Thursday, April 29, 2010

now reading: shadow of doubt by marites vitug

after having bought the book on a whim (not exactly cheap at P475 for the paperback and with newsprint paper at that) yesterday afternoon, i started reading the book almost immediately, even if i did get home at almost midnight. an 8am meeting notwithstanding, i knew i couldn't really if i put off starting the book i had heard so much about. the lawyer i had a meeting with yesterday afternoon mentioned how it was a pretty good read, informative, and -- said to say this was really that piqued my curiosity -- no longer available at national bookstore because of the stuff contained therein. clearly, this was more exciting than any of the books i had stashed at home (all costing anywhere from 15 to 30 pesos each, and therefore, containing stories that were, well, that poorly-written too.) and so when i *luckily* found myself having coffee with a client across from popular bookstore in morato, the only place that allegedly still had copies to sell, i bought almost without thinking.

i'm on page 75 now (i had to sleep and i had the aforementioned 8 am meeting) and so far, nothing major yet. i guess it's a big deal that i did work for the court of appeals for almost 3 years after graduation from law school. the things i've read i more or less knew, and those parts which may have intended to shock ("really, that's how they do it there?") seemed to me things which i took for granted as part of the job. then again, maybe that is what Vitug wanted to point out -- some of us have been so desensitized that the things which weren't really normal had become just that to those who called the judiciary their home.

am i upset over the fact that the justices spent millions of pesos on draperies? yes, but that feeling is tempered with the knowledge that our government offices are so dilapidated that one would more often than not choose to take the stairs than be stuck in a rickety old elevator.

am i upset over the salaries that justices decided is due them? yes, but i also know partners in law firms earn so much more.

bits and pieces (like how Davide was caught up in the tide that he decided to proclaim GMA as president instead of acting president), admittedly, make me pause and think. and that's good. one has to think. i like how certain insights, inside stories, and profiles (there was one regarding Gibo's participation in the impeachment of Davide over the JDF controversy) help me understand certain news stories that happened in the (recent and not so recent) past. it's a good read -- partly for entertainment (and possibly to satiate a curiosity) and partly for personal growth as a member of the legal system.

i've got a whole lot more of pages to go and i've no doubt that by tomorrow or by the weekend (when i finally finish the book) my opinions and insights will still be subject to change. a couple of thoughts though from someone who's just on page 75:

1. the mystery, i believe, isn't just cause it's the supreme court. it's simply because it involves lawyers and lawyers love mystery. i mean, unlike other professions, save for barkers, our job is largely dependent on laway (or on paper, pen, and ink). we ARE made of talk (of course largely supplemented by brain power which is, ideally, supposed to put muscle behind all that talk). unless we are more reserved with our words (hello, client confidentiality), we expose ourselves to a whole lot of problems (hello, ruben t. reyes)

2. there isn't anything really wrong with confidentiality. while it IS another thing to hide things under the carpet, would you really want to know how deliberations are? would you even be interested? you've seen congress at work, right? and, save for the few exciting episodes, it was mainly boring. lastly, i'm willing to bet that if those from the legislative and the executive branches of government weren't dependent on votes and popular opinion to get them into position, i doubt they'd be as forthcoming either.

this weekend i plan to finish the book. and hopefully, read it a second time -- more leisurely, more analytically, with less personal bias and with greater detachment. truly, the words that i've typed out in the space of half an hour don't really (intelligently) encapsulate what i'd probably feel about the book after all is said and done. but for now, this is as candid as i can be and all i can say is -- from page 75 -- i don't get what the big deal is all about.

*edit: read a couple of pages during lunch. part 2 is much better, highlighting how the SC is an exclusive club. that's more like it.

