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Jan. 26th, 2009


Reflections on the Chinese New Year by this Budlat

"After the erratic and energy-filled Year of the Rat, the Earth Ox plods into our lives this year almost appropriately and necessarily to clean up the mess left by the turbulent 2008 and sort things out for an orderly world."

This excerpt from an article in yesterday's Philippine Star is so right on the money.  It succinctly sums up then whirlwind that was my 2008 and echoes my sincerest resolve to repent and start anew this 2009.  

2008 was incredibly auspicious.  Everything just fell on my lap--things I've always wanted, things I never asked for, thing I didn't even know were within my reach.  The entire year it was like T.I. was constantly on my back, singing, "You can have whatever you like..."  and I did!

But since I was no hotshot rap supahstar, I was ill-equipped in the fundamentals of 'having it all'.  By the last month of last year, everything just spiraled out of control and I got a much-needed slice of humble pie.  Easy come, easy go.

So this year hard work and show!  Faced with the daunting but challenging task of starting over, I will have to rely on hard work to get the things I want, to earn the things I never could've asked for, to deserve the things I now know are within my reach.

This year hard work is fashown!  Silly, solipsistic me must not forget the recession is felt across the globe and the world is collectively struggling to get back on its feet.  Even the well-heeled are feeling it--Paris Hilton was criticized for her recent display of excess, luxury brands are opting for private/direct sales parties instead of grand commercial launches.  During these hard times, the elite few are no longer allowed to flaunt their extravagances--not when the rest of us are working our asses off.  Suddenly being rich and fabulous is tacky.  Radioactive Sago Project's album couldn't  have said it any better: "Tangina Mo Andaming Nagugutom sa Mundo, Fashionista Ka Pa Rin".

This year hard work is polictical.  Obama, our shining beacon of hope and change, has made it so.  He, too, is faced with the daunting task of rebuilding (--on a much, MUCH larger scale, I must admit), which he declares upfront will not be easy, which he says he plans to achieve with a whole lotta hard work.  Don't you just laaav him?

LAstly, hard work this year is but (Chinese astro-) logical.  After all, it is the Year of the Ox.  Strong, determined and hardworking, the dutiful beast of burden sets an inspiring example for the Pig that is me. 

As last year was closing, someone told me the year that was the year ahead was going to be our biggest challenge, that if we could only survive it, we'd be home free.  And you know what, I believe him.       

Nov. 7th, 2008


Flash Report: Rainy Friday Night Update

First read about The Suckfest That Is My Friday Night then carry on.

In an ultimately pathetic but symbolically significant act of defiance, I braved the rain and feculent floodwaters to have my KFC Hotshots dinner... and it was grrrrreat!!!

*pensive*  See, sometimes in life, it rains.  Like really hard.  On a Friday night, at that.  And I may not know how to drive and my default driver may not be all that reliable, Chowking may run out of Chao Fan, Jay may not text or call from Malaysia (--hmmm latent galet!), and KFC may refuse to deliver, but there's no stopping me from crossing the street to have my KFC!  The moral, kids, is that while some things simply cannot be helped, not all is hopelessly helpless.

Thus concludes the suckfest that was this week.  So I got rained on a little and wading floodwater was really kadiri, but I feel redeemed.  It was a moral victory, mah frens.  The indomitable human spirit triumphs!  Ika nga ng Invictus (which my lolo made me and my cousin memorize as kids), I am the master of my fate!  I am the captain of my wet, stinky sole. hahaha 

Jul. 15th, 2008


What happened to my monkeys?!?

Tsk tsk tsk... Need to fix my LJ up.

May. 13th, 2008


Stale News Report: The Brawlnighter

You know that tingly feeling you get crawling through your scalp as you rinse off mentholated shampoo off your hair or after that first sip of hot tea on a cold, cold day?  Well having your hair yanked out of your head during a vicious catfight is sort of like that, but a lot more intense, especially if the bitch has had you in a hairlock for quite some time.

So how do I know this? 

