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Thursday, December 29, 2005

Well, it's time they moved in together and raise a family of their own . . . him and her.

Tomorrow will be exactly a year ago when I attended a very important EB in the blogging world. This is the first time members of pinoyblog assembled to celebrate Christmas and do away with the anonymity of some of the bloggers. It was a very significant for me because I am a very visual person and I have to put a face on somebody I communicate with.

Anyway, I was in for a big treat because one of these bloggers, Mec came with her boyfriend, Jojo, who happens to be one of my students since he was in Grade 5 till Grade 7. Yes, it was that long time ago! Most of the guys in that EB have not only been online friends eversince but became really close to me as we have formed a bonding through a common blog called blogkadahan as an offshoot of Doc Emer's emailing buddies, the berks! Since then, we have been in constant communication, which is practically everyday, turning gmail as a some sort of a venue for chatting. While Jojo is not a blogger, he has been present every meeting the blogkadahan friends had. That makes him an honorary member, I guess.

Last night, would have been the second EB for pinoyblog but unfortunately, I coulnd't attend it for it was last night that Jojo and Mec were joined by relatives and frieds as they tied the knot at St. Pancratius Church (Paco Park). Doc Emer and his soulmate, Jane, and me witnessed the whole event to represent the berks. There, I got to meet once more my former students who are now grown-ups and,I would assume, very successful. Also in attendance were fellow pinoy poet members Ergoe and boyfriend, Nanoy.

So, to Mr. and Mrs. Arevalo, congratulations and may you have a blissful marriage fifty years from now and beyond. Now, go forth and multiply>

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the happy couple  


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The newly wedded couple with me, Doc Emer's soulmate, Jane and the good doctor himself. 

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Monday, December 26, 2005

She doesn't think like me!

Christmas has just gone like a gust of wind. You anticipate it for a long time,celebrate for a day and suddenly you realize it's all over.

I don't enjoy Christmas like I used to. My enjoyment of Christmas can be divided into different stages. First, when I was a kid. I enjoyed it a lot because I believed there was a Santa Claus. I was very gullible. I believed him until I was in grade four when my parents confirmed that it was my father who was giving the gifts. Actually, I had already been told there was no Santa Claus by friends when I was about three years old. It is still very clear to me. It's one of those things you just can't keep out of your mind. I remember that when I confronted my father, he told me that Santa would be very angry with me for not believing in him. And true enough, when Christmas came, there was no Santa gift by the tree! (they always appear inside the tree! (My family used to build a tree made up of thread wound at the top and at the edges, which they decorated with white paper wraps and Christmas balls, tinsels and lights!) My gift came at New Year's Eve when my dad came home. He said since Santa didn't give me a gift that year, he decided to buy me a present instead so that I wouln't envy my friends who had been "good boys" and were rewarded. I was a sucker from that time on. So, every year, I would eagerly await christmas, be a good boy, and wait for my gift from Santa Claus. This I did until I was in grade four. Christmas after that had changed. It was not as exciting as it was anymore.

Then, I got married and had children. I started the same tradition and revealed to them who Santa was until they were in grade four! This year, a few days before Christmas, I was talking with my daughter, Kim. We were kind of reminscing about our past Christmases and yes, Santa Claus. She laughingly revealed to me that she knew it even a lot earlier than when revelation came. I asked how did she know? She narrated to me a funny story. There was a time when she was playing outside the house when a kid demanded from his mother where Santa's gift was and the mother replied, "Nasa palengke pa!" (It's still in the market!) When she saw the mother arrive from the market, she excitedly called her son and shouted, "Eto na, eto na gift sa yo ni santa! ("Here it is, here's Santa's gift" -- Some parents just couldn't contain themselves. haha) Then she told me that She said she had also been comparing Santa's gifts with her friends and wondered how come Santa's gifts would seem to be according to the parents' station in life. The poorer ones would get cheap gifts while the richer ones get more expensive ones. Hmmm, why were my thought processes didn't work like that before, I wonder? I know she's not just pulling my leg for she's just like this. Remember when she was in the lower grades? Read this

Now that the kids are all in their teens, Christmas is at a standstill for me. Yes, it's Christmas, we have a two week respite from work, attend parties here and there, wrap gifts for friends but that's it. The next phase, which I am not so keen on arriving just yet, is when my kids have kids of their own and we would all gang up on them to tell them to be good for Santa's coming to town! I hope that's still a long time coming. I feel I haven't enjoyed my kids enough.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2005

old friend!

