25 November 2008


20-something candles sans a cake and chardonnay.. just how great is that?

It's a busy (albeit boring) day of folding, unfolding and cramming stuffs into my holdall for a short getaway. And this pretty much sums up my whole 20-something years of elusive existence captured in the words of Anaïs Nin:

"I am an excitable person who only understands life
lyrically, musically,
in whom feelings are much stronger as reason.
I am so thirsty for the marvelous
that only the marvelous has power over me.
Anything I can not transform into something marvelous,
I let go.
Reality doesn't impress me.
I only believe in intoxication, in ecstasy,
and when ordinary life shackles me,
I escape, one way or another.
No more walls."

Well, here's something fun (read it as better-than-nothing) while waiting for gifts to arrive:

The Meaning of your Birth Date

Your Birthday Calculator


19 November 2008

Pass me that Kleenex.

The Dash

This reduced me to a soggy heap of Kleenex.

07 November 2008

One Shot

originally uploaded by archer10 (Dennis).
This photo translates the vain hope of a drifter who has been fettered for such a long time in a junction and is suddenly, just so suddenly, coerced by time to make that crossover.

How ironic it is for a writer of one's life not to know how her story is going to unfold. How can one take an omniscient view of things sans a crystal ball and tarot card? When you have written and crumpled too many pages it's debauchery to leave things to chance and adventure without a ballpark estimation of the risk. After all, there is only one life. One rough draft and that is we all have.

24 October 2008

A Treacherous Joke??

The revelation that Kundera denounced someone is seen by Czechs as a vindication of their belief that he has been betraying them for years,” said Petr A. Bilek, a professor of comparative literature at Charles University here. “His fellow dissident writers have long tried to dismiss him as someone who writes intellectual pornography for mediocre Western readers.
(Read the entire article here.)

Can Milan Kundera's The Joke be a byproduct of one's nagging conscience? Can his "metaphysical ponderings" be his soliloquy of remorse? Horrendous, if you think about it. So horrendous that I must head toward the bookworm's lair and read The Joke. Pronto.

Nonetheless, it alters not my deep imprint of fascination forThe Unbearable Lightness of Being. And yes, I'd still say, Kundera is still one of the best contemporary writers.

04 October 2008

It's the only thing

From the moment the download of Austen's Sense and Sensibility was completed, I had tried to inveigle myself into finishing the entire e-book within a week. But the week turned into months and I wasn't even able to get past chapter one. And I thought, I ought to give myself a reprieve and extended the reading challenge the entire summer. Having submitted myself to the artifice of horizontal and deskbound positions with disappointing to nil progress, I conceded defeat.

And accepted the fact that there's no next best thing to feeling the book against your palm while curled up in bed or sitting in your favorite squashy wing chair.

24 September 2008

Blueberry Nights

Jude Law + Norah Jones + Warm brew + Sweet Pastry = A++ movie.

My Blueberry Nights is no different from Norah Jones' crooning. You always get that laid-back and cozy quietude as she warbles a tune.

Digression: Odd as it may seem but I'm drawn to beautifully slender and dainty hands. Naturally, somebody oohed and aahed as the limelight turned to those beautiful hands of Ms. Jones. One time, when some friends shoved my carcass to a rock concert, I couldn't remember a damn song they played but I had the perfect mental picture of the vocalist's hands.

By the way, you can watch My Blueberry Nights here.

23 September 2008

Quick guide to roll with the punches

Life doesn't have to be a continuum of pain. One can be the victim of some unknown force's wry (and even sick!) humor for certain days or months but it doesn't have to be that way for always. Or at least I choose not to.

Of course, the surest pick-me-up of a thick glasses-clad bibliomaniac is a quick trip to the bookshop. It's easier to roll with the punches when you're literarily inebriated.

17 September 2008

I'd rather have tragedy.

14,400 pretend sheep have gone over the fence. Yet, something as waiflike as sleep easily eludes me. I have misread the signs again. You maybe right, I should only be reading books and not persons. Except that I am addicted to mysteries and riddles. You're one enigma I have yet to decipher. Your reappearance is a story whose grand denouement I have awaited. What is it to me if the denouement is a tragedy?