Last night I was packing for my weekend in Cebu.  And because my closets are in the room I used to share with my sister, I had all intentions of packing early so as not to hassle her; but with my 3-year-old following me around, I couldn't really get much done.  It wasn't until Anya fell asleep at 11:00pm that I finally got started, though by this time my sister was ready for bed so I had to creep around in the dark like a mouse.

What started out as cordial inquiries as to when I would finish packing steadily evolved into mild hostilities, which I ignored because what can I do?  Packing in the dark was not the easiest thing and considerably took some time.    
1:00am was breaking point—by then the verbal abuses were getting foul so I started talking back.  This got her fired up so SHE THREW OUT MY BAG (which BTW at this point was already 80% full) DOWN THE STAIRS and started thrashing around the remaining 20% of my shit (which I had O.C.ly laid out for packing). 

She walked back past me, looking so smug after her ragegasm while I sat just there stunned, mouth gaping.  W *hyperventilating* T *hyperventilating* F?!? 

So in a brilliant display of lightning fast reflexes, I grabbed her by the leg, causing her to trip.  Little did I know that this was gonna be my best—and only—move for the night…  Because by launching the Olympic Gymnastics Floor Exercise Smackdown, I had inadvertently opened a can of whoop-ass!

What happened next will probably scar me for life: she got up, grabbed me by my hair and frakkin DRAAAAAAAAAGGED me across the floor, shrieking the whole time about how annoying and selfish I was.   

By this time, my parents had woken up, turned on the lights, and watched in horror as their two daughter grappled and wrestled on the floor.      

It took a few more minutes and two simultaneously enraged/terrified parents to get her death grip offa my hair, after which I had to pick up all my stuff and repack everything while my mom, wary of a Round 2, stood guard the whole time.     

Needless to say, my wimpy ass was pwned.  As I lay awake long after the action (partly because I was busy plotting revenge, partly because the tingly feeling on my scalp was giving me a motherfucking headache), I realized I should seriously consider taking self-defense lessons.   

So I can defend myself from my rageaholic sister.  Who at 21 years old is younger than I am.  Who at 80 WHATTHEFRAKKIN LBS. is much less solid than I am.  Whose unfathomable, superfreak strength is just way beyond me.



Tell me, does that seem right?!? 

I must admit this is a new low.  And mehn, the lows just keep on lowering.


Feb. 26th, 2008


Long weekends are a great time for learning and self-discovery.

Here are two new things you should know about me:

Thing #1: Marga is a Gossip Girl addict.

While I wish what was lost over the weekend was something as fun and exciting as losing a few brain cells or one’s virginity, it wasn’t.  The only thing lost was sleep.

And while I wish the sleep deprivation was over something as fun and exciting as losing a few brain cells or one’s virginity, it wasn’t.  It was because of my newfound addiction to Gossip Girl.


Thing #2: Marga is a Method Watcher.

While last night’s attempt to finish the entire first season and the resulting lack of shuteye was naturally affecting my work day, I discovered something else was bothering me.

In fact, a lot of things were bothering me: I couldn’t stop thinking how Blair and Serena suddenly became BFFs again just like that.  I couldn’t help but worry how, or more importantly when, will Blair finally have her vicious revenge.  I am genuinely afraid for Serena and Dan because something so “pure and true” between an upper east side “it” girl and the smart but poor cutie from Brooklyn seriously doesn’t stand a chance in their world, I’m afraid.

We all know of Method Acting--how actors would drawn on their personal experiences and emotions to evoke the characters they’re portraying, but what you probably don’t know is watchers can also draw personal experiences and emotions to relate to and feel deeply for the characters they are watching. 

In short, masyadong affected.    

Henceforth, this rare art form shall be called the Marga Method of Watching. 

And how I’ve managed to relate to this gorgeous bratpack of anorexic/alcoholic, sexually active, trust funds teens is perennially amazing.  

