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The Neighborhood of The Birds

The Neighborhood of The Birds
Photo by Angelique Pearl Miranda, May 17, 2015

Sunday, December 13, 2015

This electronic journal is continued on tonyperezphilippinescyberspacebook28.blogspot.com.
We fear isolation, but it is in isolation that we come face-to-face with God.
We yearn to create as a form of competition, making us blind to the true beauty of Creation.
An electronic device is designed for its company to express itself, never for you to express yourself.
It is inadvisable to post photos of yourself in which you do not look as you do in person. You become a big disappointment to others, and, ultimately, you become a big disappointment to yourself.
Good morning, Cubao!

Why do computer companies continue offering more and more apps when they know, at the same time, that the computers they are selling don't have enough memory to accommodate them?

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Good night, Cubao!

Watching replays on TV while sitting up for Aubrey.

Began a thorough cleaning of the kitchen, since it was slightly exposed to the wall cutting the previous week. Will also continue doing a thorough cleaning of the dining area tomorrow.

Cleaning house is an art and a skill. If you don't know how to do the cleaning efficiently and well, you won't manage to clean anything at all and will even feel miserable for it.

Once you know how to clean, on the other hand, you afterward have a feeling of great satisfaction.
"And I wear my sunglasses at night/
So I can keep track/
Of the visions in my eyes/"
Now Aubrey is off to a birthday party with a classmate, after spending my coffee change on two boxes of Krispy Kreme to take to the party.

I shall have to wait up for her tonight.

In the meantime Angelique wants to eat just the rest of the pizzas for dinner. I am still trying to convince her to join me for a regular meal at M.'s cafe.

Three Down, Nothing More To Go

We received a text-message from Seattle's Best yesterday, informing us that their planners are now available.

Finally, I have one, and in a color I like: orange. When conducting the Blocked On Colors exercise with my creative writing participants, the colors that are blocked from their memory are, consistently, orange and violet. No one can give a satisfactory explanation as to why.

My personal explanation is that they are magical colors and that they are not for everyone.

I gave Angelique, Aubrey, and Angelique's classmates the money to wipe out all the blank spaces on our card with Christmas drinks and espressos to take home.

We have now passed the three-planner Christmas challenge. Quite ridiculous and petty, I know, but we all need planners for 2016 anyway. Electronic calendars are too unwieldy and do not offer us the luxury of space, the luxury of feeling and smelling the sweet scent of paper, and the luxury of writing. They also seem to deprive us of our individuality.

J. arrived. Now I have five young adults in the house.
Ordered pizzas for the granddaughters and Angelique's classmates.

I had lunch at M.'s cafe.

Took out the trash and cleaned part of the dining area.
The dead mouse said, "We take what we can get and we get what we can take, because only human beings practice politeness and correctness."
The dead mouse said, "I lived in trash, but you, too, live in trash. You take out more trash from your house than you take in other things. All of your rituals and celebrations result in even more trash. There is not a day or night on earth that you do not produce trash. The moment you leave your house you are surrounded with trash, and only the annihilation of the human race will change that, for trash is not what it is but what human beings define it to be."
Good morning, Cubao!

Slept eight hours last night.

Overcast skies above the district. I love it. It allows me to see people in soft lighting, and without shadows.

Angelique's classmates are over to work some more on their group project.

I need to clean up today, starting with the dining area, and then do my laundry.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Benjie will have his three-day weekend again and will resume work on Tuesday. Must clean up while he is away, then decide what colors to paint the walls.
Good night, Cubao!

The granddaughters want to visit the cemetery with Ivy's relatives on Ivy's birthday. I need to know what the plan is.
When it rains, it snows.
Dinner with Angelique at M.'s cafe.

