Friday, November 28, 2008

Dreams and nightmares

When I was young, I often had a recurrent nightmare. It was dark and I was running away from several people. They finally caught up with me. The next thing I knew I was either hung over a bottomless well or being held by someone grasping my foot over a well. As I was struggling, I could hear my screams echo in the walls of the well. I was shouting: Don't let me fall.

Another childhood nightmare was caused by a photo I saw in an aunt's album. In it, her college classmate was wearing a hat on a beach. She posed before a large driftwood and her hand held on a fragile branch while her right foot leaned back on the trunk. Because of her long, billowy skirt, it looked like she was missing a foot. In my nightmare, there was this one legged lady chasing me; sometimes by herself, but many times she was with the others who chased me to the well.

In high school, I had dreams of flying. I was flying in my street clothes and not in some costume. The wind softly rushing and hitting my face and hair exhilarated me. When I tired of flying, I would be bouncing about like on a giant trampoline. This was the closest I got to a high without the aid of marijuana or illegal drugs proliferating at that time.

When I hit my 30s, my nightmare looked like a magic act where a magician pulls out seemingly endless streams of thin cloth from his mouth (or it could be the influence of pictures of a yogi I saw who used a thin strip of cloth to perform a cleansing asana by slipping it through the mouth and out a nostril or swallowing it and withdrawing it from his intestines, inch by inch). In my nightmare, however, the cloth was organic like endless fat, ropey noodles. For what seemed like hours, I would be pulling these from my mouth. I would, from time to time, use my teeth to cut them. But a few seconds later, I would start to choke as a new batch would push out of my mouth.

Reading Stephen King's books often gave me nightmares. When I read Eyes of the Dragon, I was sick with the flu. As my temperature went up and down, I would find myself in a nightmare alternating between King's alternate world and my waking world. It felt like walking through a shimmering portal between worlds.

The Tommyknockers gave me a pleasant dream as I dreamed the appliances and pieces of furniture moving by themselves. So I took advantage of it and had fun rearranging them around the house. No sweat!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Reflection on the autumn years of my life

(Theme from Mulan)
performed by Michael Crawford

Look at me you may think you see
Who I really am but you'll never know me
Every day it's as if I play a part
Now I see if I wear a mask
I can fool the world but I cannot fool my heart

Who is that man I see staring straight back at me?
When will my reflection show who I am inside?

I am now in a world where I
Have to hide my heart and what I believe in
But somehow I will show the world
What's inside my heart and be loved for who I am

Who is that man I see staring straight back at me?
Why is my reflection someone I don't know?

Must I pretend that I'm someone else for all time?
When will my reflection show who I am inside?

There's a heart that must be free to fly
That burns with a need to know the reason why

I won't pretend that I'm someone else for all time
When will my reflection show who I am inside?
When will my reflection show who I am inside?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Christmas Wish List

The R2 Fish School Kit to train my goldfish!

And here's what I also want to teach them-

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Quote . . . unquote

From Ian Rosales Casocot:

The eminent scholar of mythology G.K. Chesterton once famously observed that “a room without books is like a body without a soul.” I believe in that wholeheartedly—and often I do find myself picking my friendships by the size of their libraries. Deep inside, I think books signal a depth of character, and imagination, that deem the room-owner worthy enough of an emotional investment to strike for long-lasting friendship. Truth is, we can always afford hundreds of close acquaintances. But close friendships are vital, and forever. Books become a measure of that vitality. Not always, but often. And for the most part, my life has been enriched by great friends who read. They challenge me, and I grow from that. In trying times, they are also the ones with the most imagination to carry you through the darkest days without becoming, uncomfortably, like Job’s comforters.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Middle age goals & aspirations (or My Personal Timba List)

When one reaches middle age, priorities become clearer (and urgent!) and if one is fortunate enough, the wisdom is already in place to serve as guidepost along the way. And so this is my personal timba (bucket) list:

I have already set in place my plan to retire early from full-time teaching (why wait for the mandatory retirement age, indeed!), use my retirement/pension to put up a research/reading center at home, pursue my other ambitions (join the Palanca, write a book or two), travel abroad, enjoy life as I never did before.

So right now, I am writing my MBA thesis proposal (Plan B: teach at local grad schools after retirement). I am compiling my favorite songs on a CD that I plan to play in the places mentioned in them or associated with them (New York, New York, Weekend in New England, Theme from Schindler's List, you get the picture?). I also have to update the drafts for the Palanca entry and book(s) on my hard drive. Since high school, I have been buying books and these books will serve as the centerpiece of my research/reading center at home which will be open to the public (for a fee, of course!). The center will also have a viewing room for classic films on DVD which I have been collecting.

When the inevitable happens, I know I will die peacefully surrounded by my books, films, CDs and the company of fellow bookworms.

The Moleskine Notebook is courtesy of Avalon.PH

For the Viloria.net contest rules, please see

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Gensan in the eyes of Senator Mar Roxas

In 2002, a national magazine called flip was launched. Its second issue featured an article written by Jessica Zafra on Senator (then DTI Secretary) Mar Roxas. The article was entitled Stalking Mar (24 hours on the trail of the politician slash trade secretary slash most eligible bachelor). This was included in the compilation the flip reader, published this year.

Some excerpts:

* Upon learning that I'd never been to Gensan before, Mar delivers a short lecture on the history and topography of the place. The man certainly does his homework -- I get the impression he can rattle off the economic indicators and population figures of the major cities. "The Gensan airport is fantastic," he says. "The roads leading to it are way better than those in Manila." (page 122)

* Mar Roxas is in Gensan airport. He is welcomed by the representatives of the local DTI office and ushered to an SUV that will take him to Koronadal, an hour's drive away. "How's Gensan?" he asks.. "What's the livelihood situation? Any adverse effects from the bombing?" The answers are neatly filed away in his brain, cross-indexed for easy retrieval along with the current retail prices for chicken, pork, fish, and rice. (page 122)

* He gestures at the view. "Look at these roads!" he enthuses. "Excellent roads, wide open spaces. Fruit trees everywhere! The people of Gensan have it good!..." (page 122)

* Mar Roxas is at the large, well-appointed Gensan fishport, examining tuna. It is 7:30 in the blazing sunshine. . . He looks like he knows his way around a fish market: he walks with a sure step while the rest of us worry about slipping on the wet concrete. He talks to stall owners and remarks on the weight and freshness of the fish. (page 125)

* Fish four or five feet long dangle from metal hooks -- they don't look dead, they look like movie props. Mar steps up to the biggest one and poses for photographs. (page 125)

* Small fishing boats disgorge a steady stream of fishermen lugging enormous fish. They jump into the waters; rip off the fins -- oww -- with their bare hands, then drag the fish through the water to the dock. The fishermen are all compact and wiry, and have tans the exact shade of shoe leather. The Trade Secretary's staff has a collective heart attack as Mar steps onto one of the boats and greets the fishermen. "How long have you been at sea?" (pages 125-126)

* "One month," they reply. . . He asks them what they eat when they're out there, what dangers they face, how they survive the boredom. "One month at sea," he says, in a tone of wonder, "What do you do for sex?" (page 126)