Feb. 18th, 2008


The Science of Love (...or Hook-ups)

I came across this article in a old issue of Reader's Digest, which I found in our bathroom's uhm library... and on Valentine's Day, no less!  This would've made a cool V-Day entry, but I didn't have the time to post this on V-Day itself because I was busy with my client's Heart Month events.  Yes, sadly that's how literal my Valentine's was.  

The Science of Love

Find, fall and stay in love. Your ultimate guide to relationships!

Megan Gressor February 2007

Here are 12 scientifically proven ways to increase your chances of finding the perfect partner. (Yes, academics actually get paid to research interpersonal attraction, as psychologists rather drearily dub this thing called love.) These findings dispel many clichés beloved of romantic fiction – from opposites attracting to absence making the heart grow fonder – while confirming others.

1.  Like Seeks Like 
Look for someone as much like you as possible, because chances are, he or she is looking for you too. We prefer mates with similar backgrounds, interests, values and beliefs because they validate our own. We even gravitate towards people who look like us. Eminent scientist Sir Francis Galton drew attention to this phenomenon a century ago, and since then it has been confirmed by numerous studies on the resemblances between spouses.

2.  Declare Your Desire 
Ditch the strong and silent act because a major turn-on, according to social psychologist Dr Arthur Aron, is the simple realisation that someone fancies you. It makes you feel good about yourself, which, in turn, overflows into feeling good about them. We warm to those who flatter and are nice to us, which is why the stereotypical Byronic hero trading barbs with his love interest (until near the end when they eventually melt into one another's arms) is a romantic cliché that does not bear close examination.

3.  The Eyes Have It 
On one point, however, the bodice rippers are right: there can be such a thing as love at first sight. It's been shown that the longer a pair of prospective partners lock eyes upon meeting, the more they like what they see. It helps if you have dilated pupils because these are the single most attractive physical attribute, according to research conducted by the late Eckhard Hess, who was a professor at the University of Chicago's psychology department. He found that subjects shown two pictures of a member of the opposite sex – identical save for pupil size – were twice as likely to pick the larger-pupils photo as the more attractive, even when they could not spot the difference. Enlarged pupils signal intense arousal.

4.  Body Language
Run out of sweet nothings to say? Fall back on body language, a form of non-verbal communication understood by both sexes. The most obvious – and effective – overture is simply staring at the prospective partner and smiling; then there are ''preening'' gestures, such as playing with your hair.

According to Allan Pease, author of The Definitive Guide to Body Language, what really turns men on is female ''submission'' gestures, which include exposing vulnerable areas such as the wrists or neck, as well as the leg twine (the manoeuvre at which Princess Diana, that premier flirt, excelled: it involves crossing the legs and hooking the upper leg's foot behind the lower leg's ankle).

Men typically make themselves look more dominant by taking up space and engaging in ''crotch display'' – thumbs hooked in pockets, fingers ''pointing'' at the genitals (worked for Michael Jackson . . . for a while, anyway).

5.  Be Beautiful 
Ignore everything your mum told you about inner beauty – good-looking people are almost universally viewed as smarter, sexier and more successful than their homelier counterparts.

According to evolutionary social theorists, we value those attributes that improve the chances of successful reproduction, which is why men prefer younger women with long, shiny hair and hip measurements a third larger than their waists (all markers of youth, health and fertility), while women prefer taller, older men because they're most likely to have the most resources to invest in offspring.

6.  Home Is Where It's At 
Forget about long-distance romances: proximity rules. Being situated close to your potential love object – whether at the next desk or in the next street – ensures repeated exposure, beneficial because the more we see someone, the more we like them (unless we strongly disliked them at first exposure, in which case the opposite is true). That's why we so often end up with workmates or the boy/girl next door.

7.  Avoid Comparisons 
All that said, it seems that we gauge prospective partners against the prevailing norms, if the findings of Sara Gutierres and Douglas Kenrick of Arizona State University's psychology department are to be believed. The researchers asked men to rate their dates' looks after viewing Playboy centrefolds or watching a TV show with pretty female stars. You guessed it: the dates rated worse after the show or centrefolds than before.

