Monday, July 30, 2012

Come Together, Right Now.

There’s nothing that brings Americans together closer than cheering for someone they’ve never heard of in a sport they watch once every four years. The Olympic spirit is truly magical, of course there’s a competitive tone, but it’s just competition, there’s minimal hate. It’s impressive that countries like North Korea, so intent on shutting out the world willingly participate in these events. There is a bit of a difference for them, but they go to prove they’re strength, as individuals and as a country. It’s like the world is at a standstill when there’s global competition, at least compared to normal, there’s a sense of respect for others that rarely exists outside.
Everyone rallies behind their loyalties, whether they live there, or lived there. People we can associate with have spent their whole life to become the very best; we realize this and embrace their dreams, no matter how big. Watching the Olympics is the perfect feel good. Everyone competing is living out a life time goal, and we get to reap benefits from the countless man hours they put in. Anyone watching can connect to the athletes, as humans we tend to put everything we have to dreams that may never come true. It’s really heartwarming when we can witness someone get where they wanted to go.
                All I can say is, it’s a shame it has to end. Yes, I’m big on sports, but year round badminton and skeet shooting may get a little dull. It’s really not the sports that make me love the Olympics. It’s the togetherness; it’s the pride we can share with our nation when an athlete wins.  It is pride we can share around the world, when an athlete breaks a world record. The Olympics prove the ultimate message “When we come together as a world, whether fan, athlete, or coach, we can do things that have never been done before.” It’s just a shame that when it ends, intolerance and disdain will slowly seep back in.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Falling short

Yesterday I ran the 5k “Outbreak Manila” at BGC, which is based off of USA’s “Run for your lives.” Which are race events with zombies and obstacles scattered throughout the course, and zombies try to take flags from your “life belt.”  First off I highly suggest you do it if there’s ever an opportunity, regardless if you’re a runner. It’s a really great time, and if you don’t run with friends, you’ll find an alliance really quickly. Something about the will to survive really brings people together, even though it might not last long. There were a lot of moments when I really wanted to see how I could do, so I took the lead through “zombie hordes” but I always waited for everyone to catch up. I can’t say they were holding me back, rather we were holding everyone together. Survival of the fittest has changed a lot. Of course, the very top can survive alone, and some do. Besides that though, there’s a large middle group, and some chose to be there instead of out in the front. Compassion and teamwork have really worked their way into society, even if there are still a few bad apples. I didn’t push myself as hard as I could have, but sometimes it is best not to go all out, especially when it only helps you.
10 meters from the finish line was something that humbled me, possibly only me. It was raining early that night (our wave started at 11:30pm) and there were a few places on the course that accumulated most of the water. In blind confidence, I sprinted ahead near the end of the race because I still had some energy left. There, just 30 some feet away from the finish line I fell in a puddle.  It only makes sense, I ran what I considered to be perfect for 4.99k, just to fall a little bit short. I guess it means a lot, no matter how well I do, there’s always something I know I can improve on. That’s life for you.

Friday, July 27, 2012


Mostly Saturdays are days to catch up on things I’ve missed during the week. Sleep is the big thing, but so is time to be alone. That’s one of the conditions of being an introvert; you NEED time to be alone with your own thoughts, time to recharge your social batteries. For me, it’s about reflection. Time to think of all the things I did right, things I did wrong, and things I need to start doing better. It’s nice closure for the week. I can keep track of all my actions and reevaluate them with a completely clear head. It’s one of the small things I do to advance myself as far as possible.
                I know Saturdays are full of plans and social interactions, but it’s truly best to take some time for you. Turn off the tv, turn off the cellphone, log out of Facebook and stare at ceiling and think. It’s a dull thought, but once you immerse yourself in it, you won’t want to leave. You can relive all of the tiny victories you had in the last week and truly appreciate them for the first time. This week I felt the real emotion in handwritten notes for the first time in years. It’s a recorded secrecy, a permanent exchange of words and feelings. And they can give you that modest smirk in a public area. When you get time to really read them and hold nothing back in a private area, the words come off even sweeter. Things like that are nice to relive.
                Sometimes there are defeats that you have to relive. It’s best not to dwell here, but it’s important to remember these. You need to build your next week off of your defeats just as much as your victories. Defeats give you something to work towards, while victories give you something to work off of. So take the time to comprehend your mistakes, and spend a little bit more time planning to avoid them.
                In hopes you take my advice, whether introvert or extrovert, I’ll give a few suggestions. Find music you love for reflecting. Not just songs you bob your head to, or music that you love to dance to, but music that you truly love in lyrics and in sound. My soundtrack is Bon Iver, The Tallest Man on Earth, and Death Cab for Cutie. If there’s no texture on the ceiling to stare at, project images of your mind. Better yet, don’t project, paint.

