Thursday, July 31, 2008


Four years ago, I was a bit of a health buff. It was a little thing that turned into an everyday habit. I wouldn't say habit, now that I think about it. I was literally obsessed. I jogged everyday at 5 o'clock (because I read somewhere that that's your body's peak exercise time), did up to 80 sit ups a day and ate Sky Flakes for lunch. At one point, I tipped the scales at 119 (which was no easy task, mind you). My sisters staged a couple of interventions which were pretty funny but also kinda scary.

Three years ago, I slowly started to gain weight. Then the pounds came rolling in. And then they wouldn't stop. I ended the year at 135 and stopped counting from then on.

Today, I'm at a hundred-something. That's my answer if anybody asks. It's not that I'm M.O. or anything. I just like to eat. I like how with food you get all these different sensations- texture, flavor, smell, anything and everything about food just makes me feel so alive.. and so hungry.

In mundane moments, I find myself entertaining the thought of dieting again. The wonderful cure-all for fattyfoofoos. Eat less, weigh less. Hmm.. maybe not. It's on those days when I subconsciously forgo shaving so that no one will notice that extra chin. Or when I've gone through tons of shirts to find one that doesn't make me look like a dumpling.

It's funny to look back now and see what I once was and what I am now. I haven't completely withdrawn from sanity. I try to walk to and from work as much as I can. I also try to eat healthy food as much as I can but there are days and moments (like today!!!) when I start to wonder how I went from Sky Flakes to this: (ladies and gentlemen, my tabatsoooy moments)
  1. a bottle of VitWater (to convince myself that l-carnitine works without exercise)
  2. a chicken sandwich from mister donut (na-curious ako kasi it looked good. plus chicken's healthy naman diba? and may veggies pa yun)
  3. Grape soda (to go with the sandwich. At least may parts parin na fruit)
  4. A 22oz Fruitas mango shake (it's fruit and it's got milk so maganda yan! healthing healthy!)
  5. Egg rolls (which I found in the house. Snack lang. Nakakapagod magdiet! Kailangan ng reward)
  6. Lunch time na! Seafood platter from the GCMA concessionaire (seafood siya so at least slightly healthy parin. never mind na imitation crab meat is made of mystery meat.)
  7. California Maki (kasi bitin yung seafood platter! Dessert siya at konti lang naman yung roe. Plus the wasabi will be good for my cold (?))
  8. (more) grape soda. I never really paid much attention to the Coke machine at work but the thought of more grape soda seemed so yummy at that time.
  9. (more) Egg rolls. Gotta finish the box. Sayan naman diba?
  10. (and the winner is...) Lechon + Tofu (weird tokwa't baboy mix) from the concessionaire nanaman. While getting coffee with Chama, we passed the food people and the porky parts were screaming my name. It took me a long time to decide if I wanted some pero in the end, *sigh*
  11. (segue to me walking home promising myself di na ako kakain when... tada!!!) tortang talong for dinner!!! with afritada!!! *sobs* a few spoonfuls.
  12. (but wait, there's more!!!) two twix bars and a glass of coke (for the energy to write this down)
Maybe it's because my wallet's been looking pretty thin lately. Payday just happened to fall on a Thursday so everyone's feeling the stretch. I once heard that when you've got only x amount of dollars left, go out and get the biggest steak you can find and treat yourself to a shoeshine. Parang emotional hoarding. You hoard good vibes of fullness and contentment kasi your body's not sure when it'll experience bounty again.

Must... stop... eating...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

introduce yourself...

La Familia Dieta

Part I: Self-Edit
Thought: Hmm.. tough crowd. Suddenly the half room doesn't seem so small.
Speech: Hello everybody *ahem* before we begin I'd like to introduce myself.

T: Introduce yourself, no way, introduce yourself, okay!
S: *ahem* My name is...

T: I am 21 years old. I am 21 years old! Damn it, I can't say that. Must... build... credibility
S: ...I am a trainer here at DIET. I've been in the contact center industry for...

