Saturday, March 10, 2007
I didn't think it would be this painful. I'm leaving blogdrive. My new url is kubiyat.blogspot.com.
I'll be posting some of my entries from this blog over at the new site. Looking forward to seeing you there.
Thursday, March 08, 2007
My dad, Jake and I went to SM this afternoon to see Joey Ayala perform at a free concert promoting a pay-per-view university. The ad slogan says "Your classroom inside your television set!" Imagine having your lessons taught to you in your own living room. The TV is your teacher. The idea is intriguing but I, for one, am not impressed. The TV has always been the great purveyor of information. Its lightning quick transmissions have infected mankind for decades. Personally I'm happy with just cable. I don't need to pay another fee for stuff I can watch on Discovery Channel. If I want to get a degree from a distance, I might as well enroll in an open university. At least that happens over the Internet, a medium vastly more interactive than a television screen.
Apart from that, it was still great to see Joey Ayala perform live. It's always a pleasure. (Thanks to Maika who always remembers to include my unrefined ears in finer acoustic experiences.) His show at Ayuyang was so much more fun, though. His humor was better received there, too. It's like the crowd at SM was being particularly daft tonight and couldn't appreciate Joey's uncanny ability to imitate the sounds of mating wildlife.
Earlier I dropped by Booksale just to see if there were any new books. I had no plans of buying anything since I am currently destitute. My meager salary has been budgeted to the last centavo so I can survive for the next 10 days. I looked around and came across The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice. I've never read anything of hers, but people have always said that her best work were her earliest books. I thought I'd just hold on to it in case I might really want it. I also found a great-looking copy of T.H. White's The Once and Future King. I picked it up and stared at it for a while. I could feel that familiar obsessive need to own it. I had to remind myself that I already owned a copy. It was a difficult battle, but I won. I put it back in the shelves so that another geek could find it. Bless (and curse) you whoever does. It's tagged at 105 pesos, which, if you ask me, is a small price to pay for a classic. It's lying on top of The Vampire Lestat in the lower right-most pocketbook shelf.
Sifting through the lower part of the shelf, I found Bram Stoker's Dracula (also Php105), a nice copy of The Joy Luck Club (for Php80, I think) and an Orson Scott Card book whose title I've forgotten. There was also a Forgotten Realms novel down there. The upper parts of the shelves yielded a green paperback copy of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café by Fannie Flagg. I thought I would have to let it go too when Maika said she needed a new copy since her student had annotated her old one with Korean words. We snapped it off the shelves as quickly as you can say Idgie. We got it at the fair price of 80 pesos. Not bad.
For myself, I bought Timeline by Michael Crichton. My fandom for Crichton's sort of writing stretches as far as the Jurassic Park movie. I didn't watch the sequel. Timeline also has a movie. I actually thought it was cool. A group of scientists are faxed into the past. They arrive during the climax of a bloody war. A castle is sieged, ears are cut off and Gerard Butler as Marek is hot. If the movie was this much fun, imagine what the book is like. It cost me 105 pesos. I also bought The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith for 70 pesos. The book appealed to me when I first saw it in National, but I couldn't afford it then. Glad to have made the purchase now.
What was I saying about budgeting?
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
I've seen a lot of dreams evaporate because of unwanted pregnancies. I've seen a beauty queen hang up her crown after finding out she was pregnant. I've seen a world class debater rendered speechless when she got confirmation that she was 10 weeks along. I care about these people, and it makes me sad that their dreams are going to be put on hold because of a momentary lapse in judgment.
I cannot possibly imagine how an unmarried girl feels when she finds out she's got an embryo growing inside of her. But if you would permit me this one presumption, it's probably like being smothered a thousand times. A friend of mine says that if she got pregnant, it would be like getting the kiss of death. Your life flashes before your eyes and your grand plans become what might have been. When you find out you're responsible for another life, everything else (including your own existence) seems paltry. You cease to think only about yourself. You've got someone else to worry about now. The center of your universe shifts and your planets circle your child. Your own life, in a manner of speaking, is forfeit. You never get your turn in the world.
People spared from such a tragedy are dumbfounded. They think: "How can they be so stupid?" To a mere observer, careless couples do appear as if they had taken leave of all mental faculties. I must admit that my own thoughts ran in this vein for a pretty long time. Then I thought that it's probably unfair to judge them this way. Looking at it from a purely biological perspective, I realize that these kids probably didn't stand a chance. Hormones pretty much run our bodies. The way we act and respond to situations are based on perfectly timed chemical reactions. One cannot escape the throes of passion. It's physiological. I'm not giving them an excuse. I'm just trying to empathize.
