Wednesday, February 21, 2007

40 days and 40 nights
Today is Ash Wednesday which signals the start of the Lenten Season in the Roman Catholic faith. I certainly am not a religious person but I like to think I am spiritually sound in mind and body. Aside from the fact that I don't eat 'meat' on Fridays, I have also always sacrificed something for Lent - be it chocolates (one of the causes of my acne break out), Diet Coke (I used to drink 1 can daily), chatting online (I am a chat addict), saying bad words (not that I curse like Tony Soprano but still!) and a couple of 'sins' I won't mention in this PG rated blog.

This year after much reflection, I've decided to give up blogging. Did I hear you say - "oh geez Daph, now that's preposterous!" Well, I'm supposed to sacrifice something addictive, something I can't do without on a daily basis so what better way to test my 'faith' than to stop posting for a certain period? I figure I can pass this challenge easily, judging by my lack of inspiration lately to post daily on this blog.

Truth be told, these past few weeks I haven't been my usual cheery and stay positive self. I hardly get any sleep (I know that isn't news) and my mind is troubled. No, it has nothing to do with some guy or should I say the lack of a guy, any guy in my life. My zero love life doesn't bother me one single bit, whether you believe that or not, it's the truth.
I'm guessing it has more to do with trying to discover my true calling in life, to figure the direction my life should take. The key word here is 'guessing' because I really don't know what is wrong with me. Somehow I think that turning the big 4-0 next year plays an important part in my insouciance.

I thought that indulging in some pampering would ease my ennui. Yesterday, I went to the salon for a new style of haircut. Oh, don't worry I didn't do a Britney Spears (read: go bald) I may be troubled but I'm not raving mad to part with my thick mane. A not too short hairdo which accentuates my curls instead of taming them. Then I went for a soothing massage. It felt blissful. I was totally relaxed for a few minutes. Then I made the mistake of watching "The Fountain" and boy did I get back into the "something-is-wrong-with-my-life-but-I-don't-know-what-it-is" mode faster than I can count from one to ten in French. Oh don't get me wrong, I loved the movie! I mean wow it was totally mind boggling in a profound way. But it was a bit too much to absorb while I was spacing out like the space shuttle in orbit.

I feel that some time out is necessary. My sister and I are going to Tagaytay later this week for some R & R. It might do me some good to have some peace and quiet to reflect without feeling the need to 'stay connected' 24/7.

This blog would be on a hiatus during this Lenten season. However, I would still read the blogs I visit regularly as well as post intermittently at my other blogs. The ones which generate income from ads because I may be questioning the fundamentals of my life but I still need to pay the insurmountable bills. Now you are saying "But Daph, that's cheating!" (Yes, I like to think my readers talk back when they read my post ha!) I don't think so. Whatever. It's my sacrifice so I will set my own terms and conditions. Fair enough?

So maybe I'll see you all sometime in April. Maybe not. I don't know. I do know I should stop obsessing over what to blog about when surely my life isn't as exciting as it used to be nor as exciting as I hoped it would be.

A bientot! =)

Monday, February 19, 2007

Book # 3 - "The Day The Leader Was Killed" by Naguib Mahfouz

The prolific Egyptian author passed away a few months ago. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1988. Mahfouz is a prominent author of Arabic fiction published in English with more than 30 novels to his credit. This book is translated by Malak Mashem.

The setting is in Cairo, Egypt. The time is 1981. Anwar al Sadat is the president of Egypt and his much maligned open door economic policy, Infitah isn't very popular among the hoi polloi. Set in this backdrop, the novel focuses on a middle class Cairene family. The story unfolds with narratives told alternately by 3 main characters. You have Muhtashimi Zayed, the wise patriarch. His grandson, Elwan Fawwaz Muhtashimi and his feisty fiancee Banda Sulayman Mubarak.

It is a compact novel with lyrical prose about their lives during a time of great upheaval. Each of them struggling to adapt to economic changes but at the same time trying to hold on to their traditional values as individuals and as an Arab family. Main issues like arranged marriages, the emancipation of women, the responsibilities expected from the eldest male grandson as well as the firm belief in old Arabic customs and traditions are clearly explored by the 3 main characters. Their thoughts and concerns with regards to the changing times in Cairo in the 1980s is also given much focus.

It is loosely translated in English and although the main essence of the book remains, I have no doubt the Arabic version written by Naguib Mahfouz would have been more poignant and fraught with flowery language. There are certain phrases in Arabic which cannot be truly translated in English without losing its context.

I have always been fascinated with novels set in exotic locales like Istanbul, Cairo, Teheran and Afghanistan. This is my first Naguib Mahfouz novel which I finished reading a few weeks back. Although it has only about 100 pages, I still took my time to get lost in the details of the story. I was clearly impressed by the fast paced manner the story unfolded despite it being such a short story/novel. The characters are well developed and even if their lives took different paths, they remained true to who they really are. The assassination of Anwar Sadat on October 6, 1981 is the focal point in this fictional story which ends with a good climax. No loose ends dangling, the characters don't necessarily have a happy ending yet it has definite closure.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Too many books, too little time

We finally ventured to the PowerBooks Warehouse sale, the other day. We went home with 3 big bags full with a total of 27 books and a bill equivalent to the monthly mortgage for a studio type condo. Phew. But I've always considered books as good investment to enrich our minds and develop our vocabulary. Now I hope I can find the time to just read away.

