Asymptotes

You were ready to risk it, I wasn’t.
When I decided I might be ready, you weren’t there anymore.

I once said that timing is a bitch. I just didn’t expect for it to come true twice.

But maybe we both just want things we can never have. The lure of getting your hands on something so coveted.

Don’t you fear that it’s not what you thought you wanted after all? Don’t I fear that the novelty wears off soon enough?

If this is me over thinking again, I will find solace in that you will never know and might deign to distract myself until I erase you from my mind.

**

3 AM and running scared.

This is gonna prove to be a challenge. Because I want this off my chest but in the most ambiguous way possible.

You would think that emotionally unavailable people have some deep-seated reason why they build such walls. A past hurt, a disappointment, several heart breaks or just plain disillusion. If I admit to being emotionally unavailable, I cannot claim to have been wounded to warrant a tight defense. Because nothing has happened yet and no one has been able to come close enough to inflict hurt, thereby prompting walls to be built. But it’s there and I’m wont to marvel how William Goldman could have written about me at a time where my parents haven’t even met yet when he penned Princess Bride (1973).

How accurate.
How accurate.

 

This Sunday, I have gone to lunch and coffee with my friend, A, whom I haven’t seen in months and I told her what has been bothering me for weeks now. I knew that I would have to somehow repeat telling the same story to my best friend, M (due to arrive after lunch) and the thought of it exhausted me. I found it tiring that I have to start from the beginning. I guess that is how one feels when you already know what to do but you still have not done something– anything– about it. And delaying that action may cost me what precious emotions I have inadvertently invested.

After telling my friends what has come to pass in the time that we haven’t seen each other, they were both happy that in some way, I have let my guard down (some of it, anyway) but they also warned me that if I will deem to this, it should be with someone who can give me a hundred percent and to never settle for anything less.

Where am I going with this? Nowhere. I already know that. I just have to decide to walk away completely. Because even when I haven’t been hurt in this predicament yet, I refuse to hurt someone else in order to be happy. It’s not a matter of being idealistic nor being morally upstanding. I’m morally grey at best but, I strongly perceive that any happiness gained at someone else’s expense is short-lived.

Yes, I may be taking the high road here, but  I deserve better. And to take all that I can get. I’m usually averse to this feeling of entitlement but the danger lies in settling for the mediocre, on being the second choice, the leftovers– just because I feel that I might never find someone who would still like me, flawed and all.

I have long ago promised myself to never settle for second best. I have waited this long. Certainly not for something that could only ruin me in the end.

So let me try radio silence and see where it takes me

 

*

Marou: A newfound love.

When we say chocolate, Filipinos would  most likely immediately think of milk chocolate. We’ve had several American influences for so long, it’s only reflex to think Hershey’s, Milky Way, Snickers, etc when we hear the word chocolate. Dark chocolate isn’t as popular to those who are in for the creamy goodness and sweetness that is characteristic of milk and white chocolate . I imagine most kids in this country would either scoff at the bittersweet taste or be straight up flabbergasted why anyone would ever go for chocolate which isn’t sweet. I am guilty of this. Luckily, growing up, sometimes, means changing tastes and preferences.

I have been a fan of dark chocolate for most of my adult life. Compared to ordinary chocolates, it doesn’t leave a sticky aftertaste and my throat doesn’t feel as itchy as if I’ll immediately be in fits of hacking coughs for not drinking water right after consuming a bar. There’s also something about the bitter undertones of dark chocolate that is refreshing to the palate that no other food can compete with.

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Tried the one which was 78% dark chocolate because the dark side is beckoning. Lol

A colleague has given me bars of this chocolate. The cover was so pretty that I almost did not want to unwrap it.
This new found love which goes by the name of Marou is a thin bar that has a smooth, refined texture, an underscore of sour flavor reminiscent of unripe mango or the citrus-y calamansi– a zing to contrast the chocolate flavor if you will; and the bar snaps like a dream when you try to take a chunk out of it. Sounds like a weird combination? Not so much for Filipinos who like green mangos. If you cannot imagine such a flavor scoring chocolate this way, the nearest description would be a fruity flavor, not overly sour but just right to give the chocolate a kick. I’d say richer than the average bar you’re familiar with like Meiji or just about any Swiss chocolate you can buy at the drugstore.