Tragedy is better than nothing.

Tragedy is better than having to recite a religious litany hoping such divine incantation lulls me to sleep when I would only be awaken by someone whispering your name.

In any case, I have been careful to chafe my words free of any expectation of this second encounter. Just don't go saying things you don't have the intention of keeping because the thrill of your reappearance makes me such a helpless prey for you words.

10 September 2008

Spooled or not to be spooled to antecedents

The past has a way of guilefully sneaking right behind your back when you have been too engrossed daydreaming about the near future plan. I say the near future because this plan ought to materialize early or middle of 2009. If not, I'll take the easiest route of wimping out which is suicide, as I told close friends in jest. None really took me seriously because, well, I don't really know for sure why but I can only guess my being squeamish over blood-needle-and-anything-of-that-ilk has got a major factor to my friends' unconcern to dial the schizophrenic-in-the-house hotline.

Perhaps I have been reading too many existentialist novels that I have lingered in a what-is-the-point-of-life-but-death state for quite a long, dreary time that I actually stopped plotting long term plans and goals. Until an almost forgotten bolt of motivation just gushed out from nowhere rousing a dormant dream. To be completely honest about it, the motivation did not just come from nowhere. It has always been there just immobilized and fraught with unmet expectations and unnecessary career detours. It took Jeanette Winterson's tour to an old English city and Spitalfields to recharge a frayed circuit. Daydreams of this goal has been compounded by some lines and narratives on Winterson's The PowerBook that somehow, I can almost taste the spaghetti laden with salsa di pomodori made from fresh, plum tomatoes like some lovers' lips bruised from excessive kissing, and then topped with parmesan and basil. This is one of the joys of reading. No, I'm not talking about the joy that comes from an imagined puckering of lovers' lips although, that can easily be one of those. Reading exhumes forgotten but valuable perspectives and in some rare fortunate occasions, you get to exhume your old better self.

Exhuming my old self and the process of accepting the responsibility it entails is not entirely an easy feat. I could merely view this exhumation as an end in itself. But that would defeat the victory of finding oneself. Thus, certain goodbyes must be said. A comfortable hermitic lifestyle must be shed. Hard as it is, exhuming your old self also dredges the so-called unfinished business of your past. In my case, there were several. One of them crept up unexpectedly reminding me of an old, familiar thrill. What unnerves me, is my too perfect memory of the feeling. Too perfect that I felt the same tingle when we first held hands. This is the past's ideal bait for someone who always wants to know the end to every story.

What do you do when the past creeps up behind you and teases you with memories of a certain smile? Do you allow yourself the chance to know how the story unfolds? Or dismiss it as one of life's tricks that you need to ignore and quickly get on this regained track before opportunity leaves you behind completely?

11 July 2008

Still Saffinated

Rafa Nadal bagged the Wimbledon crown from The Fed in the most unforgiving way. And what happened to the racquet-smashing, cussing Safinator?

Rearing his gear for the next tourney along with some more racquet-smashing. And I'll still be rooting for The Safinator!

03 July 2008

Not Merely for Cows

Yay! Marat Safin is in the semifinals! The bonkers yet oh-so-hotttt Safin gave another one of his thrilling matches making me jumpy every time he swings (or infamously, smacks) his racquet. His forthcoming match with the brilliant Grand Slam titlist Roger Federer is indeed a must-see. It's going to be a gripping match and I'll be rooting for Safin.

Go, go, go Marat! You must have realized by now that grass isn't really just for cows.

25 June 2008


Right at the moment of old-school writing (viz, with paper and pen), a storm rages with intermittent strength. As the windows and doors rattled in the menacing wind, my fidgety mind streams vision of unhinged doors and windows whooshing around the village. Buntings of last month's fiesta now lies cluttered on the streets while the howling wind sings a doleful duet with my door chimes.

The usually noisy village is not unlike a forgotten graveyard for now. And, for me, it is bliss. It is bliss not hearing a local radio host's gruff rantings from the neighbor's presumably ancient transistor radio. It is bliss not hearing someone belting out the latest ear-flinching pop song. It is bliss to merely hear the sweet scratching of my pen on paper which gives me a silencegasm.