The wrong side of the bed

                It was one of those days where I was struggling at everything. I had no real reason why, I just wasn’t doing well. I was making those silly little mistakes that you scoff at when you see others do it. Sometimes you’re just 24 hours away from being in their shoes, making that same mistake. You can pride yourself on quality and professionalism, but sometimes you can’t fill every crack, you can’t be perfect every day. It sucks, it really does. There’s no other way to say it. Though, it gives you a reason to not judge people by small samples of their life. Days like these can do a lot, either take you back or bring you forward. You can spend the day cautiously avoiding more work because you know it will be frustrating. Or you could pick up more than you can handle and really push yourself past that seemingly unbreakable wall called a bad day. I did most of the former, and I regret it, I thought that less urgency would produce higher quality work, but it doesn’t. No urgency means no drive, no drive means complacency.
                I’m not saying you should come down hard on yourself for performing poorly on a bad day, but you should be aware of the mistakes you made. Take note in what you did wrong and never let it happen again. Institutionalized errors are the downfall of great potential. I should have fought harder to learn more today, I should have tried to break through the slump. I didn’t though, I saw a challenge and I gave up. I didn’t just give up; I gave up and convinced myself that I was still doing something to handle the problem. I was telling myself things are still getting done, even though I know they’re not. That’s the ultimate kind of bad day, broken spirit, broken drive, broken mind, yet you’re suppressing it all. I know next time I see it; I need to instantly identify a bad day and let the mistakes happen for a bit, but become aware of them. I need to adapt. That’s why the best become the best, because no matter how many times there’s a change in plans, they change with it. Mike Tyson summed it up “Everyone has a plan 'till they get punched in the mouth.” There’s a few option after that. can fall down now, 2. take a few more punches and fall down later, or 3. put up your guard, bob and weave a little bit then throw that right hook you’ve been working on. Annnnnnnddd that’s the first sports analogy of the blog.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Walking on a treadmill

Just recently, the girl I spent almost half of my teenage years chasing celebrated her birthday. And for the first time, I let the day pass with no happy birthday wish. I always used to stay up to be the first to text her at midnight. Usually I'd get a "Thanks" about thirty minutes later which I would stay up for too. One time it was "Why do you always have to  be right on midnight?" That kind of hurt. Like my extra efforts to make her feel appreciated were just harming her. That night we fought it out through a 165 character limit, something we happened to do often. I never liked that she made all her questions into knives.
   It's an almost insignificant event to not wish her a happy birthday, but it's paired with something larger. I always fought for her, and always did everything I could to make her happy because I felt all of my effort would prove I could be good enough for her. I was so wrong back then. I could name so many things I liked about her, but she never had much to say about me. That doesn't mean she's better than me. I now know it's because I search for everything good in everyone. That's just who I am, I don't believe in bad people, just good people with no other choice. It's naive and wrong, but to me everyone gets a chance to prove their worth. Sometimes I do become biased though, like how I was just trying to justify my feelings for her.
     I had friends along the way, telling me I deserved better, I deserved someone who could see everything I am. I never took comfort in their words, they're obligated to say things like that. Recently, I had an almost stranger tell me the exact same thing. and it was different, like the concept of me being better was brand new. Someone who had such a small picture of who I was, made such a bold statement. It was the first time I was reassured that I am the person I think I am.I took this person's words to heart.
     Yet there's still doubt in me, even if I know I deserve someone better, someone who will return the love. All these small steps may help me travel distances, but I'm not going anywhere, or at least not getting away from her. Maybe, love doesn't go away. and I think I loved her. Love may diminish, it may go to the back of your mind, but it's still there, just drowned out by other things. No matter where I go from here, she'll always mean something to me.There will always be a little part of my heart, somewhere in the left ventricle dedicated just to her.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Language Barriers