T: 14 months.
S: ...over a year now...

T: I've been a trainer for 2 months. Took calls for a day shy of a year. Scratch that. BE CREDIBLE $#!%@$^!@!!!
S: ...half of which was spent here at this company.

T: Oh crap. Should I have said that? T1: No. Remember the part about building credibility? They can do simple math. 1 year divided by 2= 6 months = boo!
T2: Oh shit.
T3: Oh shit (echo, enter London Bridge Intro)
S: Anyway, I started here as an IP Relay operator. We basically made phone calls for the deaf and hard of hearing. Those with call center experience would probably know what I'm talking about.

T: What's next? Hmm... Training is my passion because...
T1: Is it? You gotta talk about moving to DIET, silly.
T2: The spiel about marriage of both worlds.

T3: The
Grey Goose got your girl feeling loose. Now I'm wishing that I didn't wear these shoes.
S: After that, I...

T: applied?
T1: got promoted?
S: ...moved to DIET. Which is so much fun. I love it here. I really do (with matching eyebrow action towards Bossman) Training is my passion because I find that it's the marriage of my 2 worlds. I am a teacher. I have a degree in Secondary Education from UST but after college I...

T: Sold out?
T1: Slipped into the dark side

T3: (sirens)

S: joined the industry because of the...

T: money

T1: money
T2: ...the wonderful opportunity and the...
T: money
T2: ...sheer joy of getting to meet new people everyday...

T1: money

T2: ...and also because I'm a people person...

S: (high pitched shriek + horse neigh) *mental breakdown*

Sounds stressful? Nope. Just another day at the office. When you self correct a lot, you start to hear four, at times five different voices all at once. Since when did introducing one's self become so difficult? I realize now that despite introductions being tough, I have to do it right at the risk of losing my (big word today) credibility in front of the trainees. I always thought that my youth and lack of experience would be a testament to the company's stance on equal opportunity but after some re-education, I know see that my previous introductions have made me look unqualified and this casts a negative light on the company. Oh, what I'd do for a do over right about now.

I used to think this move to Training meant one thing: less stress. I've always felt comfortable in front of a class and at the time that I decided (to apply), I really felt like I was coming home. I still remember getting really delicate calls and how my heart would just jump out of my chest each time. I figured this change would do me good (I believe I talked about that in some of my previous posts) but with a new scene comes new challenges and this latest one is just the beginning. It's like there's another voice in my head that seems to say...

T5: there's plenty more where that came from (evil laughter)

But I am learning. Learning has been defined as a change in behavior and I can feel it. I hear it, smell it, taste it. Change is all around me. In a mock extempo, a trainee asked me who I look up to and (cheesy answer) in a hushed voice, I said "Let's keep this to ourselves but I really look up to the other trainers. Sometimes, I just watch them in the war room and I'm so amazed at what they've accomplished. Here are people who have lives and families and have made names for themselves and most of them have been in the very same place I find myself in now. So yeah, if there's anybody I look up to, that'd be them."

No, I am not the greatest. I'm not even in the top half. But I'm learning and that's all I need right now.

Part II: Toshie's Dead, well not really.

People who have seen my phone usually say one of two things. The polite ones would probably say "wow, that's a unique phone. hmmm... what's it called?" to which I'd go on about how I found it on eBay and how it's Japanese and blahdiblahdiblah... The crude ones would probably say "wow, diba call center ka (oo, building ako)? Bat ganyan parin phone mo" Kasi, this doubles as a deadly weapon. Blag! As I wipe their brain particles of the phone's display, I feel glad to have defended my phone's honor.

But it's dead now. Well, not really. It turns on and off at different times of the day. The repair guy said he could probably fix it but it would have a 50/50 chance of surviving surgery. So I guess that makes Toshie an ICU patient. Blame it on the Starbucks not-so-spillproof tumbler. I found Toshie wet and coughing as it buzzed goodbye.