Monday, April 26, 2010

the heat, the heat

after i finished my lecture saturday afternoon at around 5pm, i realized it was still too hot out to drive so i stuck around my office playing a game. when it got too hot in the office - no aircon on weekends - i said, okay it's time to head home. but since i was intent on spending sunday at home and all i had in my ref was iced tea, i decided a trip to phase 1 was in order.

first stop was robinsons in bf. i love the fact that it has lighted parking, not too many parking boys "fake guiding" you into a slot, and that its food court has free wifi that actually works (for some reason, i've never been able to access wifi in any robinson's mall. boo.) i avoided the appliance center like the plague (no more impulse purchases beyond 500pesos!) and checked out whether there's new stuff over that the toy and bag sale (i'm doing my christmas shopping early!). and it since it was still a bit early, i hied of to the main reason why i was in the area: dvd shopping in ruins.

oh, it was love. my old suki apparently went back to mindanao (according the guy who used to pinch hit for her) and the store is no longer there (the stall is now selling fake handbags) so i scoured the place for a nice looking tindera who wasn't shouting at me (and the entire universe) to buy dvds from her. when i found one, i started my search for stuff that would keep me company the rest of the weekend. a couple of hundred bucks later (and half an hour recalling what stuff i had and stuff i didn't have yet) i went home with iron chef america (i didn't know they had this on dvd), project runway, big bang theory season 3, grey's anatomy, avatar, sherlock holmes, and it's complicated.

having gotten my stash, i went back to robinson's to grab a quick dinner, a whole lot of snacks for my dvd marathon, and rushed home. my weekend in bed was about to begin.

except that i ended up falling asleep. i guess i was THAT tired.

and while i woke up early the following morning, i kept falling back to sleep.

and when i finally woke up, boo, it was too hot to spend the entire day at home. i had just gotten the meralco bill the night before and no way was i going to spend any more money than i have to on electric bills.

so i had to come up with a list of things to do to "make palamig"

1. i went to the parlor to get my roots done.
2. i went to another place to get a facial.
3. i went to another parlor to get my nails done.
4. when a friend texted about a play at Insular Life being done by the people from theater down south, i immediately said yes without even asking about the ticket price. culture + aircon = winner.
5. we ate at charbroiled burgers.
6. we went to mass and made sure we sat where the electric fan was on full blast and where there was not a whole lot of people. strategy, people, strategy.
7. we went to get a couple of drinks where we made sure to sit where the fans where and, surprise, surprise, where there was not a whole lot of people.

it was 10pm when i got home, and the house, after an entire day of pretending to be an oven, had sufficiently cooled down.

so, so much for my dvd marathon. so much for my weekend in bed. right now, it feels like i haven't gotten as much rest as i would've wanted from my weekend, but phooey, i know for a fact that if i did stay at home, i would've melted beyond recognition.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

are they the future of the world?

i graduated from college in 1998, a long, long time ago. i remember that during my freshman year, i submitted papers using my portable typewriter since i didn't get a computer until my sophomore year. and even then, when i needed to research something, i remember having to go to the library, and actually use the card catalogue. needless to say, while we had the internet then, it was slow and it didn't have as much stuff as it did now.

enrollment meant waking up at five p.m. and waiting outside the classroom door that will enlist you for that much-coveted subject (hello GE subjects and PE!). and since we didn't have cellphones and text messaging yet, if you end up getting the wrong schedule, or not getting the schedule at all, on the scheduled days of enrollment, well, then good luck in getting in through pre-rog.

despite all these "challenges", i graduated from college. true, it was painless, but at the same time, it didn't kill me. it didn't even send me running to the college secretary's office in despair. on the contrary, i remember that in my last semester of college, i had to go head-to-head with one of my favorite teachers since she wouldn't allow me to take an additional subject (so that i could finish the coursework in time for graduation) because she felt that with practicum, i would not be able to hack it. i teamed up with the college secretary (oh, robinson soria, you were, and still is, the best college secretary, IMHO) and fought favorite teacher's committee, citing this university policy and what not, just so i can enroll.

after graduation, i was invited to teach in this university and while the school's name has been much maligned in UP (i remember friends pointing out it sounded like a beauty contest title), i didn't hesitate to join the university's faculty. and in the six years i taught there, i met some of the greatest students in the world. there was this student who was on full scholarship and submitted handwritten papers since she didn't have a computer. she'd apologize to me for not complying with the requirements but i didn't mind. she was bright, and she put in a looooot of effort. she was good. one of her classmates apparently hated me with a passion cause i was so hard on them, but the following semester, the same student approached me to apologize (albeit indirectly) and told me how she was glad i forced them to do the stuff i made them do cause she knew stuff her other classmates didn't.

