Free Fall

I invite you to come closer,
and you come, not only without any pang of hesitation,
but with a strong desire that grows and grows by the second.

I can sense that you want to be with me,
and with each passing moment I feel a pattern of growth,
and I anticipate the moment of arrival..

Until I realize that I prefer you to step back,
or grow wings..

PureWanderLust (CC) via Flickr

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The Storm Tamer

You are the victim of your captain’s tongue.
Beautiful, huge, luxurious beyond words.
The most magnificent ship in the world.
“I don’t even think God could sink this ship
If he wanted to.”

The journey sets forth with all but the fiery
coal piles that drive you.
You are born ablaze and die extinguished
With the cold ocean that devours you;
And the fetal words of your captain swallowed
By the aging Proverb that lives through.
“Pride goeth before destruction.”

That mountain of ice is dead ahead.
The fountain of hope has kept you from
Reversing the engines and
Steering clear of the facade of your loss.
You have been racing at full speed with
The fuel of human egotism.

His hand is cold with the energy sucked
Away from his human body.
And he retires at the back of his floating pulpit;
Kept in the company of fishermen.

The still, deceiving calm of the sea:
a beat resounding the pacifism of Galilee.
The cold valley air funnels across the sea,
and it rushes to meet the warm wind of peace
To sign an agreement of violence:
The perfect storm.

The hasty winds and the seismic waves,
And all but the weary hearts of men
And the table top skin of water that once was,
They yield in disarray: Defeated.
The tongues of fishermen: Defeated.

“Don’t you care that we’re perishing?”;
Cried out as the lightning strikes
and the light sweeps across the raucous scene.
The light kindles the tired man at the stern.
All of man’s efforts obscured.

“Peace. Be Still.”
Nature starts to breathe, and see,
And hear the words of this man
Who has warrant over
The engines of her assault.

Where is your faith?
Hidden inside the metal frame of the Titanic?
Switch seats from within this luxury boat
And let the ocean devour you for all that is
Earnest to mortal sufficiency.

The heart is a stern for the Captain of fishermen.

It is the Blind Man Who Truly Sees

Every other storm passes by;
A timid raindrop for every little speck of
Hot Concrete. Overburdened;
Witness to the living ingrate who devours
The essential, thrashes the bones;

A graffiti of footsteps
Disappear in the oculus
Of the one-eyed king’s slave.
Every other storm is an excess
Of hell; A dislodged fulcrum;
But indeed, a mirage in the desert
Of Sun-schorched avenues
And kindled nerves.

But even as the bipeds walk,
the fire dances to a dissimilar beat.

Ode to the increments of back street!
A song engulfs your echo
Of a sky that falls back into itself.
A parade to the pace of a million smiles.
Hope becomes vision.
Vision becomes truth.
A version of Truth comes to light,
And smeared shall the next storm pass….

Classical Music Works

(cc) Flickr

I am a teacher by profession, but I also write as a sideline.

I’ve heard a lot about how classical music helps you study better. But I never tried it.

I get writer’s block a lot. So I decided maybe I should give classical music a chance.

Just recently, I began writing and listening to classical music at the same time.

Just like magic, time slows down and words flow like rain as I type them away. It’s incredible. But I don’t know why it works. I have theories, though.

For one, it keeps me from procrastinating. Listening to classical music tricks my brain into thinking I’m not working, but listening to beautiful music. I’d rather procrastinate than write about stuff that’s not my niche, to be honest, but by listening to classical music, I think I’m getting a bargain.

And it doesn’t work for other kinds of music. I tried songs with lyrics, but then I listen to the singer and my mind gets distracted. Too many words, too many words.

I tried listening to other instrumental music, but, especially if it’s just an instrumental version to a song I’m familiar with, I end up singing instead.

I tried listening to classical music with choruses. There are lyrics, but since I don’t understand them, (are the lyrics in French or Latin ? ) I still get to focus on my work.