But if you would like to try out something as promising as Marou, you better find out more here.

Can’t wait to get your hands on it? Buy it here.

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Goodness in a sliver

Marou Faiseurs de Chocolat is an award-winning brand of single-origin dark chocolate from Vietnam. Its founders, who are both from France, met during a jungle-trekking adventure in Vietnam and discovered a shared interest for chocolate. Marou is the first artisan chocolate maker that used Vietnamese cocoa beans, putting Vietnam on the world map for gourmet chocolate. With that, Vietnamese agricultural expertise was combined with French passion, commitment and chocolate-making skill to create Marou chocolate. (bennettandpalmer.com)

I will not begrudge you reader, if you stop reading mid sentence to add Marou on your shopping cart.

I mean, you’re welcome.

**

I Am Not A Writer. I Just Have Internet Connection.

For years, I have been deluding myself that I could actually write something worth reading. Must have stemmed from elementary and high school journalism classes I took. The truth is, I’m a better reader than a writer. But when it comes down to it, I simply enjoy reading without the requisite poetic waxing and over analysis that comes after finishing a book. I could enjoy plots and characters without looking for metaphors or deeper meaning that the author may or may have not directly intended. I have only began analyzing it after reading reviews in Goodreads and I’ll be asked to rate a book I have finished.

Some people would go as far as to tag me as an intellectual when really, I am an escapist who finds solace in books. The habit has been ingrained ever since I could remember. My mother taught me my letters when I was three. Lucky for her, I have fallen in love with reading when I should probably be playing outdoors with other kids. As an avid reader, I have this notion that I could also write. Ah, what conceit. When I was in third grade, I signed up for a journalism class because I thought that’s where all the cool upper classmen were. I was right but I have no clue what I should be writing and a lot of times, I just wished I’d quit and stay home after school. The biggest joke was when I was assigned to be the editor for the fourth graders. The hell do I know about editorials and news-writing at nine? Yeah, yeah, they taught me all I should include when writing in the opinion section. What I failed to articulate was that I am mostly apathetic even at that age and I’d rather write about trivial things like what my class mate, Francesca, the feature writer was free to do. I couldn’t care a fig about current events to voice out an opinion. For the rest of my elementary years that I was stuck in editorials, I envied  Francesca her lot in life.

High school was a reprieve because when they held auditions for the Journalism club, I did not hesitate to apply for the feature writing slot. I got in after impressing some upper classmen on a piece I wrote about Avril Lavigne. Several contests and campus newspapers in, I was high on my imagined success. Though I did not pursue it as a career. Perhaps I have decided I wouldn’t after realizing that writers in this country barely get paid. Coming from a huge family, I could not afford to be a starving artist. I needed a job that would pay the bills and help the family out. Writing? I could do that on my free time while being a white collared professional, right?

College has humbled me enough after rooming with three Communication Arts students. Those girls were required to read wonderful books for classes and write essays and reviews. Even their exams are about in-depth analysis of great novels of Dostoevsky, Kafka, Hugo, name it. Who am I to think that I could write worth shit? Why I bothered three years of studying Human Nutrition was partly due to a misguided notion that I will finish a bachelor of science degree. It’s so lame when I think of it now. I could have switched majors before I flunked all my Chemistry classes.

If I would list down all the wrong turns and decisions I made in life, I’d start with the degree I’ve chosen and failed to finish. That was eight years ago. I shake my fist in the sky but it does me no good.