I've been in the Philippines for six weeks now. It's raining all the time, so no beach, but I still love it. These really are my people. There's more of a mutual understanding between people than in the US. Majority of the people also speak English, but sometimes I'm left without a way to communicate. That becomes extremely frustrating, I usually don't do this, but I recommend the book, "A Man Without Words" I don't recall the author, but it's about a man born deaf that was never taught sign language. He had no way to communicate, but still survived for twenty some years until he learned to sign. It is the first assigned book that I truly enjoyed. I'm picking up bits and pieces of Tagalog, but it's hard. A lot harder than people claim. Immersion is doing very little. I guess I'm a little biased though.
I have a hard time learning new languages, because I simply love English so much. How can I spend time on another language when I can still learn something new about English every day? Especially American slang, it seems so juvenile and uneducated, but it's how my generation can communicate to just my generation. It's weird, but the way English (any language) can be adapted to different people is so beautiful. I guess, to me learning a language is falling in love. You can fall in love any given amount of times, and you actually can be in love with more than one person at a time. Yet, there's something about that first love, you never really want to let go. Like in language you can learn any amount of languages, and you can actively and fluently speak more than one language at a time. Yet that first language you learn, you hold on to very strongly, even if you're never around  it anymore.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Ultimate Motivation

There’s a lot of reason behind everything I do. Of course, it almost never comes to mind. So I spent today thinking of my greatest motivation.  Here’s what I wrote down.
It’s hard to pinpoint. A lot of the time it’s love. I do things for love that I would never do for anything else. That’s just a human condition though. There’s motivation there to change who I am for the person I love. In a sense, love is the wrong motivation if it’s for change.
                Then there’s expression. As a writer, what I want to do is express myself and hope some one understands. I have a huge drive for words to be read by millions of people. There’s a false perception that my words will make them love me. That would mean that love still motivates me here. In the end, I don’t wake up in the morning for either love or expression.
                I spent a lot of free time working out. So maybe health is a great motivator. Not alone though, in high school I was never an athlete. In fact I was cut from the tennis team three years in a row. So when I had a chance to prove myself at an athletic level in college Ultimate, I did everything I could to get better. I can’t say I want to be healthy just to be healthy. There’s a second motivation behind that, self-worth. My health is proof to everyone that I am good enough to be an athlete.
                Finally, my education is big. I mean I spend $30,000 a year on it. I love it, though. Finance is something I truly enjoy. I can help people feel secure about their future. Security is something I haven’t gotten to experience.  I want to make sure that no one has to experience such strong pain from something that can be so easy to keep track of. There’s so much more than just my education that I worry about.
                I came to the conclusion that improvement is my ultimate motivator. Every day I want to wake up and love more, express more, be healthier, and learn more. I want to be a better person than I was yesterday. When days get rough, I can take comfort in the fact I am not a different person from the past, but just simply a better person. In every way I can imagine, I’ve improved, just because I have more drive. I’ve always had the heart to get where I am, but there was never the drive. Now that I found it in everything I do, there’s no looking back.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Hauntings from a friend

