Looking back

2004 has barely started and it's now coming to an end. Too many things have happened to me--both bad and good--and this is perhaps the best time to write about them as I store them in my bottled brain.

I cannot recall everything with precision; but I can, however, create a poignant picture of the events that have transpired. What is clear is that I will only write about the most important ones. If I have, for the record, forgotten some very monumental events, then my neurons must be blamed for not functioning as is expected of them.

1. Leaving high school.

I graduated from Koronadal National Comprehensive High School in March of 2004 with some 1,500 or so students. The ceremony was very lenthy: it started promptly at 1pm and ended at 6:30 pm.

Graduation always spells "leaving," no matter what ceremonial speakers say. It was a moment of saying goodbye to really great friends in high school. Until now, I sure do miss the high school people: my teachers, the Recorder (our English schoolpaper) staff, my coaches and trainors. My classmates and I have been through rough and smooth times in and out of school. I didn't cry, though. In my speech during graduation, my first words were a quotation from AW Tozer, "It is only by His grace that God imputes merit where none perviously existed; and declares no debt to be where one had been before."

I am continually reminded of God's grace whenever I dwell on high school thoughts.

2. Choosing my path--letting God choose for me.

It should not be assumed that leaving high school means leaving the academe; on the contrary, it is entering a bigger world we call the university. Unlike my brother who took many entrance exams, I took only two. I was really undecided as to the course I wanted to pursure. My interests were ever-varied, from journalism, to literature, to the sciences, to economics, and many more. It was not until the closing of my second semester in UP that I actually learned of what my desire should be.

3. Abiding in God.

I praise God for He has caused me to become dependent on Him and Him alone. I used to think that I could do all things--except of course to fly and to disappear and reappear. Ha ha ha. But really, I unlearned and learned many things from Him. I shall write about them in a separate article.

4. Invasion.

By God's grace, I was able to enter the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City. Taking up AB English Studies, I am now enjoying the university. I had to adjust to the new environment, though, but that didn't take long. Homesickness overwhelmed me at times, but I've gotten used to the newfound life I have in Manila.



Perhaps the world will end next year, or maybe not. I really don't mind. I have a God who loves me so much that nothing else matters--not even the gradual thickening of my eyeglasses.


Who am I?

LAST MOVIE YOU SAW IN A THEATER:The Incredibles
WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING NOW:Whatever Happened to Worship (AW Tozer)
FAVORITE BOARD GAME:scrabble (and squabble)
FAVORITE MAGAZINE: Time. Join the conversation.
FAVORITE SMELLS: Rotten egg. Sewer.
COMFORT FOOD: Uhmm.. sweet air.
FAVORITE SOUNDS: Funeral music.
WORST FEELING IN THE WORLD:When there are harmful bacteria and viruses inside my system
WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU THINK OF WHEN YOU WAKE UP IN THE MORNING:God.
FAVORITE FAST FOOD PLACE:Rodic's. Tapsilog.. wow.
FUTURE CHILD'S NAME: Bloody Mary
FINISH THIS STATEMENT: "IF I HAD A LOT OF MONEY, I WOULD":eat my money. It's the root of all evil, see. ha ha ha.
DO YOU DRIVE FAST:I walk.
DO YOU SLEEP WITH A STUFFED ANIMAL: No, I sleep with a stuffed pillow.
STORMS -- COOL OR SCARY:Cool. No class.
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST CAR:In dreams, man.
FAVORITE ALCOHOLIC DRINK:I don't drink.
FINISH THIS STATEMENT,'IF I HAD THE TIME, I WOULD LOVE TO': worship my Lord.
DO YOU EAT THE STEMS OF BROCCOLI:even the roots.
IF YOU COULD DYE YOUR HAIR ANY COLOR, WHAT WOULD YOU CHOOSE: Metallic pink.
GLASS HALF-EMPTY OR FULL:The glass is broken.
HOW MANY CITIES/TOWNS HAVE YOU LIVED IN: I don't know. Perhaps three.
FAVORITE PLACE TO RELAX: My room.
FAVORITE SPORT TO WATCH: Oh, volleyball. WWVGP.
WHAT IS UNDER YOUR BED: Monsters.
TOILET PAPER/ PAPER TOWEL--OVER OR UNDER: in the middle. Yeah

CREATE YOUR OWN! - or - GET PAID TO TAKE SURVEYS!

The Dog Story

The family has three dogs. Let me tell you about them.