Anyway, apart from the hormones, they've also got natural selection on their side. In ecology, a species has an innate desire to procreate. Reproduction is an adaptation. An organism produces offspring to ensure that the traits necessary for survival are passed on to the next generation. Once the continuation of its species has been assured, it has done its duty. The monarch butterfly, for example, dies soon after it has laid eggs. Humans, like every living thing around them, are slaves of evolution. Only the fittest will survive. In nature, being "fit" means being able to make babies.
Captives of their own bodily functions and the instinctive need to perpetuate the species, people really do need to have sex. Also, human beings are the only organisms, apart from dolphins, that actually enjoy it. Other animals are free of that inconvenience. (Apparently, male cats have barbed members. No wonder the females are so noisy. Those aren't moans of pleasure, they're cries of pain.)
Let's not forget our society. We have the misfortune of living in a country that frowns upon sexual promiscuity. The Church damns fornicators to an eternity burning in Hell. Despite that, pop culture puts sex in a new light. We see a lot in movies and music to make us think: "Wow, those people sure seem to be having a lot of fun." Frequent exposure to that sort of thing encourages the present generation to accept that it's okay to be sexually active. Throw that in with the deeply ingrained teachings of a conservative Filipino culture and you get a lot of confusion. A personal choice suddenly becomes a moral issue. What a conundrum: a lot of people are having premarital sex but, gosh, nobody's allowed to talk about it. We're living in a time of transition. But in all cases involving change, there are growing pains to be had. S-E-X is still taboo, as far as a lot of people are concerned. Our society is in denial. It insists that premarital sex is immoral yet tolerates the sexually-laden messages of the media.
I don't really know but it looks to me like the next generation will consist of mostly illegitimate children. What a way to be labeled: illegitimate. The kid is barely out of its mom's womb and already, people are gossiping about it. They grow up with the stigma that they are less than kids born to married couples. It kills me. No one should have to endure that. Not the mother and especially, not the child. Are you ready to bring your baby into a world that is ready to condemn it before it even breathes air? Here's where society should meet us in the middle. It should struggle to save us kids from having to deal with a situation like that. The key is still information. The same media that shows us the rewards and pleasures of sex should also be able to show us the consequences.
People cannot, and will not, stop thinking about sex. The trick is to make them look at it from all possible angles. Kids have to be reminded that their future doesn't have to be left to chance; it is within their control (like their actions). There are a dozen safe ways to be protected. Read. Learn. Find out as much as you can about how you can keep yourself from getting pregnant before you are ready. If you're a girl, demand that the guy you are with uses a condom at all times. Even then, you can go to a doctor and get a prescription for the Pill. It's nothing to be ashamed about. I mean, if you're ready to have sex, you should be ready to face the music. If you're a guy (and getting some), make sure you always carry protection. Apart from a rubber being an anti-sperm wall, it also keeps you from getting sick. The idea of going to a drugstore and purchasing a box of condoms may seem humiliating, even daunting. It's admitting to a God-fearing society that you're, well, fornicating. But if you can overcome that bit of embarrassment, you'll be rewarded for it. Apart from staying healthy, you get to decide when and how to have a kid. Joey Ayala quotes from a wise man: "The real revolution is what you do with your kids." So you need to have the right stuff when you bring a life into this world.
Here's a great piece of advice, if ever I heard one: "Be good. If you can't, be safe."
Monday, March 05, 2007
Here’s something cool. A seven-year old girl from Palawan swims an 8.5-kilometer distance in under five hours.
Ana Karenina Dalabajan, nicknamed Siobe, began her record-making swim in Barangay Mangingisda, a little less than 9 kilometers away from the Palawan capital. She reached the port of Puerta Princesa four hours and 33 minutes later. Most of the kids that started out with her gave up from exhaustion. When she touched down at the pier, her mother, the mayor of Puerto Princesa and a legion of adoring fans were waiting for her. When asked if she was afraid any time during her swim, she said no.
The power of the human spirit is admirable enough, but you just gotta love that youthful precociousness.
This morning I taught a kid who likes to show that he's enjoying the class by showering his teacher with…punches. He managed to hit me numerous times in the stomach. I may be bleeding internally. We had a lot of fun.
When you have braces, oral hygiene is of utmost importance. So this afternoon, I paid a visit to my dentist for a cleaning. She noticed that my teeth were moving well and decided it was time to start pulling my canines into their respective places. This required her to stretch rubber rings from a bracket on each canine to a neighboring molar about one centimeter away.
Pain season has begun.
Only I will remain
**The Bene Gesserit Litany against Fear
**The Bene Gesserit Litany against Fear
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