I'm still thinking if I should get a new phone or have this one fixed. I really love the camera in this phone and a lot of people who have used this particular model would agree that it captures natural light pretty well. This picture (which I've got up on Multiply) is from the fifth floor of the office and it's one of the reasons why I'm really going to miss good old Toshie. *sad face*

Sunday, July 13, 2008

another one bites the dust

I noticed something strange. Every time I'm about to get my hands on a new MP3 player, the previous one dies. I thought this time would be different. Me and my MP3 player have been together for over a year now and aside from the minor scratches, it was relatively fine ("was" being the operative word) . The built-in speakers still worked (for singing in the shower) and that's usually the first thing to go.

I was in the grocery with my parents and my sister yesterday, listening to a David Sedaris audio book when the battery ran out. Segue to coming home, plugging the darn thing, expecting to see the friendly orange "Charging" screen. Sadly though, this was not the case.

"It's dead!" I panicked. What'll I do now?

So I tried plugging it in again. I tried all the sockets in the house. I tried the PC but just like the infamous Filipino blood dish, it dinuguan. "It's dead!" I panicked some more. Then I fell asleep. And when I woke up, I glanced at its once alive display and sighed. "It's dead", I thought (with less panic).

So this last one adds to my list of dead MP3 players. I figured I owe it to them to give them a proper burial so I took pictures and listed some memorable things about them. (collective sigh)

This was my first ever MP3 player. No one else had one, if I recall correctly. It was a glorified card reader (which proved to be useful even when it couldn't play anything anymore) meaning it didn't have it's own memory nor did it have its own battery. A single AAA battery would last for 8 hours and then you had to buy a new one. One day, I dropped it and the cover for the memory card flew away. "Bye bye" I yelled but it never looked back. Favorite moments with this thing was listening to Aimee Mann's The Forgotten Arm over and over and over and over...

This was my second MP3 player. It had the smallest screen ever and had an internal memory of 256 KB. "Wow", I thought, "that's a lot of space!!!" I was super excited because it didn't have any buttons and the glass thing with the circles is actually how you communicate with it. You could upload videos (although the converters at that time weren't as sophisticated as they are today so each 3 minute video would have the same file size as an entire album) and best of all, it had its own battery (gasp!). And a single charge would last three days! Best for those MRT moments when you just wanna block out the entire world. One day, I unscrewed the back and off came the battery. With lots of double sided tape, I was able to salvage the files inside but sadly, this littly piggy had to rest in peace.

This one had the most promise, as I recall. It had 1G storage space, a battery (of course), video, and (tada!) a personal speaker. It was built in and stuff. The only thing that I didn't like was the damn flowery user interface so I Googled and joined some forums and learned how to change it. Sadly though, as I uploaded the new firmware, my MP3 player blinked and died. I spent countless effort and moments trying to revive it but it didn't work anymore. If you look at the picture, it barely had any scratches. If in the future, I would find some way to restore this baby, I'd probably find some Sergio Mendes and Shakira stuff and start laughing. Sigh, those were the days.

This one has got the award for most irritating MP3 player. It had a big fake SONY sign on it but I forgave it for it was super thin, had a big ass screen, and 2G space. I couldn't believe my eyes. I bought it with my EJ paycheck. I uploaded tons of stuff (including a lot of 80's OPM hits), all I could get my hands on really. But what I failed to see when I bought it was that it had a small earphone jack and to use my super kawaii earphones, I had to use a big bulky converter and this inevitably spelled the end for it. In certain angles, you'd get a hollow sound, similar to a radio inside a cave. For most angles though, you get a karaoke version which was kinda funny at first until I realized how irritating songs are without the singers. The one day, the speakers gave out. So I had it fixed. BIG MISTAKE. I brought it back to the place where I bought it and months later, they called and said it was fixed. The battery was drained so I couldn't check if it was working. When I got home and tried charging it, I realized that the battery was dead. Everything was dead. And then it wouldn't open anymore and all my files were caught inside. :( I thought I'd never go generic again until...