This demonstrates a phenomenon called the contrast effect, whereby our perception of relative differences is distorted according to the order in which things are viewed. For example, if you look at a dark object after a light one, it will appear much darker than if you'd looked at it first or by itself.

8.  Love at First Fright 
In the 1994 film Speed, Sandra Bullock tells Keanu Reeves, ''I've heard relationships based upon intense experiences never work out,'' to which he replies, ''We'll have to base ours on sex, then.''

The truth lies somewhere in between. The more aroused we are in the presence of a potential partner, the more attractive we're likely to find them, as psychologists Cindy Meston and Penny Frohlich, of the University of Texas, found when they asked subjects to rate members of the opposite sex before and after riding on roller coasters. This effect – known as excitation transfer – is a misattribution of arousal; regardless of the cause of our thumping heart, if we ascribe it to the person we're with, we feel attracted to her or him.

9.  Naming Game 
Dr Albert Mehrabian of the University of California's psychology department has discovered that many names – such as Darcy, Roxanne or Bertha – are linked with negative attributes. And if you share a first name with a well-known person, you're considered to share their traits – bad news for people called Adolf, Homer or Saddam.

10.  Beer Goggles 
Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker, as poet Ogden Nash once said. Studies have shown that single people seeking partners in pubs are less choosy closer to closing time, a finding dubbed ''the beer-goggles effect.''

It was identified by Professor Jamie Pennebaker of the University of Texas, who decided to test the premise of a song whose lyrics claimed ''girls get prettier at closing time.'' He asked bar patrons to rate potential partners three times over an evening (at 9 pm, 10.30 pm and midnight) and yes, both sexes looked best at midnight. This doesn't mean you're too drunk to notice someone has two heads; just that as the time available to find a mate runs out, whoever's still around starts to look good.

11.  Keep Them Happy 
The better we feel, the more we like whomever we're with, so if your date isn't in a good mood, cheer them up fast or you haven't a hope. This doesn't mean you must be directly responsible for engendering the desired positive emotion; simply being in the vicinity while they're experiencing it will imbue you with an associated glow. This is why you should be very selective of the venue where you meet or take your date. And avoid taking them to stressful places. The resulting anxiety will be forever associated with you.

12.  Choose Your Words
The gender differences mentioned above are reflected in the wording of personal  ads. Research shows that ads placed by women emphasise their appearance, those by men their resources; and that the older a woman admits to being the fewer replies she'll receive, while the opposite applies to men.

However, it should be some consolation for all those Plain Janes and penniless men out there to know that there is one word that's always worth including in any personal ad: ''warm.'' People who are described as warm are believed to be happy, sociable, wise and popular.

Put It All Together
So here's the bottom line: If you really want to score a perfect partner, take your date bungy-jumping or sky diving to ensure they are well aroused, catch a movie featuring lots of ugly actors, then finish the evening in a dimly lit bar. Even if the beer-goggles effect doesn't kick in, the darkness should dilate your pupils and enhance your chances.

Feb. 8th, 2008


My Weekend in Davao

My folks vacationed in Manila for the weekend since I couldn’t come, I decided to have my very own vacation in… Davao.  (Wow.)

The verdict: magasto pala pag walang magulang.  Pero masaya!

Day 1 - Friday

Anya’s class was having their field trip to Dizon’s Butterfly House and Crocodile Farm so I took the day off to join them.

It was a beautiful day for wholesome bonding fun with the other kids’ parents, Anya’s teachers, and of course, Anya.  I discovered that while every little girl likes the occasional butterflies in the garden, a whole swarm of them can be a little freaky for this girl.

On our way home, we stopped by NCCC for ice cream and some retail therapy for me.  Took Anya home all across town, took a shower then hauled ass to the office.  I was on leave, yes, but I wanted to have a good Monday so magis is the way to go. 