Aubrey coming home later tonight. I might have to pick her up from school.
Felt like Simoun, presenting my tray of jewelry round the compound, the cafe, and D.'s store.
Tried the egg mayo sandwich at M.'s cafe. Nice!
All Wands must point to the east.
I always dispose of my cigarette butts and ash from ashtrays in the kitchen waste bin. It absorbs the smell of food particles and renders them unattractive to rodents and insects.
Never renovate a house 100%. Retain at least one part of the old structure. This will ensure continuity of life and continuity of blessings,
Electrical outlets done. With lots of good luck we can repaint the walls tomorrow, after which we install the glass sliding doors.

Angelique back home from university. Aubrey still on her class field trip.
Lunch with Benjie at M.'s cafe.

Cement work is still ongoing, but we plan to finish up with it today.
I love the sky at night, whether it is filled with silver clouds or with stars. I usually wait for the moon to come out, because the sight of it seems to reassure me that all is well in the world despite the news on TV. It is probably the reason I had a roof deck built on top of our house.

The night sky always reminds me of my father because, when I was little, he used to take me and my younger sister for rides through the city at night and buy us milk shakes and toys. It was the only time he was ever available to us since he worked all day.

This New Year's Eve I plan to have our midnight snack on the roof deck. I hope it will be a memorable time for my granddaughters, and that they will remember it long after I am gone.
Always distrust a former lover who wants to come back to you. He/she is no longer the same person he/she used to be. And neither are you.
A typical condominium unit for the hoi-poloi is not a tiny house but a tiny room. It makes its inhabitants feel cooped up and forces them to "live outside", thus creating more crowds and more traffic.

First Batch of Excess Jewelry

Asked the compound and cafe staff members to choose one piece each. The most unlikely persons chose the most unlikely pieces!

Delivery morning. Five, five-gallon jugs of water for our dispensers, and Angelique's comforter and my two canvases from the laundry.
I noticed for the first time last night that King Kong has no genitals. Surely they can't be tucked in beneath all that short fur. It somehow makes him look impotent and non-threatening. Like a stuffed toy.
In the Philippines, devils' traffic is the most effective form of terrorism. It paralyzes personal, social, and national progress.
Devils' Traffic

Feeds on blood
Anger is its aperitif
Welcome to the smorgasbord
Try this for a change:

After all the griping and bitching, it still has not occurred to anyone that there will be devils' traffic as long as there are atchays.

So what if you go to an exclusive school, work for a prestigious company, or are an eminent scholar? If you are always surrounded by atchays, none of those count.
Good morning, Cubao!

We are doing cement work today.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Good night, Cubao!

Nothing on TV, and so I settled for Peter Jackson's King Kong, which I've seen many times before. This is the only movie in which Kyle Chandler reminds me so much of JR Dalisay.
M's cafe is quite cozy. A perfect place for our neighbors to enjoy a tall cup of coffee and read.
I sit back, appraise our renovation work, and relax, while everyone else is trapped in devils' traffic.
Fed and watered the birds this evening.

Asked Angelique and J. to fill my Seattle's Best card with stickers. Since the journals/planners are not yet available, I told them to cancel everything except for the drinks they are having.
Dinner alone at M.'s cafe, since Aubrey is on her field trip and Angelique and J. are eating out. Whenever I am alone at M.'s cafe I cannot help but think that this is how my life would be had I not adopted two boys. Nonetheless I do not regret having done so. It was and is an extremely grounding experience.
It feels great to look sexy to everyone but not give in to any of their advances.
Finished the third panel of my wuxia scarf. Now working on the fourth panel.
All of the dead skin has peeled off my new tattoo. Peter Tran is indeed a fantastic tattoo artist!
When your computer bogs down, clear your browsing data. You don't need all that history after all.
When your neighbors see that you are renovating, they follow suit and also renovate, resulting in a better-looking neighborhood.
I cannot be bothered to travel all the way downtown and back in this nightmarish traffic, and so we are settling for supermarket ham this Christmas. The trip just isn't worth it. Ham is evil anyway.
Angelique is back from Aubrey's school. We have paid the reservation fee for Aubrey's enrollment next school year.