A month ago, I quit my job. I decided that my sanity was not worth losing over a very good basic salary. It’s one of my many selfish acts for the year as my family have been depending on me for five years now. What’s more selfish was that I did not have a fall back plan nor did I find a new job right after quitting. I did manage to read over 30 books, sleep whenever I want, hang out with friends with what little money I have left and told myself that I would work from home instead. Anything that will allow me to earn without being boxed in an office.

More than a month has passed and I’m still unemployed and too busy reading. It’s  not even the lack of job opportunities that hinder me from being back in the work force. Too lazy to look for a job but not too lazy to finish a book until seven in the morning. Work from home sounds so good to me because of the flexible hours and lack of stress from an office environment. Then I daydream of a job that will allow me to travel, read some more, pay the bills and upend my roots when the whim strikes. A writer can do that, can’t she? So what have I managed to write so far? Essays, sure. Features, hell yes. Poems, yep. Short stories, dipped my toes there.  A novel, not even close. I’m turning a quarter of a century by the end of this year and it’s also when I’m all over the place. It’s not rock bottom but boy, I have gots to get my shit together. And soon.

images

**

The Fault In My Star

In the last couple of months, I have enjoyed the privilege of being friends with someone who works for a digital marketing company, in that I have copped free advanced screening tickets of several movies and events. Yesterday was no different, except that it was one highly anticipated film adaptation for the fans of the book The Fault In Our Stars by John Green. I have read that book late 2012 when my gay ex-boss lent it to me and boy did I cry buckets over that story– and that was even before someone died (Oops). Back then, my boss warned me that it was heartbreaking but I was skeptic that it will make me cry and that I was chalking it up to my boss being more emotional than I am. Several chapters in and I was crying like a baby.

 

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This sweet treat (http://instagram.com/p/ovVqJ5nvvf/)

The Fault in Our Stars is a 2014 romantic comedy-drama film directed by Josh Boone, based on John Green‘s 2012 novel of the same name. The film stars Shailene WoodleyAnsel Elgort, and Nat Wolff. Hazel and Augustus are two teenagers who meet at a cancer support group. Hazel’s condition is terminal, and Augustus decides to grant her wish to meet the author of her favorite novel An Imperial Affliction in Amsterdam. (Wikipedia, 2014)

 

What struck me more than the poignant star-crossed lovers plot was how Hazel’s parents are strong, loving, solid and hopeful. The kind of couple that holds on to each other amidst a strong current instead of being swept away by the looming possibility of cancer taking their only child away. I have only read the book once but that stayed with me. Let’s face it, grief can do a lot of collateral damage to those left and relationships can crumble by the sheer weight of it. Seeing the adaptation, I was wondering if it will strike the same chord with me and I was surprised to find a different one instead. I usually avoid reading/ rereading a book so close to the film release, so that I would not obsess over minute details not present in the adaptation. From a book fan who waited a year to see this, I was not disappointed.

I have long trusted Shailene Woodley’s ability to make me cry after seeing The Descendants. Any other cracks rendered by the film adaptation to the hollow in my chest was entirely my undoing. What translated into film as I try to see it in the perspective of someone who has not read the book yet, is that the love between Hazel and Augustus, is all the more important in its immediacy and the fact that they would not be around long enough (um, cancer) to further explore the highs and lows of a relationship. Levithan once said that,

 

“People take love’s continuity for granted, just as they take their body’s continuity for granted. They don’t realize that the best thing about love is its regular presence. Once you can establish that, it’s an added foundation to your life.” (Every Day, David Levithan)

 

Hazel and Gus certainly did not take their love for granted. Risked falling even when they know that their days are numbered. There was a scene where Hazel’s dad was trying to comfort her and he states that Hazel had the privilege of loving Gus. How many of us can claim deeply loving someone and that a world without them is unimaginable? Count me out. But it didn’t stop me from crying. Even the innate strength of Hazel’s parents were apparent in the film. Gus’s parents though barely made a dent. In the book, there was a foreshadowing about Gus’s fate before they left for Amsterdam. None of that was shown in the movie which has blindsided the viewers who have not read the book. Other than that, I cannot complain on what has been a wonderful retelling of Green’s novel that has reached out to people outside the target audience of Young Adults.