I ended up doing VERY little work and a whole lotta soundtripping, as I was preparing ammo for the geekiest party in the history of mankind—a "Sharing Party".  The concept was pure masturbatory soundtrip heaven, with everyone taking turns in sharing their Top 20 favorites of all time (--complete with playlist introduction and CD trading afterwards). 

Dave called and laughed when he found out what I was doing so late in the office.  We agreed to meet for a beer, intending for an early night, but of course, that was not what was awaiting us.

What happened insisted was a full on bar tour—Jickongs with Joy and her posse, Gabbies for more beer and my Bicol Express dinner then Jive for even more beer and solid midnight snacking.  By 2am, we were pleasantly banged and we were on the look out for a pool we can crash.  Of course, there’s none—not legally anyway—so we went to Seawall instead.

More beer drinking occured at Seawall despite our ice-less state and the puke-inducing makeshift CR we had to endure.  Just one Grande down, the girls called it a night.  Dave, Gino and I, the much much less wiser ones, decided to stay and finish the two other horseys. 

Our designated driver Dave, as uselss, fell into his usual narcoleptic stupor, while Gino and I discovered we shared a common passion for “modern baroque pop”… OK, OK-- trashy teen series OST music!  --Spoon, Belle and Sebastian, Arcade Fire…

Dave woke up just in time for the last shot so we started heading home... Only by this time, the Papi Chulo Gang had already started their early morning aerobics at the driveway so we had to take a little detour.  A very bad move, indeed, because sand + morning dew = sinking Rev-o!  PUNIIIIIIIIIIISH!!! 

I think at some point I even helped with pushing because I needed to pee so badly and I would rather push a Revo than to take my chances in Satan’s CR.

On our way home, we stopped at Caltex for cigarettes.  Gino, again, magically disappeared.  Dave and I ended up finishing his pack of cigs over not-so-icy coffee and a whole lotta talk I don’t really remember now.  It was nice seeing the southside at this time of day.   


Day 2 – Saturday

I wish I could say Saturday was more steady freddy, and for a while there it was, what with all that petix, laugh tripping and cat naps with Anya.  I was so tired and so tempted to call off that night’s Sharing Party in favor of some much deserved zzzleep, but as scheduled, the gang arrived around 9pm.

Juwaness and birthday girl Rica came with, not just CDs or MP3s, but real musicians!!!  Inigo, J.P. and Alan in da haus!  And in honor of Rica’s birthday, our feast was wild: buntot ng bariles, lechon manok, rhum (for the now famous Juan Mojitos), tequila and ekoms!

Kapatid Joy a.k.a. Pups also dropped by and brought his daddy Dogs.  The verdict: he thought I was “cute kahit walang ayos” (read: dugyotix) and that I had a “great personality” (read: lasing na ata).  All in all, it sounds like euphemisms for “pangit”, but Joy swears it’s not.

Later Dave, Gino and co. came with their generous offerings—bottle and bottles of Generoso Brandy!

Still later, Alfon, Jeric, Alu and Carlo arrive and they bring no less than Seal, himself! hahaha Welcome back, Monty!   

I think people left at the reverse order they came-- until Juan, Rica, the Gaucho boys, Gino, and I, plus the ¾ of Mr. Cuervo were the last ones standing.  If you notice, no horseys were in attendance-- and what a welcome break!  Hardcore is the way to go.


Day 3 – Sunday

I had to wake up early for our usual Sunday lunch extravaganza with the extended family.  Surprisingly I felt fine—no signs of a hangover—but I was so dehydrated, so on an empty stomach, I downed a bottle of Gatorade Pink Lemonade.

Just when I stepped in my tito’s car, who's driver picked us up, it suddenly hit me—hyperacidity like no other.  Wiiiiiiiild.  “May I pass out?” levels.

Thankfully, I fished an antacid in the abyss of my bag, made it to my tito’s, where I bolted for the toilet.  The rest of day and days that came were all tinged with acute backwash, reminding me and my lola bones that I’m getting too old for this shit.  