Classical Music really slows down time for me; maybe it’s because these beautiful string of notes take their time dancing in my ear, almost motivating me to go ahead and work and write! Maybe it’s the lack of lyrics, and the desire to fill these beautiful masterpieces with words that are currently at the back of my head.

There is a scientific explanation for why classical music works, but for now, I am content with guessing.

As you may have guessed, I am currently listening to classical music through Youtube.

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Prepare, but be Spontaneous

When you have to do the same lecture twice in a day, you can do extremely well in the first lecture, but be extremely bored in the second.

You may have prepared for those lectures the day, two days, or three days before,
so that you feel confident about facing your audience upfront,
and you can’t wait to tell them what you know,
But preparation can back fire.

You rehearsed well to try to remove all possibilities of messing up in front of the audience. At the same time, however, you are making your lectures boring for you.

And your boredom will show; and the audience will contract that boredom, and they will be bored.
Boredom is contagious.

In a lecture, prepare. But be spontaneous.

In your first lecture, it’s okay to follow what you have rehearsed. Rehearsing is different from the actual thing, obviously, so your excitement will be evident. Your audience will contract that excitement. Your lecture will be a success, just as you visualized it coming in.

But in your second lecture, if you try to do the exact same thing, you will come off as robotic and methodical, and boring.

So try to keep an empty mind entering into the second lecture. Just remember the key points of your speech, but never try to remember what you did or said that made the first lecture successful. Try to make new illustrations, new anecdotes. Make the second lecture, of the same topic, a different lecture.

Give your audience something fresh. Well, anything you say to them will be fresh because that’s the first time they heard it, but keep it fresh for yourself. Make a different kind of lecture, not for your audience, but for yourself, which would benefit your audience anyway.

It’s called karma, baby. And it goes around.

Prepare, but be Spontaneous. Keep it original, and your enthusiasm will show; your excitement is contagious. Your boredom is equally contagious. Choose the best option. LOL.

You know you’re bored when you just made your first incomplete, completely spontaneous, short story

I grabbed the basketball from inside the blue cellophane, seated between carefully placed bag packs on top of the cottage bench.

“where are you going?”

“off to play basketball..”

“alone?”

“yes.”

Magnus laughed at me like I was crazy. Like he never heard of Solitaire basketball. Okay, maybe that game doesn’t exist, but Carmelo Anthony had half a court inside his house, and he played alone foryears until he mastered the inside game.

I was off to master the inside game.

“Good luck trying to beat yourself,” said Magnus, with his most sarcastic tone.

He’s right, sort of. I’m playing against myself indeed; pretending someone’s guarding me as I dribble my way towards the hoop, scoring 2 nil for the first successful attempt, giving the ball to my opponent, which is me, of course, daring him to move forward against my impeccable defense, doing the offense, deciding between a jump shot or a slashing move forward..

The more I think about it, the more I begin to realize that I am crazy indeed. But I have no one else to play with. Not even Magnus; for his frame and height, you’d think he’s a sports buff. But the only sport he’s ever come closest to doing is watching grass grow. Or watching paint dry.

And he’s a member of the sungka varsity. How’s that for sarcasm, Magnus?

I can see the basketball court now. 50 more meters and I’ll be shooting 50 percent from the field. I couldn’t contain my excitement I began dribbling the ball. Not the best road to dribble off of, though. I’m walking on pebbles and sand, and my ball was jeering off towards weird angles. 98.5 degrees, 87.6 degrees from the vertical. But I figured this is good practice as well. You never know what happens in a real basketball game; you’re ball could bounce off your right foot under intense pressure.

20 meters. It’s amazing how I kept up with this silent monologue, going smoothly, without tripping over.

I finally reached the basketball court. But what is this! I’ve been beat to the idea of playing alone, and having the court to myself. Someone else came ahead of me; a short guy, probably around 5 foot 2, wait, that’s probably too short. He’s wearing long sleeves for the life of me. This guy has no place in the hard court at all. Or maybe he has a skin disease he’s hiding.