a lot of times, i pushed the students to their limits, and the best students pushed back. some students were really brilliant, and it made the drudgery of checking papers worth it. i was proud when i heard about one student making it to UP Law, and a couple of them putting up their own schools. so many have gone on, in such a short time, to be much greater than i am today, and i can't help but be proud of the small part i played in their growth as individuals.

i therefore cannot help but be disappointed when it seemed that year after year, the students i'd get in my classroom "deteriorated" in quality. the first couple of batches rose to the occasion, the subsequent batches went up to the dean to complain. when we challenged them to do something, they challenged us with administrative complaints.

this summer, i'm teaching another course in the university. and guess what, one day after i handed out the reading assignments, the college secretary called me saying the students were complaining since i gave them 9 cases to read.

did i not know that the students had other courses for that summer?
are these cases necessary?

i wanted to tell her, hey, i have a full time job and i have to read those cases too. hey, i don't only have to read those cases, i have to prepare questions so that i can draw out the learning i want from the students. hey, unless the read, i'll end up making them memorize concepts only and where's the learning there. hey, SINCE WHEN DID ACADEMIC FREEDOM MEAN YOU INTERFERING WITH MY SYLLABUS SINCE STUDENTS FOUND IT TOO DIFFICULT?

i restrained myself, and explained that (1) yes they're all necessary (2) i even taught them how to read cases and made a sample digest for them (3) they were given 48 hours to read these cases and (4) its the same as last year's caseload.

i don't know what's going to happen. allegedly 5 or so kids are dropping out cause it's too difficult (good luck, i'll be the teacher again next year and who knows if i'll be even tougher then). i don't know if the dean will have to talk to me about it (uhm, maybe i should fire off an email just to be sure to explain my side).

but there's one thing i do know: i hope that between the time the students complained and the time they make it out to the real world, some big change happens. otherwise, we'd be sending out half-baked children into the real world where there won't be any "dean" to make life easier for them.

*image from

Monday, April 19, 2010

if i haven't been around much ...

... blame top chef season 6. because save for the stuff that i really had to do (lecture, mass, laundry, and eat), the only other thing i did over the weekend was to watch season 6 non-stop.

friday night i went home early from a fellowship activity -- of course it was primarily because i had an 8am lecture the following day, but since the minute i got home i basically just started watching top chef and only stopped at 1am when i couldn't keep my eyes open anymore, the reason why i skipped out early became a shameless lie. that night, an eight-hour lecture aside, i stayed up until i finished all the episodes of season 6, and when i finished with that, i started watching season 5.

boo to me. i've turned into a couch potato.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

women asking out men

it was late saturday (or was it sunday already) and my friends and i were trying to stay awake while at a friend's dad's wake when the conversation steered towards women asking men out. now, being the *demure* dalagang pilipina we ought to be, the overwhelming answer from the girls was a resounding NOOOOOOOOOOO. after all, didn't the rules teach us we had to play hard to get? and weren't we raised to be chased and to allow the menfolk to do all the hunting?

then the guys asked, "what if you hit it off?" followed by "and what if it's just for coffee?"

hmmm... i thought to myself, so coffee is different now? is asking someone out for coffee not the same as actually asking someone out for a real date?

the question came back to me once more yesterday when, the girl beside me in the fx, called up someone and asked the other person on the line out for coffee. and (i presume) when the guy sort of balked at the idea, the girl went on to get *fake* pissed, saying, how she'll be hard to get from now on and that she's un-inviting him for coffee. (in case you're interested, the conversation went on and on and on, and that early morning coffee extended to her asking the other person on the line out for lunch at world chicken which, apparently, he was supposed to pay for)

have i asked anyone out for coffee? i guess so. i usually old friends to go out for coffee -- and that actually translates to i-want-to-chat-with-you-to-catch-up. sometimes, i go for coffee with clients which translates to we-need-to-talk-some-more-about-this-matter. sometimes, coffee means let's-meet-there-so-i-can-sit-while-waiting-for-you. and, those five or so months i studied for the bar, coffee meant i-need-to-study-and-going-home-will-just-mean-sleeping. but coffee as a means to i'm-not-asking-you-out-but-i-wan't-to-go-out-with-you ... i don't think so.

