[ the digitizer ]*

i am therefore i blog.

Archive for the ‘Living’ Category

The Blog Awards And My Front Tooth

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Philippine Blog Awards 2009 Awards Night Invitation

Got this in my email today, and suddenly it felt all too real for me! I started to run in my mind the inventory in my closet — no, I ran towards the closet! — and then feverishly thumbed through my hung clothes. Black! You can’t go wrong in black! Ugh, I have to buy that Penshoppe Recut jeans that I’ve been salivating over… Stop! Neither Cher in her outrageous diva outfit would pop in there nor would there be celebrities in bold blinding bling with swooning fans and shark-like paparazzis in attendance, so why the fuss? I had to slap myself a li’l bit, as you would some hysterical mama, to remind me this ain’t no Hollywood as they say in ebonics/blackspeak. Just being around bodacious, brazen, even brash bright bloggers would surely beat watching B movies on a blah Friday night (what’s up with all these “B” words?). Okay. Well then, I’ll have until 5pm that day (actual Awards Night), to have my right lateral incisor (one of my front teeth) plastic crown fixed, nay, replaced. But I’m broke and it’s such a *bleep* (another B word). I was eating mixed-nuts when it loosened up, so I accidentally chewed it. (Crrrunchhh ! Oh, the sound of a horrifying realization that what you were enthusiastically masticating on is a 3,000-peso artificial tooth jacket and not just any green pea!). Talk about the wrong tooth with the wrong food at the wrong time! Were I an unbeliever in Murphy’s Law, this could have been my “Hallelujah” moment, except that it was an “AAARRGGGHH!” shout instead. Sigh.

Desktop1Back to the email: it says I can “come as I please“, so I guess it’s alright to attend with a fang-like front tooth. Hmmm… would wearing animal prints — leopard or tiger? — make or break the look or would a subtle ‘Twilight‘ aura — white-powdered face and black eyeliners with a little hint of a blood dripping on my right lip corner — say I am not that blasé yet? And if I do come as myself sans the effort to cover up my dental booboo, will photo-ops be actual opportunities or will these photos haunt me someday? Maybe I should start to practice grinning without flashing my teeth and try not to smile like Jim Carrey so no one would know about my poor little tooth (except you, the reader, which could mean, oh, everyone from everywhere, including the Awards Night audience! But surely, you can keep a little secret, can’t you?).

Hold on, I’m trying to be a Wordsmith and not some Close-up model last time I check. Who gives a dentist’s drill about my tooth anyway except, well, the dentists? And in case the Tooth Fairy won’t make it until my last Cinderella hour to rescue me, I shall rely on Calliope and Clio (Muses of Lyric Poetry and History, respectively, to the non-Greeks) to make me look good at least on paper.

Philippine Blog Awards Night, you will surely be digitized even if I grow another fang or two dangling in my nose! [d]*

Written by nealm

3 October 2009 at 2:33 PM

Offline Blues

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It’s 12:20 p.m. and I am at a cybercafe trying to normalize my life without an internet connection at home for about, oh, a week now. Blame it on Digitel‘s incompetent, unprofessional and unacceptable business conduct (it’ll be one pithy post to come, I tell ya). Anyhoo, as I am trying to tinker the keyboard to coax the words for every angst I have, I can’t pry my eyes away from the line of black ants on what-used-to-be-off-white-but-now-kinda-cream-colored wall right behind the monitor I’m using, while hearing the kids (who probably skipped school) massacre each other in their MMOGs (that’s Massively Multimedia Online Games for those of us mortals) and one attendant sleeping on the couch obviously unnerved by the noise and the sea of humanity (this is a 24-hour internet shop, so yeah, I have the heart to understand, too), while the other attendant is blasting his stereo listening to Semisonic‘s  “Closing Time”  (at 12 noon?) and watching a rerun of Warner Bro‘s “Daffy Duck“…  I don’t know which is worst : not having my internet or being online in this surreal environment. Is that why they named their shop Yeko ? I dunno. I just wanna swiftly reply to incoming emails, update my blog, smooch with my Facebook friends, and off I hie to an even crueler offline world.