He also beat me to the half court closest the exit. That’s where I usually play, not the farther end. That other half’s ring is a few inches higher than the better half. Poor design. Well, first come first serve. I hope he tires out in a few minutes. I’d give him ten, maybe 15. Obviously, with such a poor frame, well he probably has an inhaler with him right now. The kind that asthmatics bring with them, as if it were their pacemaker.

He stared at me without the slightest hint of expression in his eyes. I probably looked a bit unnerved, I had the feeling of superiority, if only for my more appropriate attire. Plus my ball is a Spalding. His orange looks like a Spalling, or another Hong Kong made imitation brand.

I have to get rid of this arrogant feeling. I have to keep things cool for myself. He’ll probably get it anyway, once he starts looking back at me in sheer amazement as I start shooting hoops like there’s no tomorrow. Swish, swish, swoosh, or whatever, I am counting the eggs before they are hatched, and rightfully so.

Wait, the guy stopped shooting. He’s down on his knees, tying his loose shoelace, or pretending to do so, for all I know. At the back of his mind, whether he’s conscious about it or not, he’s acknowledging the presence of the master. Going down is a kind of bowing motion which was integral to ancient society, or Japanese courtesy.

So I went to the free throw line to start my in game practice. As always, the ring looks really high from down here. I am of decent height, 5 foot 10, 5 foot 11 at best, but even Dwyane Wade can’t dunk over this overextended ring. Wait, who am I kidding? My apologies to the Flash.

I began by dribbling the ball three times and shooting the free throw to get my juices flowing. Swish. Perfect shot. It takes me just around three of the same to get to what Michael Jordan calls being “In the Zone”. Let’s try another one. I took the ball, which was dribbling perfectly underneath the ring, post typical of a perfectly made shot. Going back to the free throw line, I did the same routine. Three dribbles and a quick elbow release. Swoosh. Nothing but net, although technically, there’s no net.

Perfect. Does it matter that the ring is a few inches taller than average? No, because I’m above average. One more try and I’m ready to showcase my skills. The random, beat-me-to-it, long-sleeved guy must be looking at me in amazement right now.

I went back to the free throw line to shoot one last shot. Swoosh!

Wait a minute, that wasn’t me. Unluckily, my ball bounced off the front rim, and wasn’t generous enough to tip it in for a score. In any case, the shot left my hand too early, and was poorly executed. Then whose swoosh was it?

No one else is playing basketball, so it had to be the weirdo. He was hitting shot after shot. He was practicing the layups, free throws, fade aways, Three pointers! He can’t miss! His form is perfect. He was driving towards the rim in full speed, switching hands in mid air as if an imaginary opponent was gonna swap it off if he didn’t. He’s probably playing Solitaire basketball too.

The weirdo was practicing his in game, mid game, three point game, wade game, bryant game, carmelo game. The guy is topnotch, but I had to keep it to myself, and had to readjust my dropping jaw once in a while. I can’t be obvious about being impressed. But I don’t know where my ball is, and I don’t care. Sometimes, you’re the guy on the bench, cheering, and that still makes you a basketball fanatic.

He knows I’m looking. He stepped up his game the moment I decided to stop my own. He’s doing all the weird angles now! What the expletive! Did he just turn his back on the ring, threw the ball back two hands, and did the ball just fall off perfectly, beyond the three point line? Holy expletive! Did he just do a 360, no a 540, if my math is correct, and do a reverse layup at the end of it all?

Thud! This can’t be happening. He just dunked the ball! I know my end of the court’s ring is higher, but the guy is five foot two! After the thunderous dunk, he paused, grabbed the ball,and  looked at me. I can see that he’s smiling mischievously; he probably had a hint or two off my apparently unhidden arrogance, and slapped me in the face with his daunting skills.

