Wind vane

View from the attic:

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Picking dry leaves

I still can vividly recall a recurring scene at the backyard of our old house some 18, I’m not sure, maybe 19, years ago.  It’s an image of my four siblings and me (our youngest sister was born several years after) picking up dry leaves that had fallen from an old Jackfruit tree.

This was our father’s “assignment” to us which we did with dedication every five in the afternoon after coming home from our classes in a nearby public elementary school. Our eldest sister, Mae, was 10 then. I was 8. Des, my brother born after me, was 7. Sef was 5; he attended kindergarten in the morning and at five, after sleeping the whole afternoon, already ready for play or to take part in any physical activity with us. And Gemini was 3, already an able ambler.

It was a task we took seriously, too seriously in fact that it became an opportunity for the five of us to compete with each other on who could pick the most number of dry leaves.

We had a method to this madness.

Before coming home, Mae, Des, and I passed by the stand of an old woman selling barbecued plantains (which we called sinugba nga saging because my parents are both Ilonggos, but which our schoolmates called saging ginanggang because they were all Cebuanos. The five of us never bothered speaking their language. As a generic term we called this snack banana-Q, which is not accurate since deep fried plantains in brown sugar were also called with it).

These barely cooked plantains were brushed with margarine and rolled in white sugar then skewered (I doubt if this is the appropriate word for it) using bamboo sticks that were sharpened at the tip.

To this day I cannot understand why our mother did not keep us from buying that snack, as everything about it was clearly a deadly weapon.

The plantains looked dirty after having swum in the ashes of the charcoals the old woman used to barbecue them. The margarine was without a brand name, and it was conspicuously colored in striking yellow similar to those used in emergency road signs. The brush used to envelop the plantains in that margarine-from-hell was a paint brush, and a used one, as evidenced by the chipping green latex paint on the handle. The sugar that stuck onto the bananas seemed to be from the same batch of sugar used in the previous weeks because it looked more like beach sand than sugar; individual sugar crystals could not be distinguished from the ashes that got mixed with it. Our taste in food, apparently, was very sophisticated. And lethal.

Lest I forget, the bamboo stick, which I remember using as arrows to target shoot the banana trees of our neighbor that stood in a community garden beside a small Catholic chapel. Legend has it that a grade four pupil in our elementary school was killed after having stepped on a protruding barbecue stick. That pupil’s ghost remained in the school to haunt students and teachers alike, or something that went like that, depending on the temperament of the storyteller.

After having our fill of that unforgettable delicious afternoon snack, the five of us proceeded with the operation.

We used those bamboo sticks sharpened at the tip to pick those fallen Jackfruit leaves in our backyard. The idea was simple, we punctured each leaf until they accumulate into a bunch of stabbed dry leaves. Each of us had a base camp where we stockpile our Jackfruit leaves “barbecue”.

The one who picked the most leaves won.

I don’t remember what we did with the leaves after, what the winner got as prize after winning, or what happened to the Jackfruit tree when we moved to a new house years after.

What I vividly recall, though, was our old backyard that was free from those fallen dry leaves.

And our father smiling at us.

Two questions: negative capability

From a rumination while drinking beer on a hot afternoon:

It often comes rather late to an artist, writer, or to anyone who sees himself to be either or both, that the decision to be any (or both) is a disconcerting choice. In the end, consumers of an artistic production matter less because the production of a piece of art or writing anchors less on what the reader thinks than the artist’s. After all, the reader has long considered him dead, so might as well return the favor and do a piece of art or write as if the reader is as dead.

This graphic story by Linda Barry aptly captures this problem.

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Convicted!

To remind me if in the future this historic fact escapes me:

Senate votes 20-3 to convict Corona

Maila Ager

INQUIRER.net

5:55 pm | Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

MANILA, Philippines – Twenty senators, including Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile, on Tuesday found Chief

Justice Renato Corona guilty of Article 2 of the impeachment complaint filed against him pertaining to his failure to disclose to the public is statement of assets, liabilities, and net worth.

Only three voted to acquit Corona and they were Senators Joker Arroyo, Miriam Defensor-Santiago and Ferdinand “Bong-Bong” Marcos Jr.