I just got reunited with my very first online friend, Chet. Actually, she started it all. Me writing that is. It was in 98 when I had nothing better to do and was just learning how to use the computer. I chanced upon an online university called Writersvillage. No, actually that's the new name. It was called something else before. Anyway, I don't remember what got into me but I tried enrolling in its free fiction writing workshop. Not knowing what to expect, I got a message from her on the message board welcoming me to the group saying we were practically neighbors as she is from Malaysia. I'm glad she did because she didn't really have to as she was the coordinator of another group, not in mine. (we were divided into several groups with a coordinator for each) She made me feel comfortable which made me a little confident in spite of my inability to really write. What do I know, right? I have not written a single word except for those English compositions I did in primary school. And I did not even get very high grades for those. We had been communicating via emails and the message boards since then.

Then suddenly it stopped for some reason or another. Maybe we had both been extremely busy. This Christmas season, I sent her a card hoping she'd remember me. And she did. I'm glad. I hate losing a friend.

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Sunday, December 18, 2005

She's now a woman!

My eldest daughter, Kraiganne, celebrated her 20th birthday yesterday! I couldn't believe that she's now practically as old as the new teachers in my school. It seems like yesterday when I held her in my arms, putting her to sleep. She's my first angel and I love her dearly.

She had been working very hard lately, going to sleep at three in the morning. There was even a time when she didn't sleep at all because she helped her little sister, Kim, with her assignment. Basically to lay-out several news articles which Kim had to submit to her teacher.

The two girls are very close. When we allowed Kraig to go on a 5 day holiday to Singapore with a friend (really cheap) she felt guilty that she was leaving Kim behind. She asked her mother if it would be alright if she went ahead even if Kim wasn't going. Her mother told her it's alright and that Kim's time would come, too.

She's very independent. Just like Mickey, she would join design contests on her own! We would just be surprised to learn that she would go to this or that place because she wanted to experience joining that contest. Well, we let her and give her all the support she needs.

To my first angel, my darling baby, happy birthday!

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Saturday, December 10, 2005

Do they still make songs like these?

I know, I have been remiss in updating this blog. Sorry. Anyway, just to make up for lost time, here's a load for you to read. Be patient, read on.

There's a shower going on outside my window as i write this. Rain sometimes makes me feel sad. Everything is wet and cold, one is left to lurk in his/her own private space as there's nowhere to go or a better ting to do. (Unless one is ready to get wet and bathe under the rain - - that can be fun. Not if you're more than 40, i guess.)

I have never known a song that spoke to me of sadness as stronger than Janis Ian's At Seventeen and Simon and Garfunkel's Sound of Silence. Yeah, I know, these songs are old. At Seventeen was released in 1975, while Sound of Silence was during the 60's. So, if you're about twenty years younger than I am or more, you're probably saying, "what the hell are these songs?" or "What is he talking about?" However, indulge with me a bit and see for yourself.

At Seventeen speaks of what it's like to be a plain and ordinary girl in her teens when the world is all about being beautiful. This is the time when pimples get heavy on your face, you feel awkward and confused as to how to react in certain situations. We have all been there and Janis has adroitly captured that moment. Just read the lyrics of the song. You need not be a scholar to figure out what she's talking about. And wait till you hear the song! Her voice will haunt you as you remember feeling the angst in each and every note that she sang.