Have you ever been so invested in one thought that it consumes your life? It gets to a point where you no longer have a choice on whether or not to think about it. It haunts you. At the end, whether it's a happy thought or an angry thought, you feel violated. It lingers in and out of your mind with no permission.
See, I've spent all of my high school years head over heels for one girl. There was a period of time where we felt obligated to be next to each other. That’s all the relationship ever got to, a social obligation. But in a sense, it was better than a dating label. She was mine, I was hers. When there was an opportunity to be together, we took it. And when no one was looking we would hold hands, and when everyone was looking we would hold hands too. I remember the only thing in the world softer than her hands was her face. I remember how it felt to touch the tip of my nose to her nose, and then gently rub my cheek with its unshaven teenage stubble against her cheek. All this while she held me tightly, tight enough to leave imprints on my back, like she never wanted to let go, and if I had a chance now, I wouldn't let her. When her preppy little friends did preppy little things without her, we would tell jokes with no punch lines to the friends who've already heard them.
A social obligation wasn't enough for her. I guess I can see why. At the end of the day, we could kiss someone else and feel no guilt. Which is exactly what she did. Except it wasn't just at the end of the day, it was at the end of every day, and at the start of it, in the hallway. I was heartbroken, confused, and knew that if we continued our friendship while she was dating, I’d only get burned in the end. I was smart back then. But I was also stupid enough to ignore my own warnings.
So I spent the whole next year crying and hoping she would she just how defenseless I was without her. THAT STRATEGY DOES NOT WORK. Trust me. Before I knew, she forgot all the intimate time we had, and just remembered the bad jokes. So I moved on, exactly a million times, but she was always waiting with a halfhearted smile that still made my knees weak. And she would hug me when she sensed I really needed it. She was good at that at least, sensing when I was at my lowest. But her hugs were empty, like I was just occupying the space in between her arms. I would clinch just a bit tighter, and she would make that "mmm" sound that used to mean "even tighter" but now just meant "let go"
I did dumb things to get her to notice me again. First, I joined theater, because she did theater. I learned to love theater even though she was never in the plays I was in. My senior year, I wrote a one-act with her exact personality as the female lead and my personality as the male lead. I then cast her as the lead and someone else as me. And she was great. Of course she was, she never had to act. And people loved to see my retelling of how I met this girl. Good thing there was no act two, because they'd see a lot more depressing reenactment. She knew, of course she knew, but she never called me out on it. Just smiled and thanked me for writing and directing it. That year, she was single. So I took all the chances my introverted mind and broken heart would let me take. I asked her to prom. Through a song, that I wrote. But I can't sing well. I did it in front of all our friends because she knew I was shy, and I never openly told her how strongly I felt. So I did it with a bang, and she said yes. That was about it though; she didn't worry about a dress until late, and never wanted to talk plans. Like she knew I was going to be a bad date, so she saw no reason to put in effort.
Then I was off to college one hundred and fifty miles away from her while she completed her senior year of high school. Occasionally she would cross my mind, but I was truly happy being away from her and my suppressive hometown. Then I started losing control. She was just a memory. Yet, she flooded my thoughts. I couldn't keep her out. Her image was everywhere I looked. Her silly little jokes were the only words I could hear. But all the details I had were fading. Only the idea of her was left. For the longest time I couldn't even say if her eyes were blue or green. I now know they're blue green. I spent so much time away, but it felt like my body didn't want to let her go.
Now, we talk a little more often with less awareness of the past. Still though, she can always do something to make me smile and say something to make me cry. And she knows this. I still buy her gifts from time to time to show I haven't forgotten. All she's given back is a ghost that silently shifts in and out of my dreams, waking me up to send a chill down my spine.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Wednesday's writings - 7/18/12

This is from the first day of my writing quota. I spent some time waiting on a park bench in Makati. I quietly fell in love with a woman running laps. It's easier to write when I have experience to base it on. This one is a story, so I'll for sure finish it later.

   He sat patiently, pretending to wait for the same lunch date he had for almost eight years. In a few minutes he'd get a pretend phone call that would pull him away from the familiar park bench. Across from the bench just a few meters away was a young woman stretching before a run. He'd grown rather fond of her and hoped one day her hamstring was a little too tight to stretch on her own. Though, he really just hoped she would talk and he would hear a voice that he fell in love with probably before she was ever born. There was no shame in his staring, because there was no emotion in him at all. He just sat as a hollow shell pasted together with hope.
    She started her quad stretch as he waited for his alarm to go off and pretend it was a phone call. She silently mouthed her counts one... two... three... four... five... She paused and waited for the alarm that interrupted her counting for the last two months. There was nothing though, she smiled at him and continued her count. He smiled back confused. Six... Seven... my phone is in the office. Do I run out like I forgot my phone? Or wait till she's gone? She switched legs and smiled again. Stop smiling at me, damn it. He forced a smile.
   She started her 10km run through the park, which takes a full twelve laps. He counted from his office on the sixteenth floor in the nearby Finance Tower. He soaked in the final view of her bright pink top and running shoes as she turned the corner. He left with the feeling of being out of sync. Like he grew dependent on their clockwork routine.

Summer project

Recently I've felt I don't write enough, so I started a blog. I then realized I don't always have time to write in my blog. So a week ago I decided to carry one piece of journal paper folded in my wallet. (I've felt that carrying an entire notebook puts pressure on me to write more than i need to) I plan to fill each paper everyday. Though not "fill" in a traditional sense. I write what I want to write down, and then continue until I have no more to say. In a sense I'm full, not the paper. This is the first time I've ever adapted a quota system, it can be challenging, but it can also be freeing. I'll post probably everything, but just because I'm writing everyday doesn't mean I'm posting everyday.

My vacation in a critical view.