———— TO BE CONTINUED ————————– BUT HOW DO I CONTINUE?? LOL…..————————

Missing Old School

I remember my first day in high school. I had a hard time adjusting to the new environment. I was accustomed to seeing the color green, and now all of a sudden, all I see is pink. I remember looking at the vandalized walls and damaged chairs. I remember my classmate narrating to me: “When we took the IDS entrance exam, I pointed at this building and remarked at how it looked like one of those UNESCO world heritage sites.

Ancient. I didn’t know this was the school building I enrolled in. I remember missing the beautiful buildings of La Salle. I remember the gym, the volleyball girls, the soccer lawn, basketball court, open air auditorium, chapel. Heck, I even remember walking alone inside the spooky natural museum, looking at the preserved dead animals and the eerie fetus inside the jar, always keeping an eye out for where the door is in case one of these creatures sprung back to life.

I remember wanting to go back to Animo, because I felt that the place was a better learning environment than this small, pink location.

It’s like going back in time again, as I hear my first year students talking about the same complaints I had 11 years ago, when I was in their position. Back then, I kept the sentiments to myself and complained in private, perhaps a bit too wary that I might offend the feelings of others who felt otherwise. Some of my students tell me about wanting to transfer next year, raising their right arms with closed fists in recognition of their previous allegiance with the school that is closes to their hearts.

Honestly, an energy of sadness engulfs me every time I hear them say those things, but I try not to show it. I try to keep my perspectives fresh and open to all sorts of possibilities, and if any kind of burden ever presents itself which is related to the matter, I would rather attack that objectively and not emotionally. Still, I completely understand why they feel the way they feel.

There are several reasons; perhaps some of them are overwhelmed or underwhelmed with the new academic style, others may have missed their friends for 6, or even 9 years, others may have personal reasons which I can only begin to imagine.

I wish I can tell them about the pride of being an IDSian (until now, I’m still not sure about that name. Hornetians?). I wish I can get them to peer inside a glass box and see their future in case they choose to remain in this school for the next three years. Students, well equipped, well battered, straight out of the oven, fresh from a well-balanced beating that would leave them potentially calloused and ready to face any kind of challenge that tertiary education will throw back at them.

I wish to tell them, frankly, that from a general perspective, IDS is the best school in Mindanao. On the other hand, from a more general perspective, there are more important things in life than education and even everything that stems out as consequences of good education. Sometimes the heart dictates the unfathomable, and by sheer instinct, a person understands that she or he belongs somewhere. These decisions should be respected.

Whatever the decision of my students are, I will support them. 100 percent. I will try to keep in touch with them so that I can be within reach whenever I need them or they need me. I will celebrate changes.

Looking back at anxieties

As I get older, my anxieties become more complicated and threatening, but this doesn’t surprise me. The arrow of time stays true to its character, legacy, and cosmological purpose; the egg never reassembles itself after a terrific fall. Theoretically, no rules are broken, no conservation laws are neglected, and no symmetries are altered, but the arrow of time is sturdy.

The Ultimate Anxiety

Now I worry about work related stuff, and how I can give back to society, but I know all future roads lead to point zero. Eventually, I will be worrying about leaving Earth temporarily, and leaving my loved ones behind as I resign towards unconsciousness, and I will probably worry about whether I lived a fruitful life, worthy of heavenly rewards. The ultimate anxiety, that defines humans or animals, at least to the extent of our perception of them, is the knowledge that we will die, eventually. Whereas animals respond to the present circumstances and act on impulse, humans are addicted to memories and thoughts of people who are no longer with us. As we study history, the execution of our heroes, holocausts, world wars, tragic accidents, we are reminded of our own mortality, and that leaves us with questions that may affect how we perceive our present and react effectively to the problems within our reach.