Could the kind of love that Hazel and Gus had survived if we take cancer out of the picture? I’d like to think so. It is hard work and takes certain amount of risk to fall for someone, much less continue loving them for the rest of one’s life however short it may be. There are people lucky enough, and brave enough to find that kind of love– the kind that is lasting, hopeful, strong, solid and real.The fault was solely in my star, in that, I might never find that kind of love in real life.

**

Blurry

For the first time, since I have started working, I have felt that I can breathe and think about myself. A chance to take a rest and decide what I would like to do next. A window of opportunity to depend on my parents again after five years. Our roles have been reversed in the last five years– at least in terms of supporting the family.
Two weeks ago, one of my parents came into a small inheritance. Quite small, but enough to tide us over should I decide to stop working in an office and consider what I would do next.

 

I’m dying to breathe in these abundant skies

It certainly wasn’t enough to make me consider going back to school but I felt relieved that I could breathe again, even for a little space of time. At the same time, every day that I stay with the company I am working for, is a struggle. Daily, I am tempted to skip work, or maybe go AWOL. Sadly, I am hard-wired to be responsible and I end up going to work every day and on time. I’m such a ninny.

It may be too early for burnout as I have only been in this company for almost two years but I am tired of being on the frontline. I want to venture in a different industry altogether.

At 24, the vision for the future is blurry. I keep dreaming about living abroad for years at a time. I am in no way near that dream. My portfolio is next to non-existent, personal savings is a mess, my net worth– no idea. It’s a day-to-day survival with little regard to the future, however much I look forward to it. I have not gone to places, seen people nor feel anything in a bigger scale.
There is a dark, restless thing that resides in this soul. And I only know what I do not want.

x

Mitty-esque

Five years ago, I have envisioned myself with a job that could support travelling the world. To be exact, I saw myself in Brazil, in time to watch FIFA Live, 24 years old and living the life (however vague that is).

I turned 24 last December, but the vision had long changed to what I wanted to watch live, overseas: tennis and basketball. All the grand slams– Australian Open, Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the US Open, I’d like to see at least once and go watch the Lakers at the Staples Center.

I may as well go backpacking around Europe, Central Asia, South America and here in my country. Crowd funding and coach surfing are appealing and though I barely have an idea how it works, it seem so exciting.

So far, though, I may have secured that job that will pay for world travel, but I am not without baggage. I will not bore you with the many reasons why I can’t impulsively go backpacking abroad but the main thing is that a breadwinner can’t afford to leave people behind.

Every year, I get scared that it’s too late and I won’t ever have time for any adventure– couch potato and sedentary person that I am, my feet are itching and I look to the skies and wonder.

Seeing The Secret Life of Walter Mitty gave me hope. That a life of adventure awaits, and I just have to take a step towards it.

So when will I?

Heh.

Go see the film.

To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, draw closer, to find each other, and to feel. That is the purpose of life.

Happy 2014!

Game of Thrones 3 | A Smattering of Douchebaggery from an ASOIAF Book Fan

If you haven’t watched all of Season 3, stop reading to avoid spoilers. The last thing I want is some whiny TV fan complaining that this post ruined his viewing experience.

Spot on.
Spot on.

Season 3 is a pivotal turn for the series with the Red Wedding being the biggest deal [breaker] in the War of the Five Kings. It is when a fan realizes that the Starks may not be the protagonists in this show after all and of course, the shock sets in, that George R.R. Martin kills everyone off. This show is not for the squeamish and weak of heart. Fans of the series will notice that this season showcased more blood and action and less boobs. It doesn’t make the show less appealing because after three seasons, the Lannisters are still sitting on the Iron Throne, the Starks still not reunited, Dany is still in Essos, the Tyrells are asserting their power,Joffrey is still a dick and we’re all somehow waiting for justice. In short, we are all left reeling and Filipinos are wont to exclaim:

Bida ba yon?! Bat namatay?!!!