Silence is bliss.

I can hear every whirring of machines in the house not excluding my addled brain. Silence sent a cerebral jolt compelling me to remember the existence of QuaintQuill.

Indeed, silence is bliss. And I have Storm Fengshen to thank for that. (Although, I am immensely sorry for the lives that were lost and claimed by storm Fengshen.)

Just as the moon is the pale tenant of the sun to Jeanette Winterson in Lighthousekeeping, the storm is the contraption that brings me back in time ------- to the undemanding and uncomplicated time of my childhood. Sadly, as I'm about to recount the wonderful bits of my younger days, the storm is slowly ebbing away. Inevitably, its gradual demise revives the galling racket. And, as the noise gains momentum, my mind's grasp of memories loosens.

The last strains of my bliss vanishes until all I hear is the peddler's shouts of "Budbud, budbud mo diha..!" (Budbud in Cebuano and Suman in Tagalog is a Philippine delicacy.)

written as of 06/21/2008 at 06:44 AM

23 April 2008

Of horns and halos

Being almost three years short to claiming three decades of existence gives me the license to pick an unforgettable year. That would have to be the last year of my naiveté. 1996.

1996 was when I found an angel. Part of the pre-examination requirement of a pedantic religion teacher was to participate in our church's station of the cross meditation in observance of Lent. For a Catholic-raised schoolgirl who can barely get out of the house at nights let alone a school night, it was indeed one of those few well-liked school activities. On that one balmy night of March, some of my classmates were kind enough to pick me up on their way to church and thankfully, it was enough for my mom to deem the situation "safe." The activity ended rather late and my classmates decided to stay and feast on the sidewalk's entree of tempura and fishball before heading home, much to my annoyance of not being able to partake in this rare impromptu soiree. Knowing my mom (and the small city swarmed with mom's prying friends), I knew I had to hurry home. Perhaps, out of guilt, my classmates walked me to the jeepney stop while gobbling a stick of tempura swathed in a tasty-looking, gooey sauce. As we passed one of the makeshift roadside stores, a torso-baring idler who obviously had taken more than his fill of tuba that night, jumped right in front of us and grabbed me by the arm. Too scared and nauseated by the stinking breath of this drunkard, I was completely immobilized. Luckily, the braver one of our lot was quick to yank the man's arm, pulled me away from his grip and we ran all the way to the jeepney stop. Perhaps sensing my fear, that classmate accompanied me home even if home was quite a long way off. And that was how I came to know an angel.

Sharing incidents like these can inevitably spark friendship despite having personalities not unlike the opposing poles of a magnet. We became good friends after that though not the type who would hang out after class to swap droll classroom antics or share a plate of Pinoy-style spaghetti. We barely even keep up to the latest details of our respective lives. This, I guess, is a trait of true friendship. Except that I really never thought of my angel that way that time.

Exactly a year after the torso-baring, tuba-drinking idler episode, I found myself back in the throes of trouble. I could've prevented this if I used even half of my brain to decipher the omens or the makings of a Trojan horse in a bag of Hershey's Kisses or in that tawdry doll with an oddly-braided hair but due to a teenager's credulity to trust everyone except her didactic yet well-meaning family, I was hurled gobsmacked right into the pit of my own hell. Utterly disheveled and bruised from trying to escape the devil's lair, I found myself standing right at the doorstep of my angel's house. The two-faced devil scampered away, afraid of being unmasked and perhaps, of legal repercussions. At the sight of the angel, I felt safe. Still shaken but safe. That night, the angel walked me home again while I blabbered about the day's awful events through misty eyes.

"Save a person's life once and you become responsible for him forever."

So goes an old Chinese adage. True enough, it's been twelve years and when the going gets tough or when I manage to hurl myself in trouble again or when I'm just being my restless self, the angel remains.

A scarred part of me badly wants to say that my angel brought me home for good. But that would be a complete lie. Happy am I right now but I still have a thousand steps (maybe even more) to take before reaching that self-made person I've always imagined myself to be. When I can finally summon that nascent courage to take my first step towards finding my home on my own, it would not be without lachrymose eyes.