Jan. 29th, 2008


Today's Tally

  • Mr. Zen
  • GMA
  • Blonde Redhead
  • Manong Guard


  • BDO
  • Gaisano Mall
  • Client
  • KillJoy
  • Hormones

Results: It's a landslide victory for Evil, folks.  Tsk, tsk, tsk...

Jan. 27th, 2008


Whoopdedoo Weekend

It's Friday, I’m In Love

The happy weekend feeling actually started on Thursday, a boring work day like any other, until I got a call from S.C., who said he was on his way to our office building an errand and was checking if he could drop by my office because he brought me some MP3s "in case I was interested".  Oh duvah?  MP3s are today’s roses.  We hung out in my office for a while, sharing each other’s MP3s (--hmmm… sounds earotique).

So all of Friday I was floating, breezing through work stuff that I would otherwise grumble and whine about all day.  Come quitting time, I headed out to the mall and indulged in a little retail therapy.  Best of all, for once this whole week, I fell asleep by 11 PM.     


Saturday Night Fever

Ashamed and inspired by S.C.’s ambush visit, I decided to do a general cleaning of the office.  This was long overdue too because I cannot remember the last time I had the office cleaned.  Think: fallen hair, dust and cobwebs galore!  Plus I have two-months-worth of 3 different newspapers, lying around in Every. Possible. Inch. Of. Space because I've never gotten around to reading them and clipping the ads and articles I need.  (Note to Self: Read the newspaper everyday because backtracking piles of newspaper is just inhumanely boring.) 

I finished quite late and although I was so tired and smelly and was in atchay chic, I MADE AN EFFORT to go to BBQ Boss for a beer because Prince was in town.  I only had 3 beers, but you never would've guessed, judging from the frequency or volume of stupidity coming out of my mouth.  I know Joy, Prince and Ning (--and JR? haha) must’ve thought I was being so corny or drunk or just plain weird, but really, I was just so happy.  <font size="1">Happy to be with people who had nothing to do with that annoying/depressing thing.  To not have to pretend to laugh at things that are so not funny anymore.</font>  It was very, literally refreshing—beer never tasted better, nor laughter.

Besides, I refuse to believe I was the only one who enjoyed those two hours of unadulterated corniness Marga-style.  Aminin nyo kaps, natuwa rin kayo.  Pati si nga Ning tumatawa eh!  I think she likes me now.  HAHAHA Too bad Prince, ikaw nalang yung dinededma nya! HAHAHAHA

Easy Like Sunday

Well it’s Sunday now, which means I’ve stuffed myself silly in our ceremonial Sunday lunch extravaganza with the extended fam and I’m watching/listening to Live From Abbey Road as a write.  Obviously the happy weekend feeling ain’t over till the weekend’s over.

I lost my tooth necklace though just this afternoon, which is JUST TRAGIC because aylaveeet so much, even if Joy always—as in never fails to make fun of it.  I also went to mass by myself in the village chapel, where shortly after the service, I lied to a nice old handicap woman who was insistently recruiting me to join this parish youth encounter thing.  (“Nang, muuna na ko.  Nasunog na akong nilungag!)  Not one of my proudest moments, I know, but what the heck. 

All things considered it’s been a great weekend and I look forward to goint to work tomorrow, all sputing in my new outfit, slaving away in my now de-cluttered and dust-free office till the next weekend comes.  

Jan. 23rd, 2008


Fire me up, Promie.

There are many a noble reason to quit smoking. 

Not having a lighter, I'm sure, is not one them.  

Unfortunately, that has been the case for two days now, ever since I lost my lighter and used up all the emergency matches I stashed in my office drawer.  The lack of initiative to either refill the matchbox or buy a new lighter, on top of my regretable negligence to develop essential Mowgli skills, has forced me to quit and I must say, it's not so bad.   

But this just in!  I found two match sticks in one of my bag's pockets.  So should I smoke?  Should I quit quitting?  But, I feel like I've come a long way...   



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