I’ll let my wrath brew and stew on it for quite a bit and then dump it on Digitel later, replete with complaints to NTC, DTI, even write poor (I meant filthy rich), old John Gokongwei for all I care if it will get me reconnected.

Ugh, I’ve had enough of Daffy already. I’m horrified at the thought of it’s voice ringing in my phantom ears later. Go!

Meanwhile, I can continue reading my orphaned books and take our 4 dogs to walks more often in the open fields near our place while waiting for Digitel to reconnect my digital life.

I think I have breached the line that blurs the online from the offline. It feels so unreal to be disconnected from my virtual life. Whether this is a bad thing or not, there’s no denying the impact of this 24/7 connectedness with the world at least in my experience. However, much like a computer unit that needs to be rebooted (well, if you are a PC user, that is) once in a while, getting this digital respite is the perfect time to revisit pre-digital predispositions and connections. That certainly gave me more bite on reality than bytes on virtuality, whatever that means.

Now, I have a bigger bite  to clamp on Digitel if you’ll excuse me… [d]*

Written by nealm

23 September 2009 at 4:41 AM

Non-Chick Cheap Chic

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Don’t tell me you haven’t had those moments:  finding steals so irresistible they melt your steely resolve away. I wish I didn’t know what SALE means and that it didn’t  have to be in a come-hither, sin-red color emblazoned across store fronts or stuck in strategic places and item tags to consummate the temptation. If money were not an issue, it won’t be an exercise in seduction. When reality leaves me struggling, I know I don’t have to get suckered into it every time. However, SM malls aren’t the best places to test your sobreity after your Shopoholics Anonymous retreat which is no  longer a women’s domain.

Last week, I went to buy some office supplies at National Bookstore in SM City-Batangas. Walked right in, picked up the goods, waited in line to pay, what a cakewawait, was that sign correct? Up to 75% off?! Had to ask the cashier; Oo daw (yes, she said). Ugh, do I turn around? “My great librarian, it’s like getting four books for the price of one!” coaxed my street-math savvy inner bookworm. “Nah, the “up to” means digging through piles of Guinness Book of World Records 2008 (it’s almost 2010, hello) and other junk before you will ever find it. If you will find it. Remember the lonely books neatly pressed between sturdy ends — still unread — at home?” quibbled the bookmoth in me. It’s the moth’s words against the worm’s math. Gee, I felt my feet on li’l insect wings for that small triumph leaving the bookstore unlured. How about a quickie-lookie around the mall, for, oh, ten minutes tops? (Bad move).

The Digitizer Models Mogao

That’s when I passed by this store called MOGAO, saw it’s on sale (at 20% off) and bought these 3 hip slim-fit shirts for about $10 tax included! But hey, I don’t regret it (just look at my first attempt to model as proof). I couldn’t find some pictures of them online to post here, so I had to ask my 10-year-old niece, Ara, to be my photographer. Now, it would have been nice if Mogao paid me to make this post and model for their shirts, but no, they didn’t; and yes, it’s okay if they will reimburse me. Ha ha. Before posting this, I found their website printed in their shopping bag, looked it up but couldn’t understand it (Chinese, doh!). Here’s Google Translate to the rescue and this is what I got :

Mogao Website screenshot

The hearty chortle at the translation is just an added bonus to the satisfaction I got for not being a fashion victim and an unwise spender(?). That statement is probably worth another chuckle right there. [d]*

Written by nealm

11 September 2009 at 8:20 AM

Victory Is A Mother’s Child

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My mother planted the most important lesson about winning in my young heart: “If you deserve it, you’ll get it no matter what the odds are; and regardless of the outcome, you will always be a winner to me!