AT SEVENTEEN
(Janis Ian)

I LEARNED THE TRUTH AT SEVENTEEN
THAT LOVE WAS MEANT FOR BEAUTY QUEENS
AND HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS WITH CLEAR SKINNED SMILES
WHO MARRIED YOUNG AND THEN RETIRED
THE VALENTINES I NEVER KNEW
THE FRIDAY NIGHT CHARADES OF YOUTH
WERE SPENT ON ONE MORE BEAUTIFUL
AT SEVENTEEN I LEARNED THE TRUTH

AND THOSE OF US WITH RAVAGED FACES
LACKING IN THE SOCIAL GRACES
DESPERATELY REMAINED AT HOME
INVENTING LOVERS ON THE PHONE
WHO CALLED TO SAY - COME DANCE WITH ME
AND MURMURED VAGUE OBSCENITIES
IT ISN'T ALL IT SEEMS AT SEVENTEEN

A BROWN EYED GIRL IN HAND ME DOWNS
WHOSE NAME I NEVER COULD PRONOUNCE
SAID - PITY PLEASE THE ONES WHO SERVE
THEY ONLY GET WHAT THEY DESERVE
THE RICH RELATIONED HOMETOWN QUEEN
MARRIES INTO WHAT SHE NEEDS
WITH A GUARANTEE OF COMPANY
AND HAVEN FOR THE ELDERLY

SO REMEMBER THOSE WHO WIN THE GAME
LOSE THE LOVE THEY SOUGHT TO GAIN
IN DEBENTURES OF QUALITY AND DUBIOUS INTEGRITY
THEIR SMALL-TOWN EYES WILL GAPE AT YOU
IN DULL SURPRISE WHEN PAYMENT DUE
EXCEEDS ACCOUNTS RECEIVED AT SEVENTEEN

(INSTRUMENTAL)

TO THOSE OF US WHO KNEW THE PAIN
OF VALENTINES THAT NEVER CAME
AND THOSE WHOSE NAMES WERE NEVER CALLED
WHEN CHOOSING SIDES FOR BASKETBALL
IT WAS LONG AGO AND FAR AWAY
THE WORLD WAS YOUNGER THAN TODAY
WHEN DREAMS WERE ALL THEY GAVE FOR FREE
TO UGLY DUCKLING GIRLS LIKE ME

WE ALL PLAY THE GAME, AND WHEN WE DARE
WE CHEAT OURSELVES AT SOLITAIRE
INVENTING LOVERS ON THE PHONE
REPENTING OTHER LIVES UNKNOWN
THAT CALL AND SAY - COME ON, DANCE WITH ME
AND MURMUR VAGUE OBSCENITIES
AT UGLY GIRLS LIKE ME, AT SEVENTEEN


lyrics taken from here


Simon and Garfunkel's Sound of silence is a little older. I believe it was released in 1964. The duo split sometime in the 70's but only after having made several hit tunes that are as equally profound. Who haven't heard of the famous "Bridge over troubled water?" Personally, Sound of Silence is very profound. The images of the song are so vivid that one can almost see them. The song is full of metaphors and very paradoxical. Who would've thought of associating sound with silence? And the song does not fail to incorporate more paradoxisms - i.e.
People talking without speaking,
People hearing without listening,


What the song tells me is that our sadness is brought about by too much materialism and our penchant for consumerism. This is how I interpret the lines:

And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon God they made.


Not that there are those who tried to stop it but to no avail. People would not listen:

Hear my words that I might teach you,
Take my arms that I might reach you.
But my words like silent raindrops fell,
And echoed
In the wells of silence


Maybe I am wrong. You tell me.




Sound of Silence

Hello darkness, my old friend,
I’ve come to talk with you again,
Because a vision softly creeping,
Left it’s seeds while I was sleeping,
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence.

In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone,
’neath the halo of a street lamp,
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of
A neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence.

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more.
People talking without speaking,
People hearing without listening,
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one deared
Disturb the sound of silence.