Some of the biggest shocks for TV fans this season:

  • The Kingslayer losing his hand. Didn’t see that coming, did ya? He deserved it? Nothing that ever happens in this series is ‘deserved’. It happens because of another character’s self preservation and uh, evulz.
  • Dany’s Crowning Moment of Awesome in Astapor. One of my favorite scenes in the book. You think Dothraki language was awesome in the first season but Valyrian is much more so, especially when Dany used it against the slave masters. Dracarys has been trending on Twitter, since then.
  • Theon losing little Theon. Don’t think about telling me again, that he deserved it for sacking Winterfell. You haven’t seen enough bastardry from Ramsay Snow.
  • Bran piloting Hodor’s body. Cool beans? No it’s not. It’s taboo to do that (skinchanging/warging) to human beings; a violation of will and you just don’t see it because Hodor isn’t exactly protesting succinctly. Seizing the body of another man is completely abominable even by wildlings’ standards.
  • Arya’s friendship with the Hound. 
  • Jon Snow knows where to put it. And put it well, baby!
  •  The Heel Face Turn of Jaime Lannister. You could almost forget his incestuous relationship with Cersei and the fact the he pushed Bran off the window ledge. A lot of Jaime- Brienne shippers, this season.
  • Lord Commander Mormont’s death. Ah, who am I kidding? If you’ve watched this series, long enough, you have braced your self in some way because you know, someone is about to die and it’s just a matter of time, cruelty and gruesome details.
  • The Red Wedding. There, there. Stop crying. A lot more is coming. Like, um, Winter.

Let me remind you again, this series is not a depiction of the battle between good and evil. This is GRRM‘s deconstruction of high fantasy. A lot of tropes have been subverted and this complex plot is far from over.

Some of the shocks the book fans got this season:

It either never happened or completely different in the books. I won’t elaborate because I might, um, spoil you. I’ll leave you to figure it out and read the books yourself.

  • Kind Shae
  • “The Lannister sends their regards”
  • Melisandre meeting up with the Brotherhood Without Banners
  • Gendry and Melisandre’s sexy time
  • Joffrey killing Ros
  • The Cersei- Loras Engagement
  • Jaime not shaving his head after escaping Riverrun
  • Osha and Rickon accompanying Bran in his journey to The Wall.
  • Podrick Payne’s sexual prowess
  • Yara (Asha) defying Balon to rescue Theon
  • Balon Greyjoy being alive
  • Daario Naharis being beardless and blonde
  • the Unsullied costume
  • Talisa’s death
  • JUST ABOUT EVERY THING IN THIS SEASON. #NoOneUnderstaaands

Uptight book fans like me, understands.

Kudos, HBO and the Game of Thrones staff, crew, writers and creators for:

  • the rock version(s) of The Bear and the Maiden Fair and the Game of  Thrones opening theme which was played at the end, on one of the episodes
  • the music they arranged for The Rains of Castamere
  • the clockwork Astapor, Yunkai, Riverrun and the Twins in the opening sequence
  • the witty script
  • contributing to my rage issues

Notice when you start to hate one of the characters in The Walking Dead? That’s a hint that your hatred is about to climax and the character dies. HBO’s Game of Thrones is the opposite. Careful when you start loving a character, GRRM may just kill him/her. Haven’t you learned your lesson in season 1 when Ned Stark died?

This is basically GRRM's love letter to his fans.
This is basically GRRM’s love letter to his fans.

Tsk.

Season 4 is the next half of A Storm of Swords and will most likely be shown in March or April 2014. Until then, there’s a massive Game of Thrones withdrawal all over the realm.

Ha ha. I'm just busting your balls.
Ha ha. I’m just busting your balls.

**

Because ugly duckling is now a swan

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