    I normally live in the United States, but this summer I went on an adventure. I am currently residing just outside Metro Manila with some of my family in the Philippines. I've only spent a few weeks out of my whole life here, but I feel like belong. Filipinos are just as much my people as Americans. There is a language barrier, but I get by, and majority speak English anyway.
Life is calmer here, even in the big cities. Yes, people have places to go, but here the flow isn't ruined by a few assholes. It just feel like a kind of place where I can walk into a restaurant, not purchase a thing, steal wifi for hours, walk out the door and get a "salamat" (thank you) from the door guard.
     The economics major in me has just a few problems though. Social inequality is a big one. A lot of people live out of temporary structures on the the side of the road. The problem is there's no help from the government, and that really puts pressure on finding money from other sources. There's hundreds of street peddlers, and sketchy looking  food/retail stalls along the way. You can say they put themselves in that situation, but they really didn't. There is a public school system, but there's not enough teachers or classrooms. It's easy to be forgotten in those situations. Education is such an unimportant thing when you don't know when you'll get to eat next. Since the labor is uneducated, they don't get paid much, and the cycle continues for generations. Outside of that, the private/higher level public schools are executed very well. That is why there is a less prevalent middle class.
     The other thing is just general infrastructure. The population is about twice as dense with half the amount of roads as any metropolitan area in the US . And a lot of the roads are placed poorly with no legitimate draining system. Also stop signs are a suggestion and the whole system relies on designated u-turn areas. Traffic enforcement is almost nonexistent.
     The point is, the Philippines is in an economic boom. In fact, they are on the fast track to having one of the largest GDP's in the world. Now is the time to work on the things everywhere, not just the urban ares. Improved roads will increase business efficiency and attract more tourists.  Reforming the education system is also important, a lot of intelligence has gone unnoticed because they never had the opportunity. If education reform doesn't start soon, they'll hit a production/efficiency ceiling, they're gaining capital (human, financial and resource) yet the actual quality of the human capital is lagging (intellectual capital). They can continue to add more human capital to expand, but eventually it will slow because they'll run out of resources to add more people, so the only way to expand past that is to improve the efficiency of the labor.One  way is to just raise wages, because workers will feel pressured to perform better. That creates some problems, though. It's easiest to just start hiring from a smarter pool of applicants, which would be the effect of education reform.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

A better introduction

   The last blog was more of an introduction to who I am as a writer. I guess this will geared towards who I am as a person. Currently I am a student at the University of Illinois UC. My major is in financial planning. I would say finance is my second passion, next to writing of course. Though, there's a pretty large back story as to why finance. I'll probably get into details in some future posts, but in short, it would put me in a good position to help a lot of people.
  I was born in a mid sized Illinois town surrounded by cornfields. I was no farmer, though. Both my parents are college professors, so education has always been a big deal. I'm Christian by morals, sometimes by beliefs too, but this is something struggle with a lot. My ultimate weakness is a pretty girl who laughs at bad jokes.It used to be self motivation, because I could always do well by doing little. It's a little different now, I'm a much stronger person, well except against pretty girls with lame sense of humor.
   I spend most of my free time either chasing plastic ( playing ultimate Frisbee)  or daydreaming. Though, free time is rare between school and work. I also secretly want to be a musician, so I spend some time playing the guitar and pretending like I can sing.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

I want to say words that make you feel things

      As an aspiring author, I've realized that being a New York Times bestseller isn't very likely. Especially since I never finish a story. Maybe it's that I'm neurotic, or I see no point of finishing something that I know is flawed. It might not be neuroticism. Stress isn't a big thing in my life. Perfectionist isn't really the term either. It could just be introversion. It sucks that introversion has the ability to affect my writing too. Though, it brings a level of thought/sarcasm that I like to think is unique to me. No one has ever commended my writing for it's "correct punctuation and proper sentence structure." Back to the topic, I no longer want to be a famous writer, or say something to inspire a generation. I want to say words that make you feel things.
     I want my sentences to be new. I want to make you think like you've never thought before. I want you to misinterpret my words. Take what you want from what I say, I have no problem with that.
     There's beauty in brevity. There's also beauty in vagueness. The truth is, sometimes it is only about what you're saying and not how you're saying it.
     I hope by now, I've entertained at least some new thought on writing. Or maybe the title has had you caught up in vagueness. There's no sentimental value to the statement, there's no real literary devices, and it's not a new idea. It's just a new light shining on the same old desire. and it's not a very creative light, but it still has it's beauty.