I was 16 at that time, coming home from school after a frenzied preliminary tallying of scores for the valedictorian hopefuls of our senior class (1985). There was this huge tally board right by the school’s quadrangle where numerical values were assigned to academic achievements and extra-curricular activities next to the candidates’ names and were updated and weighted daily. I was one of them, and the competition was getting fiercer and more complicated  by the day especially when the one tallying the scores was the school’s bookkeeper–who happened to be my closest rival’s mother– assisted by her husband, our Physical Education teacher (yes, politics isn’t only a favorite subject in the Philippines, more likely a family affair if not a way of life).  So when I confided to her about my apprehension, she nonchalantly brushed  my fear aside, gave me a warm hug, and reassured me with that statement.

Awarded, Week 173

Awarded, Week 173

Week 173

Week 173

#2 (Week 172)

Week 172

Fast forward to 24 years: getting these citations for the past two weeks for the Filipino Blog of the Week may seem just another digital crap to many. To those who value the grit of  real-world work, the grime of being your own worst critic, and the gravity of nurturing one’s passion, this is like manna emailed from heaven or fire downloaded not pirated from Mount Olympus. This is breaking your own glass ceiling¹, not anyone else’s.  Incidentally, Nike, the Greek goddess of victory, is “seen with wings in most statues and paintings, to remind people that victory is fleeting.” ² It is, after all, not what you get from a contest, but what you could become.

For whatever it’s worth, my mother taught me that politics may take the win from her child but it can never deny the winner in him.

P. S.

My mother, Fely, was at my graduation to hear her son deliver the valedictory address. I knew that that wasn’t a fleeting moment for her. Rest in peace, Nanay.

To my friends, readers, and fellow bloggers who voted for and continues to read The Digitizer: it is not a bad idea at all to take people along in any exciting journey. Writing these posts and getting your feedback is like sharing that journey of self-discovery together and having a fresh take on life and the world with different sets of eyes. Also to Talksmart who facilitated the contest in his site and for elevating my blog to the Hall of Fame. Thank you.

Written by nealm

18 August 2009 at 2:49 AM

Your Other (And Better) Country

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Philippine Flag

Can you call yourself a stranger in a foreign land when you actually feel right at home? Sounds paradoxical, but the Philippines is that other country you have never thought you had– your other home– only far stranger than you have imagined and more familiar than it can possibly get.

Welcome to the land of pleasant paradoxes and exceeded expectations (yours, that is)!

Blessed with a generous sprinkling of 7,107 islands in the Pacific, the Philippines beckons with paradisiacal allure and a welcome respite from the harried world and a hurried life. Here, we have mastered the art of living, the intricacies of friendship, and the passion for life.

It is just an archipelago of emerald isles that break the monotony of the mighty ocean if not for its people who are its real gem and the Pacific‘s real pride. For centuries, guests and conquerors attest to the warmth and hospitality of the Filipinos which is second to none. Magellan‘s men expressed their desire to end their quest for the Spice Island upon discovering the Filipinos and when they experienced the spices of life : bounteous feasts, verdant hills and mountains, powdery white beaches, and the hospitable people (not to mention the beautiful women).

These are just some of the obvious reasons why I made it my ardent cause to tell everyone of this wonderful place the world can call home; to experience what it is like to be a friend, a stranger, and a family member all at the same time: a friend because you will never feel left out, a stranger because it is okay to be different and yet be accepted, and a family member because you may end up marrying one of the gorgeous maidens we have here (now that is another story)! Kidding aside, you will find a kinship, a sense of belonging, with the Filipinos the moment you see the unpretentious smiles, lavish in their unconditional welcome, and witness their unscripted lives. In fact, we have elevated hospitality from an art form to a time-honored tradition that you can’t help but feel and experience the Filipino way of living not just observe it. And yes, your pictures may tell a thousand and one words of what the Philippines is like, but your heart will tell what it is like to be with the Filipinos.

To the world, you are a traveler. Here, you are family.

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Written by nealm

31 January 2009 at 10:11 AM