Then J. arrived. Angelique and he are going to the center this evening to do some errands.
Someone just asked me to model for a photo that he will later convert to a medieval painting. I was flattered. I said yes (how many people come up to me with a request like that?)! I asked him what he wanted me to wear for the photo. He said that a medieval costume is being sewn and that I should wait for it to get done.

Evidently he's never seen all the medieval stuff in my wardrobe. Quite exciting, but let's see whether this happens or not.
The dead mouse asked, "Are you not saddened by the separation of empty bottles from their bottle caps? Are they not like cadavers that are thrown into a pile with their heads off?"
Now that the apertures in two walls are done, the energy of the house has begun to re-circulate. Most wonderfully, I am fascinated with the way new areas of light and dark have emerged with the ceiling lights or the lamps on.

It is light that paints a house. That is why I love frosted-glass sliding doors so much. All it takes is a sweep of headlights or tail lights from a car in the street, a passing parade, sunrise and sunset, halogen street lamps, paraffin oil lamps, a candle in a holder, or a torch beyond the glass to paint entire rooms in different, enchanted colors.
Construction and renovation madness continues.

Always a good excuse to turn unexpected visitors away.
I am perplexed at other people's metaphoric use of eating within the contexts of lust and sex. There is the phrase "sex-starved", and I have often heard references to other people as being "delicious" or "good enough to eat". Then there are people who perform sex and are described as "ravenous", after which there is the phrase, "one's lust is sated". The only explanations I can think of is that people who use such metaphors engage in oral sex, and that too many people may have been reading too much Tennessee Williams.

The fact is, I never feel like having sex when I am full or when I am hungry, because, to me, eating is not only an art, it is also an act independent of anything else.

Lost Parents and Professors

Many years ago the Cultural Center of the Philippines conducted a nationwide writing contest for children, and I was invited to be one of the judges. A day after the results were announced, a woman called me on the phone and tried to convince me to change my decision, claiming that her son deserved to be a winner. She offered to take me out to lunch, among other things, but I declined. I spent an hour on the phone trying to convince her that, while her son's entry was good, there were others that were much, much better--something she could not accept--and that it would be in her son's best interest to teach him that it is all right to lose contests. She wept, she ranted, she told me how much she loved her son and how high her expectations were for him, but I did not give in. I had to terminate our conversation. I didn't even bother to ask her how she was able to reach me; she must have done extensive research and called up all the judges on the panel.

Also many years ago I taught an elective course titled North American Indian Shamanism for the American Studies Department at De La Salle University. Some time in mid-semester a mother of one of my students called me on the phone and complained about my assigning her daughter the construction of a simple dream-catcher. She also offered to take me out to lunch and tell me about her born-again Christian faith. I declined, and said that REAL EDUCATION IS NOT EXCLUSIVE TO ANY RELIGION.

I note, however, that, when I enrolled for my M.A. in Religious Studies, my professors were just as bigoted and as biased to Christianity. They did not believe in tolerance and they became very upset at the slightest contradiction to doctrine presented in class. When I chose, as the topic for my public lecture, the divination stones Urim and Thummim from the Old Testament, the president himself went out of his way to assign me the most fundamentalist nuns and priests in his roster as consultants. I went to them one by one, listening to their condemnations of my topic, but I remained unfazed. I thought that it was such a cheap strategy--and a waste of time--to send me to those "consultants" and show them my outline. They might as well have changed the title of the course from "Religious Studies" to "Christianity Studies".

Thankfully, I did conduct my public lecture on the topic of my choice. A year later I graduated magna cum laude. My thesis, Pagsubok Sa Ilang, was published and later won a National Book Award for Best Religious Publication.

However, now, at the age of 64, I am completely convinced that there is only ONE religion of peace, and that is Buddhism. I don't practice it, though. Perhaps, the warrior in me prevents it.

