Sunday, June 25, 2023

Typecast 7: Dreams

Typecast 7 - Dreams


Thursday, June 22, 2023

Typecast 6: Sean's birthday! And Hannah's, too! And Hannah Riza's, too! And Nonoy's, too!

Typecast 6 - Sean's birthday


Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Typecast 5: Driving

Typecast 5 - driving


Sunday, June 18, 2023

Typecast 4: Father's Day

typecast 4 - Father's Day


Typecast 3: Guest blogging by Manong Ralph

typecast 3


Saturday, June 17, 2023

Typecast 2: Musings on a Saturday morning

Smith-Corona Sterling

Typecast 3


My new old typewriter has arrived!

The Smith-Corona Sterling has arrived!

Typecast 2



Friday, June 16, 2023

Tito Cormac, 89

Mourning the death of Cormac McCarthy, one of my favorite novelists. He was 89. Revisited my blog and found that I wrote a few things about him, including my thoughts about Blood Meridian and All the Pretty Horses

Really enjoyed the interview with Cormac's long-time friend, Dennis Francis, in the WBIR Channel 10 Youtube channel. What struck me was how Cormac nourished, sustained, and protected his private life. I suppose that's something our generation does not understand, but living a quiet life, away from the spotlight, is one of life's underrated pleasures. Cormac's friends before his success remained his friends to the end. His friend described him as "loyal." By all accounts, he was great to hang out with and told the best stories.

What is it particularly about the death of writers that leaves me in a state of quiet contemplation? 


Saturday, June 10, 2023

A new rabbit hole. Abangan.

Might be falling into another rabbit hole. Just ordered a vintage typewriter. Nanay, who has complained of the deluge of books my brother and I brought back from Manila,  says, "Diin ta ina ibutang diri?"


Typewriter blogs I just discovered. There are so many of them. Who said blogs are dead? These enthusiasts are keeping blogging alive. Fascinating!


Auntie Mary's "Building the House"

Spending this Saturday afternoon with Auntie Mary Oliver. Her essay, Building the House, is a joy to read.

She writes: 
Once, in fact, I built a house. It was a miniscule house, a one-room, one-floored affair set in the ivies and vincas of the backyard, and made almost entirely of salvaged materials. Still, it had a door. And four windows. And, miraculously, a peaked roof, so I could stand easily inside, and walk around. 
She compares and contrasts the building of the house to writing poems. 
The labor of writing poems, of working with thought and emotion in the encasement (or is it the wings?) of language, is strange to nature, for we are first of all creatures of motion. Only secondly—only oddly, and not naturally, at moments of contemplation, joy, grief, prayer, or terror—are we found, while awake, in the posture of deliberate or hapless inaction. But such is the posture of the poet, poor laborer. The dancer dances, the painter dips and lifts and lays on the oils, the composer reaches at least across the octaves. The poet sits.
Then she writes about growing old and ends the piece with this image that evokes serenity and satisfaction.
… Near the path, one of the tall maples has fallen. It is early spring, so the crimped maroon flowers are just emerging. Here and there slabs of the bark have exploded away in the impact of its landing. But, mostly, it lies as it stood, though not such as a net for the wind as it was. What is it now? What does it signify? Not Indolence, surely, but something, all the same, that balances with Ambition.

Call it Rest. I sit on one of the branches. My idleness suits me. I am content. I have built my house. The blue butterflies, called azures, twinkle up from the secret place where they have been waiting. In their small blue dresses the float among the branches, they come close to me, one rests for a moment on my wrist. They do not recognize me as anything very different from this enfoldment of leaves, this wind-roarer, this wooden palace lying down, now, upon the earth, like anything heavy, and happy, and full of sunlight, and half asleep.

Meanwhile, here's Paul, who can't be bothered to do anything.  


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Consumed like smoke

Top of a hill, Conel, General Santos City

God knows us intimately. He understands precisely what we go through when we suffer. In Psalm 102, David calls out to God from the pits of sorrow and despair. The New King James Version annotates this Psalm as "A Prayer of the afflicted, when he is overwhelmed and pours out his complaint before the Lord."
For my days are consumed like smoke,
And my bones are burned like a hearth.
My heart is stricken and withered like grass,
So that I forget to eat my bread.
Because of the sound of my groaning
My bones cling to my skin.
I am like a pelican of the wilderness;
I am like an owl of the desert.
I lie awake,
And am like a sparrow alone on the housetop.
These are precisely the words I need to hear today. Praise be to God for His Word!


Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Not smoking but painting

Mural, St. Elizabeth Cancer Center 

A colorful mural lines the perimeter wall of the St. Elizabeth Cancer Center. I was walking leisurely when I noticed a hand that seemed to be holding a cigarette that, on close inspection, was actually a paintbrush!


Off track

Foot of Mount Matutum 

Went off track after morning rounds and found myself driving up to the foot of Mount Matutum. 

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Monday, June 5, 2023


A bird struggled to get out, bumping onto the glass window and flying back and forth in its search for escape. I looked at it with pity and frustration as I read on the couch: Mary Oliver (Upstream) of all authors, who was also writing about owls. Pity because that's how one feels towards trapped creatures; frustration because I could not grab the bird to lead it out of the house. I tried most things. I turned off the lights in the living room, so the bird could focus on the light outdoors. I tried opening the windows further, so it would have more room to escape. I tried doing nothing at all. But the bird (I cannot tell you exactly what kind it is, except that it is bigger than a maya and smaller than a church dove) kept on flying and grasping. I marveled at its athleticism. At one point, the bird landed on the chandelier above the dining table. After 15 minutes, the bird flew nearer the ground, past the open sliding window, and joined its tribe in ecstatic freedom, basking in the fresh, cool morning in Marbel, for it had rained a long time last night. What adventure stories would it tell its friends? 


Saturday, June 3, 2023

Week in glasses

Week in glasses

I started wearing glasses since I was 14 years old. I collected my spectacles and never discarded them. One day I opened my box where I crammed those pieces and realized I had a collection. I would change my prescription lenses as I grew older but my grado stabilized five years ago. There's been a slight worsening of astigmatism, but nothing too dramatic. Most of my glasses are cheap but durable. For instance, the brown frame (right) cost me 4 euros (Php 250). I call it the Librarian—something old librarians wore in the past. I got it from the flea market in Montmartre, beside the Sacré-Coeur, from a nice Frenchman who gave me a discount. The trick is to ask for a discount, then, if the seller refuses, one must feign disinterest and proceed to walk away. A compromise will be reached, and one goes home happy. 

In Marbel, a colleague complimented me for wearing the Librarian. She asked where I got it, and I may have given the wrong impression when said, "In Paris." I should have added: "Sa ukay-ukay.




Café in Milan

Day 2

It's easy to score a good cup of coffee in Milan. 

I read Elena Ferrante while waiting for a restaurant to open. The gnocchi was worth it!

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First clinicopathologic conference at MSU-Gensan!

The Dean asked if I could sit as judge in a clinicopathologic conference (CPC) at MSU Medicine.

I said yes. As one of the youngest faculty members, how could I say no to my boss? And also, perhaps, I was excited by the prospect of being on the other side.

I remember attending a CPC as a student in med school. I was in my first year, struggling to find my bearings, and was thoroughly impressed by what I heard and saw on that Tuesday conference at BSLR in 2009. Second- and third-year students spoke with a furious eloquence, as if they had known pathologic mechanisms and differential diagnoses from the day they were born. After the presentations, our professors summarized the case with a deeper understanding, putting into context the details both salient and seemingly trivial, and offering intriguing but logical approaches to diagnosis and management. I was intimidated, impressed, and inspired, and hoped to achieve that level of proficiency. They made it look so easy.

Yesterday I watched our students dissect a case of an elderly woman who complained of vomiting. They described the risk factors and proceeded to explain that these set the stage for myocardial infarction, their primary diagnosis. They integrated the theory with the hypothetical patient’s story and related their thoughts with a level of organization that I would see among doctors in residency training. In CPCs, it is not the getting the exact diagnosis that is most important but the process of getting there. Our students, who haven’t even started their hospital rotations, gave a logical, step-by-step analysis of how they had arrived at MI.

That afternoon reminded me of the CPC I had watched many years ago. I told a colleague, “Kanami sa ila, ‘no?”


Some photos:

Our amazing hosts!

One of our students, Charleskin, reflected on his batch's journey and experience. He said, "Malayo pa, pero malayo na."

Lunch with some members of the faculty. Teaching is my fun job!


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