• You're just cute. Like crumpled paper. Like the orange tip of Elmer's Glue smothered on glass.
  • Never have I thought of comparing a deed to snorkeling. I even said it felt liberating.
  • My two officemates thought of the closing performance as a bummer. I thought it was the kind of performance an old matron would conjure up to impress the mayor. 
  • I had to point out that the value of taking up a course on humanities isn't really obvious at first sight: it's not about stroking your beard for obscure critical theories, for example. I said theories were nothing but a naming convention. At the end of the day, humanities make you human - and make your decisions, whether business-related or otherwise, humane and informed. The field also has the humility to entertain another perspective: it basks in plurality of meaning, in the pointlessness of rhyming schemes, or in the relative importance of symbolism. At the end of the day, it's about guiding people to live a fuller life - or lives, as you would when reading books.

Life on training wheels

Alighiero Boetti - Tutto (Everything)

  • I've had dreams for the past three days. All had their features: hackers, train rides, alternate lives, batch mates. I feel refreshed in the morning. Maybe sleeping has become such a mechanical task - closing my eyes on the bus, timing my sleep, waking up to my alarm clock - that dreaming was the least of my mind's concern. It's going to be one of the things I'll miss the most when I die: the feeling of dreaming.
  • My son now knows how to ride a bicycle.
  • I made a visit to our attic and found about a fourth of my book stash already eaten by termites. Most of them were duds from Booksale, but I almost teared up to see my withered copy of Romesh Gunesekera's Monkfish Moon.

Reader #28

Man in his late forties scribbling notes on his notebook and his book. A Quick and Easy Guide to Food and Wine by Gene Gonzales, Thumbing his way from "dill" to "Mache" interspersed with more scribbling. He was lanky and sullen, his face a bit hollow, with the look of someone who havw been through a lot , maybe a Chinese vendor, or, as I later learned about his destination, a college professor in crop science.


"Ang ganda sa Laguna," the child sitting behind me said, her voice coming right from my bus seat, staring at the lush landscape that flanks the SLEX. "Parang Ilocos lang."

Then there were cows grazing the pastures, banana trees and the extensive real estate development of the South. She sang with a hushed, hoarse voice as a bulldozer rests in a construction site.


  • A Small Good Thing, a short story by Raymond Carver
  • Any and all of Frederick Barthelme's stories in The Law of Averages
  • The tearjerker story in Humans of New York for Pedriatic Cancer month
  • I remember the night when I asked both Mom and Dad to try Playstation. They had a one-on-one match in Crash Team Racing. They never made it to the finish line since both of them were going the WRONG WAY
  • My one-week-old son crying out of those injections he had to have as a baby

Butter Driver

David Hockney. Pearblossom Hwy, 11-18th April 1986. I imagine how humid it is just by looking at the photo - perhaps because of the textures.
  • Come to think of it, Martin Parr's pictures has the quality of pictures taken by grainy photographers. This column made me realize it: the photos had this certain resemblance, air, a certain brand of awkward.
  • Father John Misty's Instagram is amazing, but unfortunately he closed it down.
  • "I sometimes think selfies are a kind of inquiry to discover new facets of self, or who one can perform - even a test of reality."
  • Dreamed that I got out of an MRT that crashed to the ground right before it exploded.
  • When Christian Dior commissioned a music video with Depeche Mode's Enjoy the Silence in Versailles.
  • Music that's not on Spotify: Satellite Young's Sanfrantokyo (which I'm sure my wife would love so much) and Happy End's Natsu Nandesu. Actually, this music blog has it all.
  • Two poems: Failure by Ellen Bass and Crush by Ada Limon.
  • David Hockney review in the Guardian.


Fatherhood is very much like reliving your childhood, only this time you're not the kid anymore. In Crash Team Racing, there's a challenge where you have to defeat your own ghost, and you get to race side by side with a version of you, pellucid and numinous.

Dirty babies

I've always wanted to save the world, but now I feel old. My four year-old son approached me and asked if we could give diapers to 'dirty babies' near the shortcut--not sure where those are, or who he was with when he saw them, but I said he should remind me when we go to the supermarket.

Readers #22-27

Woman reading The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Wearing Nike soccer shirt, alternating blue and red striped design, maong, black handbag slung at shoulders, pearl earrings. Standing at the aisle. Flipping pages to and fro; must have been a requirement from a class? Looks at her wristwatch: 9:24 AM, the sun up, the day about to get hot.

At the bus an old man with salt and pepper hair reads a tabloid: "Hindi ako pababayaan ni Lord" - Ara Mina, the headline reads, among other showbiz tidbits. Also flipping pages, this time stares at the Komiks section. The rest are either playing Candy Crush, texting or staring outside, at the not-yet-developed part of Susana Heights. OPM blaring at bus speakers. As soon as the bus reaches the bridge one of the seated woman leans to look at the SLEX, probably to check the traffic situation. With the bus lacking curtains, the passengers at the right side get much of the sunlight; some brought jackets, bandannas and what have you to keep themselves from being burned.

A Storm of Swords by George RR Martin in front of us; the woman sitting beside me had just opened a newly purchased book (Php 350) from natl bookstore; it resides on her lap; she was still mulling over things, resting, planning her holy week, etc.

She opened it at the table of contents, then, notes from two authors, and to the end, about the authors (one has a surname Ellis, author of Now Write! Sherry Ellis and Laurie Lamson at the note). It's a book about how to write. She wears a ring on her right ring finger, a wristwatch on her left, earphones plugged. Black hair. Bound for College, probably from UPLB. In her early thirties. Of Chinese descent.

Man my age reads a stiff, new copy of 1984 by George Orwell. Collared Regatta polo.

The other day was this man sitting in front of me, at the bus from Laguna reading LOTR: The Two Towers, wearing Under Armour.


Meditation on Ruin
by Jay Hopler

It’s not the lost lover that brings us to ruin, or the barroom brawl,
or the con game gone bad, or the beating
Taken in the alleyway. But the lost car keys,
The broken shoelace,
The overcharge at the gas pump
Which we broach without comment-these are the things that
eat away at life, these constant vibrations
In the web of the unremarkable.

The death of a father-the death of the mother--
The sudden loss shocks the living flesh alive! But the broken
pair of glasses,
The tear in the trousers,
These begin an ache behind the eyes.
And it’s this ache to which we will ourselves
Oblivious. We are oblivious. Then, one morning--there’s a
crack in the water glass—we wake to find ourselves undone.


I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream. - Vincent Van Gogh

Eff off

One thing I like about ants (or at least, from most ants that I know) - when you tell them to fuck off, they won't bite you. They just fuck off.

Worry wart

Recently, I couldn't sleep. I bought cheap wine last week to do the trick. But I drink ever-copious amounts of coffee a day, plus the unprecedented amount of stress from work and errands combined. Writing is becoming a luxury. Books and zines are becoming a thing of the past. I haven't acknowledged this fact until now - now that my four year-old is about to enter school. I have also applied and got accepted for a part-time job as a social media consultant at an online blog. After that, sleep is becoming a four-hour affair. Food choices get greasier by the month, and belts had to be loosened every meal. A peaceful weekend is unthinkable. A night-out with friends meant losing more sleep or earning less. I've been stuck with Chabon's Manhood for Amateurs a little more than a year now, and it's shameful. My normal state of mind is work, or errand, or making mental notes. For someone who used to take pride in having memorized world capitals, my inability to remember names is a source of pain. The prospect of taking a postgraduate degree is becoming too... far-fetched. But I try.

I like this quote from Samuel Beckett's Worstward Ho: "Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better."