Never bank on popularity or public support. You will end up asking yourself, "How do you hold a moonbeam in your hand?"

Bank, instead, on what is given: on what you have, on what you do not have, on what is real, on what the truth is, and on the best that you can do ALONE AND FOR YOURSELF under all of the circumstances.
The more you lead, the more you should listen.
Unable to oversleep this morning. Benjie is off to buy more cement, sand, and cinder blocks. We also need to pay a reservation fee for Aubrey's enrollment next year.
Good morning, Cubao!

Cement work commences today.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Good night, Cubao!

Everyone should have the talisman by which curses are transformed into blessings.
Dinner with Aubrey at M.'s cafe, which now serves four kinds of salad and four kinds of dressing.

Then Aubrey decided to do groceries, at this late hour, for their class field trip.
Inside my own house, the sounds of construction and renovation are music to my ears, because they make me feel that my house is being healed.
Lunch with Benjie at M.'s cafe.

Wall cutting is done. We are now adding two, additional, electrical outlets on the lounge wall.
As long as you are truly talented and consistently productive, you will become renowned:

--even if you don't try to be.
--whether you like it or not.
--no matter how much you isolate yourself from others.
--long after your physical death.

Note that only the untalented need promotion and public relations, now and forever.
What I love so much in my state of retirement is commissioning house work--or any kind of work--and being able to monitor it from time to time. A year ago I had to give instructions before leaving the house and then come home in the evening to check the work that was done. Not to mention being in the office the whole day and worrying about how the house work was proceeding.
I have a very strong feeling that Benjie is of Native North American lineage, but I have not yet psychically figured out how one or more than one Native North American happened to come to the Philippines two or three generations ago.
Good morning, Cubao!

Still bright, sunny, and cool!

Benjie working on the wall again. I hope that the cement work gets done today, so we can start cleaning already. As it was, my spiritual son and O. dropped by last night, and the only place we could have a decent conversation in was the kitchen.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Good night, Cubao!

Took Angelique and her classmates to dinner at M.'s cafe.

Then my spiritual son and O. arrived, and I took them to dinner at M.'s cafe too. We spent two hours catching up on stuff. We intend to get together again soon.

Now Aubrey is awake and the girls want pizza delivered.

A Very Special Gift From My Spiritual Son

My spiritual son gave me a very special gift tonight: a ring struck after my countenance. He connived with my daughter-in-law Ivy, when she was still alive, for her to take photos of Julie Lluch's bust of me, which this ring is modeled after. The artist wanted to include the magical rings I am wearing on the bust. Since my hands do not show in the ring, he sculpted them, instead, in my hair. They are minuscule, but can be seen through a magnifying lens.

This ring means so much to me, more than all my other rings, which is saying a lot, because I have at least 36. It is a symbol not of me but of my spiritual son's and my daughter-in-law's love for me. I know that Ivy can see this ring, and that she is extremely pleased with how it turned out.

The genuine teacher is he who guides you but pretends not to.
It is irritating how, after every sentence, she pulls back her lower jaw and purses her lips, as though to suck in everything she just said.
Two days after the washing machine released its sudsy water, the dead mouse said, "There was a flood. My husband drowned first. I tried to save him but I could not."
Never waste your time on a depressed person whose objective is to remain depressed. That person is perfectly capable of self-healing but wants to get all possible attention from others.

Two Down, One To Go

This one was Angelique's choice, because Aubrey wants to be the only one with a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf planner. I like Starbucks for its ground coffee varieties for sale in sacks on the shelves, its souvenir mugs and glasses, and its coffee things. The staff members of the outlet on the northern arc of Araneta Coliseum is especially cordial, and that is the outlet we go to often.

The only thing I don't like about Starbucks is the clientele it attracts, whom I call "the metropolitan homeless": they usually order only talls, seat themselves in the most promiscuous spots, and stay there for hours laptopping and making sure that everyone can see them. They can't be professionals because they try too hard to look like professionals. I always get the impression that they are escaping from dysfunctional homes and don't have their own bedrooms or dens to work in.