Fools said i,you do not know
Silence like a cancer grows.
Hear my words that I might teach you,
Take my arms that I might reach you.
But my words like silent raindrops fell,
And echoed
In the wells of silence

And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon God they made.
And the sign flashed out it’s warning,
In the words that it was forming.
And the signs said, the words of the prophets
Are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls.
And whisper’d in the sounds of silence.



lyrics taken from this site

And since I am at it, allow me to share with you what I consider to be the best protest song of all time. I am talking about I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die-Rag by Country Joe McDonald. I first heard this song when I watched the film of that famous three day festival/concert in Yasgur's farm known to the world as Woodstock held in 1969. This was the height of the flower people, or what we call the hippies. If you see that Peace sign which is actually a "no nukes" sign designed by writer Bertrand Russel, this is the era I'm talking about. The song is a protest against the Vietnam war which America lost anyway. The song is lively and with a very catchy tune.

I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die-Rag
[Take 1 - 09 65]

Oh this is, this is just a try out. It's not ...
'Fixin'-To-Die-Rag', 'Fixin'-To-Die-Rag', Take 1.
One, two, three, four.
Well, come on all of you, big strong men,
Uncle Sam needs your help again.
Yeah, he's got himself in a terrible jam
Way down yonder in Vietnam
So put down your books and pick up a gun,
Gonna have a whole lotta fun.

And it's one, two, three,
What are we fighting for ?
Don't ask me, I don't give a damn,
Next stop is Vietnam;
And it's five, six, seven,
Open up the pearly gates,
Well there ain't no time to wonder why,
Whoopee! we're all gonna die.

Yeah, come on Wall Street, don't be slow,
Why man, this is war au-go-go
There's plenty good money to be made
By supplying the Army with the tools of its trade,
Just hope and pray that if they drop the bomb,
They drop it on the Viet Cong.

And it's one, two, three,
What are we fighting for ?
Don't ask me, I don't give a damn,
Next stop is Vietnam.
And it's five, six, seven,
Open up the pearly gates,
Well there ain't no time to wonder why
Whoopee! we're all gonna die.

Well, come on generals, let's move fast;
Your big chance has come at last.
Now you can go out and get those reds
'Cause the only good commie is the one that's dead
And you know that peace can only be won
When we've blown 'em all to kingdom come.

And it's one, two, three,
What are we fighting for ?
Don't ask me, I don't give a damn,
Next stop is Vietnam;
And it's five, six, seven,
Open up the pearly gates,
Well there ain't no time to wonder why
Whoopee! we're all gonna die.

Come on mothers throughout the land,
Pack your boys off to Vietnam.
Come on fathers, and don't hesitate
To send your sons off before it's too late.
You can be the first ones in your block
To have your boy come home in a box.

And it's one, two, three
What are we fighting for ?
Don't ask me, I don't give a damn,
Next stop is Vietnam.
And it's five, six, seven,
Open up the pearly gates,
Well there ain't no time to wonder why,
Whoopee! we're all gonna die.



lyrics was taken from this site.

Now, if you've gone this far, you would have known what good songs I grew up with. I must admit I do not know what kind of songs are being written these days. Too bad I don't know how to incorporate sound in my blog but if I was able to tickle your fancy, there're a lot of downloadables in cyberspace where you could listen to these songs.

Although I have four teen-aged children who are into music, too, I have not listened closely to the lyrics of the songs they listen to. It would be interesting if we can compare notes. Maybe you'd like to share them with me. Drop me a line in my comment box.

Better yet, why don't I start a tag of some sorts. And who is there better to tag than my good friend, Batjay who is just a music addict as I am. He'll kick this one up a notch, you'll see.

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About
MGA TURO NI TITO:
Twenty years of teaching must sure amount to something. A new friend in cyberspace suggested I ought to have a journal by now. I agree.


Taken by my friend Arlene Lawson in her room at Century Park Sheraton in May, 2000.
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Location: Bambang, Pasig City, Philippines

Jack of all trade, master of none. First a disclaimer. My students have discovered this blog and they might think that what I write is gospel truth. Worse is they might find an argument that they think they can use, for some reason or another, against their teachers. So, to set the record straight, it is NOT. As a matter of fact, I write and open it to feedback to get another view in the hope that somebody would tell me if I am wrong and reenforce my thinking if it is right. Not that I will accept anything thrown my way, though. Just so I can think about it some more and decide whether my original stance is right or definitely off tangent. So there. I hope that clarifies everything. Now, on to blogging.


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