A world full of doors

On the other hand, the former and latter paragraph are just distractions, or targeted filters if you may, to what I really want to say in this article. You see, we all have moments in our lives where the future is the least of our concerns. The world is ours; it is beautiful and carefree, filled not only with contemporary beauty, but the illusion of permanent artistry. The world is a banquet room of doors, unlocked, unhindered, and leads where the heart coincides with the brain. There was a time when I felt that mortality is the least of my concerns, and that I should use all of my time to figure out the combination lock that holds certain access to using my potentials to their fullest.

Indeed, there were times when my anxieties were the simplest for any grown man. For this matter, I want to share a specific scenario during my college days. It is accurate to say that I did not know death when I was a junior. At most, it was hidden at the back of my mind, constantly tapping at the periphery of my consciousness but always drowned by the louder thoughts of academics and other distractions. Ever so slowly, little increments of anxieties crept in, and they grabbed my attention at their infancy.

Khm the Tiger

So much for the hard talk, let’s begin with the easy talk. I was anxious at the smallest of things, and one of them was accidentally meeting Khm and not knowing what to do. I don’t really know her, and for the longest time I did not make a move to know her more. I was content that she was a stranger like the rest. On the other hand, she was like a tiger to me back then. No, she didn’t have a huge appetite, or a terrible personality. What I mean is that she registers in my brain as something, or someone, important. What do you do when a tiger approaches you? Your neurons fire rapid messages and your emotions soar higher than a Richter scale registering a massive earthquake. When a tiger is coming your way, you feel that that is the only important thing in the world.

Spotting Khm

That’s the same whenever I met Khm accidentally, or spotted her from the corner of my eye. Maybe not as much as a tiger would affect me, I wouldn’t drop my things at the sight of her, or stop at my tracks, or faint, but she would get 50, no 60 percent of my attention, leaving the other 40 percent to the control of my subconscious default nature.  It starts off with 86 milliseconds of physical admiration, followed by 27.8 milliseconds of desire to go ahead and approach her, and succeeded by a brief, 60.4 millisecond realization that I will only make a fool of myself if I do.

Or that’s what my personal filter looks like. It didn’t help much that she was often alone, or in the company of a handful of people. My level of insecurity was really ridiculous then, but no one would believe me because I rarely showed it. It’s something that was rooted from deep within, sending out subtle manifestations to choice situations.

Facing my fear

I did manage to convince myself to face my fear. Besides, I simply wanted to be friends. I thought it would be really cool to be friends with someone I thought was really cool. However, I did not face my fear head on.  I took the coward’s approach and sent her a Friendster friend request with a personal message, but hey, I don’t see her a lot so I thought this was a logical first move. I saw that she did really well writing her about me, so I made that as an excuse to write something in the message.

Making a new friend

The coolest thing in the world happened and she replied back to me, saying she doesn’t know me but that I deserve the chance to be friends with her. All my perceptions about her being a tiger dissolved instantly, and I heaved a sigh of relief. Now that we’re good friends, I look back at those silly times and laugh at my own, but only when no one’s looking. Still, I’m glad I made that tiny first step to get to know her more; else I would still be thinking about Khm and wondering how it would feel like to be her friend. I don’t have to wonder about that anymore, and in fact, Khm is a very good friend! She’s a very level-headed person, a bit introverted like me, and I’m not sure if we have a lot of things in common but I certainly respect her in many ways. I would have missed out on a lot of things had I not befriended her.

Certainly, the ultimate anxiety of facing death will be the central focus of what’s left of my life, but that will only arrive after I have conquered all the little anxieties that have shaped my character. That includes my little encounter with the tiger called Khm. (-:

I have an older sister. Her name’s Lily Allen

It’s pretty amazing how listening to Lily Allen’s “Smile” would take me to her other song named after my first name. (-:

Not to mention, this music video is weird.

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When real life creates sillier plots than movies

I just came across this article called The 7 most Bizzarely Unlucky People who ever lived. And I must say, this is one of the most entertaining articles I have ever read.