My tattoo has completely healed. Now the skin where the ink was injected is as tough as a Kabayan Mummy's, and is beginning to flake and peel off. This is the phase of having a tattoo that I don't fancy. Keeping my chest covered for now.
Good morning, Cubao!

Bright, sunny, and cool!

Benjie is back to work after his weekend in Cavite.

Monday, December 7, 2015

The Wands must be oiled and cleaned, because they will need to be used again.
My younger son Chito arrived to pick up a big bag of old toys and children's books for Chevy and Vinci.
Good night, Cubao!

Almost done with the third panel of my wuxia scarf.
Dinner with the granddaughters at home. They have no classes tomorrow. Benjie reports for duty, though, to resume cutting a door through the lounge wall.

Angelique's friend is coming to sleep over.
Strange. Immediately after I encoded and published the previous post, a news report came in about the incident.
Everyone now at home for the Monday.

Tuned in to world and local news.

Aubrey's friend's younger brother was "kidnapped/held-up" yesterday afternoon for a P100,000 ransom and I learned today that the parents paid P50,000 to get the boy back. They were too shocked and embarrassed to report the incident to the police, which I believe is wrong. I hope the perps get caught and apprehended.
A hot day.

Back from the Sitio Catacutan Market. A quite uneventful jaunt. There was nothing of interest, and so I ended up buying only bird seed.
Learned early on that I can't just buy or bring home a bunch of ballpoint pens and expect my granddaughters to use them for school. Each granddaughter has a very specific pen preference, and those are the only pens they will ever use. They dislike, in particular, hotel pens (including the Carlton Hotel pens I used to have) and freebie pens.
There is nothing more annoying than needing a spot of white titanium acrylic, knowing that you have a small tube somewhere, not knowing where you placed it, and refusing to buy a new one because you have shifted 100% to oils.
In a battle episode of The Voice of China a couple months back, a female who sang like a male rock star and a male who sang like a male rock star were set up against each other. Naturally the male won. Sometimes there is nothing like the genuine article.
When teaching a class or conducting a workshop, do not attempt to convert the participants to your religion.

By the same token, do not allow the participants to convert you to theirs.
My new tattoo healed very quickly. I was able to shower the same night without feeling the sting I thought I would feel upon its contact with my shampoo, soap, and water. The tattoo itched the second night, but I was able to control myself from scratching it, even in my sleep. Now I am ready to have it photographed all over again but am still deciding what to wear with it.
When a poor man or woman ignorant about art has the courage to come up to me and inquire if I could do a painting to hang on their wall, I do so. I never go uppity and refuse, anticipating that they and their family will somehow be uplifted by my work.
Good morning, Cubao!

Need to go to the Sitio Catacutan Market today and finally buy bird seed, as I wasn't able to do so yesterday.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Good night, Cubao!

Hoping to accomplish more work this week.
I was unusually open this evening, and could read the minds of the other patrons in the cafe. Quite disturbing.
Dinner with Aubrey at M.'s cafe. Ordered cornsilog for the first time (Angelique frequently orders it), and Aubrey, buffalo wings. Both good.
Fall in love with a person's character, not a person's looks.
Glass will always deflect negative energy.
A knight is mistaken for a king. A king is mistaken for a knight.
Lunch with the granddaughters at M.'s cafe.

Angelique is spending the night at her classmate's house. They are still working on their group project. It was a stressful afternoon for Angelique, though. After arriving at her classmate's house she realized she'd left important materials behind, and had to go home again. In Metro Manila traffic, this is sheer hell.
Should you happen to find loose seashells in your house, gather them in a dish and place them inside your bathroom.
A bright and sunny morning, but quite cool.

Need to buy more bird seed.
Always listen to water when the rivers are as restless as the seas.