i'm 33 and admittedly, there are days when i'm in major panic over the fact that at my age, my mom was already attending PTA meetings at CSA. i'm scared whenever i watch discovery health and i keep hearing how any pregnancy over 35 is considered high risk. i never imagined myself to be this age, single and alone. does this mean that i should, as that girl in the fx did (and she was considerably younger than me), start asking men out for coffee?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

a perverse fascination

i don't know about you, but for some reason, i've always been fascinated figuring out what people carried in their bags. so it shouldn't come as a wonder that i not only go through most of the pictures here but that i also google "what's in my bag" once in a while to find more pictures.

so, when a friend mentioned how it's weird that a tv show has for one of its features stuff inside celebrities' bags, i just shut up and made a mental note to watch said tv show.

the thing though is that save for having had my bag featured once by a bunch of students in the school's magazine, i've never really bothered taking a picture of what i had inside my bag. i don't think i've even really bothered taking stock of what's inside my bag to begin with. in fact the only time i bother with its contents is if i'm searching for something and realize that (1) i left it in my previous bag (2) i left it on my desk at work (this usually happens to my wallet which i usually stash on the out tray after lunch) or (3) i have no idea where it is.

but seriously, i guess the reason why some of us like to virtually peek into people's bags is that we feel it gives us a tiny glimpse of their souls, or their lives, or of their hearts. it's pretty much like reading another person's blog. it doesn't matter whether you know them or not. sometimes, it doesn't even matter if you can relate to it or not. the anonymity coupled with the sincere and honest outpouring of emotions (or, in the case of bag voyeurism, the contents of one's bag), makes for an afternoon of reading, understanding, and the most important of them all, of relating.

me, i miss writing. i miss being able to pour my heart out on these pages. i miss writing about ups and downs. i miss the friends i made on this blog. i miss reading online friends' blogs. i know that more than ever, a lot of people blog now than they did seven years ago when i first started out, but somehow, it's not the same friends i made then. plus, there's so much more avenues for writing now - twitter, for one - that rare do you find a post that moves your heart and soul the way blog posts did then.

or it could just be i was in my twenties then, and so were my online friends, and we were all so full of angst that all we could do was write and write and write. and now they've all moved on to real lives filled with meetings and careers and what not, and i'm still here, trying to deal with the very reason why i started writing in the first place.

p.s. and yes, that's a jollibee tuna pie inside my bag.

Monday, April 12, 2010

the day i went out to buy a flourescent lamp and came home with a new television

it was a not-so-good thursday. as i was walking to the car, i accidentally stepped inside a MAJOR pothole at the mcdo parking lot at ATC and fell.

as in on-the-floor-a**-kissing-the-cement kind of fall. while there were several cars waiting for a parking slot. and several cars in the drive-thru. it was super embarrassing. and all i could do was silently yelp out "ouch." thank goodness there was a couple who helped me get up, asked if i was okay (i sort of was, although my ankle hurt terrible), and reminded me to rotate the ankle every so often (which i did).

i carefully limped to the car (thank goodness it was nearby) sat down for a bit and breathed.

i had several stuff planned, the most important of which was to stock up on food for the long weekend. but with the threat of ankle swelling up and being unable to drive home because of it, i decided to go home ASAP. at least if something were to happen, i'd be home and not stuck in my car in town center.

i woke up friday with zero food and a still-painful ankle. so i snacked on whatever i had in the ref. by 2:30 pm, the ankle was slightly better but my tummy wasn't. i had to get food soon or i'd go crazy.

so i thought, okay, maybe to make the drive for food worth it, i should run some errands too.

so i did.

i had two pairs of pants cut.

since i had to wait for an hour or so, i drove to kfc to have super late lunch. it's been a while.

i don't know if it was cost-cutting or something but it was relatively warm in kfc so i didn't want to stay too long. then i remembered i had to get replacement for the kitchen light so i went to robinson's handyman ...