08 April 2008


(Phew.. a moldy and funky-smelling this blog has become. I must say, this writing mechanism deserves a bit more oil than ever. For now, let me just grab my broomstick and sweep all the dust and cobwebs away as I can't summon the right alibis for my absence. While I'm at it, enjoy yourself with this quick read.)

Bullet in the Brain by Tobias Wolff
One word.
Mind-blowing. No pun intended.

29 January 2008

Blame the archer

Notice how the very things you are so keen to escape from seem to always catch up? You keep running, hiding and dodging the suspected intruders of your territory. In your mad scurry you never dared to breathe and just when you thought you can pass being the elusive Frank Abagnale Jr., in exasperation, you will realize you haven't actually managed to even break a few steps away from it all. Yes, you have grown more white hairs, earned more furrows upon your forehead, exhausted the verve of your youth, accumulated more books you dream of adding to your "future" home library aggrandized with a bay window but everything you've sworn to escape stares right back at you with a swelling jeer.

In one blurry episodes of the past, I remember plotting my future post-college life plan like a precise historian. Historians, nonetheless, have ancient scrolls to support their claims. Being a futurist, is a daunting feat. What is it that validates your belief of a good future? Back then, however, I had a clearer concept of what future (my future, at least) will be like or I thought I did. Five years since college and the focal object of my hankering has materialized and has been my prized coup. That is, independence. For the past five years, I've been promenading aimlessly in my soliloquy. Sadly, independence is the only checked entry in my life plan. And I still hold on to that life plan while I loiter at this juncture. Not because I am optimistic but because I am a creature of habit.

It is always easier to point fingers on things. Blame it on fate, destiny or even, karma. As these scapegoats are all clichés, I'll take G.noyam's nifty rationalization for this stagnation. We are merely victims of the inherent peculiarity of our mutual zodiac sign to zigzag through twisting routes which we are bound to overcome by the time we're in our 30s.

In effect, I still have four more years to amble around my territory feeling not unlike a caged hamster running frantically and yet pointlessly on a wheel.

11 January 2008

Voice Regained

Days before Christmas, an overwhelming stream of thoughts were racing in my mind just as I turned off my bedside lamp (see picture -- a beauty, isn't it?). The adamant lexical stream was set to foist me up and start clacking the keyboard but after a mad day of rush shopping, menu planning and frantic gift-wrapping, I can truly empathize with Santa's harried elfin kinsfolk. After a few minutes of battling drowsiness, my eyes finally gave in and the mental chatters droned, ebbed and slowly drifted away like spirits departing from their tombs for a nightly scare. Unlike the spirits, the mental chatters never returned and even had the gall to put up a strike. I can only grit my teeth in exasperation as I repeatedly faced a blank document on my PC and can never seem to frame my thoughts nor summon that je ne sais quoi to write hence, the long silence and inactivity of QuaintQuill.

2007 took its final bow, 2008 bustled in and both caught my site in a torpor. Is this the faint echoes of a eulogy?

My very first entry for the year and I'm talking about spirits, tombs and eulogies. That isn't necessarily cynicism. It's the inseparable shadow of melancholy. Now, this reminds me of a conversation three years ago...

Officemate 1: Com'n Issa, let's go to the party. It's going to be swell. Everyone's going.
Myself: Just count me out. I hate V*d*, anyway. I'm just going to sulk and be my nasty self while watching blokes who think they can dance.
Team Lead 1: Oo nga, Issa. Sama ka na para masaya. (Right, Issa. It's going to be swell if you go with us.)
Officemate 1: Don't be such a killjoy. What are you going to do anyway?
Myself: I don't know. Whatever strikes my fancy that time, that I'd do. But you can never make me go.
Team Lead 2 (my favorite!): Leave Issa alone. Ano ba, hayaan niyo na. Sadyang malungkuting bata lang talaga 'yan. (Spare her. She's just plainly a melancholic child.)

People have a peculiar sense of assuming that the world agrees unanimously to their perception of fun. But yes, melancholy is my inseparable shadow. And at 26, I am still a child.

Happy New Year.

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