It was perfect. It had less space than my last player but I wasn't choosy anymore. It was brandless and had a Samsung processor inside. It had durable speakers which I abused but did not break (like I said, for those "keep bleeding, keep keep bleeding" moments in the shower). It even read me Neil Gaiman stories to sleep. I bought it with one of my first Chase paychecks and I've had it with me ever since. I had just uploaded some Duffy and Mika yesterday and never even got to listen to it. Sigh, so much for that.

Last night, I dreamt that they all came together to form this silly Transformer like machine and they wanted revenge. Creepy... Maybe I should think twice about getting a new one and enroll in some technology protection awareness seminar first. Or maybe, I should just get this fixed instead of spending so much time (and griping extensively) feeling sad about it.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

youtube killed the video star

A friend from work told me about how he and his friends catch up.

"We read each other's blogs." Once they finally meet, there would be no more "Hey, what's up" or "How have you been?" You get the more direct questions like "How was the beach?" or "How'd you get so thin?" Not a minute is wasted since everyone, and I mean everyone, blogs about their lives.

It's the human condish. We just want to talk about ourselves and blogs have completely eliminated the need for the recieving end of our life conversations.

I had the chance to talk to an old friend a couple of days ago. We had lost touch maybe once or twice and we made the rounds of catching up. (No, she didn't have a blog) What've you been up to? Who are you seeing? Yadda yadda yadda... She told me about this guy she was seeing.

They met online. Simple enough, right? They slowly made it up the online dating ladder from private messages to instant messaging until they finally decided to meet. Once placed in the same room, they realized they could not carry on a decent conversation.

"It was like he was someone online and I was someone online and offline, we were both just... off."

It's interesting how technology designed to close the communication gap has somehow managed to build new ones. In one of Jewel's more inane songs she sings "email is cool but romance lives in a letter" Here are a couple of reasons why I agree.

1. You can download the latest movie off a torrent. You can download the subs to match it. You can even burn it on a DVD. But admit it, nothing beats the feeling of being in a theater, butter popcorn in hand while you watch a real movie. It's the total package and if you're with someone you like makes the experience even more memorable.

2. You can also download the latest records. You can rip them off your friend's Multiply page (yes, you can still do that) but nothing beats going to a record bar, browsing through the racks and taking that CD home. I seriously cannot get over the rush of opening the whole package starting from the plastic seal all the way to browsing through the CD's inlay. There's a rush you get from knowing you've supported your favorite artist and now you've taken them home.

3. Nothing beats meeting up with your friend for coffee and hear them personally talking about their lives. A good friend of mine was talking about one of his first work experiences and I laughed so hard. It was way better than the online version (here). Although I laughed at both versions, with the live one you could see how certain parts had more stress and certain parts needed a delicate tone. Any blogger knows that there are certain parts of every post that seem a little weak and hearing these live and in person only lets you see more of him. That's something you could never read off a blog, no matter how great the layout is, etc.

4. Romance lives in a letter (Kilcher, 2003). There's just more umph in an honest to goodness letter. The effort, the stationery selection, even the handwriting. It all betrays details invisible in an email. Plus think about how silly it would seem to act all giddy over a silly unformatted email (in all Courier Sans glory).

5. You could IM, PM, or conference all you want but when it gets down to it, I always have more fun when I meet my friends in person. Hearing them tell their stories firsthand is way better than hearing their dregs. It's all about timing, making the effort to clear a special day. Hearing them say my name is way better than a BUZZ!!!. Hearing them laugh is better than a rofl, lmao, or all the laughing emoticons combined.

So although this technology was designed to keep us together, I would gladly do away with them all if I had to choose. That's friendship for you. Real friendship beyond modems and wires and all we try to hide.

pnf is now offline.