“The Senate, sitting as an impeachment court, having tried Renato C. Corona Chief Justice of the Supreme Court…have found him guilty of the charge under Article 2 of the said articles of impeachment,” Enrile said.

Enrile then directed the Senate Secretary acting as the clerk of court to give the respondent a copy of the resolution, as well as the Speaker of the House, the Supreme Court, the

Judicial Bar Council and President Benigno Aquino III.

Aside from Enrile, the 19 senators who convicted Corona were the following:

  1. Senator Edgardo Angara
  2. Senator Alan Peter Cayetano
  3. Senator Pia Cayetano
  4. Senator Franklin Drilon
  5. Senate Pro Tempore Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada
  6. Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero
  7. Senator Teofisto Guingona III
  8. Senator Gregorio Honasan II
  9. Senator Panfilo Lacson
  10. Senator Manuel Lapid
  11. Senator Loren Legarda
  12. Senator Sergio Osmeña III
  13. Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan
  14. Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III
  15. Senator Ralph Recto
  16. Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr.
  17. Senate Majority Leader Vicente “Tito” Sotto III
  18. Senator Antonio Trillanes IV
  19. Senate Manuel Villar

Corona is considered barred from public office after senators voted to convict him on charges of betraying public trust and violating the constitution.

He testified last week that it wasn’t only him who is on trial and challenged all 188 lawmakers who impeached him to disclose their dollar accounts – but there were few takers.

The nationally televised 5-month-long proceedings gripped the nation like a soap opera with emotional testimonies, political grandstanding and a sideshow family drama.

Prosecutors, most of whom are Aquino’s allies from the House of Representatives, argued that Corona concealed his wealth and offered “lame excuses” to avoid public accountability.

Corona said that he had accumulated his wealth from foreign exchange when he was still a student. Rep. Rodolfo Farinas, one of the prosecutors, ridiculed the 63-year-old justice, saying he “wants us to believe that when he was in grade four in 1959 he was such a visionary that he already started buying dollars.”

“It is clear that these were excuses and lies made before the Senate and the entire world,” Farinas said in Monday’s closing arguments, adding that Corona had declared in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth less than 2 percent of what he actually owned.

Addressing not only the senators but a public hungry for transparency in a country where corruption is endemic, the rich and powerful rarely prosecuted and a third of the population of 94 million lives on $1 a day, prosecutors sought to discredit Corona’s defense with references to a lifestyle beyond the means of most of the people. With a report from AP

Originally posted at 05:07 pm | Tuesday, May 29,  2012

Retrieved from: <http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/202929/senate-convicts-corona&gt;

My reflection in the the mirror

Since moving to this new house, I have been using the kitchen as my study area instead of my room upstairs. My bedroom feels too big, drab, stuffy, dark, and I have better internet connection here; the router (or however you call it) is directly an arm’s length from where I am seated now.

Tonight, for the first time, I noticed my countenance (such fancy word!) reflected in the glass window in front of me. I’ve gained weight since I arrived here. I consume on average 3000 calories every day and I hardly visit the gym because of my tight schedule in school and my homework that pile up faster than I can get rid of them. If not for the regular push-ups and ab crunches I do every 15 minutes, then for sure all those definitions I worked hard to achieve will give way to the flabs that take minimal effort to gain.

I also have grown my hair long since I cannot afford to part with my 15 dollars to pay the barber. This is the longest time I have gone without a haircut. I look odd; my head feels heavy. My unusually curly, more correctly, kinky, hair is beginning to take charge and dictate on me the rules of its daily upkeep. I spend more than ten agonizing minutes each day styling it and making sure it stays in this position during most part of the day.

I have also been growing mustache in order to look, I don’t know, sleek. And seriously mature. It’s itchy but I feel relieved it has not led to a pimple break-out so far. I suppose spring here helps. The air is dry so my skin remains dry the whole day; there’s much less dust hence the pores of my face are not clogged. The result, a much clearer skin.

I also want to add that diet may also play a crucial role. Vegetable and fruits are a staple in every meal.

I sounded vain in the previous three paragraphs or so. But it’s the fault of the glass window before me. I would never have been conscious had the table been placed somewhere. Now, it’s the table.

Man is one of the few creatures on this planet conscious of his existence and how this existence render changed and never-the-same-again everything and everyone around him.

This awareness, by the way, also changes him.