The oldest, Rocky, is the most intelligent and obedient, but also the fiercest. My younger brother, Sean, named him after a character in the Flinstone Kids. Rocky is actually the antagonist in that cartoon series.

Second to age is David--I named him after King David of Israel who's described by the Bible as a "man after God's own heart." Apparently, what is true to David the King has not been true for David the dog. While David does look adorable--he has white fur, and he really looks "cute"--he does not have the ability to think. Except for my father and Sean, no one can pursuade him to go out, sit, crawl, or do things. Okay, animal activists, perhaps that dog must be thinking, but he's not thinking really well. I pity him for his low Dog IQ.

Third is Isaac. I don't know much about him, except that even if he's younger than David, he thinks better than him. I even surmise that Isaac, at some instances, can even be more intelligent that Rocky.

There ya go. Dogs are dogs. And stupid dogs will always be stupid. Ha ha ha.

Rocky and David are very afraid of firecrackers. They'd scurry inside the house, and for a time, hide in a corner.

Oh, tonight (or more appropriately, this midnight) the family is going to celebrate Christmas. We join the other Christians as we remember God's precious gift to mankind.

Maligayang Pasko sa inyong lahat.

Antihistamine

I always tell people, regardless of race or gender, that I am not allergic to anything--not to crabs, lobsters, meat or Visine--except to stupidity. I can, however, forgive people who are innately stupid--that kind of stupidity that's acquired at birth. Those who choose to act stupidly are not reasonable beings at all: in the first place, why act in such a horrendous, unbecoming manner when they could always choose the opposite? Pretending to be stupid is forgivable if the situation requires one to be stupid. There are many of such instances.

But I do not write this to give you an exposition of why I hate stupidity.

To do so would yield to a war. Many people would surely disagree with me: I myself might even disagree with the things I had said in the past. You see, stupidity is a very relative word. For Christians (I am one of them), for example, following and believing in Christ is not stupid; the world views them and their actions as foolish--and therefore, stupid. Christians, on the other hand, think of the world as foolish, just the exact opposite.

Did I just explain why I hate stupidity? I have lost my train of thought, assuming I was, in fact, not thinking while I was writing this. Now that's stupid. Aaaaargh. I need an antihistamine!

Waterworld



For three days, I have not stepped on dry land, except the shiny, lubricated floor of the passenger ship. I have mostly breathed air excessively saturated with salt: it was as if I was eating sodium chloride without opening my mouth while my nose was doing all the tasting; I have seen the waves of the blue sea as they hampered and resisted the forward motion of Superferry 15.

For three days, I have had a fortaste of the Waterworld.

The refreshment that has come upon my senses was a welcome treat after weeks upon weeks of study in the university. I mostly spent time in my room where I read my take-home assignments, including James Hilton's fictional novel, The Lost Horizon. Which is to say, I was idle. I slept, ate, slept, read, slept again...

Three days.

Leaving. Living.

Amian has just finished packing and is set to go to Baguio.

Jeiel had left for Paco before the frisbee game was finished.

Royson has gone to SC (that's the UP Shopping Center beside the dorm) to buy something before he goes to Quezon.

Jef has decided to sleep at his friend's house tonight before he goes to Bicol.

JP-Polsci and JP-Philo have both left early--they must have arrived in Sorsogon and Sultan Kudarat at the time of writing.

Luther and Jason are going to Tuguegarao and Balanga anytime because they had taken their Math 53 exam early this morning.

There's one thing in common in each of them, though: they're all going home today.

My dormitory is now a place that looks uninhabited. It looks like that to me; there's not a soul to be seen. Of course, this one's hyperbole, but the sudden turn of the date has ushered in this tremendous, albeit short-lived, change. That noise--so characteristic of the Basement Corridor--is for now non-existent. I could actually hear my voice echoing whenever I talk to someone. The silence is deafening: it spells loneliness and solitude.

I am going home tomorrow--that's definite. It's going to be three days aboard the ship and somehow, I feel more excited in taking the trip than getting back home. Still, I am going home. Ah, South Cotabato. God is to be thanked for this opportunity to spend my Christmas break with my family. I have dormmates who won't be able to.

Tomorrow, I shall add to my above-written list:

Lance has signed-out; he's now going home. At last.

Mistaken

Hi. My name's Lindsey. I'm nine years old,
and I'm in the third grade. It's cold out there. Mom told me not to stay up late, but my bestfriend Mary said we're going to play until we see Santa.
I don't wanna sleep.
I wanna see Santa and his reindeers. I'm sure Santa will let us sit on his lap.