Here's an inventory of the books I bought:
Thirty Nothing by Lisa Jewell
"Have you ever wondered what happened to your first love?" That is the premise of this sparkling new romantic comedy from the author of the acclaimed international bestseller "Ralph's Party" - An irresistible novel about best friends turning 30 ... and falling in love.

Nazism and War by Richard Bessel
Richard Bessel, one of the preeminent authorities on the social and political history of Modern Germany demonstrates how racial hatred was the driving force behind - and not a by product - of Nazism.

Belshazzar's Daughter by Barbara Nadel
A spicy thriller set in Istanbul's back alleys that the Literary Review (UK) called "exciting, accomplished and original".

The Story of My Life: An Afghan girl on the other side of the sky by Farah Ahmedi with Tamim Ansary
"A great twenty first century American immigrant story, the story of my life is the modern American dream and it's rich with details of the Taliban and Afghanistan" - Peter Castro, executive editor of People Magazine

Lipstick Jihad: A memoir of growing up Iranian in Ameirca and American in Iran by Azadeh Moaveni
The author paints a rare portrait of Teheran populated by a cast of young people whose exuberance and despair bring the modern reality of Iran to vivid life. Hers is the struggle of a young woman of the diaspora searching for a homeland that may not exist.

Scribbling The Cat by Alexandra Fuller
Travels with an African soldier - It's what happens when you look too deeply into your own history and fall head long into the past.

Now is The Time to Open Your Heart by Alice Walker
Written with Alice Walker's flawless and passionate prose, this is a beautiful meditation on wisdom and nature - The story of one woman's spiritual quest, her passage through time and her collision with love.

The Traveller by John Twelve Hawks
A world that exists in the shadows of our own. A conflict we will never see. One woman who stands between those determined to control history and those who will risk their lives for freedom.

The Secret Man by Bob Woodward
The story of Watergate's Deep Throat

Broken Song by Kathryn Lasky
The year is 1897, and life for the Jews in Russia is desperately hard. People live in fear of the Tsar's brutal soldiers, who are known to ride through Jewish villages on missions of destruction called pogroms.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Thursday Thirteen
Oh lookie Snglguy tagged moi with a meme. :D I am supposed to post 13 random things about silly old me.
So here goes:
(1) I am currently reading Mario Puzo's The Family.

(2) I still get pimples at my advanced age. The first time I decided to finally consult a dermatologist after my face broke out like I had been stung by a bee, she thought I was a teenager. Ha!

(3) For Valentine's Day 2004, I sent my now ex BF a box of chocolate covered dates with a mushy card. I ordered them online and had them delivered on V day to his office. He didn't give me anything.

(4) The relationship wasn't really going anywhere and it turned into a long distance affair. I broke up with him a month after V day because his reaction to my gesture of affection fell short of my expectations. Yes I know it was petty but still it was one of the reasons I decided to end it.

(5) I have 86 contact numbers listed on my cellphone. Most of them are restaurants that deliver food because I'm too lazy to cook.

(6) I currently have P78.90 prepaid load and 86 free texts on my cellphone. Obviously I don't have that many people to text on a daily basis.

(7) I once rubbed my left eye because it was itchy and the contact lens got torn. I was at the office (back in the time when I still had a regular 9 - 5 job) so I spent the rest of the day squinting and getting cross eyed.

(8) February 22 marks our 5th year of living in this condo. I instantly fell in love with this place when we were condo hunting for a place in the city. It was good my sister agreed so after making some minor adjustments, we pooled our resources together and paid in full.

(9) I missed the chance to go visit the pyramids in Egypt when I was still residing in Dubai. A couple of my friends invited me to join them one summer but I declined. I wasn't comfortable with their other mutual friend so I dreaded the thought of spending 5 days with her during the trip.

(10) I don't keep in touch with any of my exes. OK let me rephrase that, they are the ones who don't want to keep an open line of communication. Sometimes I wonder how they are and what has become of them. Not that I still care for any of them, for me once it is over it is definitely OVER.

(11) I already have my tentative list of the 12 candidates vying for the Senate in the coming May elections. A mix of administration, united opposition and independent candidates. No, I am not voting for Richard Gomez.

(12) It was my male cousin who urged me to start writing a blog as an outlet for my rants. I just post whatever I feel like writing without worrying if my syntax is correct but I always make sure my words are spelled correctly.