It’s a story of misfortunes of incomparable proportions, and it really makes you think: are some people just born to be unlucky? Also, the same can be said about the inverse; are some people born to be lucky?

Because to some degree, I’m sure this article isn’t entirely accurate. Maybe a more appropriate title would be something like, 7 most bizzarely unlucky people whose lives are documented who ever lived. I know it’s not as catchy, but I’m pretty sure there are a handful or more people who have had the same level of bad luck a couple of times in their lives.

And maybe people like Bill Gates or Michael Jordan are just born to be lucky. However, in terms of outstandingly good luck, I believe it’s more about making your own luck and knocking at every door of opportunity that presents itself.

The same cannot be said of bizzarely and ridiculously bad luck, as the article suggests. The following is a summary, but I suggest you click on the link and read for yourself.

The worse terror attack in history

7. Jason and Jenny Lawrence — British couple who went to New York for vacation, and then the twin tower attacks happened. Worst attack in History. // 4 years later they happen to be in London, and the worst terror attack happened in that country, as bombs exploded in the subway killing 52 people. // 3 years later they went to Mumbai for vacation, and the worse terroristic activity happened there. Shootings and bombings killed hundreds of people.

The Unsinkable Ship

6. Violet Jessop – Served as nurse aboard Titanic’s sister ship, the Olympic. Collided with a British warship and drowned. She survived. // Seved as nurse aboard Titanic, and we all know what happened to that “unsinkable ship.” // Served aboard the Brittanic. Boat hit a mine and drowned. She made it on land for the third time.

Had three fatal incidents with 3 American presidents

5. Robert Todd Lincoln – Son of Abraham Lincoln. His father got assassinated when he was 21. Carved his own political career. Knew James Garfield. Went with him to a function, and just as they were about to enter a train, Garfield was shot.  20 years later he served for McKinley. They were at a speaking engagement when McKinley was shot. He vowed to never attend any presidential functions again.

Only one person has ever been hit by a meteorite

4. Ann Hodges – She got hit by a meteorite while she was napping on her couch. Meteorite that broke to pieces on descent and one hit her in the hip. No one in history has ever been hit by a meteorite before, and until now.

What are the odds of being hit by lightning 7 times? 0.

3. Roy Sullivan – He got struck by lightning seven times! While on a lookout tower, while driving down the mountain, inside a ranger station, fishing, drying clothes outside with his wife, while running away from clouds, and while holding a pitcher full of water in case lightning sets his hair on fire again.

Jeanne Roger’s life is a sitcom

2. Jeanne Rogers – She was struck by lightning twice. // While on a cruise ship, she fell off the railings and into the ocean, and her friend slipped and hit the deck unconscious as she tries to go for help. She regained consciousness and eventually the boat went back to get her. // A couple of years later a bat came towards her head and stayed there. Every time she knocked a door for help a woman opened and screamed, and the bat became wilder, pissing on her hair and scratching her scalp. // She got mugged, shot at, strangled, she fell into an open manhole. //She tripped over a cord that yanked Mr. Rogers pants off while being televised.

How did he get away without superpowers?

1. Tsutomu Yamaguchi – Ironically, I’d personally consider this guy lucky. He was on a business trip in Hiroshima and an atomic bomb hit the city where he was 2 miles away from it. He got temporarily blinded with broken eardrums.// Few days later he was in his office in Nagasaki when another atomic bomb exploded some two miles away. He survived that as well. See what I mean? He survived two atomic bombs and walked away. He died last January from old age, at 93 years old. Still, who would have wanted to be in his position? No one.

SO THERE IT IS.

It’s also fun to read the comments. One of the funniest was from invaderdaxter, in reference to Yamaguchi and how he did not gain superpowers after surviving those two atomic explosions.

“We prefer to think of him as an undiscovered X-Man with the worst superpower ever.”
Actually the X-Man with the worst mutant power was
Testifoot, whose mutant power was that his testicles are on the bottom of his feet.
And he couldnt fly…

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