I'm gonna tell Santa that I wanna get a doll, that one I saw in Tom's store
in the 13th Avenue. Mom told me to wait for Christmas.
I've been a pretty good girl. Oh, there's Mary knocking at the door.



Lindsey, you may have noticed, has a wretched view of Christmas. This girl's sentiments of the celebration is myopic: she thinks that it's about gifts, about the fictional Santa Claus. Unfortunately, her views reflect the general pathetic view of modern-day man when it comes to Christmas. It's not the gifts, the families, nor Santa Claus we're remembering.

Christmas is chiefly a celebration meant to remind us of God's holy and incomparable love for mankind: He sent Jesus Christ, His only Son, to redeem mankind of its sin. Jesus did not die merely to create a glorious part in history. He died because when we were still sinners, He first loved us.



Who is Lindsey's mother? Who taught her these wrong ideas?!

Reveal yourself.

In Memoriam



CIV

The time draws near the birth of Christ;The moon is hid, the night is still;A single church below the hillIs pealing, folded in the mistA single peal of bells below,That wakens at this hour of restA single murmur in the breast,These are not the bells I know.Like strangers' voices here they sound,In lands where not a memory strays,Nor landmark breathes of other days,But all is new unhallow'd ground. -- Tennyson

Going bananas

The smell of bananas was detected by my sensitive olfactory nerves. Hmm.. it smelled as if it came from Jeiel's room which was almost two rooms away from mine. That delicious smell was so inviting that I couldn't resist the urge to knock on his door, and probably have a taste of it myself.

"Oh, Lance, pasok ka," Jeiel told me, as he opened the door. He bid me to come inside.

"Hmm.. wow, Jeiel, mukhang masarap 'yan ah," I said.

"Sige, Lance, kuha ka lang." He offered me the bundle of bananas, and I picked one. The taste was ambrosiac: I, under normal circumstances, do not really like bananas; but the taste has become foreign to my tastebuds that I wanted to refresh my memory of it. It was delicious.

"Ang sarap. Thanks. Pero why is it so small? How much does that cost? Don't you like big bananas, the ones they export?," I inquired. He kindly answered these questions, and offered concrete evidences that supported his claims.






Jeiel said that he prefers to eat the smaller varieties of bananas. He says, "Mas masarap." Why didn't I notice the difference before he said that? Perhaps I wasn't paying attention to my tastes.

He offered me tips in choosing which bananas to buy and not to buy:

Buy small bananas. They have thinner skin (or covering. I do not know the exact scientific terms). They're usually sweeter, and therefore more delicious. Corollary to this statement, do not buy big bananas. They have thicker skin, and some do not taste as good as the smaller ones.In buying, do not buy a whole bundle (again, since I am ignorant of the terms, allow me to use what's in my vocabulary) since the tindera would base the prize on the mass of such bundle. Such mass (taking into consideration the Law of Conservation of Mass) would include the edible part of the fruit and the skin. Therefore, the thicker skin, the heavier. In fact, Jeiel told me that it's better to buy small bananas, since the mass of the skin would be negligible. But what's better, according to him, is to buy, "papiso-piso" or "pa-isa-isa." (N.B.: I could no translate the aforementioned terms in English; too bad my brother isn't here with me to translate.)Buy clean-looking bananas. Cleanliness, after all, is next to godliness.Last semester, in my Bio 1 class, we discussed things about the bananas. Dr. Emile Frison, who heads the INIBAP (International Network for the Improvement of Banana and Planatain) in Montpellier, France, made a shocking revelation: that ten to forty years from now, bananas will be extinct if they are not protected from fungal diseases and many other detrimental factors. Jeiel ought to join that research group. He eats banana all the time."It makes me healthy and strong," he said.

I tried to convince Jeiel to give me his photo so that I can include it in this write-up. He declined.

Relativistic

When I went out of the College of Science auditorium, I felt exhausted.

It was an exhaustion brought about by an hour and a half of listening to my fast-talking professor (he blurts out words in such a way that we, his students, would perpetually ask ourselves, "What did he just say?"), and wondering if time is, in fact, absolute.

Newtonian and Galilean physics assume that time is absolute for all inertial frames. I had agreed with this idea: after all, intuition and practical observation would prove this theory to be correct. I was about to yawn and drift to half-sleepiness had it not been for the puzzling question the professor asked the class of almost 200 people (who were mostly sleeping; some were even not listening to him): Can you travel in time?