(13) I spend too much time online reading other people's blogs, chatting to random strangers and answering emails when I should be working on my projects and be more productive or else I don't get paid.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Hearts Day
In honor of the feast of Saint Valentine, I am posting one of my favorite love poems. A beautiful sonnet by Pablo Neruda, the Chilean poet and diplomat. A poignant yet melancholic poem which reminds me of someone.
A person I refer to as my Global Soul Mate. He has never given me chocolates, flowers or even a single card for any occasion. We might never have held hands nor kiss or even embraced yet he always inspire(d) me. He regaled me by conversing about everything from existentialism to neorealism. He entertained me with his extensive knowledge about the fine art of cinema. He impressed me by drawing parallels from certain beliefs like stoicism with our daily existence. Fond thoughts about him make me smile yet at the same time I have also cried buckets of tears over him. In fact I still do from time to time. His sporadic presence in my life nowadays make me miss him so much. Yet I am also happy that his life is now slowly yet surely coming full circle. So even if he wasn't mine to have and hold and probably never will be, I have vowed that 'I'll be loving him eternally.'

OK I will stop being mushy and let you read the poem, already.

Love Sonnet XVII

I do not love you as if you were salt rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love because I know no other way than this:

where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Meet Pork Chops

piggy bankAmong the many things (t-shirts, canvas bags, ball pens all with huge logos of different companies) my sister gets from attending press conferences, this pig has got to be the strangest item.

It's blue, its eyes are closed, has 2 ears, a cute snout with a curly tail and yes it is a piggy bank.

I named her Pork Chops. To baptize her, I inserted a crisp P500 bill inside for good measure. A nice way to save some (extra) cash. Let's see how much I accumulate by the end of the year. =)

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Love Life
Honestly, I completely forgot Valentine's day was coming up.
This Y!M convo reveals my senility:
Friend: I'm fine. what's up for feb14?
Me: huh? why? what's feb 14?
Friend: the 14th day of february
Me: *shrugs*
Friend: so what will u do this valentine's day?
Me: oh right
Me: nothing planned
Me: do i really have to do something?
Me: please dont make me!
Friend: Me, I will make love to myself!!!! hehehe
Me: Hmm duh! did I ASK what you will do?
Me: *rolls my eyes*
So yes I am dateless yet again for the nth year in a row.
But I Love (my) Life!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Meme: 3 things
I was tagged by Rach, last week.

Three Things that Scare Me:
1. cockroaches 2. horror movies 3. death of a beloved
Three People Who Make Me Laugh:
1. my dad 2. my sister 3. Robin Williams
Three Things I Love:
1. my family 2. movies 3. travel
Three Things I Hate:
1.people who talk at the movies 2. asparagus 3. dimly lit restaurants
Three Things I Don’t Understand:
1. service staff who multitask - they would attend to the next customer while I am still in front of them waiting to be served.
2. Drivers who cut in front of your vehicle then get stuck in traffic just like the rest of us - what's the point? You are just one car ahead and obviously didn't get too far.
3. How cricket is played
Three Things On My Desk:
1. printer 2. bottled mineral water 3. dictionary
Things I Am Doing Right Now:
1. answering this meme 2. waiting for my sis to come home so we can have dinner 3. bloghopping
Three Things I Want To Do Before I Die:
1. visit New York City 2. ride an elephant 3. experience a hot balloon ride
Three Things I Can Do:
1. eat 2. sleep 3. read
Three Things You Should Listen To:
1. that inner voice in your head 2. instructions 3. parents
Three Things You Should Never Listen To:
1. priests 2. AM radio 3. unsolicited advice
Three Things I’d Like To Learn:
1. Be less critical 2. have more self control 3. sleep earlier
Three Favorite Foods:
1. popcorn 2. Clam Chowder 3. Sushi
Three Beverages I Drink Regularly:
1. water 2. Coke Light 3. Iced Tea
Three Books I Read as a Kid:
1. Nancy Drew 2. The Adventures of TinTin 3. Enid Blyton books

Monday, February 05, 2007

Note to self
Remember to always draft your post on a notepad, first.
Then cut and paste it on your blog to be published.
In order to avoid extreme bouts of stress when the lengthy review you wrote till your eyes bled vanished into thin air, not once but twice!
You saved the darn post, took a refreshing shower while the slow connection took ages to publish. Then much to your horrified self discover an error message on your monitor staring back at you! Your screams are heard all the way in Laguna. You try to re-gather your train of thoughts but your brain has melted like ice cream. You write a haphazard one to compensate but feel it lacks panache. You blame the slow connection. You blame your slow computer. When the only one to blame in this situation is yourself. You are such an idiot who keeps repeating the same mistakes over and over again simply because you insist on composing directly on the template.
Now breathe in, inhale sharply.
Breathe out. Gather your senses.
Log off and treat your parents to their wedding anniversary lunch.

Friday, February 02, 2007

1. My really snail pace Internet connection which only seems to speed up in the wee hours of the morning when I am already too tired to care.
2. The fact that Blogger and sometimes Haloscan as well seem to behave like petulant brats. I couldn't access my blogs, yesterday.
3. I have ran out of things to post in this blog. Except write movie reviews for several blogs (I write for 3) and it mentally drains my brain cells.
4. Our digicam is busted. It would take 14 days to get it fixed and cost a fortune. Not that I personally need to take pictures of anything but my sister needs it for her work.
5. I still haven't been paid for a project I did over a year ago despite my numerous emails bombarding their inbox.