... to buy this. i was supposed to buy akari but the lady said firefly (with german technology) is better. i don't know why but i believed her. i had visions that my light would be as fabulous as a german car, haha.

i was on my way down the escalator when i spied the appliance center and decided to check the goodies. there was this 29-inch flat screen (but not LCD, and not the type you can hang. i think they call it super slim or something) on sale at S&R the weekend before that i sort of wanted to get but didn't so i thought maybe i could check out the price at robinson's.

i'm a smart shopper like that (i'd like to think).

i was looking at the television sets on display when something caught my eye. S-A-L-E. from P34,990 to less P7,000 to only *drumroll* P21,990.

the guy approached me and said, "ma'am, dalawang pieces na lang, reserved na yung isa."

i panicked and immediately called tita mayu. she sort of panicked along with me. we've both been thinking of buying a nice flat screen tv so my excuse has always been i'll buy only after she bought hers.

but then, for some reason, i couldn't wait any longer.

yes, i've always wanted a flat screen. you see, the television i use we've had since i was in grade school. it was so embarrassingly old that in that facebook meme where one of the questions asked about my tv i simply said "dusty". it was so old that i can't read the news ticker at the bottom of the screen cause the picture won't fit the screen anymore. but it - for some magical reason and save for the abovementioned complaints - worked perfectly well, except that one weekend in law school where CSI turned green but was fine the following weekend when i went home again.

but i wasn't about to spend that much money on an impulse purchase. shoes, yes. bags, yes. but a television when the one i had at home was still serviceable? maybe not. so even if the guy kept pestering me to make a deposit, i didn't. i said, let me sit down and think about it some more.

thanks to the free wifi, i surfed the net and briefly acquainted myself with the merits of this television. although it was cheaper in indonesia (or malaysia?), the guy who did the review said the tv was 9/10.

i could live with 9/10.

then tita mayu told me something like "this is the reason why you work so hard. so you can enjoy the fruits of your labors. you've always wanted it. go for it."

and so i did.

the day i went out to eat, get pants cut, and buy a circular flourescent lamp, i came home with this.

and, yes, i agree. life IS good.

p.s. my ankle hurt big time but adrenalin allowed me to bring down the tv from the car by myself and set it up in my room. sad to say, the next two days, i'm not sure anymore whether what kept me home was my desire for my ankle to heal in time for work today or the happy new tv in my room.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

cabin fever

i was exchanging SMS with a friend yesterday when she finally put what i've been feeling the past couple of months into words: cabin fever.

i know i couldn't explain it to friend x how i'd rather be alone these days. after all, i'm the kind of girl who can't even go to the bathroom alone. my secretary even used to justify it by saying that maybe since i live alone, i've all this pent up energy waiting to be unleashed every time i'm around people.

the last couple of months however - and i'm trying to blame the hormones and injections for that - i've been craving for some serious alone time, especially time away from friend x. at first i thought it was cause there were things i couldn't do with friend x (like going to surplus shop which i absolutely loooooooove). then it came to the point where everything felt so tedious - eating lunch was tedious, walking to the parking was tedious, being around friend x was tedious. friendship, for the first time in my life, felt like a chore i couldn't wait to get done and over with.

and then she finally put a label to it: cabin fever. ever watched (or read) stephen king's the shining? while we're not exactly stuck in a huge haunted hotel in the middle of winter with no way out, we're stuck in a tiny office, with no other choice of friends except each other. we eat lunch together, we go to the office library (ten steps away) together, we go home together. heck, we even took a vacation together. during the best of times, we watched america's next top model while exchanging SMS with each other. we were <-this-> close, and while it was good (even great) during the best of times, i realized something about myself: that somewhere deep inside of me is that grade 4 kid who ate lunch alone so she could finish early and be in the library to borrow books before the afternoon classes began. i though high school (and all the intervening years in between) devoured that quiet girl whom the teacher could not remember. apparently, i was wrong.

Monday, April 05, 2010

happy easter (monday), everyone!

may all of your easter prayers and resolutions come true.

p.s. if you're not the new year's resolution writing type, well, i believe easter's a great time to change over to a new leaf. i know i've got a couple of resolutions up my sleeve.
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