Uh oh. My mind said, "Bloody no!" But I didn't shout, of course. It was such a public place, and he (the prof) does not like interference of any kind--except of course the concept of interference of waves.

Then he went on to explain Einstein's Theory of Relativity whose implications were: time is relative; mass changes with respect to velocity; when the velocity reaches (or closely approaches) the speed of light (i.e., c= 300,000 m/s), time slows down. When it's equal to c, time stops.

He gave an illustration of this relativity. I cannot exactly replicate what he actually said, but here's a rough take on it. It's called the TWIN PARADOX. It goes this way: There are twin brothers, A and B. They both look at a distant star, and so B decides to go there by a rocket with a speed of .9c (ninety percent of the speed of light). A decides to observe here on Planet Earth. Will there be an age difference?

Einstein would tell us that B would become younger. Because time slows down in velocities approaching c, the biological and physical clock of B would slow down, too, though he wouldn't be able to realize it. Using complicated solutions to this problem, all scientists would agree that B would be younger.

Oh well. If you think Botox or facial surgery is too costly, why not try buying a rocket ship and travel to Mars?

Time is, in fact, relative.

Grace

College has deprived me of many things I used to enjoy in high school.

The transistion has been so abrupt that I hardly noticed things changing dramatically. This realization came to me just a while ago while I was browsing through the pictures in the Yahoo group of our batch. The picture was taken while I and my classmates competed in the National Science Quiz and Fair in Laguna. I joined in the quiz; the others in the science investigatory project.

Those were such wonderful days then. Which is not to say, though, that I am bored to death in this new-found college life. But the enjoyment was different.

I used to be excused from classes for months (of course, I attended class, but not always) because I joined these competitions. Most of the people I've met in the University of the Philippines are people who also joined the same conferences, seminars, trainings, and contests that I participated in.

Oh well, I guess I just miss high school. It was a time where I learned that excellence is not determined by the number of medals that one acquires, nor by the knowledge that one has in his head. In fact, I learned something far more important: that excellence not based on God's standards of righteousness is not excellence at all.

I praise the Lord because in high school I learned of His goodness and grace. Apart from Him, I am nothing.

Whenever I relish those moments in high school, I can't help but think in awe of the wonderful plan of God in which I was--and am still--a part of.

Locked

The door was locked, and I felt it wasn't just possible to open it--let alone, destroy it. Beads of sweat were trickling on my cheeks,and it was so hot that I could almost taste the saltiness of myperspiration. Feeling pressured, I once again tried to fool myself into believing that I could accomplish this task on my own. The doorknob still remained locked, but I twisted it for the nth time anyway. My actions were futile, I knew, but it was better to do something that wouldn't yield to something beneficial than not doing anything at all."Please, open the door. Please," I pleaded. To whom that plea was addressed, I didn't know.

There was no evidence to point out that there was no one inside the room; there was also no evidence to point out the opposite. The room was like a guarded fortification, a fortess wheare no one can never be allowed to enter."O, I want to get inside now. I'm so tired, I need to rest," I thought. I was close to giving up that I wanted to scream. For "the sake of silence," I didn't: screaming loudly is an act of uncivilized people, or at least, of those who couldn't control their impatience. I wasn't stupid.

The room still seemed impenetrable; the door was blatantly mocking me:"You're so weak, you couldn't come in. How dare you pound your fists on my surface, you wretched creature!" I was so exhausted that feeling insulted was somehow eradicated tomporarily from my system. Oblivious to everything else, I wanted just one thing: to get inside.But the door was locked. I had to ask help.

This is dedicated to those who often find their rooms locked. King and Mifs, this is especially for you. Remember, the key to get inside isthe key, so don't leave it anywhere.

Bottled


Bottles fascinate me more than the latest cellphone models. I cannot explain this liking satisfactorily, but at least, let me give you the reasons why I like them.

First

They're breakable. It's great to break things. You have to take extra care in handling them, otherwise, you'll break them. That's the point: take care of your bottles so as to preserve them for the next ages to come.

Second

They're colorful. Not all of them, actually. But the owner always has the option to do whatever he likes to his bottles. A couple of years ago, I realized that if only all bottles were as beautiful as wine bottles (and not as bland as Coca-cola bottles), then this world would become a more beautiful place to live in.

Third

They're transparent. Again, there are exceptions, but most bottles are transparent.
I like transparent things. Yeah.