climb

life on macro: status updates

so people have been turning to twitter and FB and plurk and even gmail to constantly keep other people -- even those who aren't necessarily asking -- about what they're currently doing. it's actually micro-blogging: status updates are after all telegraphed entries: installments of an autobiography: the slow unfolding of a life. i have been doing that with my blog since i started this in 2004, so FB has just been an extension of it, but with its limits on text, i would rather stick to the macro format, because i always have a mouthful of things to say. and here are some status updates:

* * *

i began a ritual of cleansing last weekend, when i cleared my cupboards and my refrigerator of expiring food and condiments, and was positively surprised to find many of them: a variety of sauces, mayonnaise, oatmeal, juice concentrates, muesli, rice noodles, sesame oil, fruits, several bars of chocolate, etc. i may have absentmindedly used some of them, inducing an upset stomach which made me think hard about its cause. now i shouldn't be so surprised. other than unwittingly submitting myself to the positively disastrous effects of food poisoning, it also allowed me to reflect on my buying patterns. i often go to the grocery and buy stuff i could cook at home with the end in view of saving a lot. and in theory, i should be saving a lot compared to if i always bought food from restaurants. but if i end up throwing away many of the stuff i buy, then i don't really achieve my objectives, right? besides, it just pains me to be throwing away food, since i am aware that hunger is a very real problem, and it occurs around me. i myself am not a stranger to hunger -- either of the involuntary or imposed kind.

* * *

i have just finished the first part of ian mcewan's "atonement", a luscious narrative of a precocious child's misunderstanding of adult motives, and i can't contain my current irritation for one of the characters, briony, since i am finding myself identifying with robbie (a bright son of a charlady, who attended cambridge on a scholarship and finished with a first -- i can relate). which is not to say that i am not mesmerized by mcewan's writing. his prose has always been magical and surreal without falling into the trap of being unreal. i have encountered few authors who have managed to keep me enthralled just by the beauty of the language they employ in telling a story, particularly one which is gripping and exciting, inspiring in me a sense of awe and anxiety. i am eager to know what happens next, and i am about to rip a page, but instead, mcewan relaxes me with a description of an artificial lake. i remember putting down his "in the comfort of strangers", and feeling absolutely stunned, as if i had just been robbed and was so shocked i had no time to process the event and react appropriately so i had to pick it up again and read the last few pages to confirm that i have read what i have thought i read denying that it was what i've read. i know that i turned to mcewan to take a break from the weight of garcía márquez's prose, but the diversion hasn't been necessarily easier. not that i'm complaining, since if i would like to get easy reading, i could just pick up a magazine. besides, i've long known that my brain is so much more resilient to torture than my body, and i can stretch its limitations, and it has seldom given up, unlike my body which surrenders at the mere thought of more exertion. but it's a good thing that i have a really good dictionary on my iPhone, because mcewan has been expanding my vocabulary with every turn of the page.

* * *

i leave for saigon in about 30 hours and i've picked out a few shirts and shorts to pack, and just 2 pairs of pants for the whole 13-day trip. i'm too lazy to wash my underwear so i just decided to go to bench body to purchase a new set of sous-vêtements, which is emblazoned on the garters of the line designed for bench by mobo. i asked the saleslady if mobo was french, and she said the line is from london, and so i asked why the french phrase, and she was surprised to find out it was french, and i said, yes it is, in fact it means under garments. haha. so after that i went to the cashier to pay for my purchases and i was convinced by the cashier to get a lifestyle card to rake up points, which i could also use at human, celio, aldo, etc. i suppose, although you need to spend PHP10,000 to get PHP200, it'll add up since i get my haircut at fix and most of mes sous-vêtements are from bench so i said sure why not, filled out the form, and paid PHP100 for the card. afterwards, the cashier punched my purchases, took my cash, put the stuff inside a nice paper bag, and said: oh shit, i wasn't able to credit your purchases to your card. she was about to amend it but she bungled, and ended up saying that there was no way i could get the points, which would've given me just 8,600 points before my first PHP200. sir pano yan, she said, and i replied: well, you convinced me to get this card and you categorically said that these purchases would be credited, so what do you want me to do? sir, hindi ko kasi na pasok yung card nyo. i was smiling all this time, although i had half the mind to berate her for her inefficiency and basically say: that's not my problem, but i said: do you want me to have a creative outburst? and i chuckled at my own joke, and finally said: okay never mind, you might have a security camera here and i might end up apologizing on national TV about hunger and a long "overhauled" flight, so i smiled again and left.

* * *

everyone in my club seems to be in some sort of secret training, and i have not been excused from the exercise. apparently, a lot of people know that i can now swim, despite all my asseverations in the past that i am a sinker -- which is true. i still am, but with proper instruction and better technique, i am now able to swim about a kilometer in under an hour: that's 20 laps on an olympic-sized pool. for many years i've longed to take up swimming, but i've conjured several excuses: lack of time, an unsightly belly, dark buns, sick-looking legs, etc. finally, last february, i had no excuse but my own imagined shame when janice told me to take up swimming with her, niel, and rendo, with july, a swimming coach at the makati aqua sports arena, just beside the pasig river. i kid you not when i say that during our first session, i couldn't even finish 50m. it was only on our 3rd day that i managed to get to the other side of the pool without stopping, and by the 10th session (we have 2 one-hour sessions per day), i was swimming continuously, and 20 laps are sort of nothing unusual. on my last swim, i timed my first 50m, and it took me 61 seconds in total, which is actually quite fast. so i can now do free. whether this will translate to taking up triathlon as a sport is something that remains to be seen: the prospect of being in open water still scares me so i am not about to go there willingly. but who knows? i am surprising many, even myself.
(Anonymous)
Hi Alman! Tuloy pa din swimming class nyo? I've been looking for a swimming coach para ma enganyo ulit ako bumalik sa swimming. Pede ba akong makisali? -- Norman AMCI2k3
uy norman! napadaan ka. hehe. pwedeng pwede kang makisali sa training namin. ongoing sya every sunday, 8am - 10pm. mabait si coach july at mapasensya (lalo na sa isang pasaway na tulad ko). effective yung instructions nya at talagang marked yung improvement namin. tsaka tutok talaga sya. hindi lang langoy-langoy. nako-correct yung stroke mo, etc. yung fee nya ay PHP3,000 for 10 sessions, which is 5 days, pero sabi nya, kahit gawin pang 15 sessions yang okay lang, hanggang sa ma-satisfy sya sa progress mo. at kahit mag secret training ka on a wednesday, pag nandun sya, papagawa ka nya ng drills and exercises, so sulit talaga. hehe. start ulit ako after holy week, kaya join ka na!
(Anonymous)
Actually si Abby nag introduce sa akin sa blog mo. may pinakita siyang article na sinulat mo ata before. tapos from time to time i drop by para makibalita about AMCI. =) Hope you don't mind? Di na kasi nakakapunta sa mtgs and climbs.

sige, sabay ako after holy week. kasama na ba yung pool fee sa PHP3,000? Wednesday's lang sya nandun? Plan ko kasi atleast 2x a week. let me know kung kelan kayo mag start para sabay ako sa first session. Thanks!
musta na si abby? dati madalas mag message sa akin yun, ngayon hindi na masyado.

anyway, di pa kasama yung pool fee sa PHP3,000. PHP50 lang naman for makati residents. si july available sya almost all days, dahil yung mga estudyante nya, iba-iba ang sched. nagpunta na ako sa MASA ng friday and saturday, at nakikita ko sya dun.

siguro 3rd week of april start ulit ako. sabay tayo para mapakilala na kita. :D