turns.  

The people with seemingly charmed lives are not happy all the time.  They could be trapped in a permanent restlessness due to a lack of exposure to failure and disappointment.  They could be brandishing their perfect lives to make up for an emptiness they cannot fathom.  Nobody has it all.

As for the pretty women out there who were brought up expecting men should recite poetry, deliver moonbeams, and ride horses, they should realize that such fairy tales are meant for fairies alone.  In the real world, things happen differently.  There may be a happy ending yet, but it may not come in the expected time or way.  This should not stop them from being the lead star in their respective lives.  

I have more to say on this subject, but I just might write a book about it.  With tenderness, and not bitterness, I hope.

We all like to wait for the prince, but we were meant to see the King.  A huge paradigm shift is needed for that to be the focus of our lives.  May we not miss out on the opportunity for that to happen to us.  

Monday, September 15, 2008

Benefits of Eating Chocolate

Sometimes we like to justify the things we do or think of doing.

Chocolate triggers my migraine so doctors have told me to take it in moderation, if at all.  My gym trainer of course prohibits my eating of chocolate.  I asked if I could eat on Sundays and she just smiled.  Well she doesn't have to know, right?

In defense of one of the two drugs I can't live without (coffee is the other one),  I did a little research on the healthful benefits of chocolate and found several helpful articles. I'm quoting USA Weekend Magazine:

Source of good antioxidants

Chocolate contains the same type of disease-fighting "phenolic" chemicals as red wine and fruits and vegetables, says Andrew Waterhouse of the University of California at Davis.

He found 205 milligrams of phenolics in a 1.5 ounce chocolate bar -- that's about the same as in a 5-ounce glass of cabernet. Two tablespoons of cocoa powder has 145mg of phenolics. Dark chocolate has the most; white chocolate has none.

These antioxidant phenolics combat cell damage leading to chronic disease such as cancer and heart disease. New Japanese tests show that phenolics extracted from chocolate suppressed cell-damaging chemicals and boosted immune functioning in human blood samples.

Boosts brain chemicals 
More Americans crave chocolate than any other food. Some explanations: chocolate's "melt-in-the mouth" consistency and mood-lifting chemicals such as caffeine and theobromine. And when mixed with sugar and fat, chocolate appears to boost "feel-good" chemicals in the brain (endorphins and serotonin), thus promoting euphoria and calm. Some women use chocolate candy to "self-medicate" for premenstrual syndrome, studies have found.

Also, researchers at the Neurosciences Institute in San Diego recently found that chocolate contains anandamide, a chemical that mimics marijuana's soothing effects on the brain.

Helps lactose intolerance 
Chocolate makes milk easier to digest if you are lactose-intolerant. Researchers at the University of Rhode Island found that adding 1 1/2 teaspoons of cocoa to 1 cup of milk blocked cramping, bloating and other signs of lactose intolerance in half of 35 subjects. Cocoa stimulates lactase enzyme activity, they found.


  • Chocolate, notably dark chocolate, is one of the few foods with a high content of chromium, ironically thought to help control blood sugar.

  • In tests, some animals tend to reduce intake of alcohol when given a chocolate drink as an option.

  • Tests show chocolate contains antibacterial compounds that may discourage, not promote, tooth decay.


    Doesn't raise cholesterol 
    Surprisingly, the fat in chocolate (cocoa butter) does not raise cholesterol -- at least in men with normal cholesterol (under 200). When the men went on a month-long binge of cocoa butter or pure chocolate (equivalent to seven chocolate bars a day) their cholesterol did not rise. But it soared 18 points when they pigged out on butter.

    Doesn't cause acne 
    Giving up chocolate won't cure acne or pimples, according to a famous test at the University of Pennsylvania. In the test, 65 acne-plagued adolescents ate the amount of chocolate in 1 pound of bittersweet chocolate a day for a month. For another month, they ate a dummy chocolate bar. Their acne was no worse on the real chocolate than on the fake chocolate.

    Doesn't cause most headaches 
    Contrary to popular belief, chocolate is not a common trigger of headaches, says Dawn Marcus, of the University of Pittsburgh. In recent tightly controlled tests, she gave disguised chocolate (similar to a commercial candy bar) and carob (fake chocolate) to 63 women plagued by tension headaches, migraines or both. Half did not develop headaches within 12 hours of eating either. In the others, carob was just as apt to cause a headache as the chocolate.

    No link to hyperactivity 
    Some contend that eating chocolate (or sugar) causes hyperactivity, aggression or other behavior problems, notably in children. But several scientific studies have found no evidence of that. In fact, some research finds sweets calm many children.


    Chocolate's greatest crime is that it usually is combined with animal fats, dangerous trans-fats and sugar in high-calorie, bad-fat baked goods. Plus, it:

    Can cause heartburn 
    Chocolate is a common culprit in heartburn, according to tests by Donald O. Castell, M.D., of the University of Pennsylvania. The reason: Chocolate contains concentrations of theobromine, which relaxes the esophageal sphincter muscle, letting stomach acid squirt up into the esophagus. If you suffer from heartburn, he advises, go easy on chocolate.

    Does contain caffeine 
    Most people have no negative reaction to small amounts of caffeine.

    I could justify all I want but if I get a migraine and waste my hours at the gym, it's my fault anyway.  For the taste of it, I may sometimes give in and happily suffer and endure the consequences.

  • Friday, September 5, 2008

    Reading List

    Because we all need to de-stress... As you can see I overuse the word "favorite".

    1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
    2) Italicize those you intend to read.
    3) Underline the books you LOVE.
    4) Reprint this list in your own multiply so we can try and track down these people who've read 6 and force books upon them ;)

    1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
    2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
    3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
    4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
    5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
    6 The Bible
    7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
    8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
    9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
    10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
    11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
    12 Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
    13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
    14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
    15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
    16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
    17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
    18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
    19 The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
    20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
    21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
    22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
    23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
    24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
    25 The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
    26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
    27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
    28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
    29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
    30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
    31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
    32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
    33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
    34 Emma - Jane Austen
    35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
    36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
    37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
    38 Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
    39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
    40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
    41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
    42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
    43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
    44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
    45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
    46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
    47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
    48 The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
    49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
    50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
    51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
    52 Dune - Frank Herbert
    53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
    54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
    55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
    56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
    57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
    58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
    59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
    60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
    61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
    62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
    63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
    64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
    65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
    66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
    67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
    68 Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding
    69 Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
    70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
    71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
    72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
    73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
    74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
    75 Ulysses - James Joyce
    76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
    77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
    78 Germinal - Emile Zola
    79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
    80 Possession - AS Byatt
    81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
    82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
    83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
    84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
    85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
    86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
    87 Charlotte's Web - EB White
    88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
    89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
    90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
    91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
    92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
    93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
    94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
    95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
    96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
    97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
    98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
    99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
    100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

    Wednesday, September 3, 2008

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